Are you ready for a vacation? Yeah, so am I. If you’re in the corporate world like us, you know that vacation is a necessary aspect of any full-time job. In fact, many people who work full-time do it in part so that they can afford awesome vacations. Sadly, many people don’t take as much time off as they have available. Even worse, some people don’t travel as much as they’d like because they’re afraid to approach their boss and ask for vacation time off.
That’s crazy talk.
We know that it can be scary to approach your manager and ask for a few days off, especially if you’re relatively new at the company. Everyone (myself included) is worried about getting that dreaded one-word, soul-crushing email back that reads “NO.”
To help you navigate this tricky situation, we’ve compiled our main tips below. In this guide, we’ll help you navigate the nerve-wracking task of asking to use your vacation days. We’ve even included our exact email template you can use to ask for vacation time off with your boss.
Perform Well At Work
In order to gain the trust of your boss and the people around you, you have to gain trust and rapport at work. The tried-and-true method of doing this is simple: be a high performer. Each job has different performance standards, but whatever yours are, aim to blow them out of the water. If you do this, your boss or supervisor will be more likely to give you what you want. Doing this over a long period of time will set you up for success when you go to your boss to ask for vacation time off.
Write A Clear, Persuasive Email
The most crucial step when you ask for vacation time off is, well, actually asking for vacation time off. If your boss is as busy and preoccupied as most, you’ll probably most effectively do this by writing an email. I basically always use some form of the following email when I ask for time off.
“Dear [BOSS NAME HERE],
I’m emailing to put in a request to take the week of September 7-14 off for an international vacation. While I’m traveling, I will have very limited access to email, but will plan on checking it once a day in case anything urgent comes up. To ensure that things run smoothly while I’m gone, I have set up the following coverage:
- [PERSON A] will run point on all of the incoming requests from vendors
- [PERSON B] can serve as the point-of-contact for internal stakeholders for my project
- [PERSON C] will run the training on the new software we are implementing and will be available to answer any additional questions
Please let me know by EOD today if this plan works for you. Thanks!
It’s that simple. If you spell out all of the steps and precautions you’ll take to make sure things go business as usual while you’re away from the office, you’ll be more likely to get the magical “Yes, of course!” email that you’re not-so-secretly hoping and dreaming of.
Plan Far, Far in Advance
I know, I know. If you’re anything like me, you probably love to take advantage of cheap, last-minute flight deals and procrastinate until the last minute to book anything. Trust me, I get it.
However, if you are really nervous about asking your boss for time off, and you want to maximize your chances of success, asking for time off far in advance is the best way to go. This gives you time to plan around your days off, and gives your boss the peace of mind that there’s still some time to work around your absence. If you throw your vacation on the calendar one week beforehand, it can seem like it will be nearly impossible to gather an effective coverage plan when you leave.
Don’t Take Too Many Separate Vacations Back-to-Back
When I’m planning out my annual travel calendar, I try to space out my vacations so I’m not taking several days off during the same time of year. Avoiding stacking your vacation is a best practice across the working world. Not only does this limit your ability to use vacation days during other times in the year, but it also comes off negatively when you’re gone for long periods of time. Moreover, your boss will begin to notice if you’re taking a bunch of back-to-back trips within the span of a few months and start to say no. Be sure to space out your vacations to maximize your chances of getting your days off approved.
Know What You’re Willing to Negotiate On
No way, you’re probably thinking, I don’t want to negotiate on taking my vacations. And you shouldn’t.
However, you should probably be willing to be at least a little flexible, especially if you’re in a really demanding job or if it’s your very first vacation. Compromise can mean things as little as checking emails once a day for anything urgent, or offering to work on the plane over to tie up any loose ends. It can mean not being accessible by email, but possibly being accessible by text. It could also mean, in the case of extended hiking or camping trips, that you let your boss know when you’re going to be off the grid completely.
The Bottom Line
When you ask for vacation time, you might be worried about an undesirable answer. However, if your boss trusts you, you write your email in a clear and concise way, and you’re willing to plan ahead, your chances of getting a “YES” will be much, much higher. Try out this expert formula before your next vacation and watch the magic happen!
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