So you finally landed your first grown up job. Well done on all that graduation stuff! Then they tell you you’ve got 10 whole days of vacation for the entire
month year! Say what now? What happened to spring break? and fall break? and summer break??? RUDE!!
Well, fret not. I am here to help you multiply those vacation days like a pro!
** I’m only half kidding/half serious in most of these tips **
First off, choose your college major wisely. Sorry if this step is too late for you i.e. if you already declared your major, or you graduated already. For example, I am an engineer and it is possible for me to work remotely, should the need arise. If I were an OBGYN, I couldn’t deliver babies from the comfort of my bed (as my sister has reminded me a few times 😉 ).
Don’t get me wrong though- not all engineers have this flexibility. I’m not sure how practical it would be for a manufacturing engineer to work from home, for example. It all just depends. But a software engineer should be able to write code from anywhere, methinks.
Next, after graduation- choose your job wisely. Hopefully, you have options. So if you do, consider things like:
- % travel required (maybe you can add vacation days to work trips, extend your trips, do a little bit of sightseeing, ei?) like one of the times I was in Scotland.
- the actual nature of the job (will you be required to be onsite or is it something you can do from anywhere?). For example, teacher vs writer.
- Company culture. Some companies are strict about physical presence in the office; others are more flexible.
I agree it may be hard to tell these things just from the job offer, but you can ask the HR peeps or other people who already work there that you may know.
Another one is you may be able to negotiate your number of vacation days before you accept the job offer. I think most jobs in the U.S. offer 10 days of vacation for college hires. They may make an exception for you if you ask and/or if you’re super awesome :). Either way, it won’t hurt to ask.
Make sure you have a cool manager. I don’t just mean one who uses slang like “totes adorbs” or is conversant with the use of all the latest emojis or active on snapchat. Those characteristics
should could be considered too, but would they be cool with you leaving early on Friday so you can catch that 2pm flight? Or be cool with you working remotely on Thursday and Friday so you can take the Wednesday flight that’s $200 cheaper than the Friday flight for the Saturday wedding of your best friend?
Again, you may not be able to tell these things ahead of time, but it can go a long way in quadrupling your ‘vacation’ days.
Long weekends!! Long weekends are your best friend (other than the one getting married). Long weekends are the adult version of spring break. When it’s a long weekend, take an adjacent day or two off as vacation (or work from home). That’s a 4 day vacation where there used to be 0- because let’s face it, a regular weekend can’t really be seen as a 2 day vacation. So Memorial Day, Labor Day, Good Friday/Easter Monday or both, Independence Day … Plan. Them. Out.
Thanksgiving; aren’t we so thankful! Here’s another situation where a cool manager would be an added bonus. See, usually most people get just Thursday and Friday off. But you could also get Wednesday off too. If you travel Tuesday after work, you can be at your destination by Tuesday night, work remotely Wednesday (or just take Wednesday off) and start your thanksgiving early and more importantly, likely save on plane ticket costs and/or beat holiday traffic.
Christmas/New Year. This oh so special and magical time. Again- choose job wisely. I happen to work at a place where the entire week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day is holiday for us. Something about plant shutdown. That’s a whole 7 days. And then, if the holiday gods/calendar are really in your favor that year, depending on what day of the week Christmas Day is on, this could be like 10 days. Free of charge!
Strong Work Ethic. And I cannot stress this enough. You need to be a hard worker at work, and not a slacker. You need to be reliable and trustworthy. You need to be the kind of person your manager would trust to actually work remotely when you say that’s what you will be doing. You need to be the person who is
never seldom late on delivery, who meets and, at least sometimes, exceeds expectations at work. Someone who does not abuse the privilege of flexible work hours.
I have been operating on 10 vacation days/year for some time now and yet, I’ve managed to travel to several places and spend significant time in each place. So fear not, you too can multiply your vacation days. You too can easily become someone whose problem is too many vacation days and not enough money to travel to all the places on your list. It just takes planning and some good luck.
So what other creative ways have you used to multiply your vacation days? Let me know in the comments section and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog by entering your email below, if you haven’t already 🙂
To whom vacation days are given, much travel is expected- Omobola Thomas.
Header Photo: Miami Beach, Florida. Sept 2015. Photo by O Thomas.