Asking a manager

One of my guilty pleasures is the Ask A Manager blog, written by Alison Green. Other people’s problems are always grimly fascinating, but in particular in the artificial environment of the workplace, where people may come across problems that they would never encounter with family or friends and be at a loss as to how to react, the commentary of a sympathetic expert (combined with the awfulness of the problem reported) can be gripping and thought-provoking. (And the thought it provokes is thankfulness that it isn’t me on either side of the transaction being discussed.)

Humanity is flawed, and people at work particularly so. The compelling entries of Ask A Manager are often the readers reporting back on what happened when they followed Alison Green’s advice. Often this means that those who have erred turn out to have got (some of) their just deserts. I give you:

Someone drew genitalia on our intern’s cast, and what happened next

My horse died because of my manager’s carelessness, and what happened next (warning – this one is very sad).

Sometimes she finds herself giving clueless young people a clue, as with:

The CEO’s wife ruined my job prospects, and what happened next

I was fired from my internship for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress code (warning: annoying autoplay video), followed a year later by I was one of the interns fired for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress code.

But sometimes we never find out the end of the story. The one I wonder most about is the inhuman manager who Alison tore apart for complaining that my best employee quit on the spot because I wouldn’t let her go to her college graduation. Did he or she read the column and learn? I hope that the former employee is prospering.

These things are tough. All we can do is hope to make as few visible mistakes as possible as we learn along the way.