DEAR MISS MANNERS: From the perspective of a retired business executive, I do not find complaints about delays in hiring decisions unusual.
As things go, a job is offered to the winning candidate, and the employer waits for that candidate to accept before posting the job as filled. Should that candidate not accept or fail the drug testing, etc., the employer then has candidates two, three and so forth to fall back on.
I firmly believe that many of today’s young men and women are so impatient that they expect immediate gratification on so many fronts. Society has taught these folks these bad habits and that behavior is, unfortunately, rampant.
Just look around the dining room during your next meal out and witness all of the patrons who are preoccupied with their texting, emailing, etc., during a meal. Disgusting!
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Has the advent of instant messaging changed the time allowed to respond to business or personal correspondence?
GENTLE READER: Certainly. An American gentleman writing to his tailor in London in the 19th century had to be content to wait the months it could take a letter to reach its destination. Technology today makes it possible to respond almost instantaneously, and this has indeed shortened what is considered to be an acceptable wait.
But that is not the only factor. As you note, some delays are dictated by considerations other than the speed of the delivery service. A lady may wish to consider before accepting a proposal of marriage. If she requires an unusually long period for reflection, Miss Manners suggests she send an intermediate communication naming the time at which an answer may be expected.
The same rule may be applied to business correspondence.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I have invited a few friends over for Thanksgiving dinner. I was asked by some guests how many turkeys would I be preparing and also was told how they prepared their stuffing and how much they like it that way!
After I said I might make a ham (for another friend who does not like turkey), I was told I should make a roast beef instead! I was flabbergasted on their comments from preparation to what I should make!
In the past when I have invited this couple, not once have they ever offered to bring a dish to pass nor any other way to help, nor a hostess gift or thank-you card.
Am I in the right to be upset? I feel very frustrated to have someone tell me what and how to do something with my own Thanksgiving dinner. My husband and I are thinking about doing a family dinner only now, as I am too afraid I’ll get argumentative if these guests comment on something!
GENTLE READER: Perhaps you can explain to Miss Manners why you have continued to invite thankless people to Thanksgiving dinner. It seems singularly inappropriate.
In any case, the time to argue, quietly and politely, is at the first instance of interference. You should say: “I’ll try to plan a menu that pleases everyone, but I’m not taking individual orders. I hope you will join us anyway.”
Judith Martin writes the Miss Manners column with help from her son, Nicholas Ivor Martin, and her daughter, Jacobina Martin. Send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, MissManners.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.
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