So for the entire month of August I have been indicating to my boss and my team that I would like to take vacation end of Nov/beg of Dec and was saving all my time for then. It was never a problem and my boss seemed fine with that. Well last week of August my parents and family of 10 found a great deal and wanted to book (dec 9 to 23). I told them I didnt get confirmation of the now solid dates from my boss but a tentative yes. She was on vacation for another week but they didnt want to wait so they asked me to contact her (I knew she didnt leave the city that day yet). Even though I felt weird to do that, I was also encouraged by a coworker to contact her as it seemed important to me to get confirmation. So I emailed her(no response) I called her a few times and no response.. although risky my parents booked the trip anyway cause they assumed since my boss gave a tentative yes that it was fine. Well at 10pm she texts me saying the timing I'm requesting is tricky and she needs to think about it until after my vacation. I asked my coworkers why it's a big deal.. its only slightly busy for us and they felt its absurd that she was saying that at all. I would be missing just 4 meetings (30 min each mainly) They all also said they would support me as they would be here during my time off. So she gets back and I explained 4 solutions that I thought of 1. Work beforehand and get as much work done as possible 2. Work during winter break 3. Have one of my coworkers go to the meetings and take notes for me and have me do the work after 4. Dial in from my vacation!

She said none of those are good solutions.. she also blantaly said she doesnt feel I will actually work during winter break.. I said why wouldnt i.. she said because I'll be busy.. I told her I'm committed to making sure everything is done.. she said believe me because I'll be busy with xmas.. then she kind of rudely said unless u dont even celebrate it! I said I actually dont so it wont matter to me. She questioned me saying really u dont give gifts to your kids (which the entire religion conversation made me incredibly uncomfotable) i told her sometimes but not really. She said she needs to still think about it! I told her i would really like an answer as my entire family is waiting anxiously and I havent been anywhere in almost 2 years (also I mentioned that due to my husbands schedule as he is out of town.. it's the only time that works).. she said well if i want an answer today it's a no!!!! But if i want her to think about it she will let me know in Several days. She also added that she didnt appreciate the fact that I contacted her during HER vacation with her family as it wasnt a work emergency and was not an important issue to have me disturb her.. What are your thoughts? Am I in the wrong? I conveyed my urgency to her and she dismissed it.. not only that but she told me dec 9 is considered mid dec not beginning

Some more information: I'm a chartered accountant and our "busy season" starts January for year-end. The pre-work in December is related to a recent acquisition where one coworker may be used to do some extra work and a few meetings I would miss/do early to prepare foe the quarter. Which again I can either do earlier or have someone deem my team take notes on my behalf and have me do the analysis upon my return... but my boss did not accept this idea.

Update: my boss has now told me that she will allow my vacation and told me the deadlines she accepts and what I need to do and I fully committed to it. She then stated that by doing this I agree to the fact that my performance will be reflected poorly at year end as a result of showing a lack of commitment to my team and my accountability by even wanting or thinking of going let alone going on vacation during this time. I told her I felt it was unfair to judge me for work that has not been done especially when I told her I will commit to do all the work necessary. But she said it doesnt matter.. it shows that you would rather go on vacation than do the work that you know is required. I rebutted telling her I had been clear that I will be doing the work but she refused to listen. So in the end she gave e more work to do than normal with tighter deadlines that I agreed to and then told me I will be getting a bad performance review regardless. I feel now this is a power struggle or a power trip as what she has stated is unreasonable Question: am I out of line? Is my boss out of line? How do I deal with my boss now on a day to day basis with what I feel is threat to my growth and performance which she clearly stated will not be good at year end. How do u continue to be motivated at all knowing it wont even matter?

EDIT: I just want to add for those who are having issues with me calling my boss while she was on vacation/away. I initially emailed her via company email as a simple request to get back to me. She then logged on onto the company messenger (skype) from her company laptop and was online for the majority of the day. Since I knew she was still in town (she told us when she was leaving) and since she was obviously still working, I didn't think it was a huge deal to give her a call and discuss. Since she didn't pick up the phone, i wrote her a text saying "these are my vacation dates, hope that's ok" and that was the end of it.

  • Are we talking about unpaid vacation, or is this vacation time you are entitled to by contract (or law)? In the latter case, check the rules about holidays in your workplace, there might be something like "you need to take it before the end of the year", so if you didn't take any, there might be a chance that you have to and your boss can't stop you. – Dirk Sep 4 '19 at 7:37
  • @SolarMike I think you're reading more into the post than is written there. Christmas is often a busy time no matter if you're religious, atheist or fan of another cult. OP's description seems very biased to me and didn't even understand why the boss is upset about being disturbed during vacation. – Chris Sep 4 '19 at 7:37
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    @Chris as per the post, an accountants' busy season is after Christmas... – Solar Mike Sep 4 '19 at 7:43
  • It is paid and I do have to take most of it before the end of the year or I will need written approval to have it carry over. I'm also not sure what you mean about me not understanding why my boss if upset. I have apologized to her twice.. once over text but said it's a time sensitive issue and once when I saw her first thing after her vacation. – Poly23 Sep 4 '19 at 12:55
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    You should spend some time between now and then finding a new job. This manager is manipulative, and will never "get better." People like this should never be allowed in a leadership role. If you have skills, then coming up on "busy season" sounds like exactly when to switch. – Wesley Long Sep 5 '19 at 15:20

She also added that she didnt appreciate the fact that I contacted her during HER vacation with her family as it wasnt a work emergency and was not an important issue to have me disturb her

Your boss is clearly pissed off with you because you contacted her during vacation. She has mentioned it clearly wasn't a work emergency, and not something to disturb her.

IMO, this is the heart of the conflict. You overstepped the line when you "called her multiple times". Emails and texts could have been fine as they allow for replying back at her convenience, but even that bit of communication should have been used in moderation.

In fact, given she and the team were "aware" and were ok with you taking time off approximately 3 months later, she has more reasons to be grumpy, as you disturbed her on vacation with inane questions, when there was in principle agreement. Maybe you disturbed her during one of the more important moments of the vacation?

It seems that she is determined to make you feel sorry for stepping over the boundary, and her way to do that is to make your vacation plans dicey. ("She said none of those are good solutions")

She doesnt feel I will actually work during winter break. I said why wouldnt I

It seems she was not in a mood to relent once she was back, and your attitude hasn't helped the situation either. Rather than building confidence, the choice of your words seem to show anger, resentment and personal hurt, which will only aggravate the situation, given the way the boss (rightly) feels about it.

She said well if i want an answer today it's a no!!!! But if i want her to think about it she will let me know in Several days.

So far, you haven't mentioned if you have apologized to her. Try to apologize to her in a one on one conversation, accept your mistake, provide her the truthful explanation - that you checked with colleagues and felt it was ok, and the travel plan would have costed a lot more given more number of people involved - so you acted in haste. Tell her in retrospect that was a poor decision, and that on deeper introspection, you've learnt that respecting people's personal time is important professionally.

Hopefully, boss has here given you a hint that things will cool down in future. I would suggest that you keep a control on your behavior, and continue working in good faith, once you've realized your error and apologised for them.

  • I'm confused about what error you are referring to. I did apologize to her profusely when I texted her but told her it was a time sensitive issue. I also knew for a fact she hadnt left on her vacation and was working thr night before.. and as advised by a sr colleague I contacted her. Further I apologized to her first thing in thing in the morning when I saw her.. I was never aggressive or angry until after she started questioning my integrity and work ethclic.. as well as forcing me to discuss my xmas plans. And not giving me a chance to support me during my vacation.. as is a managers job.. – Poly23 Sep 4 '19 at 12:46
  • @Poly23 (Using third person to make the comment impersonal) The point of my answer is that it seems OP is still thinking of the issue from OP's point of view, and not from the boss' point of view. If OP says they have already addressed that, then probably OP can find help in the other answers here. – mu 無 Sep 4 '19 at 13:41

First of all, I just want to say that I wouldn't be overly concerned around the discussion of "religion". It could be interpreted to be a cultural thing, rather than a religious thing. There are many places in the world where Christmas is not really a religious holiday.

You got tentative approval to take holiday at the end of November - start of December. You then wanted to book a holiday between December 9 and December 23. Regardless of when it starts, you have to agree that's a big chunk of the middle of December gone, so it's understandable that your boss considers it not the start of December.

Also, calling your boss when she was on holiday was probably a mistake, though I agree that some bosses wouldn't mind. Just because YOU have an urgent problem, doesn't mean SHE has an urgent problem. It's understandable that you were under time pressure, but that's because you wanted a good deal.

Your bosses attitude is regrettable, but understandable. She doesn't trust you'll do much work during the holiday season, because she is projecting herself onto you.

I think you should probably refer this this holiday as your families "Christmas break" from here on in. This will give the impression that if you are going to be festive, it's during this time, and not during the "regular" holiday period.

You should really consider speaking to your boss to work weekends to get additional work done and build up some Time in Lieu. This may not be possible as there may not be enough work. But the issue your boss has is if you are not productive over the Christmas break, that is not something she can react to in time. It's too late. So, it's better to get ahead of the work.

You also have to be mindful that no matter what you do, your boss will very closely be watching your work output, so it's advisable to do as much as you possibly can, including working late to make sure your boss is happy.

In addition to all this, you should check your company policy to see if the clauses around leave are being followed.

  • Thanks for your responses! I did suggest that I work beforehand and am fully committed to working after. The issue is that 1. It's very slow for us during Dec other than 4 meetings I wouldn't go to 2. The bulk of the work for us happens during the first 2 weeks of Jan as has been the case for every year and quarter. So overall she just needs me to be here for 4 meetings that can easily be covered by someone else which has offered by my team but rejected by her – Poly23 Sep 4 '19 at 13:05

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