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Workplace Etiquette
August 25, 2014 9:56 PM   Subscribe

What is the opinion of the hive mind: if one of my superiors receives a promotion, is it polite to congratulate them or is that the wrong tone?

I work in a school-- my Head of Campus was promoted to Acting Principal. Do I congratulate him, as a lowly teacher? Or is that sort of condescending or presumptuous or something?
posted by jojobobo to Human Relations (9 answers total)
 
What? No, of course you can congratulate anyone at any level for a promotion. I mean, as long as you know him or work with him or will work with him now - if it's weird for you to be talking to him at all it's probably also weird to go out of your way to congratulate him for a promotion, but that's true of anyone.
posted by brainmouse at 9:59 PM on August 25 [10 favorites]


I think it would be appropriate if you actually know each other. Just say something like "Congratulations on your promotion!" next time you see them as a greeting.

If you never talk to them and they don't really know who you are, I wouldn't make a point to say anything.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 10:00 PM on August 25


Of course it's appropriate to offer your genuine congrats.
posted by 26.2 at 10:02 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


Do I congratulate him, as a lowly teacher?

Yes.

Or is that sort of condescending or presumptuous or something?

No.
posted by John Cohen at 10:09 PM on August 25 [4 favorites]


It's only weird if you don't know him. If you know him, it's perfectly nice and normal.

I think you're confusing this with a thing that I do find bizarre which is when people who aren't my superiors say "good job!" to me re my work - like, not congratulating me on a recognition, but basically offering their assessment of my work, which I find presumptuous. Sincere congratulations, though, are always in order.
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:21 PM on August 25 [5 favorites]


Yes, this is only weird if there are politics at work. e.g. if you are part of a union which he is no longer part of by virtue of his promotion and there is wind of union action in the near future - a "congratulations on your promotion" that might even remotely be construed as "thanks for nothing, TRAITOR" is best avoided.
posted by pahalial at 10:48 PM on August 25


I can understand why you might hesitate since the offering of congratulations could seem like praise or something, and, in my part of the world, there is something a bit odd about social "inferiors" praising social "superiors" (I put these descriptors in scare quotes since I don't endorse the ideology behind this kind of hierarchy; but it is what it is).

Alternatively, it might seem like a sycophant move, i.e., you, the "lowly teacher" are attempting to butter up your superior.

But I don't think offering congratulations need be icky in either of these ways: it isn't really a kind of praise but a recognition of a fact, and if it is sincere and you convey that adequately, you won't be or come across as a suck up.
posted by girl flaneur at 12:38 AM on August 26 [2 favorites]


Maybe "good news" would be more comfortable than "promotion"?
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:57 AM on August 26


It's fine, but say it your first chance after hearing the news. If you hesitate, it comes off as considered which could be interpreted as jealous or politicky.
posted by michaelh at 5:35 AM on August 26


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