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Old 10-28-2004, 12:14 PM   #1
Felix The Assassin
The Dreadnoks
 

Join Date: September 27, 2001
Location: Orlando, FL
Age: 54
Posts: 3,608
Fellow IWers.

As my time line approaches, events have been met, now the need has arisen to ask the questions on Professional/Civilian etiquette. My first name, title (whatever) has been Sergeant (in one form or another) for the last 20 years. My main contact at Ft Knox is a GS-11 (Government Serives Level 11) that's pretty high(on a scale of 2-15). We address each other by Mr. and Sergeant on first contact, then move to first name basis.

When speaking with him, and he mentions other people, and he uses the term MR. or MS. is that my key that that is the individuals salutation? Irregardless of my personal / past professional relationship?

I believe I do understand that when he uses first name basis, that is also the que? Some of these people retired senior to me, and have a high level in the GS world, and some are DA civilians(highly competitive). None of which means dittly wittly to me, we all put one leg at a time in our trousers while getting dressed in the morning! BUT, job security in the open market? I've had 0 job security stress for the past 23 years, I don't want to start on the left foot on a right footed dance!
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Old 10-28-2004, 12:50 PM   #2
aleph_null1
Red Wizard of Thay
 

Join Date: January 7, 2001
Location: Honolulu, Hawai'i
Age: 34
Posts: 837
I would say that Mr. / Ms. is a perfectly acceptable title applicable to all civilians not in Congress or working as Secretary of [Quux]. It's also fine for naval officers below O-4 (and some would argue O-4 is a "Mr." too )

As a 20-year senior enlisted, I'm sure you've got a good feel for who stands where in the food chain...
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Old 10-28-2004, 01:19 PM   #3
VulcanRider
Lord Soth
 

Join Date: July 25, 2002
Location: Melbourne FL
Age: 53
Posts: 1,971
I'd say that if you're meeting someone for the first time, use MR/MS. If they want you to use their first name, they'll let you know.
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Old 10-28-2004, 11:56 PM   #4
Bungleau
40th Level Warrior
 

Join Date: October 29, 2001
Location: Western Wilds of Michigan
Posts: 11,752
Hmmm... I've thought about this a bit this afternoon, Felix, and I'm not sure I've got a good answer for you. I speak to a lot of people in business settings, ranging from administrative folks up to company presidents and other C-level people (CFO, CEO, CIO, CMO, etc.). I don't have the added impact of having been in the military with them where they might have had a different rank, and hence a different position, than they do now.

My general feedback... I try to read the situation. If other people refer to "Mr. Green", I will refer to Mr. Green until he tells me otherwise.

If there are no visual clues, I tend to speak with folks on a first-name basis, as introduced. I do try to make certain how they'd like to be addressed -- I know two "Susans" (not Sue) and a Jeffrey (not Jeff) off the top of my head.

There's nothing wrong with asking them how they'd like to be addressed. It shows respect.

And speaking of that, the overall business environment seems to be much less formal than it used to (at least, as I recall). Years ago when I worked as a stock guy at KMart, all managers were Mr and Mrs. It was a way, I believe, to draw the line between staff and management. I don't see the same things happening as much any more, although there are certain exceptions.

Folks from other countries... I do my best to respect their traditions and expectations. I'm likely to be more formal.

Folks from the south tend to be more respectful than folks from other parts of the US. I don't know why... it just seems that way.

I'd try to find someone else who's been out for a while and get their feedback on how to handle things. I'd try to find someone who's been fairly successful, with no offense intended or implied. You just don't want to be asking someone with a chip on their shoulder how you should be behaving.

And another thought just crossed my mind... a friend of mine from Toastmasters who's still in the reserves talked about the challenges she had in both worlds... that the civilian world doesn't handle the "command and control" aspects of the military well, and that the military doesn't handle the "self-developing consensus building" of the civilian world real well. She ended up having two different styles of handling things, rather than be overbearing in civilian and weak in military.

I'm always open to a post or PM if there's anything else on your mind, Felix.
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Old 10-30-2004, 08:37 PM   #5
Night Stalker
Lord Ao
 

Join Date: June 24, 2002
Location: Nevernever Land
Age: 43
Posts: 2,002
Sarge,

Feel out the situation. If someone is introduced too you as Mr/Mrs/Ms, then go by that. If first names are given, then use that.

In my contracting world, I address my Senior VP of my department by his first name. And when I was at Ft Monmouth, my GS-15 Program Manager by his. Of course the the CG of CECOM was ALWAYS "General"! [img]tongue.gif[/img]

Some people are formal, some are not.
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Old 10-30-2004, 11:01 PM   #6
Azred
Drow Priestess
 

Join Date: March 13, 2001
Location: a hidden sanctorum high above the metroplex
Age: 48
Posts: 4,031
Question Mark

Mr., Mrs., Ms., or Miss is always acceptable upon first meeting. If the person has another title such as Dr., Judge, Reverend, etc. they will let you know, assuming you cannot tell from their attire. Of course, anyone wearing a uniform may be addressed by rank; if a member of public law enforcement then "Officer" is appropriate.
Seek out Miss Manners; there are reams of information on this. [img]graemlins/petard.gif[/img]
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Old 10-31-2004, 01:09 AM   #7
Felix The Assassin
The Dreadnoks
 

Join Date: September 27, 2001
Location: Orlando, FL
Age: 54
Posts: 3,608
Good stuff, tanks all. The transition seminar leaves a lot of 'grey' area still gray.
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The Lizzie Palmer Tribute



Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

John F. Kennedy
35th President of The United States

The Last Shot

Honor The Fallen

Jesus died for our sins, and American Soldiers died for our freedom.




If you don't stand behind our Soldiers, please feel free to stand in front of them.
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