Last summer, my little corner of the Internet blew up with a post on Ask A Manager, a workplace advice column by Alison Green. The letter writer said that 10 years ago, he’d ghosted on his girlfriend of three years. While she was visiting her family, he moved out—not just of the home they shared together, but of the entire country—without so much as a Post-It note. And then, as karma would have it, he learned that his ex-girlfriend was about to become his new boss. Oof. Alison responded with her trademark thoughtfulness and honesty:
I don’t know that you can salvage this! It’s not reasonable to ask Sylvia to manage someone who she has this history with. You can try and see what her take on it is, but I’d be prepared to have to move on, whatever that might look like for you. I get that it’s going to be inconvenient — maybe even quite hard — but there may not be an alternative here.
I got hooked on Ask A Manager with this post, but I’m a relative latecomer to the party. Alison’s been dispensing workplace wisdom for a decade now and today she launches a new book that provides practical advice for how to talk to managers, employees, and coworkers about a huge range of topics, from asking for raises or promotions to handling awkward social situations at the office. On the latest episode of Rework, I interview Alison about how she became an advice columnist, how she’s cultivated a community of surprisingly nice commenters, memorable letters (like the ghosting ex), and more.