I’ve mentioned before that Anonymous Software Company has two conferences: Internal is to update everyone about our plan for the year and that’s in January. Then in June we have our External Conference for our customers, full of drunken nights…oh and a few power point presentations too.

Last year I was one of three people left behind at the office while everyone else traveled to a different state to engage in some drunken revelry. They even sent a new hire who had been here less than three months! I’m not going to lie – I was bitter and resentful that I was finally eligible to go and was passed over despite having worked at Anonymous Software Company for five years. I won’t rehash the whole thing, but you can read it here.

In October, Yelena (my boss’ #1 enemy) sent me a save the date for External Conference. I gave a little hop of delight until I remembered the same thing happened last year and I didn’t end up going. So I cautiously waited and watched. After last year a lot of the employees got in trouble for their conduct at the Conference. Not because they were partying, that’s expected. No, it was because a handful of them refused to help their coworkers when asked! One case in particular I know about is Emma – yes the Emma that was brand new and went to Conference instead of me. Apparently she told multiple people that she didn’t know how to do certain things and rather than learning she just refused to help. CGirl told me when she got back to the office that I was greatly missed because I’m always willing to lend a hand.

Last month Emma announced her pregnancy and said she wouldn’t be going to Conference because she didn’t want to travel. A few other people made similar excuses…then it came out that they were all banned from the Conference due to poor performance last year. Ouch, burn! Their actions also led to my raise. Suddenly my chances of attending skyrocketed and I actually started looking forward to it.

Then my hopes were dashed – not only did they hire two new people who are going (including a new minion of Yelena’s – did they learn nothing last year!?) but they rehired SpeedRacer who left around July last year. Since he has a lot of experience at the Conference, he’s on the list to go…so my chances swung back down again. Mix that with piddling registrations and I accepted that I’m not on the list this year.

Then Ching, my boss, came to visit. She works from a home office so I see her a handful of times a year (modern technology, love it!). We had a heart to heart and she told me she feared that if she pushed for me to go and there wasn’t enough work, I might be labeled a Monica. Oh no!

What’s a Monica, you ask? Monica is Thaddeus’ (head of my department) personal assistant. During our internal conference in January there were so many people helping (since my department has been hiring drastically) that there wasn’t enough for everyone to do. So Monica sat in a back room where the executives congregated while waiting to present their topics and she studied for our Mandatory Training. All day. Every day. Thaddeus was confronted from a number of people asking why she was at the internal conference in the first place if she didn’t have anything to do. It has greatly reduced her reputation. I actually feel bad for her.

So Ching worried that if I went and couldn’t find enough projects to work on, I’ll be labeled an unnecessary person…like Monica. I’d rather sit at the office working than have my reputation suffer. Especially given the way that my department has exploded in expansion, I predict that we won’t be able to sustain our numbers and a layoff will occur. I’d rather not have any more blemishes on my record when that happens!

So I guess I’m OK with being passed over again. The only crappy part is the more I don’t go, the more they justify not sending me because I don’t have the experience to go. It’s an unending cycle. I’m pretty sure this is how black holes are formed.