work habits

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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the cc line is the most passive-aggressive email field

If you’ve ever opened an email at work and found a colleague has inexplicably cc’d your boss on a message to you about a minor concern, you likely know the irritation this tiny electronic bomb can cause: Does your coworker not trust you to resolve the issue without your boss’s scrutiny? Is the presence of […]

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how to get better at using a coworker’s nonbinary pronouns

The question earlier this month about how to get better at using a coworker’s nonbinary pronouns (they/them) attracted hundreds of suggestions in the comments. I’ve compiled some of them here for easy reference (and to share with others if you’d like). While most of these suggestions are for nonbinary folks, some of them also apply […]

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I’m so nervous at work that it’s holding me back

A reader writes: About six months ago, I started a new job that takes some different pieces of my background and combines them into a new role. I was pretty up-front in the interview process that my skills are self-taught and I hadn’t formally worked in this capacity yet. I want to do well in […]

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will smoking hurt my promotion chances?

A reader writes: The further I advance in my career, the more I have noticed something: people at the higher levels are much less likely to smoke. I’m a smoker, and I have lots of desire to quit but am not quite there yet. When at lower levels of my career, I had lots of […]

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