I work for a college in the U.S. (where I am also a student). Everybody is on a two week break now because we are in an inter-semester period. This means that I can only communicate with my boss through email. Last Thursday, he sent everybody an email informing us of a mandatory meeting this Thursday. However, I have my orientation for my new school scheduled for the same date and time, and I cannot reschedule that.

I know what this meeting is going to be about (basically a workshop on dealing with students that we do every semester). I sent my boss an email explaining the situation and asking if I could not attend and just read the powerpoint/brochure of the meeting at home. I also said that if necessary, I can probably cut hours from my orientation and attend it (I have not checked if I can do this yet, and I would have to cut over half the orientation). I sent this email Friday, but he has yet to respond. Sometimes emails seem to get lost (as in we don't seem receive them, at least according to him) between me and him, and it has happened before that he hasn't responded to an email on purpose as a sign of disappointed tacit approval (I think). What should I do? I want to send him another email today to make sure that he actually received my last message, but how should I word it and how should I explain the fact that I am sending the same email twice?

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    I sent this email Friday, but he has yet to respond Depending on timezones (and what time you sent it) that's less than 1 working day. Assume he'll get to it eventually and don't send a follow-up.
    – RJFalconer
    Aug 15, 2016 at 14:35
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    Conflicts in meeting schedules happen all the time. If it were me, I would think the orientation is way more important to my future than the meeting with the professor. I wouldn't have even told him there was a small chance I could skip part of the orientation. Instead I would ask how I could make up the material as I cannot attend.
    – mikeazo
    Aug 15, 2016 at 14:44
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    @mikeazo this. I'm sure he understands priorities as well. Aug 15, 2016 at 14:55
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    @DLS3141 He is not working either in the inter-semester period, so I would have to call him on his cellphone number, which I don't have
    – Helix
    Aug 15, 2016 at 15:21
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    He should still have access to his office voice mail. Call, leave a message and explain why you will not be there and of course how to contact you with questions.
    – DLS3141
    Aug 15, 2016 at 15:27

1 Answer 1


First thing to do is learn from your mistakes.

I also said that if necessary, I can probably cut hours from my orientation and attend it (I have not checked if I can do this yet, and I would have to cut over half the orientation).

You don't even know if it is possible, so you shouldn't have mentioned this possibility.

Second thing to do is calm down. You haven't given the professor enough time to respond yet. As you say, everyone is on two week break. Let the guy sleep in and enjoy a morning. I wouldn't even attempt a follow up email until Wednesday morning. At that point, if you still haven't heard from him, simply let him know that you cannot make the meeting as you have orientation at your new school. Ask how you can make up the material you missed. Simple as that.

This orientation meeting is much more important to you than the meeting with the professor. Meeting scheduling conflicts happen all the time and I guarantee you are not the first one that has run into this issue with this professor. So, he will be prepared to handle it accordingly.

  • I sent him the follow up email, and he responded immediately. He said that the meeting is mandatory for anyone working in the fall, and I could not start working until I attended an appointment. Then I tried to schedule one with him, but he said it's not possible within the first 2 weeks of school. When I tried to make an appointment outside of the first 2 weeks, he said his schedule is busy and he cannot make one-on-one meetings with staff. Do you have any suggestions? I am very angry at him, because not only is the meeting off-season, but he sent us the email on the first day of the off
    – Helix
    Aug 17, 2016 at 15:09
  • -season too. Not only this, but there is at least one or two other students who are out of state and will not attend, and I KNOW that he will make exceptions for them; he always does. Do you have any advice? Would it be appropriate for me to let him know I am angry when I see him making the exceptions? Do you have other suggestions?
    – Helix
    Aug 17, 2016 at 15:12
  • Since he won't do one-on-one meetings, I asked him if he can make a meeting for me and one of the other students who will miss the meeting. But he hasn't responded.....
    – Helix
    Aug 17, 2016 at 15:14
  • Personally I would still go to the orientation and skip the meeting. I would also email the others who you know have to miss the meeting and see what they are doing. If they have a makeup, then I would show up at their time, unless he responds in the meantime with other guidance. There is no need to treat your need for a different meeting time with other people's need for a different meeting time. Whenever he returns to his office, show up there in person to discuss how you can make up the meeting. Meeting with people in person can often change how they respond to things.
    – mikeazo
    Aug 17, 2016 at 15:25

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