If you try googling “rooming with your boss” the internet’s general response to you is going to be: I DON’T WANT TO SHARE A ROOM WITH MY BOSS!!!!!! We don’t want to get closer than we absolutely have to to our bosses . Period. Most articles you can find online on this topic are the desperate cries for help preventing it from happening. One thing that all the scared screamers out there forget about though, is that sharing a room with your boss could be a great opportunity to build/strengthen your professional relationships.
As Ruth Graham states in How To Avoid The Embarrassing Etiquette Dilemmas Of Traveling With Your Boss: Being invited on a business trip with your boss is a great opportunity: You get one-on-one time with a higher-up, the chance to learn from her, and to prove your mettle on the road.
Sharing a hotel room with your boss on a business trip is not as terrible as it seems to you right now. You will not even suffer as much if you focus on your own personal comfort, set up boundaries, and follow the professional etiquette.
So, if you concentrate on your own comfort, set up some necessary boundaries and simply follow common roommate ettiquette you could benefit from this trip! The key elements to success in any situation is focus and positive attitude. That’s an axiom. So focus on yourself. If you feel terrible about the prospect of being stuck in one room with your boss for the whole weekend, just relax, and breathe out. Try thinking about what makes you feel uncomfortable about it? What could you do to make the situation better? Visualizing your stay together could help you better prepare for any awkward situations that might happen along the road.
Are you uncomfortable about your boss’s overbearing personality? Think how you can protect your privacy and get some time alone to gather your thoughts. Having meals separately, for example, is a perfect excuse to spend some time away from each other and white noise is the best opportunity to avoid both bedtime talk and snoring.
Personal exposure aka to-much-information is another thing that we all dread when it comes to sharing a room with a stranger. Afraid that you might see your boss walking around the room stark naked while making a friendly conversation with you? Time to think boundaries. To effectively set up boundaries you have to know exactly what level of closeness are you comfortable with. Be relaxed but firm about it and let your body do the rest: we read each others body language and respond to it subconsciously. Simply not looking at your boss while she is undressed will send her a discreet but clear message that she/he is going to get and respond to without even realizing it.
Next step from here would be to line up the possibilities this lovely weekend could open up to you. Even if at first it feels that the best possibility you’ve got so far is to flip a finger in your boss’s face and finally tell her/him what you really think… Right before you slam the hotel room door goodbye forever.
Plan ahead and prepare for both worst and best case scenarios. Do you believe that you qualify for a promotion? Do you have any constructive suggestions for your boss? This trip is the best chance you’ve got to talk about it with your boss and make it happen!