Why We Need Enforced Constraints

This might sound absurd, but in my day-to-day my life I struggle with a driving need to “do” and “accomplish” in every spare moment.

Sharp, Young Thing: How Do You Manage Someone Older Than You?

My mom called me the other day. “I have a new manager,” she explained, “and he’s younger than you.”

When Do I Tell My Boss That I’m Applying to Other Jobs?

Job searching while you have a job is a tricky thing to navigate. While it doesn’t feel good to be dishonest with your coworkers, you also don’t want them to think you’ve checked out—especially if you end up being there a while! The sad and uncomfortable truth is that it’s quite normal to have a period of deception while you hunt for other jobs and fake doctors appointments while you interview.

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.

Ask the Grindstone: Job Reference Etiquette

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

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.