I work in a startup, and my CEO has invited me to lunch.

The guy makes me feel uneasy, as we do not work together very well, partly because he does not put the effort into defining what he wants or following through, and partly because a part of the requests he has are vanity requests that do not add value to the business(my oppinion). He sometimes gets upset when he does not get what he wants, but hardly says anything about it besides staring me down. This no feedback culture also reflects in lack of transparency regarding the requests he has from my department. I fear he has a bad impression of my work because of this difficult interaction.

Bottom line is, this no feedback and mistrust culture at the top makes me doubt I want to continue working with this company. In the role I have, I normally work directly with C levels, and a certain amount of trust and collaboration is required for that to happen. My direct manager knows my gripes and agrees, but asks me for patience, as things slowly change. He is right, but he is on an extended vacation.

I am dreading the upcoming lunch - I'd like to just eat in peace with people whose company I enjoy.

I don't know if I should

  • cancel the lunch

  • go through with it and just be nice

  • go through with it and see if he has any reasons for the invite such as contract talk

  • go through with it and approach the topic above

My gut feeling says just cancel the lunch, look for a new job for when my contract expires and forget about this mess, regardless of the bad impression it might make. I believe I would have no trouble getting an excellent recommendation from my direct manager, despite the short duration. As for getting another job, it never took me longer than 2-3 weeks, which is usual for tech startup people.

  • 1
    Questions asking for advice on what to do are not practical answerable questions (e.g. "what job should I take?", or "what skills should I learn?"). Questions should get answers explaining why and how to make a decision, not advice on what to do. More info – BSMP Apr 19 '16 at 15:29
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    This question is a poor fit for this SE and will likely be closed. That said, I would go through with it and see what he has to say. There are so many possible reasons he could want to take you to lunch, it's worth finding out what's on his mind. – Myles Apr 19 '16 at 15:33
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    What would happen if you interpreted this lunch as the CEO's attempt to build that trust and collaboration you need to do well here? If you relaxed, stop worrying so much about how awful he is at being the CEO and just got to know him? Seems to me like worst case would be things are just as they are now. But there's an opportunity for things to be amazing if you could end up with the relationship with the CEO you need. – Kate Gregory Apr 19 '16 at 15:41
  • You guys are right. I'm being too self consumed – justasking Apr 19 '16 at 16:20

You should combine choices 2 and 3 of yours. There is nothing to lose. Don't get worked up and be nice and polite. Do not be afraid to be straight forward though !

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  • Thank you, as this seems to be the overwhelming majority oppinion, I will get over myself and go through with it – justasking Apr 19 '16 at 16:19

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