Taking Your Vacation Days

Have lipstick, will travel.

When I accepted my job at Marie Claire, I had to reveal the bad news (for them): The week after the start date they proposed, I was all booked to take a two-week trip to Greece. I worried that it would turn into bad news for me because it might cost me the job—or mean canceling a several thousand-dollar trip I'd been planning for weeks. Luckily, the bosses okayed it, and I drained every single one of my just-granted vacation and personal days, leaving me with nada for the next six months until the new ones would kick in.

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Was taking the trip when I'd clocked just a week at the company a good move? I didn't think so then, and I don't now, either. Vacations feel best when they're earned, something that lets me escape my routine and gives me a shot of "everything's new!" adrenaline. But with a new job, in a new neighborhood, learning a new commute and cataloguing a litany of names and responsibilities, I longed for a routine—not more of the unknown.

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Plus, no one wants to feel expendable at work. Though as a new employee, with no real ownership of any projects yet, I knew I wouldn't be that missed. Knowing my absence wouldn't really matter appeased my out-of-office guilt. But it also made me wonder if the company would realize they could get along fine without that spot being filled, and I'd return only to be promptly kicked from my cube.

Despite all the self-induced stress, did I still have an amazing time in Greece? You bet. I ate olives and feta, I swam backstroke in the hot springs near Santorini, and I had time to read my new boss' book while sunning myself on the deck of a ferry.

But when I came back to the office, I found an intern at my desk, quite competently fulfilling my duties, and quite a few friendly staffers asked me to remind them of my name. Will I go on another vacation? Of course (I'm the MC travel gal!). But will I ever take a vacation before I've cemented my role at my new job? Don't think so.

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