What do I do regarding potential new job and holiday in September?
August 10, 2016 8:35 AM   Subscribe

I had an interview for an exciting startup today and got emailed straight away saying they really enjoyed meeting me and would like to invite me to the final round of interviews on Friday. In September I am going to one of my closest friend's weddings in Japan, and will be away for ten days. I am worried they will not be happy about this, what do I say and when?

Last year I planned to leave the school I currently work at in July and move back home and begin working in October, but plans fell through. The trip to Japan was planned last year and I will be traveling around the country with my best friend who is coming with me. At the end of our stay in Japan we will attend our close friend's wedding (she will be working so can't join us). If I cancel this trip it means my best friend will be traveling alone and she hates being alone, and the point is that we would travel together.
My best friend is very professional and also works in the startup business, and told me that it should be fine if I just tell them that I had planned this trip months ago, but I have never worked in this sector so am a bit worried to tell them during the interview stage, but don't want to deceive them either by telling them once they've give me the job (assuming I get it).
Today the woman who interviewed me told me that ideally she would like me to start early September and to be trained for a month and then relocate to the new building in October or November, once it opens. She didn't seem entirely sure on the exact dates, and didn't give me a chance to tell her about the wedding. I will be gone from 8th until the 18th of September.
Could I offer to start in August and be trained until I leave on the 8th? Or will I have to cancel this trip as it is entirely unprofessional? What are your thoughts? Thank you in advance.
posted by akita to Human Relations (19 answers total)
Either your new job knows and is okay with the fact that it's employees are human beings with an actual real life, or fuck them. Just tell them you have an obligation up front.
posted by so fucking future at 8:41 AM on August 10, 2016 [26 favorites]

I think it is completely fine to bring this up. I would raise the issue at the offer stage (i.e. after they make you an offer but before you accept it). Be aware that it may be unpaid leave, and make sure you're able to budget for that. Ask a Manager has more details on all of this.
posted by rainbowbrite at 8:41 AM on August 10, 2016 [33 favorites]

It's not at all unprofessional and if they balk at this, you probably don't want to work there anyway. If you get an offer, when discussing your start date you can let them know about the pre-planned vacation and ask how they'd prefer to handle the training schedule given that you have to be in Japan from September 8th to 18th.
posted by something something at 8:42 AM on August 10, 2016 [12 favorites]

You mention the time off when you have offer in hand, but before you've signed. Tell your job that you are traveling abroad for a wedding.

I personally would not offer to start in August, but to hit the ground running in September.

If they give you hell, you don't want to work there.
posted by larthegreat at 8:43 AM on August 10, 2016 [14 favorites]

When they make an offer, you can tell them. Inform them and make arrangements around it, do not beg or act like it's unprofessional, or they will - whether they intend to or not - identify you as a sucker and take advantage of it forever. Especially if you are a woman.

This is generally not a big deal, especially since they have the fuzziest of timelines themselves. People make plans way ahead of time for these things, and then sometimes they change jobs.

Probably the most complicated part - and this may affect your plans depending on your finances - is that you will likely have to take that time unpaid, or take an advance on vacation time, or they will say, "well, we don't even have this whole building thing ready, so why don't you start on the 21st?" Unless this is a Halloween company or something, a couple of weeks doesn't matter much.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:45 AM on August 10, 2016 [15 favorites]

It should be totally fine to bring this up. I just interviewed at a place last week and brought up that I have a big trip (2 weeks long) coming up in November and it was totally a non-issue. They should understand that you might have planned stuff before you got hired. And it sounds like they like you so it really won't be a problem.
posted by escher at 8:47 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

This is not unusual at all. When you get the offer you tell them that you had a long-time planned international wedding and that you won't be able to be there on X Dates.
posted by k8t at 8:47 AM on August 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yes, in the interview stage, I tell them upfront that I have a holiday plan at XX month (anything more than one week) -- is this okay? They will HAVE to say yes. If they say no, then you can walk away because chances are, they won't respect your other holidays too. It's totally fine!
posted by moiraine at 8:47 AM on August 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

I just did this - accepted a job with a start date within 6 weeks of a planned, expensive, and non-negotiable two week international trip. Like everyone above says, if they are human it will be fine. In my case I was not allowed to go negative into my leave bank so quickly after starting (understandable) and they would not negotiate for additional leave when it came to discussing compensation - so ultimately I was required to take leave without pay for most of my holiday, but I did get them to come up enough in pay to cover the missed paycheck (which, if I stay here long enough and it compounds into raises etc, will actually be better than just getting the one paycheck I went without).
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 8:48 AM on August 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

If I had a dollar for every employee I hired who had big vacation plans within a month or two of their start date, I'd have... oh... $8 or so.

It's totally normal. If your workplace isn't going to be flexible about it, you may not want to work there.
posted by erst at 9:00 AM on August 10, 2016 [11 favorites]

Startups are often easier about getting vacations so you should be good.

My supervisor takes a week off at least every quarter, but it doesn't matter because he is a performer. (I work at a startup)
posted by Monday at 9:45 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

More than once I've joined a company while knowing I had a prior commitment (or even just prior plans) and disclosed it at the time the job offer was made. Sometimes it's been much more trivial than what you're talking about (as in "Hey, just so you know up front I intend to take a week off in March to go visit friends over Mardi Gras") and it's been totally fine. This hasn't been in any kind of high-pressure startup environment, but honestly if they can't deal with a prior commitment to go to a friend's wedding, fuck'em. It would be a mistake to work for someone like that.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 9:47 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

I took my last job at the end of October and I had already planned about two weeks of vacation spread across Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. I didn't say anything until I received the offer and then told them "I will be out on these dates in November and December; please confirm with my new manager that this is okay to happen so soon after my start date."

I ended up being in the red on PTO for a while because of it, since we accumulate leave over each pay period, but management was fine with it.
posted by joan_holloway at 9:56 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

I agree to bring this up at the offer stage. At numerous companies that I've been at, I've seen new hires take 1-1.5 week vacation within the first month or two of being hired. Of course, that said I never saw a case where there was a week vacation that was under ~3-4 weeks from starting.

Because the start date is so close to the vacation, and there seems to be a month of vacation, this would probably mean a different start data. If they're already talking about potential start dates, I'd bring this up now.
posted by nobeagle at 10:24 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

When you get an offer, and not before, you can say that you have an international vacation scheduled these dates, would it be better if you started immediately or do they prefer that you start on your return? No worthwhile company will force you to give up a planned vacation. Some will let you anticipate the vacation pay and most will want you to take it unpaid.
posted by jeather at 10:30 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

A job that doesn't respect your life enough to enable you to attend a close friend's wedding is not a job you want. Ask me how I know.
posted by une_heure_pleine at 11:02 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Wait until they make an offer and let them know. I was in the exact same situation a few years back with a startup and when I mentioned it, no one cared at all.
posted by dripdripdrop at 11:18 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah this is totally normal--in fact, if I have a gap between jobs I often take the opportunity to plan longer vacation because I figure that if the company really wants me, they'll work around existing planned time off. If a company expected me to ditch my pre-planned (often already paid) vacation, I would think twice about working with them. Life happens, they should be able to deal with it.

Get the offer first and then bring it up. By that point they're usually invested in you and will accommodate you.
posted by sprezzy at 12:47 PM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's part of the negotiations after you receive the initial offer. You don't even need to mention the wedding, just say you've been planning this trip for over a year.
posted by raisingsand at 2:08 PM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

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