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Author Topic: A conference I've committed to keeps changing times... update #67  (Read 8916 times)

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Cali.in.UK

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Hi everyone. I applied to attend a multi-day Widget professional development summit and was selected. It's grant funded, which is great and the summit is aligned with one of my main work duties. It's in an interesting major city that is about an hour away and it covers hotel, which is super nice. The organizers were very clear that attendees had to attend all workshops and events, it was mentioned more than once so I wondered if there had been an issue at a previous summit. I asked the start and end times of the days, and they sent me a placeholder for 8:30am-7pm (long day!).

The same day coincides with an important day for DH and I so we planned to go out together in the city after the summit ends - we found a place that is only ten minutes from the summit.

Well, I got another email from the org and now it says that we will be at a dinner event until 8:30pm at an offsite location (not specified). Dinner was originally flagged as 90 minutes and now its 3 hours including travel time. I asked about the time discrepancy and they said that "we won't be back at the hotel until around 8:30pm". I don't want to do that. I feel like the day its already a really long day and they already told me that it ended 90 minutes earlier.

I'm planning on replying back with something along the lines of "Hi Jane. I may need to leave around 7pm, I've already made plans around the original schedule. Can you please let me know which neighborhood the offsite location will be in?"

She's been a bit short with other questions and the whole vagueness about end times and where we are going is a bit disconcerting so I may be making a bigger deal out of this than it is and, I think I'm second guessing myself because they are footing the bill for everything. But does the wording seem okay? And also, if you were Jane, does my point seem reasonable?

Edit: I don't want to come across as ungrateful, because I'm super happy to be selected. I just think the additional hour and a half is too much. That's 12 hours.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2018, 03:04:06 PM by Cali.in.UK »

SamiHami

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  • No! Iz mai catnip! You no can haz! YOU NO CAN HAZ!
Re: A conference I've committed to keeps changing times...
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2018, 05:29:03 PM »
Twelve hours is just too much. I would not endure the forced socialization. You're attending their event and following their rules about attending all workshops. There is a limit, however. They don't get to tell you who you must dine with, as well. It's nice of them to offer, but if they try to demand your presence, they are over the line.

Frankly, that would be too much for me even if I didn't have other dinner plans.

What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!

Zizi-K

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Re: A conference I've committed to keeps changing times...
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2018, 07:17:10 PM »
I would not say anything in advance. I would just leave the conference at 7 as you originally planned. Do you need this person's permission? Is there a chance that if you say you can't go to dinner, they won't let you come at all? I would not risk that. You'll get everything you need out of the day, and can skip out of the forced socializing.

maksi

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Re: A conference I've committed to keeps changing times...
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2018, 08:00:13 PM »
"I won't be able to attend the dinner. At what time do the workshops end?" Or something like that. The dinner is often the most fun (and most social) part of the conference, but I've never been to one where it's also mandatory.

JoieGirl7

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Re: A conference I've committed to keeps changing times...
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2018, 08:33:15 PM »
I'm not sure what kind of authority a conference organizer would have over your dinner plans but the phrase, "it's easier to get forgiveness than permission comes to mind."

Just do what you originally planned to do and if someone asked you later why you weren't there play dumb about the schedule change and say "I thought the day was over."

Sometimes it pays to be vague!   ;)

Lula

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Re: A conference I've committed to keeps changing times...
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2018, 09:48:30 AM »
My boundaries just shuddered for you.  What would happen if someone had special dietary needs?

Oh Joy

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Re: A conference I've committed to keeps changing times...
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2018, 10:02:39 AM »
Here's my question: what does the grant cover?  Is it just the conference admission, or is there airfare, hotel, meals, or other expenses covered as well?

I'm picturing past problems with people signing up and only attending a few keynotes and highlights, and using the rest of the time as a paid vacation.  Probably not what the grantor had in mind with paying for these folks.

TurtleDove

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Re: A conference I've committed to keeps changing times...
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2018, 10:23:15 AM »
I think you can tell the organizers that you will be leaving, but be prepared that some people may view this negatively. If it were me, I would reschedule the date with my husband for a time when you donít already have a commitment.

SiotehCat

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Re: A conference I've committed to keeps changing times...
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2018, 10:28:16 AM »
How far into the future is this?

I noticed that you said everyone is required to attend all "workshops and events". It looks like dinner is considered an event.

If they are giving you more than a week/two weeks notice, I do think you're required to attend.

Harriet Jones

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Re: A conference I've committed to keeps changing times...
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2018, 10:32:59 AM »
That is a long day, but I would plan on going, since they've stated up front that all events are required.

HannahGrace

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Re: A conference I've committed to keeps changing times...
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2018, 10:33:58 AM »
How far into the future is this?

I noticed that you said everyone is required to attend all "workshops and events". It looks like dinner is considered an event.

If they are giving you more than a week/two weeks notice, I do think you're required to attend.

I agree wirh this. They are paying for your hotel and dinner seems like a ďconference event.Ē  Itís not unusual for professional conferences to have long days and evening events. Iíve had my share of 12 hour days at conferences, and it is just part of the package. That said, if they changed the schedule and itís 48 hours from now, you might be able to bow out of the dinner. But if they only gave you broad parameters before and now itís a few weeks beforehand and you are receiving the more detailed schedule, it is what it is and you should attend the dinner.

pattycake

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Re: A conference I've committed to keeps changing times...
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2018, 02:41:29 PM »
I agree, the dinner is an 'event' and part of the conference package. It's really unfortunate that it coincides with this important day, but since they made it clear that attendees must attend all events, I think in accepting that you are obligated to go to the dinner, or you decline the whole conference. Though I don't think there's any harm in asking if you may be excused due to whatever the special thing is with your husband, but I wouldn't push it and I wouldn't blow off the dinner if they say you must attend.

oogyda

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Re: A conference I've committed to keeps changing times...
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2018, 02:49:26 PM »
How far into the future is this?

I noticed that you said everyone is required to attend all "workshops and events". It looks like dinner is considered an event.

If they are giving you more than a week/two weeks notice, I do think you're required to attend.

I agree wirh this. They are paying for your hotel and dinner seems like a ďconference event.Ē  Itís not unusual for professional conferences to have long days and evening events. Iíve had my share of 12 hour days at conferences, and it is just part of the package. That said, if they changed the schedule and itís 48 hours from now, you might be able to bow out of the dinner. But if they only gave you broad parameters before and now itís a few weeks beforehand and you are receiving the more detailed schedule, it is what it is and you should attend the dinner.

Agreed.  DH's company headquarters are 1 1/2 to 2 hour driving time from YDD.  Previously, they had made plans to meet up while he's there, only to have those plans squashed because the company has demands on all his time.  That's fair, since they're paying for everything.  The only way he's gotten around it was to fly in VERY EARLY on the day they are expected to arrive, since there us a gathering that evening.  It's not *mandatory*, but absences are noticed.

It's not what we gather along the way that matters.  It's what we scatter.

oogyda

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Re: A conference I've committed to keeps changing times...
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2018, 02:51:43 PM »
I agree, the dinner is an 'event' and part of the conference package. It's really unfortunate that it coincides with this important day, but since they made it clear that attendees must attend all events, I think in accepting that you are obligated to go to the dinner, or you decline the whole conference. Though I don't think there's any harm in asking if you may be excused due to whatever the special thing is with your husband, but I wouldn't push it and I wouldn't blow off the dinner if they say you must attend.

There may be harm in asking.  They've made their expectations clear, so asking puts you very near Special Snowflake territory.

It's not what we gather along the way that matters.  It's what we scatter.

gramma dishes

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Re: A conference I've committed to keeps changing times...
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2018, 02:56:42 PM »
How far into the future is this?

I noticed that you said everyone is required to attend all "workshops and events". It looks like dinner is considered an event.

If they are giving you more than a week/two weeks notice, I do think you're required to attend.

I agree wirh this. They are paying for your hotel and dinner seems like a ďconference event.Ē  Itís not unusual for professional conferences to have long days and evening events. Iíve had my share of 12 hour days at conferences, and it is just part of the package. That said, if they changed the schedule and itís 48 hours from now, you might be able to bow out of the dinner. But if they only gave you broad parameters before and now itís a few weeks beforehand and you are receiving the more detailed schedule, it is what it is and you should attend the dinner.

I agree.  This is a conference even and your attendance is part of the deal.

It's too bad about the plans you had with your husband, but perhaps better to delay until a time when neither of you has outside obligations.