work habits

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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my boss has 10,000 unread emails

A reader writes: Is it ever normal to have 10,000+ unread emails in your professional inbox? Yesterday I inadvertently saw that my boss had 10,965 unread emails. She is a general counsel of a medium-sized company and does not seem to be overloaded with work. The majority of her team (around six people) are very […]

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how can I recover from being the office grump?

A reader writes: I’m in my first year in my job. I’m an open book, so people know when I’m happy and when I’m not. Naturally when I’m upset or angry at work, people can tell. I have been really stressed and haven’t been nice at my office lately recently. Basically I’ve been grumpy. Is […]

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why the littlest things at work can be so maddening

Judging by the mail I get at here, a lot of us feel quite strongly about relatively minor things at work. Some pet peeves make perfect sense, like being annoyed with people who leave food splattered inside the microwave or thinking dark thoughts about that guy who takes all his calls on speaker phone. But […]

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