Imagine you were just offered an all expenses paid trip for a user conference in Vegas. This conference is for something you use every day, are responsible for keeping running, and is one of the most critical components of the company infrastructure. So its not just a fluff out of the office golf and drink getaway. (Though there is that potential too.)
Imagine that almost every other employee in the department has been on one of these on COMPANY expense (this one won't cost the company anything). So this is not in any way a violation of company policy.
Now imagine that your boss tells you that you still can't go because you're too valuable, and they can't afford to have you out of the office that long.
This just happened to me.
IF I'M THAT FUCKING IMPORTANT THAT I CAN'T BE OUT OF THE OFFICE FOR 3 DAYS I SHOULD BE MAKING MORE THAN EVERY OTHER GOD DAMNED EMPLOYEE. THEY GET TO GO TO THESE THINGS, SO BY THAT LOGIC THEY AREN"T ESSENTIAL TO OPERATIONS.