Background: So I work in a company where we have flexi time and our holidays are first come first serve. It's in the policy of the company.

I work with 2 other developers but our manager (for obvious reasons) doesn't want all 3 of us to be off at the same time. At any time we can have 2 of us off. The only problem with this is, I booked my holiday on our holiday booking system, and I was approached by my manager who said "'X' wants to take a holiday during September and so does 'Y' so we have to see when they're taking off too". I don't understand why she can't accept mine and them two decide which one wants to take off the same time as me as we can have 2 off at once. Out of kindness I approached both X and Y and simple said

Hey when you taking your holidays in September so I can get mine in, I've currently got xx/xx in

All I get back is "Not sure yet" but I've asked multiple times, two months later when holiday prices are going up, they are still 'Unsure'. Meanwhile my manager has still not accepted my request when it's supposedly first come first serve. I've mentioned to my manager that my girlfriend can only have a week off in September so it has to be then and we need to decide soon before its too late for her to put a holiday in.

My colleagues feel like since they've been here over 30+ years each that they're entitled to have choice whenever they want and can be indecisive when others have choices to be making and unfortunately so does my manager.

I mentioned to my manager that, It's unfair that I can't have my holidays booked because they can't decide. She said to me "It's because I can't have you all off at once so I need to find the dates to fit everyone in and unfortunately you all want the same month off previously before you joined it's always been like this"

Question: How do I get my colleagues to hurry up and pick a date or better yet, how do I get my manager to accept my holiday request so I can finally get my holiday booked.

  • When you say your colleague is unsure, have you suggested the dates you'd like to take?
    – andtodd
    Aug 10, 2018 at 7:08
  • Yes, I've put them into the holiday tracking system and I've told them these are the ones that I've 'Put in'
    – Twyxz
    Aug 10, 2018 at 7:09

2 Answers 2


you all want the same month off

This is a lie.

YOU want holidays, they are "not sure". That's the difference. The role of the manager is to either ask them "when" they want those holiday and in case of "not sure" accept only those who are giving specified dates. The rest would need to adjust.

If your manager "need to find dates" explain that for you she doesn't need to because you put those dates in. And she's the manager. She's the one who should arrange your work, not wait till the last moment for you to came up with solution.

On personal note - this is very unprofessional. As you noticed it lead to tension, anger that you need to spend more money on vacation and discouragement toward manager and company.


Not sure yet.
It's always been like this.

These are "killer phrases", so called because they kill every attempt at discussing. You need to work against them to get any chance at solving the problem.

Tell your manager that you talked to your collegues and that there are no collisions of holiday times so far (not a lie).

If it's "in the policy of the company" that first booked holidays get approved first, you should argue with that. Get it in writing, if you can. Repeat that you are treated unequally and not in accordance with company policies.

Remind your manager that she had more than enough time to approve your holidays. If you feel confident enough, you could put your manager under a little pressure:

I put my holidays into the system more than 2 months ago. I expected a decision weeks ago. The delay put me in a bad situation because now the prices are up and my girlfriend needs to put in her holidays as well. I absolutely need a decision before Friday.

In all that, stay professional and leave the emotions out of the discussion. Argue with objective facts, not with your feelings. Fight the killer phrases! You might want to look up strategies for that.

  • 5
    To add to this, you might want to check your company policy on holiday requests a little more. In our company, holiday requests that are not denied within 1 calendar month after the request was made are automatically approved, even when there is no explicit approval from the manager.
    – Stefan
    Aug 10, 2018 at 7:52

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