Can you believe that I am writing about etiquette? Me neither. But contrary to popular belief, and even though I choose to ignore it most of the time, I do actually know what this word means. If there is one thing I remember clearly from growing up, it was the stern warning the lovely Mama Bloom gave me before family gatherings of “do not embarrass me.”
As you can imagine, my older brother and I roughhoused all of the time. My little sister rarely had a free moment from me convincing her to do something silly like eat ice cream topped with ketchup. I drove my parents crazy. But when Mama Bloom’s finger was raised and she stared into my eyes with forewarning…it was time to lock it down.
Some Quick Lessons
I was taught lots of things. Always greet my relatives individually with a firm handshake, or hug and kiss on the cheek. If they have a coat, offer to hang it up. Always make sure they have a drink in their hand. I visit the patriarch and matriarch of the Bloom and Steinberg families every time I am home. I call my family on all holidays. I hold the door open for women. I never lift a utensil until everyone has been served for a meal. I never let a lady walk home alone, even if her house is two streets over and in the safest neighborhood in America. I stand on the street-side when escorting a dame down the sidewalk. In the real world, I do all of these things. But now after coming to Wharton I see that some people need a little guidance
I’m not going to lie, I am not a huge fan of concert rules. I usually take a 10-minute break during each class to jaunt around Huntsman. When I return, I usually continue to read the WSJ, review my latest purchase on Amazon, or text the GroupMe with others in the class. What do we chat about? Well you, of course.
Are you that condescending douche who always sounds like he’s preaching when giving his opinion for the third time that class period? Are you that overeager first year who is yet again having a one-on-one conversation with the professor about some insignificant detail in the reading that no one else bothered to download from study.net? Or are you the whiney second year who is worried about LTing their fifth class, and taking up class time to ask about how you could possibly have failed the last quiz? So yeah, I’m not sorry about taking a break. At least I’m not as obnoxious as these guys.
Mama Bloom says to practice some more social awareness and save personal questions and ideas for a private conversation.
I actually loved recruiting last year. It was a great opportunity to get to know some of my classmates and alumni with similar interests. As a seasoned summer banker, I now find myself on the other side of a summer internship and have a list of “don’ts” for the first years trying to nab that high valued summer job:
- Don’t ask to speak with me on the weekend: I am exhausted from 4 or 5 days of having way more fun than you. On the weekend, I rarely leave my couch during the day and usually spend it gossiping about the dumb things I did the night before. Please don’t take that away from me.
- Don’t elbow your way into a group and start to talk immediately: This is just rude. Wait for 20 seconds and make eye contact with a classmate. I’m sure they will slide over to expand the circle. Then wait and find out what people are talking about before talking about yourself.
- Don’t try to impress alumni with your knowledge about the macro economy: I don’t care if it’s the CEO or a recent MBA graduate. Nothing you say in the 10 minutes of meeting this person is going to secure you a job. You asking and discussing the macro economic implications of the new sanctions in the Middle East is just going to bore everyone else around you. Ask about their Wharton experience. Ask about what they like to do in their free time. Ask them about their dog Skippy. The alumni are normal people, you should try to be too.
Mama Bloom says to be respectful of your peers, because one of them will be your boss one day if you keep up with the “don’ts”.
Simple problem. Simple solution. When you are done eating and drinking something in the MBA café or GSR, put it in the trash can.
Mama Bloom says don’t be a slob.
Oh boy! Saving the juiciest for last. I cannot say that I have a ton of experience in the dating pool at Wharton. Most of what I was taught is tough to replicate in an environment where half the nights are spent grabbing late night food after a lot of partying. Honesty is always the best policy here though. You like that dude? Throw him a seductive wink. Like that gal? Bing her flowers on a random day.
Mama Bloom says that all is fair in love and war. Just always be a good person.