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everyone at work is hanging out without me

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Here is the second post in the collaboration I did with Jennifer Peepas from CaptainAwkward. Part one is here. Everyone in the office is hanging out without me and it feels like high school. I work in a very clique-y office where I am just not in the main clique.

ATS 104

ask the readers: how can we help gender transitions at work go well?

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It’s the Thursday “ask the readers” question.

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can I talk about my boyfriend’s other girlfriend at work?

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I met up with the wonderful Jennifer Peepas of Captain Awkward while she was in town and it was lovely! We decided to collaborate on answering a few questions together, and this is the first of two posts from that joint effort. . Can I talk about my boyfriend’s other girlfriend at work? “Adam” is dating both me and “Jane,” and we all live together.

ATS 101

my boss tapes people’s mouths shut during meetings

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A reader writes: I recently started my first “real” job in a small office (eight people). We have strategy meetings every morning for about 30-45 minutes. My boss is REALLY intolerant of bad ideas.

Does Your Workforce Have the Talent DNA for the Digital Future?

With the increasing adoption of automation and data-driven technologies, the workforce is changing rapidly — regardless of whether we’re prepared to face it. Keeping up with the velocity of change is vital to success, and that means building digital readiness into the DNA of your organization so your workforce is ready to face an uncertain and constantly changing future.

how much stuff can I “move in with” on my first day at a new job?

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A reader writes: I’m starting a new job in a week and a bit, my first after finishing my PhD. I’m wondering how much stuff it’s acceptable to “move in with” on the first day. I’ve seen the space, it’s a large-ish desk in a three-person office.

employee quit over a coworker’s email, wiping down my keyboard as soon as someone else uses it, and more

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It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…. My employee misdirected an email criticizing her problem coworker — who saw it and quit. I have two direct reports who can’t stand each other but they’ve managed to be civil and professional.

becoming a receptionist against my will, baking for one employee but not the other, and more

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It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…. I think I’m about to become a receptionist against my will. A few months ago, I started a new job in an administrative but non-reception role.

how do we handle firing an employee in an open plan office?

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A reader writes: I’m an HR administrator at a company with about 150 people across a few offices. I’m the only on-site HR person at my location, which has about 25 employees. Our office is entirely open plan, with the exception of a few fish-bowl style, glass-walled conference rooms.

should you mention an employee’s smell during a reference check, and more

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It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…. Should you mention an employee’s smell during a reference check? A few years back, I managed an employee who was on a performance plan and was on the verge of being let go.

2020 Report: The Future of HR

Paycor asked more than 500 leaders of medium and small businesses to talk about the present and future of HR. Download the guide and see what they said. Their responses will surprise you!

I’m still not doing the job I was hired for two years ago

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A reader writes: I’ve been at my current job for two years, and have been doing … okay. No big issues, but in previous reviews my boss has talked about me in terms of good, not great. I’m definitely struggling with efficiency, and am generally bored and disengaged.

open thread – February 14-15, 2020

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It’s the Friday open thread! The comment section on this post is open for discussion with other readers on anything work-related that you want to talk about. If you want an answer from me, emailing me is still your best bet*, but this is a chance to talk to other readers. *

update: coworkers only ask me about ducks

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It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and all December I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. Remember the letter-writer who took care of her company’s ducks and that’s all anyone asked her about ? Here’s the update.

Video 103

I got my dream offer right after starting a new job, coworker is a jerk, and more

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It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…. I just started a new job — and then got a PhD offer from my dream school. I started a new job six weeks ago. It’s at my alma mater and it’s an incredible place to work. The culture is awesome and I love my colleagues.

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How to Activate Employee Voice to Create and Sustain a Speak Up Culture

This whitepaper details how leaders can shift into an ‘action mindset’ that allows for growth and change at every level of your organization. Speak Up cultures promote productivity, improve retention efforts, and create positive employee engagement.

weekend free-for-all – February 15-16, 2020

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Foster cat Humphrey (on couch) is tolerating resident cats taking over his room. This comment section is open for any non-work-related discussion you’d like to have with other readers, by popular demand. This one is truly no work and no school.).


after I asked for a raise, my boss told me I buy too much coffee

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A reader writes: In August, I made the decision to begin a job search. After spending seven years with the same organization, I felt it was time for me to leave when it became increasingly clear that I would not get promoted, partially due to a lack of movement within the organization and partially because according to my boss, we did not have the money to give me a promotion (where I work, raises are tied to promotions).

our boss told us to camp in tents when we travel for business

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A reader writes: I started on staff at a small environmental/conservation nonprofit. My coworkers and I are PR, fundraising, and outreach staff. All of us are brand new due to turnover. Today we received an email from our boss that says: “When we are traveling for work, we try, when possible, to stay at a state park — cabins in the winter, camping ‘normally’ in the summer since most cabins are booked for a week.

here’s a way to make tax season easier

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And now for a word from a sponsor… Tax season is soon to be upon us – and if you’re a small business, you know what paperwork hassles it can bring. Blue Summit Supplies is a really useful one-stop tax resource for small businesses.

The Art of Selecting Candidate Pre-Hire Assessments

Speaker: Melissa Dobbins, Founder & CEO, Career.Place

At the core of successful hiring practices is the fair and accurate evaluation of skills, abilities, knowledge and other criteria for a job. One powerful method to do this is through psychometric assessments. The right assessments used in the right way provide objective evaluation of criteria that are far more accurate than interviews alone. Unfortunately, choosing the wrong assessments or using assessments in the wrong way can lead to bad choices, biases, and even discriminatory practices that violate compliance standards.

coworker saw embarrassing content on my phone, my dad keeps responding to my employee on Facebook, and more

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It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…. Coworker saw embarrassing content on my phone. I work in a small department library at a university, and came in to catch up on some work while the office was closed over the holidays.

my coworker makes mistakes that affect my work

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A reader writes: I have a colleague who I depend on for data for a recurring project. Every time the update is due, I schedule check-in meetings weeks in advance and make it explicitly clear that I need X by [date] and Y by [date]. And every. single.

Data 60

my step-by-step guide to writing a resume

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If you’re like most people, your resume is … not great. That’s not because your work history is bad or your accomplishments aren’t impressive (you are undoubtedly Very Impressive). It’s because you suck at writing a resume. Most of us do. It’s hard to be good at something you probably only do once every few years at most – and which requires you to sell yourself in a weird, unnatural-feeling way.

ATS 72

everyone got laid off except me, men who pretend to be scared of women now, and more

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It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…. Everyone got laid off except for me. I work for a small business (3-5 employees) and I had known the company was having some financial trouble for some time. Everyone in my office got laid off except for me.

Recognition and Rewards Buyers Guide

Recognition and rewards are an integral part of your company’s employee experience. So, it’s critical to get a platform that fits your company culture on the first try. Check out this guide to understand what questions to ask before finding a new Recognition & Rewards platform.

grown women are not “girl bosses”

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To all the marketing people who keep emailing me pitches where they call grown women “girl bosses”: This is gross and sexist and you should stop. They’re women, not girls. And the default for “boss” is not male. Boss” covers all genders. You don’t need to modify it with gender, just like you wouldn’t (one hopes) say “girl pilot” or “girl lawyer.”. Or “boy boss.”.

hiring an ex, should I thank my son’s new boss, and more

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It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…. Should I hire an ex? My company is starting a massive and complex two-year project, which I am managing, and I’ve been given approval to hire a small support staff. We advertised publicly but after interviews we haven’t found a suitable candidate for the position which is probably most critical. Rather than advertise again given the urgency, we’ve been asked to tap our networks for candidates to interview.

how can I get my employee to stop condescending to me?

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A reader writes: I am a fairly easygoing person with one major weakness: I cannot handle it when men are condescending. After years of weathering many insufferable male friends, colleagues, boyfriends, and family members, I have simply had a lifetime’s fill of being condescended to. My tolerance has reached its limit. Now, when men in my personal life condescend to me, I get angry and fight back.

my employee lied about meeting with a client — to take a nap

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A reader writes: I caught my employee skipping work to nap at home when she said she was meeting with a potential client. It was total happenstance — I happened to meet the potential client at a social event that night. When I asked my employee the next day why the potential client had no idea who I was or what our company did, the truth came out: she hadn’t met with anyone, she’d gone home to take a break and a nap.

Year in Review: Talent Acquisition in 2019 & the 2020 Impact

The year 2019 in talent acquisition was full of key learnings and insights that you can leverage in order to start 2020 ahead of the recruiting pack. This report walks you through core trends to continuously examine as you plan your recruiting strategy for 2020 and beyond.

weekend free-for-all – January 11-12, 2020

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This comment section is open for any non-work-related discussion you’d like to have with other readers, by popular demand. This one is truly no work and no school.). Book recommendation of the week: Such a Fun Age , by Kiley Reid.


should I tell an employee the real reason I’m firing him?

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A reader writes: I manage employees who start with a three-month probationary period. I have a current probationary employee who has not taken direction well, has acted defensively and challenged basic instructions about how to do his job, has rolled his eyes when provided with feedback on how to do certain tasks, and ironically who has also sought me out for instructions in situations where the course of action for him to take should have been immediately obvious.

Course 103

my coworker has overstepped with my eating disorder

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A reader writes: I’ve battled an eating disorder my whole life and it tends to come on when I am experiencing stress in situations that are out of my control. I recently ended my relationship with my fiancé of nine years which, as a result, triggered me to lapse back into old behavior. I thankfully saw the signs and took measures to try to alleviate the situation (not going to the gym, increasing my visits to my therapist, reaching out to friends and family for support, etc.).

who should clean the disgusting office fridge, hiring people without experience, and more

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It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…. Who should clean the disgusting office fridge? I work at a small company with offices spread out through town and in my office there is just me and my coworker. Our boss works remotely from another state and comes in every few months.

5 Culture Trends for 2019

As we approach 2019, major shifts in the work environment will continue to affect the ways companies do business. Companies that are looking to attract, engage, and retain top talent should leverage these trends to create workplaces where employees thrive.

coworkers say we shouldn’t attend a work party, I feel insulted by my new job, and more

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It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…. My coworkers say we shouldn’t attend the work party we were invited to. I am a new youngish admin in a law firm that is extremely hierarchical and old school. My department’s practice group leader (PGL, the head of a certain practice in a firm) is hosting a year-end party for our department at his home, which is out of the way for the administrative staff, though most of the attorneys live on the same block.