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I am a new hire at a job that I'm very excited about, and I want to succeed here. There is a mandatory company-wide retreat next summer in Europe (I live in USA along with the majority--I believe--of the company's employees). It's for a weekend, which seems like a short time to go intercontinental, but whatever.

I just learned that the only options for accommodations are in shared tents with air mattresses / sleeping bags. I can upgrade at my own expense, but only to a nicer, also-shared tent.

I already struggle with insomnia even in perfect conditions in my own bed. The thought of sleeping in a non-climate-controlled tent, on the ground, with people I may or may not know or like is giving me a fair amount of anxiety (the clinical, diagnosed kind). Both my insomnia and anxiety are being treated by medication (although we are still working on finding the right treatment) and can be backed with medical documentation.

Does anyone have any suggestions for how to handle this? I'm so new that I don't want to make too many waves, but this seems unreasonable to me. Am I being over-sensitive?

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Jane S Apr 21 '18 at 1:40
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The first step would be bringing up your concerns with whomever is requiring you to attend (likely your manager) and asking for reasonable accommodation for your needs. If that person doesn't have the authority to grant those accommodations then the conversation should shift to who would have that authority and who should contact them.

At the end of the day you have needs and you need to be assertive in ensuring they are met.

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    I cannot promote this answer enough, I would go farther and try to determine where in my contract said, I was required to do the retreat at all. I am over 6 foot 5 inches, travel to Europe is a big deal, something I wouldn’t do except under my conditions. If I had problems sleeping, I would use every resource, to determine what options I actually had not to go – Donald Apr 22 '18 at 5:39
  • @Ramhound Even if you'd been at a new so-far dream-job for under a month? – Kermit Apr 27 '18 at 14:36
  • @Kermit That's where you have to really assess need vs want. Would it be harmful to you to put your preferences aside? In your case I'd assume that being under slept in a strange uncomfortable environment without yet having found the balance for your meds is likely to lead to an episode for your anxiety. I think this makes for a really strong case for need but really you are the only person who can definitely state what your needs are. – Myles Apr 27 '18 at 16:51
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    @Kermit - Flying international for a weekend, in order to camp outside without pay, sounds like a nightmare job. I wouldn’t entertain going for a single minute. – Donald Apr 27 '18 at 20:05
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As the very first step I would start a conversation in your office about this, make it a neutral opener "What about this weekend in europe?" The grumpy person in the office will moan, others will either join in moaning or say they are excited.

What does everyone else think? are they all overjoyed, or are as many of them as annoyed as I would be?

That really will colour your next action. If everyone is annoyed go as a group to management and say something, which somebody (most likely the grumpy person) will decide.

If it is just you... I would go to your boss and start with "I am worried about this trip, I really have trouble sleeping especially in places I don't know" It is up to you whether you mention the anxiety or not. If your boss is good, this should start a conversation.

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    I'm typically the grumpy person :P – Kermit Apr 19 '18 at 16:01
  • Everyone else--who all skew younger than me--seems excited. – Kermit Apr 19 '18 at 16:02

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