What's your problem?

The HR administration where I work is really lax. No-one keeps track of how much holiday we've taken. I strongly suspect that one of my colleagues is playing the system and taking more holiday than he is allowed.

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

I'm ashamed to say that I don't want to grass him up. In fact, I'm very tempted to take more days off myself. We don't get paid very much and I think of it as fair compensation. If they're getting away with it, why can't I?

A Forgive me if I move into schoolmasterly mode. A set of rules that are clearly understood and consistently maintained may feel restrictive at times, but in any organisation, their absence is infinitely worse.

Follow your present instinct and you will soon start wallowing in uncertainty, guilt and self-justification. If your low pay justifies you in stealing time from your company (and please don't reach for the euphemisms) how many days are you justified in stealing? It shouldn't be left to you to decide. Next, you'll be calling up your cousin in New Zealand on the office phone and taking home a handful of teabags.

You don't have to grass on anyone. You should double-check your holiday entitlement with your HR director and then suggest that he or she posts a holiday roster on the notice board so that everyone can plan their work more easily.

When standards of office behaviour start to get all loose and flaky, it doesn't spell freedom; it breeds envy, suspicion, rumour and a surprising amount of real unhappiness.

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

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