Stand­ing up for your val­ues even as you keep your job

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - PUZZLE ISLAND - Ju­dith Martin

Miss Man­ners

Dear Miss Man­ners: My daugh­ter and I dis­agree on a very touchy sub­ject. She thinks that it is ap­pro­pri­ate to call some­one out on some­thing that they have said that is racist or big­oted in any sit­u­a­tion. I feel that there is about one time in 20 where it is not ap­pro­pri­ate.

I think that if you are at a so­cial event with co­work­ers and your boss says some­thing in this man­ner, you should turn and walk away. She says that I am not stand­ing up for oth­ers who are dif­fer­ent. She thinks it’s worth los­ing your job over. Who is do­ing the cor­rect thing in this sit­u­a­tion?

Gen­tle reader: Gone, thank­fully, are the days of say­ing “that’s just the way he is” as an ex­cuse, or of shrug­ging about a boss be­ing “old school.”

How­ever, Miss Man­ners is not un­sym­pa­thetic to peo­ple who need the work. But if one is will­ing to quit a job, it be­hooves that per­son to quit in a re­spon­si­ble way that gets the point across, but is also pro­fes­sional.

“I am afraid that we do not see eye to eye on sev­eral is­sues, so I think it best that I leave the com­pany. I hope that you will make your next em­ployee feel wel­come.”

Dear Miss Man­ners: I sent out in­vi­ta­tions for a small party, quite some time in ad­vance, and re­ceived prompt RSVPs declar­ing that al­most ev­ery­one would at­tend. In the week lead­ing up to the party, al­most ev­ery­one has re­voked their RSVP, for var­i­ous en­tirely plau­si­ble rea­sons.

Of the 15 or so who agreed to come, only three now in­tend to grace me with their pres­ence. Those who are no longer at­tend­ing are chums of mine of var­i­ous stripes.

I am con­fi­dent that I am not be­ing shunned for any rea­son, and I don’t want to stir things up by hold­ing a grudge. How­ever, I do not know how to po­litely re­spond to sug­ges­tions that they “swing by at the end” with­out seem­ing pas­sive-ag­gres­sive. My in­stinct says I should tell them not to bother, as I will feel em­bar­rassed if they show up and find such a small crowd. But this feels rather like re­scind­ing the in­vi­ta­tion, which I do not want to do.

Gen­tle reader: Just be­cause your guests have is­sued them­selves new in­vi­ta­tions does not mean that you have to honor them. Your party was for a cer­tain time. Sadly, if they can­not make it, that is their mis­for­tune.

Miss Man­ners cau­tions you that al­low­ing them to show up “when­ever” would be re­ward­ing bad be­hav­ior, how­ever wellinten­tioned, and vir­tu­ally en­sur­ing that it con­tin­ues.

Try say­ing pleas­antly, “Oh, I am afraid that we might not be go­ing that late. But I am sure that we will have an­other party one day and will try harder to suit your sched­ule.”

Dear Miss Man­ners: I am a young woman fin­ish­ing up her de­gree at a lo­cal com­mu­nity col­lege. I must ad­mit to be­ing very fond of my cell­phone; I read the news on it when I wake up, play games while wait­ing for the bus, lis­ten to mu­sic dur­ing my ride and so on.

How­ever, even I’m sur­prised by the num­ber of peo­ple who pull out their phones in (what I be­lieve to be) wholly in­ap­pro­pri­ate sit­u­a­tions.

For ex­am­ple, I was in the locker room af­ter my aqua yoga class, chang­ing back into reg­u­lar clothes. All of a sud­den, I heard a cam­era shut­ter go off. Fright­ened, I pulled my towel around my­self tightly and turned around to lo­cate the noise.

As it turned out, it was sim­ply an­other young woman (fully clothed, thank­fully) tak­ing a selfie in the large locker room mir­ror. Af­ter get­ting my wits about me, I man­aged a pointed “Do you mind?” — which she seemed baf­fled by.

Leav­ing alone my fear at the sound that some­one was specif­i­cally tak­ing pic­tures of women in the locker room, Miss Man­ners, what if she had got­ten me in the back­ground of her shot? What if she had not cropped it out? I would be hor­ri­fied that such a pic­ture of me ex­isted.

Was I wrong to call her out? Was there some­thing else I should have said? And fi­nally, could I please im­plore other Gen­tle Read­ers not to take pho­tos (or do other pub­lic busi­ness, such as phone or video calls) in such a pri­vate en­vi­ron­ment?

Gen­tle reader: If com­mon sense is not pre­vail­ing, you might ask the es­tab­lish­ment to post a sign: “No cam­eras in the locker room — with­out a war­rant.” Miss Man­ners sees noth­ing wrong with your quite un­der­stand­able re­ac­tion.

To send a ques­tion to the Miss Man­ners team of Ju­dith Martin, Ni­cholas Ivor Martin and Ja­cobina Martin, go to miss­man­ners .com or write them c/o Univer­sal Uclick, 1130 Wal­nut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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