workplace practices

our boss told us to camp in tents when we travel for business

A reader writes: I started on staff at a small environmental/conservation nonprofit. My coworkers and I are PR, fundraising, and outreach staff. All of us are brand new due to turnover. Today we received an email from our boss that says: “When we are traveling for work, we try, when possible, to stay at a […]

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my boss says I talk too much to coworkers

A reader writes: My boss told me I’m being too chatty and I don’t know if I’m being unreasonable. I first started my job two years ago. We are a small office of 15 and do a lot of behind-the-scenes work. We don’t interact with the public at all. It was a literal tomb when […]

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should you call in sick for a cold?

A reader writes: I’ve always read that you should call in sick if a) you’re too sick to be productive or b) you’re contagious. Does this mean you should call in sick for a cold? That seems extreme to me, but a cold is certainly contagious-especially the first few days, which I usually spend at […]

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how to survive your office holiday party

Every December, my inbox fills up with emails from people asking about their office holiday parties. Chief among their concerns: How optional or mandatory is this, really? Other questions on a lot of minds: Should you bring a date or is it better to go solo? Can you drink or should you teetotal it? What […]

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is it OK to put up a Christmas tree at work?

A reader writes: I work at a public university, and together with a few colleagues, I supervise a group of graduate students who work in a shared lab office space. Our lab space is a little dreary — there are no windows, and there’s a fair amount of dusty old academic detritus. To add a […]

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how can I stop my employees from giving me holiday gifts?

A reader writes: With the holiday season approaching, I need some advice. I agree with you that gifts in the office should only flow down (managers can give gifts to employees, but employees shouldn’t give gifts to managers because of the power dynamic). My office used to collect funds to purchase something for the owner […]

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do I have to chip in $100 for a Christmas gift for our boss?

A reader writes: My coworkers in my department like to give one another gifts for various events and holidays, like birthdays. It is a nice thought, and typically the contributions are small ($5 to pitch in for one gift card), but for Christmas, we all chip in to buy a gift for our boss. It’s a minimum […]

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do I have to drink to fit in at work?

A reader writes: I’m an intern doing a semester at a company with a prominent drinking culture among employees. Most of my coworkers go out to the local bar multiple times a week on work nights, and some have even come to work very hungover two or three times in a week. I once overheard […]

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