workplace practices

why is it so hard to take time off work?

There’s a ridiculous state of affairs in American vacation time: we don’t get enough, and we don’t take all of it that we get. Sometimes that’s because people worry it’ll be frowned upon. Sometimes it’s because it feels like there’s never a good time to get away. Sometimes it’s because  because work will pile up […]

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my boss trying to find out who wrote an anonymous sexism report

A reader writes: I am a woman working in a male-dominated industry. My current (very large) company makes me “feel my gender” much more than any other company I’ve worked. I was even part of an investigation against a sexist boss that escalated to HR and management, only to have my great-grandboss shut down any […]

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my boss wanted to go over my personal budget

A reader writes: I’ve recently returned to the teaching field. While I know there are plenty of stories about the budget woes of teachers, my prior experience wasn’t so bad. The school year is approaching and I have been trying to get my class in order. My principal asked for a list of requested supplies […]

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do job titles matter?

A reader writes: I work for a small company of 25 employees. We still call ourselves a start-up (with all of the cultural elements that brings), but we’ve been around almost 10 years now. The founder/sole owner believes “titles don’t matter” and it’s more important to focus on the responsibilities each person has. So most […]

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can you fire someone solely for being racist?

In an interesting juxtaposition with a letter from earlier today, a reader writes: I know you have answered a few variations over this, but I am hoping for a more clear answer in reference to my situation. Recently, my company hired someone that was extremely racist. He worked with me on his first day, where […]

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is there any point to exit interviews?

If you’ve ever left a job, you might have been asked to do an “exit interview” to talk about your experience there, why you decided to leave, and whether there’s anything your employer could have done to keep you. And if you’re like most people, you might have wondered how your input would be used, […]

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my employer pressures us to volunteer for its charitable events

A reader writes: I work at a for-profit company that sponsors a few charitable events each year. These events always bring us at least some clients later on, which is why my company does them (although it’s under the guise of helping the community). Our executives strongly encourage staff to volunteer. The tasks are separate […]

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office pranks shouldn’t end with the ER, vomit, or tears

I’m convinced that there are two types of people in most workplaces: those who find office pranks hilarious and those who think pranks have no place at work, ever. I say this because I receive a surprising number of letters about pranks at work, and they inevitably provoke a flood of outraged responses from anti-prank […]

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my coworker is always dieting — do we have to accommodate her?

A reader writes: I have seen you suggest responses for accommodating coworkers with dietary restrictions due to health or religious needs, but what about coworkers who CHOOSE to go on diets? I have a coworker that has been willingly doing the Keto diet for the last year, and she still is insufferable about it. Anytime […]

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kids at work doesn’t always end well

I’m not sure there’s any work topic I write about that’s more divisive than people bringing their kids to work with them. (Well, maybe dogs at work, but it’s close.) It’s a rare parent who wants to bring their kid to work, but some try to make it work when daycare falls through, a child […]

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