I have signed a new contract recently. My start date is in 2 months. I will be a remote worker, the company headquarters is really far away from me - an 8 hour car trip. They are organizing an integration meeting with remote workers from all over the country. I can't go and the real reason is that I don't have money for such trip (the travel itself and renting a room). Also, all my days off in my current company are cancelled due to my upcoming resignation. I can't afford taking an unpaid day off.

I don't want to give my new employer a bad impression - as if I don't want to integrate with the team. I will be fully available for them when the contract becomes valid (after my start date), but for now, it's really a problem for me to go there just to have fun... How should I explain this to them?

  • 3
    If I were you, I'd find a way to go to that meeting. Commented Jun 17, 2018 at 22:09
  • 9
    Have you asked whether they'll cover travel expenses? Commented Jun 17, 2018 at 22:20
  • @Dunkeling no, I didn't. and yes, it is on workday. Admitting to not have money is a bit shameful for me since we talk about IT which is considered "rich" in my country. I don't want to be perceived as greed. But also I don't want to lie, so it may be a way, at least shows my initiative.
    – unhit
    Commented Jun 17, 2018 at 22:41
  • 4
    Please could you mention which country this is in? In the UK I would expect the employer to pay for my time, cost of travel, hotel, and meals in this situation.
    – user16259
    Commented Jun 18, 2018 at 9:33
  • @user16259 Poland. It is not so obvious here especially in smaller companies. Also invitation sounded informal like hey, come hang out with us. They didn't include any info about compensation. Contract hasn't started yet and I still have duties in current job.
    – unhit
    Commented Jun 18, 2018 at 11:38

5 Answers 5


If I understand correctly, you want to go and get integrated and meet the other people, but you can't afford the travel costs or an unpaid day from work. Your choices are to decline (or actually just ask if you can go to the next one) with a lie, or with the truth.

The advantages of the truth are:

  • they may say "oh, we will cover the travel and pay you for a day of your time of course"
  • they may say "ok, we understand, there's another one in 2 months, you can just attend that one"
  • they will realize you do truly want to do the meeting and aren't just making up a transparent excuse or story.
  • other good things may happen that I can't predict. When everyone involved knows the whole story, solutions are possible that would never be suggested if you were claiming you needed to stay near a dying parent or some such thing.

The disadvantage of the truth is:

  • it's a little embarrassing that you don't have a lot of spare money. However, you have already shown that you are fixing that by taking this job, so don't worry about it. In fact, the slight embarrassment factor shows that you're willing to do the right thing (tell the truth) even when it hurts a little.

You can't be the first person with this problem. Be honest and open and see what can be worked out.

  • 1
    I told them the truth without saying "no". Waiting for reaction.
    – unhit
    Commented Jun 18, 2018 at 8:08
  1. Try to find a way to go there.

  2. Simply tell that you can't get a current leave from current company because I have to finish many works before leaving this. I think it is good impression for you.


As a side note it would be helpful to know where in the world your job is located as that can impact the answer.

That being said if they are asking for you to work remotely and then come into the office they should be paying for your travel and lodging. When I was interviewing for jobs around the country when travel was involved it was standard for the companies involved to handle all travel expenses (some up front, some reimbursed)

Honestly if you are going to work remotely for a company and they want you to come to a meeting before you start (which means they want you to take time off from your current job) and they are not already talking about paying or reimbursing you for the trip I would be very worried about how you will be treated in the future.

If you are ever traveling for business as part of your job your company should be covering it though it may not be paid out until after the trip. Though to be fair unless you are in a more senior position and have access to a company card they should cover everything up front.


I would try to get there, if possible, as it is big disadvantage not be on first meeting. Also it is good to know all those people beforehand and there may be some interesting / important information about your upcoming work, which later "would everyone just know" and so will not repeat it for you, until you explicitely asked (for what you do not know you do not know - so probably will found it only when you will do/not do something, which all other would be strange as "it was already discussed in so much details" (on the first before work meeting)

But if it is not possible (and it sounds it is on workday too), I would send letter/email/what your preferred communications is, that you are verry sorry, you cannot go there, because you are still bounded by previous contract and cannot affort (may or may not add both "finantially and in terms of time") to work for the new contract before its starting time (the date 2 month from now). (Well, as you are not expected to work for someone else, when your contract would start).

Anyway you should ask about what important was communicated there (jus after this meeting ends, or when you start actually work there - depends on so much details that we do not know, what is more appropriate)

I personally sometimes refused attend some team-building events as it was not on work hours, was not paid overtime and I had other plans for the time (and sometimes I attended it). I announced it (politely but in firm terms) as soon, as I got the invitation and all went ok and nobody had problem with it, as I announced it as soon as was possible, so it was not unexpected at all. The event was not part of my work description after all. On other ocassion I happilly enjoy others on some off-work meeting/celebration/team-building, when I wanted to do so - so nobody was looking on me as "strange and always out of collective" kind of person - which I really am not.

When I rejected the offer, I did not specify, what kind of plans I had for the time, as it was my personal thing, nothing to do with company. (Sometimes that was important personal event, which I planned for and pay for couple month before, sometimes my plans was just to sleep and play games). All questions (and there was only few of them and not too serious) I answered with simple, but polite version "it was my personal think and it went well, thanks for interest" (and that was all about it)


Don't mention the money issue. You don't need to, and you don't want to.

Tell your future employer your obligation to your current employer, that they expect you to be present that day to help in turning over duties and knowledge. (They may not be putting it that way, but it's what you should be doing.)

That way, you're putting it terms of loyalty to whoever you're working for, which is something they undoubtedly respect, figuring that you'll be loyal to them, despite temporary inconvenience.

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