an interview with me

Olivia Gamber recently interviewed me for her Occupational Olivia podcast. We talked about how Ask a Manager got started and how the site works today, why so many people shy away from tough conversations, getting along with your boss, how to ask for a raise, and more. You can listen to it here.

{ 44 comments… read them below }

  1. Beancounter in Texas*

    What I hear Alison saying is some basic psychology: When you are in a situation you don’t like, you can (try to) change it, you can (try to) leave it or you can accept it, and true acceptance means *no complaining.*

    I’m liking the audio format; I will likely refer back to the podcast in the future.

      1. Amy*

        Making a transcript isn’t super difficult or you can farm that labor out. I would strongly consider only doing interviews with people that you know are working to make their material accessible. Otherwise, people who may need to read your great advice the most are forced to miss out on it.

        1. Volunteer Transcriber Just This One Time*

          As the person who did transcribe it, I would beg to differ and say it is super difficult. I was glad to do it, but it wasn’t easy!

        1. Volunteer Transcriber Just This One Time*

          No, that’s great. Thanks for hosting. At some point, I will probably clean out the Dropbox folder, and I don’t want people to have only a dead link!

      1. hermit crab*

        Wow, you rock!

        I love that you included the Google “transcription” too. It’s hysterical!

        1. Volunteer Transcriber Just This One Time*

          Glad you liked it. I was thinking, “Is there a way to speech-to-text automate this, so I can speed up the transcription process?” I couldn’t find a good one, but I knew at least Google Voice would be entertaining!

      1. Stranger than fiction*

        That would be awesome…and then a convention Ask-A-Con (or something)

        1. Alma*

          I agree – life has never been quite the same since Car Talk (WBUR Boston) went to re-runs. I would schedule my week around AAM. You would need a sidekick, though. Ideas, anyone?

          1. Anonymous Educator*

            I always imagined you to have a lower-sounding voice. Not that lower or higher is better, but that’s just what I imagined.

          2. LBK*

            I think in my head you sound more…severe, I guess? Your voice is more bubbly than I would anticipate. When I think of someone as direct and straight talking as you I think of a very dry, almost sarcastic voice like CJ Cregg. Hopefully that’s not insulting!

      2. It'sOnlyMe*

        A radio show would be great but a podcast would be fantastic, I would love to be able to listen to your advice either reading letters or blogstyle. I have more time to listen daily than read daily and I am always looking for new and engaging podcasts.

        And I also had a different voice in my head, I think I was hearing my very stern first Manager but you sound far more warm and engaging.

  2. Ms Information*

    This was a great listen. So much of Alison’s advice does boil down to “have you clearly expressed what the issue is/what outcome you want?” Even after many years of pretty successful managing, and a direct style which reports have told me they appreciate, I can still find it difficult to actually say “I need you to do X. Can you do that?” WTF? I’m thinking it’s not just conflict aversion, it can also be due to not being clear myself what the issue/resoluton is, or to not really owning some part of the situation or of my role… Lots to unpack around this.

    1. OfficePrincess*

      I can’t listen until I get home, but this comment makes me want to pack up and go so I can check it out ASAP. I tend to find myself knowing what I want the outcome to be but not being clear on how strictly I should set up consequences (or even being sure how much leeway I have to enforce consequences). But duh, obviously I need to or I’m going to keep pounding my head off the wall, since “I need you to do this” on it’s own doesn’t always work so well.

  3. Stranger than fiction*

    I started listening on my lunch break but then I got a call from my boyfriend who really needs to hear this himself. I told him he’s listening to it tonight or I won’t rub his feet for two months!

  4. Yet Another JD*

    Excellent interview, and so neat to hear your voice (which is not at all what I thought you’d sound like!).
    I am a big fan of the podcast format; I hope there is more of this in your future!
    (OMGAH: how awesome would it be if you recorded a q & a once a week??? I would love.)

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      So, just like a recording of me saying “here’s the question and here’s the answer”? Because that would be really easy to do. Or something more involved than that?

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        Yes, that’s it, exactly. Do you ever listen to Savage Lovecast? Dan Savage basically plays listeners’ voicemails and then responds. It’s a simple format, but it works well. I’d definitely listen! And podcast ads are less annoying to me than Fladh ads.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Interesting. I could set up a Google voice number and have people leave voicemails with questions there. It wouldn’t even need to be a podcast (which is the part that seems daunting); it could just be a recording I posted each week (or however often).

          Out of curiosity, what’s the appeal of that to people over the normal written format?

          1. bassclefchick*

            Oooh! I would love this! My job is straight data entry. Which doesn’t take all of my concentration. If I could listen to a podcast every now and then it would help the uninteresting data entry go much faster!

          2. Koko*

            I like to listen to podcasts at the gym and (driving) in the car, two places where reading is not very easy/safe.

          3. Anonymous Educator*

            I listen to podcasts a lot when I’m commuting or just out walking… a little more difficult to read during those times.

          4. Beancounter in Texas*

            I think the appeal is accessibility. I can listen to your podcast while boringly print out financial reports or drive to work, or as I did with this interview, listen while I eat lunch. Reading requires much more concentration and productivity suffers when I sit and read AAM inbetween printing out financial reports. Plus, some people simply learn information audibly more easily than reading.

          5. Mary*

            I’m dyslexic and sometimes it’s easier for me to figure out how to use advice I hear. There’s a couple of podcasts that I listen to that are essentially phone call discussions between friends & colleagues (“Call Your Girlfriend” and “Black Girls Talking” – I wonder if their podcast producers are taking on any new shows? I believe they are recorded using either phones or computers, at home somewhere comfy and cozy for acoustic purposes – like a radio show you record inside a closet surrounded by pillows/clothes – with maybe a bit of extra money spent on a mike and music.

          6. Yet Another JD*

            Agreed: audio is much more accessible. My preferred learning style is kinesthetic, so being able to listen while I walk helps me get information into my head in a way that reading doesn’t.
            (I also tend to read quite rapidly, and occasionally skip over things because of that.)

          7. Sarahnova*

            Yeah, I was thinking of the Savage Lovecast format. It’s a different way to interact with you – more conversational and you could even invite guest experts in occasionally. I’d listen. It would just be a cool and slightly different dose of Alison. :)

  5. Ms Information*

    Ha! I thought both Alison and Olivia sounded younger than I expected. It would have been unthinkable when I was a young woman to hear two women matter of factly discuss how to be effective in the workplace, for both women and men. Listening made me smile!

  6. bridget*

    It’s so funny to hear your real voice, because I have had an “Alison voice” playing in my head whenever I read your writing, and I was totally wrong :) I project on you a much sterner demeanor than you actually have.

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