I am currently looking for employment (I was laid off) and was wondering about how to ask for a few days off that I know I would like to take. I am completing my MBA in December, and the graduation is in a neighboring state, which would require a few days off for driving, plus the actual ceremony and celebration. Since I already know about this desire for time off, when would be the appropriate time to mention this, in the event that I am interviewed and/or offered a position? I am ok with being told it is not possible, if that is the employer’s policy, but if I can take the time off (even without pay), I would prefer to do so. I don’t want to offend the employer by them thinking I would always be asking for time off, but also feel the kind of employer I want to work for would be understanding for this special occasion.
First, good luck with the job hunt. It’s a painful, but hopefully fruitful time. Second, congratulations on the MBA. (Almost! I probably shouldn’t congratulate you until you actually receive it.)
Now, as for time off at the end of December, take a deep breath and don’t worry about it. Everyone and their dog wants to take vacation at the end of December and no future employer is going to be shocked by the request. (And, FYI, if you came and worked for my company, we shut down between Christmas and New Year’s Day anyway, so everybody gets time off!) This is something I wouldn’t even bring up in an interview.
I would, however, bring it up in the negotiation phase. Once they’ve offered you the job, then you can mention, “I’m graduating from [MBA Program] in December and the graduation ceremony is on December 22. I’d really like to take December 21-23rd off. Would that be a problem?”
Chances are the answer will be no. If the answer is yes, then you get to decide if the new job is worth missing your graduation.
This would be a problem if what you wanted was 6 weeks off to tour Africa or something. Two-three days off to attend your own graduation is not an unreasonable request. And a manager would be a fool to not want you to work for them because you have something so reasonable scheduled. (Heck, I once hired someone who said she couldn’t start for three weeks because she had a vacation planned between the offer and then and didn’t want to request time off. I needed her on board for various reasons and said, “come on and you can take that vacation paid!” So she did and she went on her vacation and 7 years later she’s my job share partner, so aren’t I glad she came to work?)
You’re almost done with your MBA and you’ve been laid off, so I presume you have work experience to go along with your degree. This means you probably aren’t looking for entry level positions where you have to work six months before getting a single day off. Most companies will pro-rate your vacation time anyway. If you were hired in October in a company that offers 2 weeks of vacation per year, you’d have 2.5 days of vacation to use by year end anyway. (10 days/12 months=.833 days per month X 3 months=2.5 days of vacation.)
Good luck with the job hunt. May you land one quickly.