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When you don't want to go on a "family cruise"

Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
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Last year I started my current job. With one exception, it's an excellent job. That exception is PTO.

I have technically three weeks of PTO every year, but company policies make it almost impossible to use. Most of the year, a "PTO lockout rule" is in effect, meaning that you can't use PTO at all: from January to mid-May, from July to mid-August, and from October to mid-November (major holidays excepted). You also have to apply to use it early so that multiple employees are not using it simultaneously, and unused PTO expires every quarter ("use it or lose it"). On top of that, I'm Jewish, and have to use PTO to take time off for High Holy Day usage every fall. That knocks my actual time available down to about two weeks.

This year, I had plans for my PTO. Then my parents threw a monkey wrench into the works. Their fiftieth anniversary is this year, and they want to go on a cruise with me, my brother, SIL, niece, nephew and my SIL's parents.

For three reasons, I don't want to go on this cruise at all.

1) If my parents wanted to take the cruise by themselves or like-minded friends or relatives, I'd say more power to them.

But because of the norovirus, seasickness, crowded ships, tight quarters, the ability to do almost everything on a cruise ship without leaving home, not being interested in tropical scenery or sightseeing, and not having time to get a passport for a cruise outside the U.S.,  the prospect of cruising has no appeal for me at all. If anything, I feel repelled.

2) I also don't want to be with this group of people. My parents have a tendency to marginalize and sideline me when others are around. I'm always being expected to suck it up, even for my own occasions - and then I'm completely ignored. Also, my parents always interrupt anyone who is speaking to me - especially my brother and his family. I complained to them about it, and they told me to raise my voice. Sorry, no. I do not need to get hoarse trying to scream over them to make myself heard because they refuse to abide by the good manners now that they instilled in me themselves when they were younger.

3) And finally, I don't appreciate having what little PTO I have co-opted - especially for something I don't want to do.

So I am wondering if I should tell them to count me out before they finalize plans. If they want to sail without me, I'm fine with that - they've vacationed together without me before several times. If they wanted to plan a big party locally instead, which is what I expected, I would go and fake having a good time, even though I don't enjoy big parties or family reunions, because it's just for a few hours. But the plan in total would be for several days.

What would you do? Would you tell them, "Thanks for inviting me, but cruising doesn't work for me, so I can't go but I hope you enjoy yourselves all the same?" I have the feeling that they either would put pressure on me to go if I did tell them that or they would make a big deal out of how disappointed they are. I also feel like my own feelings are petty, but I don't want to go and just be ignored all the time. My astral body can do that just fine.
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Re: When you don't want to go on a "family cruise"

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
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    Thanks @ShesSoCold. I needed to hear all of this. I do want them to have fun, whatever they do. I just don't want to go myself.
  • I'm also glad to hear you are enjoying the new job!  I remember you seemed to have one nightmare after another finding the right job and were stressed out with how long you'd been unemployed.

    Though, wow!  That PTO policy is completely awful.  I've never heard of a "use it or lose it" per QUARTER policy.  On top of 75% of the year being a "black-out".  Yeesh!

    I agree with @ShesSoCold.  Even if they are paying for the cruise, they're still asking a lot from you in terms of time-off.  You should firmly tell them no and stick to it.  No guilt.  I'd blame the new job and point out that, especially as a new employee, it would be really difficult for you to take the time off. 

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    OurWildKingdomnightnerd
  • Yes, tell them no. And the sooner the better. They’ll try to pressure you and whine but just do t listen “sorry you feel that way, but the cruise doesn’t work for me have so much fun bye!”
    OurWildKingdom
  • I can't say anything better or differently than has already been said but just wanted to also voice my support for not going.  Also congrats on your job!
    STARMOON44OurWildKingdom
  • I’d definitely decline the cruise.  You don’t deserve to be treated that way.  (And the PTO stinks!  I’m glad that other than that, your new role is a good one!)
    OurWildKingdom
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
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    edited February 7
    Thanks everyone! I appreciate your support and congratulations. The next time my parents bring their plans up to me, I'll decline using this wording. Maybe they'll come up with other plans, but I am not cruising.

    Actually, I think I got the PTO policy wrong. PTO expires by the end of next March every year. That said, it is a "use or lose," everyone has to compete for the same time off and the lockout dates are correct.
    charlotte989875
  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
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    edited February 6
    Christ on a cracker, how is that holiday policy legal?! Short of being a school teacher or university professor, I can't think of any job that requires that much lock out for holiday.  The fact that they essentially give you 2 weeks to use during their specified 3 months of the year (it sounds like June, September and December are the only months you can take holiday),  it expires every 3-6 months blows my mind. I'm glad you like your job, but I would seriously investigate unionising. That policy is beyond exploitative. 

    But yes, don't go on the cruise if you don't want to. Call ahead and pay for a couples massage or some other treat for them. Take them out to dinner when they are back. But don't feel guilty for not wanting or being able to go. 
    short+sassyOurWildKingdomnightnerd
  • Christ on a cracker, how is that holiday policy legal?! Short of being a school teacher or university professor, I can't think of any job that requires that much lock out for holiday.  The fact that they essentially give you 2 weeks to use during their specified 3 months of the year (it sounds like June, September and December are the only months you can take holiday),  it expires every 3-6 months blows my mind. I'm glad you like your job, but I would seriously investigate unionising. That policy is beyond exploitative. 

    But yes, don't go on the cruise if you don't want to. Call ahead and pay for a couples massage or some other treat for them. Take them out to dinner when they are back. But don't feel guilty for not wanting or being able to go. 

    It's terrible but, in the U.S., vacation policy is largely dictated by market demand.  Private companies can choose to give their employees zero vacation time/PTO, if they want to.  But, since most employers give 2-3 weeks of vacation, it makes it harder for companies to find good employees if they don't do likewise.

    I saw a job opening a few years ago for an insurance company.  I went to their website to apply and, fortunately, they listed their employee benefits on the page before the application.  They only gave 3 vacation days/year and no sick time!  I couldn't hit the Back button on my browser fast enough, lol.

    Quite a few states, I believe 28 of them, do not allow "use it or lose it" vacation policies.  But it's totally dependent on the state a job is located in, as most labor laws fall under state control.

    At a previous company I worked at, I tracked the vacation time for the 200 employees that were on projects under my boss.  Our company had a "use it or lose it" policy where it could be applied, but our employees were all over the country.  I ran two speadsheeets, depending on what state people worked in, lol.  So I could give a heads up in Nov. to people in "use it or lose it" states.

    Alas, @Jen4948, TX is a "use it or lose it" state.  Or at least it was 10 years ago, when I had that job. 

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    charlotte989875
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
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    I know Texas is a "use it or lose it" state. But I'm not complaining. I was out of work for a long time and this job allows me to do certain kinds of work that I've always wanted to do but never previously had the opportunity. And I like my managers and co-workers.
    ShesSoColdcharlotte989875eileenrobILoveBeachMusic
  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    edited February 6
    Wow. So they want everyone to take their 2 weeks holiday during the same 14 weeks, and no one can have overlap? It sounds like they are setting everyone up for no holiday time. These policies just seem toxic. 

    I don't understand why accountancy firms are exempt from unions. Sounds like the perfect environment for a union. 
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    member
    edited February 6
    Wow. So they want everyone to take their 2 weeks holiday during the same 14 weeks, and no one can have overlap? It sounds like they are setting everyone up for no holiday time. These policies just seem toxic. 
    Yeah, it seems that way. But like I said, I'm not complaining. No job is perfect. Right now I'm glad to have a job. My gross pay went up by close to $20k (at long last)!
    short+sassyredwoodoriginal
  • The company PTO policy you have is terrible.   I'm impressed it's legal that you use or lose and have to compete for time that they don't have to give you.   I have to guess that there's a lot of turnover in that company and part of the reason they have a policy like that is so that they're not paying out when people quit.

    That said, I think you need to look at this and think about what you'd advise someone who was a stranger.   Based on what you've said before your parents are.....high maintenance.   So any answer you need to give needs to be clear and with no wiggle room.  "Thanks so much for the invitation.   I hope you go and have a great time but I won't be able to make it." 

    It's not open for discussion and simply don't entertain it.   They're going to make you feel bad for your choice so understand it going in and simply don't allow the discussion to happen.  


    charlotte989875
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    member
    edited February 7
    Wow. So they want everyone to take their 2 weeks holiday during the same 14 weeks, and no one can have overlap? It sounds like they are setting everyone up for no holiday time. These policies just seem toxic. 

    I don't understand why accountancy firms are exempt from unions. Sounds like the perfect environment for a union. 
    Because professional firms (law, medicine, accounting, etc.) have different offerings and needs than manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. And all CPA and accounting firms have similar PTO lockout rules regarding tax season. 

    That said, I agree that tax season overtime and PTO rules are insane, period. The problem stems from government taxation agencies and their requiring everyone to file by specified dates. The accounting firm business model calls for accountants to make their revenues by servicing as many clients as possible within specific windows of time, but in order to stay relatively profitable, they understaff and force existing employees to work extensive overtime and not use PTO during tax season.

    Edited for typo
    charlotte989875
  • Jen4948 said:
    Wow. So they want everyone to take their 2 weeks holiday during the same 14 weeks, and no one can have overlap? It sounds like they are setting everyone up for no holiday time. These policies just seem toxic. 

    I don't understand why accountancy firms are exempt from unions. Sounds like the perfect environment for a union. 
    Because professional firms (law, medicine, accounting, etc.) have different offerings and needs than manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. And all CPA and accounting firms have similar PTO lockout rules regarding tax season. 

    That said, I agree that tax season overtime and PTO rules are insane, period. The problem stems from government taxation agencies and their requiring everyone to file by specified dates. The accounting firm business model calls for accountants to make their revenues by servicing as many clients as possible within specific windows of time, but in order to stay relatively profitable, they understaff and force exisiting employees to work extensive overtime and not use PTO during tax season.
    I can understand some of the timing.  My brother works retail and while not nearly as long a season there is no PTO in the back to school or pre-holiday time.   I remember when he was on the phone during our cousin's funeral and there just wasn't any way around it - he couldn't not attend the funeral and had to bolt shortly after.   My uncle in HVAC could not take time off in the winter because they needed people work extensive hours and around the clock during times that most furnaces and boilers could not stop working or a home could have pipes freeze and the people inside would be without heat in extreme cold.

    But hopefully the rest of the benefits make this a good fit for you Jen. 
  • Your PTO policy sucks, but I get it. If you like your work otherwise, it's worth it.

    In a way, your policy gives you an out with your parents because your time off is so precious. You could just tell them that because you have so few days of vacation, you just don't want to spend them on a cruise. And not that it matters, but I completely agree with your reasons. The only cruise I would ever want to pay for is a river cruise, because those seem a lot more civilized and safer from norovirus. But I am old and this is what my people do.
    OurWildKingdom
  • Wow. So they want everyone to take their 2 weeks holiday during the same 14 weeks, and no one can have overlap? It sounds like they are setting everyone up for no holiday time. These policies just seem toxic. 

    I don't understand why accountancy firms are exempt from unions. Sounds like the perfect environment for a union. 
    True. Except unionizing in the private sector is incredibly difficult, could result in retailiation, and the company doesn’t have to negotiate with the union if they don’t want to. 

    I totally understand what you’re saying but I’m non-union companies people can be fired at any time for any reason. That’s a big risk to take to unionize. 
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216
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    banana468 said:
    maine7mob said:
    Your PTO policy sucks, but I get it. If you like your work otherwise, it's worth it.

    In a way, your policy gives you an out with your parents because your time off is so precious. You could just tell them that because you have so few days of vacation, you just don't want to spend them on a cruise. And not that it matters, but I completely agree with your reasons. The only cruise I would ever want to pay for is a river cruise, because those seem a lot more civilized and safer from norovirus. But I am old and this is what my people do.
    I really really really advise against saying this.

    It opens the door to guilt trips, assumptions and insinuations.   Based on prior conversations Jen has discussed with us about the ways that the family has behaved I would not open the door to telling them about likes or dislikes of the plan.   

    It needs to be factual: "Go and have a great time without me.   I hope it's wonderful and can't wait to see the pictures.  This won't work for me but I can't wait to hear all about it!" 

    Do not open the door to discuss likes or dislikes or the conversation of, "I thought after all we've ever done for you over your life that you would love to celebrate your father and I in our old age on a vacation that we'll pay for.   Who knows how many years we have left with each other and we just thought you'd want to spend some quality time with your family because you have been so busy and working.   But if work is more important to you then (shrug / headtilt) I suppose that just tells us that we won't be offering things like this in the future....whatever is left of it." 


    Quoted for truth. Don’t leave it open to discussion.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
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    edited February 9
    Oh, I don't intend to. I'm not sure how they would react to the wording I mention above. I really don't expect more than a "Sorry to hear that" from my folks, who would then go without me and saturate Facebook with selfies of their cruise.

    Edited to add: Or, yes, they may be deeply disappointed and put pressure on me to change my mind. But I think that in neither case would they change their own minds about going or be very concerned with why I don't want to go.
    charlotte989875
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya
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    Jen4948 said:
    Oh, I don't intend to. I'm not sure how they would react to the wording I mention above. I really don't expect more than a "Sorry to hear that" from my folks, who would then go without me and saturate Facebook with selfies of their cruise.
    So, forgive me if I'm misinterpreting this, but this is coming across judgy and as though you'd be upset at them having a good time without you. And I don't think you get to have your cake and eat it too, here. You can't really be mad at them for enjoying an event you were invited to and declined to attend. If you're going to sit at home and look at their facebooks and be mad at them for not declaring the trip ruined because of your not being there, you might as well just go.

    If I'm totally wrong here and you're just judging people's constant need to post selfies for no actual reason, g'head and judge. I am right there with you, girl. 
    Image result for someecard betting someone half your shit youll love them forever
    charlotte989875
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    Jen4948 said:
    Oh, I don't intend to. I'm not sure how they would react to the wording I mention above. I really don't expect more than a "Sorry to hear that" from my folks, who would then go without me and saturate Facebook with selfies of their cruise.
    So, forgive me if I'm misinterpreting this, but this is coming across judgy and as though you'd be upset at them having a good time without you. And I don't think you get to have your cake and eat it too, here. You can't really be mad at them for enjoying an event you were invited to and declined to attend. If you're going to sit at home and look at their facebooks and be mad at them for not declaring the trip ruined because of your not being there, you might as well just go.

    If I'm totally wrong here and you're just judging people's constant need to post selfies for no actual reason, g'head and judge. I am right there with you, girl. 
    I'm not mad at them for wanting to go, and certainly not jealous. And no, I don't want them to think of the trip as "ruined" because I'm not there - the complete opposite, in fact. I do want them to enjoy themselves - I just don't want to go myself.

    As for Facebook, they live on it and are always posting selfies anyway. That's just a statement of fact. It's not even a judgment, because I do it myself, although I don't post nearly as much as they do. I'm definitely not going to look at their Facebook posts and feel bitter that they're having a good time without me.
    OurWildKingdomeileenrob
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216
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    Jen4948 said:
    Update: My brother is visiting so I saw him and my parents today. My parents brought up the cruise idea, and my brother said that his in-laws would most likely decline. So I took that as my cue and declined for myself. I was straightforward and just said that cruising wouldn't work for me either.

    To my surprise, they took it in stride. I really hadn't been sure that they would.

    It's possible that they will still go, but they are respecting that I won't.
    That’s great news! Fingers crossed that they stick to that and don’t try to manipulate you into changing your mind.
  • Jen4948 said:
    Wow. So they want everyone to take their 2 weeks holiday during the same 14 weeks, and no one can have overlap? It sounds like they are setting everyone up for no holiday time. These policies just seem toxic. 

    I don't understand why accountancy firms are exempt from unions. Sounds like the perfect environment for a union. 
    Because professional firms (law, medicine, accounting, etc.) have different offerings and needs than manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. And all CPA and accounting firms have similar PTO lockout rules regarding tax season. 

    That said, I agree that tax season overtime and PTO rules are insane, period. The problem stems from government taxation agencies and their requiring everyone to file by specified dates. The accounting firm business model calls for accountants to make their revenues by servicing as many clients as possible within specific windows of time, but in order to stay relatively profitable, they understaff and force existing employees to work extensive overtime and not use PTO during tax season.

    Edited for typo

    I have a friend who is an accountant.  Her first job out of college was with one of the Big 5.  People basically couldn't take any time off during the "hot" times and were also required to work many hours of OT for no additional monetary compensation.  However, any OT hours worked were kept track off and added to an employee's PTO hours to take during the slow part of the year, ie the summer.  With that said, her job was in CA where PTO is not allowed to be "use it or lose it".  So whatever PTO time she had rolled over from year to year.

    In fact, she was offered the job in March or April before she graduated.  She graduated in May.  But her first day wasn't until Sept.

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  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
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    Glad it worked out! 

    My parents 50th is next year, and we're planning a trip to Italy, which is thankfully right up my alley. I wouldn't have wanted to go on a cruise either. 

    eileenrob
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    Unfortunately, my parents and brother jerked me around today. I posted about it in today's Wedding Woes thread.
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
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    Oh shit, I missed that. Sorry! 

  • Jen do they typically pull passive-aggressive crap like this whenever you don't go along with the plan? If so, I'm sorry. Passive-aggressive people are nearly impossible to deal with.
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