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As per the title - how would it be perceived by bosses and/or co-workers to repeatedly (more than 1-2 times in a year, say) voluntarily cancel planned vacation in order to meet business needs (deadlines etc) or provide cover?

I mean not where "the boss" has cancelled it due to a business reason. But initiated by the employee.

If others insist on taking their planned time off - Would the employee cancelling come off as more committed, more of a doormat or what?

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  • Can you be a bit more specific? Were you asked to cancel it? What would have been the consequence if you hadn't cancelled it? How important was what you were doing to the company? – DJClayworth Nov 18 '15 at 19:42
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    Wouldn't this be entirely dependent on office culture? – BSMP Nov 18 '15 at 19:44
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    Agree with @BSMP, voted to close as opinion-based though too broad could work as well since there are so many variables at play (type of work, type of position, length of vacation, etc.) – Lilienthal Nov 18 '15 at 20:15
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    I don't know how we could possibly answer this unless we know a lot more about your company's culture. I imagine it's also really dependant on which country you're working in as well. Maybe a better question would be the pros and cons of repeatedly putting work ahead of your vacation time? – ColleenV Nov 18 '15 at 20:56
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    The answer also depends on your profession. If you're an accountant for instance and if you don't take vacations. That's a red flag that means you might be defrauding the company. – Stephan Branczyk Nov 18 '15 at 21:13
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It depends.

It's entirely possible that no one will notice or that they'll assume that you're just not much of a vacation person. Most people don't keep track of who has and who has not used their allotted vacation. It is possible that they'll conclude that you're a doormat that doesn't value their own time.

If you're cancelling because your manager would otherwise have no choice but to cancel someone's vacation, it's possible that your boss and/or your fellow employees will be grateful. The odds of that happening once a year let alone more than twice, however, are tiny unless you work in either a very unusual or a very poorly managed workplace.

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A few thoughts:

  1. Inconvenience to other employees - If your vacation policy requires approvals via your supervisor and HR then constantly canceling and rescheduling the vacation will be seen as an annoyance rather than a benefit.

  2. Vacation timing - If you are in the type of work where there is a busy season or planned cycles with known deadlines, there could be an expected etiquette. While it is likely not a specific policy, it's a general understanding that the team is burdened more with vacations during the busy times than during the rest of the year. If you are frequently finding that the timing of your vacation is poorly scheduled perhaps that's the reason for the cancellations?

  3. Commitment - Rarely is the topic of vacation viewed as commitment. Your company has a vacation policy and that, in conjunction with how employee performance is graded, is what defines commitment. I have seen large companies that use performance metrics as a way to discourage taking vacation and small companies that essentially require their employees to use more of their vacation. Your workplace is going to have it's own culture. A good question to ask yourself: "Is anyone else canceling their vacation to help out the team or cover for another employee?" I suspect the answer is no.

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I think this totally depends on your company's atmosphere and current rules.

If you work for a place that is very rigid then doing something like this may make you seem like a doormat. I mean you would be following a set of rules that are strict - and then you are offering them something for really nothing.

On the other hand if there is give and take then doing something like this for your company could allow you other flexibility. I move my vacation days around all the time for my company. I am certainly no doormat and they basically let me make my own schedule and work from home whenever I want.

The other case is working for a company that is too small to be without you for a certain amount of time. This is just how it is. You can ask for more pay to offset this or just accept that it is one of the drawbacks about having little to no cover (on the flip side it makes it hard to get fired).

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Your colleagues will think you are stupid, and your boss will not be in the slightest grateful for it. "Doormat" is not harsh enough to express it. Don't do it. Nobody will thank you for it.

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