Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => All In A Day's Work => Topic started by: White Dragon on January 24, 2013, 01:18:19 PM

Title: Do I really have to go?
Post by: White Dragon on January 24, 2013, 01:18:19 PM
I have a really great workplace.
The mix of people is great, the work is interesting and managment takes excellent care of us.

Management has arranged for all the women on the staff to attend a local conference.
They have even made concessions for all the front office staff to attend, which is very unusual.
This isn't so much as because they think that it's critical to our knowledge that we attend, but that it's an opportunity for us to attend something directed at working women. It's an 'encouragement and personal growth' kind of deal.

I don't want to go. I'm not a huge fan of the individual's organizing it (nothing major, I just have found them to be annoying). Also, it's really not the type of thing that I care for. I find these sorts of things to be boring at best and often annoying.

Here's the problem. If I don't go, I will probably be the only woman in the office not to do so.
Also, the organizer is our HR person, who - along with her husband - owns the company.

I do, however, have an acceptable, built-in excuse for not going. Everyone else on the staff can use their training budget to cover their pay for that day. (Conference costs are covered by the company.)

I am on a temporary contract with 5 months remaining. I don't have a training budget.
If I wish to attend, it will be without pay.
Alternatively, the company has offered to hold my vacation pay back and apply it the day's pay.
So there wouldn't be a huge difference in my pay cheque, but yes, in the long term, I'd miss a days pay (I just wouldn't see it in a big chunk.)

I very much want to stay with this company, but there is a very good chance the person I'm replacing will return (she has said she will and seems keen to come back.)
I can't tell if it's feasible for the company to create a new position for me or not. I've been trying to get a sense of things, but it's pretty opaque.

So.

Is it a better social (and long term) choice to be a team player, suck it up and attend or bow out, possibly leaving a bad impression with the HR lady? (She's a real sweetheart and I don't see her holding a grudge, but it could affect how they see me fitting in long term.)

Because etiquette is, for the most part, being aware of how others see our actions and how they affect others, I'd like the EHellions take on this.
Title: Re: Do I really have to go?
Post by: MrTango on January 24, 2013, 01:29:36 PM
I think you'll be better off career-wise to bite the bullet and just go to the event.  It'll give them a reason to consider you a "team player" and think you have a "positive attitude."

Yeah, the event itself might be dull and irritating, but it's a temporary discomfort that could have a longer-lasting benefit for you.
Title: Re: Do I really have to go?
Post by: onyonryngs on January 24, 2013, 01:31:53 PM
I think you'll be better off career-wise to bite the bullet and just go to the event.  It'll give them a reason to consider you a "team player" and think you have a "positive attitude."

Yeah, the event itself might be dull and irritating, but it's a temporary discomfort that could have a longer-lasting benefit for you.

This.  If you're hoping to stay, it's best not to be remembered as the only one who refused to go.  You want to be the team player, up for anything person.
Title: Re: Do I really have to go?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on January 24, 2013, 01:33:34 PM
If there was no hope for you to get on with this company, I think it would be fine to not go, citing the loss of a day's pay.

But because you do hope to get hired on, I agree with MrTango that you should go.
Title: Re: Do I really have to go?
Post by: cicero on January 24, 2013, 01:40:05 PM
I think you'll be better off career-wise to bite the bullet and just go to the event.  It'll give them a reason to consider you a "team player" and think you have a "positive attitude."

Yeah, the event itself might be dull and irritating, but it's a temporary discomfort that could have a longer-lasting benefit for you.
I agree.

and i've been to my share of "training sessions" - some were duds but many were interesting and i actually picked up some ideas and skills. you never know what's going to happen.
Title: Re: Do I really have to go?
Post by: DavidH on January 24, 2013, 01:43:38 PM
I'd recommend going since it sounds like the company has made a lot of effort to send everyone and views it as doing something nice.  You can always use the breaks for networking either within your current company with others there.

In some ways, it's like getting a gift you don't like, you still have to accept it.

Missing a day's pay is not great, but rather than think of it as missed, think of it as an investment in networking if that helps. 
Title: Re: Do I really have to go?
Post by: WillyNilly on January 24, 2013, 01:46:01 PM
I think you should approach the HR/owner and address the pay issue.  Couch it in real terms "I am really hoping to be able to stay with this company, I really like it here, but realistically I know my contract is expiring and Mary wants to come back, which means I might be unemployed. I have to really think about long term expenses and income and plan accordingly. While I appreciate you including me, I feel as though its something that I can't really afford in the grand scheme of things."

If you are offered a new contract, well then, no money worries and you go and you mentally tick it ff as the cost of getting the job.  Otherwise its a gracious way of backing out - they shouldn't pressure you to essentially pay for something while also sending you off to be unemployed.
Title: Re: Do I really have to go?
Post by: BeagleMommy on January 24, 2013, 01:56:22 PM
We refer to these trainings as "dog and pony shows".  You're not sure of the point of them, but there was a dog and a pony.

POD to the others who've said it is probably in your best interest to go.
Title: Re: Do I really have to go?
Post by: MorgnsGrl on January 24, 2013, 02:04:41 PM
Personally (and clearly I am in the minority here) I don't think you have to go. If they told you to come in to work on Friday, but you wouldn't be paid, would you? (Especially knowing everyone else WAS being paid?) I get that it can be good to be seen as a team player, but since you realistically have no reason to think you're anything more than a temp as far as this company is concerned, you're not really "part of the team" anyway. The team gets paid. I think this would only leave a bad impression for the HR lady is she's a really unfair individual -- and it doesn't sound like she is. In my opinion, asking an employee to lose a day's pay but not giving them leave to do whatever they like with that day isn't acceptable.
Title: Re: Do I really have to go?
Post by: Hmmmmm on January 24, 2013, 02:09:28 PM
I think you should approach the HR/owner and address the pay issue.  Couch it in real terms "I am really hoping to be able to stay with this company, I really like it here, but realistically I know my contract is expiring and Mary wants to come back, which means I might be unemployed. I have to really think about long term expenses and income and plan accordingly. While I appreciate you including me, I feel as though its something that I can't really afford in the grand scheme of things."

If you are offered a new contract, well then, no money worries and you go and you mentally tick it ff as the cost of getting the job.  Otherwise its a gracious way of backing out - they shouldn't pressure you to essentially pay for something while also sending you off to be unemployed.

This is what I would do.
Title: Re: Do I really have to go?
Post by: gramma dishes on January 24, 2013, 02:09:42 PM
Yes.  Piling on in agreement with everyone else above me. 

If you want to have even the remotest chance of staying with this company, it probably would be in your best interest to be a team player and go, even though you'd much rather not. 

What's the worst case scenario?  You have a boring day. 

But you also have a chance to make yourself look like you consider yourself to be an integral part of the company.  Even if the person you're replacing does come back, they might be able to retain you as an employee in possibly a slightly different capacity.  If not and they have to let you go, at least you're likely to get overwhelming good reviews and recommendations from them which might help you with your next position wherever that may be.

Edited to add:  You might consider WillyNilly's idea too.  She makes a lot of sense and has provided excellent wording!
Title: Re: Do I really have to go?
Post by: TootsNYC on January 24, 2013, 02:18:17 PM
I think you should approach the HR/owner and address the pay issue.  Couch it in real terms "I am really hoping to be able to stay with this company, I really like it here, but realistically I know my contract is expiring and Mary wants to come back, which means I might be unemployed. I have to really think about long term expenses and income and plan accordingly. While I appreciate you including me, I feel as though its something that I can't really afford in the grand scheme of things."

If you are offered a new contract, well then, no money worries and you go and you mentally tick it ff as the cost of getting the job.  Otherwise its a gracious way of backing out - they shouldn't pressure you to essentially pay for something while also sending you off to be unemployed.

I'm w/ WillyNilly. This is the only argument that you can use, and it *is* a fair one. A day's pay is a day's pay when you're about to be unemployed.

Otherwise, I'm sure you can find something useful in the day, even if it's only a chance to be "in on" the inside joke. That sort of time together with the people you work with is valuable.
Title: Re: Do I really have to go?
Post by: lowspark on January 24, 2013, 02:52:25 PM
I, too, Pod WillyNilly. You have a valid reason not to go, the fact that you have to give up a day's pay to do so.
Title: Re: Do I really have to go?
Post by: Lynn2000 on January 24, 2013, 02:55:42 PM
I agree with WillyNilly. Essentially, act like you want to go, if it doesn't mean you'll be out of money. Because honestly that's fair--no one else will be going without pay. And if the company can't figure out a way to pay you, you can decline to attend the conference--regretful, but you have to be financially responsible. But if they do figure out a way to pay you, then you go and sit there thinking, "Well, at least I'm getting paid for this."
Title: Re: Do I really have to go?
Post by: Roe on January 24, 2013, 03:04:02 PM
I think you should approach the HR/owner and address the pay issue.  Couch it in real terms "I am really hoping to be able to stay with this company, I really like it here, but realistically I know my contract is expiring and Mary wants to come back, which means I might be unemployed. I have to really think about long term expenses and income and plan accordingly. While I appreciate you including me, I feel as though its something that I can't really afford in the grand scheme of things."

If you are offered a new contract, well then, no money worries and you go and you mentally tick it ff as the cost of getting the job.  Otherwise its a gracious way of backing out - they shouldn't pressure you to essentially pay for something while also sending you off to be unemployed.

Yep. This is what I would do. 

It doesn't really make sense for you to lose a day of pay when you aren't going to be with the company long term. 
Title: Re: Do I really have to go?
Post by: amylouky on January 24, 2013, 03:13:08 PM
I wouldn't go without pay, and I wouldn't agree to count it as a "vacation day".
My company employs lots of contractors, and treats meetings/training/conferences as regular pay time, if the contractor is expected to attend. If it's a voluntary thing (such as our periodic off site team get together, for which employees get paid but contractors do not), it's perfectly acceptable for a contractor to decline to attend, and no one thinks less of them for it.
I think that if you want to remain in good graces with the owner to better your chances of staying on, you should just tell her that while you would love to attend, you really can't afford to take the day without pay, and you already have plans for your vacation time. I don't know what your position/skills are but maybe you could volunteer to stay and hold down the fort/front office?
Title: Re: Do I really have to go?
Post by: amandaelizabeth on January 24, 2013, 05:17:34 PM
Just a small thought.  We are interviewing for a new team member, from outside our organisation.  One person who has applied went to a conference my team attended last year.  Several of the team commented about meeting her, and what a good fit she would be for us, as she impressed them with some thoughts and her behaviour while at the conference.  We have put her at the head of our 'must interview list'. 
Title: Re: Do I really have to go?
Post by: delabela on January 24, 2013, 08:54:47 PM
If I was in your situation, I would absolutely go.  And I would not bring up the pay issue.  Unless I misunderstand, they already went over your options for either taking the day or using a vacation day.  If I do misunderstand, and the pay issue wasn't directly discussed, I might bring up the pay, but that depends on the culture of the office. 
Title: Re: Do I really have to go?
Post by: MariaE on January 24, 2013, 11:38:43 PM
I would go. I understand the money issue, but since you're hoping to stay on, I think it would be in your best interests. Going won't do any harm and might do some good. Not going won't do any good and might do some harm.
Title: Re: Do I really have to go?
Post by: bopper on January 25, 2013, 08:15:48 AM
Another thought...  if there is a chance that you could be hired on permentantly, you should consider going. If you don't go it may send the signal of "she's a short timer, doesn't do what the employees are doing" vs. "I am one of you."
Title: Re: Do I really have to go?
Post by: Queen of Clubs on January 25, 2013, 09:53:42 AM
Also, the organizer is our HR person, who - along with her husband - owns the company.

I do, however, have an acceptable, built-in excuse for not going. Everyone else on the staff can use their training budget to cover their pay for that day. (Conference costs are covered by the company.)

I am on a temporary contract with 5 months remaining. I don't have a training budget.
If I wish to attend, it will be without pay.
Alternatively, the company has offered to hold my vacation pay back and apply it the day's pay.
So there wouldn't be a huge difference in my pay cheque, but yes, in the long term, I'd miss a days pay (I just wouldn't see it in a big chunk.)

I don't think the HR lady is a real sweetheart for putting you in such a position.  I think she's put you in an awkward position.  Go, look like a team player and lose a day's wages (either now or later), or don't go and risk it affecting your possible future employment with this company.  In your situation, I'd be feeling rather peeved.

Quote
Is it a better social (and long term) choice to be a team player, suck it up and attend or bow out, possibly leaving a bad impression with the HR lady? (She's a real sweetheart and I don't see her holding a grudge, but it could affect how they see me fitting in long term.)

Because etiquette is, for the most part, being aware of how others see our actions and how they affect others, I'd like the EHellions take on this.

I'd go with a WillyNilly's suggestion:

I think you should approach the HR/owner and address the pay issue.  Couch it in real terms "I am really hoping to be able to stay with this company, I really like it here, but realistically I know my contract is expiring and Mary wants to come back, which means I might be unemployed. I have to really think about long term expenses and income and plan accordingly. While I appreciate you including me, I feel as though its something that I can't really afford in the grand scheme of things."

If you are offered a new contract, well then, no money worries and you go and you mentally tick it ff as the cost of getting the job.  Otherwise its a gracious way of backing out - they shouldn't pressure you to essentially pay for something while also sending you off to be unemployed.

If you do feel pressured into going despite this, I'd use it to network as much as possible so as to find another job.
Title: Re: Do I really have to go?
Post by: Geekychick1984 on January 25, 2013, 11:29:02 AM
I can see why you'd think going would help your chances.  However, I'd hope this doesn't stick in their minds that you're willing to do things for no compensation in the future.
Title: Re: Do I really have to go?
Post by: HenrysMom on January 26, 2013, 08:21:39 PM
If it's the women's conference I'm thinking of, I've been to it and found it annoying and boring.  Unfortunately, OP, I think you're going to have to attend, even though the HR manager put you on the spot to either lose a day's pay or a vacation day.  Even if "Mary" returns, the fact that you went may show that you're a team player and, when another opening within the company becomes available, you will have an advantage. 
Title: Re: Do I really have to go?
Post by: Giggity on January 27, 2013, 08:22:09 AM
Me, I wouldn't go because I generally find "women-oriented" events stupid and pointless. I'm not sure how I'd avoid it, but I'd figure something out.
Title: Re: Do I really have to go?
Post by: Dazi on January 27, 2013, 09:39:07 AM
You should go.


No, you shouldn't have to, the HR lady put you in an uncomfortable position and I'm sure you'll probably be bored to tears.

However, these type situations come up at jobs and unfortunately, not going would most likely be "career suicide". Some business people like to talk <cough...gossip> and not going could lose you a future position with the current company or a position in at a new place just because a contact of HR Lady heard something about you pitching a tizzy and not going to this conference.  It really does happen.

Look at it as a way to show your a team player and network, network, NETWORK! while your there.  You may meet the person who, down the road, could make your career.
Title: Re: Do I really have to go?
Post by: White Dragon on January 27, 2013, 07:37:30 PM
HR lady hasn't mentioned the conference. My supervisor took me aside and let me know the situation and that I was not eligible for pay. She realizes that if I go it will be at a sacrifice.

This company is very big on work-life balance and encourages people to not overwork. It's not an economic issue, but that they want healthy employees.

DH doesn't think I should go. He works in exactly the same industry at a competitor  :D and training/conferences are paid if the employer wants you there.

You have given me lots to think about, but I'm still not sure.
I'm still really torn and I have to give an answer soon.
Title: Re: Do I really have to go?
Post by: MissManager on January 28, 2013, 12:56:24 PM
I'm kind of getting the sense that while it will help your career if you go, it won't harm it if you don't go.

If you don't want to attend and the drawbacks outweigh the benefits I'd find a way to discreetly bow out.
Title: Re: Do I really have to go?
Post by: MurPl1 on January 30, 2013, 11:22:56 AM
I'll add one other comment that I didn't see addressed, if you do go, there's an opportunity for bonding and networking with your coworkers.  Perhaps enough so that they might encourage the company to find a way to keep you on.  Or you may go, network with other people and perhaps find some additional contacts if this one doesn't pan out for the long run.

That said, you've gotten a lot of really good perspectives on both going and not going.  If I were you, I'd sit down and make a pros/cons list of going/not going and see if that helps. :)
Title: Re: Do I really have to go?
Post by: White Dragon on January 31, 2013, 11:08:38 PM
I want to thank everyone for your input.
There were a number of good points made and it gave me a lot to think about.

I really had to consider the whole "networking" possibilities option for a while.
Turns out I had some bias to overcome, because I'd had a knee-jerk opinion of "I won't want to network with anyone at this event because I don't like the event, therefore no-one worth networking will be there anyway."

It came as a bit of a surprise to dig down and realize that I'd jumped to that (incorrect) conclusion. The event is also very business focussed and would probably have some people there for the same reason I would: to see and be seen.
So I really had to weigh that factor and reconsider it.

In other considerations, I really didn't want to give up a day's pay, and I've come to realize I feel pretty strongly about this.
It's a bigger issue that I initially thought, since it's really not done in this industry.

However - today was my performance review, and it helped clear some things up.
On the plus side, it was a very positive review, which was encouraging.
(My supervisor is actually probably one of the best I've had. We don't always see eye to eye, but she's fair, clear, supportive of us and has a good sense of humour.)

I felt the review was very fair in showing me what I do well and what I can work on.
We also discussed my future.
At this point in time, the central issue as to whether or not I stay on is based solely on whether or not there is work for me.
I'm confident that the company is looking at all the possibilities and what I bring to the table.
I'd love it if company goes ahead with [Project] and I get to stay on as part of it. I was part of the team that started it and getting paid to work on [Project] would fulfill a long-term goal of mine.
At this point, if circumstances permit, I would almost certainly be asked to stay.

Having said that, it does take some pressure off to "be a team player" and attend the event since I don't think it is going to affect my career path either way. (One item on my review was that the company appreciated that I fully participated in and was a part of everything the company does, even though I'm on a temp contract. So...I have been doing a lot of "team player" stuff and the company has noticed. I got high marks for this!)

I think I've decided not to attend. I'm not comfortable not getting paid when all the others are.
I think I will say that while I appreciate the opportunity, I'm not comfortable with losing the pay.

Thanks everyone. Getting outside opinions on how my behaviour could be viewed has been very helpful.
Title: Re: Do I really have to go?
Post by: TootsNYC on February 01, 2013, 08:30:26 PM
I really had to consider the whole "networking" possibilities option for a while.
Turns out I had some bias to overcome, because I'd had a knee-jerk opinion of "I won't want to network with anyone at this event because I don't like the event, therefore no-one worth networking will be there anyway."

It came as a bit of a surprise to dig down and realize that I'd jumped to that (incorrect) conclusion.

Isn't that a revelation when you realize that in yourself?!

I don't wear makeup because there's a weird little part of me that thinks it'll make me shallow and uninteresting. It really took a while for me to realize that about myself. And to realize that it sprang from a prejudice I developed in junior high, in the girls' bathroom.