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A reader writes:
I’m currently interviewing for a new position and I passed the first two rounds of interviews (yeah me!). Those two interviews were done online and I could manage my workday around them easily.
However, the next round of interviews is an on-site all-day kind of meeting, and that would require a couple of hours of travel for me (nothing undoable, but I definitely won’t be able to work around this one).
How can I request the time off without making it look like I’m taking the time off for interviewing? I’m not trying to get away from my current job by all means, and I’d like to keep it discreet.
I have the day banked, but I typically never take a day off short notice, or outside of Monday/Friday when I do, and I’m not sure what to answer when my manager asks what I would do during that day.
First, don’t assume that you need to give a reason at all! With plenty of managers, it’s enough to just say you need that day off.
But if your manager is known to be nosy — or if the last-minute nature of it means that you really do need to offer some kind of explanation — it’s fine to just say, “I have a personal thing that came up that I need to take care of.” If it’ll go over better if you acknowledge that you realize it’s last-minute, you can add, “I’m sorry it’s so last-minute — it just came up and I can’t easily change the date.”
If your manager asks for details (which she shouldn’t but, again, nosy managers might), it’s completely okay to say, “Oh, nothing I want to get into at work — just something I need to take of.”
If your manager is so nosy and intrusive that you know that won’t be enough, then your best bet might simply be a sick day. Yes, that’s not ideal, but that’s on your boss — managers forfeit the right to expect people not to do that when they overstep boundaries and demand information they’re not entitled to.