1. Robert Hainline

    My father-in-law runs a shoe store and the only people that work there are family members, namely his wife and two daughters. A shoe representative invited him and his wife and one of his daughters out to dinner, her treat. The only daughter that got excluded was my wife, who will surely have her feelings hurt if she finds out about this. We feel that it was rude to exclude my wife, so how can we respectively resolve this without offending the representative?

    • Jerry

      You can’t. Not only would it be rude for you to angle for an extra invite, but it would be undignified to boot. This is a really odd situation, though. Have you given us all of the relevant facts? For example, does the vendor not know about the relationships? Does your wife work at the store only part time? (Do your wife and the vendor not get along?) Also, who is “we”? If “we” includes your father-in-law, the obvious solution would have been for him to say (at the time of invitation), “That’s a really nice offer, but my daughter Elizabeth will be crushed if her sister Jane gets to go but she does not.” (If your father-in-law accepted the invitation, that really makes it hard to angle for another invite.)

      In any case, I’ve gotten off track. This is a business dinner. Perhaps your wife will have the opportunity to go to dinner with another vendor at another time. You might take your wife out somewhere special to distract her during the big night out.

    • Jody

      Robert, that is a very tricky one. Is it possible the representative didn’t realize that both daughters work in the store? I don’t think it would be correct to show up with an extra guest uninvited. Maybe your father-in-law could respond to the representative accepting the invitation for himself and your mother-in-law; he could say something like “unfortunately daughter won’t be able to make it as she and her sister need to run the store that night.”

  2. D

    There is nothing to resolve. Your father-in-law either accepts or declines the invitation as it was offered. Anything else would be presumptuous and unprofessional. The vendor is not obligated to entertain the entire staff, regardless of their relationship to one another. The fact that your wife “will surely have her feelings hurt if she finds out about this” indicates that she (and apparently you, or perhaps the entire family), does not understand that business is business. Grow up, say absolutely nothing about it, and take steps to ensure that this and other vendors are never put in the awkward position of having to navigate your family dynamics. Talk about a professional death-knell.

    Also, you write that your father-in-law “runs” the store. If he doesn’t OWN the store, then everything above counts double.

  3. Ashley

    I started at a temp job a few weeks ago. I feel confused about how I should approach this job in terms of my professional appearance. I assumed I should dress up a little (it is business casual) so I generally wear black pants and a button-up shirt. Many of my co-workers wear flip flops and do not dress professionally, clearly breaking the dress code. Even my boss wears a zip-up sweatshirt over her dress clothes.
    My question is this: As the temp (hoping to get a job with the company when the temp position is over) should I dress well and follow the dress code or blend in with my co-workers and dress down? My worry is that I will seem arrogant or unapprochable (especially since my education level is above most of my co-workers) by dressing nicely but at the same time I do not want to damage any opportunity to further my position at this company.

    • Elizabeth

      The advice one always hears is “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” I would continue to dress professionally, but not over the top. It sounds like you are not wearing full suits, and it would be better to wear flats or very small heels rather than full pumps. It’s surprising that the boss wears a hoodie rather than a cardigan if she’s cold… but that could be something you avoid only because it sounds supremely unattractive.

  4. Colleen

    Thank you for the post about office giving. I am in the same situation above. My co-worker and friend lost his house in a fire yesterday. Another friend and I are planning to take up a collection for the family of 6. How do we best approach this? Our co-worker is a private person and doesn’t like to ask for help. Yet, we want to help and let him know we care. I am thinking of getting a card for people to sign, whether or not they contribute. I don’t know the best way to handle this. I want to respect his privacy. We are thinking we will only include the groups he works closely with. How do we protect him while letting him know we are here? Should we do a card?

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