@Work Advice

Columnist Karla L. Miller solves workplace dilemmas. E-mail questions to wpmagazine@washpost.com.

 

@Work Advice columnist Karla Miller (DEB LINDSEY/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

No good way to say it

Thoughts on deflecting—or not firing—casual insults.

    @Work Advice columnist Karla Miller (DEB LINDSEY/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

    @Work Advice: Spheres of non-influence

    A reader wants to keep work life and personal life totally separate. Is that unusual?

      @Work Advice columnist Karla Miller (DEB LINDSEY/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

      @Work Advice: To protect, serve — and be paid differently

      A police officer wonders why first responders operate under different rules regarding overtime.

        @Work Advice columnist Karla Miller (DEB LINDSEY/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

        @Work Advice: When your boss thinks you’ll blab

        Is the boss right? Or paranoid? How to give a doubter the benefit of a doubt.

          @Work Advice columnist Karla Miller (DEB LINDSEY/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

          @Work Advice: Sticky political wickets

          What’s “embarrassment” got to do with hiring, anyway?

            About the Contest

            The @Work Advice Contest

            The @Work Advice Contest

            In 2011, we launched a contest in search of the would-be advice columnist with the smartest, savviest approach to navigating the workplace. Finalists, chosen by a panel of judges, competed in four rounds for the chance to write a series of columns for The Washington Post Magazine . Reader votes determined who advanced to the next round; judges chose a winner from the last three standing. That winner, Karla L. Miller, continues to write a weekly column for the Magazine.

            Round 4: The results

            Four contestants competed in the @Work Advice chat round. There was no immunity this time around, and we said goodbye to Abbey Kos. After that, readers rallied for their favorite in the comments.

            Round 3: The results

            Six contestants competed in our video challenge. The judges awarded immunity to Karla Miller and we said goodbye to Leslie Anderson and Dean Buckley.

            Round 3: D.C. United Coach Ben Olsen

            D.C. United Coach Ben Olsen: What should you do when your professional life interferes with your personal life?

            D.C. United Coach Ben Olsen: What should you do when your professional life interferes with your personal life?

            D.C. United's Ben Olsen needed help balancing work and famly.
            Cindy Coe: ‘The more you delegate, the faster you’ll reach your GOOAALLSS!’

            Cindy Coe: ‘The more you delegate, the faster you’ll reach your GOOAALLSS!’

            Cindy Coe, an @Work Advice Contest finalist, offers advice on balancing work and family to D.C. United Coach Ben Olsen.
            Dean Buckley: ‘Define and defend your family time’

            Dean Buckley: ‘Define and defend your family time’

            Dean Buckley, an @Work Advice Contest finalist, offers advice on balancing work and family to D.C. United Coach Ben Olsen.
            Ben Olsen: The Solution

            Ben Olsen: The Solution

            D.C. United Coach Ben Olsen shares the real-life advice he received when seeking help for a problem he faced at work.

            Round 3: BET CEO Debra Lee

            BET CEO Debra Lee: How do you know when it’s time to look for a job you’re passionate about, rather than a stepping stone?

            BET CEO Debra Lee: How do you know when it’s time to look for a job you’re passionate about, rather than a stepping stone?

            BET CEO Debra Lee needed help meshing career and passion.
            Leslie Anderson: ‘When opportunity presents itself, follow  your gut and go for it.’

            Leslie Anderson: ‘When opportunity presents itself, follow your gut and go for it.’

            Leslie Anderson, an @Work Advice Contest finalist, offers suggestions to Debra Lee on her career quandry.
            Michele Woodward: ‘Do what you love and the happiness will  follow’

            Michele Woodward: ‘Do what you love and the happiness will follow’

            Michele Woodward, an @Work Advice Contest finalist, offers suggestions to Debra Lee on her career quandry.
            Debra Lee: The Solution

            Debra Lee: The Solution

            BET CEO Debra Lee shares the real-life advice she received to deal with her career question.

            Round 3: Cartoonist Nick Galifianakis

            Cartoonist Nick Galifianakis: What should you do when a  co-worker’s personal hygiene is driving people away?

            Cartoonist Nick Galifianakis: What should you do when a co-worker’s personal hygiene is driving people away?

            Cartoonist Nick Galifianakis needed help dealing with a co-worker’s bad breath.
            Karla Miller: ‘Let him know without humiliating him’

            Karla Miller: ‘Let him know without humiliating him’

            Karla Miller, an @Work Advice Contest finalist, offers advice to cartoonist Nick Galifianakis on dealing with a co-worker’s bad breath.
            Abbey Kos: ‘I’d want someone to tell me’

            Abbey Kos: ‘I’d want someone to tell me’

            Abbey Kos, an @Work Advice Contest finalist, offers up suggestions to Nick Galifianakis on dealing with a co-worker’s bad breath.
            Nick Galifianakis: The Solution

            Nick Galifianakis: The Solution

            Cartoonist Nick Galifianakis shares the real-life advice he used to solve his workplace dilemma.

            Round 2: The results

            Eight finalists competed in our “Biggest Problems” challenge. The judges awarded immunity to Dean Buckley, and we said goodbye to Rachel Homer and Richard Wong.

            Leslie Anderson

            “Like any relationship, once employees cease sensing connection to employers, the honeymoon is over.”

            Michele Woodward

            “The last few years have done a whopper on most working people. Let’s see if we can find a way for you to catch your breath.”

            Dean Buckley

            “I’d love to hear your stories and ideas on how to triumph over job insecurity ... But please, no murder plots.”

            Abbey Kos

            “We can’t afford to watch junior staff leave just because the guy who signs their timesheet is a doofus.”

            Cindy Coe

            “It’s hard to get much done when you think the guy in the next cubicle is plotting Workplace Domination”

            Karla Miller

            “The average worker’s focus is like the average American’s diet: all over the place and increasingly unhealthy.”

            Eliminated in Round 2

            Rachel Homer

            “In an environment like this, the only way to get by is to focus on the tiny subset of the world that you can actually control – yourself. ”

            Richard Wong

            “When you face the work/family dilemma, remember it’s just a job. It’s not your life.”

            Round 1: The results

            Ten contestants competed in our “No Easy Answers” challenge. The judges awarded immunity to Karla Miller and we said goodbye to Nikki Stevens andMoira Forbes.

            Eliminated in Round 1

            Nikki Stevens

            Read her responses to our Round 1 challenge.
            Meet Nikki

            Moira Forbes

            Read her responses to our Round 1 challenge.
            Meet Moira

            Meet the Judges

            Lynn Medford

            Lynn Medford is the editor of Sunday Style and The Washington Post Magazine.

            Carolyn Hax

            Carolyn Hax has written an advice column for The Washington Post since 1997.

            Sydney Trent

            Sydney Trent is a senior editor for Style and The Washington Post Magazine.

            Eric Peterson

            Eric Peterson is manager of diversity and inclusion initiatives at the Society for Human Resource Management. He holds a Master’s Degree in Organization Development from American University.

            Douglas LaBier

            Douglas LaBier is a business psychologist and founder of the Center for Progressive Development, a nonprofit organization promoting psychological health in the workplace.