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Every few years, our small team goes on a excursion and usually everyone attends. This year I declined the invitation simply because I didn't feel like going, I found some new hobbies for myself and I want to spent more time practicing them.

However since this is somewhat uncommon behavior, my boss took it on himself to investigate the reasoning behind this and also get me on board with everyone else. He assumed that I'm having financial issues and discussed it with one of my close friends in the office, while beforehand he also spoke to a few other colleagues, without my knowledge, asking them if they would be okay to donate a certain amount of money to pay for my travel.

How should proceed? I'm upset and while I do understand why he did that, I do not agree with the approach he has taken. There's nothing specifically wrong about not having the resources to afford the trip, but I don't want my colleagues to feel pity for me when there is not need for that.

It's worth pointing out that we recently had some incidents in our family that required medical care and that's probably the main reason why he believes money is the problem.

  • @AnneDaunted I don't want to accept the money and this act made me feel even less like going with everyone on the trip. I want to make it clear that I don't want this to happen again. I'm not sure how to approach everyone in the offices about it. – Vermilion Apr 26 '18 at 17:52
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    Is the excursion during your own time off, or during work time? Will work be conducted during the excursion? – thursdaysgeek Apr 26 '18 at 18:01
  • @thursdaysgeek it's just a way to relief stress and get the team members to know each other better, it's not work related and it's not during work time. – Vermilion Apr 26 '18 at 18:02
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    These are really nice colleagues and bosses. You should not think in terms of "pity" but "supportiveness". You say they go out every few years. Unless it's the family incidents that keep you from going (in which case you could say that you do not have the energy - rather than the money - for an excursion), is it really worth becoming the outsider of such a tight-knit and supportive team for not wanting to go once every several years? – Captain Emacs Apr 26 '18 at 18:59
  • Are you an exempt employee? In other words can you be asked to work overtime without getting paid extra? – DJClayworth Apr 26 '18 at 19:11
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How should proceed?

If this makes you uncomfortable, and besides that would be unnecessary, then you should proceed to talk to your boss and explain to him the real reasons for you declining the trip.

Make sure to mention that although you would love to go with them, you are really keen an enthusiastic about these new hobbies you are exploring.

After that, be sure to tell him that you deeply appreciate the gesture and support they offered (as it is in fact quite special for them to do so), but you feel it's unnecessary and would be uncomfortable accepting the money when the situation is not that serious.

Simply explaining to him the real reasons will surely make him understand and not insist in the matter.


Now, I would like to comment on another thing you mentioned:

but I don't want my colleagues to feel pity for me when there is not need for that.

How do you know they are doing this out of "pity"?

Based on your description, seems to me that you have quite a supportive and considerate colleagues and boss. Not in all places you will find coworkers like this, so it seems to me that it is really more likely they are doing this for something far more relevant than pity.

Again, if this situation repeats itself, either for another misunderstanding or a real issue, it all goes down to if you feel comfortable with it. If you don't, well don't accept it again. However, I suggest you try to be more open for help when people offer it; there is nothing wrong in accepting it when needed.

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    Explaining the "real reasons" would be very undiplomatic. "Sorry, I prefer my own hobbies to your guys' ones". A better way is to link it to the family incidents draining the OP's energy. – Captain Emacs Apr 26 '18 at 19:01
  • @CaptainEmacs that would be lying actually, and would eventually lead to another lie, and another, just to cover this up. OP could also try to leave the hobbies for other time, but based on his description of his colleagues I am positive they will understand his decision. It is not like he is forced to go – DarkCygnus Apr 26 '18 at 19:04
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    Is it a lie? People are sometimes tired of doing stuff in a particular environment, but it does not mean that they cannot relax with a different activity in a different context and company. "I do not feel like it" is definitely not a formulation I would use, it is a good way to alienate people, unless you know them very well - but to me it looks like a lack of enthusiasm ("energy", in fact) to go. – Captain Emacs Apr 26 '18 at 19:07
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    Thanks a lot for your input, it gave me a different perspective, I will make sure to clear things up. – Vermilion Apr 26 '18 at 19:34
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    @CaptainEmacs by saying "Sorry, I prefer my own hobbies" would of course be undiplomatic. There are many other ways to phrase it differently. – DarkCygnus Apr 26 '18 at 20:24

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