By Justin Kerr


Everyone loves vacation - but not everyone knows how to maximize vacation within the context of their job. As always - Mr Corpo is here to help. He explains how to get your boss to approve a 30 day vacation, why you should always take 3 weeks vacation before starting a new job, and why checking your email one time per day is ht best thing to do for you - and your team. BONUS SECTION includes a rationale for why you need to build your personal brand at work - and why ordering bees from the internet is a great place to start. We also introduce the first ASK MR CORPO segment which invites listeners to submit their work-a-day quandaries for Mr Corpo's consideration. Today's episode centers on what to do if you completely disagree with a major decision at your company.




How To Take Vacation (10/19/2016)

JUSTIN: Vacation, all I ever wanted. Vacation, had to get away. 

(Intro music)

JUSTIN: Vacation, let's talk about it. I just opened the show with some lyrics from the Go-Go's. Uh, my producer, Rob, reminded me that song might not actually be about vacation, it might be about a breakup. So whether you're going on vacation or you're breaking up, enjoy it either way. But here on today's episode, we're here to talk about vacation. I wanna talk about it from the boss's perspective, I wanna talk about how do you let your team take vacation, I wanna talk about when do you reply to emails. I wanna talk about how do you approve vacation. And then from the employee perspective, I wanna talk about how do you get 30 days of vacation in a row? I've done it, I'm gonna teach you how to do it. Also, in the bonus section, I'm gonna talk about how to build your personal brand at work. So without further ado, let's talk about vacation. 


JUSTIN: Now, what I wanna do here, right at the beginning is, I wanna tell you how to get 30 days of vacation in a row. In my case, my boss was leaving the company. They were bringing in a new boss. The new boss showed up, I set up a one-on-one meeting, I introduced myself, I talked about work, I talked about my priorities, and then I happened to mention right at the end, oh, by the way, the old boss, they approved me for 30-day vacation in January from this date to this date. I'd been saving up for it and we had built the schedule so that they could make it happen. And so the new boss has no choice. They have to say okay. It's already been approved. You've already made the plans. And the point is, you don't wanna make this a big deal. You just wanna sell it really softly and say, "Hey, just wanted to let you know, this is upcoming, it's a little bit unusual, but don't worry about it, I've got everything set." That's the point, alright?

Now, in my case, what I did with those 30 days, I was in a band, we were called The Blacks, we made the San Francisco valleys tour. We toured the country for 30 days. We played, I think, something like 27 shows. We were in Iowa, Illinois, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Arkansas, Oklahoma, California. And I had all my rock n'roll dreams come true. I also met my producer, Rob, at the New Years show in Iowa City. Rob, anything -- any fun memories from that? 

ROB: Well, I liked that you played in Kansas, as well. 

JUSTIN: I played in Kansas City -- 

ROB: Missouri. 

JUSTIN: Missouri. 

ROB: You played in Lawrence. 

JUSTIN: And I played in Lawrence, Kansas. I'm sorry. Rock Chalk, Jayhawk. I'm sorry to leave you out of the mix there. A lot of love for Lawrence, Kansas. It was amazing. So I encourage everyone, when your boss leaves, take advantage of this moment and claim your 30-day vacation. And here's the thing: you don't have to take the vacation right away. You have a window of probably 2-3 months where it's still acceptable to say, this vacation was already approved. I wouldn't recommend going too far down the road because everyone's gonna forget about the old boss and they're gonna say, why in the world do you get these 30 days six months from now. But I think you have a window within the first 2-3 months to make a claim for this 30-day vacation. So don't miss out on this opportunity. That's the secret. 


JUSTIN: Oh, actually, actually one more thing before we move on, and this is related to this idea of changing jobs and people coming and going between jobs. When you start a new job, do not start right away. You are an idiot if you start right away. In fact, when I hire people, if they don't negotiate for at least two weeks before their start date, I'm disappointed and I actually question whether I should have hired them. You should not start right away. And of course, every employer is gonna say, "Oh, we need you to start right away." That's just the default line. That's just white noise. You need to completely ignore them. You need to say, listen. I need a break, I wanna refresh, I've been running myself into the ground with this old job, let me come in fresh, let me come and do this. They've been surviving without you, and they'll survive another week, another two weeks, and guess what? Even another three weeks. 

If your employer insists on you starting because there's some big milestone meeting or there's some critical moment, you should agree to say, "Listen, I'll come in for that week, for this critical meeting, but then I wanna take my two weeks." And that will really make push come to shove. Either that meeting is that important and they'll invite you to come in, and then let you take vacation, or they'll say, you know what, it's not worth it, why don't you take your vacation, just join us at the end of the month. Do not miss this opportunity. 05:00 Take as much vacation, minimum two weeks. Negotiate towards three. That would be my advice for you. 


JUSTIN: Okay. Vacation is approved. Now, what? I have a few points I wanna make here. The first point is, life goes on without you. You aren't as important as you think you are to the company. And I know this because I've at points thought, "This company would fall apart without me." And the truth is, that's not true. Trust me, life will go on without you. Unless you're the sole proprietor and you're running the business completely by yourself, life goes on, work goes on with or without you. I'm sorry to have to break that news to you. 

The second thing I wanna talk about when it comes to vacation is, this is a great chance for your team. If you're a boss, this is a great chance to set them up for success. Let them attend meetings. Let them submit reports. You might be totally sick of that Monday morning meeting. You might not care at all. You might no no decisions happen in that meeting. But guess what? To your team, that is like this sacred jewel. It's like this secret meeting that they don't know what happens in there. And they're dying to get in there. They aspire to be in that room. They wanna be promoted so they can be in that room. So guess what? When you go on vacation, let 'em go in that room. They're gonna feel like they're getting all this extra responsibility. You trust them. And really, it costs you nothing. Don't leave it to chance. Be very prescriptive. Assign different meetings to different people. Give everyone a chance to feel good about themselves. And this is gonna be a win-win for you and your team. And it's gonna look good in your boss's eyes, cause you're gonna say, "Wow, we didn't skip a beat. Justin and his team, they're all organized, everything's going well, this is great." So don't miss that opportunity to highlight your team. 

Now, the other thing we should talk about is what happens to email? When should you check your email? Should you check your email all the time, and never fall behind on anything? Remember my first point? Life goes on without you. Now, I'm not gonna be totally outrageous and say no matter what you can never check email. I'm gonna be realistic. And here's what I do. Usually it depends on the situation, it depends on the team. If you got a mature team, you've been there for a while, maybe you truly, truly can unplug and not check any email. That's gonna be one type of situation. I'm gonna say the majority of us are in a situation where we've got a good team, not a great team. And what we need to do is stay a little bit plugged in. And in this case, what I'm gonna recommend, when you go on vacation, check your email one time per day. You check in, you scan it, you reply quickly or forward the email to other people who can reply to it. But let your team know you will check, but you're gonna check one time per day. They'll understand the tone of what you're trying to do. 

The other thing is, your friends, your wife, whoever you're on vacation with, if you're checking every ten minutes, every hour, you're gonna be the annoying guy. You're gonna be the annoying girl. You're gonna be the "Oh, look at me, my job's so important I have to check my email all the time" -- and guess what? No one wants to go on vacation with that person. So check your email once a day, that's it. Now, one other quick note I'll say on this. 

I always give my personal mobile number to my team, and I tell them specifically if there is an emergency, if there is something you absolutely need from me, text me on my phone. Now, the reason I do this is it separates if there's an emergency versus just normal work. So my mind doesn't have to worry if I'm missing an emergency. And the second point is, you notice I said personal mobile versus work mobile. I really hope you're keeping your work and your personal life separate. Because if you have your work email on your personal phone, and you're getting a notification every time you get a work email, you cannot relax. Keep them separate. This is critical to having a work/life balance. 

So I just hit a ton of points there about how to take vacation, how to check your email or not, and how to empower your team to have a great experience while you're on vacation. 


JUSTIN: Now, I'm almost finished talking about vacation. I'm -- Im surprised at how much I have to say about vacation. Usually I like to talk about work, but here we are talking about vacation. But one more note on the topic of vacation. And this is specific to bosses, if you're the boss of anybody. Approve everything. Don't lord it over your team that you get to approve when or when they don't get to go on vacation. Approve everything. 09:59 And I tell everyone on my team I will approve all of your vacation all of the time with no exceptions. But I have two easy rules: I say I always wanna have two weeks in advance, because this tells me there's enough time to prepare and they're not trying to catch me off with a, "I'm hungover" or "I just don't feel like coming to work." It shows that they're prepared and thinking in advance. 

And the second thing is, I tell them, get your work done and coordinate with the team. As long as your work done, you have the team cover for your work, you can take as much vacation as you want. And I don't even count the days, it doesn't matter to me. If the work's getting done, I want you to take vacation. You're gonna be refreshed, you're gonna have a good perspective. So my advice for bosses out there: let people take vacation, encourage them to take vacation, but just make sure you're organized and that everyone's helping each other out. So that's a really easy way to be popular with your team and keep the train moving. 


JUSTIN: Uh oh. It's that time again. Bonus section! Bonus section! Bonus section! Bonus section! Bonus section! Bonus section, I love you! Bonus section. Alright. On today's bonus section, we're gonna talk about building your personal brand. Now, I don't think is gonna be the last time we talk about this topic, but it's something that a lot of people overlook. And what I mean by this is, what are you famous for outside of work? What are you famous for outside of work? I said it twice cause it's that important. What do people say about you that's non-work-related. Do they say, "That's the creepy guy?" Do they say, "That's the guy who works late?" Or do they say, "Hey, he's a beekeeper." "Hey, she does ballroom dancing." "Hey, he's a baker." "Hey, she loves rock-climbing." "Hey, he's a standup comic." There's a lot of dead time in leadership meetings. There's a lot of travel, there's a lot of elevators, there's a lot of big meetings. You run out of things to say to each other, you run out of things to say to your boss. You're nervous with the CEO, you don't know what to say while you're waiting for the team to file in. You wanna have those little nuggets that show, "I know my team and I have something interesting to say about them."

Also, you wanna build your personal brand because you wanna be more than just the work that you have. Everyone's doing excel. Everyone's doing email. How do you set yourself apart? You're just one of a million people in that office? You're just one of a thousand. You're one of ten, you're one of 20, whatever the number is. What sets you apart? What are you gonna be famous for?

In my case, I took up beekeeping. And it was a new skill, I had all this fun outside of work. You can't believe the mileage I got out of that. People are introducing me to people outside the company. People are introducing me to the vice president or the president saying, "This is Justin. He leads this team. And guess what? He's a beekeeper." And all of a sudden the CEO looks at me and goes, "Hey, this guy is interesting. Hey, this guy has interests outside of work. Hey, he's willing to learn new things." It doesn't matter what it is. Figure out what is your personal brand outside of work. You've got to have something. If you don't have it, figure it out. Like I said about beekeeping, nothing made me a beekeeper other than I went to this place, I picked up a shoebox of bees, and I put 'em in my car and I drove 'em home, voila, I'm a beekeeper. You can even order bees in the mail. They will mail bees to your house. So if you can't think of anything else, go to the internet, order bees, you're a beekeeper. And now you're famous at work. So that's my bonus section tip: make sure you're working on your personal brand. What do people say about you outside of work in the workplace?


JUSTIN: As always, we wanna thank our sponsors, Forlorn Hope Wines. They give 15 dollars off when you use the Mr. Corpo discount code. That's M-R-C-O-R-P-O. And today I wanna talk about one of their special wines. And this is the Que Saudade (?). It's a white wine. It's a verdelho. For those of you that aren't great wine connoisseurs, verdelho is a white wine. I had to look it up, although I've drank plenty of it. And the point about this wine is, it's hand-harvested. It's whole-cluster pressed. It's bottled unfiltered and unfined. Now, you might wonder, what does unfined mean? Unfined means that there's no artificial additives in this wine that help make wine be clear. So I didn't know this, but there's actually this whole thing that happens in the winemaking process where they add all these ingredients. 15:01 They'll add things like egg whites, they'll add gelatin, usually made from horse hooves. They'll do all this weird stuff that helps clarify the wine and make it really clear. He added none of that. So it's gonna be a little bit cloudy. It's gonna be super interesting. And it's gonna be totally authentic and original. So check out the Que Saudade, which is a verdelho white from Forlorn Hope Wines. I love it, and you should too. 


JUSTIN: We're about to bring this episode to a close, but I can't move forward without hitting our new segment, Ask Mr. Corpo. You can hit me on Twitter at Mr_Corpo, you can hit me at Instagram at JDKJDKJDKJDK. It's exhausting saying that four times. Or, now this is new, you can hit me at Now, the good thing about Mr. Corpo podcast is you can ask your questions anonymously. I got some feedback from listeners, I've been getting some questions, they don't want everyone else to know about it. So if they hit me on the social channels, maybe their co-workers, or their boss, or other people are gonna know what they're talking about, or know the questions they're asking. So I wanna give you a chance to ask these questions anonymously. 

So, one of the questions I got from our listeners was, "What do you do when you 100 percent wholeheartedly disagree with a decision in the company? What do you do in that case?" Now, I hate to do this, I hate when I watch the sports shows and they say, it's a little bit of both, and they never answer the questions. It's super annoying. But I'm gonna say it depends on the situation, and it depends on the moment. Is this a moment that you're gonna stand up in front of a room of 50 people and make some big statement? It's gonna be really dangerous. There's a lot of downfall to that, okay? So you've gotta be careful. And what you need to understand when processing in the meeting thinking about, "Should I say something, should I not say something?" People don't wanna be forced into making a big decision or a big proclamation in public in front of other people. So you've gotta know the audience, you've gotta know the surroundings, you've gotta decide, is this the time or not?

I'm gonna say the majority of the time, standing up in front of a big group and trying to yell someone down is not gonna be the way to play this. What I am gonna say is, after the meeting, go to your boss, ask for some time and say, "Hey, from where I sit, I see problems with X, Y, and Z. I'm concerned. But I wanted to listen to you so I could better understand it." And when you frame the question or the comment in this way, you're giving your boss or HR or whoever it may be a chance to feel like they're educating you, they're teaching you. You're saying, "I wanna learn, I wanna hear your perspective so I can better understand this." It's less accusational, it's less "I'm right, you're wrong." And it's more a teaching moment. So I would recommend to go that way. 

Now, if you're not satisfied with your boss, I think it's an excellent chance to reach out, and reach out to the person that made this big call. If it's the CEO, whoever it is. You are under your rights to send them an email and say, "Hey, I heard about this big decision, to be honest, I'm a little bit concerned or confused by it. Is there any chance you'd have five minutes to help me better understand it?" And guess what? They wanna hear that. They wanna know you're engaged. They're interested in it, and it gives you a chance to have your foot in the door to have a conversation. So, don't shy away from these moments. But pick the way you do it carefully, and there could be some big upside if you do it the right way. 

Alright, that's it for the Ask Mr. Corpo segment. Now, of course, I wanna give a shoutout to my producer, Rob. Rob, thanks for another great episode. Vacation episode was awesome. I totally love this. And by the way, just a reminder, if you wanna invite me to come talk at your company, to your small group, whoever it may be, give me a shout on the email. I'll go anywhere to talk to anyone, to talk about the book. Oh, and one more thing: if you wanna sponsor this show, if you've got a product, a small company, a big company, we're looking for support, we always wanna broaden our audience. And uh, you know, I'd love to be able to pay Rob, our producer, more money. So uh, give us a shout. 



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