When I started this blog, I was the chief of staff for a medium-sized, successful organization, where I was responsible for hiring, firing, promoting, managing, all of that. In 2010, I left that job and struck out on my own, doing consulting work on the same issues I write about here.
I am not a perfect manager, and I don’t have all the answers. But I do think about management and hiring and systems for getting things done pretty much constantly. And I’m bossy, so I like to tell you my opinion. So if you’re not sure what the hell your manager is thinking, or how to ask for a raise, or whether you might be in danger of getting fired, or how to act in a second interview … ask away.
Some of my biases —
- I believe the whole point of managing is to get things done. Everything else follows from there.
- I believe that employers and employees should just be straightforward with each other and not let things fester. Unless you’re deluded or a jerk, candor usually leads you someplace good. (And if you are deluded or a jerk, you have bigger problems anyway.)
- I believe that job searches and hiring processes are two-way streets; candidates should be evaluating employers just as much as employers are evaluating candidates. And candidates should be screening for jobs where they’ll excel and be happy, not just trying to get any offer they can.
- I believe that you should take criticism gracefully, even when you disagree with it. If nothing else, you’re learning something valuable about how someone else sees you.
- I believe in being brutally honest with yourself — about what matters to you and how much, about what you can and can’t change, about how you’re going to respond to the things that you can’t or won’t change, and about reality in general. This is the recipe for a happy career and a happy life.
You can read some of my favorite posts here; they form the Ask a Manager official canon and should sum up where I’m coming from.