Weekend Open Thread

Something on your mind? Chat about it here.

I love simple cotton dresses like this one from LOFT in the summer — easy, washable, and generally cool and flattering too. I bought this dress a few days ago myself during a 50% off pants sale — and wouldn’t you know, the entire site is now 40% off. Grumble. So the dress was $49.50, but code SHOP40 takes it down to just over $29. Dolman Sleeve Surplice Dress

-------Sponsored Links--------

(L-2)

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Pin on Pinterest

Comments

  1. Anne Shirley :

    Gift question. Have been invited to a male coworkers surprise 30th by his wife, and am attending (um, in hopes he has single friends). Gift? I’d like to bring one. Under $30, he doesn’t drink, has a baby, and I have no idea of hobbies/interests.

    • Since you work with him, does he drink coffee? Maybe a starbucks gift card or a travel mug? Or else if there’s a favorite lunch place near your office that’s another idea. Another option is to go to a bookstore and kind of look at the recent best sellers in Non-Fiction or Fiction that’s more aimed at men and get him a book (that’s pretty safe).

      Whatever you do though, I’d still bring a hostess gift for the wife, like a plant or flowers.

    • catch you on the other side... :

      does he drink coffee or tea? if so, you could go with some gourmet treats in that direction.

    • Ask his wife if she has gift suggestions? also, I’d bring a hostess gift if the party is at their home.

      • Anne Shirley :

        He doesn’t drink coffee or tea and always brings a lunch. Hadn’t even thought of a hostess gift! Party is not at the home though, so is that still necessary?

        • Tricky. My etiquette is, quite frankly, not up to snuff here — but maybe a gift they both could enjoy like a gift certificate to a restaurant? I definitely wouldn’t bring a plant to a restaurant or a bar. hmm. maybe someone else will have a better idea.

          • Hostess gift (or one joint gift) is key. You want the wife to be an ally, not a potential detractor. I would add “especially if she doesn’t work” but that would land me in hot water.

        • I wouldn’t bring a hostess gift to a party not at someone’s home, but I would send a thank you card or email to the organizer.

          Also, I think one group gift from the coworkers who are invited to the party would be fine. Can you pool your money and get a gift certificate or something? Maybe one of your colleagues knows what his hobbies are.

          • really, a thank you card for being invited to a birthday party? do other people do this?

    • We have some interesting specialty oil & vinegar stores locally. How about a small gift set of something like that?

    • This is a tough one . . . everything I think of seems too personal. I suppose a book is not too personal, but without knowing anything about his interests, its kind of a shot in the dark.

    • Last resort – get him an Amazon gift certificate.

      • Or, since its a dudes 30th birthday party who you don’t know very well, I vote for “your presence is your present” and just bring a card.

        • Yeah. I wouldn’t bring a gift.

        • At most, I’d get some kind of gag gift, something funny. He’s 30, maybe something with an Over the Hill theme. Although I wish I was 30 again, it sounds so young to me.

        • She said she’d like to bring a gift, and I don’t think there’s anything gauche about that even if others don’t bring a gift.

          • I don’t think it *gauche*, I just think its hard. :-P And since you can’t just stick cash in an envelope for a colleague, I’m out of ideas! haha.

    • If your relationship with your coworker permits it, the “Go the F*@k to Sleep” book? I disagree with the suggestion for the Amazon gift card. A gift card to Art of Shaving?

      • Anne Shirley :

        Perfect! Go the F to Sleep! Thanks so much all (and I’m not at all concerned about whether his wife works and whether that makes her a detractor or ally. We’re associates, not characters in Game of Thrones. Tragically)

        • Unless he's Mormon :

          Long-time lurker here… Doesn’t drink, including coffee/tea, plus has a wife and kid relatively young for a professional – this sounds to me like he might be Mormon or otherwise more conservative than you might think from working with him day to day. If so, he (and his wife) might not appreciate that particular book. If this seems at all possible, or you don’t know him enough to rule it out, how about a different dad /kid book, or a gift certificate for a local kid thing (tot park, museum, etc.)?

          • Doesn’t sound Mormon to me, just a dude who doesn’t like coffee, and having a baby before 30, especially when you’re not the one physically having it, doesn’t mean the end of a career. Plenty of mainstream folks have kids at that age.

            Mothers get given all sorts of stuff related to the kid, so much that they wonder if anyone ever notices who they are any more. I love going out with my son, but can’t imagine being given something for him on my bday.

          • Dear Unless,

            many of us don’t drink by age 30 for many reasons. Health, just sick of it as overdid when younger and find it boring, too busy exercising or otherwise being productive instead of sitting at a bar… myself and majority of friends barely drink at all. They are from many different countries where frankly socializing doesn’t revolve around alchohol like it does here- we are busy at art events, dancing, hiking, movies, celebrating special occasions, traveling, etc. we are sooo not mormon- not an assumption you want to make to anyone personally.

          • Mormons and members of other conservative religious groups have a sense of humor too, you know.

          • bluejay- meant absolutely no offense toward mormons whatsoever i swear, or anything at all towards them- just meant that not drinking does not equal religious reason, can be simply a choice. honestly it annoys me when the drinking world makes these assumptions- was very prevalent in new york years where most people can’t live a day without alchohol and wondered what was ‘wrong’ with you if you didn’t get drunk often. i view it the opposite- why are grown ups so fixated upon alchohol.

          • ps i also don’t drink caffeinated coffee as it makes my heartrate go too fast. even here in seattle i know plenty of people who don’t drink coffee for various reasons.

          • @ Ruby – oh, I wasn’t objecting to your comment. I was objecting to the idea that Mormons (or any other group) wouldn’t be amused by Go the F to Sleep.

    • itunes gift card? can’t think of a guy that doesn’t like them- my husband always ‘oops’ uses any i get

  2. Is this shell appropriate in the color Rose Quartz for law firm interviews? I don’t know if pink is a bad choice for interviews.

    http://www.talbots.com/online/browse/product_details.jsp?id=prdi27993&rootCategory=cat70008&catId=cat1040071&sortKey=Default&section=Regular&conceptIdUnderSale=cat70008

    • The color is only a bad choice if it doesn’t flatter you.

    • Former MidLevel :

      Yes, it is appropriate. I don’t think pink is necessarily a bad choice, unless it makes you feel uncomfortable/less confident/unsure in some manner. On the other hand, if you love that color and it makes you feel confident, smart, and ready to kick a**, then by all means go for it.

    • I like that pink, but I think if you’re going for a bold color for interviews, maybe even go even bolder (I actually like the pink next to it better). But if you’re going with a pale pink, I’d pair it with a contrasting necklace rather than pearls, so it doesn’t become too *something*.

      • I like the top (and wish I could buy it Sunburst Orange for my interview Monday!), but ugh, pet peeve–when they photoshop in the different colors instead of actually photographing them. Nice try, Talbots, with your alternating smiling-woman-with-arms-down and pensive-woman-with-one-hand-on-hip.

        • I hate this, and I don’t think that any websites actually photograph each of the different colors these days. It drives me nuts.

    • I think it really looks good under a suit. I’ve got spring coloring – golden brown hair, green eyes. I’m pretty terrible at picking out colors so I bought a lot of white, grey and black work clothes, which I don’t really look so great in. I just wasn’t sure if this was a distracting color.

      • Part of the goal to interviewing is to be memorable (as well as being appropriate) so I actually think rocking a color is great. As long as its not, you know, see through or something.

        • I think the goal for interviewing is for YOU to be memorable, not your outfit, at least in my field (surgery is pretty conservative). The most I want to remember about a candidates outfit is “pretty blouse” rather than “oh, she was the one in the pink knock off chanel tweed skirt suit with a VERY short skirt and platform white patent stripper shoes” (true story).

          Just my 2 cents.

          • Okay, that’s why I clarified appropriate. (And come on EC MD, I’d like to think you’d know I’d never recommend knock off chanel and platform shoes for anything!) I was just recommending a slightly bolder pink or a contrasting necklace!

            Lol.

          • EC, that’s funny. And I think you’re absolutely right about not wanting your clothes to be memorable–not ridiculous like you mention, and not the best thing about your interview either.

      • I’m the same hair/eyes, and I love doing grey suit + pink tops for interviews.

        • viclawstudent :

          Definitely not a distracting colour. Softer pinks with grey suits have a beautiful look, in my opinion (and perhaps even sharper-looking with a black suit).

  3. Equity's Darling :

    Does anyone have a curling wand? Can they comment on it vs. a curling iron v. using a straightening iron to make curls? Brand of curling wand? Size of curling wand? Worth purchasing?

    • Mountain Girl :

      Bought one – hated it – donated it to my teenage niece.

    • I only used a wand once, and it made no sense to me. Why would I want to use two hands when I could use one? The risk of burning myself seemed much higher as well, and the curls weren’t as nice as an curling iron or flat iron. I don’t recommend one.

    • I have one, and love it. I haven’t used a curling iron before, but it makes the curls a bit differently from what I’ve been told– more of a wave. I have a 1″ SEDU Revolution (link: http://www.folica.com/tools/curling-irons/sedu-revolution-clipless-curling-iron). I seriously love it. I’ve never burnt myself (it comes with a glove). It took me a little while to figure out how to use it– the first time I tried was, stupidly, the morning of my engagement pictures at 6 a.m. It took me 90 minutes. Now I can do my whole head in 15-20. It looks fabulous and lasts for 2 days (although I get greasy and wash on day two). I think you have to get a good iron. I got mine on a Groupon Goods deal and it was so so worth it.

    • Bought it (Nordstrom), used it 3 times, returned it. It didn’t make my hair look better and wasn’t worth it burning myself – I am prone to clumsiness. I really wanted to like it….

    • Clueless Summer :

      One of my fave hairblogs is The Small Things Blog – she does amazing hair. Anyway, she did a review on the wand and said it’s basically best for people with very long hair or no layers. She had a review for a cheapish on the blog – just google it.

      Personally, I think flat irons are the most versatile and the quickest to do curls. You can easily change it from super curly to a little bit of flip at the ends by how fast you move. Youtube a tutorial. It takes a little bit of trial and error – but there is a smaller chance of burning yourself, and its quicker than a curling iron, imo.

      • Equity's Darling :

        Oooooh, thanks for sharing her blog, I really like it!

        And I think the verdict is no wand, I’ll practice with my straightening iron. Thanks everyone!

  4. I bought a jumpsuit. I feel like I have to confess my sins. Its really cute, but I know I’ll likely never wear it.

    • Merabella :

      More power to you girl! I always see them online and think they look cute, but I am large of butt and long of body, and a jumpsuit will never ever flatter me. Wear it out so I can live vicariously through you!

      • Large of butt and long of body — love it! I think that describes me too.

        • Merabella :

          This is also the reason I can’t buy one piece bathing suits… never ends well.

    • I bought a black one and wore it to my high school reunion! I loved it, and it fulfilled my Charlie’s Angel fantasies :) Rock it!!

    • I think they are great looking, but can’t get over the idea of having to take my top off to go to the bathroom!

  5. Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

    Ladies, I need some shoe help. I found my graduation dress (link to follow, but it’s a white jersey dress), but I am having a hard time finding shoes. Please help. I don’t have time to look because I am preparing for my final trial of law school! So please vicariously shop for me. I want something fun that can be worn again, under $100, and I wear a size 11.

  6. Can someone recommend a maxi dress that is NOT rayon that might work for an hourglass shape? I like these two, but both are rayon, and I’ve read that that won’t wear well if I don’t dry clean (which I’d prefer not to do with summer clothes).

    http://www.jcrew.com/womens_feature/NewArrivals/dresses/PRDOVR~83954/99102707018/ENE~1+2+3+22+4294967294+20~~~0~15~all~mode+matchallany~~~~~kimono/83954.jsp

    http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/felicity-coco-stripe-jersey-maxi-dress/3270869?origin=keywordsearch&resultback=0

    Super shoppers have any thoughts?

  7. Can anyone recommend a NYC creative writing class? Should I just try going through NYU’s continuing ed school?

    • No specific recs, but I have friends who audit classes at the New School and really like it.

    • Thanks! I’ll check out both recs!

    • I took an online class with Mediabistro and absolutely loved it. I believe they have a location in NYC where you can attend in person, too.

    • I took several courses with Gotham and loved them — I’d recommend hanging through the Level I “pre-req” type course (I wasn’t thrilled with mine and have talked to other people who had similar responses) and then taking a Level II as well — my Level II fiction class was a lot of fun.

    • LOVED Gotham Writers Workshop Advanced fiction writing many years ago. I like their “booth” method. (And fringe benefit: met my husband in that class.)

  8. Associette :

    Good non-law jobs for lawyers? I posted about this a few days ago. I am contemplating a career change from my mid-sized litigation firm, into a female dominated industry. Ideally, I would like to work less, but still make OK pay (I don’t need to get rich, but need to pay off my student loans). I am considering working as a buyer, but am not sure if my lack of experience in the fashion industry will mean that (1) I cannot get hired, or (2) that I have to take a significant pay cut.

    Any thoughts on buying, or other job suggestions, would be much appreciated! Has anyone else made the transition successfully? What do you love doing?

    • I have no idea if this is of interest to you, but I’d recommend planned or major gift fundraising at a nonprofit. If you’re at a bigger institution (higher ed, large healthcare, national office like American Red Cross) you can make in the high fives or even six figures. Many, many planned giving officers are attorneys, although a law degree isn’t necessarily required.

      • What does this entail?

        • you’re basically helping people bequeath to the organization, or writing an org into their will, etc.

        • Yes — what zora said. Somehow, a donor is identified at having an interest in including the organization in their will or estate plan — perhaps they contact the org independently, or you meet with them based on their giving history and have the conversation, whatever. You do not do the will-writing (b/c that would be a conflict of interest), but you help the donor understand how their money could be used (ex: leaving money behind for an endowed scholarship, or making sure it goes towards capital projects, etc.) and act as an advisor from the organization’s perspective.

          Larger nonprofits typically administer or accept other gift planning instruments in addition to wills/bequests — things like IRAs, life insurance policies and charitable gift annuities. Being an attorney can be useful when navigating these, too.

          Happy to answer more questions if you have ’em — I work in this field (though am not an attorney) and could not possibly love my job any more than I already do! It’s amazing, fulfilling and totally rewarding.

          • Will also add my $.02 – was a mid-level tax associate and made the switch to gift planning, now at a major university. I also love my job and would have never guessed this was out there as I was in the depths of misery as a practicing attorney. It is a fantastic job, particularly if you like a lot of personal interaction in addition to the legal geekery – the perfect combo for me! (It may say something that I always got the “YOU’RE a tax attorney?” question as I chatted away.)

          • I realize this may be a bit too late to get a response, but I’d love to hear more about what you do? How did you get your foot in the door? And what do you love about it so much? Do you interact with people a lot? Thanks!

      • I was going to suggest planned giving as well. I have a good friend who works in the planned giving office at a major research university, and makes well into six figures. She was a mid-level biglaw associate prior to taking the job.

        Her hours are great and she loves her job.

      • How do attorneys get these jobs/at what level do they go in? Do they start at the bottom of the totem pole and work up or do they start with some level of seniority?

        • Depends on the org. At a smaller “shop,” you could probably be a low-to-midlevel associate and become the Director of Planned Giving (a.k.a. top estate planning dog) if you had good people skills and could demonstrate the knowledge of the necessary gift vehicles. The key with fundraising isn’t necessarily technical knowledge, because in many (not all) cases, that can be learned. What will make someone successful in a job like this is good relationship-building skills.

          At a larger institution, there will likely be a more tiered structure in the gift planning department. It totally depends, but in that type of situation I think it would be possible to begin in a more junior role.

    • associate :

      not at all related to fasion but…Risk management?

      • How does one get into risk management?

        • I am in Risk Management. It depends on the industry. It can be as varied as insurance, fraud, operations, etc.

        • Oh, I have an MBA and started out in Internal Audit. We actually had a lawyer working in Audit at one point as well.

    • I’ve heard of lawyers going from firms to doing compliance work. Probably not female dominated, not sure about the pay.

      I wanted to open a chocolate shop in an expensive shopping center. But didn’t have the balls to take that risk–and feared my butt would more than double in size as I ate my profits.

    • Merchandising jobs are extremely competitive, especially in the major fashion cities (NY, LA, SF). They tend to hire people straight out of college (and especially fashion programs) and sometimes MBAs. Starting pay is very low. However, those that are successful buyers can move very quickly and superstars get nice salaries (or, more specifically, they get wooed to jump ship often which allows them to ramp up their pay). Since you don’t have a fashion background, you might want to start with the department stores (Saks, NM, etc…) which often have a merchandising training program, which are willing to take on smart but untrained folks. Brands (AT, BR, JCrew etc…) are usually looking for folks with experience, and there is much more or a break-down into specializations: design, product management, planning, production, etc… If you don’t live in one of the fashion metropolises but happen to live in a city where a brand is located (look up Limited, Kohl’s, Target, etc…), these companies are often more willing to take a chance on career changers.

      If you are good with numbers, you could be a product planner/analyst – they are the ones who look at market trends and plan buys (give money to the buyers to spend). These folks tend to come from more business (as opposed to fashion) backgrounds.

    • Politics! Lobbying, policy, or fundraising.

  9. I wanted to give an update on some recent travel clothing purchases, since I know a lot of other readers take long haul flights regularly. I posted looking for a wireless, claspless, comfy bra that would fit my 34H bra size. I ended up buying the Gap Racerback bra (item 636142) in an XL. I wasn’t sure it would fit because the size chart said it was 40″, and when it arrived it looked really short and I was skeptical. However, it actually fits perfectly over my 42″ bust. It provides just a bit of lift and very little support, but it decently covers the headlights and it is extremely soft and comfortable. It is short, stopping immediately below my boobs.

    I also bought the Old Navy adjustable strap sports bra (item 731901) in an XL. This bra fits like a dream; it is longer and goes a couple of inches below my boobs and comes up a bit higher. It provides a bit of lift and a bit more support than the Gap bra with decent coverage, but it is not as soft as the Gap one. I’m really happy with both bras, though, and they will both be great for extended travel or for quick trips to the grocery store, laundry room, etc where I don’t want to be bothered with putting on a real bra.

    I also got the Gap a-line maxi skirt (item 137710) in a petite L (normally I’m a size 14P). This skirt is the bomb. It is super soft and comfy, feels like pajamas, but is made of a thick enough jersey that no bumps or lines show. I wouldn’t pay full price for it, because $49.95 is ridiculous for a casual rayon/spandex skirt, but I plan to order it in a second color with a discount code.

    And in unrelated news, I have to put in a plug for Old Navy’s activewear. They’ve really ramped up the quality, and I got a great pair of workout capris there recently for less than $20. It definitely is the equal of Target’s C9 by Champion line and I think it’s a better buy than Under Armour or other pricey brands. If you’re looking for new workout clothes you should check it out.

    And in totally unrelated “I read the morning thread way too late to respond” news, karenpadi, we could be sisters (if I had one). Carhartts are a necessity to my family, indeed.

    • Thanks for the update! Some great options here.

    • karenpadi :

      Hi sis!

    • AttiredAttorney :

      As one of the ones posting recently about long haul flights -thank you! Will look into these recommendations. Old Navy has been doing some nice jersey options lately.

      Unrelated to fashion, but also just found out that I’m seated next to one of my superiors on my upcoming 14 hour flight…should be interesting…

      • I would seriously go online and chagne your seat assignment. Then when you check in, say “oh, weird, they moved me to another seat.”

        • Second this. 14 hours is too long to sit next to someone you know unless they are your best friend or family.

          • yes, have done it next to close work buddy, but we agreed in advance either one could stop conversation for quiet/movies/sleep. we mainly spoke during meals and otherwise not. it was fine but wouldn’t have wanted boss there.

          • Oh yes, change the seat. My colleague and I were going to refuse an upgrade if it meant we had to sit next to the boss on a long haul flight.

    • Oh.so.tired :

      I just bought their compression shorts online. After reading this, I cant wait until they come in now!!

    • Joan Holloway :

      Definitely going to look into these bras now. Thanks for the report!

    • I’m curious if you tried any of Title 9s. They’re supposedly sports bras, but they don’t give you the uniboob/lumpy ironing board look.

      • I didn’t. I didn’t really want a sports bra – I have great sports bras from UA (they’re the Moxie DD) but they’re just a little too restrictive to be comfortable for 20+ hours and all the various weird positions and whatnot you find yourself in on a plane. I wanted something more like a half-cami that didn’t have any sort of closure on the back. But I have heard that Title 9s are great for actual sports.

  10. SAlit-a-gator :

    Grumble about LOFT: They do not do price adjustments if the item was already on sale. I bought something at 30% there, and 4 days later is was 50% off. I emailed their customer service and they stated they only do price adjustments on full price items and only within the first 7 days. Seems like a stupid policy, because if I can buy the item in the store I will just show up and return + re-buy. Unf. I had a online only item so that was not an option. Nordstrom has spoiled me too much, so I’m used to stores with actual customer SERVICE. *End of rant*

    • YMMV, but I have had better luck calling LOFT customer service. Not as great as Nordstrom or J.Crew, but better than when I emailed.

    • I feel like Loft has really increased their prices and then have crazy sales. I refuse to pay anything close to full price there.

    • this!
      I only look at LOFT when things are 50% off or more (60% off sale yes please!) because I got tired of wasting money. They are ALWAYS having a sale.

    • MaggieLizer :

      I’ve gotten price adjustments at LOFT for something more than 7 days old, but I think they made me return and repurchase it. Thanks for the heads up, I’ll remember not to buy online-only items from them now!

    • That’s standard AT policy. It sucks, but it is their standard policy.

      • Anonymous :

        That wasn’t always AT standard. I discovered it a few years back when trying to get the adjustment,. Even more annoying when I said to the person in the store, well, I can just return it and rebuy it, she said only if we still have the item in the right size. I said you have it right here because I’m about to return it. She wouldn’t let me. Let’s just say my purchases from A T have gone down significantly since then

        • Wednesday :

          I’ve stopped shopping at AT because returns are such a pain. The last time I tried to return something the person in the store kept trying to make me change my mind and then gave me the stinkeye when I said I didn’t want to walk through the store to find alternatives to exchange for.

    • Chocolette :

      I’ve had this experience before! The price actually dropped twice, so I ended up buying the dress three times…

  11. Christiana :

    I need something to carry my business cards, any favorites? The top search result seems to be “Things Remembered,” and I’m not too wild about the ones they carry.

  12. I am starting a new job in two weeks. Am making the transition from appeals to litigation support. While I am soooo excited, I am also very, very, very nervous. I don’t feel qualified. Also, the new office is much smaller and more formal than my current position. Will need to wear a suit and makeup every day, which is a big change from only having to get dressed up a couple times a month for oral argument. Is it okay to wear the same (basic, clean) suit more than once a week?

    • Definitely. Especially if it’s a relatively plain suit in an “every day” type color. No need to rush out and buy a bunch but I might keep your eyes peeled for sales/outlets/etc. and slowly stock up.

      I typically wear my black suits more than once a week but try to keep my more distinguishable ones (I have a khaki suit and some pinstriped ones, etc.) to once a week at most.

    • Totally Qualified :

      I would like to make a bet with you. I bet that within the first month of your job, more than one of your new colleagues will ask you whether, in all your years of reviewing trial transcripts, you ever saw X and what you thought of it.

      Are you game?

    • Related TJ – 3L here, really want to work in appeals – but wondering if you need to gain litigation experience first, or if its common to go straight to an appeals division of a law firm or government office?

      • Chicken Counselor :

        Do you have a clerkship at a state or federal appellate court? That is the most common way to get into appeals in a firm (and the only way at my bigfirm).

        • Working Girl :

          I agree that a clerkship is one of the only ways at a lot of firms. You may want to apply for one for fall 2013 and do something else in the interim. Also, most federal Court of Appeal have a pro bono program that allows you to get your feet wet.

        • Former MidLevel :

          I generally agree that, for BigLaw, you generally need an appellate clerkship. At my firm, that meant federal–not state–appellate clerkship. But I know some people in small (i.e., less populous) states who have gone straight from law school into their AG’s appeals division. They often do criminal appeals, but some get to do constitutional law (e.g., federal challenges to state statutes). So that is one option you might consider.

      • Maybe they’re outliers, but I know people in Philadelphia BigLaw who have gone to work in appeals w/o appellate clerkship experience.

  13. Two cents :

    I posted this yesterday but am reposting because I think this dress is so stunning (plus sizes only). It’s exactly what I want in a work dress – sleeves, classic color, and cinch in the waist. I wish they made this dress in every size.

    http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/sejour-elbow-sleeve-dress-plus/3211809?origin=keywordsearch&resultback=0

    • I love dresses with sleeves. It seems like there are far more cute dresses with sleeves in plus sizes. I’m just 2 sizes shy of plus sizes – perhaps I should eat more…

    • AttiredAttorney :

      Fabulous dress, but now only available in a 22 :(

      • I SO agree with Bluejay. I’m a size 4-6 (occasionally an 8). Thanks to bad keratosis pilaris on the backs of my arms as a child and teenager, I never feel totally comfortable in short sleeve shirts and dresses. The kp is mostly gone now, but I feel so much better with sleeves that mostly cover my upper arms. SO SO SO many dresses are sleeveless or have cap sleeves. Cap sleeves double the visual width of my arms, and I NEVER wear sleeveless items.

        • This is also kinda weird- whenever I shop online, I always look for a picture of the item on a plus-size model. I think it gives a MUCH better idea of how the item fits and how flattering it will be than the shapeless, hanger-like “normal” size models.

        • Strangely, this is the exact same reason I hate sleeveless dresses and tops (except mine isn’t mostly gone now unfortunately). And yes, cap sleeves are a tool of the devel.

        • Ditto. I love wearing dresses with sleeves because I hate showing off my arms. It seems everything that’s not plus-sized is sleeves or cap sleeved. This dress is stunning. Too bad they don’t make it in my size. :(

    • new york associate :

      I own this dress and love it. If Nordstrom made it in every color, I’d buy every one. It’s a perfect work dress. Sejour dresses are generally great.

  14. Okay ladies, I really need your help. To give you guys a little bit of background, I was laid off from my big law job as a very junior associate in 2008. I have since had no luck in finding another one. I have been doing contract work -some substantive, related to my experience, but often doc review.

    I initially interviewed at many places but got no bites. Now, its been so long now since my last full time job that I do not get much traction at all!

    I am transactional attorney with really no interest in litigation.

    Am i doomed to doc review rest of my life? I also apply for non- attorney positions in corporations doing similar work, but over qualification comes instantly on play.
    What are my options at this point?

    • My suggestion is to go all in, forget the contract work, and try to find some substantive volunteer gig that puts the kind of experience you want on your resume. Some state attorney generals’ offices are still looking for volunteer attorneys to fill the gaps in budget crunches. If there is something that fits what you want, offer to commit for at least 3 days/ week for at least a few months, and make ends meet on the side. This is what turned my search around post-layoff, albeit in litigation.

    • A friend had your exact situation (got laid off from Biglaw as a young associate and did doc review work for years). She didn’t think she was likely to get another firm job as an associate. She recently took a job with a firm on the admin side–decent pay and benefits, more 9-5 (rather than typical hours). They like her because she was a lawyer and understood law firm culture; she likes being back at a firm.

      I think a recruiter contacted her about the position. As I recall from my own job search, NALP posts a lot of these types of jobs on their website too.

    • law talking girl :

      How about a clerkship in a state trial court? They are less competitive to get than state supreme court or federal court clerkships, pay nearly nothing, but might help you make connections that could lead to a full-time job.

    • What else are you doing? Are you active in local bar organizations, have you connected with alumni in the area, have you tried getting contract work with smaller firms in your practice area or firms that you know are hiring? Right now, I think given that your resume isn’t “traditional”, you’re going to get the most traction through personal contacts. Getting involved in those sorts of organizations (ask around which ones are the most active/supportive) may allow you to explain your situation, pitch the work you have done, and otherwise build a personal rapport (which might motivate them to help you.)

      Another suggestion, while still working contract work to pay the bills, maybe you should consider taking on some pro bono transactional clients through the local bar association. They’ll usually connect you with a mentor who (in addition to being a good professional contact) will help you with the work product AND this would be good experience you can write about in a cover letter. Or talk about at networking events or in interviews.

  15. ‘Rettes, I need your finely-tuned sense of gift etiquette.

    Does one bring presents for the bride to a bachelorette party if the invite doesn’t specifically indicate a “theme” of present? (For instance, it’s not a lingerie shower, recipe whatever, adult toy extravaganza, etc).

    Relatedly, if it (or at least, the initial drinks/dinner/games portion of the evening) is being hosted by a friend of the bride at her apartment, do you bring a hostess gift? It is Cinco de Mayo-themed, so I was thinking a nice bottle of tequila, but I just haven’t been to enough/any of these things to have a sufficient sense.

    • First off, may I say your user name is HI-larious. But putting that aside.

      Do you know the friend throwing it, because you might be able to asks them. Most bachelorette parties I’ve been to the bridesmaids get the bride some kind of fancy underoos and then some guests bring small other presents (like a funny book about marriage or something that would be good). Nothing fancy or anything. But I know some people go more all out for bachelorette things.

      As for the pre-party, if you know the friend, I might contact her and see if there’s anything you can bring. If not, I think a nice bottle of tequila or a six pack of mexican beer would be nice. Another idea if you wanted to bring her something cool and funky and fitting with the theme would be one of those cool dried pepper garlands or wreaths (if you could track one down before the event.)

      • Thanks–didn’t realize bachelorette parties were for presents too! (I thought they were for tiaras and straws shaped like male anatomy).

        The only other one I’ve been too was a very last minute affair, so I don’t have a good frame of reference. Time go looking for something for the bride.

        Anyway, as they say— that’ll put marzipan in your piepan!

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I would bring a gift for both, regardless, but I’ve always brought gifts for bachelorettes and my friends have done the same. Gift for the bride because well, she’s the bride and the party is in her honor and gift for the hostess because she’s going to the trouble/expense of putting the party together.

  16. anonforthis :

    So this may not be the right forum for this but I’m hoping karenpadi and others with similar backgrounds might have suggestions…

    Any suggestions for non-law enforcement careers that don’t require a bachelor’s degree? My fiance doesn’t have a college degree, has worked in law enforcement for 10 years, and did residential construction before that. He is really over his current job (couple of changes in leadership/policies, etc.) and would like to make more money. My instincts are to tell him to go back to school (after researching careers so he can tailor his classes to his desired industry), but he feels like that would take too long. He is phenomenal at math but not the best writer.

    • Does he have any mechanical inclinations/likes to work with his hands? There are a ton of job openings in the skilled trades — e.g. CNC machinist, electrician, etc. Employers have a really difficult time filling them because few people have the right skill set. He would probably have to go through some kind of trade school program, but those are much shorter and cheaper than a traditional degree.

      • anonforthis :

        That is a great idea, thanks! He works on cars for fun in his spare time and his mom still uses the iron he took apart and put back together as a kid.

        • My husband is the same way. He’s staying home with our daughter right now (before that he worked as a motorcycle mechanic), but we’ve discussed the possibility of him going to a program like that when she’s a little older.

      • THIS! I work in manufacturing and I think the youngest machine operator we have is 45. Seriously, our insurance rates are ridiculous because so many people are over 50. I know our local community college has a program for machinist training. If he can learn to program a machine he will make at least $30/hour and probably get overtime. If he can get into tool making he will be set for life, you can’t find tool makers anywhere. I think that is more of an apprentice-type thing though and I’m not sure how to get into it.

    • karenpadi :

      Thanks for thinking of me! I don’t do much in law enforcement, though.

      My instinct is that he should check out the local technical college. They usually have open houses this time of year and into the summer where he can look for inspiration–but if he’s a police officer, he might have already exhausted the tech school route.

      What about something like going over to the sheriff’s department or becoming a parole officer? Maybe become a bailiff?

      • anonforthis :

        He’s actually done the sheriff’s office route already and covered working both as a bailiff and in the jail. He enjoyed being a bailiff for awhile (I’m pretty sure if he did everything over, he’d choose to be a prosecutor) but now he says he’s over law enforcement completely and the only part he still enjoys is teaching at our local criminal justice academy. But no full time positions there and no interest in teaching K-12.

        • Many community colleges have criminal justice programs. He might find teaching opportunities there, although probably not full time.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      My parents don’t have college degrees either. Think union-type jobs. What about being an electrician or plumber or HVAC maintenance operator? Those careers usually require apprenticeships, but are very steady, well paid, non-outsourceable, portable, no-degree-needed work. Or working for your local utility or transportation agency. I wonder also about air traffic maintenance/controllers. Depending on where you live, the oil and gas industries are booming. Though if he’s truly phenomenal at math, he should go back to school and get his degree – there’s a world of opportunity for college graduates with math degrees. My parents’ careers have been seriously limited by lack of college degrees and not finding a good non-degree trajectory, which is especially scary when approaching retirement.

      • anonforthis :

        Thanks, these are great ideas. We’re not near oil/gas but we are certainly near utilities/transportation/airports/etc.

        And thanks for the advice on the degree thing, too. In my world, you have to have a degree so that’s clearly my inclination but he is hesitant due to a combination of things (self-esteem, time, money, the belief it can’t possibly be “the only way,” etc.)

        • A lot of utility jobs in major cities are union jobs. If you can get in (which is the hardest part), you are set for life. My uncle made a great salary and retired at age 50 working at the sanitation department; he started as a garbage collector in his 20s and ended up with a 6 figure salary and an office job in his 40s.

    • I have several ideas that don’t require a college degree. My stepbrother works on an oil rig, and he makes a LOT of money, but of course this requires him to be away from home really all the time. If he’s good at math, he might be interested in an office position in the construction industry. My cousin is a project manager for a construction company; she doesn’t have a college degree, and basically she just checks and makes sure things are moving along and done the way the client wants. Someone who likes math and problem solving would also probably like working for a cable company or something similar, where he’s installing cables, figuring out why systems won’t work, etc (these companies provide training). Working on a private security team, for example at a university, is also a good option for someone who has law enforcement experience; the pay may not be higher but it’ll be a cushier job with good benefits.

      I think Lyssa mentioned that her husband does something along the lines of installing cable? She might have more insight, but I think that’s a really good job for someone like your husband.

      • Hey, thanks for remembering me, Bluej! My husband does intallation (cable, phone, and internet) for a major telecom company. He’s had 2 years of college, but didn’t graduate. We were both surprised at how easy it was to get the job, given that he has no experience (though I’m sure that his years of really solid work experience were a plus, and they happened to be in a big expansion in our area). He’s really enjoying the job, it’s fun and challenging and he seems to be doing really well. Pay is pretty good and benefits are good (far better than my law firm’s). Hours stink, but whatyagonnado? If you live in an area that’s hiring these folks, it’s definitely worth looking into.

        Before that, he was in retail management for an office supply store, which he was also really good at. But the downside of that (in addition to the hours) is that you usually have to build up to it with the company before they’d give you a management position.

    • What about the companies that transport money for banks? They like former LEOs because they are trained in security and using a weapon. Most are required to carry a gun.

    • lucy stone :

      Would he be open to doing security work or is that too LEO-like? A lot of the officers who retire from the PD here get jobs at the nuclear plant doing security.

    • Has he considered investigative-type work? Lots of lawyers use investigators (criminal defense, death penalty appeals, personal injury, etc.). He could also be an investigator for your state child service agency, work for the court as a custody investigator, or be an insurance adjuster.

  17. I have one from Things remembered that wasn’t online (I got it in the store with a groupon leftover I had) and it is silver on the back and doubles for a great secret mirror. Only holds about 10 cards though. Maybe if you call the store close to you they have more things? I love the Kate Spade ones too.You could always use teh Jcrew magic wallet also

  18. Yeah! TGIF :

    TGIF

  19. PharmaGirl :

    I received a large (for me) order from Nordstrom and nearly everyting is going back. Bummer.

    Also, if you have narrow hips, a short (yet high?) waist and a left-over baby belly, “the skirt” will not work for you. At all. The waist landed up by my armpits.

    Also… I ordered not your mothers jeans and the fit is great for above-mentioned mommy pooch but the brand name makes me feel oh so yucky.

    • Kontraktor :

      If it makes you feel any better, I had the same problem with the skirt. So depressing because I love it, but it makes my (I thought non-poochy) stomach look like it contains a deflated beach ball. It sits way too high on me as well, and I couldn’t even get it to look right sizing up 2 sizes (when apparently everybody else gets to size down?). UGH. So frustrating.

    • I have not been able to get over the NYDJ name despite the promised benefits. I looooove my JAG jeans though.

      • PharmaGirl :

        Never heard of JAG. What shape do they work for?

        It just hurts to replace my lovely low waisted Lucky Brand skinnies with mom jeans. Ouch.

        • Nordstrom sells them. They are (I think) for the same contingent as NYDJ, but less spanxy.

    • MissJackson :

      You’re not alone on The Skirt. Fellow short-waisted, narrow-hipped, here, and The Skirt makes me look like I gained 10 pounds (at least). I actually have to frequently remind myself how terrible it looks on me because the colors are so great and the price is so low that I find myself contemplating buying one now and again.

      I have a couple that I sometimes try to wear, but I can’t tuck in, ever, I have to wear a long-but-not-too-long untucked shirt, and usually a cardigan with a belt underneath for it to look anywhere approximating fine. Not worth the effort — I should have sent mine back, too!

    • Love your review. You described by body type, thought I haven’t had kids. I feared the style would look awful on me and I didn’t buy it. I’m glad. My favorite pencil skirt is a black NYDJ sized up that I wear low rise. I love it. Don’t feel down on yourself. Every body style is different. I consider myself slim but I know some styles make me look far from it.

      • PharmaGirl :

        My body type hasn’t changed all that much since having a child, there’s just more of it. Having a short waist plus carrying my weight in the middle leads to a funky shape that just doesn’t fit the clothes I used to wear. I’ll have to try the NYDJ skirt. Thanks for the tip!

    • Try Paige Skyline straight jeans mid-rise. I’m short/high waisted with narrow hips and a bit of a belly (sigh) and they’re a DREAM. I know that’s not what you’re looking for but check ’em out!

  20. swimsuits for the busty. and hippy. :

    I’m finally getting back into swimming after a long hiatus. I feel self-conscious about the swimsuit, though. Sorry for TMI, but I am very busty (40DD) and have generous thighs with stretch marks. I can get over the stretch mark thing, but I really need a suit that will cover the girls. I only have one, a black ruched-in-the-bust, criss-cross-back number from Speedo, which I adore. Any suggestions? Especially for other Speedo suits? Thanks, ladies!

  21. I was promoted a couple of months ago, and now I manage people, and I’m not sure I’m doing a great job. My boss doesn’t have any issues, but I sense that one of my direct reports doesn’t seem too happy with what I’ve been doing. The thing is, I’ve never really been in a position where I was managed before, so I don’t have any great managers to look to as a role model. I’m an accountant, and all my roles in the past have been very independent. “Here’s your task, let me know when you’re done or if you have questions” type things, and I do really well in that type of environment.

    Of course, there also may be other things going on that are her issue and not mine, but I want to make sure I’m doing the best job I can and not adding to her issues, kwim?

    Anyway, I was wondering if anyone could recommend any ‘managing people for dummies’ type books or blogs I could read to help me figure out what I’m supposed to be doing?

    Thanks!

    • The One Minute Manager

    • Ask A Manager dot org! It’s not just for job searchers ;o)
      good luck!

    • karenpadi :

      When I do managing-type stuff, I try to think of myself as more of a facilitator rather than a manager. So,

      1. If the direct report turns in work product that isn’t up to standards, define the standard (e.g., pull it out of the employee manual/best practices manual) and ask what she needs from you to meet this standard.

      2. If it’s general miscommunication/rubbing the wrong way, sit down with the report (don’t schedule anything, just drop by his office or ask him to stay after a meeting/review session) and address it like any other elephant in the room. “Hey, I’ve noticed that you and I seem to have some communication issues. Remember the Smith project where we didn’t have defined deadlines and the Doe project where we didn’t know what deliverables were expected?” Listen to him vent. ” I’d like to improve our communication. I like working with you and I respect the work that you do. What can I do to improve the way I communicate with you?” If this isn’t the first conversation, set out clear “communication” goals like you filling out a “form email” to define a project (and yes, I’ve written these up for direct reports) and him sending you a weekly progress email (write an example in the meeting).

    • Not sure if this applies in your environment, but I work leadership development and the most common thing that managers don’t do, but should, is have conversations with their people about their professional aspirations, strengths and growth areas and take an active role in helping them grow through reflection, challenging work and support. There’s a ton of books out there on this, one I really like is “Growing Great Employees” by Erika Andersen. Often it comes down to just asking what went well, what they could have done better and what you can do as a manager to support them.

      • I second this. Although the “here’s your task” approach may work in some roles, most people need more than that. Think about whether you are giving feedback to them (good and bad, kudos and how to improve), and whether you are keeping them informed about larger company company stuff going on, or how their work product was used, etc. Good luck!

    • ChocCityB&R :

      Also check out the management tools/career tools podcast. Lots of really great advice, and they lay things out in a basic, easy to understand manner.

      • 1) say please and thank you
        2) acknowledge work done well, and what *specifically* was good about it
        3) be direct and transparent if something wasn’t quite right (don’t wait, don’t sugar coat it, and don’t “be nice” to the point the report doesn’t understand that no, actually, it wasn’t right)
        4) ask what they like to do and try to give them more of that
        5) ask which skills they would like to improve, and get creative about how to help them with that goal
        6)don’t steal all the fun work in your office
        7) sing their praises to your boss when warranted and let your reports know you did
        8) don’t complain about their work to anyone else unless you’re asking a mentor or confidant (who will keep it confidential) for advice on how to help them
        9) sit down with your reports and tell them specifically how you like to communicate. Ask them how they like to communicate. I, for example, hate phones and sometimes get buried in email. I want my reports to come into my office – right next to theirs! – and give me updates on hot issues or let me know if there is a problem brewing. Regular updates and docs get emailed. My former boss wanted everything by email. Another one would pick up the phone and call me…from about six feet away. YMMV, but you’re the manager and get to decide, but should tell them if you hate the phone vs. hate being interrupted. Ask what they like and figure out if there’s a big difference in style, then set parameters.
        10) set up regular counseling sessions for each of your reports. This is what is going well; what do you think you should work on? how can I help you be more effective? Bonus points if during your counseling sessions with employees you spend more time listening than talking.

    • You’ve gotten good advice above – a more pro-active management style can be rewarding in the longer term, even if it may not come naturally at first. A couple of thoughts :
      – It may also be useful to take a look through your team’s HR records and past performance reviews to understand what kind of communication and development they may have had under their prior manager. If they had identified goals and aspirations earlier, these should be a starting point in your discussion – lack of continuity is one thing which makes employees cynical about ‘being managed’.
      – Also be aware that by adopting a more pro-active management style, you are likely to be initiating a long-term project – encouraging an employee to discuss their development goals etc creates an expectation that you, as a manager, will be active in enabling progress. You will need to be setting intermediate targets, rewarding progress and so on over time. Also you will need to be seen to be providing the opportunity for this kind of hands-on attention to all of your team, not just the unhappy staff member.

  22. I’m sort of loving this BR black and white textured pencil skirt, but can’t think how to style it. I need to wear a blazer or cardigan for work. I have black blazers, but what would you put under it? Black blazer with a jewel tone shell seems kind of dark. I have a coral cardigan that I would love to wear with it, would you put a white tank under it? Nothing seems quite right, but maybe I’m overthinking this. I need to just go try it on, that might make it easier. Although with my luck it won’t be available at my store.

    http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=35288&vid=1&pid=905367

    • Merabella :

      Coral blazer with a cobalt shell or some other bright color would look great for spring. and then wear it with the black and jewel tone in the fall.

      • I never thought of coral and cobalt together, I actually have a coral blazer and a cobalt shell, I’ll have to try that.

    • Kontraktor :

      If you wanted to style with a coral cardigan, I think a black or white shell would be fine (since the skirt is black and white), but I would probably favor a black shell. I’d probably wear black pumps with a black bag in that case. But, the outfit would also be pretty with a white shell- in that case, I’d keep your bag and shoes lighter. I’m thinking like, nude shoes, maybe a cognac bag, and a really fun turquoise or similarly colored necklace could really make the outfit super nice for summer.

      I also think you could really have fun with the type of shell you put under a black blazer with this. I really like the idea of a bold color of sorts, like yellow, cobalt blue, fuschia, or a vibrant print. I think with the jacket being solid black and the skirt having such a subtle pattern, you can get away with a lot of brighter shell choices just because the rest of the outfit is pretty neutral.

    • Personally I’d treat it as a neutral and pair it with either of the options you mentioned. Frankly, if you’d wear it with a white or a black or a grey skirt, you can probably wear it with that. :-)

  23. Business, Not Law :

    I actually tried on this dress in the store a couple of weeks ago and while great in theory, it made me look about 7 months pregnant. It’s got ruching below the banding on both the front AND back which creates a false (and not in a good way on me) silhouette. So flattering from the front view and then you turn to the side…
    Maybe if the back ruching did not exist it would help. I even sized down (to the XS, for reference) and the extra fabric drape was still there.

  24. Love the dress.

    Kat, is it as short as shown on the model?

    • okay i’m not kat, but I have this dress and it is very short. I’m 5’6, and it hits mid to mid-high thigh. I’ve worn it to work once and felt like an idiot all day. it also shrinks a little in the wash, so now it’s basically just a weekend dress.

  25. Have a phone interview in about 40 minutes and work is slow. The wait is killing me. That’s all. Meh.

  26. Merabella :

    I am the only one left at the office… Why didn’t I get the memo that we were all leaving early today? I would have gotten on that bandwagon.

  27. Curious Renter :

    This started off as as question about rent as a percentage of income, but it became more of a general question about learning how to spend money comfortably and sensibly. I’m turning to the hive, since I find the discussions on finance really helpful!

    I’m in big law in the DC area, and on paper I can afford to spend a lot more on rent than I do on the same one-bedroom I had in law school. Right now it’s about 12% gross, 20% take-home — law school loans are paid off, as is my older, basic but sufficient, car. Maxing out 401k, putting additional money in Mutual Funds and have an ever growing online savings account.

    I’m debating upgrading to a two-bedroom, or at least a one-bedroom with den — I’m old enough now that I’d like some more space, but I’m struggling with actually spending more on something when what I have now is perfectly adequate.

    This also extends to other big ticket items like my car — it’s in fine shape, etc., but it lacks certain comforts found in newer/nicer cars.

    On one hand, I’m a big proponent of living well below my means — this crazy salary may not last forever and I had ~ 10 years of adulthood where I didn’t save much money. I’d like to actually buy a home someday with 20% down. And I want to avoid the golden handcuffs.

    Then on the other hand, I’m a little frustrated with not having anything ‘nicer’ than I did when I wasn’t making this much. There’s a bit of a keeping up with the Joneses aspect (see the discussion about cars the other day), but most of it is just comfort. I’d like to have a nicer place with a little more space.

    I realize I’m pretty lucky to have these problems and don’t want to come off as being spoiled or superior. 1%-er first world problems indeed!

    • Curious Renter :

      Wow, that was a ramble. No wonder I never make any decisions outside of work.

      • Kontraktor :

        I feel like budget calculators often ‘recommend’ spending no more than 25-30% of your take home pay on rent. That said, you’re under the money in that regard, and I think it’s great you can find a space in DC that allows you to come right in at that budget. If it were me, I wouldn’t move for that reason. I just moved from the DC area, and honestly my impression is that more expensive (and bigger) apartments tend not to be worth the astronomical expense, especially if you want to be somewhere more towards the center of town. The finishes seem to be not that great, the space not all that much, and the hype not all that worth it. Plus, there is the added fact that spending more on rent is just more money you won’t actually ever get back- it will just be putting towards a situation that is 100% temporary. At least if you put the money toward a better car, despite the lack of monetary appreciation, you’d be contributing to a nicer item that you would one day own and would presumably last a long time in your possession.

        What about looking into upgrading your furniture as well? Or painting/decorating in a new way or in an upgraded way? That way you could feel like you have a newer, more ‘expensive’ place because you’ll have some fresh new things of potentially better quality than you had before. Bonus that you get to keep furniture and decor items.

        • I think Kontraktor’s idea about art and furniture is actually a great one. I can completely understand wanting to leave law school behind and “move up” a bit and you certainly have your finances in order. But moving is a huge PITA (and costly if you hire movers) and the money you’re saving now is worth more (time value of money, etc.) towards a house payment. Maybe upgrade the car/furnishings for now and save the rest for the down payment? Plus once you buy you’ll want to spend another small fortune on painting/window treatments/light fixtures, etc.

          • Agreed about upgrading art and furniture. That will give you a feeling of luxury without having a semi-permanent higher fixed cost.

        • Curious Renter :

          One of my other reasons for not moving is that it is a big PITA. I’m not in DC proper, but in NoVA, where the cost is a bit more reasonable, but I do know what you mean about certain luxury apartments not being worth it. My current place is a nice place, just dated.

          I do like the idea of just upgrading furniture — I’ve done a few minor upgrades with IKEA stuff, but a much nicer couch would go a long way!

          As for the car thing — my biggest current annoyance is a lack of an iPod jack –while it seems silly to spend money on upgrading a stereo system in a 9 year old car, it’s a much smaller amount of money that would significantly improve my drive.

          • FYI, if you don’t have an Ipod jack you you could also buy a small FM transmitter at r r a d i o s h a c k, for about $20…it plugs into the headphone jack on your Ipod and “broadcasts” on one of 2 or 3 radio frequencies. then you turn your car radio to that frequency and it plays whatever you are playing on your Ipod! There will be interference occasionally and you will have to play with it to figure out which frequency works best in your driving are. (this is assuming your car stereo isn’t *quite* as old as mine and doesn’t have a cassette player…if it does have a casette player you can buy a special cassette with a wire that plugs into your Ipod).

          • Don’t overlook the benefits of just a fresh coat of paint as well :-). If you’ve got money to spare you can even do a quick consult with an interior decorator, get interesting color suggestions. And I’d add that often a few well-chose lights do more to transform a blah interior than anything else.
            Basically, if you invested just what a move would cost into decoration, you’d probably feel very happy.

    • I’m just really jealous of how well you’re doing financially. I am saving exactly $0 for retirement, my house payment is 28% of my take home pay, and I’ve got $13,000 in credit card debt. And I’m 51, single parent. My problem was when I got divorced, I was determined to keep the same lifestyle for my kid, even though I couldn’t really afford it, and my child support was not enough to sustain it. My life sucks. Keep living below your means, you’ll be grateful someday.

      • This! I’m in a similar situation. Wish I’d made different choices when I was younger.

        To Curious Renter: buy a certified pre-owned BMW or something like that (so you get a comfortable luxury car, but someone else took the major hit on depreciation), upgrade your furniture and linens, and then keep saving like you have been doing. You won’t regret it.

        • Kontraktor :

          I agree. Certified pre-owned BMWs seem to hold up great. I’ve known a lot of people who have driven them into the ground with zero problems.

        • If all she needs is an ipod jack, she doesn’t need a BMW, just a newer car. Get a corolla or civil or scion or something cheap. Parts for beemers are extremely expensive.

      • Anon @ 4:29 – This is a sensitive question, so feel free to ignore if you are not comfortable. Would you mind elaborating on what choices you would have made differently at the time of your divorce (or before) to improve your current situation? I’m asking because planning for such an event is something that most of us don’t seriously think about when we are getting into a relationship until its too late or the sh*t hits the fan. Thank you.

        • Book ahead . . . I’m not anon but I’ve been through a divorce with two children; got remarried and more recently we’ve each gotten laid off at different times while living in a high COL city (Boston).

          I did better with the layoffs, probably because I learned the hard lesson Anon mentions when I got divorced. The strategy is the same though. When the income gets cut, no matter what the reason, costs need to drop to the new level.

          With my kids, that meant no, we weren’t going to sign up for every extracurricular activity out there. They could pick one each within a budget. We rarely ate out and when we did, we went to cheap pizza places (lived in Lawrence, KS then, home of KU so lots of cheap pizza places). Clothes came from places like target or kohls; shoes were the worst. Boys are hard on shoes and athletic shoes for boys are stupidly expensive.

          So really, it’s all the normal budgeting stuff you can read about on any number of personal finance blogs. The complicating factor of course is the guilt and the emotions running so high over the failed marriage. But I believed that putting myself in a giant financial hole wouldn’t make any of us feel better about what was happening and it most certainly would lead to awful consequences later on.

          What I would do differently: I did not fight for my share of his pension or my share of the house. I was stupid and believed he would do the right thing. I would also cut my expenses further in areas like groceries (I was still way too firmly committed to some name brand products—why??), haircuts, things like that. Also I would learn to make pizza then instead of waiting all these years :-)

          • edj – I just did some research on divorces and pensions. Somehow at least reading about it makes me feel better in the event I had to deal with something like this. Thanks you for sharing.

          • I made similar mistakes to those edj made in my divorce, right down to not fighting for a share of his retirement (or the business I helped build and worked in right next to him for several years).
            I did the opposite (but equally if not more stupid) thing with respect to the house. I gave up everything under the sun because I wanted the house. No pension, no stock accounts, no alimony, nothing, because I wanted the house because I felt so guilty over so much upheaval for the kids, and I didn’t want there to be *more*. It would have been a great move if the house were actually paid for, but I was really fighting for the equity, subject of course, to the MORTGAGE. This was in January 2007. You can probably guess how the story ends up, given the market. Let me add I was in one of the hardest -hit markets in the nation. Awesome sauce.
            Had a 2nd mtg that was NOT taken out with the first (and thus was not protected from a recourse action after foreclosure). Long story short, financial ruin. All because I couldn’t bear to make my kids move into an apartment after everything else.
            You think you won’t do that, you think you’ll be smarter. You think you’ll make the ‘wisest’ choices. But I’m telling you, really nothing prepares you for the knowledge you’ve broken your kids’ hearts and there’s nothing you can do about it. All you can do is try to remember that there is, in fact, nothing you can do about it, and going bankrupt for ‘keeping continuity for the kids’ is not going to make it any better.

          • Sadi, you have my utmost sympathy.

            You wrote “You think you won’t do that, you think you’ll be smarter. You think you’ll make the ‘wisest’ choices. But I’m telling you, really nothing prepares you for the knowledge you’ve broken your kids’ hearts and there’s nothing you can do about it. All you can do is try to remember that there is, in fact, nothing you can do about it, and going bankrupt for ‘keeping continuity for the kids’ is not going to make it any better.”

            So true and I can’t add anything to express that conflict any better. Nothing does prepare you for how painful a divorce is for everyone in it. Nothing. All you can do is make the best, most responsible decisions possible in an awful situation.

            I hope things are looking up for you now, four years later.

          • Hey girls, let’s cut out the “failed marriages’ terminology. How about making it “life upgrade” :-)?
            And I’m a child of divorced parents way back when it wasn’t common, and had to go through a lot of weird shit about it (a father bent on revenge, using me). But if I compare it with my sister’s experiences of parents staying together for the sake of the children, I think I’m much better off. At least I learned you can move on when you make a mistake. And think of it this way – if this jerk’s bad enough you’re willing to risk ruin and damage your children to get away from him, don’t you think perhaps your kids might feel some relief from not living with him any longer? A bit of short-term disruption is way worth the long-term improvement. Don’t assume yourself into a pit of guilt unnecessarily. My parent’s divorce was the best thing that ever happened to me :-).

    • Seattleite :

      I wonder if part of the reason you’re chafing is that you don’t have clear goals WRT your money. “I want to buy a house someday” is different than “I want to buy a $X house, and put $y down, by THISDATE.”

      Learning to spend money is difficult, especially if as adults we have substantially more than we did growing up. There’s a sort of survivor’s guilt about it. When we bought our first house, I agonized over whether we *needed* a fence – perhaps we should be donating that money instead?

      I suggest you read Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover.” His approach is that you set your goals, plan your budget, and then let go of the angst that can go along with spending. Essentially, you’re giving yourself permission to spend not when you’re at the register, but during your monthly budget meeting w/yourself. He also has some interesting suggested percentages – for example, car value shouldn’t exceed 50% of annual household income, etc.

      • Curious Renter :

        I think that’s some of it. And some of it is this weird semi-adult life I have. I don’t have the ‘traditional’ markers of adulthood — a house, husband, kids.

        My parents were the same way — they purposefully didn’t own a house until they had been married ~10-15 years and had two children. They’ve always lived well below their means and been very conservative with their money. As a result, they own their house and nice cars outright and are doing very well, considering their professions.

    • Keep the apartment. Open a new savings account, and sock away an extra 10% of your income in that account for your future down payment and for your future down payment only. You’ll have enough in no time and THEN you can get that 2 bedroom as an owner, not a renter.

      In the meantime, be like me and check out real estate p-rn on Redfin.

      • Curious Renter :

        Zillow is my poison.

        Why yes, I WILL take that multi-million house with a pool, chef’s kitchen, and master bath that is bigger than my current apartment, thankyouverymuch.

      • Anonymous :

        Ita. I bought our 2 br condo when I was single — now, 11 years, a husband, 2 kids and a dog later, we are still in it. Save up to buy a place, one that you can grow into or rent out at another time.

        • My DH and I frequently count our blessings that our town home/condo deal fell apart forcing us to stay in our house. A couple years later we had saved more and were making more and were able to buy a true family home that we’ll probably be in for decades. Quick turn-over of real estate is risky and hard.

      • This is exactly what I was going to say. Save up a downpayment and buy that 2br.

    • karenpadi :

      I went through this about 1 year out of law school. I had an apartment that I did not feel safe in and was waking up in the middle of the night because my circulation to my legs was being cut off by my cheap mattress.

      Look at your life goals. I was comfortable enough in my job that I didn’t want to leave in the near future, so I decided to upgrade to reward myself. I went from a shared apartment where I felt unsafe to a “luxury” apartment with an in-unit laundry and tripled my rent. It was one of the best things I ever did. A one year lease does not qualify as golden handcuffs. My 15-year mortgage? That’s a nice set of handcuffs but many would argue that at 30% of my take-home, it still doesn’t quite count.

      I still use 33% of my take-home to save/pay down my mortgage every month so I don’t feel like I’m squandering my money. Plus, I like my job better when I have a place to live and relax. That has literally kept me from quitting law for the last 3 years and will keep me at my job until my mortgage is paid off (hopefully in the next 7 years).

      • I lived in tiny, tiny, tiny places in Miami and New York alone and with husband for years. Won’t even describe them (ok, NYC condo we owned was 440 ft, studios in Miami). Then moved to Seattle as part of a ‘let’s go live better’ thing which has worked out perfectly and now have an unbelievable spacious view penthouse condo I adore. There is not a day that goes by that I do not fully enjoy it so much. Partially because it is amazing- partially because of all those years of not having comfort at home. We waited til we could do it right without worry- whatever that time is for you I recommend. We just refi’d at 3.1% (15 yrs)- hooray- rates are really good now for locking down real estate.

        I look back on the cramped years as uncomfortable but where we were at at the time financially so necessary due to our own choices/situations.

    • Oh.so.tired :

      Make your next move into a house that you own! Just wait until you have the downpayment. I’m renting right now and HATE that I will never see this money again but we aren’t able to save for a downpayment since I want to get rid of my lawschool loans (finishing up my last semester of school now).

      You are doing well financially and are a smart saver- dont compromise that for keeping up with the Jones’s. Your future self will thank you trust me!

    • Are the car and apt “adequate” or less than you need? Be honest. If you want something else, think about what else it is that you want. A home office? An exercise room? A greenhouse? More closet space? Some of these things might be possible in your current apt (we now have an exercise room in my son’s 10×16 bedroom; he has a lofted with desk at one end, and we got foam tiles for the rest of the floor) and even if you do need to move to get what you want, you’ll be able to move towards it much better when you know just what you’re looking for. But saving more than you *need* to is not a bad problem to have.

  28. One of the (nice) assistants just tipped me off some unidentified assistant(s) don’t care for it when I leave an envelope on the postage machine to have postage added. I’m part-time, so I don’t have my own assistant to do this, I don’t know how to use the postage meter, and I only mail one or two things a week. Apparently someone feels put out by doing an extra envelope or two for me, even though it is her job to put postage on envelopes for someone else. Fortunately, the nice assistant said that she doesn’t mind at all and that I should just put my mail on her desk from now on.

    Was I really way out of line by leaving my envelopes?

    • Yeah you were. You should have just asked someone to either tell you how the postage machine works or hand the envelopes to them and ask them to mail your letters when they are mailing the ones for their manager. An assistant is not your mother, they don’t just do things for you if you don’t ask. Just imagine how much it would annoy you if someone would do that to you – you’d probably be a little peeved. It’s not about the extra work, it’s about your entitlement attitude.

    • Seattleite :

      It smells a little of leaving a mess for others to clean up, even though I’m sure you didn’t mean it like that. For future reference, it’s probably best to ask how to use the machine, or what’s the protocol for getting postage on envelopes, etc. Absent an assistant of your own, it’s not really fair to expect other assistants to just pick up that work.

      I wouldn’t say WAY out of line. More like a hiccup, because you didn’t notice and adapt to office culture.

    • You weren’t WAY out of line, but you effectively left a mess for others to clean up. If you’d asked nicely I’m sure one of the assistants would have done it for you. If other things like this come up, just ask. Most people don’t mind doing a little extra work if they’re asked nicely.

    • Agree with the other responses, just want to add: maybe also casually (as in, not letting it drop that the nice assistant clued you in) apologize to and thank the other assistants to cultivate some goodwill and/or clear bad air, even if you didn’t really mean anything by it. Something like, hey, I realized I left some envelopes around before, thanks for stamping them if that was you, it’s silly but I kinda didn’t know what else to do, sorry for making extra work for you. Among some support staff, a reputation as being “entitled” or above administrative tasks can harden pretty quickly, and they’ll be more likely to help you in a pinch or generally make your life easier in the future if you let them know you appreciate them.

      • Thanks for the responses. I can see the perspective that it seems like I’m leaving something for someone else to “clean up.” I think I have a good and, with certain assistants, great relationship with the support staff. We’re a small office with happy employees. I’m also pretty confident about who it was that grumbled about the postage issue. I’ve been trying to make a special effort with her (asking for her advice about her area of expertise, being enthusiastic when she brings in cookies), but I think she’s a complainer in general. She works on the other side of the building, so she doesn’t see all the administrative stuff I actually do. I’m confident that the support staff who regularly see me making my own copies, placing my own phone calls, hunting down files that I need, etc. don’t think I feel entitled. From now on I will be more aware about how the people on the other side of the building might perceive me. Glad you ladies could set me straight!

  29. Artsy lawyer :

    Just saw this on the WSJ Law Blog: http://141.161.16.100/career/pronunciations/

    It’s a pronunciation guide for a number of big law firms. I wish I’d had this for OCI.

    • That’s awesome. Although my firm’s name is out of date. Pronunciation is fine, however,

    • Funny. Fortunately, I was interning at a company with some former BigLaw people right before OCI. You should have heard how I was pronouncing Cadwalader.

    • Haha. I introduced someone in a speech who works for Miller and Chevalier. I speak French, and my inclination was to pronounce Chevalier as it would be pronounced in French, but I asked the speaker for the correct pronunciation ahead of time (it’s chev-a-leer). And then I went ahead and mispronounced it anyway by mistake. Oops.

      • I would have said Chev-ah-lee-ay as well. 9 years of French will get to you!

    • karenpadi :

      This is great! No one at my firm knows how to pronounce the third name in the firm name. We revert to the first two names or the initials all the time. I have heard it pronounced at least three different ways and everyone is too baffled to correct any one. Too bad we aren’t biglaw, we could use this.

  30. I posted about this earlier and someone above posted something similar, but I’m a fourth year attorney with two years law firm litigation experience, and what will be two years of major non-profit impact litigation experience. I’m looking to stay in a generally-related world (healthcare, human rights, civil rights) and do more policy or management work, but I’m not sure where to start my search.

    What are some good websites for job search sites outside of the non-profit world? That’s all I really know and I want to search broadly. Thanks!

    • Indeed [dot] com is my favorite general job search site. It collects a bunch of the different job listing sites together.

    • For policy work, look at brad traverse. Soo worth the registration fee, if you’re interested in the arena– mostly DC jobs though.

      • Backgrounder :

        I like glassdoor it’s a multi-function website (job search, company reviews, company salaries, etc.) but across all industries.

    • Batgirl, I’m not an atty, but would love to work in the human rights kind of thing you’re experienced at. You say you know where to look for those kind of jobs; where would you suggest a social sciences PhD should look for them?

      • I would suggest talking with people more than cruising web sites. People in policy in Seattle (me too, former lawyer) work in big companies, local government, foundations, nonprofits mainly. The orgs have to be big enough to fund overhead types like this, or specialize in it. Find a few people to sit with and ask in your target locations.

      • Devex and Idealist are good places to start. I don’t know exactly what your PhD is, but my guess is that consulting firm in the international development field would be a good fit for someone with your background.

      • Sorry I didn’t see this till this morning, but if I were you, I would start with networking. Idealist will likely have all the job listings you’re looking for, but unfortunately those positions are very competitive. Are you in NYC? If so, the best thing you can do is sign up for the NYU and Columbia Law human rights listservs and attend as many of their free talks as possible. They have great panels and it’s a virtual who’s-who in the human rights world. They often have wine and cheese things beforehand or afterward and it’s a great place to network.

  31. Anon this time! :

    To tell or not to tell? I’m starting a summer associate position on Monday. This firm has virtually a 100% offer rate, so as long as the firm doesn’t unexpectedly go belly-up or I do something seriously terrible this summer, I imagine they will give me an offer in August. Two things have come up, however, and I’m not sure whether I should let them know right off the bat or wait until it’s important.

    First, just got an offer (and accepted it) for a judicial clerkship for the year after I graduate. Should I tell my firm that I’ll be clerking? I’m worried it might change their mind about giving me an offer if I tell them too soon. However, since it’s a done deal and I am definitely committed to it I feel like I shouldn’t try to keep it quiet. It’s a smallish legal market, and it wouldn’t be unexpected to end up in the same meeting or lunch group or something with someone from my firm and my judge. Additionally, I asked about clerkships repeatedly during the interview, and they said that it kind of messed up their hiring, but they were supportive of it, so I’m leaning toward just telling them.

    The second thing is a little iffier. I want to start looking for a second clerkship at a higher court after my first clerkship. I think I am well situated for a federal circuit court clerkship. Although my chances look decent, it’s not definite, so I’m leaning toward not letting them know unless I get an offer. The problem is I would probably get a second clerkship offer this coming spring – several months after August, when I would get an offer from my firm. How should I navigate this?

    • On the first question, it may depend on your firm. When I was a summer clerk, one of my fellow clerks got a one-year clerkship with a federal judge, and the firm offered her a job for when the clerkship ended. It was considered to be very good for one’s resume to have a federal clerkship, and a value to the firm.

      I really have no idea about the second question, maybe someone else will.

    • Former MidLevel :

      I don’t think you have any duty to tell them about your clerkship plans until they make you an offer. That being said, if someone asks you about clerking over the summer, I think you should be honest and tell them about the clerkship you have accepted. As for the second potential clerkship, I wouldn’t mention it until anything is more definite. (Btw, why do you think you won’t hear on that until the spring? Many judges follow the hiring plan and hire in the fall.)

      • Agree.

        If she’s talking about a second clerkship starting in fall 2014, she wouldn’t hear until spring 2013 at the earliest. The hiring plan only applies to current law students, so if she will be graduating in 2013 judges wouldn’t necessarily follow the hiring plan when considering her application for a clerkship that would start a year after graduation.

        • Former MidLevel :

          I assumed she was a rising 3L who got hired off-plan.

        • Former MidLevel :

          (Okay, so the ether ate half my comment….argh.) But I was going to say you are right, if she will be applying as an alum.

        • Anon this time! :

          Bluejay is right – since I will be applying for the Fall of 2014, I won’t have to follow the plan. The judge I am definitely working for has placed 3 clerks in circuit courts in the last 4 years, they all got their jobs in the spring.

          Plus, the plan basically fell apart last year, so I plan to mostly ignore it anyway.

          • Former MidLevel :

            Got it. Well, good luck in your search – and at your summer job. :)

    • I was up front with my firm when I was in the same position. Honestly, I never considered treating it any other way! My firm values clerkships and they are just holding my offer open until a few months after I start my clerkship. No one even looked twice at me about it.

      • Anon this time! :

        Up front about a clerkship you had already gotten, or one you were still looking for? I think I will tell them about the accepted clerkship, but am still undecided about the second one. Maybe if I get the offer from the firm in August, I should broach the subject then, and say I liked the firm but there is a possibility I wouldn’t come back for 2 years instead of just one?

        • I was up front during my summer about the first clerkship and after I got my offer, I talked to partners about a second. They were supportive and even served as references for my applications even though I have yet to officially accept my offer. Timing is key, but most big law firms seem to view clerkships as still being “on the right track.”

    • Tell them about your existing clerkship. No need to tell them about a clerkship that doesn’t yet exist, but if someone asks if you’re applying for a higher-level clerkship, be honest. Generally firms see clerkships as good, so it shouldn’t hurt your chances, assuming that you’re going into litigation and that it’s a big enough firm that they’re likely to make a lot of offers.

      • I think the way the firm looks at the clerkship will depend on whether it is a state court clerkship or federal court. No way would I tell them about the second one, as it is too speculative at this time.

    • Working Girl :

      Some more things to think about, OP: It sounds like you want to stick around. Do you want to make partner? I was very candid with my firm about wanting to be partner and not wanting to be mommy-tracked and become a second-class citizen. It’s tough, because you take off x number of months for maternity leave, you bill x fewer hours over the course of the subsequent years as part-time, and from a pure hours perspective you are off track. I decided it would be best for me to be held back one year because I didn’t want to be up for partner and not make it because I had relatively less experience than my peers who also were up.

      The other thing to think about if family planning. How long do you want to be part-time? Do you want to have another kid at some point, and will you go back to full time before? Two maternity leaves before partnership will set you back more than one. For the time being, I am holding off on #2 until partnership.

      Also, are there other part-time parents at your firm? You definitely want to form alliances with them, because they will understand and they will have your back. Are there partners who were part-time at some point as they were coming up? Become their friend. Ask them out to lunch. Ask for advice. They will be flattered and you will get more supporters in the partnership–critical to long-term success.

  32. TGIF! Work/life balance question for you. I am a midlevel biglaw associate at a NY firm. I like my job but am getting burned out from the hours. I recently had a child and am trying to keep up with work and life, but am getting behind in both categories. If you had the option to go part time, would you? If you have done so, how has it impacted your long-term career prospects? FWIW, I see myself staying at my firm long-term and like the people and work, just don’t want to get totally worn out (which I am already) by trying to keep up with biglaw hours. I don’t want to permanently sidetrack or damage my career/reputation by going part-time. But at the same time, I want to actually have a life outside of work and time to spend with my family. Any personal experiences with these tradeoffs and what has worked for you?

    • It seems to me that the real question in this situation is what is YOUR firm like. I think a lot of different people have expressed a lot of different stories about the success of work life balance, but I’d look around at your firm. Have women (or men) gone part time? Do they stay long term or get pushed out? Have any of the part-timers returned to full time? Have any of the leadership had a period of part-time work? Any of the leadership working mothers?

    • PharmaGirl :

      I would love to go part-time to be bale to spend more time with my child and, frankly, to get my house in shape. I don’t work insane hours but the job plus commute eats up all of my weekday time.

      One thing that has helped is telecommuting. Do you have an option to work at home on a regular basis? I telecommute twice a week and use what would have been my commute time to clean the house, weed the garden, or play with my child. For example, this morning I went to Home Depot to shop for carpet at 7:45 am and this afternoon I was able to get to daycare at 5 pm sharp and play with my child before dinner. I also do laundry when I work from home, just tossing it in when I go downstairs for a glass of water, not folding. This saves me so much time on the weekends.

    • Going part-time would have helped my career much more than trying to keep up with FT and single parenting and not doing either of them well! Seriously, if I would have just acknowledged that I was slowing down for this little miracle in my life and not claimed to be doing it all, it would have been much better. I eventually took time off from work and am going back now, am taking time to publish so I have a better cv, because what I did during those first years is so much less than what I can do.

    • Working Girl :

      I went part-time after having my kid. It was a very good decision. I STILL feel like I am constantly struggling to keep everything together, but it’s manageable. ish.

      First consider what part-time will look like for you. I am at 80 percent and I work every day, 9 to 5 or 6. I just take on fewer cases and generally try to protect my nights and weekends. I also have been part-time working 4 days a week, and that was much harder for me, because I had to cram much more into those 4 days.

      I have to run, will write more later . . .

    • I have worked at several biglaw firms and have rarely seen PT work well. Partners don’t really want to hear that you’re at budget for the week, or don’t work Tuesdays or whatnot, and neither do clients. Your annual hours budget will be lesser, but day-to-day or week-to-week, your life may not be more manageable. Consign the advice to see how this works at your firm. specialist seem to be able to pull this off better-RE, Tax, Employment, etc.

      • Working Girl :

        I disagree that part-time does not work, and I am in BigLaw. Part time does work, but it has to be done a certain way.

        The commenter above is citing examples of inflexible part-time schedules where you announce your inflexibility to the world. For the most part, that strategy does not work well if you are a litigator. Things come up, and you can’t say “it’s 5 p.m., I am out.” As I stated above, I *try* to protect my nights and weekends, but I recognize that there are times I have to take business trips. There are trials and depositions and mediations. And during those times, I have to be all in. But on other days, I might leave at 4 p.m. I never announce to anyone that I am leaving for a kid-related reason. I never ask for permission. I try not to draw attention to it. In fact, none of my clients know I am part-time. My colleagues know, but I think no one even notices anymore.

        The secret to making it work, in my view, is to make yourself available all the time / never have people think you are unavailable. Then, people don’t panic that you are the part-time person who is gone when they need you. And when you don’t need to be there, don’t be there and don’t apologize, just check your Blackberry.

        As noted above, your hours over the year are fewer, but your day-to-day can be challenging. Is this perfect? No. Do you have a lot more flexibility when you are billing 1700 instead of 2400 hours a year? DEFINITELY.

        • Excellent advice. You can’t act like you’re punching a time-clock when you have a good job (interesting, well-paid..). That means you just shut up and do what needs to be done. But you also have to do the flipside, and leave if nothing needs to be done. Not making an issue of anything is a better way to get what you want.

        • Thanks for this — I’m a midlevel in Biglaw with one kid and thinking about going PT after arrival of glimmer-in-eye second kid. I recognize it is a very difficult balance, but it’s good to see that some people can make it work! Thank you for the advice.

    • Working Girl :

      Some more things to think about, OP: It sounds like you want to stick around. Do you want to make partner? I was very candid with my firm about wanting to be partner and not wanting to be mommy-tracked and become a second-class citizen. It’s tough, because you take off x number of months for maternity leave, you bill x fewer hours over the course of the subsequent years as part-time, and from a pure hours perspective you are off track. I decided it would be best for me to be held back one year because I didn’t want to be up for partner and not make it because I had relatively less experience than my peers who also were up.

      The other thing to think about if family planning. How long do you want to be part-time? Do you want to have another kid at some point, and will you go back to full time before? Two maternity leaves before partnership will set you back more than one. For the time being, I am holding off on #2 until partnership.

      Also, are there other part-time parents at your firm? You definitely want to form alliances with them, because they will understand and they will have your back. Are there partners who were part-time at some point as they were coming up? Become their friend. Ask them out to lunch. Ask for advice. They will be flattered and you will get more supporters in the partnership–critical to long-term success.

  33. I had my first loss today. It was a simple hearing, and the (rather cranky) judge found that there wasn’t enough evidence.

    I’m beating myself up over how nervous I was, and the things I did wrong. I’m dreading doing the report to the client.

    Any advice on how to not obsess? I’ve been sitting in my office for an hour feeling like a complete and utter failure.

    • Maddie Ross :

      This is what I tell myself (and I’ve lost many many times) and it’s important to rememebr — it’s not a reflection of you when you lost. It’s a reflection of the law and the facts, neither of which you control. And reflection of the judge, and you cannot control him/her either. If you put your best foot forward and went in prepared, that’s all you can do. I clerked before I practiced and everybody flubs. Even seasoned people look nervous. That does not make or break your case. Seriously. You argued before a court today — that’s awesome! Have a drink or fun dessert tonight to celebrate that.

      • D. Ct. Clerk :

        Great points. I find that hearings rarely change a judge’s mind about the arguments made in the papers. And now you have some experience – which is still experience, even if it was a “loss.”

    • Former MidLevel :

      You are definitely not a complete and utter failure. For all you know, the judge had already made his decision before the hearing. I’ll admit I’m not very good at not obsessing, but I do find that distraction and physical activity (even walking) can help. Is there a coffee shop you could walk to, get yourself some caffeine/tea/a treat?

    • Don’t worry. After enough time passes, you’ll get so busy that you won’t have time to fret. In the meantime, learn from all your mistakes and keep your chin up.

  34. anon for this :

    This may be a bit of a vaguely-worded question, but I’m kind of leery of identifying the situation too clearly if I give more detail: if you were an employer, and you were in the middle of running your annual (standardized) “hire the new people” process, and you already had candidates scheduled for the final rounds of interviews, which would you prefer: the candidate that lets you know that they would like to pull out of the process before that final interview happens, or the candidate that goes through that final interview but then turns down a job offer?

    In this scenario the candidate could apply again next year and be eligible for the same job, starting at the same time (because of an intervening obligation that the employer knows about), and wants to withdraw in order to have that extra year to better consider and weigh options with regards to future employment trajectory.

    • Former MidLevel :

      I would rather have the candidate withdraw their application before the interview, to avoid wasting the interviewers’ time.

      • karenpadi :

        This. Word gets around fast and the firm will hear that the final interview was really a waste of time.

      • Politely withdraw before interview :

        Thank them for their consideration. Tell them that you (or the person) plans to apply again next year and you hope to meet them then.

        • anon for this :

          Okay, glad to see the consensus leaning the way I was already thinking! I should have just turned down the interview in the first place, but I froze when they contacted me and couldn’t get my thoughts together to explain my reasoning, so now I’m in this position (oops).

        • Anonymous :

          Good luck, DC Jenny!

  35. After living all over the country, I have friends spread out everywhere who I’d love to get together for a weekend to meet each other and party. Rather than waiting for a wedding that may never happen, I’ve decided to throw an epic 30th birthday bash. The idea is that I’ll rent out a large house/villa/whatever and tell all of my friends that as long as they can get there for that weekend, I’ll pick up the rest of the costs (room, food, drinks, etc.). I’m picturing BBQ’ing together and mostly sticking around the house to give everyone time to get to know each other and relax. So where should this epic party take place? Here’s my criteria:

    1) Must be accessible and not too far from an airport
    2) Must be somewhere nice but not someplace with outside distractions (i.e., Vegas or skiing)
    3) Must be someplace you can go in the winter (which rules out a lot of the places I initially thought of, like a beach house in NC or on the Cape in Massachusetts)
    4) Must be relatively affordable for my broke friends to fly to (i.e., probably not Hawaii)

    Thoughts? TIA!

    • What about the Keys? Flights to Key West are pretty inexpensive from DC at least, and it’d definitely be warm.

      • I’d say FL is a pretty expensive place to fly from many parts of the country.

        Try somewhere that is a hub city for one of the major discount airlines, perhaps.

    • RussiaRepeat :

      Puerto Rico? Lots of good deals with lots of hubs available. If you wanted to go out and do something, you could go snorkeling or walk around the nature park, but nothing that demands to be done if you just want to veg.

    • What about Palm Springs? Not sure where you are coming from, but there will be nice weather and there’s an airport nearby.

    • layered bob :

      my mom just did this with her far-flung friends/sibs for her 60th birthday. they went to San Antonio – I guess a lot of airlines often have flight deals there? So it was relatively affordable for everyone to get to. It was beautiful weather.

      also, this is an amazing plan. kudos for doing it.

    • find a cabin-y house in a mountain-y area with a hottub? It would also be off-season in a lot of areas (like the Shenandoah mountains? i’m thinking non-ski areas) and so it would probably be pretty cheap, too. Or, yeah, beach houses are kind of awesome in the winter, too, but i like the kind of dramatic, romantic, windswept beach, Sense & Sensibility setting, why can’t you go to them in the winter?

      Sorry I don’t have more suggestions, but this is an awesome idea, and sounds like so much fun! I wish I was your friend ;o)

      • Of all the suggestions, this fits the “no outside distractions” criteria best (though personally, I’d go for the chalet so people could go ski or snowshoe or whatever and not feel pushed into an Agatha Christie 10 Little Indians feel)

        • I love yous guys: literary references when discussing vacation locations, but two vveeeerrryy different literary references ;o)

      • If you don’t mind cold weather (and cold is relative), the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area of East Tennessee would be lovely. There are some outside distractions, but they’re pretty low key (Christmas shops, mostly in winter, and outlet shopping, mini-golf, maybe – there are amusement parks which might be sort-of open), it’s cheap and easy to get to. Pretty views, nice cabins to rent, that sort of thing.

    • I was going to say the Gulf Coast, but airline ticket prices might be high for your friends since it can be pricey to fly into smaller cities. But the costs for room and board would be much cheaper for you. Tickets to Puerto Rico are pretty affordable, but your friends would probably want to go exploring at least a bit. Florida Keys are also a good idea.

    • Sanibel or Captiva Florida. You can rent large places there; the weather is fabulous. Beaches are wonderful, and you can fly to Ft. Myers, about a 20 minute drive, door to door.

      • Agreed, but Ft. Myers can be a really expensive to fly into. I’ve been trying to get a good ticket there to see a friend for awhile now. Also, go “off season” which is summertime.

    • What about somewhere in Arizona or New Mexico? I’m not super familiar with those areas, but the weather should be beautiful in the winter and I think you can get places with some really beautiful mountain views. And pools!

      But I agree with beach houses in the winter. You might look at Duck, North Carolina or the other coastal islands in NC, SC, or Georgia. There are tons of rentals and while it wouldn’t be swimming weather, it probably own’t snow like it might on the Cape.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        My mother has a friend that always rents out the Reynolds Mansion on Sapelo Island in Georgia for her birthdays and they have a blast:

        http://www.gastateparks.org/SapeloReynolds

        Jacksonville would probably be the closest major airport.

      • Snow on the Cape? – not likely! Golf year round on the Cape. The Gulf Stream – remember 5th grade geography? The farther out on the Cape, the warmer. But it’s complicated getting rentals there – and expensive. Many of the houses are small – i.e., “Cape Cod Cottage”.

        A lovely idea is to get a whole B&B for your event – then you will have a cook – maybe!

        • It snows there sometimes! Or at least sleets and ices and is otherwise miserable. Plus, her guests would probably have to fly into Boston or Providence, where it certainly does snow!

          In addition to most rentals being small, some CC rentals aren’t winterized, making them not so useful at that time of year.

        • My parents live on this Cape and it definitely snows there, although not this year!

  36. I need to vent. I’m starting to dislike working with one of the more senior associates here in our office. Three months ago, he asked me to do research that say a specific claim is based on X or Y. Becase we want to bring a claim based on Y. I found a non-binding case saying exactly that, but all of the binding cases were extremely vague. Instead, one case (in old English, I swear!) says a party can bring a claim on three grounds: X, Y, Z. It doesn’t have an “and” and it doesn’t have an “or.” Instead, it’s just a list. He read that case and told me he interpreted that case to mean X or Y, and he wrote his motion that way.

    Now we need another motion (same case, second motion to dismiss) and he wanted a case that says X or Y – so I found him the case that he read before, told him that doesn’t use the word “or” and another option is to cite the other non-binding cases as examples. We discussed and he said to go ahead and cite the list case and cited one of the non-binding ones. I drafted the motion. He told me where it was the same as the first motion to copy and paste. I did. It was his exact words from the earlier motion, except I added a parenthical quoting the language from the “list” case and added a “see also” for the non-binding case.

    Motion is out – now he is rereading the cases and decides I misread the case with the list – because I couldn’t point to an “or” in the case. In the most condescending way, asks me to point to the part in the case that supports our position. And told me how upset he was about the non-binding case because the result isn’t what he wanted and lectured me about how we didn’t even need to bring it to the courts attention and now we had. There is another point in the case that he doesn’t like.

    Clearly these are discussions we had and on more than one occassoin. He called me into his office and had the case in front of him and said (with his arms thrown up in the area) – so where does it say *that* in this case? And gave me a glaring look. And told me I need to read cases more closely. I said I discussed this with you, and told you the case does not use an “or” and said the only supportive cases use the “or” but they aren’t the best. Your response was that we really don’t need this claim, but let’s give it our best shot. You told me to go ahead and cite one of the non-binding cases for support.

    I also have no problem admitting when I made a mistake or owning up to my mistakes and fixing them. But I’m having a hard time here. I’m not sure how I could have done anything differently here. I’m just upset because of the condescending way he talked to me. I cried when I went back to my office. Closed Door. I don’t even know why I cried. Because I made a mistake? (that’s clearly not it, I realize I’m not perfect and mistakes happen.) But I’m not even sure it was a mistake I made. Am I this upset because of how he talked to me ? I have pretty thick skin, so this really touched a nerve.

    Thanks for letting me vent somewhere.

    • He’s just a jerk. You stood your ground and didn’t cry ’til you were behind closed doors, so good for you. I work with so many condescending men and it’s so difficult to not get really frustrated and hurt. They are little, little people.

    • I could’ve written this a month ago- I feel your pain! So frustrating – there are just some people that are impossible to please. And there is nothing you could’ve done different so try not to beat yourself up.

    • ChocCityB&R :

      Just wanted to send you a virtual hug in dealing with this senior associate. I don’t see how you could have done anything differently either, and I can imagine that you were insulted by his tone and his condescension. I can only offer the advice of not taking it personally, because it’s a reflection of him and not you. Hope your weekend washes away the ick!

      • Totally off topic but I just caught up on last weekend’s open thread and saw what you posted about religion. If you (or anyone else) want to talk to someone about Islam, feel free to contact me on tumblr or my tumblr sn at gmail.

    • This sounds like he just didn’t pay close enough attention to what you were saying in your discussions, or to the cases, and possibly was distracted by how much he wanted the case to say one thing and not the other. I don’t see anything in your story that makes this your fault, or anything you could have done to make the situation come out better. Some people (probably most of us at various times) have a hard time accepting responsibility for their own failings. I get upset by this kind of b*llsh*t too, so I totally understand why you cried, but this is on him. Also, good job for making it behind a closed door before breaking down.

      Hopefully you can do something fun this weekend to forget about the DOOSH.

    • I feel your pain. Yes, he’s being ridiculous and the reason is likely that he doesn’t want to take responsibility for his own decision. It doesn’t sound like this is a situation where it was right or wrong to cite the case, but rather that it was just a judgment call which he made and has changed his mind about now. This type of situation is particularly annoying because there’s no way to avoid it (unlike a situation where someone senior to you wants to do something that you know is objectively wrong, in which case you can at least warn them away from it, even if they ultimately overrule you). I would feel exactly as you feel. I think it was good to remind him why that case ended up being used that way in the first place. Beyond that, there’s not much you can do other than try not to worry about it, because you can’t prevent someone from being a jerk.

    • Thanks! You’ve all made me feel better. I immediately felt better posting – but your comments have helped me stop beating myself up. It certainly is a learning opportunity on how to deal with people who act like this.

    • He’s a jerk. It’d be nice if you could develop closer relationships with other people in the office :-). But failing that, do this: don’t just go into his office and discuss things with him any longer. That is, do it, but follow up with a written expose of what you’ve told him, and your answers to his objections, and what he’s told you to do. Under the guise of ‘clarifying for myself the action points that came out of our recent meeting’. Make sure that email is saved to your own hard drive (or better yet directly bcc the message to your personal non-work account). This may be just a blip, but he won’t be able to stab you in the back by blaming you for his bad decisions any longer. If a third party is ever brought into this, you’ll have formal backup. And who knows, just seeing it all written out may either jog his brain enough to have him rethink the bad stuff he’s ordered you to do, or keep him from lying about it in the future.

      • M-C, great idea. I do have some pretty good relationships with others in the office and I do have ways I can document our conversations.

        Again, I can’t thank you all enough.

  37. I would love to have advice on this one.

    I have an interview with a boutique management consulting firm in Seattle. The HR team suggested I wear “business casual attire.” HELP!!! Does this mean I can really show up in nice slacks and a cardigan/blouse or is it a kind gesture in words only and I should really show up in a suit?

    Thanks in advance!

    • I still wouldn’t do slacks + cardigan/blouse, because I think even “business casual” can mean different things at different places. I wouldn’t wear a full-on lawyer-y suit with pearls and pantyhose either. Do you have a more casual suit in fun colors, or with 3/4 sleeves? Or a pencil skirt + non-matching jacket? I would go the route of dressing down something formal with more fun pieces (bag, jewelry) over wearing a cardigan to an interview.

      • NB: I work in a very conservative workplace, on the east coast, so my advice may be way off!

    • When I lived in Seattle, I went in for an interview with a boutique PR consulting firm and wore black slacks, a black t shirt with silk detail, and a 3/4 sleeves cropped white jacket. It seemed like about the right level of formality. This being Seattle, I would definitely not wear a full-on suit, because there’s a good chance you’ll end up feeling like a fish out of water. But you can definitely wear a non-matching jacket or blazer (and probably should, especially if it makes you feel more powerful). I doubt that a cardigan would make them think you had dressed inappropriately — I feel like it’s pretty hard to cross that line in Seattle, especially with the note that HR sent — but if you’re like me, you’ll probably feel more comfortable and come off as more commanding in a jacket.

    • This sounds like what suit separates were created for. I would where nice slacks with a coordinated, but not exactly matching jacket (like perhaps black slacks with a houndstooth blazer would be lovely, or a colored blazer in a conservative color). That way you won’t scream “i’m in a suit, i’m in a suit” but you’ll be safely dressed “up”.

      • I’m in Seattle- suits really don’t look out of place here in most business settings, even if others are in jeans (which happens often). But I would do pants, nothing flashy, not super high shoes etc. It is still an interview and I don’t think you would get dinged for a toned-down suit ensemble. Blazer/pants fine too.

  38. SV in House :

    Yay, I just got my new MacBook Air. I am looking for a sleeve to carry it in, does anyone have favorites? Also, I had a hard cover (Speck) on my MacBook Pro, but think that if I use a sleeve, the Air won’t get as scratched. Thoughts?

    • I just bought a black InCase sleeve like the ones Apple sells. So far, so good on three trips in three weeks. I really wanted a cute striped one with a shoulder strap, but as I already have a firm-provided computer bag, I had a better argument for getting them to pick up the cost on the sleeve.

    • Mine is Kate Spade and I loooove it and get lots of compliments. They don’t carry the one I have anymore, and I’m not crazy about any of the ones on their site, but you can check ebay, etc.

    • Love the Vaja sleeve (also great for iPads) — expensive and custom-made (so have to wait for it) but fabulous.

  39. Allergy sufferers: how’s it going? I’ve kinda given up all hope on ever feeling better again but how are coping?

    • Pretzel_Logic :

      Zyrtec, every night at the same time…and less contacts wearing. I’ve also gotten this cool thing this year where my skin is breaking out in “baby” hives (only in some spots, mostly unfortunately on my neck) so hydrocortisone throughout the day too. It’s doing a number on my hair but I’ve found washing it at night has made a HUGE difference for how I feel in the mornings.

      • AhHHHHH I’m getting hives this year too for the first time. F’n miserable. Haven’t worn contacts in 2 months. Cool oatmeal baths help. This allergy season is so weird. Usually I am a sneezy, drippy, nasally mess. This year, nose is fine but eyes feel like they were rinsed with hot sauce and my skin is itchy and hivey.

    • Zyrtec isn’t even WORKING anymore. I too have abandoned all hope. And I haven’t opened my windows in weeks; am just hanging out at home with my HEPA filter

      • I tried staying at home. It didn’t work. So I’m just a miserable grump everywhere. Oh and thank you steroids + antibiotics for NOT WORKING AT ALL.

    • Barrister in the Bayou :

      Allergy testing and shots! Seriously, they are a lifesaver. I’ve only been getting the shots since October, but I already feel much better. I’m still taking Zyrtec at bedtime but my symptoms are much more manageable now.

    • Usually Lurks :

      Acupuncture helped with allergies a lot. I didn’t think it would, but I was desperate and I’m glad I did it.

    • Allergies :

      I was just scrolling to the end of the comments to start a thread about allergies! How timely. I posted about six weeks ago about acupuncture for allergies. I went to a very highly recommended acupuncturist/Chinese healer about a month ago. He tested me (using little samples of allergens in little glass jars, which he had me hold while I was also holding one end of a jumper-cable like device while he held the other end and asked me to push against his hand with mine) and pronounced that I have no allergies, my problems are not physical but emotional, I should see a therapist etc. to work on them and in the meantime I should take antihistamines or decongestants.

      Since then, I have been taking one Claritin every morning and one Sudafed 12 hour decongestant every morning. It mostly controls my symptoms (runny nose, sneezing, left ear/nose canal stuffy). But it is not ideal because I still need tissues throughout the day, I still sound sick and there are certain intimate activities in which my husband and I cannot participate because I cannot breathe through my nose.

      I have an appointment with an allergist Tuesday to have a consultation and perhaps be tested. I would rather have a blood test than do the pricks on the back, but I will have to ask him about that. I am not allowed to take the Claritin or Sudafed until I see him so that he can see my symptoms and so that he can test me without interference from the drugs. So today I am walking around with a clogged left ear and a lot of kleenex.

      I do not relish the thought of twice weekly shots for months on end — hate shots and really, who has that kind of time during the business day? But I am trying to keep an open mind until I see him.

      • What???????? I feel bad now because I recommended acupuncture for allergies a few weeks ago. I think the acupuncturist is not the right one for you, even if he is highly recommended. When I went the acupuncturist only discussed symptoms and then gave me treatments. No tests. No “jumper cables.” No saying I have emotional issues. I hope this guy didn’t put you off too much that you won’t try another one.

      • Allergists are so useful. The back prick test sucks, but it’s worth it.

        I went earlier this year. Turns out I’m allergic to my cat. (And dogs and mice.) And I had given myself asthma because I wasn’t treating the allergy.

        Allergies grow and change, so you may not be allergic now to the same things that affected you as a kid. The allergist won’t always immediately suggest allergy shots. Mine gave me an inhaler, and that with Costco-brand Zyrtec, and I’m good to go.

    • I posted earlier this week about having a reaction (or rather, an overreaction) to a mosquito bite. It was not getting any better all week – larger than a half dollar, and hard and warm, so I went to the ER and they pronounced it an abcess. One painful and disgusting procedure later, not to mention my $100 ER co-pay, it does not hurt less. It hurts more.

      So, yeah. Allergies.

      • (I do feel guilty going to the ER for such a thing, but they said it was the right thing to do. My PCP would have sent me there anyway, because he wouldn’t have done this procedure in-office.)

    • Esquirette :

      I take a generic Zyrtec every night before bed and, when allergy season strikes, I add reinforcements. Depending on what I have on had, I add either Claritin or off the shelf Allegra when I take the Zyrtec. None of them give me any side effects. This strategy has me generally not sneezing more than a few times a day and only getting itchy as it gets later in the evening. My allergies haven’t been too bad this year so this is all I’m taking. In past years, I also used NasalChrom (sp?) nasal spray. It’s a good option that doesn’t lead to increased nasal symptoms when you stop taking it (like many other allergy nasal sprays do).

    • I’ve kind of given up too. Gone through boxes of tissues & Allegra & Mucinex. I supplement with Benadryl at night if needed. I’ve taken to washing my hair before bed, and staying indoors unless absolutely essential…despite all these measures, I still can’t breath through my nose most of the time.

      I’m missing some gorgeous spring hikes :-( ….these are the worst allergies I have ever had in my life!

      No advice really, just commiserating.

    • My pharmacist turned me on to homeopathic histamine. I can stand the &^&^ sycamores now, no more asthma attacks crossing the canal. I take a 30C dose at least once a week, once a day when pollen is really spewing out, it works for me. No side effects ever.

  40. momentsofabsurdity :

    I am TOTALLY embracing this “wildly bright colors” thing that’s in right now. At Express after work, I bought bright blue jeggings, purple jeans, a primary blue sweater and a hot pink sweater. I am really excited to wear purple pants and a pink sweater tomorrow and I can’t find a way to apologize for it.

    • No worries. I regularly wear hot pink and orange. One of my favorite cardigans is bright green. I may continue this trend even after it ends. I do love color. And I loved it before the annoying Target commercial told me I should.

  41. SoCal Gator :

    I think bright colors make you feel happy. I’m with you on embracing this trend. Wore my cobalt blue skinny ankle jeans today and felt fab! Bought a cute white linen jacket at Nordstrom’s today which looks great with them. Since I live in Southern California where the westher is sunny and warmish, I think I can wear that jacket right now instead of waiting for summer. What do you think?

    • Seattleite :

      Dress for the weather, not for the calendar. Otherwise you’ll be like the missionaries of yore who sewed themselves into long johns October-May. Even in the southern hemisphere.

  42. What to Say? :

    My current boss is a horrible, mean, evil person who enjoys making other people miserable. I have an interview scheduled for next week with another company and have a (completely fabricated but it sounds good) reason to give if asked why I am leaving.

    Now the problem – there is an internet posting about my current boss that has apparently gone viral in my mid-sized market. Three different people have emailed it to me in the last 24 hours. If my interviewer asks flat out about the horrible, mean, evil boss (or some other question that makes it clear he had seen or heard of the posting) do I plead ignorance as to why anyone would say that? Say that I have heard that evil boss can be difficult for some people to work with? Admit that evil boss is really evil? I already feel uncomfortably like I am lying with my made up reason for leaving. I don’t want to compound it, but also want to follow the “never say bad things about your employer unless they have been indicted” rule.

    • I wouldn’t plead ignorance, but I definitely would not say anything remotely bad. If an interviewer asks about the article, you could acknowledge seeing it and then shift the focus to all of the skills that you’ve built and experiences that you’ve had at your job. Or, if your interviewer doesn’t ask about the article but just directly asks about your boss, I would again focus on what you’ve learned and gained from your current job. More than the general rule about not talking bad about your former firm, I think that you want them to remember what a great candidate you are, not what you said about your ex-boss.

    • “Yes, I saw someone had posted that”. Pause. Let them shift. I’d be surprised if they pursue it, but take note of what they do say next.

    • Do lie, this is one time where lying is expected and you’ll be given credit for it, even if you do it badly :-). But isn’t it good word is getting around?
      Maybe you can print it out and slip it under his door anonymously after you give notice..

    • karenpadi :

      I’ve been there and been asked the same thing. I interview people who are in the same situation.

      If they bring it up, I’d acknowledge it with a smile, snort, or laugh. I might even joke, “yeah, there some truth to that.” Then go immediately into my skills or rehearsed reasons for leaving.

      I would not outright lie. When I interview people in this position, I want to know that they aren’t big jerks who actually look up to or admire a jerk. Years after my nightmare boss, I interviewed at another firm, the head partner mentioned that they work often with nightmare boss and enjoy his wit. Whether he was being polite, I don’t know. But the interview was over for me.

    • You could say, “Yeah, I saw that. I’m sure there are some people that would have a hard time working with him. I’ve learned a lot, though.”

      So are you making up the reason you’re leaving? I’m a little more concerned about that.

    • Spin is everything here. Everyone has good and bad points, and publishing them on the Internet is poor judgment. Something like “yes, I heard that was out there. There is some grain of truth at the heart of it but I have also learned a lot from him, some of it on how not to behave but also on how to handle X/Y/Z”

    • Legal Marketer :

      I was in a similar situation when interviewing. The current boss was known throughout our small industry/market as being a B, so when the interviewer (who knew her from working on a conference panel together years earlier) asked me about her, I responded with, “She does have a unique management style, but I’ve been able to adapt.” and then spun it into how the job itself involves dealing with lots of different personalities and I’m good at this because….

      The interviewer later commented on what a nice response that was “unique management style” since it’s a very neutral word, but as someone who knew her, she said it was clear what I meant without being negative.

  43. I’m in-house counsel for a large company. I like my assistant as a person (who’s worked with me for the past 4 years) and she generally does a good job. Over the last year or so she’s been more lax about coming in late and taking time with personal appointments. It’s unclear to me whether the time is being made up since she leaves after me (also unclear whether she’s needed full time, but I don’t want to go there). I’ve let it slide since I am also a working mother and understand the need for flexibility. However, I think it’s gone a little too far and feel that I need to provide some boundaries, but don’t want her to feel like she has to clock in/out and that I’m policing her. Any suggestions?

    • Former Assistant :

      Why do you need to provide some boundaries? If you need her at her desk to answer phone calls/sort the mail/file, then tell her that. “I would like the billing done before the phone starts ringing at 9am” or whatever the need is.

    • Is she doing a good job with what she’s supposed to be doing? Is she getting done everything she needs to get done? If not, address those specific tasks with her, if so, I don’t see what there would be to bring up with her.

    • I don’t know what your relationship is with her, but it might also be worth trying to find out whether there is a reason why this pattern has developed over the past year, as you indicated. One staff person in our office has recently gone through a divorce, and another went through a pretty horrible illness, and both of them tried to tough through it without telling their bosses for fear of making it seem like they couldn’t do their jobs — instead leaving their bosses without explanation for the sudden spikes in absences. If there is something like that going on with your assistant, it might be easier for you to work out an accommodation for it so that you’re getting your work done and she’s able to take care of it.

  44. 4th Year NYC Biglaw attorney here. I’m about to do a few interviews for a lateral position at other big firms, but am having a hard time thinking of questions to ask to help me differentiate between the firms. Any suggestions from the hive? I would like to end up at a place that takes professional development seriously, but mostly, I just want to work with people who are not horrible.

    • nyc biglaw attorney :

      One thing is to ask how assignments are managed. Free reign to pick your assignments lets you avoid the horrible people.

      • Former MidLevel :

        This. Also, how small/rigid are the practice groups? If you are stuck in, say, a tiny reinsurance litigation group, it will be harder to avoid horrible people than if you were in general litigation or something equally broad.

  45. WONDERFUL Post.thanks for share..more wait ..I like it.

  46. Gift overload :

    Looking at my calendar for the next few months, I’ve realized I have two big weddings coming up, plus three friends who are pregnant and due in August and September, which means baby showers in July and August. Plus Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and three close family members’ birthdays. I’m on a tight budget as it is (had to buy a car to get to work, and my student loan payments just kicked in). To make matters worse, my clerkship ends in September and I have yet to line up a new job. With the economy the way it is, I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m unemployed in September, and I’m frantically trying to save a couple months’ worth of living expenses just in case (I have next to nothing in my savings now due to a totally unexpected household emergency back in January). I love my friends and family and I’m usually very generous but feel like I just can’t spend that much on anyone this summer. I’m barely spending money on myself ~ just replacing some worn out summer sandals that I need for work gave me fits of spending anxiety. Thoughts on what I can give? I don’t want to look cheap and stingy, but I’m terrified of spending money knowing I need to save for what could be a very long period of unemployment. It’s totally irrational but I’m feeling less happy and excited for everyone than I should be because I’m so freaked out about my finances.

    • For birthdays/Mother’s Day, I’d just get cute unique cards and write a heartfelt note. For weddings, I’d shoot for a personal gift-when I was a poor student, I made a childhood friend a photo album that went all the way back to our toddler years. Or you can buy off-registry so you can bargain-hunt. To be 100 percent honest, it wasn’t even on my radar that some guests just brought a card to my wedding-I was just happy to see them. But some people really seem to keep track, and to hold grudges, unfortunately.

      On the baby showers, tht’s tough, because they’re gift-centric. Maybe see if you can save money by pooling funds with someone else, or, once again, go off-registry.

      • agree, I am so sick of getting gifts I don’t want, despite being appreciate of the efforts. You really don’t need to spend money. Wedding gifts are okay a year from the wedding. Offer to help people- make a meal for the baby families- or get a small book or give them something like that from your past (I just got someone’s own Velveteen Rabbit- so sweet). heartfelt card + offers to help are great and your presence. My living room has 8 bags of stuff from my baby shower half of which I don’t need/want, nor have time to return/exchange (I am not mobile at this juncture), so it is more of a stressor. Honestly wedding was same way- lived in tiny place, didn’t want STUFF, money was great from people who had it, but I was happy just to see people and the whole must-gift thing can be a huge pain on both sides. Cards, help, smiles- these are the better things in life. Offer to help set up for some of these events or such if you can.

    • Honestly, the only thing that mattered to me when I got married was that people were there to celebrate with us. Many guests had to spend a lot of time and money to attend and I was moved that they were willing to do that. The only time I noticed who gave what was when we wrote thank you notes. While my perspective may be somewhat unusual (we told our guests not giving gifts was fine and really meant it), I think your friends would want you to attend and not be stressed out about gifts. So I’d say, either give something small and token-like off the registry and tell your friends that money is tight but that you wanted to make a modest contribution to their household, or just tell them you can’t afford any presents at the moment and that you wish your situation were different but that you’re thrilled to attend.

      About the baby showers: I think buying something inexpensive but nice, like a stuffed animal or a cute t-shirt, is totally fine.

      Sorry about your situation… Hang in there and keep pounding the pavement!

      • Oh pleasseeee no stuffed animals. I have a baby due next month and have been given an entire tub full of stuffed animals already and need to get rid of them- we don’t have space for 30+ bunnies and bears many of which have choking hazards attached. I’m also giving away more than half the clothes, same reason (space). Some baby people get hand me downs and many new clothes.. that is all people want to buy. Now diapers, bring ’em on (if the toxic-free kind for me:)

        • Thanks for the perspective!

          • this inspired me to sort through more stuff today.. spent an hour… have boxes labeled keep, maybe keep, exhange, give away, etc. picked out the animals that vibrate or play songs, there is still a tub full of others! and the clothes.. my mother in law just went nuts, seriously.. she bought multiples of the same ugly outfits without realizing it. threw everything hot pink into the exchange box. i have enough for triplets.

    • Don’t get anyone gifts. Seriously. I know you want to celebrate with your friends and family, but stressing out about money to get them the gifts you think you have to get probably isn’t what your friends and family want.

      If you are really set on getting something – wait until after the weddings to get something so you can save up a little longer, make brunch for mom/dad on their respective days or just hang out – whatever would mean the most to them, home made gift certificates for babysitting or meal making or whatever for the mom-to-bes.

      Find ways to give of your time, which presumably you have more of than money, without having to shell out too much money.

    • Totally totally agree with all of the above that you should breathe, relax, and remember that your friends and family love you for reasons other than presents. Use this coming year as a chance to be more mindful of what you get people, rather than how much you spend (which I am constantly struggling with — I frequently fall into the “I need to spend x amount because its what you do” camp.)

      For Mothers and Fathers day, if you live close to them, we always do a nice homemade meal for our parents with cards and maybe a small gift like a book or something. For family members, again a heartfelt card and maybe some nice baked goods would be appreciated. Or if you have some pretty pictures of them with you, you could buy a frame at a arts supply store and frame them. Something like that.

      For the weddings, do you know the people well enough to offer help before hand as a gift? In the couple weeks before my wedding, I would have kissed someone who offered to help pick stuff up or help print things (like the dinner cards or the table numbers) or whatever.

      For the baby shower, again if you know them well, a really cute personal gift is to send e-mails to all the relatives and friends who are going to be at the shower (or even those who won’t) and ask for their best parenting tip. Then get a pretty journal or little note cards and print them out in nice script (or handwrite if you’re good at that) so the mommy and daddy to be have a nice keep sake. You can even leave spaces for them to put in pictures from the shower and of them and the baby, that sort of thing.

    • For the baby showers, my broke SO and I have been getting classic children’s books and write a note in them for the future child. You can get Goodnight Moon, Dr. Seuss, etc. for just a couple of bucks on Amazon.

    • If you were my friend, I would really only want your presence – no gifts, I promise! I couldn’t live with myself if a dear friend of mine had to undergo financial strain to get me a gift.

      A relative of mine went through an extended period of unemployment, during which she sent cards in lieu of gifts- but they were always thoughtful and heartfelt, and I saved them all in my ‘hand-written letters and cards’ treasure box.
      If you are looking for thoughtful cards and have a Trader Joe’s nearby, their $1 cards are artistic and interesting. In fact, I pick up a few every now and then as they keep changing their stock.

    • Learn to knit. Get to work.

    • Legal Marketer :

      For the baby gifts, there are tons of great books you can buy for under $10 each, just write a note in each one.

      Or if it’s a friend, give her a “favor” gift. My favorite was the friend who came over one day with bagels and sat on my couch addressing all the envelopes for the baby announcements and thank you cards. (Ok, honestly, she may have even written a few on my behalf to distant connections who wouldn’t know my handwriting.) You could offer to spend a morning running errands or going to the grocery store on her behalf, and then offer to snuggle the baby for an hour while she naps and showers.

      People who brought meals were also high on my list. Any task that can be outsourced is a valuable one to “gift” to a new mom.

  47. I think the cardigan look has had its day. Even Michelle Obama is not wearing them anymore so far as I can see. Very few people look their best in a sweater unless it is really structured. Anything knit really reveals the lines of the body. If upper arms are wide or shoulders are narrow, that becomes really conspicuous.

    • You can always wear something else if you are paranoid about revealing the lines of your body. But if you have objections to other people’s shoulders, you should consider they aren’t any of your business.

  48. Diana Barry :

    Prob no one will see this bc it’s Saturday already (2 weekend threads? pleeeeeez?) but the Blowfish flat espadrilles arrived yesterday and they are GREAT, comfy right out of the box (and accommodate my bunion, so they do run wide) and very cute! :)

  49. First world jewelry-related problem: I’m Graduating from law school next month, and my DH wants to know if I’d prefer an 18-in pearl strand (not Mikimoto, but something around $2k or less. I already have a 16 in pearl strand, but it’s sometimes a little short) or diamonds by the yard (I think the 5 diamonds 16-in) from Tiffany. How would you prioritize these purchases? :)

    • AnonInfinity :

      Do you have a diamond necklace? If not, I would get the diamonds since you already have pearls. If you like diamonds, that is.

      I absolutely love pearls, but I find I don’t really wear mine as much as I thought I would because they seem so formal. You can wear diamonds with anything, including a t-shirt.

    • Clueless Summer :

      I have 18 inch pearls and I like it much better than the 16 inch sizes. Depends whether you are a pearls or diamonds girl, in my opinion. Perhaps a black pearl necklace instead? I was given as a gift a super long strand of pearls (whatever the longest option is) that can be knotted, doubled and tripled (as a choker) and it has been really wonderful and versatile, imo. Obviously the quality of pearls you get is much lower then but it’s a really great length.

    • I would get a 18 inch black pear strand. That’s my current dream jewelry (plus, if you have white pearls already, black is a nice addition!)

    • Don’t get from Tiffany, or at least check out local jewelers first. Everyone is selling these, and Tiffany is going to be more expensive than the average for no better quality. If you are in NYC, go to 47th St. and ask around.

  50. Upcoming Review :

    Looking for salary negotiation tips and benchmarks for an upcoming review.

    I’m a third year that moved from a mid-sized firm (small nationally, big for my location) to a small firm that has big cases. The partner I work for most is former big-law who brought a lot of the cases with him when he started the firm. I made the move there half-way through my second year.

    To move to small law, I took a 6% pay cut. I also lost went from a more traditional year end bonus to a three digit “bonus.” I was assured that this was a “temporary financial set-back” and there would be a lot of other lifestyle benefits for moving to this firm.

    I knew old firm was doing poorly financially and my job wasn’t secure. I hadn’t received a raise from first year to second year b/c the firm didn’t have enough work for me to meet hours. For the same reason, my year end bonus had been below what it should have been. They have since laid off a ton of people and my new firm knows this and knows if I hadn’t jumped ship I likely would have been out of a job. So, the lack of raises at old firm makes it even more complicated to negotiate salary now.

    For new firm, I love the job, have tons of freedom and control over my cases. Work load is heavy though and I work the same if not more hours than at old job even though my billable hour “requirement” is less. I also get to work for very nice people in a beautiful place.

    One year review at new job is coming up. As I said, I’m a third year that will be a fourth year in September (by traditional big law calculations.) Do to the above situations, I’m making 6% less than I made straight out of law school. I don’t know what kind of raises and bonuses I would have received if old firm was still profitable. What should I be shooting for here? How does one define “temporary financial setback?” How much should I focus on the lost bonuses when boss probably knows old firm had to stop paying them?

    I plan to focus on the amount of work and cases I’ve taken on, the long hours I work, that I far exceed their hours expectation but I don’t know what goal number I should be proposing. What I was making before the move or more? I might want to note to them that what they set now will be my “fourth-year salary.” I’d love if you could tell me what percent of a raise you got from first year to second, second to third and third to fourth as well as how your bonuses changed – particularly if you are in small or mid law.

    • I changed from a primarily small defense firm to a primarily plaintiff, and even smaller, firm after my third year, fourth year counting a federal clerkship. I also took a paycut, primarily in my mind b/c I did not like doing defense work and would be happier doing plaintiff work. There was also the expectation that I would get a raise and bonuses depending on how the firm did (it was only a few years from original formation itself).

      I did not make as much as at the old firm the first few years, but when I made partner after a few years. no doubt that I made much more at new firm. I am sure that in many years I have made much more than the top partners at the old firm.

      You should be cognizant of the new firm’s finances. They may simply not be able to pay a guaranteed higher salary right now, and if partners are not getting paid, they are not going to be sympathetic to requests for larger bonuses or raises. Just be sensitive to this issue.

      I would not focus on the old firm. Focus on what you are doing at the new firm, how valuable you are, hours you are working–if billable, and focus less on wanting a six percent raise. If the firm is doing well, you should be able to get that. I do think smaller firms are more willing to pay “what they can get away with,” rather than the going rate.

      Good luck.

      • Upcoming Review :

        Thanks. That is very helpful. I do a lot of plaintiff work too now so it is hard to figure out my worth when I can’t follow the usual formulas. I have a mix of billable hour cases and contingent cases.

  51. modern boot :

    Update on Gap modern boot pants–I had purchased black, charcoal pinstripe, and navy in my regular size, and had posted here about whether the fit had changed from last year.

    After 2 wears, the hem on the pinstripe ripped. I tried on the black and wasn’t thrilled with the fit. I took them all back to Gap and returned the two unworn pairs. They were willing to let me exchange the pinstripe pair, but they didn’t have them in the store, so they just processed them as a return, which was a really pleasant surprise, although I wish the modern boot pants were as good as they used to be.

    • Jenna Rink :

      I’ve had mixed results with their pants too. I have two pairs of the perfect trousers that I got at around the same time. The black pair is looking a little ragged and grey pair (which I wear more often) is holding up really well and still looks cute.

      I have to say I luuuurve their jeans right now though. I brought 6 pairs into the fitting room thinking that maybe if I was lucky I’d like one of them, and I wound up having to decide between 4 pairs! I went with the Perfect Boot and they are some of my favorite jeans I’ve bought in a while.

    • There must be a gap :

      Big article in today’s NYT about what The Gap is doing to improve its dismal market position. No mention of quality control.

  52. DC Darling :

    Alright I am confused. Trying to pick out a few new things online and I used the Nordstroms size fit guide. Bust is 36, waist is 28.5 and hips are a 38. Which puts me (according to the Nordies size guide) between an 8 and a 10…..I wear a 2 normally and I size up to a 4 for work clothes specifically because I don’t want anything too tight. wth?

    • I’m 3 months postpartum and currently wearing mostly 8s and some 6s. My measurements are 38-30-38 (your post made me curious so I measured). My pre pregnancy measurements were 36-26-36. I was a pretty consistent 4 with the occasional odd 2 or 6 thrown in. I could usually squeeze into a 2 but that made me feel like a stuffed sausage (I guess I feel uncomfortable in anything skin tight – except skinny jeans).

      Sigh. Need to lose at least 12 more pounds before I can resurrect my work wardrobe. In the meantime I’m rotating 2 pairs of ugly pants that fit for work.

      • The point of all that was that I’m bigger than you and wearing 6-8 so I agree with you that Nordstrom seems to have forgotten to vanity size its fit chart to match its products.

    • Designer clothing tends to run smaller than regular clothing, and Nordies sells a lot of the former. Maybe their size guide tends to run small because of that?

      • DC Darling :

        I mean I go to TJ maxx and I pull on XS and S blouses and size 2-4 jeans and they fit well. I’m just going to ignore it and continue shopping as I am. But it was weird to take my measurements and see the disparity between the size chart and reality.

    • Are you sure you’re measuring right? I’m a 0-2 on top and a 2-4 on bottom and I’m 34/26.5/36. I do think 8-10 sounds big for your measurements though. FWIW, I haven’t found the size guide (I assume you’re talking about the “True Fit” thing) to be particularly accurate.

      • DC Darling :

        I went back and found the guide, it’s called the Women’s Apparel Size chart and found on the bottom of any product in apparel (unless it has a brand specific size chart). I did the True Fit guide as well and it has me between a 2 and a 4 so I think their apparel chart is just out of date.

        I just remeasured and got the same thing.

        • This happens to me as well.

          I have the same measurements as you, and wear the same sizes you mentioned, even in Nordies clothing (Halogen, Classiques). If I went by online size charts, I’d be swimming in everything I bought online. It’s frustrating.

    • When a retailer bothers to provide you with a size guide, you should just use it. It’s just a number, and as you should be aware numbers for women have been all over the place for a couple decades. Just be happy N is usually reliable about stuff like that.

      • Naw man, I really think sometimes the size charts are way out of whack. I measured myself before buying a suit a few months ago (the sparkly/vampire business formal one I returned), and according to the size charts I would have been a 6 or 8–but I knew for dang sure that was wrong. I got a 2 and it was loose.

        And I know I, personally, do not give a whack what size the label says a piece is; I just want it to fit.

    • Weird, everyone’s experiences are all over the place. Well to add to the confusion, I sometimes size up for work clothes too, and my Nordstrom’s dresses are size 2. The Classiques ones are loose on me, others like Adrianna Papell fit normally. But I’m 32.5-25-34.

    • Weird, I have the same measurements but I normally wear a 6-8 and mediums for tops. I do size down with some of Nordstrom’s house brands, though. I think “the skirt” fit me in a 2/4 when I tried it on.

      • DC Darling :

        I think it has to do way more with body type than anything else. I can usually size down in skirts because I have non existant hips. I know my measurements make it sound like I have hips but that is all butt. I’m not sure what’s up with the tops but it’s at least nice to know I’m not the only confused one.

        I also have no problem with larger label sizes as long as something fits great. The inconsistency in sizing even across people with the same measurements is crazy. FWIW I wear a 2 in the Skirt.

  53. Advice please especially from senior management/exec ladies in big companies. Some may recall- and thanks for the guidance along the way! I’m up for a major promotion position at my company. Everyone convinced me to go for it despite being due in a few weeks, helped on the interview maternity wear question… got my formal offer and told my current bosses this week!

    The offer wasa bit disappointing. It is 10% above my current salary, though it is a 3-step leapfrog job in levels (I’m top of staff level now; this is top level management job skipping bottom mgt levels), next step up is executive which is much higher pay. There is a posted range that is very wide (over $100,000 band top to bottom)- they came in halfway between midpoint and low point, I had hoped for midpoint. Husband thinks I should ask for above midpoint and settle there- that seems like a lot to ask for (like another $30,000+). But I was counseled by the three males I confided in at the company, 2 of whom are execs, that this is the time I must get money because afterwards it is very incremental in small steps, and that the company always lowballs internals. I am great at advocating for others, but feel shy to demand this from the new boss, when I am going on leave all summer too. But- they really want me for the position and I know this for sure. The #1 thing I’ll be seeking is more vacation time as that’s my biggest issue. But 10% just doesn’t seem like enough for the higher level and responsibility right>>? Don’t want to seem greedy, but don’t want to ‘female myself here either. The company has plenty of money but is very rigid like gov’t in how it doles it out- except when it isn’t.
    Thoughts please!!!

    • ps if you reply could you please put ruby in the message? it is hard to skim the update emails from these long threads:)

    • Ruby – definitely ask for more! They’ve obviously lowballed you and you know it (and they know it). Don’t let them get away with it; that will stick with you for the rest of you career at the company as you get raises based on a percentage of salary. Asking for 30% more is completely reasonable; you’ll probably get about 50% of what you ask for.

    • Ruby – sounds to me like you know that they have low balled you and other have confirmed the same thing. Obviously I don’t know about the industry, but 10% when you skipped 2 management levels? Ask for more! And keep in mind that if you already skipped 2 levels, its unlikely that they’ll promote you again to the exec job with the big bucks in the next year. So yes this is the time to ask for more. Keep us posted!

      • Ruby — definitely ask for more. You are right, this is your chance to get the appropriate pay and if you don’t ask, you will not get it. It’s hard to do, just did it myself–oh that reminds me, ask for more vacation too. As a friend of mine used to say, a closed mouth doesn’t get fed.

    • Ruby, if you want the half way mark and they’ve offered the quarter I’d ask for 75percent and let them negotiate me back to the half way mark with some extra holiday allowance to make up for the money. Actually if your sure your the candidate they really want why aren’t you asking for the top of the band?

      • thanks. yep, will of course negotiate for more, the question is how much. it could be anywhere from $10,000 to $60,000 more. i don’t want to seem unreasonable but do want to get as much as possible. Top of band… hmmmm. I will think on that.

        • Ruby- You should take what all the guys you talked to suggest you ask for, and add at least 10k. If that puts you at the top of the band, so be it. I also like the idea of asking for the 75% mark.
          Women earn less in part because they don’t ASK. Men ask. What’s the worst thing that will happen? They’ll say “we’re sorry, we can’t go that high, but we can go to X”. Which will either be exactly what they already said (no loss) or more (gain! yay!)

        • Ruby – As I understand it, the top of the band is the maximum salary you could ever make in this position, not the maximum you could receive as a starting salary, right?

          I’d ask for somewhere between 2/3 and 3/4 of the maximum, and negotiate to midpoint. If it’s 60K, so be it. Just make sure you can make a coherent argument about why you’re worth that much to them (not why you need the money). And make sure you report back. :)

  54. Dave Ramsey Experience? :

    Has anyone attended one of Dave Ramsey’s financial independence series of workshops? I have invited my 21 year old stepson to attend a 10 week series with me. The description of the sessions (budgeting, insurance, credit cards, mortgages etc) sounds like a good coverage of fundamentals. But I have heard that he is an Evangelical Christian, and I am worried about that. We are Jewish (not Christian) and we also do not come from a family with a traditional husband works/mom stays home model.

    I looked at some of his books on Amazon and, while some of them assume a traditional family model in the discussion of household finances, I couldn’t see any references to Jesus. Does anyone have more information?

    TIA.

    • His books and seminars are definitely based on a Christian perspective. I don’t know if there are exceptions, but you should look carefully at the seminar agenda or syllabus before you sign up.

      • I think it depends on how sensitive you are about it and how well you can ‘sift’ it. The ‘tone’ is very christian, but the financial principles aren’t. My husband (before I met him) paid off all his debt and got himself in excellent financial shape with dave’s books, and he’s an atheist. He just ignored anything that wasn’t about money. :)

        • Joan Holloway :

          Agree with your sifting point, Sadie. My husband and I took his class last fall and found it super helpful. If the setting for the classes is in a church, the facilitators may say a prayer before and/or after each session, but the focus is on the video and workbook. As for coming from a Jewish background, a lot (if not most or all) of the principles come from the Old Testament. Finally, we didn’t get any sense of a push for the traditional family model. It’s all about how to be in control of your money.

          • Dave Ramsey Experience? :

            @ Joan: I’m trying to understand the comment about the principles coming from the OT. I am admittedly far from an OT expert, but I’m trying to imagine something along the following: “You should pay your bills each month instead of carrying a balance because in the OT [I forget where] it says that you should pay your laborers at the end of each day instead of holding their wages over until the next morning.” Is that the kind of thing we’re talking about — that each principle “comes from” either the OT or NT?

            @ Joan & Sadie: My SS and I are good at sifting because we both grew up in a predominantly Christian town, so that’s a good point. By the time he was born, there was a Jewish day school, which he attended, but when I was in school the only private school was Christian and from time to time I will freak him out by breaking into “Amazing Grace,” which we sang every week because it was our headmaster’s favorite.

            @ Sadie: Don’t know if that is your real name, but I love it. It makes my think of “Sadie, Sadie, married lady.”

            @ Bluejay: I will call the facilitator and ask.

            Thanks, all.

          • I’ve never been to one of his events, but I’m a fan of his radio show, and based on that, I’d expect a few bible quotes and references to Jesus, but not over the top, particularly if you’re used to Christians (particularly Southerners). He usually closes his show with something like “Remember the only way to true peace is to walk daily with the Prince of Peace,” and does a bible quote of the day, but otherwise it’s generally straight financial. There are a few biblical quotes that advise against borrowing, which he might quote, and sometimes on the show, he goes into church issues because they’re important to callers (advice on how to manage church finances, advice about getting into a good church for people in a really difficult position who need emotional support, a lot about charitable giving, which he’s really into), but I’ve never gotten the impression that he’d have a problem with someone from another religion or no religion, assuming that they were polite about it.

            As for the traditional family, I would say that he’s a supporter of that, in that he will say that if a family wants a stay at home parent, they shouldn’t let the fact that that means that they will get out of debt a bit more slowly stop them from doing that, but he also says that people should “follow their heart” and do what they feel called to do in life, so there’s no lack of support for not having a stay at home parent or having, say, a female breadwinner that I’ve ever sensed.

            One thing that I have heard him speak out about a little bit is living together/combining finances before marriage. Again, he approaches that from a financial standpoint, that it’s just not a good idea to combine finances until you’re married (not preaching about the evils of premarital sex or anything), which I agree with, but if you think differently and that issue happens to come up for some reason, I guess you might have a disagreement with him there.

          • Joan Holloway :

            @Dave Ramsey Experience?, that’s exactly what I meant . . . for example, tithing and giving to charities. You won’t find things framed as “Jesus says to spend your money this way,” which is what I think of as NT.

            As far as financial advice, we took some of what he said with a grain of salt. For instance, even though it’s probably true that people tend to spend more w/ credit cards when they’re trying to collect frequent flier miles, we are not going the pure cash route that he endorses because we (1) like having an automatic record of what we have spent; (2) hate the insecurity of walking around with cash; (3) get a lot of use from frequent flier miles; and (4) have always paid our credit card balances off each month.

            It’s great your SS will have you to discuss all of this with.

  55. Hosiery help? :

    I scored a pair of Wolford Matte Opaque 80 Denier tights on sale a while back and love them. I know we’re heading into summer now, but I thought it might be a good time to find more high-end winter hosiery on sale. Any recommendations for tights similar to the Wolfords in quality/feel?

    • I love Wolfords. I’ve seen Phillipe Mantignon (spelling might be slightly off) compared positively to Wolfords. I bought a pair and did like them, but I thought the kind I paired had a bit too much natural shine (I’d probably go with a more matte one in the future).

  56. So I’m in the process of planning my wedding, and a lot of people have told me that “everything is negotiable.” The problem is, I’m really not sure how to go about negotiating. For example, do I tell a vendor what my real budget is and see if they will work within it? Low-ball it? Not tell them anything until they suggest a price? Any suggestions of how to go about this would be appreciated!

    • A Practical Wedding had some advice on this a while back. You can google “APW negotiating vendors” and I’ll post a link in follow up as well.

    • Our strategy was to tell the vendor that we would be comparing bids from others, but let them give us a baseline package and price. Then, we’d try to find things in the package that we didn’t need (8 hours of photography instead of 10, limited selection of liquors, etc.) and see if they’d give us a lower price. I think that the negotiation process also helped us choose vendors that were more flexible and accommodating.

      • I found that saying something along the lines of “we love X, however it’s just not in our budget, is there anything you can do on the price?” or “if there’s any way we can work on the price, I think we’d love to book x”.
        I didn’t have a single vendor not come down in some fashion, sometimes significantly.

    • lucy stone :

      Are you a lawyer? I told our photographer there were some serious flaws with his contract and he cut the price in half in exchange for a rewritten contract, which took me less than 5 hours.

      • Not a lawyer yet but will be (assuming I pass the bar!) by the time I start looking for a photographer. Will have to take a close look at those contracts!

        • We came across a photography contract that was ridiculous. Among other things, they had a “bridezilla clause,” that basically gave them the option to walk out whenever they felt that the bride and groom were acting entitled or overly dramatic. They weren’t that good, and their contract terms were just so weird, we ran pretty fast. So, yeah, read your contracts.

  57. River Song :

    I think I’m finally taking a plunge and purchasing a Theory suit for the academic job interview season this fall. Any recommendations on sizing? Most of the reviews lament how small the (“Gabe”) blazer and pants run, but also talk about how slim the shoulders are–and I’m not very broad in the shoulders myself. Do you usually size up when ordering Theory? For reference, I’m about 5’8″, 135ish lbs.

    Thanks for any help you can offer!

    • Diana Barry :

      I usually wear 6 pant, 8 jacket in j crew, and need an 8 pant/10 jacket in theory, but I do have broadish shoulders. Maybe order 2 sizes at first?

      • River Song :

        Great idea, especially since Bloomingdale’s is having a sale right now. Thanks, Diana!

  58. Assuming salary is equal, would you rather have lesser title at prestigious org or higher title at less prestigious org?

    • Title is less important than actual responsibility…but if you are early in your career, go for the prestige…it opens doors later and your work quality will be assumed to be higher due to high quality rep of the organization.

    • Depends. “CEO” of, say, a small local chain of hardware stores, is less impressive than “Division Manager” of large international retail chain. But if both jobs are at large, well-known organizations, the title may weigh more heavily.

  59. Clueless Summer :

    Quick question…anyone know where (approximately) a 36 inch long dress would fall on someone about 5″6 (longer legs, shorter torso). It’s not a work dress, but mid-thigh would be too short for what I want the dress for. Stupid models who make everything look too short in on-line shopping :(

    • That’s knee length on 5 foot 2 me, so I’ll guess indecently short.

    • Above the knee on me (maybe 2-3″ above the middle of kneecap?). I’m 5’3″ (short legs long torso), so yeah I’d agree with F in LA. Probably too short for your purposes, at least approaching mid-thigh.

  60. Career & Relationship (Thurs thread) :

    Dropping by again to say thank you to everyone who responded. I know that it is a very hard path and that there’s no way to know if any of this will ever come to pass. I am especially appreciative of Lyssa’s advice that if I decide it’s not worth it relationship wise, I’m not necessarily letting myself down career-wise. So thanks!

    • Hey, I wasn’t even going to read the weekend thread, and here I got called out twice! I feel an inappropriate amount of pride here.

      But seriously, good luck and I hope that things do work out well for you. :)

  61. Another work/life-balance question: how and when do you let people know that you need a break and they can’t keep giving you more work?

    I’m at a law firm, and I generally like the job a lot. But right now, I’ve gone about 8 weeks without a weekend off, while working past midnight about twice a week on average, and well into the late evening on almost all other nights. At the beginning of this stretch, I was still full of energy, but by now, I’m worn down, I’m starting to make sloppy errors, and I just wish I could take a day or two off to recharge. Taking days off is not in the cards right now, because of work deadlines coming up, but I wonder how I can make people realize that I’ve been working A LOT recently, and that they might consider giving some of their work to someone else if someone is available (or just leave me alone entirely for a day or so), without sounding like a complainer.

    Over the past several weeks, I’ve had to say “no” to work on some occasions, when it was just impossible to take on an extra task, and that has never been a problem, but when you’re working on two or three projects simultaneously, other people on the team don’t necessarily have a sense of how busy you are. Some people know for example that I was very busy four weeks ago (because they were, too, as they were on the same project), but they don’t know that when that project got quiet, I was still incredibly busy, because of other projects.

    I feel like I only say something when it’s gotten to the breaking point — when I cannot possibly fit it another assignment, but there should be a way to manage this better: surely it’s better to say something along the way than to wait until it’s gotten so bad that you can only sound like a drama queen. Any advice?

    (Sorry for the long rambling post. This is what you get when you’re sleep deprived.)

    • If you have one supervisor overall, tell him/her, but it sounds like you are not in that situation. You need to let the peopole who give you work know what other projects you are working on and what those deadlines are.

      I hate to say it, but from someone working in a small firm, no one else really cares how much you are working. I did what you are talking about for years, and, believe me, no on at the firm ever cared, offered to help, etc. While they took off and played golf, I worked. You get the picture. Eventually you will get resentful, on top of being exhausted, so you really do need to let the persons giving you the work know that your plate is full, you are already workign far too much overtime, and you cannot take on any more.

      As you noted, it is better to do this before you get to the point of exhaustion. I found that people generally got p**ssed when I reported having worked on that appellate brief or deposition prep until 3 a.m. Just be matter of fact, keep track of your hours and show those to those you report.

      Good luck.

      • I will echo a lawyer’s point about not waiting till the very end. There’s a fine balance between knowing when you have to suck it up and making sure you don’t go too overboard. Early on I found that when I waited until I was about to have a melt-down, people did not respond well at all. It was seen as a negative (not being able to communicate from my end), even when the environment would not have been super supportive to saying something earlier on.

    • You’re too sleep deprived for both your and their own good. Maybe you can’t get a weekend day off, but you could take another :-)? Just sleep in tomorrow, come in at noon, and if someone asks say ‘not one day off in 8 weeks, I was about to blow a gasket’. Nobody will say anything, really. If they do, just quote yourself “I’m worn down, I’m starting to make sloppy errors”. Nobody wants that.
      Remember too that you don’t have to do the girl thing and justify refusing things. Just say no. If they insist “no, I have too much other work to do, I can’t take on any more for a few weeks/a month”. And if they really insist “no, I haven’t had a day off in 8 weeks, I’m so tired I’m starting to make sloppy errors. You don’t need that”. The more you explain, the more they get the idea it’s negotiable, but it’s not, or shouldn’t be.

    • Take out your calendar. Pick a day- say sunday- and write in NO WORK. Treat it like any other non-negotiable commitment. If you can’t get a project done without working on Sunday – refuse the assignment, say you have other work and can’t possibly get it done on time. Repeat weekly. NO ONE is going to take care of your needs if you don’t.

      Sorry for the Ellen caps!

      • Thanks, all. This is helpful.

        I tried to enforce a day off yesterday, but it was only half successful. If someone high up in the food chain e-mails you, you can’t really not respond, so what I tried to do was respond in terms like “I will do X on Monday. Please let me know if that’s a problem.” For some tasks that worked, but unfortunately other things were apparently urgent, so I had to work on them yesterday, and again today.

        I think the main problem is saying “no” when it’s not exactly impossible to do work. When you can’t take on an assignment because you’re already working past midnight every night, it’s easy to say “no” and, if needed, explain why. But when the reason you’re saying “no” is that you were planning a night off, or a day off — much needed after several weeks of nonstop work, it’s much harder to justify, even though objectively it makes complete sense to take the time off.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          This is where the good old “I can do x until tomorrow because I have other commitments today” works. Particularly if it is a weekend day.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          Also, while this sounds like a “know your office” thing – it’s okay to sometimes not get someone’s message. “I was catching up on some much needed rest yesterday and didn’t get your voicemail/email until this morning.” Works best if you use a situation where one would not reasonably be checking a smart phone. (hiking out of cell range, at a wedding, sick and sleeping, etc.)

        • Been there… Make plans for a weekend in the near future. If possible for a full weekend, but if you really can’t do that, book something where you have to leave early Friday evening and come back late Saturday night. Doesn’t matter what it is, go to the beach, visit a family member or friend, take a day trip for a nearby city. But book something and if you can involve someone else, even better. Then, if new things come up, just tell them you have made plans that you can’t cancel. On your day off, check your email once in the morning and once in the afternoon and if something comes up, tell them you’ll be on it the next day.

          I know it’s hard… But you have to take care of yourself.

          Good luck!

        • It’s just as important to take care of yourself than to take care of your boss.

          If you were planning a night off, you “have a commitment” that night. No one needs to know that your commitment is with a glass of wine, your couch, and a DVD.

          But if you don’t make that commitment to non-work, no one will make it for you. And you will burn out. Nobody wants that.

        • Good advice from everyone here. To repeat, if you don’t take care of yourself, nobody will do it for you (especially if you’ve given them bad habits about you..). And if you don’t you WILL burn out (since we’re doing uppercase :-)), and then you won’t be able to work at all. It may not take as long as you think, considering what you’re saying, it sounds to me like you’re already way down that slippery slope. Is this what you or ‘they’ would really wish?
          Heed Hel-lo’s advice on what commitment means..

  62. Longtime Jew :

    Does anyone here struggle with obsessive guilt? Can anyone give any advice about how to conquer the ghosts of past mistakes and move on without them causing panic attacks in the middle of the night?

    I miss being happy.

    • There are lots of healthy ways to deal with guilt. But your problem doesn’t necessarily sound like “guilt” in the traditional sense, instead it sounds like you’re experiencing extreme anxiety caused by mistakes (either real or perceived) which may not even require any “guilt” at all. And if you are having these feeling to the extent that you aren’t sleeping and you miss being happy, then I’m pretty sure nothing anyone on here can tell you to make it go away.

      Perhaps you should talk about this both with your PCP, who might be able to prescribe an anti-anxiety drug. But you should also try to figure out a way to see a psychiatrist. They would be able to help you develop a mental framework that wouldn’t eliminate the anxiety or guilt, but would enable you to address those feelings and then learn to move past them, or reason yourself out of them, and feel unburdened.

      But you are not alone. I think most people experience this type of anxiety to some extent. But yours sound like its interfering with your daily life and happiness, which is really the problem.

  63. middleton style :

    Anyone know where I could find a dress similar to this one that Kate Middleton wore to meet the Obamas (but ideally, under $100)?

    http://www.theuniuni.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/kate-middleton-reiss-dress-obama-may-2011.jpg

    I want to fill my closet with dresses like this for spring, but I haven’t seen anything with a cut quite like this. Thoughts on where to look?

  64. Hi! A former colleague has recently had a baby halfway around the world from me, in Canada.
    We supported each other through several personal crises so I would love to get her something special, although my budget right now is very tight. Maybe $50. Neither of us did expensive gifts ever; it’s really the thought that counts here.
    Any suggestions you might have would be much appreciated, and if it were for a company which would deliver to Toronto that would be super!
    Thank you much!

    • Equity's Darling :

      What kind of gift are you trying to send?

      There are tons of companies that deliver to Toronto or from within Toronto.

      I recently sent a bunch of edible arrangements (ediblearrangements.ca) to friends.

      Most online retailers deliver to Canada (e.g. indigo.ca for baby books/baby toys/baby clothes/baby room stuff, etc. , or amazon but their selection for baby toys and such isn’t as good I find).

      There are also some food delivery type places (e.g. mamaluv.com), where she can pick pre-made food to be delivered for a day for like $50 or so.

    • What about something personalized from Etsy? Check out prints for the baby’s room from PennyPaperCo (link to follow)

  65. I saw an infomercial for a shampoo/conditioner called Wen, which is supposed to make hair silky, soft, etc. It’s priced very reasonably, although I think they get you with a monthly subscription type of thing. Has anyone tried it? Is it worth the hype?

    • I’ve always wanted to try products that are sold on television, but I never trust that they wont keep billing me and sending me more products so I’ve never purchased them. I’m not giving my credit card info to them! I think that if anything is worth the hype, they wouldn’t have to sell it in that way.

    • Tired Squared :

      Not first-hand, but one of my friends just started using that for her (very) dry hair, and it’s has definitely made her hair extremely shiny. The very ends still look ravaged/dry, but but the part from the top of her head down to just above the ends looks amazing.

    • I've tried Wen :

      and it’s not worth the hype. I’m glad I tried it though because it really helped me understand that I don’t need shampoo on my oily scalp; I can use a conditioner instead. Saves me a ton of time in the shower.
      I’m currently using Shampure conditioner from Aveda, but I’ve tried conditioners from Trader Joe’s, Suave, Silk Naturals cleansing conditioners (although it has silicone so I stopped that one), V05, L’oreal Everpure…basically anything that doesn’t have silicone or dimethicone (those ingredients don’t rinse out cleanly).
      I’ll never go back to shampoo – my over-processed hair is so much softer, smoother, and doesn’t fall out nearly as much.

  66. Mamma Mia :

    So, remember how I was complaining that, since going off the pill, I hadn’t had a period and it was kind of freaking me out? And, when the doc put me on some hormones to start the period, I didn’t start one, so the doc said that I should go on a round of birth control pills to make me have one, and I thought that was funny, that I’d have to take the pill in order to get pregnant? And I said that I was going to put it off for a bit, since we have a tropical vacation planned in June?

    Well, the doctor said to take a pregnancy test, it’s a big long shot and probably impossible, but just in case, before I start the BC pills. I didn’t even worry about it and just waited until I could get to the store yestereday and got one. You can probably imagine where this is going . . . yep, it was positive.

    So, wow. I had pretty much written it off and wasn’t all that worried about it. And yesterday, I bought this really cute dress, which has no stretch at all, to wear on vacation (http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=15292&pid=545071&vid=1&scid=545071012) and I realize that it’s not expensive, but should I take it back because will I even still fit into it? Will I still be cute in a bathing suit, or will I have a little bit extra belly that it’s unattractive but not enough that it looks pregnant? Will I be able to handle a 5 hour + plane ride and will I die of tropical diseases and waterborn illnesses in a country with less than my normal level of medical care available? And work and I’ve gotta tell my parents and who do I need to tell before I announce it on facebook and I guess first I should call my doctor first thing in the morning and I drank several times last week and oh, boy. Also, how the heck are they going to date this thing when I haven’t had a period since 2011?

    As my husband said last night, “Well, you always do like to do things the hard way.” Oh, boy.

    • Congratulations! You can get an early ultrasound done to date the pregnancy. I had to do the same thing with this one (27 weeks).

      Your mind is spinning! Your vacation will go just fine…go ahead and take back the dress if you think it might be a tight squeeze.

      Good luck!!

  67. Hi everyone – I’m late to the party this weekend but looking for some advice on dating clothes …

    Specifically, I’m newly single for the first time since college, and I realized I need some “grown-up woman on a date” type clothes. I’m going for sophisticated, adult, sexy without being provocative. Any thoughts for blogs I should read or brands I should check out?

    Thanks!

  68. Hello,
    Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us so I came to take a
    look. I’m loving the information! Wonderful blog