Things Women Should Unlearn Regarding Time Off

Oftentimes, taking time off can feel like a nuisance to those around you, which is one of the many reasons people tend to hold on to their paid days off. Additionally, time off seems like a luxury that we sometimes feel that we can’t afford.

Whatever the reasoning, if you have difficulty taking time off from work, you are not alone. Here are a few things to remember.

No Explanation is Needed

We don’t know when the need to explain your reasoning for taking time off began, but it’s time to kick that rule to the curb. If you’re a salaried employee, for example, you have a certain amount of accrued vacation time, sick time, and personal time at your disposal.

While you’re more than welcome to provide your manager with a detailed explanation if you’re comfortable doing so, it’s not necessary, as you already have the right to take the days off as you see fit. Touching base with your manager about time off is the important professional courtesy.

You Aren’t Responsible for the Workload of Others

Whether salaried or hourly, when you take time off, there’s a likelihood that others around you will need to help cover your workload while you’re out. However, this should not deter you from taking off the time that you’ve earned.

First and foremost, paid time off is there not only because you’ve earned it, but also because you need it. Burnout is very real, and when you don’t use your vacation time, the chances that you experience burnout increases tenfold.

Additionally, the workload of others isn’t on you. If you have a planned vacation, complete what you can before you leave. If you take an unexpected sick day, your coworkers will understand, even if it adds a couple of things to their to-do lists.

While the implications on others differ greatly and are dependent upon the industry in question, the bottom line is that your coworkers will use their paid time off as they see fit, and you should as well.

Use Your Days – Don’t Lose Them

There’s nothing more frustrating than accruing days off only to watch them disappear before you take the opportunity to use them. Pay attention to your accrued time off and its expiration date so that you use them before the deadline.

Whatever you do, don’t be the person that hoards all of their days until the last minute and then takes a full month off. They’re your days, but there’s still a respectful way of utilizing them.

A Day Off is a Day Off

Last, but not least, taking time off means leaving the office behind, in every capacity. Turn off your work email notifications, send work-related calls to voicemail, and rely on your out-of-office automatic response to get the message across for you.

There’s a clear difference between an emergency and a coworker/client that doesn’t understand boundaries, so make sure you know the difference before you respond to any work-related items while taking time off. Don’t set a precedent that says it’s okay to contact you while on vacation, as boundaries are not only healthy, but also necessary for giving you that much-deserved break.

When it comes to taking time off, it’s time to unlearn some of those negative aspects. At the end of the day, your accrued time off is yours to utilize as you please. You should be able to do so without reprimand or fear of annoying those around you.

Remember these points on time off and take charge of your work/life balance because the bottom line is, you need to have one.


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