,   |  September 29, 2014

Q&A Monday: Job offers and pre-planned vacations

It’s Q&A Monday again! Don’t forget to visit the “ask a question” page if you’d like to see your question featured on a post. I look forward to hearing from you!

Today’s question is one I’ve actually gotten from many clients and friends. I’m especially excited to answer it because it is one of those things that gives people so much anxiety and totally shouldn’t!

Q: I recently received an offer from a company I’m really excited about. I want to accept it, but there is a slight issue. Before I started interviewing I planned a vacation to Hawaii for 2 weeks in November.

According to the offer letter and the vacation policy, I won’t have accrued enough days to take it. It’s also just a month after my start date so I’m not sure if that looks bad. Do I need to cancel my trip?

A: Good news… this type of issue falls on the NBD (no big deal) list in a big way.  By the time you’ve received an offer, the company has likely screened tons of candidates and spent hours interviewing many of them (through multiple rounds).

You’re their person! I can’t emphasize that enough.

When you’re the person who was chosen after all of that, something as small as a pre-planned vacation is not going to get in the way of making a deal. There are a a few reasons for that:

  1. You’re not asking for more vacation. You’re asking to use the allotment given in a different way than specified. Companies often have to be flexible about this because there is no way for job seekers to know where they’re going to be working in the future, when that offer is going to come, and what the vacation policy will be. They can even make you pay it back if you leave the company and didn’t accrue the days you took. It’s NBD.
  2. This is something companies would be flexible about anyway. When it comes to vacation days or non-paid time off, managers generally have discretion to be flexible. I got an extra week off when I got married (thank you!) and a few extra days when I moved across the country (thanks again!) If there is a big life event or commitment, the flexibility tends to be there more often than not.
  3. Overall, it’s just not a big ask. You could be asking for $10,000 more dollars, or a 4 day a week schedule, or a bonus guarantee (things that people negotiate for all the time, by the way). When it comes to things that recruiters get asked at the offer stage, this is a tiny one.

For those reasons and probably many more, do not be afraid to bring this up before you accept your offer. You can say something like “I’m very excited about the offer and I’m ready to accept but want to raise one minor issue…” and then dive into the logistics.

I will say that it’s definitely a best practice to disclose this upfront versus joining and then dropping this on your manager when you arrive (when they have less time to anticipate it).

As for the the part about the vacation happening within a month of your start date…

Is that ideal? No. You’ll probably be pretty excited to hit the ground running after your onboarding process and that will be interrupted.

But is it a big deal? Also no. You’ll be back from your trip shortly. You’ll be refreshed and ready to go. As long as you do your job well and gain the support and respect of your team, no one is going to remember or harp on that vacation you took during the first month of work.

So disclose it, ask for flexibility, and most of all enjoy that vacation. You deserve it!

Did you enjoy this post? Get tools, templates, and advice delivered straight to your inbox