Vacation Time is a Great Time to Establish Yourself as an Outstanding Performer

Outstanding performers know when to pitch in and help out – and vacation time is a great time to do so.  Shelly Banjo writes the “Starting Out” column in the Wall Street Journal.  On Sunday, June 8, she had a great piece called “Make Vacation Work,” in which she shared some common sense advice on how to pitch in.

“When co-workers and managers go on vacation, take advantage of their absences to learn more about how the company operates and prove you’re capable of greater responsibility.”

Ms. Banjo quotes my friend, Bill White, author of the great career book, “From Day One.”  He says, that the vacations of colleagues can be “like a test drive.  You get the chance to work in a different capacity and better understand the big picture.”  Have you ever done this?  If so, I’d appreciate it if you would share your experiences in a comment.

Ms. Banjo also offers some great common sense advice on what you need to do to make sure you succeed when filling in for someone on vacation. 

“Prior to signing up for extra tasks, obtain your manager’s approval.  Ascertain how much additional work you can reasonably take on.  Ask co-workers for necessary training before they leave.  Also, ask for clear guidelines on what decisions you can make without checking with them first.”

This is great advice.  You want to be sure that your boss doesn’t feel as if you’re neglecting your primary job.  And, you want to do a good job filling in – there’s nothing worse than returning from vacation to find that your well-meaning co-worker created a lot of problems for you.

Norma Gaffin, Director of Content at says that filling in when others are on vacation is “an opportunity to stretch your skill set by doing something you don’t normally do.  And it shows your boss that you’re a team player.”

That’s Norma’s take on filling in for co-workers when they are on vacation – and mine too for that matter.  What’s yours?

The common sense point here is simple.  Volunteer to help out when others are on vacation.  This is not only a great way to get yourself noticed as a team player.  It is an opportunity for you to learn other jobs and to get yourself known around the company.  The extra effort you’ll put in helping out when others are on vacation will pay big dividends down the road

As always, I’m interested in your perspective on these thoughts.  I welcome and appreciate your comments.  Thanks for reading.


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