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my older male coworker is obsessed with my weight and baby plans

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A reader writes: I am a 30something newlywed woman and have been at my current job for just over a year and a half. Prior to accepting my job, my health took a devastating blow and I learned that I had a very rare genetic disorder and had two baseball size tumors in my digestive tract. I underwent two massive surgeries to remove those tumors (both having pre-cancerous cells present) and ended up losing a foot of my colon and my entire stomach.

I like to give small gifts at work — am I doing anything wrong?

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A reader writes: I have a question about gift-giving at work. I agree with the idea overall that gifts should flow downward. That said, I’m the type of person that sometimes shows appreciation by giving someone something small.

ATS 102

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my coworker told me to stop flirting with a student employee

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A reader writes: I am part of the HR department at my workplace, and we hired “Andre” a few months ago as a part of our student group. He’s only 18, but he’s been a hard worker and always takes initiative around the office.

I’m stuck in daily three-hour Zoom meetings

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A reader writes: I could use some help trying to figure out how to best navigate the absolutely bonkers amount of meetings that my boss is holding. I work in public education and obviously we have been very impacted by Covid. I work on a small leadership team for a very large department.

Mission Critical: Leveraging Learning Engineering to Drive Digital Transformation

Speaker: Trish Uhl, Founder of Owl's Ledge LLC and the Talent & Learning Analytics Leadership Forum

Digital is disrupting every part of an organization's value chain at a record pace, creating a critical need to transform operations and employees' ways of working. Formal training alone can't keep up; it's often too slow, too generic, inconvenient, inefficient, unduly expensive and lacks or lags methods for measuring business-related effectiveness. Trish Uhl show you how to start leveraging Learning Engineering, a multidisciplinary approach that combines modern technology, data analytics, decision science, learning sciences and change management with human-centered engineering design methodologies to ultimately deliver targeted learning outcomes and business results that keep pace with the business and merge learning into the flow of work and lead Digital Adoption.

here’s a bunch of help finding a new job

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Since lots of people are job-searching right now, here’s a round-up of some of the most key job-searching advice on this site. Resumes and Cover Letters. The first thing to know is, if you’re not getting interviews, you probably need to fix your resume and cover letter.

do my clothes and car make me look like I don’t “need” a job — and is that a problem?

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A reader writes: My question relates to interview attire and accessories. I am an attorney with just under 15 years of experience. Many of those years have been spent in self employment, which I fear already impedes/impacts my job search.

ask the readers: how to unionize your workplace

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A lot of workplaces have a lot of reasons to unionize right now , and organizing could be your only option if your employer is behaving badly and refusing to engage in reasonable dialogue with you and your coworkers.

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my company has strict language protocols that my coworker won’t follow

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A reader writes: I work for a company that produces highly specialized products to very exacting standards. Our work is extremely high-stakes and errors could be extraordinarily costly for our clients in terms of money and even human lives.

my boss won’t give me any direction — but then says my work is wrong

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A reader writes: I’m hoping you can give me a script to help me deal with a frequent and frustrating situation I am in with my manager. Frequently, my manager will assign me a project and not give me very much instruction about how to do it.

Social Collaborative Management: Harnessing the Power of the Many

Speaker: Peter Taylor, Speaker & Author of The Lazy Project Manager

Social Collaborative Management aims at delivering, at the enterprise level, a common goal for the business while harnessing the performance advantages of a collaborative community. This is a vital paradigm shift that many organisations are trying to understand right now - balancing traditional work and centralised leadership against the value of decentralised teams and trust. But the principles of harnessing collective power, collaboration, and community build an underlying ‘constant change’ capability that is critical in today’s new work environment.

how do I change to “they” pronouns at work?

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It’s the Thursday “ask the readers” question. A reader writes: I’m considering starting to use “they” pronouns at work.

can I flat-out refuse to do a project?

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A reader writes: I’ve been away from office life for a while, so I’m not sure if this is a problem of me not understanding the hierarchy or what.

can I wear a collar on video calls, correcting clients who call me “Mrs.” and more

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It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…. Can I wear a collar now that we’re on video? In my personal life, I sometimes wear a collar as part of my fun relationship with my partner. It is a narrow leather band with a small metal ring on it, kind of like this.

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my employee thinks coronavirus is a hoax

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A reader writes: One of my employees has been vocal about the coronavirus being a hoax. I had to have a talk with him during our last few days in the office at the end of March because he was openly criticizing and mocking coworkers for “being afraid of the flu” and practicing social distancing. While the rest of us isolated and worked at home, he went on two different vacations out of the state and did not isolate upon returning as required.

COVID & the Future of Work: Insights from Paycor’s C-Suite

In Paycor’s newest report, our Chief Executive and Group Leaders consider how your clients will recruit, manage their workforce, optimize benefits, and foster employee experience in the new normal of 2020 and beyond. For actionable insights and tips download and share our guide with your clients!

coming to work with Covid symptoms, including work about a BDSM dungeon in a portfolio, and more

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It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…. Are laws encouraging people to come to work with COVID symptoms? My sister works in a nursing home that had been COVID free for months.

how to explain a late professional start, demotions, and more

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It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…. How to explain my late professional start. I’m what I think of as a professional late bloomer.

my boss hired his girlfriend and we are imploding

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A reader writes: I work at a dysfunctional workplace. I will call us a media development company. It’s a high-stakes time in our work and tempers are very short. My boss, Ron, hired his girlfriend, Zelda. By “hired,” I mean that she works for free in exchange for him supporting her with food, rent, and illegal occupancy in our country of residence. Ron does not speak English with confidence and uses Zelda as his translator.

coworker thinks she has the power to heal her own tumor

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A reader writes: My dad works in a unionized position in a public care facility where he and his colleagues work directly with the residents. His workplace is straight-up toxic and delivers non-stop drama.

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The D&I Garden: Seeds of Innovation that Grow into Creative Breakthroughs

Speaker: Donald Fan, Senior Director of the Global Office of Culture, Diversity & Inclusion at Walmart Inc.

In the digital era, rife with uncertainty and ambiguity, innovation plays an essential role in sustaining organic growth and outperforming the global competition. Research proves time and again, there exists a robust bond between innovation and diversity & inclusion (D&I); our challenge is to help our leaders understand how to plant the seeds of innovation in the fertile D&I garden in order to drive a strategic and competitive advantage from the office and in the digital landscape.

my new boss is an elder in a sexist church

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A reader writes: My new boss is an elder in his church which has very old-fashioned beliefs about women. They believe that the role of women is to obey their husbands unquestioningly and more or less only speak when spoken to, at least when there is a man present.

HR in private Slack channels, being forced to work a late shift, and more

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It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…. As HR, should I stay out of private Slack channels? I’m the head of HR for my small(ish) international company. I’m a mixed-race woman and a mom.

my employees don’t want to return to work because they’re making more from unemployment

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A reader writes: I’m a small business owner who had about 45 employees before the COVID-19 shutdown hit us hard. We laid off or furloughed the entire staff, and we’ve now been approved for and received a PPP loan.

my manager makes us do mental-health surveys every day

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A reader writes: Recently, my boss started attending personal therapy (she shared this information with me unprovoked) and shortly after starting her sessions she discovered Brene Brown.

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The Best Sales Forecasting Models for Weathering Your Goals

Every sales forecasting model has a different strength and predictability method. It’s recommended to test out which one is best for your team. This way, you’ll be able to further enhance – and optimize – your newly-developed pipeline. Your future sales forecast? Sunny skies (and success) are just ahead!

is it OK to ask a coworker to swap pants, teachers at my child’s school aren’t social distancing, and more

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It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…. Is it OK to ask a coworker to swap pants with me? During college I enrolled in a program that we call Junior Enterprise, where the students have to, on their own, maintain a company.

my employee posts on social media when she’s out sick

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A reader writes: I oversee a close-knit team, and most people follow each other on social media.

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update: my new employee keeps tagging us in negative social media posts after we’ve told her to stop

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It’s a special “where are you now?” season at Ask a Manager, when I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. Remember the letter-writer whose new employee kept tagging the company and coworkers in negative social media posts even after they told her to stop ?

my boss asked me to reflect on my conflicts with coworkers and I don’t want to

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A reader writes: I’ve worked for four years in a research laboratory and my supervisor is an associate professor. Her husband is a professor and a director of the research group (and that’s how she easily got her position).

Group Demonstration Webinar: 100% Remote New Employee Onboarding

Speaker: David Secunda, CEO, WorkBright

Companies are looking to adjust their new hire onboarding to accommodate unique ‘social distancing’ challenges like securely collecting personally identifiable information and understanding new compliance regulations like Form I-9 verification. Join Workbright on Thursday, August 27th, to get a first-hand look at how a 100% remote onboarding process works using their system. They'll cover a few of the new COVID-19 related legislation changes and how they can be easily facilitated with their platform.

I went to a job interview where they’re not taking COVID seriously … or how to make a scene when you need to make a scene

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A reader writes: I recently interviewed at an organization that I would consider working for, but I had some big concerns about their Covid precautions. When I arrived for my interview, no one in the office was wearing a mask except me.

my employee lied about having COVID

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A reader writes: I work for a mid-sized organization that serves children of all ages, most of whom have special needs.

what are my obligations to my team when I’m also caring for a toddler full-time?

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It’s the Thursday “ask the readers” question. A reader writes: I work from home full time (including pre-coronavirus) and am typically very busy and focused all day while I’m working.

should I tell future managers about my ADHD?

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A reader writes: Growing up as a child, I constantly struggled to focus. In school I understood the work, but because I lacked focus and could not hold my attention in the classroom.

COVID-19: Returning to the Workplace in a New Reality

COVID-19 has created a new set of risks that require a new way of working. Download Gallagher’s latest COVID-19 report for insights into encouraging resiliency in your people, building confidence in your organization, and preparing for the future of work.

my boss sent a friend to spy on me at my house

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A reader writes: I work for a very large company and am working from home. When I spoke to my manager on the phone recently, she hinted about whether I was watching TV while working.

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it’s your Friday good news

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It’s your Friday good news, with more accounts of success even in this weird time. I just wanted to share a little good news and thank you for your blog. I’ve been reading Ask A Manager religiously since I was in college and I’m now almost 10 years into my career.

my emotionally fragile employee is sobbing at work multiple times a week

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A reader writes: I am in HR and one of my employees, “Brenda,” is a sweet, kind, sensitive, empathetic soul – she wears her heart on her sleeve. To know Brenda is to love her, and she is adored by everyone in the organization. A self-described empath, she cries easily and is a feeler’s feeler.

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what’s reasonable for managers to expect of parents working from home?

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A reader writes: What are reasonable expectations for managers whose employees are now working from home? For myself, I can adhere to my normal schedule while homebound, but I have a great employee who, having gone above and beyond in normal times, pleads child care issues now that she is home.

How to Activate Employee Voice to Empower Managers and Teams

Adopting an Employee Voice model empowers managers and teams to keep driving engagement and action. As teams continue this collaborative dialogue, they build both the muscle memory and the motivation to continue forward together. This exponentially hones their collective intelligence and expertise