There was a decently big conference in town recently, and my boss is very involved - knows the organizer, went himself, but absolutely didn't mention it to me and didn't invite me. I found out via third parties who also knew the organizer and did invite me. I opted not to go due to this situation with my boss, even though I wanted to.

Now the thing is, this conference is specifically for a technology stack I work in virtually every day, and I work in a very small company - I deal directly with this boss every day, and he is also the owner.

I don't want to say I feel slighted, but I'm not quite sure why I wouldn't be at the very least invited to an event like this. It is a good networking and cross pollination opportunity.

Should I bring this up? The only reasons I can think of that my boss wouldn't invite me are if he feels I'm incompetent (unlikely but possible) or if he is fearful I will meet other people, compare notes and decide to leave ship. I feel slighted, but I'm not sure if this is a wise idea to bring up, or if I should just assume my boss does not have my career interests at heart.

  • 1
    "Should I bring this up?" Note that questions asking "Should I...?" are generally considered off-topic, because what to do is a personal decision. Try rephrasing it to ask something more concrete, such as "How can I address this with my boss?", or "How can I find out why s/he did this?".
    – sleske
    Aug 22 '16 at 6:53

It's purely up to the boss if he deems there is reason enough for you to go to conferences. Second guessing his reasoning is not very constructive. Questioning his reasoning to his face even less so.

  • My reasoning is this - if he's not interested in my professional development, then this is a situation I need to sever. If a boss is uninterested in my professional development, then simply put I am uninterested in working for his company.
    – Joe Smentz
    Aug 22 '16 at 5:24
  • That's a whole other question and being opinion based isn't really answerable here. It certainly looks like he's not interested in you furthering yourself, but who's to know? You should have attended yourself if you wanted to. The implication if you go with your boss is that you rep the company.
    – Kilisi
    Aug 22 '16 at 5:32
  • 2
    @JoeC - for you, not inviting you to this conference is a sign that he is not interested in your professional development? That doesn't make sense to me. You should check that assumption with your manager. Aug 22 '16 at 15:43

By invite you, do you mean to say that you expected your boss to pay for it? Or do you mean just an invitation?

In either case, why would you not bring it up yourself if you knew about it beforehand? A simple "do you know about XYZ conference? I am thinking of attending and want to check with you whether it would be useful considering I work everyday on topic XYZ. Also, any chance that the company can cover the registration cost?"

This seems like an issue that arose only because you wanted your boss to give you a royal invitation... (s)he may have simply forgotten to ask you or it could've just slipped his/her mind.

  • I actually didn't find out about it until the night before (it was over the weekend). And there's absolutely no way he forgot to ask me. It's the most major conference in the area for our company's particular technology stack, and he deals with me, as a direct report with only a couple of other people in the company. He's also friends with the organizer. As this is my boss' event (by proxy of his friend) I wouldn't want to show up without a personal invitation by him.
    – Joe Smentz
    Aug 22 '16 at 5:14
  • @JoeC You're overthinking this, people forget a lot. Unless your boss hates you or something it most likely just slipped his/her mind. And if that was the case, there would be other signs. And, I've never heard of this I can't go unless I was personally invited rule. It's a conference, not a wedding! People won't hand you things on a silver platter, you gotta ask for a silver platter.
    – player87
    Aug 23 '16 at 5:24

My personal test to see if I will recommend an employee for a conference is: does that employee care enough to take the initiative to find the conference that fits and ask me?

If I start to go round and ask people if they want to attend, from my experience I get the people that really want to go, some people that are reluctant to go but don't want to say no and a whole bunch of people that just take part because it's a day off from their regular work routine.

So if you want to go somewhere, gather information and go ask your boss about it, don't wait for your boss to do that.

Personally, I don't know why you did not take the other invitation you had. I would have asked my boss on my own initiative. If he'd said no, I would have taken the other invitation and went anyway, on my own time.

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