Should You Forego a Vacation This Year?

By Paula Santonocito

Forego a Vacation This Year?Q. I still have a job, and so far my benefits haven’t been cut. In fact, I have a lot of accumulated vacation time. But should I really be taking any time off this year?

A. In today’s economic climate, employees have been led to believe they should be grateful to have a job. While there is an element of truth to this outlook, you shouldn’t lose sight of the big picture—and that picture is your life.

Make no mistake: You should focus on doing your job to the best of your ability, and up your game whenever possible. This may require renewed dedication on your part, and perhaps this is where you’re getting confused.

Dedication to your job doesn’t require you to give up other aspects of your life. And this includes your vacation.

In fact, taking time off to recharge contributes to better health and wellbeing, and it often allows you to approach work-related tasks with a new perspective. If you’re feeling especially mired in details, stepping away can do wonders.

Experts strongly recommend that workers take time to relax and enjoy other aspects of their lives, particularly in stressful times such as these.

Still, your concern about taking time off in an environment where layoffs make headlines on an almost daily basis is justified. You certainly don’t want to appear expendable.

The objective is to take time off, while making sure your employer realizes you’re essential.

smw-should-you-forego-a-vacation-this-year2With this as your plan, you probably don’t want to spend a month touring Europe. However, a week’s vacation is certainly not unreasonable.

Every business has peaks and valleys, so ideally you want to take time off when things are slow. If you work for a firm that does income tax preparation, for example, forget a vacation in late March or early April. The retail industry, on the other hand, focuses on the year-end holiday season.

You also want to consider your particular company and your department. If your company is merging with another, for example, it’s better to wait until departments and systems have been assimilated than to take off in the midst of a conversion when you might be needed and when your absence is likely to be noticed. The same goes for department projects. If you’re in the throes of a big project, wait until it’s over.

Once you’ve considered all the variables, approach your boss. Let him or her know you’ve looked at the big picture. “By June 1, we’ll be finished with the system upgrades and everyone will have gone through training. I’m thinking about taking some vacation time after I’m sure everything is up and running. Would it be okay to take the week of June 29th?”

By approaching your vacation in this way, you show you’re dedicated to your job and you’re considerate. By pointing out what you’ve been working on, and that you’re meeting goals, you also show you are a valuable employee and one deserving of time off. And of course you are.

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