I work in a French company. We are allowed to take some days off throughout the year, but the boss can say no if there some reasonable circumstances.

Seeing as this Thursday is a holiday here, a lot of people on the IT department - including me - were requesting the day off this Friday. However, an outstanding issue on the company's site led the boss to deny the leaves of absence and ask everyone to stay and work on the problem.

What nags me is, I do not work in what everyone else in the department works. While they manage the site, I just work on the mobile app. We don't work together 99% of the time and when we do it's only for things related to the mobile app.

My question is, how could I politely ask the boss to reconsider my request considering that my presence on Friday won't help?

  • 9
    You can point this out to him but don't be surprised if he says no because the others will resent it if you get to go and they can't.
    – HLGEM
    Commented May 23, 2017 at 14:34
  • @HLGEM What about all those other people in the company that aren't in IT? Should they be coming in too?
    – Peter M
    Commented May 23, 2017 at 14:41
  • 2
    They don;t work for this guy
    – HLGEM
    Commented May 23, 2017 at 14:52
  • 6
    You might want to disguise this as a question if you are needed too, because you wouldn't know what to help with that issue.
    – PlasmaHH
    Commented May 23, 2017 at 14:55
  • @HLGEM I think the others might understand seeing as we work on different areas.
    – edoreld
    Commented May 23, 2017 at 15:14

1 Answer 1


First - realize that there are times when it's optimal to make demands on a team that aren't respective to exactly who does what. Making exceptions for a specific individual sends a message, and it may not be the message your boss wants to send. There are certainly times where as the boss, I could see a chain reaction across a team where I wanted to strongly send the message "you're all in this together, not matter whose problem this is, you are all on point for making sure that all of our work comes out well".

Second - so I advise asking, but starting from the point of awareness that the first point could be a factor. One way to start the conversation would be to casually point out any relevant fact you think the boss might be unclear on and then ask how you can be of assistance on the day that he's told you to be available. Something like:

Hey! I had a question about the not-day-off and the issues on our site. I work entirely in the mobile app and I don't have access to, or insight into the ways we fix issues on the main site. I'm totally glad to be here to help - but I don't know what I can do to be of assistance here. I'm afraid that I'm mostly a distraction to the team, because all of my interaction with the site folks has been around the mobile app, which doesn't seem like part of our big problem. Is there something I can be doing to help here? Is there a way the mobile app side can help or something I should be specifically focused on to make the work of the site team easier?

If the answer is "yes" - then you'll learn how your work fits in and how you can help. Or you'll learn how the boss completely doesn't understand what you do or how you fit with the team that's having the problem. Or you'll learn that in times of crisis you are expected to pitch in, regardless of what you regularly do, and what that would look like.

If the answer is "no" - you have a good transition point into "then why I am being denied vacation time if I'm just going to be in the way?" You might not even have to ask, the boss may immediately say - "Oh, I didn't mean YOU! Feel free to not show up, but don't make a big deal of it"

Either way, you come off as a person who thinks first of how to be helpful and only asks for special dispensation when it's clear that your sacrifice doesn't really help anyone.

  • Thank you, I used your template as a starting point for my message to my boss and he granted me the day off upon realizing that I wouldn't be much help after all
    – edoreld
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 12:00

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