I'm 21 and I've been working for a wine importer for about 2 and a half years. I graduated from university in June and am planning on continuing to work at my current job through the end of the summer (I do office admin work, we're a very small company of only 10 employees). I don't get paid time off, and work about 25 hours a week.

My parents just surprised me and my brother with the fact that they were able to find some cheap, last minute tickets to Hawaii for the whole family. We never take vacations and it means a lot that they would organize this trip, mostly to celebrate my graduation. The ticket are for this upcoming Thursday the 5th, with a return on Friday the 13th (8 days).

Is there anyway I can ask my boss to take a week off, with only four days notice? It isn't our busy season, and I can finish a majority of my tasks for the next two weeks before I go, but I'm terrified to ask him.

He's a nice guy, but I fear he won't tolerate the late notice.. I also don't want to let down my family and not go, on what might be one of our last family trips together if he says I can't.

How can I compose this situation to him in an email? Any advice would be very very much appreciated..

  • 2
    Can’t hurt to ask. Worst they can say is no. Jul 2, 2018 at 4:07
  • @AffableAmbler That is not the worst they can say... Jul 2, 2018 at 4:12
  • 1
    Why does your family think you can take time off on such short notice? I have had many arguments with my father because of this. In his job it was no problem at all to take time off on the shortest notice and he couldn't understand why it wouldn't work for me.
    – Pieter B
    Jul 2, 2018 at 9:27
  • @PieterB: Fully on board with needing to check OP's availability before booking. However, I do consider part time office admin work to be on the low end of the spectrum of jobs that require significant notice for absences. OP already confirms that they can cover (most of) their own workload for the next two weeks, so asking for leave is an administrative formality, not an actual work obstacle where the company depends on them.
    – Flater
    Jul 2, 2018 at 10:42

2 Answers 2


Explain the situation like you did here.

Mention that if this period was super busy you wouldn't ask (don't if you think it will be misunderstood).

Apologize for the last minute notice.

Thank them in advance.

(I would recommend talking in person, emails can sometimes be ignored and you are in a hurry, but it's ok if you are too nervous for a head-to-head conversation)

  • When talking to them in person, unless your boss is known to nudge employees to work more (Lumbergh style), it may be better to explain the situation (the planned vacation, but not being able to give enough notice) and not outright ask for leave. It gives them the opening to be generous and tell you you can have the leave. Again, for Lumbergh bosses this can backfire and they may use the opening to the company's advantage.
    – Flater
    Jul 2, 2018 at 10:46

Your question is "how can I ask". Easy. Just ask.

It sounds like a reasonable request and if they managed without you for so long surely they can manage another 8 days.

  • I was wondering how I should frame my email to him, without divulging too much personal information (e.g. that my family can't usually afford to take vacations so this means a lot to me, etc.) Jul 2, 2018 at 5:26
  • 2
    I think you're going to have to divulge some personal information since you're asking for special consideration.
    – solarflare
    Jul 2, 2018 at 5:43
  • You need more of an explanation to this answer. What you've written is pretty good so far though.
    – user53651
    Jul 2, 2018 at 15:43

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