My question is about sick etiquette and spreading illness.
A neighborly friend came for a drink recently sporting a full-blown cold. When we opened the door he announced, “No physical contact, because I’ve got a bad cold.” We bypassed the warm welcoming handshakes and hugs. He said he couldn’t stay long, but nonetheless lingered long enough to bestow his cold virus on the household with his sneezing and coughing. We lost time from work; our son missed an important basketball game.
Shouldn’t he have told us he had a bad cold before sharing his germs, to give us the option of postponing his visit until he was healthy?
–JP, Springfield, MA
Out of all the holiday cards we’ve received in recent years, this one is the most memorable. What do you think, Didi, is this the new normal?
We actually followed your advice about giving a holiday tip — to a point.
We didn’t tip the sanitation workers because they are never the same guys.
We had always tipped the paper delivery person because we want our paper every day; he then included a thank-you card with the next paper.
For the first time, we tipped the mail carrier and he thanked us personally and then in a greeting card.
My husband and I use the same hair-stylist and we give her one nice holiday tip and she was very grateful.
Contrarily, we tipped our once a week cleaning person with a cash tip in a cheerful holiday card and she has not said a word. Since we each work sometimes up to ten hours a day, a cleaning person, who comes in three hours a week, is part of our budget. Was she expecting more?
–LT, Weston, MA
My question is about using your holiday card as a thank-you note for a wedding present.
Do brides and grooms still have to write thank-you notes for wedding presents they’ve received? Last summer my husband and I attended a beautiful wedding. We dutifully sent an expensive present from the bridal registry in a timely fashion, but we never received a thank-you note. In mid-December we got an elaborate Christmas card from the newly weds with photographs of the bride and groom taken at the wedding. There was a short handwritten notation from the bride on the back of the card that read: Thank-you for your wedding present and being part of our special day.
Is it the etiquette these days to combine your wedding present thank-you note with your Christmas card? She didn’t even mention what the present was.
–NR, Swansea, MA
We are having a casual 5:00 pm wedding indoors. The wedding dress code for the groomsmen is rather unconventional. They are wearing jeans and brown western shirts. The bridesmaid have turquoise dresses. I am the mother-of-the-groom and found out the mother-of-the-bride is wearing “brown pants and a turquoise blouse.”
What should I wear? I do not feel comfortable wearing pants to the wedding. I planned on wearing a dress.
Please, give us the standard on Casual Friday dress code.
Starting off the new year we want to rope in the whole sloppy Casual Friday dress code problem that has morphed year-round. Summer is the culprit. Everyone dresses willy-nilly, loose-goosey with tank tops and shirts untucked, sneakers unlaced, and flip-flops flopping around the cubicles as the mantra. Winter comes and they wear their boots to work and change into their flip-flops or Vans to pad around the office. Next they’ll be flaunting flannel pajama bottoms to work instead of the dreaded cargo pants or knee-torn faded jeans.
–CN, Seattle, WA
2017 Casual Friday Dress Code
- Collared shirts (or turtle necks) for men
- No untucked shirts
- No bare feet noticeable
- No bare midriff for women
- No visible tattoos
- No shorts
- No cargo pants, sweats, or torn jeans
- No baseball caps
- No hooded sweatshirts
- No hair longer than two inches below the earlobe for men
- No nose, lip, eyebrow or tongue jewelry
- No biker boots
At our last book group meeting in December one of the women objected to the book chosen book to be read for January. The person who hosts the next monthly meeting chooses the book in anticipation of everyone politely going along with her choice. One of the more vocal participants made it clear that she simply was not going to read the book because it wasn’t a good choice. A near cat fight ensued. Surprisingly, one of the quieter participators found her voice and vented her advice, “My mother always said, ‘the least said soonest mended.'” Mouths dropped in awe of sage wisdom. In the future, how would you handle a dissenter?
–KE, Brooklyn, NY
My question is about having a toxic boss.
Once again, I’m disappointed by my yearly loyalty raise. The thought of waiting a whole year for the next job review is depressing me. Despite the fact that my review went very well, that excellence won’t be reflected in my paycheck. We’re all down in the dumps and talking about moving on. I love my coworkers, but the boss is toxic. When he’s in a lousy mood, his atrocious moodiness spreads like a really bad cold virus. At the end of the day, we take home the toxicity.
–Ashley, Providence, RI
- According to Social Security records, the average 'loyalty' raise is 2.5%.
- Job changers can make more than 10% a year; if you change jobs every few years you'll be ahead of the game.
- Taking into consideration the stage of your career should be a factor.
- For the first decade your salary should double; the second decade it may increase 50%; the third decade your income stops growing; the fourth there will be a slight decline.
- Again, according to Social Security records fewer that 2% of employees double their income from the third decade on.
- Keep your job while you look for a fresh opportunity, because it is easier to find a new position when you're already employed.
- Getting a raise should not be a once-a-year exercise.
- Have a one-on-one conversation with your boss this week to discuss what your success looks like and find out what is key to your boss in the coming year.
- How is (s)he looking to take the company?
- This is not a once a year conversation.
- Get an update at every quarter.
- Keep a record of these discussions.
- Find out what you should be making from Comparably, GetRaised, Payscale, or Ziprecruiter.
- Check out the new app Switch, which is the Tinder of job searching. Hired.com is a marketplace where companies bid and compete for the most talented workers.
- Have a back-up plan when you're told the budget doesn't include raises.
- When there are no raises proactively look for projects or initiatives of value: flexibility to work from home, mentorship, partial payment for an executive MBA, a rotation in another division or overseas assignment, etc.
- Women continue to earn less than men; they are not as likely to ask for a raise because they know they are seen as less attractive employees than men who asked.
- If you're given the raise you deserve, don't spend it; investing it forges greater confidence.
I read your answer about how to tip during the holidays and have a follow-up question. I tipped the woman who cuts my hair every six weeks an extra $20 in December. I never tipped my old barber, because he owned the barber shop until he retired six years ago. Since then I’ve been going to a salon that cuts both men and women’s hair, and tipping $10 each time for a $30 haircut. She does a great job and so I decided this year to give a holiday tip. In the past I had noticed that other clients brought in gifts, such as wine, perfume, a wrapped boxed gift. Guiltily I handed her an extra $20 and wished her happy holidays.
She looked at me in disgust as if I didn’t appreciate her work. What did I do wrong? Her facial expression went from disappointment to repulsion.
–GW, Portsmouth, RI
What do you do when someone in conversation at a holiday party invites you and your boyfriend to come for dinner with she and her husband on New Year’s Eve, but there was no follow up? I said, Yes, Yes, but I now realize she was trying to find out which of her friends were available.
In planning her New Year’s Eve dinner party she was feeling the waters to find out who might help her pull together an interesting evening. I realize this. Is it my job to follow up to ask what time should we arrive and what can we bring? Or do we make other plans?
–Annie, Brooklyn, NY
My questions is about the etiquette of toasting. In a nutshell, I need tips on giving a toast. As a guest at a New Year’s Eve dinner party, how do I go about giving a toast?
–TB, Charleston, SC
- Ahead of time practice what you wish to say. Even if it is as simple as "Let's all raise our glasses to our hosts Marjorie and William!" Practice what you plan to say ahead of time. Do not ever read a toast.
- The host usually gives the welcoming toast. If he or she hasn't made a toast by dessert, any guest can start the toasting by praising the hosts for such a delicious dinner.
- Rise to the occasion. When there are more than four guests at the table, stand with your glass in your hand and straighten out your arm toward the center of the table to ask your fellow guests to raise their glasses in toasting your hosts, Marjorie and William, for a splendid New Year's Eve.
- Clinking of the glasses usually is not done when there are more than six guests at the table because the logistics don't allow for clinking everyone's glass without walking around the table.
- Make the toast all about the host(s) and not about yourself. You can say, "It is an honor for me to toast our hosts ...." The exception would be if you didn't know most of the guests, only then would you say, "As William's oldest brother, George, I would like to thank William and Marjorie for having me to stay over New Year's and giving me the opportunity to meet all of you."
- The best toasts are short and to the point, and no more than two minutes long. They should never be maudlin, even if there was a recent death in the family. Find the right toast to make all the guests smile. You're not roasting the person, you're toasting him. It goes without saying that you would never embarrass your host with tales about how naughty and wild he was in his youth, or about his former sweethearts.
- May the best of this year be the worst of next.
- May it be the best year yet for you, and everything you do may prosper.
- Let's drink to the maker of the feast, our friend and host. May his generous heart, like his good wine, only grow mellower with the years.
- May the roof above us never fall in, and may we friends gathered below never fall out. -an old Irish saying
- To the sun that warmed the vineyard, to the juice that turned to wine, to the host that cracked the bottle, and made it yours and mine.
- Happy New Year's!
What to do when accidents happen?
At our holiday party an elegant elderly gentleman went to put his glass of red wine on our coffee table and something awful happened. The full glass of red wine tumbled and splashed on to our new beige Stark carpet. Being the distinguished gentleman that he is, he offered to pay for having the carpet cleaned. He said to please send him the bill or email him the amount and he’ll send us a check. The cost of the cleaning is a couple of hundred dollars.
The guest is many years retired living on a fixed income and we want to know the etiquette on handling the reimbursement? He won’t believe how expensive cleaning the red wine stains out of our carpet actually was.
–JG, Wilton, CT
What do we do? On Christmas night one of the employees in the apartment building where we live rang the door bell to ask why he was the only employee who had not received a holiday tip from us. We told him that we had written out his name on the envelope and sealed the cash into his envelope just as we had done with all the other employees. Following building tradition, we had hand delivered all the envelopes to the building superintendent. The doorman asked, “Did I do something wrong?” We tried to assure him that he had not done anything wrong. Stunned we wished him a Merry Christmas and he walked away.
–SZ, NY, NY
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