Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Asking for Time Off

During my time at my internship I got into a program, had to ask for time off, and had no idea how to go about it. I feel like asking for time off is a nerve racking experience for most. You have to think about is my reason important enough? Will I have to make up hours? What happens if they say no? I hate asking to miss a class at Babson, but I had absolutely no idea how to ask for time off in a professional setting.

Now the program I got into was a program I had been dying to go to for the last four years. After four years of watching the application open and other people go and have an amazing time, I finally felt ready enough for the experience myself.

I spent hours perfecting my application, but while I was applying I realized that the program would take place during the week. That would mean that I would have to ask for time off from my internship, but I wouldn’t know if I got in till the internship started so I didn’t mention it to my supervisor.  I was beyond stoked when I got in but was soon really nervous to ask for those days off.

Most internships require that you provide the days you need off beforehand or do not let you take any time off during the internship. Fortunately my internship wasn’t as strict, but it was still very nerve racking to ask. To top it all off I felt guilty; I didn’t think it was fair for me to ask for the days off.  I was working for a really short time and would be leaving the company at a very busy point. Despite these second thoughts, I knew that I couldn’t pass on this opportunity, because if I did I would never have the chance to attend the program again. I had no choice; I needed to rack up the courage and ask my supervisor.

I decided to ask in person and do it when the work day was done so I wouldn’t interfere with any potential work. I thought this way would be the most polite and professional. So as soon as my day was done I went to my supervisor and explained everything. I told her all about the program and why it was so important to me. I even offered to extend my hours to make up for the days I would be missing. I found she was actually really understanding. She gave me the days off and was really excited for me as well. I asked how I should go about asking time off in the future at other jobs. She said it is always best to ask your supervisor directly, but if it is a bigger company your supervisor might not have time to talk, so an email is always good. I was happy that I was able to attend the program, and that I was also able to have this common professional experience in a smaller company where I felt more comfortable.