Newport Manners & Etiquette: Four Top Tips for 2017

Wednesday, January 04, 2017


View Larger +

When you're sick of your toxic boss it's time to move on. Were you a cheapskate holiday tipper? Are Casual Fridays too informal? And how to keep peace in your book group were all questions to Didi Lorillard during the past week at NewportManners.

When you stiffed on a holiday tip

Q.  I read your answer about holiday tipping and have a follow-up question. I tipped the woman who cuts my hair every six weeks an extra $20 in December. I never tipped my old barber, because he owned the barber shop until he retired six years ago. Since then I've been going to a salon that cuts both men and women's hair, and tipping $10 each time for a $30 haircut. She does a great job and so I decided this year to give a holiday tip. In the past I had noticed that other clients brought in gifts, such as wine, perfume, a wrapped boxed gift. Guiltily I handed her an extra $20 and wished her happy holidays. She looked at me in disgust as if I didn't appreciate her work. What did I do wrong? Her facial expression went from disappointment to repulsion.  GW, Portsmouth

A.  Think of it this way. If it takes your hair-stylist 30 minutes to cut your hair and trim away at any stray strands on your eyebrows, nose, and neck and you are pleased with her work, then why wouldn't you reward her at the end of the year with a generous holiday tip? At the very least, giving her a gratuity equal to the cost of one appointment is expected. Just say at your January appointment, that you didn't understand how much tip was appropriate. Add that you now realize that you should have given her more than twice as much as you did and give her another $20. Next December bring her a holiday gift of at least $50.

Book group skeptic

Q.  At our last book group meeting in December one of the women objected to the book chosen book to be read for January. The person who hosts the next monthly meeting chooses the book in anticipation of everyone politely going along with her choice. One of the more vocal participants made it clear that she simply was not going to read the book because it wasn't a good choice. A near cat fight ensued. Surprisingly, one of the quieter participators found her voice and vented her advice, "My mother always said, 'the least said soonest mended.'" Mouths dropped in awe of sage wisdom. In the future, how would you handle a dissenter?  KE, Brooklyn


A.  An angry argument is rarely civilized. The protester should have suggested a second choice. By saying, "Since I don't believe all of us will want to spend our time reading the book choice for January, I would like to propose that we have the option of reading one of two books. I'll be reading Tana French's current best-seller, THE TRESPASSER. Should anyone feel the way I do, we can always discuss two books at the next meeting or in private. Don't take a vote. Let everyone read whichever book they choose. Enough said, "The least said soonest mended."

Toxic boss

Q. Once again, I'm disappointed by my yearly loyalty raise. The thought of waiting a whole year for the next job review is depressing me. Despite the fact that my review went very well, that excellence won't be reflected in my paycheck. We're all down in the dumps and talking about moving on. I love my coworkers, but the boss is toxic. When he's in a lousy mood, his atrocious moodiness spreads like a really bad cold virus. At the end of the day, we take home the toxicity.  Ashley, Providence


A. According to Social Security records, the average 'loyalty' raise is 2.5%. Job changers can make more than 10% a year; if you change jobs every few years you'll be ahead of the game. Taking into consideration the stage of your career should be a factor. For the first decade your salary should double; the second decade it may increase 50%; the third decade your income stops growing; the fourth there will be a slight decline. Again, according to Social Security records fewer that 2% of employees double their income from the third decade on. My point is that you need to move on.

Since you get along well with your current co-workers, you'll most likely get on well with new ones. Keep your job while you look for a fresh opportunity, because it is easier to find a new position when you're already employed. Here are some tips to get you on your way:

  • Getting a raise should not be a once-a-year exercise. Have a one-on-one conversation with your boss this week to discuss what your success looks like and find out what is key to your boss in the coming year. How is (s)he looking to take the company?
  • This is not a once a year conversation. Get an update at every quarter.
  • Keep a record of these discussions.
  • Find out what you should be making from Comparably, GetRaised, Payscale, or Ziprecruiter. 
  • Check out the new app Switch, which is the Tinder of job searching.
  • is a marketplace where companies bid and compete for the most talented workers.
  • Have a back-up plan when you're told the budget doesn't include raises.
  • When there are no raises proactively look for projects or initiatives of value: flexibility to work from home, mentorship, partial payment for an executive MBA, a rotation in another division or overseas assignment, etc.
  • Women continue to earn less than men; they are not as likely to ask for a raise because they know they are seen as less attractive employees than men who asked.
  • If you're given the raise you deserve, don't spend it; investing it forges greater confidence.


Consider gracefully leaving an unsatisfying do-nothing job. Take the initiative to kick-start your career. A recent Gallop Poll found that fewer than a third of employees answered that they were actually "engaged" in their job. The New York Times recommends the best selling book on the subject, MASTERING THE ART OF QUITTING, by Peg Streep and Alan Bernstein, as the latest guide to finding happiness through being more improvisational. 

Casual Friday dress code

Q. Starting off the new year we want to rope in the whole sloppy Casual Friday dress code problem that has morphed year-round. Summer is the culprit. Everyone dresses willy-nilly, loose-goosey with tank tops and shirts untucked, sneakers unlaced, and flip-flops flopping around the cubicles as the mantra. Winter comes and they wear their boots to work and change into their flip-flops or Vans to pad around the office. Next they'll be flaunting flannel pajama bottoms to work instead of the dreaded cargo pants or knee-torn faded jeans. Please, give us the standard on Casual Friday dress code.  CN, Seattle

A.  Simply post a notice on the company bulletin board and send out an email blast with a list of your dress code regulations. To get my drift, it would look something like this:


2017 Casual Friday Dress Code

  • Collared shirts (or turtle necks) for men
  • No untucked shirts
  • No bare feet noticeable
  • No bare midriff for women
  • No shorts
  • No cargo pants, sweats, or torn jeans
  • No baseball caps
  • No hooded sweatshirts
  • No hair longer than two inches below the earlobe for men
  • No nose, lip, eyebrow or tongue jewelry
  • No biker boots


Didi Lorillard researches manners and etiquette at NewportManners.


Enjoy this post? Share it with others.


Sign Up for the Daily Eblast

I want to follow on Twitter

I want to Like on Facebook

Delivered Free Every
Day to Your Inbox