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I will be a groomsman in an upcoming wedding. The bachelor party was scheduled on a Thursday morning, and it's multiple hours away from where I live/work, so attending means missing all day Thursday.

Is it unprofessional to notify my boss and coworkers of my absence, saying that I need to attend a bachelor party? It seems like I'm shirking on work in order to merely relax/party.

Is it dishonest to just say I'm "out of the office helping with wedding prep"?

  • What's your employment situation? Do you have a time off policy at your employer? Most full time employment includes PTO (personal time off) which is designed for reasons like this. It's perfectly normal to take the time at-will and not explain the specific reason, or tell anyone what you're doing while off. – dwizum Apr 15 '19 at 17:48
  • I'm a new hire, and my paid time off is not yet available (it will kick in after 6 mos). At my workplace we customarily put "Out of Office - <reason>" as the subject line of the Outlook appointment notification sent to team members. – Pull Nointer Apr 15 '19 at 17:56
  • Do you get PTO days? Do you get vacation time? If so, schedule a PTO or vacation day. You don't need to explain why. – joeqwerty Apr 15 '19 at 17:57
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    Josh, can you just say "personal day"? So "out of office - personal day". Another one is "Out of office - family event". That's the usual thing you say for a wedding. (Even if it's not literally "your" family, weddings are "family events" (like a "family movie") so that's the usual thing to write in such a form. Nobody wants to know the details of whether it's a funeral, wedding, or whatever. (Nobody cares, nobody wants that much detail - "family event" is the catch-all for that category). Enjoy! – Fattie Apr 15 '19 at 18:07
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    Not to put too fine a point on it, but your personal life belongs to you and is your private business. If the policy allows you to take the time off then you don't need to excuse, explain, quantify, qualify, justify, or apologize for taking the time off. – joeqwerty Apr 15 '19 at 18:07
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It is perfectly acceptable to use leave time to attend a bachelor party. It's also perfectly acceptable to use it to go to a wedding, go to a beach resort, attend a comic book convention, go backpacking, visit your parents, stay at home and do nothing, or whatever you feel like doing. The point of vacation time is that you can do whatever you want, and you aren't "shirking" at all.

You aren't required to tell your coworkers exactly what you did if you don't want to either, but no one should look down on you attending a bachelor party. Though depending on what exactly happens at this bachelor party, make sure whatever stories you tell afterwards are work-appropriate.

Update to address comments:

I'm a new hire, and my paid time off is not yet available (it will kick in after 6 mos). At my workplace we customarily put "Out of Office - " as the subject line of the Outlook appointment notification sent to team members. [...] Yes, policy allows me to take time off and make it up beforehand/later. My question is just about apearances.

If you don't have PTO available to you yet, then how you get time off approved is dependent on the system at your work (and it sounds like you have that part figured out already). That doesn't change the fact that the bachelor party qualifies as vacation, and that specific activity shouldn't change how your time off is perceived.

For your Out-of-office message, I would probably just say "Vacation". This just says that you are not at work and discourages people from calling you, without actually saying precisely what you are doing and where you are. I would also do that regardless of what my vacation activity was, mainly because I value privacy and don't feel the need to broadcast to everyone what my vacation activities are. I'm happy to tell my coworkers about my vacations, but Carol from Accounting who I've never spoken to doesn't need to know those details of my personal life.

Now, there is the question of how taking vacation time early in your job would be perceived, regardless of where you are going. I would say that would depend a lot on your company culture and the personality of your boss. If they are willing to approve a PTO "loan" for you for a leisure trip, then I wouldn't worry about it.

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    However, it's not leave time. "I'm a new hire, and my paid time off is not yet available". Taking time off (without pay) when you're very new is .. well, you're just courteous about it. – Fattie Apr 15 '19 at 18:14
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    @Fattie Thanks, that wasn't there when I answered. I edited my answer to address the OP's comments. – David K Apr 15 '19 at 20:17
  • In my experience, how you get time off approved is dependent on the system at your work, regardless of whether or not you have PTO available (although not having PTO might make it a bit different / more effort / less likely to be approved). Although the system at one's work may involve being able to take your PTO whenever you want. – Dukeling Apr 15 '19 at 21:09
  • @DavidK right, it's confusing - and common - when issues "come to light" like that on this site :/ – Fattie Apr 15 '19 at 22:45
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I guess I'll put in an answer:

To the specific question:

Is it ok to just say I'm "out of the office helping with wedding prep"?

Yes.

It is absolutely OK to "generalize" your explanations of why you're out of the office on any personal day.

This is a desirable and good thing - it is professional to not go in to detail.

Examples,

  • You're under investigation by the Feds. "Doing some paperwork."

  • Funeral for a beloved cat. "Had to attend to some family matters."

  • Breast (or .. whatever) enlargement operation. "Some medical appointments."

Again yes it's absolutely correct and good to describe "mental bachelor party" as "wedding prep".

(In fact, I recommend just "family event". Anything vaguely related to weddings, births, deaths is just "family event.")

"Out of Office - $reason$"

"Out of Office, family event"

or

"Out of Office, wedding"

Don't forget too, you can always just say "personal day". But for me "personal day" is a bit mysterious, simply write "family event" which is totally innocuous. Bottoms up!

0

I will be a groomsman in an upcoming wedding. The bachelor party was scheduled on a Thursday morning, and it's multiple hours away from where I live/work, so attending means missing all day Thursday.

Is it unprofessional to notify my boss and coworkers of my absence, saying that I need to attend a bachelor party? It seems like I'm shirking on work in order to merely relax/party.

Is it dishonest to just say I'm "out of the office helping with wedding prep"?

Often a good way to answer "is this dishonest?" questions is to ask yourself: if the other party discovered the truth, would they feel that I had behaved honestly?

For instance, suppose that one of the other groomsmen posts photos of the party on Facebook, and one of your co-workers comes across those photos and recognises you. Would they feel that you'd given them a honest explanation of what you were doing, or would they feel that you'd misled them? I don't know your co-workers or your workplace culture, so I can't answer that, but hopefully you can.

Beyond that, I agree with other posters - keep it general. If it were me, I'd probably just say "attending a friend's wedding"; for me that feels a bit more honest, but your mileage (and your co-workers') may vary.

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