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Personal Time On A Business Trip

Q. Iím heading off on a business trip soon with a colleague who is much more experienced and senior to me. Heís not my boss though; weíre just doing this particular task together. Iíve only met him a couple times (we donít work at the same location) and though polite, heís never been particularly friendly.

I have friends in the city where we are going, and I am looking forward to visiting with them during my downtime. Iím wondering, though: is it rude for me to schedule activities for all my evenings there that do not include my colleague? I would never dream of asking him to socialize with me at home, but since we will be on this trip together, I wonder if it would be inappropriate not to include himÖ?

Forgive me if this is a silly question; I very rarely travel for business, and in the past, Iíve always gone alone.

N. N., Toronto, Ontario, Canada

A. This isnít an all or nothing situation. You donít have to include him in every activity. However, you might consider asking him to join you for one of the evenings. It would be the polite and friendly thing to do. Check with your friends first so you donít spring him on them as a complete surprise. Identify with them ahead of time one evening you could include him. At the start of the trip you could ask him: ďJim, I have some friends I plan on seeing each evening. I wondered if you might like to join us for dinner one evening? Tuesday would be really good.Ē If Jim accepts, then you know it was a good idea to include him for one eveningís activity. You may even end up finding out heís really a nice guy who could be a good friend and colleague to know at work. If he declines, at least youíve made the effort to be friendly. Either way, by asking him for one evening, you donít need to be concerned further about not including him the other evenings. Youíve also let him know your plans so thereís no awkwardness at the end of each day about having to explain your plans that donít include him.

Iíve been on business trips with people numerous times and have never felt put out if a person makes plans during down time to see friends rather than spend time with me. So go ahead, make your plans and try to make it possible for Jim to join you for one evening.

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