Can you tell me how I can convince my boss to give me more time off so I can travel more?
For most people this question may not be meaningful, since on average Americans take only half the vacation time they’re already ‘given’.
But if you use yours and what more, the simple answer is to tell you to become your own boss. But many entrepreneurs find that they’re able to take even less time off, rather than more — there’s huge responsibilities, and there are consequences if things go wrong. They don’t have, and maybe can’t pay for, someone they can trust to manage things in their absence.
A knowledge economy business may be able to work better from the road, but if you need to be on the phone with clients or responsive quickly by email then time zones may prove challenging.
So you’re back to being grateful for a job that gives you time off, especially if expectations are that you don’t have to work while you’re going.
It’s probably hard in most companies to negotiate for more time off with a boss — company policies may be firm, and there may be a stigma against negotiating for time off because it can signal that you aren’t serious about contributing to the company, you’d rather not work than work hard, advance, and earn more.
I was fortunate to drive a re-write of my company’s employee manual, and benefits policies, about 7 or 8 years ago. One of the things we did at the time was eliminate tracking of vacation entirely. That meant that we paid out accrued leave. instead of paying attention to attendance, we began focusing only on performance.
Attendance can be important for performance — especially when working as part of a team, team members need to be able to reach you, and your responsiveness and work is something that others rely on.
But how you manage to get your work done is less important that the fact that you do, and the consequences for the business that follow from it.
For me it means that I travel more, but that I vacation less – in the sense that I don’t really unplug when I’m on trips. I check my email every day, I respond to questions, and I work on documents. There’s more days out of the office, but those are at least partial work days.
Whether that’s a benefit to you, or to your company, will likely vary by individual, corporate culture, and industry. But it’s the sort of responsible environment that I wouldn’t want to trade for any other.
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