How do I stall booking a business trip when I plan on resigning?
August 15, 2007 9:43 AM   Subscribe

I am being pressured to make travel arrangements for a conference in October, but I plan on resigning sometime next week. How do I stall or get out of it without blowing my cover? I've already been stalling for a month, it's becoming more and more difficult to put it off.

[I'm asking for a friend. She continues:]

I work for a small company, and during the past six months my boss has periodically mentioned the idea of attending a professional conference with her this fall. While I've never been particularly excited about the idea, I've never expressed any reluctance to attend either. Now, I've been in talks with another firm over the past month and I'm getting ready to leave this job. I've received an offer that is fairly certain but need to wait a little over a week for the contact at the other firm to return from vacation and finalize the details. For the past few weeks, my current boss has been urging me to book travel accommodations for the conference, and it's becoming difficult to stall any longer. Today I was asked to finalize my hotel and flight plans by the end of the week. I'd like to leave the company on good terms, so booking the travel without having any intention of going is not an ideal option. Also, random excuses like a fear of flying would seem contrived, as I've never mentioned it previously. Is there any graceful way to resolve this situation?
posted by yeti to Work & Money (16 answers total)
 
Call in sick for the rest of the week.
posted by hermitosis at 9:45 AM on August 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


Your new job is NOT a done deal yet. Anything can still happen. So you need to hedge your bets. Finalize the plans, but try to ensure they can be canceled at no charge to the company. If anyone gives you any beef about backing out of the plans at the last minute, explain that you did everything you could to avoid leaving people in a lurch, but you had to be responsible for all parties -- yourself, your old employer and your new employer -- given that your new job offer wasn't finalized.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:50 AM on August 15, 2007


Can you tell her that you may have a scheduling conflict and will be able to provide more information next week? If she asks, just tell her it is a personal matter.
posted by momzilla at 9:53 AM on August 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Would you be booking these yourself? Then you could make an itinerary at someplace like Expedia.com, email it to yourself, take out anything that says "THIS IS NOT ACTUALLY BOOKED", print it and present it to your boss.

If you get the other job, it doesn't cost the company to "cancel" it. If you don't get the other job, you should still be able to book it, or something close enough (you can always claim some flight became unavailable and you had to re-book).

Ideally, I would pressure the new company to finalize everything by the end of the week (if it is a fairly done deal anyway) so you don't have to resort to subterfuge.

But as others have said, you don't have the new job until you have it, so protecting your current job is the number one priority.
posted by mikepop at 9:59 AM on August 15, 2007


Why not call the new company and tell them your issue - they may be able to give you a green light without paper work - wait till next week and tell your boss things came up and you were too busy to get your reservations...hopefully things will time out with giving notice and everyone wins
posted by doorsfan at 10:12 AM on August 15, 2007


What's the cancellation penalties associated with booking travel? You can almost always, for example, book a hotel and then cancel it weeks ahead of time with no penalty. Flights typically have a penalty associated with it so you could drag your feet on this one while showing "progress."
posted by donovan at 10:14 AM on August 15, 2007


Book refundable travel. Easy peasy.
posted by The World Famous at 10:16 AM on August 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm not telling you to just book the ticket, but hotel reservations are cancellable, and while plane reservations are often nonrefundable, the cost to your old company of eating the plane ticket will pale in comparison to the cost of replacing you.
posted by Dec One at 10:16 AM on August 15, 2007


they may be able to give you a green light without paper work

Don't quit your current job without signed paperwork from the new job.
posted by mikepop at 10:18 AM on August 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Book through travelocity or whatever and buy their 20$ travel insurance. That lets you cancel the tickets without getting totally screwed.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 10:40 AM on August 15, 2007


CAn you buy a ticket that is transferrable to someone else in the company that could go with your boss?
posted by konolia at 11:30 AM on August 15, 2007


Book through travelocity or whatever and buy their 20$ travel insurance. That lets you cancel the tickets without getting totally screwed.

Word of caution here: check the travel insurance terms and conditions before you count on this. A lot of insurance riders don't allow for a refund unless certain conditions are met (illness, death in family, etc.), and merely wanting to change plans often isn't covered.

So says someone that lost a $1000 ticket to Greece because he didn't read the terms of cancellation properly.
posted by buddha9090 at 11:44 AM on August 15, 2007


Most airlines allow you to cancel and will then hold the credit for a year. The problem is that the credit will be in your name and therefore useless to your current employer.

Hotel and conference registration should be fairly cancellable until week before.
posted by dripdripdrop at 12:42 PM on August 15, 2007


Tell them you may have a scheduling conflict, due to a matter in your personal life. Say you should be able to provide more information in a week or two. They won't know whether that means you're going to quit, about to buy a house, dealing with out-of-town visitors, awaiting surgery or what. If you don't get the new job, you can just say that the conflict worked itself out. If you do get it, they should at least be minutely relieved that you didn't put them on the hook for a conference.
posted by acoutu at 3:50 PM on August 15, 2007


Can you tell her that you may have a scheduling conflict and will be able to provide more information next week? If she asks, just tell her it is a personal matter.

This is really the best solution. It has the added benefit of being honest. We're talking a matter of days here; just note that in an email to your boss and let it go at that.
posted by mediareport at 7:27 PM on August 15, 2007


Why not just outright have a personal conflict? That way, they also start looking for someone else to staff the booth (or whatever), and don't waste money on your conference registration.
posted by salvia at 8:02 AM on August 16, 2007


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