That’s What Happens When Work Reneges on Vacation Approval

by SharonKurheg

Getting a vacation request approved is a pretty big deal. It means you know for sure you can start planning your time away, be it a few days or a few weeks. But what if your job says you can take your time off, and then, because of reasons, suddenly says you can’t? That’s exactly what happened to an Australian named Noel, who shared his tale of woe with fellow Aussie, Michael Sanz, an outsourcing expert.

Sanz has a TikTok where he sometimes shares some of the more outlandish stories his clients have sent him (after asking permission, of course).

“You’re not going to believe this message I just got sent,” Sanz said of Noel’s interaction with his boss, Nick, which wound up taking two TikTok reels.

The first message is from the boss, who informs Noel that another staff member, Jenny, is leaving the company and therefore Noel’s time off, scheduled to start the following week, has been canceled. Nick says it would be “all hands on deck” while they try to find a replacement.

“We can push back a few months, the boss continued. “I’ve advised HR it’s now changed for you. Appreciate your understanding.”

a blue screen with white text

“This guy sounds like a tool,” said Sanz. “He’s automatically cancelling leave without any conversation.”

Can you imagine getting a communication like that? Neither could Noel, who explained he couldn’t cancel the time off, as it’s his brother’s wedding in Bali, all flights were paid for and his kids were in the wedding party. He also reminded Nick that he requested the time off 7 months ago, and stayed strong in that canceling wasn’t an option. He did offer to help out more before his time off. Here’s his full reply:

a screenshot of a phoneSanz said Nick’s response was perfectly reasonable and canceling at this late date shouldn’t be necessary.

Nick them wrote back and asked that Noel take off 3 days over the weekend, instead of taking off 3 weeks.

a blue screen with white textGranted, Bali is a whole lot closer to Australia than it is to the U.S. But still…

Sanz mentioned the inappropriateness of the “haha” at the end, as if it was a joke and not a serious issue for Noel. He then continued with Noel’s reply, where, besides reminding his boss that he hadn’t taken leave in 3 years, how he spent it wasn’t anyone’s business (you GO, Noel!). He also offered some suggestions of how the company could handle his being away.

a screenshot of a phoneSanz went over all the ways Noel was handling this the right way, under the circumstances. He was reasonable, polite and hadn’t argued with Nick at all. Very professional. Unfortunately, Nick just wasn’t getting it, and he reiterated that Noel’s leave would have to be cancelled.

a blue sign with white textNoel’s response was perfect. He said he didn’t want to come back to work now, and was extending his leave so it would start that very day. He said that while he was away, he would consider if he still wanted to work at a place that doesn’t promote boundaries. And as the icing on the cake, he was going to send the conversation to Human Resources, since it was totally unreasonable. *chef’s kiss*
a message on a cell phoneSanz reiterated that Nick’s response was spot on, considering what he was up against.

Here’s the video of Part 1:


As a boss, you can’t just cancel your teams leave, especially when it’s booked so far out. #badboss #staffburnout #toxicculture #poormanagement #greatboss #bebetter #tbd #teamsbydesign #outsourcing #virtualassistants #adminsupport #varecruitment #adminassistant #remotesupport #propertymanagementsupport #lettingsupport #salesprogression #virtualassistantphilippines #howtooutsource #besttaskstooutsource #eliminaterepetativetasks #delegateadmintasks #outsourcingtothephilippines #unbusy #tasksyoucanoutsource #realestatevirtualassistant #businessowner #realestateagencyboss #propertymanager #realestateagent #pmbusinessowner #propertymanagerbusinessowner #propertymanageraustralia #propertymanageruk #propertymanagernewzealand #uk

♬ original sound – Michael Sanz -Outsourcing Tips

A “Part 2” was posted about 10 days later. Samz said that Noel wrote back after he vacation. He said that management was pretty distant to him upon his return. So he made sure his clients were all up to date, and he started looking for a new job. He found a new place to work and was going to be paid more, to boot.

a screenshot of a phone

Here’s the Part 2 video:


Ok part 2. Noel reached out to us! Thanks Noel

♬ original sound – Michael Sanz -Outsourcing Tips

Good on you, Noel!

I have to admit that, years and years and YEARS ago, I had a similar situation. My vacation time wasn’t revoked, but it was denied. The thing was (A) it was a part-time job that I was doing just for fun, and (B) they had plenty (and I mean PLENTY) of people to take my one or two 4-hour shifts during the week I was asking off. My boss at the time was just being petty (she had that reputation). So I planned my vacation anyway, and 2 weeks before I was scheduled to go, I gave my 2 week notice. Never looked back.

If you were in Noel’s potion, what would you have done?

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1 comment

Rich February 27, 2024 - 2:05 pm

Good on Noel!

I’m reminded of a time about a decade ago when I was invited to be someone’s +1 at a party at the (Obama) White House, on rather short notice. I requested time off. My manager was (I think) teasing me about not approving it on such short notice. I told him “You don’t understand. I’m not asking permission to go. I’m asking permission to come *back.*”


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