Asking for extra time off is an art. Master it.
Your job probably comes with a prescribed number of guaranteed vacation or personal days, and by now you know how to take advantage of them — let’s hope with plenty of notice and scheduled not to interfere with major deadlines or the vacations of others.
Occasionally, however, you may need time off in addition to your allotted days. An important family matter comes up, say, or you’ve just realized your long-planned dream vacation is going to require an extra travel day.
Not to worry. If you’re on good terms with your boss and you don’t make these kinds of requests every few months, you should be able to swing a bit of extra time. Here’s how:
• Schedule your ask for a calm moment when everything at work is humming along and everyone is relaxed and happy. If you have time, make an effort beforehand to somehow wow your boss so that he or she can’t help but look favorably upon you.
• Think through what inconveniences your absence may cause and devise ways to eliminate them. You can ask a co-worker to cover for you, offer to be available via email/phone/text to answer questions that come up, strive to get as much work done in advance as possible, or promise to put in extra hours later.
• Try to schedule your time off in a way that meshes as much as possible with your boss’s and company’s convenience. For example, if you need to go because family members are unexpectedly coming into town, maybe you can ask them to arrive a bit earlier or later. Sometimes a half day makes all the difference.
• Provide enough details so your boss understands the importance of your request. But not too many details — keep it brief. You are entitled to your privacy.
• Mention that all your work is up to date and organized in a way that others would be able to easily understand.
• Assure your boss that you’re not planning to make a habit of asking for special treatment, and consider offering to take the time without pay.
Finally, please couch your request in terms of a request. Even if your situation is a true emergency (a death in the family, a health crisis), you’re still asking for a favor here. Showing you recognize this can’t hurt.