Chicago — After months of chugging through piles of work and numerous projects, you might feel ready for a vacation. It’s something everyone needs: a time to decompress with family, hobbies or new scenery. As nice as it sounds, the idea of stepping away from work can be nerve wrecking. In addition to planning your vacation activities and coming up with the money you need for them, another difficult thing to consider is when the best time is to step away.
It can depend on a number of things.
How much time off do I have?
Choosing to go on a vacation and when can be dependent on numerous factors, including the amount of vacation time you accrued or the number of vacation days your employer offers you. If you’re new to the company, you might not have the same number of vacation days as a long time company worker, which can also impact your plans. Maybe it’ll take you a few months to accrue the amount of days you’d need to enjoy a trip. Maybe you can live with a quick trip that only involves taking one or two days off. In either case, make sure you understand the kind of system your company has as it relates to time off. Once you know that, you’ll be able to safely plan accordingly.
How urgent is this trip?
It can be advantageous to wait it out before going on vacation if you wish to accrue the amount of vacation days you're expecting to take (if that’s the kind of system your company has). But it might be useful to think about whether your trip is worth planning months in advance for other reasons. One of them is certainly financial. The more time you have to save, the more money you’ll have when it’s time to close your work computer and open up your wallet in an exotic country. Some flights and booking arrangements might also be cheaper if they are purchased in advance.
While these are important things to think about, how much you need to get away is equally as important to deliberate on. If you haven’t been on a vacation in a while and your feeling burnt out, maybe the best choice is to step away from work as soon as you can.
What’s going on at work?
For most people, the status of campaigns, special projects and initiatives that are being rolled out will dictate vacation plans. When I worked in higher education, graduation season was a definite period of time that everyone needed to be locked into work. For others, that might be during a huge partnership with another company or a deal that’s still being worked out. Keep in mind how important these kinds of efforts are to your company leaders. Don’t expect them to grant time off requests during those times because they’ll definitely look at you like you're stupid.
Noah Johnson (he/him/his) is a Chicago-based journalist. Follow him on X: @noahwritestoo.
Edited by NaTyshca Pickett