Dear New Shrink,

I started a new job about two weeks ago. I have been waiting for a position like this for a long time but now I have a difficult decision to make. The company only takes off Thanksgiving Day for a holiday and I am expected to work the day before and the day after. My family lives over five hours away and I have been planning for months to go home for the long weekend. I have been contemplating telling my boss that I have already purchased a ticket so it seems like I have to go home. Is it too early to ask for time off?

Signed,

Vacation Requester

Dear Vacation Requester,

This new opportunity puts you in a tough situation. It sounds like you have worked hard to achieve this new job and therefore you must think hard about what you need to do in order to maintain the position you’ve recently attained.

When you first start out in a new position you are being watched by everyone around you. Your boss is looking to see that he or she made a good hiring decision. The quality of your work and your work ethic is being reviewed through each decision you make. Your colleagues are watching you to see if you are a good team player and if you can be trusted in times of need. What assumptions would you make about a new colleague’s work ethic if he or she expected time off after only a few weeks on the job? Use this as a time to demonstrate that you’re a team player and are willing to put in the work even when it doesn’t fit with your travel plans.

It also sounds like perhaps you have not yet purchased your ticket and therefore would be stretching the truth so that your boss would feel obligated to approve your request. Telling a lie at the start of a new job may set the tone for the future. While it is important to spend time with family you are considering putting your new job at risk just for a few days off. Think about the impression you want your boss and new colleagues to have of you and allow this will help you make your decision.

Dear New Shrink,

I received an offer from Company A that I need to accept by next Monday; but I also have an offer from a company I want more, Company B. However, Company B will not give me any details about the position, medical benefits, etc. until they complete a background check later this month. I want to keep my options open just in case Company B falls through. What I want to know is, what will happen if I accept Company A’s offer and then revoke my acceptance once Company B gives me more information? Will Company B see that I am employed by Company A during their background check?

Signed,

Confused

Dear Confused,

I think you are wise to keep your options open but I would be very careful about accepting an offer with one company if you’re already thinking about revoking to accept another offer. While many background checks do contain employment history, Company B’s check may not necessarily reveal your current decision with Company A. However, I do know that employers and recruiters talk to each other. This is especially true if the companies are in the same industry; they probably know each other and are often at the same career fairs or industry events. An issue may arise if you accept an offer yet continue to pursue another opportunity with Company B. This may cause either (or both) companies to question your ethics and professionalism, two qualities employers care a lot about.

With such a difficult decision ahead I would begin exploring options with both companies. Have you informed Company B that you have an offer from another company which has been upfront with you about benefits and salary? Have you explored to see whether Company A can extend your offer? Make sure you let Company A know that you are very interested in the opportunity but that you need more time to make a final decision. If the company has any flexibility in their hiring timeline they will often provide an extension to ensure they get the best hire. Giving yourself more time to weigh your options and to get the final numbers from Company B will help you to make the best decision for you.

KATRINA DAVY, is a professional career counselor who holds degrees from Cornell and Columbia universities. Send your questions to newshrink@gmail.com. All questions are kept anonymous; let us help you with your life matters!

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