Because they don't offer "Killer Career 101" in college, Nasty Gal founder and self-taught HBIC Sophia Amoruso has you covered with straight talk on how to get everything you want out of your job.
Here, the latest edition of our contributing editor's must-read advice column, as seen in our May issue on newsstands now.
Q: My manager e-mails me when I'm on vacation. Am I supposed to respond?
A: This depends on your job. If you're hourly, hell no. If you're salaried and have a level of responsibility for things not falling between the cracks, it's probably smart to check e-mails in the event something is on fire and you're the only person who can put it out. Otherwise, while responding on vacation will show that you're willing to go above and beyond, it will train your manager to expect responses while you are away, a slippery slope that I think I'm still digging myself out of—and I don't even have a boss.
Q: I collaborated with a few colleagues on a project, though I did most of the work. How do I make sure I get credit without seeming like one of those people?
A: You don't, because you are one of those people! Teamwork is not always going to be split equally, and being able to work on a team without competing with your peers is an important skill to have. If you're that good, the other things you do independently will be seen, and over time it will be obvious that you're a winner.
Q: Everyone in my office eats lunch at their desks. I'm worried that I'll be penalized for taking a lunch hour. What do you think?
A: Girl, you do you. Many people are too lazy to go out, can't afford to, or are too swamped. If you can manage your workload and get out for lunch, more power to you. You're at the wrong employer if you find yourself penalized for something so human.
Q: I have a coworker (a guy, natch) who keeps interrupting me in meetings. How do I get him to stop, once and for all?
A: This one's simple: Tell him to stop.
Q: I've been asked to attend a work-related cocktail party. I'm terrible at these kinds of things. Any advice?
A: I'm tempted to involve alcohol in my response, but I won't. Oops, I did. Be careful with that one. Ask people about themselves, and be nice, complimentary, and curious, and people will flock to you like a blogger to a macaron.
Q: I've just received a promotion—but no raise. Is that normal? Should I go back and ask for more?
A: Congratulations…I think! No, this is definitely not normal. You should sit down with your employer and let them know that you would like your pay to be commensurate with your responsibilities. Clearly you are a valuable player, someone your manager sees as worthy of advancement. I can't even tell you how bummed I've been that someone has quit after only hinting at what they wanted so discreetly that it didn't even register. Chances are, someone screwed up here—we're all capable of it, even those of us at the top!
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