I’ve been with this company for almost two years now, and every now and then, they send all of their devs on an event of their choosing, with all expenses (except food related) paid by them. They have done this two times now, and the probability of doing it again is high, since that there have been some talking on sending the developers again to an event.
The first time they sent devs, to the event A, I refused to go. I wasn’t even there for a year, wasn’t involved on any of the conversation related to that event, and I had no familiarity with any of my co-workers, so I just said I didn’t wanted to go. Apart from that was in a different country, and I hate travelling long distances (I will talk more about this below).
The second time, was to event B, which was in the same city. Even though it was on a weekend, and I also wasn’t keen on going, I attended that event alongside my co-workers.
Now, there is the chance that they are sending devs to event C, which is in the same country but in a different city, and I already have my mind set: I don’t want to go.
Now the reasons I don’t want to go are:
I am an after-hours college student, studying computer science, and also working on IT. I work a lot of hours (almost as 9.5 hours, with working half my lunch break), and sometimes, as much as 11 hours (with overtime). This working schedule has already made me quit a lot college subjects, as there was no time to study for exams or time for work assignments (I almost had to work close to 3 AM to deliver said work).
So, it it is reasonable to me that I can use the time off-work to focus on college, and event C is scheduled at the end of the semester, which is the time that I have to deliver the final assignments for college subjects. Around that time I usually focus heavily on college, because I’m paying a lot to be there and I just can’t keep quitting or failing college subjects.
I’m shy, and therefore, I don’t socialize a lot with strangers, and usually feel like an outsider or out of my mind when going to said events. I also feel uncomfortable being in a room with a lot of people, and that only emphasises the fact that I can’t just start conversations with strangers. I also hate traveling long distances because of that, however, I don’t mind moving around my city. I just don’t want to go to another country or city without me feeling comfortable with that. Also this team talks about a lot of gossip (which I’m not interested on hearing it) about our team, and sometimes, about of specific members of the team. I don’t want to be apart of that.
The event is about a tech stack that I’m not interested in, but it’s within the company's interests. Even if I was keen on going, I would just feel numb and dumb about the event, since I can’t talk much about said stack, and it’s not really in my interests. Also, it’s outside my scope of work, as I was not hired to deal with that tech stack, even though my team leader and senior colleague are trying to get me to work with that. I keep avoiding because it is more responsibility for the same money. I have my work increased, but not my pay check.
I’ve talked to my team leader about a raise, and I’ve been told that it was already approved on budget, but probably would only see that increase early this year. This company pays below market and it’s no news that every job offer will pay more that what I currently earn.
That, alongside the overtime and quitting college subjects, has put me a lot of stress that I eventually started to look for new jobs, or almost quit college for once and for all. So yes, I start working with this tech stack as soon my raise is reflected on my pay check, and my team leader sort of knows about this (I didn’t specifically tackle this issue, I just said that work has made me quit college, and that I’m not interested on starting on said stack, to which he replied that, can't decrease the amount of work because of college, and eventually I had to get my hands on this stack.
So the questions are:
How do I politely decline the going to event C, without getting asked (for the second time) why I’m not going, or to be seen as a stranger to the rest of the team, or I’m I just overreacting.
And from a team-leader/manager point-of-view, how would this be seen, for someone that has college, and not interested in this particular tech stack.
EDIT: Thank you all for your replies. What I needed to see was how other people perceived this. I'm actually considering my standing, because of the comments, so thank you! I believe that, since the event spans during the weekend, it's fair that at least I get my weekend back during the next working week. During the event I will be attending on company's name, so I won't be able to get some of my assigmenfs done. However this will be a bit of painful negotiation, as they will see college as an excuse, not as something important to me.
Thanks again for the replies, it definitely made me reconsider the position I was taking.