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Yesterday I received an email inviting me to lunch with my boss's boss, via his secretary.

He is in the second highest position for IT in our company. I believe I know what this is about, but have nothing concrete to back it up. I joined the company recently and put a lot of effort into my job; I even fixed some IT issues that had existed at the company for years. I haven't done anything bad that I know about, so I assume it will be something positive.

My belief is that he just wants to know me better or even offer me a better position; possibly a better fitting one.

Anyway, I accepted the meeting and now I wonder whether I should tell my colleagues or my boss about this. It's a possibility that my boss already knows and wants to see whether I tell him or not.

Should I make a big deal about it?

I know that some people might be jealous after I tell them that I met Mr. X or that they will tell me something about him which I don't want to hear yet. What do you think about this? Is this even something I should be concerned with or should I treat it as normal?

I haven't heard that he invited anyone else from my office so far besides the managers. It's my first time as an employee of a company, so I don't want to mess with my other colleagues in any way that they might see negatively.

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    You are way over thinking this. For all you know this boss randomly takes someone out to lunch every 6 months. – JasonJ Mar 1 '17 at 15:47
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Lilienthal Mar 2 '17 at 13:45
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    No man enjoy your party. Don't think too much, it is just an invitation. – Faizan Akram Dar Mar 2 '17 at 19:46
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    How'd lunch go? – Strawberry Mar 3 '17 at 13:36
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    Lunch was rescheduled for the 14th :/ I will keep u posted – RayofCommand Mar 3 '17 at 14:18
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The boss of my boss invited me for Lunch, should I let my boss and colleagues know?

No.

You don't really know what this is about. It's likely not such a huge deal.

No need to bother your boss or colleagues about it. Maybe they would become jealous, or maybe they would become concerned for you. Either way, it's not their business.

Just go and enjoy your lunch.

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    The only other thing to consider is how your direct manager will react to you having lunch with his boss, which he most likely will. I agree and UPVOTED this answer, just added this as food for thought. – Mister Positive Mar 1 '17 at 19:25
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    One possible caveat: If this has a chance of turning into an extended lunch break, it may be important to inform your supervisor ahead of time that you may be delayed, so as not to have a negative impact on the rest of your team. At my own company, the vice president has a habit of taking random individuals out to lunch with him. Those lunches often extend for a half-hour or more beyond the assigned lunch period. – jmbpiano Mar 2 '17 at 9:51
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    As long as people know he is unavailable for that time, then it shouldn't be an issue. – Andrew Berry Mar 2 '17 at 10:00
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    (To add) Announcing this is bad, even with the best of intentions. "Making colleagues" aware that you're having lunch with "Mr. Bigwig" will be treated as irrelevant to people who don't care and come off as showboating to people that are disenchanted with the workplace. It won't really create a positive impact in people that take it as a "Good for you!" but it could create resentment in the Negative Nancies. Announcing this is an all-around bad idea until such point in time that there is something substantive to announce that actually impacts your coworkers, which is to say "not yet" – K. Alan Bates Mar 3 '17 at 16:32
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Also, No. But I'll elaborate.

I'm not saying this is likely, but what if your boss is being let go and you're getting his job? How would telling him work out then?

Another hypothetical could be that there's a reorganization and you're having something to do with it.

I can see nothing positive to be gained by telling people. While you're almost certainly right that it's just your upline boss getting to know you, if you tell people about it then they're going to want to know what it was about when you get back and depending on what was discussed, that may not be possible. Or you could just make them jealous, as Joe says.

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If your boss' boss wants your boss to know about this invitation, he will have told him. It would be a total disaster of protocol to go over your boss' boss' head in informing anybody in your company about this dinner. It's absolutely his business to proactively tell anyone.

Your own boss aside, it's not your colleagues' business at all, specifically since you have no idea whether this is just lunch or something else yet.

You absolutely should not be actively telling anybody in the company.

It's trickier when you are being asked directly. The less leaky you are yourself, the less likely this situation is about to come up, and the more likely it will be that it was the boss' boss himself who let the information out in which case you are mostly off the hook.

You still want to keep this as little an issue as possible.

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Rather than speculating, I suggest just responding to the assistant that sent the invite and ask what the agenda is, and whether there's anything you need to prepare.

Then you'll have enough data to make a decision whether or not it's appropriate to discuss the lunch with your co-workers and boss. If it truly is get-to-know-you lunch with a skip-level that the big boss does routinely, I would definitely ask others' advice on potential hot buttons to avoid.

(If the assistant tells you it's an imminent regime change, and they're preparing to dethrone your current boss in a public execution--possibly by anti-aircraft weaponry-- while naming you the New King... you probably don't want to chat about it)

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    Asking about the agenda & whether/how one should prepare is a good idea. I still have trouble seeing a scenario where one should share this information with anybody though. – David Mar 2 '17 at 14:00
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    For lunch, you should probably not have to prepare. What kind of weird places do you work? – KarlP Mar 2 '17 at 18:37
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    The point being, the question is a relatively common and professional way to ask, "what is this event about and how formal is it?" – Thunk Mar 2 '17 at 18:47
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I am answering because I think I have a different perspective than the existing answers, and I've been through this many times over the course of a 30 year career in various corporate settings.

There is no point in pretending like this lunch isn't happening. The grapevines in offices are amazingly, scarily efficient. People will find out anyway.

Try instead to build trust with your colleagues - show that you trust them by opening yourself up. Share how you are excited to got to lunch with Mr. Bigwig, and ask them for advice regarding how they would handle it. If you are working with people who will interpret that as you bragging, then they are children in disguise and you needn't worry about what they think. Be sincere, open and honest with your colleagues and the ones who deserve your trust and friendship will be equally excited with you. The ones who will go sulk in a corner will do that no matter what you say or do.

Speaking from experience and learning lessons the hard way. Very best of luck to you! Is there some way we can find out how it goes? Cheers!

P.S. If you would like to explore something interesting about opening up to others, Google "JoHari Window"

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    I will comment it on friday after lunch :-) – RayofCommand Mar 1 '17 at 19:21
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    I do want to say that it is unfortunate... no... disappointing that the majority of responses (answers and comments) seem very focused on lying by omission for fear of how others react. I am sorry, but the more people perpetuate that the worse office environments become. – Hilltop House Mar 2 '17 at 0:36
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    Don't really agree with this answer as, when asked, the OP himself didn't know what it was about. Assume it's just a friendly low-stakes "getting to know you" meeting, don't invite speculation, be open afterwards when you actually know what the meeting was about. – Thomas W Mar 2 '17 at 0:49
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    @Thomas WIt is a lunch. It isn't a top secret summit. There is nothing wrong with sharing one's excitement, nervousness, anxiety over the lunch and over what it might be about. What is going on in someone's life that would make that something one would tell someone else to hide? Again. Unfortunate and disappointing that anybody would add more angst to the situation. In other words, why does it matter what it's about? How does that have anything to do with communicating openly with coworkers? These are all rhetorical questions. Only rhetorical. – Hilltop House Mar 2 '17 at 1:02
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    No secrecy, the point is that there are no facts prior to the lunch having occurred. Nothing to hide, nothing to say. Be open afterwards, when you know what it was actually about. – Thomas W Mar 3 '17 at 0:30
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If you go on this lunch, you should absolutely, positively keep your mouth shut about it! A little misinterpretation goes a long, long way. You might be accused of brown-nosing or trying to subvert your boss, when doing such a thing might be the furthest from your mind; after that, people may treat you differently. Office politics sucks.

  • This answers the question with a no, but offers little to no further context for the OP's specific case. – Anoplexian - Reinstate Monica Mar 1 '17 at 18:45
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    I disagree. It's a decent answer. He explains why it's a no. "You might be accused..." as well as the consequences. Might not be the best answer of the bunch, but but it's a good answer that directly answers it and explains why. While short, I see it as succinct and complete, not worth of downvoting in my opinion – Chris E Mar 1 '17 at 19:49
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I, too, would suggest that you don't say anything to anybody. For a number of reasons:

  1. It is not for you to decide who should know what. Company politics are hard to fathom even when you have been there for years. You can't pretend to read other people's minds.
  2. If your boss needs to know, then he would have been told. He might have instigated the lunch. As other have suggested the lunch might be to his disadvantage if you play your cards right.
  3. If your co-workers are to know, then either your boss, or the boss's boss will make the announcement as and when appropriate. Blabbering prematurely will make you look bad.
  4. Act cool, but not too cool. I sense that you are making too big a deal out of this. You haven't been with the company long enough to know how things are done.
  5. This could even be a test to see how well you can keep secrets. Most companies have staff who are entrusted with sensitive information. If you blab now, you could sink your chances of being promoted to a critical position now or in the future.
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I was in a similar position not too long ago, except it wasn't for lunch it was to show my work product to another company.... and it wasn't my boss' boss, it was two bosses above me and the highest in my organization. I was unsure of what he was planning. It was very possible he was feeling out the possibility of selling our intellectual property. I ended up informing my boss and saying I wasn't sure what it was about. That was the best way to handle my situation, but only because I know all the dynamics of my situation. You have to make this decision for you.

Could be some kind of loyalty test. Can't say without knowing all the dynamics in that work place.

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The IT director where I work makes a point of treating all recent starters to a free, and rather large breakfast.

He wants to know where they come from, what made them leave there and to help iron out any issues they have right now, plus learn what their skills are. Your boss probably knows, so I wouldn't bother saying anything.

protected by Community Mar 2 '17 at 21:00

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