I started a new advice column! It is called Dear Ally Skills Teacher (“Dear Ally” for short), where I answer questions about how to support people with less power and privilege. If you are the person who is always answering questions about diversity and inclusion at work, and you’re tired and overworked and not getting any benefit out of it, you can tell people to send their questions to me instead.
I agonized over whether to start an ally skills advice column for about a year, and now that I’m writing it, I can’t believe I waited so long. Y’all, I LOVE giving advice, and I love even more when people tell me my advice helped them. And since I’ve taught more than 100 Ally Skills Workshops, I have answers to a lot of questions.
I put together this handy list of signs you might be an advice columnist:
- Half your news reader is advice columns
- You have an “advice” tag on your personal blog
- You join the #advice or #advicecolumns channels in your Slacks
- You write and self-publish an entire free book of advice about codes of conduct
- You write a guest post for Captain Awkward on how to talk to your family about politics… in November 2016
- You volunteer to appear on the Dear Prudence podcast
- Your bio for said podcast describes yourself as an “advice enthusiast“
In about another year, I hope to write up my advice on becoming an advice columnist, but for now, the best advice I’ve gotten is to focus on getting questions, since that’s what most advice columnists struggle with when starting out. (There was that time Nicole Cliffe was getting hardly any questions for Care and Feeding and it turned out she was advertising the wrong email address…)
If you want to help, you can:
- Send me a question!
- Tell other people to send their questions to Dear Ally
- Sign up to get Dear Ally columns via email
- Ask me to give a (free) talk about ally skills at your tech company, in person or by video
- Share the link on Slack or mailing lists
- Share columns you like on social media
- Suggest podcasts I should appear on (tech audience with a social justice bent)
I am looking forward to this fun experiment and I hope you enjoy Dear Ally Skills Teacher!