Miss Manners: How to navigate difficult office dynamics at a new job

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Dear Miss Manners: My dilemma stems from being new in a small office where close ties are already forged and new people are understandably on the fringes for a while. The problem concerns a small baby shower being thrown for a lovely young mother, which is a pleasure to know.

The words “baby shower” had been tossed around a lot in my second week, but as a new employee, I felt hesitant to interrogate further unless they were addressed directly, which I was not.

It was all right until they had the “surprise” christening in the office and I just stood there empty-handed.

I understand and completely agree with your position that this is why business and friendship do not go hand in hand, but within my society it has apparently become a cultural thing. And with such a small company and office, things are not likely to change. Unfortunately, this is only an example of a stream of unwanted behavior from the key players’ “players”.

Aside from this drama, I actually love my new job. The company is excellent in many ways, has an excellent reputation and is known for taking good care of its employees. I can see myself growing and thriving with this business in other capacities and I do not want to throw away a wonderful opportunity for career growth because of petty office politics.

Is it possible to survive and / or thrive with such difficult office dynamics, especially when it comes to finding greener pastures in this business in the future?

Let’s fast forward to a time when you are raised in this office and are able to welcome newcomers.

Are you telling the new employee: “We’ll take a bath for Tanya tomorrow – she’s the sweet lady over there; I want to introduce you – so you might want to bring a present?”

Miss Manners does not hope. Actually, she hopes that if one obtains a position of authority, one will act according to his agreement that business and social life should be kept separate. But it’s for another time.

For now, it would help to stop thinking of the existing situation as petty and tricky, even if you have more compelling examples. If you are happy and helpful when you get started on your work, the time will definitely come when you will be asked to arrange the baby shower.

Dear Miss Manners: Although I admire the fact that a close friend’s child has finished college, I do not feel compelled to send them the monetary gifts they request. Am I wrong? I’m sending a greeting card. Is it enough?

Congratulations are exactly what is required. Requests for money are outrageous and should be ignored.

But Miss Manners is only too aware that the same people who consider the mere message to be a money-grab often fail to respond at all, which is also harsh.

New Miss Manners columns will be announced Monday through Saturday washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners on her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

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