Ask a Manager in the media

Here’s some coverage of Ask a Manager in the media recently:

I’m in Parade Magazine talking about the best way to ask for a raise.

I’m in the Oprah Magazine talking about what to do if you hate your boss.

I did a Q&A with the New York Times about crying at work.

I talked to the New York Times about what to do if you think you might get fired.

I talked to NBC News about how to avoid discussing politics at work.

I talked to Marketplace about responding to your boss’s feedback.

I talked to Savage Love about a rather adult work question (warning: not safe for work).

I was on Han and Matt Know It All to talk about the best and worst advice column letters of 2019 (along with Captain Awkward).

Topic made an illustrated treasury of their favorite Ask a Manager letters (also not safe for work).

{ 76 comments… read them below }

    1. Need a Beach*

      Seriously, teach me how to bend the fourth dimension like this.

      Alison, are you doing your own pitching/resourcing, or is that your book agent’s responsibility? I can’t fathom how you eat and sleep.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Last year around the time my book came out, my publisher did some pitching. I don’t think they’re still doing it though. Beyond that, I never pitch anything, just respond when I get contacted.

        The answer to finding the time is … my schedule has been very, very bad (no one outside my family has seen me for months) and cutting things is my goal for 2019! (And I am getting much better at saying no to things.)

        1. EPLawyer*

          Dear AAM:

          I keep taking on new projects because I feel I have to. I am freelance so don’t want to turn down work. How do I have a better work life balance so I don’t burn out.

        2. AnonyNurse*

          I took my first true @didn’t check in with work at all” vacation in three years last month. Left on the day I submitted my final paper for grad school. I started crying on the plane, realizing I didn’t have anything to do or anything to worry about. And made me realize I’ve got to have better balance. Which I’m doing pretty well with since I’ve been back. Highly recommended!

    1. Cacwgrl*

      I am basically a child and as such, I 100% laughed at the duck club illustration. It’s literally the thing starting my Monday out on a good note.

  1. LawBee*

    This makes me very very happy. Everyone needs good work advice, and I love seeing female entrepreneurs killing it.

  2. Jake*

    In terms of the savage love link, managers need to realize that part of being a manager is giving up a small portion of your personal freedom in exchange for higher level work. I understand that it may feel unfair, but this is part of the reason managers get better compensation.

    Managers are held to a different standard than non managers, and if that isn’t something somebody is willing to accept, then they shouldn’t accept the position.

    That’s not to say the situation doesn’t suck because it most certainly does.

    1. Plain Jane*

      I think there’s way too much risk involved for the boss here if he goes back knowing there’s a possibility his report may come back, and there’s no way to bring this up with the employee that won’t be construed as coming from the boss vs. weirded out colleague

    2. Jadelyn*

      Yeah, I’m not thrilled that Dan’s response was basically “but that’s not faaaaaair!” and then even after Alison explained, his advice to the LW was “ok whatever, I still say go.”

      It’s definitely not fair! That it’s a recovery-thing for the LW makes it even more unfair! But that doesn’t change the fact that people-managing can entail some sacrifice in exchange for the title and pay bump. Sometimes life’s not fair and there’s no good answer. Them’s the breaks.

      1. Emily K*

        I think that’s a product of the fact that Dan Savage’s professional experience is at a west coast alternative newspaper and Alison’s is in the conservative DC policy/political scene.

    3. Carpe Librarium*

      I feel the LW should approach the club organiser about the situation. It can’t be the first time a member has seen someone from another part of their life and not wanted to have worlds collide.
      Surely the organiser can recommend a few possible options, such as recommending another welcoming group or night of the week or whatever.
      Just a broad strokes, “I spotted someone here the other week that I know through my professional life and definitely want this very private activity to remain so, are there ways to work around this, like another group you can recommend, or…?.”

      1. aebhel*

        I think that’s actually really good advice. I mean, there may not be a way around it, but this can’t be the first time the organizer has encountered this kind issue (it comes up all the time in the BDSM community…it’s not that weird to see a boss or coworker at a munch, but it would be a whole different story at a play party!). It’s worth asking.

  3. Evan Þ.*

    When your work question needs to be marked “not safe for work,” it’s clear something’s wrong somewhere.

    Might need to send in the question to know where, though.

    1. Jadelyn*

      LOL, that occurred to me too. A work-related question being NSFW…there’s just no way that’s a good situation.

  4. Karen from Finance*

    I clicked the Dan Savage one at work anyways. Was worth it, very interesting question.

    I tend to agree with Alison’s advice over Dan’s in that one. I do understand where he’s coming from, as does Alison in the text, but I think the OP’s responsability as a manager has to trump his sexual freedom, unfortunately, in this particular case.

  5. Karen from Finance*

    I wonder how many of these comments were sent to moderation after discussing one of the NSFW links.

  6. MassMatt*

    Congratulations on the exposure, and success of your site. You are helping more people than you can ever know!

    I am impressed by the amount of work put in to the site itself. So much new content daily, I don’t think any other advice columnist does this much.

    And maybe the most invisible work of all–moderating the comments. Internet comment sections are too often swamps filled with racist and sexist nonsense, hateful obscenities, and “make money working from home” type spam. Discussion may get heated here, but the commentariate is remarkably focused and helpful, overall. It must take a lot of work!

    1. EPLawyer*

      Best exposure I saw today for Alison — someone asked SUE the TRex on Twitter a question and cc’d AAM.

  7. Julia*

    I love AAM and I love Savage Love. (Also loved Dear Sugar. Yeah, I’m an advice column junkie. Not a fan of Daniel Ortberg, though – he was way better at The Toast.) Anyway, it was quite the culture shock to see Alison’s matter-of-fact tone alongside Dan’s irreverence. Good stuff!

  8. katherine*

    as far as the crying at work thing, one thing I have wondered about is if it is for non-work reasons – broadly speaking, if something outside of work is serious enough to cause someone to cry at work, it is probably going to have a more than once-a-month frequency, and it just isn’t feasible to not be at work or keep taking bathroom breaks. but it also isn’t feasible to not be employed.

  9. Zona the Great*

    I want to know what Alison’s mom thinks of her daughter’s burgeoning success? Did you lose your father before or after you started publishing? I can’t imagine how proud they must be of you, Alison!

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think she is more or less pleased :)

      My dad died before I started AAM (which sucks! he would have greatly enjoyed watching this) but he did see me publish some freelance stuff in the Washington Post (like this and this), which I think he liked, as a writer himself.

      1. Alison's mom*

        As Alison’s mom, I can tell you that I am only more pleased, not less :) It’s amazing for a parent to see any child succeed but Alison’s success has been so over the top that we all sit around and marvel at it. And the fact that she created all this from nothing is just awesome and makes me very happy.

        1. Sam Sepiol*

          Awwwwww this comment is so sweet! Congrats on creating such an awesome human, Alison’s mom :)

  10. drpuma*

    Love these roundups! Is it possible to add the month/year each piece came out, for context? I was surprised to see a reference to the “upcoming midterm elections” in the NBC News one, until I scrolled back up and noticed it was published in October. Of course the advice about avoiding politics at work still stands!

  11. she was a fast machine*

    I really want to know about the Dan Savage one but I’m kind of opposed to giving him any clicks(biphobic asshole), can someone sum it up for me?

    1. Spark Notes*

      Someone attends a club for men to masturbate together, which they found very helpful for recovering from a sexual trauma. But they’re a manager and they saw an employee last time (but ran out ASAP so may not have been seen) and they want to know if they have to stop attending now, discuss it with the employee, etc. Alison says it’s a real bummer but they have to stop attending (and DEF not mention it), Dan agrees mostly but says maybe try one more time in case employee never goes again, and Dan brings up public events focused on sex stuff (which Alison says are fine to attend but you want to ignore any employees you see there as much as possible).

    2. Qosanchia*

      Manager spotted an employee at a self-pleasure sex event for men. The manager asked, “What can I do about this?”
      Alison advised that, although it’s not fair or really just, the manager’s position obligates him to avoid the event, to prevent anything untoward between himself and his employee.
      Dan argues that the manager had been going longer, and could at least go back once to see if the employee was making a thing of it.
      I think both agreed that the manager shouldn’t bring it up and discuss this with the employee

  12. Jennifer*

    I don’t like him either. I don’t think he’s very kind or fair to women.

    I took one for the team. The summary is a guy was going to a sex club after hours for months and the last time he was there he happened to see one of his employees. He’s pretty sure he got out of there before the employee saw him. His question was if he had to stop going now that he knows his employee goes.

    Alison said yes. You don’t want to be in a sexual situation with one of your employees. It could raise problems at work and be viewed as unprofessional or make things awkward. Dan pushed back on this SEVERAL times and Alison agreed it was unfair, but if you are in management it can affect your life outside of work as well.

    Dan had the last word and contradicted Alison, stating that he thought he should go one last time and see if his employee went back, since he has gone for months without spotting him. So why ask in the first place if you know everything? Have I mentioned I don’t like him?

    1. Anonymous for this one*

      I had something similar happen. I’m female and attended a sex club with my boyfriend, where I saw someone I knew from an organization that collaborated with mine. He was pushy and inappropriate about touching me and I said no.

      Later, he ended up applying for a job with my organization and would have been my boss. One of my colleagues, not knowing about all this, brought up that she had professional experience with him and didn’t like how he treated women in the workplace. That made it easy for me to say I had concerns about his sexism to the hiring manager, who respected that I had to keep the context confidential. Since two of us spoke up about the guy’s sexism, the hiring manager didn’t move him forward as an applicant.

    2. Jadelyn*

      Same. His part of the answer boiled down to “Let me ask this expert…oh, I don’t like her answer, so I’m just going to say do it anyway.”

      1. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

        Eh, Dan said try it once more and see if the guy is still there. He didn’t blow Alison off entirely.

    3. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

      I’ve read Dan off and on for years. He’s been very fair to women and has severely rebuked writers who insulted/trashed women. He has been transphobic in the past and bi phobic and has improved/evolved greatly and has apologized for some of his earlier ignorance. L respect him for calling out people when few others, gay, bi, or straight did. he stood up for gays and started the It gets better campaign. Like most people, he’s good and bad.

      1. Isobel*

        It’s been such a pleasure to go from happening upon this blog (how many years ago?) and feeling like it was a niche interest of mine, to understanding that it is everybody’s favorite and all of us can never get enough of you!

        I don’t even work in an office and haven’t in years. I am not and I do not have a manager. It’s the stories!

    4. coffee cup*

      I don’t think he is, either. I read him yeeeeears ago when I lived in Canada and stopped because I didn’t find him great to women, either. I used to like the unusual letters, though!

    5. she was a fast machine*

      Yeah that’s Dan’s MO; he’s just a jerk in general in my experience, and as a bisexual woman, he’s especially rude and biphobic to me.

  13. JKP*

    I’m a little bummed that Alison didn’t get to answer the one about the coworker who asked the intern to translate and add English subtitles to his porn collection (From the Han and Matt podcast). Why do people write Dear Prudence for work questions???

  14. Woodswoman*

    Alison, are you still coming to the San Francisco Bay Area to promote your book this spring? When will that be? It would be wonderful to attend an event.

  15. Princess Scrivener*

    Sadly, we missed you at the Texas Conference for Women, but wow, your schedule explains it!

  16. HBucket*

    I recommend you when commenting about anything to do with job seeking! (You saw me post on LinkedIn for one!)

  17. LGC*

    Man, like…the Jacks question is REALLY awkward. I think that the LW handled it appropriately enough in the moment, though (like, let’s be clear, it’s hard to be perfectly professional without your underpants on, but he did the right thing by leaving). From a work perspective he probably can’t go back to that specific club for a while at the absolute minimum, but on the other hand…from a human perspective, this stinks for him! From the lead paragraph, it did sound like the LW was getting quite a bit of value out of the club, and I guess that’s what’s bothering me here – that he might end up losing out on that.

  18. His Grace*

    I read the Savage Love one, and it breaks ny heart. I am recivering from childhoid sexual abuse, so I empathize with the letter writer. But the concern should not be just his professional standing, but his psychological wellbeing as well. If push comes to shove, I would leave the posotion, instead of giving up the club.

  19. FabTag*

    Alison, I’m starting to think there’s at least two of you! Most normal humans are nowhere near as productive as you are! (P.S. Congratulations on these new achievements!) Tag

Comments are closed.