How do I tell my boss I don't want to carpool?
January 12, 2012 9:11 AM   Subscribe

How do I tell my boss I don't want to carpool with the group for a 12+ hour round trip?

My company is sending a seven of us off to another facility for training for a few days. It's a solid 300+ mile, 5+hour drive each way, not counting pit stops. Flying isn't any faster, I checked. My boss wants to rent two big 4x4 SUVs (because there's a good chance of snow) and carpool.

The plan is to drive out Wednesday afternoon, go to two full days of training Thursday & Friday, then drive back Friday night.

I like my co-workers, but I'm an introvert and don't like the idea of spending that much time cooped up with them. By Friday evening, I'm really going to need some alone time. I'd much rather drive my own car, listen to my audiobooks, eat where I want (so I can stick to my diet), and make better time.

Relevant details: my car is great in the snow, front wheel drive with great snow tires. It gets 30+ mpg highway. I would expect to get reimbursed for mileage if I drive my personal car.
I have a doctor's appointment first thing Saturday morning.
posted by dalesd to Work & Money (31 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
If I tried this, I'm sure my boss would let me drive but I can't imagine they would reimburse me for the mileage. Totally depends on your company, I would think.
posted by mskyle at 9:16 AM on January 12, 2012 [21 favorites]


Tell them you have relatives in [city x not far from training locale] and you're going to take advantage of the opportunity to visit them.
posted by headnsouth at 9:17 AM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


dalesd: "I would expect to get reimbursed for mileage if I drive my personal car."

Remove this expectation, and you are totally within reason to tell them you're driving yourself. You could even say you have friends/family to visit, so you'll be staying there or whatever if you don't want the longer explanation you provided above.
posted by Grither at 9:17 AM on January 12, 2012 [14 favorites]


You'd better really ponder this before you decide to ask. For one, your boss may expect this to be a bonding session between teammates, and might look really askance at your request to be exempted. For another, it's kind of absurdly ballsy of you to say that you don't want to go in the cars provided by your boss, but you expect to be reimbursed for taking your own car.

I'm also an introvert. I'd hate this entire scenario. But I'd do it for professional reasons.
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:17 AM on January 12, 2012 [24 favorites]


Sigh, put a "to give" up in there between "want" and "the".
posted by Grither at 9:18 AM on January 12, 2012


I think you can either go in the employer provided, free-to-you caravan with your coworkers, or you can drive yourself and eat the travel costs. My employer wouldn't care if I drove myself, but if they were providing a ride and I opted not to take it, I'd have to pay my own way.
posted by crankylex at 9:22 AM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd much rather drive my own car, listen to my audiobooks, eat where I want (so I can stick to my diet), and make better time.

Sure, but couldn't you equally apply this attitude to other aspects of your job? You'd rather come into work at 10 am and stay later, you'd rather listen to jazz at your desk throughout the day, etc. If you're going to make this argument to your boss, I think you need to articulate a reason why this circumstance is different. I don't think you have, above.

I totally get your feeling on this. I wouldn't want to spend 12+ hours in the car with...gosh, pretty much anybody. That's a long ride and even good friends and family (let alone coworkers) can get on each other's nerves in a compressed situation like that. And I enjoy driving—I like being the one to drive, I like listening to my music, etc. I'm not knocking you. I'm with you.

But sometimes work is work, and you just have to do what's necessary. Some people expect that this only entails what occurs during established work hours in established work buildings, but in my experience that's unrealistic. Whether you're interested in climbing the ladder or staying put, sometimes your job will entail extracurricular demands. As an introvert, maybe this is less obvious to you. Based on what you've written, particularly the detail about your boss renting two vans (presumably on the company's dollar), it sounds like this is one of those situations where you have to suck it up and participate. My advice would be, don't even ask about opting out.
posted by cribcage at 9:23 AM on January 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I do have relatives that live at about the halfway point of the trip. That might work.

I would expect to get reimbursed for mileage if I drive my personal car.
Perhaps I phrased this poorly. I expect I would be reimbursed if I drove my own car. Not my expectation, the company's. i.e. If I drive my car, they'll reimburse me, which works against me.
posted by dalesd at 9:28 AM on January 12, 2012


I understand how you feel, but I think you'd better suck it up and get in the car with the other folks. If you don't, they might not see you as a team player.

Bring your iPod (no doubt some people will snooze on the way). I'm sure everybody else is dreading it as well.
posted by anniecat at 9:28 AM on January 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


And seconding cribcage---don't ask to opt out. Just visualize having a good time or a decent time and don't get anxious about how you're going to feel.
posted by anniecat at 9:29 AM on January 12, 2012


My employer wouldn't care if I drove myself
Some employers will care about you driving your own vehicle on business trips because there are insurance complications to be considered. Check your company's formal travel policy if there is one. Don't be surprised if it explicitly forbids or limits using your personal vehicle for business trips. Don't be surprised if your boss says no because of these reasons, whether or not it is in your travel policy.

That said, I'm with all the others saying that as unpleasant as it could be, it's probably a torture that has to be endured.
posted by whatzit at 9:31 AM on January 12, 2012


Holy Jesus, there is no way I would get in that SUV with coworkers. (There is also no real-world way that your employer can mandate how you travel offsite, though the repercussions can be significant. Or nonexistent!)

This is how I'd email: "Hey, really looking forward to this. One tiny hitch: I need to go on my own, not with the group. But let me know what the expectations are about arrival time, etc., and I really look forward to meeting everyone there!"
posted by RJ Reynolds at 9:35 AM on January 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


you can certainly ask to be reimbursed. one can always ask for things. however, you state that driving wouldn't be any faster than flying. say you had to fly. that would be an equal amount of time stuck in a plane with actually even more people. how is being in a car for that amount of time with only three other people going to be much different?
posted by violetk at 9:46 AM on January 12, 2012


violetk...one hour (300 miles) in a plane with people that expect you to ignore them is way different than 3 hours in a car (with no armrest separation or booze!) with people that will expect you to play travel games with them.

I agree, just tell the boss you'll be driving yourself, you don't need to "endure" anything.

Also, tell them up front that you'll, of course, foot the cost.
posted by HuronBob at 9:50 AM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Use the doctors appointment as an excuse, or say you want to visit family/friends and remove the expectation of reimbursement, your boss is offering a way for you to get there at no expense if you choose to go another way it's not his problem.
posted by wwax at 9:55 AM on January 12, 2012


Are you new to your job? Do you care about your rep as a team player?

If the answer to both of these questions is "no," I'd second RJ Reynold's plan. If the answer to either is "yes," just carpool and bring a book.
posted by AmandaA at 9:55 AM on January 12, 2012


OK just saw your comment about reimbursement so forget that part. Just come up with some half way plausible excuse and make sure you know where you have to be and when, I 'm sure your boss doesn't care as long as you are there.
posted by wwax at 9:56 AM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


No one wants to be in those cars for the trip, especially for that long of time so you're not alone. You've made some excellent excuses, but I'm sure most people on this trek could do the same.

It's not going to be a chat marathon, people will listen to their ipods, or watch movies so will will have "alone" time, the only thing is that someone will be right in front and to the side of you - just pretend your stuck on a airplane.

I really think you need to suck it up and get prepared to join the fun! Pack your own food and books and don't' forget to buckle up!
posted by doorsfan at 10:14 AM on January 12, 2012


If you do feel social pressure to go in the caravan, I'll offer a weird-but-effective alternative: offer to drive the whole way. You get cut a lot more slack for not participating in group conversations if you're the driver. You also get much more control over where you stop.
posted by anastasiav at 10:19 AM on January 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm with RJR, up above, but I would not say, I need to go on my own. I'd just say "I'm going to take my own car, got a few variables so having it will make my life easier ..." Just make it sound like normal busy whatevs. I too would NEVER pile in with the co-workers (the 2 days is plenty and grown-ups get that), I'm not an introvert, and I can imagine a boss not loving the opt-out, but not really making a big deal out of it.
posted by thinkpiece at 10:21 AM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I was going to say, offer to drive. Driver's not responsible for conversation; but does decide when to stop.

I personally couldn't participate in something like this as a passenger even if I wanted to because I get terribly carsick unless I'm driving. Perhaps... you happen to share this affliction.
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:23 AM on January 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


huronbob, it's a five hour drive. i hardly think it would be expected that the poster would have to be interacting with the other people in the car for 5 hours straight. even if it was three hours, i doubt interaction would be required for the entire trip. i tend to fall asleep in long drives like that if i'm not driving myself, regardless of how much talking other people are doing around me.
posted by violetk at 10:31 AM on January 12, 2012


At the risk of answering question B when you asked question A, I'm going to gently suggest that you ponder for another ten minutes whether you could handle the shared car trip despite its obvious nonoptimality. As an introvert myself, I kind of appreciate this sort of situation, because it forces me to interact with other people instead of ducking out (which of course is what I would really rather do), so I get to demonstrate some sort of social skill rather than being (in their minds) That Guy Who Is Too Good To Hang Out With Everyone Else. If you really can't handle it, of course I understand, but it's worth spending a little time figuring out if you can grit you teeth and get through it.
posted by dfan at 10:39 AM on January 12, 2012


Could you tell them that you frequently get carsick on long trips and don't want to make all of your coworkers deal with that?
posted by beepbeepboopboop at 10:55 AM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm another introvert, but I'd really recommend sucking it up and riding with the group --- seven people in two large SUVs? Just make sure you get in the 3-people car not the 4-people car, even though that doesn't sound exactly *crowded*..... And yes, offer to drive, they'll expect less conversation from the driver.

Alternatively: when you make the request to your boss to drive yourself, specifically tell him that you do NOT expect milage reimbursement, as well as using the "stopping off to visit friends" white lie.
posted by easily confused at 11:05 AM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have been in this exact scenario with different groups and different companies. Each time I knew what the expectation was - in one case, driving on my own and being reimbursed was completely cool, and in one case it was not. You have to understand your office culture.

Bottom line: Know your office and culture.
posted by seesom at 11:33 AM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


"It's not going to be a chat marathon..."
"it's a five hour drive. i hardly think it would be expected that the poster would have to be interacting with the other people in the car for 5 hours straight. even if it was three hours, i doubt interaction would be required for the entire trip."
"And yes, offer to drive, they'll expect less conversation from the driver."
Haha, be careful here. I generally would think the same thing, unless, included in that group, there was someone like the guy in my department who chats awkwardly, in the most unsympathetic way, about the most inane shit.

If you volunteer to drive, be prepared for the possibility of some dullard, who LOVES to talk but never gets listened to, plopping themselves down in shotgun with a
"well, I guess someone's gotta keep you awake, haha!"

If you go with the group, definitely bring Things To Do. Remember to bring enough for the way there AND the way back. If you have an iPod, bring it if you value your sanity.
You never notice all of the little annoying things your coworkers do UNTIL you go on a 10 hour round trip. Granted, not everyone is annoying, but to an introvert, things can magnify a thousand-fold.

I'm not saying you shouldn't consider carpooling, but you should definitely be prepared for the horror that is being trapped with other human beings in a tiny box, while doing one of the most bicker-able things known to man (ie driving).
posted by DisreputableDog at 11:45 AM on January 12, 2012


My introverted husband just went through this. Another 5-hour each-way road trip, scheduled for 3 or 4 guys all in one car. His solution was to be the driver. That way he didn't have to interact much with the coworkers (his excuse was he can't concentrate on the road if people talk at him), he decided when to stop for gas, etc. As a bonus, when they got to their destination, since the rental car was in his name with the rental agency, no one else could drive it, so he could drive off & site-see or whatever if he needed alone time.
posted by cuddles.mcsnuggy at 2:16 PM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Seven of you, two big SUVs. Could you work it out so that you were by yourself in the back seat for a good chunk of time? If every seat were occupied, I'd say "drive yourself" in a second, but if you have the opportunity to go along with the team and have time/space to yourself, maybe you should go with that.
posted by epj at 3:09 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


huronbob, it's a five hour drive. ... depends on how fast you drive... :)
posted by HuronBob at 4:38 PM on January 12, 2012


Thanks for the ideas. I told my boss I'm going to use the opportunity to visit relatives and he was perfectly fine with it.
posted by dalesd at 2:11 PM on January 13, 2012


« Older Early 40's male looking for re...   |  Is there a very good, full-fea... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.