How to Combine Team and Career

May 22, 2017

How to Combine Team and Career

In my post, When Not to Take One for the Team, YOU were told that you had to take one for the team by not attending a conference you really want. You might have felt that, in that post, you gave into your boss Gwen’s insistence too easily, but as I pointed out in Downsides of Refusing to Take One for the Team, you can pay a steep price for refusing to accept the decision if you stubbornly stick to your ‘right’ to go.

But you might be able to get something of what you want while avoiding the negative feelings that emanate if you insist.

Compromise

Let’s return to the conversation. This is what happened when you were pushing for an all-or-nothing solution.

Gwen: Still, if nobody volunteers, I think we have to go with whose work is least relevant.
You: Well, I think it’s relevant but if you think that it’s right for the team…

Here’s another way to take this.

Gwen: Still, if nobody volunteers, I think we have to go with whose work is least relevant.
You:  I was wondering if we could compromise. The conference is three days. Could I attend a day or so on somebody’s registration?
Gwen: But we’d still need to pay your room and travel.
Tim: If it comes to that, I guess we could double up in my room.
Gwen: Well, I might be able to come up with another airfare.
Sacha: We all could give up a bit of the conference and put it in a pool for YOU.
You: [Be grateful, not well-finally-someone-listened-to-me] That would be great!

That’s probably the best outcome. You might also try:

Flip a coin

Gwen: Still, if nobody volunteers, I think we have to go with whose work is least relevant.
You: I think the conference is relevant to my work. What about flipping a coin?

Might work, might not.

Tape sessions you want

If it’s clear that you’re not going, this might be of use to you.

Gwen: Still, if nobody volunteers, I think we have to go with whose work is least relevant.
You: Well, if that’s the way it’s gotta be. But could you get the recordings of some of the sessions I particularly wanted to hear?

Ask for bonus instead of attendance

Again, if it looks like attendance is out of the question, you might try for a perk.

Gwen: Still, if nobody volunteers, I think we have to go with whose work is least relevant.
You: Okay, I’m good with that. But would you consider a one-day course in town that I’ve been wanting to take?

Could be something else, of course. A day off, working on a pet project, etc.

Pay attention to the non-verbal cues

During this negotiation, pay attention to any non-verbal cues your boss is giving off. If she throws up roadblocks, or hesitates to acknowledge a good point, or tenses up, these might be clues that you are not making friends. If the non-verbals are really negative, there may be something else going on and you continue to insist at your peril. So pay attention.

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