The Right and Wrong Ways to Request Time Off This Holiday Season

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It's officially December, and that means family vacations, extended holiday celebrations, and, of course, getting the annual flu shot are in our midst. With all of the fun and festivities of the season, it's also the time of year where making up a schedule also requires checking it twice and then remaking it once more, to accommodate everyone asking for time off (regardless of whether they've been naughty or nice).

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Credit Image: p.a.h. on Flickr

With everyone's plans differing from one another's, it's important to be able to work around schedules and provide the desired amount of time off possible. But there's also the right way, as well as wrong way, to ask for time off this holiday season, too.


Asking with plenty of time prior to the requested dates off is a must. Write down a complete list of the dates you’d like to take off (so your boss has a reference point to look back on) and send that email along a couple weeks into November -- or earlier, if possible.


Springing it on your boss a week before. If you’re asking to take an afternoon off to make it to a doctor's appointment, that’s one thing, but notifying management a week before taking off for more than a day is far too late to be sending the memo along. Managers need to be able to meet deadlines and know what can and can’t be assigned to you on a weekly basis, so be sure to request off with plenty of time in place.


Be honest about why you need the time off. If you’re going on a family vacation, say so! Contrary to what movies or TV shows would have you believe, bosses do understand the importance of the work/life balance, especially during the holiday season.


Don’t lie about where you're heading or doing. We will see you “Christmas in the Bahamas 2013” album on Facebook, after all.There’s no shame in taking a vacation, and if you have the time to do so, by all means, go ahead and enjoy yourself!


Assure your superiors that you will complete all the necessary work needed of you either before you take off or before the deadline hits upon your return.


Don’t pass it off as someone else’s problem. You can’t just say, “Oh yeah, I figured Jim could take care of my stuff when I’m gone.” That’s great if you work with a team willing to cover one another on your respected vacations, but it's still not fair to put that on Jim when he already has a fairly large workload of his own. Try to get as much done as you can and then let your team know what you couldn't wrap up and ask them for some help in finishing up. They'll be a lot more willing to help out when you did as much as you could before you left!


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