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posted: 9/8/2019 6:00 AM

Updates on that ‘girl’ and the serial hugger at work

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Today we check in with readers who wrote in earlier for advice.

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From the female manager struggling to shed the "girl" label at work:

Thank you for your advice on being the "girl at work." I don't think I've made any real progress in changing the culture, but at least speaking up now feels more routine and less earth-shattering/job-compromising/aggressive, just like correcting a poor pronunciation of my name. And, although top-down change seems unlikely, I now have a plan on how to bring this up with other senior managers, in a way that hopefully nudges a bottom-up change.

Also, I was amused by readers' assumptions about where I was writing from. I'm actually working in a supposedly progressive city.

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From the reader with an overly huggy co-worker:

We had a serious conversation, and she received that quite well. Everything has been fine since. She seems able to contain the spontaneous hugging, and she's a wonderful addition to the team. While it wasn't really bothersome to any of us, my concern was that we weren't serving her well if we didn't say that in the professional world, it's not OK, and could damage her reputation as a highly competent professional.

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From the 14-year-old who wanted to get a job:

Readers of this column may remember the 14-year-old seeking advice on how to get a job to help support the family, including two unemployed adult siblings and divorced parents living under the same roof. Here's an update, two years later:

I'm now a rising junior in high school. My siblings still haven't gotten jobs, but they have gotten pretty close. We're still struggling financially, but we're a lot more stable now ever since my siblings and I moved with my mother out of my father's house. I would apply for jobs as a 16-year-old, but my mom suggests that I enjoy my childhood while I can.

I have a bit of great news. For over a year I've been part of a team developing a modification in a video game. I'm the texture artist. Although I don't get paid, it's certainly a great learning experience. Writing and drawing are really fun for me, and I want my future to be about them.

I got into this when I was browsing the online community forums of one of my favorite games and volunteered to help a developer who needed design help for a game modification. I met other community members and became friends with other artists on the project.

Eventually we left because the developer was making sexist and racist jokes and treating the female artists worse than the males. Now I am working with other community members on our own game modification, and we hope to earn royalties for it.

When someone you're working for disrespects you, then they're not worth it. Start your own project or look for someone who will show you the respect you need.

A: So you have a side gig doing what you love, and you already have a good sense of what you will and won't accept from an employer. All I can add is, don't be shy about asking to be paid for your next gig -- your time and skills are valuable. But you seem to have things well in hand. Keep us posted!