Summer Vacations and New Jobs: Are They Compatible?

This is the time of year that one question always seems to arise during meetings or interviews between recruiters and candidates – what about my upcoming vacation? At this point in the year, you’ve likely booked your vacation months ago, have paid a deposit, and have firm plans to be in some exotic or relaxing destination for one week over the summer. It’s the American way.

But when you’re in the middle of looking for a new job or considering changing jobs, wondering whether you can still take that much-anticipated vacation can be a source of stress.

Here are some tips on how to handle the vacation dilemma.

Tell your recruiter right away

As soon as you begin working with a recruiter, you should let them know about your vacation plans. Your recruiter is familiar with the culture of the company that you’re considering working for and will likely know right away if it’s going to be a problem or not.

Let the employer know during the negotiation phase

There’s no need to discuss vacation plans in your initial interview.  However, it should be brought up if you get an offer during the negotiation process. Suzanne Lucas, a writer with TheBalance.com Career channel, shares, “When you have received a job offer, but before you’ve accepted it, you can ask if you can take those days off. In most cases, your new boss won’t have a problem with such a request – although some may inform you that the leave is unpaid time.”

Lucas continues by saying, “Keep in mind that a lot of jobs have high learning curves and taking time off at the beginning can set you behind. You don’t want your boss judging your long-term performance in a negative light because you took time off in the first couple of months at work.”

The key is to approach your new boss with the attitude that you know it’s a lot to ask, and you completely understand that it may not be possible. Framing the conversation in this manner will garner more respect from the manager and will be more likely to result in a positive outcome.

The Three Month Rule

Lynze Wardle Lenio, a writer for The Muse.com, has a different viewpoint on vacations for new employees.  She shares, “After I graduated from college, someone gave me a piece of advice I always abide by – Don’t ask for any time off during the first three months of your job. Think of it as a probationary period in which you’re trying to prove your worth.”

Many employers do consider the first three months (or 90-days) to be a probationary period where you are being evaluated to determine if you are a fit for the company. This is more likely to apply if you’re an entry-level employee and not at management level. However, it’s a good rule of thumb to gauge your request on.  If your job starts on June 1, your 90 days will end at the end of August. Consider taking a vacation in September instead of during the peak summer months. You’ll have fewer crowds to fight and can relax knowing that your job is secure.

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