I was promised time off for my wedding that’s now being revoked, salary requirements in a cover letter, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. I was promised time off for my wedding that’s now being revoked

I interviewed for a position in October, and during the interview I told them that I was getting married in April, six months away. I stated that my wedding was out of state and I would need time off in December to travel and arrange the details of the wedding out of state, as well as time off in April. They simply said that it wouldn’t be a problem. When December came, I took two weeks off and went home to Washington and did all sorts of wedding business. When I came back, I spoke to them about two weeks off in April. My manager said it shouldn’t be a problem. When I put in my time request for the two weeks off and the final dates (we weren’t sure yet about the dates for the honeymoon prior to this), the HR manager denied it and said I couldn’t only take one week. Since it’s out of state, we needed to go home the week before and take care of last-minute details, and see family who are coming from all over the country. Then we were going to take a 5-day honeymoon. I’ve spoke to them twice and the HR manager says it’s my fault for not getting it in writing in October, and they don’t give four weeks off for weddings; they were only expecting me to take one week total. My manger and coworkers are ok with covering the shifts, but HR says that I cannot have it off. My fiance is very upset and wants me to quit my job. I don’t know what to do!

The solution here should be for your manager to handle this with HR — telling them that she okayed the time off as a condition of your offer and that it needs to be honored. If she’s not willing to do that, or if for some reason HR overrules her (which could happen if HR has too much power), then yeah, you’d have to decide if you’re willing to leave your job over it. But I would think that taking the time unpaid should be permitted.

That said, four weeks off for a wedding within six months of starting a job is a lot, and simply for that reason it would have been wise to get it in writing at the outset. But since your manager isn’t disputing that she okayed this, HR should get out of the way (and get aligned with your manager about how she will handle this stuff going forward).

2. Can I ask to delay a start date until after my final exams?

I am a final year undergraduate who is just about to hand in her thesis and undertake her final exams in April/May. I applied for a job at the start of December, passed a recruitment test last week, and now have an interview for what I think is a full-time job. The interview is at the beginning of March. I have explained to my mother that if I am offered a full-time job, I couldn’t start it until after my finals in May. She is now accusing me of “throwing away a job” (that I don’t even have yet) and says there is no reason why I can’t accept the job if I’m offered it and study. My mother never went to college and has always maintained that earning money is more important than studying.

If I pass the interview in March, would it be OK to ask the employer if I could start in May and explain I’m a final-year college student? I really want to work for this company, but regardless of what my mother says I am not prepared to “throw away” my degree for it, and I only have a few weeks left to go. Please respond, I feel under a tremendous amount of pressure.

You should not blow your finals for one random job. There will be other jobs. This one could end up being a horrible job. They could lay you off two months after starting. Or, you might love it — who knows. But regardless, you don’t go to college for four years only to blow your finals at the very end just for a single job.

This employer knows that you’re in school, so it’s highly likely that they’re assuming you couldn’t start until the end of the semester. But you don’t need to stay in the dark about their expectations and timeline — you can ask! You can ask at the interview if you’d like, or you can even ask now, by emailing them, and you also could have asked when setting up the interview — this is totally okay to do at any point in the process after they make initial contact with you. (The same goes for your question about whether it’s full-time, although I’d assume by default that it’s full-time unless there’s some specific reason to question that.) You can simply say something like, “My finals are the first week of May, so I’d be able to start May 12 but not before then. Would that work with your timeline?”

3. Employer is asking for salary requirements to be included on my resume

I recently was laid off from my job, and am searching for a new one for the first time in six years. I’ve been surfing many of the big job board sites, and I recently came across a strange requirement and am kind of at a loss. The job posting is for an administrative assistant/accounts payable assistant role, and on the company’s application website, they state at the bottom of the posting (as part of the instructions for how to submit your application materials) that they will only consider resumes that include compensation requirements.

I’ve heard of this in cover letters, but I’m not really sure how to handle it in the resume. Is that a fancy way of saying they want your salary history on your resume, or is it just enough to say that you’re looking for a range between x and y? And if all I have to put is a range, where on my resume would this go? I don’t have an objective section, but I don’t have a skills summary or anything like that either, so should I make one and then add that in there?

I bet they’d be fine with it being included in your cover letter rather than on your resume, although if you’re in any doubt, what the hell, comply with their direction to do a really bizarre thing with your resume. Do not, however, list your salary history, which is a totally different thing from what they’re asking for; they’re asking for what salary you’re seeking now. List the salary range appropriate for the work you’re seeking, for your experience level, in your geographic area (which will require some research if you aren’t already certain of it). I’d stick it at the very bottom. But if you’re willing to put it in your cover letter instead, despite their instructions, that’s going to be a much better place for it.

4. Salary requirements, part 2

I just applied for a job on Linkedin that sounded amazing! I created a cover letter using the excellent advice I got here (looking back at my previous cover letters makes me want to cringe…. “team player”? “go the extra mile”?) and sent it along with my resume. After I sent it off I read to the very bottom of the job posting and noticed that it said: “Interested? Please submit resume and salary requirements to recruiter@__.com.” Well, obviously I didn’t do that and now I’m wondering if this is how they weed out people who don’t follow directions. Should I resubmit and send it to the email address posted? Also, how the heck do I state my salary requirements? Is that something that should be included in my cover letter?

I’d just send a quick note saying, “I saw that you’re asking candidates to include salary expectations with their applications, so I’ve added that to my cover letter and resubmitting it and my resume here.” (And then attach them both, obviously, with the salary piece added to your cover letter.) It’s annoying that employers ask for this rather than just stating a salary range up-front, but they do and so this is the cost of admission to their frustrating little dance.

5. Should I apply for a job while waiting to get a different one confirmed?

I have applied to work at a large retail store while I attend school two days a week. I have gone through my two interviews, the drug test, and am now awaiting a background check, then a phone call. My interviewer has told me to assume I have the job given the background checks go well, so at this point all I am waiting for is a formal offer and pay rate within the next week.

I have just found out there is an opening that is perfect for me and is in my chosen career path today and I would most likely love it. It is also very likely I would get this job in my career field, but I haven’t applied for it yet. Should I go ahead and apply for the position since she still hasn’t formally offered me the job?

Hell yes. The first job hasn’t made a commitment to you yet, so you don’t need to make a commitment to them. Moreover, there’s generally less of an implied commitment in retail jobs, so it’s not likely to be a disaster even if you do end up leaving it within a few months of starting it. (But be cautious about assuming it’s likely you’d get the other job; unless you know there will only be a few applicants, there’s usually no way to reliably assume that.)

{ 148 comments… read them below }

  1. Artemesia

    A business will drop you like a hot rock if it is in their interest to do so, so for heaven’s sake don’t act on some sense of loyalty or obligation especially to a place that hasn’t even made a formal offer yet. Of course, being professional, giving notice etc etc is important but filler jobs like retail, waitressing etc can be left when you get that better offer from someone in your field. And never act against your own interests because ‘they need me’ — when they don’t need you, they won’t act against their interests.

    1. Anonymous

      Absolutely. My former coworker was unhappy but stayed because our boss “needed” her. When they needed to reduce staff, she was downsized just like several others.

      Someone once told me your loyalty should be with your friends and family. My concept of loyalty at work is doing the best job I can possible do, if there’s something to improve profitability or efficiency- that’s shared with my boss, and I won’t disclose sensitive information to others. But that’s as far as it goes.

      1. TheSnarkyB

        I’m going to save the language here. This is really good to keep in mind. Working in mental health, I think my loyalty can get away from me at times and this is so true, regardless of your work setting.

        1. fposte

          I also think service nonprofits sometimes use the clientele as a shield for management–but commitment to clients is not the same thing as accepting whatever management doles out.

          1. Ruffingit

            Yes, and along these lines, I love it when some companies will try to do the guilt thing, especially in places where there is a lot of client contact (mental health jobs, etc) “Well, if you leave, our clients will suffer, you don’t want that do you? You’ll be responsible for their suffering…”

            Uh, no. No I will not. YOU are responsible for their suffering because YOU did not plan to have enough coverage/cross-training if someone left.

            If your leaving causes a business major problems, that is on THEM, not you. People really need to understand that. If companies don’t cross-train, don’t hire enough personnel, don’t handle issues that cause a mass exodus, that is their issue, not yours. All you can do is leave your work in as good a shape as possible, leave documentation for your job if you can (which you should be writing from day 1 of your job by the way so it can be used when you’re on vacation or whatever), and move on.

            Your company’s lack of planning is not your problem.

        2. Natalie Anne Lanoville

          This isn’t exactly addressing the OP, but an axiom I apply and advise people of is to never give anything to your job expecting to get the same back. I’m not ‘in a relationship’ with my work. I can and should be rewarded for hard work, reliability and initiative with money, accolades & opportunities for advancement, but a ‘thing’ (and a workplace is a thing even if it is not made up of thinking, feeling people) will never be able to recognise, acknowledge, reward or reciprocate my emotional commitment, devotion or sacrifices.

  2. EngineerGirl

    #1 – You really need to clarify with HR that this is unpaid time off, not vacation. It would be unreasonable to expect 4 weeks paid leave. It would be reasonable to have 1 week paid and 3 weeks unpaid. Perhaps the pushback is because of HR’s misunderstanding of your vacation wants?

    But if there is continued pushback your manager should help. Reiterate to HR that this was part of your employment contract (in writing or not) and that management has agreed to it. And yes, I’d use the word contract. Several states honor verbal contracts – check to see if yours is one of them.

    I think what truly bothers me about this is HR saying that it’s your fault for not getting it in writing. It indicates that this HR person doesn’t honor their word, which makes it an honesty issue for the company. I am also bothered by HR placing the blame on you. Your manager agreed to this, so it wasn’t done in a vacuum. Yes, there should have been something in writing (with details). But that doesn’t mean that HR can’t honor it.

    1. PEBCAK

      Yeah, but it’s not clear from the letter just *what* she got confirmed verbally. “Some time off” is really different from “two weeks in December and two weeks in April.” Because the OP says that she didn’t have the dates finalized, I’m really doubting that she was promised the latter.

      1. EngineerGirl

        When I came back, I spoke to them about two weeks off in April. My manager said it shouldn’t be a problem

        HR shouldn’t be the one approving/disapproving vacation – that is the manager’s job. HR’s only concern is if this is a paid vacation. If it isn’t, the HR is interfering when it shouldn’t be. The only thing I can see if the hours drop below a certain level and the employee becomes part time. But again, not a legal thing.

        HR is often under the delusion that they have to treat people “the same”. No, no, no. They have to treat people equally, and fairly, but not the same.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

          Dunno, I’m almost team HR on this one, except HR’s beef should be with the manager and not the employee.

          That’s an excessive amount of leave for a new employee and can cause domino problems with other employees in the organization.

          Don’t discount the possibility of the manager leaving HR to do the dirty work on this one either. I could see this entire situation breaking out in another division of our company (not mine, ’cause of course I run perfectly :p), with HR the Winston Wolfe for a careless manager.

          Anyway! The proof is in what happens next. If the manager is behind the employee’s request, then the manager should take care of this with HR.

          1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

            * meaning, I’m not convinced the manager doesn’t agree with HR but is too chicken to say so directly, leaving HR to do the dirty work

            (send coffee)

          2. Chinook

            I agree – HR should be dealing with the manager and not the employee. Managers are the ones who manage workload and coverage and vacation schedules. If she did ok 4 weeks as a condition of employment, I would expect she would know what she is doing. I have never worked anywhere where HR had a say in vacation days because that is the manager’s job.

          3. Juli G.

            @Wakeen’s: As an HR person, I appreciate it. We regularly get thrown under the bus by managers. In fact, someone came in the office yesterday and told me “The guy told me that someone in HR told me XYZ and that it has to be that way.” What I wanted to say to him was “No one in HR said that because none of us give a damn about that.”

        2. Ask a Manager Post author

          HR could potentially have a valid point if they’ve denied similar time off to employees who are similarly situated but in different protected classes, and if they’re already dealing with concerns about disparate treatment in regard to protected classes.

          That’s the only way I could see them legitimately having a problem with it. Otherwise, they should get out of the way (assuming the time is indeed going to be unpaid).

          1. Jessa

            Even if they have a problem, the OP took the job with conditions. Discipline the manager, but the OP is entitled to what they were promised. If the conditions provided to the OP are a problem corporately, then that’s on the manager, it’s still not reason to punish the OP for negotiating a better deal. Also even if they have turned down protected classes, the odds that those people actually made a verbal contract, when they were HIRED is very slim.

            This is in no way special treatment. The OP negotiated this as part of the agreement to take the job. The supervisor approved it.

            1. Ann Furthermore

              But what, specifically, was the OP promised? If all she asked for was “some” time, I don’t think anyone would expect that to come to almost an entire month off in the first six months of working. Assuming a standard vacation accrual of 2 weeks per year, it would take 18 months to get back to a net zero vacation balance.

              I was in the exact position as the OP when I took my job. I started in November, and got married the following May, and during the hiring process I also said I’d need some time off for that. In my case, “some” time was 4 extra vacation days, beyond what I’d earned in my 5 1/2 months of employment.

              1. Anonymous

                Vacation days are accrued as paid days. I’m guessing that this is unpaid time off, in which case, the accrual timeline wouldn’t matter.

              2. the_scientist

                I’m obviously entirely spoiled by my workplace but I honestly don’t see taking four weeks off as THAT big of deal, especially if management okay’d it. Four weeks vacation is, I would say, fairly standard for high-level positions in Canada and they didn’t have to hire her if they weren’t okay with it. My program manager took four weeks (one entire month) off during her first six months to get married and go on her honeymoon. We have similar contracts with no benefits or paid time off, but the big boss gave her the time paid due to the amount of overtime she’d worked and would work in the month after returning.

                The program manager’s last day was two weeks after my first day of work. I picked stuff up on the fly, everything got done, all the balls stayed in the air etc etc.

                1. A Dispatcher

                  It would definitely depend on where the OP lives. In the US, 2 weeks of vacation is pretty standard and as discussed in comments recently, a lot of times you don’t earn that until after you’ve been in the position for a full year. Unpaid time off is of course different than vacation, but here 4 weeks off (paid or not) in the first 6 months of employment is very unusual and I can see how OP’s job may have been blindsided a bit if she wasn’t explicit about exactly how much time she would need.

                2. FiveNine

                  It’s actually exceedingly rare at every professional job I’ve had in the United States for an employee to take two weeks vacation all at once (though, especially if they are foreign-born and vacationing back at home they might). Heck, many white collar jobs ONLY give two to three weeks TOTAL per year of paid vacation, which is one of the reasons why most people don’t take it all in one shot. Which reminds me: Unless this is all or mostly unpaid leave, the OP also almost certainly is going to want more vacation days in her first 18 months on the job.

                3. fposte

                  Yeah, four weeks out of the first twenty-six weeks would be a big deal here. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but one reason why I think the OP may be new to the workforce is that an experienced employee would know to get that kind of unusual arrangement carved into stone and not just assume a verbal okay would hold.

                4. the_scientist

                  I can’t nest anymore replies in this thread, but yes, it’s obviously a regional thing. I worked at a pharmaceutical company and the techs were unionized- I believe you START with 2 weeks vacation there; and a woman in my lab who’d been with the company for twenty years took a five-week paid vacation- after that much time at the company, that was what she was entitled to.
                  I’m very early career but I would say that my experience and that of my friends indicates that people in white-collar ish positions start with at least one week paid vacation; and often with two in Ontario. When you start a new position there’s usually a three-month probationary period before vacation and benefits kick in, but that’s it. So here, four weeks for someone who is well into their career would not be unusual and they would be entitled to that time after any probationary periods. Not to turn this into a nationalist thing but a lot of the discussion here just makes me really glad that I live in Canada.

                5. Chinook

                  Every Canadian is mentioning the 3 monthg probation, but it is important to note that you are still accruing vacation time in those 3 months but just aren’t allowed to use it. If you ended upleaving at or before the 3 month point, they would owe you what has been accrued (unless it was already added to your regular pay cheque like they do in jobs with no regular vacation times). If neither of these happen, they are breaking labour laws and can be reported.

                  Now, even if the OP was in Canada, her request would have been just as unusual and seen as unpaid time off once she maxed the accrued vacation pay. The same scenario would end up with the same result and I can’t believe that HR has the power to veto vacations approved by a manager.

                6. Positivity Boy

                  I think this is definitely a big difference in terms of policy and culture between the US vs. Canada. My employer’s parent company is Canadian so I work closely with a lot of our reps there, and I know they start with more vacation time, accrue it more quickly, and also tend to take it in big chunks. In the US people are more likely to just take a Friday or a Monday off to make a long weekend, with maybe one straight week off a year for a special trip. It seems like whenever my Canadian coworkers are out, it’s usually for a minimum of 2-3 days and it’s not uncommon for me to be told someone is out for the next 2-3 weeks.

                  Maybe I’m generalizing and this just happens to be how my parent company works, but I do get the impression that the way vacation is given out and used is not the same between the two countries.

                7. Marmite

                  I was feeling spoiled by vacation time reading this too. I’m in the UK and get a little over six weeks paid vacation per year (plus the eight public holidays). I started with that amount and was able to take it from day one.

                  I took a week about a month after I started as I had a holiday already booked before starting (and was given verbal permission at interview that this would be allowed), then another week plus a few odd days within the first three months. Our vacation time is use it or lose so on an annual basis so everyone has to take all six weeks + within their first year.

                  Even so, two blocks of two consecutive weeks within the first six months would be seen as unusual. Even with our generous leave policy, most people stick to one week blocks of time off, with maybe one two week block in the winter when the industry I work in is traditionally slow.

              3. Gilby

                Agree with Ann…. Was she promised a month off total? Literally.. “YES ,new employee, we will give you 4 weeks off.

                Because technically the manager and/or HR can say.. OK here is ” some time off” you get a week.

                So OP were you promised 4 weeks off total? Literally.

          2. JenTheNiceHRGirl

            I was pondering something along those lines. If her manager allows her to take 4 weeks of unpaid leave for her wedding, but told someone else that unpaid leave couldn’t be taken for some other reason, that could cause issues and potentially cause someone to determine that it was (insert protected class reason here) why they were denied their leave… so from that angle, I can see why the manager wouldn’t think that it would be a good idea, but what I don’t understand is why the HR person had to be the one to tell the employee and not the manager… the manager should have been the one to deny her request, especially since it was the manager who lead her to believe that her request would be honored in the first place. I am interested to see what happens with this one.

        3. tcookson

          I’ve never even heard of HR being the one to approve/disprove time off over the acting manager. Is that really a thing? It seems like it shouldn’t be.

          1. JenTheNiceHRGirl

            It’s never been that way at any of the places I have ever worked. How would I know if it is ok for someone to take time off or not? I agree, that totally shouldn’t be happening.

      2. Vicki

        It doesn’t matter “what”she got confirmed verbally. OP and her manager agree. HR is out of line here.

        HR’s job is to protect the company from lawsuits and ensure that things are handled appropriately. HR’s job does not include getting between an employee and her manager on an agreed time off issue.

    2. Elysian

      “Several states honor verbal contracts – check to see if yours is one of them.”

      All states honor verbal contracts. Nothing about being verbal makes it less of a contract. There are precious few situations where a contract has to be in writing, and this wouldn’t be one of them.

      But I’d be wary about using the word contract when you’re dealing with HR. They’ll probably be quick to point out that your employment is at-will, unless you actually have an employment contract. And there’s no need to insinuate that you’re doing to sue them just to get two weeks off. I think AAM is right that the OP needs to get her manager to talk to HR.

  3. RobM

    As much as HR might well have a point about this not being reasonable (especially if there’s any confusion over paid/unpaid leave) I would say that their correct response is to ‘get out of the way’ on this one then invite the OP’s manager for an Interview Without Coffee to discuss how this isn’t going to happen again.

    The one exception of course is, as AAM says, if allowing this would prejudice the outcome of an ongoing dispute elsewhere in the company.

    Having said that, telling the employee “it’s your fault, you should have got it in writing” is just crass. Whoever came up with that lovely reply should also be invited to their own interview without coffee to have it explained to them in words of one syllable that even when the facts back up the substance of that kind of reply, phrasing it in that manner is not really acceptable.

    I get that it’s sometimes HR’s job to do things that upset staff. It’s not their job to thoughtlessly antagonise people.

    1. Jessa

      Even if it would prejudice the outcome of something else, I’d bet the something else had nothing to do with a verbal contract regarding conditions of employment. IE the OP said they would take the job based on having this time off. That’s not the same as turning down employee x for holiday. It would only be the same (and therefore discriminatory) if they ALSO turned down someone who had already been promised leave.

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        I wonder, though, if she was promised this much leave at the time of the offer negotiation (the letter only says “some time” in December and in April). If she wasn’t clear that she meant four weeks total, it wasn’t actually negotiated as part of the offer.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

          There’s a lot of vagueness in the OP.

          The OP doesn’t say who approved the extra time off at the time of hire, she says “they” and “them” repeatedly. We don’t even know if the manager was one of “they” and “them”.

          And there’s nothing about either they or them agreeing to four weeks.

          The manager who is agreeing to cover shifts in the post may be a low level manager who doesn’t have the authority to authorize extra vacation time.

          Info is missing.

          1. Erin B.

            Additional vagueness: “The manager said it shouldn’t be a problem.” That is a qualified yes, and obviously it has become a problem.

            1. Kimberlee, Esq.

              This. Shouldn’t is weasel language, but it should have prompted OP to get something in writing. ‘It shouldn’t be a problem’ could well have meant ‘I can’t see this being an issue, so go ahead and put the request in to HR.’ As opposed to that being the final approval.

          2. Elysian

            I wonder if the OP is relatively new to the working world. From the thread the other day, a lot of us mentioned various things about time off that shocked us when we entered the working world after full-time school. This could be the OP’s cold hard slap of reality. It sounds like there was miscommunication on both sides, but 4 weeks off is a lot of time off for a new hire. She said she went “home” in December, so it sounds like that trip would also be at least partly personal – perhaps for the holidays? – and traditionally a time of the year when people would use accrued vacation. I dunno, it sounds to me like the OP is figuring out how hard it is to take a vacation, even one you’re entitled to.

            1. fposte

              Ha, I should have read down. Yes, I’m thinking this is somebody learning the employment ropes myself.

              I can’t tell if the manager was the person who was spoken to during the interview or not. If not, I feel for this poor manager who didn’t know what was coming; if so, I think the manager may have learned a lesson about pinning down the meaning of “some time” whenever an employee’s counting on it.

            2. Ann Furthermore

              I’m thinking the same thing. She she started her job in November, and then immediately took 2 weeks off in December. So she was only working for a month before taking a big chunk of time off, and not only that, at a time of year when many people want to take time off, and have put in their vacation requests early and made plans in advance. Then she’s turning around just a few months later and taking another big chunk of time off.

              So it may just be that the OP is being a bit naive in thinking that taking a month off in the first 6 months of employment won’t raise any eyebrows, when all that we know for sure is that she requested “some” time off. I would never have made an assumption like that, even with my first regular 9-5 job when I was 19.

              In her position I would have made it clear up front exactly how much time I needed, and then said that I’d be willing to work overtime, or extra weekend shifts (if that was part of the job), or offered to take some of the time as unpaid leave, or offered to be the default volunteer when other people wanted days off and needed someone to cover their duties. And I would have told my manager that I was aware that I was asking for a lot. The OP didn’t do any of this — or I should say we don’t know if she did, since she didn’t go into those details.

              That being said, there’s fault on both sides here: by the OP for not being more specific, and on her manager for not pinning down the details during the hiring process.

              1. tcookson

                Yes, the onus was certainly on the manager to find out the meaning of “some” before saying “yes” to it. Because some people have no sense of proportion and “some” could mean anything from a reasonable one to two weeks to a whopping four or five weeks (!).

                1. tcookson

                  To me, “some” vacation means a week. “Some more” vacation means another week. Four of five weeks is a summer vacation!

          3. Cassie

            I’m a stickler for getting all the nitty-gritty details of stuff all laid out and agreed upon – that way, there’s little room for error. Does a week mean 5 days or one calendar week and that sort of thing. My sister was told she couldn’t take a vacation of 3 weeks + 1 day (16 work days) on a regular 40-hour a week schedule, but she could change to a 9/80 work schedule and take the 3 weeks + 1 day off because it would technically only be 14 work days. It’s still the same amount of calendar days that she would be out of the office, but that was the policy.

            In hindsight, it would have been good to get approval for the 10 days off in December (or however many there were – it might have been around holidays), and then for 10 days off in April. Even if you don’t know exactly which weeks or days they will be, at least it’s clear that you are taking 10 days off in April, not just a couple of long weekends.

        2. FiveNine

          Really, the only thing that’s clear is she *hadn’t* in fact requested a total four weeks off, because she says when she came back after the December trip that’s when she specified it would be another two weeks she’d need off in April. I’m kind of tending toward thinking that not only might the manager actually agree with HR that the amount of time is excessive far beyond the scope of what an employer could typically reasonably expect for an employee to request off for a wedding but that the manager is actually the one in power pushing HR hard to not allow it. (Unless it’s unpaid? Even that is unclear.)

        3. Fiona

          I have a problem with HR’s position that “they were only expecting me to take one week total.” When a potential hire says “I’m going to need some time off in December and April,” isn’t there SOME onus on the hiring team to ask, “okay, how much is ‘some’?” Even if the exact dates weren’t decided, it sounds like the OP at least was sure it would be 2 weeks both times. (Unless of course the OP WAS asked, and dissembled because they didn’t think the four weeks was going to fly – and now look where that got them).

          I hope the OP checks in, because I’d love more details on this.

          1. FiveNine

            Four weeks is for many professional firms the equivalent of up to two years’ worth of vacation time. And of course within her first 18-24 months the OP is definitely going to want more time off than what she’s already taken and wants to take for her wedding. Just saying.

            1. Cat

              But it isn’t at all of them – I’m in the U.S.; I get three weeks plus I can get another four “swap” days by working minor federal holidays. I don’t see any reason to assume OP is blowing through two years of vacation here.

              1. mm

                I agree. I get almost six weeks a year and I think our new hires start out with about four weeks. That is sick and vacation time combined – we don’t differentiate between the two. We can use it as we earn it. She would have to take about two weeks unpaid to have four weeks off in six months, but I don’t see that as a huge problem.

          1. Ask a Manager Post author

            Not really — they’re sticking to their agreement to give her “some” time off. She wants more than that, so the onus was on her to be specific about how much time she wanted.

            That said, yes, ideally the employer would have clarified too. But I don’t think they bear as much responsibility for the current situation as the OP does … if in fact this wasn’t all explicitly spelled out at the start (which still isn’t clear).

  4. Missa

    #5
    I’m a manager in retail, and I say you should absolutely apply for the other job. I understand that most of the people I hire aren’t looking to spend the rest of their careers working as a cashier. I would be bummed at having to start the hiring process all over again, because it can take a lot of time, but I wouldn’t blame you one bit for it. You have to look out for your own interests.

    1. Positivity

      Agreed – when I was in retail management, people dropped in and out of positions all the time, especially students. Just part of the territory, I would be surprised if the hiring manager even batted an eye if OP said “Sorry, I’m not going to take the position after all.”

  5. straws

    #2 – If part time would work for you, but not full time, until you’ve finished school, you might mention that as well. Working part time to start and increasing to full after you’ve graduated will allow them to start training and evaluating you without delay, but also without taking so much time from your studies. I’ve done this before and it’s always worked out well. You’d probably want to get the planned hours increase in writing though, to make sure they don’t change their minds.

    1. Zillah

      I don’t know if I agree with that. Finals can be a very stressful time, particularly in your last semester. If the OP isn’t in the situation where they’re going to have to do a lot of work to prepare for finals, sure, but otherwise? It seems like a bad idea.

      This isn’t just starting work, this is the OP’s chance to give this company a good first impression. Final week can be stressful, busy, and exhausting. It’s not a great idea to put yourself in a situation where your first impression on a company could easily be a poor one, particularly when it could also hurt your ability to walk away with your degree.

      If I were the OP, I’d leave it at asking if it was possible to start after finals.

      1. straws

        I agree, that should be a consideration. In the letter, the OP writes “if I am offered a full-time job, I couldn’t start it until after my finals in May”. It sounds like the full-time status is the only thing holding her back and she’d take the job if it were part-time. Unless I’m misreading, I think it’s worth finding out if part-time is an option before May in this situation. Finals wouldn’t be for a month or so, so that’s a few weeks of paychecks & a head start on a full-time job that she wouldn’t have from just waiting.

        1. AlmostGrad

          Thank you for your reply and your advice. I actually already have a part-time job (zero hours contract, so I’m in 0-2 times a week).

          I could ask my current employer to give me a few weeks off, so I can start this job part-time if need be, but in all honesty I’d rather wait until May and start full-time as soon as my finals are over. Obviously, I’d leave my current job for this one if/when it’s full-time.

        2. Anonymous

          It’s hard to drop in and out of jobs. How much someone could contribute on a few hours a week is entirely dependent on the role.

  6. Anonymous

    #1 I would quit over this if they don’t let you take the other two weeks (unpaid of course). You’ve only had this job for six months, its not a huge loss. The money you’ll lose from cancelling your wedding will probably be more than being unemployed.

    1. Elysian

      Even if she can’t get two weeks, I’m sure they’d work out something for a day or something so she can travel for the actual wedding itself (which I presume is on a Saturday, because most are). She doesn’t actually NEED the full week before or the week after for the preparation/honeymoon in order to attend the wedding, get married, and not lose her sunk costs. She might lose the some money on the honeymoon, but I can’t imagine that would be enough money to quit a job over, especially not in this economy.

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        Yeah, I can’t really see how see needs the full week there before the wedding. I can see how she wants it, certainly, but it sounds like a lot of it is just about seeing family, and while that’s nice to do, it’s not something I’d insist on this much time for six months into a new job.

        1. RJ

          And not to sound like a total grinch, but plenty of people can’t afford the time or money to take a full week’s honeymoon immediately following a wedding too. If an additional two weeks won’t fly at this point in her job, it seems like there are some compromises available to the OP.

        2. EAA

          Agree – the only reason for needing a day or two before a weekend wedding is to get the wedding license.

        3. Jax

          The 2 weeks in December would have been all about choosing the cake/flowers/photographer and all that–the week before the wedding is just to stand back and let those people do the job you hired them for.

          I hope the OP decides to work. Visiting with Great Aunt Muriel and partying with bridesmaids isn’t worth losing a good job over–and any place that is okay with giving the new girl 2 weeks off at Christmas is a GREAT job.

      2. Anonymous

        The last few weddings I went to were in the 100k range so it could very well be worth leaving a job over. (let’s not start a debate about wedding costs, I agree the 100k people were crazy).

    2. Melissa

      Doubtful. The average wedding is $21,000 these days and even if she is at the average, at this point she would only lose deposits, now full costs. I’d be surprised of the deposits added up to a full-time salary even for 6 months, which may be as much time as it takes for her to find another position.

  7. Anonymous

    #5 still take the retail job because you probably won’t get the one in your field!! Still apply for it but dont turn down the retail job.

  8. Garrett

    For #3, I agree that when they say “resume”, they probably mean both the cover letter and resume. I assume when they say only will consider resumes that include salary requirements, they mean it just needs to be part of the submission packet. I would almost advise against putting it on the resume because most people are going to think that’s odd. It’s possible this is a weird company but it wouldn’t be the norm.

    And I totally agree too about this not being your history. Only what you want. Which is silly because you don’t know the full extent of the job at this point so it’s a hard to assess.

    1. Gilby

      Yeah…. I am thinking that putting the salary requirment on the cover is fine. I am sure they don’t care where it is as long as they can see it.

      I submitted a cover and resume with the salary requirement and got a call for a job. I interviewed for the position. ( Just last week)
      The manager asked me for my salary requirment ( which he should have known to start with from my app and cover ) and it was over the amount he wanted to pay. I was a little irritated that HR who screened me let me go through knowing my salary requirment. Or did she even pay attention? She should have at least discussed it with me on the phone first.

      Now did she know what this guy would only pay for the job? I would hope so being in HR she should know that stuff. Does he know she letting people asking for more money than the job pays through? Not good either direction.

      Although I can work with the salary if offered the job, I was not impressed that when I was asked for a salary requirment it was ignored anyway. Although I should be a little leary of this place, I am not in a position to say no. Bene’s are good, 8 mins from home and a job I think I will like.

      Alison, just asking but, if this happens again, I get a call, it is OK then to ask if the salary requirment is within their range before an interview stage?

        1. Melissa

          I have to say that in addition to being overall impressed by your blog, I’m always impressed by your seemingly encyclopedic memory of all the things you’ve discussed on the blog given that you post several times a day sometimes. I mean, I realize that you probably searched through your archives to find this post, but you had to at least have a feeling that you had posted something like this before.

  9. Brett

    #5 I have posted in here before about the ridiculously thorough background check my employer does (interview with the investigator, 20 page form, rejects people with clearances, etc.) after a conditional offer is made.

    Well, I recently found out that more than 30% of people with conditional offers fail our background check! (Most common way to fail, lying to the interviewer to cover up something the interviewer already knows about.)

    So any time you hear “assume you have the job given the background checks go well,” realize that might mean you have less than a 70% chance of still getting the job! I know… everyone thinks they can pass a background check, but the reality is that those 30% who did not pass knew up front they would have a background check and apparently thought they would pass.

    1. Anon

      It doesn’t mean a person has a 70% chance of getting a job. It means don’t lie to the interviewer and play it safe. If you follow those rules, you will pass a background check fine. I have never had any issues with background checks and I don’t lie about my employment history.

    2. A Dispatcher

      Your employer is a definitely anomaly, I highly doubt that most employers have anything close to a 30% fail rate.

      I do agree with your point about the reason for failure though. A lot of people just won’t mention things and simply cross their fingers that it won’t show up on the background check, which is the worst way to approach things. If the transgression is a disqualifier, it will be no less of one regardless of when it comes out during the hiring process. However, if it is not an automatic disqualifier, the lack of candor raises serious red flags about honesty and integrity, and that can cause the failure, as opposed to whatever the transgression was in the first place. You also lose out on a valuable opportunity to explain any past mistakes when you don’t bring them up before the check.

    3. doreen

      “might mean you have less than a 70% chance of still getting the job! ”

      Nope, it means I have the job because I don’t lie on the application/during the interview, don’t have a criminal record and don’t use illegal drugs. Those 30% didn’t think they would pass- they were hoping they would pass. Huge difference.

      1. FiveNine

        Oh, that sounds like a basic criminal/drug background check. The background check described above is definitely for security clearance-type jobs (think government, or something along those lines) where there are in-depth interviews with all sorts of people from your past about political activism, mental health history, things you want to keep secret that could be used by an enemy of the state to blackmail you, etc.

  10. Laufey

    and now have an interview for what I think is a full-time job

    If they know you are graduating in May, they are probably willing to wait. Many companies that recruit college students don’t expect you to start until June or later. I would make sure that that interview whether you’re applying for a full or part time job though.

    1. AlmostGrad

      Thank you. I will check at the interview. I hope they realise I’m still at college: it was the first thing I mentioned in my covering letter …

      1. Jen S. 2.0

        Then you sound safe. Hiring companies have done this many more times than you have. Many of the people doing the hiring have attended college themselves. If they know you are a full-time college student, they are well aware that your availability starts in June-ish.

        Also be aware that your hiring likely will be conditioned on your finishing your degree! Quitting college to start a job that was offered to you **under the assumption that you’d have a degree when you started**? Not smart.

        1. Jen S. 2.0

          I should note that I know many college seniors who were offered jobs in November or December by companies that expected them to start after graduation. This is a pretty common situation.

  11. thenoiseinspace

    #4 – I see this kind of thing all the time and it always makes me chuckle. My favorite are the New York Times positions – each page with an individual job listing has large, bright green “apply now!” buttons at the top and bottom, yet in the text for each posting, it says “DO NOT CLICK ON ‘APPLY’!” I think it’s just a quirk of the system. If it doesn’t say what not to do, then I think you’re fine to say you were just covering your bases by doing it both ways.

  12. Zillah

    O/T, but:

    How should you handle it when you don’t meet all of a job’s listed requirements, but you do meet a lot of them and feel from the title and description that it’s something within your abilities to perform?

    1. Harriet

      Apply for it and talk up the ones you do meet. Have a plan in place for what you’ll say if they ask you about those things in the interview. The job posting is a wishlist and a description of their dream person. It isn’t necessarily the least they’ll settle for.

    2. Victoria Nonprofit

      FYI, Alison tends to prefer to keep the comment threads on topic. You can search the archives for answers to that question, write to Alison, or wait for next Friday’s open thread.

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        Yes. Thank you Victoria for pointing it out and everyone else for complying. (The reason for this is that our commenting threads get long enough and difficult to navigate through as it is.)

  13. KD

    Maybe this is the unpopular opinion but 4 weeks for a wedding? C’mon now. I got married within 6 months of starting a new job. I took a day and a half. My husband’s job gave him 1 day. We went back to work Monday morning and took our honeymoon with our regular allotted vacation time after I’d been at my job longer. You do not need 4 weeks for a wedding.

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        I think it’s relevant in that it puts the whole thing into context. Four weeks for a wedding and honeymoon is really out of alignment with what most people do, let alone right after starting a job. So I think it’s relevant here because the OP feels that she’s being put in an impossible position, when in fact part of the issue is that what she’s expecting is pretty out of the norm (at least to many of us, I’d assume).

        Now, if she specifically negotiated this number of days off and at these times when being hired, that makes it an issue of them sticking to what they promised her. But I’m not clear that that’s the case, and either way, it’s helpful to point out that she has the option of doing this a different way.

        1. fposte

          Yes, I think it’s possible that she said she wanted some time off for wedding prep and then for her wedding, and the employer did very different math than the OP on what “some time” would mean in those cases.

          1. Victoria Nonprofit

            Yep, I agree.

            (For what it’s worth, my wedding was out of state and we planned it without ever visiting the state that it was in. Google, baby.)

            1. The Clerk

              You didn’t have to go there a few days ahead to get the marriage license? My cousin and her hubby had to fly to New Orleans on a Tuesday so they could get it in order to have their Saturday wedding. (They wanted an extra day in case something went wrong, like the office was closed or they brought the wrong ID).

              1. Victoria Nonprofit

                We got married in Maine, and we were able to get the license the day before the wedding. (We got there Thursday night, did last-minute stuff Friday, got married Saturday.) I hadn’t thought of what we’d do if something had gone wrong with the license on Friday, but we were pretty casual about the whole thing – I suppose we would just had the wedding and gotten legally married another day.

            2. Catzie

              My wedding was out of state. We were able to get our marriage license from that state through a mixture of online, email, and overnight mail. They were great to work with, and we never traveled to the area prior to the wedding for planning. There are a couple things I would have changed if we had checked things out prior to the wedding, but I didn’t have enough vacation time to make that work.

          2. Laura2

            Yeah, especially if the manager has accommodated people for wedding stuff before and thought it meant a couple of long weekends and then a week or so off.

            I also wonder if the manager is thinking that she can’t have the OP out for another two weeks (if she really wasn’t expecting this), and accommodate everyone else’s time off requests.

        2. GL

          I agree that it’s out of the usual and it doesn’t sound like the OP was specific when she asked for time off so maybe that’s where the confusion is, but saying “You don’t need that because I didn’t” isn’t helpful and is judgmental.

          1. Ask a Manager Post author

            I see where you’re coming from, but KD’s statement “You do not need 4 weeks for a wedding” is pointing out that it’s not like this amount of time is required in order to get married in a reasonable fashion.

            1. Oi

              This seems like a “need” vs. “want” thing. She needs to be out the day of the wedding (and day before to travel there). She WANTS to be out the rest of it. She does not need 4 weeks for a wedding; she wants that, but it’s a helpful reminder when you’ve got the wedding goggles on that it’s not necessary.

      2. Positivity Boy

        Maybe not, and it’s certainly the OP’s prerogative if she feels that’s how much time she needs, but unless she gave a specified amount of time when discussing it during hiring then she should have expected that her manager probably heard “some time” as “a few days plus maybe a week for the honeymoon”. It does not mean “as much time as I deem necessary even if it’s probably more than most people would assume I meant.” Also, it may not be the commenter’s business, but it sure as hell is the OP’s employer’s business, which is what we’re actually discussing here.

      3. Anonymous

        By posting here they’ve made it our business. If it was none of our business and they’d done whatever they would do that’d be fine. But asking for input means getting it.

    1. Artemesia

      Two issues. What was agreed on – and that isn’t clear — if an employee of mine had said they needed time off for their wedding — I would be thinking a week — maybe two if they specifically negotiated a week for a honeymoon on the front end.

      Four weeks? Really sounds like someone with no real world experiences who expects spring break and two weeks at Christmas and just generally wants to continue to live like a child or a college students.t

      If the employer said 4 weeks was okay on the hire that is one thing but to expect after a vague commitment, this kind of time, seems just odd.

  14. Seal

    #2 – First rule of job searching: never, EVER take your parents’ advice on ANY THING. It is not at all unreasonable to tell a potential employer that you are not available until after you finish the semester, particularly this close to graduation. They would probably think it odd if you told them otherwise. For that matter, if your interview is in March, it could well be that the entire interview process goes well into April anyway; at that point, you’re only asking to delay your first day by a few weeks, which shouldn’t be a problem for most employers. Regardless, don’t give up a all your hard work towards getting your degree this close to the end just for a job and stop listening to your mother.

    1. Artemesia

      LOL. Great point. This is frankly insane advice. Crash out of school a month before you get your degree for ‘a job’. Just nuts. And any employer will on hiring a new grad assume that the start date will be after school is completed. It is not unheard of to negotiate a later start date than that, so a break can be taken before work begins. Obviously that is up to the employer.

      And never listen to those parents about anything important in your career again.

      1. AlmostGrad

        My mom is just worried about the current job market, and thinks I would be insane to turn down the offer of a job in this climate. She just doesn’t realize that working full-time and studying for finals is a terrible idea, for obvious reasons.

        If I can compromise by accepting the job (if offered) and delay the start date until May, I will be very happy.

        1. Tinker

          Ah yes, I recognize the “just worried”.

          Couple things I note — and I note this because it took me a while to figure out: 1) “Just worried” and “giving bad and/or unworkable advice” are by no means mutually exclusive, in fact there often seems to be significant overlap. 2) Someone else’s “just worried” — yep, even that of parents! — is not necessarily your problem.

          Employment is a common area for this to come up — most people have views of employment issues that are in some way unrealistic, most parents of people entering the job market are substantially removed from how the market works for people just entering it, and there are a number of social and personal pressures that lead parents to be less than rational — for reasons that don’t necessarily reflect poorly on them at all — with regard to issues affecting their own children. It probably doesn’t help either that the child isn’t apt to have a firm sense of what should be done either, and is accustomed to seeing their parent as an authority figure.

          The result is that folks around here see it as sort of a trope that a new graduate comes by with something like “My father told me I should paint my face green and scale the fence of the factory to show them I’ve got pluck, it worked for him back in umpty-umpty, I’ve scaled the fences of a couple factories now and they don’t seem to be impressed, also I think I’m allergic to green face paint, should I keep doing that?” And that’s the basis on which the default “don’t listen to your parents” advice is given.

          1. AlmostGrad

            Thanks for your advice. I guess this is an exercise in standing firm and making my own decisions as a proper adult. I have gone against my instinct in the past, and have learned it’s better to follow it rather than the ‘well-meaning’ advice of someone outside the dilemma.

    2. AlmostGrad

      Thank you. I really hope the employer will accommodate me, especially as the first thing I said on my application was that I’m a final year college student.

      I guess I just need to stand firm on this and stress how much I want to work for them AND how important it is I have the time to finish the semester properly.

      1. TL

        Lots of people get hired before graduation and the companies expect they’ll start after they graduate (and usually a week or two to recover.)

      2. Artemesia

        I think you are over thinking this. It is entirely normal and expected when hiring a new college grad that you will adjust the start date to fit their graduation. You should assume this is what will happen and not approach it cringingly or as if they are doing you a favor to delay etc.

        The suggestion of saying. ‘I will be available to work full time beginning the week of May 13 (or whenever you are finished with finals) after completing my degree’ was a good one. In discussion you can see if you can get a week or two gap if that is what you want.

        1. AlmostGrad

          Thank you. I will bear this is mind when I ask them about it! I have a horrible feeling I will be terribly apologetic about it but surely they will understand how important my finals are.

          1. Chriama

            I think you should be matter-of-fact about it. Whenever the conversation moves around to start date (even if it’s after an offer is given) just mention “my final exams end on x date, so I’m available as soon as y date”. If you’re apologetic you make it sound like you’re putting them in an unreasonable position, but they know you’re about to graduate and they chose to interview you anyway. I think sounding apologetic will make the conversation awkward when it doesn’t have to be.

          2. Judy

            I’m just going to chime in with the “not an issue” chorus. Especially if the job has a requirement of X degree, and your resume said X degree expected May 2014. From an engineering background, we don’t hire people without the degree into those positions. When someone absolutely needs to start on the Monday after finals, we start them at an intern level, until they have their transcript or diploma, usually a week or two later. Usually we suggest they take some time off.

      3. amaranth16

        I agree with the other posters that you are overthinking it. We interview a lot of college seniors and, though many of them interview in the spring, we take it as a given that their start date will be after graduation. We would NEVER expect someone to start working for us before graduating – in fact, I would find it concerning if someone offered.

    3. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

      #2 – First rule of job searching: never, EVER take your parents’ advice on ANY THING.

      *cough*

      How about unless your parents read AAM?

      Me: Son, you need to get some work experience on your resume so you are a more attractive candidate when it is time for your internship in two years.

      Son: Oh, don’t worry about it, Mom. The school finds us internships.

      Me: You still have to submit your resume to employers and then the best internship opportunities will pick the best candidates.

      Son: Resume? Really? I don’t have a resume.

      Me: Yes, as I was saying…..

      1. Jamie

        *coughing with Wakeen*

        I gave my kids the magic question and some, imo, excellent advice about how to answer common interview questions. And that’s gotten 6 offers and two second interviews (in process) over the last couple years.

        If my kids have questions about things outside my wheelhouse (job viability in certain fields, etc.) I’ll tell them I don’t know and point them to a resource with first hand knowledge.

        But some of us do know a thing or two about how hiring works. :)

        And regarding the OP – I believe school is very important, but maybe their mom is concerned that if they don’t take something offered now there could be a long dry spell (which isn’t an unreasonable fear in this economy) and maybe there is concern about the financial end of things.

        Parent’s have a legitimate interest in the financial prospects of anyone they are currently supporting, or will support if they are unemployed in a way non-affected bystanders don’t. (Not just parents, but anyone who will be contributing money to your support if you can’t do it yourself. Which is why if I just quit my job without discussing it with my husband I would be a pretty horrible person, since I’d be laying the entire burden of supporting the household on him without even asking if he’d be okay with that.)

        I agree with others that it’s likely that the company, knowing the OP is in school, may even be anticipating a later start date due to this.

        1. AlmostGrad

          Thanks for your reply. I would just like to point out that my mom nor anyone else will be supporting me, regardless of the outcome of this interview; my mom is unemployed, and my dad is out of the picture. That’s why it’s so crucial that I have something full-time in place for graduating, but my issue is that it shouldn’t be at the expense of my finals (although judging by the advice given here, it is likely that the company will be willing to accommodate me).

          1. ThursdaysGeek

            And, if you need a response to your mom, point out that dropping out of school is essentially throwing away all the money that was spend on those 4 years, as well as reducing your future income potential for the rest of your life. At this point, that piece of paper is worth more even if you did end up unemployed for a time. I bet she knows that too, but is just not thinking it through in the stress of imagining what can go wrong with her loved child. (And what the others are saying: putting the job off until after graduation is a perfectly normal request.)

  15. MR

    I’m going to guess that for #1, the manager/HR didn’t know how much time the OP was really wanting off for the wedding. Four weeks to take off of work in order to plan/have wedding/honeymoon in a six month period is, well, borderline ridiculous, even if it’s taking place out of state. I don’t know anyone who has done that (myself or any of my friends).

    A week and a half to two weeks to do the wedding/honeymoon, and nobody bats an eye. But two weeks off to do planning? Everyone I know has done that sort of thing after work and on weekends, usually via phone and Internet.

    I can clearly see the pushback from HR. You should have had this in writing, but now, it’s up to your manager to go to bat for you. Consider yourself lucky that your manager is OK with all of this. Many others, wouldn’t be.

    1. Noah

      That’s the part I’m struggling with too. It just seems crazy to ask for four weeks off within your first six months. I wonder if the only reason you didn’t get more pushback in December was because of the holidays.

      Like others, if you had told me during your interview that you needed time off for wedding planning and then the actual wedding I would’ve been okay with it. I would’ve assumed you would take a few long weekends and maybe a week for the wedding itself.

      It might be in your best interest to negotiate. Determine how long you actually *need* off for the wedding, not how long you *want* off. Cut a few days off from the pre-wedding visit and then see if you can cut your honeymoon short without huge financial penalty.

    2. Ann Furthermore

      I would just say that it’s flat-out ridiculous, and be done with it. In a post above I stated that I was in the very same position when I took my job, and that for me “extra” time was 4 days, not weeks. And there was nothing in the plans that could not be taken care of on a weekend.

      So was there really so much wedding planning that it took up all day, every day, for 2 weeks? I doubt it, unless one of the Kardashians has taken to reading/writing to AAM. I think the more likely scenario is that the trip home was planned to coincide with the holidays, with some wedding stuff thrown in here and there. And there’s nothing wrong with that, if those plans don’t mean you’re imposing on others or expecting special treatment. But starting a job and then taking 2 weeks off less than a month into it is imposing on others and expecting special treatment.

      1. Anon

        I took 3 weeks off less than a month after starting my current job. I was very upfront at the interview that I had planned this vacation months before and that everything was booked and paid for. They made me an offer anyway and found a way to make things work while I was away. Is that “imposing on others and expecting special treatment”?

        I think OP1 should have been more explicit about the amount of time off she was expecting. But she says that her manager and coworkers are okay with picking up the slack in her absence. HR should just butt out.

        1. Ann Furthermore

          No it’s not because you were up front about exactly what your plans were, and there were no surprises later. It does not sound like the OP was, which is why I’m having a hard time seeing things from her point of view.

  16. AlmostGrad

    Thanks so much for answering my question, Alison. I feel more relaxed about my situation. I will think about contacting them prior to the interview.

  17. Hope

    LW#1: I had virtually the same situation when I married, except I had been at my job for over a year. My boss didn’t raise any concerns until it was time for me to leave for my wedding. My time off afterward included an already paid for family trip to Scotland with my new in-laws for family events over there. I ended up quitting, which is a hard choice. But I couldn’t cancel all my plans. And I ended up with a better job when I returned.

  18. Burned

    OP#1: not only did my wife and I from the USA get married in another country (Canada), never mind another state, we also honeymooned in a third country (New Zealand). And we did it all with only two weeks off including everything. To get two weeks off I had to work Saturdays and Sundays both before and afterwards to get the time. So I see what you think you should get is ridiculous.

    Similarly, I took a position with a company with a verbal agreement with both HR and the manager that six-months after I started I would use one weeks vacation because we had already paid for it. I gave them specific dates once I started so it became written about 5-1/2 months in advance. When it came time for the vacation I gave two weeks noitice and my manager said that if I took the time I would be fired. I took it anyway and upon return my boss said “you’re fired.” I repeated “you can’t fire me, I quit” and walked out the door.

    I have other examples too where my family went on the vacation and I had to stay behind even though I had a paid airline tickets because the work needed to get done. After being in the workforce for over 25 yearsI only got six vacation days last year so your four weeks within six months is way out of line. As for it being unpaid, that has always been a joke (apologies to those who posted otherwise) because the work doesn’t go away simply because the time is unpaid.

    In my current company it takes 20 years to get four weeks time off, so getting it within 6 months is far out out of line with reality. In my salaried position if I leave 1 hour early I have to use 1 hour vacation time so its again another reality check for you that your vision of reality is distorted with respect to the rest of the USA workers here.

    1. Anon

      “After being in the workforce for over 25 yearsI only got six vacation days last year so your four weeks within six months is way out of line.”

      Your employer is a jerk and doesn’t offer decent time off to its employees, so people who (rightly) expect better treatment from their employers are out of line?

      1. Burned

        I want to disagree with you but I can’t. I was laid off without a job for six months and this offer came through. In the year and a half I’ve been there I have never stopped looking for something else, which confirmed to me that I did the right thing by taking the job…for now.

      2. Jax

        Not out of line…but they are naïve.

        More Americans are working jobs with limited paid-time off. I have 5 days that I worked a full year to even be eligible for, so for the new girl to be approved for 2 weeks off at Christmas (a time that all employees covet) after only working a month says that she’s working at a great company.

        It good to point that out to the OP, particularly since her fiancé wants her to quit her job over it.

  19. Fiona

    #2: I suspect this is going to be an unpopular opinion but I’m feeling contrary tonight and I’m going to run with it (thank goodness it’s late and no one will see it anyway).

    I’m hearing a lot of assumptions that the company is probably in the habit of hiring grads and of course they’ll be fine with, likely even expecting, a start date in mid to late May. But let’s say you ask about starting after graduation, and the company comes back and says that for whatever reason they really, really need the person they hire to start weeks ahead of your preferred date. Are you really going to walk away from a job you’re excited about, with a company you’re excited about, in this economy? Taking the job would NOT be “throwing away” your degree. It’s not like it’s an either/or choice between working and graduating, it would be an exercise in using time efficiently and balancing priorities (note: the earlier you know the expectations, the better you can plan accordingly, so I would absolutely ask AT the interview, if not before). You also have the opportunity during the interview process to ask about what the expectations for your first few weeks would be, so that if you do decide it’s just too much on your plate, you’re making an informed decision and not just assuming it would be too overwhelming.

    About the only thing that would keep me from accepting the job, if I were offered it, is if the job hours directly conflicted with my class schedule, because alas I own neither a Time Turner nor a TARDIS and I couldn’t physically be in two places at once.

    Now, I fully admit that It’s entirely possible that my perception is biased, because I myself am a full-time student who also holds down a full-time job and is raising a family, and every week I share a classroom with graduating seniors in similar circumstances who prove that it can be done.

    AAAALLLL that said, it does seem to me that if their recruiting schedule is such that there’s three full months between application and first interview, I doubt they are going to cram the rest of the hiring process into the next eight weeks or less, and you’ll probably be fine. Just ask…and think strategically, not just emotionally, about what your options are if the answer isn’t what you want to hear.

    Best of luck!

    1. Cat

      The odds that a full time student who didn’t schedule her class schedule around a job could take a full time job and not have it conflict with her class schedule seems slim to none.

      1. AlmostGrad

        Yes, I think the shock of a full-time job while studying for my finals would be too much. I appreciate that it can be done and has been done, it’s just I would rather not, especially when it’s for the sake of a few weeks.

    2. Kelly

      Working full time, going to school, having multiple leadership positions, and being a supportive family member can be done. I know, I’ve done it. But it sounds like the letter writer is applying for a full-time (she thinks), M-F 9-5 kind of job. That’s different than retail or serving or any other kind of flexible job that works around a school schedule.

      It’s not about bias. OP #2 is clearly worried about having employment upon graduation and is dealing with some really horrible home dynamics that aren’t helping.

      Letter writer is new to the post-grad workplace and receiving bad advice at home. Stay strong! I’m sorry your education is not valued at home, and I am glad that you are taking steps to support yourself so that you can continue to make good choices on your own behalf.

      I think the pressure at home is getting to you. The company already knows you are in your final year of school, and long hiring timelines are not uncommon. It’s been said on this forum before that parents don’t always know what’s best. In this case, just continue to focus on school, do well in the interview, and believe that any company worth working for will understand that you have to accommodate getting your degree for the next couple months.

      You can do this! And I’m glad that you reached out for help, because that shows strength. Good luck!

      1. AlmostGrad

        Thanks a lot for your message. You make a really good point about the company appreciating my degree: if they don’t deem that to be important, what would they be like if I got sick etc?

        Yes, I do feel very pressured at the moment, but if the company agreed to let me start in May it would be a huge relief.

    3. AlmostGrad

      Thank you. With regards to this part: “Taking the job would NOT be “throwing away” your degree. It’s not like it’s an either/or choice between working and graduating, it would be an exercise in using time efficiently and balancing priorities.” This is what my mom is arguing. It depends entirely on what sort of hours they’re expecting me to do: the place is open 24 hours a day and I am expected to do night shifts at times, so I don’t want to screw up my sleeping pattern at this stage.

      I think really it all depends on what the hours are and how flexible they’re willing to be, but since as you say it’s been three months since I replied already, I am hopeful they will wait until May, or give me reduced shifts to begin with at the very least.

      1. Mike C.

        Hold fast, your finals the most important right now. I can’t tell you how many doors my degree has opened for me.

      2. Chriama

        Quite frankly, it would be super irresponsible to quit your degree this close to finishing. You’ve paid every single fee you’re going to end up paying, and all that’s left is to take the tests and collect your diploma. At this point you have everything to lose, and unless the new job comes with tenure and guaranteed salary for the rest of your working life, the potential loss associated with not having a degree is much higher than the potential gain.

    4. Mike C.

      Not every degree program is the same. I can’t think of a single person at my alma mater (we knew everyone at this place) that worked a full time job while attending school – the program was simply that intense.

      It’s not always about “good time management”, there are actually limits to what people can do.

  20. Beth

    The only way the wedding story makes any sense to me is if the person taking off the time is from a country where wedding traditions are such that the process does literally take weeks. I think it took my Indian coworker something like 5 days to perform all the ceremonies, etc, to get properly married. In that light, the letter makes sense. But if this is a “big American wedding” I’m afraid I think the letter writer sounds like the kind of coworker I’d prefer to NOT have. It comes across as self-centered and careless. Sorry, just how I feel.

    1. Lanya

      I have to kindly disagree. I recently planned my own out-of-town wedding, and it took me about the same amount of time as it took the OP to get all of my affairs in order.

      Mine was not a “big American wedding” – it was a small, low-key American wedding – and it was still a ton of time spent physically running around trying to meet with vendors, venues, and find a dress with a limited timeline in my hometown, several hours away from where I live now.

      Just because someone is taking time to plan their wedding – something that is hopefully a once-in-a-lifetime event – does not make them self-centered and careless. I dislike “bridezillas” just as much as the next person – but after having planned a normal, no-frills out-of-town wedding myself, I now understand the amount of time involved, and OP #1 is not exaggerating.

  21. Puffle

    #2 Hold your ground! Finals are a stressful, chaotic, horrendously busy time, and it’s really not worth throwing away all that time, money and effort just to start a job a little earlier. Even if the company offering you a job start getting pushy, just be firm and say, “I’m not available to start until (x date)”. Stuck record.

    It’s a fairly long gap, but people do negotiate delayed start dates for new jobs. Maybe they’re relocating to a new city/ state for the new job, maybe they have to finish things up at their old job, maybe… well, you get the idea. And having your finals is a pretty damn good reason to delay. Point is, people have lives and reasons and chances are you won’t be the first person to ask something like this.

    If worst comes to worst and the job falls through, well… I know that the economy is unkind to us recent grads (I graduated in 2012), but there are other jobs out there. It’s not like you’re doomed to total life-long failure just because you don’t snatch up this one job. It’s hard, but sometimes you do just have to cast your line out into the ocean again.

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