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Problem with a co-worker?
Greetings!

 

We hope this month's newsletter finds you well. We are so thrilled with the questions you've been sending in, from classics about thank-you notes to wedding conundrums and awkward business situations. These questions are exactly what we hoped for when we changed our format. We want to make sure you're getting what YOU need out of Emily Post.

 

This month we're taking your questions on asking former colleagues for reference letters, how to handle difficult familial relationships when it comes to the seating arrangements at your wedding, and how to cut ties with your hair stylist.   

 

If you're local to Vermont, keep an eye out for Lizzie during the Vermont PBS Downton Abbey marathon pledge drive on February 28th. She'll be tackling etiquette topics that run the gamut from the 1920's to today's modern etiquette dilemmas.  

 

Keep those questions coming, or if you have any thoughts or comments for us please, write to us at newsletter@emilypost.com We look forward to hearing from you!
 
BUSINESS: Maintaining Contact and Letters of Recommendation        
 
 
Dear Emily Post Institute, 
I very much enjoy your newsletter every month, and I learn from the range of subjects you include. Thank you very much for all the effort and love you dedicate to make the world a more professional place.

I have a question: I have recently lost my job. Actually I had a contract until Sept. and my supervisor didn't renew it as expected. While I still want to be in professional and effective contact with my ex-coworkers, and supervisor, I don't know how to explain the situation to my ex-colleagues. 

My question is how can I keep professional contact with my ex-coworkers?
What is the most professional way to ask for a reference letter from my supervisor? He agreed that I can give his contact info for further references but I don't know if it is appropriate to ask him for a written letter of reference. 
 
Thanks a lot and have a great 2016, 
Adeleh M.

Dear Adeleh,

Thank you so much for writing in with your question. It is always difficult when a contract is not renewed and work life changes. However, because you had a positive professional working experience with your former co-workers it is perfectly appropriate to stay connected with them.  There's really no need to explain that your contract wasn't renewed. Reaching out every couple of months by email or phone to see how they are doing is the best way to keep in touch. Another option is to use LinkedIn, which is also a good way to gather leads for a new job.

As for your supervisor, it sounds as if you had a good working relationship and that he is willing to be contacted for a reference since he gave you his info and his okay to use it. It's okay to ask for a written reference from your old boss. Here's some sample language for the request:

"Dear George (Mr. Gates):  
I had a positive experience working with you at ABC Company and I am grateful that you are willing to be a contact reference for me for future jobs. However, I wanted to ask if you would feel comfortable writing a recommendation for me. The job I am applying for is an XYZ position at 123 Company and a written recommendation would be wonderful to have. If not, I completely understand. Thank you so much for considering it.
All my best,
Adeleh" 

We hope this advice helps and that you can continue to maintain these wonderful business relationships you've developed.

Best of luck!          
 
For more information on business etiquette, check out Emily Post's The Etiquette Advantage in Business, 3rd Edition or visit www.emilypost.com.
 
WEDDING How To Seat Divorced Parents Who Don't Get Along  
 Hi: 
My daughter is getting married and there are some family issues on her fiancÚ's side. Her fiancÚ's father has a partner whom they do not like at all. My daughter realizes that she has to be accommodated to an extent since she is family, but my daughter does not want her at the head table with the other honoured guests and family members.

Also, the fiancÚ's parents (who are long-divorced from each other) do not get along at all and my daughter is afraid "fireworks" may erupt from these dynamics. 
 
Any advice? 
Thank you,

Norma, 
Ottawa, CA 

Dear Norma,

Thank you so much for writing in. We are so sorry to hear that this aspect of planning the wedding has become stressful. When it comes to difficult family relationships at family gatherings (especially ones that are so important and based on celebrating) it's best to put a different spin on the idea of "honoured guests and head tables" and instead spread the family out among all the tables.

Have the bride and groom sit with their wedding party, or their closest friends. Then, as the bride's parents, plan to be the heads of a table that includes your friends or other family. Have  the groom's father and partner head another table populated with his family and/or friends. Do the same for and his mother (and her partner). It's a good idea to keep these two tables separated, but in good positions. If you "exile" the groom's parents and their partners to other tables it will be noticeable and they might feel hurt. If you separate everyone out, then all should be at ease with who they are sitting with (hopefully) and no one will feel slighted.

Remember: The meal is only a small part of the wedding. It's best to use the seating chart to your advantage to help the situation rather than use it to fuel the fire so to speak. We truly hope this advice helps and that your daughter and her fiancÚ have a wonderful wedding with memories to cherish. 
 
 
 
LIFESTYLE Cutting Ties With Your Stylist 

I would love some advice on "breaking up" with my hairdresser. I had been a faithful patron of my hair stylist for over 10 years. In the past year, I've grown increasingly unhappy with how my hair was turning out. When I mentioned, right away,that it didn't look the way it should, she would dismiss the remark by replying "We'll try something else next time." Over the course of several months, with a scheduled visit every five weeks, the results were the same. A friend recommended I try another salon and stylist. I did and was delighted with the results. Yes, I cheated on my stylist. Is there an acceptable way to "break up" with your long-term stylist and move on to someone new while remaining cordial with your former stylist? Please advise!


Thanks so much!

Betsy D. 
Hamden, CT

Dear Betsy,

Thank you so much for writing in, your question is one many people struggle with. First, we would like to say, that most stylists would not want you walking around with a hair style you don't like. It's bad advertising for them! And most will offer a complimentary cut to try to fix the style as best they can. Sometimes you do have to wait and let it grow out, but there is usually something the stylist can do. So, it's good to note that her reluctance to fix a style you said you didn't like is a red flag.

Please know that you did not in any way cheat on your stylist. Who cuts and styles your hair is your choice and it's perfectly acceptable to change stylists if you're not happy with your look. (Since you continued to give her the benefit of the doubt for months, we think you gave it a fair shot.) There is no reason to call your stylist and tell her why you left, unless you wish to. If your only interactions with her were at the salon there is no reason to continue the relationship. If you do run into her, a cordial and friendly interaction is all that's called for.

Stylists are used to having even long term clients leave or try other stylists at some point. You might want to go back to her once a year just to see if there's any improvement. But that's completely up to you. Just as friendships ebb and flow, so, too, do our relationships with personal care providers such as stylists, manicurists, masseuses, or physical trainers.

It's okay to move on.

We hope this helps.  
   
 For more information on table manners, check out Emily Post's Etiquette, 18th Edition or visit www.emilypost.com. 
 
Business Conversation


     
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