Darwin Blog

Saturday, 30 August, 2008, 11:56 pm
Filed under: Mind Your Manners Miranda

Sometime ago, The Godmother asked me to consider doing a post regarding RSVPing.

I now oblige.

The Godmother organisers a number of events each year, I a number of smaller social gatherings, but recently was involved in a major event which required RSVPs to a number of different functions over the one weekend.  I have always been frustrated with with people not RSVPing by the appropriate date, as has The Godmother.  I think one of the most annoying things, is that you know certain people will be attending and yet as the host you are forced to phone or email to get a response.

With anything I organise, there is always an element of food and/ or drinks.  I do not like to waste good food (or anything for this matter) when there are so many in this world with so little.  It is also the expense, which I am wearing and honestly, I don’t have a money tree out the back.  In addition, preparation of food and drinks also requires my time and a lot of effort.

I felt in this instance, invitations were sent early (four weeks in advance), as the Dry Season is a very busy time in Darwin, so there was plenty of time for planning.  And whilst many people replied quickly yes or no, there were a substantial number that I got the distinct feeling that they would hold off in case they got a better offer.  That in itself is bad form, for God’s sake just say yes or no!

All that was required of the invitee, was to call a mobile number on the invite and respond with a yes or no.  There was a messagebank service in case I wasn’t able to come to the phone.  Oh, there were also calls from people saying yes, they would love to accept, but just not sure if I will be able to get there on the day – are these people high!

I also had people who rang up and RSVPed despite never being asked in the first place – the cheek!

I did some searching about the protocols of RSVPing – I too wanted an update just in case times have changed I haven’t moved along with them.  It was once the case that it was accepted you were attending, unless you advised otherwise.  Unfortunately in this day and age and the lack of general manners in our society, details for an RSVP are included, usually with a date, because people are so bad at it.

There was a lot of information in books and on the internet about responding to wedding invitations, but not much about dinner parties, formal celebrations etc etc.

The ultimate no-no – saying that you will attend something and not show up at all.  Organisers know their invitation lists intimately.  Whilst you think you may not be noticed for not being there because it is a large gathering, do not be so naive.  It is always noticed, your host may be being polite is saying so, but let me assure you, your absence will be noted.

I guess my piece of advice is to be kind to your host/ hostess and when you receive an invitation in the mail, check the date you need to RSVP by, make a decision right there and then and respond as soon as possible – after all, the host was kind enough to think of you and invite to the do!


Top Ten Tips for the Darwin Racing Carnival
Monday, 6 August, 2007, 5:44 am
Filed under: Mind Your Manners Miranda

This is a top ten tips list for women to assist with the whole Darwin Racing Carnival bevy of events: 

  1.  The small things matter.  Wash your hair, make sure nails are clean and that includes toenails.  If wearing open toe shoes, make sure you have had a pedicure.
  2. Invest in a good quality hat.  If you have to go to a number of events, invest in one hat that can be slightly altered for each event.
  3. Quality, quality, quality.  Don’t wear fake pearls if you can’t afford the real thing.  Good quality jewellery, shoes and handbags say a lot about the person.
  4. Wear clothing that suits your personality and body shape.  Midriffs, let’s not go there.  Muffin tops are worse and showing off your tattoos, double worse.  No night time fabrics e.g. velvet, sequins or basically shiny and should be worn at night!
  5. Try not to expose too much flesh.  Flabby upper chests and bingo wings are just plainly off putting.  So is back cleavage.
  6. Don’t overdo the makeup – it gets hot out there and you don’t want to look like a tragic clown at the end of the day.
  7. Avoid stilettos, especially in grass areas.  You only ending up sinking and aerating the grass.
  8. Don’t drink too much – not a nice look.
  9. Colour code your underwear with your clothing.  The black bra or knickers under white is so trailer trash.
  10. If you are representing work at a corporate tent, be mindful of that.

PS If the invite stipulates black tie, that means a gown to the floor – still take note of tips above.

Party Time!
Thursday, 7 June, 2007, 12:25 am
Filed under: Mind Your Manners Miranda, Observations

You have the right to wear and behave how you want.  Anything you wear, say or do will be used against you.  You have the right to seek advice to ensure you do not make a complete ass of yourself.  If you do not know how or where to get advice from; you shall be Mirandarised!  

Invitations are starting to arrive in mailboxes across the Territory seeking willing participants at gala balls, weddings and even cocktail receptions at Parliament House. 

Often there is a dress standard specified on the invitation and in the Territory this can be interpreted in many different ways.  Of course, how it is interpreted can led to embarrassment, disappointment or a memorable evening of finery.  If the dress code is not stated – ask if there is any doubt.   

Invitations from Parliament House include the dress code on the back to assist.  Other organisations utilise these forms of dress codes for functions and they are:  Territory Formal; Territory Rig and Territory Informal. Although they may be unique to the Territory there is not much difference as to what is expected dress-wise elsewhere in Australia or overseas.  All you need is some common sense – let me provide some tips. 

Territory Formal – for gentleman this involves a dinner suit or dark trousers with a long sleeve shirt, bow tie with vest or cummerbund or a tuxedo.  Ladies should wear appropriate evening wear and certainly nothing cheap and nasty!   

If the invitation stipulates Black Tie, women must wear a ball gown, evening dress or skirt that the length is to the floor.  Also remember in a town this small, it pays to wear something only once to a black tie function and if possible have it made, so another does not appear in the room on the night.  Older ladies should ensure they cover up the lower chest area and upper arms – you don’t want to be flapping! 

Territory Rig – the most common dress code on invitations.  Gentlemen should wear long trousers and a long sleeve shirt and ladies, a day dress or After Five.  Therefore if you wish to wear what you are wearing to work that day and it is respectable, by all means do so.  I would strongly recommend that no singlets (and that includes females) and thongs of any sort should be worn, no denim and definitely no minis no matter how good your legs are! 

Territory Informal – for men this is neat casual trousers such as chinos and an open neck shirt ie. a good quality polo shirt and ladies neat/ smart casual. I would strongly recommend that if you are someone who attends functions on a regular basis, invest in some good quality classic basic pieces that can be mixed and matched with equally good quality separates to give you a new look at each event. 

Whilst dressing appropriately sets the tone of the function for yourself, guests and the host, remember that you do not want to be the one who is talked about for wearing the most inappropriate attire – and believe me they do talk!  As Thomas Fuller once said, “Good clothes open all doors”. 

Saying Thank You!
Friday, 4 May, 2007, 1:50 pm
Filed under: Mind Your Manners Miranda

Sometimes I think as a Gen X that I must be a little old fashioned.  But, by the same token what has happened to the humble please and thank you?

Today, I completed a chapter in my life by finishing up in a job I have held for sometime.  I choose to apply for another position, as I thought it was time for a change and to be quite honest, I just felt that my employer did not appreciate me and the energy and enthusiasm I had invested.  I am a hard worker and have a good worth ethic and in the time I have been in the job, I think I have achieved some amazing feats that some others just weren’t able to conquer.

You would think that one’s boss might pop in and say thank you, maybe a phone call if they were time challenged or at absolute worst, an email before you closed the door at the end of the day.  After three weeks of minimal interaction between us, I get a phone call this morning asking me to finalise a job that the boss has sat on for two weeks and if possible, today before I leave.  Yes, the boss knew my last day was today.

Once I completed the job and advised of the outcome in writing via an email – there was deafening silence.

What is the problem with saying thank you?  I didn’t want fanfare.  I didn’t want morning tea, flowers or a gift.  Just a simple thank you for the effort and commitment I had provided to the organisation.

I will still see this manager from time to time, as the new position I am going to is co-located in the same building – I’ll be civil to them, I have no respect for them and I will not forget.  Because as everyone knows, sometimes the tables turn and one day that boss will be expecting me to assist them with a task and I will hold the upper hand – and I hope I will be in the position to decide whether I will or won’t assist and in what capacity.

This brings me to the generational issue.  There is so much discussion these days about Gen Y and Gen X.  I am over it!!!  Gen Y just need to grow up and stop thinking they are so special.  I think businesses are so worried about Gen Ys and catering for them, that they are forgetting about Generation Xers that have worked very hard since their mid-teens, yes many of us had jobs since we were 15, went to uni and held down one or two jobs to pay our way through and yes, we started at the bottom of companies and learnt as much as we could to work our way up the corporate ladder.  Some of us even worked for nothing, to get a foot in the door of organisations we wanted to work with.

Something to take note of – not all Gen Xers are ambitious.  We want to be paid according to our skills and experience. We want interesting and challenging jobs. There are many of us without university degrees, but we are by no means stupid.  We are often training up all those who hold numerous pieces of paper, but have no idea of the practical applications of all the theory they have learnt.

We are financially okay and make decisions that impact on our lifestyle and families and sometimes we are willing to take a huge risk in order for our lives to be better.  Gen Xers get on with job, do not like being taken advantage of and particularly by fellow Gen Xers, we like to be appreciated and normally it is by a simple thank you!

Treat people how you would like to be treated, share your successes and failures, remember to say please and thank you – how hard can it be and believe me, it makes such a difference to a person’s day and their impression of you.

Friday, 20 April, 2007, 12:07 pm
Filed under: Mind Your Manners Miranda, Observations

I work in a office in the CBD of Darwin and at the moment there are a number of staff moving in and out of the floor space that my team and I sit in.

As most of the staff on the floor have moved out, the floor in general is quite bare and really a prime opportuinity whilst there are removalists in, to have larger items no longer required moved.  It is also a good opportunity to actually have a really good clean up.

I am the manager of my group and whilst I do not mind pitching in and helping out, I do resent the fact that I always seem to play a “mother’s role” when the space needs to be cleaned up.  I know the people I work with are clean and tidy people and can imagine them being so at home, but when it comes to being tidy and being poart of a team in trying to maintain a tidy and clean office space – it always appears to be only me carrying the flag.

You see I maintain that if your workspace is clean and tidy tasks do not seem so overwhelming and believe me, on a Monday morning when you come to work and everything is clean and tidy – how good do you feel and Monday’s don’t feel so bad after all.  Also, you are able to ascertain where you are with projects, re-prioritise and get super organised.

So not only do I do a general tidy up in my office – which took a whole five minutes as I am incredibly tidy and organised, I then spent and hour cleaning in the general office space.  I felt good when I finished, but was slightly annoyed at one of my staff members for basically pretending nothing was going on to avoid helping out.

She did proclaimed how good it looked and how much space “we” gained by me cleaning up and sorting things out.  The two women I work with also have a bad habit of just leaving things where they used them, rather than pack up/ put away when they finish using something.

I feel good and I will have a warm and fuzzy feeling when I walk back into the space on Monday and hopefully it will make a difference to the way their day goes and how they do their work.  Here’s hoping anyway!

Dressing for Work
Tuesday, 17 April, 2007, 12:01 pm
Filed under: Mind Your Manners Miranda

You have the right to wear and behave how you want.  Anything you wear, say or do will be used against you.  You have the right to seek advice to ensure you do not make a complete ass of yourself.  If you do not know how or where to get advice from; you shall be Mirandarised!

Not so long ago, the Commonwealth Bank decided to issue a “grooming booklet” to assist its workers on how to dress and present themselves.  There was some attention in the media suggesting that such a guide infringed on the rights of its workers.  Bollocks! 

Look around your own office.  In mine today, there is a pair of very low hipster jeans complete with a “muffin top”, a tight “little” singlet and slippers, that really pass as fancy thongs.  Not to mention the tattoos on different parts of the body that are exposed.  That was just one employee who sits in the executive area of a large professional company. 

There is nothing wrong with a company seeking a certain dress standard for the staff they employ.  After all, the staff are representing the company and their attitude and pride in their appearance reflects on those managing the company. 

Dress appropriately for where you work.  Make sure that it is clean and pressed.  Tattiness is not acceptable anywhere.  A piece of clothing can be old and loved, but ensure it is in good enough condition to wear to the office.  It is ideal for men to wear shirts with collars as opposed to muscle shirts and tank tops.  In the tropics, short sleeves are the way to go.  If your workplace has casual Friday, it would be wise not to wear any item of clothing with offensive, obscene or lewd comments.  For females, I would strongly recommend building a work wardrobe for the week that consists of appropriate and professional work wear.  Anything exposing the midriff or extremely figure hugging is quite simply, inappropriate.  Any exposed muffin top is truly offensive. 

Also part of the package is cleanliness and tidiness.  Make sure you are clean i.e hair is washed and brushed, nasal hair is clipped and shave daily if you are a man, wear deodorant and brush your teeth.How you present yourself is a reflection on how you think about your workplace. 

If you work in an Executive area, the Managing Director would like to see professionalism, expertise and confidence ooze from the presence of his workers and this can rarely be achieve dressing in your weekend wear. 

Many offices have a casual Friday system whereby employees come to work in smart casual (including denim) and donate money towards charity for the right to do so.  Smart casual means exactly that, no torn jeans, clothes still need to be ironed and you still need to be respectable, if by chance a client comes in or you have to go to them. 

A good rule to go by is to dress for the job you want, not for the one you currently have!