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.

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.

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?

Career Advice From the Dalai Lama

“I think if we make a special effort to cultivate good relationships with people at work, get to know the other people, and bring our basic good human qualities to the workplace, that we can make a tremendous difference,” he writes. “Then, whatever kind of work we do, it can be a source of satisfaction.”

Office Small Talk: An Illustrated Typology

“I’m not sure I like California,” my mom said the last time she was out here to visit me. “You can’t order coffee here without them asking you how your day is going.” She’s a New Yorker. She insisted that her barista didn’t really care how she’s doing, and that this polite inquiry was just wasting her time.

Gets, Regrets, and Good Decisions: Jobs I’ve Said No To

There are many reasons to say no to an offer. Sometimes it’s not a good fit; the position isn’t exciting, the company culture isn’t right, or the salary is too low. Sometimes, after going through the interview process and envisioning what your life will look like in the position (that you’ve yet to accept), your real priorities become clear. I’ve had a few opportunities to say no to job offers, which I recognize is an enormous privilege, and it hasn’t always been a good thing. There are a few types of jobs that I’ve said no to.

Getting Your Email to Behave

I hate email.

The Torture of Giving Critical Feedback at Work

Hands down, my worst work experience to date was trying to tell someone they have a bad attitude. This someone was my coworker, Ruth, and technically, I was her supervisor even though we were the same age. My boss directed me to give her this feedback during her annual review.

Why Do We Spend Money On Things That Don’t Make Us Happy?

My friend Kate used to annoy me in a very specific way. I’d invite her to do something fun—like a nice meal or a performance—and she’d say that she couldn’t afford it, and then spend money on something else equally expensive and unnecessary. It took me a while to understand that it wasn’t personal to me—Kate and I just had different ideas of how we wanted to spend our money. If how we spend our money is such a clear reflection of our priorities, shouldn’t we try to spend it in ways that make us truly happy?

Three Economic Terms to Help Explain My Coffee Addiction

Maybe you’ve heard the financial wisdom that cutting out buying coffee is a good way to save (e.g. yourlatte factor). Here are three economic concepts to remember when putting yourself through this, or similar mental anguish over how you spend your money.

Career Advice from a Tarot Card Reader

A friend of mine had seen a card reader in this mysticism shop and recommended him as a particularly intuitive guy. I was immediately curious. At 30, with several years of work experience under my belt (and many, many more ahead), I’m trying to figure out what I want in my career.