23¼ days — what would you do?

So, my department at work recently confirmed and verified its commitment to a long-standing guideline by the Betriebsrat (“works council”, if that means anything to you)* to not pay out any accumulated overtime in monetary form. The only way to balance out a positive hourly balance in my overtime “bank” is to take time off.

I currently have 190½ hours sitting around waiting for me do something productive, fun, responsible or goofy with them. What would you do, and why? I am interested in your feedback. Please post it here. I am kind of at a loss. Here’s what I’m kicking around in my head:

  • cleaning up around the house (goodness knows we can always do more of that)
    • day-tripping to Munich or Nuremberg to do things like

    • shopping for a new (used) computer
    • shopping for a digital SLR
    • hitting those museums we otherwise only go to when someone from out-of-town visits
    • shopping around for a bike like this for Sarah
    • getting a frappucino
  • catching a mid-morning or early afternoon movie
  • catching up on my programming projects
  • installing smoke detectors (oops, still got to do that)
  • catching a tan
  • scoping out a good place among the parkier spots on the island in the Danube for a portable grill/picnic session
  • go with Sarah to her voice lessons as a spectator
  • have some extra breakfasts with Natasha and Sarah and Tammy and whomever, making the coffee house circuit
  • hit some local attractions I’ve never had time to fully investigate
  • sleep in (not likely, but I’m putting the option out there)
  • buying a set of Trachten like Narg & Sam’s

Part of the downer is that when you have some time off, you often want to spend it globetrotting, shopping, taking in a matinée, or otherwise spending money. This is the motivation behind the fact that I actually get paid more when I take vacation time off.

Note well: I am by no means complaining that I have all this overtime available. When I worked for the same company in the U.S., there was no such thing as overtime. I routinely worked more than my promised 40 hours per week and usually donated it to the shareholders (of which I am one, don’t get me wrong). Overtime was converted to comp time only by special arrangement with the Boss.

*I don’t know of an American equivalent to the German concept of the Betriebsrat. It’s an organization built into the company’s structure made up of a council that is supposed to limit the power of the executives and board of directors. Typically members of the council take up certain topics relevant to the company’s employees’ everyday activities and well-being, such as transportation, dress code, or in my case, overtime regulations. The bad news: they add to the red tape (Germany has vast, untapped red tape resources). The good news: it’s an elected council.