It’s winter, and you’re probably itching to get out of town and visit a tropical paradise. Before you put in your request for time off, it’s important to consider a few things. Are you fed up with your job? Taking off work at the wrong time could upset your co-workers, your boss, and potentially, harm your job. Everyone needs a day off, and a vacation can be wonderful if you time it right, but you don’t want to put your job in jeopardy.
Sometimes you need to request time off for a family matter or an emergency, and you may not be able to plan ahead. In general, if possible, you are better off considering what work you will be leaving behind, and whether your departure will unnecessarily make life difficult for your boss or co-workers; there are certainly better times than others to leave work. Here are four things to consider before you submit your request for time off.
1. How your leave will affect the company
For many people, stress makes it too difficult to take work off at all. According to GfK Public Affairs and Corporate Communications, a 2014 survey found that 96% of respondents recognized the importance of using time off, but 41% of Americans didn’t plan to use all of their vacation days. The reasoning behind refusing to use all the days included believing that they would come back to a lot of work, and that no one else could do their job. About 22% of workers didn’t want to seem replaceable, and 28% believed they would seem more dedicated to their jobs and their companies if they didn’t use all of their days.
You certainly don’t want to take off work during a busy time of year. It’s a good idea to talk to your boss ahead of time to find out if there are any important projects or meetings coming up. You also should prepare as much information as possible to help the person taking on your job duties (but you have to balance this with making it clear that you are needed at the company.) While being at work will certainly make you seem dedicated, speaking to your boss and considering the company when you take time off will as well.
2. How many days you have already taken off
If you already took a lot of time off this year, then you probably don’t want to take too much time off anytime soon. Taking too much time off from work could make you look irresponsible or disloyal. It’s also important to consider whether or not you have any other planned time off coming up; if your partner is due to have a child in two months and you plan to take paternity leave, now is probably not the time to take two weeks off to go on a vacation. Although many companies give separate sick days and vacation days, it won’t matter that much if you already took many of either; taking four sick days and then leaving for a vacation isn’t going to win you any fans.
3. How well you’ve been performing
If you think you are a stellar employee, and you believe that your boss would agree, then you may have earned a vacation or a few personal days. If you are indespensable to your company, and you know that your work is appreciated, then this might be the perfect time to take off. On the other hand, if you are unsure of your place in your company, now is probably not the time to take a leave of absence.
According to LinkedIn, if your last performance review was lower than usual, you’re being asked to document what you do, you’ve been left out of important meetings, or you’re being given goals that you can’t possibly reach, then your job might be in danger. Other signs include if you’ve been written up recently, your responsibilities have decreased, you’ve been left out of the loop or haven’t been invited to important meetings, your co-workers are avoiding you, or you think your boss is trying to replace you.
4. How important the time off is
Some bosses will be open to hearing your life story, and some won’t. In other words, depending on what kind of relationship you have with your boss, you may be able to openly discuss your desire to take time off, and the reasons for it. Even though you earned day off, that doesn’t mean your boss will be on board with you taking them. If you feel like your boss would prefer that you not take days off, you will need to determine how important the reason for taking them off really is. If you simply want to go on vacation, you may want to wait a few months or talk to your boss about when a better time would be. On the other hand, if you experienced a loss of a family member, or you are in the midst of another important life event, you might need to risk taking the time off regardless of what your boss thinks.
We all need a break sometimes, and it is important to take time off. Consider taking a random day if you can’t take a whole vacation; doing so can be special, and it will refuel you. Before you do though, make sure you think about your timing, and about the possible consequences.