Thursday August 22, 2013 | 08:00 AM
Posted by Barbara Babkirk

They head to the beach!

Whether it’s St. Tropez or Old Orchard, the long stretch of sand and lure of the sea draws throngs of vacationers to these popular tourist destinations.

But, for those Parisians who are turned off by the 13-hour drive and the expensive lifestyle of the French Riviera, the City of Paris has created their version of a “staycation”.

Paris-Plages has become a tradition in the City of Light since 2002. This year, over 5,000 tons of sand has been deposited on the banks of the Seine along with beach umbrellas and lounge chairs. Initially criticized as frivolous, Paris-Plages is now hailed as an innovative tourist attraction.

It’s also a welcomed alternative to expensive vacations for those impacted by France’s struggling economy and the highest unemployment rate since 1998.

I wish I could report that both Parisians and Mainers enjoyed the same vacation policies that allowed all residents to take advantage of beaches, whether manmade or natural. But, there’s an ocean of difference between the two policies.

The French, no matter if they reside in Paris or in a tiny French village, enjoy a minimum of 31 days of annual paid vacation mandated by law—and it goes up from there.

By contrast, the United States is the only developed country in the world without a single legally required paid vacation day or holiday. One in four Americans does not have a single paid day off.

This is disheartening given the fact that time off is proven to enhance productivity, reduce stress and even lower the risk of heart attacks.

While you may not be able to head to Paris-Plages during August, take a cue from the French and imagine a fun and creative option right at home that will lift your spirit and allow you to feel like you are someplace else.


About this Blog

Barbara Babkirk is a Master Career Counselor and founder of Heart At Work Associates, a career counseling and outplacement firm in Portland.

With a focused and intuitive approach, Barbara makes a difference in people’s lives by helping them design a new life chapter. She has a successful record guiding career transitions for professionals ranging from executives and artists to attorneys and entrepreneurs.

An expert in her field, Barbara is a public speaker on work-related topics writes a solutions-oriented column about work for the Portland Sunday Telegram.


Scott Woodard is a career coach with Heart At Work Associates, a career counseling and outplacement business in Portland, Maine.

Scott works with clients to identify and articulate their value and their personal brand. He helps clients develop clear, concise and crisp messaging to convey their particular difference, their achievements and their approach.

Scott coaches clients to market their brand through social media platforms, especially LinkedIn. He offers monthly workshops on how to make the most of LinkedIn for businesses or job seekers.

Previous entries

April 2014

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January 2014

December 2013

November 2013


October 2013

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August 2013

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