Ask Jack: 8-Hour Party People, Mailroom Mooch, Job of the Week

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Co-workers at surprise birthday party, smiling
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AOL Jobs reader Sean asks:

What if you want to invite a bunch of work colleagues to a party -- but not everyone -- and someone finds out? How do you handle it?

Oh, someone will find out; that you can wager money on. One of your invitees won't check the guest list carefully and will mention the party to someone who wasn't invited. And unless you make everyone check their smartphones at the door (not a horrible idea, by the way), a photo is going to turn up on Facebook or Instagram and somebody's feelings will get hurt. Well, you know what? Boo-hoo-hoo-hoo. We are all adults and it's difficult enough to get along at work without worrying about being everybody's after-hours pal too. I think we all know that deep down; the mature person accepts it and simply snubs you when it's time to plan their next gathering.

Ah, but what if they actually confront you about being left out? Awkward! Still, my advice is simple: Lie like a rug. "What? No, I'm sure you were invited. Darn computers." Or the old standby "Oh I wasn't in charge of the invites." Want a more permanent solution? Just whisper -- as you reach a hand toward his or her shoulder -- "I've been dealing with a bit of a bed-bug infestation...."


Kazim has a query:

I have noticed that some co-workers use our office mail bins to send their personal mail. This seems clearly wrong to me; I always put stamps on my mail before dropping it in these bins. Am I worrying too much about this?

Well, first of all, not to be a gossip or anything, but Sean totally didn't invite you to his party. OK, on to your stamp question: Congratulations on being so conscientious; also, everyone in the mailroom hates you. What the... ?!? No, I'm not just utilizing my trademark Silbertian wit (patent pending). Depending on the size of your office, it's quite possible the mailroom uses an automated system to weigh and apply postage to individual pieces of mail. When pre-stamped pieces are added into the mix, someone has to manually remove it, slowing down the process, and creating an annoyance.

Now, I'm not giving everyone carte blanche to abuse the work mailroom. People's ethics seem to get a little shaky when they are stuck in an office all day: a pen here, an envelope there, and yeah, some people think of the mailroom as their personal post office/FedEx drop box. It's petty theft, but theft nonetheless. So keep slapping on your own stamps; just drop off those bills and greeting cards outside the office.


Last week's Ask Jack questions

Do you have a work-related question for Jack? Write it in the comments below (better answers to this week's questions are also welcome!) or tweet it @AOLJobs with the hashtag #AskJack.

Jack's Job of the Week

If that party question made you think "oh, these people simply don't know what they're doing; leave it to a professional," then you just might have a career ahead as an event planner in Louisville, Kentucky. That is just one of thousands of listings, coast-to-coast in every field, available right now on AOL Jobs. Search and explore!

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