The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

May 17, 2013

Watercooler: Which comes first, business or pleasure?

— Q: I have an event coming up that I'm really excited about attending, have been planning for months and have invested significant funds into. My boss was recently discussing a business trip for one of my projects that occurs on the same dates as the personal event.

I told her I didn't believe my attendance is mandatory and that the funding for my travel could be put toward other priorities. She suggested that it would nevertheless be a "good learning experience."

Do I forgo the personal event? Or do I establish boundaries to preserve my personal life — and how do I do that without sounding as though I don't care about my professional development?

A: Pop quiz! Your boss asks you to go on a business trip, but you have a conflict. Which response is healthier for your professional development?

1. "I'd like to go, but there's one problem: Those are the same dates as this event I've been planning to attend for months."

2. "Actually, I don't think my presence is required on this trip that you, my boss, have asked me to take. You're better off investing that travel budget elsewhere."

I'm exaggerating, but honesty just seems so obviously the easier, smarter tack that I have to wonder why you're not taking it. You may think that making a work-based case for declining this trip seems more professional, but — unless your boss is a sadist, or you had been asked to keep those dates free, or this trip is more important than either of you is letting on — I would think she'd respect your prior engagement.

Sometimes, a vital career opportunity is worth shifting your personal plans for. Short of that, I think you're entitled to draw the work-life line at an event for which you've paid deposits, bought tickets or hocked your car.

Text Only
Business
  • Fancy management systems won’t fix bad managers

    In violation of my long-standing “only watch TV” rule, I read an article recently about how Zappos is adopting a management structure known as holacracy.

    July 30, 2014

  • Your Office Coach: Supervisor-employee boundaries must be honored

    QUESTION: Two weeks ago, my husband “Barry“ unexpectedly came home from work with a large flat-screen television. He explained that one of his employees gave it to him as repayment for a loan. I was shocked, because I had no idea that Barry was lending people money.

    July 29, 2014

  • Silly mistakes that sink job applicants

    Some employers won’t care - or won’t catch them - but mistakes in word usage can put your application in the reject pile.

    July 29, 2014

  • Watercooler: Raised to the roof

    Q: Over 15 years, I have worked my way up the corporate ladder with the same organization. I have been given a raise every year and excellent reviews, as well as several promotions.

    July 25, 2014

  • Career Coach Q&A: job search follow-up; introverts as leaders

    Starting a business:

    Q: I have a stable job that I don't hate, but I have an idea for starting my own business.

    July 25, 2014

  • How to become a leader

    QUESTION: I’ve just been promoted into a leadership role. I’m excited, but also kind of overwhelmed. What do I need to do to be good at my new job?

    July 24, 2014

  • Balancing Act: How much is your time worth? Consider outsourcing some tasks

    Todd Paton has a booming business getting customers noticed on the Web. One tool he uses is generating online press releases to build brand awareness and create links that will send traffic to a customer’s website. But Paton, owner of Paton Internet Marketing, acknowledges that writing the releases is not his strong suit. Rather than spend his time doing it, he hires out the task.

    July 23, 2014

  • The Color of Money: No easy way to get out of debt

    Many people who are deeply in debt are desperate for a quick fix. They ask the question: What can I do to get out of debt?

    July 21, 2014

  • Watercooler: When to speak up if you see problems down the line

    Q: Our organization has hired a new director. I am one of a number of division heads; above us, there's the associate director, and above him is the director. The associate director is feared and disliked for his duplicity and dictatorial nature, though few have come forward because of his vindictiveness.

    July 18, 2014

  • Career Coach: Bringing a purpose-driven spirit to work

    Increasingly, religious beliefs and practices of employees are becoming more evident in the workplace. Religious diversity and concepts of spirituality are more prevalent in organizational settings.

    July 18, 2014

Business Video
Stocks