I work on a small team of 3. I am going on vacation at the end of February after my 1 year anniversary with the company, My vacation is approved, paid for, as well as expensive and non refundable. It's been planned since 6 months ago, and I notified my boss and co workers last month, so everybody has had plenty of time.

Both of my coworkers have told me they are planning to quit at the beginning of February, which will leave only me to cover 3 people's jobs. Normally this would be fine and I'd hang in there till they get replacements, but even if we do get replacements in time, they will not be able to cover everything while I am away, which means my boss will revoke my vacation time.

I feel that I am personally getting severely unfair treatment here. I asked if they would give our boss a 1 month notice so that there would be enough time to hire, train and get new people set up, but they both laughed and said no, since they appear to be on a personal mission to hurt the company as much as possible.

They said they chose to quit at this time, since they know the company would be put in a hard position since I would be gone (they said they didn't realize this would simply result in my vacation being revoked).

My dilemma is, their desire to "stick it to the company" is going to seriously affect me in many ways. I'm not particularly close to either of them, but I am torn between upholding my morals, and keeping this to myself, while at the same time covering my own back so I am treated fairly.

What are my options for resolving this situation, including telling my manager?

  • 13
    What good could come from telling your manager?
    – paparazzo
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 19:25
  • 102
    Please note that your claim that "I am personally getting severely unfair treatment here" is untrue. You are predicting the future. You have received no treatment from your company one way or the other. Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 22:01
  • 19
    I don't get it, why don't you just go up to your boss and tell him/her that "I have NO IDEA if they are lying or not, but this is what they have been telling me, and I'm worried this may affect my vacation time [or whatever]. What would you do in my situation?" The boss would obviously then be able to make the decision as to whether this is true or not, and you wouldn't have to.
    – user541686
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 7:14
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Jane S
    Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 6:13

13 Answers 13


If they knew this was going to take place, why would they tell you? OF COURSE you'd end up anxious and stressed out, as you are right now. These aren't people that you need to make any efforts to protect. They aren't your friends, because they don't seem concerned with throwing you and your hard-earned vacation under the bus.

If I were you, I'd help your boss find some replacements way before February, and you can have the last laugh, and enjoy your vacation.

  • 102
    And by keeping this to yourself, you're making yourself part of their stick-it-to-the-company plan. You owe them nothing.
    – John Feltz
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 19:29
  • 6
    @TheMuffinMan It clearly reads "I am torn between upholding my morals, and keeping this to myself, while at the same time covering my own back so I am treated fairly"
    – Xavier J
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 19:37
  • 31
    It's notable that if OP informs the management, they might decide the simplest solution is to cancel OP's vacation. Since the vacation is at the beginning of a calendar year, I doubt there would be anything preventing them from doing so (other than common decency). I'd advocate for informing management, but ASAP so that replacements can be found in time; it might even be wise to have several replacement candidates to recommend before bringing the matter up.
    – CCJ
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 22:16
  • 12
    ... and furthermore if he tells the boss, the boss then has to confront the people involved... and they say "huh, what, no way!". Lose lose lose situation. Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 23:14
  • 10
    @CCJ It's not so clear cut. The company would be rather foolish to irritate the only person it presently employs who can possibly do the role. This happened to my mother once, when her then-employer refused to give her the vacation time she had already arranged in similar circumstances to this question. When she resigned a few weeks later the company was put in a very tight spot and several senior partners ended up having to cancel their own vacations to cover her absence until she could be replaced.
    – Calchas
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 11:54

Generally you don't act on third party information like this. It's unlikely these clowns are actually going to leave, they might be trying to stick it to you, not the company. For the plan to have most chance of success, they would just do it without informing anyone. So they're blowing off hot air hoping to stir something up to amuse themselves.

In any case this isn't your issue, you did everything right. Panicking and running around informing your boss about rumours isn't a great idea. The company will survive somehow. I'd just laugh at them and make a joke 'It won't be much of a loss guys, could replace you both with a handicapped monkey without noticing a decrease in quality.', if I bothered answering them at all.

If I had a long planned expensive holiday about to start, I would not do anything that might prevent it on hearsay.

  • 24
    "It's unlikely these clowns are actually going to leave" I don't think that is a reasonable assumption from the information we have, and even if it is then they are working to undermine their coworker and that should still be brought to management's attention. Of course you should exercise caution when acting on 3rd party info, but you have to weigh the risk vs the reward.
    – user30031
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 21:07
  • 9
    I second this. OP only has hearsay at this point, which can lead to the possibility of them being put in a nasty position. Any move but absolute silence has the possibility of nasty repercussions on the OP. Sometimes life isn't fair. I'd say bite the bullet on this one and try and get the company to reimburse the vacation deposits. They cleared the time off months ago, right? They said it's happening, and then they're going back on their word.
    – Sidney
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 22:08
  • 14
    There's a difference between a rumor and direct information.
    – Jonast92
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 22:39
  • 18
    This answer - so much so. The OP has NOTHING to go to the boss with. We already know that the coworkers don't care about the OP, so what happens if he tells the boss? The boss confronts them and they say "huh, what? No - he's making it up". There is no option here but to stick it out and see what happens. Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 23:12
  • 11
    Like several other commenters, you seem to have got the dilemma backwards. The OP's assessment of the situation seems to be that if he does tell his manager, they might be able to arrange things so that he can go on vacation. If he doesn't, the surprise resignations will mean that his vacation is cancelled at short notice.
    – jwg
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 10:45

Go to the boss and say, boss, I think we need another person in the team. I'm off on a long holiday next year and what happens if one of the others gets sick or something? We have plenty of work to keep three or four people busy. We really need backup. So let's look at getting some help in.

There. You've covered all bases and hurt nobody.

  • 2
    How does just saying this cover the case of OP getting their holiday revoked?
    – hyde
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 14:38
  • 4
    @hyde I don't think any of the answers guarantees that the OP won't get their vacation cancelled or offers advice on what to do if that happens. I think by "all bases", RedSonja meant that they've let management know there's an issue and haven't compromised on their morals. The other answers all seem to suggest doing one or the other, not a solution that does both.
    – BSMP
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 19:27
  • 5
    The boss will likely put two and two together when the two coworkers quit. Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 13:15

I can only tell you how it is in my country of birth.

The employer has every right to demand that you stay at home.

He also has to carry all the costs associated with it. Which may include rearranging a new holiday date, possibly paying off your spouse employer if she has to take unpaid work off etc. to make sure you can take your holiday as intended AFTER the emergency is over. You have a right to take your holiday.

Which puts a little "Pay for your responsibility" on the "you can not go to holidays" thing that the company may pull off.

  • 10
    Sounds like an enlightened country
    – Mawg
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 9:52
  • 1
    This is also the case where I work. I know people it has happened to. They get their financial loss refunded, and management has to approve an alternative date for the holiday which is then untouchable.
    – RedSonja
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 11:23
  • 1
    @Mawg several countries have worker laws to protect workers from "vacation abuse" by the companies. Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 11:45
  • 16
    In Germany there are laws for this kind of thing too. In special circumstances (that most certainly apply here) the company may ask you to not take the holiday, but than they have to cover all the costs that incurs. Your vacation days would be returned to you, and they would have to pay for all the cancellation fees or for the actual costs of all the traveling, hotels and stuff that cannot be undone. This is something that's used very sparingly. I've not seen it used, but I've had it discussed with me at work once.
    – simbabque
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 12:05
  • 3
    Actually he can in case of a not foreseeable emergency. You can look this up - BAG v. 19.12.1991 - 2 AZR 367/91, juris; BAG vom 20.06.2000 - 9 AZR 405/99, juris; Hessisches Landesarbeitsgericht v. 18.03.1997 - 9 Sa 1675/96, juris. Now, I am not sure that 2 of 3 people quitting suddenly would qualify here... but in germany you also have much longer termination periods to start with,so a normal holiday would not be that brutal. Loosing 2 people for example in an accident likely in a critical position would possibly allow a revocation of holidays, depending what the people do.
    – TomTom
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 9:41

Your coworkers obviously don't care about you and you really don't owe them anything. What happens when they leave and your boss is surprised and asks you if you knew anything about it? Would you rather have to call off your vacation and lie about knowing or just throw these idiots under the bus now?

If I were faced with this situation I would definitely tell my boss (assuming you like your job, company, and your boss). I would give him plenty of time to find new people and get rid of the other two (possibly a lot earlier than they planned on leaving) and then I'd take my vacation with a smile on my face. No ragrets!

  • 8
    So you tell the boss. Then what happens? He confronts the coworkers and they deny it. Who's the loser then? Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 23:13
  • 2
    @GreenAsJade My boss wouldn't do that... he'd totally ruin their plans on the sly and then smile as they're being shown the door. Obviously you have to have some sort of idea how your boss is going to react before you make a decision on what you should do. Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 12:20
  • @hd. a classic internet image :)
    – user812786
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 13:20
  • 3
    @GreenAsJade The OP is just telling the boss to have been told something. If coworkers deny planning to leave, then all it just becames a joke. If coworkers lie, now it's just the boss'problem.
    – Pere
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 14:13

These jokers are either telling the truth or they are lying. Doesn't really matter. If it's true, you owe them nothing, and they deserve anything they get. If it's a joke, it's a bad joke, and whatever they get as a result, they deserve it.

Tell your boss what's going on, that they told you they are planning to leave in February. Which puts your boss in a tough position, since they will deny anything, and either you are lying or they are lying, as far as your boss is concerned. Tough situation, but that's why he is the boss and gets paid more for you.

Your boss has the choice to believe you, find a replacement as early as possible, let you train them up, fire the two jokers, and you go on your holiday in February. Or he believes them, and you go on your holiday in February, and they leave or they don't leave.

  • 2
    firing the jokers would likely require the company to pay severance; I'd guess the boss would scout replacements and prepare for them to quit of their own accord
    – CCJ
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 22:26
  • 4
    I think the OP's main concern is that they leave and his vacation is cancelled.
    – Erik
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 7:44
  • 2
    @CCJ: Since they are planning on not giving any notice, this seems to be happening in the USA, and just as they can leave without giving notice, they can be fired without giving notice. In the UK for example both would be impossible, so the problem wouldn't be there in the first place.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 8:46
  • 3
    @gnasher729: Assuming the co-workers are on one month's notice (typical in the UK), they could hand in their notice as soon as they get back from Christmas/New Year. The chances of hiring two replacements, and training them to the point they could cover for a holiday at the end of February is essentially zero. Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 8:52

I am torn between upholding my morals, and keeping this to myself, while at the same time covering my own back so I am treated fairly.

There is no moral issue: you have a clear direct interest, you informed them of it and they laughed and said no. Also, "they appear to be on a personal mission to hurt the company as much as possible."

That means that the normal moral obligation to keep this to yourself is completely void here. You have a moral right to protect your own interests, a moral obligation to protect the company, and no moral obligation to indulge people who laugh at your serious concerns.


My recommendation here is neither to tell the boss nor to stick it out.

My recommendation is to find another job. Start looking now. If you can find a job that is willing to let you start at [end of vacation], then that's your plan: you give notice at your current job that you're leaving at [start of vacation]. If you find a job that wants you to start earlier, just tell them you have uncancellable vacation at a particular time and make it part of the negotiation that you get that vacation approved even though it's early on. (Normally that's not a recommended practice (asking for vacation ahead of signing the offer), but since this is part of why you're looking, it seems reasonable.)

This workplace obviously has some problems, and your two coworkers leaving at the same time in order to screw over your employer will also screw you over even if it has no impact on your vacation - you'll be overworked then anyway, more than likely. Get out. That way it doesn't matter to you what happens with the other two.

  • sounds somehow extreme to change job because of such situation.. if job is bad - ok, but op likes the job and the boss, then why screw the company because of two strange guys? Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 14:39
  • 1
    @akostadinov Because there's no reason to stay in a bad situation as a developer. You're in a high demand profession; there are plenty of other jobs and bosses that are nice. Two things are possible here: either the two guys are quitting, and it is going to be extremely stressfull in Feb/Mar, plus the missed vacation, or they're not, and instead they're screwing with you - in which case your two peers are not trustworthy and don't act like adults. Either way, find another position. And as far as "the company" - you act in your own best interest first and only.
    – Joe
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 14:48
  • Some people have a quality called loyalty. I like to work with such people and try to be such a person. Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 15:20

small side comment: since many people point out the two nutheads might be just joking, is there a chance you are not able to detect irony/sarcasm? in any case, i would still inform your manager in a hypothetical way like acidfunk suggests, hopefully they get theirs, whatever their motivation was.

  • 2
    The second half of this looks to me like an answer. It is perhaps not a great answer, and could likely benefit from some fleshing out, but "I would still inform your manager [...]" seems like an answer to "here's what's happening at my workplace, how should I handle this?".
    – user
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 12:14
  • 2
    I think answer is to the point, so upvoted. I also htought about this possibility but didn't think op could self assess if this is the case. But op can share with spouse/other friends to find out whether he/she can recognize jokes. Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 14:41
  • Voted for this answer, as you should really first find out if they are for real, before going to your boss with your story.
    – acidjunk
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 21:01

Sorry to use this analogy and not meaning to offend but it reminds me of the hundreds of people who said they would leave the USA if Trump got elected. Well he's now president elect. Why are these people still there? all talk, no action. (Disclaimer: I'm not a US citizen, I don't live in America... just an analogy OK?).

Back on point. Just carry on. I understand your anxiety, but for now there is nothing to be resolved. I wouldn't say anything to your boss. Your colleagues may change their minds anyway. Their threats to quit might just be based on them getting other jobs which they haven't gotten yet. So please don't let this be your concern.

Everyone needs a break from time to time and staffing issues with your company are your bosses problem to resolve. If it happens, it'll be dealt with then. You have financial commitments in your holiday. I'm sure your company can survive for the few weeks you are away surely. And if your boss is a decent sort of man he will not retract your well earned and deserved holiday.

  • Even if people fully intend to move to a different country, doing so isn't something that gets done at the spur of the moment. You need to arrange things in the workplace, you need to find somewhere to live, you might need to get naturalized, and any number of other things that has to happen and might need to happen in a specific order for everything to work out. I don't see what the first paragraph adds to this answer.
    – user
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 12:12

When I read the story I wonder why your co-workers are doing this; is the company/working environment that bad? Are they mistreated in any way? For the record: what they are planning to do is not a skill that you want in your team...

2 parties involved:


Ask them, again, about their future plans. If they tell the same story, inform them, rumor or not, that you have to tell it to your boss to protect your own peace of mind.

Depending on the outcome you should inform your boss, preferably in a face to face meeting.


Inform your Boss of an conceivably problem. Make sure he understands that you are passionate about a motivated and sound atmosphere in the workplace and that you have a feeling that this could optimised.

It's not your problem that your co-workers claim to quit. Probably the best you can do is to signal the arising problem to your boss in an informal way; e.g. Bring it as a hypothetical story, what would happen when both the other developers would quit one week before my vacation?

That way you can make him/her aware of a potential problem in the company. You could generalize it more; be worrying about the bus factor in the project.


I see some possible solutions, depending on the specifics of your industry and your office:

One is scout around and independently line up some replacement, three or four people who would make really good candidates. When your co-workers give notice, you can swoop into your boss's office with the hot résumés. A lot of companies, you can pick up five or ten grand in referral money that way. At least this gives you the whole of February to bring them up to speed.

Or you can go to your boss now, swear him to secrecy, reveal the situation, and explain your plan, which is to add on two more employees to the team, as of January 1. If your co-workers are the kind of jackasses they sound like, your boss will probably not be surprised and will already be thinking about ways to replace them anyway.

Last, and this requires a fair amount of dishonesty on your part, tell your boss that you yourself may have a "condition" that will likely require extensive medical treatment, and you'll be out for several months, starting in February, but you think that he should begin hiring your replacement now. Of course, once your co-workers resign, you will experience a miraculous recovery and you won't need to take medical leave -- and the new guy should be trained in plenty of time to cover for you in March.

  • 14
    Don't do the last paragraph. You are throwing yourself under the bus. I would immediately talk to your boss openly and honestly. I would also not accept a revocation of my holidays.
    – Jeremy
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 8:59
  • 2
    OP has stated "My vacation is approved", so changing vacation to a phony medical condition os ill advised
    – Mawg
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 9:02
  • 1
    Yeah, that's not that great idea, if someone came up with medical condition out of a sudden, in some countries there might be requirement of "self-certification" for short term illness absence ( so you state what was wrong ) and in cases of serious medical problems that might warrant lengthy off sick period you might have to provide doctor's certificate stating that it was indeed the case. Lying almost always comes back to bite you on the booty. Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 10:24
  • Don't do the first paragraph either. How are you going to explain to your boss that you just happened to have some "hot resume's" at hand? You are profiting from the company's misfortune based on information known only to you, and it will be obvious to your boss that that is what you are doing. Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 11:25
  • @Cthulhubutt - You don't actually take the leave. Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 0:35

(I am assuming that no one will spend money on a holiday unless they have enough saving to be able to cope for a few months without work.)

When the time comes, gives your boss two chooses….

  • Find 3 replacement workers with you resigning on the spot
  • Or letting you go guilt free on your prebooked holiday

(In the first case, you then take legal advice, as at least in the UK your employer would have a legal case to answers.)

Until the time comes just do you job without working any additional hours etc due to a miss placed feeling of guilt.

  • 4
    With the possible result that he loses his job, a much worse outcome than the worst case he's trying to avoid... Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 11:25
  • In all honesty, this is exactly what I would do. But that is because I can a) afford to be unemployed for a couple of months and b) have no worries about the state of the industry / my ability to get a new job quickly and easily. An employer who tried to cancel my big holiday would not be one I'd want to continue working for.
    – AndyT
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 16:08
  • So your advise is that OP should risk his job because of his co-workers' problem? Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 20:12

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .