Open Thread

by epi on September 13, 2011

Amazon Order Emily Post Etiquette 18th EditionWelcome to the Etiquette Daily

This open thread is your space to use as you like.  We invite you to discuss current and traditional etiquette. Feel free to ask questions of each other and the community moderators here.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Cassie September 13, 2011 at 11:11 am

I’d appreciate your guidance. How do I properly write this:

Mr. and Mrs. Jane and Jon Doe

or

Mr. and Mrs. Jon and Jane Doe

Thank you!

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Just Laura September 13, 2011 at 11:54 am

Perhaps this page from the Emily Post Institute will help you: Guide to Addressing Correspondence.

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Winifred Rosenburg September 13, 2011 at 11:57 am

You generally wouldn’t write Jane. It would just be Mr. and Mrs. Jon Doe.

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Genevieve Lloyd September 13, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Good afternoon!

I am having a bit of trouble dealing with the growing number of people who lack manners. I try to remember that everyone wasn’t raised with manners, but I am becoming frustrated at the basic lack of civility the some members of society are displaying. I would love to have some advice as to how to handle it.

The lastest situation really has given me a headache. The founder of our company died recently. We were initially told that the office was going to be closed the day of the memorial service the following month. We just received a letter from the higher-ups saying that they have to “consider the business needs of the office.” Those employees who are valued (the professionals) may take the day and attend the service, and those employees who are not valued (obviously, my take) must get approval to take the time to attend; must use their lunch hour; will be approved for only a small window of time in which to travel to the event, attend it, and travel back.

After all of the speeches about how we’re a family and how we should all be included in the proceedings, this is what we get.

Sorry about the length, but thank you for any suggestions you may have.

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Country Girl September 13, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Oh dear, that was indeed a poor way for the situation to be handled. I understand the difficult decision that faced the company at this time but it wasn’t good planning to offer for everyone to be able to attend, and then back down from this plan. However, unfortunately when a company’s “higher-ups” make blanket decisions like this, that leaves employees about 1 of 2 options. 1) Comply 2) Quit…. 3) possibly raise a fuss. You could indeed fuss if this funeral is really really important to you, but I would suggest a “Pick your Battles” way of thinking first.

If it were me, I would see this for the blunder that it was, and go to work as scheduled. If the founder’s memorial service is important to you and/or others, then perhaps you could carpool on your break, if not, I might instead plan a fun lunch outing for the other “left behinds”. On a glass half-full note, the truly important employees seem to be the ones that have been chosen to stay at the office to complete necessary work and handle the business functions, and at least you may be able to look forward to a more peaceful workday with a good portion of your team not in the office.

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Jerry September 13, 2011 at 7:40 pm

Dear Genevieve:

It gives me no pleasure to tell you this: no matter what anyone tells you, there is no such thing as “a family” when it comes to business. Sure, some companies may be friendlier to staff than others. But, at the end of the day, business is business. When you think about this, it makes some sense. The company is run for the benefit of its owners; a family is supposed to look out for everyone within the unit. Businesses are governed by “policies”; family members do for each other because of bonds of affection. Need proof? You were told that the firm needs to “consider the business needs of the office.”

I truly sympathize (and empathize) with your situation: we’ve had massive layoffs of “professionals” and “staff” over the past two years. Professionals are allowed to stay on the payroll for a few months while they try to find something else. Secretaries are walked out the door the day they are laid off. Not fair, not right, but that’s the way the world works.

With respect for your situation and the question you asked, I would do nothing. The most difficult and dangerous thing that anyone can do is to try to change the social order of a place. (See Machiavelli’s Prince.) Your bosses have made it clear what they want. Unless you have some significant power (i.e., you control some significant revenue streams), this is not a battle worth fighting. If you must do something, send a note of condolence to the family of the founder of the company conveying your deepest sympathies and telling them how much the founder meant to you.

And you certainly have my sympathies, both for the loss of someone you care enough to write and for the work situation that has you so frustrated.

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Gary Jackson September 13, 2011 at 6:18 pm

I find myself in an etiquette conundrum, and I’m not really sure how to resolve it. One of my friends has a semi-regular gathering with friends at her house where we play an ongoing social game that really requires all attendants to be present. All of us except friend A have been invited to a special birthday party at a mutual friend B’s house on the date of our next gathering. Here’s the problem: if one of us accepts the invitation, the social gathering function can’t really happen. If we all decline the invitation, it may be perceived as a group snub of friend B. If we all accept the invitation and the smaller gathering is cancelled, then friend A is left out in the cold.

What do I do? Is rescheduling the smaller, less-formal gathering to the next week acceptable?

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Pam September 14, 2011 at 9:37 am

Is Friend A the person who hosts the semi-regular gathering with the ongoing social game? Does Friend A know Friend B? If it’s not weird that Friend A wasn’t invited, then you should accept the birthday invitation and perhaps let Friend A know that there is a conflicting event for most of you but you can’t wait for the next meeting and to continue play of the social game. If it’s not at her house then the friend who does host the social game should just reschedule the game.

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Andy September 14, 2011 at 9:56 am

This sounds like a no-win situation! Does friend A know they’re the only one not invited to the party? How upset do you think they’d be if you cancelled? How upset would friend B be if none of your group could make it? How would you feel in either situation? Honoring the first commitment is usually the best way to go, but maybe you should consider what would make the fewest waves. (Personally, I think a special birthday party trumps a less-formal gathering, but that’s just me). Yikes!

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