Unwilling Guest

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I work for the founder of my company. He’s given me a good twenty-
year career. I work hard and well, and am fairly compensated. I’ve
also watched him turn from a decent boss into someone who likes to
be involved in the lives of all his employees. I try to keep good
boundaries. Recently we had a project that involved learning about
Scotch whiskey. (Yes, this job has perks.) Now he has initiated weekly
Tuesday night tasting session at his house and is browbeating staff
into attending, ostensibly as teambuilding. I live an hour away and
while I wouldn’t mind good whiskey at home, I object to the pressure.
I’ve gone a few times but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and I
don’t mean the drink. My wife objects because she has a high-pressure
job and cannot always get home to feed/walk our aging pets. Can you
help me craft a compelling out?

Unwilling Guest

Dear Unwilling:

If an angry wife and aging pets were not enough of an excuse, how
in more dulcid tones, but that’s the message. Not I don’t want to
come. Not, My life is my life when I leave the office. And never ever
ever, I don’t want to hear your voice or think about your earthly
existence except when you are paying me.

Make arrangements with your wife for one last drink. After the first
round — that is, after everyone has a warm glow in their tummy and
brain — say you want to propose a toast. With the most sincere face
you can muster, say: I’d like to thank [Boss] for the years of great
work, and for his great taste in whiskey. As much as I have enjoyed
these sessions, this is my last one. My wife has assumed new
responsibilities at work and I need to be home promptly for the next
six months. Also, I came very close to getting tagged on a DUI a few
weeks ago. So while I love you all, I’m going to drink a coffee and wish
you happy drinking nights without me. I can’t risk death or the law for
the pleasure of your company. Others may want out too and if you’re
all lucky the sessions will die a natural death.