Category Archives: Money

Should Employees Feel Guilty About Taking Vacation Days?

In the past few weeks, I’ve heard a couple stories from friends who wanted to use some of their accrued vacation time, but ran into approval issues when it came to actually requesting the time off.

Two Vacation Requests

In one case, my friend wanted a single day off to attend to some personal business and was given a hard time about it. There was no specific reason given as to why the company didn’t want him to take off, but it was made clear to him that approving his vacation request was a favor.

Another friend requested time off to take a two week vacation with her husband. She had saved up her vacation for this big trip and had more than enough time to take off the two weeks, but was getting some resistance from her supervisor. A week would have been doable, but two weeks was too much. There was obviously nothing in the company rules prohibiting vacations longer than a week, it was simply inconvenient for the team to have to pick up the slack for that long.

When Rejecting Vacation Requests Is OK

There are certain situations where it’s reasonable for an employer to deny a vacation request. If there is not enough notice, it can cause short-term issues. If others have requested off at the same time, there are staffing issues to consider. There have to be the right number of people to handle the workload, and if everyone takes off Christmas week, there might not be enough people left to handle the customer inquiries.

Why Most Vacation Requests Should Be Approved

Other than some specific situations, I think it’s ridiculous not to allow employees to use their vacation time. Whether they want to use one day each month or take 2 weeks off at once should be the employee’s decision to make. Especially if it’s done with enough lead time, people can make adjustments. Having an employee out of work is not going to make it easier, but just like employees need to make changes based on employer needs, companies need to adjust to their employee’s commitments. The employee made an adjustment and didn’t take any time off for an extended period of time, the employee has the right to take his accrued vacation time in a way that fits his schedule.

If you can’t take a vacation day without feeling guilty, where’s the trade-off? Employees work for their employers, and return get certain benefits, including vacation days. There shouldn’t be much negotiation about when they’re allowed to be taken or for how long. The way I think about it is if you’re the employer, if you request time off, maybe the employee will simply leave the company? In that case, the employer is usually responsible for paying the employee for the time off, and in the end, they’ll be left without a full trained employee, so it’s a very big risk to reject these types of requests

The Unintended Consequence of Denying Vacation Time

Not allowing employees to use vacation time they’ve accrued probably has an unintended consequence: more sick days. If an employer isn’t allowing employees to take vacation time, they’re probably more likely to have an unannounced day off. Think about it: if you ask for time off and they deny you, you have no other options. But if you don’t ask and are “sick” that day, you can’t really get in trouble, right? I’m glad I’m not in that position, but I wonder if it happens.

Have you ever had a hard time taking vacation time you accrued fairly?

2014 First Quarter Business and Personal Finance Goals Update

I changed my goals for 2014, going with 3 goals that keep us accountable both on a personal and business level. With 3 months gone, it’s time to check in on my progress.

As always, I am leaving out steps on the way to achieving my goals (like fully funding out Roth IRAs and contributing to 401(k)s) because they would have simply been checkboxes. I don’t believe in setting goals that are more of a given than anything else. It’s not impressive to make a long list of achievable goals and when you accomplish 18 out of 20, to claim that 90% were completed when really those last 2 were the most important.

1. Grow My Blog Carnival Submission Service To Over $500/Month

This has been fairly stagnant and I haven’t put much effort into growing the service the last few months, but I have streamlined the process so it takes up less time and effort. It’s a good start, but now it’s time to be better at networking with newer bloggers to build a relationship and see if they can use my services. Even getting one new blogger to sign up each month would be a great, and the amount of work to get one person to sign up seems like it should be very reasonable.

2. Create At Least Two New Streams Of Income That Bring In $100 Per Month.

At the beginning of the year, I said I had an idea for one of these income streams, and in March, I’ve achieved that mark. With a friend, we buy some items in bulk and resell them individually for more on eBay. It’s worked out very well so far, and we’re looking for other opportunities to grow this.

I have no plan for the second income stream, but I suppose it’s early? Maybe SeriousBabies.com will take off?

3. Keep Discretionary Spending to 105% of 2013 Levels

Year over year spend decreased 2.6% for those first 3 months. Would have been very positive, but I removed a tuition payment from the equation. Last year we prepaid Spring tuition in December 2012, this year we paid it in January, so we did spend a lot more, but it would be very misleading and that represents nearly a 100% increase.

A few caveats: Our new car is not included in this calculation (we decided to pay it off over 5 years instead of paying in cash). Our typical grocery bill, insurance, charity, student loan payments, rent, and utilities won’t count toward this goal, but everything else does. We want to see if we can keep our discretionary spending in check, because that’s all we can really control.

I’m pretty excited that we actually reduced out discretionary spending the first three months. I assumed we spent more this year especially since I just booked a trip to the East coast for us, which was not cheap.

Of course, we still have at least 2 other trips we’ll have to pay for, including at least one international trip for a friend’s wedding. So we’ll see if we can keep it up, but it’s definitely a good start.

Rating Our Progress So Far

I could not be much happier with our current performance, especially on the personal front. On the business side of things, there is definitely work left to be done, but I’m definitely in a position where I can succeed, which is what I’m looking for after the first quarter.

How are you doing on your goals so far? Where are you succeeding?

How to Choose the Right Career

How many times have you heard someone complain about their job over and over? How many times have you done it?

Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your entire life. Especially if you don’t want to be a miserable person stuck in a dead end job that you hate.

Unfortunately, looking far into the future and choosing a career presents many challenges. However, if you take the time to really think about what career best aligns with your goals and ambitions you’ll have better success at choosing the right career for you.

Here are 4 tips to help you choose the right career.

You Have Objectives

When it comes to choosing a career there are usually two options.

Option A is choosing a career that you don’t necessarily enjoy but that brings in the big money. Option B is a career that you love and can see doing for the rest of your life.

Everybody is different. Some want to work for good money others want to follow their passions. There’s nothing wrong with either one of these choices. You just have to figure out what you really want.

You (At Least) Mildly Enjoy What You’re Doing

Have you ever heard the saying “passion turns into profit?” The statement isn’t always correct but it is true that if you hate your work others will outshine you.

Even if you choose money over passion you need to at least mildly enjoy your career. If you hate your chosen career then your work is not going to be up to par with that of your peers. However, when you enjoy what you’re doing you don’t mind spending time going the extra mile. Most of the time repeatedly going that extra mile is going to mean exponential career growth.

If you’re working primarily for money be sure to choose a career that at least somewhat excites you.

There’s Room for Growth

Nobody wants to work a dead end job. When choosing a career make sure there’s room for growth.

Can you move up in your company? If you’re self-employed is it feasible to expand your client base? These are very important questions to ask yourself before determining the right career path for you.

If you’re following your passion then career growth might not be on your agenda right now. Unfortunately in a few years from now that might change. You need to not only think about the present but also the future of your chosen career.

You’re Thinking Long Term

Finally, you need to think long term when choosing a career path.

Will there be jobs in this field ten, twenty, or thirty years from now? Will you still enjoy this career in a decade from now? Will you earn enough money to support your family? Will you earn enough money to save for retirement?

There are so many considerations to take in when you are choosing your career path. This shouldn’t be a ‘wing-it’ type decision.

You need to look at your current skill set, hobbies, and financial needs. Once you nail your objectives and take some time to figure out your calling you’ll be set to choose a career.

How did you go about choosing your career?