Monday, July 24, 2006
Offering Condolences On The Job
The link below examines a facet of "workplace etiquette" - how to express one's condolences when a colleague or the relative of one passes away. Cards are in order, but formality should be maintained. Therefore, better something from Hallmark than from Shoebox. Consoling aggrieved colleagues is a task that even I have handled well at one time or another. It requires sensitivity and taste, or at least a shrewd mimicry thereof.
I wonder though - how does one console a colleague who has been demoted, downsized or outright fired? How can one balance the desired sincerity with the need to remain employed by the same entity that robbed the departed colleague of his earning power? Are there appropriate cards available for such occasions? Can those cards be passed among the department - or should they be circulated only in secret? Can one ask one's boss, who was perhaps the agent of the fateful firing, to sign the card himself? Or should one pass the card under the cubicle wall, so to speak, to its intended recipient? Should the card be simperingly optimistic, or brayingly cynical and iconoclastic? Should one's demeanor be solemn - or ridiculous? These are the sorts of questions I'd like to see answered about "workplace etiquette", as surely our careers die at least as often as we do ourselves.
"Workplace Etiquette" from The Post-Standard