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A little background: I am a software engineer for one of the international corporations, and a new hire at that. Recently, some "higher ups" came to visit our site, and I was invited both personally and through electronic communication to basically all the meetings and evening lunches with them.

Now, they are really way above my level (it's basically CTO, CIO and global IT director of our company), so they are probably bosses of my boss' boss etc.

I am feeling "out of place" on those meetings, since being a recent hire I cannot really input anything of use (and most topics don't even concern me, anyway), and as for evening going out, I feel incredibly stressed, overanalzying everything as to not appear rude or saying something out of line.

On the other hand, I feel like declining those kind of invitations is a no-go.

There's 3 more days scheduled and I already feel burnt out by this. Is there any polite way I can cancel such meetings? I would not like to make false stories, like my mother is sick, if it can be avoided.

  • How many other people are included in these invitations? Just you or the whole company/department? – user44108 Oct 24 '17 at 15:56
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    Is it possible that you were invited by mistake? Who invited you? – Dukeling Oct 24 '17 at 15:56
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    Don't avoid it. It's crucial that you participate on those meetings since they personally invited your team. I think in these meetings, just be professionally casual as you can. Be yourself and have conversation with them as normal human beings. I think the issue here is not that you were invited by higher ups, it's just that you tend to over analyze situations and make a mountain of a mole hill without any justifications. Calm down. Enjoy the meetings and getting to know them. – Isaiah3015 Oct 24 '17 at 16:15
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    Suck it up and attend. Those invitations are not really optional. – paparazzo Oct 24 '17 at 17:26
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    I was invited by the CTO personally. - This is your chance to shine. This is a "Face Time" opportunity many dream of. Put everything you've got into being part of these events / meetings. – Wesley Long Oct 24 '17 at 17:49
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How to handle being invited to meetings and going outs with managers way above your level?

There is only one sure fire way to handle this - attend those meetings and outings.

Sure most of it is going to be way above your paygrade but there are two rare opportunities here. The first is that you get face time with the people that make the money decisions. This can be everything from a raise to whether your department even exists. Attend and be personable.

The second is that they are likely going to speak about whatever future project you will be working on. It might be in passing, they might even cover a number of future projects. Pay attention to the things that are important to management. Make sure you remember those details and apply that knowledge later. It may make the difference between success and failure.

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Is there any polite way I can cancel such meetings?

If they invited you (that is, it is not obligatory for you to go to those meetings) then you are in no way forced to go to every one of them.

Most probably they invited you so you get a good first experience and learn about the company, or simply because they thought it convenient. Anyways, usually being invited is more a formality than it being a default activity in your daily agenda.

I suggest you try to take it easy and keep attending; seems to be a nice opportunity you have here to learn. Just try to be yourself and don't try to come out as witty by having to say some smart remark. Just try to flow with the meetings, and don't forget to pay attention and learn all you can.

If you really want to stop attending the meetings (which I don't recommend) and feel you have to excuse yourself you could try something like: "Hello Mr, I appreciate the opportunity to go to the meetings, but I fear I will start falling behind my tasks if I continue attending them."

  • For the obligatory part, my boss hinted that it's more or less expeected I attend the meetings. As for going out in the evening, it's even harder for me because I feel like I would be "that one guy" who refuses to socialize. – Yuropoor Oct 24 '17 at 16:07
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    @Yuropoor then I would do nothing. Anything you do wouldn't make you look good. Some things you just have to suck up and deal with for a bit. – Chris E Oct 24 '17 at 16:10
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    @Yuropoor then, as Chris also suggested, you should try to deal with it a few days. It is still a good opportunity to learn and see the day-by-day of your Company, plus a good chance to get to know other people besides your direct coworkers. – DarkCygnus Oct 24 '17 at 16:18

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