I’m in a group chat with four women I met while in the early stages of my career. We’ve all worked in journalism; some of us still do. We’ve had some of the same bosses. They’ve known me since before I had any direct reports, and they know my coworkers’ habits that I should have more patience with. But as our career paths have changed, we haven’t had the same experiences, and we can’t always answer each other’s questions.
Sometimes you just need an outside opinion. I have found real value in talking with those outside my circles—enrolling in a formal coaching program, applying for leadership fellowships, catching up with smart people at conferences—who can offer another viewpoint by drawing on their own experiences. It is sometimes wild how similar seemingly different workplaces and relationships can be.
Enter Work Space, a Q&A column tackling the work challenges that keep you up at night.
Every other Thursday, Jen Mizgata will offer practical advice on your hard-to-answer questions.
My boss sends me one-sentence replies; does she hate me?
My direct report asks for constant approval; how do I get him to ask fewer questions?
I’m ambitious and early career; how do I get noticed in a big organization without looking like a total suck-up?
Mizgata, a program director and digital strategist, has created industry-changing training programs focused on giving people new tools to better understand their working styles and practical ways to be better advocates for themselves and their projects at work. She regularly coaches journalists and technologists on everything from salary negotiation to large-scale change. Drawing on decades of experience navigating workspaces that range from international bureaucracies to small organizations that are “building the plane while they’re flying it,” she’ll bolster your efforts with tactics and resources gleaned from innovative business leaders and managers across industries and delivered in a candid and approachable way that feels like having coffee with a friend.
When we were tossing around ideas for a name for this column, we went through a number of punchy titles that drew upon popular office lingo, but none of them felt like the right tone. We chose Work Space because we want to reinforce that it’s important to make time and space for your concerns. And just as you’ve likely personalized your desk or work area at your job, we’ll be taking into account the unique aspects of your situation and giving you frameworks to better understand it, not cliches and corporate jargon.
Our inbox is open. Email your workplace challenges to email@example.com, and your question could be answered in an upcoming post when the column launches in late January.
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