work habits

how can I write warmer emails without resorting to emojis?

A reader writes: What tips can you offer to “soften” the tone of business emails without the use of emojis? I tend to be direct in real life interactions, possibly erring on the side of blunt. Putting niceties in emails to others feels like a waste of their time, but some feedback I’m getting across […]

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do I have to teach my coworkers my hard-earned skills?

A reader writes: I am the go-to person in my office for managers and coworkers for all things Excel. I am a senior data analyst. I have taught many of my coworkers (other analysts) many things about Excel and have helped them out with their own deliverables that require spreadsheet expertise. I have gotten a […]

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I suck at my job but am otherwise a delightful person

A reader writes: Short version: I truly suck at, and therefore hate, my job, but I’m otherwise a delightful person and employee — so says pretty much anyone who works with me (they don’t say “delightful,” but they use complimentary terms!). But I love my company and want to stay. Is that just a pipe […]

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how can I dress professionally in horrible summer heat?

A reader writes: I’m wondering if you can help shed some light on standards of professional dress in the office. I work on a large college campus, it’s summer, it’s hot, and I have a 15-minute walk (uphill!) to my car. Everyone else in my office has a two-minute walk because parking is doled out […]

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is it okay to say “no” at work?

My mail at Ask a Manager is full of letters from people who want to say no to something their employer is asking of them, but feel that they can’t – that part of having a job is putting up with whatever’s asked of them, or that pushing back would forever taint them in their […]

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I got embarrassingly drunk at a work event

A reader writes: I’m seeking advice on how to apologize to several senior leaders in my company for my irresponsible and offensive drunken behavior at a recent work event. I had attended this event twice prior and had no such issues. This year, I put myself in a situation in which I should have stopped […]

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how can I stop my office’s “I’m sorry” culture?

A reader writes: Do you have any advice on how to stop the “I’m sorry” culture in the workplace? I’m finding my colleagues and even my manager have created an extreme case of this culture, saying they’re sorry for being out sick, sorry for asking a question, sorry for needing to leave early to pick […]

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it is okay to clip your nails at work?

A reader writes: Is it okay for folks to clip their nails in the office? In my last two cubicle-type jobs, there has been at least one person who clips their nails in the office on a regular basis. I think that practice is absolutely revolting (groom at home, people!), but other people I’ve vented […]

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