Business Etiquette/Celebrating a promotion


A colleague just got promoted. Her manager stated that it is an occasion to celebrate and was asked where she wanted to go-and who to invite. She invited her managers friend who may be able to come along and another colleague. At the end of the dinner-my colleague offered to pay the tab-however the managers friend ended up paying the tab, stating this is for you celebrating your promotion. My colleague thanked her manager and the friend however felt awkward in the situation. What is the appropriate thing to do? Should my colleague pay half of the tab?

Dear Pinky,

Thank you for writing in with your question. It's a good one. As a general rule, I feel that the person who initiates the celebratory meal should pay. So in the case that you  mentioned, it probably should have been the manager who paid the tab for all. However, in practice, etiquette rules are often broken, and it was very nice of the manager to suggest the get-together, and it sounds like all had a good time. If your colleague wants to repay the kindness, she should simply invite her manager and the manager's friend out another time down the road, and this time, take care of the tab. If she discusses the matter with the restaurant in advance, she can probably arrange it so they never even bring the check to the table--it will all be taken care of with her credit card in advance. This way, no one will need to feel awkward. Thanks again so very much for writing!


Vicky Oliver
301 Smart Answers to Tough Business Etiquette Questions

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Vicky Oliver


I am an expert on traditional American business etiquette, including dining rules and regulations for the 21st century, making a good first impression (and how to fix a bad one), meeting etiquette, conversational tips, and dressing for success. I also have written about new media etiquette--how to use LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to enhance your professional reputation. I am not an expert on wedding etiquette or international business etiquette.


I am the author of 301 Smart Answers to Tough Business Etiquette Questions (Skyhorse, 2010) and 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions (Sourcebooks, 2005). I have received over 301 media mentions on topics pertaining to business etiquette, job interviewing, and style on a budget.

Brown University Club in New York; Trinity Alumni & Alumnae Association

The Investment Professional Magazine; Crain's New York; The Charlotte Weekly;;; The Review Mom; Personal Finance

Brown University, B.A., English Honors; double major in Political Science

Awards and Honors
How-To Winner, Paris Book Festival; How-To Runner-Up, London Book Festival; Eric Hoffer Award First Runner-Up in Business;"Best Business: Career Book of 2010" in the National Best Books Awards.

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