Tick Tock: Personal Phone Calls While You’re On the Clock

Scenic Telephone Box, originally uploaded to Flickr by fakelvisToday’s request is from reader C, who has a question about how to handle personal calls while she’s at the office…

I am currently planning my wedding for next summer and as you know, it’s quite time consuming. Coupled with a demanding job and my involvement with several organizations and activities outside of work, I have to fit the wedding planning in wherever I can and that sometimes includes work hours. I sit at an open cubicle and since I am in finance, I work almost entirely with men. A couple of the guys in my group were recently married so they would talk wedding stuff occasionally, but it was rather infrequent and typically consisted of a few “yes” and “whatever you want is fine with me honey” type responses. I, on the other hand, have begun to field calls from everyone from potential wedding planners to my future mother in law and those require discussing details I’d rather keep to myself. What is your advice for the engaged readers out there? Should I ignore my wedding planner’s calls until I can get away from my desk? Should I hang up on my mother when the conversation turns into a debate on salmon vs. fuschia? How much wedding talk is too much before my coworkers think they’ve died and woken up in a sorority house? I’d love to hear what you and your readers have to say.

This is a great question, because everyone has awkward personal calls to make at work, whether you’re planning a wedding or not.  (Pictured: Scenic Telephone Box, originally uploaded to Flickr by fakelvis.)

Most bosses will tell you that you’re not supposed to take personal calls while you’re on the clock, and I would agree with that. Aside from a quick discussion about evening plans (yes, we’re meeting at __ at ____), or a quick call to Grandma to wish her a happy birthday, in general, you should schedule your phone calls for your off hours. (In fact, reader C mentions talking to her mother and stopping her when the conversation turns to wedding — unless you and your mother work together, it doesn’t really matter WHAT you’re talking about — it sounds like you’re already stepping into dicey territory. Just my $.02, though.)

That said, I do think there are some exceptions to the rule… [Read more…]

Etiquette Flash: Should you invite your colleagues to your wedding?

kats wedding dress2017 Update: We still stand by this advice on when to invite colleagues to your wedding — links have also been updated.  

Today’s reader mail has to do with whether she should invite colleagues to her wedding…

Long story short, I just got engaged to another attorney at my mid-sized firm. We are both junior associates and we met as summer associates in 2007. Obviously, there are associates that we socialize with that we’d like to invite to the wedding. However, we’re not quite sure about whether to invite partners. Since we’re both quite new at the firm, we do work for lots of different attorneys. I’d hate to offend someone by not inviting him…especially in this economy!

Congratulations! The answer to this question depends on a lot of factors, the big ones being:
a) do you think you could make partner at this firm?
b) can you afford to invite a lot of work colleagues to your wedding?
c) how do you feel about mixing your wedding (and your grandparents and your college friends) (and any princess fantasies you’ll be indulging that day) with your work colleagues?

Pictured:  As of 2017, the pictured dress from Mikaella Bridal is no longer available. Check out some of these gorgeous strapless lace wedding dresses instead! 

Your future with the firm is the first consideration, we think. Even if you’re fairly junior at the firm, you and your fiance should have an idea of whether you could make partner if you wanted to, versus just hanging out until a better job opportunity comes along. If either of you are going to try to make partner, you should look at your wedding as an opportunity to create important relationships — to show the powers that be at the firm that you consider them to be part of the family.  If neither of you is gunning for partner, however, we’d say to evaluate your relationships with the partners.  Are they mentors to you?  Are they like family anyway?  And then we’d proceed on to question two…

[Read more…]

Weekend Open Thread

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Pictured: Mikasa “True Blue” Espresso Cup/Saucer, available at Macys.com for $16 (was $23).

Reader Mail: What to Wear to the Wedding of a Colleague

What to Wear to a Colleague's Wedding | CorporetteWe are seriously behind in answering this poor reader’s e-mail — our sincere apologies!  Here’s the question:

I am a mid-level law associate and my husband is a teaching physician at a local hospital. His boss is getting married in DC in April. It is the bride’s first marriage and it will be a huge event. The wedding is at 5 and then dinner and dancing at 6 at a country club.  I have NO idea what to wear. Can I wear a black cocktail dress? I am so bad at these things and I want to make a good impression for my husband and look professional for my own benefit!  This may seem like an elementary question, but did I mention I am fashionably challenged?  (One more thing:  I am barely thirty, but my husband is a good ten years older. I don’t want to look like a airhead, but I don’t want to look old for my age either!)

Weddings, in general, are fraught with chances for fashion errors.  What is appropriate — or inappropriate — tends to be very region-specific, as well as wedding-specific.  Take your cues from the invitation — the wording of the invitation (are middle names used?  does she call her groom a “Mr.”? is “honor” spelled with a u?) and the style of the invitation (is it entirely in script?  was there an inner/outer envelope?  are there any quirky touches to it?) will give you an idea of what the bride is aiming at for the wedding.  In general, avoid wearing black or white to a wedding — we know a lot of places where black is still seen as a color of mourning.  D.C. walks a fine line between being a cosmopolitan city on the East Coast, and a Southern city — we’d avoid black if at all possible.  (If all you’ve got is a black cocktail dress, be sure to wear a very colorful, happy wrap, as well as bag and shoes.) [Read more…]

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