Do I tell my job why I'll be traveling?
October 15, 2013 6:21 PM   Subscribe

My relationship just turned long distance. My natural reaction is to not tell my work anything because 1. Personal life and 2. I don't want them to assume I'll be leaving to follow (I might, but that'll be around a year from now). Is that paranoid?

It's far enough away that is going to require long weekend trips for visits and thus vacation time.

I have an administrative job with a bit of a career trajectory, but nothing that I couldn't also find elsewhere. They like me and want me to stay with them. I'm friendly with my supervisor. I feel like this is similar to job hunting, you don't feel your current job you're looking elsewhere, until you have something else, but people will notice in away and ask about it.

Also I'm an overly cautious person, I'm aware I might possibly be over thinking this.
posted by platypus of the universe to Work & Money (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'm HR at my job and the person through whom all vacations are scheduled. When people try to tell me why they're using their PTO, my response is "not my business, enjoy your day off."

It only becomes an issue for further discussion when they need more time than their allotted days allow.

Long story short: request your days off, don't tell them. It's not their business.
posted by phunniemee at 6:27 PM on October 15, 2013 [21 favorites]

Best answer: I would not tell them why you're traveling. If you are using your vacation time and someone asks, all that person needs to know is that you're visiting a friend, or getting out of town for the weekend to X city. Your instincts are right on this.
posted by juliagulia at 6:28 PM on October 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

Would you feel comfortable framing it as "my SO is temporarily working/attending school/caring for family in FOO so I'll be visiting there a lot until they return in 2014"? If you decide to move, use the white lie that the temporary became permanent for SO and, as much as you love your job and co-workers, ya gotta follow them. This leaves your options open (like SO hating the new location and returning "home") since the future isn't written in stone.
posted by saucysault at 6:29 PM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

I would not tell them.
posted by Librarypt at 6:31 PM on October 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

Using your allotted vacation time isn't something that requires explanation.
posted by limeonaire at 6:37 PM on October 15, 2013 [8 favorites]

Why would it matter that people will notice that you're using your own vacation time as long weekends? That's a pretty normal way to want to use your vacation time, LDR or no LDR. You're not doing anything wrong, or secret, even if you do start looking at opportunities in the other location. You're just living your life, which is nobody's business but your own.
posted by headnsouth at 6:39 PM on October 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

I am also HR, I also don't care. Just say you are taking vacation time, honestly no one cares why.
posted by magnetsphere at 6:53 PM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

I was in a similar situation, and I did (casually, informally) tell my boss because I knew I would need to leave early one Friday a month and/or come in late one Monday a month due to travel logistics. I did not go out of my way to tell anyone, but I didn't hide it-- after the second trip where I needed to duck out early/arrive late, I just mentioned how much I appreciated their flexibility while my SO was pursuing X in Y city, and that we were both excited for him to return after X wrapped up.

I would occasionally get asked (by non-manager coworkers) if I was job searching at Obvious Competitor in Y City, and I just said no, couldn't wait til X wrapped up and he would return. My supervisor never made this type of comment or question and I do not believe it impacted how the organization viewed me, as I made sure I consistently expressed how much I felt I belonged in my city/role.

After a year, I did end up moving after we decided it was the right choice for our relationship, and I think it softened the blow.
posted by samthemander at 6:55 PM on October 15, 2013

My natural reaction is to not tell my work anything because 1. Personal life

Exactly this. They have no right to know, they don't need to know, and there is no advantage to you in letting them know.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:56 PM on October 15, 2013 [4 favorites]

Also, if you can swing an arrangement where you can spend Sunday night in your SO's city and arrive late to work on Monday, it will be helpful to both maintaining a strong bond in your relationship and show your commitment to getting back to the office for work.
posted by samthemander at 6:57 PM on October 15, 2013

I don't know if it's paranoid, but it's exactly what I did when my husband started living in another city during the week for school. We thought I might move there, and didn't want them to know until we were sure (didn't end up happening at all), plus it made me sad and I didn't want to have to talk about it all the time. It did make my boss a little suspicious when I'd be talking about my night at home like I was all alone (I was!)
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:10 PM on October 15, 2013

Not only does your work not need to know, a good manager/boss doesn't want to know. They realize it's out of bounds.

Plus, if you broadcast how you use your personal time, you run the risk of coming off as overly personal and unprofessional.

So, don't feel bad about saying "I'm just looking forward to a nice long weekend to do some relaxing" if someone asks... and don't feel bad about avoiding volunteering information. It's the right thing to do.
posted by Old Man McKay at 7:34 PM on October 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

I don't want to know, as an HR person. The most recent "please don't get into that kind of detail in your leave request" note that I sent out was seriously on Friday. The less I (or really, the supervisors/managers) know, the less trouble everyone can get into.
posted by SMPA at 7:46 PM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Nthing don't say anything. You have vacation days. You've earned them. Use them as you see fit, no one needs to know why.
posted by dry white toast at 8:41 PM on October 15, 2013

I'm a manager. Please don't put me in a weird position by telling me this.

For instance, lets pretend there's a lay-off next year. I know you want to follow the BF and maybe a severance package would help you. Or maybe you broke up and I'm not in the know.

Don't burden your manager with this. Use your vacation without commenting on it.
posted by 26.2 at 9:43 PM on October 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

I think it depends how close you are with your coworkers.

I mean, if my SO used to be around, but now is living far away, and we're not seeing each other, and suddenly I'm using my vacation time in dribs and drabs? It would feel very strange to me to be hush-hush about the whole thing. I once had a coworker who was in a long distance relationship and she was open about it, and I don't think "is she going to relocate or what" was even a question that came up. Not on a professional level, anyway.

But if you're not social with your coworkers and they're not currently privy to the ups and downs of your relationship, how you spend your weekends, etc. then I wouldn't go out of my way to "explain" what I'm using my vacation time for.

Regardless of how social you are with coworkers, I absolutely would not, like, make An Official Announcement about the Reason you are taking vacation days from here on out. Either you can casually talk about your trip to Portland to see Other Marsupial Of The Universe, or you don't talk about it at all.
posted by Sara C. at 10:02 PM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

At my job, PTO is scheduled through direct supervisors and HR doesn't do anything but maybe bat an eye if someone goes over their accrued time.

We currently have numerous people in long distance relationships and no one makes a secret about it, and the attitude is maybe they'll leave, or maybe they won't. Or maybe their partner will move here, or maybe they won't. No one spends any time worrying about it and wishes the person a good trip.
posted by zizzle at 4:27 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Just make your PTO requests without comment. No further discussion is warrented.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:59 AM on October 16, 2013

I could not imagine any scenario where an employee would need to tell an employer the reason for their vacation and what they are doing on said vacation. The same for doctor's visits.
posted by JJ86 at 6:05 AM on October 16, 2013

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