work habits

it is okay to clip your nails at work?

A reader writes: Is it okay for folks to clip their nails in the office? In my last two cubicle-type jobs, there has been at least one person who clips their nails in the office on a regular basis. I think that practice is absolutely revolting (groom at home, people!), but other people I’ve vented […]

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can I wear a backpack with a suit?

A reader writes: I’m a woman in her 30’s and I work in an office setting for a nonprofit. I commute via train and walking, and am often carrying quite a bit with me (lunch, a book, sometimes shoes, etc.). Last year I started having some minor pain on one side of my back, and […]

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how to take feedback gracefully, without getting defensive

I’m off for Memorial Day, so here’s an older post from the archives. This was originally published in 2007 (and was one of the very first posts here!). If your manager takes the time to give you feedback, looking petulant and defensive and perhaps even outright pissed off is not a useful response. It’s not that you just […]

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what to do if you hate your job

I wrote this for LinkedIn’s Weekend Essay this weekend. If you’re miserable at work, you’re not alone. Having written Ask a Manager for more than a decade now, I’ve answered questions from literally thousands of people who hate their jobs. Whether it’s due to a difficult boss, unpleasant colleagues, mind-numbing work, or a toxic culture, […]

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how can I stop showing off at work?

This week on the Ask a Manager podcast, I talk to a guest who struggles with wanting to show off at work – and she’s trying to figure out why, and how to keep it under control. You can listen to our discussion on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, Volumes, or Anchor (or here’s the direct RSS feed). […]

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how to deal with a client who’s always late or no-shows

A reader writes: I’m a consultant in a professional service field. I work from home and all of my clients are elsewhere, so our meetings are always over the phone or Skype. For the most part, I love my clients, but one of them has a chronic problem with being late or simply blowing off […]

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are two-hour commutes normal?

A reader writes: I recently moved to southern California from New York City. In New York, my commute, door to door, from Soho to Bushwick was about 35-45 minutes, which included a 20-minute subway ride. Here in California, I recently (2.5 months ago) accepted a new job as an EA for a great company that’s […]

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are senior execs too busy for spelling and grammar?

A reader writes: I’ve been working at a small company (~30 employees) for almost a year. I am the lowest on the food chain, just above the interns. We have a few offices, and I work in the same office as the COO and work closely with him often. He is easily one of the […]

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