asking for a chance to process things before responding, taking a two-month vacation at a new job, and more

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

1. Can I ask for a chance to process things at work before responding?

I’m an introvert who works for and with a group of extroverts. When in critical work conversations where my boss is giving direct feedback or asking my input on changes she’d like to make to the team that I manage, I often find myself unable to think on my feet and clearly articulate what I think would work best. I know myself well enough to know that I almost always come up with better answers when I’ve had time to process things. I should add that my boss is sometimes known to spring large changes on people in our organization without much warning.

I’ve thought about asking for some of those types of “change” announcements/suggestions in email, or asking for a day or two to think about things, but I’m afraid of it not being received well or being perceived as weaker because some of the other managers aren’t like this and she likes to make quick decisions. Is it ever appropriate to ask for a chance to process? If so, when and how? If that’s not appropriate, what else can I do?

Yes, at least sometimes. Ways to say it in the moment:

* “I want to take a little time to reflect on this. Can I come back to you with input by Thursday?”

* “Do you need our thoughts right now, or could we take a couple of days to think on this and then revisit it?”

* “My initial thought is ___, but I haven’t fully digested it yet. Could I take some time to think this through and come back to you later this week?”

You could also address it more big-picture with your boss: “I find I’m more able to give you input on things like X and Y if I have some time to think rather than doing it on the spot. I know that’s not possible with everything, but where there is room to circulate things a bit before we’ll be asked to comment on them, it would help me give you better input.”

2. Taking a two-month vacation my first year on a job

I’m fresh out of college (though I started late and am now 30) and an important thing I wasn’t able to do before now was really in-depth travel (due to either school or low-paying temp jobs between semesters). I now can happily say I have a two-month vacation planned in Asia with my best friend starting in eight months! We’ve been saving and planning for over a year.

The only problem is: now that I’m done with school, I’m excited to start looking for career opportunities and have found my ideal job is hiring. I’m qualified, it’s a company I really want to work for, and a job I feel passionate about. I don’t want to go back to a unrelated job when I know I’m ready for more and need the resume experience. Is it irresponsible to apply for a career job knowing I’ll be gone in eight months for a two-month span?

Should I bring my vacation up if I get the offer? Should I see what the job is like and then work on selling the trip as benefiting the company and myself in the role (it likely would help as the job is about cultural outreach within my city). I’d love to do the job remotely if they’ll let me, but I doubt I’ll know if remote is possible until I start. Is it professional to politely quit and tell them I truly hope they’ll have an opening for me when I return?

All of this is under the umbrella that I’m an excellent worker. I’ve never been fired, get promoted quickly, and my reviews are frequently in the “exceeds expectations” category. I love working and my dedication to the company and the job always shows.

Assuming you’re in the U.S., it’s very unlikely that a junior-level job is going to let you take two months off at once … ever, but especially in your first year of working there. You typically have to have a lot of capital built up to get an employer to agree to that, and if you’re just getting started in your field, you’re very unlikely to have that capital.

That’s not to say it’s impossible. It’s possible that you could find some company that would agree to it, if you negotiate it as part of your offer. But the vast majority of employers will say no to it.

It’s also not a good idea to go in planning to quit after such a short time (and by the time you’re hired and start, it’s likely to be only six months or less before the vacation), especially since you called it your ideal job. That’s likely to burn a bridge and not be great for your resume.

If you’re committed to doing the two-month vacation, you’d be better off waiting to job search until you’re back from it. But that has its own drawbacks, and sometimes it’s easier to get hired when your degree is brand new.

The timing here may just not work out; it might not be realistic to take a two-month vacation in the same year you’re launching yourself into a new field.

3. Do I tell an employee we heard rumors about his professionalism on the road?

I recently started a position managing an team at a large university. Several team members have frequent international travel in their roles. One team member does not currently travel (I’ll call him “Bob”), but has frequently requested the ability to do so. 

I asked one of the other team members (who had previously been responsible for managing everyone’s work travel) if she knew why Bob had not been allowed any trips, and was informed that after Bob had been hired, several colleagues in the field had come forward and shared negative stories about his behavior from when he had traveled for a previous institution. Later, I followed up with another colleague in the field (who I trust completely) who worked at Bob’s previous institution, and was told that he did not have a good reputation among his former colleagues and boss. There was a perception that he was not responsible with the institution’s time or money when he was on the road, and that he abused the freedom and autonomy of the position.

Bob has asked several times why he can’t pick up trips when we are searching for someone to cover. I subscribe to the “radical candor” philosophy, and generally believe in being transparent and honest with people whenever possible. As such, my instinct is to alert him to the fact that I have received negative feedback about his professionalism on the road. I am concerned, however, about how candid I can be without revealing information about where the feedback came from.

And since you are probably wondering, yes, there are other issues that I am managing with this employee as well, and he may not have this job for much longer. I would, however, like to be honest and help him grow for as long as I am working with him.

They way they’ve handled this pre-you is really weird! It’s odd that he’s been penalized for issues people heard he had at a previous job but which no one has seen at this job — and it’s also odd that no one has talked to him about this, especially when he’s apparently asked directly for an explanation.

I think you’ve either got to tell him the reason he hasn’t been allowed to travel (presumably without outing your sources), or you need to let him travel if that would normally be part of his job. If he doesn’t behave appropriately on the travel, then you’d address that right away. And that’s one of the weirdest parts of this whole thing — the way it’s been handled before you came on board seems to say that your team can’t possibly let Bob on the road because you’d have no recourse if he doesn’t conduct himself well. But of course you’d have recourse! You can lay out the rules he needs to follow, hold him to those rules, and address it if he doesn’t meet them — just like you would with any other issue with his work or behavior. But what’s happening right now isn’t fair or reasonable.

4. My contact canceled our call with no warning, after I’d paid for a babysitter

I got my graduate degree in creative writing and published one book with a small press shortly after graduating. A few years later, a woman that I had met once (we attended the same program, but not at the same time) asked me to Skype into her class to speak with her students. I said yes, as a favor, even though in general I dislike public speaking. She gave me her Skype name and asked for mine so we could connect on Skype, so I logged on, found her, and added her as a friend (I think? Or however it works; this was a few years ago … I don’t use Skype much.) This was maybe four or five days before the call.

I was on maternity leave with an infant at that point, and I hired a sitter so I could take the call undisturbed. The day the session was supposed to happen, I did some prep, got showered and dressed, sat in front of the computer, and … nothing. I tried Skyping her; she didn’t answer. I sent her an email telling her I was ready for the call (I didn’t have her phone number.) I heard back from her later that day: She sent a terse response to my email saying that because I hadn’t emailed her my Skype name, she’d had no way of contacting me. I wrote back and apologized, saying that I assumed that since I’d connected to her on Skype that we were good to go. She did not respond. I felt embarrassed about the whole thing and like I’d burned a connection (she is also a writer, and a more successful one than me).

In retrospect, I am very annoyed by this. Not only did I expend money and effort in getting someone to watch my newborn son, but I just don’t think I did anything wrong other than the misstep of not also confirming my Skype info with her via email. But as the facilitator of this session, shouldn’t she have taken steps to make sure we were connected and ready to go, instead of just apparently cancelling the call without letting me know? It seems really unprofessional to me. What do you think?

Yep, she was rude and you’re right to be annoyed. If she didn’t think she had a way to contact you on Skype, she should have emailed you ahead of time to fix that. And if that somehow slipped her mind and she didn’t realize it until the time of your scheduled call, she certainly should have emailed you then. This is a classic case of someone asking you to invest time in doing them a favor but then not having any respect for the time you agreed to give. She handled this badly, and she’s the one who should be embarrassed, not you.

5. Do multiple roles in one company count as job hopping?

I graduated university nearly four years ago and proceeded to work for the same company for nearly three years. I had three roles all within the same team during that time for roughly a year each. I’ve now moved to a new company and have been there for four months but I’m really struggling and it’s not a right fit for me. The company were misleading in the interview and now I’m left feeling miserable at work.

I want to change jobs but I’m concerned about appearing as a job hopper. Do you think the fact that I had three roles in my previous company and now looking to change would hinder me in my search?

Nope. Job hopping refers to changing companies frequently, not taking on new roles within one company. This won’t be a problem.

{ 516 comments… read them below }

  1. Fiennes*

    OP2, I’m afraid Alison is right. Two months is a long time away from any job that doesn’t explicitly offer sabbaticals, and even those aren’t for employees of such brief standing.

    If the trip is of paramount importance, and this is feasible in your field, could you look for a short-term position? Something that might last only a couple of months? Maybe it’s a long shot, but you’d be able to do that, get experience, take the trip & and then go after FT work. Absent that, I think you’re stuck.

    1. Sami*

      That’s what I’d say: try to find some temp jobs (hopefully in your field, or as close as possible). It will help your resume when you come back from your trip.

      1. On Fire*

        +1. When OP starts a career-type job related to her degree, there’s very likely not going to be a time when she and friend can schedule two months away from work. Postponing the trip might mean post-retirement.

        In OP’s situation, if I and friend had the money and were committed to the plan (i.e., friend wasn’t likely to change plans 6 months down the road), I would look for temp jobs for now, resign that job when it’s time for the trip, and look for the career job when I return.

        1. CupcakeCounter*

          One of my coworkers who had been here for 30+ years was able to schedule a 28 day trip with management blessing but it was well over a year in the works and all of his coworkers really stepped up to make sure he could do this. He also did a ton of prep work ahead of time and made lots of manuals to try to cover any little thing that popped up while he was gone.
          No way would they have done that for someone less than a year (or even me at 6 years)
          See if you can find a 6-month contract in your field or even field adjacent.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            Yeah, we did our long trip (5 weeks) when my husband was winding up research on his PhD, before he started his post-grad job. I think it’s possible now that my husband could swing a month off as a one-off unpaid sabbatical because he’s been at this job a long time and is very valued–but starting off, no. And this isn’t a “you’re a good worker” level ask, but a “you’re a critical team member and we’ll do some contortions to keep you happy and on board.” (Depending on field, but it doesn’t sound like OP is in a field where this works.)

        2. MCL*

          Yes, or move the trip dates up to really soon from now and apply for career positions after return. If that is feasible.

          1. Micklak*

            I second this. You’re at your most flexible now. Do it now. I’m assuming there are reasons why the trip is planned for 8 months out but are they as good as the reasons that people are offering for why this is an unrealistic ask of a potential employer?

            1. Kes*

              I agree, I went on a 6-week trip around Europe after I graduated and several of my friends went on similar trips – but we all did this directly after graduating and before starting any jobs. Most employers are going to balk at a potential hire asking for two months off. If it’s possible to move up the trip, I would recommend that. Otherwise OP probably needs to look for a temp or contract job that will end before they go on the trip, and then get a full time job when they return.

          2. FJ*

            This is what I did also, and my company was receptive to it. I took a few months off immediately after graduation, and arranged the start date of the job for once I returned. I did have the offer confirmed before I graduated. Typical USA college scheduled…. graduated late May early June-ish, traveled for June/July, started the job at the end of August.

        3. EA in CA*

          Not necessarily, it would have to depend on the organization and the relationship you have with your boss. My SIL was hired at a company and wanted to do a three week trip 7 months into the role. They, of course, wouldn’t allow that so she postponed her trip for 2 years later and is currently gone for 4 weeks.

          Not quite the same as two months, but still a significant amount of time to be away. Just because you start your career doesn’t mean your life is put on hold until after retirement. I could take a leave of absence from my job for up to three months once I pass the five year mark. It all depends on the company you are with.

          1. Whoisit?*

            I got very lucky in that when I was 22, working at my first job out of college I WAS able to take 3 weeks off after only 7 months to go to Europe. I was able to go because the following fortunate factors collided in my favor:
            1) A few months before I was set to take my trip, the company fired their one and only HR person who monitored employee PTO accrual and usage
            2) I got my boss to approve my PTO at the perfect time, a few weeks before she put in her resignation. She would have approved anyway but, was especially happy to do so (and happy to help me arrange all my PTO days appropriately, which I had no clue about) since she viewed her leaving and my being away for 3 weeks as just desserts to the company
            3) I have a certain skill that the company absolutely required for the role and it took them longer than 7 months to find me so they weren’t just going to let me go over a 3 week vacation. It also helped quite a bit that the company’s leadership was good people that were not controlling and well, yes, the company did like me

        4. Pebbles*

          I agree with On Fire, OP.

          5 years into CurrentJob I wanted to take a month off for a dream trip to SE Asia. I had to get boss, grandboss, and great-grandboss to approve it a year in advance, and I was a known entity to them! I only got 3 weeks of vacation at that time, so I had to plan it around Xmas/NYE to get those holidays to stretch the trip to the 4 weeks that I wanted (no time off for me that entire year). Part of the agreement was to give them a rough itinerary of the trip, check in once a week via email, and create documentation for everything that I worked on for the 3-months prior to the trip. A 2-month ask would have been a quick, flat “no”.

          Move the trip up and take it now, or work part-time until the trip and get your dream job afterwards, but don’t postpone it until who-knows-when. I’ll never regret spending NYE floating on a Chinese junk boat in the middle of Halong Bay.

      2. The Original K.*

        Yep, I agree with this. This would be very easy to explain both to temp agencies and to interviewers for permanent jobs once you’re back. There are lots of specialized temp agencies; if you can find one that specializes in your field, so much the better.

    2. Artemesia*

      It is sometimes possible to negotiate a later start date; interview with the planned start date that allows the trip. No way you can start a job then take a two month trip that year. — or the next year or probably the next year either. I have known people who graduated in June and planned a start date September, taking the big trip in the summer.

      1. TL -*

        Negotiating a start date 8 months out is most likely not going to happen (and isn’t a good thing to ask for at entry level!) The other option is either losing 6 months’ worth of income without an explanation or doing some kind of short-term work in the intervening months; whether or not that’s worth it depends on the field the OP is in.

        I would do some serious soul-searching about what’s most important to you at this stage in the life; it’s okay if you want to prioritize travel or work but I think you need to have a clear picture of which you want and what’ll have been the more valuable decision 5 years from now.

        1. Pauline Parrot*

          I would suggest applying for the job but be upfront about the travel plans. It’ll likely be a tiny amount of paid leave with tons of unpaid leave. I think employees can be understanding in if you are honest and you might just be able to get your dream job and dream holiday. The only downside is if you get sick at the end of the holiday you may need additional time off which can look bad if you don’t plan recovery time. ai would make sure to have a couple of days at home before starting back at work.

          1. TL -*

            I doubt many employers would approve it at all, though. At 8 months, it’s unlikely a new employee would able to offset the impact of a two month break – heck, at that point, they’re probably just starting to make it felt like all the work in their position is finally off everyone else’s plate.

            And it’s also likely to come off as very out-of-touch with norms, or might get you written off if you ask at the offer stage. I think for a 1 or 2 week vacation it would be achievable but a 2 month vacation would be very unlikely to make the OP look in touch with office norms.

          2. Thlayli*

            I agree. Mention it in your cover letter so you are not wasting anyone’s time. Don’t try to bluff them that it will be useful for the company or that you’ll work remotely from Asia. Even if you believe that, they will most likely not.

            Just be upfront that you have already booked the holiday and it’s not possible for you to change it and you understand this may not work for them.

            If it’s a total dealbreaker then they won’t offer you the job, but they will appreciate your honesty and if they thought you were really good they might remember you if you’re applying to another job with them in future. (Probably not tho).

            If you apply to 3-4 jobs and none of them interview you then it’s time to accept that it’s definitely a dealbreaker and start looking for temp jobs in the meantime. But I wouldn’t be so quick to assume that no job would consider you. Believe it or not there are one or two jobs out there that this might work for.

            Definitely don’t apply for a job and quit after 8 months to go on a preplanned holiday. That will destroy your reference. Don’t go to interview and wait for an offer and try to negotiate a holiday afterwards, they are likely to see that as you wasting their time.

            1. Thlayli*

              And obviously this would be unpaid leave. Make it clear you understand that in the cover letter too!

            2. LarsTheRealGirl*

              Job searching, especially entry-level, may require way more than 3-4 applications to land an interview. Even without a mitigating factor.

              1. Thlayli*

                I never thought of that. It depends on the industry and the quality of the applicant I suppose. I’ve always had an interview within 3-4 applications.

            3. Emily K*

              Don’t try to bluff them that it will be useful for the company or that you’ll work remotely from Asia. Even if you believe that, they will most likely not.

              OP, I would broaden this advice and tell you not to argue this when you return from your trip and are looking for jobs, either. I’ve hired for many positions, and the people who tried to sell their personal travel experiences as having given them some sort of “cultural” skills or experience were always the weakest candidates and trying to make up for it by spinning their travel as job training just made them look out-of-touch with what jobs actually need from people.

              I’m not saying there isn’t a lot of personal growth that can be brought on and fostered by travel, especially international travel. And you can certainly relate stories from your travel when you’re asked in interviews to answer questions like how you handled a situation where you were thrown into a strange environment and needed to adapt to it. But it’s still personal growth, not professional development. Professional skills are developed in professional contexts, and if you don’t appear to understand that it will hurt you.

          3. Nerdgal*

            I have known a couple of people who successfully negotiated something like this for a first job out of college. Unpaid, of course. I agree with Pauline.

          4. Graciosa*

            In my field, it usually takes newcomers about a year to be reasonably competent in their first role.

            After about 3 months, they are much better at knowing what questions to ask, at 6 months they can do a decent amount of the routine tasks for that level without assistance, and it’s about a year before they can handle what might be described as routine and simple issues (when things don’t go smoothly and per procedure).

            The point of all this is that while I consider myself a pretty accommodating boss, there is no chance I’m going to want to hire someone who plans to leave for two months in the middle of a critical learning period because they want to travel (and I like to travel myself!). I once declined to hire someone who wanted to negotiate 7 weeks off for a wedding (attending only as a regular guest, and I would have done 2 or 3, but not 7). There are always other candidates who start appearing much more attractive (read more interested in the position) when the conversation goes in this direction.

            As discouraging as that may sound, let me add with the benefit of more career experience that other good entry level roles for the OP’s career of choice WILL become available after she returns from her trip. If it’s possible to move it up to take immediately, that might be worth doing, but otherwise she might as well treat it rather like a belated gap year. Take non-career jobs to cover expenses, travel at will, and enjoy the experience. I do think it’s worth doing even if there is a bit of fear of not being quite as attractive a candidate later – but entry level jobs come up pretty often, and the OP will be able to write a really interesting cover letter after this kind of experience.

            Honestly, I would choose a confident candidate who had done the traveling they wanted to do, explored the world for a bit, and returned ready to commit fully to a career over someone who wanted to work for a few months and then take a couple months off.

        2. Naptime Enthusiast*

          YMMV but this is typical at my company. Our new entry level hires tend to start in late August or early September if they graduate in May, or February if they graduate in December. It’s actually nicer for us because the summer and December are high vacation seasons so there’s less people around to help them get up to speed.

          1. CMart*

            Yes, in a lot of industries (I’m in finance/accounting) it’s incredibly common for recent graduates/entry level hires to start in batches in Jan/June/Sept, depending upon graduation dates.

            OP might be in one of those industries and, depending when the trip is, get grouped in with the summer graduates and start in September. Or whatever is applicable.

            I personally negotiated a “midway” start with my first role. I was a December graduate and they wanted me to start in January. I was due to have a baby around Christmas, and asked if I could start a few months later. I ended up being batched in with the June hires and starting “early” in late March. My employer was happy to have me sooner, I was happy to not have to wait until June.

          2. Emily K*

            I don’t think an academic hiring calendar would help OP here, though. Your company is fine with waiting 8 months when there will be a whole cohort of people starting together at the end of 8 months.

            If we assume it took Alison a little while to post this letter, she wrote in June, and her two month vacation starts in 8 months. Which means she’d actually be applying for a job now, in June/July, expecting an April/May start date. For companies that hire on a semester basis, she’ll be too late for the February starts/December grads but too early for next year’s September starts/May grads.

        3. Yorick*

          Yes, that would be a long delay for a start date. But job searching can take so long that OP may be able to negotiate a delay of a few months.

          I’d say go ahead and apply for the dream job and other jobs and mention the trip in the cover letter.

        4. Lily in NYC*

          I think OP’s expectations about the entering the working world are out of whack. Everything she wants (working remotely, long vacations) are things you get by paying your dues and proving yourself. Although I do think there’s a chance she might be able to negotiate a later start date, but with the realization they will probably say no and then she can’t expect to take another long vacation until being there for at least a year (but not another two months – I mean more than two weeks). Two months is a HUGE ask, even for someone who has been working at the same place for a few years.

    3. Jen*

      I participate in training and in my job, a two month break six months in would be a serious disruption. We also just don’t have a mechanism for the person to take leave: we have a leave bank to help with sick/family issues but that doesn’t apply to vacations. This just realistically isn’t happening (not in the US).

      1. Jen*

        To be clear, I mean that much annual leave that early. Annual leave is accrued and while we have a mechanism for providing extra sick/family leave and leave without pay, it would not be allowed for a vacation.

    4. Former Lois Lane*

      Yeah, I think two weeks would be hard, honestly, since most companies offer maybe two weeks of PTO your first year. Two months is a real stretch. OP2, I’d lean towards postponing the trip, but that’s coming from a freelancer with shaky health insurance. On the other hand, I’m a little older than you and I’ve never been to Asia or Europe or overseas. Never had the money. If you have the money now and it feels like the time, then I think the temporary job thing is a good middle ground. But if you apply for the dream company and they offer you a job, I would postpone.

      1. loslothluin*

        I’ve been at my job almost 11 years, and they would pass out from laughing if I asked for 2 months off.

        1. mcr-red*

          I’ve been at my job for 21 years, and it’s hard enough to get a day off here and there, let alone 2 months. I practically have to have most of my work done in advance to get a day off, and still they act like the world might end.

          1. Working Hypothesis*

            Frankly, that is really unreasonable and toxic, mcr-red, and it shouldn’t be held up as an example. I agree that asking for two months of time off within the first year — or maybe, ever, aside from doing it as a break between quitting one job and starting another — is equally unreasonable, but all the evidence that shows people are dramatically less productive without regular time off is absolutely correct. Sane companies not only allow annual vacation time, but encourage its use, and some are starting to enforce it so that people don’t self-restrict from using their vacation time even when the company is urging them to use it.

            If your company is behaving badly when you take the time off that is part of your compensation, or doesn’t offer time off as part of your compensation, you’re working for a company which is screwing up badly in at least that respect. They’re neither treating their staff fairly nor getting the best work out of them that way. It’s not normal or healthy treatment… please don’t use it as an example of what graduates should expect to look forward to, because they shouldn’t accept that kind of treatment if they have any other options (and most do).

    5. A Fine Spring Day*

      I once had a two week vacation planned for 19 months after I started a job, told my boss in the interview, and she still gave me rafts of objection and grief when the time came because she was a terrible person. So yeah, two months is a no go.

      1. Bea*

        Terrible person indeed! We hired someone who had a trip planned a month after the start date but only a week, we just shrugged and put it down as unpaid leave. It’s no big deal in our case but nobody would get 2 months unless they were ill and we’re not covered by FLMA.

      2. Observer*

        Well, I don’t think you can make judgements based on terrible people who also happen to be stupid.

        But, still, a hard no.

    6. Persimmons*

      100% this. Temp work until the trip is over.

      OP2, I turned down some amazing travel when I was a fresh college grad, because my parents beat me over the head with “professionalism” and “responsibility”. I’m in my 40s now, and those opportunities never re-materialized. You will always regret a trip you didn’t take. You have your entire life to be a good little worker bee.

      1. What's with today, today?*

        Yes. I skipped a family trip with my large, extended family because my new job just had to have me start one week earlier. 13 years later, and I still regret that.

        1. GRA*

          It was beaten into me (both by my family and the university I attended) that if I didn’t have a job when I graduated from college – and didn’t start that job ASAP – I would be a failure. As a result, I missed my aunt’s week-long birthday celebration at the beach less than a month after graduation (where I was the ONLY family member who didn’t attend) so I could begin my job immediately after graduation. 18 years later I still regret not having gone to the party, especially since I was at that miserable job for only five months (which is another story …)

          tl;dr Postpone finding a permanent position until you’re back from the trip. You’ll never regret those two months.

      2. Snark*

        If she had an offer coming and was in the process, I might argue otherwise….but this company will hire for entry-level people again. I’d argue in favor of the trip. Like you say, nobody ever hit 40 going, man, I wish I’d traveled just a little less in my 20s and 30s.

        1. sunny-dee*

          The thing is … the OP already blew through her 20s. She’s not 18 or 22 and planning a gap year. She’s starting an entry level position almost a full decade after everyone else. That’s going to be a massive financial hit for retirement and for pre-retirement goals like buying a house (or planning future trips). Or for any other life changes — getting married, having kids … if she burns a ton of capital now, it’s going to be really hard to come back in a couple of years for more.

          If at all possible, it may be better from a professional capacity to break that 8-week trip down into two or three 2-week trips and spread it out over a few years.

          1. atexit8*

            Losing 8 years of 401(k) and Roth IRA savings is a big deal.
            Many young people don’t understand the power of compound interest even as low as interest rates are these days.
            Even between starting to save at 25 and at 35, the difference is huge
            Look at the difference between Michael, Jennifer, Sam

            I don’t know what field, the LW is in, but another year of temporary earnings means she’ll be 31 when she actually buckles down to saving $.


            1. Submerged Tenth*

              As a 64 year old with less than 50K saved for retirement . . . I resemble that remark. Yes, there are extenuating circumstances, including a bad marriage and the financial crisis, but c’mon, 31 is hardly “too late” to begin saving for retirement!

          2. Cambridge Comma*

            People who didn’t go to college still save for deposits to buy houses and to retire, and there’s nothing to suggest that OP wasn’t doing this while (presumably) working before she decided to study. She may have been working from the age of 18 and therefore have worked the same number of years full-time as someone who went to college but had their years of non-working at the beginning rather than at the end of their twenties.

            1. atexit8*

              The chart in this article says it all

              There is nothing in the OP that suggested she has any sort of savings.
              I hope she has because if she is starting at 31 to begin her career after 1 year of temp so she can take this dream vacation, she’ll have to work as many women do and have to wait until after 70 to retire.

              Many people are extremely careless about saving for retirement until it is too late.

              1. Gaia*

                I mean…she saved for a 2 month trip to China. That suggests she does know how to save and it isn’t outside of the realm of possible that she has other savings.

                1. sunny-dee*

                  Except she hasn’t. She was saying now that she’s graduated she can work full time and overtime in order to save for it.

              2. Elsajeni*

                Well, yeah, most people don’t include “unrelatedly, I have $X,000 in retirement savings” in their advice column letters about scheduling vacations. Anyway, whether she does or not, the past 8 years are past — to the extent it’s relevant, the question is how much postponing her start in a new career by ~1 year would affect her future savings, and the answer is “some, but not THAT much.”

                1. Snark*

                  Exactly. And sorry, call me a romantic, but I think two months out in the world is going to bring at least as much satisfaction as a few thousand more dollars in the 401k.

                  And in any case, she didn’t ask Alison or us for financial planning advice, she asked us for professional and career planning advice. It’s more than a little out of line that we’re speculating on her financial situation.

                2. sunny-dee*

                  I’m probably looking at this more from the “advice I’d give a friend” angle, but she’s not delaying it by 1 year. She’s delaying it by ANOTHER year, after delaying for almost a decade. She said in comments, she’s already done smaller trips. She also said in her letter she’s never worked anything but a temporary job, and she’s counting on the next 8 months to save up for this major trip. She doesn’t seem to have any experience related to her field.

                  Combined with the overall naivete of what she’s proposing (the trip will benefit the employer, asking for a freakishly long time off at an entry level job, planning on quitting and then asking for the job back when it’s over) … I would tell a friend to grow up a little and focus on work.

                  For this, yeah, probably temp work or non-career jobs until after the trip. And that definitely means passing on the job she’s so passionate about applying for.

            2. sunny-dee*

              No, but they also presumably started working at 18 or close to — and by 30 have over a decade of experience which is way more valuable than, say, an old English lit degree. (/me gives her degree some side-eye)

              The OP says her work history to day is temp and seasonal jobs and a very long college cycle. That’s not going to help her financially or in her career. It’s certainly not the worst thing ever, but it’s not great.

            3. CMart*

              Agreed. As someone who finally entered a “career” field at 31 (got a BA at 22, spent a decade bartending, joined the white collar workforce later than my collegiate peers), while it’s certainly true I missed out on a decade of company-matched 401Ks, I was just fine.

              I worked, I saved. I bought cars in cash, paid for a master’s degree without needing loans, bought my husband’s car in cash etc… You’re not necessarily doomed for life and ~omg~ so far behind for getting a “late” start. OP is probably fine.

              And honestly? What’s another 8 months on top of a 10 year “lag”? I’m at the stage in life where professional stability is VERY important to me (and things like “travel” have never been important to me) and I’m still on team “Go take your dream trip”. Work can wait.

          3. Lyka*

            Plenty of people have been hustling since they were 18 without a mortgage or an IRA to show for it. I realize you’re being pragmatic about the struggles the future may bring, but deferring a dream that’s already in the works for some nebulous professional/financial gains from a year of labor feels rather unfair.

            I agree with those suggesting temping in OP’s field. It’s a smart way to gain experience, make some contacts, and take the trip without dire professional consequences.

          4. Persimmons*

            As I said above, I buckled down, gave up amazing travel, and started that job fresh off graduation…and I still got laid off three times between 2007 and 2010, lost out on eight years of retirement contributions while I struggled with underemployment, and STILL have a ton of catching up to do.

            Take the trip.

          5. bippity-boppity-bacon*

            Plenty of people blew through their 20’s going to graduate school and enter the workforce not making much. It’s not like the OP has never worked before – they have managed to save up enough for this trip at least, which I certainly couldn’t have done at their age.

            1. sunny-dee*

              1) She’s 30, and that’s not too young for saving for a major expense.
              2) She hasn’t saved the money yet. One of her comments says that she is hoping to work full-time and overtime to get the money saved over the next 8 months.

      3. Just Go Asia!*

        Agree 100% w Persimmons. Take the trip!! I traveled all over Asia after college too and it was life changing. Temp jobs are the way to go for now and then after your trip you can go for full time jobs. Have fun on your travels!

      4. Massmatt*

        Well yes but no…. the OP mentions being a new grad but also 30 years old, and this is an entry level job. Travel can be a really broadening experience but at some point career should be a priority.

    7. Nita*

      Yeah. I feel for OP, because once you land a full-time job, you can pretty much forget about long trips until you’re retired. Maybe two weeks in a whole year if you’re lucky, and if you’re going far away you’re going to lose 2-3 days of that just on the travel. And that’s assuming that other life responsibilities don’t rear their head, in which case one may have to even kiss those two weeks goodbye.

      So, yeah, either a short-term job or being very, very up-front about the vacation in an interview would be good. And most employers would not be OK with such a long vacation even if you were up-front about it.

      1. Traveller*

        “Yeah. I feel for OP, because once you land a full-time job, you can pretty much forget about long trips until you’re retired. ”

        That’s ridiculous, assuming that you’re not working for one company your entire life. I’ve known plenty of people with very high-level professional jobs that either take a month or two off between jobs, or even have resigned to travel and successfully found new jobs upon return.

        1. Nita*

          Hmm. I’ve never yet seen a company willing to give me two months between signing the offer, and starting. I tried to get a month once (not for travel, but that’s another story) and they reacted like I’d asked them to pay for flying me to Mars. If I wanted a long vacation between jobs, as you say, I’d have to quit one and then search for the next one. Which… some people are not comfortable with.

          1. Emily K*

            It’s probably one of those things that varies a lot. I was hired into a mid-level role at my current employer (big pond) and because I was leaving a position where I ran a department alone (small pond) I asked for 5-6 weeks so I could ensure a smooth transition for my employer. It was mid/late-July at the time they made the offer, so they told me I might as well start after Labor Day because so many people are on vacation in August that it’d be easier to onboard me in September anyway.

            Having been here a while I’ve seen a cultural preference for waiting to hire the right person. We had a position that had been open for 18 months and gone through 3 rounds of interviews and being reposted before we finally found someone we liked who was willing to accept our offer – but she wanted 6 weeks til her start date. It wasn’t an issue at all for the HM, as much as we needed someone in that role, we wanted to hire the right person, and if the right person needs another 6 weeks, well, we’ve already waited this long. We’ll survive another 6 weeks.

            That’s definitely not been the attitude everywhere I’ve worked, but it’s not super rare either from what I hear from friends.

            1. Nita*

              That’s so nice! That was exactly the issue, I was trying to get more time for a smooth transition. I don’t even know what new-job’s problem was, because they told me they’d been looking for a good candidate for a while… you would think they could have waited another two weeks. As it was, I had to turn down their offer, because I couldn’t see myself ending a ten-year career at old-job by randomly dumping my projects on my boss’s desk with no time to hand them off to someone, make sure they’re up to speed, etc.

        2. CMart*

          But see… that’s high level people.

          Most of us will never be high level–never want to be high level. And when you’re essentially interchangeable with any other perfectly competent mid-level person, living a mid-level person’s quality of life where two months of zero income might be an extravagance you can’t afford, it’s pretty realistic to think that once you dive head-first into your “career” track that you won’t get much more than a 2-3 week break until you retire.

          1. Working Hypothesis*

            Yes and no. Some of it depends on how much risk you’re comfortable with, and what lifestyle.

            I know some people who work when they need money, spend relatively little of it while they’re earning it, save for a year or two, and then take a year or so to wander the world. When they run low on money, they start looking for work again. They’re confident that they can get SOME job fairly quickly, even if it’s waiting tables or holding a traffic sign at a construction site; and since they’re not particularly concerned with *what* work they get, that’s OK with them. They’re still doing this in their fifties, and will doubtless be doing it all their lives. It works for them.

            There are ways to live which don’t involve working 40-hour weeks from the age of 25 to the age of 65. So long as, whatever one’s way is, it includes the ability to support oneself without behaving unethically to do it, at the level one needs (whatever one considers that to be), I don’t think any of them are especially worse than any other. It’s just what fits with that person.

            Maybe this LW is someone who will do better with the work/time off/work/time off cycle. There are ways that can be done, but the price of it is usually living poor, and having jobs that most people don’t consider as desirable (but some may). That’s a tradeoff worthwhile to some people and not others… LW should think about what *she* wants her own life track to look like.

            1. Wrenn*

              I agree with all of this. There are other ways to live besides the multi-decade slog, it’s just what you’re willing to do without. You give up many comforts, often a fair bit of security, and so too the understanding of others. That last one is just as much of a risk, because you will be in a way isolating yourself on a completely different life path than most people, a life path not seen as “successful”. The risk is emotional but no less real than a financial one. There’s nothing people hate more than another person not validating their choices by choosing the same thing.

            2. Nita*

              Yes! That’s a very good way to see the world, and if that is OP’s cup of tea, they’ll never have to worry about getting a boss to allow time off. It sounds from the original post like they’re looking for a “career job,” which does tie one down… but if they’re open to living lightly, that trip to Asia could be just the beginning.

              That’s assuming the lack of circumstances that keep one tied to one place… nothing wrong with looking for a stable job if you don’t have the opportunity to wander the world for other reasons.

        3. Coywolf*

          This is exactly what I was thinking. There seem to be a lot of negative nellies here saying that it’s not possible to travel unless you’re young (younger than OP apparently) and fresh out of college or retired but you can definitely travel while taking time off in between jobs! I think you do have to do it at a point where you are contributing enough to have a new employer wait 2+ months for your start date, but that’s definitely sooner than retirement.

          1. Lindsay J*

            Or you break down the trips into shorter time frames. I know plenty of people who have seen a lot of the world, and have done it during their regularly allowed vacations.

            1. Traveller*

              Or get a job that involves a lot of international travel, such as management consulting, and instead of coming home on the weekends, explore whatever city you’re in.

        4. Graciosa*

          I wrote a post once in response to a question about sabbaticals which discussed granting extending vacations in more detail, but to hit the high points I did once manage to arrange a 7 week vacation for an employee still in an entry level role (albeit someone who had been in it for a few years and performing at a very high level).

          So yes, it is possible to do while you’re working, and no, it is not impossible unless you hold a very high level role.

          In this case, we bridged 3 weeks of vacation in each of two calendar years with the week our office was closed anyway between Christmas and New Years, which came out to seven weeks. Although let me add again, it was for someone who was a very high performer.

          I’m still inclined to suggest the OP go now, but not because going later is forever hopeless – just potentially more difficult to arrange.

    8. Clorinda*

      I wouldn’t delay the job search till after returning from the trip, though. OP should do some research about how long a job search takes in their field, and start the search with some lead time before the trip, so that, with some luck, they can take the trip and come home to a new job beginning shortly after. In the meantime, this is the life circumstance that temp work is made for, so do that.

    9. samiratou*

      Yup–temp work, retail, something where permanence isn’t necessarily assumed is the way go to. Companies will understand if you say you held off on full time employment until after your dream trip to Asia, you won’t look like a job-hopper or anything like that.

      Have fun on your trip!

    10. EddieSherbert*


      Trying to find a short term position sounds like your best bet. Check out temp jobs, and maybe even an internship in your field, if possible?

    11. Working Hypothesis*

      I was going to suggest the temp or short-term gig solution for the months between graduation and the trip too. It’ll give the LW *some* post-degree work experience, at least (even if it’s not in the same field), and some income; and it will hopefully allow them the chance to build up a few references who were happy with their work, rather than one company which is pissed off because they quit six months in.

    12. Wrenn*

      Just go. If you have the money to do so, take advantage. You may quite literally never get another chance.

      It’s so unlikely to the point of ludicrous fantasy that you would be able to negotiate two months off, like, ever, but even more so if you’re just starting out. It would be beyond disruptive to your employer and to your coworkers, and by the time you got back you’d probably have to be trained all over again. Which would make hiring you pointless. If you lie about it, take the job then hightail it out there on your trip in a handful of months, it’ll be quite the black mark against you and depending on your field, the world can be quite small indeed.

      Take the temp work and take your trip. Or cancel your trip and throw yourself into finding full time employment. Those pretty much are the options.

    13. Zombeyonce*

      Yes, I would really hesitate to ask for 2 months off and I’ve been at my job 7 years. My husband’s company allows sabbaticals but they’re only 1 month long and you have to be there 5 years before you’re eligible.

      In my experience, the only time you can take that much time off is if you have a really understanding, generous boss AND a job where it’s easy to get coverage during your absence, and even then leaves that long pretty much only happen for medical issues like maternity leave.

  2. Safetykats*

    For OP2 – if you’re really committed to this trip, you have to bring it up at the latest when negotiating your offer. If you’re salaried, and with paid vacation, most companies have literally no way of letting you take two months off when you don’t have the vacation to cover that. In some cases HR will approve time off without pay in advance, but I’ve mostly seen that for more senior people changing jobs. Another option is to look for a company that has some kind of sabbatical type policy – but I would caution you that those long term leaves of absence are usually not given to new employees. If you’ve been there a few years you can negotiate that at some companies, but your value to them after less than a year is typically not enough for hem to hold your job for that long. I think there is literally no way any company I can think of would approve this if you spring it on them after hiring, plus they will likely feel like you withheld information that might have affected their hiring decision.

    My recommendation would be to plan vacations that fit into your company’s vacation or leave policy for the first few years. That will likely mean you need to wait for your dream trip, or work some kind of temp job until after your travel.

    1. Turquoisecow*

      Yeah, I’ve started jobs when I had vacation already planned, and it was understood by myself and my boss that I’d take that time unplanned. (Boss/HR specifically asked if I had vacation time planned in the near future). Each time it wasn’t an issue.

      But each time was significantly less than two months – a week at most. I’ve honestly never known anyone who was employed full time to take a two month vacation. It’s reserved for people who have sabbaticals, or maybe teachers who have a few months off in the summer (but even then, they’re probably not traveling the entire time). I can’t imagine an employer being okay with any new hire taking a vacation that long.

      I’d honestly advise either taking a shorter vacation (a week would be understandable) or putting off any kind of serious job hunting until after the vacation.

      1. MLB*

        Same here. Most companies won’t make you miss your vacation if it’s already planned and paid for, but that’s for a week or 2. I currently work with several people who have family in other countries and will take vacation for 3-4 weeks (recently someone took 6 weeks but she worked remotely for 2 of them). But 2 months is a long time to take off for ANY job, much less a new one. LW needs to decide what’s more important, this trip or a new job because it’s highly unlikely she’s going to be able to do both right now.

        1. hotsauceinmybag*

          Take your vacation OP. It sounds like it’ll be awesome. I second the mentions to look into some temp/short term work. Try to get with some reputable agencies, lay out your situation, and go from there. Work will be there when you return, especially if you’re as hardworking as you say you are. And if you don’t heed this advice, maybe take some from Mr. Faulkner: “It’s a shame that the only thing a man can do for eight hours a day is work. He can’t eat for eight hours; he can’t drink for eight hours; he can’t make love for eight hours. The only thing a man can do for eight hours is work. ”
          You have your entire life ahead of you to work, take these 2 months with your best friend, and have a blast!

    2. PB*

      Agreed. If you do apply for this job, OP2, bring up the trip no later than the offer stage. No manager would want to be blindsided by this a few months into your new job.

      In addition, as Alison said, I strongly advise against working at this job for six months and then quitting and hoping they’ll keep your job open for you. If I had employee do that, the bridge would be burned. From an employer’s perspective, they just spent time and resources training you. You’re getting to the point when you can work independently, and you just leave. Not for an emergency, but for a planned trip you knew about all along. That’s not a good look.

      Also, you mention in your letter trying to sell this trip as a benefit to the employer. I’d urge you against trying that, too. Are you really planning to network while abroad? I’d guess not, and nor should you. In addition, two months abroad is a lot, but not really enough to fully immerse you in a culture, so it’s unlikely to benefit the organization’s outreach efforts. Working remotely for two months, while abroad on vacation, when new and in an entry level position, is unlikely, even if they support remote work.

      I’m sorry, OP. This is tough. I agree with others that finding a short term job may be your best bet here. I know this job seems ideal, but it’s probably not a once in a lifetime opportunity.

  3. Knitting Cat Lady*

    #3: Are the other issues you have with his work sufficient to prevent him from traveling?

    If yes, I’d stick with those.

    1. Mike C.*

      That’s terrible, why would you hide the fact that you’ve been using hearsay to punish an employee?

      1. JamieS*

        I don’t think Knitting Cat Lady was saying to hide the fact the OP’s company haa been using hearsay but that in making the decision on whether Bob should take trips OP should be focusing on actual concrete evidence instead of the aforementioned hearsay.

        1. Mike C.*

          The post read to me like “well you seem to have other reasons not to send them on trips so you can just bury the other stuff and never have a reason to mention it”.

          1. Les G*

            Why would that be a problem? OP has a reason not to send him on the trip, so she won’t send him on the trip and will continue to ignore hearsay. It’s not rocket science.

            1. Mike C.*

              The didn’t ignore hearsay before, why are folks so interested in shoving this under the carpet? Even Harvey Weinstein was allowed to address his numerous, well-founded accusations, why not this employee?

              Are you folks seriously this afraid of having a difficult conversation?

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                Hey, take it down a notch. You’re misunderstanding what people are saying. Most people (above and below in this same thread) aren’t saying “use the past reports of his behavior as the reason, but tell him the reason is something else.” Most people are saying “the performance issues you’ve observed firsthand are reason enough to keep him in the office; focus on that and ignore the secondhand reports.”

                1. Mike C.*

                  But the employee was (and lets be honest likely still is) judged by those second-hand reports. That still colors how management views this employee and to continue to do so without even mentioning it is incredibly unethical. Occasional issues now become “troubling patterns” and so on.

                  That’s a massive issue that folks here don’t seem to be interested in. Conveniently the path most folks are in favor of is the one that once again, doesn’t involve having a direct and difficult conversation with the employee.

                2. Jen*

                  Why would it be unethical.yo consider second hand reports of your employee’s behavior? That is literally what a reference check involves.

                3. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  Reasonable people can believe that it’s not the OP’s place to talk to him about rumors from his previous employment if they’re not going to affect how she manages him or sees him. I agree there’s an argument for sharing this with him, but I don’t agree it’s an ethical outrage if she chooses not to, as long as it’s not a factor in how she treats him.

                4. Falling Diphthong*

                  But the employee was (and lets be honest likely still is) judged by those second-hand reports.
                  That is the definition of a professional reputation.

              2. Badlands*

                Also, it’s not a court of law and employee travel isn’t a right that requires due process to revoke?

                1. Mike C.*

                  I never mentioned courts of law.

                  By “address”, I meant that before he was kicked out of the company named after him (long before any charges were filed!), a whole lot of people asked him, “A whole lot of folks are coming forward with disturbing and credible allegations against you, explain yourself”.

                  Not even that was offered to this employee in question.

                2. Forrest*

                  Well, yea, the company was named after him and he was the boss. Of course he’s going to get different treatment than someone lower in the chain would.

        2. Not A Morning Person*

          And, the OP isn’t using the hearsay as why she wouldn’t offer him travel, but why former managers had denied work travel to Bob. She indicates there are other performance reasons that are of concern and would be enough on their own for her to deny the work travel.
          Why should she open up the old rumors and gossip as a reason when she doesn’t need to?

      2. Knitting Cat Lady*

        OP hasn’t.

        OP’s predecessor has.

        OP has enough concerns about problem employee’s work that they’re fairly sure that they’ll have to fire problem employee soon anyway.

        So, if problem employee asks, again, why they don’t get to travel:

        ‘I can’t speak for my predecessor’s reasons to not let you travel, but due to issues X, Y, and Z, that I have mentioned before, I’m keeping you in office. I might reconsider once the issues mentioned are resolved.’

        I’m of the opinion that if OP has enough other stuff to they don’t need to mention the hear say at all.

        And while hear say doesn’t fly in court, outside of court it is often vital. That’s what reference checks are all about.

        1. TheNotoriousMCG*

          I came here to say that. I would think that this paragraph “And since you are probably wondering, yes, there are other issues that I am managing with this employee as well, and he may not have this job for much longer.” Means that there is enough of a reason why OP would want to keep this employee under closer supervision.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            Exactly. If you have a lot of reasons to keep a close eye on them, that’s enough reason to say no to traveling.

        2. neverjaunty*

          Thank you. It’s very weird to see “hearsay” used in a kind of pseudo-legal way to mean “stuff other people said that you should ignore” – is anyone really suggesting that it’s wrong to rely on reports of an employee’s conduct and a manager can only act on what they see firsthand?

          1. Jen*

            Every reference check report is technically “hearsay”. “Bob’s former managers all told me he never shows up to work on time and never completes projects, so we should not hire him”.

            1. serenity*

              The “reports” OP has heard have not been from former managers, though. Not quite the same thing.

          2. FD*

            No, but it is a little strange to rely only on secondhand reports of an employee’s conduct from a previous job once they’ve been in the current job for a long enough to build up their own reputation.

            I think that’s what’s confusing people–normally, your reputation at your last place matters most before you’re hired, but after you’re hired, people start to build it off what you do in your current job.

            Although that said, I’m wondering just a bit whether what the LW is hearing is code for other bad behavior.

            1. Jen*

              Although in this case, LW has performance issues with the guy. If his performance was otherwise stellar, I could see giving him a chance. But it sounds like this is just another piece of evidence this guy has issues. That adds reliability to it.

              1. FD*

                Yes, I absolutely agree there. I’m saying that if the LW is correct in saying that the predecessor made the decision only on that basis, and not on the person’s own behavior, that is a bit strange. But the LW not wanting to send him because of his performance issues makes perfect sense.

              2. serenity*

                We don’t know what those performance issues are, though. The leap people are taking to “oh he has some unspecified issues, therefore banning him from travel is, after all, reasonable” are, well, a leap. Maybe his perf. issues are that bad. Maybe, they aren’t.

                1. Jen*

                  We know they are serious enough OP is considering that she may have to fire him. That suggests they are very bad.

                2. serenity*

                  Well, yes, but it feels like OP may be using the past, currently-unconfirmed travel behavior reports in assessing how she feels about him (which Alison very succinctly addressed).

                  Maybe Bob’s current performance is that bad, or maybe his reputation (which may or may not be fairly earned) is coloring how everyone views him and making his performance seem worse than it is. Re-reading the letter, I can’t say for sure.

                3. Jen*

                  I do not think that is fair to OP. She can assess thay she has a problem with the guy and has said so, claiming she has been unfairly influenced bynthis one issue suggests she is a bad manager. I have taken over training a guy I knew had a serious issue with a previous trainer. I had my own issues with him, but I found a path to make him work. The previous trainer’s comments were valuable, I identified patterns and was able to figure out how to work with the guy better. Had I not taken that into consideration, I might have been just as frustrated as the first trainer and not been able to.extract a good employee from the fighty trainee i inherited. Hearing bad things doesn’t mean you are.unduly influenced.

                4. serenity*

                  And perceptions can be passed down second-hand, and be inaccurate or misleading. I’ve seen that happen to others and have seen how difficult it is to undo those perceptions. And OP hasn’t seen any first-hand travel issues with this guy, but rather other issues. I don’t want to keep going in a circle on this issue. I think the current performance problems OP is witnessing is absolutely germane to what happens to Bob; the former employer travel issues, reaching OP second-hand, are less germane.

            2. Falling Diphthong*

              I think it’s that he did build up his reputation at the current job… as someone whose past reputation seems likely to be accurate, so they’re way less likely to trust him on the road than a blank slate new colleague.

              I’m guessing he managed to coast himself into a twilight zone where his observed behavior isn’t bad enough to justify firing (in the minds of one person with the power to make that decision) but is bad enough to give everyone higher up pause about giving him more responsibility–like, say, representing the organization on the road when he seems to ascribe to “What happens in Sheboygan stays in Sheboygan.”

            3. TootsNYC*

              there may be things he has done in his current job that have only reinforced that reputation.
              Like, if he’s always suggesting that the company should order lunch for everyone; or if he frequently orders many extra office supplies, or tries to finagle overtime when it’s not necessary, etc.

          3. Nita*

            I’m also wondering what exactly the “hearsay” was. If the guy just spent more than allowed, fine, give him a debit card with a finite amount of money or tell him that he can spend whatever he wants out-of-pocket but he’ll only be reimbursed for what’s approved. If it’s something that would defeat the purpose of sending him, like him blowing off meetings with whoever he’s visiting, or poor behavior that would make the company look bad, that’s worse.

            If it wasn’t for the other performance issues, it might still be fair to give him a chance to improve – but he’d need to know that there have been reports of him doing xyz on the road, management will be watching him closely, and he will not get a third chance to travel if he messes up his second chance. Only, considering he seems to be on his way out anyway… letting him travel may not be worth it.

            1. Kathleen_A*

              Yeah, I’d really like to know what these issues were. A lot would depend on that. Was he fiddling his expenses? (But if so, why wouldn’t he simply have been fired?) Did he spend the whole trip half-drunk? Or did he run afoul of a minor expensing requirement, something that could be corrected (or that wouldn’t have bothered anyone except a really harsh controller – and yes, I do have someone in mind there! :-)).

              As it is, I do feel a bit sorry for Bob because it seems as though he’s been working in this cloud of vague, unspecified suspicion that no one is willing to talk about. But if the issues at the other job are too vague to act on or less important than whatever the OP has observed for herself, then I think she’d be better off concentrating on observable facts, and in fact, so would Bob.

              1. boo bot*

                Yeah, for sure. So, I like to imagine scenarios that fit the known facts (I’m basically the opposite of a journalist).

                The first thing I thought of was, did Bob have a drinking or drug issue that showed up while traveling? The reason being that it’s one of the more likely explanations for his previous employer saying, “You aren’t fired, but you can’t travel on behalf of the company.”

                I feel like most behaviors egregious enough to revoke someone’s travel responsibilities would also be fireable offenses, except maybe something that is protected under the ADA, and evokes some empathy in a lot of people.

                So, then my next thought was, what if it was a substance abuse problem, and he’s sober now? That’s not great, right? And also maybe not quite legal?

                It’s not necessarily what happened, but it’s why I think it’s worth asking about.

          4. Mike C.*

            Who said anything about ignoring? If it were up to me, I’d have a frank discussion about it, do some investigation, talk tot he employee and so on. My ethical objection is from taking it at face value, then lying to the employee that nothing is wrong, then refusing to address it later.

        3. Antilles*

          I agree, but I’d add the caveat that if he truly does turn around X, Y, and Z, he’s going to believe he’s earned enough trust to go back on the road.
          So if OP *then* pulls out “well, I agree you’ve turned around X, Y, and Z, but I still can’t allow it because I’ve also heard some rumors that you didn’t behave appropriately at a previous company”, he’s going to think that OP is just making up excuses out of thin air – we’d agreed that these were the issues that kept me from traveling, we both agree that I’ve fixed the issues…but now you’re going back on your word and changing what we’d discussed?

          1. CM*

            I think if he does turn around the other issues, he SHOULD be allowed to travel, with a lot of very clear expectation-setting beforehand about what he’s allowed to do and the consequences if he doesn’t do it.

            Exception: If the irresponsible behavior is really bad (sexual harassment, breaking laws, etc.) then I would not go with the “you have other issues so you can’t go” approach — I think he should be told that this is the reason and given a chance to explain.

          2. Seriously?*

            If he fixes the other issues they could give him a chance and keep a close eye on him.

        4. Annie Moose*

          I think this is good wording. It avoids trying to explain or justify OP’s predecessor’s decisions (which OP may or may not agree with) while still giving the employee a concrete explanation for why no travel. It also gives the employee a clear path toward travel if the employee puts in the effort–he needs to resolve X, Y, and Z if he wants to travel.

        5. Mike C.*

          It still happened and it needs to be addressed. There’s no ifs, ands or buts.

          Also, your script is a complete lie. The OP knows exactly what was going on. You cannot manage in an ethical manner if you’re simply going to manufacture the truth.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            It’s not a lie. OP has issues with his present performance, and usually the answer to those isn’t “We need to give this person more rope so he can hang himself, but in a big public manner that reflects on the whole division.”

            If anything, getting into the past issues (told to OP, not directly observed) would distract from the current issues (observed by OP and ongoing), and OP shouldn’t want to sidetrack into litigating what someone at a different company observed 5 years ago when there are problems with the person’s work right now. If he was a stellar employee and the only reason not to have him travel was reports of drunken binges on the road, then it would make sense to address that directly.

            1. Mike C.*

              ‘I can’t speak for my predecessor’s reasons to not let you travel,

              That’s an outright falsehood. The OP goes into detail as to why their predecessor didn’t let them travel, therefore they do understand the predecessor’s reasoning for not allowing travel.

              Finally, the truth is never a distraction. Being frank and honest with an employee builds a trusting and stable working relationship that can be built upon. Continuing a lie erodes that completely, especially if the employee already suspects something amiss. Not only that, it’s the ethical thing to do.

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                It’s not a falsehood. She’s saying she can’t speak for that person — as in, she’s not going to presume to represent them in this conversation because that’s for them to do themselves. She’s not saying “I don’t know,” which would be different.

          2. Yorick*

            OP knows a possible reason that he didn’t travel before. But OP can decide not to give weight to those reasons and make her own decision about whether he should be sent on a work trip. If she does that, she would base it on his current work performance and tell him that is what her decision is based on.

            If OP decides not to let him travel because of these rumors of past behavior, she should explain that.

          3. Knitting Cat Lady*

            OP has the previous travel coordinators view on the subject. Who, from the sound of it, is not the previous disciplinarian manager.

            So, no, OP doesn’t have the complete picture and really can’t speak for their predecessor.

            1. Mike C.*

              The OP has certainly told us a great deal, there’s no reason to keep this from the employee.

              I really can’t understand why so many people here are invested in continuing this dishonesty.

              1. Not A Morning Person*

                I disagree that it is dishonest to avoid using or sharing gossip and hearsay. One of the signs of maturity is making a judgment call on what you can and should say and sometimes being “honest” is not really being honest when it’s only rumors without any evidence. It’s not a requirement to say everything you have heard. And the OP has enough concern about the EE’s current performance to have concerns that would lead her to deny work travel.

          4. Antilles*

            Disagree. It’s not a lie. Ask yourself this: If he was a stellar employee and really crushing it, would OP have listened to the rumors?
            Not a chance. At most, she would have heard it and shrugged it off as well, maybe he was like that at his last company but people change, so clearly he realized his mistakes and fixed them.
            The source of the problem isn’t the rumors, it’s his subpar performance now. If he fixes that, she probably would give him the chance to travel (albeit while watching him like a hawk). But if he doesn’t fix that…well, she explicitly said he won’t be in the job much longer if the issues continue, so the travel issues won’t matter.

            1. Mike C.*

              I’ve run into lots of people in my life who listened to rumors that sounded too good to check, so I strongly disagree with the premise of your question.

              And as I’ve pointed out before, I have serious concerns that the two issues are connected:

              1. The employee has been trouble the entire time – you need to confirm what’s been going on in the past and now.

              2. The employee is only trouble now – the influence of the past could make this seem like a pattern when it isn’t or the employee knows they weren’t being treated fairly in the past and is reacting accordingly.

              This is a complicated issue that if it’s to be fully resolved requires a manager to act like a manager. That means hard conversations, not scripts. That means looking into things rather than relying on “what folks said in the past”. To say nothing of the past helps no one.

          5. TootsNYC*

            it is ethical to not tell someone everything you know, or everything you’re thinking.

          6. Forrest*

            It is not a lie. The OP’s reasons for keeping him travel may be in addition to his current issues.

            I don’t see the point in going “well your previous supervisor kept you back because of ABC but don’t worry, I’m keeping you from traveling because of XYZ.”

            The OP doesn’t need to speak for the previous supervisor – nor should she actually. She shouldn’t be attempting to explain the thoughts of someone else, let alone a person she hadn’t even met. For all she knows, they were keeping him from traveling because of the reasons OP is having.

            Also, it’s not a “punishment” to keep this guy from traveling.

    2. Jen*

      OP buried the lede herr a bit notijg toward the end that this guy might have to be let go soon. At most places, the person you are thinking about firing is not someone you send in trips.

      1. Narise*

        I wonder if the employee had the same thought and is pushing to travel because it implies he won’t be fired.

    3. Bazinga*

      I thought this too. If there are other issues with his performance, serious enough that he may not be working for the company much longer, that seems like a good reason not to let him travel. I would focus on this rather than why his previous manager didn’t let him travel.

      1. Mike C.*

        Did anyone ever consider that being treated unfairly and in a dishonest manner might be a partial cause to poor employee performance?

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          Tons of poorly performing employees have considered that as a cause, yes.

          If you think you’re being treated unfairly you should look for different bosses, not act out in the hopes of getting a business trip as the face of the company as a reward.

        2. Jen*

          There is nothing dishonest or unfair about using someone’s professional reputation to decide who travels. Come on. You may have the best worker in the world but of you get reports from multiple sources of “This person behaves badly at conferences” you don’t send that person to conferences.

          This is not discrimination, this is using sources of information to make a rational decision. Your reputation follows you to a new employer, this is not a radical concept.

        3. Amber T*

          That’s the mentality of a child who behaves poorly to get attention, not of an adult who’s treated unfairly.

          “Oh man, my boss hates me for no reason, it’s not fair! I’m just going to not do my job and complain loudly when things don’t go my way, that’ll show her!”

        4. Forrest*

          If it is, it shouldn’t be and it should actually count more against him. He’s not a child. He’s a grown man and should 1) maintain high standards despite it because it’s the right thing to do and his reference is on the line, 2) address it head on with his supervisor, and/or 3) find a new job.

          This isn’t kindergarten – he has options here. Being a poor performer to spite his manger isn’t going to encourage them to let him travel.

    4. AdAgencyChick*

      Agree. I’d present it as, “Not while you’re still working on X, Y, and Z.” It makes perfect sense that a manager would want her employee in the office, where she can personally observe whether the employee is making progress on the issues he’s on (official or unofficial) probation for, and also that less-than-stellar employees don’t get the responsibility (whether you think of it as a privilege or an onus) of representing the company on the road.

      1. Mike C.*

        Again, the lack of ethics in this sort of approach is simply stunning. Have the difficult conversation about the past, have the conversation about the present and continue form there.

        Cutesy little scripts that avoid the fact that this employee has been gaslighted are completely unethical. Why should this employee trust any sort of feedback being currently offered when feedback in the past was a lie?

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          Who lied to him? People don’t go on business trips all the time–all the way back to yesterday’s letter about not going on a business trip when the rest of the office was going.

          There’s no reason to talk about issues with his performance five years ago at a different employer until he has all performance issues right now with this employer sorted out. If he has solved X, Y, and Z and become a good employee you’d normally trust to operate with little supervision, THEN bring up that you’re considering allowing a trip but have serious reservations because A, B, and C. And let him convince you now would be different, if he can do that. But while X, Y, and Z are still a problem, no amount of spinning about how his ways have changed is going to be believable.

          1. Opting for the Sidelines*

            Agree. This is all about building trust. LW has to act on what she knows and sees right now. She has enough information about his in-house behavior to make her cautious about his out-of-house behavior. So, as his manager, she can set limits.

            Plus if he does step up and sort out X, Y, and Z, some trust will hopefully be built and maybe LW can re-evaluate travel. However, it would be a short, local, low-profile trip and I would be stating very clear expectations of: you are expected to be on time for all meetings and appointments, seminars, etc.; your per diem limit on expenses / food is $X,;and at all times you are representing the company, so reports of bad behavior from colleagues will result in reprimands. Yes, you are giving him rope to hang himself, but hopefully it’s a short rope.

          2. Luna*

            If my manager told me to fix X,Y and Z issues in order to reach a goal I wanted (in this case business travel), then once I did so they said well actually, you still can’t reach that goal because of A & B rumors I heard about from years ago that the manager had never brought up previously, I would be pretty pissed. That’s a shady move and seems really unnecessary. Yes, this employee does have other performance issues but those issues are not the main reason why he is not being allowed to travel. If the LW would allow Bob to travel given his current performance, just without all the rumors, then the LW really needs to address the rumors. If Bob wouldn’t be allowed to travel anyway because his performance is so bad then yes, the LW should speak to that- but if Bob does address those concerns then LW really needs to let him travel.

            1. Seriously?*

              I agree that it would not be fair to tell him he can travel if he fixes X, Y and Z and then bring up the rumors later if he does fix those issues. Either bring them up now or let him travel if he fixes X, Y and Z. Don’t move the goal post.

            2. Jessie the First (or second)*

              Yes. I agree – the current performance issues seem, to me, to be the important issue here. But the institution overall has refused to let him travel specifically because of the information they got about this behavior at his prior job. And they didn’t tell him. That’s… that’s weird, and obnoxious.

              So, if his current performance improves, would OP let him go on a business trip? Or would she still bar him from travel? Whatever the reasons he is not being allowed to travel need to be addressed with him. All together.

              Personally, unless the behavior at his prior job was really egregious, I’d focus on his work now, not on his work for someone else years ago, and I’d make the decision about his travel based on what I see of him in his current role. But if you are going to use his behavior at a prior job as a reason for current employment actions, you have to tell him this.

            3. AdAgencyChick*

              I didn’t say “don’t let the guy travel” if he fixes the issues. (OP doesn’t sound terribly hopeful that he will, and I believe her.)

              If someone on a PIP makes a real effort and does change, then I think it would be reasonable to let him travel after you’ve seen sustained improvement in the issues that led to the PIP. Given the earlier feedback I would probably keep an ear to the ground as his manager to find out whether any reports of unprofessional behavior surface, but yes, I would want to give the guy a chance to prove that the hearsay was just hearsay.

              But only if he first showed he’d made the necessary improvements in the office!

            4. Lindsay J*

              I mean that’s the reality of how training people works, though.

              You can’t dump everything and the kitchen sink on them all at once and expect them to fix everything. You go for incremental improvements – fixing the most glaring issues first, and then the smaller issues as the larger ones improve.

              I mean, the manager shouldn’t say, “As soon as you fix issues A, B, and C you can travel.” And then go, “Oh, by the way you need to fix issues D, E, and F, too.”

              But it is completely valid to go, “Right now you are struggling a lot with issues A, B, and C. So much so that we’ve talked about how I’m going to need to let you go if I don’t see improvement in that area. [Presuming they have talked about it previously. If they have not, OP absolutely needs to do so]. Given that, there is no way I can send you on business travel at this point. I need you in the office daily to be able to monitor your progress, and you need to have all your focus on these issues so you can keep your job.”

              That doesn’t imply that as soon as issues A, B, and C are solved he can go travel, or that he is a perfect employee as soon as he fixes issues A, B, and C. It means that those issues are so huge there is no way that there is even going to be a thought about business travel at this time. The end of working on A, B, and C is yay, you get to keep your job. Now let’s work on D, E, and F so we can get you out of the “unsatisfactory” job ranking area and into the “adequate” area. And then G, H, I to get to a normal performing employee. And then maybe then we can talk about him going on business travel (and beforehand we will have a conversation about what my expectations are for him on travel).

              But if you just tell someone you need to work on A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, and I, they’re going to be overwhelmed, and not going to make progress on any one thing. And sometimes A really is more important than H and needs to be fixed immediately when H can wait (like when A is performing a function of the job correctly, and H is filling out a piece of documentation that can be fixed after the fact) so you don’t want them thinking about H until they get A. Like, if everything is a priority, nothing is, so picking out a few things at a time is a valid strategy and naming 3 things doesn’t mean there can’t be 4 or 10 or 50 things that need to be addressed ultimately.

              But I definitely agree that they shouldn’t outright lie and say, “as soon as you fix A, B, and C you’re good to go,” when that’s not true.

              But I definitely

        2. Forrest*

          Cutesy little scripts that avoid the fact that this employee has been gaslighted are completely unethical.

          Mike, I’ve often noticed that sometimes in your zest to side with and defend employees, you often make things up and/or exaggerate what’s actually in the letter. They are not gaslighitng him.

          It’s not gaslighting to tell him that he’s not able to travel due to reasons beside his reputation. The closest it may get to gaslighting is if he were to ask if he’s not being allowed to travel because of his reputation and they said no and even then it doesn’t qualify as gaslighting.

  4. KTB*

    I was just thinking the same thing. A contract or short term position may be the best option here, since I can’t think of a single company that would offer to hold a position for two months for a brand new, junior employee.

  5. Melody Pond*

    Regarding #5 – it sounds like the OP wasn’t moving around all that much internally. The three roles were all on the same team. But what about when you work for a larger company, and the internal job changes are bigger moves or changes? For example, if the OP’s three different jobs (one year each) were bigger moves, moving from one department to other completely different departments, but all within the same company – would that still not be considered job hopping?

    1. Mike C.*

      No, it wouldn’t. Companies have massive control over where you work so if they allow you to move around it’s done presumably within the best interests of the company in mind.

    2. SS Express*

      Personally I *might* find moving between totally different roles and departments concerning – I’ve definitely worked places where problem employees were frequently moved from one role to another because nobody wanted to keep them in their team long but nobody would fire them either, so they’d just get dumped wherever the company could put them for the time being.

      But I’ve also worked places where it’s very common for people to move through different roles and different departments often, so I wouldn’t consider it a huge red flag and would be 100% fine with it if the person could give a reasonable explanation (e.g. the skill they developed in Department A was in high demand in Department B, they wanted management experience and it wasn’t possible in the structure of Department B but Department C could give them that opportunity, or even “this company moves us around a lot so it’s rare to stay in the same role more than a year or two”).

      1. JamieS*

        This is what I was thinking. It wouldn’t be considered job hopping so long as you stick with the same employer (IMO should really be called employer hopping). However moving roles can be potential red flags if the moves are either downward instead of upward/linear or if the roles are radically different.

        Probably not unhireable red flag but more something to explain in a cover letter and/or be prepared to explain in an interview. Actually I guess it’d really be more of a pink flag.

        1. Not Australian*

          Except that when you move roles within an organisation it’s very often because the needs of the employer change, not because the employee is restless. If the OP can make that clear, they should be fine.

          1. JamieS*

            It could mean that. It could also mean employee wasn’t good at their job and the employer moved them instead of outright termination or any number of things which prospective employers wouldn’t know without talking to the candidate. Which is why a candidate should IMO be prepared to answer questions on moving roles and possibly elaborate.

        2. snowglobe*

          Conversely, I’ve seen situations where a star employee gets moved around a lot in order to give them experience in different areas of the company, to prepare them for moving up. No reason to assume the worst.

          1. JamieS*

            I’m well aware there are situations where a great employee can move roles. My point was that moving roles is something that could plausibly give a prospective employer pause.

            1. Mike C.*

              This is incredibly common in large companies.

              Things like rotations exist as well – those folks are scheduled to move around in as little as every few months. Doctors, engineers, managers in training and so on.

              1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*


                In fact, my company just rolled out a management training role that’s specifically designed to rotate so that future managers get exposed to many different departments and can build cross-department relationships.

          2. ThatGirl*

            I got moved around a bunch at my last company, because I was a contractor and really good at my job. They basically put me where they thought I could do the most good. I also got a lot of different experience along the way.

            Eventually I got hired on full-time and kept the same role for three years, and then got laid off :P

          3. SS Express*

            I don’t think anyone is assuming the worst, just acknowledging that while frequent staff moves are usually about either meeting business needs or providing excellent employees with development opportunities, they can also be a result of managers playing hot potato with crappy employees. Odds are it’s the first scenario, but it still makes sense to double check instead of assuming it’s definitely a good thing and ending up holding the hot potato.

    3. Thlayli*

      Not at all – if anything it looks god because the most likely reason is promotion.

    4. Elemeno P.*

      I once had an interviewer tell me that I looked like a job-hopper based on a similar circumstance. I’ve worked for my company for 7.5 years, but I’ve had 6 roles in as many departments. Of course, if they read my resume more closely, they’d notice that 3 of the roles were simultaneous (my company hires internally for temp roles and adjusts hours accordingly) and most were an upward move (the last one was a lateral move to a different branch). It’s common in my industry, and it’s a sign of good work; they won’t let you move if you’re a bad employee.

      Granted, that interviewer was from a different industry, and once I explained the circumstances they thought it made sense. I’ve since rearranged my resume to say “Company Name, 2011-Present” with the individual roles and their dates underneath to hopefully avoid this issue in the future.

      1. Seriously?*

        I think that is the best way to list multiple roles at one company. It really emphasizes that you stayed there for 7 years.

    5. RandomusernamebecauseIwasboredwiththelastone*

      I think it depends if they are lateral moves (or demotions) and career progression. I’ve been with my company forever, I’m right on track with the average ‘career changes’ that others have by changing employers. So my resume would show a very clear progression in title/responsibility, with several different job functions (think Operations (entry level) > IT (entry/intermediate level) > Operations (management) > Manufacturing (Mid- Management)> Sales (Sr Management) -I’m making up those functions, but it resembles the actual departments/roles I’ve held.

      Now, if a resume full of lateral moves at the same company came across my desk, I would wonder if the employee was either being shuffled into different departments to be rid of or they were a job hopper in spirit and wouldn’t stay long in the position they were hired into.

    6. A Username for here*

      This OP would *hate* my career path. I was at my last job for a little under 4 years and had 7 job titles, some concurrently. And a few jobs previous to that, I was there four years and had five titles, some concurrently.

    7. TootsNYC*

      This kind of moving around within a company is normally a plus!
      If it’s a series of demotions, then no. But if there’s the tiniest bit of upward mobility to it (moving from part-time to temp, from a small project to a bigger one, from subordination to a little more responsibility), that’s GOOD!

      These people see your work every single day, and they think they want to keep you around, rely on you for more…

      Those are a big plus.

  6. I Heart JavaScript*

    OP #2 plan your trip, but hold off on flights for awhile. There’s no guarantee that you’ll even get a good job offer before then. It often takes much longer to find a job than you’d anticipate (my last 2 hubts were 2 years and 3 weeks, respectively, so it varies widely). If you do, you can see if they’ll allow you to go and if not (which is likely), evaluate the pros/cons of the job v. the trip.

    I was in a similar boat 5 years ago and earlier this year. 5 years ago I had this amazing trip planned (being paid for entirely by someone else), middle of a job hunt. It had been taking forever and suddenly I had an offer and had to ask about the vacation. I was told job or vacation and chose job. It was the right choice at the time (and even more so looking back). In contrast, I changed careers earlier this year and had a vacation planned for June. When I got the offer, I asked about the vacation and got them to agree.

    The point is to keep your options open! Things rarely work out according to plan and you can’t control what jobs you get offered on what timeline. Don’t make any hard decisions until you have to.

    1. OP2*

      I agree completely! The uncertainty is something that is making me that much more determined to travel. I have the ability to say “I’m going to Tokyo in March 2019.” I don’t have the ability to say “I’ll have a good job that let’s me travel in 5 years.” I could say “I’ll push it out for 3 years until I get a sabbatical”, but what if…. ? That “what if” is what prevented travel for the last decade.

      1. Colette*

        The “what if” works both ways, though. What if you turn down a good job to travel and, since you’ll be competing with new grads when you get back, are unable to get a comparable offer when you get back? What if you’re never able to get back on the career path you gave up?

        Is there a compelling reason why this vacation can’t happen now instead of in 8 months?

        1. LarsTheRealGirl*

          I think the “what-if” of a job is way less than of a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

          There are other jobs. Hundreds of possible career paths. And no right way to do it.

          1. Colette*

            That depends on a lot of things, including your field, your connections, and your career goals. If you’ve planned for a specific career path and that’s what you want to do, staying out of that field for a year+ after graduation may mean you never get back in.

            If you have less specific goals, maybe that’s fine – but it’s important to think about that prior to going down that path. Sometimes those other jobs and other career paths are in retail (which typically is more physically demanding with a less predictable schedule than an office job), or involve going back to school, or otherwise are less than ideal.

            There are other trips, other locations, other friends. Maybe the OP is fine with taking the job hit to take this trip – and that’s fine, as long as she realizes that that’s the choice she’s making.

            1. Jen*

              I mean, there are a lot of those “travel while you’re young” articles ignore that a lot of young people simply can’t afford it. I am not objecting to travel, just the way it can be sold as a moral activity. For.a lot of people the choice between travelling and a job isn’t really a choice at all because of the money.

              But since OP can afford it, she should go. Now there may have to be some careful budgeting and reality about the fact that it may take time to.find a job when she gets home, but it is unlikely this kind of opportunity will come up again.

            2. Aleta*

              I mean, I guess I can buy that there’s some fields where if you don’t enter immediately after college you’re toast, but I can’t think of any examples, and that’s hardly the norm. But for most people I don’t think trying to get a job in a given field at the advanced age of 24* is going to be a huge deal.

              I myself am planning to use my entire 2 week vacation balance in 2020 for a Japan trip, and would definitely advise OP that you don’t have one shot at having a job, but you probably won’t have another shot at a very long trip. (I probably will, but I’m going back to grad school and my chosen field has a LONG lead time between applying and actually starting so I’ll probably have time then)

              *going off the assumption that your average college graduate is 22-23.

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                It’s actually a thing that happens — witness all the people who graduated during the recession, couldn’t get into their fields right away and had to work retail, etc., and still haven’t been able to get back in.

                1. Luna*

                  Yup definitely a thing. Happened to me and almost everyone I know, which admittedly might be coloring my view on this, but I think it really depends on how much the OP cares about this specific job or this specific field. Don’t assume that job opportunity will come up again. If OP is okay with that, then sure take the trip.
                  I love traveling too, and have been plenty of places since I started working. You can take a week or two off work for travel, there’s no real reason why you have to go someplace for 2 months at a stretch.

                2. Beancounter Eric*

                  “The Short- and Long-Term Career Effects of Graduating in a Recession: Hysteresis and Heterogeneity in the Market for College Graduates: – Oreopoulos, von Wachter, Heisz, NBER Working Paper 12159

                  From the abstract: “”We find that young graduates entering the labor market in a recession suffer significant initial earnings losses that eventually fade, but after 8 to 10 years.”

              2. Colette*

                It’s not about age, it’s about how current your knowledge is. Technology and laws change often, for example, so if your information is a year old and you have no more skills than the average new grad, why would an employer hire you instead of someone with more current knowledge?

          2. March Madness*

            I disagree and I’m huge fan of travelling – it’s one of the things I prioritize most in life. But this is still a huge jeopardy to take at the beginning of a career.

      2. Dr Wizard, PhD*

        I’m with you on this. If it requires temping between now and after your trip, consider doing that. The other responses here have made it pretty clear that you will very likely never in your life get to do this (pre-retirement anyway) if you don’t now.

        1. sunny-dee*

          Not exactly impossible. My company does offer (unpaid) sabbaticals for people who have been there for more than … two years? And people use that for everything from 3-month long mission trips to hand-building a cabin by a lake. And it’s actually really normal for people to take month-long vacations to Asia (we have a lot of international employees). And there are a lot of professions (from construction to teaching) where there are extended periods of downtime where it could be possible.

          The thing is, two months is 1) very much outside the norm and 2) kind of inappropriate from someone in a really junior role.

          1. Jen*

            Yeah, w me had a guy go visit his family in India for two months. But he had been working here for 5 years, had tons of leave saved, and we started prepping for his trip a year in advance.

            1. sunny-dee*

              That kind of points to the problem, though — what the OP is asking for here is not really reasonable. Big trips are possible, sabbaticals are possible — but you have to earn them and be able to justify and cover them.

      3. thunderbird*

        OP2 – my perspective is to keep applying for jobs and planning your trip. If it is truly a deal breaker for a company to bring you on, then let it be (and only discuss during final negotiations, not before). I have seen this work, my friend was hired to work for 6 weeks before taking a 3 month trip and picked up after she returned. They discussed starting after her trip, but they wanted her to get started and let her take the leave. In my current position I have seen a few people take longer vacations (4-6 weeks). Life is short, things work out. Also, I am from Canada not sure if that changes things, per Alison’s caveat.

        1. Lindsay J*

          Pretty much this.

          Apply for jobs. If you get hired before then, then tell them at the offer stage, and if it is a dealbreaker you then have a choice to make.

          Worrying about it before then is borrowing trouble. There’s no guarantee that you’ll get a job offer (or even an interview) before the trip.

          There’s no guarantee that they won’t let you take the time off, delay your start date, or whatever, if you do get an offer.

        2. sunny-dee*

          This is incredibly risky advice. If someone sprung a MASSIVE issue like this on me during final negotiations, I’d yank the offer fast and tell HR to reject any further applications. It’s such a bad-faith thing to do.

          1. thunderbird*

            Would you feel different if it was a medical situation? What if they were pregnant (which in Canada means 12-18 months leave)? Companies manage, I have seen this work in both private and public sectors. My previous boss went on an unexpected 4 month leave, everything kept moving on track, we all got through it. If you want it to work, it can definitely work.

      4. Falling Diphthong*

        Why is the trip in 8 months and not now, in the more typical ‘travel between graduation and start of new job’ window?

        “Money” and “That’s when my friend hits a natural transition and can take off two months” are both valid answers, but if you take those as set conditions of the trip then your job is probably where the flexing has to happen, with the suggestion of temp work for the next 8 months and then a serious job hunt when you get back the way to go… but yeah, the timing isn’t ideal here.

        I am a huge fan of extended travel and this will probably be a trip you won’t regret taking, that gets more valuable over time. But this goal isn’t going to mesh with an entry level new job now, that the company will hold for you all through next spring.

      5. TCPA*

        Hi OP2 – I just came here to say, please do not cancel or postpone your trip, despite Alison’s response and all the comments here! I believe travel (especially extended travel) is an incredibly important thing for people who are able and want to do it. I’m so glad you are determined to go on this trip you’ve been planning.

        I have to say I disagree with Alison on this one – don’t immediately assume no employer will help you with this. If you want to get a job beforehand, an option is to simply inform them of when you will be gone and ask if it would be possible to receive that time off unpaid. Show how enthusiastic you are about the job, but that you’ve had this trip planned for x number of years and feel it will greatly benefit you in your role (like you mentioned in your letter). Yes this might make it harder to find a job, but you never know unless you ask :) And if you end up doing something temporary or part-time until your trip – that’s ok too! If you are financially able to do that, there is nothing wrong with that :) You can always get a job later. Traveling while you are young and able is a wonderful idea.

        This is what I tell myself – I will never regret taking that time to travel. I would very likely regret if I never went. And when I am old someday looking back at my life, I highly doubt I am going to say, “gee, I really wish I had spent more time working instead of traveling and seeing the world!”

        I hope you have a fantastic time on your trip. I’m sure it will be lovely :)

        1. Colette*

          You can tell yourself that you won’t regret taking the time to travel, but if it kicks you off your chosen career path, you may very well regret it – this one trip could cost the OP a permanent salary reduction if she can’t get a job in her field when she returns. That will cost her many future trips.

          She’s free to do whatever she likes, of course, but she should weigh the likely cost against the experience. Maybe it’s worth it! But she should make that decision with her eyes open.

          And, if she decides it’s worth it, she should mention it early in the process. This is too big of a request to wait until the offer – big enough that it’ll burn that bridge if she turns the offer down because of it.

    2. Cara*

      Amen to what I Heart Java Script says! Move forward on both paths (job + trip), don’t book anything that isn’t refundable (maybe look into travel insurance? but I think most travel insurance wouldn’t cover a scenario like this), be clear with your travel buddy that you *might* back out if circumstances change, and check in with yourself periodically about your priorities (in my experience, they can change over time with the ebbs and flows of a job hunt). AND… write an awesome cover letter where you sell yourself well and are completely upfront about the trip, whether you are applying for temp or permanent positions. It might be that you have a great interview with a company that would love to hire you but can’t swing the time off, but then you get a temp gig, go travel, and come back and get hired by that original company who still remembers you from your earlier interview. OR you might apply somewhere that has a slow season at the time of your travel plans, plus is looking to save a little money, and is thrilled to have you onboard now with two months unpaid down the road. (This happened to someone I know, with a nonprofit — it was a win-win for both parties, and they actually negotiated similar breaks for a few years.)

  7. CC*

    OP #2 – I was able to negotiate a month-long vacation to Asia when I had been working for less than a year at my current company (started in August, took off 4 weeks over the following June-July). However:
    1) there is no PTO of any kind for anyone at that level in my department, since we are all “part time seasonal” employees* who can get laid off at a moment’s notice,
    2) I had put in quite a lot of overtime working on several major projects in that first year, and gotten lots of great feedback on my work,
    3) I emphasized that the trip I was taking included volunteer work and the opportunity to learn some new skills related to my field, and finally
    4) I timed my absence to coincide with the slow season between projects, so all I missed out on was a lot of shop cleanup, organizing, and busywork.

    I really, really value travel, so I’d second other people’s recommendations to look for some freelance, contract, part-time, or otherwise more flexible positions to make your trip work. Then start your search in earnest for a more flexible position after you return. OR, if you are able to financially, move your trip up sooner to shorten the time before you start a career job.

    * PS – this no-PTO business is some BS and why I am trying to escape the industry!

    1. OP2*

      Awesome! I so glad it worked out that way for you! I know there are places that are flexible, but I’m glad I asked as I get the impression that they’re far and few between. Thanks for the positivity!
      My field has seasons as well, so the 8 month start date coincides with the slow season, my bff’s availability for her own sabbatical, and the extra time to save money as I now have time to work (more than) full time.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I would not refer to it as a sabbatical, especially to interviewers — that’s something that’s earned after years of working and it’s going to sound naive and maybe even off-putting. (I’m mentioning that because I noticed you also referred above to maybe getting your own after three years.)

        1. EddieSherbert*

          I think OP means that the trip is planned to happen during OP’s FRIEND’s (legitimate) sabbatical, not that’s she is claiming it as her “”sabbatical”” :)

        2. SabbaticalsForAll*

          I’m glad you mentioned this, as I had no idea there was a specific timeline attached to it.

          Here was one description that explained it the way I was familiar with: “Traditionally, a sabbatical involves a break from work, granted by your employer, and after taking a mutually agreed-upon amount of time off, you return to your 9-to-5 gig.”

          I’ve also heard people use it when they’re not coming back to the same job, but I think more because they don’t want to say “I’m taking an extended period of time off to work on myself/travel/etc” and have everyone assume they’re just unemployed and lazy.

      2. CC*

        Ah yes, laying out your timeline like that, the 8 month delay makes more sense.

        Yes, being in a field where the workflow ebbs and flows predictably is helpful to figuring out when it’s okay to take time off. I do want to caution you that the flexibility at my workplace cuts both ways – I can decide to make myself unavailable for X weeks to go on vacation at a time when I know we’ll be slow based on the calendar. However, the company can also decide that it does not need my and/or my coworkers’ services for X weeks while we are between projects and lay us off for a time. In my case, I suspect they were happy to have someone they could rely on to come back to work on major projects in the fall and spring, but who they didn’t have to keep busy and paid for four weeks out of the summer. They also didn’t *really* care that I was volunteering and took a workshop related to my field – if I had asked to go at a busier time, they would have said no (or rather, they would have said something like “You can go, but we will not keep you at the top of our call list if you leave at such a crucial time.”) At other companies in my industry, such flexibility is much less common, unless you are going to take a 2-3 month summer assignment at another company that will be good professional development for you.

        My point is, do also listen to everyone else who is telling you to consider potential employers’ needs when you are interviewing and applying for job. I think the best you can do is be upfront (putting your travel plans in a cover letter is good idea), considerate of their needs, and honest with them and yourself about your goals with this vacation (i.e. don’t try and offer to work remotely, or “sell” it as professional development that will make you a better employee, unless your industry is somehow extremely directly related to your travel plans).

        Have an awesome trip and good luck with your search :)

  8. MK*

    OP2, I don’t want to rain on your excitement, but… 1) How firm are your travel plans? Because eight months is insanely early to plan a vacation (unless it’s about finding dirt cheap tickets and buying them, accepting you might have to eat the cost). 2) If your plans are not firm, my concern would be that you do pursue career opportunities and then the plans fall through. 3) Alison mentioned the US, but even in countries with really generous mandatory leave this would be a pretty long stretch. Unlike what employers like to tell themselves to justify actively suppressing changes, fairer labor laws do not mean an employee gets to do whatever they want. A junior person would likely not have sommany vacation days anyway, not would they be allowed to take it all at once and whenever it suited them. 4) Please don’t try to sell the idea that you being a tourist for a couple of months is likely to help you do cultural outreach. It’s unlikely to be the case and you will look naive for suggesting it. 5) If I was a novice traveler, I wouldn’t start with a two month vacation in Asia, but that’s just me.

    1. TL -*

      8 months isn’t that insanely early for a multiple-country, backpacking, on-the-cheap type trip (they often take a while to plan). But it is a really awkward stretch of time if looking for a job – if there’s any way you can move it up to right after you graduate, that’ll be a lot less awkward.

      Also, Americans don’t have nearly as much of a culture of long backpacking trips in your youth (or younger-ish) as other countries. So if you’re American, you might not have employers being as understanding about pushing your start date back and you might want to factor that into the timing of your job search.

      1. Teapotty*

        I’m not in the US (UK reader) but have started travelling a wee bit more in the last couple of years. Two years ago, I went to Iceland /Canada which required 22 days off work in May as we moved around Canada by train. Most of the plans were firmed up by the preceding summer. I requested (with fingers crossed) my leave from work before Christmas. It wasn’t formally approved until the April but Id had a verbal yes from my manager. I was prepared to leave my job if necessary which both my manager and i understood but I didn’t make this part of the request – they would have probably terminated my contract on the spot for rudeness! It wasn’t necessary and they kept my job open as I’d built up good capital and basically was good at my job so they weren’t unhappy to oblige me. But that was a temp job which will periodically open up again as staff turnover and contingent on public budgets . It might not be the same in a perm job which you’ve just begun: and it might not go down too well with your colleagues if you’re seen to be getting ‘preference’ as a newby. Personally, I’d travel first and do temp work in the meantime to help save/ keep your cv up to date.

        1. Trig*

          >we moved around Canada by train

          Oh dear lord I am so sorry. Our (single) train system is garbage, so I can only imagine how difficult/constraining planning your trip around it must have been! Especially compared to the UK.

      2. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

        Hell, I plan my normal domestic vacations 8 months in advance, and that’s just to coordinate family and plane tickets.

    2. beth*

      How is 8 months insanely early to plan a vacation? For a long-awaited, extensive trip that requires a lot of saving up and planning, that seems entirely sensible to me. You get a lot more options in terms of flights, lodgings, etc. when you look far in advance–not to mention, especially when doing international travel like that, you might be planning the timing around a holiday or cultural event that you want to be there for.

      1. On Fire*

        Exactly. My husband and I are taking a weekend trip next month to a popular destination *in our state.* I made those reservations 9-10 months in advance, because that’s how far ahead this place gets booked solid. I can’t imagine planning a two-month international trip in less time.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          I did that to get a rental for a Thanksgiving vacation 10 months out. And our trip to see the eclipse, where trying to book 51 weeks out (online reservation systems got confused about a-year-plus lead times, so I naively thought that was logical) was met with “ha ha we have been booked for months.”

          1. Classic Rando*

            I just got back from a week at the beach with some friends and we started planning the trip at the end of last summer. I think we booked the airbnb in, like, September for the first week of July.

            It was also my first real vacation in… 17 years, so I’m definitely on team “get a temp job and take the trip”.

      2. doreen*

        I think the idea is not that planning the vacation eight months early is insanely early, but that making non-refundable plans that early is probably not a good idea unless you can afford to lose the money. Eight months is a long time , and things can happen to change your plans. Last summer, I was planning to go to Europe this summer/fall – it’s a very good thing that I didn’t book anything 8 months in advance, because at the end of May my niece in Tel Aviv announced that she is getting married in September. I couldn’t have done both trips, and if I have to choose, I’m choosing the one where I’m at my niece’s wedding.

        Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t make plans far in advance – I do, all the time. But they are either plans I can cancel/change , or the cost is low enough that I can afford to lose it

      3. Nanani*

        Depending on the countries involved, sorting out visas alone can take ages, and you can’t book hotels etc. without them in places where you need them.

    3. OP2*

      Thanks for your thoughts! I certainly wouldn’t expect an employer to allow me to take days whenever it suited me, nor would I expect them to pay me for time not worked. My first plan was to go to the interview with the request of planned personal time that I truly believe will help my job. It’s their choice whether they want to accept that and it’s my choice to take the job or travel if they say I have to choose.
      By the time we leave, we’ll have been planning for just under 2 years. We want to go with a knowledge of the language, a solid plan of what we want to see/do. This really is the trip of a lifetime and we’re going to make sure we make the most of it. Plus it takes a long time for a full time student to earn 2 months worth of rent/bills for Asia and home.
      I’m actually a seasoned traveler. I’ve taken several shorter trips to many countries both solo and with others. Which is why I know how to be more than a tourist. I truly have a passion for the work that I plan to do, so as I’m staying for 2 months in the same location (with weekend trips elsewhere from there), I plan on getting involved on a volunteer basis with outreach companies in while in I’m Asia. Which I hope will give me the experience I need to connect with Asian communities in my hometown in a deeper way.

      1. TL -*

        I don’t think you’ll be able to sell your trip as beneficial to the company and it probably would look naive to try. And – not to be rude, but unless you’re spending the entire two months in one or two communities, I don’t think you’re going to get enough experience to be impactful on a resume or CV. Learning the language certainly could be, and being able to use it in country would probably help your language skills, depending on how disciplined you were, but it’s also unlikely to be something you can sell to the company as valuable.

        1. misspiggy*

          I’d agree very much. Unless OP has a paid job doing humanitarian work or training, or will be on a structured language programme, this trip is not going to be relevant to any organisation’s business needs. Suggesting that risks looking naive and unprofessional.

          I’d agree with everyone saying get a temp job. In the UK, maternity cover in one’s field would be the perfect solution.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            Echoing others to not cite the benefits to a hypothetical employer. It will probably be good for you, which will be good for future employers, but so is everyone else’s vacation.

            A year from now you might be able to cite the trip in an interview if it came up, maybe even in a cover letter. But not preemptively, for a trip you haven’t taken and a job you don’t yet have.

        2. Snark*

          “My first plan was to go to the interview with the request of planned personal time that I truly believe will help my job.”

          Nooooo. Well, maybe if you were interviewing to be a guidebook author or National Geographic photographer or a travel agent. But otherwise it would come off as really self-serving, and in a particularly clumsy way, to attempt to sell your interviewer on that. Backpacking through Southeast Asia is not really going to speak to most business needs, even if it makes you a better rounded person or whatever.

          1. neverjaunty*

            This. You’re not taking a business trip that lets you do fun things in downtime, you’re taking a vacation – which is great, but you’ll come across as clueless at best if you tell an employer it’s somehow work-adjacent.

          2. Rusty Shackelford*

            It reminds me of parents who pull their kids out of school to go to Disneyworld and claim it’s an “educational” trip. It looks clumsy and self-serving because it is. An amazing vacation where you’ll probably pick up a few things that can eventually benefit you at work cannot be spun as something that’s done for your employer’s benefit.

          3. Falling Diphthong*

            Also, there’s a distinction between saying “I would be great for this travel photography post because of my past experience” and “I would be great for this travel photography post because of my intended future experience, that I haven’t had yet, for which I’ll need two months leave.”

          4. Tuxedo Cat*

            Even if this is somewhat true, there’s a huge cost-benefit issue to consider. That’s 2 months a company is without an employee.

        3. Antilles*

          Agreed. Unless your field specifically relates to that culture/language, it’s going to be basically an item that’s cool, but not particularly useful to employers. And trying to sell it as such is likely to come off as strange – do you not realize that we’re an American company working in the Americas?
          Not to be too harsh, but from the other side of the desk, your trip is likely going to be viewed as a hobby; it’s a cool thing for us to talk about for five minutes but no more relevant to most jobs than Andy’s work running the local Harry Potter club or Bob’s weekly racquetball games.

          1. TL -*

            Even if the OP’s work specifically relates to the culture/language, what you pick up from visiting a location for 3 days – 1 week is how to be a tourist there, and maybe some local tidbits. You don’t get a really deep understanding of the culture from even a 1-2 months there – I’ve been in NZ for a year and I’m starting to understand some of the big cultural differences between here and the USA. I was in Sydney for 2 months and I started to pick up some superficial stuff but nothing insightful and/or beyond what I could have gleaned from Australian media binges.
            And English is the native language of all three countries, so having helpful conversations about “this is why I assume X, why do you assume Y?” is relatively easy.

      2. Jen*

        I would also avoid trying to sell this as cultural outreach to an employer. It will come across as a bit disingenuous, as two months acting ad a tourist really isn’t enough time to draw a connection with anyone. I have friends who lived and worked in Western China for two years and they talked a out their struggles being integrated into the community in that period of time.

        You’re honestly going to do better with employers if you are just honest about this being a vacation.

        1. Jen*

          To be clear when I say “honest with employers, I mean 10 months to a year from now when you are asked “what have you been doing since graduation?” You answer “I had the unique opportunity to travel abroad for two months in X, so I spent my time working Y jobs so I was ready to go and to save up. However at Y jobs I did learn these relevant skills…”

        2. Sylvan*

          I’m wondering if this is a mission trip. It’s starting to sound like one.

          Anyway, yes; be honest with prospective employers.

      3. Scarlet*

        I’ve been living and working in a foreign country for 5 years and my experience is that 2 months is “discovery time”, it’s definitely not long enough to get an in-depth knowledge of a culture.
        I’ve seen a lot of people roll their eyes at Westerners who think that backpacking through their country gives them a special insight into their culture.

        1. Femme D'Afrique*

          I’m going to agree with Scarlet here. I live in a heavily backpacked/Peace Corp-ed country and yes, lots of us roll our eyes at newly-minted “country experts” who have simply passed through here. (I know that Peace Corps workers tend to spend a longer time here, but they too tend to exist in a bubble.)

          OP, I’m with everyone here who’s advised you to NOT present this trip as “cultural outreach.” It’s a much-desired holiday, and there’s no shame in that.

          1. Jen*

            I also thing there is something you need to be really careful about. There has actually been a but of a backlash on things like college applications for kids talking about their amazing summer in Thailand, because people are recognizing that those amazing once in a lifetime trips are only available to people who are wealthy.

            I know you say you saved, and that is a huge accomplishment. But just remember in interviews that trying to sell this kind of thing as an advantage may seem tone deaf to someone who would have loved to travel but had too many loans or a.sick parent or.similar.

            My point isn’t that you shouldn’t take the trip, but just to be careful not over emphasizing it (your in field studies and internships are more.valuable anyway) and avoid certain implications.

            1. Anon was usually a woman*

              Yes, the whole “I spent a week with brown people and now my life is changed” college application essay. A co-worker of mine used to work in college admissions and would advise people not to write those essays.

              1. Falling Diphthong*

                As a parent who has been cautioning my offspring and their friends against “I had this valuable leadership experience that demonstrates my parents can write a hefty check” this is reassuring to read.

        2. Emily K*

          I spent two weeks backpacking/cycling in Ireland, a fairly homogenous country the size of West Virginia where my ancestors come from, where I stayed with locals, and I felt as though I’d only experienced a fraction of a percent of what the country had to offer.

          I sometimes even feel ill-equipped to give travel recommendations to other Americans planning to go there, because I loved everything I saw and did, but that stuff is a speck compared to everything I didn’t see and do, so who am I to say this tiny sliver of Ireland that I experienced is the best sliver?

      4. LarsTheRealGirl*

        Hi OP! Your trip sounds awesome. I’m jealous.

        The one thing about your letter that worries me was that you may try to pitch to work remotely during it – don’t do that!

        You will not be focused on work or your trip and it will detract from your once-in-a-lifetime trip in a big way. Plus, with an active travel schedule, work is hard to complete and your available time is hard to predict. Take this option off the list.

        (I recommend temping, fwiw)

        1. NW Mossy*

          Also, the prospective employer may not want to deal with the compliance hassles of having someone working for them in a foreign country. This is one of the reasons why world-straddling multinationals have to have teams of in-house lawyers – figuring out how to do that on the up-and-up from the point of view of both countries is really complicated.

        2. EddieSherbert*


          I think your trip sounds wonderful, and that you’ve done a lot of amazing prep work that rarely rarely happens (like spending a couple years learning a new language -that’s so cool!)

          I also don’t think you should ask to work remotely – please enjoy your trip!!!

          (and I also vote for temping or even an internship in the meantime. good luck!)

        3. TL -*

          I worked during my two-week China trip, but I had booked out the days/times for it beforehand (it was limited and NOT 40 hrs/week) – but it was definitely like “I have a 12 hr train ride; will sleep for some and work some” and “this night I will be exhausted and staying in, so will get an hour done here.”

      5. Holly*

        Please do not a) offer to work remotely or b) try to sell it as a learning experience and not what it really is – personal travel. Not only will you not get hired, you will come across very ignorant about working norms and that’s going to prevent this dream job from ever considering you. Your best bet is getting a temp job and then when you come back from vacation start applying for longer term positions.

      6. Roeslein*

        In that case, could you do a structured language course for at least a month? Preferably at a local university or other recognised institution? I spent several of my summers as a student attending language courses abroad in a number of countries (after saving up during the year) and it generally served me well during the first few years after graduation. It’s also a good way to experience the life of local students, particularly if you are staying in student accommodation etc. In two cases I actually ended up (years later) moving to the country in question and the language skills were valuable! I’ve worked in management consulting and market research, where language skills are generally valued, otherwise that might not be relevant.

      7. Asian EA in CA*

        Asia is a big place with tons of different cultures and customs. Each country is different and each region can also be culturally and linguistically different. If you spent the majority of your two months China, you can’t come back and say you have a deeper understanding of your local Asian community if the majority of the community at home is Korean. You should consider that when making your plans, especially since you are of the mindset that this trip is going to somehow help you in your professional career.

    4. Rusty Shackelford*

      Because eight months is insanely early to plan a vacation

      Whaaa? No. Eight months is early to buy non-refundable tickets, but it’s definitely not early to plan a vacation.

    5. Jubilance*

      8 months isn’t early at all, especially for a trip of this magnitude. When I scored insanely cheap flights to Abu Dhabi, I wound up booking 10mos out due to other things we had scheduled, like our wedding.

    6. Miss Fisher - Lady Detective*

      Just to plan a trip to Disney you need to do so well before 8 months from going. I couldn’t imagine planning a trip abroad under 8 months from the time.

  9. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP#4, your contact was really rude and kind of bizarre in her terseness. This was definitely on her, not on you—it was her responsibility to ask for your Skype handle, as you were doing her a favor. I’m not sure what the appropriate next steps are, but I think you can release yourself from feeling bad, and hopefully you can release her irksomeness after some time, as well. She handled this badly.

    1. Pollygrammer*

      I’m fairly confident her rudeness was covering her own embarrassment. She forgot completely, she feels stupid, and she’s either lashing out or trying to gaslight.

      1. neverjaunty*

        That, or she’s one of those people whose ego is so large she simply can’t accept that she ever does anything wrong. Ergo, if the OP was inconcenienced it must be the OP’s fault, because it’s impossible it was HER fault.

    2. Lexi*

      The contact did ask for her Skype information “She gave me her Skype name and asked for mine so we could connect on Skype” and OP never gave it to her. I think this is OPs fault that the call didn’t happen. Chalk it up to new mommy brain, but she didn’t respond. Asking people you really don’t know to do things for you when you don’t get a response (not sending the skype name, no way to connect) would indicate to me that they didn’t want to do it. If I was the contact I would have thought since OP didn’t send me her name she was flaking.

      1. Cambridge Comma*

        She did something she thought would be equivalent by adding the person in Skype and assumed, since she was the one doing the favour, that the onus was on the other person to check that everything was ready to go.
        I don’t think there is anything there that needs to be chalked up to her being a new parent.

        1. CBE*

          As long as she added the *right* person on Skype (which she may not have)
          Also possible the teacher needed to use a school Skype account, not her personal account.
          When the teacher asked for it to be emailed, she should have emailed. Because clearly the “equivalent” wasn’t the same thing. Attention to detail and following instructions is important.

          1. Elsajeni*

            The teacher sent her Skype username first — it seems like a stretch to guess that the OP added the wrong person, and if the username the teacher sent was for some reason not the one she needed to use, I don’t see how that could be on the OP. I think it’s a fair point that adding her may not have gotten the job done — who knows, maybe she got 5 new contact requests that week and had no way of knowing which one was the OP — but the teacher also apparently made no effort to follow up or fix the situation when she realized she didn’t have the OP’s username.

            1. tangerineRose*

              Yeah, this. If you’re a professional, and someone doesn’t get back to you for something like this, you follow up with them. It’s not hard; just send another e-mail.

          2. Someone else*

            Sure, but I’m organizing something and I ask a presenter for infor 4-5 days in advance…and I get to one day in advance and they haven’t supplied the thing, it’s on me to follow up and say “hey still waiting on X” and if they still don’t response, follow up again. You don’t just wait 5 days until after the start time of the presentation and then be all “you didn’t give me your thing, your fault”. OP clearly thought she did something adequate but if she didn’t, it makes zero since that the contact didn’t do ANYTHING to prompt ahead of time.

          3. aebhel*

            I’m someone who arranges presenters on a fairly regular basis for my job, and it is absolutely my job to make sure everything is ready to go, especially when said presenter is doing me a favor, for free, and inconveniencing themselves to do so.

            And considering that you say attention to detail is important: OP notes that she was given the teacher’s Skype name, so presumably that was the one she added. It would be entirely bizarre for the teacher to give her a different name than the one she was expected to use. If the teacher had concerns about OP’s availability, it was on her to get in touch about it.

      2. a1*

        Even though she connected with you on Skype itself? You have to accept the Skype connection request, it would have been impossible to miss. Plus, even if that didn’t mentally connect the dots, I would have sent a follow-up email – “Are you still interested? I need your Skype name to make this work.”

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          Yeah, this is an obvious opening for hitting “Reply” on the old email and asking “Hey I still need your skype name.” You assume the reply email went astray, that she meant to check something before she replied and got distracted… this is an incredibly early point to seize a huff.

      3. MCL*

        I would actually chalk this up to the asker of the favor being inexperienced, not “mommy brain.” The organizer should have confirmed details, set up a test call, given the OP an alternate means of contact in case any technical issues arose during the call (and should have asked for an alternate contact number for OP as well). All of this could have been avoided if the organizer had been more organized. I organize webinars and remote presentations for my job, and this is classic “organizer was not good at preparing their guest speaker” failure.

        1. Milla*

          I’m going to vote both were at fault.
          LW is at fault for not sending her Skype handle as requested, failing to double-check that she had the correct person and could make contact, and not ensuring she knew how to use the software or letting the professor know she was unfamiliar with it.
          The organizer is at fault for not following up on time when she didn’t get a response, failing to set up a practice call or backup plan, and assuming the LW knew how to use the chosen platform.

          1. MCL*

            Agree to disagree. I maintain that it’s the organizer’s responsibility to check on all of that stuff before the presentation time, including checking back in with the OP to get the Skype handle if it was missing. And as for not knowing how to use the software, that is why an organizer should set up a testing session for every virtual presentation, or at least offer to do that. It is not on the OP to coordinate that stuff.

      4. Tuxedo Cat*

        While I have never arranged for Skype guest speakers, I have arranged for in-person guest speakers. The guest speaker is doing a favor for me, so I follow up if I don’t get what I expect. Things happen and not everyone is pro-active with email. The responsibility really fell on the person who invited the OP.

    3. anon in academe*

      I agree this is on the course instructor, although I’m probably biased since I support college faculty and I’ve experienced a lot of this type of bad behavior from them. It’s unfortunately common for faculty to expect you to read their minds when they’re asking a favor and then be annoyed with you when details are missed.

      I’ve been on the other side of this too though, so I sympathize with the fact that teaching a class involves a ton of juggling and coordination… but still, if I ask someone to be a guest speaker, I take full responsibility for coordinating it.

  10. beth*

    OP2–I actually think you should go on the trip and find a way to make it work. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever have a time in your life (except retirement, maybe, if you’re well-off and in good health) when you can feasibly take 2 months to travel with as much ease as you can now. That isn’t to say that it’s easy now–Alison is right that you’re unlikely to find a job that will give you 2 months off at any point–but you’ve got a lot of flexibility right now. You’re probably only financially responsible for yourself (most college grads aren’t yet taking on responsibility for aging parents, a partner, or kids). You’re probably not paying a mortgage. And career-wise, you’re in a relatively flexible position.

    Start your career-focused job hunt when you get back. In the meantime, if possible, do temp work or an internship in your field. That would be a good way to get something relevant on your resume. Otherwise, do retail or whatever pays the bills, maybe volunteer or freelance in some career-track-relevant way, and don’t worry about it too much. Unless you’re in an unusually rigid field, taking a bit between graduating school and starting your career in earnest isn’t going to tank your life plans.

    Another thing to consider could also be moving your trip up a few months (especially if you haven’t bought tickets and such yet). That would shorten the time between your degree and your job-hunting-in-earnest. But if there’s a significant reason that you feel you need to stick to the original plan, that’s also worth taking into account; there are things in life that are more important than work.

    1. Tau*

      Honestly, I was thinking the same thing. The awkward thing is the trip being in eight months; if it was immediately, it’d be much easier to delay your job search. But this sort of travel is an opportunity you may not have again for decades.

    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Co-signed. I am on team “travel now; it’s harder to do later.”

    3. Willis*

      I agree with all of this.

      I wouldn’t take a long-term/career position that you plan to quit in 6-8 months. Purposely burning a bridge on your first position out of school isn’t a great way to start. But you may be able to start doing some job hunting/putting out resumes before your trip or while your on it (if you want to take time out of the vacation to do that) to try and line something up for when you get back. Like others have said, job searching and hiring timelines can take awhile.

    4. Nico m*

      yeah go for it

      And come on AAM hive mind: cant yous come up with a good bridge fire extinguishing lie?

      1. OP2*

        Haha! This is my favorite thread.
        This is definitely what I’m going with. Canceling the trip isn’t an option (we’ve been planning for over a year, but dreaming and someday-ing for nearly 2 decades). We both plan on having families and full careers, so going later, especially together isn’t something we can count on. If it were up to me, we’d leave now, but my bff’s schedule allows for next Spring, so that’s when we’re going.
        I’m glad I asked here though, it sounds like even applying with the request upfront might cause some serious frowns, so I’ll hold off, work a higher paying unrelated job and get an additional job within my field for the interim.
        Thanks all!

        1. Scarlet*

          Yes, I agree with what people are saying above. I’m in Europe, where time-off policies are generally much more generous than in the US and not only would you have a 99.99% chance of being turned down (unless the skills you bring are rare/in very high demand), but you’d really seem out of touch with professional norms (and that also goes for suggestions to work from abroad or that your company would somehow benefit from your travels – they don’t count on entry-level employees fresh out of college to do cultural outreach based on a 2 months vacation, that would come across as especially naive).

          That being said, you probably won’t have this kind of opportunity again after you start your career, so go for it and just do temp jobs or internships in the meantime so you don’t waste time. So yeah, enjoy your travels, I wish I could have done that.

        2. Rookie Biz Chick*

          Crazy that I had to scroll halfway down to find the Team Travel folks! You have your whole life to work – go on that trip! Stay current in your industry with networking and any conferences or seminars if you can in the meanwhile.

          1. MK*

            More crazy that you managed to read all thise comments telling the OP to get a temp job and interpret them as telling her not to go. The OP didn’t even ask if she should go on the trip, just what chances she had of finding a job that will accommodate that. And pe are telling her frankly than it’s unlikely.

        3. The Original K.*

          Oh, it honestly didn’t occur to me that you shouldn’t go on the trip! Two months in Asia with your best friend? Of COURSE you should go! I read your letter like “Oh, she can’t apply for that job she’s talking about because they won’t hold it for her or grant her the time off, but there are other jobs.”

          There are lots of ways to earn money and carve out a professional path. There aren’t a lot of chances to have that kind of uninterrupted travel time with people you love. Two months? If you’re American, you won’t be able to do that until you retire unless you work in a field that gives sabbaticals. Go on the trip. You can always work.

        4. Jen*

          I don’t think anyone is saying don’t take the trip, we’re mostly waving our arms going “don’t wait to disclose this and it is a super bad idea to take a job without disclosing and quit 8 months in for this trip”

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            Yeah, I’d characterize the advice as 90-95% “GO; you won’t regret it” but followed by the constraints “No, the two months off for a new employee won’t fly, and for the love of Pete don’t try to sell it as a benefit to your future employer.” Those are valid constraints on her job hunting options, not red vetoes on the trip.

        5. CM*

          That sounds like a great solution! And if it’s possible, you can use the extra time to build up some contacts or skills in your chosen field, so when you’re back you’ll have some more lines on your resume.

        6. EddieSherbert*

          I like your plan.

          Please send us an update and maybe some vacation photos next year! :)

        7. TCPA*

          Hi OP2 – I commented above before seeing your response here. Yay!!!! I am so glad this is the option you’re going with, and did not let the negative comments get to you. Very inspiring to someone like me who also hopes to do some long-term travel soon. Hope you have an amazing time! An update to AAM when you get back would be awesome if you want to share! :)

        8. beth*

          Go for it, have a fantastic time, make lots of memories! The job hunt will still be here when you get back.

    5. Pollygrammer*

      I’d suggest that, in addition to a temp job, you do some serious, resume-building volunteering. And if there’s something professional-ish that you can even ~kinda~ practice/study while traveling (web design? social media?) I would take that up as well.

      1. Lance*

        Yeah, definitely do something to have on your resume for post-college work, whether that be temping, volunteering, whatever it may be, in the interim. That way, while there will still be a two-month gap at minimum, you can still have recent work backing you.

    6. What's with today, today?*

      Couldn’t agree more. I wish I could travel all the time, but with a full time job, spouse, child and dog…it’s hard. Travel now. You have the rest of your life to work.

      1. Snark*

        Yup. And with a full time job, spouse, dog, kid, and mortgage, it’s more expensive to travel and life is so much more expensive you can’t travel anyway. Our most recent travel was Barcelona, which was awesome, but we were there for….a week.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          Also once the kids get to upper levels at school, offering to take them on a vacation mid-term (during which they can try to make up all the work they’re missing) gets logistically much less worthwhile.

          1. Persimmons*

            Some of my friends and colleagues with kids have actually had to apply for permission from school for vacations, and some were denied. The idea that a school administrator can tell you what to do with your own children boggles my mind. I can imagine myself dying on that hill, were I to have children.

            1. Humble Schoolmarm*

              I appreciate what you’re saying and I’m very relived that I don’t have to do this where I teach. That is a Pandora’s box I absolutely don’t want to open! That being said, all travel opportunities aren’t created equal and it is a lot of effort for teachers to accommodate. I won’t deny that some trips are fabulous learning opportunities, but the classroom experience they miss can’t be recreated by a stack of photocopied assignments (what most parents expect when they take their child to travel).

              Some travel is fantastic for kids. If a strong, independent student’s family lets me know that they have the opportunity to go to Paris for a week, or is going to spend a week with family in Mexico for the first time in 8 years or has to go to Slovakia because their grandmother died, I’m all for it. A kid who is already failing taking their bi-annual trip to Disney the week the big project they haven’t even started is due….well…

              1. Falling Diphthong*

                I think there’s a negative feedback loop where the kids who are most able to miss three weeks of school and keep up are also likely to be in tough classes where there’s a lot to make up, and to be serious enough about their work that they don’t want to slip. Travel opportunities good enough for the tradeoffs to be worth it that also can only happen far from school vacation don’t come along that often.

              2. Former Educator*

                Honestly, the examples you listed as “acceptable travel” illustrate why parents get frustrated at schools. You’re okay with a child traveling because their grandparent has DIED? How incredibly generous of you!!! I realize you went for an extreme example there but everything you listed is a “once in a lifetime situation” and so many trips don’t fall into that category while still having more value to a family (and a person’s life!) than a week of school.

  11. Kara*

    #1 Asking for some time to think is ok but I would test the water by asking for a few hours, not a few days. And in many jobs you won’t realistically be able to take days.

    1. Blue*

      I agree with this. I frequently use a variation of this suggestion from Alison: ““My initial thought is ___, but I haven’t fully digested it yet. Could I take some time to think this through and come back to you later this week?” – but, yes, scratch “later this week” and make it “later today” or “first thing tomorrow.”

      I’m a quick processor, so usually my initial response is pretty thorough. If I think there’s more I need to think through, I’ll generally ask when they’re hoping to make the decision in order to gauge whether or not it’s reasonable to ask for more time and, if so, how long seems reasonable so I don’t sound wildly out of touch.

    2. Rezia*

      Cosign. A few days is a lot to ask. A few hours is far more reasonable. And make sure you do loop back when you say you will with good feedback, to show that those few hours you take are worthwhile for your boss.

      1. Yorick*

        I agree, sometimes you really need to look into stuff before you will truly know what the issues might be.

      2. Luna*

        Yeah, if it is a big, complicated change then they really should take a few days to think it over and discuss in detail.

      3. Falling Diphthong*

        Yeah, I can see scenarios where time off to think will result in much better suggestions from everyone* and where people want to move on yet OP always wants to go back to that thing they already settled and worry it a little more.** You have to have some read of your coworkers and job to figure out which tactic applies where.

        *I try to have at least a night off before sending out projects, so I can look things over with fresh eyes.
        ** For most revisions I try to do them quickly and get them out the door. And then sometimes a week later I think of a really good example, or a new phase suggests better ways to do the last phase, but I know only major “OMG this is wrong” problems should come up at that point.

    3. Green Goose*

      There is a lot of good wording suggestions for how to ask for more time, and if its something that should require some extra thought then its okay to let it sink in. Sometimes there are quick things that your manager will need a rapid response to, but for other questions (especially things that will impact your role or workflow) I think its fine to ask to think it over.

      Are you close enough with your boss to talk to them about this? If they tend to tell you things last minute and expect a quick reaction, but you don’t operate that way, it might be good to talk with your manager about it (if you feel comfortable bringing it up).

      I used to really push myself to react quickly to things but if there are decisions that create a heightened emotion (someone at work getting fired, an employee intentionally lying etc.) I give myself a minute. I’ve even “taken a call” outside after reading certain emails and then letting myself calm down before responding or forwarding it to the appropriate person, the calm down is totally fine and I think it garners a better outcome then me responding immediately.

      1. The other Louis*

        I’m a person accustomed to making decisions quickly, and I’m working with a team that likes to process. One of them told me that he likes to take time to think about things, and honoring that has made the whole unit work better! So, now I try to bring up issues at least a week (and ideally more) before we have to make a decision. We’re making better decisions. So, maybe you can bring it up with your boss?

  12. David*

    I’m in a similar situation although I have been in work for a couple of decades now. I was retrenched a few months ago and my wife and I have a 7 week holiday planned and already booked later in the year.
    I had built up enough leave at the previous job to go on this holiday (in Australia leave generally can’t expire or has to be paid out. there’s lots of caveats there but I’m talking generally) so before I was retrenched it wasn’t an issue. And it was at this point we had already moved the holiday forward a year after having had to cancel the previous years holiday due to a medical emergency.
    But now that I am job hunting I am finding people to be a lot less open to the idea of hiring somebody who plans a long holiday. One of the interviewers I met with (directly at the employing company) actually had a go at me for interviewing for jobs and expecting somebody would employ me knowing i had a holiday coming up.
    Yes.. SURE, It’s not ideal . But I have no job and I need a job and I’m not going to wait 6 months to go and start job hunting! given that I need to eat and pay mortgage and all the standard usual things you use money for. I was actually quite offended by the interviewer. It’s not like I CHOSE to be retrenched from my job.
    PS: we are going on our holiday. we have found ways to make it work for the full time we had planned and with the full itinerary, I’ve just slowed down on the job hunting a little.

    1. OP2*

      I’m so happy you’re able to go on your holiday!! And I’m sorry the interviewer was rude about it.
      I do understand that it can be seen as a waste of time, but I also wish that more people saw the person rather than the worker. Part of the reason I got into my field is because everyone’s story is different and you can’t know it until you talk to them. My story involves a trip to Tokyo. That doesn’t diminish my abilities as an employee, in fact it actually bolsters it as I know my employer cares about me and therefore I’m going to do everything I can to care about them too. But! That is me being niave. If anything, all the comments on here have convinced me that that just isn’t how it works, no matter how much most of us wish it would.

      1. Colette*

        Well, the thing is that the other applicants are people with their own stories as well, and they’ll be around to do the work.

        And ultimately, that’s what employers care about. If I’m looking for a dog sitter, I might be thrilled that you have a chance to travel, but I’m going to hire the other qualified person who will be around to do the job.

      2. AvonLady Barksdale*

        OP2, I think you’re trying to dismiss something that’s really important here: whatever job you take, or whatever company you work for, doesn’t know you. It’s not about not caring for you as a person, or as a complete person with a story. Everybody you meet, regardless of their field, has a story you won’t know unless you scratch the surface. The work is there to be done, and companies hire people because they need and want people to do the work. Hiring someone who wants to take two months off at such an early stage means that the work won’t be getting done (and it will barely be getting done at that point, so this is a two-month delay in training), and as an employer, I might not be able to afford two months of the work not getting done. Or maybe I wouldn’t want to expend the energy training and then re-training, because I don’t know anyone who can take two months off and not forget something. So I would hire someone else.

        I get the sense that you think companies who wouldn’t want to hire you with this vacation planned are misguided or unenlightened or mean or something, but I really don’t think that’s the case. As many others have said, your best bet here is to temp or find a non-career, bill-paying job, go on your trip, then get down to job-searching when you come back.

        But please don’t mistake the unwillingness to hire someone who plans to take two months off immediately as a distaste for “having a story” or whatever. Sometimes (most times!), it’s just being practical and wanting someone who will be there.

        1. Les G*

          So. Much. This.

          Y’all remember the OP who ghosted his ex and then wanted to work for her years later? My wife and I were only half-joking that it was written by *her* dbag ex. This is a dude who, when she finally dumped his sorry a$$ because he wanted to move to a new country every six months, told her she was parochial and boring and not adventurous for not wanting to go with him or stay in one place while he gallivanted. And reader? She married me, a dude who only owns five pairs of near-identical cargo pants so I can pack light for whatever she wants to go.

          Tl;dr OP, I actually do think you should go on the trip. It’s not selfish to want to pursue a unique experience when you can. But don’t assume that the folks who stay behind and want more stability are boring or closed-minded or any other bull like that. You take your road and let ’em take theirs.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            Yes, the trip will be uniquely valuable to you, and thus is worth taking. It will not be uniquely valuable to your future employer, and so shouldn’t be presented like you think it’s a selling point. It’s just one of a variety of valuable life experiences that different prospective employees offer.

        2. Rusty Shackelford*

          Yeah, everyone has a story. But no one is hiring you for your story. They’re hiring you to paint teapots (or whatever). And you’re competing against people who have a story too, and will be around to paint the teapots.

          1. Kj*

            And why is OP’s travel story “better” than the next job applicant’s story about his sick mom or her love of Harry Potter? Why does the OP assume that travel is virtuous and good so everyone should accomadate him/her? Frankly, the attitude of OP2 is the problem for me. I’ve know a number of people who love the travel life and my universal problem with them is that they often think everyone else should value their travel as much as they do. The attitude comes off as entitled and often tone deaf, as many people can’t travel.

            1. Luna*

              I tend to agree. And it’s a very specific view of the “right” way to travel. Staying in a place for 2 months doesn’t make someone more virtuous than visiting that place for 2 weeks. You’re still a tourist. And that’s fine! Nothing wrong with being another tourist just like everyone else.

      3. Hiring Mgr*

        Looking at “the whole person” won’t make our clients happy (nor other employees) when I’m down someone who decided they needed a 2 month break before even getting the job.
        2 weeks…I could get that and have hired people who had two week vacations already planned. We worked around those with the candidates…
        But do you need 2 months? If so, look for temp work because…yeah. This whole “I want a job and a 2 month trip” is pretty entitled.

        1. Detective Amy Santiago*


          Stick with temp work until after the trip. Unless you have some seriously specialized skills/education, it’s highly unlikely that any employer is going to be okay with postponing a start date or having you gone for 2 months so early in your tenure.

          1. Tuxedo Cat*

            Even with specialized skills or education, some companies can’t wait. I have doctoral level education and a good job history, but I’m not the only person with those skills. I have definitely lost out to candidates who can start earlier. My reason for having to wait to start was because I’d have to move substantially far (over 1000 miles).

        2. Jen*

          Yeah, I care deeply about my employees. The first time someone I was training failed to make it through the process, our team tried a lot of different tactics to help him. He was a nice guy. But ultimately, he couldn’t manage to learn the work and we had to let him go. I had to learn that being a boss.sometimes means showing people the door. The harsh reality of the workplace is that you can be the best, most interesting person in the organization, it if you aren’t accomplishing what we hired you to do, we can’t keep you. I actually work in a public interest field and I feel even more of an obligation because of it.

      4. neverjaunty*

        OP, this isn’t a moral failing by potential employers or an inability to “see the person”. It’s great that you’re enthusiastic about this trip, and understandable that you’re frustrated that the timing is rough job-wise. But it doesn’t help you either with this vacation or in the long term to persuade yourself that if you really want something, all right-thinking people will accommodate you.

      5. MK*

        They are seeing you as a person.

        A person who won’t be there for two months before they even settle in their job. Do consider that other people will be doing your work while you are gone; shouldn’t an employer see them as persons too?

        A person who after getting a degree pretty late in life isn’t jumping at the bit to start their career, but prioritizing a vacation. Which is a totally valid choice, but maybe they are looking for a different kind of drive.

        Everyone has a story. Other people have one that involves working while you are in Tokyo. Just because yours is more exotic doesn’t make theirs nonexistent or invalid.

        And for what it’s worth I am not interested in employees who care about me because I care about them, merely people who are honest and honorable about their contractual obligations as employees. I don’t expect workplace devotion, just work ethic that is exchanged by fair compensation, not special perks.

      6. Just Another Manager*

        OP2, I am so glad you are taking this trip. It sounds like it will be wonderful, and I hope you have an amazing experience with your best friend.

        That being said, if you were to walk in to an interview with me, using the talking points you’ve been discussing here, I would mentally dismiss you from further consideration within the first 10 minutes. I am a huge proponent of work-life balance, and I want my employees to be happy in their jobs, but I am not looking at anyone’s stories; I am looking at their hard and soft skills as they pertain to the work that needs to be done. What do you bring to the table to flesh out my team so that we ALL can be more effective and less stressed in our professional roles, so that everyone has the mental energy to do the things that make them happy personally? I can’t wait for you to come back from a 2-month vacation because I’ve just fought an internal battle for permission to replace an employee or to get headcount added, and if I don’t bring a good candidate on board soon, that permission could disappear or I lose other employees because they’re tired of doing the work of more than one person.

        Your words portray you as being naive. Initially, I thought you were in your early 20s, not because you are just graduating from college, but because you’re coming across as if you don’t know the basics of how all of this works. You’re looking for entry-level positions, and the unfortunate reality is that you don’t have the professional capital to spend on asking for things that are so far out of the norm. I’d be happy to deal with a 2-3 week vacation that was previously planned, because that’s expected. Pushing back a start date or planning for a reasonable absence are parts of my job. I won’t deal with someone who makes unreasonable requests and then asks me to consider the result of those requests as professional development.

  13. AcademiaNut*

    For OP #2 -Asking for some of the other options you’ve mentioned would generally not go over well with an employer. For example, a sensible employer will not let you work remotely while travelling for two months in Asia, and trying to sell your two month dream vacation as a benefit to the company will also come across as very naive.

    And Allison is right – quitting six months into an entry level professional job, when they’re likely still getting you up to speed on the duties, will burn bridges, and you probably will never get a job there again.

    So if you really want to do the trip, it’s better to put off professional job searching until after, and do something like retail in the meantime, where you can quit without penalty.

    1. Blossom*

      Or just bring it up in the hiring process. That way everyone is clear from the outset – whether they like you enough (and are able) to plan around this (hey, I’m not American, but I might at least consider it for the right candidate), or whether they won’t go for it at all, or perhaps it’s a moot point as you might not get the job anyway.

      Definitely don’t accept the job then try and “sell” your trip on them ; a recipe for trouble and stress (plus, do you seriously want to spend it working remotely even if they let you?).

    2. Jen*

      I can’t think many companies at all would let someone work remotely while on a two month trip to Asia, certainly not in their first year. First, be honest, it is a vacation, your first priority is not working. Second, the time difference is big and you would likely not be available for calls. Third, if your job deals with any kind of sensitive information there are significant rules about what you can and can’t have in a computer outside.of the country. Fourth, I am assuming this 2 month trip may include some more remote locations, and working remotely usually requires steady and reliable internet access. Fifth, 8 months in you are usually under closer supervision and you can’t do that remotely. Any one of those above is a dealbreaker.

      Trying to sell a company in working remotely will look very naive. I am not saying to not take the trip, I am saying don’t try to sell an employer on it. Quitting will also look bad and will torpedo you at that company, possibly others (people talk). Contract or temp jobs are the way to go here.

      1. Lynn Whitehat*

        This thread is bringing back memories of thumb-typing emails to my family in advance, and desperately trying to get a strong enough WiFi connection at the cafe to send it out. Work remotely? No way. Any job computer-oriented enough that you even think you can just take it with you, will require more reliable internet than you’ll be able to get. (Not even knowing where you’re going. Just I’ve traveled enough to know Internet is surprisingly flaky even in places it “should” be fine, if you’re on the move.)

        I was in a similarly-awkwardly-timed situation once. I was laid off while two months pregnant with a very wanted child. The biology of the situation meant I had a hard stop coming up in 6-7 months. No physical way to “do it now” or “postpone a few years”. I applied for six-month temp-to-perm positions, which worked out well. By the time we were discussing going permanent, it was obvious what was going on, and my manager made an offer 8 weeks after the contract ended.

        1. AcademiaNut*

          On my last work trip to Japan, the wifi at the university was fine, but the wifi at the (fairly decent) hotel struggled with a voice only Skype call. That’s been my general experience travelling to a variety of countries.

          Also, when I’m travelling somewhere for work, there’s really not much time for sightseeing outside of weekends. And if the OP is in Japan, which I think I saw mentioned, keeping West Coast hours would mean working from midnight to 8am, and East Cost hours would be 9pm to 5 am. Mixing that with daytime tourism would be pretty gruelling.

          1. Jen*

            I once had to schedule a phone call meeting with someone in Honolulu and we literally had a 3 hour window of overlapping work hours.

  14. Officer Crabtree*

    #1 Are you me?

    I’ve tried to tell managers I need a few minutes to think before I can give a proper answer, but so far there has been no change. They still want an answer RIGHT NOW. My coworkers are somehow able to come up with a response immediately, but their on the fly decisions are almost always wrong and they need to change things later, after they’ve had some time to think about it. Sometimes this means we have to spend more money to fix mistakes. For some bizarre reason nobody notices why that this is a problem. If you calm down and think for a few minutes, you might actually get the right answer, and do the job only once.

    Anyway, have a conversation with your manager where you tell them you usually need some time to think about something before answering, because you want to be certain you make the right decision. Who know, maybe you have more luck than me, and they actually listen.

    1. Nom Nom*

      Something I have found helpful is to have a script which doesn’t revolve around you as a person (or me). I’m usually know as a fairly quick decision maker but I’m working with a bunch of cowboys at the moment who expect decisions yesterday and then pull the trigger if/when it falls apart.

      eg. I’m aware there has been an (negative) issue around this kind of decision before so I will just check for further info to ensure the risks are miminised, I don’t believe a risk review has been done, I wouldn’t want to see this blow up in your / our faces. There seems to be some missing data, give me a couple of hours etc to double check the facts and I will get back to you etc etc (whatever works in your field)

      Don’t frame it as a ‘you’ issue (eg ‘I’ need more time to get my head around it) Frame it as positive, that you are doing them a favour so it doesn’t blow up and take everyone down with it and that you have their / company best interests at heart. Which you do essentially.

      If you get pushback, realise that the managers are making it a ‘you’ issue when it really isn’t and keep politely pushing the same line. Use previous examples known to the team where data wasn’t fully incorporated etc and keep politely repeating. They’ll either get it eventually or you’ll realise you might to start looking elsewhere

      1. MBTI freak*

        #1: this is not an introvert-extrovert thing. Frankly, I don’t think it correlates with personality type. It’s more about how you learn. To the extent it does correlate with MBTI personality type, my instinct is that it would be, first, with the T/F (thinking versus feeling) variable, and then with the J/P (judging versus perceiving) variable.

    2. CM*

      I often push back on these types of requests — I realize it’s not always possible, but here are a few things I say. They’re similar to Alison’s scripts above.
      – Let me think about that and I’ll get back to you.
      – My initial thought is ___, but I’m not sure that’s right. I need to think about it some more to give you a better answer.
      – [Ask followup questions, then] OK. I’m going to look into it and I’ll come back to you with comments.

      Giving a timeframe helps — “I’ll tell you by tomorrow,” or “I’ll give you an answer before the meeting.”

      Yesterday I said to someone who grabbed me in the hallway and started talking about a specific section in a specific document, “I can’t process this right now. Please email me the details and then I’ll stop by to discuss it.” And he was fine with that, he actually apologized.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        My initial thought is ___, but I’m not sure that’s right. I need to think about it some more to give you a better answer.

        I like this, and it’s one I’ve used in work calls. (Where there is some need to recognize what’s an issue that gets hashed out NOW, while everyone is on the line, so everyone can move forward on their separate parts, and what’s an issue to research and come back to.)

    3. Mrs_Helm*

      “…their on the fly decisions are almost always wrong and they need to change things later, after they’ve had some time to think about it. Sometimes this means we have to spend more money to fix mistakes. For some bizarre reason nobody notices why that this is a problem…”

      Maybe, for this business and these managers, it isn’t a problem? One thing I’ve had to come to grips with in my life is that not everybody values optimization. Some people want to just start doing something -anything – and take their hits and figure it out from there. If your employer’s culture is to do that, and you aren’t in a position to change it, you sometimes have to find ways to deal with it.

      Things that work for me:
      1. Anticipate change. If X is the new thing, be thinking about “what if my company decides to do X.” Be prepared before it comes up.
      2. Ask about risk. “Bob, I’m not 100% sold. What’s the risk if this initiative fails?” If Bob says “that’s on me”, then you do your best anyway.
      3. Accept, and circle back if you find problems. (Most managers don’t want you pointing out problems with their plan in front of everyone anyway. They’d like to be told privately, so they can take ownership of changing the plan.)
      4. Hedge your bets. Have a plan B. Have a rollback path. Create buffers in your schedule and budget, so you feel you can handle surprises. There are always surprises!

      We tend to think that our reputation is all about being right or perfect all the time. So we worry when given something we don’t know we can do perfectly. Your reputation is more about how you handle things appropriately.

  15. Maddie*

    No to asking for a two month vacation or misleading a company and quitting a few months after hire. Totally unprofessional. Thirty years old is grown up time. Work a retail or lower level job until then and then give two weeks notice prior to your vacation. Or cancel said vacation if the “perfect” opportunity presents itself.

  16. Maddie*

    OP 4, this was a few years ago? It was a miscommunication. Regardless of how it happened, it seems to be long over and was a single episode. Confirm if anything like this is scheduled in the future and exchange phone numbers.

    1. zora*

      I don’t think the OP was planning to do anything specific about this now. They are asking for perspective on the issue to know how they should feel about it, and maybe to know for the future. Not everyone who writes in is looking for current actionable advice.

  17. OP2*

    Something that’s consistent in most comments is to not ask about a vacation or remote work so early on. Does that include during the interview process? Will asking about the possibility lower my chances of getting the job, even if they said “no, not possible” and i tell them I won’t go. Will I lose their trust/the offer just by asking?

    1. Jen*

      Probably, especially if you insist this is something that you will still go if the employer says it doesn’t work for them. If you were applying for my org and brought this up, we would probably tell you that the hiring is usually open every year at X time and you are welcome to reapply then.

      To be clear, though, quitting down the line will be worse for your reputation. You could get on a “no rehire” list and the employer called for reference checks. Quitting due to a sudden emergency is one thing, a planned trip is another.

    2. Apari*

      Regretfully, most certainly it will hurt your chances. If employers have a choice between two equally good candidates, and one will be available and one won’t be, it’s an easy choice. Think about it from their perspective, having someone on leave for two months makes their lives harder, so they’ll avoid it if they can. It does suck but also they are not being paid to make your personal plans work out, they’re being paid to help the company and their existing coworkers get things done, and that’s where their priority will be when doing recruitment.

      I do appreciate where you are coming from but I hope my point about the employer’s perspective/motivations will help you understand why there’s a lot of pushback in the comments above.

      1. Apari*

        (And at an entry level, it’s very unlikely you’ll have a unique and valuable skill set that would mean there wasn’t another equally good candidate available.)

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          Yes–you have more ability to push for unusual accommodations (time off, remote work) if:
          a) You have an unusual and in demand skillset. (Like programming in a narrow application that requires particular system knowledge, not being a generically good worker.)
          b) You are a known and valued quantity, so making exceptions to get or keep you is worth some contortions.

          Since you’re at the start of your career, neither of these is true.

    3. The Dark Fantastic*

      Yes, probably. It plants the seed that you are more interested in vacation time/travel than the job, and even that you might quit early to travel if they hire you. When you are more established this can be overcome with your reputation, references and work history, but when you are just starting out they have very few data points to assess you on and this is a big one that’s going to raise concerns for a lot of people.

      (Remote work is less of a concern, but not when you are intending to use it as a means to travel.)

      1. Jen*

        Yeah, there needs to be a clear distinction between “remote work” and “remote work during travel”. Lots of places allow the former, few the latter, certainly not for someone they do not know yet. Working remotely requires a full commitment to your job. It is not something that should be tacked on to a vacation.

        1. Scarlet*

          This. Also, you need to be able to be autonomous in order to do any remote work (and that goes double if you’re in a different time zone, which means that it might be impossible to IM colleagues in case you have questions). Whatever job you do, it’s going to take more than a few months to get to that stage, esp. with no previous experience.

    4. anonymouse*

      Well, I’d say if you’re very up front about it – like “put it in the cover letter” – up front then you’ll probably not burn bridges but you won’t get many interviews either.

      Any later than that, they’ll feel cheated, having wasted time on you when it’s totally not an option for them.

      For small things like needing just one particular day off, I feel you can wait till the interview – I’ve done that on two of my three professional jobs when the interview progressed to the “when can you start” question. In both cases I got the very first day as PTO, but in my country you accure 2 PTO days/month anyway, so it’s not so big a stretch for employers to agree to this, and I made clear that I was prepared to make different arrangements if they’d said it won’t work out for them.

      1. Thlayli*

        This. I commented upthread about this too. Put it in the cover letter and if it’s a dealbreaker then you won’t be wasting anyone’s time. Don’t just assume it’s definitely a dealbreaker – it’s possible that some job may be interested. Especially as you get closer to the time (I can start in 3 months versus I can start now, work a month and then disappear for 2 months).

        most jobs will see it as a dealbreaker and taking yourself out of the running by putting it in the cover letter is waaay better than interviewing and then springing it on them at offer stage. Doing that would most likely mean you will lose the offer as they will worry that you will take the job and then quit.

        Also look for temp / non-career jobs in the meantime too as it’s very likely you won’t get a career type job that’s willing to let you take a 2-month sabbatical in your first year.

    5. Mockingjay*

      I think it’s the length of the trip which is an issue. I once changed jobs after planning a week’s trip overseas for my brother’s wedding. I was upfront in the interview that I was going and would use LWOP, as the trip would occur shortly after hire date. The company did hire me and I was able to go.

      Still, I had to assure my boss that most of my work was completed in advance and to politely request coworkers to cover the rest, since I hadn’t built up capital yet. I also didn’t take any more time off for quite a while when I returned.

      Two months – that’s a big gap. Employers hire because they need someone to work. A new employee who is going to disappear for two months shortly after hire won’t fill that need.

    6. LarsTheRealGirl*

      I want to clarify how you worded this: people are recommending that bringing this up – as in asking for it and expecting it to happen – is a no-go.

      NOT bringing it up, with the intention of still going and/or waiting to bring it up is a huge mistake. Don’t hide this and expect it to work out or get a full-time job and quit. That will do substantial damage to your reputation.

      1. Jen*

        This exactly. Yes, this is probably going to prevent you from being hired into a long term job. But failing to bring it up during hiring is a huge, huge mistake. Like “leave that job off your resume and hope no one calls them” mistake.

    7. The Cosmic Avenger*

      One thing to think about is, fair or not, if you show an employer that you (rightly, IMO) sometimes value travel over employment, an employer might be concerned that you’ll take off a month or two every couple of years. Due to a few coincidences, I took three “once in a lifetime” trips within a 5-year span (although they were all about two weeks, as my partner considers themselves indispensable at work, but that’s an unrelated, personal issue). Now I’m considering early retirement in my 40s or 50s and may start traveling a lot more, but the main reason I’ll keep working for a while is so we can travel more in (early) retirement.

      If this sounds appealing, do some research on early retirement. There are ways to work your butt off for a decade or two while living very cheaply and save up enough to not need to work any longer. It’s not for everyone, but I wish I had known about it earlier in my career. I don’t want to discourage you from traveling after this, but an earlier comment about not being able to do this again until retirement prompted me to mention that that could be sooner than you would think.

      1. Kj*

        Maybe? But this writer is already starting a career late, at 30, vs in their 20s. That makes early retirement a BIG stretch, unless they are in a very lucrative field or have family money. Frankly they need to put their head down and work for a while. Their letter gave off a flakey vibe and nothing they have said in the comments has changed that for me. I would be leery of hiring them if I had a choice between a 20- something who expects to work all the way through their first year and a 30 year old graduating late who wants to take two months off (and seems to feel entitled to be accomdated in that wish). I hope I’m wrong about the OP, but nothing they are presenting here makes me want to hire them or work with them in my team.

    8. Sylvan*

      I think so, yes, because of the length of the vacation. Asking for two months off is not realistic.

    9. Holly*

      Yes, it will look bad for you because taking two months off of work is Not a Thing in an entry level position and you’re going to look extremely naive about the working world. I would just go on your vacation – clearly you’re really dedicated to it – and apply to jobs after.

    10. neverjaunty*

      But you don’t really want to do remote work, even if that were an option, right? This is a once in a lifetime vacation, which isn’t going to be much of a vacation if you spend most of it working.

      Your employer knows that, too, and it’ll come across as a song and dance.

    11. AnonGD*

      I agree with stating this in the cover letter somehow, particularly because the odds of you getting a later start date ramp up the closer you get to the trip. I do think it will hurt your chances in a lot of jobs, don’t get me wrong, but the bright side to being upfront about it is that if you do find a company that’s understanding you may be able to do a similar leave for future trips once you’ve built up capital.

      I do think a lot of people are discounting the fact that you’re 30 and not 22, I said this elsewhere but knowing you have much more work experience than the average fresh-out-of-college worker you might have more leverage than you’re getting credit for– it’s hard to know because we can’t see your work history and how relevant it might be to the work you’re applying for.

    12. Bea*

      It varies so drastically. We lay out the benefits package in our job ads and mention it in interviews. I’m often put off by the idea it’ll look bad…my industry knows this is a two way street.

      However we don’t negotiate the time at all. It’s what it is, we all get the same.

    13. Observer*

      It’s highly likely that even asking will reduce your chances. The reality is that at that point they don’t know you well enough to try to make to make it work. Once they have made an offer, that’s different as they have decided that they definitely do like you.

      1. sunny-dee*

        If I were an employer, I’d pull the offer over that. It’s an extreme request and I would kind of doubt the OP’s judgment and commitment.

        1. Jen*

          Same here. This could get OP permanently blacklisted as well as the offer yanked. Failure to disclose something that huge and voluntary is a huge no no.

    14. Mr. Bob Dobalina*

      OP2, keep in mind that a 2 month vacation request would be denied by most employers (by a vast majority!) to even their long-term valued employees. Most US employers simply do not offer that much vacation time. Imagine how much “ill will” would be created among the other employees if an employer approved your request. It would be very unfair to other employees, so I can’t imagine an employer would want to set that precedent, especially when it probably violates their own vacation policies. As others have suggested, look for a temporary position that will enable you to go on your trip.

  18. March Madness*

    Yeah, two months is a lot… even outside of the US. Especially for the first year. I know several people who had months-long vacations, but only after they’ve spent a couple a years at their company. I don’t see a vacation like that working out in the first year. You have no capital to spend and from an employer’s perspective it doesn’t make sense to hire your if you’re going to be away for that stretch of time so soon after being employed.

    1. RabbitRabbit*

      Agreed. Two months is more of a thing for either seasonal workers who are traveling during the slow season, or maybe tenured professors who take it as a sabbatical (and are doing actual work in the process).

  19. Delta Delta*

    OP3 – It seems like if Bob’s behavior at a prior institution was a problem, it would be helpful to a) find out actual specifics and b) figure out if those transgressions are actually enough to prevent him from traveling for you. (As a side note, why would your institution hire someone for a travel position if he had bad travel-related issues?) It could be that Bob would be fine with clear rules and expectations.

    I once worked for a university program where the travelers got a per diem. But the unspoken rules was that you never use the whole per diem. A coworker of mine (newly hired from a different department) was sent on travel and used her whole per diem each day. She didn’t get in trouble but she did get serious side-eye from other coworkers. Is Bob like this, or is he doing bad, embarrassing things?

    1. Daphne Moon*

      It sounds like the reasons he did not get picked for travel before are moot now if his performance isn’t up to par. You don’t send mediocre employees on the road to represent your company.

      1. Mike C.*

        It’s not moot if it was used to keep him away from travel or other opportunities on the job in the past without his knowledge.

        1. Observer*

          Why? The OP is not responsible for what happened in the past. And, in fact, the OP does not really know the whole story as they heard this from someone who was not supervising the employee.

          At this point, the OP has to decide whether to send the person on travel. Given that he has serious work issues, the past history is really not relevant.

  20. Wakeens Teapots LTD*

    I’m going to go against the wave on #2 . I would consider hiring a good candidate in those circumstances, provided the two months did not coincide with our busy season, and the candidate did not present as flaky or clueless in asking for such a large and unusual thing.

    1) the labor market is tight
    2) a percent of new hires don’t work out anyway – not a good match, wait my husband got transferred to Toledo, omg my dream job just made me an offer, whatever
    3) we deal with maternity leaves all of the time and we’re good at it.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I think you’re rare in this, though I do think that’s a really cool way of approaching it. But I’m curious; would your opinion change if the request was made before or after hiring? What would the circumstances be?

      1. Wakeens Teapots LTD*

        For me, the unusual request would be received best in the initial interview. Our eyebrows would go up but we wouldn’t say no until we discussed the logistics among ourselves. (Which months would really matter – December and January is vastly different from Sept and October)

        At the time of offer, we’d probably be pissed off and say okay bye thanks but no thanks. (because that is unrealistic, flakey & wasting our time having an entire huge factor in hiring decision making hidden from us until offer)

    2. Jen*

      It is hard for me to compare this to maternity leave, though. One, it is straight up illegal to discriminate in hiring based on pregnancy. Two, my HR actually has clear policies on handling maternity leave for someone recently hired. Neither of those things apply to a voluntary trip. My organization does hire annually though (we are undergoing an expansion) so it is very easy to say “come back next year” (but we do commonly hire people who need to take leave, and when a new hire was diagnosed with cancer, dozens of people gave her their leave so she could avoid unpaid leave).

      I don’t think it will hurt OP long term to put it in a cover letter (versus the other options, which definitely could), but given OP is a recent college grad, she is unlikely to have unique skills that an experienced worker or higher degree holder would have.

      I am not saying she shouldn’t take the trip and I agree disclosing is the way to go. But she also needs to be realistic about that org she has her eye on. If they don’t hire often, she may be sacrificing her chance at that job.

    3. AnotherAlison*

      My initial reaction last night was “OP 2 is crazy” but as I thought about it more, I lean towards “maybe there is a chance.” We had a guy working for my company who started as an intern, then was a full-time engineer for about 7 years, quit to take an extended year-long trip around the US, and I noticed a couple weeks ago that he was back.

      I think the key would be to try to get a job in a unique way where there was a strong relationship in place (or at least the beginnings of one). If you could find a company that would work with you to frame the job as an internship-esque position till you returned, then full-time, maybe it would work.

      I also thought about maternity leave. I get why this is different since you can’t tell pregnant women “no” if your company has to comply with FMLA, but we did have a new hire who announced her pregnancy during final job negotiations, and it really wasn’t that big of an issue in our day-to-day operations. Honestly, I think 2 months off for an entrenched employee could be harder to manage than a new employee.

      1. sunny-dee*

        Yeah, but that guy had over 7 years of history working with your company. That’s not going to happen with an entry level position where they’re working less than 6 months before leaving for an extended period of time.

    4. Holly*

      Personal travel isn’t like maternity/paternity leave and is sort of an offensive comparison!

      That said, employees usually aren’t entitled to maternity leave unless they’ve been at the company for at least a year, so even that is not comparable to OPs ask.

      1. hbc*

        I don’t find it offensive because it’s basically the same to the company—you’re not here working. The company feels the same impact if you’re home lovingly caring for your premie twins, teaching orphans to read in Laos, or getting all 999 moons in Mario Odyssey while covered in Cheeto dust. Your work isn’t getting done.

        If a company is awesome at handling 2 month absences, there’s no reason they need to restrict themselves to what is legally required or clears some moral bar.

        Like Wakeen’s Teapots, I would try to accommodate this if this was my number one candidate, but I would like to know no later than the phone screen so I can figure out whether it can be done.

        1. sunny-dee*

          If a company is awesome at handling 2 month absences

          Except it’s not the company handling it. I’m prepping for maternity leave now, and I have to break up all my projects, get them to a point where they can be handed off, and my manager is trying to find some budget to cover contractors for three months. It’s not like you snap your fingers and peace-out for a few weeks and the company just “makes it work.”

          1. Wakeens Teapots LTD*

            In our case, it is management handling it. Out of 80+ employees in my division, we pretty much always have at least 2 3 month mat leaves going at one time so everything is preset to deal with it. Some people are more of an issue to cover for than another person, but that’s logistical planning, not a day to day super strain on existing employees.

      2. Wakeens Teapots LTD*

        I don’t get what’s offensive, but I take you at your word that you are offended and I assure you, no offense intended.

        My point is, we have a core skill set of dealing with multiple month absences with notice in advance. We are very good at handling them without unduly straining other employees or the org. That’s why the OPs request would not be a 100% sure dealbreaker for us.

        (As far as the year thing? How does that work? Somebody’s pregnant, they are pregnant, you deal with the maternity leave. You can’t tell them to wait. So, that’s not a thing for us. That’s weird.)

        1. Doreen*

          I don’t think the “come back next year” was about maternity leaves. There are some jobs/fields where there is constant hiring either due to turnover or people taking extended leaves and others where the hiring is predictable – and that sort of job could very easily say to the OP “come back in a year” , or hire someone in June for the October class rather than the August class because the candidate has a planned two month trip starting in July. But most jobs aren’t like that.

          1. Wakeens Teapots LTD*

            No, I was referring to Holly saying that employees have to be in place for a year before they are eligible for maternity benefits. idk literally how that would work. I suppose we could tell women they could only have the medical leave portion but we surely wouldn’t do that. Women are pregnant when they are pregnant and we have had deliveries before a year of employment was up.

            1. So long and thanks for all the fish*

              I think she’s referring to that FMLA only kicks in after an employee has worked for the company for a year- otherwise US workers aren’t entitled to maternity leave

            2. sunny-dee*

              That’s a really common requirement. It’s the same at my company. Maternity leave is paid. If you’ve been at the company less than a year, you get up to 12 weeks, as mandated by FMLA, but you have to use any PTO you’ve accrued and then the rest is unpaid. (That’s in the US. Employees in other countries obviously have whatever benefits are mandated within their country.)

              1. Wakeens Teapots LTD*

                Maternity leave is not paid leave unless that happens to be the company’s policy which is more an exception than a rule. The medical part of it is usually covered under disability, which is typically 8 weeks. Over that is typically unpaid, although some employers pay for it.

                FMLA doesn’t kick in until you have been employed for a year, and if your employer is a certain size.

      3. Manya*

        Having a child isn’t the ne plus ultra of human existence. People find value in different things–for some, it’s a baby, for others, it’s writing a book, learning a new language, or volunteering their time. I’m a bit offended that you’re offended.

        1. Kj*

          But being pregnant is protected by employment law. Taking time off to travel around Asia or enroll in a language class is not. That is a key difference. An employer is allowed to say “we won’t hire you because you need two month off to find yourself/travel/write a novel” but isn’t allowed to say ” we won’t hire you because you are pregnant or planning to become so.”

          1. Wakeens Teapots LTD*

            Sure, but at no point in time was anyone talking about employment law so I have no idea how that gets into the thread other than the weird twists that internet threads take. No one said an employer *should* accommodate the request. I said that because we have so many frequent maternity leaves we are good at dealing with 2 -3 months leaves and we maybe *could* and might be able to work with someone like the OP.

            And then the word “offended” came in. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

            1. sunny-dee*

              I think because you’re equating a major life change (the physical demands and then lifestyle demands of having a child) with a vacation. It’s really like equating having to take leave because of a serious illness or accident with taking a few hours off early to do a photography class. Yeah, art is great, but it’s not at the same urgency or emotional level (or human level, frankly) as, say, nursing a parent in hospice or taking time off for chemo.

              1. smoke tree*

                Yes, but I think that’s a misinterpretation of what Wakeen’s Teapots was saying. I think she was just speaking logistically–since her company is used to handling maternity leaves, they don’t find it as difficult to accommodate other types of leave.

            2. Holly*

              Employment law is actually really on topic here – I rarely find a discussion about employment law derailing on this website considering it is employment advice. Moreso here, my point was that you compared OP’s ask to maternity leave, but maternity leave isn’t even a benefit that many US workers would be entitled to until after the 1 year point.

              Also, I took you at your word when you said “I don’t get what’s offensive, but I take you at your word that you are offended and I assure you, no offense intended” and decided to leave it at that. But now you’re in this thread needling me about my own opinion – I really don’t think that’s necessary as everyone’s been taking part in polite discourse.

          2. Holly*

            Also, being pregnant and then taking car of a child = labor. It’s work. It’s not a vacation.

      4. anonners*

        I don’t find it offensive at all – just like not everyone chooses to travel for extended periods of time, not everyone chooses to have children. Some of us see both these things as being similarly disruptive to our careers, so we don’t do them.

    5. AnonGD*

      Yeah, it’s idealistic for sure but I’m kind of sad reading the other comments about this. I think people are forgetting this is a 30-year-old and not a 22-year-old, too. LW probably has an extensive work history outside of school and probably has a leg up on the average entry-level candidate who may be nearly a decade younger and without any work experience.

      1. Millennial Lawyer*

        There’s no information in OP’s post to support that. Plus, in many fields, it doesn’t matter how old you are – if you ask for two months off your first year in an entry level position, it’s going to look like you are from another planet.

        For example, there are plenty of people who graduate from law school, say, around 30 and worked in a previous career. They show up to a law firm interview asking for two months off….. oh boy. They’re going to look extremely odd.

      2. sunny-dee*

        The OP specifically says that the reason she couldn’t go before was because she was working low-paying temp jobs between semesters. That’s … not a great work history for a 30 year-old. She’s not changing careers; she’s just starting late.
        Look at it like this — if she were a SAHM who kinda wanted to start work soon because she’d never used her degree but also wanted to go on an amazing girls trip for 2 months for her 10-year college reunion, would you be having the same reaction?

      3. RandomusernamebecauseIwasboredwiththelastone*

        In my opinion it’s probably worse and more out of sync that a 30 yo who presumably should know that 2 month vacation w/in the first year of employment is way out of the norm. A 22 yo with less work/life experience would get more of a pass from me.

        Truthfully I would pass on a 30 yo candidate with a spotty job history and recent diploma who wanted to take a 2 month vacation in their first year. That really screams flake to me (if all I have to go on is a resume/cover letter).

  21. Banana stand*

    I don’t think #1 has anything to do with introversion. I’m an introvert but I can still process things quickly and think on my toes. Us introverts get a bad rap as it is please don’t make ppl thing we’re all slow processors too.

      1. Buffay the Vampire Layer*

        Seriously. Introverted doesn’t mean slow and it certainly doesn’t mean shy. All it means, basically, is that you need your alone time after a party. Not that you have social anxiety or that you are a slow mental processor.

        For what it’s worth, there are shy extroverts too. People who love going out in big groups of their friends but have a hard time introducing themselves to strangers.

    1. Scubacat*

      There may be a difference between introversion (I am one. I need alone time to recharge) and processing new information (it takes me a while.) So, like the OP, I sometimes prefer time to mull a situation over. Allison’s scripts are quite good and useful. The last time a coworker proposed that I take on a new project, I used the script of, “My initial feelings are X. The new proposal would solve ABC. Let me check with Darth Vader before I fully commit to building a Death Star.”

      1. Millennial Lawyer*

        The thing is most people would love to take more time to process new information – sometimes that just isn’t possible and you just have to be prepared at a job in advance. It’s part of working!

        1. Luna*

          It’s not really about being prepared in advance though. That’s actually what the LW is trying to do, get time to prepare. It sounds like new information is being thrown out there and there is currently no time to prepare and make the best decisions (which depending on the situation can cause a lot of problems down the road).

          1. Millennial Lawyer*

            I got from OP’s post that she seems to know what kind of sudden information her boss is looking for. “When in critical work conversations where my boss is giving direct feedback or asking my input on changes she’d like to make to the team that I manage.” It would be better for her to always keep those things in mind so she has a response if asked. Obviously if something is really sudden, that’s one thing, but in this case it just sounds like something she can prepare for, not just resign that is impossible because she’s an introvert.

    2. Never*

      Are you saying being a slow processor is a bad thing? That’s pretty mean.

      It’s possible OP is an HSP, which has a lot of overlap between both introversion and needing time to process decisions (because we take in so much).

      1. Millennial Lawyer*

        A lot of people have to do things that are part of their job that isn’t completely in tune to their personality traits. Sometimes people have to learn how to best adapt to the work environment you’re in.

        1. SarahTheEntwife*

          Sure, but sometimes that adaptation can include saying “hey, can I have some time to think this over?” In plenty of jobs, this is a reasonable request. Someone who needs longer to process things (I’m one of them!) probably shouldn’t go into a career requiring split-second decision making, but that’s not actually a very high percentage of fields.

          1. aebhel*

            Yep, this. I’m a slow processor, but I’m not in a field that requires me to make split-second decisions, so it’s not an issue.

          2. Millennial Lawyer*

            I guess I just bristle at the fact that this is framed as an extrovert/introvert thing – most people would love to have more time to process things! I would love to ask judge for more time to process their question- but I can’t, I need to be prepared. And in this example it sounds like her boss always asks her about changes or things about her staff – things she can form an opinion on if she plans for it. Of course, things that are genuinely sudden and are admittedly in an office environment and not a court room can definitely be responded to with “mind if I get back to you by this afternoon on that?”

      2. Thlayli*

        How is it mean to say that it’s better to be able to think quickly than to think slowly? Isn’t that kind of obvious? Assuming both the quick thinker and the slow thinker are being equally thorough of course.

        1. aebhel*

          Not necessarily? That’s like saying ‘it’s better to be tall than to be short’. If fast decision-making is necessary for the job, then it’s better to be able to do it, but if it isn’t (and it sounds like it isn’t in this case), it’s a neutral trait.

          1. Thlayli*

            Its not really the same as saying it’s better to be tall than short. Thinking fast is an activity, being tall is a characteristic. A better analogy would be running and walking. If you can run, you can choose to walk or run. Whereas if you can’t run and can only walk, that’s not as good as being able to do both. Likewise a quick thinker can choose to think quickly or slowly, but a slow thinker can only think slowly.

            Your point that it’s only relevant if the job requires quick thinking is valid. If OP were in such a job, the question would be irrelevant.

            However, it really really sounds like OPs job does require quick thinking. It’s true what Alison says that she can push back on some queries and ask for more time, but with so many requests for quick decisions, it’s unlikely the boss will be able to give OP extra time for all of them.

            1. Ex-Academic, Future Accountant*

              I think that in the running and walking analogy, there are people who can run but not walk. I’ve certainly known people who are good at brainstorming and improvising, but aren’t so great at doing the necessary follow-up work.

    3. Thlayli*

      I was gonna say the same thing. I’m a total extrovert but I know introverts who come up with good ideas quickly but are too shy to say them in public.

      1. Thlayli*

        It doesn’t change Alison’s answer of course, which is spot on. If you need more time to think it though – ask for it. Better than giving a crappy answer without thinking about it.

    4. Bea*

      My thoughts were the same reading the post.

      I’m introverted and am quick on my feet. I’m known for it at my jobs. It’s been commented on since I was young.

      It’s nothing to do with introversion but it’s certainly okay to ask to have a few moments to digest the information. I have times when I have to say “I’ll need to research that, can you come back after lunch?”

    5. MBTI freak*

      I meant to post my above comment here. To the extent this correlates with personality type (and I’m not sure it does at all), it’s probably T/F.

    6. Yorick*

      I don’t think it has much to do with introversion either, but many people do use “introvert” to mean something more like “shy.” Maybe OP meant it that way, and it was an explanation why she doesn’t feel super comfortable/doesn’t know how to ask for more time to think things over.

    7. Gumby*

      I didn’t see it as saying she is a slow processor. She just doesn’t want to make snap decisions. Perhaps because she is deeply considering all of the options, running scenarios, weighing pros and cons, etc. She might, *might* be “letting the perfect be the enemy of the good” but she might also be giving serious decisions the consideration they deserve. It depends on the type of decisions that are being asked of her.

      If my manager came to me and said “hey we need to lay off 2 people in our department, who should go?” I need more than 5 seconds to decide that. (Well, actually, I don’t. I am a “department” of one , but in a different world…) Making a quick but poorly thought out decisions is not superior to taking your time and making a more optimal decision on weighty matters. If it’s deciding what to have for lunch, that’s one thing, but I did not get that impression from the description.

    8. Allonge*

      I think the connection comes from the MBTI definition of introversion. At least the way it was explained to me, MBTI-introverts prefer to think before speaking, while extroverts “think out loud”. So it’s not so much a question of processing time but what a person does while processing. As the extrovert is speaking, it looks like they are providing an immediate answer. Effectiveness of course is quesionable.

      (No comment here on MBTI in general, this is just because I recognise a possible explanation for the connection).

  22. Lara*

    OP3 – Not letting Bob travel because he’s a mediocre employee is perfectly reasonable.

    I’m actually sort of appalled that Bob was prevented from travelling due to… well… nothing more substantive than gossip. I’m sure your contact is perfectly trustworthy but is Bob’s ex boss? His colleagues? You really don’t know.

    1. neverjaunty*

      Why are you discounting OP’s trusted colleague, who corroborated the reports OP had from others?

      1. Jen*

        I agree here. This wasn’t just rumor, it sounds like the predecessor had direct reports from multiple people. They did not do anything wrong taking that into consideration.

        1. serenity*

          Well wait, none of the “reports” were from Bob’s former supervisor/manager. Also, haven’t we seen in letters here before where unconfirmed “perceptions” about past performance have been skewed and/or inaccurate, depending on their source?

          I get that Bob’s performance issues, in the here and now, are legit and should definitely impact what happens going forward. But I’m also surprised that no one, apart from Alison, has really been bothered by how the “no travel for Bob” policy has been treated by his current employer. It’s been a little shady, to say the least.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            I think it was a poor management decision by the previous manager (either fire Bob, or tell Bob why you won’t let him do something), but that wading into it now, when there are other current issues on the table, would be a sidetrack that doesn’t help manager or Bob.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      References and gossip are indistinguishable here. Sounds like if this had come up in the official reference stage he wouldn’t have been hired. As it was he managed to coast into a spot where he was just competent enough to not be fired, but not competent enough to be allowed more independence when there was a strong warning sign that would go badly.

    3. OP3*

      Hi all- I’m OP3. In our field, reputation is EVERYTHING. The reputation of a traveler becomes the reputation of the university, and allowing a person with a bad rep to travel is an absolute no-go. This is definitely something that should have been dealt with at the reference stage of hiring (which happened several years before I arrived). But knowing what I know now (which are direct report and not rumors), there is no way that I would allow him to travel.

      My real question was ONLY – would you alert this person to the reputation issue and the reason he has not been allowed to represent our university abroad?

      Thanks, all, for sharing your thoughts!

  23. JLB*

    OP3 – I get that it might be “gossip.” But that’s likely for personnel – confidentiality reasons. I have a feeling there’s far more to the story than “abusing privileges”. I would just use the issues you already have with Bob for reasons not to allow travel.

  24. Lexi*

    OP#1 I dont think its going to work out well to ask for time to respond, you are usually expected to have working knowledge around the job that would lead you to an response. I’m not meaning that to be rude just blunt. What I have found that works best for me in this situation is to come up with a response of some kind during the meeting (you need a idea in the meeting). Then to go back to my desk and formulate my thoughts and compose an email back to everyone in the group and reiterate my original idea but tell them after some thought I really believe that this other idea or ideas would be best and compose some bullets why. You don’t have a lot of time though this really needs to be done same day or emailed out by the start of the next day, more than that doesn’t look like you know the business.

    1. RandomusernamebecauseIwasboredwiththelastone*

      Oh please don’t be this guy.

      This is one of my biggest pet peeves. I can’t stand when people leave a meeting in agreement then one person goes back to their world and comes back with a contradictory response to what I’m assuming in most cases to what was agreed to in the meeting. You don’t give other people a chance to respond and basically have just wasted the entire time we all just spent in that meeting.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Yeah, I could see OP in situations where everyone would benefit if they had a few days to think over new information and prepare their thoughts, and in situations where the point of the meeting is to decide things so everyone can move forward.

        1. Yorick*

          Hopefully OP knows when meetings are to decide things and move forward and she can prepare in advance. Of course, sometimes that’s not the case.

    2. Yorick*

      You can give the initial response in the meeting as though it’s hesitant, and let them know that you plan to look into it more.

      It sounds like what you’re doing now is basically agreeing to one thing in the meeting and then going back and arguing for something different, which should be avoided.

  25. Baby Fishmouth*

    OP#2, can you move the trip up at all? It might be easier for you if you go travel now, and then apply to jobs when you get back in two months.

    Alternately, you might just have to accept that you won’t be able to get a job in your field right now without burning bridges – so look for high turnover jobs right now that you won’t mind leaving in 6 months (call centres, retail, food service).

  26. Ladyphoenix*

    Op2, look for a seasonal job or a minimum wage job.

    There is no way a company is gonna give you 2 months to drop everything and go on a trip after they JUST hired you. Quitting from the job is gonna result in a serious bridge burning that will hurt you in the long run when you come back.

    If you really need money, your best bet is to get a temp job or a min wage job, where you can work and quit in a short amount of time. Then when you come back, you can job search for a company job. Min wage jobs don’t really care too much when a cashier leaves, as bad as it sounds. And for seasonal jobs, it is kinda a given that you will leave after.

    I did ask for time off during my interview. I asked for a Friday off because I was going to a convention. That is a reasonable request.

    Asking for 2 months when you have only just gotten out of the probation period (or when you are in the probation period) is NOT a reasonable request.

    1. Yorick*

      It’s not reasonable during one’s probation period, but it is reasonable to apply and disclose the trip in the cover letter. Some companies may be able to work it out, even though most probably won’t.

  27. ejodee*

    OP#3 – isn’t it possible the employee already knows why he isn’t allowed to travel? You got the information from the person who managed employee travel, and he likely did as well. Often when a new manager takes over, people see this as an opportunity to influence change. Some people are hoping to make things better overall, but unfortunately there are some people who are just lobbying for their own interests. And the new manager can easily be persuaded that they are the only one who has ever cared about problems, or they are the only one smart enough to see things clearly. Don’t fall for this or you might make rash decisions that you will regret or have to undo.

    Do not put the organization at risk just to test whether this employee can be trusted on a trip, especially with numerous reports to the contrary. He has other performance issues. Clear those up first, then you can reconsider his travel status after both of you know where he stands.

    1. StellaBella*

      ^^^ This.

      Bob has *current* performance problems that may lead him to be let go.

      OP3, I assume you have sat with Bob, in regular 1:1 meetings to set goals, to track his progress, to discuss his challenges and needs, and to discuss work issues….and that these problems/issues he is having have been brought up (as a discussion or a formal PIP) are not a surprise to Bob? If so, then good managing – Bob knows now, what his performance issues are, *now*.

      Set up the next 1:1 (weekly?) and discuss these issues. “Bob, we’ve been working to get your teapot QA up to the company performance goal of 13 teapots QA’ed per day. You are only at 8, after much coaching. We’d like to give you more coaching, during work hours, to get you up to 13. That takes time and this, your training, is why a trip is out of the picture for you. We’ll meet again in a week, discuss training and QA steps and let’s keep checking in so that we can get you on a course for success. Is this agreeable? Do you have questions?”

      Let Bob ask questions. Discuss his future plans and issues you are having and how *he* plans to work toward fixing them with your guidance and the training/classes/etc at work.

      This is more pressing for his future at the firm than a conference. Explain that to him. See what he says.

      ALSO: Two more things:
      Talk to the others in the team in your firm that have brought up his behaviour. They need to not gossip – it’s fine, they told you – others outside, trusted folks confirmed it – but that is it. Bob should be given one chance now to fix his performance, I think, and if he can excel then he can have more responsibility like conferences – *with clear goals and behaviours and checkins during conference* (and maybe start with a 2day gig in the same town, if possible …. not a week in Hawaii or Truk or something extravagant).
      Secondly, everyone on the team should be sat down to have a *conference training and expectations* meeting – all together with clear examples of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ so that it is clear to everyone that professional behaviours are expected and being a jack*ss will get you fired ASAP.

      Good luck! Please update us, too.

  28. Hoatsin*

    OP2, as someone who has taken some long-term trips, please do not pass this up in favor of work! It’s really hard to travel for long periods of time once you are locked into a job, and if travel is important to you then doing a trip like this is one of the best things you will ever do for yourself.

  29. Sylvan*

    4. But as the facilitator of this session, shouldn’t she have taken steps to make sure we were connected and ready to go, instead of just apparently cancelling the call without letting me know?

    I haven’t used Skype in …five or six years? So somebody correct me if I am obviously mistaken. But it sounds like she gave you her username and asked for yours, and you did not give her yours or contact her by email until the meeting time had passed. What she did sounds reasonable enough to me. Maybe she could have emailed you again to ask for your Skype username before the call?

    1. Kate*

      I agree I thought it was odd that op didn’t answer back to the contact, then was surprised that the contact didn’t use her for her class. For me not giving her your skype information was like OP was cancelling the meeting, OP stopped contact. It also always baffles me that op is a college graduates knew they didn’t know how to use skype but didn’t google how to use skype before the call.

    2. Kate R*

      I think what happened was that OP thought by adding her contact as a connection on Skype, her username would also show up in the contact list for her contact, so she felt there was no need to also email her Skype information to her contact. Whenever someone from outside my company adds me to their contact list, they do show up in mine, so it seems like the OP did understand how Skype works (no need to Google). But I agree, it would have been a good CYA move to confirm her contact had her Skype info anyway to avoid the confusion they encountered.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        It seems like they were in a position where each thought the ball in the other’s court:
        Belinda: I’ve added Petunia on Skype so we’re set and she’ll call next Thursday at 2:00.
        Petunia: Why hasn’t Belinda sent me her Skype info by email?

        In this case–Belinda thinks they’re set, Petunia thinks they’re not–it’s on Petunia to take the obvious step of sending a follow-up email to clarify what’s happening. (Spam filter? Slipped her mind? Changed her mind?) There’s no need to go straight to huff. Misunderstandings and miscommunications and bizarre decisions by automated spam filters happen all the time. (Something like 3 years into our oldest being in high school, our email host decided that all school notices must be spam and started blocking them well upstream. My husband and I had received over a hundred notices from this address never marked as spam, but off it went.)

        1. EddieSherbert*

          This is my thought as well – especially because Petunia asked Belinda to do a FAVOR for her by speaking in her class, for free. It’s on Petunia to be double-checking and make sure everything is set up correctly.

      2. Nita*

        Right. Pretty sure that if you connect to someone on Skype, they can see your contact and can just dial you up. And anyway, if the lecturer saw that OP is not coming into contact, why not call or email her on the spot? OP said she tried Skyping her and got no answer, which is really odd and sounds like the lecturer might not even have Skype open on her computer during the lecture. Maybe the lecturer is a little clueless about how Skype works, but she had other ways to contact OP, dropped the ball instead, and shouldn’t be taking out her frustration on OP.

    3. Observer*

      You’re actually misreading what happened.

      But even in your reading, the other person ASKED FOR A FAVOR. If you don’t get the information you need, YOU ASK. If you misunderstood, then you apologize. You do NOT blame the other person!

      1. Sylvan*

        OK! I thought that she did ask, and that OP did not reply; that was my reading of it.

    4. Cara*

      OP #4, it sounds to me like the facilitator didn’t cancel the call at all — she requested information via email, you never responded via email, and she assumed that YOU had ghosted. This is a case of crossed wires. Either of you could have reached out again via email a day or two before, neither of you did, ergo missed opportunity on both sides.

      1. Milla*

        I wonder if the professor assumed the LW wasn’t going to do it, since she never heard back, and made other plans?

        1. EddieSherbert*

          This makes sense, but I still think it’s weird the Professor didn’t send at least one more followup email to OP. It sounds like they already had some back-and-forth (asking OP, and OP agreeing) before the “asking for the Skype info” happened.

          All in all, seems like Professor overreacted to a misunderstanding.

      2. Star Nursery*

        It seems like a bit of both? Professor was asking for the favor and should have asked again to make sure all set. Professor’s response seemed rude.

        But the OP was thinking they were set because they had added the Skype friend … However I’m guessing that the Prof has a lot more Skype contacts… Let’s say the Professor has dozens of Skype contacts instead of a handful and maybe they had added a handful of new Skype contacts just in the past week? Who knows but it might seem like the OP had changed their mind since they didn’t send over email what the Skype handle was.

    5. aebhel*

      She absolutely should have. Anyone with any experience retaining presenters would have followed up if they didn’t get the information she needed; the teacher’s behavior here reads to be as very inexperienced and rude.

  30. Snark*

    OP3: I think you owe it to Bob to clue him in, because he seems like the sort who pretends nobody’s home when a clue comes knocking. “I understand you’d like to travel. Given your current issues with X, Y, and Z, I have reservations with approving that, and would need to see some significant and lasting improvement in those areas before that decision changed. Also, while I don’t give this as much weight as my own observations of your work, I’ve received several warnings from your previous supervisors about how you represent the org and yourself when you’re on the road.”

  31. Half-Caf Latte*

    I’m just here to be crotchety about the “radical honesty” thing. OP3 otherwise actually seems like a good boss, but in my experience people who profess belief in this use it as cover for meanness, and then when people get offended, claim “but I was just being honest ,” and refused to acknowledge the hurt caused.

    1. MissCPA*

      Actually, Radical Candor is a book/podcast and I’d personally recommend it. It is not a cover for meanness, and I found it very useful, just like the AAM blog, in learning how to be a better individual contributor and mentor at work. Lots of tips on giving and receiving feedback and perspectives and stories on management faux pas and what would have been a better strategy.

    2. Thlayli*

      It seems to be a common misconception among dishonest people that honest people are mean. Just as it’s a common belief among honest people that dishonest people are mean.

      In reality it seems to be more about culture than personality. If you are raised to believe you should never ever tell anyone anything negative, then you will happily lie all day long and assume anyone who says anything negative is a mean person. Whereas if you are raised to value truth and honesty, you will rarely if ever lie and when you catch someone in a lie, even in a “little white lie”, you will assume they are a duplicitous sneaky person and never trust hem again because if someone would betray your trust and their own honour over something so minor, they must be completely untrustworthy.

      1. CMart*

        I think there’s a bit of a middle ground when it comes to honesty perception. Notably that the people who are super vocal about how honest they are (see, “I tell it like it is”) often do so in incredibly aggressive and yes, mean ways.

        I’m an honest person. I own up to my mistakes, if someone asks for my opinion I’ll provide it in helpful ways, I’m up front about plans etc… But I’ve never felt compelled (until now I guess!) to tell people that I’m honest. I just am. It is the way I be.

        I tend to hear “I believe in radical honesty/I get straight to the point/I won’t lie to you or soft-pedal my message/I say what’s on everyone’s mind but no one has the guts to say” as a warning that what comes out of that person’s mouth is probably going to be rude at best.

        1. Thlayli*

          I disagree but I’ve learned a long time ago I have different ideas about what constitutes rudeness than most people who comment on here. Some of it is cultural, but I think a lot of it is personality.

    3. Half-Caf Latte*

      Interesting, thanks Victoria/Miss CPA for clarifying. I’ll have to look into this more! I’ve known more than one jerk person to describe themselves as subscribing to “radical honesty”, so that’s why I assumed it was the same thing.

      Thyayli- I’m not sure if you’re implying that I must be dishonest if I find the brand of honesty I mentioned to be mean. What I’m talking about is people who say things like “No offense, but your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries,” where no offense really means – I’m about to hurt your feelings, but let’s pretend I didn’t, and if you call me out on it, I’m going to act offended, because I was being honest , which is a good thing. See also, “I’m sorry, but …”

      1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

        Right, the framing of honest/dishonest ignores a lot of cultural and social framework around what is tactful, appropriate, timely, helpful, etc.

  32. FD*

    #1- As a fellow introvert, I understand. I think Alison’s scripts are generally spot-on, but I think it’s best to add a deadline so the person knows when they can expect an answer. For example, “Hm, I’d like to think about that a bit more/look at last year’s numbers/etc. and get back to you by end of day. Would that be all right?” I find that offering a deadline reassures people that you’re not just trying to put them off.

    #2- This is about trade-offs. As others have said, very few jobs will let you take so much time off at this level. And hiding your plans and leaving after 8 months will burn bridges, as well as being unethical. So, if this trip matters this much to you, are you willing to delay starting your career for an entire year or more? (8 months to the trip, 2 months for the trip, likely at least 2 months after your return to find a job)

    The answer might be yes, and that’s OK! Go in with your eyes open, take a temporary job until the trip, and enjoy. But be realistic about the fact that you’re delaying your career, and choosing to take a gap year might slow your advancement a bit.

    I would avoid trying to sell this as beneficial to your employer though, unless you can point out hard skills that are useful to them (e.g. fluency in a language they need). It’s going to come off as a bit naïve.

    #5- I agree, but if they’re very different, it’s good to illustrate the progression in your resume/cover letter. For example, I worked in food and beverage, then in accounting, then as a property manager, but I try to tie those together with a line about “high focus on details led to being promoted to” etc. etc.

  33. Holly*

    OP#1 what you’re saying has little to do with being an introvert vs extrovert. Who wouldn’t love more time to think through a statement at work? I like Allison’s advice for some things but for others it will come across strangely or like you are unprepared. This is a situation where you just have to be prepared and think about your answer in advance, which it sounds like you can do since you already have basic knowledge of what your boss want to know.

    1. Star Nursery*

      I think this is also field and job specific. Yes assume that an attorney better be prepared to answer the questions from the judge and prepare for what the other side might present. But some jobs it really is fine to take longer to think about pros and cons. There are jobs when you don’t have a reason to expect your boss to announce this change is effective and thus process is changed. You cannot anticipate every new decision your boss or companies leadership team will announce.

      It’s coming across sort of tone deaf to say that everyone should be a fast processor. This OP says they need time to process and to consider and weigh implications of decisions they were not expecting. That’s a characteristic personality trait —where either direction may be better in some jobs than in others. I’m sure people self select out of going into roles that require on the spot responses when they figure out they need thinking time.

      I have several family members that are quick to think on their feet… Great extemporaneous speakers. Good at sales roles. Probably would be good at live news on radio or TV if they wanted to do that. I’m not going to go towards those roles and I need to think about various angles and responses before I respond. My bosses have appreciated that I’m analytical and suggest improvements and consider the possible risks as well.

  34. nonprofitwriter*

    OP4, as a freelance writer who also works around my kids’ schedules, I hear you. I have hired sitters or asked my mom to rearrange her schedule based on scheduled work calls or meetings, only to have them canceled at the last minute. So I feel your pain. And I think Alison is right that it’s mostly on her. But since you’re the one who has more to lose ($ on sitter, hassle, time, etc), it’s always worth double and triple checking the details beforehand yourself. I’m not saying this was your fault (and since this was a few years ago, it’s water under the bridge anyway, right?) but just giving advice for the future.

    Also, Skype is annoying and I have also had problems with it. Try a free Zoom account! That way you give people a call-in # or link and you don’t have to worry about screen names/finding each other.

  35. Jam Today*

    LW #1 is possibly the most relatable letter I’ve ever seen. I am also a thinker, I need to digest information for a few minutes at least (if not hours, although usually not days) and have found myself multiple times in work environments where shooting from the hip is the norm, and if you take more than a minute or two to think about an answer, you’re steamrolled by your colleagues — and subsequently marked as not being very intelligent.

    The irony is, of course, that in their zeal to show how smart they are by being “FIRST!” those colleagues tend not to see all the holes in their brilliant ideas, and we’ve wound up doing 2x the work to get out of holes they dug because they didn’t bother to think about what they were saying before they said it.

    1. RandomusernamebecauseIwasboredwiththelastone*

      I don’t think that either communication style is inherently right/wrong or better/worse than another.

      The people you are criticizing for acting without thinking about the holes in their ‘brilliant’ ideas are just as easily criticizing you and the ‘thinkers’ as wasting time and trying to plan for every contingency that never comes to pass.

      The sooner everyone realizes that people are different in this area and learn how to work together and meet each other in the middle the better off everyone will be.

    2. Bea*

      I dig it.

      However I’ve seen over thinking explode in the way that then nothing gets done in a timely fashion. Leading to things being forgotten, put on the back burner until the pot burns from all the liquid evaporating, etc.

      So it can and does work both ways.

      My boss is a thinker, I’ve become awesome at throwing him reminders of “we need a decision by x date.” and he responds well. He’s actually using his time to research the choices. Whereas others get angry they’re being “rushed” and make horrible decisions after thinking on it for God knows how long.

  36. Not a Mere Device*

    OP3: It’s not clear from this letter whether people told you specific things that they had heard about Bob–that he overslept and missed three morning meetings, or was arrested for DUI, or showed up hungover and unprepared, or was rude to clients–or if it was more like “Fergus told me that he’d heard that when Bob worked at Amalgamated Widgets, he had some kind of trouble with business trips.”

    Assuming Bob gets his act together in other regards, it would be easier to make a yes/no decision if you know what specific things he is said to have done wrong. I don’t know which of those you/your employer would consider disqualifying may vary, but at least you’d be telling him “We can’t send you on a business trip because we need someone who we can count on being there when the meeting starts” or “We haven’t been sending you because I heard that you tend to oversleep when on the road and miss morning meetings. How would you avoid that?” Then see whether he has a useful answer — something like “I got a CPAP machine” or “I haven’t overslept in the last three years, I think my attendance here speaks for itself” — or whether he denies that it ever happened, demands to know who told you that, or argues that it shouldn’t matter, because it’s not fair that he doesn’t get to travel when everyone else does.

  37. Ladyphoenix*

    OP 3: You know you already have workplace issues with this guy, so much so that you are contenplating letting hin go in the near future (“he won’t last long”). Why would you give him the privilege of travel when you have some serious doubts about him AND he has several people giving him bad reviews?

    I would be putting him on PIP before letting him fly/train/boat/whatever.

  38. Temperance*

    LW2: why don’t you just volunteer somewhere related to your field and work in a customer service job for the next few months? This sounds like an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime trip. There will always be work, and it sounds like you’re in a safe financial space, which makes this possible.

  39. queenbeemimi*

    I had a boss who denied a vacation request for 2 weeks 1.5 years into employment because “it’s not done, in the first two years of a professional position, to take more than a week.” My coworker wanted to go to Cameroon to visit his sister in the Peace Corps– it was nearly two days of travel time each way.

    He ultimately did get special permission, but my point here is: even asking for two months off would have been so wild in that (terrible) workplace that it’s hard for me to imagine doing it.

    At my current job, I get three weeks of vacation leave a year– and it expires. So to take two months off for reasons other than having a baby or a serious illness is pretty much unthinkable.

  40. boop the first*

    #2. Lots are suggesting retail jobs that they can just quit in a few months, which is a practical suggestion and all, but retail jobs don’t really tolerate that either. Conveniently timed temp/contract stuff would be way better, because that boss in retail is still going to be a reference and they will be just as frustrated.

    1. Bea*

      Also I’ve been one to push resumes to the side with only retail experience as the recent listings. It throws up flags, despite it being unfair to many, I’ve been burnt trying to sidestep my gut reaction of “why is someone in retail with these qualifications.”

      I can also confirm my higher ups have the same reaction.

      It’s not fair but we don’t know you. Every time I’ve fished a resume out and given it a shot…absolute disaster.

      Retail and temp gigs are not going to do many favors building a career.

  41. RandomusernamebecauseIwasboredwiththelastone*

    OP #1, I think you are going to have to strike a balance with your communication style clash with your manager. Yes on some things it’s OK to ask for more time, but on other things you are going to have to make decisions quicker than you are comfortable with. The first question I would suggest asking yourself is ‘What is the impact to this decision’ the lower the impact the quicker you should be answering or providing an opinion. The bigger the impact the more time you can take. The other thing to consider is that just because you provide an initial response doesn’t mean that response is set in stone. Once again you don’t want to go back on everything you say, but it is fine to give an initial response and then revisit if you find out more that will alter your response.

    Here’s the last thing… Answers or opinions don’t have to be perfect (and they rarely are). You won’t always have the luxury of time. Sometimes you will have to make a decision and go with it. It may not be the best decision, and there may have upon reflection be a better one, but if you get the desired results then it doesn’t much matter.

    I really encourage you to do a little reading on the DiSC style of communication and maybe even suggest to your boss that your department bring in a consultant to walk you through this. (I am not affiliated with this in any way) It’s a very helpful program to identify your preferred communication style and also gives help to effectively communicate with different styles. Even if you don’t do it as a group or take any of the tests I’m guessing by reading about the different styles you’ll be able to identify yourself and your boss.

  42. Miss Fisher - Lady Detective*

    #2 reminds of my thoughts on Reality Shows in some way. How do all of these people seemingly get 2-3 months off to be on a show? How does their job just let them all take off. Not to mention those shows rarely show anyone in a positive light. My place of business would never allow this to happen.

    Thought, if I could get 2 months off to travel, I would definitely take it. I barely got a week off when I started to attend my sister’s wedding in Costa Rica because it was at the end of our quarter and our busy time. I did mention it before starting though, so they were okay with it.

    1. RandomusernamebecauseIwasboredwiththelastone*

      I think that’s why most reality shows are stocked with aspiring actors and students.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      It’s one reason The Great British Bake Off stands out–you just need to be a person who can get 10 weekends off in a row, rather than someone who can get 10 weeks off. (And they aren’t trying to break you down with the stress of no outside contact, which for a lot of shows is a deliberate goal–and why they are stocked by people who do some seasonal work while living with their parents.)

      I also think Amazing Race made some effort to be accommodating here, like you need to take 5 weeks off which established people can sometimes swing for a one-off opportunity. Gave them a mix of people in more regular jobs.

    3. Working Mom Having It All*

      I work in reality TV.

      The answer is that most of those shows don’t actually take 2 months to shoot, and if they do, they aren’t shooting every person every day. They often schedule around things like people’s work, as well.

      There’s also a very good reason that a lot of long form ongoing reality shows are about workplaces, especially small businesses that can easily cater to the whims of a filming schedule. The Duck Dynasty guys (for example) don’t have to ask for time off to film a TV show, because it is about their job.

  43. LDN Layabout*

    For OP2, and please take this in the manner it’s intended (kindly):

    After reading that you want to spin this as beneficial to an employer and then seeing you mention Tokyo as a destination, my first reaction was: Of course.

    There’s very much a history of people visiting certain countries and trying to equate the short term travel there as something more meaningful than what it means to just themselves.

    It often drives the people who work with/within those communities absolutely bananas. It will make many people roll their eyes.

    Travel, enjoy it, love it, take everything you can out of the experience, but be realistic about how you try and sell it even after you return.

    1. Working Mom Having It All*

      Eeeehhhhh, depending on what OP2 does, and assuming they are spending 2 months in Japan, and not 2 months across the entire continent of Asia including a 48 hour stopover in Tokyo, I think this could be a reasonable angle to take with their workplace.

      I worked on several international film co-productions between India and the US, and having spent 3 months traveling all over India was invaluable. Is it the same thing as being Indian? No. But I was a lot more attractive than someone who was like “ewwwwww doesn’t everyone in India stink like curry?” and “wait, like, they make movies there? But they’re like not as good as Marvel movies, right?” I could at least pronounce people’s last names, knew what holidays people were likely to take off, make good vegetarian lunch recommendations, etc.

      Having spent a couple weeks on vacation in Japan (which I would not try to parlay into career stuff), I could see spending several months living there, traveling throughout the country, meeting people, developing language skills, etc. as potentially relevant to a person’s career, depending on what their role is.

      1. LDN Layabout*

        I personally don’t think two months is long enough to be immersed in a culture in terms of being able to bring something tangible to the workplace that someone else that stayed at home didn’t have. All those examples you noted are things I know just from coworkers, both on and offshore.

        Value to you and being able to show an interest, sure, but I think that and your experience actually translating to the company are a very different thing.

        1. Trog*

          Totally agree

          I went back to live in Japan after an summer session/scholarship at a university, a working holiday teaching English for several months and a 2 year post grad Japanese course. It took me a good 6 months before I understood or said anything much… Go, enjoy, expand your horizons – but be realistic about how much you will “be more than a tourist”

      2. Scarlet*

        No. The stuff you mention can be found on the Internet, etc. I’ve lived in a foreign country for 5 years and I’m generally familiar with the culture, but I still feel like I’m scraping the surface.

        And you don’t need to travel extensively abroad to avoid saying things like “ewwwwww doesn’t everyone in India stink like curry?” and “wait, like, they make movies there? But they’re like not as good as Marvel movies, right?”. You just need a bit of curiosity and intelligence.

  44. ket*

    It’s very interesting to read the discussions above re: the coworker who isn’t given travel assignments. I guess because I’m in academia, when I read the above, I think: the guy blows off every day of the conference and goes sightseeing instead, the guy spends every night with hookers at the hotel bar, the guy gets drunk at the poster session and makes lewd comments to female postdocs. I mean, this is what we mean in my field when we talk about misusing resources and not representing the institution well — showing up late to something isn’t even remarked upon in my field!

    From the travel-approver’s point of view, there’s not actually a *rule* against spending every evening with hookers in the hotel bar. It’s, like, not really against the scope of the job position. How do you bring it up as a job thing? What if the guy says it’s not against the rules of the job, it’s legal, and so you have no right to police this?

    Harassment is actually against the “rules” of the job, but with harassment the guys I know would make such a fuss about it being a misunderstanding or a lie or really it’s just “mentorship” and how can you bring up these rumors against me you must be biased I’m going to file a complaint against you you have no evidence I’ve ever done this. And all the really undeniably egregious behavior is unreported and behind closed doors, so they kind of have a point. As the responsible travel-scheduler in such a situation, do you really want to sacrifice the female postdocs for the principle of letting the guy travel if there are no official complaints? As long as the guy doesn’t grope anyone publicly, you’ll never get a ‘legally defensible’ reason to stop allowing him travel if you start allowing him travel, because it’ll all be more trouble than it’s worth for the postdocs to file Title IX complaints with a different institution… and it’s all just he said-she said anyway… Academia does a very poor job in maintaining professional boundaries, and so a lot of stuff slides that should not.

    With skipping the talks, most academics skip some talks. We go to the conference to actually work with our colleagues in the hotel lobby, get the new paper hashed out, etc. So cracking down on everyone who skips talks would be counterproductive. But there are people who abuse that and just hang out instead. How do you quantify that? I was pretty annoyed with my roommate at one graduate conference I went to — she skipped tons of stuff to go to the Louvre or whatever, and she’d received travel funding, and I felt it was unfair. On the other hand, at one conference I skipped a morning to go to the Scharffenberger chocolate factory & ended up having a great bonding experience with two scientists from Princeton. Nevertheless, this is probably the easiest scenario to deal with as it’s the closest to actual work.

  45. RebeccaNoraBunch*

    OP2, I agree with many of the commenters here that a two-month vacation anytime – but particularly in the first year or handful of months – at an entry level job is an absolute no-go. With that, I’m going to add a layer of Anecdotal Experience here:

    At 30 years old and just getting your degree, you are 5+ years behind your peers (being generous). How do I know this? Because I lived abroad (to get my Master’s) right out of college, graduated into the recession, and spent the next 6 years in various bill-paying drudgery work much like I sense you’ve been doing. I have been behind my peers for years. I started an entry-level job at 30 as well, and ONLY now, at 35, and only in the last, realistically, 2ish years, have I felt like I am more on-pace with my peers. I still have a lot of lost time to make up for, and a lot of retirement to save for, as well. I’m also single and childless, and I can’t imagine how much harder it would be to catch up if that weren’t the case.

    All that said: if this really is your IDEAL job, why would you wait? Especially if, from what I’m reading, your industry allows you to take sabbaticals later? There will be other jobs, certainly, but if it were my IDEAL job at 30 after delaying getting a degree, I wouldn’t hesitate to make the decision to start my career and make up for all that lost time. I didn’t get my “ideal job” with ideal pay until six months ago, at 35, and that was after 5 years of working very hard to grow in my career.

    Oh, and also? From someone who has actually lived abroad, you are still a tourist at 2 months. Culture shock doesn’t even wear off until roundabout six months in, really, and I was in an English-speaking country at that.

  46. E.*

    Re OP#2: Extended vacations are so common in some countries (even though they’re waaay outside the norm in the US), I’d love to know where the OP is located.

  47. Erin*

    #2 – You’ve been planning and saving for over a year. This is a huge, amazing trip. I would not give that up.

    I would recommend getting a retail/waitressing/crappy job in the meantime and avoid applying to career-type jobs in your field for now. I understand you’d be giving up this opportunity but A) You’re not sure you’d get the job offer anyway, B) If you did it may or may not be as a great of a job as you thought, and C) You’d risk having to either give up your trip or burning a bridge with this company.

    If there is any volunteering, freelancing, or anything along those lines you could do in your field during this in between time to keep one foot in the door that would be especially helpful.

    The norms might differ in your field than in mine, but I think it’s pretty normal to not get a job in your field fresh out of college. Take this time for yourself and plan to dive into the work world when you return. Enjoy your trip!

  48. Lauren*

    OP2: Yeahhhhh 2 months is super unlikely to happen. BUT, in the unlikely event that your boss IS open to it, you need to be fully prepared to take those 2 months off without pay (and potentially benefits) as a Leave of Absence. But as others have mentioned, it’s pretty unlikely that they’re going to be keen on a 2 month vacation, especially considering it is SO soon after you would be starting. I’d plan to job search after you get back or plan on delaying the trip at least a few years (or shortening it to 2-3 weeks tops).

    Another exception to this might be based on the type of work you do, and if it can be done remotely, and if there’s already a culture in place for remote work at your workplace. AND if you’d be willing to work full-time during the 2 months you’d be in Asia (and sightseeing/traveling on evenings/weekends while you’re there).

    It’s not out of the realm of possibility that you wouldn’t even be eligible to take vacation until you’ve been somewhere at least 6 months. I worked somewhere like that – I couldn’t use any vacation time for the first 6 months, and after that I only got one week, and then when I hit a year I earned a second week.

  49. Anon non*

    #4 – I had a version of this once. I had a very senior role at a company that relocated it’s HQ to a trendy tech area. I started getting dinged in peer reviews that I was not networked enough in trendy area (I didn’t relocate, I commuted periodically). I asked one of my trendy area co-workers to connect me to their former me counterpart for networking. She made the appt and bailed at the last minute citing a work crisis. No prob, she was doing me a favor so we rescheduled. She was a no show for the rescheduled call so I gave up. A year or so later another well meaning co-worker who also knew this person made an email connection between us. I responded enthusiastically, didn’t mention the prior incident and said I would love to connect to get some referrals for local vendors. No response ever. Granted I was the one asking for the favor but why be so rude about it. I just hope karma pays her back.

  50. Norwegian*

    I am so happy I am not in the US, but in a country where we have 5 weeks paid vacation time per year. 2 months of unpaid leave some time into a new position would normally not be a problem as long as the candidate is up front about it in the interview process.

  51. Working Mom Having It All*

    Re #2, if the trip is still eight months out, just reschedule it. Almost all hotels have like 48-hour cancellation policies. Airlines are a little more complicated, but usually for a change fee you can change the date of your travel anytime within a year of your original travel dates. Those change fees aren’t nothing, and there are other caveats like high vs. low season ticket costs (they usually will charge you the difference if you want to travel at a more popular time). But considering it’s a two month trip backpacking through Asia, the ~$200 or so it will probably cost to change your tickets is worth it. Especially since you will surely make more than that in your job.

    I would apply to the job, go through the hiring process, and *if* you get it, at that point I would look into rescheduling for a point when you’ll be a bit more settled and can make an educated decision about something like working remotely or just asking about the potential to take an extended unpaid leave.

    I did something like this in my mid 20s, and it worked out well because in a junior role in my field, it ultimately didn’t matter which specific person was getting coffee, answering phones, and ordering lunch. I planned my trip strategically to take advantage of time the office would otherwise be closed, and then I made up the difference by replacing myself for a few weeks and taking the time unpaid. It also helped that I was in a creative field where it was seen as a good thing to have traveled and experienced the world a bit. I imagine “I’m going to India over the summer hiatus and will be out for another two weeks afterwards” wouldn’t go over as well in a conservative corporate field. We also had a pool of frequent temps/floater types that filled in for people on vacations and such, so I was leaving my colleagues in familiar hands.

  52. Sandman*

    OP2, is there a pressing reason why you can’t move your trip up? It seems like now is the time, and delaying the trip could work against you really getting started in your career. I did a good bit of traveling right out of college and highly recommend it, so I’m all for the trip – but you’re in a little bit of a pickle right now killing time before the trip. I agree with others that you shouldn’t take a job that you’re only intending to have for a few months; I think that will hurt more than help in the long run.

    1. Star Nursery*

      The OP already responded in the comments and answered about the timing already. It doesn’t sound like they could move up the trip.

      OP, hope you have a fun time in Tokyo next Spring and that you give us an update next year.

  53. cestlavie*

    #2 my suggestion is to be upfront about it and see what happens. Maybe someone will be willing to work with you and maybe they won’t. You won’t know if you don’t ask. The big thing is to BE HONEST. As long as you recognize that it might keep you from being hired and you are OK with that, what do you have to lose by trying?

  54. LadyCop*

    OP1 I am an introvert (49% of people are)…and I honestly don’t see how the described behavior is related to that. Yes, some people make quick decisions about big things, even when they shouldn’t…but as someone who literally has to make snap decisions when my life (or someone else’s) is on the line…I don’t think it’s required to be an extrovert to do so.

  55. LGC*

    So, LW1 – I mostly agree with the advice given, granted you’re not in an especially dynamic field (like, a sales/trading type position). But one thing jumped out at me:

    I should add that my boss is sometimes known to spring large changes on people in our organization without much warning.

    That’s…not great! Paired with you noting that she likes to make snap decisions, it sounds like she’s a bit impulsive. (Granted, she can have reasons for not being very transparent – like reducing the chance for people to argue with her decisions, if the team is especially argumentative. I think that’s a terrible reason, but I’m not working in your company so my opinion counts for squat.) And I’m definitely jumping to conclusions, but it seems like her decisions don’t always work out so well (as the way I’m reading your phrasing makes it seem like you see this as a problem).

    I think, also – maybe you should try to “automate” some decisions. For example, you know Bob is good at X, Y, and Z, but struggles at A, B, and C. Fergus might be good at A, B, C, X, Y, and Z, but he really dislikes doing B, X, and Z. Tangerina (the hypothetical Tangerina, not the commenter) is good at A, B, and X, and really wants to learn how to do C, Y, and Z, but teaching her how to do those would take a couple of weeks.

    You have a customer that requires A, X, and Y, and needs it now. Who do you assign it to? Bob is bad at A, Fergus HATES doing X, and Tangerina doesn’t know how to do Y at all. (Fergus, which is probably the only time I’d say to trust a Fergus to do something. He might hate it, but he’s competent at all three tasks.) Or better, if possible – split the teamwork so that – for example – Tangerina is responsible for A and X and shadows Bob on Y.

    1. Smol Cinnamon Roll*

      First off, big changes like that would be a no for me too, having something game changing sprung on me would annoy me to no end and may cause me to dislike the higher ups (I’m debating on asking the manager on something.).

      That’s how my current new line of work is, I’ve been shadowing my trainer for the past three weeks, however, I’ve managed to open up the door for bigger things by just being a slight bit observant when I’m in my introverted shell.

  56. Cassie the First*

    #2 – I think asking for a 2-month vacation within the first year (for a brand-new employee) might get you some serious side-eye by your boss and possibly just a flat out no. Although I guess it could depend on the type of work that you would be doing and whether other people could step in while you are out.

    I’ve heard of some new employees who go out on maternity leave within a month or two of their start date – I think it would have been discriminatory if the employer chose not to hire them because they would need time off so soon after they started their new job. Pregnancy is a protected class, though; going on a vacation is not.

    It would be somewhat different if this was a current employee in a new role (so new job, but not a new employee) – presumably, the employee would have paid their “dues” and built up a stellar reputation (and enough vacation time!) that it *might* be okay. My sister just started a new job in a different dept within the same organization and her request for a month-long vacation in a few months was approved without any problem.

  57. Wintermute*

    Fears about “job hopping” from an employer are frequently because they plan to invest time and training into you, and if you leave then they’ve done nothing but train someone else’s employee.

    Multiple roles in ONE company doesn’t raise that fear, because it’s done if not at the request of, at least with the permission of your employer. It’s usually in support of business goals either as well as or instead of personal goals, it shows you have flexibility and sensitivity to the business needs of your employer.

    Also, multiple roles in one company are usually promotions or increased responsibilities, showing professional growth and that your bosses like you and your work enough to get you into more important positions– all positive things from an employer perspective!

    The only possible time I could see it being a red flag is when you’ve been moved across a lot of departments but never escalated job responsibilities. It’s one thing if you go from llama handler’s assistant to llama technician to llama herd engineer to senior llama herd engineer– that is career growth. But if you go from Llama technician’s assistant, to Emu technician’s assistant, to Aardvark technician junior grade to junior Platypus professional then that raises some potential questions about whether you have one of those employers where bad employees are impossible to fire so they get moved around in circles forever. But if you can explain yourself (“well I started in Llama tech, but they eliminated the position during a round of layoffs so I applied for a transfer to platypus and got it, and then they needed help on the overnight aardvark shift so I spent 4 months there helping out, but my goal was always to work with herd animals so when a position in Emus opened up I applied for that right away”) then you should be fine.

  58. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

    Late, but #4, that person was a jerk. Skype is very temperamental. I’ve received notifications when someone added me. Other times, I had no idea. If she’s a regular user, she should know that.* She also should have confirmed that you were still able to make the call before her class. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t check the day before that the call was still on, and also not provide alternate means of contact in case of a problem.

    As for burning a connection, I don’t think you have. You didn’t do anything wrong. There are also a lot of writers out there. She’s not the only one, and she’s not the only one running a class. You’ll find your own path (if you haven’t already) to success (whatever that means to you) and you’ll make connections with people who have manners and are a treat to work with.

    Good luck with your work!

    * I learned the hard way to send new contacts a message within the Skype and an email with my user name. I also provide a phone number where people can text me, just in case they lose their internet connection.

    1. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

      I meant to say that even if this contact has been burned, I don’t think it will affect success in your field. If it helps, you can look at it the way people frame experiences with bad interviewers: you dodged a massive bullet and know to look for work elsewhere.

  59. Shaylynn*

    I’ve been working in the U.S. for about 25 years now. Various companies, a few different industries, and I have an extended network I’m in close contact with, all over the place, in a wide variety of levels, roles, and industries.

    Week-long vacations are common, though less common than they used to be. I know many younger people who have yet to take that many days off in a row because they job hop so frequently – they never get to the point where they have that much time saved up, or even if they do, it would be frowned upon to take a week off so soon into what is often their first professional job out of school.

    Two week vacations – I’ve only known a handful of people who’ve taken them. Most are married with no kids at that point, and they’re going somewhere overseas. They do a *lot* of prep work beforehand to their managers and others in the office to sell the idea that this trip is “once in a lifetime”. It’s almost always to Africa, and often other family members are going, possibly meeting up in the vacation destination country (adding to the perceived importance of the trip). In my years, I’ve only heard of maybe 4 or 5 people taking this long off, and all of those trips happened before the financial meltdown of 2008.

    Over two weeks? I’ve never heard of it. Not in the U.S. But here’s the thing to consider even if you can pull it off – once you show your company that they can survive without you for two weeks, when times get tough and decisions get made, whether or not it’s a conscious thought, you’ll be seen as more expendable. Not so much because you took such an extended vacation and enjoyed your time away from your job, but because the company also took a vacation from you and they made it through.

    Of the people I know who took those two week vacations, who were all mid-career (they’d have to be to earn that much vacation time) and making good money – and all but one were eventually laid off in 2008 or 2009. I can’t say that the vacations were the cause of them being let go, of course – plenty of other people were let go as well – but from the company’s perspective, those employees had already demonstrated that they weren’t as critical in their jobs as they may have previously seemed.

    Right or wrong, this is the risk you take with a long vacation. And OP #2, I honestly don’t feel that you’re ready for a career yet. Your thinking in still prioritizing personal enjoyment over professional growth. Companies will see this and it’ll be very difficult for you to get hired, even if you take the idea of this two month vacation out of the equation.

    1. sometimeswhy*

      I have staff who, once a year, take a 4+ week vacation. (nb: it’s possible to accrue that much leave once you’ve been with us long enough) Every year I have to justify it, in writing, to the executives. Every year, part of that justification is that they are near retirement and we intend to use it as a trial to find out what institutional knowledge they have that we still need to work on transferring. Every year we find something new. I’m pretty sure this is the only reason it keeps getting approved: that we’re learning how to do without them because soon we’ll have to. I wouldn’t want to be a junior person pointing out that it was super possible to do without me and I’d have a serious conversation with any junior staff who inquired.

      1. Shaylynn*

        That sounds like a very wise way to handle things – get to know how much you don’t know before it’s too late. Good move.

  60. Send Help*

    Go on the trip! Find your dream job after. Life is short, your career will be long – you’ll always regret not taking this trip because there will always be a reason not to: a lack of funds, a new house, a roof for that house, car payments, kids, spouse, parents having health problems. Seriously, life piles up. If potential employers ask about the delay between getting your degree and job searching, just explain that your trip was pre-planned and you didn’t want to inconvenience future employers by leaving. It was the responsible thing to wait until your return and be fully committed to a job. Take temp work, consult, do whatever but don’t cancel that trip!!! You likely won’t find anyone willing to give you that break, unless you find a short contract now. Sometimes someone leaves part way into a year long contract and there’s a chunk left. I hope you find something like that, but otherwise just coast for now, have fun on your trip, and good luck on the job search when you get back!

  61. LizM*

    OP#1, fellow introvert here. I have colleagues and a supervisor who will hand me a 15 page white paper, summarize it in 5 minutes, and ask me what I think.

    One technique I’ve found useful is to ask people to provide more info about the meeting before it starts. So if I get a vague meeting invite for titled, “Teapots Production,” when I RSVP, I’ll ask if there’s any material I should review before the meeting, and whether the purpose is to provide info or if the organizer is hoping for a decision at the end. This helps, because the collegues who will just hand me something in a meeting often don’t have several days to wait for me to process, they’re hoping to wrap their piece up in the next few hours. So the mismatch of expectations has created some tension. I feel like I’ve been asking long enough that the people I deal with on a regular basis have started just providing that info to me.

    I’d also recommend reading “Quiet” by Susan Cain. She’s done a lot of research about how to help introverts thrive and how to harness their strengths.

  62. Remote Worker and Dog Lover*

    I have a coworker who is very much like OP #1, though they appear to have a hard time articulating their thoughts in the moment no matter the situation; it doesn’t seem to be related to whether we’re talking about a sudden new change or not.

    A couple of things have helped us as an organization deal with different communication/processing styles: 1) have a decision making framework that we all agree to and 2) have set, consistent expectations about how you are supposed to prepare for meetings. If a report gets shared 5 minutes before a meeting, we don’t discuss it then; we tell people that it’s there and give them a deadline to review before we talk about it again.

    It’s not always going to be possible to take time to process things, and I think it’s important to figure out what you need in order to be productive in meetings and discussions. It’s frustrating for others when a topic has been on the agenda for a while, coupled with a report that was shared at least a day in advance (or whatever is your org’s threshold), but then the group can’t have a thorough conversation with coworkers about it because someone needs more time to process. It turns into a waste of a meeting. On the other hand, if an org is making rash decisions and over and over again, that is a bigger problem! That’s why having an agreed up framework for how your org makes decision can be really helpful here. If you’re not the boss or you work a very large company, that can of course be hard to implement yourself, but you can still try to set standards for how you personally evaluate situations and see if you can spread it across others in your team/management group.

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