Miss Manners: My co-workers’ children often interrupt meetings

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Dear Ms. Manners: A manager I work for has a small child. Ever since we started teleworking, she regularly lets her child interrupt our meetings. Her study appears to be in her child’s bedroom.

Now a colleague has a new baby. At a recent meeting, we could hear both her baby and MIL playing in the background. And she hosted this meeting!

Children are not normally allowed to be in the workplace unless it is Bring Your Kids to Work Day. They distract and often disturb. Everyone I’ve spoken to agrees that this is inappropriate. What do you think?

All that the public statements that the pandemic would finally force either employers or the government to take sensible action to support working parents were empty words.

That’s not to say that Miss Manners absolves working parents from trying their best to keep children away from meetings — just that some understanding is needed for the occasional blunder.

Dear Ms. Manners: Is it rude that I broke up with my boyfriend because I didn’t like the way he left his apartment in ruins? Germaphobes here.

Rudeness is about how you act, not how you think. So as long as you haven’t called him a slob on the way out the door, your conscience can be clear.

Dear Ms. Manners: I needed professional services for a home project. After contacting numerous companies, I finally found someone at a reputable company who agreed to help me with my project.

After several conversations where I was advised and advised, I mentioned that I still haven’t received an invoice for the work done so far. He said I would not be billed (probably because my project is so small) and that I could donate to a cause of my choice instead.

I agree to make a donation and plan to do so. However, I would prefer to make one an occasion that pleases them, not mine. Through social and professional media, I found out what university this person attended, the names of some professional organizations they belong to, and some causes they are interested in.

Would it be appropriate for my contribution to go to one of them, or should it really be something of my choice? Regardless of where my donation goes, would it be appropriate to make it on behalf of that person? Finally, should I inform them of my selection and the amount of the donation?

Your professional benefactor supposed to be generous and kind, so Miss Manners is saddened that his ill-conceived assignment has become a liability. She doesn’t think that was his intention.

Write the professional an effusive thank you note with no reference to a donation. Then donate or not as you see fit. Your benefactor will not verify that you have completed his mission.

New Miss Manners columns are published Monday through Saturday washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners on her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

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