Another career option…


The first time, I thought it was a joke.

I’d just written a short link post, and I’d gotten the following comment in my blog:

When is the proper time to get up and leave the breakfast lunch or dinner table,whether it be with your spouse and childen and or company?

I just figured that one of my readers was messing with me. Then there was another:

My cousin is having an adoption party for her 3 sons that her present husband is adopting. What kind of gift would you give in this case?

I appreciate your feedback….

A quick look at my referrer page shows that I have a bunch of hits coming from Google – 250 or so right now. Turns out that due to my Google Karma, I’m the 8th most popular post on “Miss Manners”.

I ignored this for a few days, until I got the following email last Thursday:

Sender: Ann
Email address: <deleted>


How does this work…I submitted a question, but I’ve noticed that none of the other questions posted on you site have been answered!!! I asked best way to say “no gifts” please.

Hmm. Ann is serious, and apparently, so are the other 17 people who also asked me questions. Which therefore poses a bit of a dilemna:

Should I answer them?

I mean, I’m not an advice columnist, but many of these questions are pretty easy to answer. For example:

Q: What is the proper language to use in asking your co-workers to support your child’s fundraiser?

A: Such language does not exist. Most co-workers likely have no connection at all to your child, and it’s unfair to ask them to help support something your child is doing, especially in a way that might make them feel like they have to contribute. This is really bad if you’re young and childless and all your co-workers have kids. Friends are another story, though one should also try not to impose.

If there’s a way to post something on a bulletin board or on your desk so that people can offer to donate if they want, I think that’s okay.

Q: What is most polite way to suggest “not” bringing gifts to an adult birthday party?

A: People want to bring something to a party, and if you tell them to bring nothing, they won’t feel as nice – especially if somebody else does bring something.

Two ideas for getting around this:

  1. Make it a theme party. Ask everybody to bring a different bottle of wine for a wine tasting, or their favorite cheese, or something like that. Something cheap and consumable.
  2. Do something for charity. Write something like, “Since I have been lucky in life, I don’t really need any presents, so if you wish, instead of a present please bring a blanket to donate to the homeless”. Or do the same with food for a food bank.

The danger, of course, is that I would hit the #1 spot on Google. In fact, merely the mention of “M. Manners” in this post might bump me up.

Comments?


Comments (17)

  1. jaybaz [MS] says:

    Eric,

    We’ve talked before about how the stuff we own ends up owning us. The worst is cute Christmas gifts. I love my family, and enjoy having reminders of them around me. However, the surfaces in my house are covered with useless things from all of my relatives.

    A few years back, we decided to stop giving gifts to most of our family. Instead, we give money to charity on their behalf. First, we picked a worthy cause. Then we guessed how much we typically spend on each person’s present, including shipping, wrapping, etc. Since the gift is tax deductable, we add that in, too. Since we feel better about giving to charity than buying junk, we add a bit more. All of that is doubled by employer matching.

    We send a big check to the charity, with a list of names & addresses to send cards to.

    It’s much easier, and the charity thinks we’re incredibly generous, and we’re helping folks who need it, and our family gets a warm fuzzy & less junk.

  2. Kevin Daly says:

    Q: What is the most polite way to inform someone that one is not, in fact, in the business of offering advice on etiquette or manners, or indeed the care and feeding of pet rocks (or their wild relatives)?

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  4. Matthew W. Jackson says:

    "What is the proper language to use in asking your co-workers to support your child’s fundraiser?"

    I would have expected your answer to be C#. After all, C# is usually a proper language to use most cases.

    Anyway, I’m not familiar with .TEXT, but can you change the title of that blog entry to indicate that you are, or never have been, "Miss Manners?" This would help quite a bit the next time Google refreshes (which may be too late). At the very least, consider closing comments on that post.

    It’s hilarious how much blind faith people put in to Google, and how little people read things before taking action. A message box stating "Pressing any button other than cancel will result in your immediate assassination" would probably still result in people pressing OK.

    This reminds me of the time way back when my site was getting lots of traffic for people looking for Kidz Bop information. One of the regular contributors on my site had written an article about how dumb the concept was, considering the literal and hidden meanings of some of the songs, as well as the lifestyles of those who performed them originally. Anyway I was ranked pretty high for Kidz Bop on Yahoo and Google…but luckly the universe seems to be back in order now (seems Kidz Bop has become more popular than it once was).

  5. I think that with a slight tweak to some of the language, you could achieve quite a bit of notariety. Seeing as how you are in the midst of a chance anyways, perhaps this is the perfect time to go down a completely unexpected path.

  6. Joe White says:

    I agree with Matthew W. Jackson’s comment… take a cue from Raymond Chen, and add a tagline under your "Eric Gunnerson’s C# Compendium" header, saying: "Not really a Miss Manners blog".

    Of course, then *every* one of your pages would include the text "Miss Manners", which would probably push your Google ranking even higher… *grin*

  7. Sergio Pereira says:

    I hope all these comments in this post, containing all these keywords words don’t grant you the first spot 🙂

  8. daveg says:

    Time for everyone to link to that page and title the link "Miss Manners"

  9. Matthew W. Jackson says:

    Now that wouldn’t be very "polite" would it?

  10. MBA says:

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  11. As you get on in years, you feel the need to pass on your accumulated wisdom to the younger generation,…

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  13. The first time, I thought it was a joke. I’d just written a short link post , and I’d gotten the following comment in my blog: When is the proper time to get up and leave the breakfast lunch or dinner table,whether it be with your spouse and childen an