I’ve only been on one “retreat” of any kind. It was with my church. My parents paid for it because anytime you can pay the Catholic Church to take your kids into the woods and tell them about God’s plan, it’s something you have to do.
Of course, going to a voluntary retreat sponsored by a religious organization is one thing. Going on a mandatory retreat ordered by your employer is quite another. Traditionally, if your employer is going to make you go on one of these things, then the employer is going to cover the hotel and airfare of the employees. That’s just how corporate America works.
I bring this up because associates at one midsize firm seem to be getting the short end of the stick. Their firm is apparently forcing them to attend a two-night retreat, but the firm is only paying for a one-night stay in their hotel rooms….
Here’s how a tipster describes the situation at the California and Nevada law firm of Morris Polich & Purdy:
Morris Polich … is having a two-night attorney retreat at a hotel near Palm Springs this fall. The thing is that the firm is only paying for one night (Saturday) of the hotel, and requiring associates to pay for the first night. You’d think the associates would just skip Friday and arrive on Saturday afternoon? Well, the firm has scheduled a mandatory 9:00 Saturday morning meeting for all attorneys. So the LA associates are forced to either pay $150.00 to stay Friday night, or to get up at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday and drive 2+ hours to make it to the meeting. No idea what options the SF and LV associates are facing, given that they have to fly into Ontario Airport.
Now, a lot of things can get lost in translation. Maybe the 9:00 a.m. meeting isn’t “mandatory,” but is strongly suggested; maybe the firm is making this up to associates in some other way. But unless we’re missing something, this appears to be bush league behavior from a law firm that is big enough to know the difference.
If you schedule a meeting for Saturday morning, pony up for Friday night’s hotel bill. Or move everything to late Saturday/early Sunday. Or don’t have a stupid “firm retreat” at all, sparing people who would rather be spending time with their families from dealing with “work friends” in a social context (and from seeing said colleagues in swimsuits).
If it was me, I’d skip the whole thing and then on Monday morning say that I don’t spend time with people I work with unless I’m getting paid.