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Manners Matter: Is a Day off in the Fall Too Much to Ask?

Dear Mary Pat,

I normally have weekends off for my job, except in October, when I have to work Saturdays and Sundays because the restaurant is so busy. I take my days off Tuesday and Wednesday in October. My friends are coming up over Fall Fest, and this is the first year when we are all 21, so we want to go enjoy the festivities and have a few drinks. I asked for one day off, and my boss said no. I told him that I might quit, and he said that I wouldn’t qualify for my end-of-season bonus then. All I’m asking for is one day. What’s the big deal?

Signed,

Only Young Once

Ephraim, Wisconsin

Dear Only Young Once,

When you work in retail, restaurants or hotels in a resort area, this is what’s expected of you. Your boss isn’t being mean or trying to deny you your fun; he’s simply thinking about how his business needs to be run in order to be successful. These fall weekends are just as important to the bottom line as the summer months. The season is very short, and it’s all hands on deck until the end of October. The success of the business then benefits employees, such as through your bonus. 

It might not seem fair, but your boss cannot prioritize time with your friends over his restaurant. He’s given you a job for what sounds like at least a season, and he’s committed to giving you a bonus if you stick with him for a few more weeks. That seems reasonable to me. 

You can meet up with your friends after your shift ends, or you can ignore your obligations and forfeit your bonus. It’s up to you. When I was 21, I had two jobs while going to college, had a high GPA and still had time to hang out with my friends. I’m sure you’ll weigh it all out and make the right decision.  

Good luck,

Mary Pat