Career Advice

Below, find some of our recent career advice stories. Have a question for Kat? Check out the Contact page.

The Best Online Women’s Management Training

online women's management trainingManaging people is hard. And managing people as a woman brings its own complications and considerations. Management and leadership training specifically designed for women can help, but if traditional in-person training isn’t an option for you, there’s plenty of online women’s management training out there, and that’s what Reader K is looking for. She asks:

Do you have any suggestions for online leadership/managerial training programs for women (or anyone really)? I am a government lawyer stepping into a managerial position and there is no formal training beyond my past experience watching my supervisors. I would like to take a more proactive step toward developing better managerial and leadership skills, but don’t know where to start. Thanks!

Great question, K! It’s been a couple of years since we talked about resources for becoming a better manager, so this is a great time for an update. (We’ve also discussed online classes for working women, executive presence for women leadersdressing like a managerimposter syndromedelegating work, and whether you should be friends with staffers.)

Here’s our list of online women’s management training (plus some general training for everyone):

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Tips and Tricks to Spring Clean Your Office

tips and tricks to spring clean your officeDo you have a spring cleaning routine at home? Do you spring clean your office? I’m sure there are more “yes” answers to that first question. But no judgment here! After all, my office cleaning “routine” is typically something like, “Wow, how did all this dust get here? I guess it’s time to wipe it off!” We touched on office cleaning in our post on things to do in a quiet office a few months ago, but today we thought we’d share some tips and tricks to spring clean your office. (We’ve also talked about when an office is too messywhen to use cute office supplies and how to organize your office.)

Obviously, before you start to clean your office yourself, consider what’s already being done, such as work by a regular cleaning service at the office. You may want to coordinate the effort with them; for example, they may be able to sprinkle stuff on your carpets, vacuum vents, or dust blinds if they know the area will be clear. Depending on how strongly you feel about things, you may also want to ask them if they can give you a fresh trash can or recycle bin as well.

With that said, here are some tips and tricks to spring clean your office:

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What to Get Your Assistant for Administrative Professionals’ Day

what to get your assistant for administrative assistants' day 2017PSA: Administrative Professionals’ Day is April 26, 2017 — what are you getting your assistant? 

In the past, we’ve taken polls on administrative professionals’ day gifts before, talked about how and what to delegate to your assistant, and swapped stories of amazing assistants — our roundup of gifts for your assistant (or how to buy jewelry for your assistant) may also be of help to you.  Comments on this thread had some great ideas for what to get male assistants.

If time allows this year, and your assistant is always freezing, you may want to consider a gift from Barefoot Dreams — this poncho avoids the “will it fit” question, and allows easy typing and more.  It’s $88 at Nordstrom.

Of course, you can always go with my friend’s system of flowers and cash — as she explained it, she got the floweres so everyone in the office knows you appreciate your assistant, and cash to keep the assistant happy.

Ladies, let’s talk: do you work with an administrative professional? Are you getting him or her a gift this year? (Does anyone have any good tips on how to avoid the “office housework” issue of the junior woman often being the one saddled with organizing a group gift to a shared assistant?)

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How to Function at Work Without Sleep

how to function at work without sleep Whether you had to pull an all-nighter for work, you’ve got a baby, or you were just having too much fun, the worst part of being up all night is the workday that follows — so you’re lucky that we’ve got tips for you on how to function at work without sleep.

In the past we’ve also covered how to find out why you’re tired all the timehow to nap at work, how to deal with insomniahow to use makeup to fake a good night’s sleep, and how to use the right foods for energy to survive the workday.

Here are 10 tips for how to function at work with no sleep:

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Company GlamourShots: How to Work with a Hair & Makeup Team for Your Company Headshot

Does anyone else remember the GlamourShots trend of, like, 1992? (Ah: apparently the company is still in business!) It was the envy of every high school girl. The idea was that you’d go and get crazy cool makeup, awesome (read: big) hair, a super flattering soft focus, and WHOA: glamour! Well, the trend may be back — for company headshots. Reader S wrote in with a troubling trend: company headshots where they bring in a hair and makeup team to redo your makeup for your professional portrait  Here’s her email:

I just had an insane conversation with some friends from my former law firm. Apparently the firm had a photographer in to take headshots…but also brought in a hair and makeup team. Evidently it was not optional; men and women had to get makeup. They went so far as to pluck one woman’s eyebrows! Our friend who switched firms said the same thing happened at her new job, and in fact they removed and totally redid her makeup for the photo. Is this a thing now? Because it strikes me as totally nuts.

MAN. I HATE THIS. I love being pampered and glammed up as much as the next person, but a) dang it takes a long time if you’ve got a makeup artist who’s really into blending (or straightening! or curling!) or eyebrows or whatever, and b) you don’t always look like yourself when the GlamourShots team is done. I forget which sponsored post it was (maybe my JC Penny video back in the day), but for one of my early “introduce myself to the readers!” shoots I was really upset because when the makeup artist was done with me, I barely looked like myself. I could never quite figure out what was wrong with the makeup — too little eyebrow pencil? too much bronzer? not enough blush? — but it. bugged. me.  I even had a thought at some point that TV personalities/talking heads surely must have some way of ensuring that they have a consistent look, makeup artist to makeup artist — but I could never find anything on point.

Actually, hmmn: one of my newer mom friends, S, used to be a television reporter. Here are her best tips for working with a makeup artist in a professional capacity (assuming you can’t dissuade your company or firm from this course of action):

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How to Use a Personal Assistant

Have you ever wished you could offload some of your life to someone else, whether it’s household chores, online research, or other drudgery, but have been unsure how to start? We recently got a reader question wondering how to use a personal assistant (and how to find a good personal assistant!), so let’s discuss. Here’s the question from Reader S:

Life and work are busy and I find it difficult to “get it all done.” I hear it’s possible to hire a personal assistant whom you can ask to research/compare homeowners insurance options, be there when the cable guy comes to install, so on. I found a blog that makes a compelling argument that this is not only a time AND money saver, but it doesn’t tell me HOW to find an experienced PA. Plus, how do you learn to delegate in a way that doesn’t take more time than just doing it yourself? Thanks!

GREAT question, S — so let’s discuss. (Pictured: Daddy Warbucks’ assistant extraordinaire, Grace Farrell, getting it all done in one of my favorite childhood movies, Annie.) We’ve talked about what to delegate to an assistant before, as well as talked about the kinds of things you can outsource to a virtual assistant through Fiverr or a U.S.-based virtual assistant service like Fancy Hands or Task Bullet — over at CorporetteMoms we also talked a bit about working with a personal assistant (in a “how to throw money at the work/life balance problem” kind of discussion). If you’re leaning towards trying a virtual assistant, you may also want to read this classic Esquire piece (reprinted in The Four Hour Workweek and now on Tim Ferriss’ site); this post on how to hire a virtual assistant also looks great.

But sometimes, virtual help just isn’t enough — so let’s discuss how to use an in-person personal assistant. A friend of mine, C, actually used to be a personal assistant to a wealthy businessman, so I reached out to her to ask her thoughts on both HOW to find a personal assistant, and how to USE a personal assistant.

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