Peak vacation season is just around the corner, and the MyPerfectResume team felt this might be a good time to talk about one of the trickiest workplace issues for less experienced employees—How to leave the office for a while without overburdening your coworkers, annoying your bosses, and damaging your reputation on the way out the door. Here are a few tips that can help you win at the vacation game.
1. Recognize the Big Picture
Before you leave, recognize what many young employees don't: That your vacation is only fun for you. When a valuable employee leaves the office, everybody else ends up with more work and headaches. But at the same time, you earned this vacation, you have a right to take it, and you don't need to feel the least bit guilty about walking away for a while. This isn't a gift from your employer—It's a hard won right that your predecessors, workers advocates, and unions (even if you aren't in one), have fought to secure and protect on your behalf for more than a century.
2. Give Notice Far in Advance
Let your employer know your chosen vacation days as far in advance as you possibly can. But again, don't feel guilty if you can only provide short term notice. You still have a right to go. Expect your boss to resist and resent your chosen calendar dates if they occur during the busiest season, but don't let this deter you from leaving when you need to.
3. Start Handing Off Your Responsibilities Right Away
As soon as you know you're going to be absent for a while, start handing off your most important responsibilities to those who will take your place. Explain every project and provide written versions of every instruction you issue verbally. Be respectful and appreciative. This process will be much easier if you have a reputation of cheerfully stepping in for others when the tables are turned.
4. Make Sure you Gain Confirmation
When you hand someone a task, make sure he clearly agrees to accept this task (verbally or in writing) before you walk away. Don't be satisfied with a mumble, a shrug, or silence. And make sure he fully understands what's being asked of him. Provide him with a contact person or a resource he can turn to if he gets confused.
5. Decide Exactly How Connected You Want to Be
If your job doesn't involve true life-and-death emergencies, then make a conscious effort to disconnect from office life while you're gone. There are two reasons for this: First, your mental health. Vacations exist because they help us renew our batteries and regain our perspective. And second, your team, boss and clients won't actually fall to pieces while you're gone. In fact, they'll actually respect you more for having a life and knowing when to put your life first. If you don't believe this, take a close look at the people in your workplace who others respect the most. Do they stay anxiously connected to the office during their vacations? Nope. Follow their example.
For more on how to make sure you'll have a job to come back to when you leave on vacation, visit MyPerfectResume. And if you happen to come home and your job is gone, MyPerfectResume can help with that too. Use our resume building tools to find a new gig that's a little more secure.