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Don't Ask The CEO Of Gibson Guitars For Time Off

With the holidays coming up, many people are ready to take some time off. Turns out some higher-ups at Gibson were hoping to spend time with the family, but it won't work out that way.

With the holidays coming up, many people are ready to take some time off. Turns out some higher-ups at Gibson were hoping to spend time with the family, but it won't work out that way.

With the holidays coming up, many people are ready to take some time off. Turns out some higher-ups at Gibson were hoping to spend time with the family, but it won't work out that way.

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Gawker recently posted up an email from CEO of Gibson Guitars Henry Juszkiewicz to an employee asking for time off after a holiday. Obviously, he said no and this caused the email to be leaked out to the public to badmouth the CEO… which is a highly professional move and I suggest you do it only if career suicide is an option grinning at your from the serving tray.

Personally, the email came off to me as actually pretty reasonable- bosses are supposed to be in their offices the majority of the time unless the whole company is shut down. I thought that was how employment worked? I'll leave this one up to you… it's a little more subjective than the whole "Gibson raided for illegal wood" thing.

"Subject: RE: Personal Day-Thanksgiving Approval requested


I do not allow leaders to be absent the days before and after a holiday. I had asked Tom to make it clear, but apparently people have not understood or the communication was not clear.

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You cannot take long weekends or long holidays unless there are special circumstances. You are leaders and these are work days. During work our leaders need to be there doing their jobs. Taking time off when other people cannot do so or causing insufficient staff during working periods shows a lack of responsibility and consideration for all that depend on our business to be there for them.

Henceforth vacations must be taken for a minimum of one week and must be scheduled well in advance. I will expect a vacation calendar from my direct reports for an entire year.

I will turn down all requests for long weekends and for periods of less than 5 contiguous days without special circumstances.

I also do not believe it is appropriate for a request of this kind is to be shared with others. This suggests where you are coming from [employee name]. I also do not appreciate being lied to about being ill so you can game the system to get what you want [employee name]. As soon as I return from my travels, I will schedule a private conversation about this.

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I have counted on the personal integrity of people working with me and have refrained from putting in place a rigorous oversight system. I have asked our HR department to oversee this activity on a spot basis which they have not followed through on. The result is I am seeing a continued decline in decorum, a deterioration in discipline in terms of appropriate attire, coming and going on time and other issues that do not belong in a professional situation with executives that are supposed to be examples of appropriate behavior.

It is not alright to leave early Friday afternoon or arrive late on Monday morning. It is not alright to take extended lunches. The list of unprofessional behavior goes on.

We will be implementing HR policies that were developed at Philips and we have appointed [person] as our global head of Human Resources. These new policies will be promulgated throughout our group of companies and these will be enforced strongly. I will take the time to review these new policies with the people that report to me directly.

I will schedule a private meeting with you [employee name]."

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The email was then followed up by a reasonable response from the company's public relations team.

"The headline does not truthfully reflect the email which was in the body of the article. That email was accurate but does not reflect the context of the situation.

Our company offers generous vacation and sick days. Our concern is that these days are scheduled respecting what is happening at the company and the people that might be impacted.

This executive had previously requested a day that I felt would potentially be disruptive and that request was denied by myself. That executive then emailed me that they were sick and they were absent on the day that had been denied. When asked for some proof of illness, they admitted they were not sick and had misled me.

This executive has used the generous vacation policy to take a great many Mondays, Fridays and days before and after holidays off working consistent short weeks leaving the employees that work for them without leadership and showing insensitivity for the people that work for them and come in to work.

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The people copied on this email were top executives and this was only addressed to our top company leadership. This unnamed executive never asked to discuss our policy, my concerns or had made any attempt to communicate with me. It was clearly inappropriate to copy 20 other executives when they request a day off. This clearly send a message of an agenda on their part."

That's how I felt about the whole thing too. It's one thing to ask for a day off, but to copy other people in on the thread? Why bother? Dumb move.

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