I'm really not sure how I should be addressing this, but I am very frustrated. My organization works 9/80's, which means we work 9 hours per day and take every other Friday off. Next Friday (the day before Memorial Day weekend) is an off day. It is also the first day of summer for most children in the area, and coincidently the first day of a family vacation for many families at my office.

I just got a meeting invite yesterday for an 8:30-3:30 meeting on that Friday, scheduled by our new director. The meeting involves about 8 people, all various levels of leadership, working on a specific program effort. It is effectively an all-day status meeting.

I've talked to about half of the other people involved including my direct manager, and like me, they all have vacations planned as well. My knee jerk reaction is to just decline, but I'm getting the impression that most of them are cancelling their family vacation and intend to be there.

My direct manager, seeing how frustrated I was about it, offered to cover for me and suggested a status meeting next week to get him up to speed. Of course I thanked him, but there is no way I'm going to put him in a position where he has to speak for me.

The bottom line is that I'm planning on attending the meeting, even though it means cancelling my vacation, loosing the cost of the park passes I paid for, and working on my day off for a pointless meeting. My wife and kids are really disappointed. I'm taking one for the team. Not for her, but everyone below her that she is screwing over. However I feel like putting up with this is setting a bad precedent. I really don't want to work under someone like this and started polishing my resume last night.

Am I jumping to conclusions?

**** Update ****

Since many of the comments cover the same concerns I will address them here.

  • As I mentioned, she is a new director. This will be the first time I am meeting her, so no I don't have regular communication with her.

  • My time off was approved in the sense that I am not actually taking any time off. The office is closed every other Friday. Nobody works on this day and the directory is well aware of this.

  • A colleague on the meeting tried cancelling and she re-scheduled it to put him back on it. She added to the notes that she was scheduling in advance to give him time to flex the time. Basically what that means is that assuming he can afford to cancel all his meeting on say.... Tuesday, he could take off Tuesday rather than have a 4 day weekend.

  • For those of you asking why I am even still considering going: As I said before. If I do not go, I will be the only one not going. Others will have to speak on my behalf. For this meeting in particular I am the subject matter expert. If everyone just said no in unison, it might work but I feel that I would be letting my team down.

  • My manager, has already said he would cover me, but I know he will be missing his vacation to do so. I am not going to put him in a bad position where he has to speak for me.

  • Yes I'm very disappointed in addition to my wife and kids. That should be obvious.

  • I could decline and legally there is no way any repercussions could come to me. This is more about supporting my team.

**** second update ****

Not sure if she had a change of heart but she finally moved the meeting to Thursday. I'm sure she had a lot of push-back including my own.


6 Answers 6


Canceling your vacation and throwing away not only your money but time with your family is setting a bad precedent. Don't do it.

Your organization has a schedule. A new director scheduled a meeting for a day when people are off and have made plans. Since you mentioned vacations, I would presume that some people, like yourself, have asked for and been given appropriate permission to take additional days off and may have made non-refundable arrangements.

Since the 9/80 schedule is a company policy, someone (ideally the director's manager) should inform the new director of this, and the meeting should be rescheduled. If not, your manager is doing what a great manager should do and cover for their employees. If the meeting isn't rescheduled to a standard working day, do exactly what your manager suggests: decline the meeting, say why and that your manager is covering for you, and then set up the time to brief your manager. A manager should always be able to speak on behalf of their employees.

  • 39
    Agreed, definitely don't cancel your vacation. Especially if this makes you want to leave the company anyway, there's no need to go above and beyond at the expense of your family to impress anyone.
    – InBedded16
    Commented May 16 at 14:01
  • 18
    And the difference between doing the meeting on Friday vs the following Tuesday is probably meaningless anyway. I'd reply I'm on vacation and will not attend.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented May 16 at 16:19
  • 12
    The manager should also decline the meeting since they have the day off too. Maybe the director isn't well informed, is unaware, etc. but people shouldn't all cave just to avoid pointing out that is everyone's day off.
    – JeffC
    Commented May 17 at 0:43
  • 5
    At the very least, if the 9/80 schedule is a company policy and you are forced into attending the meeting, then the company should be compensating you for money you have lost out of pocket. In addition, they should be also paying you OT
    – Peter M
    Commented May 17 at 15:27
  • 8
    Given the details in the updated question, this is definitely the right answer. The entire office is closed on those Fridays and no one comes in. It's not unreasonable for employees to have made plans for their regularly scheduled off day, and it is unreasonable to schedule a meeting with a single team on that day at such short notice and expect them to all be able to attend.
    – Herohtar
    Commented May 19 at 5:28

This would be no different than if you worked Monday through Friday, and someone new planned a meeting on a Saturday. It's your scheduled day off. The planned vacation is just incidental.

Decline the meeting. If you use Microsoft Outlook, there's a feature that sends a notification when you decline -- use it. If the director contacts you, inform that person that the meeting is scheduled on your day off. Add on that you have an important personal concern during that weekend, but do not share the nature of where you're going or what you're doing. If the director presses, then say "it's personal!" (and repeat as many times as you need to). Do not give any information by which this person can try to one-up you (i.e. start a pissing-match) on the notion that last-minute company business is more important than your family time.

Then go enjoy your time with your family.

  • 7
    If they have Outlook, the person who scheduled that meeting should have gotten a warning when they scheduled that some attendees would not be available. Particularly if they were marked as required.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented May 16 at 22:52
  • 26
    @T.E.D. that's contingent on someone having setup working hours correctly. There's no guarantee that whoever did so knew they could update the system to be 9/80 aware vs the normal 5/40 setup. Commented May 16 at 23:27
  • 26
    It is entirely possible that the meeting organiser chose that day solely because it looked free in everyone's calendar. If "everyone in the company" knows that it is a day off, but the new director doesn't, it might not generally be blocked as vacation - after all, employees don't normally block weekends off. Commented May 17 at 13:02
  • 4
    @DanIsFiddlingByFirelight I'm not even sure it's possible to setup Outlook/Exchange for 9/80 (other than adding a recurring meeting to each user's calendar)
    – jcaron
    Commented May 17 at 13:33
  • 10
    I agree on the emphasized point. I'd even say 'It's the weekend' instead of 'Its personal' because there shouldn't be any argument for getting your scheduled weekends off. I bet the new director didn't even approve to pay people overtime. Commented May 17 at 13:59

Not communicating is a bad precedent.

Why are you (and your supervisor) walking on eggshells? It sounds like you've had reason to quit well before this silly meeting.

Do you not have a line of communication with the new director?

Something like this would be appropriate:

Hi director,

I'm concerned about the meeting scheduled for 5/24 as it seems to be an "off" day in the company's 9/80 work schedule.

I have a planned and paid-for family vacation set to start on 5/24 and believe that many others do as well.

Thank you

Maybe ask your supervisor to send such a message?

Alternatively, if you don't wish to reveal your plans:

I will be out of town starting on 5/24 and cannot attend during the requested timeframe.

  • 23
    I wouldn't mention "I could come to the meeting at lots of cost to me and zero cost to you" tbh, and just stick with "This is an off day and I'm not available to come to your meeting".
    – Erik
    Commented May 17 at 12:56
  • @Erik Good call. If the director is tone-deaf enough to schedule an all-day meeting on everyone's day off then they have a high chance of assuming you're offering to take a financial hit for a meeting.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Commented May 17 at 16:21
  • You should say things that you think will be effective. If there is no effective move at this point, you don't have to be forthcoming about finding a new place to work either. Commented May 20 at 0:44

However I feel like putting up with this is setting a bad precedent. I really don't want to work under someone like this and started polishing my resume last night... Am I jumping to conclusions?

If the meeting was scheduled deliberately during everybody's weekend off-time as some sort of fealty test, then it is not unreasonable to think that this indicative of the new director's style of management.

However... is there any actual indication that this scheduling choice was made in such a deviously calculated manner? Or is that an erroneous conclusion you and your coworkers are jumping to?

Surely, there has got to be some way to check that fact by a simple email like the following:

Dear Director,

The company's 9/80 workweek scheduling puts this pre-Labor-Day-Friday on an "off" Friday. The team meeting that was just set for that day could create issues rescheduling security/janitorial-services/etc. on such short notice. Perhaps it would be easier to reschedule the team meeting for normally-scheduled 9/80 business hours?

Thank You

You would have to tweak the message if your company is just open-24/7-by-keycard or whatever, but presumably there is some way that you can casually inform the director (without calling them out for not knowing the schedule) and offer them an out to reschedule.

If they don't budge, then you know that you weren't jumping to conclusions; but if they do budge then everybody gets their 4-day-weekend back.

  • 14
    What's wrong with just confirming the meeting day? "Hello, I'd like to confirm that the date on the meeting is correct, since that is our off day and many of us will not be available." There's nothing wrong with that, unless the director is entirely unreasonable, in which case, brush up the resume indeed...
    – Herohtar
    Commented May 17 at 20:31
  • 2
    @Herohtar The direct approach would be great. It was just my impression that OP was averse to being that direct (defaulting to "cancel plans and show up smiling but seething"), and so my answer used an extra layer of "beat-around-the-bush" to potentially be easier for OP to implement.
    – DotCounter
    Commented May 17 at 21:51
  • If it is a "fealty test" or something like that, then OP and coworkers need to figure out the next step. Not showing up is suddenly not only the right thing to do with regards to your work obligations, but also an act of solidarity to the people around you.
    – Petter TB
    Commented May 24 at 19:05

The only way I can interpret this question is that you are asking how to word the email?

What about

Dear Director Smith,

Say, regarding the meeting on the 13th, the 13th is not a workday for me. (If I'm not mistaken, the 13th is the same for most other employees.)

Kindly, Reff in the xyz department

If you prefer to not directly email her - then don't.

if you have some sort of calendar type system, just type "not a workday".

Obviously, and it's bizarre typing this, don't go in to work on the 13th. (Which would be kind of like typing, say, "Do deposit your next pay check" or "Go to sleep tonight".)

  • 1
    But deposit the paycheck first. Commented May 20 at 0:41

This is a bit different to the other takes

  1. You have alerted your manager and it's now his responsibility to represent your wishes to the new director, so not much further you can do at this stage if you don't want to let down your manager.
  2. There may be a reason for the off day call.

Given the unusual circumstances, it would be hard to go against the grain. It may well be that the director has deliberately called an emergency meeting due to redundancies, performance, etc.

However, after attending were you to judge it unreasonable and they were to do it again and your manager is unable push back, I'd be inclined to see it as a potential HR issue if you wanted to stay or alternatively a possible polish your cv issue. It's a tough one because the new director is an unknown. I'd go if only just to assist at an early stage and not ruffle feathers before you better understand the reason for the departure from regular work arrangements.

  • 1
    Then 2024 won't be like 2024. Commented May 19 at 13:56
  • 1
    @HappyIdiot - very nice :)
    – Fattie
    Commented May 19 at 19:56

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