Can I Have the Day Off?

Before you march into your boss' office demanding time off during this holiday season (or call out sick), read Modern Manners Guy's 3 tips for successful vacation requests during the holidays.

Richie Frieman
3-minute read

Can I Have the Day Off?

Right now bosses across the country are being harangued with requests for time off from their employees. Whether it's leaving early on Thanksgiving Eve, needing time to recover after Thanksgiving Day, and especially the days between Christmas and New Years – when productivity goes into a black hole, disappearing like Lindsay Lohan's acting career – requesting days off is an art and a science and has to be done properly.

So, before you march in demanding time off, or cough-cough-cough-sniffle-sniffle-sniffle, call out sick, read my 3 tips for successful vacation requests during the holidays:

  1. Early Bird Gets the Worm...and Time Off

Let's be honest, most people are going to ask for time off during the holidays. Depending on your job, your request could be received in a number of ways. But to ensure that those ways are always positive, it's best to ask before everyone else. Should you make your request to take off Thanksgiving Eve of 2014 today? No! But be realistic. Let your boss know your intentions at least a month or even two months ahead of time. The worst thing that could happen is the boss will say, "Check back as it gets closer." And you should. However, now they'll remember that you asked first and may be more flexible.

  1. Be Flexible

Speaking of flexibility, you have to develop some as well. Since you know that many people will request time off for the holidays, you have to be willing to offer some wiggle room in your own plans.

For example, if you don't celebrate Christmas, but another coworker does, maybe you can come in the day after Christmas and let them have that day off. This way, you will seem like a team player to the boss and your colleague will be so grateful, they’ll be more inclined to help you out in the future. Win-win for everybody!

Remember: Paying it forward pays dividends.

If you are the one who is taking time off, let your boss know that even though you need a few days’ vacation, you are still happy to take a call or check in on email if needed. You don't have to be on the clock constantly, but it's good to show that you can be counted on to be available for a question or handle a crisis when push comes to shove. This is a good ace to have up your sleeve when review time rolls around.

  1. Leave No Loose Ends Behind

It’s a fact: bosses hate when you take time off and leave a load of work sitting on your desk, still undone. It's like a child who messes up their room but "promises" to clean it up later. The first thing your boss will ask you when you come to them with a time off request is about the status of your work. Knowing this, make sure you tie up any loose ends so nothing is lingering in the air before making your request. 

Do you have a great story about asking for time off from your boss? Did it not go as well as you expected? Post all the details in the comment section below or on the Modern Manners Guy Facebook page.  

As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at manners@quickanddirtytips.com. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life. 

Businessmen Talking photo from Shutterstock.