Q. A co-worker came to work today with a tick buried under the skin of his
hand, for which he had not sought medical assistance. Instead, he came to work and asked another coworker to use a pocket knife and help him cut it out. This took place in front of two other co-workers who appeared amused and offered advice in this surgical procedure. Collectively these four individuals finally decided that they were in over
their heads and advised the infected co-worker to finally seek a doctor.
Tell me, am I delusional in thinking these people were out of line?
R. O., Methuen, MA
A. Yes, R. O., they were out of line. First and foremost, they risked causing serious harm to the tick bitten co-worker. The risk of infection from the tick itself as well as from the knife is both real and dangerous. In addition, if the tick carried Lyme or other tick-born diseases, the long–term health consequences could be very serious. Obviously, your co-worker used poor judgment when he failed to seek medical assistance in the first place.
From the etiquette point of view, performing the “operation” in public showed a complete lack of awareness of the sensibilities of others. Any potentially “gross” activity should be taken care of in private. From the business point of view, the disruption it caused distracted other workers from their primary task—getting their work done—not to mention putting the business itself at risk as the “operation” was carried out while on the job.
Q. When writing an e-mail to a group of people, should names always be listed alphabetically or by hierarchy. Often after the first couple of "ranked" people, the remainder of the addressees are peers. In that case should I first list the president, then vice president, and then all the subordinates in alpha order?
Am I making this a bigger deal than is necessary?
C.W. Needham, MA
A. It’s a good idea to take care both with the “rank” and the spelling of people’s names. The hybrid of listing “ranked people” first followed by peers in alphabetical order makes the most sense.
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Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.
Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.
Cindy Atoji Keene is a freelance journalist with more than 25 years experience. E-mail her directly here.
Peter Post is the author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business." Email questions about business etiquette to him directly here.
Stu Coleman, a partner and general manager at WinterWyman, manages the firm's Financial Contracting division, and provides strategic staffing services to Boston-area organizations needing Accounting and Finance workforce solutions and contract talent.
Tracy Cashman is a partner and the general manager of the Information Technology search division at WinterWyman. She has 20 years of experience partnering with clients in the Boston area to conduct technology searches in a wide variety of industries and technology.
Paul Hellman is the founder of Express Potential, which specializes in executive communication skills. He consults and speaks internationally on how to capture attention & influence others. Email him directly here.