What's your problem?

I started a new job three months ago. When I was offered the position, I made it clear that I already had two weeks' holiday booked for an important family celebration in March. I was told this was no problem. Now, two months into the job, my new boss wants me to cancel the holiday, as he needs me to go on a business trip.

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

It puts me in a difficult position. I don't want to upset my new employers, but the holiday is an important commitment, and one that they agreed to. What should I do?

A: I imagine this important family celebration has meant quite a few other people making advance commitments. And that your new boss is well aware of this.

So my unworthy thought is that he's trying this on as a test of your strength of character. If he finds you're ready to respond like a well-trained dog, your life will never be your own again. So be polite; express your genuine regrets; but insist that you honour the arrangements you've made with your family.

I know it's easy to be brave on someone else's behalf, but I'm pretty sure that this will put your relationship with your new boss on a healthy footing.

- Jeremy Bullmore has been creative director and chairman of J Walter Thompson London and a non-executive director of the Guardian Media Group; he is a non-executive director of WPP. Address your problems to Jeremy Bullmore at: editorial@mtmagazine.co.uk. Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.

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