human, being

Coming up: Two weeks of vacation
April 17, 2009, 11:55 am
Filed under: work | Tags: , , ,

Last week, I requested two weeks of vacation in June. In a row. I thought a minute before hitting the SEND button on the request email. Would I get in trouble for taking two weeks off?

I’ve worked in life-killing environments before. You know, the kind where you get your hand slapped or worse if you’re 9 seconds late or try to leave 15 minutes early to get to your kid’s play on time. In one of those prisons, I asked to take two weeks off for MY WEDDING. I’d accrued the vacation. My job was so simple that I could finish it in two days a week. Yet, my boss’s boss, who held the reins on every vacation request, said no. I could take off 1 week, five days total. And if I tried to call in sick, I would get fired because she would know I was lying.

I subsequently used three of the five days a week when I was pretending to work (because my boss wouldn’t delegate) to find a new job. I gave my notice ten days before my wedding and announced that Friday would be my last day, as I would be taking one of my two weeks of vacation the following week. I started my next job two weeks after my wedding day. Yeah, it still feels good to have caused a little trouble for the people who were cramping my style.

I’ve never lasted long in those kinds of places. I need flexibility. I need it to be OK to walk in the door at 9:22 and leave at 4:57, having not taken a lunch, with the understanding that my job is such that someday soon, I’ll work an 11-hour day with no lunch. The time will all even out. I need it to be OK to call in sick when Lauren’s sick, or take a day off when she’s off of school. And to take vacation time.

I decided to take the two weeks in June to soften the blow from turning 40 on June 11. Steve’s taking me on a little trip, and I’m hoping that Laurel will be good and knocked up (she’s doing IVF tomorrow! fingers crossed!) and can go to a spa with me early in the first week. It’s been a while since I’ve taken that much time off. Usually, I take it a week at a time, especially on my birthday. I haven’t worked on my birthday in, like, forever. I think no one should have to. It should be a floating holiday.

I was happy to get my boss’s reply to my vacation request: Have fun! I shouldn’t have been worried, because last year, when I thought I’d be spending six weeks in Africa this summer, she didn’t blink when I asked for that much time off. She’s a woman who understands work-life balance. And she especially understands that taking time off of work makes people happier and more productive.

It’s a shame all bosses and companies don’t see it that way.

What do you think? Does your boss give you a hard time when you ask for time off? When was your last vacation? Leave me a comment!


3 Comments so far
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Luckily, at my company there is a lot of support given to the work-life balance thing, so I haven’t had any trouble getting vacation time (except for when seniority came into play around the holidays, since someone had to be around). My last vacation was a long weekend in March. I’m always amazed at how easy it is to forget my work troubles when I have time off.

I’ve been at the same place for so long, too, that I’m starting to accrue a good amount of vacation. in 2011 I’ll be getting 5 weeks a year, almost as much as the unluckier Europeans!

Comment by Derende

@ Derende we accrue 2 vacation days a month for life. No increase ever. But 24 days of vacation a year = 1 full month + 4 days EVERY YEAR. It’s a benefit I’d miss if I ever leave this job.

Comment by humanbeingblog

That is a good one – especially if you get to carry unused days over indefinitely! If we don’t use them, we lose them.

Comment by Derende

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