choosing between a high school job and a family vacation

A reader writes:

In late August, I got hired part-time at a major cafe/restaurant. I’m a senior in high school so I’ve been working on weekends and one night during the business week since then. However, my parents have booked a 10-day vacation right during the Christmas holidays — which is of course a vacation blackout period where I work. I’m fairly certain (although not 100% because I have not asked) that if I take this time off, I will be fired from my job, especially because I’m such a new employee.

I really love my part-time job and my coworkers are amazing, so I really want to keep this job (but I do plan to quit right before my first year of university after high school).

Do you think it’s worth being fired/let go from a job I originally hoped I would be able to work for the rest of the school year and during the summer next year, or to go on this vacation with my family?

I think the answer I’m looking for is that I shouldn’t go on vacation with my family and that I should stay home and go to work instead, but I don’t want to regret not going on this vacation (it’s to Europe, and my parents have already bought tickets, admittedly without consulting me first).

Of course, I am only in the 12th grade and I realize I have my whole life ahead of me, and presumably plenty of other opportunities to go on family vacations, but also plenty of time to work (the rest of my life, I presume), but I just need a second opinion on whether or not it’s worth losing this job to go on a vacation to spend valuable time with my family, at this level of part-time work during high school.

I hope this isn’t too many questions in one, but I’m also going to have to take an entire month off from mid-April to late-May for an intense exam period (but then I’ll be able to work many more hours even in the month of June, should my employer need) do you think I’ll get fired for this? Because if so, it may be worth getting fired earlier so that I can go on this trip.

Also, I should note that going on this trip is not important to me because of the travelling, but because of the time I would spend with my family, including my older brother who lives away from home. I have plenty of travelling experience already from studying abroad (and quite recently too), so I am not that interested in the seeing new places aspect of the trip.

I know there are a lot of variables at play, such as the mindset of my manager, but if there’s any insight you can give into the situation, in terms of in your experience as to what is more important, that would be very much appreciated.

Would you be devastated if you lost the job over this? If not, I’d go on the trip.

If you weren’t in high school, I’d give you different advice. In that case, I’d tell you that as an adult, the stakes are higher and you’ve got to prioritize your ability to earn a living and your professional reputation, and that it’s no longer reasonable for your parents to book you vacations without consulting with you (which is what I told this letter-writer).

But you’re in high school, the stakes are lower, it’s a family trip, and an opportunity to go to Europe. I’d take it. Plus, families vary, but in my experience there are far fewer family trips (if any) once you move out — so this could be one of the last all-family trips you take.

Now, will you get fired for it? I’d be prepared for that, yes, based on your employer’s blackout period — but who knows, maybe not. You can always try asking and see what they say. I’d phrase it this way: “I’m so sorry about this. I know we have a blackout period for time off in December. I still live at home and my parents scheduled a family trip from (date) to (date) without checking with me first. I can’t get out of it, and I’m hoping it won’t jeopardize my job here. I know I’m asking for a lot and I realize you may not be able to okay this, but is there any way for me to return to my job here afterwards, or is it a deal-breaker on your end?”

(The key parts in this language: You’re being up-front and direct, acknowledging that you understand their policy and that it may in fact be a deal-breaker for them, and not being cavalier about the situation. This is a respectful, professional way to handle it, which your employer should recognize even if they ultimately say the trip is a no-go if you want to keep working there.)

As for the spring exam period, it’s tough to say. If it’s not a blackout period for them, it shouldn’t be as big of an issue, but it really just depends on your employer. Some student jobs are notoriously rigid about scheduling and others aren’t, so there’s no way to call it from here. But it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to ask about; most employers understand that working around exams and other school-related commitments is part the deal when hiring students.

All that said, if you’d actually prefer to stay home and keep working, that’s totally reasonable too  — and you could explain to your parents that you’ve made a commitment that you need to keep. (Whether or not they will accept that depends on what your parents are like, but it’s a reasonable thing to try floating to them if it’s genuinely your preference.)

What do others think?

{ 189 comments… read them below }

    1. Mike C.*

      This, holy shit. You can get another part time job, but being able to travel will be an experience that you will never forget.

    2. March*


      Europe is an incredible experience and very much worth it. You can find another part-time job in high school – who knows when you can go to Europe again?

      1. ZSD*

        Well, this person just studied abroad and says that the travel itself isn’t the draw. I mean, if it were me, I would 100% go on the trip, and I still think that the OP should go for the opportunity to be with family, but it sounds like they might already have a good amount of experience in Europe (I’m thinking that’s the most likely part of the world for a high schooler to have studied abroad in). So I’m not sure the, “Europe is an incredible experience” argument is relevant for this particular person.
        (But I’d still go on the trip.)

        1. Natalie*

          I don’t know, even if they’ve been to that continent before, it’s a big place with a lot of things in it. It’s not like an amusement park where they’ve been on all the rides or something.

          1. Kore*

            I spent 3 months in the UK studying abroad in college (Mostly in London but traveled outside the city) and I still feel like I need more time in London/the UK. There’s plenty to see and do in Europe (and the world, if you can travel it!)

            1. Honeybee*

              Me too! I spent 4 months studying abroad in Amsterdam in college and my biggest regret is not spending an entire year abroad.

            2. UK Nerd*

              I’ve lived my whole life in the UK and I still haven’t seen half of what there is to see. I’ve barely scratched the surface of continental Europe.

          2. Tau*

            I don’t know, even if they’ve been to that continent before, it’s a big place with a lot of things in it. It’s not like an amusement park where they’ve been on all the rides or something.

            Preach it. I’m German and the tendency I’ve seen for people to talk about “Europe” as if it’s of one piece is honestly rather bewildering…

            And FYI, if I’d been faced with the choice between a part-time job and a trip to, say, Prague or Paris or Rome as a teenager, it would not have taken me long to resign!

            1. Jessi*


              People talk about Europe like it’s a country. Off-topic, I know, but it’s frustrating to reduce so many diverse cultures – the UK is different from Spain, which is in turn a separate experience from Poland – to a single entity.

        2. March*

          I’m speaking from personal experience. I went to Europe to celebrate the completion of my degree, so I do qualify it as an incredible experience.

          In any case, OP sounds more interested in the family time, which would still be amazing, so it seems silly to nitpick.

        3. Lucie in the Sky*

          > (I’m thinking that’s the most likely part of the world for a high schooler to have studied abroad in)

          You’d be surprised about this, especially when it comes to high school programs. In my program in my area (~15 years ago) there were about 20 of us who were exchange students and only like 4 of us went to Europe. It’s the big draw in but a lot of people don’t go there. OP may have in which case I say still go on the family vacation!

          Just wanted to throw that out there in case any other young readers / parents who might have kids talking about wanting to study abroad in the future.

        4. Blue Anne*

          Yeah. It’s kind of hard to judge any individual teen’s situation. My parents took me all over the world when I was a kid, tons and tons of travelling, both to their conferences and traveling we did on our own. Australia, Costa Rica, China, Scotland, Germany, a bunch of other places.

          But my relationship with them was (is) pretty strained, and honestly, I would have loved to have had more normal teen experiences, like having a part time job or learning to drive.

          1. Vanessa W.*

            My husband is an only child, and his parents traveled the world when he was growing up. They left him home, though. He would’ve loved to have been able to accompany them. I don’t know if we’ll be able to see a fraction of the places his parents visited.

        5. Jen RO*

          Saying “he’s already been to Europe” is like me saying “I’ve already seen the US” if I’d been in one or two states. I’m European, I’ve been traveling in Europe for almost 15 years, sometimes multiple times in the same country, and I still have SO much to see!

          If I were in OP’s shoes (in my case, the equivalent would be an all-expenses paid trip to the US or South America), I would jump at it.

      1. Anna the Accounting Grad*

        Go. You’re in high school, for crying out loud! And despite several years’ unemployment, I’d wager good money that any employer who can’t understand that in high school you family can still strongly influence when you take a vacation probably isn’t going to be too reasonable about other things.

    3. K.*

      100%. Not even a question, IMO. You have a lifetime of work ahead of you, you can get another high school job. But odds are good that you’ll have more limited travel opportunities (finances early in your career, time off, etc.) as life starts to happen. You obviously have a good work ethic since you’re this concerned about this job and that will serve you well going forward. But for this job? Go on the trip.

    4. Mona Lisa*

      This this this.

      You will be able to find other part-time employment as a high schooler. The family time is harder to come by once members start moving out, as you’ve already experienced with your older brother gone. You will value the vacation spent with them far more than the time spent at your job.

    5. Lisa*

      Also, you have to worry about your parents and if anyof this trip is even refundable or how angry they will be if you don’t choose the trip over a PT job in high school. You will regret not going to Europe. You will not regret losing your part time job over this.

  1. AMG*

    You will have other jobs but only one of this trip. Go on the trip and try to salvage the job if you can. Alison’s phrasing is perfect. If you get fired, you won’t regret doing anything differently.

    1. Kyrielle*

      This, but also, it’s so far in advance of the trip time frame yet that you can avoid being fired – if they say you absolutely can’t do that and return to your job, tell them you do have to go and how would they like to handle your resignation? That you’d be happy to work right up to before the trip.

      That’s going to be way more than the standard two weeks’ notice – nothing for you to feel bad about either.

      1. Overeducated*

        Yup. And depending on how reasonable your management is, if you do have to resign but are really professional and positive about it, maybe you could get rehired there next spring or summer. You might not be burning a bRidge.

    2. Brogrammer*

      It’s unlikely that OP will get fired, but if she does, it’s a part-time job in high school. She can just leave it off her resume.

  2. John R*

    Go on the trip. One summer, when I was in college, my parents decided to spend the summer driving around the country to see every state (except Alaska and Hawaii). They wanted me to go. I almost didn’t because I wanted to make some spending money for college and had a job lined up.

    Now I’m 55 and *SOOO* glad I went on that trip when I had the chance. My dad passed away, and my mom doesn’t travel anymore. I see my brothers and sisters once or twice a year, usually never all together.


    1. Cordelia Naismith*

      This. You’ll value the memory of the family trip a lot more than the memory of a part-time job later on in life. I’d go on the trip.

    2. TootsNYC*

      yeah, the time with family would be the big thing for me. Especially siblings.

      But I think it’s cool to be worried about it.

      Also, the faster you bring it up, the easier to salvage.

    3. mazzy*

      This is one of the comments that really struck a chord. My mom had a few incidences including a broken hip that make it almost impossible to travel. All in her mid 60s, so right when I was becoming a full fledged 30 something with solid financial health to afford extra things like travel. Little did I know she’d be like this at a relatively young age, it wasn’t long ago at all that we used to all do things together. Now she has a walker.

      1. SL #2*

        THIS. I’m financially stable and secure now, and would love to be able to take my mom on vacations… but her knees are weaker than they used to be, so no more strenuous activities. We do a lot of cruises, though!

      2. Natalie*

        Hmmm. You guys are making me think. I’ve been kicking around the idea of a trip with my parents for a while but never really made the move to do it, and I hadn’t taken their age into account. They’re in their late 50s now and quite healthy, but that obviously won’t last forever…

        1. Jules the First*

          Do it and do it now – I’ve travelled extensively with my parents in both their 50s and their 60s, and even they say that it was easier and more fun when they were younger. They’re not that much less mobile now, but they get tired much faster and they take longer to adapt. Ten years ago, they were bold and confident enough to do a week solo in Italy; they now won’t go back without me (although they speak the language) because the logistics of finding somewhere to stay and coping with the inevitable hiccups is just too intimidating. You’ll have more fun now too, because you’ll be able to split up and do the odd afternoon apart without spending the whole time worrying about them.

  3. Episkey*

    If I was a senior and my parents had already paid the expenses (airfare, etc) for me to go on a family vacation to Europe, there would be no getting out of it lol. They wouldn’t care about a part-time job firing me over it.

    1. Christmas Carol*

      Besides, I wouldn’t leave any high-school senior home alone in any house for 10 days (especially over a holiday) even if I was just going to be in the next county, much less in the next continent. I don’t care how responsible you are, if you are over/under 18, how experienced you are, or whatever else. You and your friends may each be 100% mature and reliable, as you seem to be from your writing both in you OP and your follow up. Still, as an aggregate group I’d trust you about as far as I could throw you. See any number of teenage party movies/TV sit-com episodes. I trust my kids with my life, but they would either go to Europe with me, or stay with Aunt Suzy (out of state)

      1. Saturn9*

        Teenage sex comedies are definitely a reliable source when looking for insight on what real teenagers would do in this situation.


  4. Me2*

    This person has obviously traveled extensively and a trip to Europe might not be the big deal it is to others. Having said that, I would still advise going. Part time jobs come and go, family memories are lasting. Pretty soon you will be struggling to get home for a long weekend if you graduate and find work in another part of the country. Your sibling(s) may not be available when you are. We’re facing this issue now in our extended family with varying work schedules, especially for those newest to the work force. They don’t have the capital invested yet with their employers to always get first choice of vacation days. OP sounds like a conscientious employee, use Alison’s words to ask your employer, and if need be you can regretfully quit rather than get fired.

  5. Pari*

    which will you remember more in 10 or 20 years?

    I quit a high school job because they wouldn’t let me have off for a huge spring break trip. The only thing I learned from that job is learning that high school jobs are a dime a dozen. I got another job when I got back.

    1. Paige Turner*

      High school jobs with good coworkers and generally enjoyable work might be a little harder to come by, but in this case, OP is going to quit in less than a year anyway when she goes to college. If it makes you feel better about it, OP, see if you can start looking for a new job right before you go on the trip, so you know you’ll have something ready when you get back. Also, a lot of retail/food-service employers cut way back on available hours after the holidays, so you can never really know if the job you have now will even still need you in the new year. It’s very possible that they still would, but there is usually not much job security in those types of workplaces- so even if you do go on the trip (which I would!) and keep working there, I wouldn’t even bother bringing up your plans for April/May until about 4-6 weeks beforehand. Good luck!

    2. Honeybee*

      This is why I think the job would be so short-sighted if they are super-rigid and fire her for going on a trip with her family. Especially in some communities, it would be so easy for her to find something else and cost them more money to hire another good worker.

  6. AnonMurphy*

    I missed several family vacations, even in college, to stay home and work. I absolutely wish I had gone. Once I hit my early 20s, those opportunities got scarcer.

    Alison has suggested great language to use if you decide to go.

    1. EddieSherbert*

      Same for me, and I totally agree.

      Do what’s best for you, OP, but if you’re at all interested in going on the trip – go! With our blessings!

    2. nonprofit manager*

      I also missed several family vacations for a high school job. The difference is my mom and step-dad would not let me miss my *wonderful* job to travel with them for one trip, and for a second trip they would not let me miss my job to travel with my dad.

      I have traveled a couple of times with my mom and step-dad since. Have not traveled once with my dad and step-mom, for which I am very sad.

      Take the trip!

  7. AnotherAlison*

    Oh goodness. Go to Europe.

    But, know that there is a decent chance you will lose the job. Last winter my now-college student son had a job he really liked, and when he told them that he would have to be limited to Sat/Sun only (no weeknights) when the spring baseball season started in a couple weeks, they fired him on the spot.

    It’s still worth losing your job over this, given that if your family can afford Europe, you can afford to be without income. There may NOT be other family trips to Europe, but there most certainly will be other jobs.

  8. Artemesia*

    oh please take the trip—I say that sitting in Paris after a lifetime of travel and you may have similar options later — but this is the end of an era in your life. These last family moments are sweet and often few. There will not probably be lots more of these. Grab this now; there will be jobs and you wont have the freedom to do this once you are in your full time adult job. Do it now I’ll bet even if your boss lets you go, she will think you did the right thing.

    1. AnotherAlison*

      This! I mentioned my college-age son in my post above. I had that son when I was IN college myself. I never predicted that. We had one last family road trip through the Southwest before I was married with my own family. Things can change quickly once you’re out of high school.

  9. Purest Green*

    I vote go with your family as well. If they’re all traveling during Christmas then you’d be alone during the holidays, and while that might not matter to you right now, I imagine you’d regret it when you’re alone. This might also be the last holiday season your family can spend together before you’re away at college. Make the most of it.

  10. Natalie*

    I agree, go on the trip.

    Aside from everything already covered, these kinds of trips aren’t cheap. Plane tickets alone would probably be a thousand dollars or more. So yes, you’ll definitely get an opportunity to travel throughout your life, but it might be more years than you think before you can scrape together enough money to do 10 days in Europe again.

  11. Dave*

    I’ve been on the side of the employer, who hires and manages high school students. I think particularly for that demographic, enforcing blackout periods is extremely difficult because there are too many decisions outside the control of the minor. While it may not look good, I think if your employer regularly employs high school students, it’s not unusual or outlandish. I wouldn’t try to predict if you’d keep the job, but I think if you otherwise show maturity and responsibility, you’ll more likely to be allowed to stay.

    1. Case of the Mondays*

      Agreed. I was a waitress in high school. My family went on a trip to see colleges out of state. They decided to extend the trip an extra night which would make me miss my shift. I called my boss and said “I have no choice, my parents are staying another night and don’t care that I will miss work. I have no way back without them.” They were totally understanding and I did not get fired for it. They knew I was very sorry and I claimed to be mad at my parents for it too. In reality I was happy lol.

    2. DragoCucina*

      Agreed. I fully understand that high school students don’t have the same control over their schedules that others do. Ask. You may be pleasantly surprised.

  12. The Other B*

    I would listen to Alison’s advice and go on the trip. If you are up front with them and already a good employee, they’ll be more likely to hire you back in the future (like the spring or summer). I’ve done this with my part-time job when I was younger and left on good terms and they let me come back twice.

    1. Rob Lowe can't read*

      Yes! I know that not all of food service is a revolving door where employers will hire anyone with a pulse, but as long as the OP is upfront and departs on good terms, there’s no reason to think she might not be able to return in the future if the employer is hiring again. (Or she could use this experience to get another, similar position elsewhere.)

  13. Alton*

    OP, you sound very responsible, which is a great trait to have. But honestly, it might not be so easy to take a trip like this after you graduate. People typically have more responsibility the older they get, not less. And if your parents are covering the cost of you going, that’s a great opportunity that may not come up again.

  14. Tax anon*

    Use Alison’s wording, try to salvage the job, but go either way. You have the next 50 years to work, but the number of family vacations to Europe are limited.

    I regret not traveling more back before I had a mortgage and a family. Enjoy this time in your life to the fullest!

  15. MarketingGirl*

    Go on the trip.

    Your concern shows that you are mature enough to understand that your obligations and commitments are important. You should be weighing your options and considering consequences. Keep on doing this. But with that said, go on the trip! Use the language provided to talk to your managers. You never know if they’ll be willing to keep you on despite the blackout. You may not be getting the chance to go on this trip again. Take advantage of this awesome opportunity and enjoy yourself! Don’t jeopardize this experience for a part time job in high school. Part time jobs will come and go, and besides your employers’ blackout, there’s no real reason NOT to go.

    You sound like a good kid. You’ll make the decision that’s right for you (but please go on the trip!!!!).

  16. Mephyle*

    You may feel now like you’ll have plenty of future opportunities to go on family vacations, but the reality for most of us is that once we leave high school, we start living our own lives and our vacations from work or school can’t easily be synched with that of our parents any more. In a way, this could be your ‘last chance’ to be your parents’ child and go on a super trip with them. It’s worth leaving your job for. Later, the stakes for leaving a job are going to be higher.

    There is no reason whatsoever for you to be fired. If you ask respectfully whether there’s any possibility of getting the time off and they say no, you regretfully resign and say all the proper nice things about how much you learned and how grateful you were to have this opportunity.

    1. LCL*

      This, totally. Handle it professionally and go on the trip. Don’t emphasize the family part of it, emphasize the travel opportunity part. To those of us who came of age in (ahem) earlier times, the idea of going on a family vacation at 18 is incomprehensible. But times have changed, and that is good, and you should go on this trip if you want to. I was fired from a restaurant job in high school for doing exactly this, and it didn’t hurt my career prospects any.

    2. Parenthetically*

      Yes, this! I had one of those “last chance” trips before a lot of family changes in life stage, and those are some of our sweetest memories as a family. We’ve been fortunate to travel a good bit since then separately, but that was our last “just us four” family trip.

    1. Lynn Whitehat*

      Yes. I have been where you are (already traveled a lot within Europe, parents booked my ticket there without asking what my schedule was), and I say go. Goooooooo. If you’ve already traveled a lot with your parents, it might feel like that will just naturally continue, but it won’t. You’ll start having your own stuff going on, parents are less likely to pay for their adult children’s travel. Those memories will last a lifetime, and you won’t have many more chances to do this.

      It’s great that you’re so conscientious, but seriously, this isn’t even close.

  17. VintageLydia*

    Go on the trip. After you leave high school, these trips are much rarer with your parents. You’ll be giving your employer months of notice and even though these sorts of jobs are harder to get than when I was in high school, their still rarely worth keeping over this sort of thing unless you really really need to money to contribute to household expenses.

    That said, talk with your parents about planning trips without talking to you going forward. A lot of parents have a tough time remembering their kids have responsibilities outside the family and school as they become young adults. I’m 30 and I still have friends with parents who don’t understand that they can’t just take off for a this or that reason at their parents whims. You’re still in high school, but you also have a job with a boss and coworkers that depend on you. This is realistically the last time they can get away with this.

    1. Printer's Devil*

      + 1

      The parents planning this and presenting it to the LW as a fait accompli irks me.

      It sounds like you’ve got a good head on your shoulders, LW- you’ll be fine. If you present this to your employer ahead of time the way Alison suggested, I suspect they’ll find a way to work with you.

  18. lascozzese*

    Go. As someone who lives 12 hours travelling time from my parents, trust me when I say you will treasure those memories, even if you are going somewhere you have already visited.

    I only see my parents once a year now, and my grandparents even less and knowing that my time with them is so very finite as they get older is heartbreaking and makes me so glad that I took the time for family holidays and outings when I was younger.


  19. Marcy Marketer*

    Depending on your company, they might have rigid policies the chain manager can’t waive. However, if it’s at all like my high school retail job, you might be able to quit and give enough notice (usually two weeks) that you’re eligible for rehire.

    1. Liane*

      This might be something you can suggest to your employer–or they might suggest to you.
      Enjoy the trip!

  20. Allypopx*

    I have a couple of friends who have moved home even though they didn’t have to for the opportunity to spend time with their parents – generally following an event like a really dramatic health issue that made them realize their time is limited. That’s not my relationship with my parents, but if you’re close with your family at all making memories is really a vital thing you’ll be glad you did.

    Also – the opportunity to travel while you’re young, don’t have to foot the bill, and have the freedom to do things like lose jobs without it being life-devastating is an opportunity you definitely don’t want to squander.

  21. boop*


    As someone who will have a “high school job” for the rest of her life, go.

    There are lots of these jobs, and they don’t care about you. You are young enough that no one would think twice about a light resume. Also, you only work a couple of times a week and you’ll only be gone for 10 days.

    Your family will be gone the entire holiday. I would be very surprised if your employer would be okay about a teenaged employee spending not only christmas alone, but home alone for a week as a minor (assuming you still are one).

    1. Gaia*

      I know this isn’t terribly relevant to the OP but I just want to say that if you are saying you have a “high school job” for life because it is retail or service – I hope you don’t really think that. These are valuable jobs and without them we’d struggle to function in our society. i can’t imagine the chaos if every cashier, stocker, restaurant worker etc stopped working. We’d get almost nothing done.

  22. burnout*

    You are in high school and still live at home. Your parents trump your job. Allison’s advice is excellent. Explain to your boss and see how it shakes out.

    Businesses who hire high school students do so knowing they have to be really flexible.

    Enjoy Europe with your family! It won’t be much longer and you’ll be out on your own. Trips like that may not be possible for a long time then. And I bet this means the world to your parents! Have fun!

  23. Master Bean Counter*

    Talk to your employer. Offer to cover extra terrible shifts around Thanksgiving to make up for being gone over Christmas. Tell them that you are sorry but you are going to go on a family vacation. You’re willing to pick up extra shifts before and after to make up for it. Otherwise agree on your last working date before you leave. If your employer is reasonable they may not be happy, but you’ll have a job when you come back. If your employer is unreasonable, then you are better off finding another job when you get back.

    1. TootsNYC*

      Definitely talk to your employer. The sooner they know you aren’t a Christmas possibility, the sooner they can plan.

      And maybe they can slot you into the “helpful at other times” category.

      And if you bring it up now, then it will be, “I resigned because the schedule wasn’t compatible, and they needed something more than I could give, so I didn’t want to string them along,” which makes you look good.

  24. MashaKasha*

    Trip trip trip!

    Not exactly the same, but, several years ago, my then SO asked me if I’d join him for a week in Paris. He’d already booked an apartment, and wanted to show me around the city (he’d already been), all I had to do was come up with the air fare for myself. I told him I needed a day to think about it. Came home that day and lo and behold, my AC had died in the middle of a 100-degree heat wave. I had to replace both the AC and furnace. That’s on top of my older son’s college bills, and of all the expenses that come from owning a house and having two kids living in your house. So I told the SO that a huge unplanned expense had come up, and that I’d go with him next time. We broke up less than a year later. There wasn’t a “next time with him”. And going by myself, without splitting the expenses with a travel companion, is impossible financially at this time. Plus he’d probably have been a far better tour guide than I could ever be for myself. Honestly when I look back at it, I think that I should’ve borrowed money from family or friends and just gone on that trip.

  25. Moonsaults*

    First of all do you like family vacations? How will your parents feel if you stay at home? Do not cause friction with your parents over this because you will need them for longer than you think.

    I think it’s admirable that at your age that you’re thinking ahead and enjoying work, that’s amazing and not everyone is like that so young let alone when you get a few years older. You are awesome and there will be plenty of part time retail/service jobs around the corner for you so if this one does fire you, that’s their loss in the end.

    You are a part time employee and not always held to the same standards as the people who are working there full time either. So the blackout period may be strictly enforced in some senses but they may be willing to let you by depending on management.

    1. TootsNYC*

      Also–this doesn’t have to be “they fired me.”

      it will be, “I discovered that we had a schedule incompatibility, so I resigned to look for another job, and to let them look for a different employee whose schedule worked better for them.”

      1. Moonsaults*

        Very true, especially given the long advance notice. If LW tackles the situation right now, it’ll be even better for everyone. They may give her the opportunity to resign and be eligible for hire back when she returns. As long as you’re not fired for negligence, most places would like to have people back if there’s room on the schedule at a later date. For a cafe, I can imagine their turnover and that weekend/evening staff is usually what they hurt for most, it will work out for everyone one way or another.

        We’ve had plenty of people leave for other jobs as well and our response is “If you ever want to come back, you’re welcome here!”, you usually don’t just toss a good employee out with the bathwater over schedules.

        I’ve known a lot of folks who will take off certain periods of time from the service industry to tour with their bands and a lot can come right back to their regular spots or the kitchen/front can shuffle around. It’s pretty standard.

  26. Qweert*

    My best friend once bunked with me for a week during Christmas time to stay and work while we were in high school when his family went in a trip.

    The result was he resented the job for the rest of his time there. Missed out on epic family stories and it even put a dent in our friendship for a few years because he was so miserable the entire time.

    Go on the trip!

  27. ThePM*

    Go on the trip, and while I like AAM’s wording, you also could offer to do some undesirable shifts (like maybe offer to take Thanksgiving or Super Bowl Sunday, or whatever is coveted by your coworkers). While it might not “make up for it” – it would go a long way towards demonstrating you “get it.”

    Let the chips fall where they may, but take the trip. This isn’t a once in a lifetime gig you’re (potentially) giving up here with this job.

  28. Tiny_Tiger*

    Go on the trip. It’s a part-time job for the school-year, nowhere near your career, and there’s always other places you can look. Trips to Europe with your family can’t often be redone. I would take Allison’s advice on being upfront with your manager about taking the vacation. Ultimately, this was something outside of your control. As far as taking time off for exams? My response remains the same. When I was working in college and my part-time job raised issues with my schedule, I flat-out told them that my college studies were more important and that I wouldn’t sacrifice time for it for that job. They had to learn it the hard way every time an exam period came up or when my classes started up again from summer break and they tried to schedule me during my classes or during a final.

  29. Kiley*

    Go on the trip! You’re about to graduate high school, and your opportunities to do a vacation like this with your family are going to be fewer and fewer as you get older. If you lose this job, you’ll be able to get another one. But you’re not going to be able to replace this time with your family and travel experience easily. Whatever money you would have made there isn’t going to be worth skipping what sounds like an amazing family trip.

    I worked all through high school and college, and worked a lot of short-term catering gigs right after I graduated college. I sacrificed a lot of time with friends and family because I felt like I needed to work and save money. Looking back on my post-college time ten years later, I regret leaving family events and skipping weekends away with friends for slightly-above minimum wage catering jobs.

  30. Abby*

    I agree with other commentors. This is a high school job. A trip to Europe is a great opportunity. Employers expect high school students to have other demands like this. And, if you ever list this job and are asked about it, I think most employers would understand. Especially as you will have other jobs where you work hard, etc.

    I did this in high school in fact. I worked at Long John Silver and was worried I would be fired because my family wanted me to go on a three week vacation. I asked, they gave me the time off, and asked me not to quit when I moved on to college.

  31. Allison*

    I agree with everyone here! You may like this job, but you’re young, this isn’t your career and you’re not depending on this job. Going to Europe is a great experience, and it’s also totally normal for you to want to be with your family; teenagers shouldn’t have to miss out on family gatherings during the holidays.

  32. Venus Supreme*

    If someone paid for me to go to Europe… I’d be out of here ASAP.

    It’s a part-time job that won’t affect the rest of your professional life. Enjoy the holidays with your family in a different country. Senior year is all about having fun and your last hurrah in high school! Don’t sweat the small stuff.

  33. Jerry Vandesic*

    You should go. You would likely lose your job in April due to being unavailable for a month, so you are only talking about a few more months if you lose your job because of your vacation.

  34. Ashley*

    I love that you’re worried about this! For what it’s worth, I worked at KFC in high school and they had a strict “you can’t request off for holiday weekends” policy. I was a great employee, always on time, never missed a shift, my drawer was always perfect- but my family ALWAYS went out of town for memorial weekend. So, I asked if I could have the time off, they said no, and I said “well unfortunately I have to turn in my notice then”. They very quickly changed their tune and let me have the weekend off, as long as I kept it to myself. Making yourself a valuable employee has its perks!

    I hope this works out for you!

  35. Kate H*

    Go on the trip.

    It might seem like you’ll have plenty of opportunities to travel later, but the truth is you’re only going to get busier. College, jobs, significant others, adult obligations, all of these could come into play. Next time you might have a job that you really can’t take time off of.

  36. SouthernLadybug*

    Rarely are the commentators SO unified. I agree – go on the trip! And Alison’s wording for how you approach it at work in a professional manner is pitch perfect. Enjoy your family.

  37. Bad Candidate*

    The summer before my senior year of HS my parents had a two week vacation planned. It was a road trip and we’d planned to head out to Colorado and see a few things on the way there and back. I had a summer job and there were scheduling issues for my trip that for reasons not really my fault, were not resolved before I left. I went on that trip and I got in trouble at my summer job when I got back. But you know what? I cherish the memories of that trip. Six months later my mom was in a coma she never woke up from. Life changes fast. Go on that trip. Enjoy yourself. Enjoy your parents while you still have them.

  38. Happy Cynic*

    You will likely never have opportunities once you’re out of high school for your parents to spring for a trip like this. You have your whole life to find fulfillment in jobs with people and work you care about.

  39. TootsNYC*

    It’s not even November. If you bring this up now, they have plenty of time to figure out how to handle it.

    And then, even if they decide that it’s a bad idea to keep you on (maybe bcs it might make other employees think they can drop out of Christmas schedule with less notice, or something), it’s not really that they fired you–it’s that you mutually parted ways because the schedule was incompatible.
    And who knows, they may say, “oh, OK,” and not worry much about it.

  40. RedMeg*

    Speaking as a mom whose fledglings are suddenly flying out of the nest very quickly, PLEASE GO. This could be the lamest trip to the lamest place, and the family time along would still be worth it.

  41. Takethetrip*

    I’m in my late 20s and my younger brother was recently diagnosed with a deadly and incurable brain cancer. Do you know what I’d give to have spent more time with him when I was younger and had more time? Anything. This is an amazing experience, and one that may not come around again for a long while (especially once you realize how expensive a Europe trip can be when you have to pay for it yourself). Take that time with your family now while you can, and enjoy.

    1. Gaia*

      Oh dear. I’m sorry for your brother and for you and for your entire family. Cancer is the absolute fucking worst. I hate this crap.

  42. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    This reminds me of a funny, funny story…. I went into a store (chain has since failed) and two managers were talking…

    Idiot manager =”Paul was late for work yesterday…”

    Other manager =”He’s in the middle of his exams now…”


    My wife and I walked away from this laughing hysterically…..

    1. Bad Candidate*

      When I was going back to school I was an adult and had a full time job and my answer would still have been exams.

    2. Candi*

      There are several stories like this on Not Always Working… the general thought of submitters who share thought processes is they’ll take the exams and getting their degree over working retail for a bad boss. And yes, some got fired (and landed other jobs). And some, sadly, decided not to just burn that bridge, but nuke it into oblivion. Cathartic, but not entirely professional.

  43. Bend & Snap*

    Go go go!

    Also, getting fired in high school…doesn’t really matter. I got fired from my first job and my takeaway was that retail wasn’t for me (I couldn’t ever do the closing reconciliation correctly). Nobody ever found out because I didn’t disclose my 6 months at the Nut Hut in the mall as prior work history, and I found an office job that was a better match for my skills.

    Have a wonderful time with your family!

    1. Laura*

      This. I feel like people say that you have to have this on your resume to prove you are reliable starting out. You’ll have jobs during the summer and maybe during the year in college. No one will need to know about it. Or could even say that you needed to make your studies and family a higher priority and left the job. I had several meltdowns senior year trying to balance Walgreens and all the other things I was doing. Despite the manager’s claim, I never needed her recommendation.

      1. TootsNYC*

        yeah, you *can* put this on your resumé to prove you are reliable. But you don’t have to.

        And remember–if you quit, you’re actually still reliable. It’s when you walk out without notice, or something.

  44. Hotel worker*

    If you like your family and like vacationing with them, go on the trip. If not, work is a great excuse to skip it.

  45. Elle*

    GO ON THAT TRIP! Enjoy your family. Hopefully you can get another job if it comes to that. When you are faced with a tough decision, ask yourself, “Which choice would I regret the most looking back?” Something tells me it won’t be losing the job.

  46. Still Bitter*

    Go on the trip! I’m still mad at my parents for planning an epic family trip when I was in my first year of engineering in university – there was no way I could blow off classes and still pass my exams that year, so I didn’t go. If they had planned it when I was in high school I would have quit my job (had I had t0) to go, no question.

  47. Dang*

    Yup, trip.

    When I was in HS I worked retail and told them when I was going to be out. If they didn’t like it, I didn’t really care if they fired me. They never fired me. If they’re reasonable, they’ll understand that by hiring a minor who is still in school, there are limitations in what they can expect schedule-wise.

    If it’s a problem- there will always be other part time jobs. Enjoy exploring with your family!

  48. Leatherwings*

    I join the “go on the trip” side as well (presuming you want to go). Family time before you go to college is valuable, and you’ll have wonderful memories.

    Travel gets harder for most people as they get older, take the paid trip and have some awesome experiences :)

  49. DMC*

    My only advise is, after you ask them, if they say it is a deal breaker, then let them know you are resigning, and ask them how much notice would they like? Tell them you can work up to the vacation, but if they want to replace you earlier and/or have you help train a replacement, that is fine with you. By resigning, you can honestly not check the box on future employment applications that ask if you’ve ever been fired.

  50. Ruffingit*

    Go on the trip. This is a part-time high school job. You won’t regret the time spent with your family, but you will regret staying for a job when you could have spent some wonderful memory making time with family.

  51. BabyAttorney*

    Go on the trip.

    OP, please please go on the trip. It doesn’t sound like you have a real familial reason to decline (your parents are estranged or you don’t get along with them or there are politics at play or what have you) and you’re wondering if a job is worth the trip in this context. Regardless of where the trip is to, please trust me when I tell you not to give up this opportunity.

    I declined a family trip once in order to stay at home and work the week after Christmas when I was in high school. One of the family members I would have seen there passed away suddenly two months later. I promise you, the extra pay wasn’t worth it and it is the greatest regret in my life.

    You can get another job if you are let go from this one. You can’t replace family or the memories you’ll make on a trip like this.

    Please please please go.

  52. CK*

    As a high school student, my family went on an international trip and offered my sister and I the opportunity to go as well. The destination and prospect of spending 24 hours/day for 7 days with my family was not appealing at that time in my life, so I declined. Instead, I stayed home, worked, and spent time with friends. I have never regretted the decision and have since traveled internationally.

    All that to say, sometimes it’s not about the location, the time in life, or whether you’ll lose your job over it. As a high schooler who has the option to go or not, it should be about the experience you’d have and whether that would make you happy. Manage the rest of it based on that.

    1. Moonsaults*

      My parents always took us on summer vacations, when my brother reached his mid teens, he certainly didn’t want to go any more and spent the time with is friends as well. That’s why my first question is “Do you want to go? Do you like family vacations?”

      Even though my brother actually has a wonderful relationship with our parents, family vacations were tiresome for him and not exciting after he got to see the few places he was really itching to. Then he explored much more in debth as an adult because that’s when we get to call all the shots and it’s so much better on that level.

  53. SJPxo*

    Op, I’d 100% take this trip. Now in 28 I I shed i’d have been able to travel more when I was younger. I’d have jumped at the chance to go to America(in English) when I was younger in ‘high school’. You’ll have an amazing time and see so much, so I say go. You’ll work full time when you’re older and wish you could have the money to go on vacation so take the opportunity now and ‘be an adult’ later. Plenty of years to work in the future but less now to explore while you’re young

  54. East of Nowhere south of Lost*

    Go. It would be nice i’d think to give your employer warning that you’ll be quitting instead of just not showing up and they have to scramble to cover your hours.

  55. Charlotte, not NC*

    I gave up tickets to a concert I desperately wanted to see because I was only a week into my First Grown-Up Job after college. I was not allowed to take time off. The job ended up being an office sweatshop, grinding through naive graduates every few months. After less than a year I found a better job, never used that hellhole as a reference, and promised myself I would get another chance to attend a similar concert.

    Life got in the way, and the performer passed away before I got to see him (George Harrison). I should have gone.

    Go on your trip. Being responsible is important, but so is living your life.

  56. paul*

    Ask. If they say no, turn in your notice 2 weeks before the trip.

    It’s a part time high school job. Try to find another one in your area after you get back.

  57. Janice in Accounting*

    As the mom of a college freshman, I’m a bit biased but I’d encourage you to go on the trip. As you grow older time with your family will become more and more rare, so take advantage of this opportunity!

  58. Newbie*

    Definitely talk to your employer now. Today. Please. The sooner they know you won’t be available, the sooner they can plan. And a reasonable employer will recognize that, especially if you use Allison’s language of explanation of the situation above. I wish you luck.
    I grew up in a household where my parents were the employers of a small business that hired teenagers for part-time staff. They paid these teens to work year round, when they weren’t always needed, to ensure they had staff to work during the very busy summer season. I remember once where a pair of sisters who had worked for M&D for over two years dropped the news that they were going to be gone for all of July, and it was already the end of the 3rd week of June. The tourist season was starting in 3 days.
    It turned out that their parents planned a surprise overseas trip, but neglected to give my M&D a quiet heads up, because they didn’t want M&D to “ruin the surprise.” Well, I know for a fact they wouldn’t have said anything. They would however, have hired staff months before to train and be able to cover for the two girls – which would’ve been far less stressful. The girls went on the trip, and didn’t have jobs to come back to. It wasn’t their fault directly, but there was a fear that it could happen again, because of the actions of their parents. It soured a long term relationship, and it was a tough summer for those who were there to work.

  59. Matt*

    Is taking a month off for exams at the high school level a thing now? When I used to hire high school students, that would effectively shut my business down for the month.

  60. DrAtos*

    You’ll regret it if you don’t go on this trip. Cherish your time now when you have few responsibilities and lots of free time. You don’t get that once you become an adult with a real job, rent, and bills to pay. My one and only trip to Europe was study abroad in college and I’m so glad I went. My only regret is that I didn’t stay longer after my study program ended to travel to more countries. There will be other part time jobs once you’re in college, but this may be your only chance to have an amazing family vacation for a very long time.

  61. Nicola in Seattle*

    I strongly feel the OP should go on the trip to Europe. You can always ask for the job back (there’s a lot of forgiveness with teens) but you can’t make up the opportunity to go to Europe in the future. Moving forward, there will be few opportunities for you to do something this fun without heavy consequences (not being able to afford rent, food, bills, losing job, etc). Also, I’m so jealous! Have a good time!

  62. Editor*

    In high school, I begged to stay home alone (my grandparents lived next door, for context, so the request was doable) instead of going on a family vacation. After some painful debate, my parents left me home. For the rest of my family, it turned out to be a memorable vacation they still reference, and every time I see the pictures I remember feeling sad and left out after they came back. I am pretty introverted, but since then I have made it a point to be with my now-scattered family and inlaws whenever I can. Those times have enriched my life and those of my children, particularly since my husband died well before retirement. Missing out on family events was also sometimes out of our control later, because a job transfer did mean that we could not always attend events we wanted to, including two family funerals.

    My bias is toward spending time with family and friends. I think it makes people stronger emotionally. I hope you will think about whether choosing the job over the trip will be of the most importance to you years down the road as a shared bond that strengthens family ties that may be strained by limited vacation and job options later in life.

    Good luck with the job and with the rest of your future, whatever you decide.

  63. silvertech*

    +1 to the “go the Europe!” choir :) You seem to be responsible and mature, so talk to your employer right away using Alison’s script, you might find out that you get to have the trip and take the job.

    Best of luck and enjoy visiting my continent ;)

  64. Bossy Magoo*

    As the mother of a high school senior with a job, I might be biased. OP should go on the trip because there’s such a short window when you can take family vacations with this family (as opposed to any future family you form with a significant other and/or children of your own). Those family memory-making times together are important and valuable. Perhaps if your employer fires you because they need people there during that time period, then maybe they will be open to consider you for rehire when you return. Your mom wants her sweet baby with the family during vacation! Don’t deprive her of that! (Am I projecting my own issues here???)

  65. Nanani*

    LW, remember when you are no longer living at home, whether as a broke student or a broke recent grad, you likely won’t be able to AFFORD Europe (assuming you are at least an overseas plane ride away).

    If you actually dread family vacations for whatever reason, or otherwise think the trip would not be enjoyable, then work could be a good way out of it, but that doesn’t sound like its the case from your letter.

    The 8-ball of the internet says GO :)

  66. DairyAllergy*

    Go on the trip!!! Family memories are far more important than high school jobs.

    Related: while working in retail management I can’t tell you how many times I heard ‘my parents booked this trip and didn’t tell me’. Is that a thing? Do parents really do that? I’m not judging- I’m honestly curious. My mother would never have booked a trip without talking to me about it because she knew I had a high school job, clubs, classes, etc. This is a very common occurrence in my experience and one I find baffling!

    1. TootsNYC*

      yeah, that always amazes me. I would never do that to my kids.

      I might plan it for the only time that *I* could go, and tell my kids, “here’s when Dad & I are going; we’d love to have you come, and we’ll pay. Let us know before we book.”
      In fact, I did that this summer.

      It troubles me a lot, actually, for parents to make these unilateral decisions for their children once their kids get to be about 16 or so.
      I suppose at 16 or 17, I might say, “I know you can get time off, I know you don’t have classes; you MUST come on this family vacation, because it’s important to the family,” with much the same philosophy as saying, “you must be home by midnight” or “you have to go with us to Grandma’s for Christmas.”
      But even if that were it, I’d be having that conversation before booking anything, so I could aim my parental authority (if needed) at whatever obstacle was in the way.

    2. AnotherAlison*

      As a parent, nope, I wouldn’t do this. One, I wouldn’t obligate my kids to take a trip they didn’t want to or couldn’t take, and if it was a trip I wanted to include them on, I would check their schedule first.

      But, my dad is a controlling type and absolutely would. He wouldn’t book things over school commitments, but you better not make your own holiday or break plans because he would decide what family thing would be done and you didn’t get a say in it.

      1. chickabiddy*

        I am not generally a controlling parent and I would not “force” my 14yo to go on a vacation for funsies. My father, her grandfather, is elderly and declining. I know her schedule very well because we homeschool, and I have let her know that I expect that we will travel to see him either over the winter holidays or spring break and it will not be optional, especially because while she’s a pretty good kid, I am not leaving a 14yo home alone for several days.

    3. doreen*

      Not so baffling to me – but then again, I never booked vacations when school was in session so classes and school activities wouldn’t have been an issue. Once I finally worked out a time when my husband and I could both take off and school was out, I wouldn’t have worried about scheduling around a part-time job that my kid didn’t actually need. As a general rule, kids who actually need a job in high school (as opposed to those who simply want one) don’t have parents who take them on vacations.

    4. JAM*

      My parents made it a priority to do a vacation every year, even if we just spent a week doing free things in the city, because they never had that opportunity as kids. When I got to 16, 17, 18, 19 they were still booking them just like always without consulting us. There were moments when I was younger where I’d miss a softball game and that was a bummer but it usually all worked out.

      By the time I was older they just didn’t see that I was autonomous when booking and didn’t see how it would affect me because we’d always done it and it worked out. It became very stressful for me every spring because I’d line up a summer internship or classes and my mom would tell me they didn’t have a vacation planned and I’d get home from school and that was a lie. They never did activities or college so they had no way of understanding. They thought I was just an overachiever neurotic daughter (true) but didn’t realize that everyone competitive was doing those things.

    5. Moonsaults*

      Whereas my parents would never have pulled the stunt, I have had friends who have parents who would have. It’s all in the dynamics of the family. I know so many controlling parents in varying aspects that traveled to college and back with some of their kids.

    6. Charlotte, not NC*

      I grew up in a “kids do what they’re told, are seen and not heard” household, and booking travel without talking with me first was completely expected. That said, there was no way I had any commitments that they weren’t already aware of, because they controlled all of that too.

    7. chocolatechipcookie*

      Yes, or just scheduled or decided to do other mundane stuff without bothering to check with their child. Right before getting ready to leave for my first year of college, my mother decided one morning there was an errand we had to do THAT DAY NO OTHER TIME even though when she informed me, I told her I already had plans with a friend. Granted, I hadn’t told her about my plans previously… but she hadn’t informed me of her plan either! Still irked by it.

  67. Stranger than fiction*

    A lot of the restaurants I worked at back in the day allowed people to quit and reapply if they needed to take a vacation during a blackout period. It seemed like just a formality, and I dont remeber anyone that was not allowed to return. Perhaps, when using the dialogue Alison suggests, they’ll give her that option?

  68. dragonzflame*

    Go! Last year my grandmother died, right after I’d started a new job. She was in another country so we organised a memorial service got a couple of months later. I’d been there less than six months at that point, so had no holiday yet, but as my manager said, ‘a job’s a job, but family’s family.’ She was just pleased I gave tons of warning.

    And to echo other comments, you’re in high school. If you lose this one, there will be another job!

  69. Cat steals keyboard*

    Take the trip. Last time someone had a work v trip dilemma they ended up being very glad they took the trip due to some tragic events that happened shortly after. Life is short. Hang out with your family.

    1. MoinMoin*

      Yes! Both impressed with the maturity of the poster and happy (for Alison and as a reader) that AAM’s reach is extensive enough to get questions from a wide variety of people.

  70. The Original Poster!*

    Hi everyone! Thank you so much for your input regarding this issue, and Alison thank you so much for your practical advice for trying to keep the job somehow, and I really appreciate your acknowledging that it is reasonable for me to actually not go on the trip as well. It’s interesting because just today I had a talk with my parents about the situation, and I explained essentially what I wrote here, and in the end I was actually leaning towards not going on the trip. However, seeing the unanimous agreement that the trip is worth more than a part time job, I might be changing my mind. My parents are actually very understanding, and they have left it up to me to make the decision (they’re not forcing me to go), and actually the situation is unique because when they booked the trip they were so focused on my brother’s schedule (he’s in grad school), they booked the trip so that I would have to miss school, too!

    I’m going to first ask my manager, using the language Alison provided, if there will be any way to accommodate my absence. I’ve already asked for reduced hours, and I’m a new employee, so it is hard to predict the severity of her reaction after already going so far to accept the requests I’ve already made.

    Also, for those wondering about the intensive exam period in May, it’s a result of a two year program of higher level courses where the final exams are worth normally 80% of my final grade, and because I would have spent two years preparing for them, they really are a very big deal for me. The studying abroad I did was in Asia. I’ve been to a few European countries before with my family when I was younger. It’s true that I don’t really need this job– in reality my goal was to gain experience, and of course with that comes the ability to put the job on my resume.

    Thanks again to everyone for your advice! I really appreciate it. This entire situation is being really tough for me, but it’s a good reminder that life moves on, and that high school part-time jobs such as the one I have now (which is seriously awesome) are just that… part-time jobs. I’ll still have to consider the issue over the next few days though! I’ll definitely talk to my manager about the trip, but if she says that I’ll lose my job over it, I may have to take a few more days to decide if I want to resign or not.

    1. MoinMoin*

      I don’t know what kind of work it is, but in general a high school job isn’t going to be a hugely decisive factor in the long run. It may make finding a job in college marginally easier, if that’s your line of thinking, but it’s not uncommon to be hired for a college job with little to no experience either. And out of college, I probably wouldn’t bother adding it to a resume even if I didn’t have college jobs to include as well. You’re treating this maturely enough that you could probably still get a good reference from the job (and if your manager is not particularly reasonable it’s pretty understanding to explain that you left due to schedule issues as a student or not mention the job at all). As a super old and wise 30 year old, I think I’d only really consider staying to work if the job is exceptionally prestigious and/or your college applications were hinged on you getting to include your experience as the youngest MD since Doogie Howser.
      And truly, if you present yourself in real life half as well as you present yourself through writing, I doubt that you will find this a hindrance at all. Experience for entry level jobs is mostly to make sure you understand basic workforce norms, like being reliable, communicating well, learning and completing tasks, etc. and it seems likely that you’d be able to demonstrate that anyway.
      Good luck!

    2. TootsNYC*

      Right–you can always ask, and if they say it’s a deal-breaker, you *can* decide not to go.

      But I want to repeat this: For me it’s about your sibling. Siblings move on (both of you), and those relationships can get so hard to maintain–somehow they’re much harder than my relationship with my mom and dad. And I’m not the only one who experiences that.

    3. Tyrannosaurus Regina*

      This is definitely good practice for learning how to navigate those times when work, school, family, and other commitments collide. I’m sure you’ll do what’s best for you in your situation. :)

  71. JAM*

    In 2005 I almost turned down our family’s trip to Hawaii for my parents’ 25th wedding anniversary because I had an internship and was doing an online class so I could only do 15 hours/semester my senior year of college. My internship coordinator worked with me to shift my schedule for 2 extra weeks at the end to make up for it. I went on vacation and it was fantastic. 2 weeks after getting home I was diagnosed with cancer. Obviously my entire world changed but in that instant I was never happier that I went on that vacation. I was really convinced it was my last.

    Thankfully it wasn’t, I’m healthy, I’ve been to Europe, and I have a job despite quitting that internship early for cancer (though I totally worked till the week of treatment because I’m insane). As a married adult now, I don’t get to take vacations very often and I hate myself for it at times. It took me a long time of being a responsible adult to realize that being responsible doesn’t mean sacrificing your happiness all the time and that time off and time for family that you care about is so important.

    This is a great opportunity to be an adult by discussing this with the boss, coming up with a plan of action no matter the ultimate outcome, and handling the opportunity with maturity and professionalism. If you have to leave the job, set a positive memory and a good reference for the future.

  72. The Strand*

    One more weighing in on going on the trip.

    You might have the kind of career where you have to plan big trips a year or more in advance, and travel won’t be easy. It especially will be harder to do with your siblings, even if you have the chance to take time with your parents. Or you might pick a field where an internship is crucial while you’re in college or grad school, and next time you might really have to say no. (Talk to your family about this far ahead of time.)

    The time traveling with your family is going to be priceless even if it rains the whole time and you’re stuck in the hotel.

    Enjoy yourself!

  73. Alexandra*

    When I was younger, I let all kinds of things get in the way of opportunities to travel. Looking back, I see that my excuses were really not insurmountable and I shouldn’t have worried so much.

    Go on the trip!

  74. Chickaletta*

    Do the 1 week, 6 months, 10 years test: How will your decision affect you one week from now? In six months? In ten years?

    Chances are, you’ll find that in the long run, the decision to spend time with your family will be much more important and that losing your high school job will not have a lasting effect on your life. Don’t let short-term consequences drive your decision on this one.

  75. Sam*

    I’m a mean, “we have rules for a reason” kind of boss, and if you used the language Alison suggested, I’d do everything in my power, including covering your shift myself, to make it happen for you. So many people either assume they can take off, 0r just quit. Actually talking about it and acknowledging that it’s an exception goes a long way.

  76. Non E Moose*

    I once quit an outwardly-cool job (part time clerk at a law firm) on a Thursday afternoon, because I was tired of being treated poorly by lawyers, and because the Friday forecast was for sun and 72f (it was May, in Seattle after all!). No sense wasting a lovely day, and even 25 or so years later, I’m still glad I did.

  77. Betty (the other Betty)*

    I’m 50, and I still regret skipping my cousin’s wedding to work at a high school job.

    Go on the trip.

  78. Cam*

    As others have said: you’re wrong – you may not have many more (or possibly any more) family vacation opportunities ahead of you. When you’re in college you may need your summers for internships or summer classes, and when you’re out of college, vacation opportunities may be few and far between, at least for a few years. Take advantage of this while you can.

  79. shorty*

    Assuming you don’t need the money, go on the trip! You could always get a different job for the spring. No future job should look down on you for staying at this high school job for a short period of time. I hate to say it but opportunities for long, nice vacations and time with family are hard to come by when you’re just a little bit older than you are currently. Live it up while you can!

    p.s. I don’t mean to paint a bleak picture of getting older. It’s actually pretty great, but with the good comes some bad, like the fact that it’s harder to get away from work.

  80. Kat 2*

    As someone who is dealing with an unexpected injury that has taken up my life for over a year, go on the trip. I’ve already had to turn down invites to go kayaking, paddle boarding, hiking/camping, concerts, beach week, and to attend an event I have been wanting to go to my whole life. Even if I could go, my medical bills have eaten any vacation/fun money.

    You never know what will happen in life. Go.

  81. Pot Meeting Kettle*

    In ten years time, you will remember the fun you had with your family on an awesome trip to Europe. You will not (or want to) remember the job. I doubt it will even appear on your professional resume. Go to the trip!!!

  82. The Original Poster!*

    Okay, okay, I understand. The internet is telling me to go on this trip.

    So, thanks again everyone! It’s true that I am pretty inexperienced in life, so I really appreciate that all of you are able to share your wisdom from your past lives so that I can live the best life possible! I really feel better about the whole situation, and every comment helped.

    1. Cat steals keyboard*

      You may be at the beginning of your career and not as life experienced at some, but the maturity and professionalism you’ve shown in your letter and comments, and your ability to communicate, are going to stand you in really good stead. Not just in asking your employer about this trip but the rest of your working life. I for one am seriously impressed. Have a great trip!

  83. Verde*

    For the love of all that’s good and right in the world, take the trip!! After you politely and professionally explain the situation to your employer, of course. Working is amazing experience and you are to be commended for wanting to work, but travel is also amazing experience and can benefit you in many ways, too. And Europe doesn’t just happen. Go, go, go!!!

    And, if you really do decide not to go, ask your folks if they’ll take me. :)

  84. Looc64*

    I would go, because once you go to college it’s going to be a lot harder to coordinate family vacations like that.

  85. Candi*

    Go go go!

    Dad’s retired military. He viewed our travels between bases and residence at the places we were stationed as an opportunity to tour and travel in between assignments and during vacations.

    I’ve been in (West) Germany, and seen an original Gutenberg Bible. Among other places in Europe. (I was tiny at the time.)

    I’be seen museums in NJ and PA. At one, a speaker/role-player/comedian was playing the part of Ben Franklin. One anecdote was how he wired up a chair and got a friend to sit in it -who subsequently went around telling people he invented the electric chair. (“Ben” was miffed. He wanted to call it the “hot seat”.)

    I’ve been to D.C. and the Statue of Liberty. The Black Hills and Mount Rushmore. The salt flats and Salt Lake City. Niagra. The redwood forests.

    Twenty or more years later, the memories will remember. Even if you’ve been to a site a half-dozen times (coughOldBarracks), the memories will still be ones you’ll treasure. It’s time well spent.

    Talk to your boss as soon as possible -maybe come in early if possible- and use Alison’s language to talk with him.

    And go on that trip.

  86. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

    Nothing to add, but seeing posts like this gives me hope for our workforce 10 years from now. :)

  87. bopper*

    Take the trip! It will be harder to coordinate with your family once you are in college and start working.

  88. spinetingler*

    Entry-level jobs will be around forever. Your family won’t be.

    I’d give up my professional 14-year job if I could get my grandparents back.

  89. CanadianKat*

    I agree with AM, with a couple of nuances.

    First, don’t tell your employer that your parents have already booked the trip, and that you can’t get out of it. Phrase it closer to the way you did here: that your parents are planning a trip, and you’re trying to decide whether to go or not.

    Second, if the employer tells you that it’s a deal-breaker, don’t wait to get fired. Resign at the appropriate time (two weeks’ notice usually). Yes, it’s only a high-school job, but you do want a good reference, and future empoyers will not be happy to hear that you were fired (even if they know the details of the “offence.”) It’ll look much better if you say that you resigned for “family reasons.”

    But if your employer allows you to take the trip, – get it in writing. It can be as simple as sending a follow up email to your manager after the conversation: “Thank you for allowing me to go on a family trip from (date) to (date), despite the company’s blackout period.”

  90. CuhPow*

    My high school jobs understood situations like this (granted they were restaurants-more flexibility). They hired many high school and college students and knew there would be months where students couldn’t work, or that when you live with parents there were holidays you couldn’t work or vacations you needed to go on, or that parents sometimes just don’t let you come to work (like mine did if I was grounded). They also knew that sometimes transportation is hard when you’re trying to buy your first car. But again this is a place that made a point to hire students because they’re cheaper, so they made accommodations.

  91. Kay J*

    I mean, 10 days stuck in Europe with my family sounds mediocre at best and disastrous at worst, but you obviously have a better relationship with your family! If you legitimately want to spend that time with them and you’re this young, the job isn’t worth it. There will be many other part time jobs out there.

  92. Kiena*

    Definitely, definitely go, OP! I skipped a smaller travel/event because of work in my senior year of high school (my sister’s PhD graduation in another state), and I regretted it for years. Because in the long run, that extra money was gone so fast when I paid for college, but my family still occasionally talks about how fun that trip was.

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