a dose of perspective (in the form of an update)

Remember the reader who declined an invitation from her boss to attend a professional event over the weekend because she already had dinner with her husband’s family and his elderly godmother? Her husband thought she should have pulled out of the dinner and attended the work event, and she was wondering if she’d made a career blunder by not doing so. Here’s her update.

I wrote to you awhile back about declining a sudden work-related invitation in favor of keeping dinner plans with family that we don’t get to see very often. I opted to keep the dinner plans with my husband’s family and his godmother, because I felt that was more important than attending a reception for which I received a last-minute invitation from my boss. You and nearly all of your readers agreed.

Sadly, my husband’s godmother passed away suddenly yesterday morning. The pain of our loss is somewhat lessened by the fact that one of the last things we did with her was take her to a lovely dinner; I will be forever grateful that we didn’t postpone this evening and miss out on this beautiful memory.

You might not get another evening with your loved ones, but there will almost always be another work event to attend.

{ 14 comments… read them below }

  1. Cheryl*

    Again, sorry for your loss – but thanks for sharing your experience. I hope you and your family are finding comfort together in this difficult time.

  2. Ruby*

    Even if there are repercussions from not attending the work event, it will be a small price to pay for the chance to have said ‘goodbye’ to someone you loved.

    Condolences on your loss.

  3. The Editor*

    I too am sorry for your loss. Your experiences remind me of the great thought that “I work to live, not live to work.” No idea who the original author was, but it helps keep me grounded when work starts to overtake my life.

  4. AdAgencyChick*


    However hard we all work, at the end of the day you work so you can live, not the other way around. I am very fortunate to have a supervisor who understands this (and who recently allowed me to take several days off on short notice, during a very busy period, so that I could be with my mother when she was in the hospital), and I want to pass that understanding on to anyone who ever works for me.

    OP, so glad you were able to spend that lovely evening with her. You’ll remember it forever, which would not have been the case for that work event!

  5. Not So NewReader*

    I am also sorry to hear of your loss, OP. But very good call on the dinner/work event situation. You now have a little treasure for your memory bank that you can keep forever. I am sure she was glad you were there, too.
    My condolences to you and yours.

  6. AF*

    OP, my sincere condolences to you and your husband and his family. Thank you for the much needed perspective on what is truly important in life. I’m sure his godmother cherished the memory deeply as well.

  7. ITwannabe*

    OP, my sincere condolences go out to you and your husband for your loss. I am so glad that you gave yourselves and her the gift of a wonderful evening out. It’s not a bad thing to work hard at one’s career, as long as we remember what is truly important and give our loved ones our love and time, too. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  8. EM*

    I am so glad you were able to see your Godmother one last time. You made the right choice.

    I learned the hard way early on that for me, family should come first. I’ve lived my life that way ever since, and I’ve never had a negative long-term consequence as a result. In fact, I once got a D on a big lab exam in grad school because I went out of town for a family funeral instead of buckling down and studying for the test. I could tell my professor was surprised and disappointed, so I stopped by his office to explain why. I still got an A in that class. :)

  9. ECH*

    Way to go on making the right choice, OP.

    A little over a year ago, my employee’s sister was in Hospice after a four-year battle with cancer. He was visiting her every evening; our jobs involve some evening work but I encouraged him to forego it in an effort to see her as much as possible – as “there is nothing more important than spending time with her right now.” Within a month, she was gone.

  10. Min*

    As many have already said, you made the right choice for you and for your family. You would have regretted missing that last opportunity to spend time with a beloved family member.

    I am so sorry for your loss.

  11. LJL*

    Thank you for the reminder of what is important. Your family will be in my thoughts; I am so sorry to hear about your godmother.

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