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Ask Amy: I’m hurt my boss didn’t thank me at his retirement party

4 min

Dear Amy: What is the etiquette for speeches or tributes at an office retirement party? My boss is retiring as a family law attorney. I have worked for him as a legal secretary and paralegal for 32 years, and I will now need to find a new job as I’m single and in my 60s.

His wife invited me to a “closing the office” party for our law office, which consists of my boss, his partner, our office manager and me. A few other people were invited, and the total group was 18 people. I brought nice gifts for both my boss and his partner.

At the party my boss’s wife gave a speech. My boss’s partner gave a speech. In turn, my boss gave a tribute to his partner. Our office manager (who is very outgoing) got up and thanked my boss for hiring her. Then my boss went on to talk about her and her family who have all in some way been employed for short stints in our office.

The office manager’s husband got up to thank the office for employing his wife, etc. My boss then thanked an attorney we had as opposing counsel on several cases, who has been his friend for years. My boss never said a word about me! I (mistakenly?) thought he would thank me for my years of service to him, and then I, in turn, would thank him.

Amy, I have been a devoted, loyal employee for all these years, foregoing vacations because I was concerned there was no one to cover my job when/if I was gone. I’m not sure this is relevant, but everyone at the party was drinking. I don’t drink and am a little reserved. Lastly, I was told I would be receiving a severance, but so far, I have received nothing. I am left feeling sad and stunned.

— Overlooked

Overlooked: My take on this is that once the office manager’s husband stood up to give a speech, the whole party took a turn and became a free-for-all of half-drunken “I love you, man” speechifying.

Yes, given how small this office is and how long you have worked for your boss, he absolutely should have paid a public tribute to you, especially since he took the time to single out everyone else (including the Uber driver who took him to the airport last week).

You were definitely overlooked here. Focus now on getting the severance you were promised along with a great reference for a new job. You deserve it.

Dear Amy: I happen to be a woman who is not the least bit interested in football. I like other sports (my favorite is baseball), but we live in a town obsessed with football. Several of my friends talk about it to me as though I was a fan.

I keep telling them not to waste their time or mine because I don’t give a damn! I’m thinking of finding a subject they don’t care about and gasbagging on about it. I know it is petty, but this is so annoying! Why do they do it? How can I make them stop?

— Non-Brady Lady

Non-Brady Lady: Your friends geek out about football because they love it, and part of their enjoyment is in trying to persuade you to be on their team. (I’m assuming here that they are sharing their enthusiasm rather than teasing or bullying you.)

They have the right to bring up this topic of almost total mutual interest, but if they start to gasbag on, deliberately trying to convert you, I think the best way to respond to this enthusiasm is with good humor and throwing a flag on their play.

Using a version of your idea, you can respond: “Spring training is already underway down in Florida. Baseball season lasts for six months, my friends. Six beautiful months. There are 162 games, and I plan to describe each and every one of those games to you. In detail. In fact, I’m having shirts made.”

Dear Amy: In your column recently, you advised a bride-to-be (“Conflicted Bride”) to invite her estranged cousin to her wedding. As a Southerner, we call this “saving your manners,” or doing what is hard but what is right.

— Southern Lady

Southern Lady: I’ve heard the phrase “keeping your manners,” but never “saving your manners.” I like your version, because when you save your manners, you also save your own standing as an ethical and polite person, and you might also save a strained relationship.

© 2023 by Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.