New York magazine on Ask a Manager

Y’all, New York magazine did the greatest profile of Ask a Manager yesterday. I love everything about it, except that apparently I say “I mean…” constantly. But I feel like the writer really gets the site and what’s going on here. Read it here!


{ 63 comments… read them below }

    1. irritable vowel*

      I know… not only does it show that more than just white guys work in offices (stock photo sideeye) but it’s super-cool vintage! I had no idea there were photos like this in stock photo databases. Kudos to New York magazine for choosing it.

      And congrats, Alison, it’s a great piece!

    2. Adam*

      The style is awesome, but I feel a little unnerved like they’re all starring at me with blatant disapproval. Haha!

  1. Nighthawk*

    Congrats! I really love this site – it’s like “Dear Abby” but for the modern workplace. I recommend my students read it as it’s *so* relevant for folks just entering the workforce.

    1. Mallory Janis Ian*

      Exactly! Alison tells them what their manager is likely thinking, and the commenters tell them what a full range of their coworkers are likely thinking.

  2. Sunflower*

    Cool!! Seriously I became a daily reader of this site when I tried googling weird workplace issues and askamanager would not only have a post on exactly what I was dealing with but would be the only site that even touched on it. After about 5 or so searches, I just started reading everyday(and writing in a lot!)

    One of my favorite things I learned from Allison is about admitting your true biggest weakness in a job interview and not just coming up with some fluff answer(I’m a perfectionst!’)

    1. DEJ*

      I was just coming here to say that ‘Ask A Magician’ was my favorite part of the article. :-)

    2. Adam*

      I’m sure he’d have fascinating advice on dealing with black magic in the workplace.

    3. Florida*

      I’m actually a magician, so I got the biggest kick out of Ask A Magician. Part of the reason it’s so funny is that magicians are the most secretive people in the world. They have meetings late at night at 24-hour diners. You have to ask half a dozen people about a trick before anyone will tell you. (Don’t want to give up the secrets to just anyone.) It is the polar opposite of Ask A Manager.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Hold it right there. Are you a professional magician? If so, I want to interview you for the “interesting jobs” series I sometimes do.

        1. Florida*

          I would tell you, but it’s a secret. (I crack myself up!) I am a professional children’s entertainer and magic is part of what I do. I’ll send you an email.

        1. Florida*

          Oh geez, did my comment open a whole can of worms? I can’t join any group that has a slogan, “We demand to be taken seriously.” I want to join the club that has a slogan, “Quit taking everything so seriously!”

  3. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

    I love this! I must have been reading since 2008, and when I found you, it was like the sun parting the clouds. You’ve been an invaluable resource and I read some of the more outrageous problems with a nod and smile for when that was me.

  4. Caledonia*

    I remember emailing a question to Alison about interviewing after leaving a job due to a close bereavement – that was back in autumn ’09. Alison emailed me directly – I can’t remember what it was – but I’ve been an avid reader since and recommend it on a regular basis to all and sundry.

    I also like the community we have on here.

  5. Mike C.*

    Yeah, congrats on the coverage! I hope more managers take the advice and consider the discussions we have here.

  6. LQ*

    This has been tremendously helpful to me as I navigate the world from my parents who don’t even have blue collar jobs really and who have a range of really bad advice (though different from the call and call and call again things) into a strange and different kind of nonprofit where I did have a wonderful boss. And then I had a Really Horrible boss. And now I’m in a much more normal white collar kind of work force (even if it is government!) and it is so nice to get a lot of reality checks and have a place to go to find a kind of normalization.

  7. CaliCali*

    I think one commonality here with ALL advice columns is the whole “I want this person to change their behavior but I don’t want to have an awkward conversation about it, so how do I make it happen?” It’s been really valuable for me, as a confrontation-averse person, to see it as the choice it is: say something or learn to deal with it as is.

    I think, relatedly, people who are people-pleasers (and the Venn diagram between those people and confrontation-averse people is likely a circle) are always trying to assess the moods and opinions of those around them and adjust their styles accordingly, and assume other people are attempting the same sort of mind-reading exercise and deliberately not pleasing them because they don’t like them/they aggressively don’t care/whatever malicious reason that is likely not true. Alison does a good job of cutting through the BS of that thinking, and I’ve benefited a lot from it.

      1. ThursdaysGeek*

        How is Archie doing? (I’m currently reading through all my Nero Wolfe books in order, and I’m about 10 in on the 40 or 50 I own.)

    1. CM*

      And don’t forget that stalwart of both AAM and regular advice columns: “X is a really terrific [employee/romantic partner] except for this one thing: [horrible thing]”

      I’m a regular NY Mag reader, and noticed this article — at first I thought Alison was extending her reach, since NY Mag does have advice columns and I thought this would be a welcome addition along with Ask Polly! But then I saw it was more of a profile, and I agree that the article nicely captured what’s great about this site and Alison’s advice.

  8. Elizabeth West*

    Yay!!! \0/ Congratulations, Alison!

    I see they referenced the letter where the person’s roommate was loudly getting it on in the background of a call. In my mind, I mushed that and the Duck Club letter together and imagined a series of loud quacks coming from the speaker. XD

  9. Sunshine*

    Great article! Congrats! I know you’ve helped me through TONS of awkward situations as a manager, and I thank you!

  10. sjw*

    Niiiiice press! FWIW, I log on almost every single day when I need a quick break at work — I’m never disappointed!

  11. Thomas W*

    Don’t listen to that one commenter about “I mean”, Alison! You write conversationally — that’s something we love!

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Yep. The job is explaining things. A lot of things have to be said more than one way so that most people catch it. It only makes sense that, you would say, “I mean” a lot, Alison. I counted four times- maybe I missed something? For the amount that is there, I would not have noticed the repetition.

      Congrats on the very nice article. I hope it goes in your scrap book.

    2. EngineerWoman*

      The commenter is not inaccurate – Alison does like using “I mean”. It’s a bit noticeable but doesn’t bother me. I think (and this is one phrase I tend to use and am cognizant of it…I started out this comment with “I think the commenter is not inaccurate”) lots of people have phrases they tend to repeat. It is their character and part of their unique speech pattern. That said, it can sometimes be overused and starts to border on annoying – at least to some people. Phrases I have noticed as repeated and may be overused can include: Having said that, so, that said, I think (this is me!), anyway…

      In reading AAM on an almost daily basis for several months, I can’t say I noticed Alison’s frequent use of “I mean”. In the short excerpt, it was more noticeable.

      But I agree with Thomas W – I love that Alison writes conversationally!

  12. CR*

    Excellent article, congrats Alison! I made a huge career change last year and I’m at my first white collar office job. Between your site and Corporette, I truly feel like I have learned so much about the working world.

  13. Grey*

    Nice, but you’d think they’d at least mention the URL and provide more than just a single hard-to-find link.

    Obviously, we don’t need it, but they should make it easy for the new visitors.

          1. Grey*

            My first thought was “page views = $$$” and I’d hate to see you miss out on the traffic you deserve.

  14. Windchime*

    That’s really a great article! Congratulations. You’re like everyone’s workplace therapist. :)

    1. Seuuze*

      Well said. I feel all of Alison’s advice on how to TALK to people about awkward and uncomfortable issues has helped me think through how I want to communicate with everyone in my life. I didn’t grow up with people who knew how to communicate and it has been a life-long learning process. And this blog has saved me oodles not having to pay for real therapy again!

      I look forward to this blog every single day and it is now what I read first before anything else.

      Thank you Alison for all you do for your readers. The column really captured how important your advice and wisdom is for so many of us. The straight talk you promote has been a life-saver and I am glad for your success. Congratulations!

  15. Katie the Fed*

    That is awesome!

    Although, I have to say I kind of dread an influx of new people – the more new people come into our nice little commentariat community the nastier things seem to get. Fingers crossed that the neighborhood stays nice :D


    1. ThursdaysGeek*

      That’s an aspect the interviewer didn’t cover. The tone of the comments here are a rarity on the internet. But we know to speak up, and Alison cleans things up if that isn’t enough.

      1. Stardust*

        So true! I really appreciate the comments section as well! It does make this a great online community.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      I think if that happens, it will get explained to people who miss the cues.

  16. FD*

    That’s something that occured to me too–but I feel like most of us here are fairly good at teaching newcomers our culture.

    And as ThursdaysGeek pointed out, Alison’s also great at putting a stop to jerks who won’t learn.

  17. EngineerWoman*

    Congratulations, Alison! As anyone (most anyone) who has ventured to this blog would say – it’s terrific! I only came across it several months ago and wish I had been a follower since the beginning! That said – reading the archives is so helpful. I also want to note the readers/commentator community are in my opinion, now part of the success of AAM as I really enjoy and look forward to most everyone’s added perspectives. Of course, without Alison’s amazing job, people wouldn’t spend time to come to this site and then add quality feedback themselves.

  18. Rookie Biz Chick*

    I’m totally a loooonnnnnnnnng-time lurker and rare commenter, though I probably recommend the website to folks five or more times per month. Always so impressed by Alison’s thoughtful replies and awesome ensuing commentary from the AAM community.

    Congrats, Alison! It’s been so cool to be a [tiny] part of observing and participating in your success over the years.

  19. Adjective Noun*

    Commenting for the first time ever to say that this is great, and you are great, and reading the site for the past few months has kept me sane during an anxiety-producing time at work. In fact, I applied the “have the awkward conversation or live with it” advice just today. I did have the awkward conversation, and it was uncomfortable, but I was calm and made my point and the person got it and nobody died and now I don’t have to stew about it forever.

    Honestly, I suspect reading AAM is helping my personal life too. Thank you for all that you do.

  20. Vic*

    Congrats, Alison! I know you’ve sort of answered this before, but I think it was a while ago. Since I assume you don’t manage people anymore (although it seems like you still do a bit of hiring), how do you make sure your experience is current, so to speak, in the real world of workplace norms?

    I love Miss Manners, too, but recently some of her suggestions (perhaps as she gets older) have not seemed like something a normal person in 2016 would do.

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