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NWR: Really strange houseguest situation

Hi Ladies,

So I'm a brand new (less than 5 months) associate at a law firm, and one of the partners came into my office today and asked me to host a professional acquaintance of his from Germany from Sunday night through Thursday night.  He flat out told me his wife doesn't want to do it, and since my fiance is in a different city finishing law school he thought of me.

I don't mind hosting people, but I prefer it to be not just one on one.  I obviously said yes (what else could I say?) but I have no idea what to do with this person.  I am very very busy at work, which is great because my hours finally started counting toward my billing minimums on Jan. 1 - but that means I need to be at the office late and really can't take the afternoon off to play tour guide.  I'm considering asking one of the other associates to come over one evening so it's not entirely awkward for 5 days, but she's pretty busy also, so I can't ask her to do too much.

WWED?
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Re: NWR: Really strange houseguest situation

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    I would have said no, honestly. I would have found a reason; visiting family, fighting an illness, broken shower, whatever. I know it's not the best way to deal with it, but I personally would be incredibly uncomfortable. It's really not your responsibility, and if it's a professional relationship between this person and your boss, why can't this person stay in a hotel?
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_nwr-really-strange-houseguest-situation?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:73f2b0ed-a537-4757-bfc6-4d1bad940e6aPost:f50017cc-b19d-4ccc-a0a9-990082ed9478">Re: NWR: Really strange houseguest situation</a>:
    [QUOTE]I would have said no, honestly. I would have found a reason; visiting family, fighting an illness, broken shower, whatever. I know it's not the best way to deal with it, but I personally would be incredibly uncomfortable. It's really not your responsibility, and if it's a professional relationship between this person and your boss, why can't this person stay in a hotel?
    Posted by mandi195[/QUOTE]

    <div>I get that, but there is a really strong sense among the legal community that you never say no to a partner unless they are asking you to do something illegal or unethical.  Inconvenient?  Not enough.  I've got to come up with something for this person to do for 5 days, and I'd really prefer she not be in my apartment without me - I'm sure she's nice, but I don't know her.  Urgh.</div>
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_nwr-really-strange-houseguest-situation?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:73f2b0ed-a537-4757-bfc6-4d1bad940e6aPost:f50017cc-b19d-4ccc-a0a9-990082ed9478">Re: NWR: Really strange houseguest situation</a>:
    [QUOTE]I would have said no, honestly. I would have found a reason; visiting family, fighting an illness, broken shower, whatever. I know it's not the best way to deal with it, but I personally would be incredibly uncomfortable. It's really not your responsibility, and if it's a professional relationship between this person and your boss, why can't this person stay in a hotel?
    Posted by mandi195[/QUOTE]
    I'm with you.

    For one thing, I don't understand her boss's logic. If anything, because my fiance isn't home, I wouldn't feel comfortable having a stranger stay with me. Not just for safety reasons, but I'd feel weird if some stranger stayed in my home while I wasn't there.

    For another thing, what a terrible burden to ask of someone. It's not even for one night lol.

    Since you already said yes and I'm guessing you don't feel right about telling your boss that your house is unexpectedly being fumigated, I'd ask your boss over for dinner one of those nights, for starters.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_nwr-really-strange-houseguest-situation?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:73f2b0ed-a537-4757-bfc6-4d1bad940e6aPost:03c6be9e-ff31-4d22-9638-81852df218ba">Re: NWR: Really strange houseguest situation</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: NWR: Really strange houseguest situation : I'm with you. For one thing, I don't understand her boss's logic. If anything, because my fiance isn't home, I wouldn't feel comfortable having a stranger stay with me. Not just for safety reasons, but I'd feel weird if some stranger stayed in my home while I wasn't there. For another thing, what a terrible burden to ask of someone. It's not even for one night lol. Since you already said yes and I'm guessing you don't feel right about telling your boss that your house is unexpectedly being fumigated, I'd ask your boss over for dinner one of those nights, for starters.
    Posted by Simply Fated[/QUOTE]

    <div>This is a good idea, thanks</div>
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    Your boss should be treating you and your houseguest to a very nice dinner.  

    I have lots of friends in BigLaw (although not in the South, maybe it's different), and that would raise eyebrows.  This partner either has no boundaries or has a very weird idea of how professional relationships work.  Do you have a billing code for business development (or something like that)?  If you're showing her around, especially when you'd otherwise be working, can you talk to him about billing for it?  

    I would put together a list of restaurants, grocery stores, drugstores, etc. in your area for her.  You can also include museums, shopping, and other places of interest.  That way you won't feel like you have to entertain her all the time.  Maybe also a map and some bus/subway passes (not sure if your area is big on public transportation)?
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_nwr-really-strange-houseguest-situation?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:73f2b0ed-a537-4757-bfc6-4d1bad940e6aPost:48143358-fb49-461b-aa15-db756c4fe583">Re: NWR: Really strange houseguest situation</a>:
    [QUOTE]Your boss should be treating you and your houseguest to a very nice dinner.   I have lots of friends in BigLaw (although not in the South, maybe it's different), and that would raise eyebrows.  This partner either has no boundaries or has a very weird idea of how professional relationships work.  Do you have a billing code for business development (or something like that)?  If you're showing her around, especially when you'd otherwise be working, can you talk to him about billing for it?   I would put together a list of restaurants, grocery stores, drugstores, etc. in your area for her.  You can also include museums, shopping, and other places of interest.  That way you won't feel like you have to entertain her all the time.  Maybe also a map and some bus/subway passes (not sure if your area is big on public transportation)?
    Posted by jessicabessica[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>We do have a billing code for professional development, and yes I will be billing every minute I spend with her to that code.  I almost want to bill the extra time I'm going to spend cleaning to that code, but that's probably pushing it lol</div><div>
    </div><div>I've told a couple of my friends about it down here and they all think it's odd.  But they also all said there was nothing else I could do - again, not illegal and not unethical so I pretty much had to say yes.</div><div>
    </div><div>We have terrible public transportation here - the south's is pretty bad in general, and my city just has a really inconsistent bus system.  No metro or anything.  But I think giving her a list of tourist sites is still a really good idea.

    </div>
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    hoffsehoffse member
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    edited January 2013
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_nwr-really-strange-houseguest-situation?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:73f2b0ed-a537-4757-bfc6-4d1bad940e6aPost:f707f728-3042-4de4-94ca-c75989fdda6f">Re:NWR: Really strange houseguest situation</a>:
    [QUOTE]Is this woman coming for a conference or something? Any reason that is work related? I hope so because that is the only reason this situation would be remotely less than absolutely, totally inappropriate. If not, I find it appalling that this PARTNER would offer YOUR home and company to his acquaintance. If he doesn't want to have her in his home and feels bad about it, why doesn't he pay for a hotel? Or better yet, let her be a big girl and find her own GD accommodations? If I were her, I'd be utterly mortified if I found out my friend had offered to host me in a foreign country and the slugged me off to a new subordinate, who felt there was no other option than to agree to house, feed and entertain me. I don't have any suggestions for you OP, except to think of a foolproof excuse for next time in the event the Partner demands you to donate your womb to house an embryo, because he and his wife want a child, but his wife can't be bothered to do the whole "pregnancy" thing
    Posted by BartenderBW[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>Lol luckily they already have two kids so that ship has sailed.  But I know what you mean.  The good news in all this is that it is almost certain to make its way around the office.  She's apparently getting a tour of the office one day and I know it will come up that she's staying with me.  I don't think the other partners are going to find it to be acceptable.</div><div>
    </div><div>I'm almost to the point where I just don't care - I think tomorrow I'm going to let him know that I still plan on working full time next week.  I'm in the middle of 3 deals that all close in the next month, and I have a ton I have to get done.  I will host her and I will write down my hours but I'm not going to be late to work, leave early, or stay up until the small hours of hte morning entertaining her.</div><div>
    </div><div>I'm going to have my excuse ready for next time.  I was just so blindsided by it that I couldn't think of anything fast enough.

    </div>
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    I have no advice other then I hope you stick up for yourself next time because clearly your boss now knows you're the one who will say yes to whatever crappy things he doesn't feel like doing.
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    Ask your partner about his expectations for you while the houseguest is in town.  Does he expect you to feed, entertain, chauffer this woman? 

    Presumably she is not visiting the country to spend all day in your house, so they must have some plans already set up.  You should get an itinerary of her schedule, and ask your partner how much baby-sitting you will actually have to do during down times...in better words, of course. 
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    So will she doing work-related stuff during the day and you just have to entertain her at night?

    I agree with saying no the next time you are asked a request like this. But for this time, can you invite some non-law friends over for dinner a couple nights? Maybe host a game night or a wine tasting party or something like that? I really have no idea what the expectations would be or a work houseguest so I may be way off. But that's probably what I would do--have some of my friends I'm comfortable with come over and introduce them.

    I also would probably have no issue going about my business at home, doing laundry, cleaning, whatever else needed to be done since she is staying for 5 nights. Get her comfy with the TV, a computer, or whatever and go about doing your own thing after dinner. You can't be expected to entertain any one person 24/7.


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    Yeah I plan on asking my direct superior today about whether I can bill all the time I spend with her.  When he sees 20 or 30 hours of marketting in a single week he will wonder, and this way it sort of comes out to the rest of the firm that I'm being asked to do this.  It might be a little passive aggressive, but I plan to write this time down, and I would rather make my billing partner aware of it beforehand, rather than having a talking to after the fact.

    I think the partner is going to entertain her during the day?  It's entirely unclear to me.  He did say he was going to take her to the grocery store to buy her own food.  None of it really makes sense - I think this is really a personal thing of his since the firm isn't footing the bill for anything.  Normally the firm would put a professional guest up in a hotel, feed them, etc.  Since that's not happening I guess she's just a friend of his and he can't write off the expenses?

    This partner is known to pull stuff like this on the newbies.  I'm not sure why he picked me though, honestly.  I only moved to this city right before I started my job, my FI is in a different city where I have lived the last 7 years, and I work all the time so I really don't have a social network here yet.  It's mostly friends from work.  I've been paying back a huge loan to my parents since I started (last payment is friday! Yay!) so I haven't even been to a bar since moving here.  I've seen one movie with my FI during off-peak hours, we've eaten out at one restaurant, and that's it.  There is another female associate who is my senior who is also single but has lived here for years and is known to be very social.  She is from Spain and has a wide network of international friends here.  If he wanted somebody fun to show this woman the city, that other associate would have made more sense IMO.  LIterally the only people I know other than those at work are the guy at subway who makes my sandwich and the teller at well's fargo who I take checks to.


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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_nwr-really-strange-houseguest-situation?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:73f2b0ed-a537-4757-bfc6-4d1bad940e6aPost:bd9887a7-9f6d-45cb-8113-f025f053907c">Re: NWR: Really strange houseguest situation</a>:
    [QUOTE]Yeah I plan on asking my direct superior today about whether I can bill all the time I spend with her.  When he sees 20 or 30 hours of marketting in a single week he will wonder, and this way it sort of comes out to the rest of the firm that I'm being asked to do this.  It might be a little passive aggressive, but I plan to write this time down, and I would rather make my billing partner aware of it beforehand, rather than having a talking to after the fact. I think the partner is going to entertain her during the day?  It's entirely unclear to me.  He did say he was going to take her to the grocery store to buy her own food.  None of it really makes sense -<strong> I think this is really a personal thing of his since the firm isn't footing the bill for anything.  Normally the firm would put a professional guest up in a hotel, feed them, etc.  Since that's not happening I guess she's just a friend of his and he can't write off the expenses?</strong> This partner is known to pull stuff like this on the newbies.  I'm not sure why he picked me though, honestly.  I only moved to this city right before I started my job, my FI is in a different city where I have lived the last 7 years, and I work all the time so I really don't have a social network here yet.  It's mostly friends from work.  I've been paying back a huge loan to my parents since I started (last payment is friday! Yay!) so I haven't even been to a bar since moving here.  I've seen one movie with my FI during off-peak hours, we've eaten out at one restaurant, and that's it.  There is another female associate who is my senior who is also single but has lived here for years and is known to be very social.  She is from Spain and has a wide network of international friends here.  If he wanted somebody fun to show this woman the city, that other associate would have made more sense IMO.  LIterally the only people I know other than those at work are the guy at subway who makes my sandwich and the teller at well's fargo who I take checks to.
    Posted by hoffse[/QUOTE]

    <div>It could just be me, but this smells like the partner is stashing a lil action on the side at your house. The part in the original post about why she can't stay at his house with his wife makes me wonder what the true relationship is. I understand why you can't ask and I think that letting your billing partner know of the upcoming "marketing" hours is a good way to go. I'd probably mention it to the partner requesting it first just in case he decides he wants to back-pedal before you bring it to your billing partners attention and let the requesting partner know that you are going to mention it to the billing partner if that makes any sense.</div>
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    I travel a lot for business, and I've never even considered staying anywhere but a hotel. Talk about an invasion of privacy for you, OP.

    It's really bizzare that this woman is going to be just chilling at your house while you're not there.


    If you don't have a safe...I'd get one...or at least store your valuables and personal items at a trusted friend's house while this woman is in town.

    Is it really too late to book her a hotel in the area?
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_nwr-really-strange-houseguest-situation?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:73f2b0ed-a537-4757-bfc6-4d1bad940e6aPost:ac03786a-8b9e-4d03-b612-6bccf94a69cb">Re: NWR: Really strange houseguest situation</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: NWR: Really strange houseguest situation : It could just be me, but this smells like the partner is stashing a lil action on the side at your house. The part in the original post about why she can't stay at his house with his wife makes me wonder what the true relationship is. I understand why you can't ask and I think that letting your billing partner know of the upcoming "marketing" hours is a good way to go. I'd probably mention it to the partner requesting it first just in case he decides he wants to back-pedal before you bring it to your billing partners attention and let the requesting partner know that you are going to mention it to the billing partner if that makes any sense.
    Posted by rusngl2[/QUOTE]

    Wow rusngl2 that is a very clever twist on what could be happening here.  Since it would make sense that OPs boss wouldn't put the burden on his "friend" to pay to come and stay in the situation you put forth.  That would make it even more awkward to put OP in the middle and have all the whispers at the office.  Too bad OP can't have a family emergency  where someone is in the hospital and she has to put up some family in the house where the guest would go so she's out of room. But I'm sure she'll have a good excuse next time. Because if this partner has their way there will definitely be a next time.
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    This is so strange.  I work in a law firm and we have a very cordial relationship with our main clients, but even they stay in hotels when they come to town.

    I was going to suggest saying, in passing and as if its no big deal, something to a different partner about this to see his/her reaction.  They may just take care of this issue for you.  I like the idea of going to your billing partner asking about what is appropriate to bill, in this instance. 
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    [QUOTE] It could just be me, but this smells like the partner is stashing a lil action on the side at your house. The part in the original post about why she can't stay at his house with his wife makes me wonder what the true relationship is. I understand why you can't ask and I think that letting your billing partner know of the upcoming "marketing" hours is a good way to go. I'd probably mention it to the partner requesting it first just in case he decides he wants to back-pedal before you bring it to your billing partners attention and let the requesting partner know that you are going to mention it to the billing partner if that makes any sense.
    Posted by rusngl2[/QUOTE]
    I totally agree with the thought that this partner is potentially a two-timing jerk who is using his power/authority to make you assist him in his nasty plotting.
    And also, I worked in the legal community for a few years, and there is NO way this would have ever happened at our law firm. Maybe it's just a local thing?
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    I moved to Atlanta about a year ago, so if you want to PM and let me know what area you're in I'm happy to help with ideas if I can! I haven't been here too long though, so depending on where you actually live (I've mostly been in the western & northern suburb areas) I may not be able to suggest much.
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    Yep it's odd - I don't think he's two-timing, either.  HIs wife knows she's coming and he told me he's going to host a dinner party at their house one night.  I think his wife just doesn't want to entertain somebody for a week, and like PP said I'm the lowest on the totem pole for another 8 months until the next class starts.  I can't start saying no for a while still - and I'm basically at the office every day instead of out with clients so I can't manufacture a business trip or anything.

    i mentioned it to my billing partner this morning (great guy, brand new partner so he was an associate last year), and he was clearly taken aback by it.  So I think it's just this one guy and not really firm culture here.  My billing partner told me to track my expenses and time and the firm will reimburse me.  I'm trying to find the silver lining in this - it could mean I qualify for a discretionary bonus next Jan., which would time perfectly for us to buy a house.  And of course, I will get hours for it.  So I suppose it's not all bad?  Trying to be positive, lol

    I plan to keep my valuable in the back hatch of my car behind the golf clubs.  When you open the back hatch they appear to take up the entire area, so you can't see the little hidey hole I have back there.
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    This request is out of line, unprofessional and might even be actionable. I recommend that you sit down with the partner who made this request and tell him that you've discussed this "houseguest" with your fiance and he's not comfortable with the idea of a stranger in your house. Or tell him that the more you've thought about this, you've become uncomfortable with the idea. Apologize for any inconvenience your change of heart has caused and be done with it.

    There is a huge difference between accommodating senior partners and being a doormat. My gut tells me that he's cheating on his wife with this woman (dinner party or not) and is either too cheap to pay for a hotel for her or doesn't want to leave a paper trail. For whatever reason he knew you wouldn't say no so he asked you to take her in. He is way out of line and he knows it. 

    I have been married to a corporate attorney for over twenty eight years and he's been a partner for twenty five of those. A request by a partner for an associate to house a stranger overnight is a gross abuse of power. I'm not a lawyer but I wonder if since the request is coming from a male superior and you, as a female subordinate, feel too intimidated to say no makes it sexual harassment. If he's having an affair with this woman he wants to keep at your house, this seems like sexual harassment squared. This is why I don't think turning down this ridiculous request will have a negative impact on your future with this firm. This guy knows he's doing something he shouldn't. 


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