Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => All In A Day's Work => Topic started by: lilfox on August 06, 2010, 12:02:51 PM

Title: Not inviting 'colleague' to networking lunch
Post by: lilfox on August 06, 2010, 12:02:51 PM
Here's the bg on the cast of characters:  http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=47895.0

Coworkers Fox, Cat, Dog, and Ferret are scheduling a lunch in a few weeks with lilfox's former mentor, Gandalf, a very well-known person in our field.  Cat, Dog, and Ferret have all worked with Gandalf in the past as well.  The purpose of the lunch is part social catching-up and part work discussions (Fox, Dog, and Ferret are currently collaborating with him).

Gandalf was also Mule's mentor.  I don't think they've kept in touch, and Mule hasn't exactly been a feather in Gandalf's cap (see bg).  Mule also works in a pretty isolated group and none of the others hear much from him (and prefer it to be so).

Mule is not currently invited to the lunch, because frankly, Fox forgot he existed when she organized the initial invitation list, and Gandalf hasn't asked after him in several years.  Ferret asked a few days later if Mule was invited but he might have been joking, and Cat strongly prefers that Mule not be invited.  Fox, however, is torn.  It seems unprofessional (or perhaps uncharitable) to exclude him primarily because we don't like or respect him, but on the other hand, it would change the tone of the lunch quite a bit if he came (which he definitely would because he would never pass up the chance to network with Gandalf).  He's not likely to find out about the lunch unless he receives an invitation because as mentioned, none of us chat with him informally or see him in a work-related capacity.

Is it rude to exclude him on the basis of "we'll be talking about work and he's not involved"?
For that matter, would it be rude to exclude him if it was just a social lunch?

Title: Re: Not inviting 'colleague' to networking lunch
Post by: Outdoor Girl on August 06, 2010, 12:07:01 PM
IMO, it isn't rude to exclude him as you neither work with him nor socialize with him.  And, as you said, he would have no way of finding out about it, no harm no foul.
Title: Re: Not inviting 'colleague' to networking lunch
Post by: Sabbyfrog2 on August 06, 2010, 12:10:25 PM
I agree. Not rude.
Title: Re: Not inviting 'colleague' to networking lunch
Post by: gramma dishes on August 06, 2010, 12:11:20 PM
As long as the "work discussions" part of the luncheon do not involve Mule's work, I can see no reason for him to be invited.  It, however, that part of the discussion would be important for Mule to be involved in it's a lot iffier.
Title: Re: Not inviting 'colleague' to networking lunch
Post by: Lexophile on August 06, 2010, 01:26:59 PM
If Mule was so interested in keeping in touch with Gandalf, why didn't he take the initiative to do it himself? You and your group are not responsible for keeping his social or professional connections going.
Title: Re: Not inviting 'colleague' to networking lunch
Post by: FauxFoodist on August 06, 2010, 02:18:34 PM
Agreed; not rude.  It is up to Mule to keep up his own networking (and, frankly, consider how Gandalf might feel having to deal with Mule).
Title: Re: Not inviting 'colleague' to networking lunch
Post by: pierrotlunaire0 on August 06, 2010, 02:44:28 PM
From reading the background, it sounds as if everyone else is doing Mule's work for him, anyway.  And now it falls to everyone else to maintain Mule's contacts as well.

Um, no.  Mule needs to take some initiative, take care of himself, and in some way repay everyone else for all they have done for him.  No invitation for him.
Title: Re: Not inviting 'colleague' to networking lunch
Post by: Balletmom on August 07, 2010, 09:38:36 PM
If Mule hasn't made the effort to network with his current colleagues, he can't complain if he's not included in a luncheon they arrange.

He's probably not going to get this point, though, so I'd just make sure he didn't hear about it.
Title: Re: Not inviting 'colleague' to networking lunch
Post by: Hanna on August 07, 2010, 10:30:15 PM
Not rude.
Title: Re: Not inviting 'colleague' to networking lunch
Post by: ShadesOfGrey on August 09, 2010, 10:43:10 AM
you're approaching this socially - it's not a social occasion.  It's not professionally rude to notinvite someone if the discussion doesnt involve them.

Socially doesnt matter, as this isnt social. Even if it was, I think you know not everyone can expect a social invite at all times. 

:)
Title: Re: Not inviting 'colleague' to networking lunch
Post by: lilfox on August 09, 2010, 11:59:43 AM
Socially doesnt matter, as this isnt social. Even if it was, I think you know not everyone can expect a social invite at all times. 

:)

You're right - I was approaching this as a social thing, but I do think there's a social aspect to it, in that the group that is going maintains social contact outside of work.

But, the thing that really resonated with me is the bolded:

Agreed; not rude.  It is up to Mule to keep up his own networking (and, frankly, consider how Gandalf might feel having to deal with Mule).

I hadn't thought about it that way, but it's true - if Gandalf or Mule were interested in keeping up with each other, they would have done so.  (and the second part of that sentence is also likely accurate...)  So it's not my problem.   :)

Thanks everyone!
Title: Re: Not inviting 'colleague' to networking lunch
Post by: bah12 on August 09, 2010, 04:01:23 PM
I'm going to be the voice of dissent here.  If the primary focus of this lunch is networking with Gandalf, then it is rude to exclude Mule simply because you don't like him.


Mule is not currently invited to the lunch, because frankly, Fox forgot he existed when she organized the initial invitation list, and Gandalf hasn't asked after him in several years.  Ferret asked a few days later if Mule was invited but he might have been joking, and Cat strongly prefers that Mule not be invited.  Fox, however, is torn.  It seems unprofessional (or perhaps uncharitable) to exclude him primarily because we don't like or respect him,


If the focus of this lunch is to talk about work that Mule is not a part of, then that is different.

  In a professional environment, Gandalf shouldn't have to ask the rest of the group about Mule in order for Mule to be invited.  Although it's not unheard of for a contact of mine to ask about a collegue, not asking me about him/her does not equate to my contact not having a working relationship with that person.  That by itself, cannot be the basis for not inviting Mule.

I also don't think that it's up to anyone else in the group to decide if Mule is someone that Gandalf can be proud of mentoring or not.  If Gandalf has mentioned that he's not proud of Mule, then, IMO, he's being extremely unprofessional.

Looking at this strictly from the perspective of a business meeting, then the criteria for inviting him is not based solely on whether or not having him there will make it enjoyable for all the other coworkers. 

Now, that being said, you could justify not inviting him if the lunch is a mentoring opportunity for your particular group and is focused on a project that Mule is not working on.  That way, he's not invited because the lunch is for your work group and his work group would have the opportunity to set up a separate mentoring session with Gandalf at a later date.

If, however, this meeting is simply networking for the groups at large, then it's wrong to purposely exclude Mule simply for not respecting him.  (The fact that someone asked about Mule to begin with makes be believe that this may be the case).

I think that for this meeting, you need to be very clear what it's purpose is and be prepared to defend that if/when Mule finds out he's been excluded.
Title: Re: Not inviting 'colleague' to networking lunch
Post by: lilfox on August 09, 2010, 05:42:46 PM
bah12, those are good points and that's why I was torn on the invite-don't invite question.  I expect the conversation to run the gamut from stories about kids and interesting travel to specific details about collaborative work projects.  So it can't really be categorized as a work meeting (as in, we're not charging the time) but it's not strictly social either.

Gandalf would never say he wasn't proud to have been Mule's mentor (precisely because he would never be that unprofessional and Mule did meet or exceed all the criteria while being mentored), and in fact was partially responsible for getting him hired.  The extended background is that Ferret hired Mule after getting a good review from Gandalf.  That said, Gandalf never had a personal friendly relationship with Mule that he had with other former mentees and does not ask after Mule in either a social or work aspect the way he does with other mentees.  And, Mule doesn't work for Ferret anymore, and his new work group has little or nothing to do with our work group.

  I think this has become the key thing for me:  The lunch isn't being used for general mentoring or for general networking (Gandalf has a few separate meetings planned for discussing future collaborations), the work aspect is specific to a project that Mule is not involved with and the social aspect is for those who have maintained a social relationship.

And now I'm going to have a hard time not picturing my coworkers as their animal namesakes or calling my mentor Gandalf (though I'm sure he'd take it well)!   ;)

Title: Re: Not inviting 'colleague' to networking lunch
Post by: ShadesOfGrey on August 09, 2010, 07:48:42 PM
I'm going to be the voice of dissent here.  If the primary focus of this lunch is networking with Gandalf, then it is rude to exclude Mule simply because you don't like him.

If, however, this meeting is simply networking for the groups at large, then it's wrong to purposely exclude Mule simply for not respecting him.  (The fact that someone asked about Mule to begin with makes be believe that this may be the case).

I think that for this meeting, you need to be very clear what it's purpose is and be prepared to defend that if/when Mule finds out he's been excluded.

This is just flat-out wrong, I'm sorry.  In a networking group is  *is* perfectly acceptable to not invite someone you dont like. It may not be business-smart, but it's not professionally rude.

In a business meeting, the people involved have a reason or need to be there, to be informed of what's going on. What is being discussed directly affects their work in a tangible way, and they need to be informed in order to dedicate time, resources, money, etc.  The same cannot be said of a networking meeting.  

Networking is merely the very smart thing people **choose** to do in order to keep their employement options open, their professional rel@tionships smoother, their business adventures more diverse and secure.  It is an additional, optional thing, not a mandatory nor an inclusive activity.  Smart business people network in order to strengthen the relationships they have with their colleagues and others. Nobody wants to to trengthen the relationship with Mule.  And that's not rude at all. Why would you invite someone to lunch that you dont want to strengthen your relationship with, whom you in fact want less of a relatinship with? It doesnt make any sense.     It's that simple.

OP, please feel no obligation to invite this person just because you worked with him at some point in the past.  That's not how networking works, really.  I hope you have a very productive meeting!
Title: Re: Not inviting 'colleague' to networking lunch
Post by: bah12 on August 10, 2010, 07:37:55 AM
I'm going to be the voice of dissent here.  If the primary focus of this lunch is networking with Gandalf, then it is rude to exclude Mule simply because you don't like him.

If, however, this meeting is simply networking for the groups at large, then it's wrong to purposely exclude Mule simply for not respecting him.  (The fact that someone asked about Mule to begin with makes be believe that this may be the case).

I think that for this meeting, you need to be very clear what it's purpose is and be prepared to defend that if/when Mule finds out he's been excluded.

This is just flat-out wrong, I'm sorry.  In a networking group is  *is* perfectly acceptable to not invite someone you dont like. It may not be business-smart, but it's not professionally rude.

In a business meeting, the people involved have a reason or need to be there, to be informed of what's going on. What is being discussed directly affects their work in a tangible way, and they need to be informed in order to dedicate time, resources, money, etc.  The same cannot be said of a networking meeting.  

Networking is merely the very smart thing people **choose** to do in order to keep their employement options open, their professional rel@tionships smoother, their business adventures more diverse and secure.  It is an additional, optional thing, not a mandatory nor an inclusive activity.  Smart business people network in order to strengthen the rel@tionships they have with their colleagues and others. Nobody wants to to trengthen the rel@tionship with Mule.  And that's not rude at all. Why would you invite someone to lunch that you dont want to strengthen your rel@tionship with, whom you in fact want less of a relatinship with? It doesnt make any sense.     It's that simple.

OP, please feel no obligation to invite this person just because you worked with him at some point in the past.  That's not how networking works, really.  I hope you have a very productive meeting!

You do not have to apologize for disagreeing with me, but I am not wrong.  Networking may be option, but it is a type of business meeting.  if company resources and time are being used to conduct this meeting, then the reasons for not informing certain employees must be justified.  If the meeting is set up specifically for a work group, then that is a justifiable reason not to invite Mule.  If it is set up as an opportunity say fo rall sales representatives and Mule is one of them, then he needs to be told that this is happening.  Simply saying that the person setting it up doesn't like him, is not a justifiable reason.  it's not smart professionally and it is professionally rude.
At least in my line of work, which is very business oriented.
Title: Re: Not inviting 'colleague' to networking lunch
Post by: Hushabye on August 10, 2010, 08:27:22 AM
I'm going to be the voice of dissent here.  If the primary focus of this lunch is networking with Gandalf, then it is rude to exclude Mule simply because you don't like him.

If, however, this meeting is simply networking for the groups at large, then it's wrong to purposely exclude Mule simply for not respecting him.  (The fact that someone asked about Mule to begin with makes be believe that this may be the case).

I think that for this meeting, you need to be very clear what it's purpose is and be prepared to defend that if/when Mule finds out he's been excluded.

This is just flat-out wrong, I'm sorry.  In a networking group is  *is* perfectly acceptable to not invite someone you dont like. It may not be business-smart, but it's not professionally rude.

In a business meeting, the people involved have a reason or need to be there, to be informed of what's going on. What is being discussed directly affects their work in a tangible way, and they need to be informed in order to dedicate time, resources, money, etc.  The same cannot be said of a networking meeting.  

Networking is merely the very smart thing people **choose** to do in order to keep their employement options open, their professional rel@tionships smoother, their business adventures more diverse and secure.  It is an additional, optional thing, not a mandatory nor an inclusive activity.  Smart business people network in order to strengthen the rel@tionships they have with their colleagues and others. Nobody wants to to trengthen the rel@tionship with Mule.  And that's not rude at all. Why would you invite someone to lunch that you dont want to strengthen your rel@tionship with, whom you in fact want less of a relatinship with? It doesnt make any sense.     It's that simple.

OP, please feel no obligation to invite this person just because you worked with him at some point in the past.  That's not how networking works, really.  I hope you have a very productive meeting!

You do not have to apologize for disagreeing with me, but I am not wrong.  Networking may be option, but it is a type of business meeting.  if company resources and time are being used to conduct this meeting, then the reasons for not informing certain employees must be justified.  If the meeting is set up specifically for a work group, then that is a justifiable reason not to invite Mule.  If it is set up as an opportunity say fo rall sales representatives and Mule is one of them, then he needs to be told that this is happening.  Simply saying that the person setting it up doesn't like him, is not a justifiable reason.  it's not smart professionally and it is professionally rude.
At least in my line of work, which is very business oriented.

But the OP has said that the networking is related to a project that Mule is no longer involved in, nor does he work with the rest of them anymore - he's part of a different work group now.
Title: Re: Not inviting 'colleague' to networking lunch
Post by: ShadesOfGrey on August 10, 2010, 08:33:31 AM
Maybe we're disagreeing on terminology - what you describe is a working business meeting, which is way different than a networking meeting.  The OP is also discussing a networking meeting, not a business meeting.  I agree with you on business meetings (and I also come from a very formal, business-oriented, conservative industry) :)  100%.  But networking is different. :)
Title: Re: Not inviting 'colleague' to networking lunch
Post by: bah12 on August 10, 2010, 09:37:09 AM
Maybe we're disagreeing on terminology - what you describe is a working business meeting, which is way different than a networking meeting.  The OP is also discussing a networking meeting, not a business meeting.  I agree with you on business meetings (and I also come from a very formal, business-oriented, conservative industry) :)  100%.  But networking is different. :)

Maybe it is terminology...there are networking opportunities (functions after work where business partners will attend, golf tournaments on weekends, etc) and there are networking meetings, which to me, are just different words used for mentoring meetings.  This luncheon is being organized specifically so that this group of people can interact with Gandalf...it seems that he is somewhat respected in the field and he will give good mentoring advice to these coworkers.  So, I do think that they need to be careful on how this presented if they don't want to invite Mule.

They can say that this is an opportunity for their particular work group (which Mule is not a part of) to meet with Gandalf and even if his advice is general, they will apply it to a project that they are working on together (which Mule is also not a part of).  If Mule wants something similar, he can arrange to meet with Gandalf at a separate time.

But, if this is a "Gandalf will be in town and someone was asked to set up a luncheon so that all the junior sales reps (for example) can get some general advice from him, hear his stories, and interact with him" that is different.  If Mule is a junior sales rep, whether he's working on a different project, is irrelevant.  To keep this event from him, is unprofessional.

The OP asked if it was ok to exclude Mule simply because "no one likes or respects him."  And my answer is "no".  She needs a better reason that that.  If the purpose of this meeting (networking/mentoring/business) is not clearly defined or is defined in a way that Mule should have been, at least, told about it, then they could be facing reprocussions from higher ups in the company.

I think of networking opportunities as one where people can get together and meet other people in the industry and exchange information and possibly get future work/partnerships.  What the OP described is a mentoring opportunity for people in her company with a specific person.  It's more a learning opportunity than a networking one.  Those aren't the same and the rules are different.
Title: Re: Not inviting 'colleague' to networking lunch
Post by: bah12 on August 10, 2010, 09:41:17 AM
bah12, those are good points and that's why I was torn on the invite-don't invite question.  I expect the conversation to run the gamut from stories about kids and interesting travel to specific details about collaborative work projects.  So it can't really be categorized as a work meeting (as in, we're not charging the time) but it's not strictly social either.

Gandalf would never say he wasn't proud to have been Mule's mentor (precisely because he would never be that unprofessional and Mule did meet or exceed all the criteria while being mentored), and in fact was partially responsible for getting him hired.  The extended background is that Ferret hired Mule after getting a good review from Gandalf.  That said, Gandalf never had a personal friendly rel@tionship with Mule that he had with other former mentees and does not ask after Mule in either a social or work aspect the way he does with other mentees.  And, Mule doesn't work for Ferret anymore, and his new work group has little or nothing to do with our work group.

  I think this has become the key thing for me:  The lunch isn't being used for general mentoring or for general networking (Gandalf has a few separate meetings planned for discussing future collaborations), the work aspect is specific to a project that Mule is not involved with and the social aspect is for those who have maintained a social rel@tionship.

And now I'm going to have a hard time not picturing my coworkers as their animal namesakes or calling my mentor Gandalf (though I'm sure he'd take it well)!   ;)



I didn't see this earlier.  If the meeting is specific to a project that Mule is not working on, then you are fine not to invite him.  If it's strictly a social lunch with coworkers, you are also fine not to invite him.  If it's a general mentoring opportunity, then it needs a more specific focus/agenda to justify not inviting Mule.

You guys just need to define what this is and once that's figured out, then you'll know whether or not inviting Mule is the right thing to do.

Good luck :)
Title: Re: Not inviting 'colleague' to networking lunch
Post by: ShadesOfGrey on August 10, 2010, 09:50:10 AM
But mentoring is merely a subset of networking.  Who defines if it's for "all junior sales reps" ?  That would mean it's a company-sponsored thing.  In that case, fine, invite *all* sales reps.

But *individuals* going through the trouble of contacting a well-known person in the field to enrich themselves professionally? No, no way no how is there any obligation to extend that invitation beyond whom you want to be there.  This is my impression from the OP.  Maybe it was set up by management - in which case *Management* is responsible for inviting Mule, not these guys.  :)
Title: Re: Not inviting 'colleague' to networking lunch
Post by: Lisbeth on August 10, 2010, 10:08:27 AM
It sounds to me like there are a lot of people who have worked with Mule who are not being invited since all these people now work in separate groups.  While I agree that Mule should not be left out if he was the one person in a group of people who currently work together who is not being invited, the OP has indicated that this is not the case.

The only reason I think Mule would have to be invited would be if this was a "work lunch" in which something he was involved in was being discussed.  It sounds like that's not the case, bah12, so I disagree with you that this is rude or wrong.

Title: Re: Not inviting 'colleague' to networking lunch
Post by: bah12 on August 10, 2010, 12:51:16 PM
It sounds to me like there are a lot of people who have worked with Mule who are not being invited since all these people now work in separate groups.  While I agree that Mule should not be left out if he was the one person in a group of people who currently work together who is not being invited, the OP has indicated that this is not the case.

The only reason I think Mule would have to be invited would be if this was a "work lunch" in which something he was involved in was being discussed.  It sounds like that's not the case, bah12, so I disagree with you that this is rude or wrong.



I speak from experience.  All the OP or whoever is organizing this needs to do is define what this lunch is for.  Depending on what that is, (which seems to be up in the air, per her OP and update) then inviting Mule or not inviting Mule will be made clear.

This is not a social event (although the OP did say it may be, so it may be).  If (and I stress if) any company resources are being used, whether from this group or Gandalf's, then they need to be careful.  They don't have to invite Mule.  It's clear they don't want to, so knowing that they would like him not to be there, they need to define this lunch in a manner that won't require it.

I have seen, over and over again, people get burned over seemingly minor things like this.  So, it's a warning.  And a valid one.
Title: Re: Not inviting 'colleague' to networking lunch
Post by: lilfox on August 10, 2010, 06:14:50 PM
I've been away for a bit so just now catching up on the replies.   ;)

I am organizing the lunch kinda by default since Gandalf contacted me and I offered to set it up so he can catch up with a few other people he knows and is working with or has collaborated with.  The lunch part is definitely not hosted by the company or being organized by management, it's on our own time.  Ferret's separate meeting will be on company time, and the tours of our facilities we're setting up for Gandalf are on company time, but those are targeted, work-specific meetings, not open to all coworkers in the group.

I agree that if this were something where we had invited Gandalf (or he had offered) to come talk to professionals in our field, then I would not even consider excluding Mule as that would be very unprofessional.  Or even if it was a general "meet-and-greet one of the big names in our field," Mule would be included.  Those two cases would have big invite lists, however, where it would be more fitting for not only Mule but other coworkers who have the same job description, regardless of work group.
Title: Re: Not inviting 'colleague' to networking lunch
Post by: ShadesOfGrey on August 10, 2010, 06:21:39 PM
I speak from experience. 

As do I.
Title: Re: Not inviting 'colleague' to networking lunch
Post by: bah12 on August 11, 2010, 10:16:06 AM
I've been away for a bit so just now catching up on the replies.   ;)

I am organizing the lunch kinda by default since Gandalf contacted me and I offered to set it up so he can catch up with a few other people he knows and is working with or has collaborated with.  The lunch part is definitely not hosted by the company or being organized by management, it's on our own time.  Ferret's separate meeting will be on company time, and the tours of our facilities we're setting up for Gandalf are on company time, but those are targeted, work-specific meetings, not open to all coworkers in the group.

I agree that if this were something where we had invited Gandalf (or he had offered) to come talk to professionals in our field, then I would not even consider excluding Mule as that would be very unprofessional.  Or even if it was a general "meet-and-greet one of the big names in our field," Mule would be included.  Those two cases would have big invite lists, however, where it would be more fitting for not only Mule but other coworkers who have the same job description, regardless of work group.


It sounds like you're thinking through the right things and this really does seem more social than anything else, so you're fine.  Also, if you don't want to say that it's a strictly social lunch, you could define it as a combination social/catchup with getting advice from Gandalf on your specific project.  That way, you don't need to worry about Mule, or anyone else, thinking he should have been invited.

I know that most, well everyone, else doesn't agree with me, but please trust me.  What you call this is very important. 

At a company I used to work for a coworker set up a luncheon with a former CEO, who had retired, that was coming back into town.  He invited everyone that worked at the company when the guy was there...that excluded two people.  The problem?  He called it a mentoring session and one of the two excluded people made a formal complaint to HR about it.  In the end, although he was allowed to keep his job, it was after months of investigations, leave without pay, etc.  He didn't get reimbursed for his time off, even though he contested it...why?  Because he organized the lunch during his working/charging hours and used company email to invite everyone.  Also, they used seemingly minor things to prove discrimination that otherwise wouldn't mean anything...sort of how your group doesn't like or respect Mule.

HR told us, at the after action review, that had he simply said it was a social gathering with former coworkers of this CEO and had our coworker made the restaurant reservations and emailed (even on company email) everyone during his lunch hour, then everything would have been ok. 

I think that your group wouldn't be torn about this or even mentioned Mule unless there was some small iota of this lunch that leans towards him being invited.  Since you really don't want him there, then when you "title" the lunch, be sure that it's social or specific to your project.  Any general mentoring or networking opportunities you get will be a bonus...just don't advertise it as such.

Good luck!