I've never been a fan of counting vacation days, sick days, personal days, or whatever you want to call them. It's irked me to no end that, given X number of paid-time-off days at past jobs, I'd have to use each and every one of them (otherwise, I'd be giving up compensation). Worse, trying to get more than X days (even unpaid) is a huge quid pro quo battle. Years back, I asked how I could work out a 4-week vacation overseas (unpaid, if need be), and the response was "gee, hmm.. I don't know, that's something you'll really have to earn the right to do." WTF!?
But I digress. Our paid-time-off policy is very simple.
Be Reasonable. If you're sick, don't even think of coming in. If you want a mental health day, then by all means take it. If you want to go away on a trip for a week or two, go ahead. Just don't expect deadlines to magically go away, and make sure to work with the team to plan time off.
Examples of being reasonable:
- Taking the afternoon off on a slow day to get an early start on shopping
- Letting the team know you're planning a trip in a few months, and building deadlines and schedules around it
- Asking to work out a way (both schedule and salary) to take a 3-month sabbatical
Examples of being unreasonable:
- Coming to the office while sick
- Letting deadlines slip as a result of being sick on Monday and golfing on Friday
- Telling everyone that you've decided an impromptu trip to New York for a week... starting tomorrow
Several business colleagues have told me that I'm insane and asking for problems. Others have said that "unmetered" means that some will be reluctant to ask for that second week off, etc. Personally, I find this dovetails nicely with the Up or Out philosphy that we embody: you join us to learn and excel your career (whether here or elsewhere), not simply getting paid for the hours you put in. But... I also find I'm an idealist.
What are your thoughts on the matter?