a decade of Ask a Manager

Ask a Manager turned 10 yesterday.

(Side note: This is crazy to me. I started the column on a whim — literally, just thought it would be something fun to do while my then-boyfriend was out and I was bored — and assumed it would attract three readers and one of them would be me.)

I have no idea how one commemorates a 10th anniversary of something that has brought me as much joy and satisfaction as this site has, so I won’t even try.

Instead, I present to you the Ask a Manager Hall of Fame, in no particular order.

Ask a Manager Hall of Fame

1. The company that made 20 job candidates prepare a meal and entertain 20 people together.
Companies like this keep me in business, so I salute them.

2. The employee who was putting magic curses on her coworkers.
Black magic: an occupational hazard.

3. The coworker who wanted all her coworkers to call her boyfriend her master.
I mean…

4. Hanukkah balls (here and more details here).
It’s Savannah’s first Christmas!

5. The person whose coworker stole his spicy food, got sick, and blamed him (and the satisfying update).
Total ridiculousness so rarely gets such a satisfying conclusion.

6. The office sex club.
Is it real? Is it fake? I have no idea and I’ve decided not to care.

7. The person who went and got her dog.

8. The coworker moonlighting as a prostitute during work hours (and the update).
This was my first hint that it might not be all cover letter advice and bad bosses.

9. The “I took all my work to the woods and burned it” comment.
The person who did what everyone else fantasizes about.

10. Wakeen.
I still laugh every time I read this.

{ 317 comments… read them below }

  1. jesicka309*

    I can’t believe it’s been ten years! Congratulations Alison and thanks for all the advice over the years – I definitely feel like you’ve influenced my career from afar.

    At least, I haven’t moonlighted as a prostitute, joined any duck clubs, or received/given any curses to any coworkers. So thank you? :)

    1. Killerrabbitwithpointyteeth*

      And if I felt like doing any of those things you made me think twice. Seriously your blog has helped me take myself more seriously as a manager and has given me skills and understanding.

    2. Hrovitnir*

      I’m gonna tack on here rather than make my own thread to say – congratulations! You write an excellent site. (a) It’s highly entertaining, but probably more importantly, (b) your advice always strives to be fair and I think you strike an excellent balance in your approach both to answering questions and to running the site itself.

    3. Augusta Sugarbean*

      Echoing congratulations and thank you. I am still looking for work but I think my improved cover letters are the reason I’m getting some interviews at least.

    4. Engineer Woman*

      Congratulations on 10 years, Alison!

      Unfortunately, I’ve only been reading for a couple years and sorely wish I had started from the beginning (Thank you for the “You May Also Like” link as I can view some random old posts from time to time). Your blog is an amazing combination of a wonderful workplace resource and entertainment the same time. May you have continued and well-deserved success.

  2. "Computer Science"*

    Ten years! Alison, this is incredible. Thank you for your hard work, humour, and endless support. You’ve created an incredibly valuable resource, and I can’t wait to see how this continues to develop for you.

  3. Worker Bee (Germany)*

    Congratulations Alison!
    I’ve been reading this side for five years now and it actually is the second page I open every morning (after the newspaper)
    To the next ten years of helpful wonderful and entertaining letters and responses!

  4. Myrin*

    Congratulations on ten successful years full of whackjobs, whacky jobs, professional advice, and fostering of personal online relationships. May there be many more!

    Out of curiosity, are there any readers that have been with the site from basically the beginning? (I know that fposte’s comments appear in threads from 2010, but I don’t know about before that.)

    1. MommaCat*

      Well, this poster named “Anonymous” was there at the beginning. Prolific writer, Anonymous. ;-)

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Oh, interesting. I just went back and looked at the comments from December 2007 (which was easy to do because there were far fewer posts and far fewer comments in those days), and I recognized Suzanne Lucas of Evil HR Lady, GeekChic (not sure if it’s the same GeekChic of current day though), and nyxalinth (is she still around? not sure). And I think The Gold Digger was around from pretty early on too.

      Funnily, a no-longer-here early commenter who stands out to me was this guy named Hank Hill who was sort of trolling for a while in the 2009-ish era and then actually stopped when I asked nicely.

      1. Stephanie*

        You got a troll to stop trolling. It’s like…magic. (Black magic, perhaps?)

      2. the gold digger*

        Yes! I have been here since the beginning (although then, I was commenting as the Class Factotum – I hadn’t started writing the then double-secret Golddigger blog yet).

        It is your wonderful advice that helped me write a resume and cover letters that has gotten me interviews and jobs.

        Your blog is my must-read every day. I love what you write and I think the commenters are fabulous. I have made friends here – I have met Jamie in person and found Stephanie, who went to the same college I did (years after I graduated). I love this community.

        1. Bookworm*

          Oh, I remember that name! I never connected that you were the same people. I figured Class Factotum just got busy.

      3. GeekChic's Husband*

        My late wife got me into reading this blog a number of years ago when she shared some of your early posts with me (she said she made you laugh about her duties maintaining the grave of a cat at her old job).

        She died of cancer a year ago. She worked in IT nearly to the end. I know she wrote a little about that here. She enjoyed reading Jaime’s (with Hello Kitty) posts about IT, Rana’s thoughts about academia and fpostes’ calm and dryly humourous comments.

        I still read to remember my wife. Congrats on your 10 years of blogging.

        1. TheLazyB*

          Awwwwwwwwww that is lovely. I’m so sorry you lost your wife. I was just thinking the other day that when commenters disappear we’d never know if it was because they had died.

          I’m glad you still read!

        2. Myrin*

          That honestly made me tear up.

          I’m so sorry you lost your wife, but I’m glad this site brought her joy and that you can still read in fond rememberance of her.

        3. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I’m so sorry. From time to time I’ve realized we wouldn’t know if that happened (and this is the first time we’ve known). Thank you for letting us know, and I’m so sorry you lost her.

        4. BeenThere*

          Thank you for sharing and so sorry for your loss. I recall GeekChic may have been one of the commenters I looked forward to reading. I’m also a woman in IT it can get rather lonely out there so being in a safe place on the internet with other battle hardened woman makes it easier some days. It’s also heartwarming to think a little piece of her lives on in this blog :)

        5. fposte*

          I remember your wife fondly, and I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for reading and sharing.

        6. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Oh, this took my breath away. I remember GeekChic’s comments and am so sorry for your loss. Thank you so much for letting us know.

        7. Matilda Jefferies (formerly JMegan)*

          I remember her too. So sorry to hear about your loss.

        8. Not So NewReader*

          I am sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope you continue on reading here and I hope you enjoy the community here.

        9. GeekChic's Husband*

          Thank you to everyone for their kind words. It’s been hard but things get a bit better each day.

        10. Former Employee*

          My condolences on the loss of your beloved wife. How lovely to be able to read her writings even though she is gone. I’m glad you are doing better.

      4. Connie-Lynne*

        I’ve been reading since the early days, but I would read, then take a while off, then come back, repeat etc.

        I think I started commenting for the first time in 2012? Because I was doing so much catchup reading, I mostly didn’t post because I wanted to avoid commenting on old posts.

      5. Sami*

        Is Hildi still commenting? Perhaps under a different name?
        I LOVED the interview you did with her. I still go back and read it occasionally.

    3. VonBomb*

      I’ve been reading the whole time!! I was blogging at the same time under a pseudonym and gave it away but still reading without commenting any more. Congratulations AAM

    4. Sarah G*

      I’ve been reading since at least 2009, which I figured out because I have comments back to then. Not sure if I read earlier posts and just didn’t comment.

    5. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I’ve been reading since about 2009 after clicking a link from Evil HR Lady about her favorite sites. I started off getting my work advice from a column in the newspaper called “Kate and Dale Talk Jobs” (which later became J.T. and Dale). Then I found Evil HR Lady, and for a little while I read Penelope Trunk, but something was the matter with her (/understatement).

      1. periwinkle*

        Like you, I found AAM via Evil HR Lady. My earliest comment, under a different user name, was posted in late 2009. Oddly enough, it looks like I didn’t post a second comment until 2012! Looks like I switched to my current name toward the end of 2013, not that I post that often.

        It’s been wonderful to see how this site has grown and yet remain one of the few truly civilized outposts. I’ve learned so much about navigating the workplace and life in general from Senior Blogger Green and the wonderful commentators here.

        1. JessaB*

          It’s funny I did the opposite, found Evil HR by reading AAM. I find a tonne of websites I now follow from the comments here.

          Happy Anniversary Alison, here’s to ten more years of posts.

      2. Bend & Snap*

        Penelope Trunk was a client of my former employer. Let’s just say she wasn’t a fan favorite of the team who handled her.

    6. Me2*

      I started reading probably in 2010 but I went back and read every post from the beginning. This is by far my favorite blog; thank you Alison for all the hard work you do to give us so much content and so much wisdom.

    7. Keladry of Mindelan*

      I’ve been reading for at least 4 years, but only began commenting recently. Congratulations on 10 years!

      1. Prismatic Professional*

        Protector of the Small! There is still a lot of work for you to do. :-)

    8. FD*

      I found it around 2012 or so, though I didn’t start commenting until 2013, I think. I was searching for better resume advice than the terrible, terrible stuff found in most books at our library.

      I commented a lot more back then though, because my job was a hotel front desk agent (that’s why I used FD) and we did a lot of standing around waiting for something to happen.

      1. ThursdaysGeek*

        I found it in late 2012, after making a bad decision when accepting a job. Ah well, hindsight! But I’ve enjoyed AAM in the years since, even if I’m too near retirement to take advantage of all the good advice. I can still enjoy the blogs and the commenters!

  5. Megan*

    Congratulations Alison! AAM is my favourite website and I proudly own a Chocolate Teapots Inc mug. You’ve looked at my resume, answered a question and I couldn’t be more thankful. You’ve done an incredible job and every day I look forward to reading more. Thank you for everything!

    1. Umvue*

      This brings up a question! Alison, I love how this hall of fame highlights the origin of some famous phrases. Where did the teapot references come from? :)

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        A while back, a commenter used “chocolate teapots” as a fictional example of a company’s products. I used it myself a few times, and then it caught on more widely since it’s often useful to have a generic stand-in so that you don’t have to get specific about what your company does (both for simplicity’s sake and anonymity’s sake).

        I actually usually try to avoid using it too frequently in questions since I know it’ll be confusing to some readers, but at times it’s very useful.

        1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

          I particularly love it for giving us a lot of ways to describe the relationship of different job aspects to each other — again, without getting revealing! It’s a great phrase.

        2. Karen D*

          I never knew the Wakeen origin story either! I thought it (along with the teapots, which I never realized were all meant to be chocolate) was something clever you made up to have an obviously fake cast and industry so folks didn’t try to guess :)

          So now I know Wakeen has a sister, Joa-Kim. YAY!

    1. Not Australian*

      Also … I wonder if #7 has her dog yet? Another update would be wonderful!

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        I’ve always wondered, as well. #7 still brings tears (of happiness) to my eyes. It’s an unexpectedly wonderful reflection of the best of humanity.

  6. super anon*

    Number 1 is the post that brought me to AAM – I only wish I had found the site sooner! Allison’s advice has definitely made me a better employee, and eased my transition into management. Thank you Allison – I hope we get 10 more years and beyond of fantastic advice.

  7. Annie Mouse*

    Congratulations on 10 years Alison :) I only found the blog last year but I love it !!

  8. Anonicat*

    Wakeen: I always get a little laugh when I see this being used as one of AAM’s go-to pseudonyms.

      1. Hrovitnir*

        Yeah, I just assumed it was a joke about misspellings bundled into a pseudonym… not that it had a specific origin! Ohh, so much sympathy for the LW.

        1. some mammal*

          Same here. Some people will hear a cool name and call their child that, but they don’t know how to spell it. Back in the day people watched Dallas (tv show) and parents thought Sue Ellen was a nice name for their new daughter, and some poor kid ended up being called Suwallan.

          1. Hrovitnir*

            Haha oh my. My step-sister is called Siobhan (she-vahn) and she once met someone whose parents named her that but pronounce it how it looks. O_O

            1. Mallory Janis Ian*

              Our new computer IT guy at work is named Shervon, and the dean spent a whole meeting introducing him and referring to him as Chevron. He was a student worker before getting the full-time gig, so everyone already knew him. It’s been a huge joke for several weeks now to greet him with, “Whattup, Chevron!”

        2. Jayn*

          Lots of sympathy here too, since I can see myself doing the same thing–I’m rather unfamiliar with Spanish phonetics and would never guess at that pronunciation. Also lots of sympathy for “Wakeen” as someone who has dealt with similar issues but is fortunate enough to have a name that shortens nicely.

      2. JulieBulie*

        Yes, all this time I’ve been wondering “why don’t they call him ‘Joachin’?” Thanks for linking to the explanation.

    1. Liane*

      The name “Wawkeen” was used for a very minor character in the 2011 SF novel To Kiss or to Kill by Jean Lorrah. (part of the Sime/Gen series written by her & Jacqueline Lichtenburg).

  9. some mammal*

    Ha ha!! Wakeen
    Kind of reminds me of my own situation. I’m not good with names. I don’t forget them easily, but I never bother to ask what people’s names are. So there are many people at work who I see every day, but I have no idea what their names are. And I think it’s too late to ask. “Hello, person who I have been greeting every morning for the last 3 years. What’s your name?” Can I do that?

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      I have one of those and I think it’s too late (it’s been almost a year). Maybe ask other people.

      Super Helpful Tip: don’t start calling your person Wakeen.

    2. Ceiswyn*

      I could do with this advice too. I’ve been saying ‘hi’ to some of these people for almost five years. AND THEY ALL KNOW MY NAME.

    3. mdv*

      I failed to recognize my own cousin’s wife — who I know! — when she said “hi” to me at an event at the university I work for this year. It was mortifyingly embarrassing, to say the least, when i did not realize i had seen her when my cousin texted me later…

      Happy anniversary, Alison!

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        My father does this whenever he sees my best friend’s mom (i.e., doesn’t see her even when they make direct eye contact). They have known each other for over 20 years, now, and used to see each other daily on their public transit commute… and the grocery store, and the pharmacy (it’s a small town). I think it’s because my friend’s mom had extremely bold hair when they first met, and ever since then, my dad just cannot recognize her with “normal” hair.

    4. Dawn*

      My name is unusual enough to cause people to pause, and you would think I’d be better at names because of it, but I am so bad at names! I’ve known people for years, and I never actually learned their names.

    5. Noobtastic*

      Don’t think “It’s too late.” You’re looking at this as a chronic issue. Change it to an acute issue.

      Next time you see one of these people, pause for a moment, and then laugh and say, “I’m sorry. I’m completely blanking. Remind me of your name, please?” They don’t need to know it’s the first time you’ve actually heard it.

      I guarantee you, they’ve used that, themselves, either for a real blank experience, or because they’ve been in the same situation as you.

      The best thing is, the older you get, the more you can use it, because everyone understands, “senior moments.”

          1. Kristin (Germany)*

            Sorry, why not? I know that when I was pregnant I had a light mental fog that only lifted after each child was born. Nothing that made me less of an responsible adult, but enough that forgetting names was likelier than usual and certainly plausible. Is it the term itself that you object to? Would ‘pregnant brain’ be preferable in your opinion?

            1. Geneticist*

              Because not all women experience this problem and calling it that makes it seem like all pregnant women are going to be mentally lacking while pregnant.

              You’re also giving sexist people yet another thing to add to the “why we shouldn’t hire/promote women” list.

              It’s also not an appropriately professional excuse. If you started screaming at a coworker who played music too loud, it would be unacceptable for you to say “Oh sorry, that’s my PMS.” Same thing goes for “baby brain.” The work world expects you to behave like an adult and ensure that whatever personal issues you’re experiencing don’t affect your professional relationships or work product.

              1. Killerrabbitwithpointyteeth*

                True. However I did forget my own name while ordering a cake for my baby shower. I need a simple reason such as baby brain otherwise I am a bit more forgetful than I thought.

                1. I'll come up with a clever name later.*

                  Two nights ago I was so tired that I literally forgot my husband’s name. While I was talking to him. I just stopped talking and stared blankly at him before wailing “I’ve spaced on your name!!!” I’m not pregnant. Brain fog happens with everyone.

            1. agatha*

              Geneticist already explained in another comment, but as an example of why they’re asking you not to do that, my response to your comment (re: cornflakes) could be “ha ha, pregnant women are so grumpy – hormones, amirite guys?” The problem with a response like that is that a) erases the fact that you’re upset because of the way someone spoke to you b) it places the blame squarely and solely on you for (and as) the problem, and c) it lumps all pregnant women into one monolithic group that it’s okay to make dismissive statements of because “they’re pregnant”. And if any pregnant woman says “I don’t find that funny”, they use “it was obviously just a joke!” and again, place the onus on *her* as being the one responsible for the problem, rather than the not-very-funny joke.

              1. PoorDecisions101*

                I don’t think it’s a great comment to make in the workplace, but it’s frustrating not acknowledging or allowing people to understand they may be having a physical reaction to a thing, which they may be able to rectify.

                This comes up in PMS discussions as well. I have my own issues with this pretty much under controlled by taking magnesium the week before my period and it’s made such a difference. I have tanked my professional reputation at times by being unable to control myself for an easily fixable physical symptom that would have been a major quality of life improvement if I discovered this sooner. Not talking about it and telling people to suck it up and control themselves makes it harder for them to get help.

              2. Parenthetically*

                I am *actually* pregnant, and despite the fact that I have *actually* found my brain to be very foggy since I got pregnant, I was *actually* joking. The harshness of the school-marming about this right now is genuinely befuddling to me. I’ve heard men explain to women why it’s unfeminist and regressive to jokingly call our girlfriends “b!tches” and the tone here is dangerously similar.

                1. Candi*

                  There’s also a fun fact about pregnancy that cause your brain to fark up aside from the hormones.

                  During pregnancy, blood volume increases. I’ve seen ‘normal’ ranges from 30-50%, with 40% often mentioned.

                  If you search some of the symptoms/side effects of high blood volume, you’ll see some that indicate high blood volume… affects the brain’s functioning.

                  So, yes, baby brain, pregnancy brain, or mommy brain is very much a thing before you get into the hormones and the lack of sleep from kicking and pressure, and exhaustion from hauling all that weight around as well as the lack of sleep.

                  And, since we’re human and even identical twins are unique in multiple ways, not everyone is affected to the same degree.

                  So go ahead and find a better name for it -but screwed up thinking in pregnancy is a thing that happens.

                  (And if you have high blood volume symptoms and aren’t pregnant, get thee to the doctor. It’s a Problem.)

      1. JanetM*

        I participate in a meet-up sort of thing, which means (1) people come and go and come back, and (2) I meet a *lot* of people. I’ve gotten very good at putting my hand out (to shake hands) and saying, “Hi, I know we’ve met; I’ve lost your name; I’m Janet.”

        1. Aussie academic*

          I really like this phrasing and am going to use it when I next see someone who I have no name for. Thanks!

      2. Cath in Canada*

        In Scotland, there’s an actual word for blanking on someone’s name: tartling, as in:

        “I’m so sorry, I’m tartling here”
        “oh, no problem, it’s Cath”

        Giving this phenomenon its own name seems to defuse the awkwardness, by acknowledging that it’s just one of those things we all experience from time to time.

        1. Rookie Manager*

          I’ve lived in Scotland for about 20 years now and never heard that before. What a great word to have!

        2. Phyllis B*

          My children refer to it as having a “brain fart.” When I say that the other person laughs and tells me their name. (They usually tell me they forgot mine too, so it’s all good.)

    6. Alex*

      I am tremendously bad with names. There’s a lovely woman who works at my local Starbucks who is amazing with names. I don’t even go there very often but she knew my name and my drink after maybe the third time I’d seen her there. I still have to look at her name tag every. single. time. And you know what? I can’t even think of what her name is right now.

      1. SheLooksFamiliar*

        I am pretty good with names in the moment, thank goodness. I call people by their names at work or, say, my favorite restaurant. But let me talk to a friend about one of my PITA work colleagues or the great waiter at that restaurant, and I draw a blank. I tell myself it’s an endearing eccentricity, but I know better. And I’m not sure how to fix it.

      2. many bells down*

        Years of teaching have made me able to instantly remember the names of anyone under the age of 16. Adults? Nope, sorry, I will not remember your name literally 3 seconds after you tell me, even when I’m concentrating *really hard* on it.

        1. Hrovitnir*

          Ha! I am horrendous with names, but when I was still (vet) nursing I found I remembered animal names really well. Possibly because you use theit names more (how often do you use an adult’s name in conversation?), possibly because I was fairly invested in their personalities so it forms a stronger association.

    7. Fleur*

      My go-to approach to this is to ask for their email address when I need to send them a reply. Like, “Sorry, what’s your e-mail again?” and then Outlook tells me their name. It works for me since our emails are last name +first initial and are not always obvious.

      1. Annie Moose*

        Asking people how to spell their names is another good one, although you have to beware of people saying “the normal way”. (to that, you can usually self-deprecatingly go, “humor me, I don’t want to get it wrong”!)

    8. TheReluctantOtter*

      I had my own “Wakeen” moment as a naive student when I met someone called Sean. We were assigned work groups so I just read his name off the list, but I’d never seen the Irish spelling before.

      I called him “Seen” for whole months before the whole group caved in a collective melt down of hysterical laughter.

      Nearly 20 years later I’m still impressed they managed to keep straight faces for so long!

      1. Sami*

        I grew up with a set of twins in my hometown and high school who were named Sean and Shawn (both male). And yes, pronounced Shawn and Seen.

    9. SusanIvanova*

      How about people you know very well by their IRC handles, and you see them around the office occasionally, but you have no clue which IRC handle goes with which face? “Hi, total stranger who I chat with constantly!”

    10. Hannah*

      I actually got a great tip from someone for situations like these: you just ask: “what’s your name again?” And when they reply with their first name, you just say: “No, I know that (no, you didn’t, but now you do), I ment your *last* name!” It totally works!

    11. Sarasaurus*

      Do you have an Outlook-type calendar, where you can see who is in certain meetings? The next time a mystery person walks into a conference room, run back to your desk, pull up the meeting list, and use the process of elimination to figure our their name.
      I’ve NEVER done that ;)

    12. tiny temping teapot*

      I used to smoke and would smoke outside the building under a canopy of a local store where all the smokers would gather. There was one nice fellow and we talked constantly for months since we’d both end up smoking around the same time. He remember my name, I to this day do not know his name. I know his father died because he told me at one point when we were talking, do not know his name. At some point I couldn’t ask!

    13. This Daydreamer*

      Ugh, I have the same problem all the time. I’m really good at conversations that don’t obviously leave the name out (I hope). Sometimes I’ll use a brain fart as an excuse. I’m pretty open about having ADHD so I rarely get a hard time about it.

      One time I ran into a former coworker and we started talking about how hard names could be to remember. We ended the conversation with ” It was good to see you, DAYDREAMER.” “Likewise, COWORKER.”

  10. jasmine*

    Congratulations, Alison! I don’t remember whether I’ve been reading AAM from the very beginning, but I’ve certainly been reading it for many years, during which time I’ve learned a great deal (and have also been frequently entertained). Your wisdom and empathy shines through in all your writing. I hope you’ll continue doing this for many years to come. Thanks!

  11. Sarah G*

    Congratulations and happy anniversary — wow! I was trying to figure out when I started reading it, and I found comments I wrote back to 2009, so I’m guessing it was about then. Sorry that I missed 2 years, but glad I was fortunate to get on board early! I’ve learned so much from this blog, not just about work-related things, but about how to communicate directly and effectively, and how to fine-tune what it means to be a good, reasonable, and conscientious person.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Sarah, it should be said, is one of two real-life friends who reads the site at least semi-regularly. We’ve known each other since college! (And she must really wonder how college-me turned into AAM-me.)

      1. Sarah G*

        “At least semi-regularly” = religiously. :) I don’t usually have time to read through the comments as much as I’d like, considering what a great commenting community it is (largely thanks to the kind and sensible rules enforced by Alison, but also thanks to a group of smart, engaging, generous, and open commenters), but I never miss a post! And I’m surprised to be one two real-life friends who read it — your other friends must not know what they’re missing!
        That said, my two siblings both enjoy AAM and read it at least occasionally, and my brother insists he didn’t find out about it through me, and in fact was surprised to find that I knew Alison personally!

      1. Sarah G*

        You may need to bribe both of us for that one! But in all honesty, the first thing that comes to mind is that she was (not surprisingly) one of the smartest people and best writers I’d ever encountered (and that’s coming from someone with a family of career writers). As for the other stories, I’m sure I have a few, but nothing too shocking, and she is actually incredibly transparent on AAM about some of her past endeavors, so you can catch some tidbits here and there if you’re paying close attention. :)

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          That is very diplomatic and kind :) Sarah was a much more well-adjusted friend than I deserved at the time.

          Sarah, one of my favorite memories of us in college is that time we took over that huge empty kitchen to make ourselves stir-fry. I still don’t know why that kitchen was empty or how we had access to it.

  12. Iain "Get off my lawn!" Clarke*

    What does it say about me that I remember almost all of those from the time of publication? (I spent a LONG time lurking). I’ve said my thanks in previous posts, so I won’t waffle on. You’re the first website I check in the morning, and always entertaining. “What would Alison say” is a running part of many a conversation with my wife on various topics. Please don;t stop now!

  13. ChocolateBrownie*

    Congrats Allison!

    I’ve only been reading for the past year, I stumbled across the site at the tail end of a bad break up when I moved into my own place in a new city and it was a huge help to have something so entertaining and useful to read while getting used to my own space again. I look forward to reading for the next ten! You’re one of the most consistently entertaining sites on the net, and I love reading to the very end of the comments section as much as I love your advice.

  14. Fish Microwaver*

    In the comments on update of the prostitute coworker, there is mention of a masturbating coworker (Anonymous February 24 at 9.40pm). What the what was that?

    1. AMD*

      I think the context was someone misusing internet privileges and misbehaving at their desk, but I’m not certain.

  15. Ramona Flowers*

    Happy anniversary! I found AAM while in the middle of a career change. I came for the interview advice and tips on working with other humans after years of sharing office space with my cat. I stayed for Wakeen and the teapots.

  16. Oscar Madisoy*

    Congratulations on ten years. One of my favorite features of the blog is the “Surprise Me!” option, which I use on a regular basis, especially on the weekend when the free-for-all doesn’t do it for me, I still want to read work-related Q-and-A. One reason it’s great is because it’ll present me an interesting post in a category I might not search on my own.

    One suggestion I’d like to make: please, please, please make it possible for us to preview our posts! Why is this option not available?

    1. (Mr.) Cajun2core*

      Ditto! That is often why I type mine up in Word first and then copy and paste my post.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      The “Surprise Me!” feature was a reader suggestion, and it was a great one!

      A preview option, unfortunately, isn’t possible with the current commenting system (and switching to a new one isn’t a great option for a whole bunch of reasons).

      1. GH in SoCAl*

        That was me! I suggested a Random button a few weeks after discovering the site — probably in 2012 — because I was reading through the archives. I was and remain so excited that Alison liked my idea and implemented it so quickly.

      1. Phyllis B*

        BTW Alison, congrats on 10 years. I can’t remember how I found your site, but I am constantly sharing your advice with my adult children. I so wish you had been around in my younger days, but considering I am at least 20 years older than you, well………….anyway, thank you for all you do.

  17. Sled dog mama*

    I’ve only been around about six months but I love this site; like another poster said, it’s part of my morning routine.
    I’m convinced that the advice here is why, in my recent job search, I sent out 6 applications (very niche field) got 3 interviews and 2 offers (I canceled the third interview after learning some things about the company) and had the confidence to negotiate to what I think I’m worth when the job I wanted low balled their offer.
    Thanks Allison!
    I’d love to see a post on all time comment count (like the one you did at the end of the year) maybe it could be % of traffic that commented to be fair to earlier posts but the might be a lot of work.

  18. Colette*

    Happy anniversary! I’d guess I started reading in 2010 or 2011, but I didn’t start commenting right away. I think my first comment was on the post about the yoga teacher at Facebook.

  19. tsehafy*

    Thanks and congrats to Alison and all the other readers. I’ve been trying to do my small part to reduce the bad advice you get from university career centres using AAM. My alumni association offered meetings with their career advisers for mid-career alumni like me a couple years ago. I used the opportunity to also recommend AAM to her. A few weeks later she wrote back thanking me for tip. Today I have a call with a recent grad looking to get into my field, I’m also going to refer him here because his CV needs a lot of work.

  20. One of the Sarahs*

    Thank you so much for all your great work, your fantastic advice, and how you look after the comments section. I really appreciate all you do.

  21. Suzanne Lucas--Evil HR Lady*

    Congratulations on 10 years! The world is a better place because of this blog.
    On the Wakeen story– I used to work with a lady whose name was Wanita. Pronounced Juanita. I’m guessing her parents heard the name, liked it, and never asked anyone how to spell it. It was Southern Utah, which is notorious for stupid spellings, though, so maybe her parents thought she was being creative.

    1. mcbqe*

      I worked with a Juanita who pronounced her name as “Jooanita”. When I first met her (I was to be her trainer) I tried using my worldly wise skills and pronouncing it in the Spanish way, feeling quite proud of myself (it’s not a common name here in AU). Nope.

      Apparently, years earlier she had become tired of people always mispronouncing it – i.e. not realising it’s “Wanita” – so she decided to go with the lowest common denominator and now the wrong way was going to be the right way.

      I got so confused…

      1. Me two!*

        I live in the US rural south, which had very little Latino population until the last 10 years. Yet in the obits, “Juanita” is a not terribly uncommon name for women in their 60s-70s. I have no idea how they pronounced it; about 50% of the time, the obits say they went by their middle names, or nicknames like “Sweetie” or “Biscuit.” I’ve wondered if some Juanita was in the pop culture around WWII…

        1. Me two!*

          Oops- meant to say in the first sentence that my region has had few Latino influences until recently; upon reread, one would think I was speaking for the whole rural south. I am not.

        2. Parenthetically*

          Yes! I know a woman my mother’s age (mid-60s) whose name is Karen Juanita — and I’ve come across several non-Hispanic white women living in the rural plains area named Juanita.

        3. Nerfmobile*

          South American/Cuban/Central American cultural influences were quite popular in the US in the 1930s and early 1940s (for instance, Carmen Miranda).

          1. Candi*

            I have a relative whose middle name is Juanita. Spanish ancestry in her case. That’s how I learned very early on about the h/hw/w sound.

            (And why I cringe when I hear Jose pronounced with j as in jam.)

      2. many bells down*

        I had a classmate who went by “Juana” because her actual name was too difficult. It was an indigenous Central American name and no one north of the border could pronounce it.

        4 years later, I realized that her email address was the equivalent of “Wakeen” – it was her real name, phonetically spelled.

    2. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I also wanted to add that way back in 2011 I made a comment under “Anon for This”, but I forgot to remove my Gravatar picture. I replied under my own comment with, “Oops, I guess I outed myself”, and Alison sent me an email that she had fixed it. I still remember and appreciate that she took the time to do that and to let me know — thanks, Alison! For that and for this whole blog.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Ha, bad nesting on my, “once I made a posting error” comment. I meant this to be a stand-alone comment. Muphrey’s law* strikes again.

        *Muphrey’s Law: when you make a typo in a post about typos.

    3. Bow Ties Are Cool*

      Long ago I knew a guy (in Texas) named Dewayne. Pronounced “Duane”. He claimed that it was spelled that way because his parents were illiterate, but he was also a compulsive jokester so to this day I’m not sure if that’s true…

    4. ThursdaysGeek*

      I have a friend (from CA) whose name is Wanita. I’ll be seeing her tonight – maybe I’ll ask why.

  22. mcbqe*

    *Raises a glass of something bubbly and expensive to Alison*

    This is such a fabulous site; thanks for the many, many hours of informative and entertaining reading. Here’s to the next decade!

  23. S.I. Newhouse*

    Thank you, Alison, for providing a site that’s not only very entertaining but also phenomenally useful to me and the people I serve (I’m a librarian who assists job seekers). Congrats on the milestone.

  24. Antilles*

    I found this blog about a year ago and have really enjoyed it. My wife and I will often discuss some of the weirder posts – and she’s using some of your advice to help her career, so much appreciated. :)

  25. Annie Moose*

    I’ll add my thanks and congratulations to the rest!

    I found the blog last year, when OldJob was being acquired by Giant Faceless Corporation, Inc., and have enjoyed it ever since. It’s helped lift my spirits on bad days (I knew the layoff would come eventually, but it took eight months to arrive!), gave me the tools to find a new job, and has made me a better, more mature employee.

    I think my family and friends are being driven crazy by how often I reference this blog… but it’s so useful! And has such magnificent stories. Wakeen, the duck club, Hanukkah balls, these are the legends that will live forever.

  26. Detective Amy Santiago*

    I think my favorite thing about #1 is that the original letter focused more on the not having a chair in one of the panel interviews and the preparing dinner thing was added as almost an afterthought.

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      Oh yes! And then someone else who went to the same interview showed up in the comments too!

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        That was amazing. And then someone with the same IP address as the organization’s president appeared in the comments pretending to be a junior level worker defending the whole thing.

        1. One of the Sarahs*

          Oh my goodness, that is *spectacular*!

          I would love to see a top 10 of things like that too – top 10 justifications, maybe? Top 10 responses? (of course, definitely understand you’re v busy!)

            1. Mallory Janis Ian*

              You were really diplomatic, but still straightforward, in calling them out, Alison. That’s one of the things I’ve learned from this blog, is that tactful and straight forward aren’t mutually exclusive.

            2. BouncingBall*

              And now I’m going to have to go back and re-read that whole thread again. It’s the one that brought me here, and the comments were what kept me here!

        2. Observer*

          I remember when they officially defended it, but this piece I don’t remember. Oh, brother. It’s hard to imagine what they were thinking.

    2. Parenthetically*

      That was hilarious. The insane Masterchef Challenge dinner prep was almost mentioned as a by-the-by! One of my favorite of Alison’s replies as well.

  27. eplawyer*

    Congrats Alison on 10 years of top notch, pithy advice.
    Remember folks, “you’re boss is an ass.”

  28. bassclefchick*

    Thank you, Alison! I’ve been reading since at least 2012. I don’t usually comment on the daily posts, I’m more active on the weekend open thread. This is a great blog. Here’s to many more years!

  29. Hellanon*

    I absolutely credit Alison & the commentariat here for actually being able to *do* the job I was promoted into a year and a half ago. Thanks Alison – and all the rest of you!

  30. babblemouth*

    Congratulations Alison! Such an amazing milestone. I’ve loved reading all of your advice over the years, and I look forward to 10 more years of it (and then some!)

  31. MuseumChick*

    Alison, I just want to say how much help and joy this site has brought me. I really credit it with helping me get where I am today. Thinking back, I don’t even remember how I found this site but I’ve been reading it for close to 6 years now. Back then I was 24, graduated from college and following my career centers terrible advice. I had no idea how to write a good (or even just OK) cover letter, no idea what questions to ask in an interview, and was generally just stumbling my way trough trying to find a job.

    Now, I has a MA in Museum Studies and am working full-time doing what I love. You don’t know me personally but you have help me (and so many others) reach our dreams. Thank you.

  32. Allypopx*

    I can’t remember when I found the site, because I devoured the archives those first few months, but I’d assume it was around 3 years ago when I got my first management position. Y’all were such lifesavers (Alison, of course, but also the commentariat).

    Congrats Alison!

  33. fposte*

    Congratulations, Alison–it just goes to show that you never know where life will take you, or how weird people’s workplaces can get! Thank you both for your advice, which has helped me immeasurably, and also for providing a space to hear from the wise and colorful commenters.

    1. Sami*

      It has occasionally crossed my mind that fposte is actually Alison acting as if she’s a regular commenter. ;-) Just kidding!

      Congratulations Alison! Thanks for such a fantastic blog.

  34. nnn*

    I never knew that was the origin of Wakeen! As a child, a met a new classmate named Harsimran and thought it was spelled Horseman, so I empathize completely!

    1. Mallory Janis Ian*

      Lol. When I was a little kid, my across-the-street friend had a dad named ‘Al’, and I asked her why her dad’s name was ‘Owl’. She was all, “I don’t know . . . ” so we asked her dad, and he had to explain to both of us that his name wasn’t ‘Owl’.

  35. You Are Awesome!!!*

    I cannot thank you enough, Alison! I never would’ve been able to become the manager I am today without you.

  36. Mimmy*

    Congratulations on 10 years!! I think I found this site in 2011 when looking for job search and career advice. I just wish I’d found this site when it started because that’s when I was looking for and got my first post-Masters job; I could’ve really used the advice and support of AAM and the commentariat as I struggled with my confidence. Now, in my current job, I often find myself wondering what Alison would think of some of the things I’m experiencing.

    #7 is definitely my favorite on the list above–really, one of my all-time favorite posts. I’ve mentioned here before about my passion for disability inclusion and accessibility, and it really made my day to see an employer being so genuinely supportive (though, I don’t think this is in the U.S. based on some of the spelling).

  37. Kristine*

    Congrats Alison! I only found this site 2 years ago (wish I had found it 8 years earlier!) and it’s been an invaluable resource. Thank you for being the guiding light to all of us who are otherwise stumbling through the dark as we build our careers.

  38. Parenthetically*

    TEN years?! Happy, happy anniversary and thank you for hosting us here and carefully creating and curating one of the best places on the internet.

  39. Matilda Jefferies (formerly JMegan)*

    Congratulations on 10 years! I’ve been reading since 2012 or so, which I’m SURE was just last week, but apparently it’s been a bit longer than that.

    I love that there are 47 comments on the “my coworker is a prostitute” post. The site seems to have experienced a bit of growth since then!

    1. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I know, right? Today, a post like that would draw at least 500 comments, I bet.

  40. NYC Redhead*

    Happy anniversary and congratulations on all of your success and for creating such an amazing community online. AAM is the first page I open in the morning, and my internal clock is set to 11, 12:30 and 2 (the time of new releases in my time zone.) You have gotten me through more work days than I care to admit!

  41. Erin*

    Congratulations!! I’ve been reading since around 2010 and it is definitely what helped me get a job at the organization I’ve been with for the past six years. But it’s your great writing that keeps this on my RSS feed and has me recommending AAM to anyone in need of work advice. Thanks!

  42. Amber Rose*

    I credit this place for giving me the confidence to get and face my current job. Thank you Alison for your great, compassionate advice and sense of humor, and to all the great people who have joined this community, who have given me some great input on a few Fridays, and assisted me with bread baking last Saturday. I get so much from you guys. :D

    The one who went and got her dog still brings a small tear to my eye. Talk about heartwarming memories.

  43. Jennifer*

    Congratulations Alison! I’ve been here from almost the beginning and I can’t express how grateful I am for all the career advice you’ve offered over the years thank you so so so much!

  44. A Canadian*

    Congratulations Alison! Your site is one of my favourites, and I’ve been reading it religiously since at least 2011 or so. Here’s to many more years of fantastic advice and amazing workplace stories.

  45. AMD*


    I am trying to imagine a world nowadays where “My coworker is prostituting herself during working hours” would only net 47 comments.

  46. GingerHR*

    Ten years is impressive. I think I’ve been reading (and only occasionally commenting) for 7 or 8 years, although have changed my name once (or twice if counting the initial anon). Going back once some old posts is such a joy, although it also makes me realise that some of the incredibly insightful early commenters have dropped off along the way. Alison’s responses are always really interesting, but I think the broad level of commentary gives the site something that other sites can’t always offer.

  47. Rikki Tikki Tarantula*

    Congratulations, Alison!

    “Wakeen” always gives me a giggle. And I must have read the “duck club” letter and follow-up about five times and still am undecided about the veracity of it all.

    1. Please don't judge my tv choices*

      I stumbled on this blog recently, so just read the duck club letter and it rang a faint bell and then I remembered a Dharma and Greg episode. So I Googled it. There was a whole storyline where Dharma and her friend would compete for the weirdest/most public location to have sex in. Winner got to keep a stuffed duck until the challenger had sex in a weirder place. Now whether the letter was faked using it for inspiration or this is just where the co-workers got the name I couldn’t tell you

      1. Candi*

        My opinion is, if it was not fake (fake being the horse explanation), that it was part true and part prank on the part of the office staff the supervisor was supervising. (And not all that well.)

        The quacking may have been some kind of inside joke the LW was unaware of. She definitely did walk in on two people having sex.

        The points sheet may have been real, or something to yank her chain.

        The condom in the dispenser (update) may have just been randomness. Goodness knows the teens at my kids school thought stuffing (packaged) condoms where they didn’t belong, including vending machines, was hilarious for a while.

        The cars and the rest of the stuff in the update? It put me in mind of Matilda, the book, where Matilda says to her classmate that no one is ever going to believe what the Trunchbull gets up to because it is that insane. Extrapolating, if the staff didn’t want to get in trouble for having sex on work premises (eww), making it look like what was happening was totally crazy would make the supervisor and her boss look like conspiracy nuts.

        That’s the zebra explanation. Inside the probability curve, but just that weird and unlikely.

        But -reality hands us provable stuff that is insane, so sometimes it is zebras.

  48. Sabine the Very Mean*

    I started reading after googling for advice about work and came upon the post about the woman who tried to make her employee work the weekend shift even when employee said she was graduating from college after working like a dog to get there and working for the company all the while.

    I have always been desperate for information about the LW on that one. Did Allison ever hear back or reach out to her? I found her to be articulate and somewhat thoughtful even though she made a terrible decision and defended it to Allison. I always thought she seemed like a manager who could genuinely learn from such a mistake but I have always wondered if that was so. I was so proud of her employee for quitting on the spot and was slightly jealous that I didn’t have an example of standing of for myself in such a way in the face of bad management.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      You’re talking about this one, right? She never did write back, but that could be because it was one of two AAM posts that went viral that summer and she sort of got slammed by half the internet, which I imagine would not be an awesome experience.

      1. Sabine the Very Mean*

        Yes, that one! I always find these stories interesting and I once asked you if you ever experienced something similar where you messed up and made amends to your employee wronged.

        1. This Daydreamer*

          No, no, they were all trying to talk some sense into the boss. Alison always assumes someone is female unless there is reason to think otherwise.

          I don’t think ANYONE took the boss’ size in that one.

    2. Starbuck*

      That was the first post I read here as well! I remember not just being blown away by the outrageousness of the question, but also I was truly astounded by the quality of the commentariat here. Thoughtful and civil replies, relevant anecdotes, remarkably on-topic with the occasional entertaining diversion. I was coming off a period of spending far too much time on reddit… this blog and Captain Awkward’s blog completely cured me of that bad habit, thank goodness. Thank you both to Alison and the commentors!

  49. Mananana*

    Congratulations and thank you for providing thought-provoking, real-world advice. And thanks to your AAM community for making me snort with laughter on a regular basis.

  50. Seal*

    Congratulations Alison! I started my current job the same year you started this site, but didn’t discover it until a few years later. Your site has been a tremendous help to me, if only because it regularly assures me that I’m not the crazy one in my workplace.

  51. Canadian J*

    Congratulations on your 10-year anniversary! This blog has been incredibly helpful and inspiring – I read it every day, and recommend it to everyone I know who needs advice on workplace issues. Thanks for all your amazing work, and can’t wait to keep reading!

  52. fluffy*

    Thank you for being here. My day is not complete without you==and the commentariat. I’ve appreciated fposte, Katie the Fed and many, many others.

  53. WanderingAnon*

    Congratulations! I found this blog as a new manager and I’m glad I did. This site (and its lovely commentariat, one of the best on the internet) helped me see situations from many different perspectives. I am much better for it.

    Thanks Alison! Thanks everyone!

  54. Undercover Mental Health Professional*

    Congratulations, Alison! Thank you for creating such a great resource and wonderful community here. I’m so glad I started reading Ask a Manager last spring after hearing about it from a friend. Not only is reading your site entertaining, but it also helped me find a job that is a better fit for my needs in every way when compared with my previous job (where I was overworked, underpaid, and under appreciated).

  55. JulieBulie*

    Congratulations and thanks! This site serves as a reference point/sanity check for me, and also reinforces how lucky I am to work in the place I’m at now.

  56. Delta Delta*

    Congratulations! I found the site a couple years ago and lurked for a long time before commenting. I found it hugely helpful in the last year or so, especially, as I started to suspect I was not the crazy one at OldJob. (I was not the crazy one)

  57. Former Computer Professional*

    Congratulations on 10 years! That’s quite awesome. I really enjoy reading the tales here. Sometimes I feel my life is so dull by comparison. :-)

    My “wakeen” story: Many, many years ago I worked a second job in a mall for a holiday season. The job entailed doing demos for customers. The manager told me I’d be working on the “lee slide” and when I asked what a “lee slide” was, she rolled her eyes and told me to just go work at the table which sat near the entrance. OK.

    For the next month, the permanent employees would ask me, “So how are things on the ‘lee slide’?”and then running off giggling. I couldn’t figure out why. I asked the manager and got more eyerolls.

    It was six months after the job ended before I discovered that the physical boundaries of a commercial lease are called a ‘lease line,’ which exists (in part) so that companies don’t encroach public areas.

    It’s always bothered me that instead of one of them privately explaining where I went wrong, and laughing with me, they instead made me the object of their jokes.

    The same manager asked me to come back the next holiday. I hung up on her. It felt wonderful.

  58. Cruciatus*

    Congratulations! I am very thankful for this site! I’ve been reading since 2011 when I was 6 months into my terrible job that I needed ($8 an hour, nights and weekends–but no one else was hiring me and I had to start *somewhere*. I was too educated and not experienced enough with actual work). About 6 months into that job I searched for the “perfect cover letter” and eventually found some examples here. They were just what I was going for. I didn’t use them! But what I mean is none of the other cover letters online felt like “me” and I was trying to fit into some standard that just felt so unnatural to me and so when I realized it’s OK to have some personality it all started to come together better. I actually was in that job for another 14 months, but have since managed to double my salary (still not where I’d like to be, but for jobs in my area this is not too bad, especially when you count the benefits. And I’m more comfortable asking for more money. I work at a university that doesn’t really leave more money on the table due to equity in the same jobs across campus. But twice when I asked when hired I did get a little more so now I figure, why not!) I switched jobs at the end of April and can’t believe how…functional my current work place is. I’m getting paid more and have less stress. I didn’t know this was possible! The Dean of Libraries where I now work said she really liked my resume (which is the same template I’ve been using all along, but I’ve made the info in it better as I’ve followed the advice on the site!). My former supervisor said as I was leaving that I am really good at interviews and she also liked my cover letter. I am only good at any of these things because I used Alison’s advice, follow her free guidebook before every interview, and have learned I want to know just as much about the company as they do me. Reading this blog has taken some of the “mystique” out of the process and normalized it for me so that it’s not as nerve-wracking anymore and I don’t feel like I need to be someone else in cover letters and interviews that’s totally perfect 100% of the time (though I put my best foot forward, of course!). I didn’t mean for this to get so long, but this blog is with me for everything job related and I’m so glad I found it (and that it exists)!

  59. bunniferous*

    Congratulations on 10 years! I just found you THIS year and have been devouring archives hungrily. All the entertainment of Dear Abby but with actual practical value!

  60. Lore*

    Congratulations! I don’t comment that often because other wiser, more succinct commenters usually get in before me but I’m a dedicated reader and constantly using you as proof that the internet can have nice things and comment sections need not be a swamp of despair. May the next ten be equally great!

  61. (Mr.) Cajun2core*

    Odd how many blogs are started without the intent to make money and are started “just for fun” and then become huge, have a large number of followers, and are money-makers. One of my other favorites that falls into this category is http://cakewrecks.com/

  62. SheLooksFamiliar*

    Congratulations, Alison! It’s refreshing to read a blog where the commenters are expected to be respectful to the OP and each other. Thank you for making this a great resource, for so many people, for so many reasons.

  63. PizzaDog*

    Congrats Alison on 10 years!

    I can’t believe I never read the Wakeen story before – I only knew of “him” from the aliases in the posts. What a great story. He’s the AAM version of Suze from Seinfeld.

  64. Bona fide*

    Congratulations and thanks for the wonderful site! Pretty amazing to hit that sweet spot of entertaining and informative.

  65. Chocolate Teapot*

    Congratulations on 10 whole years!

    And I do feel a little sense of pride that I came up with the example of a company which seems to have taken a life of its own. : – )

    Here’s to another 10!

  66. Emmie*

    Many congratulations, Alison! I appreciate all of the hard work you put into this blog. You give thoughtful advice, select interesting questions, and moderate an accepting, on point dialogue. I’ll never know the true amour of time you put into this blog. It seems like a lot. But, I appreciate your energy. Big congratulations on this amazing milestone!

  67. Vancouver Reader*

    Happy anniversary Alison! I cannot tell you how much your blog has helped me, not just in the workforce, but life in general. You and the commenters here have taught me so much. Here’s to many more years to come.

  68. Realistic*

    Thank you for the laughs, the tears, the education, the commenting community, the cat photos, the “insider jokes” that help us recognize each other elsewhere, the leadership, the practical advice served up with a ton of compassion, and for sharing so much of yourself with us. Thank you for what you do.

  69. TV Researcher*

    Mazel Tov!

    And thank you…

    Not only has this site helped me when I was job searching – that magic question is spot on, but it kept me sane when I saw how much worse my company could behave.

    So, thanks to you and all of the commenters who make this site fantastic.

  70. BeenThere*

    Congratulations Alison!!! Thank you for all your hard work on this blog and community you’ve created around it \:D/

    This community has sustained me through some very hard times and helped me escape them without becoming the next employee with toxic baggage from my previous jobs. It has helped me shine in a new scary role where I moved my family across the country to chase a dream and had to handle not making those missteps in the first few months.

    To me it’s also proof that if you focus on one thing that you care about and do it well with the best intentions the rewards can and will come. At this point I like to picture you sitting in an expensive looking armchair with a steaming cup of tea poured from a bejeweled teapot.

    Happy Anniversary!

  71. LG*

    Congratulations, and thank you for all of the thoughtful and interesting advice! I hope you and your kitty cats are celebrating.

  72. Junior Dev*

    Congratulations on 10 years! You answered a question from me early on in my current career path and I think the advice has taken me far.

    I also highly appreciate how nice the comment section is; I’ve had so many experiences, both online and in person, where people see a young person asking for job advice, ignore the content of my question, and call me “entitled” or tell me to “work harder.” I’ve never seen that happen at AAM; when someone does get that advice, there’s usually some specific reason for it, and people usually move beyond just judging to explain what they actually mean. I appreciate Alison’s moderation and the community as a whole for holding us to a higher standard of discussion.

    And also, I love seeing your cats each weekend!

  73. K.*

    Happy anniversary! I’m not sure how long I’ve been around here – you answered a question of mine five years ago and posted an update, but I know I was here before that. I’ve gotten so much from this blog: advice, laughs, and a great commenting community. Thank you!

  74. Volunteer Enforcer*

    Congratulations Alison on bringing us such an informative and entertaining column for the past decade. Here’s to another ten years of crazy letters answered with level headed, logical advice.

  75. Hippie Chick*

    Happy Anniversary!! Thanks to my adult daughter recommending this site to me a couple of years ago I was able to change jobs fairly painlessly from a toxic environment to a wonderful workplace. I recommend this site to anyone that I know might be job searching, in a toxic work environment, or just wants to be a better person/employee. Thank you for the hours you give us, Alison, and the cats and the books. And the cats and books.

  76. katamia*

    Congratulations, Alison! This site has been so helpful and interesting, and I really appreciate both you and the other commenters.

  77. Rookie Manager*

    Congratulations on 10 years! I only discovered AAM a few months ago but it has entertained and educated me in that time. I can’t help thinking if I had been with you from the start I would have known how to deal with some awful work situations better. Reading you will keep me on the right side going forward. Thank you.

  78. Long Time Lurker First Time Poster*

    Congratulations! I’ve been reading for about 4 years and I feel like this site has helped to make me a more mature person and rational thinker as I transitioned from college student to employee and back to student again. I appreciate your efforts and the thoughtful discussion generated by your readers. Here’s to 10 more years

  79. Nobody Here By That Name*

    I can’t remember when I started reading. I know I originally commented under another name which I can’t remember now, so can’t go back to check. But been a longtime fan, AAM! Congrats on 10 years! Thank you for all your hard work!

  80. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    Congratulations, Alison! I can’t believe it’s been ten years, but it’s a testament to how insanely excellent your blog is. I lurked for ages, and I really think I would have ever developed into a reasonably professional (but still learning/growing!) manager without it. It’s hard to capture in words how much I’ve learned and how much I value the posts and comments. Other than the newspaper, your blog is literally the only thing that I read daily. Thank you :)

  81. Panda Bandit*

    Congratulations Alison! I’ve learned so much from you and the commentariat. The knowledge and support here is priceless. The entertainment is a great bonus, too. :) I wish I had gotten this quality of advice when I was first starting out.

  82. A Teacher*

    I’ve been reading since 2011 and I comment infrequently but I do read every day. I teach high school health career courses and over the years this is been a great filler for my kids on days where I want something that’s really relevant. I direct a lot of them here to read about career advice and even have gotten our business department to refer to the site pretty regularly. Congratulations and thank you for all you do!

  83. Mina*

    Congratulations Alison! I love your blog! Your advice makes so much sense and I’ve found that it’s always fair. These Hall of Fame posts are so entertaining! Especially #1 and #5. But seriously, Ask A Manager is one of the first places I look when wondering about something work-related. What would Alison do? :) Here’s to 10 more years (and beyond)!

  84. PosterChild*

    Congrats on 10 years! I only found this blog last year after I heard you on a Dear Prudence podcast, and subsequently read through much of the archives. It has helped me so much in how to think about resolving my own work issues. Basically I need a bumper sticker that says WWAAMD…What would Ask a Manager do?

  85. Jessen*

    Did we ever get a followup on the Hanukkah balls story? I’ve been dying to know what happened to that boss!

  86. hermit crab*

    Adding a late-in-the-day congratulations! I’m another daily reader who’s totally in debt to Alison and the commenters, and I try to pay it forward whenever I can!

  87. New Bee*

    Congratulations Alison! Hopefully the next 10 years brings a book tour so we can meet the legend in person!

  88. Cascading Carrots*

    Congratulations! This is a site I read on the way to and from work and your measured advice has made a huge difference to how I see myself and others at work. Thanks for being bored one day!

  89. Tedious Cat*

    Congratulations, Alison! I’ve only been reading for a little over a year, but the site has been invaluable to me in that time. I now have a new job that I love and a huge share of the credit goes to your fantastic How To Get a Job ebook.

  90. Jean (just Jean) thanks Alison _and_ the commenters*

    Another late comment of congratulations on your first ten years!
    Alison, thank you for maintaining this island of both sanity and civility. Your advice and your tone are so helpful–especially your explanation that you want us readers to understand our workplaces so that we can shape our work lives with informed choices.

    Commenters, thank you for being down-to-earth, sensible, wise, and sometimes very funny.

    You give me a lot to think about and more good advice than I could ever apply in multiple lifetimes.

  91. Anon55*

    Mazel tov on ten wonderful years Alison!!! Thank you so much, for all that you do :)

  92. Jen M.*

    OMG. I can’t believe it’s been ten years, either! (I don’t think I’ve been reading the whole time, but I HAVE been a long-time reader.) Your advice and the comments threads have been very much appreciated–even when I haven’t chimed in.

    This blog is amazing! Keep up the good work (for as long as you feel like it!)

  93. Not So NewReader*

    Thank you, Alison, for creating and maintaining this site. The world is a better place because of your efforts here. Happy Anniversary!

  94. Bend & Snap*

    Congratulations on a decade!

    I found AAM during my notice period between quitting and leaving Old Job and I read alll the archives, and it’s been incredibly helpful and entertaining.

    My favorite post ever is the college kid who wanted to be an ideas guy.

  95. Apple Pi*

    As a life-long public school teacher, your site serves as a window into a mysterious professional world. Thank you and congratulations on your anniversary!!!

  96. JBinNC*

    I only found this blog about 6 months ago but I’ve been going back and reading all the archives – I’m almost up to date! I really believe that if something like this had been around back when I was entering the working world, my career (and my life) would have been quite different. And it’s nice to have a good commenting community as well – it’s one of the few places on the internet I can read comments without being driven mad. Thanks, Alison!

  97. emma2*

    The magical curses story and the sex club story are my absolute favorites.

    Happy 10th anniversary!

  98. Natalie*

    This blog has been indescribably important for me in my professional life. All of my “caring adults” (parents, friends parents, etc) were self employed when I was growing up and really had little advice for surviving an office, and my first managers were… good people, mostly, but terrible managers. I would probably still have absolutely no clue without the advice here, both Alison’s and the commentariat. I think I’ve been reading for 8 years or so, and this is probably the only internet place I’ve ever hung out at for so long. Sláinte!

  99. Drew*

    I’m a relatively recent reader (came over from Captain Awkward) but I’ve read a LOT of the archives. One of the things I’ve reinforced in reading this blog is just how wildly dysfunctional my current workplace is. It’s a decades-old company that still feels like a startup in a lot of ways, including the complete lack of attention to anything approaching general professionalism. I still enjoy the work, but I don’t enjoy the job as much as I used to.

    Ten years ago, I was just finding out that my company was shutting its doors and was thinking over the logistics of trying to be a full-time freelancer. If I had thought a little more about it (“Drew, you really like to procrastinate and you hate to put yourself out there to find work; maybe this isn’t right for you?”), I might have tried to find another “real” job, but I’m glad I had the experience of having to chase down clients and enforce my own work ethic. It makes me appreciate having bosses so much more.

  100. Kyrielle*

    Congratulations on, and thank you for, ten years. I love your Hall of Fame!

    (Also…#8…somehow I had missed #8…..)

  101. Nina*

    Congratulations on 10 years, Allison! I’ve been coming here for a long time now, and it’s amazing at how much the site has grown. I remember when the (one) weekend post had around 100 comments, lol. Now there are two separate posts and the work-related open thread gets well over 1000 comments each week! That’s mind blowing. It’s awesome to get such a varied community of advice, from you and the posters themselves.

    Congratulations again!

  102. Erica B*

    Congratulations! I love your blog and one of the few blogs I still read consistently since their hay-day.

    Loved the hall of fame picks!

  103. Elizabeth West*

    Congratulations, Alison! I love this blog.
    I honestly can’t remember when I started reading but I’ve learned so much from you and the rest of the commentariat.

    And of course the weird letters are my favorites. If I live to be 90, any one of you could come up to me in my rocking chair and whisper, “Quack!” and I will cackle like a mad old hen.

  104. Lobbyist*

    Thank you and congrats. This is my favorite blog, and I really liked your book too. I became a boss and used your advice in hiring, firing, running meetings, and much more. Now I run my own business but I hope soon to grow and manage others again. I read your blog almost every day and I always enjoy it. Thank you!!

  105. Cheesehead*

    Regarding Wakeen, am I the only one who wants to know how the OP finally made the connection between Joe-a-kwin and Wakeen? Since this is such a legend on this board, I’d love to know about the light-bulb moment when she realized that they were one in the same.

    My Wakeen type of issue wasn’t too bad. I’m a grammar/spelling nut, so I don’t have too many of those instances. But at a job in college, I had to put an ad in the paper several times a year. Thank goodness for the proofreaders who told me that for “inclement weather”, the word was spelled “inclement” and not “inclimate”. I was shocked. I guess in my brain, it sounded right and well, climate=weather, right? I also remember the time I found out that Sean was the same as Shawn, but I think it was my mother who told me that, in private, thank goodness. Oh, and subpoena. That one threw me for a loop too the first time I ever saw it in print.

  106. Amelia*

    Congratulations on ten years!

    I started lurking with the post about the wacky job interview/dinner for twenty, and now it’s part of my daily routine. But there are so many great posts I’ve missed, so thanks for highlighting them…I just laughed my head off at Wakeen! I’ve always wondered what “Wakeen” was a reference to, and now I know.

    1. Venus Supreme*

      I always thought Wakeen was from Game of Thrones. I’ve heard the name Khaleesi and such, and any other unusual name (that wasn’t Harry Potter) used here I thought was from GoT. I NEVER made the connection that it was Joaquin!!

  107. Unofficial Front of the House Manager*


    This is the only blog I really keep up on any more. I’ve referenced it countless times for guidance of resumes and cover letters, and I recommend it to all the college kids at my job. (I even told one of our former employees that her professor was giving her terrible advice and to search AAM for “gumption” if she didn’t believe me.) Thank you so much for keeping this going, and on a personal note, thank you for the work you’ve done in your day job! I hope this blog is still around for another 10 years. :)

  108. Sherm*

    Congratulations! I found the blog 3 years ago when I was about to go to a job fair and wondered what their deal was. I’ve been hooked ever since.

    (And now I get to know the origin of Wakeen! I knew there was a funny backstory, but I didn’t know how funny. I actually hope I make a mistake like that one day.)

  109. Djuna*

    It is no accident that daily reading of AAM has coincided with the most successful phase of my career.
    Thank you for all that you do, and for your commenting rules that let the wisdom and wit of this wonderful commentariat shine through.

  110. Discordia Angel Jones*

    Congrats on 10 years of sage advice and also some awesomely bad and good letters.

    I know I can credit you, Alison, for (hopefully) getting me a job to move away from my toxic workplace (which I should be getting this week).

    I definitely came late to the party but have been reading through the archives, and you’ve got a wonderful blog with a great commentariat.

  111. Miss Elaine e*

    I think I accidentally posted my thanks and congratulations on another thread (ding-dangity smart phone), but thank you for creating and continuing the truly most entertaining and informative site on the Internet.

  112. AFRC*

    Congratulations and thank you so much for all of the wonderful advice and community!

  113. Wednesday Mouse*

    I’m a little late to the party, but huge congratulations Alison! I started reading in early 2012, as I was searching for resources to help with my job at the time of “employment coach”. I spent about 3 weeks solid reading through the entire archives, and I’ve not missed a single post since. I love this place – both Alison and the cast of commenters. Y’all are so measured and friendly and it never gets (too) heated below-the-line – a real rarity online nowadays, but one I treasure.

    Thank you, Alison. The work you do here is incredible and as some of the stories above show, you have changed real people’s lives in real, positive ways. And that is something you should be truly proud of.

  114. Turquoise Cow*

    Congratulations on 10 years! I’m a fairly new reader, but I’ve perused the archives and found a lot of the stories here to be helpful or just plain entertaining.

    I’d never seen that letter about the service dog, though. I was just about crying at my desk. What an awesomely uplifting story! This site has some stories about good and bad workplaces, from really bad to really awesome. I think that one tops the pile of really awesome. So heartwarming.

  115. Cyberspace Dreamer*

    Congrats. Great site. Refer it to others all the time. Keep up the great work.

  116. Carrie*

    Congrats! I found your blog after I started my first job, and it helped me manage and address my expectations/fears/confusions about normal workplace behaviors and practices. It’s also brought me endless amusement. Can’t thank you enough!

  117. The Supreme Troll*

    Alison, I want to congratulate you on 10 years of AAM. Here’s to ten more years of outstanding job search, management advice, and, really, so much more. Hopefully, we will get to enjoy your columns a lot more that ten more years. But, of course, that decision is entirely up to you.

    I have been visiting your website since the end of 2010. But, I had been lurking here for a very long time – not posting anything since I think it was the end of last year. The Supreme Troll has been my only handle.

    I have enjoyed learning that what I thought my boss did was not only not illegal, but not necessarily immoral either. That there are very legitimate reasons about why potential employers were very vague in their rejection letters to me. And that following your advice and the good advice of many of the fellow commenters can yield positive results. (Which I enjoy seeing in the follow-ups from letter writers – as well as seeing karma come and bite back the people that were mistreating or taking advantage of them).

    Again, thank you so much for all of the effort that you put into this. Alison, it is a pleasure for me to get the chance to read here daily.

  118. GOG11*

    Congratulations, Alison! I’m so glad I found this site. I’ve been reading it steadily for about 3 or 4 years now and it’s changed the way I think about and approach work (and even personal situations). There are so many other resources that give advice that’s sort of vague and I don’t know what doing what they recommend actually looks like. I love that you provide actionable advice and scripts/suggested phrasing. I also love that you articulate the rationale behind things. Having rational, reasonable responses modeled time and time again has made me more reasonable and helped me develop a better understanding of what is reasonable and what is bananas (which is crucial for those of us who have had dysfunctional work places interfere with our heads).

  119. Brogrammer*

    A day late, but congratulations on 10 years and thanks for being here. I found your blog about a year and a half ago when I Googled “how to fire my intern” and ever since I’ve looked forward every morning to the new posts. I’ve learned so much from you and from the commenters here, too.

  120. Hunger Games Summer*

    Late to the party but I wanted to say congrats – I remember finding this blog back in the spring of 2008 when my husband was applying for his first management job (when he didn’t have any direct managerial experience). I so enjoyed the entry that I read the entire archives that weekend and have been a faithful near daily reader since. I was in my mid-20s then and I really credit this site with helping me revise my resume, cover letter and interviews. I have gone from getting very few hits on applications to multiple offers each of the last two times I went job hunting.

  121. Whats In A Name*

    Congrats Alison! Your blog is my morning paper. I have been reading since around 2008ish, when I was doing a stint in HR and came across you on a search.

    Back then I used to change my username almost daily, then didn’t comment at all for a few years.

    I remember thinking the dinner one sounded like a bad game show to me at the time, and it still does! I had completely forgotten about it!

    1. bluephone*

      d’oh, I meant to add “the one with the blinds-obsessed coworker” in my username

  122. Colorado*

    Happy Anniversary Alison! I’ve been a long time reader and you absolutely make my work mornings bearable, and most afternoons ;-). I love the advice, the stories, and the comments. Oh, how I love the comments. Here’s to you and your fantastic advice! Cheers!

  123. Heather*

    Alison, thanks for all of your insights over the years! Long-term reader but I’ve never commented til now. AAM is one of the first sites I open when I get to work (career counselor for college students), and I refresh throughout the day for updates. Always telling people AAM is a must-read.

  124. motherofdragons*

    Congratulations on the AAM milestone! And thank you for all the wonderful (and often hilarious) advice you’ve doled out over the years. We appreciate you!

  125. Den*

    Belated happy 10 years to your site! I’ve been an active reader since 2005. Keep up the good work. :)

    1. ThursdaysGeek*

      Was that a typo or are you a time traveler? :) I’d love to be a time traveler, because then I could use advice from AAM at the beginning of my career, instead of the end. My pay today would be a lot higher!

  126. INFJ*

    Happy anniversary! I almost forgot about the one who got her dog, and just reading that headline had my eyes getting watery; I may wait til I’m alone to reread it!

    And happy belated birthday (We share the same birthday ;-))

  127. New Window*

    Alison, I think your blog is a wonderful example of how something that seems small from one perspective can actually be a huge positive life-changer for so, so, so many people. Count me in the love fest because it is so deserved. You have helped keep me (and many others) sane in soul-killing, maddening work situations, trained me and many others thrust into management roles with little more than a “Good luck, kid,” and been a source of insight that is valuable not only during work hours, but in other parts of life too.

    Plus, as a former forum moderator, I madly respect, admire, and appreciate how you keep the comments into something useful, respectful, and courteous. This is the only comments section I read–let alone post in–on the internet, and your hard (and probably at times frustrated) efforts to make it worth reading are fantastic. Thank you!

  128. Rebecca in Dallas*

    Congratulations on a decade of blogging! I don’t remember how or when I found this blog but I just love it. The commenting community is fabulous, I wish I had more time to spend commenting and reading responses!

  129. This Daydreamer*

    Congratulations and thank you for all of the sage advice, laughs, jaw drops, and general sanity that is so hard to find on the internet.

    Most of all, thank you for your archives full of advice on resumes, cover letters, and interviews. My volunteer job became a paying job about a month ago and I don’t know if I could have done it without you!

  130. Taylor*

    OMG WAKEEN!!! I am loling in a serious way right now. WOW Thanks for that I loved it so much.

  131. Anon and alone*

    Congratulations Alison. Raising a glass of something bubbly in honor of your 10th anniversary.

  132. Tabby Baltimore*

    All this is just making me wish, so hard, that there was a federal government version of AAM.

  133. RB*

    I am so glad you have persevered for 10 years. I found you maybe 1.5 years ago. I really appreciate your advice. The commenters are great too.

  134. Printer's Devil*

    So that’s the origin of Wakeen! I just figured it was, y’know, an interesting name to add some flavor to the aliases.

    Mazel tov, Alison, and here’s to many more decades of collecting the stories that make us all think “well, at least we don’t work there!”

  135. Candi*

    Yay! Congrats!

    I found you last year when someone posted a link to AAM in the comments of a Not Always Right/Working story to point out that there was no law breaking involved. One of those ‘it’s legal, but crappy, and your boss is an ass’ types. (The link’s probably gone; they switched from Facebook comments to another type.) Still making my way through the archives. (Comments!) :)

    This site and TV Tropes are safe places for me on the net, where people behave most of the time, and there’s consequences if they don’t. Love it.

    AAM gave me the knowledge and courage to realize that I don’t have to stay in my rut, and I can make a new beginning. Although now I’m running into issues I didn’t know/forgot were issues, involving going out in public for more than a few hours or outside my local area being ridiculously stressful and scary, but I’m not sure if it’s worth going to counseling for it. Ah, well.

    Here’s to many more years of the accumulated staff of Wakeem, Fergus, Jane, and chocolate teapots. (With sprinkles!) :P

  136. Nyxalinth*

    Grats on ten years!

    I reference Wakeen and chocolate teapots in other areas of my life.

Comments are closed.