Allison Green is best known as the author of the popular career advice website Ask A Manager. The online column has a lot of basic practical advice about how to find a job, keep a job, manage people, and deal with workplace conflicts. There are also lots of stories about workplace drama, including colleagues who steal your lunch and bosses who tape employee’s mouths shut during meetings if they don’t like the ideas being shared. Unsurprisingly, she’s decided to turn some of the lessons she has learned from this website (as well as her own career) into a book.
Compared to the online column, the focus of the Ask A Manager book is more on everyday workplace questions and challenges. The book is divided into four sections: conversations with your boss, conversations with coworkers, conversations with interviewers, and conversations when you are the boss. Each of these sections is informative, even ones like job searching or being the boss that may not be relevant to your current situation. Green does a nice job of balancing a willingness to take the perspectives of others (maybe your boss’s decisions seem illogical because you don’t have access to all of the information she has) with a clear sense of fairness and knowledge of which aggravations are a normal part of working life and which merit a serious conversation with HR or a possible job change.
One of the most useful aspects of the book is that Green offers specific scripts for certain situations, such is when you want more feedback, feel you’re being micromanaged, or cried in front of your boss. Taking the book as a whole also gives a good sense of how to think about the workplace, including the importance of maintaining boundaries and not over-identifying with your job as a source or identity or personal worth. For these reasons, the book can be useful for readers at any career stage, but is especially useful for new grads or anyone entering the world of work for the first time.