How much vacation time do you have? If you’re like most Americans…probably not enough.
Two weeks is standard in the 50 states, and if one of your loves in life is exploring the world, this is definitely not enough time. If putting in a different form of two weeks is not an option, here are some tips for getting more vacation time from your job.
1) Hour Creativity. Get creative with how you work your hours to try and finagle an extra day or two for a vacation. Offer to pay for Internet on the plane and work during your 8-hour flight to Europe. I did this once to avoid having to take a half day and it worked really well. Or see if you can work 10-hour days Monday-Thursday so you can take Friday off and leave for your trip a day earlier. Gain even another day of vacation by taking the Monday you get back off as well and working 10-hour days Tuesday-Friday. If you’re someone who already works 10+ hours a day 5 days a week…well, maybe your boss will forget that detail, or maybe he or she is well aware of the endless hours you’ve been putting in and will approve your request because of it. If you’re paid hourly and are not salary, this probably won’t work due to overtime laws. In that case, if you typically work Monday-Friday, see if you can work the Sunday-Thursday before you leave and the Tuesday-Saturday after you return.
2) Negotiate. Once you’ve been offered a job (and not until you’ve been offered the job), negotiate the vacation time benefits. Make it clear you’re a hard worker and traveling is a form of education for you as you discover new cultures and customs that will make you an even better employee.
3) Already Have a Job? Bring up your vacation time at your next review. In these uncertain economic times, a raise may not be approved, but extra vacation time might. Or, even if you’re not up for a raise, point out your loyalty to the company, what projects you’ve successfully completed that have attributed to the company’s bottom line, and how an extra few days (or week if you can swing it) of vacation time will help you become more productive as you’ll be more rested and rejuvenated and fired up for new projects. You know your boss best so use your judgment for this type of discussion of what point is most likely to get your boss to see your side of things.
4) Uncategorized Time Off. Work at a company that gives you days off to use however you want instead of lumping them into categories such as vacation, sick, and personal. Or, if days are categorized, see if you can use personal/sick days as vacation days if they’re going to go unused for the year.
5) Unpaid. If you can afford to, see if you can take time off unpaid. Some companies even let their employees have the option to “buy” more weeks at the beginning of the year, meaning that week’s salary is deducted from your overall pay over the course of the year so you’re better able to budget for the extra unpaid vacation time. If your company doesn’t offer his perk, see if you can still take extra time off unpaid – and you’ll just need to balance your finance to make sure you still have enough to cover your bills for the timeframe you’re taking unpaid.
6) Holiday Time. Work for a company that gives a lot of time off to their employees around the holidays. If they don’t and your HR department takes suggestions from employees, suggest it along with reasons how it could help the company, such as it may boost company morale and save the company office-operating costs for those days, which often aren’t as productive since many of the businesses and people your company works with may be out of the office. (If your career is in retail or some other holiday-centric company, you’ll probably want to skip this step.)
Remember, you know your boss best, so take all of these recommendations for getting more vacation time with a grain of salt. If you have a boss who openly states that vacations are for lazy losers, then negotiating more vacation time might not be the best career move – and you might want to start looking for a more vacation-understanding boss. They do exist!