Shared posts

13 Nov 23:18

where are you now? (a call for updates)

by Ask a Manager

"it's the most wonderful time of the year..."

At the end of each year, I publish a slew of “where are they now” updates from people whose questions I answered here in the past. Last year we had several hundred and it was amazing. So…

If you’ve had your question answered here in the past, please email me an update and let us know how your situation turned out. Did you take the advice? Did you not take the advice? What happened? Leave no juicy detail out! I’ll post updates as they come in. (Don’t post them here though; email them to me.)

And if there’s anyone you especially want to hear an update from, mention it here and I’ll reach out to those people directly.

where are you now? (a call for updates) was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

07 Nov 14:07

Here’s our first concrete intel on ‘Game of Thrones’ season 8

by Michelle Jaworski

please put this in my eyeballs now.

game of thrones season 8 jon dany

The amount of secrecy surrounding Game of Thrones season 8 has been nothing short of astounding at the height of filming. But with the premiere date far off in the future, we’re finally starting to learn what the end of Game of Thrones will entail.

In a new Entertainment Weekly cover story, the cast and crew begin to open up about ending the world’s most popular TV show along with the lengths they went to to make sure that certain aspects didn’t get out ahead of time. Security was ramped up to the point where Liam Cunningham wasn’t able to read his season 8 scripts before the table read, “drone killer” guns were employed to take down drones attempting to fly over the set, and showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss—who are working on Star Wars after Game of Thrones—even asked The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy for pointers on how to keep everything under wraps.

It’s also evident just how much being on the show affected the cast. Several have said they cried during the process (Kit Harington admitting the second time was seeing “End of Game of Thrones” on the finale script) while Lena Headey added that “it’s a huge sense of loss, like we’ll never have anything like this again.”

Our first look involves a bit of fashion, which manages to carry secret meaning. Daenerys Targaryen’s new coat is very similar in appearance to the stunner she debuted in “Beyond the Wall,” but the stripes are now black and red (likely to symbolize Drogon), which stand out even more against the white fur.

Given the anticipation over Game of Thrones, the details revealed about season 8 are on a smaller scale but will entice any fan looking for any kind of information on season 8. But if you’re trying to avoid learning anything ahead of time, turn away now.

Our first look at the season 8 premiere

The end of season 7 set many of our favorite characters a clear path: toward Winterfell. Jaime is on a lone horse after he abandoned Cersei Lannister; Sansa and Arya Stark just secured Winterfell back after executing Littlefinger for betraying them; Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen, having committed accidental incest, are sailing to White Harbor; and Bran Stark and Samwell Tarly are waiting to drop a couple of major bombshells on Jon once he arrives.

According to Entertainment Weekly, the season will be largely shaped by how the characters we’ve grown to love will react to one another. The season premiere, in particular, will feature homages to the pilot (in which Robert Baratheon’s party arrived at Winterfell), but everything has changed. There’s a new ruler in town, most of the major characters who met King Robert Baratheon are now dead, and Sansa’s not exactly pleased with Jon after he pledged the North to Daenerys.

And this is even before Sansa learns what Bran has to tell Jon.

“It’s about all of these disparate characters coming together to face a common enemy, dealing with their own past, and defining the person they want to be in the face of certain death,” writer and co-executive producer Bryan Cogman explained. “It’s an incredibly emotional, haunting, bittersweet final season, and I think it honors very much what George set out to do—which is flipping this kind of story on its head.”

Although not everything will be pleasant in Winterfell, we’re also hoping for some heartfelt reunions on the horizon such as the ones between Jon and Arya, which we’ve been waiting to see since the show’s second episode.

One season 8 battle makes the Battle of the Bastards look like child’s play

There have been plenty of set reports about a major battle that will take place in season 8 thanks to much of it taking place outdoors. A post from assistant director Jonathan Quinlan revealed that an upcoming battle took 11 weeks to film and included 55 days of night shoots in a row.

The cover story clarifies the scope of the battle, which will take place at an expanded Winterfell and will include scenes outdoors and inside of Winterfell, after some of the information about the shoot was misreported. It’s the largest battle Game of Thrones has ever shot and will be helmed by director Miguel Sipochnik, who previously directed “Battle of the Bastards” and “Hardhome.” The challenge for the crew was to make the story “compelling” enough.

“It’s brutal,” Peter Dinklage said. “It makes the Battle of the Bastards look like a theme park.”

The end was out of reach for years

Benioff and Weiss had known for some time how George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series would end but worried about how they would be able to afford shooting it even with HBO’s budget. At one point, they proposed turning the final season into movies, but HBO said no.

That was back in season 3. Since then, the show blew up so much—and in the process, become a cash cow for HBO—that HBO was easily able to make larger budgets happen; the final season has a budget of more than $15 million an episode. But in plotting how Game of Thrones ends, it also meant convincing HBO to say goodbye to its most popular TV show.

“We want to stop where we—the people working on it, and the people watching it—both wish it went a little bit longer,” Benioff explained. “There’s the old adage of ‘Always leave them wanting more,’ but also things start to fall apart when you stop wanting to be there. You don’t want to fuck it up.”

You can read Entertainment Weekly’s cover story in full here.

The post Here’s our first concrete intel on ‘Game of Thrones’ season 8 appeared first on The Daily Dot.

31 Oct 19:57

The Story Behind The Horror of Dolores Roach

by Lila Shapiro

Ok, spoilers ahead and I haven't read all the way through because I'm contemplating listening to this... anyone listened yet?

In The Horror of Dolores Roach, Gimlet’s new fiction podcast out just in time for Halloween, Dolores returns home from a 16-year prison stint for pot possession to find her old neighborhood, Washington Heights, unrecognizable. A Chase Bank has replaced the diner, a T-Mobile has taken over the little family-run bakery. “There’s a Planet fuckin’ Fitness,” Dolores says, horrified. The only piece of the old neighborhood that remains is Empanada Loca, run by an old buddy of hers, but business is failing — until Dolores sets up a massage parlor in the basement and has an unfortunate encounter with the sleazy landlord trying to evict them, setting into motion a macabre retelling of Sweeney Todd where cannibalism is a metaphor for gentrification. (It turns out hipsters can’t get enough of the Empanada Loca’s new special ingredient.)

The story began as a one-woman play called Empanada Loca, written by Aaron Marks — a Washington Heights gentrifier, himself — for his muse, Daphne Rubin-Vega, whose breakout role was Mimi in the original Broadway production of Rent, another woman on the wrong end of gentrification’s relentless bite. Unlike Mimi, Dolores isn’t waiting around for a man to save her, a characteristic that Rubin-Vega relishes. “She’s a survivor. A warrior of the people, which I find very thrilling,” Rubin-Vega said over the phone.

In the podcast, Rubin-Vega is joined by Bobby Cannavale, who plays the owner of Empanada Loca, a “misunderstood culinary visionary” (and high-end weed connoisseur) who comes up with a creative solution to dispose of the body after Dolores strangles a customer in a fit of rage, desperation, and euphoria. Rubin-Vega delivers a tour de force performance; as the New York Times put it, in an article about new fiction podcasts, her voice “slinks into the listener’s mind in a way that feels unrivaled in audio.”

The day before Halloween, Vulture caught up with Marks and Rubin-Vega to discuss the inspiration for the podcast, why female serial killers are inherently feminist, and the politics of cannibalism. Beware of spoilers!

How’s it going?
Daphne Rubin-Vega: We are giddy with delight.

So what’s the origin story for this story?
Aaron Marks: I’d been working on a series of one-person horror plays that were contemporary reinventions of old horror characters and properties, and I had this crazy idea for a contemporary reimagination of the old Sweeney Todd legend back from the penny-dreadful days. I wanted to write it for Daphne. I was a huge fan, and she was someone who I’d wanted to work with for a long time. As an audience member, I wanted to see her play a kind of role that I hadn’t seen her play before. So I wrote it for her and sent her the script.

DRV: At the time, I was working on my own solo material, and I wasn’t actually all that interested in his writing. [Laughs.] But when he presented Empanada Loca to me I was blown away. I put down what I was doing. There was an aspect of Dolores, as a survivor, as a spokesperson for every disenfranchised person, that for me personally is a very important story to tell — from my experience as an actor, and more so from my experience as a human being.

She’s a really interesting character, one who I feel like I haven’t met in the horror cannon. A woman of color who has been unjustly oppressed by the criminal-justice system, but who also turns out to be a serial killer. Which feels like a progressive statement of some kind. She’s a female serial killer, and yet her anger is righteous and justified, and yet she also loves murdering people. How did she come together as a character?

AM: That was really the hook from the beginning: Can we meet a character who is behaving in ways that we, hopefully, think we never would behave, and yet we absolutely identify with her and love her? I wanted to do a deep dive into a character we haven’t seen depicted much in the horror cannon. Yeah, she is killing people — and you will identity with her.

DRV: I keep coming back to cannibalism of our culture. It’s not even figurative anymore. We can literally say that we’re a cannibalistic culture. It’s not a condition of this culture, it’s actually a birth defect. What thrills me about Dolores is that she gets to exemplify that in this very dramatic way.

Do you think there’s something inherently feminist and progressive about the idea of a female serial killer?
DRV: Well, yeah. I’m not advocating violence. Not to get it twisted, but to advocate for a strong self-sustaining woman who has embraced the idea that she’s going to unequivocally win at the expense of others if need be — that’s feminist. The embodiment of a female serial killer that we all love is sort of the most outrageous thing we can imagine. I don’t think we sat down and planned it that way, but that’s who she turned out to be.

Why did you decide to set it the story in Washington Heights?
AM: I’ve lived in that part of Washington Heights for nine years now. I moved in at the beginning of what is currently this wave of gentrification that’s happening now at the speed of light. The early part of this was me showing up there and having to grapple with, frankly, myself as a gentrifier. What am I doing here? The character and the story was very much drawn from my experience moving there and watching the gentrification happen. And living on the first floor, where I could hear people all night out my window talking. Dolores is very much drawn from people I’ve known in my neighborhood.

So how’d you get into Dolores’s head?
DRV: Dolores is practical, lovable, goodhearted. She means well. The problem is, the events in her life have been so unfortunate that they’ve led her to make some other unfortunate decisions. But really, she tries to stay good. And I think that’s important. There’s also an element of incredible vulnerability and honesty. Or at least, in the realm of what we’re doing, she’s very honest to us. We can trust her, and I think that’s what makes her work.

Yeah, she reflects on her murders in a really authentic and weirdly endearing way, which makes her very different from, say, Walter White, who’s always justifying everything he does. She’s honest about the euphoria.

DRV: That’s her way of celebrating her power. It’s the only power she gets.

AM: She’s been backed up into a corner to such a degree. For me, as a writer, it was exciting and challenging to embrace, on the one hand, the horror, and on the other, the really fundamental, very frightening, animalistic survival instinct that I think all human beings have. And really, what are the circumstances, for any human being on the planet, that would lead any of us to behave in this way?

DRV: Plus, Dolores is living underground when she’s telling her story. If you’re a sentient being, you might notice that there are people around right now that are having completely different experiences than you are. In the past couple of years, I’ve been living on a block in Chelsea, and on my block, there’s a three-dollar pizza, and there’s a homeless shelter, and a design studio, and one of those waiting-three-months-to-get-into-the-restaurant situations — but people have to walk over homeless motherfuckers to get to that place. That’s a fact. Dolores, whether we like it or not, is a very palpable reminder of the fact that some people are really going underground. And some people don’t come back up. They really don’t. We did a fair amount of research on that.

What kind of research did you guys do for the show?
AM: I did a lot of reading.

DRV: I did a lot of killing. I’m joking!

So what was the collaboration like?
AM: I’d write the scripts, then I’d come and sit in Daphne’s apartment, where we are now, and I’d read them to her out loud, which was a bizarre and weird experience, of reading Dolores for Daphne. And then she’d weigh in.

DRV: I’d go over the script, making it terser, leaner, to make every section pack a punch. Dolores needs to keep the audience there. You’re her victim, but you don’t know that yet. So there’s an urgency there.

I want to talk about the cannibalism. One of the most disturbing parts of the show, I thought, was the way that this new meat source becomes wildly popular and Empanada Loca becomes a successful business again. Why do you think hipsters love human meat so much?
AM: Well, as Louis says — spoiler alert — meat is meat! Flesh is flesh. I mean, I’m not a cannibal myself. But if we’re seeing through the lens of a character who’s really meant to embody this kind of base, animalistic survival instinct that she’s backed into, then it felt right that she would fit into this idea of cannibalism, both literal and figurative. We’re all the same molecules in meat form, walking around.

DRV: The only reason we eat what we eat is because we won. We get to eat animals because we won.

AM: It’s so tied to power dynamics.

DRV: Human flesh is a game-changer, right? It allows Louis to exercise his creative potential. He gets to act out and express his artistic vision, at the expense of life, right? I keep thinking about this image of biting the hand that feeds you — you have to bite the hand that feeds you if you want to make any kind of impression. It only works one way with power.

I’m curious, Daphne. Your breakout role in Rent was also about gentrification. Does this role feel like coming full circle in a way?
DRV: I have this uncanny way of coming full circle in that way. All my roles are interconnected in the sense that I’ve always played someone who is a fish out of water in some way. I represent the other in your neighborhood. It’s funny because, it started out as a joke, but I didn’t even realize how funny– slash–not funny it was. I used to be in a girl group, we made records on Atlantic Records, and we used to be described as the hot blonde, the brunette girl next door, and the ubiquitous urban street element. I was the urban element. The world out there always depicts me as other.

It’s really hard to answer that because, in a way, it’s sort of like asking for approval from a system that doesn’t behoove me to get an approval from. And that’s the thing about Dolores. She doesn’t need your approval.

So what’s next for Dolores? Is she going to come back to the surface? AM: It’s never clear to me what I’m allowed to say and not say, but what I can tell you is that there’s certainly more story for Dolores, and we certainly hope that we’re going to be able to tell the rest of her story.

Did working on the show ruin empanadas for you? Can you eat them now?
AM: After I wrote the play, I couldn’t touch them for about a year. I had a visceral, holy shit, I just killed off one of my favorite foods. I’ve since gotten over that and I eat them all the time.

DRV: When we first got into it, I was so into the idea of making my own empanadas. I made them from scratch, and I overstuffed them, so they were these tails. And I could not bring myself to eat them — they just looked too much like a dead rodent. My son ate them, though. I nibbled at the fried part, but I don’t eat the inside anymore.

30 Oct 06:48

my new job is a nightmare built on a hellmouth

by Ask a Manager

Another primo Alison response. This poor unlucky person. Perhaps she should hold a seance in the front office and try to negotiate with the property poltergeist who is ruining her life.
LW: Spirit, please release us from this torment.
Ouiji board: LOLOLOLOLOLOL Nah

A reader writes:

I spent almost seven years in property management before vowing to never, ever, ever go back. I don’t know if it is just my local market or if it is like this everywhere, but in the course of working for several different companies I encountered everything from sexual discrimination, retaliation, and a whole host of other crazy, unacceptable things culminating in being fired by a manager because she thought I might try to take her job.

After that (and my vow to get as far away from property management as possible) I was lucky enough to be offered a great job as a project manager at a local printing and direct mail company. I loved working there, not because I was on fire for the industry, but because I got to use problem solving skills daily, I liked having a lot of interaction with various departments and coworkers, I got treated like a human being by everyone, and I didn’t have to worry about any of the crazy shenanigans that seem to plague my old field. Unfortunately, I was unlucky enough to be the last project manager hired before an extreme slowdown in their business, and after just shy of a year I was laid off.

I was terrified when it happened. I had been unemployed for a stretch before that job, and my savings still hadn’t recovered from that. The day I got laid off, I called a former manager of mine (one of the good ones) from my not-so-long-ago property management days because she was always one of the most plugged-in networkers in town. I was absolutely floored when, the very next day, she offered me a position as her assistant manager at a nice pay upgrade from what I had been making at the printing company job. Apparently they were about to move forward with a candidate and then I dropped in out of the sky. She told me that both account delinquency and the paperwork at the property were a mess, and that she was in the process of retraining the residents (apparently previous management had been, um, not good and the residents were running wild), but that it wasn’t anything that I couldn’t handle. Even though I really never wanted to go back to property management, I felt that I wasn’t in a position to say no. And hey, I figured that maybe things would be different this time, and if not I could just do a good job for a year or so, save up a ton of money, and then move on to something I would enjoy. I went in legitimately filled with optimism.

Well, I am two months and 19 days in, and … I think I’m about to crack. It’s a nice looking property in a nice area, but I legitimately wonder if this place is built on a native burial ground, or perhaps a Hellmouth. In the short amount of time that I’ve been here, I’ve experienced the following:

1) Been verbally assaulted by residents in what I would consider an extreme way four times, two of which resulted in me crying in the back room after they left

2) Witnessed an unstable employee losing it/dramatically quitting and then coming back three times in one hour

3) Discovered an employee running a side car repair business all day, every day at work instead of actually doing work for the company

4) Been present when a dude high on meth and road rage followed my coworker onto property and spent an hour chasing maintenance employees with a bat and trying to break into our front office (this is one of three times we have had to call the police SINCE I’VE STARTED)

5) Had a resident I had never spoken to before walk into our office and then aggressively run up to my desk with no preamble and scream that I am a “bitch from hell” in a possessed sounding voice while throwing money orders for her late rent in my face

6) Been questioned in an extensive and vaguely threatening way by what turned out to be an unmedicated paranoid schizophrenic resident about whether or not I am “of God” before he left the office, had a full meltdown, and had to be handcuffed by the police and taken in for psychiatric observation

7) Been present for the hit and run of a maintenance man driving the company golf cart on property (he is okay)

8) Had a non-resident family that was crashing our pool refuse to leave and instruct their children to poop in the pool after we asked them to go (yes, they pooped)

9) Discovered that a convicted murderer somehow got through our criminal screening process and now runs a large number of sketchy illegal occupants (who may have something to do with a number of car break-ins and acts of vandalism that have recently occurred on property) in and out of his apartment

All of that is in addition to two apartment fires, buildings being struck by lightning, a host of just plain WEIRD natural phenomena, and EVERYONE HERE ACTS LIKE THIS IS ALL VERY NORMAL. But it seems like a LOT for under three months. I’ve never worked anywhere that has had a comparable volume of this sort of stuff happening. And as far as rest of the job goes, well … I cleaned up the account delinquency pretty quickly and have largely done good things, but frankly the training has been inadequate and I’m repeatedly being assigned numerous impossible tasks/deadlines. Which I hate. I’m also extremely isolated, as the front office only has three other employees and there’s this weird dynamic because I’m under the manager but over the leasing consultants. Everyone is pleasant, but it’s really stratified and it doesn’t seem like that will change. I’m very unhappy. It’s so bad that lately I find myself increasingly freezing and being unable to even complete simple, doable tasks (which really isn’t like me!). I have to give myself a pep talk just to get in the car and go to work (also a new, not normal for me thing).

I obviously can’t just bail, and a big part of me feels like a terrible person for wanting to head for the hills already when my manager just brought me on in good faith (at a great salary). But the place itself is terrible/appears to be cursed and I don’t enjoy the work. I honestly don’t think I can make it a full year. When is the soonest I can start applying for new jobs without looking like a total flake to prospective employers? How do I explain the reasons why I want to leave my current job to prospective employers in a way that is honest but doesn’t make me sound like a melodramatic crazy person? “Because if I stay I’m pretty sure that I will be murdered or possibly swallowed by the sinkhole that is inevitably going to drag that place to some netherworld/hell dimension; also, I would like to be given projects that are challenging but not unrealistic” is clearly not the way to go.

And finally, if I find a good, non-property management job, how do I leave without upsetting my manager, who will almost definitely feel personally betrayed? I’ve worked with her before, and I’ve seen her get touchy about things like this with employees at other properties. The person before me left the place in a shambles, and she moved me into that slot because she knows I’m trustworthy and loyal. I know she’s expecting me to be in it for the long haul.

I have to admit that I printed this letter in part because of your amazing list of disasters.

You can start applying for new jobs now. You’re presumably going to be applying to jobs outside of property management since you want to get out of that field, so you can explain your search this way: “I have a lot of experience in property management, but when I left in 2016, I’d hoped to move to a new field permanently. When I was laid off from my job at Teapots Inc., a previous manager offered me this position, but I really want to move into the ___ field, and I’m I’m excited about the position with you because ___.” (And then with that language at the end, you shift to why you’re applying for this job and take the focus off why you’re leaving the current one.)

Leaving quickly without upsetting your manager is a harder question. And it may not be possible, because her reaction is up to her rather than up to you. But what you can do is be very honest and very apologetic. Say something like this: “I’m incredibly grateful that you gave me a chance at this position, and I’ve been trying hard to make it work, but I’ve realized in the last few weeks that I don’t think I’m the right person for this role. I’m becoming so unhappy that I can see it impacting both my work and my off time. I’m so sorry about this because you really went out of your way to help me out and I know you put your faith in me. If there was any way I could make it work, I would — but I’m at the point where I need to be up-front with you that I’ve realized this isn’t for me.”

Now, will she she this as a personal betrayal? Maybe. But it wouldn’t be reasonable to expect you to stay in a job where you’re miserable out of loyalty to her. And you definitely shouldn’t stay in a job where you’re miserable out of fear of her reaction.

All you can do is to be up-front with her about where you’re at with this, acknowledge that it’s not a great outcome for her, and apologize that it didn’t work out.

She might be upset, but no reasonable manager wants someone to say in a job where they’re miserable. She might not be a reasonable manager, of course, and it’s not ideal that she’s so well-connected in case this really does piss her off (although fortunately you want to move out of her industry anyway), but none of this is a reason to stay in a job that you’re describing as a hellhole and where it’s starting to affect your ability to function.

You’re allowed to get out.

my new job is a nightmare built on a hellmouth was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

27 Oct 23:14

my coworker won’t use the phone, my coworker has her husband on video chat all day long, and more

by Ask a Manager

Q2... holy moly! That poor letter writer.

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. My coworker won’t talk to clients on the phone

My coworker and office mate will do anything to avoid using the telephone to communicate with clients. She will send emails that are 5-6 pages long, dodge phone calls or even not get back to clients at all, all to avoid using the phone. We work for a marketing agency and most things can’t be properly communicated via email.

It’s a small company and our manager is also the owner. We are peers but she has been with the company a lot longer then I have. I spoke to the owner, who said “Hmmm, I think I hear her on the phone sometimes. As long as the customers are not angry!” She then changed the subject.

I find myself spending all day on the phone compensating. Clients that are hers call me for answers. At least once a day I have someone calling in asking me to explain things from an email she sent. Her emails are well written but overwhelming. Most of our clients do not have hours to sit and read emails. They are HVAC and plumbing technicians. Often we have a lead come in requesting a phone call. They get an email and we never hear from them again. To me it is clear why. She also does her best to avoid picking up the phone when it rings.

It’s incredibly frustrating knowing that I have more work on my plate because she spends two hours writing a six-page email that could have been a five-minute phone call. How can I motivate her to use phone conversations as a communication tool?

It doesn’t sound like you have the authority to do that, and the person who does — your manager — is declining to. All you can do is decline to pick up her share of the work. That means that when her clients call you, you should say, “Let me transfer you over to Jane” and then tell Jane, “I have your client on the phone with questions about your email. I’m transferring her over to you now.” And if she tells you to have them email her or to send them to her voicemail, you can say bluntly, “I think that would be really rude. They specifically want to talk with you over the phone.”

I would also give talking to the owner one more shot. Lay it out really clearly by saying something like, “I don’t have time to take all of Jane’s phone calls for her. Her clients call me for help because she won’t answer their calls and insists on sending lengthy emails that they don’t want to read. I’m going to start transferring them to her when they call me, but I’m alerting you first because I think she’ll refuse to pick up. We’ve also had many leads come in asking for a phone call but she emails them instead and then we never hear from them again. We are losing business because she won’t use the phone. I won’t keep belaboring this, but I wanted to make sure you were aware of the scope of the problem.”

From there, it’s up to the owner, but you don’t need to keep picking up your coworker’s slack.

2. My coworker has her husband on video chat all day long

I work for a religious organization, and I am having a hard time because my coworker is always on a secret video chat with her husband during work hours. He can see her or us any time we are around, and he has his camera covered so we won’t see him. Her phone is always propped up and he can hear us and all of the confidential information we work with. It makes me uncomfortable and it makes me feel unsafe.

I don’t think my manager knows. She’s seen her cellphone out on her desk, but my coworker is very vigilant when she is around and she closes the app.

We do have office security cameras, which we are all aware of, and there are notices posted everywhere for them. I do not know how to talk to my coworker about it. Please help.

Well, you can start with your coworker if you want, but really, this is problematic enough that I’d go straight to your manager.

If you want to start with your coworker, you could just say, “Jane, I don’t feel comfortable having your husband hear and see me all day while I’m working, and overhearing confidential information. Could you stop leaving him on video chat all day long like that?”

But really, skip that and go to your boss — both because it’s worth escalating and because you’re going to have to do that anyway if your coworker refuses. To your boss, you can say, “I’m concerned that Jane has her husband on video chat literally all day long, which means that he can hear and see anything the rest of us do, including hearing confidential information that might be discussed. I’ve noticed she quickly closes the app when you’re around, and I figured it’s something you’d want to be aware of.”

3. What gifts do employees actually want?

I’m always struggling to figure out gift ideas for employees. What do employees actually want? On holidays? Commemorating 5/10/15/etc. years together? Or even price ranges, although that probably varies so much. If everyone is being honest, do people really just want gift cards/cash?

People vary on this — some people really appreciate thoughtful gifts picked out just for them and other people really don’t care about getting a gift from their employer and just want cash. Preferences about gifts can be incredibly personal and individual, and a gift that one person thinks is thoughtful and lovely will be thrown away by someone else.

But it’s very rare for money or additional time off not to be received well. Those are very safe, very popular choices.

4. We’re not allowed to eat at our desks, and I’m crashing without food

I work in an office that does not allow us to eat, or even snack, at our desks. We used to be able to, but our bosses decided they did not like it and have since banned it.

I, of course, eat breakfast, and then it’s a good five hours or so before I’m allowed to take my lunch break. After three hours or so of no food, I start to feel very sick. I get nauseous, my head swims, and my mouth waters. My energy level also plummets. I am not diabetic (I know this is common for people with diabetes), but I am just a person whose blood sugar sinks terribly when I do not eat for a few hours.

There are some people who will take a short break and have a yogurt in the kitchen, but my manager doesn’t like this (she thinks eating of any kind should be reserved for when we’re not on the clock). She sometimes allows it, but she tells us not to make a habit of it. So, since I would need to do this every day, I don’t think that would be an option for me. Since I have no medical condition to speak of, and rather just a sensitive body, is there anything I can do or say about this to avoid my mid-morning crash? It does hinder my work, as I start agonizing about how long there is until lunch time.

Try saying this to your manager: “I’m trying to be respectful of the new rule against eating at our desks and I know you don’t like to see people taking a break to have a snack in the kitchen. But I’m finding that my energy plummets after a few hours without food and sometimes I even get nauseous. I’d be able to stay more productive if I were able to eat a small snack at my desk, while I continue to work. Would it be okay for me to have something discreet like a pack of almonds or (fill in with whatever you want here) so that I’m able to keep my productivity and focus up?”

If your boss says no to this without a really good reason (like that you work with fragile historical documents and can’t have food around them), she’s being overly rigid and ridiculous.

5. Why are government-run career centers so often terrible?

You’ve discussed on your website before about why career centers in college are awful, but I was wondering if you could talk about why government career centers are terrible.

I went to my local, state-funded career center a couple weeks ago and while it wasn’t completely terrible, I still felt they were giving a ton of misinformation. My adviser gave me tons of packets to help me update my resume and cover letter, and I was surprised to see how boring, bland, and outright wrong some of the advice was. Some of this terrible advice in this packet includes: don’t not put your graduation date on your resume because employers might not pick you based on your age, don’t use a chronological resume if you have a large gaps between jobs, and that “resume paper selection is an important aspect of the presentation of a completed resume.” My adviser even said that in my cover letter I shouldn’t write “Dear Hiring Manager” and instead I need to search out who the hiring manager is for that company. Unless it’s specifically stated in the job posting to address it to a certain person, I have no idea why writing “Dear Hiring Manager” wouldn’t be appropriate.

Do you know why these government-run career centers give not just bad, but harmful advice to job seekers?

Largely because most of the people staffing them haven’t done significant (or any) amounts of hiring themselves, and they’re just relying on bad advice that’s been recirculating for decades. If you inquire into their credentials, you’ll generally discover that they’re pretty paltry. Unfortunately, these sorts of programs often aren’t held to a particularly high bar when it comes to quality of the services they’re providing, and as a result they’re often truly terrible.

government-run career centers are terrible
when the government requires you to listen to bad career advice
the state of Florida thinks unemployed people need capes

my coworker won’t use the phone, my coworker has her husband on video chat all day long, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

26 Oct 21:22



top notch dog content!!

25 Oct 21:56

ask the readers: what past work behavior do you now cringe over?

by Ask a Manager

(It's an AAM kind of day.) Interested in TOR's responses to this one. A lot of the comments involve dress code infractions, and being a presumptuous whippersnapper with lots and lots of "helpful" ideas, both of which I have totally been guilty of.

Thinking about my early workplace interactions, I placed too high a value on office Drama Llamas' opinions, and was just super ignorant to the larger workings of office politics. I would listen aghast to stories relayed by folks who were all too eager to spill the tea to newbies, and gullibly assume they had the full story. Took a while to learn to apply a little skepticism to their stories.

A reader writes:

The more I read your column, the more I cringe because I recognize various periods in my work life where I did the sorts of things AAM readers write in about without realizing the impact my actions may have had. Eek. And since your post soliciting weird intern stories, I’ve been wondering about other AAM readers’ stories re: mishandling work situations and/or being the weirdo at work beyond the intern stage. 

I guess the idea of a group confessional appeals to me, because if my newfound embarrassment can amuse others, it could take the sting out of not being to change the past.

This seems perfect for a Thursday “ask the readers” question. So, have it: What did you do at work in the past that you now cringe over?

ask the readers: what past work behavior do you now cringe over? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

25 Oct 18:07

my entry-level employee gave me a bunch of off-base “constructive criticism”

by Ask a Manager

I love when Alison is like "I'll answer your question but here's the solution to your REAL problem." She is an advice-giving jedi.

A reader writes:

I am a manager in a smaller group (less than 20 people) in a huge firm. The hierarchy is pretty firmly established by my firm, but within my group my directors have given me a lot of freedom and I oversee all of the staff and on occasion other managers (who do not have the same authority over the junior employees). The expectation is that I will be the head of our group in a few years if I want it.

I have a junior staff person (who has been with the group less than two years) who recently took it upon themself to give me some “constructive criticism” about my management, none of which was actually relevant or constructive (I did consider it and actually discussed it with said bosses and they were all confused as to where it came from, as well as displeased this employee thought it was somehow appropriate or relevant).

The criticism was along the lines of — I get in the office too late (I get there at 9, for what it’s worth, like everyone else, but I actually don’t have set hours nor do I punch a time clock). I let people spend too much time in my office, which related to a new hire who I was training. I hog the spotlight by training new people myself (a big part of my job since I have two advanced degrees, and I’m training entry-level grads) and not letting others do it. I talk to my bosses confidentially too much (!!). I undermine my bosses when I help staff finish something before a big deadline if they’re struggling (again, part of my job, our deadlines are firm and if someone can’t finish a project I will help them finish however necessary, but somehow this is rude to whomever assigned the work even though scope and difficulty level isn’t always apparent at the outset of the project and sometimes there’s just no way the staff could finish it on their own).

We already have twice yearly reviews where this employee could give feedback to my boss about me but they “thought that my boss wouldn’t do a good enough job” (which, what?). I usually welcome feedback, especially if it makes the office run more smoothly and I know I don’t know everything, but this seemed petty and like a personal attack. I’m also very careful to treat all my coworkers equally — no favorites, no cliques, no gossip.

When it happened, I was shocked and not sure how to respond, so the conversation happened and I thanked them for bringing their concerns to me.

I’m worried this employee now feels they can give me “performance reviews” whenever they have a grievance, which is definitely not how my organization works and has never happened before that I know of. In the future, how do I head off this kind of conversation from the staff I manage? How do I impress it is completely inappropriate for an entry-level employee to do this type of thing to any boss they have without throttling them?

For what it’s worth, this person has a huge entitlement and attitude problem, which I have addressed with them several times but they refuse to try to improve. They’re actively resentful of other employees and we had to address very recently their bullying another coworker who they thought “had it too easy” — not that the work was too easy but they didn’t have to fight for their job (neither has this problem employee so…). I’m inclined to just write it off as projecting, but I know this person pretty well and I think I will need to shut it down hard next time or they will think they are entitled to scold me and keep doing it.

We can talk about what to say if this happens again, but the bigger problem is that you have an employee who’s out of control and who you probably need to fire.

This is an entry-level employee who you describe as having a huge attitude problem, who has bullied another employee, who has ignored multiple conversations about their behavior, and who is now giving you laughably off-base “feedback” about your own work. Why are you keeping this person?

The right answer here is either to let this person go, or to have one final conversation where you clearly explain that their behavior isn’t acceptable and that you will need to let them go if it continues (and then follow through on that). If you don’t do that, this kind of thing is going to continue being disruptive … and meanwhile, your other staff are going to get increasingly frustrated and demoralized that it’s being allowed to continue.

But to answer your actual question: In the “feedback” conversation itself, you could have said something like, “Let me stop you there because you don’t have the vantage point you’d need to be able to give this kind of feedback. For example, it sounds like you don’t realize that Jane has been spending a lot of time in my office because I’m training her, or that the reason I train new people myself is because it’s a core part of my job here — as is helping people finish projects when they need that support so that we make crucial deadlines. My own manager is fully in the loop on that and appreciates it. I certainly welcome hearing from you if there’s something that directly affects you that you’d like to speak to me about, but you’re not in a position to credibly give input on things outside your scope — you don’t have the context or the perspective for it, as this conversation has underscored.” Frankly, I would also add, “I’m surprised that you thought these issues were in your purview, and this has deepened my concerns about your judgment that we’ve talked about previously.” And then I might say, “Let me lay out what your role here is, and then we can talk about whether it’s the right fit for you.”

Now, in a different context, if a generally good but junior employee approached you with off-base feedback, I’d encourage you to listen to it and then give an open, non-irritated answer without worrying that it will lead to them trying to give you formal performance reviews or so forth. You want people to feel that they can approach you with input and ideas, even if it’s a little outside the scope of their role (as long as it’s not constant or wildly inappropriate like with this person). Listening with an open mind and responding in a genuine way ensures that you remain approachable, and it can be a really useful learning experience for people to hear your perspective about their input, and can help them to hone their instincts in the future.

I don’t think you need to worry about heading this off in the future, because most people aren’t going to do what this person did. That’s just … not usually a thing. It happened here because you have a ridiculous person on your staff, and the solution is to deal with that, more than with this one specific piece of it. However, you can use this piece of it as an entry point into dealing with the broader issues, in that you could have the conversation I outlined above as a lead-in to “let’s figure out if this can work or not.”

my entry-level employee gave me a bunch of off-base “constructive criticism” was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

22 Oct 16:18

The soothing geometry of farmland, captured in aerial photos.


more aerial photos for pleasing our eyeballs

The soothing geometry of farmland, captured in aerial photos.

↩︎ Quartz

View Post →

18 Oct 18:52

10ft Selfie Stick

by swissmiss


This 10ft Selfie Stick made me giggle!

18 Oct 14:49

naamahdarling:This is actually A+ cat management.“Mirroring” is...


A+ cat management and A+ cat content (hat tip Cary)

I love that this explains why they lay in the same positions several feet apart! Gives more background to the dual-loafing phenomenon in our household.


This is actually A+ cat management.

“Mirroring” is a big thing with cats. It’s why they will lay in similar positions several feet apart, or will come and try to do things when you do them.
It’s a sign that they love you and want to show.

This cat wants to be close to its owner, and also wants to do what its owner is doing, to be involved in some way.

Giving them their own thing to use is a really great way to redirect them and allow them to mirror the behavior in a non-disruptive way that frustrates neither party.

This is a GOOD IDEA.

14 Oct 17:11

This Stumbling Deer’s Hooves Sound Like Phil Collins’ Drum Fill on “In the Air Tonight”

by Jason Kottke

hat tip to ikea monkey - thank you, needed this

This deer stumbling through a children’s play set sounds just like the drums in In the Air Tonight (you know the ones).

This might be the best things that sound like other things yet, although the falling shovel that sounds like Smells Like Teen Spirit will always occupy the top spot in my heart. (Thx to the many people who sent this in knowing that I would love it. I feel very heard right now.)

Tags: audio   music   Phil Collins   things that sound like other things   video
14 Oct 16:27

a client sent me a thank-you check as a way to avoid paying my boss

by Ask a Manager

ooooooh this stinks! Gilbert is the worst!

A reader writes:

I am hoping you can guide me in the right direction with a predicament I have recently stumbled into.

I have been working for the past two years in the construction field, building luxury homes for wealthy clients. One of the clients we have, Gilbert, has been our client for the past few years and the business relationship between him and my boss has been so fruitful for both parties, that we have built four houses for Gilbert already since I have been here. My boss, Adam, also happens to be a close family member.

Gilbert will occasionally give me a list of items that need fixing or attention (usually items an inspector noticed during a visit) and my job is to handle those items and make sure the home is ready to be shown by realtors. Gilbert has become a great friend of my boss, and will frequently join us during holidays with his wife. So handling these items has always been the norm and I enjoy doing them since Gilbert and his wife are nice people.

A few days ago however, Gilbert and Adam had a falling out, and when Adam found out I had been doing these tasks for Gilbert, he was very upset and told me not to do anything for him again without his approval. I was not in trouble because as I mentioned above, this is how it always was. That afternoon when I returned to the office, I heard Adam and Gilbert arguing over money. The line “If you want to have her (meaning me) doing tasks for you then you need to pay me (my boss)” was used by my boss. I guess the problem was that Gilbert has been told before he needs to hire a real maintenance person for oversee these homes, but does not want to spend the money.

Fast forward to this morning, I grab the mail from my box and head to my desk. I received a letter from Gilbert saying how happy he was that I was helping and how thankful he was to have me helping him so consistently over the years. The last line in the letter was “Enjoy this gift.” His “gift” was a very large check, one that would really help the horrible financial situation I’ve been in the past year. It’s very obvious why he gave me the check, I assume to spite my boss and make a point.

My question is, what do I do? My financial situation has been so horrible this past year that I occasionally have to go without meals to pay rent. This is not something my boss (or the rest of my family) knows. However, I almost feel as though that money should go to my boss since they were arguing about money, or that at the very least, I should disclose that I received this gift from Gilbert. I am just afraid that disclosing this will mean I miss out on the thousands of dollars hes offered me. Not disclosing it leaves me vulnerable to a bad situation if Gilbert ever tells my boss that he gave me money. I feel like I am being used as a pawn in their game of toxic masculinity.

P.S. My boss and his family, as well as Gilbert, are very, very well off. So I don’t feel bad about taking the money since I know a check of this amount is expendable to them both. I am just worried about the ramifications of not disclosing this and my boss finding out that I had essentially been keeping a pretty big secret.

I would love to tell you that you can keep this money without mentioning it to your boss. But unfortunately, I don’t think you can, at least not ethically.

You need to disclose it, because (a) that’s money that you’re getting from a client, which makes it your employer’s business, and (b) it’s money as a thank-you for work that you’ve done in the course of your job for your employer. Like, you wouldn’t have been doing all that work for Gilbert if you didn’t have your current job, right? It was part of your work responsibilities. And (c) it could potentially impact your employer’s business dealings — if they’re trying to tell Gilbert that he needs to pay for the work you’ve been doing for him, it’s going to complicate things if he now says, “Well, I just gave her a large check to cover it.” And it’s really going to complicate things if he tries to argue that that makes that work a separate arrangement between you and him, rather than services your company was providing.

On its face, it certainly doesn’t seem unreasonable that your boss wants Gilbert to pay for these extra services — and it makes sense that he would direct Gilbert to pay the company (as opposed to you directly) since that’s how this works. It sounds like Gilbert was trying to score a snarky point by deciding, “Sure, I’ll pay … but it’s not going to Adam.” But it’s not really his prerogative to decide that — his business relationship is with your company, not you directly, and you were acting as an agent of your company when you did that work.

So I do think your boss needs to know about this. And for now at least, you’re better off not looking at the money as “money I was given that may now be taken away from me,” but rather as “a weird check making me a pawn in a business dispute.” I’m sorry!

a client sent me a thank-you check as a way to avoid paying my boss was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

14 Oct 16:21

our “unpaid intern” is paid $42,000/year, my clients can’t make up their minds, and more

by Ask a Manager

WHOA. What is the boss in #1 up to???

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. Our “unpaid intern” is paid $42,000/year

I’m an executive assistant for a small nonprofit agency. I have access to people’s salary information and I’ve never really been concerned about the salaries and fairness before now. Occasionally we take on graduate student interns, very rarely are they paid internships, and if they are paid it’s not very substantial.

Last week I processed the unpaid internship paperwork for an intern we’ve had for almost a year. She’s been there longer than the necessary three months, and has qualified for her class credits so she doesn’t really need the internship anymore. I was fixing something with payroll and became aware that she’s been getting paid through an auxiliary account we use for building repair and maintenance. Her salary is bigger than mine and she’s only at the office two days a week, mostly watching TV or playing on her phone. I brought it to my boss’s attention and he gave me a smile and told me to forget about it.

Another colleague raised concerns about her behavior not reflecting our office values which might impact our place as a positive resource in the community, our boss shot him down and told him to leave the intern alone. She has free reign of the agency, including keys to the petty cash which she’s depleted more than once.

We’re due for an audit by our parent agency in December. I’m really concerned these financial discrepancies are going to fall back on me since I’m responsible for approving the time cards and filing the interns and new-hire paperwork. There have been shady financial things in the past that my boss tried to play up as my fault or an error that I didn’t catch.

That is super sketchy, and it really sounds like something untoward is going on here.

It’s unlikely that you’re going to be held responsible for this; you’re not the one authorizing these payments to her. But to protect yourself, put something in writing. For example, send an email to your boss saying, “I want to make sure you’re aware of my concerns about the payments going to Jane, who is supposed to be in an unpaid internship. I’m not clear on why these payments are going to her or who authorized it, but I wanted to reiterate my concern that we don’t have any documented explanation for the salary she’s receiving, and I’m concerned this will be a issue in our audit in December. I won’t keep pressing this if you’re handling it, just wanted to make sure the concern was flagged.”

You might also consider reporting this to your board of directors or to your parent organization. Your boss is being shady as hell.

2. My clients can’t make up their minds

I work as a freelance designer and recently have had clients who cannot make up their minds. I end up going in circles with designs. It feels like an endless game of whack-a-mole, they ask for X, I give them X, but now they really want Y, so I give them Y, but actually let’s go back to X, no never mind, let’s do Z, so I give them Z. At what point do I say: I’ve given you multiple options and you’re still not satisfied … really don’t know how to even finish that sentence. I read your pieces about breaking up with clients, but I really want these gigs. How do I tell them enough is enough with the redesigns? I feel like they’re violating boundaries. How can I nicely be stern about this? I find when I work with clients, I have been more compliant because I want the job and when I speak up it’s not always received well — perhaps I’m usually frustrated at that point. How can I be nice and assertive?

The easiest way to handle this going forward is to clearly lay out in your contract how many rounds of revisions are included in the scope of the work (for example, three). Then, when you send the first design, you remind them by saying, “Our contract gives us up to three rounds of revisions at this stage.” And then if they get to three rounds and they’re still revising, you let them know how much additional revisions will cost (even better if you laid that out in the contract too). Or if you want to be especially nice, you can say, “I can give you an extra round of revisions for free, but beyond that I’d need to charge you for the additional work.”

It sounds like you don’t have that kind of contract in place now, but you can still set limits — “I can do one more round of revisions after this, but then we’d be outside the scope of the project and I’d need to charge an additional ($X) for further rounds.”

3. I’m being kept in the dark during my notice period

After two years at my current company, I decided to leave. I found a great opportunity and am now in the position of having told my team — who I admire very much — and getting through another three weeks before I move on. I gave my employer and close colleagues six weeks’ notice. I’ve done my best to say my goodbyes in person or through thoughtful email. I’ve created written documentation of what is going on, what I oversee, processes, important contact information, etc.

But now, in attempting to organize and strategize with the leadership team around my exit and how to help support my team, there are conversations going on without me and leaving me completely in the dark. This is a pattern and a large part of the reason that I am leaving to begin with, but what am I supposed to do? I have no knowledge or information for my team, yet they are being pulled into transition conversations. Should I just sit silently and not manage anymore? Do I leave early? Do I just tolerate it for that time? I feel so angry and am afraid of letting my emotions get in the way of a professional and graceful exit. It feels like a total assault on transparent communication and I’m afraid of bringing down my already frustrated and wondering-about-the-future team. Do you have any advice?

This isn’t that uncommon when someone is leaving — the work often starts moving on without you, before you’re actually gone. That’s okay! It’s not personal, and it’s actually useful for them to start moving on while you’re still there, because if they do run into things they need to ask you, you’ll still be there to ask.

That said, it’s a little trickier because you’re a manager and you of course want to be able to fill in your team on what’s going on. If you haven’t already, try saying to your own manager, “My staff are asking questions about what to expect in the transition and I don’t have answers. Can you give me any info I can share with them, or if there isn’t a solid plan yet, can you give me a sense of when they’ll likely hear something?”

If that doesn’t produce much of use, then be straightforward with your team (without being grumpy about it): “I haven’t gotten a solid sense of the plans yet, but once I hear something I’ll fill you in. If that doesn’t happen before I leave, then Jane is the best person for you to talk to once I’m gone.”

But basically, this is just how it sometimes goes when you’re leaving. Don’t leave early over it or get angry over it— look at it as if you’re being paid to still be available if they need you (which they may not).

4. I’m trying to pay my old employer money I owe them, but they won’t respond to me

I left my previous job having taken four more vacation days than I had accrued, and I was told I *might* be responsible for paying back the money for those days. About two weeks after my last day, I received a letter stating I did owe my previous employer money for the four days. The letter gave me a gross amount, with instructions to contact the payroll office for the net amount and repayment details.

While I’m annoyed at this (in particular because the pay there was significantly under market rate), I understand this is the policy. My problem is I’ve now left multiple voicemails for the payroll office over two weeks, and no one has returned my call. I’ve also left voicemails and spoken with HR, who said they would contact payroll on my behalf. Still nothing.

So … how long do I have to keep pursuing them? Is there a point where they’re not going to ever actually ask me for the money? Or is there a statue of limitations on something like this? I don’t want to be sent to collections, and I’ve made multiple efforts to get in touch, but beyond repeated calling I’m not sure what I can do. Are there next steps or do I just wait to maybe hear from them? Do I go old-school and send a letter via registered mail then let it go?

I’d give it another two weeks in case someone is on vacation or snowed under with other things and then call HR again. Say that you’re of course willing to return any money you owe, but it’s been a month (by that point) and you’re concerned that no one has responded to you. Say, “I’d like to get this handled within the next week. Is there someone else there who can get me the information I need so that I can close this out?”

Annoying as this is, it’s in your best interests to try to resolve it so that they don’t suddenly come after the money later. (That said, your state may have a time limit on how long they have to collect it from you, so you could check on that. Any lawyers want to comment in the comment section?)

5. I can’t get time off for a family trip at Christmas

I’ve been working, part-time, for a small retail business for the past three years. This business has a policy of no time off during the holidays, as well as having to work either Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve. I have had full availability the past two holiday seasons, but this year, my in-laws decided to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary by flying the entire family to Florida at Christmas. Not knowing what to do, I requested time off from work, emphasizing that I would be back in time to work New Year’s Eve, but my request was denied. I love my job and don’t want to quit, but this is a major event for my family and my in-laws have already bought us all tickets. Is there a tactful way to approach this issue with the management?

Well … you can try, but if the policy is no time off around the holidays and it’s retail, it might not be that fruitful. That said, you can give it a shot, and it might turn out that they’re not willing to lose an employee of three years over it. Try stressing that the plans were made without your knowledge and that you know the policy and wouldn’t have made these plans on your own, but now that they’ve been made for you, it’s going to cause a family blow-up if you don’t go. But given that this is retail at the holidays, it’s possible that you may have to choose between the trip and the job.

our “unpaid intern” is paid $42,000/year, my clients can’t make up their minds, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

13 Oct 06:54

X-Ray Socks

by swissmiss

for secret spooking amidst the norms

These X-Ray Socks made me laugh.

11 Oct 17:52

How to Find a Phone’s Owner: An Infographic

by Your Nerdy BFF

Learned some neat ideas in here - like taking a picture from the found phone of your own contact info, so if the person can access their phone's data from the cloud you could have left a message for them to contact you! Obvi taking it to a police station is probably best but still, neat concept.

So you’re in a coffee shop and find a phone… how do you find the owner? Or more seriously, what if someone is hurt and you need to call for help? Keep this infographic handy and share it! Oh, and read this post for tips to make sure YOUR phone contains the info it needs so you can be found or helped in an emergency.… Get the scoop...

10 Oct 18:07

IT’S THREEDOM THRURSDAY!Presenting the first two episodes of...


i listened to ep 1 while it was stil behind a pay wall as a sneak peak and am glad they're releasing more!!!


Presenting the first two episodes of THREEDOM, now available for free to all good peoples!

THREEPISODE 1: “This Was A Mistake”

Scott Aukerman, Lauren Lapkus & Paul F. Tompkins are friends! Our three hosts discuss what inspired their new podcast. In Lauren’s feature “HAHAHA Thatsreallygoodthats,” two people improvise a boring conversation while the third laughs and makes up an excuse to leave. Also: the pals try to decide what the show should be called.


THREEPISODE 2: “Chalk Talk”

Scott, Paul and Lauren discuss their concerning amount of head injury stories, odd interactions with the police and losing a finger. Then the three hosts play “Duck, Marry, Kiss” in the feature segment.


10 Oct 17:49

Put down that chili dog. It’s happening. THREEDOM will be FREE...


yes yes yes

Put down that chili dog. It’s happening. 

THREEDOM will be FREE to the listening public this very Thursday. You can hear all 26 episodes for the next 25 weeks (OH YEAH WE’RE RELEASING TWO EPS THE FIRST WEEK) and not have to pay one ha’penny. God bless you!


You may now pick that chili dog back up.

05 Oct 17:50

How to Dress Like a Celebrity

by Joanna Goddard

Katie Sturino did post-show Project Runway recaps for a while and I really enjoy her.

Katie Sturino supersize the look

Katie Sturino, the founder of beauty brand Megababe (of thigh-chafe stick fame), has an Instagram series where she recreates the looks of celebrities. “I started the series to show women of all sizes that they can pull off the styles of super fashionable women they’re inspired by,” she says.… Read more

The post How to Dress Like a Celebrity appeared first on A Cup of Jo.

04 Oct 17:08

springcottage:花布爱上鸟_ on weibo


hat tip to cary for the EXCELLENT cat content

03 Oct 21:34

bob-belcher: September 30th October 1st November 1st December 1st




September 30th

October 1st

November 1st

December 1st

03 Oct 20:46

twistedviper: bitter-sweet-laugh: can-u-not-my-wayward-son: I’...







26 Sep 04:55

my coworker gives everyone the silent treatment for weeks

by Ask a Manager

god i'd love to be a fly on the wall at these meetings

A reader writes:

I have a coworker, Jane, who deals with conflict in strange and alienating ways. Recently, she’s been giving people the silent treatment on and off. It makes meetings tense, and she tends to keep it up for days or weeks at a time before spontaneously deciding she’s speaking to her coworkers again. She refuses to speak with me and others about necessary work matters until she calms down, and she makes a point of making meetings as tense as possible, up to and including only responding to direct questions from our supervisor.

In the past, I’ve tried reaching out with, “Hey, I’m not sure what’s going on but I’m sorry that I upset you – can you let me know how I can do better?” etc. but this absolutely enrages her and she shuts down completely, thus extending the length of the silent treatment. She’s told us that she just needs to be left alone to process her feelings until she feels ready to talk to us again, but it’s honestly gotten to the point where it’s disruptive to my direct reports’ and my workflow as well as really bad for morale. Not to mention, she refuses to tell anyone what upset her in the first place so no one has the ability to fix it.

I’ll be on-boarding a bunch of seasonal staff soon, and we’re heading into our busy season. I just don’t have the bandwidth for her mini-tantrums and I don’t want our new temps to feel tension or negativity right out of the gate (attrition is a problem, so it’s important that we keep them happy to the extent we can). Jane and I have the same supervisor so I’ve mentioned this to her, along with the steps I’ve taken to handle this on my own (talk to her, give her space when feasible but it’s not always feasible). Our supervisor’s been sympathetic but mentioned Jane has had such a long tenure here that basically she’ll be here until she retires and there’s not a lot we can do about her attitude. I’m feeling really stuck. I love my job, and I can’t imagine leaving over this, but there just has to be a better way to deal with this issue that I’m just not thinking of. What are your thoughts?

I have two main thoughts: Jane is a toddler, and your manager is at least as much of a problem as Jane is, if not more.

Jane’s behavior is, of course ridiculous. She doesn’t have to socialize and chit chat with people at work if she doesn’t want to, but it’s unacceptable to refuse to talk to people about work issues. She’s essentially saying “I’m going to opt out of doing my job for the next few weeks.” She’s a huge problem.

But your manager? Who sees all this right in front of her and apparently is in meetings where it happens and won’t address it? Who responds to requests for help about it by throwing up her hands and saying “oh well, nothing I can do about it”? She’s a huge problem too. Like Jane, she too is opting out of doing a key part of her job, which should include telling Jane in no uncertain terms that her behavior is unacceptable and if she wants to stay employed, she needs to talk with people about work matters, period.

So we have two people on work strikes here, although one of them probably doesn’t realize she’s doing it. (Overly passive and/or inept managers who decline to manage tend to just think “what a pain, but I can’t think of anything that can be done,” rather than deliberately setting out to abdicate responsibility … but the result is the same.)

So, what can you do? You’ve got two options, and you’ll probably end up needing to use a combination of both.

1. Call Jane on her behavior. When she ignores a work question, walk over to her desk and say, “I need the answer to X” and then stand there waiting. If she refuses to respond, then say, “You don’t need to socialize with me if you don’t want to, but you do need to continue doing your job. How would you like me to get X from you?” Similarly, if she’s being rude in meetings, call it out: “Jane, you’re the one best equipped to answer this question. Can you please respond to Bob?”

She may still stay determinedly silent, but by calling it out, you’ll make what she’s doing look even weirder and more awkward, and it will look even worse that your manager is sitting by silently.

By the way, I would drop the “sorry I upset you, what can I do better” stuff. That’s a fine approach for people who will open their mouths and engage, but with someone acting as ridiculous as she is, I wouldn’t cater to it that way. She’s being enough of an ass that she’s forfeited any right to that kind of coddling.

2. Push the problem over to your/her manager as much as possible. Jane won’t respond to work questions or is holding up workflow? Shift straight over to her manager — “Jane won’t answer this, so can you tell me how to get X?” … “We need X from Jane before we can move forward and she won’t speak to anyone. How do you want us to proceed?” … etc. Hell, you can do that in meetings while Jane is sitting right there. There’s no need to protect her from feeling the awkwardness of what she’s doing.

By taking everything Jane won’t deliver or answer straight to your/her manager, you’ll hopefully make your manager feel more of the brunt of Jane’s behavior … and if she has so little shame / so little ability to function as a manager that it doesn’t move her to deal with Jane, you’ll at least be transferring the problem over to her plate. And since she’s speaking to people, you’ll presumably get at least some sort of answer.

I suspect #1 won’t get you very far (but is still worth doing), and you’ll end up at #2. Then you can see what happens once more of this is falling on your boss to deal with.

Meanwhile, though, don’t lose sight of how utterly not-okay Jane’s behavior is. It’s crazy that your office boss is tolerating it, and it sucks that the rest of you have to put up with it.

my coworker gives everyone the silent treatment for weeks was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

18 Sep 04:27

my coworker is blaming someone else for an anonymous complaint I made, dress code changes, and more

by Ask a Manager

Re: #1 A week worth of outfits could easily be achieved with ONE pair of pants and (if you don't mind the laundry) three or even two very neutral tops. This is not five pairs of pants and five tops. Oy. And are these company colors magenta and chartreuse? Come on, two weeks is plenty of time. I also love that the reaction is righteous indignation instead of a quick confirmation with management that this laborious shopping endeavor is even necessary.

Also I like that Alison has paired 1 and 3 (OP, calm yourself) with 2 and 4 (omg OP are you ok???). The rich tapestry of workplace issues is a wonder. (OP 5 is fine. And so frickin lucky.)

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. Dress code changes with little notice

My work has one major, face-to-face-with-clients event for one week a year. 51 weeks of the year the dress code is jeans and company t-shirts. This one week is dressier, probably closest to business casual with the women wearing nice dresses, or slacks and blouses, as each woman chooses for herself. For five years, I’ve chosen dresses and have built up a small set of classy dresses in the company’s color scheme without dropping major cash all at once.

This year’s event is 16 days away, and today I heard through a coworker that the dress code is changing and we’re expected to wear all slacks and blouses, in company colors, with the hint, but not the demand, that we’re to match with each other. I’m furious. I don’t have seven days worth of dress slacks and blouses because that had not been required in my regular work attire, was not required for the annual event, and is not part of my street clothes closet.

I get it — the boss can set the dress code and I’m fine with what is expected to be worn, just not the amount of time I was given. Am I out of line to ask for a clothing allowance, or the company card for an afternoon of shopping? I do have the funds, but pardon me for having other plans for that couple hundred dollars I will now be spending on slacks and blouses I will not wear 98.07% of the year. My coworkers seem okay with the change as they have some slacks/blouses and will fill in with a couple of new pieces.

I will talk to the boss but I want to come down off my wall first. I otherwise love my job (and its very casual and comfortable dress code) and the boss is a true human being that values his staff, the compensation is above fair, as is the vacation time, so I don’t want to make a mountain out of nothing where I’ve otherwise got a good deal, but I do feel put out. Is that justified?

You’re absolutely justified to feel put out by the short notice. But it’s pretty unlikely that this is going to end with the company buying you new clothes. That’s just not something that normally happens.

Before you get too put out, though, talk to your boss. You haven’t heard this officially yet and your coworker may be wrong. So first confirm it with your boss and if it turns out it’s true, then say this: “Is there any flexibility on that? I have dresses that will work, but if the requirement is pants and shirts in company colors, I’d need to buy a week’s worth of new clothes, and I don’t have the budget to do that right now. I’d be glad to wear dresses that will match the color scheme.” If you’re pushed to do it anyway, you can say, “It’s really not possible for me financially, unless the company will cover the expense. Given that, what would you like me to do?”

If your company won’t budge, you might be able to do this on the cheap by going to consignment stores or even borrowing from similarly-sized friends. But have the conversation with your boss first, as it may not have occurred to them that they’re asking something that might not be easy for everyone to accommodate.

2. I made an anonymous complaint about a coworker and she’s blaming someone else for it

I work in a fairly toxic environment in the financial sector. Within the team are three women who are very close friends and have created a cliquish and gossipy environment. One of the girls in particular, “Jane,” has also made several racist comments that I find unacceptable. I unfortunately have an extremely incompetent manager who avoids difficult conversations at all costs, so although I have raised it with him previously, he disagrees that there is an issue and hasn’t corrected Jane’s behavior at all. I have challenged some of her comments at the time, but this often results in retaliation and I suffer from anxiety, so I’m ashamed to say I do often stay quiet for an easy life.

Recently, Jane made a racist comment that completely crossed the line in front of our team and two VIP visitors. My employer has a dedicated whistleblower line and I decided to call them and anonymously report this incident. They were appalled and agreed that this needed to be acted on, and said they would forward my complaint to HR. Our HR department then contacted my manager, who took my coworker to one side, told her about the complaint, asked her to “tone it down,” and considered the matter closed. I know this because since it happened a few weeks ago, she has been livid and loudly discusses it with everyone.

While she is now being careful not to say anything racially charged, she and her two friends have decided for some reason that they know who complained — and it’s not me. They are blaming our other coworker, “Sarah.” Their behavior towards her is borderline bullying — ignoring her or talking over her, calling her names behind her back and on social media, and generally making her work life as miserable as they can. She has told them she didn’t make the complaint, but they don’t believe her. Our manager has been witness to some of this and has turned a blind eye to it.

I am actively job-hunting to escape this, but in the meantime I feel very guilty that Sarah is dealing with the repercussions of my complaint and I don’t know how to fix it without admitting that I’m really the culprit. I know I’m a coward, but I can’t bear the thought of turning their bullying attentions onto me; I am already taking medication for my anxiety and if they knew I was the anonymous complainer, I think they would badly affect my health. Between my terrible manager and having already utilized the whistleblower line, I feel like I’ve already exhausted all my options. How do I fix the situation I’ve accidentally put my coworker in?

Go back to either the whistleblower line or HR — because retaliating against someone for making a good faith complaint of harassment or discrimination is illegal, and your company could be legally liable for allowing these employees to retaliate against the person they believe made the complaint. (And it’s ridiculous that your manager knows this is happening and is saying nothing. He sucks.) So go back and explain what’s happening. Make sure you use the words “engaging in retaliation for a good-faith report of harassment, which I believe is illegal and opens the company to legal liability.” You should also mention that your manager knows all this and has done nothing.

Your company has a legal obligation to shut this down. And if they do, but the behavior just goes underground (like if it’s still there but they’re being more careful about not doing it around your manager, for example), go back to them again. They can’t act on what they don’t know about, and they’d want to know about this.

3. My manager says I have to clean up my desk before she’ll approve more vacation days

My manager is also the HR person where I work. I have been with this company for 11 years and lately she has been questioning the state of my desk, which isn’t any worse then the desks of the other three people in the office. I have been taking Mondays off using my vacation days, and this last week she has decided to not approve my request for the next two Mondays off. The “hook” she has attached to approving it is that my desk is a mess and she won’t let me have the days off until I clean it up. She has gone off in other years about too many staples and paper clips off the floor, just to name a few things that she focuses on. My reviews are very good and my attendance missing almost no days. The other people in my office don’t receive this “extra attention” at all.

I would just clean up your desk. Maybe she’s singling you out unfairly or maybe your desk really does seem worse than other people’s, or maybe it matters more in your job for some reason (like if more people meet with you or people need to retrieve items from your area more often, or maybe your work seems less organized than other people’s and she’s guessing the mess is part of the reason why). But regardless, she’s made it clear that she’d like you to clean up your desk, and you need to do that before she’ll continue approving Mondays off for you. Why not just clean up your space?

I’d feel differently about this if you had an organizational system that worked for you that involved stacks of paper on your desk that she was categorizing as “mess.” But if she’s talking about things like trash on the floor … the easiest path here is to just clean it up.

4. My employer wanted a doctor’s note before accepting that I, a man, am my kids’ primary caretaker

My wife and I have one child and a second due via surrogacy in a few weeks. My job offers a certain amount of paid leave for all parents and longer leave for a primary caregiver. My wife has major back problems and, although she stays at home, I am the primary caregiver for the foreseeable future. In a bout of possibly over-disclosure, I informed my job of the details of this situation because my wife may later become the primary caretaker and there are some reasons why I think it would help to have my employer know that in advance. I regret my disclosure.

HR told me I could have the primary caregiver paid leave if we established with a doctor’s note–that would have to be updated during my leave–that my wife was unable to be the primary caregiver. That seems fundamentally problematic. It seems to me it’s up to us to decide who does the primary caretaking of our child. If my wife were perfectly healthy and we decided that she would watch TV all day and I would work AND be the primary caretaker of our child (probably with the help of a nanny), I think we could do that (although we would not actually do so).

My sense was this was entirely a gender-based issue and if a woman had made an identical request it would have resulted in a different response. Do you think I’m missing something here? My employer ultimately relented, but I’m trying to see their initial response in the best possible light.

Yeah, I would bet money that was gender-based. It would be interesting to know if your company routinely asks women who are taking parental leave for doctor’s notes saying that their husbands are unable to be the primary caretaker. Assuming they don’t — and I strongly doubt they do — this was about you being a man and not fitting their ideas of who stays home with kids. It’s gross, and it’s good that you pushed back.

5. How to follow up with my boss about turning my internship into a full-time position

I’ve been working as an intern at a large consulting firm this summer that has already been extended into the fall (I’m graduating in June 2019). A couple weeks ago, I requested a general feedback session with my boss, which was overall glowing, and asked if there would be a full-time spot for me post-graduation. Her answer was a resounding yes (yay!), and she told me we would work out the details when her boss gets back from vacation in about a week. My boss and her boss are both very busy and I assume that this has fallen off their radar, but I would love to get the details ironed out and signed within the next couple months so I can relax my senior year. When and how should I bring up my offer again without sounding greedy or pushy?

Wait a couple of weeks after your boss’s boss is back (since she’ll likely have higher priorities waiting for her). But after a couple of weeks, it would be fine to say your boss, “I wanted to follow up with you about the full-time spot we were talking about for after I graduate. I’m really excited about moving forward with it, and I wondered if you think it’s something we’d be able to iron out in the next month or so, or if there’s a different timeline I should have in my head?”

my coworker is blaming someone else for an anonymous complaint I made, dress code changes, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

17 Sep 14:23

Forever Is Really Great, But We’re Not Allowed to Tell You Why

by Jen Chaney

intriguing. i will watch anything maya rudolph does.

Forever is one of the best new shows of the fall TV season. But here’s the thing: I can’t fully tell you why.

Amazon, which will premiere Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen’s dramedy on its Prime Video platform Friday, has asked critics to stay mum regarding many of the major details that might ordinarily appear in a review. You know, little things like what this show is actually about.

In this case, I completely get the desire for secrecy. One of the joys of Forever — and there are many — is that it constantly takes unexpected left turns, shifting the show’s premise and genre more than once, especially in the initial half of its eight-episode first season. To deprive anyone of the surprises would leech some of the pleasure out of the show and miss its point. This is a series about marriage, but also about how readily human beings succumb to routine and resist being shaken out of it. By luring us into thinking we know what Forever is and where it might go next, then totally switching everything up on us, co-creators Alan Yang and Matt Hubbard are forcing us out of our habitual TV comfort zones, too.

I can tell you this much, and if I’m wrong, I’m sure I’ll be hearing about it from Jeff Bezos: Forever begins with a long series of images that slide by and explain how June (Rudolph) and Oscar (Armisen) met, began dating, and eventually embark on married life together. It’s like that famous montage from Up, but steeped in banality instead of pathos.

In certain ways, June and Oscar are a perfect match, with idiosyncratic perspectives that snap together like two halves of a locket. But when it comes to a desire for adventure, they increasingly live on separate islands. Oscar is a hoarder of habits who loves cooking the same meals and taking the same vacations, day after day, year after year, and can’t comprehend why anyone would want to mess with a blissfully comfortable thing. June increasingly feels stifled by that routine and tries to mix things up by the tiniest of degrees when she suggests that, perhaps, they could try a ski trip instead of their usual visit to a cottage by the lake.

That’s about as far as I can go plot-wise before my Prime membership gets rescinded. While that may not sound like the most enticing of setups — a show about two bored married people trying not to be boring! — there’s a sly sense of humor and a Spike Jonze-esque filmmaking style that engages right from the jump, especially if you’re the kind of person who’s into that sort of Spike Jonze-y, relationship-driven, indie-spirited sort of thing. (Note: I am that kind of person.) Yang, co-creator of Master of None, and Hubbard, a 30 Rock veteran who first worked with Yang on Parks and Recreation, co-wrote the first episode, among others, and Yang directed it. Together, they immediately establish a narrative authority and tonal command that instills confidence in taking this trip with them, whether it winds up at a lake, a ski resort, or somewhere else.

Then there’s Armisen and Rudolph, who spent years together on Saturday Night Live and share a natural ease that evokes the lived-in nature of marriage. Because June is the more dynamic character, Rudolph has more emotional meat to chew on, but she never overdoes it. Just like those of us watching, she projects the sense that she’s constantly trying to figure things out in a multitude of ways. Even when she looks content, her eyes project a suppressed desire for something more. Rudolph is famous for her array of acting gifts and she gets to draw on many of them here, jumping down some serious emotional wells and tossing off some great, wry dialogue. Also, at one point, she sings a highly spirited version of Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It,” and if that’s not an endorsement of a TV show, I frankly don’t know what to tell you.

Armisen has a harder task in that Oscar is basically Walter Mitty without the capacity to fantasize. His character evolves over time in ways that hint at more depth than what’s on the surface, but for much of the season, he’s got to play the straightest of straight men. To his credit, he commits to it completely in a performance that’s so deceptively straightforward, it becomes funnier on multiple viewings.

Rudolph and Armisen are backed up by equally wonderful supporting players, including Catherine Keener, Peter Weller, Noah Robbins (who you might recognize from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Younger), and, in a bottle episode of sorts that completely breaks away from Forever’s principal players, Jason Mitchell and Hong Chau. That’s about all I can say about that.

I so wish I could talk about all the other films and TV series that I was reminded of while watching Forever, but to mention even one might be too much information for anyone who, rightly, wishes to go into this as cold as possible. As much as this series evokes slivers of other projects, though, it is very much its own unique creation. Forever will mystify you, make you laugh, and force you to think deeply about how and why people hold themselves back from taking risks that can elevate their lives. It’s the kind of show you can’t stop watching even though you want to savor it, and that you’ll want to discuss with someone as soon as you finish. Even though I can’t discuss it in nearly enough depth in this review, when I tell you it’s great, I’m hoping you’ll do what any partner in a marriage does for their spouse: Just trust me.

13 Sep 15:31

Travel Guide: Lake Como

by Joanna

Lake Como, Milan, and Cinque Terre. Next week. Guys I will be drinking all the aperol spritzes.

After falling in love with Florence, Sean and I headed north toward the Alps to the Lake Como region… and boy, was it magnificent! I will still attest that Florence was my favorite part of the trip, but to Sean, Lake Como was the ultimate dream vacation destination. Aside from the truly stunning and enormous lake, this region boasts jaw-dropping views of mountains and the most darling, charming small Italian towns. If you are an outdoorsy person, Lake Como is definitely the region you must visit while traveling in Italy!

Lake Como Travel Guide

Travel Guide for Lake Como in Italy including what to see # #travelguide #italy #wanderlust #lakecomo #bellagio #varenna #italianalps #thealps #alpsTravel Guide for Lake Como in Italy including what to see, where to eat, and where to stay and tips for traveling in Bellagio, Varenna, and Mandello del lario. # #travelguide #italy #wanderlust #lakecomo #bellagio #varenna #italianalps #thealps Travel Guide for Lake Como in Italy including what to see, where to eat, and where to stay and tips for traveling in Bellagio, Varenna, and Mandello del lario. # #travelguide #italy #wanderlust #lakecomo #bellagio #varenna #italianalps #thealps #alps

While planning our trip to Lake Como, I wanted to make it all about Sean’s favorite things: water, mountains, and motorcycles! He had traveled through Italy before, but had not been to Lake Como on that trip. We immediately knew that we had to plan a trip to the lake and take in all that it has to offer. As a surprise treat for his birthday, I treated him to a guided motorcycle tour around the lake and through the Alps. He said repeatedly that it was his favorite part of the entire trip and I’m so happy that I splurged a little bit on this experience.

It’s also worth noting that literally everywhere we went in the Lake Como region smelled like jasmine. It was truly intoxicating and just the cherry on top of our trip. I’m such a fragrance-driven person that experiencing that much jasmine was spectacular.

Travel Guide for Lake Como in Italy including what to see, where to eat, and where to stay and tips for traveling in Bellagio, Varenna, and Mandello del lario. # #travelguide #italy #wanderlust #lakecomo #bellagio #varenna #alps Travel Guide for Lake Como in Italy including what to see, where to eat, and where to stay and tips for traveling in Bellagio, Varenna, and Mandello del lario. # #travelguide #italy #wanderlust #lakecomo #bellagio #italianalps #thealps #alps Things to Do on Lake Como

Things to Do on Lake Como

I definitely wish we had more time allotted for our time on the lake. There really wasn’t nearly enough time to do all the things we wanted to do there! We really enjoyed taking the ferry to Bellagio, especially during sunset. While waiting for the ferry, we explored a little bit of Varenna which was beyond gorgeous and charming. Again, I wish we had had more time to explore! So many of the houses and buildings in Varenna and Bellagio were the pastel color of candy: coral, pink, mint, and yellow… it was amazing.

A few other activities that we enjoyed during our time on Lake Como:

  • Moto Guzzi Museum — the town we stayed in, Mandello del lario, was the birthplace of Moto Guzzi and has a museum dedicated to the Italian motorcycle maker. Unfortunately it was closed the dates we were there, but it’s a must-see next time.
  • Lake Como Motorbike — Mauro took Sean on a private motorcycle tour of the Swiss Alps and we cannot recommend it enough! This was truly the experience of a lifetime and next time we go back, I might book a tour for myself, too.
  • Bellagio Sailing — we booked a sunset sail on the Dama de Bellagio and it was spectacular.

Travel Guide for Lake Como in Italy including what to see, where to eat, and where to stay and tips for traveling in Bellagio, Varenna, and Mandello del lario. # #travelguide #italy #wanderlust #lakecomo #bellagio #varenna #italianalps #thealps #alps

Where to Stay on Lake Como

While booking our trip, I wasn’t sure where to stay on Lake Como because I had heard it could get really crowded, especially in the summertime. I ended up booking this Airbnb in Mandello del lario because I liked that it was near the motorcycle tour meet up spot, but also a 15-20 minute drive to Varenna where we could take the water taxi to Bellagio and other spots. It felt like a really great central location that was in a smaller town and not too crazy — and we were totally right! The town was actually quite sleepy and just so lovely. And our hosts were incredible. I loved every minute of hanging out with Dario and sipping wine by the pool.

Where to Stay on Lake Como Travel Guide for Lake Como in Italy including what to see, where to eat, and where to stay and tips for traveling in Bellagio, Varenna, and Mandello del lario. # #travelguide #italy #wanderlust #lakecomo #bellagio #italianalps #thealps #alps

If you’re local to the Lake Como area or have been before, what’s missing from this list? I’d love to know what some of your favorites are!

And in case you missed them, here are the travel guides for our entire Italian vacation:

Travel Guide for Lake Como in Italy including what to see, where to eat, and where to stay and tips for traveling in Bellagio, Varenna, and Mandello del lario. # #travelguide #italy #wanderlust #lakecomo #varenna #italianalps #thealps #alps

Photography by Jojotastic.

Want even more travel inspiration? Find more travel guides here.
12 Sep 17:19

The Romanoffs Trailer: Mad Men’s Matthew Weiner Returns to TV With Every Actor

by Jackson McHenry


In Amazon’s big, expensive new anthology series, not one character paid attention when Lorde sang about never being royals. The Romanoffs, from Mad Men’s Matthew Weiner, is a collection of eight separate stories, all about people who think they’re related to the Russian royal family and maybe watched Anastasia one too many times. In a change from the streaming service’s all-at-once binge format, The Romanoff’s will drip out its star-studded episodes weekly starting October 12. The show’s first teaser literally gave a glimpse of the many names involved, and now we have a chance to see some of their faces. Look, it’s Isabelle Huppert! Look, it’s Corey Stoll! Look, it’s young Colin Firth from Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again!

Amazon’s staying coy about a lot of the details about The Romanoffs, but it has given out information about the first two episodes. The first, “The Violet Hour,” stars Marthe Keller, Aaron Eckhart, Inès Melab, and Louise Bourgoin; the second, “The Royal We,” stars Corey Stoll, Kerry Bishé, Janet Montgomery, and Noah Wyle. The rest of the cast includes: Isabelle Huppert, Diane Lane, Christina Hendricks, John Slattery , Amanda Peet, Jack Huston, Andrew Rannells, Mike Doyle, JJ Feild, Paul Reiser, Kathryn Hahn, Jay R. Ferguson, Ben Miles, Mary Kay Place, Griffin Dunne, Cara Buono, Ron Livingston, Jon Tenney, Clea DuVall, Radha Mitchell, Hugh Skinner, Juan Pablo Castañeda, Emily Rudd, Adèle Anderson, Annet Mahendru, Hera Hilmar, Michael O’Neill, and David Sutcliffe. Rasputin is coming for all of them.

11 Sep 18:09

Friday Link Pack

by swissmiss

Choreographer & acrobat Yoann Bourgeois and pianist Alexandre Tharaud have collaborated on a performance that combines a trampoline, a staircase, and Claude Debussy’s most famous composition, Clair de Lune.

This commercial made me giggle.

Animals interrupting wildlife photographers. The best.

Letters from immigrants.

– I feel this: The Alternative to Thinking All the Time (via)

– So much respect for Cory Booker. Hear him in conversation with Krista Tippett in On Being. (via)

Doodle Addicts is an online art community of 20k+ artists, built by a team of two. Love going through the submissions. Lovely.

– Wow, Coca Cola, you have my respect. This is good. (via)

– My friend Yng recommended this solo show by James Clar about all forms of reality at the Jane Lombard Gallery in NYC. I’ll definitely check it out. (It’s free to see!)

– I can’t stop laughing at this.

Urban wind turbines. Wow.

– For our CreativeMornings Summit last week we ordered Custom Oxford Pennants. They looked fantastic.

Wait for it.

– My kids would dig this beanbag.

– I love this piece of advice my friend Larissa got from her grandfather.

– “Give All” Agency open sourced every method they’ve used with clients for the past 10 years. All available here: Design Strategy Toolkits.

– Oliver Jeffers collaborated with Veja. I’d wear these. (You can get the same designs as Tattly as well)

– I want a family t-shirt like this.

People are creating threads of simple pleasures. (via)

Glyphs App lets you make your own fonts.

– Use this checklist to determine how your three closest friends are positively influencing your life and which areas need improving: Blue Zone Checklists

Cool jobs to apply for:

MailChimp is looking to hire a Senior Product Designer in Brooklyn.
Spredfast is looking to fill multiple roles from Sydney, to Austin, to London to Paris.
Asana is looking to hire UR Engineering interns and content writers.
JustWorks is hiring from Receptionists, to Business Intelligence Analysts, to Products Operation Coordinators. Check them out.

There are over 700 jobs listed on the CreativeMornings job board.

07 Sep 12:05

5 Monclear Craig Green

by swissmiss

me, shielding myself from reading the news in 2018

This made me giggle.


04 Sep 17:00

more people cry at work than you think

by Ask a Manager

This is kind of reassuring.

If you’ve ever cried at work, you probably felt mortified – and you might not have realized how far from alone you are. While we tend to think tears have no place in an office, the reality is that a lot of people cry at work at some point in their careers.

That shouldn’t be terribly surprising – work can be frustrating, and it’s often full of disappointments and strong emotions, and many people are deeply emotionally invested in their careers. But we’ve also been taught that “professionalism” means not showing certain types of emotions.

At Slate today, I wrote about crying at work — why it happens, recovering after it does, when it can become a problem, and how managers should handle it. You can read it here.

more people cry at work than you think was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.