You, Me and Both of Us: Rules That Apply to Our Relationships and Our Work

If my job were a person, she would be a kind and gentle woman (my workplace is 90 percent female). She’d be quiet—someone that generally leaves me alone.

How to Be Rejected From a Job

I’ve bragged about jobs that I’ve rejected, but now it's time to come clean and tell you about the jobs that have rejected me. Let me state for the record: I am someone who has been rejected from many jobs.

A Good Manager Is Hard to Find

Last year, a Gallup poll found that a lowly 30 percent of Americans are actually happy at work, and many complained of "bosses from hell" as a major reason. The truth is that it's difficult to be a good manager. A good manager should, ideally, both direct your work and help you grow in your skills and career. She should be supportive, provide timely feedback, and help when you are stuck. She should be able to do all of this on top of the work that she needs to do herself. It's said that people are promoted to the point of their incompetence, and this is especially true when it comes to management, since dealing with people is a skill that few people actively cultivate. And there are so, so many ways to be a bad manager.

Ask the Grindstone: Job Reference Etiquette

Hi! I have a question for your Grindstone series: The etiquette with references.

How Not to Practice Public Speaking

I'm pretty good at some things. I’m a fast reader, I can bake really delicious gluten-free peanut butter cookies from scratch, and I’m excellent at making up answers to questions I don’t actually know much about. If anything, I am sometimes overconfident in my abilities. Yet any ideas I have about having gift for public speaking are entirely fantasy.

Four Stages of Financial Development

My friend Mark is the type of person who regularly reads the business section of the newspaper, and I often go to him for financial advice. He has a well-paying job and owns a house. So I was surprised to learn recently that he didn't start out being very knowledgeable or responsible with his money. In fact, Mark started out with credit card debt and car payments, just like many of us. Since then, Mark’s way of thinking about money has shifted as he has learned more and entered new stages of life, or "stages of financial development" if you will.

Should I Apply for This Job?

My friend Tim likes to send me links to job listings he’s considering and ask my opinion about whether he should apply. Pretty much without fail, my answer is yes (or really, YES!). There is always something—he's not sure he wants to work for such a large company, or he's worried that the hours will be too long, or he's not sure if he's really ready to leave his current job. But the thing is, it doesn't matter. He should just apply!

What Do You Do All Day?

I have always been very concerned with becoming a respectable job candidate, even before I really knew what I wanted to do. I’d thought the goal was to master information that would set me up for a successful career. I took school seriously and got good grades, and I believed that doing well on tests was a good indication that I was doing well, that I would be successful in life.

The Working Women Who Came Before Us

On April 8, President Obama signed an executive order to address unequal pay for women among federal contractors. In his speech on the issue, he promised, "We are going to work to make sure that our daughters have the same chance to pursue their dreams as our sons." It horrifies me that in an era of delivery drones, equal pay is at the forefront of the feminist movement. Sometimes I get a panicky feeling—is this it? Will it ever be better?