Advice on Being a Boss

Getting to the C-suite isn't always as easy as it seems -- being a boss can be trying in new and challenging ways. Whether you need some help getting to be a boss, or now you're a boss and need advice on things like delegating and managing subordinates -- we've got you covered.

Better Off Ted: Interview with Veronica’s Stylist

Better Off Ted: Veronica Palmer's Work Outfits2017 Update: We’re thrilled people are still looking to Better Off Ted for workwear inspiration — you can also check out some of our more recent reviews of TV work fashion with our posts on how to look like Selina Meyer in Veep, and how to get Claire Underwood style from House of Cards.

After last week’s how to dress like Linda Zwordling on Better Off Ted, we got a ton of comments about how beautifully dressed Portia de Rossi’s character, Veronica Palmer, is — and how much folks would love to chat with her stylist.  We did some poking around and, lo and behold, found our way to Brandy Lusvardi, the costume designer for Better Off Ted.  We just got off the phone with her, and thought we’d share our conversation…

(She is the NICEST person on the planet!!)

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Navigating the Murky Waters of Being Friendly With Staffers

can-you-be-friends-with-your-secretary

2016 Update: We still stand by the advice in this post, but you may also want to check out our latest discussion of whether you can be friends with your secretary

Can you be friends with your secretary?  We got this e-mail from Reader A and it raises a lot of interesting questions, such as how to treat your assistants, how to behave in a male-dominated field where you’re one of the only women who isn’t a secretary, and so forth….

I’m wondering how one is friendly with colleagues at work without becoming friends with colleagues at work. I’m an attorney and have recently moved to a firm where I’m the only female attorney, and the staff is comprised almost entirely of women. I was warned in a joking manner by one of the partners when taking the job to beware – previous female attorneys at the firm have fallen victim to being ‘friends’ with staff (regular lunches, after-work drinks, etc) and then later suffer the wrath should someone need to be called on the carpet for job performance or with claims of favoritism.

So far, I’ve gone to lunch with only a couple of people who have initiated the invitation, and I avoid discussing others in the office and steer conversation away from that topic. However, I plan on being here a long time, and I wonder if you or your readers have insight that might help me or have found themselves in similar situations.

Right? Great e-mail. So far, what reader A is doing sounds great to us. Here are some further tips:

  • There’s nothing wrong with finding a friend who happens to be a staffer. Like our advice for dating at the office a few weeks ago, though, we would not recommend looking for a best friend at the office (really, among the staffers or elsewhere). Aim for collegiality. You’re all in this together, and you all have your own jobs to do, and it’s often best if emotions are kept out of it.  Friendship can be harder with people you supervise directly —  it’s important to see both their skills and weaknesses as clearly as possible, so you can compensate and better manage, either by delegating things in certain respects, or knowing to phrase your requests in a certain way.

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Poll: Holiday Presents for Administrative Assistants and Secretaries

holiday presents for secretariesA number of readers have written in asking about holiday presents for administrative assistants. We tend to agree with Above the Law’s advice last year — cash is the way to go for holidays. Still, we thought we’d poll people to see what they’re giving (and how much):

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