Open Thread

by epi on January 2, 2012

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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.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer Richardson January 2, 2012 at 1:13 am

Many of the “bride’s to be” in my area seem to want to have a “candle”, “home decorating”, “kitchen ware”, etc. party so that they can “get free wedding gifts” out of it (and yes, that is EXACTLY how they put it!) based on the amount that people buy from said parties. Am I being too old fashioned to think they are asking for “wedding gifts” twice by doing this?


Winifred Rosenburg January 2, 2012 at 9:54 am

No, you aren’t being too old-fashioned. They are effectively throwing themselves showers, which is a big no-no. I wouldn’t go if I were you.


Winifred Rosenburg January 2, 2012 at 9:57 am

My boss sent me a request for a recommendation via LinkedIn. She has been extremely difficult to work with, and I can’t think of a single nice thing to say about her. How should I respond?


Elizabeth January 2, 2012 at 5:13 pm

I agree with Nina’s advice, however, if your boss is the kind of person who could and would really make your life difficult if you don’t do it, I would recommend writing her a letter in the most objective and distanced terms possible. ( I assume these letters are not public, and she would not be able to read it?) You shouldn’t say anything negative, but if your letter is full of extremely banal observations (“Josie has the discipline to maintain a strict schedule, always arriving and leaving on time, and always makes sure that the coffee is well-stocked.”) the hiring managers at the companies she’s applying to will read between the lines and understand that, as her subordinate with nothing nice to say, yours is a really not a recommendation at all.


Elizabeth January 2, 2012 at 5:14 pm

“She keeps her desk very tidy, and maintains a professional appearance with appropriate attire.”


Jennifer Richardson January 2, 2012 at 7:17 pm

I was always told that if you ask for a recommendation, you might get a good one or a bad one. I would hold off by telling her that it’s not appropriate to give a superior (boss) a job recommendation as that is something that is usually asked for from her own boss. If she’s pushes the situation, I would go to HR or the Union Rep (if you have one).


Zakafury January 3, 2012 at 11:41 am

I think Jennifer is spot on. You can dodge the issue simply by saying you are uncomfortable writing a recommendation for your direct supervisor.

You can even assure her that you would be happy to be a reference when it is no longer a conflict of interest.


Alicia January 3, 2012 at 10:37 am

LinkedIn recomendations are public. Do not write one unless you are comfortable with all your connections and hers seeing what you write.
Simply, do not respond to the request.


Jerry January 4, 2012 at 12:39 am

Tell your boss that you have always asked people to write their own letter for your signature. She probably won’t take you up on it, but if she does, and if she goes really over the top, you’ve got ammunition to take to HR. And I echo Alicia and Zakafury’s sage advice. I absolutely would not write a recommendation of faint praise like Elizabeth suggests — your boss will pick up on the passive aggression and may respond with some of her own to your detriment.

I wouldn’t be surprised if she was looking for a new job.


Nina January 2, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Hi Winifred, In my opinion, your boss should not be putting you in that position when you don’t have a good relationship. My advice might be a little cowardly, but could you just ignore it? If she asks about it, you could just say you don’t use LinkedIn very much. Of course, you’d be totally within your rights to say you don’t feel comfortable sending the recommendation, but I think that might go over very awkwardly. If she pressures you or insists you must do it, then it’s not an etiquette issue anymore–suggest if she is unhappy with your refusal, she take it to HR.


Cassie January 2, 2012 at 10:21 pm

I am compiling my guest list for my wedding and have reached a couple that no one seems to know how to address. They are married. He is an officer (Captain, soon to be Major) in the United States Army and she is a Doctor of Pharmacy (she prefers the title of Doctor). Who goes first? I think she would since she has a higher level of education but it seems odd that his service does not outrank her education level. PLEASE HELP!


Rusty Shackleford January 3, 2012 at 10:20 am

My first thought is that the husband still goes first even though it may sound a little awkward. I looked at some other sites and found that Dr would go before Mr, but I’m not sure I agree with that (although I realize that may sound sexist) if the long-standing tradition and custom is to address a married couple as Mr and Mrs John Smith, it seems like custom and tradition would not be supplanted by the woman being a doctor. Although it seems in the modern world there should be a way to both honor customs and recognize a woman’s exceptional scholarship and professionalism. As for the husband, if he husband is Army, vice Air Force, and you are certain he has been selected by a board for promotion to major, he should be addressed as “Captain (P).” The P stands for “promotable.” Other branches of service would refer to him as Major (S) the S standing for “select.” So in conclusion, although I may be incorrect here, I would address the envelope: “Captain (P) John Smith and Dr. Jane Smith.”


Elizabeth January 3, 2012 at 10:35 am

This website suggests “Captain Tim Smith and Dr. Jane Smith”


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