By Angela Copeland
One of the number one reasons people are hesitant to switch jobs is because of their vacation time. They start with one or two weeks of vacation each year at their company. Then, as they stay at their job for a few years, more days are added on. After a while, they may find that they have earned four or five weeks of vacation per year. This much vacation can truly be life changing. And, all that vacation time took years to earn. It makes you not want to leave. Can you relate?
One of the biggest secrets to interviewing for a new job is this. Vacation time is negotiable. In other words, you can ask for more. This especially true at big corporations – for office jobs.
I get it. There’s a company handbook. The human resources team lays out the rules. Everyone starts with two weeks. When you start a new job, you start over.
In reality, everyone starts out with two weeks, until they negotiate for more. When you are negotiating your job offer, along with pay and your start date, you can negotiate for more vacation. Don’t get me wrong. You can’t ask for more of everything. If you ask for more vacation, you may not want to ask for ask for more money.
Often, it is actually easier for a company to give you more vacation than it is to give you more money. On the surface, this can be surprising, because many employees value vacation more than they value a few extra dollars.
If you’re thinking of switching, don’t let your current vacation stop you from looking for a new job. It’s very possible that your new job will be open to the idea of matching your current vacation time.
Wait until you have a job offer in hand to ask for more vacation. Then, ask if there’s room for negotiation around the amount of vacation. Explain that you love the new job, but that you have earned a certain level of vacation time at your current company. You would hate to lose that time.
In all likelihood, you’ll ask this question to the human resources recruiter. That person will have to talk this over with the hiring manager. Then, they’ll let you know if your request is approved.
If they do decide to approve your request, there’s one important thing not to forget. Get it in writing. Increased vacation days are often an agreement between you and your manager. If your current manager were to leave the company, how would your new manager know about the agreement? At a bare minimum, get your approved vacation time in an email, so that you could share it with a new manager.
It’s as simple as that. If you ask for more vacation, you very well might get it. It doesn’t always work. But, if you don’t ask, you will never know.
Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.