We’ve all seen the scenario. Someone it could be anybody is smart, aggressive, energetic and full of ideas about products and promotions. Maybe they’re also inherently entrepreneurial. They go to college, stick their head in the books and learn the basics.

Then they land a job, switch companies or two, three, or six times, steadily moving up the old career ladder, the fires of ambition burning white-hot.

It’s really modern-day gladiator work, dispatching rivals within their own organizations and competitors outside it. Within reason, whatever it takes they’ll do.

Office politics? Sure, if you don’t play you lose. A little back-stabbing? Sometimes it’s them or you? In short, they need to work on their manners and the basics of getting along in a business government.

“And sometimes they don’t have a clue about how to conduct themselves,” says Susan Huston, who over the past 25 years of so has become Arlington’s version of Emily Post.

“What I kept seeing was that in today’s fast-paced, high-tech business environment, a lot of leaders simply didn’t have time to address what I call “other social challenges” on their way up the ladder,” Huston said.

“Corporations, associations and individual executives are looking for quick and effective ways to improve their business manners and etiquette skills.”

Huston has also discovered that today’s crop of up and coming executives are what she calls the “microwave generation.”

“They has two-parent working households, which often means that dining focused on a lot of microwave use and fast food,” she says. “They don’t know the fundamentals of dining etiquette, ranging from which fork to use to how to attract a waiter’s attention.”


O.K. Carter
Commentary in the Fort Worth Star Telegram