work habits

should I avoid wearing pricey status items at work?

A reader writes: I inherited a watch recently from my late grandfather, and it happens to be a Swiss model which is frightfully expensive — as in over $2,500 new. He purchased it upon his retirement 20 years ago, and its been in the family ever since. Due to its high cost and recognizable brand, […]

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my coworker told me I smell

A reader writes: A week ago, a coworker in a manager position (not my department) who is also a friend sat me down in her office and talked to me because, apparently, I am the smelly coworker. She was very kind and I could tell that it was incredibly hard for her. I think I […]

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is it okay to drink before a presentation?

A reader writes: Presentations are a small but regular part of my role, but I often get nervous and end up hurting my message by criticizing my slides, adding excess caveats to my points, and just general blunders from lacking confidence. Last time I presented, I discreetly took a few swigs of vodka a few […]

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how do I tell my boss if she doesn’t fill the empty position I’m covering, she’ll lose me too?

A reader writes: Seven months ago, I got promoted from an entry-level client-service position at a medical facility to my current position as a case manager for hospitalized patients. The way our office works is that each case manager works for between one and three departments, and the responsibilities vary pretty widely depending on which […]

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is it bad that I Gchat my friends while I’m at work?

I wrote a piece for the New York Times about the new digital etiquette at work: Is it bad that you chat with friends on Gchat or Facebook throughout the workday? How do you follow up with coworkers who haven’t answered your emails? Can you avoid the phone at work? Is it okay to post on social […]

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how much detail do you have to give when you call in sick?

A reader writes: My friends and I (all 25ish, fairly new to the working world) are divided on how to call in sick. Mainly, how much detail are you supposed to go into about what is wrong with you? (“I’m not feeling well”? “I have a cold”? “I was up all night with terrible diarrhea”?) […]

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