How to Delay Your Start Date So You Can Take a Breather

Americans are good at a lot of things, but taking vacations is definitely not one of them. Culturally, we’ve been programmed to go-go-go, equating productivity with success and thinking of downtime as wasted time. According to Expedia’s annual Vacation Deprivation Report, U.S. vacation time is at a five-year low.  American workers received 14 vacation days on average and used 10, meaning 653.9 million days were left on the table in 2018. 63 percent of Americans go six months or longer without a vacation, and 28 percent have gone a full year without taking a vacation. And 25 percent admit to checking work email/voicemail at least once a day while on vacation.

But in reality, vacation is so much more than "wasted time". Countless studies have proven that taking time off is incredibly beneficial for employees of all ages and levels, as it allows us to decompress and disconnect from daily work stressors and come back relaxed and rejuvenated. After taking a vacation just two days in length, people reported liking themselves more, feeling more confidence in their ability to solve problems and feeling more hopeful and outgoing. 91 percent of Americans feel taking a vacation lets them hit the reset button on stress and anxiety. And 82 percent come back from vacation with more patience for their coworkers and clients.

It’s clear that taking time off is hugely beneficial, but depending on your workplace, you may not get a ton of paid vacation time each year. And that’s why the holy grail of PTO occurs when you’re in the process of switching to a new job. 

Think about it: so many professions require employees to be connected constantly (which is a different story for another day), so at what other point in your career will you truly have no work responsibilities — no office to commute to, no email to check, no boss to report to — calling your name?

The thought of asking your new boss to delay your start date may be intimidating, but it’s important for your overall health and wellbeing. Plus, some companies have a PTO probation period, meaning that it could be months before you can ask for even a day or two off. 

So, how can you negotiate a delayed start date without appearing like a slacker?

Read my full piece on Fairygodboss to find out.