There Are Protocols in Every Office

Clare Briggs

Clare Briggs

Clare Briggs is a famous cartoonist who lived from 1875 to 1930. Poems by Wilbur Nesbitt.

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5 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:


    This would put the kid at around… what? 20ish? So he was born around the turn of the century.

    Now, I know that people aged differently back then but those guys look to be around 60ish. Taking “aging differently” into account, they might be 50ish… let’s say “54” to make the math easy.

    This has them being born around 1870.

    Which has them being born and raised in the Victorian Era by people who were also born and raised in the Victorian Era (who were also likely Civil War veteran adjacent).

    Edit: And since Briggs Himself was born in 1875, he’s one of the old guys in the picture.Report

  2. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    I remember Dave Barry writing on Japanese culture versus American culture:
    “It’s not uncommon for Japanese co-workers to refer to each other as ‘Mister Lastname’, even when they’ve been working together for years. On the other hand, Americans are on a first-name basis immediately, and by the end of the first day have generally degenerated to ‘yo butthead!’ “Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to DensityDuck says:

      In conjunction with the rise of the open office plan and general culture of eschewing formality, it was somewhere in the 1970s I think, when the practice of referring to co-workers and senior managers by their first name became popular.

      It was usually draped in the rhetoric of egalitarianism but in the end, the basic underlying hierarchy was not to be challenged by something so trivial.

      Go into any enlightened tech company where everyone wears torn jeans and tee shirts, and within 5 minutes you will be able to identify the CEO, the senior manager, the middle manager, the entry level apprentice just by the way they interact; Who speaks, who listens, who decides to speak, who decides to end speaking.

      As it turns out, addressing the senior guys as “Mr. So-&So” is actually more honest and clear expression of the real power dynamics at play.Report

      • When I started honors calculus at the University of Nebraska I was an 18-year-old college freshman. The prof was a new hire with a shiny new PhD, so maybe 8 years older than that. From day one, in class, he was “Prof. Lewis” and we students were Mr. or Ms. whoever. I don’t know how much of that was cultural — he had grown up and done all his college time in the Deep South.

        Side story: He would, part way through a proof, turn and look over the students, then ask, “Mr/Ms. X, what comes next?” I was a favorite target. Sometimes I knew, sometimes I didn’t. It happened often enough that one of the women in the class once asked me, “Mike, why does Prof. Lewis hate you?” I didn’t have an answer for that, but I did have “Mr. Cain, what comes next?” nightmares for years.Report