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Guy Offends Boss By Opting To Have Zoom Date With Wife Instead Of Dinner With Colleagues

Business man video chatting in bed
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Redditor Misanthropic_Lemon just attended his first ever work conference, but is worried he may have made a faux pas.

The Original Poster (OP) found himself surprised and a bit dismayed at all of the social time expected of him after work hours while at the business conference.

The last night of the conference no formal plans had been made, so he made his own which involved Zooming his wife and eating dinner together.

He learned later that it was tradition to have one final meal amongst coworkers, and his plans caused some friction between he and his associates.

This drove the OP to subReddit “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA).

He asked:

“AITA for telling my coworkers that I didn’t want to go to dinner with them again because I prefer my wife’s company to theirs?”

He went on to tell the full story.

Unfortunately, I [47-year-old Male] was roped into going to a work conference recently.”

“I am a remote worker, but sadly I was told that I needed to attend a conference that many of my coworkers go to each year due to how integral my duties were to this year’s presentation, I suppose.”

“I am not buddy-buddy with any of my coworkers or my boss, but I am professional with them.”

“This was the first work conference I had ever been to, so I did not realize how much these things consume the entirety of the time spent there.”

“The first three nights of the conference there were different dinners I ‘had’ to attend after typical work hours…”

“…and when over 8 hours had been spent doing work related things at the conference already.”

“Now, I don’t really mind attending the actual conference that much, what I mind is the expectation that I spend any more time with my colleagues than necessary.”

“In my opinion, if I’ve spent 8:30 – 5 at a work conference with coworkers attending work-related sessions and giving a work-related presentation, past 5 o’clock I am no longer ‘at work.’”

“I was already rather peeved that this was not the expectation at the start.”

“But I was at least informed of these three different formal/scheduled dinners once the conference schedule was released.”

“The fourth and final night of the conference I expected would be completely mine because there was no conference-wide scheduled dinner.”

“As such, the night before when I called my wife, I asked her if she wanted to eat dinner together…”

“…(i.e. video call each other and eat together, then spend as many hours as possible chatting before going to bed), and she said that sounded lovely.”

“We made plans to call at 7 our time (6 where the conference was), and I was really looking forward to it, as obviously I love her and her company.”

“Unfortunately, at lunch on the final day of the conference, my coworkers (my boss included) mentioned going to a specific restaurant.”

“They asked if I was excited to go, and I said I was not going, but I hoped they enjoyed themselves.”

“They acted like I smacked them, and asked what I meant. I told them I’d made plans to call my wife and eat dinner with her.”

“I was then informed that, apparently, there is some tradition of all my coworkers eating dinner together the last night.”

“I said I wasn’t informed and we had already eaten dinner together every other night, but I hoped they enjoyed themselves.”

“My boss then said it was something I had to attend, then some of my coworkers agreed and said it was an important part of the conference.”

“I told my boss and coworkers that it was outside work hours, unpaid, and not scheduled, plus I prefer my wife’s company to theirs, so I was not going.”

“They then told me I was being rude and an a**hole, and that I should have expected that we would all dine together the final night.”

“I said that was ridiculous, but my boss implied that not attending would have repercussions, so I called my wife and apologized to her, and sadly attended this stupid dinner.”


Redditors weighed in by declaring:

    • NTA – Not The A**hole
    • YTA – You’re The A**hole
    • NAH – No A**holes Here
    • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided:

“incredibly naive but NTA, that’s how confrences go. more career moves are made at those dinners than in the conference room believe it or not” – Cultural_Section_862

“I want to say NAH but just want to also point out you’re slowly burning bridges and causing dramas that may impact your professional career all for the sake of 1 evening.”

“Suck it up, you are a remote worker so you barely have to deal with colleagues except for these rare occasions.” – Kvxyo

“I think that’s what was rubbing me the wrong way about the post. It’s not like he’s stuck in an office with these people all the time and yet he writes like he hates everything about them.”

“Every job has annoying things we have to put up with, but refusing to go to dinner with a boss is suicidal behavior in these industries.”

“Edit to add judgment: YTA” – blackgirlmagicplz

“NAH giving you the benefit of the doubt since this was your first work conference.”

“Basic downlow: this is what these conferences are generally like, at least every single one I’ve been to over a 30-year career.”

“Especially the out-of-town ones….dinners and lunches with coworkers and probably the boss every day.”

“This is your chance to “network” in a forced setting. Welcome to the corporate world!” – CajunKC

“Soft YTA.”

“Yeah it sucks being a salaried employee and having to travel in and do all this social crap. I’m a remote employee, too, so I can really feel where you’re coming from.”

“That being said- you’re a remote employee. This was an opportunity for you to network, show you’re a human, team player, etc.”

“Lots of older execs don’t like remote work hence why they do these silly week-long in-office type things. They’re happy they get to see you’re real, and you get to keep working from home.”

“Your little stunt might have cost you a future promotion as now you don’t look like a team player at all, and you aren’t taking the little time you have to get to know your co-workers face to face.”

“Obviously, you’d rather hang out with your wife- but telling them that was an AH move.”

“Best of luck, OP. Hope they don’t hold it against you!” – DoraTheUrbanExplorer

“YTA. Here’s the thing…conferences like that suck. The dinners are over the top with mediocre food usually.”

“It’s stressful. It’s exhausting. But…it’s part of the gig. It’s more networking, going over strategies and discussing what worked and maybe what didn’t work.”

“Totally not the a for not knowing this but demanding to get out of it makes you one.” – Wandering_aimlessly9

“So…ESH, because I can understand the frustration with a job infringing on your personal life. It’s a little gross to think that’s a company ‘expectation.’”

“But realistically, you might have really damaged your career here. It sounds like your delivery must have been relatively harsh, considering the strong reactions you mentioned.”

“Whether it’s ‘right’ or not, it’s likely going to impact how your boss and coworkers see you.”

“Edit: Your username is a little funny in light of the situation” – Worth_Ad5418

“Soft YTA. I’m not sure how you got this far, not knowing this is par the course for conferences. Not an insult…genuinely curious.”

“This was a time to network and build relationships which is the true benefit of these conferences.”

“Yes….it sucks, but you can’t change the rules from the bottom. You may have just hurt any future chances at advancement.” – Bluehunter49

“Gentle disagreement here. OP is a remote worker who already doesn’t have any personal attachment to their co-workers, and made that clear.”

“OP was also not given any notice, formal or otherwise, about what the expectations would be.”

“This sounds like it’s nothing to do with the conference. It’s just their boss and coworkers being jerks because OP didn’t want to join…”

“And for the boss to imply that there would be repercussions for not attending an unscheduled event not even organized by the conference smacks of old boys club and micromanagement.”

“Additionally, just because this is ‘normal’ for the conferences, does that make it right?”

“I don’t think it does, and I think OP deserves an NTA for having higher expectations of their employer.” – Edumacator239

“NTA – people need to accept that these workplace ‘bonding’ experiences are painful for some people.”

“I hated the Xmas lunches with every fibre and eventually started to say no. Everyone was unhappy about it, but f*ck it. I don’t owe you my time. You’re not paying me” – allowedtobe_happy

“YTA. You were correct in what you said… but it was an a**hole-y thing to say. Sometimes you have to filter the sh*t you say and not be SO direct.”

“A simple ‘I’m not feeling well’ would’ve been a way better to get out of that dinner. Better yet, ‘I think I have food poisoning from last night’s dinner’ lol.” – pbd1996

Perhaps a little too honest?

Written by B. Miller

B. is a creative multihyphenate who enjoys the power and versatility of the written word. She enjoys hiking, great food and drinks, traveling, and vulnerable conversation. Raised below the Mason Dixon, thriving above it. (she/her)