listen to episode 1 of the Ask a Manager podcast

I’m excited to announce today’s launch of the Ask a Manager podcast, from Anchor FM and Penguin Random House.

You can listen to the first episode above or on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or Anchor FM. Please subscribe! (Those links will take you straight to it.)

Each week, I’ll bring letter-writers on the show to talk directly with me about their work predicaments. A cool thing about this format is that it lets me ask clarifying questions and talk through the advice with the question-asker to make sure it really works for them — and as listeners, you can hear how that plays out. We’ll also sometimes go more in-depth on some of the letters from the blog. Most episodes will be around 15 minutes.

In this week’s episode, titled The Friend Boss, I talk with a letter-writer whose good friend at work is becoming her boss.

And if you prefer, here’s the transcript.

Read an update to this letter here.

{ 149 comments… read them below }

      1. Prismatic Professional*

        I don’t know! I’m having the exact same problem… ahhhhhhhh! Probably going to cave and listen to the first one now. It’s about a break length.

  1. Foreign Octopus*

    This sounds like an amazing idea! I now know what I’m going to be listening to while I do the washing up later. Will you be posting here every time a new podcast comes out like you do for inc. or will we get notifications after we subscribe?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      If you subscribe in something like iTunes, it’ll get automatically pushed into your podcast queue (but you’d need to remember to check there). But I think I’m likely to post a note about it here each week, possibly along with the letter being discussed that week.

      1. Nic*

        Please do post a note about it! I don’t subscribe to any podcast service, so this is helpful.

        Also, you have a very pleasant voice.

      2. Foreign Octopus*

        That’s great. I’ve just listened to the podcast and it was really interesting to hear your guest read the letter out. It sounds like she really cares for her friend and the conversation that you both had was very different to just reading your response. It was interesting to hear about what she’d done on the Friday before she got the job and how she’d already broached it with Marsha.

        I really loved this format. I’m looking forward to the other ones!

        1. V*

          Would love for us to be able to have conversations about the podcasts the same way we do about written posts, and a post note here on the release of each new episode (with or without the transcript) would be a great way for that happen.

      3. Joce*

        YAY and its on Spotify also. I know a lot of people will find that to be an easy place to listen, already subscribed!

      4. JR*

        Hi! I’m thrilled to have a new podcast in my rotation. Just an FYI, when I try to subscribe using Apple’s Podcast app, I get a notification saying “Unable to Subscribe. Podcast cannot be added because the server or feed cannot be found.” I’ll try again later in case it’s something on my end, but I wanted to let you know, in case the issue is with Apple and other people are having the same problem. Thanks!

        1. Typhon Worker Bee*

          Apple’s podcast app is terrible, which probably explains this. They’ve made it worse and worse with every single update. It’s just baffling. I finally had enough and switched to Pocket Casts a few months ago

        2. Liz in a Library*

          It worked for me, but I agree with Typhon that it’s probably just the app being buggy, because it’s always buggy.

        3. nani1978*

          I had the exact same problem when I clicked on the word “subscribe” but when I clicked on the ellipsis next to it, it offered me the menu and I clicked “subscribe to podcast” and it added it without issue.

          Nice job, Alison! Great guest and topic to kick off the new venture. I am so glad these will be on the shorter side, and I am excited that they will be new content in addition to the usual posting schedule!

  2. Junior Dev*

    I searched for Ask a Manager on Google Music and I got what sounded like an old webinar called “Ask a Manager job advice.” I usually use Stitcher for podcasts so maybe I’m doing it wrong, but I didn’t see this podcast.

    1. LQ*

      (Google play is still not super podcast friendly. I have to fight with it whenever a friend wants to listen to my podcast, my recommendation is always don’t use google play, use a different app, there are lots of great ones that just pull from the Apple Podcasts list and makes it very easy that way.)

      1. Junior Dev*

        I’m on my phone and that link takes me to a page that tries to sell me a subscription plan. I’ll wait a couple days and see if it shows up on search.

        1. Info Architect*

          I got that too (Firefox), but I just clicked No Thanks and it took me right to the episode I could play in the browser.

        2. LAI*

          Hmm, I used the Google play link that Alison provided, and I was on my phone as well, and had no problems. It took me straight to the episode.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Me too; the only thing it wanted was location data, which I said “No” to and it went to it. Ima listen now while I start cleaning the house.

            Oh wait, as soon as I eat–I just realized I’m hungry.

    2. Antilles*

      In my experience, brand new podcasts often take a little longer to filter out to the various different podcast apps. Basically, your podcast app might not immediately realize that a brand new podcast exists depending on how often they check iTunes/Google Play/etc for the Master List of Podcasts That Exist…but once that happens and the app realizes that this new podcast exists, the updates come smoothly and on time.
      Also, as a random interesting fact: I listen to a sports podcast which recently changed what they use on the backend to record/upload. As part of this effort, they asked their listeners to Tweet/email what app they use. They said on the air that they’d had their listenership report over 100 (!!!) different apps – the vast majority of which none of the 3 hosts had ever heard of.

      1. LBK*

        FWIW I use Overcast for my podcasts and it showed up fine for me there, so it’s at least starting to making its way around.

        1. Tsalmoth*

          Yup — Another Overcast user, and it was there. I suspect that’s part of the reason Allison (like a lot of folks releasing podcasts) released a preview teaser, letting the various discovery tools get a chance to find it.

  3. LQ*

    I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!!! This is awesome! Already downloaded and added to my Listen First playlist :) Podcasts + AAM is a very happy place.

  4. BRR*

    Woo! I’m so excited for this especially now that you can incorporate tone which is a big part of some of your answers.

  5. Adlib*

    Listening now! I love that you’re able to have a conversation with the LW. I am adding this to my regular podcast list! Great job!

  6. Anonymous Poster*

    For those of us still using a Zune (or something else that needs an rss feed to subscribe to the podcast), the link is here.

    1. Celestina Warbeck*

      Thank you! I have a preferred podcast app and I was about to post a comment asking if there was an RSS URL.

    2. carlie*

      Thank you thank you thank you! I have a Sansa Clip (NO LAUGHING) and have to subscribe in a catcher like MediaMonkey and then manually transfer the podcasts. (but you can tear the clip out of my cold dead hands)

  7. MuseumChick*

    I can’t wait to listen! Also, please fulfill a dream of mine and do a collaboration with the My Favorite Murder podcast.

    1. Arjay*

      Ha, I’m finishing up the most recent MFM just now which is the only reason I haven’t started this pod yet. :)

    2. JessaB*

      Okay now I have yet another podcast, this place loads me up with columns and blogs and things every time I come here. AAM readership are fun

    1. Struck by Lightning*

      I had the same question. Apparently I’m a dinosaur but I absolutely hate having to listen to podcasts or watch videos…I’m much more a transcript kinda gal! I love the concept of more of a conversation with adivisees but would infinitely prefer to read it that listen to it.

      (…and stay off my lawn!)

      1. Eye of Sauron*

        Make room in the rocking chair next to me. I’ve embraced audio books, but haven’t been able to get on the podcast train :)

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I haven’t either, but it’s mostly because there are so MANY. I do like to download old-timey radio mysteries, though. And I discovered I really like listening to them while doing yard or housework or some other unpleasant time-consuming thing.

      2. Bazinga*

        I’m with you. I hate videos/podcasts/etc. I would rather read how to do something than watch a Youtube video. I just zone out. I think it’s my short attention span, I don’t know. Or the fact that I can read it faster than it plays on the video.

      3. LBK*

        I don’t generally just sit down and listen to a podcast while not doing anything else, but I’ve found they’re great for commuting when you may not have your hands free and you have nothing else to do but sit/stand around and wait to get to your destination.

        1. oranges & lemons*

          Yeah, I also really like to listen to them when I’m cooking or cleaning up or doing crafts, or anything else that only uses half of my brain.

          1. LBK*

            Oh yes – cooking and cleaning are two other times I tend to put them on. Anything where my hands are in use so I can’t really read and I’m moving around too much to be able to watch TV.

        2. Lissa*

          Yup, I listen to them on my “commute” (walk to work) and when I’m at the gym etc. Can’t just sit and listen to them, though.

      4. Laura H*

        I’m so glad I’m not the only one. I’m weird about videos and such and I dunno exactly why. If I have to take a stab at why, it’s cause I like having text to look back on (and on the far lesser frequency-to back me up on the chance that there’s miscommunication happening.)

      5. Miso*

        Yeah, I hate watching videos and listening to podcasts, too (well, I never once listened to a podcast actually…).
        I hate it that so many tutorials or walkthroughs nowadays only exist as videos and it’s super hard to find them as text.

        A big contribution to that is probably that English isn’t my native language and while I understand everything fine in text, I sometimes have a hard time simply understanding the words – you know, I would know what they mean if I knew which words they actually were.
        Videos are totally fine with subtitles, but just language…? Don’t think that’s going to work.

  8. Pontoon Pirate*

    This topic is interesting to me on a lot of levels. Alison, have you ever discussed previously how you’d approach a relationship where you and a peer in the same work group are friends both professionally and personally, and that peer is promoted – not to directly supervise you, but now that peer may have insight into your work/performance/goals as part of being on the leadership team with your direct supervisor?

  9. Bekx*

    Congrats Alison! This was such a great first episode!

    I echo the others above, please post on here when you update your podcast. I’m not a habitual podcast listener (although that may change with a longer commute coming up), so I appreciate the updates!

  10. Purplesaurus*

    I love this new format! I can listen while doing other work.

    As for the letter, it’s so great that you got a pretty positive outcome (at least that was my takeaway) for this first podcast.

  11. Amber Rose*

    Hmm, maybe it’s time to learn how the podcast thing on my iPod works and see if it’ll be recognized by my car. Would make for significantly better listening on the way home.

  12. k.k*

    Time for me to join the 21st century and figure out how podcasts work! On that note, I’m happy to see that it’s not super long. I’ve wanted to get into podcasts before, but some are so long that getting through them seems daunting. I can easily listen to this one on my commute.

  13. tableau wizard*

    I’m so excited. I have been needing more podcasts and I’m obsessed with this site, so it’s a perfect match. Thanks Alison. Can’t wait to see this grow!

  14. Anonymous Educator*

    Yes!!!!!!! Just took my phone out of airplane mode (usual mode for at work) just so I could subscribe. Very excited!

  15. Betsy Bobbins*

    Loved it! And now I know what Allison sounds like, this will change my reading experience here moving forward. :)

  16. Bingo*

    This is awesome!

    I’m always a little bit behind and am only now getting into audiobooks and podcasts, so great timing. The two whole podcasts I’ve now subscribed to are Dear HBR and Ask a Manager. Whee, look at me moving into the 21st century.

  17. Ask a Manager* Post author

    Thanks, everyone!

    By the way, feedback is welcome. I’m new to doing this and figuring it out as I go, so if you have advice on improving my hosting, I’ll take it!

    1. Typhon Worker Bee*

      I have to say, I didn’t love the intro music (sorry)… seemed a little cheesy… not a big problem though obviously!

      I would be very interested to hear an occasional group call with two or three people who have similar issues, but in slightly different contexts

    2. LQ*

      I’d love a tease for the next week’s episode. Even just one sentence at the end. Not sure how far out you’re planning them, and if one doesn’t go as planned that’s fine, but I do love a good tease for the next week’s episode.

    3. oranges & lemons*

      I think it’s really interesting to listen to an advice podcast where you have a back and forth conversation. I haven’t listened to many other audio advice columns, but the ones I’ve heard before have always had a pre-recorded question. I’m curious about how it will go if the asker disagrees with your advice.

    4. Observer*

      I agree about the music. I didn’t love the actual track, but it also seemed a bit, I can’t put my finger on it, but almost noisy. It just didn’t sound like a quality recording. And, I’m not an audiophile, by any means, which may explain why I can’t really explain well what I mean – I lack the specialized vocabulary.

      The podcast itself was fine, in terms of being able to listen to it, so it’s not a big deal.

      I REALLY liked the back and forth. And it was nice to have the writer read the letter – you gain so much from hearing the writer’s emphasis and all of that.

      1. Typhon Worker Bee*

        It was a bit… I’m struggling to put my finger on it too… corporate training video-y? Something more classical or ambient might work better. But I’m certainly no expert either and it’s just a few seconds of the podcast, not a big deal.

          1. hayling*

            I agree that the intro isn’t quite right yet, but sometimes you gotta just get the thing started and then tweak as you go. I loved the first episode and can’t wait for more!

            1. V*

              One (weekly) podcast I listen to changed their music about 25 or 30 episodes in. They acknowledged it and said “we wanted to change it up and see how it goes.” I felt a little “who moved my cheese-ish” for a couple of episodes and then it became normal. My point being, your theme music today doesn’t have to be your theme music forever. I think it is OK to play around with your brand a bit if you want to and people will adjust.

  18. Jesmlet*

    This was fantastic! The back and forth makes it so interesting and being able to listen while also actually working is great. Length was perfect too! This woman was clearly accepting and receptive to the advice but I’m a bit eager to hear someone who may not agree with what you say and what that dynamic turns into. I listen to at least 1 hour of podcasts every weekday and the audio is also one of the best I heard where there’s call-in guests. As an aside, I’m not sure why, but that’s not what I expected your voice to sound like…

      1. Seven of Nine*

        Popping out of my frequent lurking to say that listening to your voice gave me hope. :) My voice is similar, and as a manager in my 20’s, it bothers me that I sound even younger than I am. I hate listening to my voicemail greeting when I record a new out of office message!

        I hope this doesn’t come out wrong, but listening to you on your podcast, I couldn’t help but feel some solidarity and think that if a youngish sounding voice hasn’t held you back, it shouldn’t be an obstacle for me! (Seriously, though, I think we could be voice twins.)

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I know exactly what you mean — I feel like I’m supposed to sound older/sterner. But in some ways, I’ve come to like pushing back on expectations about what women with authority are supposed to sound like.

      2. Oilpress*

        Your voice is excellent. You also resist the urge to use filler words and pauses, which so often sabotage other podcasters.

      1. The yellow dog of workplace happiness*

        Not sure about other browsers, but if you use Firefox, you can go to the RSS feed and then just right-click and save the media file for a given episode.

        The feed URL is

        And the direct URL for episode 1 is:

        If you’re able to provide such links when you release future episodes, I’m sure many people would appreciate it.

        But well done on your first episode. You’ve clearly put effort into production and the episode was very listenable, both in terms of content and audio quality. I’m a self-confessed podcast snob, so feel free to reach out if you’d like some critical feedback, too.

    1. Natalie*

      Most podcast apps will allow you to download episodes for offline listening. Even if you don’t use a smart phone if you have a new-ish operating system on your desktop you should be able to get an app there.

  19. Lady Blerd*

    I use Pocket Cast as a podcatcher and found AAM in it by searching. I hope you will have a thumbnail soon.

    Today’s topic is almost on point for me because I am friends with a coworker whom I supervise but technically I’m a junior supervisor. But there’s a good possibility that I will be promoted in a few months and will be a full on supervisor so this will be tricky.

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      Another Pocket Casts proponent here. Found the Ask a Manager podcast through it very easily.

  20. Cait*

    I found it and subscribed!! Super excited to include this in my podcast line-up. Congrats Alison on the expansion!

  21. Secretary*

    Just listened to it. So cool to hear the question as a discussion, because there was so much more to learn from it! Thanks for doing this Alison, really really well done.

  22. Heat's Kitchen*

    Love this! Your voice is great!

    As for the advice – the OP does sound like she’s been a regular reader, for sure! Not that I’d recommend it (or do it again), but in high school I dated one of my bosses (I worked at a restaurant). We had to discuss having a line of work vs. personal. So we only talked about work at work and only talked about our personal lives outside of work. I think that same concept could apply here. Obviously, if you want to talk about what you’re doing for the weekend, include others and you’ll be good. But don’t get into details on mutual friends, planning weekends out, etc.

  23. voyager1*

    If you have access to an app called Downcast, you can just search it and AAM pulls right up. Best thing it will auto subscribe so the app pulls the podcast each time Alison puts one out. This app is available I think on just about any device/OS.
    Hope this helps!

  24. Hamilton*

    Congratulations on the new venture! Wishing you luck and cannot wait to listen. When I saw this post I grabbed my phone so quickly I think it startled my coworkers.

  25. Kat*

    I will listen to this! That my best work friend is now my manager is one of the things that makes me very sad. I miss her, a lot, and I like work a lot less.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It shouldn’t be! Try searching for “Ask a Manager” directly in iTunes and it should pop up in your search results. But the Anchor link in the post should give you all the direct links too.

      1. Casca*

        the Anchor link is working for me now. Still can’t get it on google play (which would have been my preference, but I’ll take what I can get!)

  26. Madame X*

    I’m so happy you started a podcast! Some of your most popular posts have already been featured on a few other podcasts including (like Hannah and Matt Know It All). I’ll be listening to this on my way home today!

  27. Podcast Freak*

    Was literally just thinking the other day that you REALLY need a podcast. So glad it’s happening!

  28. Observer*

    On the subject of the podcast, I must say that I’m really impressed by the LW. She sounds thoughtful, reasonable and just an all around good person AND good employee.

  29. LG*

    Congrats! I enjoyed this and look forward to more episodes of your podcast. It’s so nice that you can ask clarifying questions. And your guest is so conscientious, I hope everything goes well for her and her friend/new boss!

  30. GingerBirdie*

    Congrats on launching your podcast! Your blog has been so helpful to me over the past few months and I’m excited for a new way to engage with your content. Re: other comments above about the music, it didn’t strike me as weird, but it could be more memorable? I imagine you’ll be tweaking a lot over the next while. :) I will say that listening over Google Play, the sound kind of ran together at certain points but that could be my network connection. You have a great voice though! I also agree with creating discussion posts for new episodes, and releasing transcripts. There is such a rich community of commenters here that it would be a shame to miss out on their insights.

  31. Dee*

    Wondering if anyone uses castbox, or maybe it’s called “podcast player”, for Android? It’s the app with the purple cell phone tower as the icon.

    I now realize I should probably review the podcasts I like to listen to (Alison making me better)…but I cannot figure it out!

  32. Spice for this*

    Wonderful! I just listened to it on Anchor today. You both sound great and I enjoyed listening to it.

  33. Oilpress*

    I love the point about dropping the one on one lunches (unless the boss starts lunching with everyone equally). The guest’s teammates are going to have major issues with the boss, and probably the guest herself, if there is an inequity there.

    I worked for someone who went to lunch with my teammate 2-3 times per week. My boss and I never once went for lunch. When it came time for career progression and performance reviews, you can guess who received a surprising promotion (while on a sabbatical, no less) and glowing reviews.

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