Author Topic: Addressing people in America  (Read 5392 times)

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Dindrane

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Re: Addressing people in America
« Reply #15 on: November 29, 2011, 10:45:49 AM »
I worked (as a college student) in Texas, and now work in Oregon.  I've never called anybody I work with by anything but their first names.  When I have gone on interviews, I tend to just avoid using names entirely when I can.

The department where I work now is rather large, and the head is a VP.  He's quite a few rungs up the ladder from me, but nobody calls him anything but his first name unless they need to clarify who they are talking about (there are a few other people with the same first name).  When they do need to clarify, they just use his first and last name, sans title.

I also come into contact with a lot of job applicants.  Everyone uses titles on things like cover letters (if they have a name to address it to).  If someone ends up needing to email, many people continue using titles at that point (but not everyone does).  Almost nobody uses titles if they talk to me, at least, on the phone.  Then again, I answer my phone by identifying my department and saying "This is Dindrane."  So unless they know my last name already, they aren't going to be able to call me anything but my first.

On top of that, we draft letters to unsuccessful candidates at the end of a job search using first names to address anyone that was interviewed.  We assume that once a phone conversation or in person meeting has taken place, that everyone is on a first-name basis.


jmarvellous

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Re: Addressing people in America
« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2011, 11:16:48 AM »

The only time I refer to someone by an honorific and their surname is if he or she is my medical doctor or if I'm appealing to the person for a job. Peers and bosses are always referred to by first name in my industry and social life.
Whereabouts in the US are you?

Texas. I work with some pretty prominent members of the community, but my industry (journalism) is decidedly casual. And my friends significantly more so.

I guess if I were interviewing someone like the governor, mayor or another high-ranking official, I'd use "Governor Perry," or another individual's specific title, but that hasn't come up.

I can't think of the last time I heard someone use Mr./Mrs. for a peer, really.

Judah

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Re: Addressing people in America
« Reply #17 on: November 29, 2011, 11:32:51 AM »
In my experience, people who actually worked with the CEO addressed him by his first name.  People who did not work directly with him called him Mr.

This is the way it's worked everywhere I've ever worked, except the one company where we did address everyone with honorifics.  On the other hand, DH has never worked for a company where honorifics were used for anyone.
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Ceallach

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Re: Addressing people in America
« Reply #18 on: November 29, 2011, 04:35:48 PM »
Ok, so I have to ask now!  At every company I've worked at over here, the CEO is referred to by his first name. It's "Dan" or "Ted" or "Michelle".    On the US TV shows I see it's always "Mr. Trump" or whoever, said in a respectful tone.  Is that just a thing for television to make them sound more important, or in reality would most company CEOs be referred to as Mr. X or Ms. X by employees? 

it probably depends on the CEO and, in this case, television. Also, remember on The Apprentice these people are vying for a job; most people are going to call the the head of the company they'd like to be hired by by their surname in the US especially when it is an upper-level job.  I doubt many people go into a job interview and say "yes, Sally, I have 5 years experience making widgets and customizing them, often with venomous fangs"  - they'd say "Yes Ma'am/TitleLastName/nothing [if they are unsure]."

Certainly I have never worked anywhere where you are expected to call your bosses by title last names. Some bosses only ever get called by their last names- "Hey, Reynolds, the widgetmaker just arrived" and I had a job where you always had to specify when talking about a boss by using the first and last name as there were two men with the same first name.

See that's exactly what I mean - my current position is management (with a new company I'd never been associated with before), and my interview was with the CEO and a member of the board.  I immediately called both of them by their first names.  I wonder though if they automatically lead me to do so - they certainly weren't referring to each other as "Ms. Jones" and "Ms. Carter", and so perhaps I unconsciously took my cue from them. 
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Thipu1

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Re: Addressing people in America
« Reply #19 on: November 29, 2011, 04:49:09 PM »
In this situation, everything depends on context.

When I started my first full-time job (in 1969), things were quite formal. Everyone higher than you on the totem pole was Mr. or Mrs. or Miss. 

When I moved into the museum world, things were very different.  You might be introduced to, 'Dr. So-and-so' but the usual response was almost always, 'Call me Bill, please.'

In the library it was considered a matter of courtesy to address readers as, 'Maam' or 'Sir'. 

Aside from that, in the 20 years I worked at the museum there were only two people whom I addressed as 'Mister.'. One was the Director of the museum.  The other was a noted scholar whom no one ever called by his first name.  To be fair, he never called me by my first name either, although I asked him to do so. His reasoning had a certain logic.  The staff of the department was small and there was another woman with the same first name.  The scholar was quite elderly and feared that there might be some confusion.

lollylegs

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Re: Addressing people in America
« Reply #20 on: November 29, 2011, 05:06:41 PM »
I worked in Portland for 6 months and I found it to be extremely casual.  I worked with the government and no-one ever used last names.  The dress was also a lot more casual (both at work and socially) than I'm used to.  I wore the same work clothes I wear here and was easily the most formally dressed every day.  Even at the nicest restaurants there were a lot of people in jeans.

Oregon is soooooo beautiful, the people are amazing, and the food and beer are fabulous.  I'm completely envious.

It looks so gorgeous in the photos that my fiance's aunt sends us, although I don't know how we're going to cope with the cold!

Yarnie

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Re: Addressing people in America
« Reply #21 on: November 29, 2011, 05:14:40 PM »
Very generally speaking, if you are in the West or Midwest, then you'll probably call everyone by their first names.   I grew up in the Mountain West, and didn't even learn to call folks sir and ma'am.  (I still don't like doing it.)   On the east coast and south, people can be more formal.

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Re: Addressing people in America
« Reply #22 on: November 29, 2011, 05:38:42 PM »
It depends on region and the setting. I worked for a major company for a while that emphatically insisted that everyone go by first name. I met the CEO of that company and addressed him as "Bob" (not his real name) even though I was only a cashier there. On the other hand, I worked at a much smaller, less well known place where I never called my bosses by anything but Mr./Ms Lastname. At my current job, I call my immediate bosses by their first names, but I call their boss "Ms. Firstname".

I am in the Southern US, things tend to be more formal here. Most strangers that interact with me call me "Miss" or sometimes "Ma'am" (I am a bit young for ma'am, though) and I return the title.

I would ask the friend who is introducing you what he feels is correct. He will have a better understanding of the norms in the area.

Dr. F.

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Re: Addressing people in America
« Reply #23 on: November 29, 2011, 08:55:26 PM »
In US academia, virtually NO ONE uses "Dr." as an honorific, except perhaps undergrads towards a prof of one of their classes. I defended *mumblemumble* years ago and it's STILL strange to be called Dr. lastname (despite what my username might imply! That's a MST3K ref.) (As an aside, it *is* pretty typical to ritually address someone as Dr. such-and-so right after they defend. Sort of a "welcome to the club.")

I now work at a Federal agency, and I've found it fascinating that, typically, those higher up the ladder get called Dr. Whatever when being talked about, while everyone else uses first names as a matter of course. However, when talking directly *to* the higher-up, people use first names. So you could say to someone, "Well, Dr. So-and-So says that...." and then turn around and say, "Oh, hi, Joanne! I was just saying that you indicated...." It's an odd dichotomy.

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WestAussieGirl

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Re: Addressing people in America
« Reply #24 on: November 29, 2011, 09:53:07 PM »
I worked in Portland for 6 months and I found it to be extremely casual.  I worked with the government and no-one ever used last names.  The dress was also a lot more casual (both at work and socially) than I'm used to.  I wore the same work clothes I wear here and was easily the most formally dressed every day.  Even at the nicest restaurants there were a lot of people in jeans.

Oregon is soooooo beautiful, the people are amazing, and the food and beer are fabulous.  I'm completely envious.

It looks so gorgeous in the photos that my fiance's aunt sends us, although I don't know how we're going to cope with the cold!

I didn't find the cold too bad (I just wore my regular winter clothes and coat) but the rain took some getting used to.  It rains a lot.  Usually not heavy enough for an umbrella, just a misty "fairy" rain.  Living in Perth, I don't go out socially when it is raining (unless it is something planned in advance and even then I'm resentful).  Rainy days are for going home and snuggling down.  When I first got to Portland I had the same attitude until I realised that if I did that I'd NEVER get to go out.

kareng57

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Re: Addressing people in America
« Reply #25 on: November 29, 2011, 11:59:03 PM »
I worked in Portland for 6 months and I found it to be extremely casual.  I worked with the government and no-one ever used last names.  The dress was also a lot more casual (both at work and socially) than I'm used to.  I wore the same work clothes I wear here and was easily the most formally dressed every day.  Even at the nicest restaurants there were a lot of people in jeans.

Oregon is soooooo beautiful, the people are amazing, and the food and beer are fabulous.  I'm completely envious.

It looks so gorgeous in the photos that my fiance's aunt sends us, although I don't know how we're going to cope with the cold!

I didn't find the cold too bad (I just wore my regular winter clothes and coat) but the rain took some getting used to.  It rains a lot.  Usually not heavy enough for an umbrella, just a misty "fairy" rain.  Living in Perth, I don't go out socially when it is raining (unless it is something planned in advance and even then I'm resentful).  Rainy days are for going home and snuggling down.  When I first got to Portland I had the same attitude until I realised that if I did that I'd NEVER get to go out.


This is getting OP, but I find the same in Vancouver BC.  It doesn't generally get terribly cold, but it *is" rainy for most of the fall, winter and spring.  You just get used to carrying around an umbrella..

I always used to find it mildly amusing when newcomers would relocate here and decide not to go to a planned indoor activity (such as shopping in a mall) because it was raining.  Yes, you would have very few shopping days.........

Aggiesque

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Re: Addressing people in America
« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2011, 11:22:14 PM »
Hm. We always call each other "Mr./Mrs. Firstname," at my workplace. Small workplace, 30? people , texas.

I'd also go by "Mr.Latname" unless he is introduced differently, or asks to be called "Firstname." Being too respectful usually isn't a bad thing.
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kherbert05

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Re: Addressing people in America
« Reply #27 on: December 25, 2011, 07:05:24 PM »
You might get a more focused response if you mentioned what region of the US you are going to be in.

I'm from Houston, Texas. In a purely social situation I would use first names unless the person was introduced as Mr. Last Name only. Business use Mr./Ms/Mrs the first time and 9 times out of 10 you will be told call me first name.
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delphinium

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Re: Addressing people in America
« Reply #28 on: December 26, 2011, 06:54:29 PM »
I am retired and it annoys me to hear a young person in a doctor's office call out, "Delphinium."  I would prefer her to use Mrs. Lastname.

 We live in a retirement community and all the employees call the residents Mr/Mrs.  They are told to do that.  DH is very outgoing and some of the maintenance men whom we know well will call him Jim and that's ok with us.

Betelnut

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Re: Addressing people in America
« Reply #29 on: December 26, 2011, 07:23:31 PM »
Just use Mr/Mrs/Ms.  It solves a lot of issues about "Is it okay?" because those terms are always okay.  Generally speaking, the person will then say, "Oh, call me Lola" or whatever.  But start off more formally.
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