Q. I'm an assistant and my employer invited me to lunch for Administrative Professionals' Day. I work alongside two others who are technically in another department. They were not included in the lunch invitation. The vice president of their department works from another office on the opposite coast.
Should I have declined the offer, and, instead, asked that they be included?
R. B., Lancaster, CA
A. You were right to go to lunch with your boss. His offer was honoring you in recognition of the day and your efforts to support him throughout the year.
You should not have declined and then said, “But if you want to take Marge and Jane along with me because their boss is across the country, then I’d be happy to go to lunch.” Now you are dictating the conditions under which you’re willing to have lunch and not giving your boss the choice of whether to invite them while still honoring you. In the end run, it turns a nice invitation into a negotiation and hurts your relationship with him.
It’s unfortunate for the other two assistants that their boss works in another location, but that’s a reality of their job. It’s not your position to negotiate on their behalf or attempt to correct a missed opportunity on their boss’s behalf.
Q. How can I word an invitation for a co-worker's retirement dinner? In addition to the per person cost of the dinner, I would like to include an addendum that people can make a donation for a gift.
N. K., West Creek, NJ
A. A retirement party thrown by the business should be entirely funded by the business, including any gift, because the business is the “host.” What you describe is a get-together of colleagues and not a party with a host. Therefore, a “pay your own way” lunch or dinner is appropriate. Below the invitation information, write: “Dutch treat.” It’s not appropriate to solicit gifts in addition to the meal. One option: the participants chip in to purchase the honoree’s meal, but that should be all they’re asked to contribute. “Dutch treat, and we’ll all treat Bob.”
The author is solely responsible for the content.
about this blog
e-mail your question
Meet the Jobs Docs
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.