Lucy Kellaway

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Full name: Lucy Kellaway (see also Martin Lukes)

Area of interest: Management

Journals/Organisation: Financial Times


Personal website:



Representation: Aitken Alexander Associates | Personally speaking...




Education: Camden School for Girls; Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University: Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Career: Currency dealer; Investors Chronicle, 1983, joined FT 1985: FT: Companies reporter, 1985; Oil correspondent, 1986; Lex columnist, 1988; Brussels correspondent, 1989; feature writer, 1992; Columnist and interviewer (business people and celebrities for the Lunch with the FT series), 1994-

Current position/role: Management columnist

Other roles/Main role: Appointed a non-executive Director of the Insurance Company Admiral plc, 2006

Other activities:


Viewpoints/Insight: Lucy Kellaway: My Life In Media, The Independent, 24th July 2006

Broadcast media:


Controversy/Criticism: Marketplace: Lying is essential to doing business -, April 2007


  • Wincott Young Financial Journalist Award, 1984
  • Industrial Society WorkWorld Award (won twice)
  • Columnist of the Year: British Press Awards, 2006


Other: Married to Prospect magazine founder and editor, David Goodhart

Books & Debate:

Lucy Kellaway The Answers.jpg

Latest work: In office hours (£12.99, Fig Tree) is published on May 6 2010. Extract here

Speaking/Appearances: Personally speaking...

Current online forum - share your views on a Lucy Kellaway column

Financial Times:

Column name: Lucy Kellaway

Remit/Info: "For the last ten years her weekly Monday column has poked fun at management fads and jargon and celebrated the ups and downs of office life." - (n.b. column formerly called 'Lucy Kellaway on Management')

Section: Business life

Role: Columnist / Associate editor



Website: FT.Com and online forum

Commissioning Editor:

Day published: Monday (in print)

Regularity: Weekly

Column format:

Average length: 900 words

Articles: 2016

Articles: 2015

Articles: 2014

Articles: 2013

Articles: 2012

Articles: 2011

Articles: 2010

Articles: 2009

  • Tomes to make you groan - There is no shortage of bad business books, but Lucy Kellaway feels that giving them as ironic presents to bankers would be irresponsible - 20th December
  • Give office idiocy Dada treatment - I come across a lot of angry people in the course of my work, writes Lucy Kellaway . They take exception to anodyne things written by me - 14th December
  • Rebels who look ridiculous - A bright tie, red socks, a flash of crimson in the lining of a suit – these attempts to stand out in the office smack of desperation - 7th December
  • How to land on your feet when speaking in public - Make sure the person who’s onstage before you is boring and uses plenty of slides, and pick the right audience - 30th November
  • When too much information harms the office - Staff are responding to overload by not digesting anything. No one reads e-mails any more – except from the boss - 23rd November
  • The return of managerial bone-headedness - The bear market in bull may be over but the bear market in courage is not. Fear and paranoia are even more a part of corporate life - 16th November
  • Don’t work with your spouse - To allow husbands and wives to co-work has always struck me as a bad idea financially, socially, practically and emotionally - 9th November
  • When a longer working life is good for us all - Work is a bit like taking exercise. It can be boring and stressful while you are doing it but it is preferable to not working - 2nd November
  • Why ‘chillaxing’ isn’t cool - Chilling is seen by today’s children as the natural order of things. However, taking it easy in the office is not a good idea - 19th October
  • Taboo or not taboo? Some new office guidelines - A search for the sacrosanct subjects of the workplace was almost fruitless as most of the old strictures at work are on the way out, but there are still some no-go areas - 12th October
  • The perils of revealing your illness at work - Gordon Brown’s questioning over whether he takes pills to cope with the pressure reveals the new taboo in the workplace - 5th October
  • How to be a top female boss - Anna Wintour’s longevity in the fashion industry and hard-nosed approach provide a useful model for women executives - 28th September
  • Drug dealers are perfect gurus in a recession - With their ruthlessness and brilliance at managing cash flow, hustlers such as the reformed 50 Cent can provide useful lessons to executives - 21st September
  • Letting the office go to the dogs - For one day in September, several thousand of the unemployed will make their way into UK workplaces. Most will have exceptionally low IQs and will be capable of following only the simplest instructions. The occasion is Take Your Dogs to Work Day - 14th September
  • Wash away management’s verbal germs - Hygiene at work is in. In office toilets, grown-up employees are being told how to wash their hands. But now businesses are being urged to keep metaphorically clean - 7th ?September
  • Unhappy lessons in smiling - A Japanese scheme to rate the curvaceousness of staff smiles is flawed not because it’s like Big Brother but because it wrongly assumes that a bigger smile is a better one - 20th July
  • The career choice that delivers - The last time I’d seen this 56-year-old he was a marketing director but now he triumphantly announced he had become a postman - 13th July
  • Women in the boardroom - After decades of discussing women in the boardroom we should have gained enough confidence to go post-PC - 4th July
  • Take it easy about ageing - My contemporaries seemed to have stopped playing the obsessive game of age comparison – its time for me to join them - 29th June
  • The missed trick in the new pay reality - The old relationships between work and leisure and money and no money have started to break down - 22nd June
  • School exams fail the office test - They teach lessons about work that you need to unlearn pretty smartly if you want to get ahead in business - 15th June
  • What transparency on expenses would really reveal - Executives who take their customers to McDonald’s may be losing goodwill faster than they are saving money - 6th June
  • Kudos to bosses who use praise wisely - At a time when no one can afford to reward people with more money, to reward them with handouts of ‘what a star‘ would seem a no-brainer - 25th May
  • Underdog tale sheds light on pushy parenting - I think it does one good to fail in a small way. It means one then has to work hard to catch up, and that one may have a fresher way of doing things - 18th May
  • How a thief gave me 10 reasons to be grateful - It was a great morale boost that this time I was victim rather than perpetrator, and people have been astoundingly sympathetic - 11th May
  • Denial, fear, acceptance and a burst of cheer - We are fed up with being fed up: the green shoots are sprouting vigorously in our minds, even if they are not sprouting in the economy - 4th May
  • Twittering executives reveal too much - Either they fill their tweets with mundane personal detail, or they fill them with mundane professional detail – which is possibly worse - 27th April
  • How to take safe revenge on the boss - Anti-boss rage is more in vogue than it has ever been in my lifetime and I find I’m watching the display with alternate surges of glee and discomfort - 20th April
  • When chore-chore means war-war - The trick is not for husbands and wives to get to a 50:50 share when doing the housework. It is to stop counting and to stop minding - 6th April
  • Career counsellors should find a new job - The whole idea of advice is hopeless – the best tests in the world would not help, as there is no formula for matching round pegs to round holes - 30th March
  • One subject that songwriters labour to avoid - Work has been overlooked in pop lyrics – there are office novels and office sit-coms and office movies, but almost no office songs - 23rd March
  • A Fred Goodwin or Dick Fuld in all of us - There are many theories about the mess we are in, but it is simply what you get when you take human beings and put them in an organisation - 14th March
  • Lord Lucan and the vanished charm of desks - His desk was crafted about 200 years ago from rosewood and tulipwood, my modern design is made from a slab of medium density fibreboard - 9th March
  • Management metaphors are out for the count - I have seen an article that marks the first evidence from the management guff industry that ‘soft’ is finally on its way out and ‘hard’ is on its way in - 2nd March
  • Welcome back, semicolon; c u l8r, informality - The pendulum has swung away from slouchy language towards correct usage of punctuation - 23rd February
  • Stay smart and pull your socks up - To survive this economic downturn we need to smarten up and buckle down. We really need to get some work under our belts - 16th February
  • My new guilt as a selfish working mother - An idea about children’s happiness that had given me solace for years has been rudely overturned - 9th February
  • I have fallen into recession’s web of fear - Through blogs, websites and e-mails the world’s economic ills are fed to us on a drip all day long, multiplying troubles everywhere - 2nd February
  • Nothing to fear from your inner child - I dare say the US president hoped his words would resonate beyond the toy cupboard and sweetie jar, but even so they are feeble advice - 26th January
  • Memories of my $10m trading blunder - The first episode of a business reality television programme rammed home the message that being a trader is the worst job in the world - 19th January
  • Cool reaction to colleagues’ colds - If any more were encouraged to take to their beds just because they have a sniffle there would be no one presenting themselves for work at all - 12th January
  • Twaddle thrives amid the turmoil - In spite of my fears that management had renounced waffle, the art of business people talking rubbish is alive and well - 4th January

Articles: 2008

  • Expect to get dirty when a name is mud - If one’s occupation involves making off with investors’ money, then it is proper the name ‘Made-off’ reflects that. There is a fine tradition at work here - 21st December 2008
  • Money is the new secret of a happy job - When one’s job is at risk and one’s savings are a shadow of their former selves, the search for meaning at work becomes meaningless in itself - 14th December 2008
  • The hottest recessionary activity in town - If there has been a mass shift from taking risks in financial markets to taking risks in the domestic market, will it mean mass domestic instability - 7th December 2008
  • Go short on letters to investors - I would like to know whether hedge funds’ letters to their investors have calmed their recipients by distracting them – or made them even crosser - 2nd November 2008
  • No mistake that blunders are still bad - The theory that making errors is good is one of the most insidious, dangerous and downright moronic management ideas of all time - 27th October 2008
  • How to save a column from Armageddon - Newspaper articles covering these tumultuous times are so tightly packed with cliché that it is hard to do anything other than join in - 19th October 2008
  • The supercalifragilistic answer - ‘Mary Poppins’ may feature a City of tail coats rather than chinos, but its depiction of unsustainable wealth speaks about our own woes - 12th October 2008
  • The scarcity in silliness - Another market has crashed, bringing to an end one of the longest bull runs ever: the bottom has fallen out of management bullshit - 5th October 2008
  • A novel approach for chief executives - A course at Harvard Business School makes chief executives sit down and talk about novels and think about writing - 28th Sepember 2008
  • Why salaries are the final taboo - Transparency on our earnings might make things fairer if there were a ‘right’ amount that everyone should be taking home but this isn’t the case - 14th September 2008
  • Teen troublemakers and business parents - The children of business leaders can screw up in life as much as they like without doing any damage at all to their parents’ career prospects - 7th September 2008
  • The pen is mightier than high-tech gadgets - New technology tempts us with the latest version of this or that, but the customer service associated with modern products is far from alluring - 31st August 2008
  • Turning customer delight into disgust - It was the worst ‘service’ I’ve ever had: my pulse now quickens with rage every time I see the hateful orange and white livery of EasyJet - 24th August 2008
  • The City lawyer, the intern and the strip club - A tale of drunkenness and alleged harassment resulted in a lawyer being dismissed and the reaction has split the City of London - 17th August 2008
  • Dying wish to spend more time in the office - Climbing into a coffin and pretending to be dead is breaking new ground in what business people are made to do in the name of self-improvement - 27th July 2008
  • Strange kind of capitalism - For a capitalist economy to work, we all need to believe that more money is better than less money, and that a pay rise is a good thing - 20th July 2008
  • My guide to snoopology - Lord King’s photographs were trying to tell me he was important; instead they said that he was a namedropper and general pain in the backside - 13th July 2008
  • Board battles won on playing fields of youth - Almost half of the chiefs of Britain’s biggest companies have gained awards in the field of sport – twice as many as have any academic trophies - 6th July 2008
  • Shock of BPC: before personal computers - I have just started a 24 hour low-tech vigil – sans PC and e-mail – to remind myself what life was like when windows were things that let the light in - 29th June 2008
  • When complaining to wrong person is right - Not long ago, a friend opened a can of Heinz baked beans to feed her children for supper. As she poured the orange slop into a bowl she spotted two brown beans among the hundreds of orange ones - 20th June 2008
  • A bouquet of office barbs - Last week Sir Alan Sugar said “you’re fired” to three of the last four candidates in The Apprentice and 8.9m people sat on sofas all over Britain gawping at the expressions of bitter disappointment, shock and anger that these two words inspired - 15th June 2008
  • Joys of haircare and soldiery - When we were at primary school, my sister and I used to steal our mother’s rollers and nail varnish and curl each other’s hair and paint each other’s fingernails. My brother, meanwhile, would spend hours with his Action Man commando, pulling the cord in its plastic back and listening to it croak: “Enemy tank approaching!” and “Give me some cover!” - 15th June 2008
  • My message to letter-writing chiefs: you're fired - Last week on The Apprentice television show, two teams had to design a box of tissues and come up with a telly advert to catch the attention of consumers - 26th May 2008
  • Marriage demands due diligence - Every year 1m married couples in Europe decide that they cannot stand the sight of each other and split up - 18th May 2008
  • No, I'm the greatest - Boasting used to be a very un-British trait - but in a world of work where it's hard to measure one employee against another, it's increasingly important - BBC News magazine: A Point of View, Friday, 16th May 2008
  • Aim low to find meaning at work - At a party last week.I met a man who until recently was a government minister. We chatted about this and that, and he said how much he was enjoying his assortment of sinecures – non-executive directorships, speaking engagements and so on. He had both more money and more spare time than he used to have; in all, life was good. I asked him if he was missing the power. He looked at me as if I were a simpleton. Government ministers don’t have any power, he said - 11th May 2008
  • Decade’s spaced-out legacy in business - In May 1968 I had my first sexual experience. I was almost nine at the time and that afternoon had been practising French skipping in my bedroom with my best friend, Tabitha. When we had tired of leaping over the elastic that was strung tightly between two chairs, she told me about French kissing and – briefly and rather less enthusiastically – we practised that instead - 4th May 2008
  • What if women ran the world? - What would it be like if women ruled the world? Over the past 10 days, the question has been put by newspapers and broadcasters to all sorts of people – and all sorts of answers have been provided - 27th April 2008
  • With no losers, we wouldn’t have any winners - Last week a reader sent me an e-mail pointing out a mistake in my latest column. Blogs and posts, he explained, are not the same. A blog refers to the whole thing; a post is an entry on a blog - 20th April 2008
  • On monetary matters, nuttiness kicks in - Last week’s big news at my office was that the tills in the canteen were on the blink, and could no longer swipe our vending cards. So in order to buy, say, a large latte and a lemon muffin, we had to open our purses and find £1.80 in coins instead - 6th April 2008
  • Seven types of rot that appeal to big cheeses - When financial markets are crumbling and banks are crashing, the natural response of people in positions of authority is to talk rot - 30th March 2008
  • Trapped workers develop a line in doodling - I draw boxes. I draw them carefully in 3D and then put a little circle at each corner. My husband draws arrows. A line, then a triangular head at one end followed by a similar one at the other - 16th March 2008
  • Put an end to the trauma of the telephone - I punched in a London number and far away in Singapore the phone rang twice. “This is Bloomberg, the home of customer service, innovation and creativity,” said a recorded voice. “Please stand by and listen to one of our seven global television channels whilst we find you a service genius.” - 9th March 2008
  • Green holiday that makes me see red - Last Friday, when others were toiling away as usual in the office, the 5,000 employees of the National Trust were at home changing light bulbs and making compost toilets on their allotments - 2nd March 2008
  • Rekindling a 25-year bond - In my head is a dull ache and in my handbag a stack of business cards. One is from an acupuncturist. Another from a racehorse trainer, and further cards from asset managers, venture capitalists and people who are presidents of companies bearing their own name. It was quite a party - 24th February 2008
  • Happiness is finding your inner receptionist - A couple of months ago a friend asked if I’d write her a job reference. She is bright and witty and sophisticated and for about 20 years has held a succession of powerful jobs in television and newspapers - 10th February 2008
  • Unpolished exchanges put soul into shopping - Let me tell you about two things that have happened to me in the past 24 hours. The first concerns a shabby pair of brown suede ankle boots. The second, a glossy lipstick called Nude Lips - 3rd February 2008
  • Accenture’s next champion of waffle words - When one door closes, another one opens. On Thursday the prison gates clanked shut behind Martin Lukes in Florida but, in London, the door of an office inside swung ajar, revealing Mark Foster, a middle-aged white man with a long-winded title - 27th January 2008 (Accenture)
  • No way to manage a bleating luvvie - A few weeks ago I had lunch with my brother-in-law. First we discussed our unseemly mid-life urges: his to do triathlons, mine to buy bright green shoes with six-inch heels. We then moved on to our respective professions – opera singing and writing – and the question of how one can go on getting better at these after having spent a quarter of a century trying - 20th January 2008
  • Bonuses for the incorrigibly childish - Normally, if someone was to give me a large sum of money, say £1m or so, I’d be quite pleased. But if I was an investment banker, I probably wouldn’t be. Just like the thousands of them who at this time of year will be receiving more than £1m, I’d be eaten up with insecurity, envy and greed - 13th January 2008
  • A New Year’s resolution that will last - I may not be getting better at much else, but I am getting better at making New Year’s resolutions. Mine for 2008 is the best I’ve ever made. It’s positive, it’s ambitious, it’s inspiring but it also has a highish chance of success. It is to be competent - 6th January 2008

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