work habits

From how fast you respond to email to being the office grump, your work habits affect how people see you. Here’s advice on mastering the right habits.

how can I write warmer emails?

A reader writes: What tips can you offer to “soften” the tone of business emails? 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 is that I can come off […]

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I get angry when I’m praised for doing work I don’t like

A reader writes: Sometimes when receiving positive feedback, I feel irrationally angry about it. This is always when I’m doing a task I dislike. This, of course, causes problems at work when I’m doing a task I didn’t want to do in the first place and a supervisor tries to give me some encouragement. It’s […]

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how to say no without sounding negative

A reader writes: I’m by nature an over-thinker/highly analytical person. When I make a structural or wording choice, I put a huge amount of thought into which of the many options will be clearest and easiest to understand. When I then bring the draft to my client or to colleagues, they will often have many […]

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how to respond to “sorry” when you were inconvenienced

A reader writes: Recently, I had a meeting scheduled at two colleagues’ request to help them work through some challenges in an area where I have more expertise. They were about 10 minutes late, with no notice that they were running behind. When the first person arrived they said, “Sorry I’m late, my previous meeting […]

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can I ask my boss to coach me on professionalism?

A reader writes: I’ve recently started a new job and in, reflecting on my work experience, I’ve realized that I’m not nearly as attuned to professional norms as I would like to be. Given my background, it’s not terribly surprising. My parents are musicians, and there were large parts of my childhood that we spent […]

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how should I handle my downtime when I’m working from home?

A reader writes: In the Before Times (when a vast majority of us went to another location for work), when you arrived was the start of your day. Now with many people being hybrid, start times seem a little more fluid and I’m wondering what the “right/ethical” way to operate is. For reference, I am […]

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all this talk about”quiet quitting” is absurd

At Slate today, I wrote about the terribly-named “quiet quitting” trend — how it mirrors a larger change in people’s relationship to work, and why a lot of workers are disgusted with the idea that they should do more than “quietly quit.” You can read it here.

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can I go braless as a medical accommodation?

A reader writes: You’ve written about how, rightly or wrongly, most employers still expect employees with obvious breasts to wear bras (or at least not to make it obvious that they’re not wearing one). My question is, could going braless — or getting an exemption to the dress code more generally — ever be a […]

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should I have more of a sense of humor at work?

A reader writes: As a leader myself, I’ve been watching how other leaders interact with each other at my organization. They can joke around with each other, tease each other, and just generally interact with each other in that kind of lighthearted way. I’ve never been good at casually joking with people, but it’s gotten […]

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