Extra Vacation Negotiation Part C: How to Make Your Request with Confidence
These ABCs form your strategy for requesting more vacation leave. Use them along with your free copy of the More Vacation Memo Template. For more information, see How to Craft Your Own Vacation Leave Terms.
Of course, your manager won’t be offering you extra vacation leave, so the next step is to make your request. Even if you feel edgy about asking, it’s imperative that you follow through.
Perspective and preparation will help you overcome nervousness about asking.
Get Perspective About Your Request
Taking leave without pay (LWOP) for a vacation is probably an out-of-the-ordinary request from your manager’s point of view. But let me encourage you about the likelihood of getting your manager’s consent by comparing it with requests for alternative work schedules.
Since WorkOptions.com went online in 1997, I’ve seen thousands of professionals get agreement for an out-of-the-ordinary (for their manager) flexible work arrangements. (And many were the first to get a flexible schedule where they work.) Here’s why:
Turnover of employees is time-consuming and costly. A smart manager would rather avoid the painful process of losing a proven performer than recruit and train a replacement. (Flexible schedules are the number one driver of employee retention.)
So it’s easier to forge a solution by having the employee work say, four days a week, than none at all because s/he left to go to another employer. So granting flexible work becomes a savvy management strategy. That’s what I’ve seen over and over again.
Your More-Vacation-Leave Leverage
Your negotiating leverage is probably better than you think it is.
Keep in mind, a written proposal outlining the business case for the request was presented when requesting a flexible work arrangement. For extra vacation leave, you’re going to do something similar, yet simpler and shorter, using a memo.
The same premise applies: It’s better to retain you as a productive, engaged employee for 47 weeks a year (assuming three weeks earned vacation leave + two weeks of LWOP vacation leave) than to have you zero (0) weeks because you left to work where you can get the time off you want (or to retire).
As a reliable mid-to-late-career employee with years—um, lots of years—of experience, and one who has established your value by contributing to departmental goals (you have, right?), you’re in a solid position to make a reasonable request for a couple added weeks off during the year.
Preparation Helps Seal Success
Thorough preparation reflects intensity of purpose and desire. Even managers who claim to be rational weigh decisions on some emotional level.
You’re more likely to get agreement by supplementing your well-rehearsed petition with a well-crafted memo, printed and signed.
It’s a simple yet high-impact way to convey the seriousness and strength of your petition for the added weeks off.
1. Ask for the added time off only if you’ve worked long enough with your manager to gain his or her trust and respect for you as a employee. You know, those qualities I mentioned earlier: reliable and productive, with well-established value to your department.
2. If want both Fridays off and more vacation, aim for getting agreement for the added vacation weeks off first. Then ask for Fridays off after a reasonable time period. (Knowing your manager and circumstances, you’re the best judge of “reasonable”). There will probably be less resistance to accepting your proposals in that order.
Exception: if you plan to redesign your work schedule into job sharing, do that first; answering questions about work coverage during your extra vacation is easier if a job partner is in place.
3. Ask after you’ve completed an important project that made your manager look good. Or you might have more negotiating leverage if you make your request as you’re nearing the completion of a project. It highlights your value.
4. Ask at the end of your annual performance review, assuming it’s favorable, of course.
Negotiation ABCs + Memo Template = More Vacation Time Off
Follow the Vacation Negotiation path (Parts A, B and C) along with the More Vacation Memo Template, to get more time off.