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I've seen this slightly answered here but I the circumstances are different. I'm not a part time college student, but a full time employee of three years.

I don't have any vacation time left for the year, I have 10 sick/vacation days in total this year, and what I haven't used is earmarked for my honeymoon. I will already go my vacation days, and I will be taking unpaid time for the trip. (2 days off for house emergencies, the trip will be a total of 10 days, leaving 2 unpaid).

My boss has already told me that it looks bad that I'm taking unpaid time, and any additional unpaid time will go against my performance review. The rationale being, I was given X number of days, and if I can't manage to stay inside of that, then I'm unreliable.

The honeymoon is in a couple of months, but I'm currently looking at jobs now. If I have to take a day off, it could be paid, but it will add to the total number of unpaid days I end up taking.

My fear is I interview, and for some reason I'm not a fit for the new company, I'm digging myself into a hole at the job I currently have.

I also am opposed to lying to a current employer, so I don't want to fabricate reasons for taking time off.

Thanks,

edit: So this is all pretty legit advice, I'm hard pressed to pick a right answer, since they're all useful.

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I'll just say that I think you're making the right choice looking for a new job. I struggle with 10 days of vacation and 10 of sick leave. 10 days of total PTO for the year is ridiculous! –  David K Mar 25 at 20:56
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I would suggest against telling your employer that you need time off to interview for another job. So you might want to become okay with lying a little. –  Dave Johnson Mar 25 at 20:56
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@DaveJohnson I planned on saying something like "I need this day off for personal reasons", which is essentially true. However, I know it 'goes against' my review. –  kevingreen Mar 25 at 20:59
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Is there any chance you could work extra hours on other days to make up for taking some time off to have an interview? That would be my suggestion. –  JB King Mar 25 at 21:01
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@Ben I took this job because it's a non-profit. The exchange of lower pay was for laxer working conditions, and being closer to an area I want to live in. Only about 1/2 of that has come true, so, I've definitely decided to leave. –  kevingreen Mar 26 at 0:04

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

You are essentially in a Catch 22: You need to get a new job, but any time you take will ultimately result in having to take time unpaid.

You have limited options:

  • Set up the interview and deal with the possibility of losing pay (not like you care if it looks bad, you're leaving)
  • Try to get an interview really early or really late, giving yourself enough time to get from one place to the other without being late to the interview (again, I would be more interested in keeping the prospective employer happy than the current one)
  • Try to set up a remote video interview that you can do on your lunch hour; this obviously works best if you work close to home
  • Wait until you get more vacation time to start the job search

In any situation, you are likely to make things a little worse at your current place of employment, so tread carefully. It does not sound like you want to get fired. Best case scenario: You start a new job before your honeymoon. It is not always ideal to have to take two weeks vacation right after starting a position, but most reasonable employers will understand that something like a honeymoon was clearly booked far in advance.

As a side note, any employer that tells you having to take time off looks bad is probably not someone anyone wants to work for.

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No more vacation time until 2015, I'm not going to wait that long. How bad is it to ask the new employer to work around my schedule at all? –  kevingreen Mar 25 at 21:13
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So long as you are professional about it, it rarely hurts to ask. The questions that arise from your request will likely come up during the HR phone screen when they ask why you want to leave the company. It is possible they will decline the request. If you can financially afford to have a few days unpaid, I would go ahead and take the time unpaid to get out of that situation, but maybe that's just me. –  Dave Johnson Mar 25 at 21:16
    
The money isn't an issue, I'd just hate to get laid off or fired. My reasons for leaving are, it's not a software development company, and that's the track I'm really trying to get into. I got into more detail, but that's the gist. (I talked with a recruiter already about one position). –  kevingreen Mar 25 at 21:19
    
@kevingreen - Can you adjust your schedule so you leave work earlier in the day? I start work at 6:30 in the morning and work until 3:00 in the afternoon. –  Ramhound Mar 26 at 15:49
    
@Ramhound This is a tactic I might use. Similarly to making up time, as was suggested. E.G work 6 hours one day, 10 the next to recoup. –  kevingreen Mar 26 at 20:38

My fear is I interview, and for some reason I'm not a fit for the new company, I'm digging myself into a hole at the job I currently have.

You should never plan on just interviewing with one company. If you're serious about leaving (and I personally think you should be; 10 days of combined sick/holiday time after 3 years is ridiculous) then you need to get serious about leaving. You interview with as many as you need to, until you find one that is a good fit.

My boss has already told me that it looks bad that I'm taking unpaid time, and any additional unpaid time will go against my performance review.

If you're serious about leaving, then what does a note in a performance review matter? It doesn't. And I suspect your boss is probably concerned that you may already have been using those days of unpaid leave to seek other employment, which is why he's discouraging you from taking any more. Some might consider that to be unethical behavior on the part of your employer.

Anyways, in addition to the suggestions made by Chris and Dave with respect to interviewing remotely or by phone, early or late in the day, and trying to schedule as many interviews together as possible (which are very good ideas), there is a possible alternative. You could cancel your request for paid leave during your honeymoon. That would free up several paid leave days, which you could use for interviews. Stick with the suggestions to line up multiple interviews, and schedule them for the same day or block of days. Do your interviews, being sure to either note that you need leave to cover your honeymoon or to arrange a start-date that is after your honeymoon.

Then in the best-case scenario you don't upset your employer by exceeding your allocated number of paid leave days and you get paid leave to cover your honeymoon from your new employer (and probably some awkward questions about why you're cancelling the leave request). In the more likely scenario you don't upset your employer by exceeding your allocated number of paid leave days and you take your honeymoon as unpaid time. And in the worst-case scenario (if none of the interviews work out) you'd have to take your honeymoon as unpaid leave with your current employer, and deal with whatever fallout comes from that. Which might not be fun, but you could use it to point out that it's their substandard allocation of personal days that made the unpaid leave necessary.

I also am opposed to lying to a current employer, so I don't want to fabricate reasons for taking time off.

How do you feel about telling the truth creatively? It's not terribly inaccurate to describe a job interview as "an important errand that I can't do at any other time". Or "a pressing obligation that just came up". Or "something that I need to do for my own health and well-being".

As an aside:

The rationale being, I was given X number of days, and if I can't manage to stay inside of that, then I'm unreliable.

That rationale is absurd. If they give you 10 days to cover both vacation and sick leave, then their reasoning implies that they either expect you to never get sick or to not take vacations, because that's essentially the only way to stay within such a paltry limit.

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I've got several resume's out there, this is just me getting advice preemptively. There's no way I'm not going over my paid vaca days, that's already happening just because of the trip. But, extra days are the tricky part. Thanks for the advice. –  kevingreen Mar 26 at 0:01

My fear is I interview, and for some reason I'm not a fit for the new company, I'm digging myself into a hole at the job I currently have.

Well... your fear is completely justified.

Seems like you have a few hard decisions ahead of you. One path would be to try and schedule a few interviews for the same day; trying to get 2 or 3 in a row then take a sick day gambling that one of those jobs would hire you.

Of course, there is another problem here: most companies don't grant vacation time within the first 6 months of employment. So even if you do get a job offer how do you propose to handle that with your upcoming wedding?

In other words, you are in a pickle no matter what you do. If you look and don't get a job then you are further behind. If you look and get the job then you'll have to try and negotiate some up front vacation time that a lot of companies won't agree to.

What I'd do in this situation is wait until after my honeymoon then start the job search. It will be far easier to "fake" an emergency requiring me to not be at work after the fact than it will before hand. Never mind the fact that you are already going through a stressful time getting married. No need to pile on additional stress.

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I'm in a tech field, interviews have lasted 4 hours to a full day, but I'm definitely open to scheduling them together. As for the honeymoon thing, I'd make it clear in the interview that's something I'm doing, I'd aim to make my start date after. I plan on negotiating vacation this time, make sure I end up better off. The trip is in 6 weeks, sooner than I realized a moment ago. But I think that's enough lead time for an interview, me giving a notice, and taking the trip, then starting soon enough. (I hope) –  kevingreen Mar 25 at 21:10
    
It's easy enough to say at the interview "my honeymoon is {dates}, I'm happy to take unpaid leave". I've seen similar things and it's never been a problem. Most people understand that wedding schedules are fixed. –  Mσᶎ Mar 25 at 22:51
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Most companies will be accommodating about vacation time in the first 6 months of employment if you are open and up-front about your needs. Just say "I have pre-existing travel plans on <dates>, I trust that won't be an issue". If the company is really interested in hiring you this will not put them off. Usually they'll let you take the time as paid leave borrowed against your future leave accrual. –  aroth Mar 25 at 23:28
    
@aroth: When I've worked for someone else I always negotiate the vacation time as well. However, I've seen places that refuse to depending on the size of the company and the job level you are trying to get. –  Chris Lively Mar 26 at 15:11

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