Helping the Chronically Overworked Find Life Balance

Who Else Wants Two Weeks Paid Vacation Before the Start Date?


Chaplin should have taken 2 weeks off before starting his new job

I heard a crazy idea the other day: Offer people two weeks of paid vacation before they start work. Literally before they start work. After you finish your previous job, your salary and benefits begin two weeks before you come into the office. It is called a Pre’cation, the brainchild of Jason Freedman, who wrote about it on his blog

Freedman has an aversion to vacations. He is a serial entrepreneur, going from startup to startup. He gets into each company so much that he never wants to take a vacation. He ascribes this behavior in part to the very nature of a startup. He writes, “Startups are a mission; a belief that something impossible is actually possible.” But he also noted “that doesn’t mean startup people don’t need vacations – we clearly do.  If for no other reason than our best ideas come when we’ve been able to disengage from the problem in front of us.”

Freedman started offering new employees two weeks of vacation before they start, as a way to make sure that everyone has some time off and arrive rested. In some ways, a Pre’cation is no different than a signing bonus: a company expense that comes prior to an employee doing work. While the Pre’cation isn’t mandatory at 42Floors, there has been 100% adoption of the practice so far.

Who wouldn’t take this offer? (In fact, I’d worry about someone who didn’t). The real question is, what type of company would offer Pre’cation? A company that wants to attract the best talent, and a company that wants employees to bring their best to work.

I think the Pre’cation is exactly the kind of radical new idea that we need to make the corporate world both more efficient, and more humane. It is easy to dismiss this idea as something that could never happen in your industry. However, imagine that your biggest competitor adopted this policy. Which of these three best describes your reaction?

  1. Good! Let them waste their money.
  2. Crap, this will help them attract better talent.
  3. Hmm, I wonder if there is a job there for me.

I don’t know about you, but I was tempted to look at the 42Floors jobs page, and I don’t even know what that company does.

What do you think?

Image Credit: Turpin-Chaplin-his-new-job_02 By alyletteri via Flickr CC


  1. The vacation-aversion that Freedman refers to reminds my why I didn’t interview anyone from a startup for my book Busting Your Corporate Idol. Startups have different expectations about the level of commitment than older companies. I think Corporate Idolatry can still be an issue, but I suspect the indicators will be at a different place.
    Whatever the case, pre’cation is a cure for corporate idolatry.

  2. I love this, in principle, in a whimsical sort of way and possibly a practical one as well. Recalling my corporate days, in nearly every case, I moved from one job right into another, and generally the typical 50 to 60 hour work-week as standard.

    A pre-cation? Would’ve gone far.

    • Thanks D.A. The more I think about it, the more I can see the business case. I’m curious – what led you to go right from one job to another?

  3. This post has set a record for click-throughs on my blog. People are clicking on the link to the 42Floors jobs page. I wonder if I get a finders fee?

  4. I couldn’t agree more! In fact, I just quoted you:


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