How to Take a Vacation and Keep Your Job

Time off from work is not a luxury; it’s a necessity.


Of course, a lot of folks are worried about taking any vacation at all this summer. Many are just hunkering down, hoping to squeak through this recession with their jobs intact.

[See how to stay off the layoff list.]

But let’s say you do intend on taking a vacation. (Good for you, by the way. Time off from work is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. Overwork leads to exhaustion and chronic stress, which lead to poor health and low performance. Vacation makes you happier, healthier and more productive.)

The question is, how to take that vacation and not worry about the status of your job while you’re gone. Three thoughts:

1. Perform at your highest level right up to the moment your vacation starts. Do not plan your trip on company time. Do not brag to coworkers about where you’re going. Do not talk about how eager you are to get away. Instead, talk about how refreshed and ready to get back to work you’ll be when you return.

2. Leave your work organized, up to date, and very tidy. While you’re away, call or E-mail a couple of times. Just in case.

[See the secret to success in any job.]

3. The instant you return, resume doing a quality job. If possible, do even better work than before. Refrain from dragging around, moaning how much you miss the beach/the mountains/Paris/your backyard. Demonstrate all the good that vacation did you. Show you are happy to be back at work.

Bonus tip: Write a note to your boss thanking him or her for the time off. It can’t hurt. It’s classy. And, you know, good manners not only make you look good—they earn respect, and even gratitude.

Karen Burns, Working Girl, is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. She blogs at


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