Thursday’s TPS Report: Stretch Rayon Pique Jacket

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

STRETCH RAYON PIQUÉ JACKET-8-BLACKThis jacket is not for everyone — but it’s interesting enough and has a chance that it might be flattering, and so if I were looking for a slightly different take on a black blazer, I would order this one to give it a try. (Alas, N.B.: it’s marked down so much it’s non-returnable.) I like the sculptural folds, as well as the “hint of stretch.” It was $298, but is now marked to $98 at STRETCH RAYON PIQUÉ JACKET

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  1. I am the ultimate not leave before I leave-er:

    Any advice on how to tell a managing partner that one is pregnant (11 weeks right now) at a job one has only been working for two months, in a way that will protect one’s job? At a small firm (9 attorneys) with no maternity leave policy in place and not subject to FMLA? After one year, they pay for a disability policy that covers salary for 6-10 weeks after giving birth, depending on complications, but that will definitely not apply in my case.

    This pregnancy was unplanned (but we are financially stable and been with DH several years, thank goodness), and we’ve only known for 3 weeks. There is an anomaly in the shape of my uterus that evidently made my birth control less than 99% effective, and explained why I still had a spotty period the first and second month after I was in fact pregnant. Part of this, we’ve learned, is that I will almost certainly need a c-section – so I will likely need a solid 8 weeks leave, at a minimum. Financially, we can afford to take unpaid leave for 2-3 months. Does anyone have any tips on:

    When to tell? It’s not noticeable yet, unless I’m nekkid.

    How to tell? I feel like they almost won’t believe that this was an accident unless I go into my newfound medical history in detail. I know I wouldn’t believe it was an accident, if I were in their shoes. For background: There is a male managing partner (mid 60’s), and four partners all together (2 male, 2 female – all over 50, none had children while involved with this firm). I am the only female associate in an overall 6/3 ratio.

    How to request/negotiate leave from what seems a very disadvantageous position?

    Finally, I just wanted to say it’s been really neat to read all they “yay, I’m pregnant!” posts from the last few weeks. After several days of completely freaking out, I’ve begun seeing this is a good thing to celebrate. I know everything will work out for the best – but I could definitely use some collective wisdom in deciding how to approach this situation.

    • It’s none of their business whether or not it was an accident. If you think telling them it was an accident could help you get more leave, then maybe just say something like, “We were pretty surprised!” when you tell the partners, but I wouldn’t feel any obligation to do this, and definitely don’t go into more medical detail than that.

      Regarding the leave issue, I would start by asking what their policy is for employees who have been there less than a year. In a firm that small they might not have a policy, but they can formulate one, and maybe you can bargain from that (like, if they’ll give you a month paid, ask for three months unpaid). At the same time, can you just say your doctor has said to expect complications, so you’ll need at least eight weeks’ leave?

      At any rate, congratulations!

    • That’s the central issue – there is no specific ‘maternity’ policy in place. There’s just always been the disability that is effective after 1 year. Because the firm is so small, the official ‘leave’ policy has been 2 full weeks leave, in addition to whatever you need for doctor’s appointments, etc so long as you meet billables. But there’s no checking in or recording days off – other than billable hour sheets.

      So that’s why I’m working on – how to negotiate the firm’s first-ever maternity leave when I’m already pregnant. There’s the line between the leave I need, and the fact that the firm is small enough (and has enough work) that other people are genuinely affected by taking time off, and I want to strike a balance there.

      • lucy stone :

        My best friend went through this at a similar firm, and the best advice I can give you is to get whatever you decide on in writing.

      • I see what you’re saying, and this is tough. On one hand, it seems good to ask them, basically, to devise a policy for you. I understand they don’t have one now, but you’re pregnant, so something has to happen. On the other hand, if you leave it entirely in their court, they might decide the two weeks of leave is a good policy.

        Ok, after thinking about this, I think the best thing to do would be to figure out maternity policies at other small firms. Firms in your area, if possible, though I realize that is more difficult. I know this will take some research, but I think you’ll come in stronger if you have some research backing up what you think is a reasonable policy (and shoot high, in case they then bargain down). If, after that, they say they can only give one month or something, then I would pull out the fact that a c-section is likely, so you absolutely need 8 weeks.

        I also agree with anon, below, who suggested doing a great job now. That will probably make this whole process easier. I think waiting until you’re six months along to say anything to anyone is kind of extreme, though; it’s always so odd to see a woman on a regular basis whom you *know* is pregnant based on her appearance, but you can’t say anything about it because she hasn’t yet. Especially in a work context, where your leave is going to affect other people.

        • Thank you for this. Maybe this afternoon I’ll take a Corporette poll, because the local research option, while ideal, isn’t going to work out. I love the firm and the people I work with, but I’ve looked around in our local (small with a smaller bar) city and I cannot find a single practicing female attorney with children. Which is, of course, terrifying. That said, I cannot over emphasize the quality of people that I work with – there are places in this city that I might as well quit as try to be pregnant, and I know this isn’t one of them.

          I think I need to do my research and negotiations, then tell them. From what I have seen in friends, it seems like there’s a magical week in which they transform from not seeming pregnant at all to looking obviously pregnant. I think it’s in my best interest to surprise them with the news and simultaneously impress them with my planning and consideration. I don’t want them wondering at all, so I’ll probably be telling in the next two weeks. Needless to say, I’m reading and learning a whole lot about pregnancy very quickly.

          • oh, you mean when you “pop”. For most, it happens around 20-22 weeks. Up until then, people may just wonder, or think you’ve gotten a little plump. Then one week, POP! Unmistakable pregnant belly. Don’t worry, you have lots of time until then.

          • Caveat – depends on your figure and core muscles and all that. I popped almost right away since the weight I put on was extremely localized to my belly. People guessed even before I could tell at 13 weeks.

    • Congrats!

      I would focus on making myself absolutely invaluable to the firm right now (quality not quantity), so that they will absolutely want you to come back after maternity leave. I would also not tell anyone until it is absolutely, ridiculously obvious, like at 6 months or so — don’t want to counteract any goodwill by being “the new person who is going to leave soon”.

      As for the leave itself, I’d assume that three months unpaid would be standard in this situation. I was inhouse counsel at a Fortune 100 company and this is what I got, FMLA and “one of the best places for moms to work!” award and all.

    • I’m also in a small firm so I totally understand the temptation to say it was an oops. Basically, you are afraid that you are going to be judged for not following the policy and waiting until you are a year in. I find that a lot of small employers say some pretty dumb things because they are not bound by the EEOC or their state’s version of the same. They don’t get the training, don’t realize what is illegal, or just don’t care. Also, I totally understand your feeling that you owe them something since someone is going to have to handle your case load. I often wonder what would happen if someone at my firm was just hit by a bus. We are all overloaded with work as it is. It would be a bad scene.

      Anyway, if I were in your shoes I’d have some pat response ready in case your boss makes a comment about the timing. The response should be whatever you are comfortable with but I don’t think you need to come close to getting into your BC specifics. So, say boss says “you know, that is what the STD policy is for.” You could reply with a sincere “I know, but life had other plans for me. How can we work this?”

      Good luck and please let us know what you end up doing.

    • First congratulations, what exciting news. I agree with others that you want to negotiate for at least 2 to 3 months leave for both yours and the baby’s sake, baby’s feeding and sleeping schedule is crazy during that time period . I would caution you on saying that 8 weeks is medically necessary, however, unless your doctor will put this in writing for you. Having had 2 c-sections myself, you are pretty much back to normal within four weeks, at least in terms of mobility. I was up and out of the house within the first week or two (though not working), everyone’s experience varies of course. If all else fails, perhaps you can negotiate a p/t schedule immediately following your leave for an additional month or two to help ease you back in, and still give them a person to get work done.

      I’d also wait another few weeks before telling. Each week gives you more time to establish yourself at the firm.

  2. It looks like something from Express that is trying to be professional but does not get there.

  3. Those of you who have the Tippi sweater from J Crew, I’m thinking about ordering one and have a couple of questions. How is the fit? Is the cut fairly form-fitting? Has anyone ordered the heather graphite or sandstone? Do those colors look too “sweatshirt-y” for work? Thanks!

    • I have it! It’s slim but not clingy, and the neckline is perfect. I’m about 0/2 on top and a 34B bra size. Can’t speak to those colors, though.

    • phillygirlruns :

      i really like the tippi and its cousin, the online-only merino v-neck. i am usually a 4 or 6 in pants at j.crew, 32dd, and wear a small in the tippi. it’s a slim cut but is not tight – i wear them under blazers a lot. i own the tippi sweater in four colors and the v-neck in two. i don’t have either of your two colors but would have a hard time seeing this sweater read as sweatshirt-y.

    • Yay Tippi! It fits extremely well, with, as anon said, a perfect neckline. An XS is form-fitting but definitely not tight on me (33-28-34, with delightful A cups). Can’t speak to the colors you like in person, but from the website I don’t think they look sweatshirt-like.

      I’m so sad that it’s getting too warm for sweaters in VA; I don’t know how I’m going to be able to dress myself, without having my Tippi to default to at least once a week…

  4. Settle a silly argument for me please: is it pronounced “Pin-ter-est” or “Pin-trest”? I’ve been saying the former, but my friend says it’s the latter.

  5. overworked :

    Emergency threadjack: Several people in my group are suddenly leaving for various reasons and the work is being reassigned to me with no plans for replacing them and no raise for me. Would you leave on the spot or would you hang in there until you find another job? My fear about hanging on is that I’ve been set up to fail. I’m afraid I will sacrifice my mental and physical health and damage my reputation if I start making mistakes and not have the time or energy to look for another job. The reason it’s an emergency is that I have to talk to my boss today. In the short term, I can “afford” to be out of work, my husband can cover the basic bills. In the long term, I have to find something else before something major comes up (need a new car or things of that nature). Although my field in general is not doing well, I have the experience to find a decent job within a few months I think. If you vote for hanging in there, what would you do/demand to make it more bearable?

    • I would try demanding that they hire someone new before making this decision. Explain that it’s unreasonable for you to do all of that work. Otherwise, I would stick with it but start looking for a new job right away.

      • Agree + demand that your boss prioritizes your workload for you as there is no way you can get it all done on time with acceptable level of quality. Do not accept new work until you are given a clear dealine and priority level.

        • MaggieLizer :

          Ditto. Definitely get the partners you’re working for on board with helping you to prioritize. This should take some of the pressure off you too til you can find something else.

    • phillygirlruns :

      i would document the issue now, before it becomes a problem, and ask how they plan to handle it. i would not leave before finding a new job, no matter how quickly you think your job search will go.

      • AnotherLadyLawyer :

        Agree x 100 on documenting it. You may even want to throw together a “memo” — just organize the number of projects that are yours and then also a list of projects/extra work that will be dumped on you. May even be more compelling all written down.

        • Prepare, prepare, prepare for the meeting. Bring a chart, outlining your projects and the other individuals’, who used to be the lead, and for each project the status OR top 1-3 things that need to be done. Add an empty column for “Priority”, which hopefully should guide the conversation with your boss as to what the priorities are since you are doing a lot more work. It guided my past supervisor to the (obvious) conclusion of “HEY – you DO have a lot of stuff going on”

          If at all possible, make sure you spend enough time preparing or else try to reschedule the meeting. Let us know how it goes!

          • After re- reading my comment – I feel like I should add that the conversation should be handled v. carefully, so you don’t come across like you’re being confrontational, but instead like it’s clear that you have the firm’s / company’s best interest in mind.

    • Have you talked to your boss about hiring more people or giving you a significant raise? If you have, and s/he said it’s not happening, I would vote for hanging in there while you look for a new job, but without killing yourself trying to get it all done. Just do a reasonable amount of work for one person until you can find something better. I know this flies in the face of the corporette I-must-do-everything-perfectly-at-all-times mentality, but that doesn’t sound possible in this situation, and it sounds unreasonable and unhealthy of your company to put you in this position.

    • Is there a reason why you think you’re being set up to fail? And do you need to have this discussion with your boss about workload today? Maybe it’s just the tone of your comment, but I’m reading it as sort of panicky and ready to just quit (and I don’t think that’s the best frame of mind to have when having a serious discussion with your boss).

      That said, during the conversation with your boss, I’d outline how many people have left, and the added responsibilities that you’ve taken on, and the impact to your job (i.e., hard deadlines, you need to put in more hours, etc.), and that you feel a raise would be appropriate given how much your job description has and will change. Something along the lines of, “Chris, as you know, Jerry, Tom and Ann left, and I am now responsible for the Pawnee Parks Department Annual Fair, which will require a lot of time and effort. I’m excited about the opportunity, but this is a significant expansion of my role in the department, and I think that my salary should reflect my new responsibilities.”

      The worst he or she can say is no. And at that point, you should definitely start looking for something else.

    • overworked :

      Thanks everyone. We have already had a conversation about hiring and/or raise and the answer to both is no. My immediate boss has no control over this, so it’ s not his fault. He is already aware that I am thinking of leaving. The reason I sound panicky is because I am. I don’t want to take on additional work even for an interim period. There is no way it can go well. The work is being reassigned today. I’ve decided to ask him more about the big picture and how realistically the work is going to get done because it’s insane to expect it to and then make a decision by the end of the meeting.

      • Non replacement of staff is the sneaky way to increase the workload of existing staff and save the company money. You need to manage the expectations, tell him that these are your work priorities at the moment and if the new work is to take precedence then the existing work will be dropped down your priority list. Make it clear that this is how much work you can do in a week etc and either the quantity of work has to drop or the time-frames for delivery are going to pushed out by you.

  6. PSA – There are several pairs of Apepazza Lulu shoes still available on Amazon in a few lucky sizes.

    Today I have thrown away my much-beloved Apepazza slingbacks that had the same Lucite ombre wedge as the Lulus. I have worn them to pieces, they were beautiful, unusual, and insanely comfortable. I found the Lulus but my size is already sold out – maybe the ‘rettes will benefit! Oh, and they are at half-price, too.
    (You can tell I am seriously grieving!)

  7. Exposed Zippers :

    Exposed zipper yay or nay?

    I found this awesome skirt (link follows in a reply), I don’t think anybody in my office would say something if I wear it, I work in a business casual office in the marketing field and we can actually wear sweats on casual days. Not that I would ever do that, but we get away with a lot.

    Still, my inner conservative thinks that the zipper would draw the eye to all the wrong places. Just because the dress code allows it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea, right?

    Ignoring the fact that thinking all this might just make me uncomfortable enough to not wear the skirt I would like to hear other opinions.

    • Exposed Zippers :
    • i am all about exposed zippers along the spine of dresses and it never stops me from wearing the dress to work. but an exposed zipper over my behind would stop me. i’d be uncomfortable with people’s potential thoughts.

      • SAlit-a-gator :

        Ditto, since this goes all the way down it’s in a whole other category than your run of the mill exposed zipper. The color is already a stretch, combined with the zipper, this screams UNZIP ME! Definitely not the message I want to send at work. I can’t get on board with this one.

      • If it’s the shape of the skirt you like, since it’s a pattern, why not just make it a hidden zipper that only goes part way down? Would require a little reworking of the pattern, but shouldn’t be too hard if you (or whoever is making it for you) know what you’re doing. I think the shape is really nice, but agree about the zipper being too much. Also, it seems like it would be uncomforable to sit on all day at work!

    • I like it, but experience on c*rporette has shown me that I trend less conservative than many. I would keep it mostly zipped though (very little open vent) and pair it with longer sleeves.

    • Former MidLevel :

      I have no issue with exposed zippers in general – especially in a business casual environment. And because this one goes all the way down the length of the skirt, it seems more like a stripe, in visual effect, than an arrow to your derriere (which I agree would be less than ideal). But if just the thought of wearing this makes you uncomfortable, then you won’t wear it.

      • Exposed Zippers :

        You are right… what has happened to me? I used to be edgy, honest!

    • I had a skirt like this once, and it was a PIA. Unless you leave the zipper completely closed, it will work its way higher and higher whenever you move, until you are indecently unzipped. There is nothing keeping the zipper in place to allow you to customize the slit height. If the skirt is stretchy enough, you may be able to leave it completely closed and still be able to walk. I had to get rid of my skirt because it was not stretchy, and there was no way to adjust it so that it was possible to walk without getting involuntarily unzipped.

    • I recently saw someone waiting for the subway wearing a skirt with a zipper like this, and it looked weird to me. Too much “unzip me.” To me, an office that is casual enough that you wear sweats sometimes does not really make a difference–it’s a s*xiness issue, not a dressed down issue.

    • Accountress :

      Have you already located it in this color combo, or are you planning on making it/having it made?

      If you’re going to cause it to be made, don’t go bright for the skirt- that totally limits your possible outfits. Instead, go with a dark heathered grey, with an all-black zipper. The zipper won’t stick out as much, and you can wear all sorts of brights colors or neutrals with the darker skirt to make your outfit pop.

    • I tried on a very similar skirt at Zara a month or two ago. It was black, so I was hoping that would tone down the look a bit, but I still didn’t feel comfortable in it – the zipper followed the curve of my backside a bit too closely. Great for a dinner date or party, but not the impression I’d want to give at work.

  8. Hunger Games tonight! And horray for living in Europe and getting to see it a day or two early!

    So excited.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I’m seeing it tomorrow and I bought a t-shirt (it says LOVE and the “O” has a mockingjay inside!) — so excited! I need to avoid media tomorrow so I don’t get spoiled!

    • canadian anon :

      Hurray! I am waiting for a few weeks to see it with my sisters. I’ll have to pretend the premiere is really not for another two weeks. That won’t be difficult at all..

    • I’m going Saturday night and I’m soooo excited!

    • I just read the book this past weekend. Now I can’t wait to see it!

  9. The flowers were appreciated. The lipstick was tolerated. Some of it got on his shirt. #AIMSwasright

  10. Got stuck in moderation yesterday: after much flailing about for months over what to do with my life, I went back to ATL for a visit this weekend and realized that my parents are getting older and I don’t want to be 3,000 miles away from them. And that maybe, just maybe, I’m actually a southerner at heart. I have an extensive network in the city, but would love to get corporette input on the legal market for transactional attorneys – any thoughts? My email is linked above if you’d prefer that.

    • Leslie Knope :

      I’m not a lawyer, much less a transactional one, but welcome back to Atlanta! I know you have a network here already, but if you have any Atlanta-specific questions post them here and I’ll do my best.

      P.S. I don’t think your email is linked in your username.

      • Argh! I thought it was. It’s cbackson at the mail service google brings us (I think that naming it got me moderated last time).

        • If you want your email to show up as a link, then I think you have to put it in the “Website” field.

    • Rose in Bloom :

      Yay Atlanta!

      I’m a 3L living in Atlanta, and I will be doing transactional law at a large firm here. I believe you are currently in BigLaw? My sense from interviewing (I didn’t summer here as a 2L) last fall is that the transactional practices are slowly recovering – even some real estate practices. Of my friends who will also be going to large ATL firms, I think a fair number are doing transactional so business does seem to be getting better. That said, most attorneys I’ve spoken with have said they think Atlanta has lagged a bit behind the curve.

      Let me know if you have any specific questions, although since I haven’t started practicing, I’m not sure how much help I can be.

      • Yup, Biglaw, mid-level doing M&A and securities work. My preference is in-house at this point rather than jumping to A&B, K&S, TS, etc. – just hard for me to get excited about going from Biglaw to Biglaw. I have a niche subspecialty that I’d love to work in, but it’s more likely to be luck more than anything if I find a job in that.

        Did you find it hard to get a job after not summering in ATL? I’m trying to figure out, in general, if the market is tough to get into as an “outsider” – I grew up in ATL and went to Emory, but my JD is not from a Georgia school (although it’s from a top-5 school, so hopefully not TOO much of an obstacle) and I’m not admitted in GA. I’m one year shy of being able to waive in, presently.

      • Rose in Bloom :

        I would think that Atlanta would be a good city for in-house work given the number of large companies HQ’d or with major offices here.

        I didn’t find it too difficult to get a job, and I didn’t go through the normal OCI process (long story), so I was searching for jobs on my own. I’m from the South, but I have family here which I stressed in every interview because firms were clearly worried that I would want to go back to my hometown shortly. I would think that growing up here + parents here + Emory undergrad would suffice to show your connections as that is even stronger than my less immediate family here + Emory Law. In short, this is a much less insular legal market than many Southern cities.

        In case you think of moving before being able to waive in, the GA section of the bar is only one day and from what I understand, is not very difficult (at least I hope so!).

        • Awesome, this is really helpful. I would probably have to take the full bar, because I’m from a non-MBE state (ugh).

  11. So we are buying a house (from a condo) and I am currently obsessed with outdoor furniture and beds. Because I have to buy both.

    Anyone have any reviews/input on:
    Target Smith & Hawken teak outdoor furniture
    Saatva mattresses? They keep popping up in my sidebar ads.

    • Stay far far away form Target Smith & Hawken. We bought some for our back deck (in shade) and our roofdeck (in sun), oiled it when we first got it and repeatedly thereafter, nad took cushions in in the wintertime . . . and it really did not hold up well at all. The stuff in the sun particularly turned gray and cracked. Plus, we noticed that the “identical’ pieces we got (like, multiples of the same chair) came from different factoreis, with different screws / assembly instructions, which made me feel like the product hadn’t been designed thoughtfully.

    • phillygirlruns :

      no input on that particular brand of mattress, but i will implore you to spend as much as you can afford. husband and i replaced our very, VERY old and saggy mattress a few years ago, during my first year of practice when i hadn’t had actual income for very long. spending a couple thousand dollars on a mattress just about made me cry then, but once we started sleeping on that thing, tears were forgotten. you will be spending a third of your life on that mattress for many, many years – invest!

    • I have bought outdoor furniture from Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware. The regular prices are absolutely insane. But sale-stalk and you can get a crazy deal. The furniture has held up well — I’m especially happy with some faux-wicker chairs from PB, which are super comfy and holding up really well.

  12. At the request of my lawyer bro-in-law, I have agreed to be part of a mock trial competition. It’s this afternoon, and I’m realizing I have no idea what to expect, and thus starting to freak a little. Anyone have any tips for me? Or can you give me some insight into what it will be like? Thank you!!

    • SpaceMountain :

      What will your role be? Usually participants act as jurors or play witnesses, reading from a script. It should be fun.

      • I am a witness. I’ve been given a copy of my deposition and two exhibits. But I don’t have a script. They said in the instructions to be consistent so they don’t try to impeach me as a witness. Nice.

        • Your “script” will be a copy of your deposition transcript – if you said at your deposition that the car was blue, you should say the same on the stand, etc. Although it could be fun to make the attorney impeach you.

        • AnonInfinity :

          I was a witness at one of these once, and it was a lot of fun. Just try to remember everything in your deposition and look over the exhibits. They didn’t ask me anything that was terribly terrible. I did accidentally add a word that probably made a difference — in my dep, I said there was “blood” on a shirt, and on the stand I said there was “a lot of blood” on the shirt. This caused the participant to try to impeach me, but it wasn’t horrible. I just said I misspoke or something like that and she eventually moved on.

          I’d do it again!

    • I’ve been a mock witness and a juror. If you’re a witness, it’s very helpful to know your story (I did not read from a script). As a juror, it was interesting for me to see (as a lawyer) how passionate people get about the actual evidence presented (as opposed to what they think the lawyers should have presented). Both experiences were quite fun.

  13. I’m getting an 80s/early 90s power suit vibe from this pick. Yipes.

  14. I am cold emailing resumes/cover letters to various law firms of various sizes. Is it typical to get no response? In the old days, I would at least get a letter (before email) thanking me for my interest and letting me know that they would keep my resume on file. Now things seem to go into a big black hole. Is this hopeless, or does anyone have any encouraging stories about hearing from someone much later?

  15. just Karen :

    Thank you so much to everyone who made recommendations and gave advice re: Belize and Guatemala yesterday – I got sucked into mediation and didn’t get a chance to check back until today. I will definitely keep the safety warnings in mind – I did look at the state department warnings before we booked our plane tickets, but at least at that point in time there wasn’t anything overly worrisome (nothing beyond what you would expect). I will definitely look more into it and plan with caution. Does anyone have a sense for whether some areas are safer than others (or if there’s anywhere I just absolutely need to avoid)?

    • When I went we stayed in heavily touristed areas and took the touristy buses between locations rather than public buses (we flew from Tikal back to Guatemala City, and didn’t wander around the latter willy-nilly either). We felt pretty safe doing that (and did check the state department warnings for up-to-date info).

    • just Karen :

      I just went back and read the state department site again, not sure if I was overly optimistic before or if the information has changed… or if I looked at Belize and forgot to ever look at Guatemala (not normally something I would forget, but wedding planning has fried my brain). We may be spending the majority of our time in Belize…

      • Do you speak Spanish? Something else to think about since knowing the local language allows you to be more aware of your surroundings.

        • just Karen :

          My fiance is passable but not fluent in Spanish, I’m not even close to competent.

    • We went to Guatemala about a year ago and were slightly oblivious to the danger aspect. I felt safe the entire time I was there, however, largely because we were always with guides who knew the country very well. I think Antigua is perfectly safe (although I’d avoid the volcano hike, mostly because it’s not worth it) as is the Lake Atitlan area. Tikal is also very safe because it’s so touristy. We went to see more remote Mayan ruins, which was totally worth it (although I will never sleep in a jungle lodge again), but I wouldn’t do that unless I was with a very very reputable and experienced guide. And boat driver. (Our boat driver had a machete, which was both reassuring and frightening.)

    • AlwaysAnon :

      My husband and I went to Guatemala about 3 years ago. Although we were with a friend (ex-pat) who now lives there, we teaveled all over the country – Lake Atitlan, Lago de Izbal, Tikal, Antigua – we never felt any more unsafe than, say, across the US/Mexico border, and we had a once-in-a-lifetime trip. I would highly encourage you to go. Most Guatemalans are such warm people who truly want you to enjoy their country that I wouldn’t think twice about going again. For what it’s worth, we speak minimal Spanish. Especially in Antigua and Tikal, this was not a problem.

  16. Vacation Days :

    Long time reader, first time poster…

    I am a mid-level associate in Big Law and just received an offer from a large university for a quasi-legal position. (I’m not certain that I’m going to take the job.) In any event, I have never had “vacation days” per se at my firm, so I’m curious to know if the university’s policy is pretty standard.

    They told me that you accrue 1 day of vacation for every month you work (not sure when this maxes out — I guess I should find out), plus all of the standard holidays. After four years, you get 1.5 days per year. Is this normal?

    • Leslie Knope :

      That seems a little low to me. At my university, hourly staff (secretaries, etc) with less than 5 years seniority accrue about 1 day per month, and salaried staff accrue much faster. The cap is somewhere over 300 hours.

    • You might also want to look at their sick days policy. Whereas most companies now combine vacation and sick into “PTO” some universities still have sick days separately, which does make a difference. My husband works at top university and has like 87 sick days that he’s accrued over a couple years.

    • Do you get sick days on top of that? If so, that’s fairly comparable to fed govt (in my experience, at least), although I think it’s not a lot. Can you negotiate for more–or at least maybe only one year of accumulating at 1 day/month, since you’re coming from a mid-level position?

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I earn 2.9 days/month but don’t have any additional company vacation days or sick leave so all time away from work is treated as PTO.

    • State University :

      I work at a state university. I got 15 vacation days/year until my fifth year, then I got 18 days/year. Sick days are different: I accrue either 12 or 18/year (I forget).

      Pay attention to what happens when you max out your vacation days. Once we max them out, we stop accruing. When you leave the university, you get paid for yourunused vacation days.

      Also, what happens when you leave with unused sick days? Ours morph into service credit to increase our “years of service” for the purposes of calculating our pension payments. (Yes, we still have an old-fashioned defined-benefit pension.)

      The policies of all public schools should be online (ours are), so you can find some comparator schools to the one where you got your offer (try to find out what schools they compare themselves to when they want to benchmark themselves) and see how their policies compare.

      Another thought: find out what the “usual” holidays are and when the campus is closed. Our campus is closed for the week between Christmas and New Year for “Winter Recess.” Two of those days are paid holidays, we have to use our vacation days for the other three. This was news to me the first December I was there: I wanted to use my vacation days for my holiday (Hanukkah, which was not contemporaneous with Christmas that year) and instead had to use them for Christmas (which I don’t celebrate). I might have been less aggravated by being forced to use my vacation days for a religious holiday I don’t celebrate by a government entity that isn’t supposed to be involved in religion if I had known about it in advance. /end rant here/

      • Geezerette :

        That’s terrible that you have to use leave for the “extra” days between Christmas and New Year’s! If the campus is closed, you shouldn’t be expected to take leave!

    • Vacation Days :

      Thank you everyone for your comments! They are all very helpful. It is a private university, but I will definitely look at some of the state school policies for the sake of comparison.

      I got my current job during law school, so I have never had to think about any of this stuff. One day per month just seems so low to me…. I need to look in to the sick day situation as well, because additional “sick” days on top of the 12 vacation days per year could be OK. Eeeeeks!

    • Geezerette :

      This is about what new staff get at my university. The amount of leave increases with longevity. We do get the week between Christmas and New Year’s and Good Friday and Easter Monday off, most of the usual national holidays, plus three “personal days” per year. Sick leave is different, but also increases with longevity.

    • anon for this :

      Remember that with a university, you may get other days off other than “standard” holidays. We get the usual holidays (including both the Friday and Monday around Easter) plus the whole week between Christmas and New Years. That makes a big difference when you look at total days off.

    • My dh works for a college as an instructional designer. He accrues 1.67 vacation days per month worked in addition to having a flex day per month, 5 days he must take around Christmas time, and a very generous sick leave policy. He is not a union employee, and even though we live in Canada, the policy at his institution is generous compared to corporations. I believe they are extra generous in leave time because their wages are not very high considering the education requirements of his position (Masters degree).

    • dancinglonghorn :

      In the state of Texas, that’s the standard government worker vacation policy…at least at the 2 state institutions I worked. If the university is a state school, it may be the standard policy.

  17. I went on a job interview this morning and now I can’t concentrate at work because all I can think about is how it went. Ahhh. I hate interviews, I feel like I just babble on and on.

    • Anonymous NYer :

      same thing happened to me 2 weeks ago. I’m still thinking about the interview (I don’t expect to hear anytime soon – which is normal). I completely commiserate with you. I’m still replaying the worst answer ever to come out of my babbling mouth for a fairly simple question. ugh.

  18. MaggieLizer :

    Someone posted about a beige Elie Tahari top at Nordie’s not long ago (385116) and was debating pulling the trigger in part because of price. It’s on sale now, FYI.

  19. lucy stone :

    I am getting marred in June and can’t find wedding shoes. Corporette, I need your help!

    My dress is the Dolly Couture Avila Bay in ivory over champagne with the champagne waistband. I’ll post links below to avoid moderation. I am looking for a fun pair of heels to go with this that have no more than 3″ heel because the future Mr. Lucy Stone is only 2″ taller than me. I was thinking about gold glitter shoes but am worried that might to be too wild for my conservative in-laws. The ceremony is a Catholic wedding outside the Mass and our reception is at a golf course. Bridesmaids are wearing teal dresses, groomsmen are wearing tan suits. I’m willing to spend up to $300 if I think I can wear them again.

    • lucy stone :

      This is the dress on the manufacturer’s website:

    • Former MidLevel :

      First of all, this is a lovely dress! My wedding dress was a similar length and I wore pale gold sandals—albeit without sparkles.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I think gold glitter pumps would be adorable, but if you think it might be too out there, what about silver glitter, which would “blend” more with the white of your dress?

      • lucy stone :

        My dress is the ivory lace over champagne, so it’s a little less white and a little more gold. I am the world’s palest blonde (I think the Twilight kids are tanner than me).

    • just Karen :

      With your budget, check out the options at Milk & Honey – you design your own shoes, get to pick out all the details to make them perfect for you. If I had money in my budget for them, that would have been my choice hands down.

      • lucy stone :

        I am overwhelmed by the options there! I keep going back to it but I think I need to see an actual shoe before I order it.

    • karenpadi :

      Oooh. I’m going to love/hate you. That was going to be my wedding dress. Great minds think alike.

      Congrats on your big day!

    • phillygirlruns :

      that is a fabulous dress. please don’t choose your wedding shoes to make your inlaws happy – there are only a few times where you can wear gold glitter shoes without anyone batting an eye.

      • lucy stone :

        My in-laws are a bit off (see, can you reschedule your honeymoon for our hastily planned wedding?) but I think you are right.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      I pinned 81 pairs of 3″ heels on my Pinterest board for my wedding. I ended up buying the Jimmy Choo Logan d’Orsay ($495) at Saks and love them to pieces. Front runners were Kate Spades (note that Neiman sometimes carries different styles than the KS site) which were around $300, the Badgley “Salsa” d’Orsay, Hey Lady shoes, and Milk & Honey.

      Your in-laws can get over it :). Gold glitter are not too much, especially if it’s not super flashy glitter a la Jimmy Choo style as opposed to Steve Madden -style. Are you going to be walking on grass at all though? You don’t want to be aerating the golf course all day.

      • lucy stone :

        Thanks for sharing! What is your Pinterest, if you don’t mind my asking?

        I don’t think we’ll be on grass much and I do have fun flip flops to wear while walking around to take photos in between shots, so I don’t make any extra holes.

    • Kate Spade Charm shoes. They also have a flats version, I believe. BHLDN, Anthropologie’s wedding store has ADORABLE shoes including blue which make me want to get married all over again (same guy, better shoes!). Congratulations!

      • lucy stone :

        The Kate Spades are just a little too high for me or I’d be all over them. BHLDN has great ideas, thanks!

    • Curious about the ceremony? We want to do a Catholic ceremony outside but we thought it wasn’t possible? Are there other options that you know of?

      • lucy stone :

        I meant outside the Mass in that there won’t be Communion since my fiance is not Catholic. Our wedding will be inside at a church.

        • That’s a great way of working around the different religions thing.

          My DH is Catholic, I’m not, and we had an outdoor wedding ceremony, but performed by a family friend who is also a Catholic priest and seminary prof. So, we did not have a Catholic ceremony, although it was nice to have a Catholic priest (and presence) to it.

    • Saw a neat DIY project on pinterest- the person glued gold glitter (say that 5 times fast) on her heels. It was on the visible part of the soles, like Louboutins but glittery. So you could do more conservative cream heels with a kick. I can’t vouch for how well the glitter will stay though. I’m having visions of a glittery-footprinted aisle runner

      • lucy stone :

        I like this idea very much! I was going to write our initials on the bottoms of my shoes but perhaps I’ll glitter them instead.

  20. Mad Men & Downton Abbey Threadjack:

    This Slate piece pairs up Downton Abbey characters with their character analogues on Mad Men. Love it!