When a New Job Offer Conflicts with a Planned Vacation

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Your present job has been working you to death and you haven’t been able to take a vacation in years. It’s one reason why you decided to look for another job. You’re long overdue for a break and you were hoping you could take at least a week off between jobs.

You’ve made reservations and gotten everyone you know all hyped up over your trip to Maui. But that new job offer came in sooner than you expected. You don’t want to jeopardize it by announcing you need a vacation. In fact, you read somewhere that new hires should wait at least 6 months before asking for vacation time. What to do?  


Some tips to help you through this touchy subject:


Mum’s the word—early on. Don’t bring up your need for a vacation or that you’ve made plans for one--in your application, cover letter, phone interview or even in the first interview. While employers and HR managers would obviously like to know if you plan to take a vacation right off, it’s better not to mention it at the early stages. The temptation is to skip over your resume or shorten the interview to an “also ran” if you talk about vacations too early. It’s best to let your qualifications and great interview performance sink in and gel. 


Wait for talk of start dates. The time to bring up any vacation plans is after the second or third interview when the employer starts talking about specific start dates. Let the employer or HR manager bring up the subject of when you plan to start work. It may very well be that you’ll have the time to take that much needed vacation after all. If not, you’ll have to resort to plan B—negotiate.

Plan B—Money & Scheduling. Show your new employer the time and money you’ve already invested in planning your vacation.  This would include any non-refundable deposits for airline tickets, hotel rooms, etc. If your working spouse has scheduled his or her vacation around yours, mention that as well. 


Plan B—Stress Relief. Tell your new employer that your dedication to your previous job left you without a vacation for several years, and that you need the break to relieve stress and to start your new job refreshed and reinvigorated. 

Plan B—later start date/shorter vacation. Keep in mind that even in these tough times, some employers will wait as long as a month for the right candidate to start work. If you can’t agree on a later start date, you can, as a last resort, offer to reduce the length of your vacation.  This shows your new employer that you’re eager to meet them half way with a compromise start date. 


If you have any ideas on negotiating a pre-planned vacation during a job offer meeting, feel free to add your suggestions below. 



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