How to Ask Your Boss for Time Off

You’re an Unbound student. That probably means that you not only do school, but you probably also work, maybe even full time. So, this whole APEX thing sounds really cool, but you may be wondering how exactly you’re going to convince your boss to let you have the time off to head to Michigan for a couple of days with the coolest people on the planet.

I have employed lots of people, and most of them have asked me for additional time off for something. Here are three good reasons why your boss should consider giving you extra time off for APEX, followed by some guidance on how to use those reasons to talk to your boss.

Reason 1: Professional Growth.
Every boss wants his or her employees to grow, develop, and get better at whatever they do. APEX is specifically designed to be full of content that will help you become a better and more effective person – and that will definitely have an impact on your job. Whether it’s clarifying your mission and purpose (Eric Metaxas and my session) learning about productivity and professional skills (Phylicia Masonheimer and Benjamin Hardy) or getting critical advice on how to avoid burnout and deal with perfectionism from fellow students and alumni (JT Schaeffer and Amanda Beguerie), APEX will be full of learning that will impact what you do every day — including where you work!  

Reason 2: It’s Part of Your Education.
Pretty much all employers understand that earning your degree takes time and commitment. They know that flexibility is needed to allow student employees to go to class, take exams, and participate in school activities. APEX definitely qualifies as a school activity! Unbound allows you to be super flexible in how you do school, and that means great advantages for your employer! You may be able to work hours others can’t, work more hours than most students, or adjust your academic schedule around your work schedule. All that flexibility comes at a cost though. Earning your degree this way is hard! Dedication and hard work are essential, but a supportive community can make all the difference between success and failure or in earning your degree in 2-4 years instead of 6-8! APEX is the gateway to that community and an essential part of earning your degree through Unbound!

Reason 3: Rest and Renewal!
It sounds counter-intuitive, but there are piles of research that point to the reality that time off from work improves productivity, effectiveness, and retention of employees. Put simply: If companies want to keep good employees who do an excellent job, the best way to do that is to allow them some time off from work on a regular basis.

Here’s how to use the reasons above to talk to your boss. But first, we have to start with this assumption: I am assuming that you’re the kind of employee your boss wants to keep! The best way to get vacation for anything is to be the kind of person that a company doesn’t want to lose!

The future of education in your inbox.

Get productivity tips, commentary, and Unbound updates sent to you!

If you are that kind of person, then keep these ideas in mind when you ask off for APEX:

  • Ask when your boss is relaxed and not stressed, and ideally when you have just done something that proves your worth. That doesn’t have to be some spectacular over-the-top achievement. It could be as simple as picking up an extra shift that needed covered, putting in a little overtime, or volunteering to do that nasty little job that nobody really likes to do.
  • Make it easy for your boss to say yes. Do that by giving attractive and reasonable reasons for you to take the time off.
  • Connect your time off to benefits for the company (and your boss).

Here’s an example:

Your boss called you this morning on what was supposed to be your day off and asked you to cover for a coworker who called in sick. You said yes, and now you are just locking the door after volunteering to take out the trash and stay a little late to close up.

You ask your boss if she has a minute. You tell her that every year your college program has a national conference for all of the students in the program (showing that this is part of your education). You love being a part of Unbound because of the flexibility that allows you to do things like work here (points out benefit of you being in Unbound for the company) and being able to attend this conference every year is a big part of why you’re able to succeed in this challenging program. You’re really excited to attend this year because there will be speakers talking about a productivity, purpose, and vision — things that are interesting because they touch on things you have learned and do here (connecting APEX to personal growth that will help you do better at this job). One of the speakers is talking about burnout, and that has really caught your interest as you have been really struggling lately to keep everything going as you try to balance school and work (points out your need for rest and renewal).

You’re telling her all of this because this year the national conference is August 17-21. Two of those days are over the weekend, so you really only need to be off 3 days. If you made sure your shifts and responsibilities were covered or your projects finished/etc (making it easy to say yes), would it be possible to take those days off?

Of course, don’t just read the paragraphs above to your boss, but use them as a guideline for setting up the conversation with your boss in your words. If you’re the kind of employee that your company wants to keep, your boss is likely to be pleased to help you out in your studies by saying yes to your request.

If your boss isn’t, well…it may be time to find a new job! You can start that process by coming to APEX and plugging into a network of people who may be able to provide opportunities you didn’t know existed before you came! Trust me — it happens every year at APEX!