most popular posts of 2014

Ask a Manager’s traffic continued to climb this year, with 8 million unique visitors, nearly 14 million visits, and more than 24 million page views. Thanks for your part in that!

traffic chart

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

Most commented-on posts of 2014:

(doesn’t include open threads, which otherwise would hold the top 10 places, or “ask the readers” posts, which I covered on Saturday)

10. my new coworker is pushing huge amounts of junk food on me

9. when a coworker missed a deadline, I told her it’s a good thing she’s pretty

8. my coworker has an offensive bobble-head doll on his desk

7. why do interviewers ask about your favorite books or movies?

6. I had to prepare a meal and entertain 20 people for a job interview — and so did 19 other candidates

5. I pulled a prank on a coworker — and it ended badly

4. now managers are calling millennials’ parents

3. new employee insists we call her “Mrs. ____” even though we all use first names

2. my boss makes us all keep kosher for Passover

1. my coworker went through my trash can to get me in trouble

Most viewed posts of 2014:

10. I pulled a prank on a coworker — and it ended badly

9. you can’t predict your chances of getting a job — really, you can’t

8. how long should I give a candidate to think over a job offer?

7. should you refuse to sign a performance improvement plan?

6. employers that ask for high school transcripts from 30 years ago

5. how to write a cover letter that will get you an interview

4. how to rewrite your resume to focus on accomplishments, not just job duties

3. should you ever negotiate salary through email?

2. I had to prepare a meal and entertain 20 people for a job interview — and so did 19 other candidates

1. here’s a real-life example of a great cover letter (with before and after versions!)

{ 81 comments… read them below }

  1. Katie the Fed*

    It makes sense. Most of the “most viewed” are either how-to’s or just good advice – the kind of thing you paste a link for on facebook or email to people you know.

    Would love to see some of the search terms that get people here :)

    1. Jubilance*

      I’d love a regular search terms post – I think Captain Obvious does one & it’s very enlightening to see the types of things that people Google that lead them to the site.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        That would be interesting. I need to see if WordPress has that for mine. I got way more views on the blog I barely post on than the one I’m linked to, so it would be interesting to find out WTH is up with that.

        I’d love to see how they got to #2!

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I’ve occasionally thought about doing one, but there are SO MANY. A huge number of people get here through searching and it’s overwhelming to try to dig through the search terms.

        1. Bekx*

          I don’t think you do Adwords, but I always loved looking at the Keyword Details of my company’s AdWords before they had me set-up negative keywords. Some of the things we got……

    2. Kelly L.*

      Yes! I viewed certain “good advice” posts a number of times when I was job searching, for example, some of which were from the really early days and didn’t have many comments. I even had some bookmarked. While the most commented tend to be major WTFs or ones where we got into arguments in the comments.

    3. Felicia*

      Captain Awkward has monthly posts about what got people here from search terms, along with comments, and it’s kind of hilarious:) Though I imagine here it would be many things like “my boss/coworkers are crazy, please help”

      All of the most commented ones were the ones I thought of when readin the post title

    4. AdminAnon*

      I can tell you mine–in 2010 when I was getting ready to graduate and starting to apply for jobs, I searched for “good cover letter examples” and ended up on another blog which linked to one of Alison’s posts. I have no idea what the other blog was anymore, but I’m on AAM at least 3-4 times a day! :)

    5. Alma*

      I am a new reader – two months? It was a “you may also like…” mention on a blog I receive that brought me to this great resource.

      These stats are fascinating, and I got to review a few other topics I had missed. I must confess, #10 on “most commented” absolutely blew me out of the water. I need to state that people I knew told me – laughing, as if I would find it amusing – that they had been pushing candies and sweets on me because they were jealous of me.

      They were not overweight. I agree, one’s outside appearance cannot give insight to their actions. But I hold to the statement that “No means NO.” Boundaries are to be respected.

  2. Natalie*

    I’m kind of surprised #6 (making a meal for the interview) wasn’t higher since it was posted on other sites. Weird.

    1. Kyrielle*

      But it was #2 for views, only #6 for comments. Lots of people came and read it, far fewer felt the need to comment directly on the post (but they may have shared it on to their friends).

    1. B Latooser*

      I was just coming to ask if you got the job! :-) I didn’t see an update! Loved your cover letter. Mine reads like a classic generic one and I really need to go back to the drawing board.

  3. ThursdaysGeek*

    Well, I’m obviously one of the 8 million unique visitors, but there must be a lot who read one article and then don’t come back, because with only 24 million page views, that averages out to 3 per visitor, and I have about 1100 instead (365 days X 3-4 posts a day).

      1. ThursdaysGeek*

        Can you tell how many of the unique visitors also comment? Or what your total number of commenters are? The community here also interests me.

        The first part of your post reminded me of long car drives when I was a child. We’d ask “are we almost there yet?” and my dad would reply with a word problem: “The trip is 500 miles long and we’ve been driving for 4 hours at 55mph. It is now 11am. What percentage of the trip is already traveled, and at what time should we arrive?”

          1. ThursdaysGeek*

            Well, we did learn it was better to quietly poke each other and make faces than ask if we were there yet. :)

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Nope, there aren’t really stats on commenting beyond number of comments per post. My sense is that we have several hundred (maybe 400 or so) regular commenters, plus lots of occasional drop-ins from non-regular commenters, so commenters make up a small sliver of overall traffic.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Now that is interesting, since it is so easy to post a comment, you’d think people would be jumping in all the time.

            1. ThursdaysGeek*

              Yeah, it’s very easy to post, and yet also kept pleasant and interesting. That’s actually pretty impressive.

            2. LBK*

              I think it’s just in your personality. I comment pretty much everywhere I read regularly and then I have friends who’ve never commented on anything and think it’s weird that I comment on stuff.

  4. Josh S*

    I’m glad to have found your site all the way back in 2010 when there were only 700k Page Views–and probably a great many fewer readers than that. (Or at least I started commenting then, according to teh Googlez.) While I haven’t been as active commenting lately (hooray for work and babies!), I’ve been a regular reader ever since. The best, most reliable, most sane and sensible advice on the internet.

    Thanks for all you do, Alison!

  5. LB87*

    The post on millenials is why I adamantly REFUSE to give out emergency contact information. Though, I can’t tell you how amused I would be to hear a conversation in which my boss called my mother to discuss a missed deadline.

      1. MaggiePi*

        I thought that too. I typically read everything on RSS, which is convenient for me but unfortunate for your stats.
        Though for this blog, much more than any other, I do tend to open the page from the RSS because I actually want to read the comments.

  6. Clerica*

    I was kind of stumped that #6 isn’t higher on the list for comments. But I guess with the top 1-3 and #5, they were all issues where people took sides, while #4 was pretty much one camp but so wtf. I think I remember some people would comment more than once, like “No, seriously, I can’t wrap my head around this.” Poor #6 got buried. I kind of feel sorry for it. And every time I think about that post I crave tacos, so there’s that now.

    1. fposte*

      Hey, it’s #6 out of probably over 1000 posts for the year (Alison? total for the year?). Not too shabby.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          And that includes dialing back the number of posts on open thread days.

          So what do you think? Will you be keeping the open threads? I remember it starting out with one a month and that just mushroomed. I find the open threads and the steady interest in the open threads fascinating.

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                Probably an hour a day. I’ve actually been trying to write more and more in advance — mainly writing a bunch of single-question posts ahead of time so that I only need to write a 5-short-answers post each day, which is nice when I’m pressed for time. But if the time is averaged out over each day, it’s probably about an hour per day. Possibly even less than that — I’m a fast writer so sometimes I can crank them out when the mood strikes.

        2. ThursdaysGeek*

          My guess of 1100 wasn’t too far off then. I read this as a regular web page, so if I want to see if anyone has replied to my comments I have to reload, or go back and forth between pages. I’ve done that several times today, so does that count as 3 page views or 12-15?

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I would think that every time you refresh the page, it counts as a page view, but I can’t say for sure. I’m also not sure how strictly accurate these numbers are. It might be that they’re more useful as a way to watch trends, rather than something that’s strictly precise — but who knows. (Well, actually, someone probably knows. But I don’t.)

            1. matcha123*

              Google Analytics says:

              “A pageview is defined as a view of a page on your site that is being tracked by the Analytics tracking code. If a user clicks reload after reaching the page, this is counted as an additional pageview. If a user navigates to a different page and then returns to the original page, a second pageview is recorded as well.”



  7. TheTemp*

    Hmph. If an interviewer would judge me for being into Harry Potter, then I don’t wanna work for their company. Muggles. Pft.

    1. CTO*

      The Harry Potter fan club is pretty strong at my workplace. I’m going to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter next week and I can’t tell you how many of my coworkers have expressed jealousy and even requested a full report back.

      1. Emily, admin extraordinaire*

        I went to WWoHP for the first time in July (DON’T GO IN JULY, UGH, THE HEAT AND THE HUMIDITY) and it was amazingly awesome. I even got picked to have a wand choose me in the Ollivader’s show in Hogsmeade (ash and unicorn hair, 13″)! I hear they’ve introduced hot Butterbeer since then– both the regular and frozen varieties are delicious, but I’m dying to try the hot stuff, since that’s how it was first introduced in the books. If you try it, please give a report in the open thread when you return!

        1. Elizabeth West*

          The butterbeer at the HP Studio tour in England is COLD. And it rained and was freezing that day and it was just not nice. You have to sit outside, about halfway through the tour, and there are barely any tables. Brrrr. All over the place, I heard people whingeing about how they didn’t like it, ha ha.

          They really need to up their game on the refreshment area. :P Of course, it could have been because I went in autumn and not summer. And most of the outdoor space is taken up by the Hogwarts Bridge, upon which you can walk!

    2. Cruciatus*

      I think half the reason I like to geocache is because non-geocachers are called Muggles. I realize that’s a random aside, but I would be more into a candidate because they *did* like HP! (Probably a good thing I’m not making hiring decisions though).

  8. BRR*

    Congratulations on the increased traffic!

    Also thank you for AAM. As a semi-recent grad I’m grateful for everything I have learned and how much further along I am than my peers in learning about working in an office (no classmate, don’t go to HR with a minor personality conflict with your coworker).

    1. Happy 2015*

      Ditto and congratulations on a successful year! (I’m part of that 57%). Now I read every day :)

  9. Nyxalinth*

    Heh, I just had another interview at Bombast Cable for their tier 1 repair, and was told that the background check will go faster if we provide our high school transcripts. Mine are from 30 years ago, guys.

    Likely won’t be a go though: they want people to work until midnight, and the last bus is at 11:30 :P

    1. Alma*

      I’ve filled out online applications that require an exact date for my high school graduation. Oh, come on! I have a bachelors and masters degree!

  10. Alicia*

    Wow, I knew AAM was a huge blog, but that is one heck of a visits count!! I was happy with my 70,000 page views this year :)

    Keep up the great site – I visit everyday :)

  11. Carrie in Scotland*

    I am ever so happy you and the blog are getting noticed Alison. Thank you for the work you do, the advice you give, the (sometimes crazy) letters you publish and the cute cat pictures.of Lucy & Olive.
    May everyone on AAM have a grat New Year! (NYE always makes me a tad sentimental, so what?) :-)

  12. Not So NewReader*

    Congratulations, Alison, you have really created something here. I love seeing these stats.
    And thanks for all you do.
    I love reading everyone’s comments, also.

    Happy New Year to everyone.

  13. ThursdaysGeek*

    Can you tell the addresses of people who bump up your page count by a lot? In other words, you have 57% new users, but of the rest, how many have 1k, 2k, 3k+ page views? What is the highest count for page views for a unique visitor? Is it an 80/20 type breakdown, where 20% of the unique visitors provide 80% of the traffic? (Apparently I’m either nosy or else numbers and graphs are fascinating to me.)

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Here you go:

      If anyone can draw conclusions from this, I am all ears! I’m bad at this kind of thing.

      (I don’t think there’s any more data on how page views break down by visitor, aside from the link above. It’s some of what you’re asking, but not all. If someone who knows Google Analytics better than me knows differently, I’ll find it if you tell me where it’s located….)

      1. ThursdaysGeek*

        I don’t really know anything about this, but I can pretend it looks like that a bunch of people come and read a little bit, and most of the rest have come and stayed. Some read the one or two articles that they were looking for, but very few people start reading the rest of the content, lose interest, and leave. If we start reading very much, we’re hooked.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Yep. That makes sense.

          It looked to me like, you have a core group of approximately 1.5 million people who have had 201 plus views during the year. That’s a huge amount of people who are serious about reading this forum. That is soo cool! Nice New Year’s present to find that out.

      2. Eva*

        Thanks for sharing all this data, Alison! It’s very interesting to see.

        For comparison, here’s the sessions breakdown for my site: Note that it doesn’t have the same U-shape. I would attribute the difference to two factors: Number of updates per day (you update several times a day whereas we update around 10 times a month) and interactivity (we don’t have a comments section for our main content).

        1. LBK*

          The random article button is my savior on slow work days. I’m scared to think about what my page views must look like.

  14. Mimmy*

    I can’t believe I didn’t chime in on #4 under “Most viewed” (accomplishments on resume) because I always struggle with translating my work, particularly that of the most recent few years, into accomplishments!

    Anyway, congrats Alison on the increasing success of your site!! Wishing you and your husband a very happy New Year :)

  15. Monodon monoceros*

    What’s the geographical breakdown? I always think it is interesting how many people are from outside the US in the comments section.

      1. MR*

        FWIW, the geographical traffic breakdown is similar for my website – on a percentage basis. The order of the countries is different, with the US being in the #1 position, but it’s interesting to see how the traffic is generated geographically in a similar manner (considering my website has, well, much fewer visitors). ;)

        Congrats on the continued growth and I hope there is more good to come in 2015!

  16. Jazzy Red*

    Congratulations, Alison, on the phenomenal success of your site! Your blog is the one I read every single day and the one that I recommend to people. I’ve found your advice, and the advice of all the various commenters, to be very helpful at work and in my personal relationships as well. May you (and we) have many more years of success.

  17. scloam*

    My garbage can post was the #1 most commented of the year! Do I get an award?
    “Best at spurring the most hatred AND understanding”
    “Most likely to come off as a self-centered airhead in AAM questions”?


    P.S. I LOVED the comment thread, you all changed my life! No joke!

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