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Miss Manners: My coworkers’ kids frequently interrupt meetings

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Dear Miss Manners: A manager where I work has a young child. Since we have embraced teleworking, she regularly lets her kid interrupt our meetings. Her home office appears to be located in her kid’s bedroom.

Now a co-worker has a new baby. In a recent meeting, we could hear both her baby and her MIL in the background. And she was hosting this meeting!

Children are usually not allowed in the workplace unless it is Bring Your Kids to Work Day. They are distracting and often disruptive. Everyone I have spoken to agrees this is inappropriate. What do you think?

That all of the public pronouncements that the pandemic would finally force either employers or the government to enact rational policies to support working parents were empty words.

This is not to say that Miss Manners absolves working parents of making their best efforts to keep children out of meetings — only that some understanding is required for occasional lapses.

Dear Miss Manners: Is it rude that I broke up with my boyfriend because I didn’t like how he left his apartment a wreck? Germaphobe here.

Rudeness is about how you behave, not how you think. So as long as you did not call him a slob on the way out the door, your conscience can be clear.

Dear Miss Manners: I was in need of some professional services for a home project. After contacting numerous companies, I eventually found someone at a well-respected firm who agreed to help me with my project.

After several interactions in which I received advice and consulting, I mentioned that I had not yet received an invoice for the work done to date. He said I would not be receiving an invoice (presumably because my project was so small) and that instead, I might make a donation to a cause of my choosing.

I’m fine with making a donation, and plan to do so. However, I’d prefer to make one to a cause of their liking, not mine. Via social and professional media, I found out what university this person attended, as well as the names of some professional organizations they belong to and some causes they are interested in.

Would it be appropriate for my contribution to go to one of those, or should it really be something of my choosing? Regardless of where my donation goes, would it be appropriate to make it in this person’s name? Finally, should I let them know of my selection and the amount of the donation?

Your professional benefactor meant to be generous and gracious, so it saddens Miss Manners that his poorly thought-out assignment has become a burden. She does not believe that was his intent.

Write the professional an effusive thank-you note without reference to any donation. Then make a donation, or not, as you see fit. Your benefactor is not going to check that you completed his assignment.

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

©2022, by Judith Martin

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