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Ever have guilt over using time off?

I've been working for the same company for the past 5 years or so, and with sick days, floating holidays, vacation days, and regular holidays, I generally have 30 to 40 days off per year. Over the past two years, I've haven't been able to use all of these days, and days get carried over/bought back or whatever.

As of now though, I WANT to take all of these days this year. In fact, I'm actively planning each day well in advance. And that's what leads me to my problem.

I'm the only person other than my immediate manager that's qualified to work on the projects that I do, and most of my work is client-oriented (meaning "no matter when the the client needs it, we have to build it for them by then." Should I feel guilty about taking these days off?

It gets worse.

Out of the 1000 or so employees that work for this company, I'm the only one that works from home most days. When I do come into the office, I'm there an hour less than anyone else, a throwback to when I was in a different department where everyone worked 8 hour shifts. Now everyone works 9. Except me.

Why do they let me get away with this? I'm pretty sure because I have a 3 hour commute each way. But I worry that some might see it as favoritism. A co-worker recently (jokingly) described me as a VIP!

I guess what I'm asking is-- in the land of programming, is it generally acceptable to use all of the days you're entitled to?

Dont want to lose my job yet
Thursday, January 15, 2004

No.  You are not worthy.  You should:
1.  Lower your rate.  Ask to be paid in peanut butter sandwhiches.
2.  Volunteer to start working the weekends.
3.  Prostate yourself to your overlords^H^H^H managers everytime you see them.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Man, it is a job.

If you have your rights and your obligation, any reasonable boss knows this and will know that there *NEVER* is a free period, so that you can take your leave w/o affecting any project. At most he would ask you to break the days in shorter periods.

And life is too short to work for unreasonable ppl.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

First and foremost -- IT IS BUSINESS.  They are treating you well and that is good.  However, you have your job because you bring them a value worth the cost.  If they like you that is a bonus on both sides.  If the business started to suffer, you would be gone like any other worker. 

The problem I see is that we tend to make it personal, failing to recognize the business never will.  You boss may like you, have a good relationship with your works improves your productivity, but in the end, it is always business. 

As for the guilt, I wonder if it is guilt or fear that if you do leave, then they CAN live without you.  If they can do without you, then they could find someone else. Maybe someone cheaper, who would be on-site, who would wash the VP's car and bring the HR person flowers and...
In no time you become neurotic and that's not good. 

Where I am consulting now, the leadership has a nasty habit of mentioning everyone is replacable.  Gee, there's news.  Sadly, it sends the message I am thinking about replacing people all the time.  So employees are doing crazy stuff like 70 hour weeks, passing vacation, working through meals...  Sad really.  The productivity will last until the market is good enough for the good ones to leave. Many are looking, "just in case."

Your company gives you vacation.  In fact, it is defined as a benefit, for which they get credit.  Take it and from personal experience, I would take more than a week at a time. 

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Be thankful, too. At least in the US, most people get nowhere NEAR 40 days off a year. 10 holidays if you're lucky, and 10 vacation days, is pretty typical.

Brad Wilson (
Thursday, January 15, 2004

==>Be thankful, too. At least in the US, most people get nowhere NEAR 40 days off a year. 10 holidays if you're lucky, and 10 vacation days, is pretty typical.

He did say they were carried over from the previous years. I'm guessing he's similar -- 20 days this year plus 20 or so more carried over from previous years.

Doesn't sound too outside the "typical".

Sgt. Sausage
Thursday, January 15, 2004

I see a couple of issues:

- By taking all your days, you MAY put the schedule at risk.

- You MAY be seen as a 'favorite', 'VIP', 'elitist', 'lazy', etc. by others in the company.

As for the first issue, I would speak to my manager.  Tell him I plan I taking all of my days off, and does this put the schedule at risk.  If so, consider options that will satisfy both him and myself.  Maybe it's a compromise, maybe it's a "thinking outside the box" solution that results in a win-win.

As for the second, I would explain that it's not about preferential treatment or special privileges, it's about (1) I am doing what I am entitled to do and (2) I am doing what is beneficial to the company and me.  If someone wants to be jealous or still think I'm getting special treatment, that's their problem.  If they want to make it a problem for me, again, bring it up with my manager.


Thursday, January 15, 2004

It might help you to recognize that time off is part of your compensation package, treat it with the same value you would your paycheck.  It is _not_ a privilege, gift or unexpected bonus.

If you are expected to provide estimates on how long a particular assignment will take, start including your time off in the calculation.  And stick by it.

If you are the only person in the department or company that can perform a certain task, or that has a particular skill, you may want to suggest some cross training is overdue.  As we say around here, you could get hit by a beer truck and then they would be in a really bad way.  Offer to mentor the person(s) to be cross-trained.  This will demonstrate a dedication to the job they will (hopefully) appreciate.  It may also get you some leadership experience that you can apply later on.

As far as being a VIP.  If you're getting the work done don't worry about it.  If you've got game and are a team player, don't worry about it.

But I want to stress... time off is part of your compensation.  Don't give it up.  It will keep you sane and creative.  It will keep and make you a valuable member of the team.

Rob H
Thursday, January 15, 2004

i was not on holiday 3 years, maybe 1 day total, all my holidays summed up to 86 days or so. they pay 40 in cash, and i took another 40 (2 months) as vacation.

guilt? no, not after 2 days :)

Thursday, January 15, 2004

I usually feel guilty about going on vacation, I get over it about 10 seconds after leaving the building.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

I did once - and then I got a job where I wasn't phoned while on holiday, no matter what disaster occured. 

Two caveats, I won't pull a sickie unless I'm actually ill - I would feel guilty if I did - and I make sure that troubleshooting information is available somewhere other than my head. 

A cynic writes
Friday, January 16, 2004

What is wrong with you people!?! Why on earth would ANYONE feel guilty about taking their time off?

Mr Jack
Friday, January 16, 2004

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