my favorite posts of 2017

Here are my favorite posts of 2017, in no particular order:

1. Update: I manage someone who was terribly harmed by my family — what do I do?
Because this was handled with incredible care and compassion.

2. What’s the deal with advice columns?
Because it’s a subject I’m fascinated by.

3. My coworker came to work dressed as Jesus
Because this is such a good illustration of why something that seems funny to many people needs to be treated differently by employers, even at risk of being seen as sticks-in-the-mud.

4. I’m in a dominant/submissive relationship — can I wear a collar to work?
Because I love that I get to answer these questions and not just write about resumes.

5. I yelled at our intern
Because it gets to the heart of how managers should operate.

6. Saying “how are you?” feels inauthentic to me
Because I love this kind of exploration of social norms.

7. Update: my company wants to sponsor me for a service dog, but I’m not sure I should accept
No explanation needed.

8. A decade of Ask a Manager
Because this is our hall of fame.

Want more? Here are my lists from 20162014, 2013, 2012, and 2011.

{ 27 comments… read them below }

  1. LaGrange*

    I would love, someday, to see a list of happy endings – the letters with the most wonderful/satisfying updates!

      1. acmx*

        Believe Firestarter Bill was someone who took a bunch of files out to a deserted area and made a a bonfire out of the papers as part of quitting.

      2. Candi*

        I think it was in a “workplace sins” thread or something like that.

        Anyway, the boss at this organization got the brilliant and spectacular idea /s that for a fund raiser they would have people donate their shares in various properties, such as vacation condos, and such, and then would auction them off. And the donations came in. From multiple towns, counties, etc.

        If you know anything about property law, you can already see why this is problematic at best.

        So the auction went well.

        Then they asked the original poster for the thread to do the title transfers , a youngster barely out of college and with no training or experience in the intricacies of property law as they apply and differ between various locations and interact with each other and state and federal law. Boss wouldn’t help, just told them to get it done. The clerks and staff of the various county offices either couldn’t or wouldn’t help. (I side with couldn’t, because specialized knowledge and maybe it would be seen as a conflict of interest.) Plus, zero budget for even a half-hour consultation with a specialist, and this isn’t the kind of thing you can just Google or look up at the library.

        After weeks of this labrythine tap dance, the poster took ALL the paperwork that she’d been struggling and sweating over out to a lonely country road one night, and built a lovely fire. A very big fire. A fire big enough for all the paperwork. Then she went to her boss and told them that the paperwork had apparently been lost in transit.

        Most of the buyers decided to waive it off as a straight donation, most of the donors were okay with their property being returned. The poster never, ever told anyone -until that thread.

        1. Ruby Red Tulips*

          This is, hands down, the best thing I have ever heard, and I am so glad I read this comment. Snaps to that young lady.

  2. Jen*

    Thank you for this blog – I discovered it this year when going through a big career leap and it’s become essential reading! There’s always so much to think about and learn from the advice and discussions on here.

    Have a lovely new year :)

  3. Ophelia Bumblesmoop*

    Have we had any further updates from #1? I’d love to hear how things progressed after that letter.

    1. Anon on this one*

      I started donating to RAINN this year, in part because of the flood of calls they have received following #metoo (and their need to increase personnel in response), and in large part because of how they helped LW#1. The plan they developed with him was incredibly compassionate and I’m thankful that there are organizations dedicated to helping people with such compassion. I’m also thankful for Alison and the AAM community for creating a space where people truly want to help one another find good, thoughtful solutions to problems that, whether big or small, are important to the letter writers. Thank you all for that. Above all, I hope Jane is feeling safe and OK.

  4. Lehigh*

    Oh man, #6.

    I had a coworker who took to responding to any version of, “Hey, how’s it going?” or “How are you?” (my formerly standard greeting in the morning) by sighing heavily, shaking her head, and occasionally mumbling about how unbearable her life is.

    She kept this up all throughout my husband’s chemo treatment.

    I no longer ask her how she is.

  5. Samata*

    #1 made me cry, again. The compassion this man had for his subordinate and his very careful way of dealing with what such an awful and awkward circumstance make me feel so good about the human race. There are so many good people in our world and this update reminds me of that.

  6. Old Admin*

    *reads the list*
    *looks thoughtful*
    *blows nose*

    …not necessarily in this order…

  7. JLCBL*

    Regarding the advice column interview, did you hear from Captain Awkward? She and a few others have a WTF email for wacko submissions and she said she would add you in! I had reposted to a Facebook group in my city.

  8. RB*

    Bill is my hero as well, although I probably would have had to quit my job to have the nerve to do that. His followup to the donors and purchasers that the “counties were not processing the paperwork properly” or something to that effect was nothing short of brilliant. Way to take advantage of government red tape Bill!

  9. Wakeen's Duck Club and Hanukkah Balls, LLC*

    Thank you for compiling this, Alison! And thanks for our little community that you’ve created (inadvertently, I’m sure)!

  10. WhipsNChains*

    I’m not the D/s OP, but I used this advice when I was formally collared. I’m happy with my “necklace” and get occasional complimentary comments but no one knows the deeper meaning of it, which is fine with me and my husband.

  11. Elyse Vigiletti*

    Super late to this party, but I’m delighted to see our interview getting a shout out here! It is also among my favorite things that happened in 2017, for sure.

    I’m also here for all of these updates—no other advice columnist that I know of does this, and it is so ridiculously satisfying to resolve all of these stories.

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