work habits

how not to be the annoying new person at your new job

Starting a new job is tough – you’ve got to used to new work, new colleagues, a new boss, and new office culture. Sometimes people try so hard to be at home in a new office that they end up inadvertently alienating their new coworkers. Don’t be that person! At U.S. News & World Report […]

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coworkers keep commenting on how quiet I am

A reader writes: I have always been a quiet person, especially when I’m new in an environment and trying to learn about the culture before diving in headfirst. I know when I don’t know things and would much rather listen to those smarter than me and bury myself in my own work so I can […]

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I get angry when my coworkers make mistakes

A reader writes: I’ve got a question regarding how much “mistake tolerance” is expected in the workplace. Just to give you some background, I’m a (tech) team lead, which, in my case, means my daily job is not very different from that of other team members, except for the part that I get to make […]

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is it unprofessional to use emoticons in work emails?

A reader writes: What is your feeling on using emoticons (smiley faces, etc.) in professional emails? My first reaction is “no, they are too childish and unprofessional,” but then I find myself sometimes wanting to use them to add some levity to an email, or soften some language, or convey a friendly message. Since emails […]

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do you really have to stay at a job for at least a year?

I moved yesterday and am on an unpacking mission, so some posts this week will be reprints from years ago. This one is from November 2014, and I’ve updated in a few places. A reader writes: I took a new job just less than a year ago that I was incredibly excited about. It wasn’t […]

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don’t bring cupcakes to work when you’re new on the job

A reader writes: I am a young (25) woman who has just been promoted into a mid-level management position, managing about 25 staff. This is my first job in management, and while I am very confident going into the new role, I naturally have some nerves about the huge change in my career. The team […]

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my work habits are going to get me fired

A reader writes: I started a new contract two months ago. The projects are exciting, the team is inspiring, and I am doing a terrible job. It takes me two or three times as long as expected to perform simple tasks (like drafting documents that are standard in our field or corresponding with colleagues in […]

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am I the office jerk?

A reader writes: First, some background: My manager is pretty terrible. She’s very loud, rude, walks up to you while you are talking to a customer and just begins talking over you, and doesn’t have any idea what her direct reports are doing. It’s crappy, but she’s definitely not leaving any time soon. Her boss […]

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can I knit during work meetings?

A reader writes: I work in a federal agency. I’ve been in my current position for about five years, but have recently taken on some responsibilities that require me to be in several all-day meetings per month, some with coworkers in my office, and some with colleagues from other state and federal agencies. I realized […]

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