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Dear Ms. Demeanor: My doorman, the Mayor

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Dear Ms. Demeanor,

I am in a very awkward situation. We have a doorman who works the evening shift – a well-educated, middle-aged man who worked as a professional in his homeland, but whose credentials don’t allow him to pursue his area of expertise in our country.

He is well-spoken, elegant and seems to enjoy his work; however, he also enjoys spending time with friends and family on the sidewalk or in the vestibule while he is working.

I often need to interrupt his conversation and ask him to move aside so that I can enter the building after a long day of work.

I have spoken to the superintendent, who says that I need to write a letter to the board. I don’t want to cause this man to lose his job, nor do I want to be seen as a tattletale. Is this a case of cultural differences, or just occupational nonchalance?

Tired of Running the Gauntlet


Dear Gauntlet,

This is quite simply wrong. The doorman, when on duty, is at the beck & call of the guests and residents of the building. It sounds like, in an effort to make a fairly mundane job more interesting, this doorman has adopted the role of “mayor” of the street, and as such, is engaging in conversations.

I am shocked that the superintendent is shifting his responsibility for staff management onto you & the board of directors – is his job so secure that he runs no risk of unemployment for poorly executing his duties? Or is he beholden to his staff in some way? Neither of these should be your problem, by the way…

Working in a service profession requires a firm grasp on one’s place in the great cog of the machine that is our world. A doorman is hired to perform a necessary and contracted for job– which doesn’t generally include chatting up the neighborhood.

It could, by some stretch of the imagination, be deemed appropriate to be aware and involved with the locals –an urban “neighborhood watch”—but this doesn’t appear to be what’s going on.

There is a lot of downtime for doormen… which should be used to tidy the desk, enter information into the logbook, open cab doors & check in packages, not seduce the friendly cougar next door.

Send a copy of this letter to your managing agent and the president of your board. With any luck, Mr. Mayor will receive a letter of warning for his file and, if he doesn’t shape up, find the opportunities for socializing far diminished by his new shift… the 12am to 8am Sunday through Thursday!

Also from Ms. Demeanor:

Ambushed in the elevator

My doorman helps my teenager daughter sneak out at night

Are hallway time-outs acceptable?

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