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.