How do I tell my boss I can't make it to a work-related social event?
January 29, 2013 11:28 AM Subscribe
My weekend is overbooked to the tune of family vs. work. Help me figure out how to tell my very difficult boss about this the right way.
posted by chatelaine to human relations (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My boyfriend and his family made special arrangements for us to meet some of his family out of town this coming weekend. Some of his family is flying in from the opposite side of the country for this. The reservations have all been finalized and everyone is set to go. However, my company also scheduled their big formal dinner for this Saturday night. Obviously, I can't make it due to our family plans out of town, but since my company is so small (only 5 people), my absence would be very conspicuous.
This is a company that I have no future with and has clearly stated that it has no plans for my professional growth (that's a separate topic for another MeFi post). Although it is very nice that the company wants to take us on a nice outing, it is a very pretentious event (we have had a couple dinners like this in the past). My boyfriend, on the other hand, is someone that I do have a future with. He is someone who has made it clear that he wants to marry me someday, and who, along with his family, has been nothing short of wonderful to me.
I'm not sure how to go about telling my boss about all this. He is difficult to approach and is not usually very understanding of his employees' personal lives. I have thought about just going to him today and laying it all out there with 110% honesty. Possible outcomes:
A) Boss says OK. (Not likely, and I would probably become the company black sheep starting next Monday.)
B) Boss realizes the conflict, reschedules the dinner for next weekend, and all is well. (It's slightly more likely that this could happen.)
C) Boss mandates my attendance at said dinner, in which case I end up severely disappointing my boyfriend and his family. By the same token, this is the proverbial "last straw" for a company that has not treated me very well and I start packing my professional bags to look for my next career opportunity.
If I don't say anything to anyone (no one at work has any clue about any of this), the dishonest route would be to call in "sick" the day of the dinner. (If I do this, I could possibly still become the black sheep of the company, anyway, but no one would think much of it if they thought I was sick.) I don't want to take this dishonest route if I don't have to, though.
I obviously want to be professional as well as honor my personal obligations. At this point in my life, I'm finding that I'm sick of trying to make everyone else happy at my own expense. Life is too short and I'd rather tell the company (nicely!) that they can stuff it, but it's not going to be easy. How can I go about this? What should I say to the boss? Have any of you been through something similar before (and if so, how did it turn out)?