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How to NOT Feel Guilty When Taking Time Off Work

Posted on the 14 September 2011 by Classycareergirl @classycareer

Dear Classy Career Girl, I’m given paid time off at my work (vacation, personal, sick days), but I am always afraid to ask to take time off.  I feel a little bit guilty when I take off and last year ended up not using several of my days.  My boss usually doesn’t care, but I still feel weird asking.  I want to have fun while I’m young, but still keep respect at my job and let my boss know that I care about.  Is it normal to feel guilty for taking a day off every few weeks? Thanks! Ambitious Young Professional

Dear Ambitious – Wow, can I relate!  It is hard for me to take time off as well.  Many of us are guilty of working really hard and not resting.  We have a tendency to make work our number one priority and put a wall between our work and personal lives.  But, if you don’t take any time off for yourself, you won’t be able to recharge and you will quickly burn out.  You have to find the middle ground.  If you take too much time off work, it looks bad.  If you don’t take any time off work, you look like you have no personal life.  Taking time off is good for you!  Many times when I come back from a vacation I actually do my job better because I am much more rested.

So no, don’t feel guilty asking for time off.  The more you ask for time off, the more comfortable you will get and the more your boss will expect it.  Your boss and co-workers will learn how to handle the workload without you.  But, if you are always there and never give anyone else the opportunity to learn what you do, you will find it extremely hard to plan a relaxing and enjoyable day off.

Here is what I suggest:

  • Mark it on the calendar.  Plan ahead and let your boss and everyone around know the days you are planning to take off.
  • Be as flexible as you can.   If something crazy comes up at work last minute, show your boss that you are willing to come in or be available by phone if he needs anything.  I know it sounds terrible but it will make your boss and co-workers feel a lot better about you leaving.  It is also a great way to show them that you care about your job.  Most of the time you won’t be needed anyways!
  • Take time off when it is slow.  For me, Fridays are extremely slow so that is when I usually take days off.
  • Take time off to improve yourself.  Even if you don’t have a big vacation planned, take time off to improve yourself by going to school, taking a training class or attending a networking event.  These events will show your boss that you want to improve yourself and succeed at the company.

Work cannot be our entire lives.  We must spend time with family and friends and do the things that we really enjoy.  This makes us better workers in the long run. Now go ask for a day off!

Note: Today’s post written in association with Total Jobs where you can find environment jobs, charity jobs and engineering jobs. (photo from here)

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