most popular posts of 2015

Ask a Manager’s traffic continued to increase this year, with 12.5 million unique visitors, nearly 22 million visits, and more than 39 million page views. Thanks for your part in that!

Looking at the site’s growth over time is fun:


Here are the posts that interested people the most this year, via two lists: the most commented on posts and the most viewed posts. There are only three that overlap between the two lists.

Most commented-on posts of 2015:

(doesn’t include open threads, which otherwise would hold the top 10 places)

10. Should I take the University of Phoenix off my resume?

9. Overweight employee keeps breaking office chairs, my boss won’t give me a budget, and more

8. I racked up $20,000 in personal charges on my company credit card

7. I walked in on employees having sex — and I think there might be a sex club in my office

6. My new company wants me to change my name

5. How to correct someone’s repeated mispronunciation of the same word

4. I was fired after a stranger sent photos of my private text messages to my employer

3. My new office is full of dogs — and I’m allergic

2. I don’t respect my manager’s college degrees from 20 years ago

1. Letting new parents bring babies to work every day

Most viewed posts of 2015:

10. My coworker writes a mean blog about me

9. I’ve messed up my work history and now can’t find a job

8. I racked up $20,000 in personal charges on my company credit card

7. Should I take the University of Phoenix off my resume?

6. Do I need to wear a suit to a job interview?

5. Can I change my mind after accepting a job offer?

4. Stop saying no when job applications ask “can we contact this manager?”

3. Employer pulled the job offer after I tried to negotiate

2.  I walked in on employees having sex — and I think there might be a sex club in my office

1. How long can it take to hear back after a job interview?

{ 108 comments… read them below or add one }

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      I can’t pick one! But I liked these a lot:

      And I loved doing this one:

      1. Beti

        I really appreciate all these year-end wrap ups and updates since I somehow missed your nieces’ answers. They are hilarious and so pragmatic: less ego and beanplating and more just get stuff done. I don’t think I was nearly so articulate at their age. Makes me feel better about subsequent generations.

      2. Manager

        Love your blog, but can you do anything about the Flash advertisements? They kill my computers. I usually have the browser lock up when I am on your blog. It happens almost every time I visit the blog.

  1. Laurel Gray

    I feel like the updates to “I racked up $20,000 in personal charges on my company credit card” are cliff hangers. To date, that is the most fascinating dilemma I have ever read on this site. I say fascinating because it is a very serious scenario that can have so many different outcomes depending on a variety of different factors. There were some very interesting stories from commenters who had been on either side of OP’s dilemma at one point in time. Still wishing that OP the best and for another update in 2016!

    1. Apollo Warbucks

      There was an update and it looked like the company were going to work with the guy to get the money repaid.

      I hope it all worked out for best.

    2. Not So NewReader

      In the end, I was actually kind of impressed with the OP in some ways. I hope he is doing well with it all and I hope, if you are reading OP, you will come back here when you are ready.

    1. tango

      I loved that one. As a reader of course. As a manager who had to handle the situation I’d be horrified. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, you can pretty much assume it’s having sex on the break room couch huh?

    2. Chriama

      The duck club update actually bothered me way more than the original post. I get the OP not really feeling like they can do anything more, but I keep imagining some poor new employee joining the company, getting propositioned, hearing that the boss is in on it and feeling pressured to join as well. Maybe it’s an unlikely scenario but it’s a possibility that skeeves me out.

  2. PinkTeapots

    Wait. Just.. wait. I don’t respect my bosses because they don’t have degrees is.. like.. real? Like actually real? How did I miss that post? My jaw is literally on the floor.

    1. Sadsack

      It is actually their degrees from 20 years ago, but yeah, same difference I guess. One still has to respect a long career of hard work and learned expertise regardless of not having a degree or having one from long ago.

    2. Mallory Janis Ian

      This post is where we learned to put “computer science” in quotation marks because apparently it is a made-up degree. Ha.

    3. Forget T-Bone Steak, Let's Eat T-Rex Steak

      I had hoped we’d get an update from that letter writer…preferably of the “wow I was being really dumb, thanks for making me see that” variety.

  3. Queen Anne of Cleves

    Wow! That’s fantastic! I love this site for several reasons; the great advice from Alison and commenters and the way Alison manages the comments to keep them helpful, productive and professional. Incidentally I did a google search on a work related topic for which I needed advice and the first several hits on the search were links to articles from this site! And I thought “Duh!. I should have checked there first!”.

  4. Muriel Heslop

    I wonder what happened with the person who wanted to propose being able to bring babies to work. Was it approved?
    Was there an update?

    The 20,000 in debt was so interesting to me – I hope that OP is in a better place.

    1. Marzipan

      I loved the comments on that because the letter writer was so determined it was a good idea – in a lovely, polite, non-combative way, but determined – while pretty much everyone else was saying ‘nooooooooooooooooooo!’

  5. Andrea

    I forgot all about that University of Phoenix question and the OP who seemed to have a real chip on her shoulder. Commenters were trying to help her, too, because it was understandable that she would be frustrated, but she seemed really angry and somehow didn’t really get what I thought was common knowledge about that particular “school.” I kind of want an update from her, and yet, I kind of don’t.

    1. michelenyc

      I know someone that did the whole University of Phoenix program and has struggled to find a job. I am not close enough friends with her to say that it is not a respected institution it is more than likely holding her back in her career.

    2. Sunflower

      Do you remember what name the OP from the college degrees post was posting under? I somehow missed that post and would love to go back over the comments.

        1. Sunflower

          I read this wrong and thought Andrea was talking about the poster who didn’t respect her bosses degrees but I will definitely still go back and read the University of Phoenix post as it looks like I missed that too!

    3. Ann

      That’s the post that I most wanted an update for, but I assume there’s almost no chance that the OP is going to come back. I do hope that things eventually worked out for her, regardless of the degree situation.

    4. Jake

      Do you blame her for being upset though? I mean, it IS accredited, and I could easily see somebody not realizing until it was far too late that the degree is not valued.

      1. Andrea

        Sorry, I was not really clear. I don’t think anyone initially blamed the OP for being upset; I know I didn’t. Those schools are predatory and they do take advantage of people who don’t know better. But her responses made it really difficult for me (and others, I think) to empathize with her, and some of the things she said were just bizarre and rude and combative. Instead of being angry at the school for its bad practices and for its lies, and instead of being upset with herself for not doing her due diligence about the school, she was angry at commenters who pointed out the faults of UoP or who tried to empathize and give her suggestions. I mean, I felt bad for her at first too, but it took a weird turn.

        1. Michaela T

          I’m just now reading the comments on that one and they are BANANAS. Everyone was being so kind and patient with her and she kept jumping in with this horrible classist stuff.

          1. Beti

            Yeah, that was some seriously zen commenting. Amazing considering how most internet discussion threads would have gone.

    5. RIT

      That was one of the saddest threads for me. Her anger and frustration were completely understandable…her hostility towards the community and condescending attitude towards ‘worthless people’ who work in blue-collar jobs less so. Like phillist said, I like indoor plumbing. So I’m grateful for all the skilled individuals who keep running all the services and systems that are easy to take for granted in our society.

      1. Not So NewReader

        In my mind, because my plumber makes more than I do, I tend to believe he is the smarter/the more strategic of the two of us. The guy never has problems finding work, either.

        1. Hellanon

          Right? My plumbers are excellent problem solvers who keep my 100-yr old building alive, and are friendly guys to boot. They are absolutely worth every penny they charge!

          1. The Bimmer Guy

            Haha. Yes, a plumber can make an excellent income, enough to make us “white collar” (and I’m starting to hate those terms) people jealous. Unless that plumber is Mario and his sole method for earning income is collecting stray gold coins and generally doing everything *except* plumbing.

        2. Juli G.

          I’m married to a plumber (who also has a contractor background). Awhile ago, his boss started behaving shady. He said, “I think I need a new job.” So he called someone and had a better job two days later. He does not get why it takes months for me to get a new role.

          But hey, I have never budgeted for home repairs!

    1. CMT

      I think the cat overlords will be contacting you about that slight! There would be no internet without cute cat pictures and gifs!

  6. Mimmy

    Was there ever an update from the OP who was fired after a stranger sent the pics of the private texts? (#4, most commented on)?

    Congrats on another year of success Alison!!

      1. RIT

        Ooh! That’s the one that inspired me to write a truly personalized cover letter for the first time ever, when I was trying to work up the nerve to apply for an almost-made-for-me position.

        Obviously the cover letter alone wasn’t what got me the job- what it did was make the first impression my resume alone couldn’t. AAM was a huge help to me during the process overall, but the act of composing a real, personalized cover letter was the most significant and important change I’ve ever made in job hunting. Not just in the application process, but as a tool to evaluate my experience against the job requirements and to gather my thoughts before an interview.

        So here’s a long overdue thank you, Alison!

  7. Retail Lifer

    I commented a lot on the University of Phoenix post. I didn’t get a degree from UoP but I did get one from an accredited for-profit that fewer people have heard of. There was some great feedback on how people felt about a degree from such a place, but I chose to leave mine on my resume (and the previous associate’s degree from a completely different for-profit). I applied to so many jobs throughout the year, knowing that some of them had over 300 applicants. Most of those didn’t even require a specific degree (just some kind of Bachelor’s degree), so I figured I should leave it on to get a leg up on at least a couple of those several hundred people.

  8. IT Kat

    Great posts! Several of these I remember and a few I don’t. :) On the Most Viewed List, #5, was one I don’t recall… it’s got the wrong link though, it’s going to the $20k in debt on company card one?

  9. Mockingjay

    Re: Alison’s favorites – the plunging toilet thread.

    I had commented that I would have done it. This may become true in my near future.

    My company’s contract with the cleaning service ends today. We sent 2 bids to corporate but they haven’t decided yet. (They take forever on decisions that require $.) Which means that, in the interim, local employees will probably be called on to clean the building – especially bathrooms and break room.

    We had to clean our old building, but there were only 5 of us then. We scheduled a 15-minute cleaning spree on Friday afternoons – everyone would pitch in (and we weren’t that messy to begin with). In our new building, there are over 70 people – we share the space with other companies on the project. But since we are the lease holder, we have to provide sanitation services. Sigh.

  10. cody's dad

    I took the time one day earlier this year and read AAMand love it! CONGRATS ALISON!!
    Oh and the ducks! The only thing better than the story itself was Alison screaming at her computer (so I invision) as she typed about how just because they had punched out and just bcse there is nothing in the employee manual about sex at work this is just SO wrong!

  11. LBK

    Any way to get stats on commenters? I’m guessing no since there’s no logins/accounts, but I’d be curious to see what the makeup is like of regulars vs randoms and who the most prolific commenters are. This strikes me as a site that has a pretty consistent commenter base – I feel like I usually recognize at least 80% of the usernames on every post.

    1. ThursdaysGeek

      I recognize you. I pretend I’ve become friends with some of the commenters, and have a lot in common with some (I think Windchime and I do very similar jobs, and in the same state). But others so quickly comment, so there is usually very little more for me to add.

    2. James M

      *flexes knuckles*

      It’s 100% doable. Pulling every comment on every article into a database wouldn’t take more than a few hours. Collating basic stats by user name would be trivial (stuff like qty, frequency, and verbosity). Advanced analytics, word choice, education level, aliases (for people who change their user name), would also be possible where samples are more than just a few words.

      Of course, this would all be worth $$$ to AAM’s sponsors, so don’t expect a freebie.

      1. ThursdaysGeek

        I think Alison has ip addresses, so that could simplify the grouping for people who change names (but some of us come from multiple computers). Cyclatron.blogspot, for instance, has a different name every time, but the same website. Jamie used to be a regular but has been so busy that she only occasionally pops in and then back out.

      2. Not So NewReader

        I am curious about the geography involved here. Where are most of the US readers? I am in the NE, I don’t see that many from this corner. It seems to me like most folks are in the midwest somewhere. (Of course, from here, almost everything is west or midwest, so I could have some perception issues going on.)
        One time we polled for countries, trying to get an idea of how many different countries had people who were reading here. That was very interesting, too.

        One thing that I am in awe of is the brain power of this group. It seems like most topics have a person here in that field the can speak to a particular point. Gives me goose-bumps to watch this.

          1. curious in MA

            Wow. Such a huge difference from CA to anywhere else. Besides population, any ideas Why the site is SO popular in CA yet not nearly as strong elsewhere? I would not have predicted such a huge difference.

  12. YourUnfriendlyPhlebotomist

    I’m going to have to go ahead and take a lot of the credit for that increase, since I’ve found AAM I’ve been here multiple times a day mon-friday … Pintrest’s numbers have plummeted because I’m here rather than there. ;-)

    1. Mimmy

      Me too, at least on days when I’ve posted a comment and want to see if anyone replies.

      Glad you found AAM – I enjoy your comments.

  13. Liane

    Alison, the link for #5 under Most Viewed (Can I change my mind after accepting a job offer?) goes to #8 (Racked up $20,000 on company card). Post 8 link is correct.

  14. Camster

    This is why I love AAM – so many great topics and discussions! I don’t post often but I read the topics and comments daily (I feel like I know many of you)! I’ve learned so much from this site!

    I also wonder about the guy with the $20,000 in personal charges and hope he’s doing ok.

  15. Bibliovore

    Why I love…
    AAM provides an intelligent forum for work issues for both employee and manager alike.
    AAM teases out the nuances of the original poster’s question and gets at the heart of the manner.
    AAM provides practical information that works in real life.
    AAM the letters selected by AAM provide a daily dose of reality to those of us who may be stewing about workplace issues. “hey I really have it good here”
    AAM community of commenters for the most part are civil, articulate, and thoughtful.
    When AAM commenters on the rare occasion veer off topic or seem to be piling in, there is an intervention
    The regular commenters whose stories that I have come to know and love (shout out to Goldie) provide a warm community to safely vent to on Fridays (the do-nothing assistant is finally gone) and empathize with on Sundays. (yes, my husband has finally taken the earphones out when he wants to talk to me)

    And the book club and kitty pictures are always a treat.

  16. PinkTeapots

    After furiously reading the posts and comments, I can’t decide whether “I don’t respect my superiors degrees/non degrees” or “UoP on Resume” is worse. I can hardly believe either are real! Especially after reading UoP OP’s follow up comments. Flabbergasted! Nothing real substantial to say. Just amazed.

  17. Oryx

    I was trying to figure out how I’d missed the babies at work one and realized it was published on my second day at my new job (which I got thanks to all the good columns here at AAM!)

    1. JDrives

      I feel pretty confident that AAM’s 2011 post about writing a great cover letter helped me land an upcoming interview for my dream job. There should be an open thread for readers (not OPs) who took AAM’s advice and it panned out well for them, if there isn’t already!

  18. KarenD

    I’m one of those readers who jumped in in 2015 and now AAM is one of the sites “stickied” to my Google front page, just by virtue of my hitting it so much. I have enjoyed it so much, for the fascinating dilemmas, Alison’s great advice and the commentators’ trenchant observations. Looking forward to 2016!

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Definitely. Lots of old posts still get traffic, because the site tends to score highly in search results for the sorts of terms people use when they’re looking for job advice.

      The third, forth, fifth, and sixth most visited pages on the site this year are from 2011, 2012, 2007, and 2012:

  19. Not So NewReader

    Congratulations on another great year, Alison!

    Thank you for all you do. You help soooo many people, it boggles the mind.

  20. HardwoodFloors

    Well done, Alison. I entirely enjoy reading AAM and I find the advise spot-on. Thanks for posting the readership numbers as I was curious as to what traffic was like because so many great questions were posted. Thank you for all your do.

  21. JDrives

    And congratulations on the huge jump in readership! I’ve visited your site on and off for the past couple of years (I’m an avid fan of Captain Awkward, and she and her commenters often refer to you for work-related queries), but I’m now a daily reader. Your advice and insight is very helpful, and sometimes extremely entertaining. Keep up the great work! Happy New Year!

  22. Suomi

    Any statistics on countries outside the US? I wonder if there are any other readers from my small European country…

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Yes! I have a country breakdown, but it’s extensive. What country are you interested in the numbers for?

      After the U.S., the #2-10 spots are held by (in this order): UK, Canada, Australia, India, Singapore, Philippines, Germany, New Zealand, South Africa.

  23. Susan

    That $20,000 debt one still causes me stress, and it’s not even my debt. That and The University of Phoenix were the top two memorable in my mind! I remember the debates in the comments of the latter.


Leave a Comment

You can find the site's commenting guidelines here. You can report an ad, tech, or typo issue here.

Subscribe to all comments on this post by RSS