how to request time off for a last-minute interview

A reader writes:

I’m currently interviewing for a new position and I passed the first two rounds of interviews (yeah me!). Those two interviews were done online and I could manage my workday around them easily.

However, the next round of interviews is an on-site all-day kind of meeting, and that would require a couple of hours of travel for me (nothing undoable, but I definitely won’t be able to work around this one).

How can I request the time off without making it look like I’m taking the time off for interviewing? I’m not trying to get away from my current job by all means, and I’d like to keep it discreet.

I have the day banked, but I typically never take a day off short notice, or outside of Monday/Friday when I do, and I’m not sure what to answer when my manager asks what I would do during that day.

First, don’t assume that you need to give a reason at all! With plenty of managers, it’s enough to just say you need that day off.

But if your manager is known to be nosy — or if the last-minute nature of it means that you really do need to offer some kind of explanation — it’s fine to just say, “I have a personal thing that came up that I need to take care of.” If it’ll go over better if you acknowledge that you realize it’s last-minute, you can add, “I’m sorry it’s so last-minute — it just came up and I can’t easily change the date.”

If your manager asks for details (which she shouldn’t but, again, nosy managers might), it’s completely okay to say, “Oh, nothing I want to get into at work — just something I need to take of.”

If your manager is so nosy and intrusive that you know that won’t be enough, then your best bet might simply be a sick day. Yes, that’s not ideal, but that’s on your boss — managers forfeit the right to expect people not to do that when they overstep boundaries and demand information they’re not entitled to.

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{ 116 comments… read them below }

  1. Richard Hershberger*

    “I have an appointment.” This might be for a job interview, it might be a medical appointment, it might be to have your nails done, it might be for the new book from your favorite author. It is a marvelously flexible word. They want details. “It is a personal matter.”

    But I absolutely agree with Alison that if that isn’t good enough, call in sick. You are, after all, sick of having to justify your PTO to your manager.

    1. GammaGirl1908*

      Also, people who are interviewing tend to worry that their current job will leap to an interview as the first assumption. You have no reason to feel guilty, but your conscience is what is making you assume they will guess.

      If you just keep your head down and be reasonable but vague, they are more likely to assume any one of the million skillion frillion equally logical reasons to need a day off.

    2. Daisy*

      This is why I *always* tell my boss I have “an appointment” when I take time off. Doctor, dentist, lawyer, run to the bank, or lunch with a friend. As my boss is cool they prefer not to know details.

    3. TootsNYC*

      I use “important family errand.”
      Idea being, maybe I’m accompanying my MIL to a doctor visit, but I don’t feel comfortable sharing her medical situation with others.

  2. rayray*

    Call in with a migraine. Unlike a virus, it’s very reasonable you’d be better the next day and they won’t be worried about getting infected.

    1. chaka*

      Migraines always sound like “high-maintenance.”
      Car trouble is easier. And w/the Climate Change weather we’ve been having, it’s harder to drive.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Thanks, that was my reaction. I understand “high maintenance” to be too much time&money spent on cosmetics, clothes, and trappings of wealth. Migraines are a medical condition.

          1. Miette*

            I’ll be sure to admonish my brain to be less high-maintenance the next time I have a migraine, if I can manage it between all the trying-not-to-puke and the hiding-from-all-sunlight :/

            1. Hi, I'm Troy McClure*

              I’m really disturbed that you all are getting so grumpy at this poster when it is really obvious that they mean bosses might read it that way. And this is coming from someone with horrid migraines.

        2. Silver Robin*


          But ignorance has people assuming migraines are just “bad headaches” and that the sufferer is exaggerating/too delicate/too high maintenance to just deal with the small inconvenience. Using one as an excuse carries the risk of being perceived that way.

          1. lemon*

            Or some people tend to stereotype people who get migraines as being super anxious type A personalities, which can also being interpreted as “high-maintenance.”

          2. laser99*

            Yes, as a fellow migraineur I agree. Most people do not understand it is a serious medical condition. It seems to carry sometype of stigma the likes of which I don’t understand. Possibly the fact that the majority of us are women, maybe?

            1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

              Yes, and also, there are just too many people who call the slightest headache a migraine. I have migraines, luckily very rarely, and I’m usually incapacitated for several days, wanting to bash my head against the wall so that it’ll no longer hurt, only able to tolerate complete silence and complete darkness, and it really riles me up when people say they have a migraine when they’re just going about their normal lives and taking a quick paracetamol.

      1. Beehoppy*

        You have clearly never had a migraine. They can be excruciating and sometimes lead to hospitalization. Terrell Davis, a professional football player, had to sit out a quarter of the Super Bowl because his migraines were so bad.

        1. Hi, I'm Troy McClure*

          It’s blatantly obvious that the person you’re replying to is saying BOSSES see it as high-maintenance, not that the writer does. And that is very, very true. No need to jump down that person’s throat!

          1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

            hear hear, people are all too sensitive here.
            (I get incapacitating migraines myself so no need to jump down my throat)


      Yeah, I do too. It sounds like Alison is saying that calling out sick isn’t ideal, but that’s always what I’ve done. I personally do not see an issue with it (besides the inherent “dishonesty” of it) just like when I call out for mental health days I usually just say I have a headache or “woke up not feeling well”.

    3. jes*

      I suck at lying, so I wouldn’t do that personally. I’ve never had a migraine so I would be afraid that the person I told would start asking about symptoms (maybe if they just want to be sympathetic) and I would freeze and say something incorrect.

    4. Esprit de l'escalier*

      “I have the most awful headache and I really can’t come in today.” (half of which is true)

    5. AvonLady Barksdale*

      That’s what I always did. It helped a lot that I had an established history of migraines (and worked with several people who also got them), but that was the “best” excuse.

    6. amoeba*

      I mean, sure, if the boss is so unreasonable that taking a day off last minute would be impossible. (Would rather just go with “strong headache” or something though, as with a migraine I’d be worried people would start to sympathize and talk about it afterwards…)
      But otherwise I’d try to take the time off as soon as I learn the date, which I assume would at least be a few days in advance? I mean, if the workplace is reasonable, that would make it much easier to reschedule meetings etc., instead of waiting until the day off. But then it would have to be “a personal appointment” as calling in sick in advance would probably not fly…

      1. laser99*

        I’ve used that successfully, it works great! If pressed just start blurting out crazily graphic deets. “So I was at Junior’s, you know the one downtown opposite the bank? And I had some rolls, they must have been cheap-ass, because now it’s coming out of me like lava!!! And my puke is pink from the Pepto!”

  3. Scooby Snax*

    I just say I have a last-minute dr. appt where they will be running some tests so I will need to be out that day. It’s ‘no big deal, nothing serious’ but that’s the only day in the near future they could get me in. They should not push if it sounds like a medical thing.

    1. ecnaseener*

      Dentist is also a good one, particularly if there might be more rounds of interviews – 2 or 3 dentist appointments within a few weeks just sounds like they found cavities at your cleaning.

  4. LTR FTW*

    Some people will not love this one, but a funeral is a good last minute excuse. You can even wear a suit to the office and take a half day and nobody will bat an eye.

    1. Turanga Leela*

      I don’t have a moral problem with it, but it’s easy to get caught in a lie with this one. People have questions–they want to know who died, where the services are, etc. And it’s harder to be vague or say “I’d rather not talk about it” with a funeral (presumably of someone who’s not a close family member) than with a doctor’s appointment or illness.

      1. Junior Assistant Peon*

        A good way around this is to say you’re going to a funeral to support your spouse, close friend, etc, and you barely knew the person who died. This is a good excuse for not knowing the details.

        1. Chirpy*

          I’ve heard of teachers asking for a bulletin or flyer from the service or an obituary as “proof” you actually went, I’m sure there’s bad bosses out there that would ask this too.

          1. Junior Assistant Peon*

            If they’re going to be this obnoxious, stop by a random funeral parlor on your way home from the interview, spend five minutes at a stranger’s funeral, and pick up a prayer card. Ideally, an emailed link to a random obituary should be enough. Just say it was your best friend’s parent/grandparent; impossible to disprove.

      2. Rosemary*

        Agreed. I think it is easier to say “personal matter” and then if pressed say it is for a medical appointment. HOPEFULLY most managers won’t dig beyond that. And if they do…you can say “I prefer to keep my private medical matters PRIVATE.”

    2. 1-800-BrownCow*

      I don’t think this is a great idea. First, some work places require you to show them the obituary or a program from a funeral as “proof”. While I think this is ridiculous, I had to do this when each of my in-laws passed away. I’ve worked 2 different places where they expected some kind of proof when you took off for a funeral, even if you weren’t using bereavement time, which is usually limited to immediate family.

      Also, you might get questions regarding the funeral and then you’re making up a whole story to go along with the lie. Honestly, there are many other easier reasons to give that are very believable.

    3. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      I would never use that excuse. Imagine if a loved one then went and died, I’d feel like my lie had killed them. Irrational I know but it’s called tempting fate, if there’s a word for it, that means it’s a thing.

  5. KatKatKatKat*

    If you want to go with the sick day route, on the day prior to the interview, you can try to look sick, cough a bunch, and maybe even leave an hour or two early because you’re “sick”. Good lunch on the interview!

    1. Office Lobster DJ*

      If you’re trying to avoid follow up questions, I don’t think I’d go the route of a fake cough or anything else that could sound like Covid.

      1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        But you only have to say “it’s not Covid don’t worry I did the test” to quell those fears.

    2. Yessica Haircut*

      If you’re a person who normally wears makeup, showing up to work without makeup the day before and then leaving a couple of hours early because “you’re not feeling well” would probably be an extremely effective way of setting up a scheduled sick day.

  6. Betty*

    Another white lie– Family/friend/neighbor has to get a minor procedure under anesthesia and will need you at the appointment/helping them get settled at home afterwards?

    1. I have RBF*

      Or they need you to drive them to and from because they won’t be safe to drive after the procedure.

      What procedure? Things like cataract surgery, lasik, and other outpatient surgery are suggestions.

      Why short notice? Their other ride fell through.

      You don’t know if the surgery center has wireless, because they haven’t told you the address yet, and they may have old fashioned rules about cell phones in their lobby.

      Yes, I’ve actually had variants of these, including having to take a day off to take my spouse to have outpatient cataract surgery.

      1. Ace Of Dragons*

        Even better: a family member needs a driver for a colonoscopy. *No one* wants details about that!

        1. Anne of Green Gables*

          I was also going to suggest this one, because I really was the driver for my husband’s colonoscopy this week!

      2. Well That's Fantastic*

        As a bonus, for things like eye surgery, the patient may be required to have a “responsible adult” wait throughout the procedure, not just drop off and pick up. I helped out a friend recently, and there was no wifi in the waiting room where I was required to stay. Plus if you get details wrong, it’s not your own surgery, so people wouldn’t be as suspicious or curious.

        1. I have RBF*

          This. The driver in most of these cases needs to be able to assist with and watch out for the patient, and hired drivers… don’t, generally. That’s why they specify family or friend, not just “a ride”.

    2. Dancing Otter*

      Nosy manager then asks, “Why you? Why can’t they get someone else, get an Uber, etc.?”
      Nosy people are generally not real helpful people. They wouldn’t put themselves out for someone else, and don’t understand why anyone else would.
      I actually got that response once, when I needed to take my cousin for treatment for the cancer that eventually killed her. I stared the AH straight in the eye, and said, “Because /I/ am a good person, and I try to live my faith.” Then I let the silence get awkward.

      1. Turquoisecow*

        For colonoscopies, they specifically say it can’t be an Uber/taxi but must be a friend or family member. They want to know that you’ve gotten to and from the car without falling, which a paid driver won’t do, and sometimes want you to not be alone for a few hours after as the anesthesia wears off

        1. BethDH*

          Yes, needing a driver who stays with you is common and this has come up on short notice for several kinds of basic tests among people I know.
          Sometimes it’s not even an emergency; it’s either ruling something out that could get bad or it’s that the lab had openings “this Friday or three months from now.”

      2. amoeba*

        Well, that’s why you should do that only if you have a halfway reasonable workplace. In case you work in a shithole full of bees, just call in sick the day off, for sure. But there’s nothing in the letter that indicates that!

      3. I have RBF*

        “Why you? Why can’t they get someone else, get an Uber, etc.?”

        “A. The surgery center requires a person who can stay with them, not just an Uber or a cab, B. Their original ride fell through, so I was asked at the last minute, and C. The alternative would be for them to postpone it by at least three months, and pay a cancellation fee for the missed surgery.”

        But yes, the return awkward to sender is a good one, too.

  7. Turanga Leela*

    I had to use the calling in sick option. I had a last-minute interview, and unfortunately, it was during a busy time of year. There was some flexibility in scheduling, but I couldn’t push it back past the busy season. I said to my boss, “I need to schedule an urgent appointment in the next week or so. When could I carve out a firm time for that? Is there a day or time I should aim for?”

    Boss said, “Any time you want, but you might have to cancel it if I need you. There’s no way around that.”

    I scheduled the interview. On the day it arrived, I told my boss I had a stomach virus and didn’t go to work. I felt bad, but I tried to take the more honest/less disruptive path, and my boss didn’t allow it.

    1. Goldenrod*

      “I felt bad, but I tried to take the more honest/less disruptive path, and my boss didn’t allow it.”

      Exactly! You shouldn’t feel bad about it at all. You tried not to lie about it, but your boss pushed back and was overly demanding. Like Alison said, that’s on them. (Did you get the job, BTW?)

      1. Turanga Leela*

        I didn’t, but I got another job around the same time and it worked out beautifully.

  8. chs.29*

    A coworker of mine once said that she had a “last-minute, important, un-moveable appointment.” It worked well. You could definitely add that it’s “quite a drive”

    1. Turanga Leela*

      Yeah, the vibe you’re going for here is what you would say if you had to get a cancer screening or maybe an abortion: it’s time-sensitive, you didn’t have a lot of choice about where/when to get it, and you don’t want to talk about it.

  9. Wendy Darling*

    When I needed a half-day for an interview at a previous shitty job I claimed dental work. I legitimately loathe dental work so it’s very believable if I grimace and say I don’t want to talk about it when someone asks for details.

    Once a company wanted to fly me out for 2 days for interviews and I claimed to be going to help an uncle with a chronic health issue.

    Ideally I wouldn’t have had to come up with elaborate lies but I was job searching because my boss was straight up evil, and she absolutely would have retaliated if she’d found out I was looking.

    1. GammaGirl1908*

      Also, dental work is even kind of true, if you squint way into the distance — you are going on the interview so you can stop grinding your teeth at your current job.

  10. MicroManagered*

    Personally I’d avoid a cover story that involved anything medical because some jobs require a doctor’s note for stuff like that. But I would have a cover story ready if your manager is the type who can’t accept a simple “I have a personal thing that came up that I need to take care of.” My go-to is a contractor or a plumber.

    I once had a manager who suspected I had a job interview when I said I’d be an hour late for “a personal thing that I need to take care of”–he was right. By the time I got in to work after the interview, wearing my dressiest outfit that was still a normal work outfit, I found out he’d spent the morning asking all my coworkers if I was interviewing. He then shoehorned it into every conversation I had with him that day, like “my uber eats delivery was late, hey you were late this morning…” to try to get me to tell him why I was out. I ended up getting the job and then it became “see I knew that day you were at an interview that day” for my entire notice period.

    Sometimes a lie is just the kindest option for everyone involved. :)

    1. MicroManagered*

      PS I also discovered AAM while I worked for that (micro)manager, which is where my handle came from LOL

    2. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

      If I worked at a place that required a doctor’s note for a single day off, well, that would be why I was interviewing.

      1. MacGillicuddy*

        So if you had a stomach bug for real, you’d have to go to the Dr and get a note?

        A while back there was a post about a nosy boss who demanded gory details about why the person was not coming in, so the poster timed the “I’m out sick” phone call to include the sounds of themselves vomiting etc

      2. Not Your Sweetheart*

        I worked at a place like that. I found out when a coworker handed me her doctor’s note (for her one sick day) and asked me to give it to our supervisor. I asked if she was ok, why did she need a note for 1 day? and she told me it was policy. I was already planning to leave for other reasons, but that cemented my decision. I gave my notice a week before my 90 day probation was over.

        1. Junior Assistant Peon*

          That’s a common rule at shitty minimum-wage retail jobs, and the (likely intentional) result is that people decide it’s less hassle to go to work sick than to make a doctor’s appointment and get a note. It doesn’t help that these kind of jobs usually have crappy, bare-bones insurance, so a doctor’s appointment will be expensive.

        2. TootsNYC*

          my dentist’s staff asks me every time I go whether I need a note for work. It’s such an ingrained habit that she asked me twice the last

      3. amoeba*

        We have in in Europe as well for some jobs (most commonly only for 3+ days, but some workplaces just don’t trust their employees, I guess…)
        You get a lot of sick leave, though, so I can somehow see how they want to stop people from abusing that. It’s still a PITA though. (Nowadays, you can often get it by videocall/phone/email, which makes it less annoying. But still.)

        1. HMS Cupcake*

          When I was working in Singapore I had to bring in a note for any sick leave too. But in contrast to the 5 days I get now in the US, I could take up to 30 days back then. It’s a PITA but also kind of fair? I mean, I could (and have) get a a bad case of bronchitis and that’s my year’s worth of sick time gone.

      4. doreen*

        I didn’t need a doctor’s note for a single day – but I did need something ( an appointment card would do ) if I was using sick leave and either taking the entire day off for an appointment or taking it for someone else’s illness. Which just meant that if I didn’t want to bother with a note, I called in sick that morning and they got no notice.

  11. BellyButton*

    This kind of question comes up a lot. I have never had anyone asked me why I am scheduling or requesting a day off. I had no idea it was so common!

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      As a manager, I don’t ask because it probably doesn’t have any bearing on the answer. :-P if I can say yes, I will, and I’m very proud to say so far I’ve never had to say no.

    2. 1-800-BrownCow*

      I’ve had people ask before, but that doesn’t deter me from taking a day off if I need to, even for an interview. The couple times people have asked, I just give a vague answer, I don’t think it’s their business if I’m using my PTO time that I earned. I’m always surprised that people are worried though about requesting time off. I figure they’re either very early in their career and don’t know what to expect or they had a very controlling manager at some point.

    3. Office Lobster DJ*

      Sometimes it’s due to poor management or policies around absences. Then there are just chatty workplaces where the reason often comes up as part of normal conversation, and it’s going to feel like it will stand out if you suddenly don’t share.

  12. Mid-West Nice*

    Some easy options:
    Having contractors come and quote doing some work
    Having furniture delivered
    Having the internet company come and change internet services
    Surprise friend/family member in from out of town and want to spend some time with them. This is good as they are in town for XXX and they have free time only on this day. – it is your PTO
    Helping a friend / family member move to a different town
    New video game / tv show / book came out and taking PTO to enjoy.

    1. Sad Desk Salad*

      The internet one is especially helpful as you’ll be offline. For a lot of people, the contractor/delivery thing is something they’d be expected to WFH around.

      1. Mid-West Nice*

        Depending on the contractors they could have to turn of the power (electrician) or be making lots of noise due to demo.
        I had to take some time off to be home to have windows replaced. No way I could have worked while that was going on.
        Or you have the contractors coming for a quote to do substantial work and they need your undivided attention. I.e. looking at getting the kitchen redone.

    2. irene adler*

      Car repair. Those can take all day. Or can turn into an all day event (ask me how I know!).
      And some mechanics won’t do the drop off/pick up of their customers.

    1. Turanga Leela*

      Yeah, I’ve used this one because you never get pushback on it. No one expects you to just power through vomiting–they want you to stay home, far away from them.

  13. Felicity Flowers*

    One of my favorites is I have a plumber coming to fix a broken pipe and they’ll be there anytime between 8:00 and 3:00 so I need to be home. (honestly works for any sort of home maintenance/repair/delivery) and no one ever questions it because we’ve all had it happen to us.

    1. KayDeeAye*

      That used to work but since I can easily WFH these days, I’m afraid that excuse is no longer as handy as it once was.

      1. Inkhorn*

        Same. And if I call in sick, I’m expected to WFH if I can manage it or see a doctor and get a medical certificate if I can’t. AND my boss hates liars who invent excuses to get time off for interviews (seriously expects people to announce their plans to move on).

        Yeah, I have no idea to get out; but the place hasn’t actually furnished me with any non-company-specific skills so I’m stuck anyway.

    2. It's a me, Mario!*

      One time I alluded to plumbing problems, but it backfired because my manager had personal baggage about plumbing problems, so he wanted all the gory details so he could console and/or advise me. To top it off, that employer’s handbook had the egregious clause that if you were discovered to be interviewing, they would at their sole discretion determine you had voluntarily quit your job. So I had to cover my lie with a different lie because I couldn’t tell the truth.

      1. Junior Assistant Peon*

        I’ve had coworkers who would ask a million questions about the “plumbing problem” to advise me how to fix it. That excuse only works on some people!

        1. I have RBF*

          My response to that is “Do I look like a plumber? If I need something dealt with that I don’t know much about, I hire an expert.”

          But an easy answer is “It has to do with the seal under the toilet, and a really bad smell. I don’t have the expertise to even want to try to deal with that.”

  14. Delphine*

    Sometimes we have a tendency to overthink these kinds of things out of a desire to be prepared–I know my manager probably wouldn’t ask what I plan to do on a random day off, but in case she does, I would want to be prepared with a casual, “non-suspicious” response–so I get where you’re coming from, LW. I would probably say, “Oh, just a mini-staycation,” or “Just a little R&R,” so that I have something specific to say.

  15. Molly*

    I don’t think it should be hard to lie about something like this at work, but I’m usually (unnecessarily) worried that any boss would know I was lying and assume the worst (I guess the “worst” is trying to get out of work for a not- good-enough reason – and yes, I know this is paranoid). I’m at least mildly relieved and surprised every time my boss says, “OK, see you tomorrow” when I tell him I have an appointment. I feel more comfortable using “appointment” because that truthfully covers a lot of things, from doctor visits to haircut appointments.

    1. Appointee*

      I am also a big fan of the “appointment”. This past Monday I had an “appointment” that required me to flex my time and start a couple hours late. It was an appointment with myself to sleep in after staying up late watching The Oscars and The Last of Us finale and adjusting to the time change.

  16. Era*

    I’m wondering if you can frame it something like “I’m feeling the need for a day off to stay at my most productive” or “I’ve seen articles about taking more random breaks to combat burnout, and I wanted to try it”. These would have the benefit of (presumably) being true — interviewing for a better role are certainly ways to stay productive and combat burnout!

    1. MicroManagered*

      I would be concerned that this approach would be too easy for a manager who is also a butt to say “well I need you here on Friday, can you take Monday instead” or something. It needs to be not-optional. I’m not going to be here Friday–the end.

    2. Anecdata*

      I think most companies who would press you to disclose more than just “an appointment” are not going to be the kind where this flies, unfortunately!

      1. Era*

        Definitely a situational one, but if LW is less concerned about being approved and more concerned about how to handle the casual follow-up of “doing anything fun?”, it could still work! Since we don’t know the details of LW’s situation it’s hard to say.

        1. amoeba*

          True. I can see how that would work just for warding off curiosity. (In my workplace, it would be no problem!)

  17. Ormond Sackler*

    I once had to quit my job for an interview–I knew the manager wouldn’t accept any excuse to take the day off or show up a little late, and they required a doctor’s note for a sick day. Needless to say that was a dysfunctional place.

  18. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

    In a previous job I had to fly across the country for an interview and it required taking 3 days off work (if I remember right, a Tues-Thurs). I just said I had a medical procedure, nothing to worry about but I needed to be away from work. To be honest I really didn’t care about burning bridges with that job.

  19. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

    Oh, and this wasn’t an excuse but once I needed to take a day off because my husband was having emergency dental surgery and I needed to drive him and then take care of him while he was still groggy. It would make a perfect interview excuse!

  20. chaka*

    CAR TROUBLE is so good, because you can sound surprised & put out & having to get help. And you get to be healthy-sounding! You can be having lunch & shopping while you wait.
    But you can’t use it that often. One bad episode [a day or more], some minor ones [late].
    Then you ask for a “raise” so you can get a better vehicle. If you time it out well,
    : )

  21. Going Against The Flow*

    I’m a huge fan of vague/non specific over lying (sick, plumber, etc). I’ve never asked why my people want off but I have said asked if there is flexibility or said “no” when it means we won’t have coverage because others will be out asked more in advance.

    Trust me, it raises a huge red flag if someone who was told know is late/leaves early/calls out for any reason on the same day that was previously denied for PTO. It can be legit but looks awfully bad.

  22. Twix*

    I’m personally a fan of “Sorry, I’m going to be dead tomorrow. See you on Thursday.” YMMV.

  23. GrooveBat*

    If you can, try to get the interview scheduled for a Monday or Friday and just tell your boss you’re taking a long weekend. That way, you don’t have to keep up with a cascade of lies.

  24. SofiaDeo*

    I had to schedule my department for a busy hospital, and we were scheduled a month out, coming out on X day each month, with schedule request cutoff being 10 days before. Last minute changes, I appreciated a “I need a day off next Thurs for an appointment” rather than a sick call. But then again, we didn’t have scheduling hell/hassle people about their PTO. If you asked first before the monthly schedule request cutoff, and it was available, you got it. If you were planning a trip and needed to get plane tix months in advance, and others hadn’t already asked for those dates, you got it. If you said “I have something that came up next Thurs, I need off” I generally would spend time seeing if someone would switch. I wouldn’t do it for folk who were constantly asking for changes.

    1. SofiaDeo*

      I’ll also mention schedules were moderately consistent, rotating weekends, a week of evenings if we didn’t have regular evening staff. So you generally knew if it was your weekend on, or if you generally has Tues or Mon off after working a weekend.

  25. IwishIcouldthinkofaname*

    Many years ago, one of my colleagues had the same problem. He said to his boss something along the lines of “I need this time off for an appointment – my wife really wants me to be there”. Which had the dual advantage of being absolutely true, and leading his boss to the assumption that it was to do with his wife and not at all a final in-person interview.

  26. Miaow*

    I am pretty sure people have been calling out sick for interviews since the dawn of time. It’s not a big deal.

  27. 1-800-BrownCow*

    I’m a manager and I never question anyone’s time off, even if last minute and not typical for that person. There’s so many reasons why, I usually assume it’s something personal. I don’t know of a single person who’s never had a last minute emergency or something come up in their life.

  28. I've Escaped Cubicle Land*

    OP 1 I’m assuming you are staying in things like KOA campgrounds you might ask the staff if they need any extra help while you are there or if they know of any local places needing temporary help or babysitting gigs. If you homeschool and have a subject or 2 that you really excel or are advanced in, you might be able to help tutor others in it. If you are staying anywhere near a major event like a concert/festival/sports event many times they will need temp help for just the event. Sometimes these are paid, sometimes they are volunteer gigs. Look thru Etsy for crafts and jewerly similar to what you make. Do they seem to be selling? Are they less or more expesive then your prices? Would setting up a little stand in front of your RV in a crowded campground allow you to sell them. Things like lemonade/bake goods/craft stands work because people have a hard time saying no to cute young earnest faces. If there is a local school nearby and you are staying for a few weeks, go ask if they have a community board for things like tutoring or babysitting. (Half the time the staff will know a parent or kid who need help) If you are near agricultural places you might see if any of the farms need help. This was the original temp travel job historically. Pay tends to be low and the work is hard but you might get to spend a weekend picking berries or some other produce before you move on. You might check the local libraries to see if any of them has Dave Ramsey’s book for teen entrepreneurs.

    1. Recognizing kindness*

      This is such a thoughtful, caring response, so chock-full of good ideas for a young person in a such unique living situation. I name you the nicest person on the internet today.

  29. I'm Just Here for the Cats!!*

    Could you say you have a doctors appointment and you have to have tests done prior to the appointment time? Or multiple back to back appointments,

    Could you use a family member as a scapegoat? Say that you have to take your mom to an appointment out of town?

  30. Amanda*

    Sounds to me like you have a family member/old friend visiting you and you’d love to take the day off to spend with them.

  31. KK*

    For a last minute time off needed, I have told my boss that a Dr I’ve been on a waitlist to see finally has an opening and I have to take it or continue to wait. Never received pushback for it. I dare my boss to tell me I can’t see a Dr or ask why I need to see them.

  32. Veryanon*

    I’m not a fan of having to call in sick when you’re not actually sick, but if you really can’t schedule it ahead of time, it’s not the end of the world. You don’t need to provide details other than that you are not feeling well enough to come to work, which could cover a wide variety of things and not technically be a lie.

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