My husband just lost his job while I was on vacation, so I wanted to cut my vacation short to save on money. What's the best way to tell my boss without letting him know the real reason? I don't want him spreading the news throughout the whole company.

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    Just tell him you had a change of plans and decided to delay your vacation. Nothing more needs to be said. – Roger Jan 12 '17 at 18:49
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    Are you trying to have fewer vacation days to make more money (likely impossible), or use your vacation days other time because vacations are expensive (likely just do it)? Easily confusable questions. – user42272 Jan 12 '17 at 23:25
  • What country do you live in? Are these paid vacation days? – BirdLawExpert Jan 18 '17 at 17:35

In the US, at least, if you're in a salaried position, your vacation days are often 'use them or lose them' and can't be converted into liquid cash. If this is the case, you might be better off using that time to help your husband get back on his feet or think about side-jobs that will help you make up the income gap. If you've travelled someplace far away, it may cost you more just to return home earlier, so you ought to just enjoy the vacation time if you can.

If you're in a position where you get paid per shift, just call him and say that there was a change in plans and you'll be available again on Monday, if there's any work that's available. Say "A personal matter came up" if you feel like you have to give a reason.

If your manager presses further, just say the hotel was terrible or your car broke down on the road - it's none of his business so it really doesn't matter what you tell him.

He might say that there isn't work available if the schedules are planned in advance - if that's the case, there's nothing you can do but take those days off and make the best of it.


Simply let your boss know that you are cutting your vacation short, that you'll be back in the office on such and such a date and that they can take you out to lunch if they feel strongly enough about it.

In general, your personal and your family circumstances are your business and no one else's including your management. Personally, I'd say to anyone who asks "My plans for a long, relaxing vacation fell through" - which is totally true, by the way - and I'd add with a tight smile "Any other questions?"

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    "and that they can take you out to lunch if they feel strongly enough about it" - what do you mean by that? Why would the boss take the OP out to lunch? – thursdaysgeek Jan 12 '17 at 21:06
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    @thursdaysgeek - Why not? I don't know about you, but I have an easy relationship with staff and management, including my bosses. – Vietnhi Phuvan Jan 12 '17 at 21:23
  • @thursdaysgeek uhm, because "they feel strongly enough about it"? You have quoted it yourself. :) – Masked Man Jan 17 '17 at 17:27
  • @MaskedMan I guess I don't understand the correlation. Me: "I'm coming back from vacation early, therefore you should take me out for lunch." And feeling strongly about what? Happy that OP came back early? Disappointed that they didn't stay the whole time? Excited that there is another demand to go out to lunch? It just seems like a confusing non-sequitur. – thursdaysgeek Jan 17 '17 at 21:57
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    @thursdaysgeek I think what he means is if coworkers, etc. want to find out more details and be involved more, they should be involved in other ways (e.g. going out to lunch, etc.) as a whole in their relationship personally. i.e. personal details beg for some level of a friendly, personal relationship as well. – Robert Dundon Jan 18 '17 at 15:21

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