Administrative Professionals, I estimate, spend about 30% of their worktime invested in scheduling their supervisor(s) appointments, meetings and travel. Most of the successful executives I have worked alongside have also scheduled in or “blocked in” time for themselves to either invest in personal healthcare or attend an important event for a school-aged child.
Although some might find it abhorrent -the need to schedule time with family or a haircut, some admins believe they shouldn’t have to schedule personal time for their supervisor. Puhleeze. I have a theory about this.. and I’m about to cut it loose.
Is this a resentment because we can’t even schedule these items in for ourselves?
Now,.. please go easy on the flaming me.. for this post.. but my honest request is that you think about it..before responding.
Yes, truly, it is much easier for executives or salaried staff to pull of taking time for non-work related appointments because either they have no one to track their time away from the office OR, they do not have to use their personal leave for these appointments. That is not my point.
My point is.. if you need to take time for yourself for whatever reason, here are a few suggestions on how to approach this in a professional and appropriate manner.
- At the beginning of the calendar/financial year or hopefully several weeks before (whichever is the kick-off for leave renewal at your office) make a list of all the doctors appts you will need to schedule that year, including those for your children or parents if you are taking them
- If you have school-aged children, get their school calendar and make note of all the dates they have off. Remember, not all companies observe the same Federal Holidays as school systems, do and … vice-versa.
- Holidays. Are you planning on taking time off to travel? Hate to plan that far ahead? Well, it’s easier to turn leave back in, than to never get it approved at all because you were waiting for some issue to resolve before requesting it.
- Professional Development- Now, Of course you are going to take time for personal development.. right?! Ideally, this should not count against personal leave. But let’s face-it. Not all companies are that progressive for non-exempt and/or administrative support staff. Be practical here. My preference is to put the request in very early….. but not before I look at the company events and/or bosses’ travel schedule.
If I know that there is a major event or it is crunch for budget time, I’ll review my options carefully. Is this a must attend program for me? Is there a peer I work with that is willing or able to help me prepare meeting materials ahead? Are there any tasks I can pre-schedule and resolve before I want to be out, as to assure my manager that even if they approve the time off, everything will be covered. Use this carefully… and I’ve said this twice for a reason.
Many managers will admit to wishing they had “their” admin available the day before, day of, and days after a big company meeting. So if you know that your supervisor is a last minute, needs you nearby -type.. I’d suggest rethinking your appointment.
Taking the “tuff**** for them “- approach defeats the professionalism of our trade. Of course, communication with your supervisor is the KEY! here. And, I’m not talking email. Get up, go talk to them or get on their calendar (this covers your tail when they say they don’t remember talking about your request!).. It’s always good to check in with your supervisor to let them know.. not about your personal life, but to let them know that you are thinking ahead and planning appropriately for time off.
Of course, unscheduled time off is a topic to save for another blog. The point here is that your physical, mental and spiritual health are just as important as any supervisor.. maybe moreso.
Keeping your health appointments, your kids’ appointments will not only be good for your health, but will limit how much time you may need to take off for unscheduled illnesses.