Ask a Manager in the media

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

I talked with The Guardian about the new rules of the office, including dealing with office chairs; burping, farting, yawning, or sneezing during meetings; and asking to work flexible hours.

I talked with Cosmopolitan about how to deal with job rejection.

Marketplace referenced an AAM letter about using astrology to analyze employees.

I talked to Fortune about cover letter mistakes.

Business Insider recommended the Ask a Manager book as a gift for new grads.

{ 42 comments… read them below }

  1. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

    I loved the Guardian article. “What do I do if I need to burp, fart, scratch, yawn or sneeze during a meeting? I can’t turn off my mic and camera any more?” I realize this is probably asked simply to make the point, but seriously? Are there people who have gone so feral in 2 years they need to ask this? (that was rhetorical).

    1. Lizzie*

      Right? I will say, I do have to sometimes take a second or two, if I need to toot, and remember that I am IN the office, and not at home, alone, where I can toot to my heart’s content! But generally, if I need to do anything of this nature, I get up, and go to the ladies room. Even when there’s NO ONE else in the office near me.

    2. Wisteria*

      “What do I do if I need to burp, fart, scratch, yawn or sneeze during a meeting?”

      Plan ahead to send your robot doppleganger bc physical bodies and their processes are now considered feral and are no longer acceptable during work.

    3. wireknitter*

      I loved that we no longer have a pot plant of our own in our offices. Very different connotation over here!

    1. Roland*

      Yeah it feels like someone came across a partial quote from one of that rabbi’s writings on simcha – like cut off in the middle of a sentence or something – and decided to just run with it.

      1. Lexi Vipond*

        I assume it’s this:
        In fact, simcha has a nuance untranslatable into English. Joy, happiness, pleasure, and the like are all states of mind, emotions. They belong to the individual. We can feel them alone. Simcha, by contrast, is not a private emotion. It means happiness shared. It is a social state, a predicate of “we,” not “I.” There is no such thing as feeling simcha alone.

  2. NeedRain47*

    I had a Spanish literature professor who hated people of certain astrological signs, even naive 19 yr old me found it an alarming way to react to someone’s birthday.

    1. Vio*

      I once met someone who proudly said that she hated anyone born under Cancer because she lost a loved one to cancer. Because of course all these people chose what star sign to be born under and deliberately picked the one that would cause her, personally, to remember a painful loss that would otherwise never be remembered and they psychically project to her the knowledge of which sign they were born under even if they don’t even care or realise what sign that happens to be.
      Sarcasm aside, she definitely had more interest in provoking arguments than making friends.

  3. MegPie*

    I’m not a fan of the answer to the cough question. They say to suggest that the cougher stays home so they don’t have to deal with dry A/C air. Seems pretty passive and unhelpful.

    1. I would prefer not to*

      Totally agree. If the cougher feels perfectly fine at the office (which presumably they do, or they’d stay home!), then they’ll probably just say “no thanks, I’m good.”

      Just say what you mean ffs.

    2. The Ginger Ginger*

      I did not particularly enjoy the answer to the mask question either because it assumed people who are at risk would be obviously so. If someone’s in a mask at work, it’s a courtesy to mask around them as well. They’re doing it for a reason.

      1. Vio*

        or to at least ask them if they’d prefer it. But of course some might say “No, that’s fine,” when they really mean “Oh my God please put a mask on right now and don’t get so close that your breath fogs my glasses you creep!”

  4. Kowalski! Options!*

    I’m not a huge tea drinker, but if anyone put my mug along some kind of sink-side political analysis, something would definitely be said in less-than-parliamentary language.

  5. Reality Check*

    I’m really, really into astrology, and this just ticks me off. There is WAY more to a person’s personality than their sun sign. There is the Rising sign for instance that shows how one comes across to others. The moon sign which indicates a person’s emotional instinctive reactions to things. The Mars sign shows how one reacts under stress. Etc. Then there are angles between the planets to analyze & a hundred other things. People like this give real astrology a bad name. /end rant

    1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

      It seems like you’d have to have a lot of info about the timing of your birth to know all that.

    2. Rob aka Mediancat*

      To me, if an employer is judging someone by their sign, that’s a pretty big “job made of bees” indicator, because I regard astrology as pseudoscience at best. It would be like if they judged me based on my favorite flavor of ice cream or what NHL team I rooted for. Legal, yes, but not rational.

    3. Very Social*

      If someone asked me in a job interview for my sign, I’d rattle off sun, moon, and rising signs calmly, while watching to see from their reaction if they actually know anything about astrology.

      And I’d be unlikely to take that job if the interviewer seemed to be asking that question as an actual qualifier, because I like astrology memes but it doesn’t belong at the workplace.

  6. Water Dragon*

    The Astrology article touches on how workplaces use other personality tests such as Meyers-Briggs. The Meyers-Briggs is just as useless as astrology. It was designed by two people with no psychology background based on a misunderstanding of Carl Jung’s work. Two minutes of googling would reveal this to anyone, yet millions of people still swear by it. People believe want they want to believe.

    1. I would prefer not to*

      And Myers Briggs seems more infuriating somehow, because a lot of the people who use that in a work context truly believe it is a real, meaningful thing.

      1. HappySkeptic*

        I treat astrology and Myers Briggs (enneagrams, leadership colors, and what star wars character are you quizzes) all similarly. They are made as something to help a person think about themselves. And someone can learn about themselves if they agree with the final result or disagree. I definitely don’t believe that they are scientifically based but I do believe that they can be beneficial for some people who don’t have a way to regularly self reflect. I also have come to this conclusion after doing a ton of these for work so maybe it’s my way of going along to get along. From an INFP, Scorpio, Blue/green, 9, Chewbacca

  7. Edge Witch*

    “In this day and age, it looks like you didn’t make an effort—you can always look up who’s hiring for the role,” she says. “If you can’t find the name, go with ‘dear hiring manager,’ or if the company calls their HR team the ‘people team’ or something like that, you can say ‘dear people manager.'”

    I rolled my eyes at this (which, to be clear, is NOT quoting Alison!), but I’m in the middle of sending out applications so now’s as good a time as any to check my bias. Does starting a cover letter with “dear hiring manager” really make me sound lazy? In my experience it’s rarely clear who’s hiring for the role, and even then it’s not a guarantee that they are also the one screening resumes and cover letters. Am I looking at this the wrong way?

    1. Parcae*

      Alison addressed that way back in 2011(!), and I can’t think of a reason the advice would have changed. Verdict: this is common job searching advice, but isn’t actually a big deal. Use the hiring manager’s name if it’s easily available. Otherwise, don’t sweat it.

      I’ll link the original post in a reply.

    2. I would prefer not to*

      I can’t believe it makes anyone seem lazy to a reasonable person. I can’t imagine concluding that about a candidate.

      And it could even come off a little… odd… if you did know their name but hadn’t been given it.

    3. nona*

      I’ve just gone with “Greetings” as my salutation and didn’t even try to address it in the more standard way, because “Dear Hiring Manager” or “To Whom It May Concern” all just felt…weird. And awkward ways to start a letter

      I would disagree about it being easier to find a name. I can see the name in the internal listing so, if I was hiring internally, I might use it, but unless you have an in with that company already, there’s a fair amount of gumption that would need to be applied to get it. And it just doesn’t seem worth it.

  8. I would prefer not to*

    No offence but the other answers really make me appreciate Allison (and most commentators here!) because the others quoted in the Guardian really missed the mark.

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