Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Planning my escape a year in advance

When I first set out in the working world and had to face the thought of only having 10 vacation days a year, I couldn’t wrap my head around it. You mean I could only have 10 days to myself the ENTIRE YEAR? Doesn’t that seem cruel?!

I certainly wasn’t pleased with my work-to-vacation ratio, but I dove right and discovered that the 10 days were manageable. Sure, I would have loved more time off (a lot more time off), but I quickly learned how to utilize personal days, maximize sick days and how to hug weekends and holidays to make vacations last a little longer.

My old job was super flexible. I only had to give a day’s notice before I’d be flying high with sweet little vacation day. My new job? Not so much.

Now I get 15 vacation days a year, which sounded like quite a bit at first. But when I found out that time off is determined on a first-come, first-served basis, I knew I had to act fast. Especially after my boss informed me that my coworker had saved almost all of his vacation time for the end of last year and caused quite a commotion. Much like the cartoon above, he left the team high and dry right at the busiest time of year because he hasn’t planned accordingly. And after hearing that, I certainly don’t want to be that guy.

Planning for the entire year is quite a daunting task. But I laid out my little calendar, had long talks with my boyfriend and my family, and somehow managed to plan out 99% of my vacation time and get it all approved. Phew.

At least it gives me something to look forward to. But I have to admit, it’s a bit stifling thinking that all my days off are already planned. So much for being spontaneous! I guess that’s what sick days are for, right?

My first vacation day is exactly 28 workdays away. Not that I’m counting or anything…

So what about you? How do you tackle vacation days? Do you have to plan them way far out like I do or can you simply fly by the seat of your pants?

17 comments:

Melanie's Randomness said...

I have two bosses so I'm going to try and plan a vacation when it is most annoying for them. Hehe. I do everything around my office. If they say I can't do it, I'll tell him I have non-refundable plane tickets & are going in a group. LOL! Revenge is so sweet.

Susan said...

I work at a PR agency and my time works the same way - first come, first serve. I have gotten into the habit of buying plane tickets 6 months in advance.

~Mary said...

Europe is great, I get 6 weeks paid holiday! LOVE IT!! They certainly work to live, not live to work here. It is nice. We have plenty of time to be spontaneous as well as scheduling time off to see our families. IT'S GREAT!!!!

Tullulah said...

Wow 15 is so little!!!

I have always had 21-25 days!!

You need to go on strike and demand more holidays babes!

This year I am getting married so have told them I will be off for just over 3 weeks and I want Xmas to go home hahaha

I am the boss here lol

Love Tullulah
www.london2bahrain.blogspot.com

Fred said...

I tend not to plan them so far in advance. I usually just put up with the long non-public holiday seasons and save my vacation time for a special trip around me or my wife's birthday. Usually we get some time off for Christmas/New Year's so it's not that bad.

FirednFab said...

Ahh we should all just move to Europe where 20+ vacation days is the norm! I had 15 days with my last job, which was pretty manageable--I'd usually have a few days spill over into the next year. And well, now that I'm unemployed, I have as many vacation days as I want! But, I'm too broke to go anywhere :/

http://www.firednfabulous.blogspot.com/

Julia said...

I'd love if you could do a follow-up post or reply in the comments about "maximizing personal and sick days" ... I'll admit, I'm new to the working world and a little naive - the thought never crossed my mind! Probably why I have almost 20 unused sick days just sitting there...

Any insights you can provide?

Thanks!

the eternal worrier said...

I was just talking to my girl friend the other day that I only get 23 as a marketing assistant. That’s nowhere near enough...
But now I’ve read your post and I can’t believe you only get 15 days!

Marcia said...

Just to barge in: 24 vacation days + 7 days which the company decides on. At the department I work at, only the weeks of summervacation are planned in advance (if you want to take time off during those weeks), if not, you can just ask the days off and wait for approval.
This year I've planned 3 vacations :-)

Lyndsie said...

When I was working I couldn't be off the same day as anyone else on my team, or supervisors. Supervisors got to pick first so there was no such thing as Christmas Vacation. Yuck!

DJ Taurus said...

I'm totally with you on planning for the year...you can wrap your brain around getting the plane/bus/train ticket, making arrangments for accommodations, and even save some cash by planning in advance. So far, I've got a week long trip to Turkey in April, a 2 week long road trip across Canada in Sept, and Christmas - well, I need to work that out:) Plus, bargaining my comp time and adding it to the vacation days makes for extra long stays:)

tris1978ton said...

I only have 10 - so little :O(

secretz01 said...

This has always been a problem for me also... but atleast you got 5 more days! I wish I could call in the day before, but planning way ahead is how my company does it also... and sick days are difficult to take... but I did write a post about taking the perfect sick day...

Thanks for your post... I read this blog everyday!
http://keepingsecretz.com/?p=130

Corporate Chickee said...

We just switched from 10 vacation days and 5 sick days (frowned upon if you use all 5 sick days) to a whole PTO Package... I don't know yet how many days I'll have - but the lowest rung is 18 days of PTO!

I definitely feel for you with the 10... it's really hard to make that work for a full year! Hang in there!!

http://corporate-chickee.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I work for a college, so they are always excited when you ask for time "off" to take classes or workshops. It doesn't reflect on your vacation, personal, or sick time and I try to make the most of it. Here are the two things that make these opportunities fun.

The first is, my bosses love to see that I am excited about my job and that I want to learn how to improve. It is always a perk when you can trick your bosses into thinking you are more motivated than you really are!

The second is, I try to make the most of that time out of the office. It feels a little bit like a vacation because I am not stuck in the daily routine and I can usually prolong the trip by a day or two by getting there early the day before and leaving late the following day. It really helps extend things... especially when your company is paying for meals or lodging!

China tours said...

What a beautiful dragonfly and what wonderful post!!I am a china tour lover,You can learn more: China travel | China vacation packages | China and Asia tour packages

Learn Chinese online said...

Since our founding in 2002, Hanbridge Mandarin has provided thousands of learners with high-quality campus-based courses, online classes, and intensive cultural immersion programs. Utilizing easy, fun and rewarding methods, we work hard to ensure our students can understand, use and ultimately master Mandarin communication skills.

More Chinese learning tags : mandarin Chinese | learn mandarin Chinese | learning mandarin Chinese