Author Topic: The Christmas party 'jab' (VERY long)  (Read 9010 times)

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oceanus

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The Christmas party 'jab' (VERY long)
« on: January 06, 2013, 05:39:33 PM »
I recently heard about an incident and wanted to get opinions.

Sharon and Katie work at the same (small < 30 people) office.  They work on different floors and don’t really need to interact much at all.  They’ve never been to lunch together, and they don’t socialize.

Katie works on the 1st floor, is in her late 20s, and often can be overheard talking about fashion/clothes, hairstyles, and her quest for Mr. Right.   Sharon works on the 3rd floor, is in her late 40s, doesn’t share much about her personal life, but has varied interests, and likes to chat with a select group of people about common interests.  It’s necessary to pass Sharon’s desk on the 3rd floor when getting supplies, coffee, and also when retrieving documents from one of the ‘power’ printers near the supply cabinet.

Katie works closely with another person who, (for whatever reasons) had a few conflicts with Sharon.  Supposedly things were resolved, but (imo) Katie got an earful from the coworker.

Sharon sometimes keeps a candy dish on her desk, and of course people can help themselves.   Strangely enough, this is what seemed to start the problem.  Katie comes up to the 3rd floor a few times a week – sometimes she speaks to Sharon, sometimes not.  Sharon speaks to Katie in passing, but that’s about it.  The way I hear it, about a month ago, Katie came to the 3rd floor accompanied by someone from a branch office.  She reached into the candy bowl and said “Oh, these look good.  Can I take a few?”  Sharon smiled and said “Sure, and hello, by the way.”  Katie kind of bristled and said “Hello, Sharon.”

A couple of weeks later, the office Christmas party was held at a nice banquet hall.  Dinner, music, entertainment – a nice evening.  Spouses, dates, clients, and branch employees attended.

During the course of the evening Katie made a production of coming over the table where Sharon was sitting and said “Sharon, I just wanted to make a point of saying hello to you.  I don’t want this to turn into one of those loooooog conversations, but I hope you enjoy the party.”  Then she walked away.  Several people sitting at the table with Sharon gave her a “What the heck was that about?”  ??? look.   Sharon just shrugged and the party continued.

Sharon was offended, but didn’t discuss the incident with anyone at the office.  Instead, she gave Katie the cold shoulder whenever they passed each other, and, from what I hear, things are still chilly between them (not that it’s ever been warm).  Katie complimented Sharon's outfit a week or so ago, but Sharon mumbled "Thanks" and continued with whatever she was doing.

Sharon was recently talking to the Office Manager about business, and OM slyly brought up Katie’s name, asking Sharon how she felt about her.  Sharon simply said “I really don’t know her well; our contact is minimal” but was careful not to say anything about the party incident or her negative feelings about Katie.  (When Sharon relayed the incident to me, she referred to Katie as an airhead.)

Thanks for getting thru all this!! How could this have been handled better?
« Last Edit: January 06, 2013, 05:52:21 PM by oceanus »

TootsNYC

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Re: The Christmas party 'jab' (VERY long)
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2013, 05:41:24 PM »
I think Sharon shouldn't have said, "Sure, and hello by the way." That was a criticism or a correction, and I don't think it was necessary or appropriate.

Doubly bad because she corrected Katie in front of someone else.

MrsJWine

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Re: The Christmas party 'jab' (VERY long)
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2013, 05:49:51 PM »
I think both of them behaved poorly. The first incident was just silly. Sharon doesn't come across well. If I see someone frequently, I am not going to be practicing completely formal etiquette all the time. Katie might not have been completely correct in neglecting a 'hello' first, but she comes across as cheerful and friendly. Sharon comes off as uptight. The second incident, however, is even more ridiculous. A couple of weeks later, Katie goes out of her way to act like a snot to Sharon. That's just childish.

If I were Sharon, I wouldn't be particularly friendly with her after that, either--not as punishment, but just because I wouldn't have much interest in interacting with someone so petty. With people who hold weird grudges over such small things, you never know when they'll attack you next.


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Utah

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Re: The Christmas party 'jab' (VERY long)
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2013, 05:51:36 PM »
I'm assuming Sharon already considered Katie an airhead since you included the info about her being heard to discuss hair, fashion, and romance.  So I think Sharon's comment was her attempt to educate Katie on her ideas of appropriate office behavior and maybe even bring attention to it in front of the visitor.  if she wasn't, then she would have simply said "Hi, Katie, take as much as you'd like."

Katie's comment at the party was childish.

I think refraining from interaction is best for both of these characters.

Audrey Quest

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Re: The Christmas party 'jab' (VERY long)
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2013, 05:57:04 PM »
I get the impression from what Katie said at the party about a "loooooong conversation" that Sharon may have made a much bigger deal about saying hello than just her "hello, btw."
 
I'm not sure but Sharon might be one of those PA people who does things under the radar until the other person just can't take it anymore and when they blow, the PA person acts all clueless, like "where did that come from."

oceanus

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Re: The Christmas party 'jab' (VERY long)
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2013, 06:26:11 PM »
Here’s my take:

Re: candy dish, Sharon could have just said “Sure Katie, help yourself.”

Katie’s party comment was uncalled for and made her look goofy, imo.  As far as the “looooong conversation” comment, could be that Sharon is known as a “talker” among those at the office she associates with.  Could be that Katie has observed it, or some people have commented.

What I don’t like is that Katie obviously went to the Office Manager and talked about Sharon – most likely leaving out the party incident.  (This is speculation) but it was probably something along the lines of “I try to be nice to Sharon, but she's barely civil.  I don't know what her problem is.”  Not true, but that's beside the point.

I think Sharon should ease up a bit.  Try being a little more friendly to Katie, but keep it brief and polite.  Don’t give others a chance to complain about the tension – it gets old.

Roe

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Re: The Christmas party 'jab' (VERY long)
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2013, 06:31:29 PM »
I'm not sure but Sharon might be one of those PA people who does things under the radar until the other person just can't take it anymore and when they blow, the PA person acts all clueless, like "where did that come from."

Yep.  And then Sharon shrugs it off (as if she's innocent in this) and the party continues.  Sharon seems like a very PA person.  She started it so the fault lies with her, IMO. 

oceanus

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Re: The Christmas party 'jab' (VERY long)
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2013, 06:39:30 PM »
I'm not sure but Sharon might be one of those PA people who does things under the radar until the other person just can't take it anymore and when they blow, the PA person acts all clueless, like "where did that come from."

Yep.  And then Sharon shrugs it off (as if she's innocent in this) and the party continues.  Sharon seems like a very PA person.  She started it so the fault lies with her, IMO.

I think Sharon was fine by not putting a damper on the party by explaining to others at the table what was behind Katie's snotty remarks.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2013, 07:03:24 PM by oceanus »

PastryGoddess

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Re: The Christmas party 'jab' (VERY long)
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2013, 06:50:35 PM »
I'm not sure but Sharon might be one of those PA people who does things under the radar until the other person just can't take it anymore and when they blow, the PA person acts all clueless, like "where did that come from."

Yep.  And then Sharon shrugs it off (as if she's innocent in this) and the party continues.  Sharon seems like a very PA person.  She started it so the fault lies with her, IMO.

I don't think Sharon should have put a damper on the party by explaining to others at the table what was behind Katie's snotty remarks.

Wait where did it say that Sharon discussed this with anyone else besides OP?  ???  Please bold it if I'm missing something, otherwise that's not fair to Sharon


Sharon was definitely PA with her “Sure, and hello, by the way.”, however, Katie didn't have to make the comment she did at the party.  Sharon is in no way obligated to be warm and fuzzy with Katie or anyone at the office.  Saying thank you when someone compliments you is what you're supposed to do at a minimum. It seems to me that Katie continued the PA behavior and Sharon has throttled back to neutral.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2013, 06:52:06 PM by PastryGoddess »
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oceanus

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Re: The Christmas party 'jab' (VERY long)
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2013, 06:57:48 PM »
PastryGoddess
Whoa.   :)  I didn't say that Sharon discussed it - she didn't.   My post was in response the member saying "Sharon shrugged and acted all innocent".

(I've edited my previous post to make it clearer.)

i.e., I think shrugging, not responding, and continuing with the party was fine.  What else could/should she have done? ???

To me, it seemed like Katie was saying "You put ME on the spot in front of someone, so I'll fix YOU and I'll do it in front of a table full of people.  So take THAT!"  Seems to me the one acting innocent was Katie (when she spole with the Office Manager, although exactly what she said is unknown.)

However, as I said, instead of refusing to deal with Katie, I feel Sharon needs to ease up.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2013, 07:09:50 PM by oceanus »

PastryGoddess

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Re: The Christmas party 'jab' (VERY long)
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2013, 07:06:03 PM »
PastryGoddess
Whoa.   :)  I didn't say that Sharon discussed it - she didn't.   My post was in response the member saying "Sharon shrugged and acted all innocent".

(I've edited my previous post to make it clearer.)

i.e., I think shrugging, not responding, and continuing with the party was fine.  What else could/should she have done? ???

Oh I see...I didn't realize that was you responding.  I thought it was another poster saying she had talked about it  :D
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MariaE

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Re: The Christmas party 'jab' (VERY long)
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2013, 02:47:39 AM »
I'm confused. Did Sharon mean to correct Katie when she said "Hello, by the way" (the same way that parents might say "You're welcome" in order to spur a child to say "Thank you"), or did she mean it literally?

Because I do the latter all the time. My best friend and I will jump straight into conversation on MSN, and after 4-5 exchanges I'll realize I haven't actually greeted her, and type out "And good morning, by the way". I certainly don't do that to chastise her, but simply because I - by the way - want to wish her a good morning.

I read the OP with that 'read' on things, which made it sound like Katie was waaaaaaaaaaaaay overreacting. If Sharon was indeed chastising her, then I think they were both rude.
 
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cicero

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Re: The Christmas party 'jab' (VERY long)
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2013, 03:40:37 AM »
Katie probably should have said "hello" or "good moring" before she asked for the candy. I know it's an office situation but it does come across as a tad rude (like sharon is good enough for the candy but doesn't warrant a "hello")

However. Sharon shouldn't have said what she did to katie ("Sure, and hello, by the way.").

And katie certainly shouldn't have said what she did at the party.

I do think that while Sharon may come across as being PA, she did behave better in the party situation (by not discussing this further) and when the OM asked her about katie.

how can it be handled better - by them minimizing contact from this point forward.

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heathert

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Re: The Christmas party 'jab' (VERY long)
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2013, 04:23:38 AM »
I'm confused. Did Sharon mean to correct Katie when she said "Hello, by the way" (the same way that parents might say "You're welcome" in order to spur a child to say "Thank you"), or did she mean it literally?

Because I do the latter all the time. My best friend and I will jump straight into conversation on MSN, and after 4-5 exchanges I'll realize I haven't actually greeted her, and type out "And good morning, by the way". I certainly don't do that to chastise her, but simply because I - by the way - want to wish her a good morning.

I read the OP with that 'read' on things, which made it sound like Katie was waaaaaaaaaaaaay overreacting. If Sharon was indeed chastising her, then I think they were both rude.

I have to ask though, would you say that to someone you don't really know?  It is one thing when its a best friend or someone who knows you but not someone who is close to being a stranger.  I agree Katie should've said hello first but I still think both ladies were rude.

MariaE

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Re: The Christmas party 'jab' (VERY long)
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2013, 05:01:14 AM »
I might - it would depend on how little I knew the person. I definitely wouldn't write it though, as tone of voice disappears there, but I might say it as in "Oh! And hello! Didn't see you there at first."

But I totally agree that if that wasn't the way Sharon said it then she was much, much, much more rude than Katie was for not saying Hello (which I don't actually necessarily see as rude at all).
 
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