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Today's column

Posted by Robin Abrahams  February 16, 2014 07:21 AM

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... is online here. It's a three-fer, so here's the middle question & answer for you:

Our boss of 38 years was suddenly laid off. She was given two hours to clean her office and was escorted out. The staff is in shock, crying and dazed. They are expressing grief and said they did not get to tell her goodbye. They have decided to have an off-site get-together for her. What would be the proper name of this event? It isn't a party, as this is not a celebration.

S.H. / Pontiac, Michigan

That is disgraceful and unforgivable and I am so sorry. You can call your event--well, you can just call it an event, if you want to, "an event to celebrate Jane Bosslady." Or you can call it a gathering, or a get-together if it is more informal, or a social if that sounds natural to you (it sounds stilted to me, but it's probably a regional thing).

Or you could create your own nomenclature for the event: Call it Bosslady-palooza or The First Annual Conference for Jane Studies or a Story-Sharing or a Cocktail Kvetch. The advantage of this more idiosyncratic approach is that it would allow you, the hosts, to set a tone for the event, which is a good and important thing to do. Some of your guests will want to excoriate the injustice and strategize next steps, some will want to focus on how great Jane is and ignore the situation entirely, some will relentlessly happy-talk about Jane's wonderful future. It's on you to manage the emotional tenor of the event in a way that will best honor Ms. Bosslady and meet her present needs.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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About Miss Conduct
Welcome to Miss Conduct’s blog, a place where the popular Boston Globe Magazine columnist Robin Abrahams and her readers share etiquette tips, unravel social conundrums, and gossip about social behavior in pop culture and the news. Have a question of your own? Ask Robin using this form or by emailing her at missconduct@globe.com.
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Who is Miss Conduct?

Robin Abrahamswrites the weekly "Miss Conduct" column for The Boston Globe Magazine and is the author of Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners. Robin has a PhD in psychology from Boston University and also works as a research associate at Harvard Business School. Her column is informed by her experience as a theater publicist, organizational-change communications manager, editor, stand-up comedian, and professor of psychology and English. She lives in Cambridge with her husband Marc Abrahams, the founder of the Ig Nobel Prizes, and their socially challenged but charismatic dog, Milo.

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Curious if you should say "bless you" to a sneezing atheist? How to host a dinner party for carbophobes, vegans, and Atkins disciples—all at the same time? The finer points of regifting? Ask it here, or email missconduct@globe.com.

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