DEAR HARRIETTE: This will be my second time going on a business trip for my company. There are five of us who will be traveling and staying together in one house, and I am not looking forward to it. Last year when we did this, my boss was way too demanding. She wanted all of us to eat together every day. Sometimes that was OK, but other times I just wanted time to myself. She thought nothing of calling meetings late at night, since we were together. There seemed to be no boundaries.
I want to have more space this time, but I don’t want to offend my boss. This may not seem like a big deal, but we work 12-hour days regularly. When we were away last year, my boss acted like we were on 24-hour call. We are not being paid for that time. I need personal time, even when I am working hard. I am not a slacker. I give my all, but I need time off, too. What can I say or do to protect myself? -- Work Trip, Detroit
DEAR WORK TRIP: Talk to your boss privately before the trip. Tell her that you are committed to getting the work done to the best of your ability, and point out that you need downtime during the trip to do your best. Lay out your concerns. Tell her that sometimes you need to eat alone, and sometimes you need to be in your room or go for a walk or otherwise have time off so you can give your all when you are working. Let her know that you want to make her aware of this because last year she asked for more than you can offer this year. Add that you are not trying to make anything difficult for her; it’s the opposite. She will get more out of you if you can recharge your batteries while you are on the trip.