Frugal Friday’s TPS Report: Cotton Short-Sleeve Crewneck

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

Cotton Short-Sleeve CrewneckHat tip to one of yesterday’s FB chatters — I love the look of this gorgeous short-sleeve crewneck from Brooks Brothers, currently on sale. The dark purple looks lovely, and I think the puff sleeves are just enough to make it a bit different. It’s available in purple and white — was $49.50, but now marked to $24.75. Cotton Short-Sleeve Crewneck

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Comments

  1. Has anyone ever had JCrew do a price reduction? I bought a dress for $218 2 weeks ago that is now $139 less 30% off… I have already worn it so I can’t return and buy again. Thanks!

    • I haven’t had this specific scenario, but I’ve had to call about other issues and their customer service is always excellent. For example, one time I forgot to enter in the coupon code, and she did it retroactively for me over the phone. Another time, I decided I wanted to order another pair of shoes, so I called to see if they could add it to my prior order so I wouldn’t have to pay shipping twice. The lady said she couldn’t do that, but she sent them to me without me paying shipping and (on her own) retroactively refunded me for the shipping on the first order because the total of the two orders now exceeded their minimum for free shipping.

      So, all that to say, it’s definitely worth a try.

    • Wednesday :

      I’ve gone in and just spoken to them about it, and they made the price adjustment right on the spot. (But I had only had my items for a week when I noticed the new sale price.)

    • I have, but within 14 days. I think that’s their time window. Not sure if your purchase is still within that window, but it can’t hurt to call and ask.

    • D Train South :

      If not, can you buy a new one and return it with the old receipt, getting credit for the $218?

      • That might not work – the receipts usually have the SKU of the specific product and if the tags do not match the receipt, some stores/salespeople will not let you do the return.

      • I have totally done this, and it has always worked.

        • To me, this is basically stealing. You are buying a new item and returning a perfectly good worn item under shady circumstances. I would advise against this.

          • SF Bay Associate :

            I don’t think that’s what she is saying. There is item #1, bought on X date, with Y receipt. Item #1 has been worn, and has since been marked down. OP can buy item #2, the exact same item as item #1, brand new, on X+n date, with Z receipt for the lower price. She can then return item #2 with Y receipt, thus returning a brand-new item at the previous higher price.

          • D Train South :

            I wasn’t suggesting she return the worn item. I was suggesting she return the NEW item, but use the receipt for the original ($218) purchase. I’ve never had a problem with a SKU on two identical items not matching, but I guess it could happen . . .

          • I believe the new item would be returned, not the worn one, with this scheme, just at the old one’s price…?

        • For clarification, I mean I have returned the new item (unworn, tags on) using the old receipt (with the higher price).

  2. Good morning rettes. Tech question for you: pulling my keyboard out, I pressed something that changed my screen display. I’ve tried messing around with settings to make the font larger to no avail. The helpdesk peeps said it was not possible for me to have altered the screen display accidentally. Hmm. Thoughts on how to undo whatever I did?

    • Hopefully you already fixed it, but if not I think I know what happened because I do this all the time. To fix it,hold control while you spin your mouse wheel (the thing between the two big buttons) to zoom in/out. You should be able to adjust the text back to the size you like. This technique also works well to read tiny print on websites.

    • TurtleWexler :

      My cat does this to me all the time because he likes to walk on my laptop keyboard and somehow knows just what buttons to push to drive me crazy! I have fixed it using one of the function keys but I can’t remember which. Wish I could help more, but it definitely is fixable…

  3. What do you all wear on jeans days at the office? My office just started doing jeans Fridays, but it’s way too hot out for me to wear jeans, and I also don’t really have any nice ones. I’m wearing a jersey dress today, which is a little more casual than normal and also cool enough to wear in 100 degree heat (sort of…nothing’s really comfortable when it’s this hot).

    • I do dark wash jean capris, a company polo, and either flats or dressy leather sandals. My office is on the casual side of business casual M-T, so sometimes I’ll wear a linen khaki skirt or a jersey dress on Fridays if I’m really feeling worried about the weather. Some women wear bermuda shorts, but I don’t like to wear any type of “shorts” in the office, so I opt out of those!

    • Yeah, we do Friday jeans days, as well. During the summer I’m normally pretty hot after I’ve done my hair (my bathroom gets HOT) and I can’t even consider putting jeans on after that. So I wear either slightly more casual jersey dresses, or a black jersey skirt and nice cotton top. I also have worn khaki skirts or other things that I felt might be a little too casual during the rest of the week.

      When it’s not 100+ out routinely, I’ll wear jeans and then whatever I would normally wear with a pencil skirt: nice tops, cardigans, sweaters, etc.

    • Kontraktor :

      I don’t have a lot of more casual things, but when we did do casual Friday’s at my old DC agency office, I would wear cotton skirts and jersey tops or tees. I like the idea of jersey dresses/skirts as well. There were a lot of people in my office who wore sundresses or cotton dresses that weren’t as structured as something they might wear M-Th.

    • SAlit-a-gator :

      My office does jean Fridays as well and it’s definitely too hot here for jeans in the summer. I usually wear a jearsey dress, or a jean skirt. My supervisor commented that I’m “too dressed up.” Ummm, it’s too hot for jeans and the whole idea behind this policy is “comfort.” I understand the men don’t have a choice to wear anything else more casual than jeans (shorts are not an option) but I do. So bring on the skirts and dresses!

      • I love wearing knee-length jean skirts on jean Fridays – I get to enjoy the casualness of denim with a breeze. Since it’s a tad more “dressed up” than actual jeans, I also feel more comfortable wearing a top that’s more of a tee shirt, while if I’m wearing jean pants I try to wear more of a business-y top so I still feel like I’m in the office.

    • When I wear jeans to the office, the top half stays more or less the same as what I’d wear with biz cas bottoms (blouse, nicer tee, cardigan, button-front, etc) and the bottom half becomes jeans and flats.
      Sometimes I’ll sub it a cotton/jersey skirt or dress if I just don’t care to wear jeans that day.

    • SoCal Peach :

      I have two denim skirts that I like to wear. One is a dark wash pencil skirt and the other is a dark wash in what I guess is a trumpet style. I also have a pair of straight leg white jeans that seem to be a lot more bearable when it’s hot out.

      • Kontraktor :

        Oh that’s something I didn’t think of! What about some nice pairs of linen pants with a natural-fiber blouse? Those could be great for casual Friday’s, especially if one’s office is very dressed down on those days.

      • I love the idea of white jeans — or linen trousers! I’d also add to that mix a pair of white poplin tailored trousers — they’re BR from several years ago, a pretty flared boot cut. But they’re also lined (so that they’re not see-through), so they wouldn’t work so well anywhere it’s really hot.

        Not here — in SF in July we’re lucky to see a high of 62 degrees. . . .

      • I was just debating with myself this morning the appropriateness of white jeans on Friday. I decided against it. I wish I had seen this 2 hours ago. Next week….

    • I’m in DC too, but I still where jeans to the office on Fridays (and other days sometimes) because it is freezing in my building. I usually pair them with a nice tee and 3/4 sleeve cardigan, and flats. When heading out in the afternoon I take off the cardigan and throw on some flip flops. Yes, it’s hot out, but I’m not walking that far and usually just heading home to put shorts on.

    • anon in tejas :

      I just pair my jeans with a blouse that I would wear any day with a skirt or suit.

      i.e. Levis (Boot cut/flared), white button up from H&M & clarks (flats)

      also, I don’t like that I have to think so much more on jeans days. I am programmed to dress for work in a state of half sleep, but with jeans I feel like a lot of thought and second guessing go in.

  4. Professor TBA :

    So, on one of the law professor blogs, there has been a big discussion about whether law professors (especially those with little to no practical experience) should take “experiential sabbaticals”–i.e., use their sabbatical to get legal experience instead of to write a law review article. It’s not something I would pursue myself (I actually have experience), but I find the concept intriguing. And while the discussion on the original blog was interesting, the commenters on that blog are almost exclusively law professors or aspiring law professors.

    So I was curious about the perspective of the thoughtful lawyers and law students here–what would you think about a law professor using a sabbatical (assuming he/she was entitled to one, and putting aside for a moment the issue of whether sabbaticals should exist) to get practical legal experience in the area of their teaching/research?

    • Professor TBA :

      Here is the blog post I mentioned, if anyone is curious: http://prawfsblawg.blogs.com/prawfsblawg/2012/07/the-experiential-sabbatical.html

    • mintberrycrunch :

      From the law student perspective, I have found my professors with recent-ish practical experience to be most valuable – they are able to bring more real-world examples into our discussions in class, and I feel like what I’m learning is often relevant to my future career rather than simply an academic exercise. Especially after working at a firm this summer and seeing how valuable practical skills are, I think it’s a great idea if it will translate into more practical discussions in the classroom.

      • I agree with this. There is a whole conversation to be had about the lack of practical skills taught in law school, but professors with “real” world experience can at least teach their classes with an eye toward the practical.

      • I completely agree. My teachers without practical lawyering experience did little to prepapre me for real life (which was, unfortunately, most of them). I also don’t feel my teachers with practical experience were lacking in the intellectual aspect of law and taught me more how to “think like a lawyer” than the teachers who focused on theory.

      • I agree with everything above. I had a Contracts professor who had been in academia for his or her entire career – NEVER practiced law. When I came across some of the issues in an actual real life legal setting I had to play a lot of catch up. I think professors who have legal experience have a lot more credibility – I trust that they are teaching me something relevant that I will be able to use in a career. Theory is important for many reasons, but its a cutthroat job market and I’d rather take professors who will prepare me for that, vs. classes that would give me an edge in a philosophical conversation over beers.

        • TurtleWexler :

          My Torts professor never practiced either, and was one of the worst profs I had in law school. I actually had the best experiences with adjuncts who were full-time lawyers but taught a class on the side — I really liked the practical, “on the ground” approach. Of course, these were electives, not core classes, so I was also more interested in the subject matter…but I think practicing for at least a couple years is really important and wish law schools would put a greater emphasis on it (to be fair, most of the newer generation of profs at my school did have practical experience and many still kept their hands in with some form of practice on top of their teaching duties, so hopefully that means the administration has been getting that message).

      • Agreed. My best professors all had recent or extensive-but-not-recent real world experience and were better professors for it. It was especially important for me because I am not a litigator and the law school/case method is really very little help in my day to day practice; having professors who understood that was key.

        I didn’t read the discussion on the blog you referenced, but my corporate finance professor wrote his own textbook based on his experiences and it was far and away the best textbook I had in law school. So if professors are worried that using the time for experience-gaining would be to the detriment of their publishing, I’d say that’s not really something to worry about.

    • I learned so much more from professors who did have experience practicing that I think law schools should stop this practice of hiring professors who have a clerkship and a year of experience at a firm, or something like that, and hire only professors with at least five years of practical experience.

      Since I doubt law schools are going to listen to me on this any time soon, I think using a sabbatical in this way could be a good idea. Six months isn’t really enough to get a lot of solid experience under your belt, though; I’ve been at this job for ten months, and am still a beginner, although I know a great deal more (and am much more useful to the partners) than I was when I started. So, I wonder how much of a difference six months would really make.

      • BigLaw Refugee :

        Agree. I didn’t become a prof in part because I had no idea what I’d write articles about. After about 6 years I started to have ideas, and after 11 I have even more. I think it’s a shame that academia frowns on real world experience, because I could easily have gotten a law prof job right out of law school, but would probably have trouble now, even though I have so much more to say.

        I’m not sure how much 6 months will really accomplish…I’d be more inclined to sign up with a local pro bono organization and do some real lawyering that way.

    • My only complaint would be that it’s ridiculous that they don’t have experience in the first place before becoming law professors (I think some experience should be a requirement), and that 6 months is really not enough time to get “experience.” But otherwise, definitely, I think that it is a good idea.

      • Ok, Lyssa said in two sentences what I took two paragraphs to say. Clearly I need to work on concision.

      • This was the no. 1 complaint about professors in my law school. Whenever someone was disliked, law students would grumble that this person either (a) never practiced or (b) hadn’t practiced in 25 years. Personally, I think experience may or may not matter depending on the class (some classes are much more theoretical than others), but if nothing else it would help to take that criticism away from students.

        • Professor TBA :

          I have a follow-up question about your comment about profs who “hadn’t practiced in 25 years.” Is the concern here really a lack of recent experience or a lack of apparent concern about what real lawyers do in contemporary practice? If it’s the latter, I think there are ways that profs can (and should) stay connected with the profession. But if it’s the former….that terrifies me a bit.

          • It’s not a personal concern. But I vividly recall disgruntled students b*tching about, e.g., a Contracts professor’s lack of recent experience (“what the hell does he know anyway? He hasn’t been in a courtroom in almost 3 decades..”) — I don’t think you can ever really prevent some students from complaining, it’s just what they do, but I think if professors made more of an effort to be involved in, say, clinics, that would take away that criticism to a large degree.

            Note my comment below, though – I don’t think that all professors need to have recent or actual experience, nec., and I don’t think all classes should be taught from an entirely practical standpoint.

          • Professor TBA :

            Ah, I see. And I completely agree with your comment below.

    • I agree with everyone else that this would be a great use of sabbatical time. While there is certainly a lot of value in learning to “think like lawyer” in law school, you are not practically prepared for the job in any way. My professors with experience tended to relay how the concepts we were learning had been applied in their practical experience. While my civil procedure professor was a wealth of interesting historical knowledge and an intellectual powerhouse, I really wish I had taken civ pro from someone who had practiced. The classes I remember best now (evidence, criminal law, family law) were taught by people who had practiced in those fields for at least 5 years before teaching and used anecdotes from their experience almost daily to illustrate the application of concepts we were learning.

    • I remember a joke by my torts professor–who was a philosophy professor before law school. He said, he was surprised on collegial everyone on the law faculty was, compared to philosophy faculty. Then he realized all these law professors are people who don’t like to fight and don’t like conflict. If they did, they would be lawyers and make a lot more money. Yes, I wish my law professors had more practical experience. Law school is a professional school. Adjuncts were the best.

      • I know everyone has their own opinion on this, but personally I like that law school is not just a trade school. I agree with the need for more practical skills courses, but I think the solution is just a better mix of classes (which I think students should have some responsibility for selecting, frankly): i.e., theory AND practical/clinic. I personally had a very good experience in this regard because I was able to mix the two categories so that, e.g., I took both Contracts (mandatory theoretical with typical Academia prof) and Drafting Contracts (very practical with actual practicing adjunct) – I think both have their value. But I don’t think you can just substitute Civ Pro with a State Practice course – lawyers need to understand the foundation/basis for the rules (at least I think so) before they can learn the actual concrete rules, and you can learn the specifics very easily and quickly on your own.

        • mintberrycrunch :

          I do agree with this – I didn’t mean to suggest above that law school should *never* be an academic exercise; I just think a balance of the two is important. Balance in the overall 3-year law school experience is important (as you suggest, by taking a variety of classes), but I also like the idea of balance within a course itself (i.e.: we can discuss a case from the 1800s or the foundational basis of the rules, but in the next day or even later that day, also discuss what the FRCP look like in practice).

        • I agree 100%. I realize that as an aspiring law prof with very limited practical experience, I’m biased, but I think it’s easy to underestimate the value of theory. Law school is not always great about preparing lawyers for practice, in the sense that your first year contracts class is not designed to teach to draft a contract. But without understanding the dry academic contract theory, all you’d be learning from the much more interesting drafting course is to copy what the professor is doing.

          Some of my best professors in law school were those with long practical experience, who could tell war stories and give real-life examples from their practices, but so were some of my worst professors. The best preparation for practice is almost never learned in traditional classrooms anyway, it’s learned in summer jobs, clerkships, and clinics.

        • Agreed as well. In law school I had completely theoretical classes, but then I had practicums and clinical experiences that put law into use practically. Both were necessary, I think, to getting a well-rounded legal education.

        • I don’t necessarily disagree, but I would say that even theory is easier and better learned from someone who has solid experience. If you have the experience, you’re better going to be able to understand (and explain) why the theory is important.

      • The same is true in business school, in my opinion! The best profs I’ve had were adjunct or semi-retired corporate people. Some of the exam questions from profs without real-world experience are just ridiculous, and many of the “applications” from theory don’t transfer neatly into the office. Our finance prof. even commented that we’d never have to do all these calculations by hand in the real-world, just plug them into Excel. Thus, he showed us by hand for the exam, and by Excel for the office. Good to know the foundation equation for understanding AND the Excel formula for quick-turn situations.

    • I’m going to throw in my two cents from the perspective of the faculty member, even though you didn’t ask. Honestly, when you have earned a sabbatical, you need a break. I’ve done two sabbaticals in the past 22 years (yeah I’m eligible now, but we’ll see). One of them was experiential and the other was sitting at home in my pajamas writing articles. I enjoyed the experiential one at the time, but would never do it again. I got so much more rejuvenation from the writing sabbatical and learned about how I work on writing projects when I get the opportunity. I structured my days really well and gave myself a day off to volunteer each week. It makes a huge difference when you go back to work.

      • Professor TBA :

        This is a great point (as are all of the other comments so far) – thank you for it.

      • Your point is well taken and I don’t want to be snarky or start a flame war, but I’ve never really understood this aspect of a sabbatical. I’m going to be working 80+ hour weeks from now into my 60s, plus the bazillion other things I take care of outside of work, with maybe a week or two of vacation every year. I understand that I chose this and not a professorship, but the “break” aspect of a sabbatical has always been weird to me. Could you explain? Again, not trying to be snarky. I just don’t get it.

        • I get that completely and I have no intention of flaming you. We don’t work 80+ hour weeks (and we also don’t get paid like we do) but professors do a lot more than just walk in and teach a class a few times a week. There is course preparation (for the courses you are currently teaching), developing new courses, grading, advising, office hours (and being accessible to students), grants, professional development, and university service (committees like you wouldn’t believe). That leaves very little time to get your head into large-scale scholarly publications, especially for those who teach in the summer. We are expected to keep up on research and writing and that can be difficult while you’re juggling all of that other stuff. A lot of people will do research then take a sabbatical to write or edit a book or a few articles. It’s partly just about having time and space to fully get your head into the writing. I’ve done it both ways. I wrote a book chapter draft while working then had a really hard time getting my head into the edits. I was able to take a couple of days off to do it. It’s almost impossible to get that kind of work done in your office because there are constant interruptions and demands on your time.

          • Exactly. My DH is a professor (undergrad, not law) and uses his sabbaticals to research and write his books, which is difficult to do when you have not only teaching duties but prep for three courses a semester, grading (writing-intensive courses are killers), student advising, committee work, etc. His colleagues whose expertise involve other areas of the world (East Asian studies, e.g.) use the time to travel and study abroad.

            And at least at his college — others probably are different — a one-semester sabbatical is fully paid but a full-year sabbatical takes you to 75% pay. He starts a sabbatical in September, and because we chose to with keep his pension contrubitions the same, we’re looking at almost a 30% drop in his monthly take-home pay. Gulp.

          • NOLA, didn’t have time to check back to this thread yesterday, so I hope you see this now, but thanks for your thoughtful response. This makes sense and is definitely a better explanation than I’ve gotten before. Thanks!

    • Former Partner, Now In-House :

      I was a litigation partner at an AmLaw 100 firm before I went in house. For the last several years, I have taught various IP courses as an adjunct professor. I try to include both policy and theory (what is the goal of copyright law?) and practical skills (what would be the best evidence to prove this point?) in my classes. My students over the years have consistently written in their evaluations that they wish more of their classes included practical exercises.

      I would never be hired as a tenure track professor at a top law school because I don’t have the profile (only went to a top 20 law school, did not clerk, practiced for more than 2-3 years, have published only one law review article). Make of that what you will.

      I do believe that a smarter person who did well at a top 10 law school will eventually, with the right training at a top law firm, make a better lawyer than a less smart person who didn’t do well at a lesser ranked law school. Being able to recite the various statutes of limitations in your state the day you graduate does not make you a good lawyer; anyone can learn that. Being smart and creative and understanding how and why the law works the way it does makes you a good lawyer.

      • I am currently in law school. At this point, I am almost exclusively take classes from adjuncts like you!

      • Harbinger of Truth :

        “I do believe that a smarter person who did well at a top 10 law school will eventually, with the right training at a top law firm, make a better lawyer than a less smart person who didn’t do well at a lesser ranked law school. Being able to recite the various statutes of limitations in your state the day you graduate does not make you a good lawyer; anyone can learn that. Being smart and creative and understanding how and why the law works the way it does makes you a good lawyer.”

        Wow, this comment really rubs me the wrong way. Quite frankly, it smacks of the kind of elitism and snobbery that is so characteristic of people who attend or work at Ivy League schools. There are plenty of people who made great grades at top law schools who are terrible at the actual practice of law, even if they received good training at top law firms. Furthermore, there are plenty of lawyers who, for whatever reason, didn’t make great grades at a “lesser ranked” law school who are smart, creative, and understand how and why the law works.

        How dare you paint everyone with low grades at a “lower ranked school” (based on bogus U.S. News and World Report rankings) with the same brush stroke! Something tells me that you can’t begin to comprehend what those lawyers who you consider “less smart” might have gone through during law school that kept them from being at the top of their class. In fact, maybe some of them were smarter and cleverer than you because they refused to play the law school rankings game! But what really irks me is that by your reasoning here, you probably think that a person in the top of her or his class at a lower ranked law school is not as intelligent as a person from a top 10 law school.
        I feel pity and loathing for you because you are so narrow minded. If you participate in the hiring process at your firm, you will never give anyone who falls slightly outside of your rigid hiring criteria a chance. Well, I tell you what. You can have your top one-third, elite law school graduate who is statistically like to be a white, middle class male with well-educated parents, who had nothing better to do during law school than study archaic legal theory and kiss up to professors.

        People like you hold the profession back from moving into the future with a death grip. You are all afraid of losing your obscene salaries, so you come up with ridiculous ways to set up barriers to entry into your ivory towers. You are far too terrified to acknowledge that a lawyer from a lower ranked school with low grades might be twice the lawyer you are. As a recent ABA article stated, “snobbism and elitism are the last socially acceptable prejudices.” How disgusting that our profession engages in these prejudices day and night.

    • I think it would be incredibly valuable. I’m in a niche field that attracts a lot of academia attention. It is obvious from their writings and their policy proposals when they’ve never practiced and, honestly, most practicing attorneys in my field have very little respect, if not disdain, for many of the highly-touted “academic stars”.

      Honestly, I’ve gone to one CLE in my 7 years of practice that had (highly respected) academic presenters. Actually, it was a 50/50 mix of academics and practicing. By the end of the day, I vowed to never attend another presentation by half of those academics. They are so out of touch and ignorant of how law is really practiced. Specifically, how procedure works in my niche. One panel was a mix of academics and practitioners. The practitioners schooled the academics–I was embarrassed for them.

      • Former MidLevel :

        This is *so* true about people in our field. I am always surprised, for example, at the vehemency of some comments on Patently-O whenever they do a post on academic ideas or articles.

    • As someone who is having a hard time breaking into the law professor market in part because I have “too much” practice experience, it is heart-warming to read that at least a lot of the students value it! This gives me courage and something to think about as I’m getting ready to go on the market again.

    • I agree that professors who have real-world experience tend to have more useful content in their classes, and I do appreciate that. I have not had great experiences with adjuncts, however. Many, even if they have a wealth of knowledge and are talented in their fields, are not great at conveying what they know; teaching, after all, is an independent skill that doesn’t come automatically with being great at what you do. Additionally, even those who have been decent teachers have often struggled to grade things quickly and provide useful feedback because of the demands of their full-time jobs. With law school tuition as high as it is, I think it’s reasonable to expect all professors to be responsive to students’ needs in a timely and effective manner.

    • Professor TBA :

      Thank you to everyone for their thoughtful and insightful comments.

  5. ooo we’re getting a Brooks Brothers women right near my office. Will be trouble…

    random question- for those of you who work out before work, or run/bike into work, etc…what do you do with your wet towel/sweaty clothes all day? I have been hanging mine on the back of my door, but that seems gross/inappropriate when the door is closed and someone else is in here with me. But it also seems gross to leave them all smushed into a locker or a gym bag all day.

    At my last job I sort of draped them over the hvac vent, hidden under my desk. The way my office is set up now I don’t think that would really work here. clever suggestions?

    • AnonInfinity :

      If I did that, I think my office would smell like sweat. I leave them in the gym bag and take them out immediately when I get home. It’s gross, but not as gross as my office smelling like a gym bag.

      • I also leave them in my gym bag. I’ve found that rather than throwing them into the bag in a crumpled ball, if I take the time to fold them, they’re not as sweaty and gross when I take them out after getting home. TMI? Sorry. But it’s true!

    • I hang my towel on the coat rack and shove the gym clothes into a drawer until I can take them home.

    • I bring some plastic grocery bags and tie up the towel and sweaty stuff – I “glow” quite a bit with exercise (especially in this weather!) and my clothes definitely smell. I share an office, and I wouldn’t subject my coworkers to that. If I had my own office, I think I’d still probably do the same thing… I don’t want to subject myself to it, either.

    • And to add to this: what if you have to wear them again on your way home? I cycle to work every day and get quite ‘glowy’ as Anastasia puts it so nicely. But putting the clothes in a bag means that I have to wear wet, sticky clothes back home. Not an option.

      • exactly, since I bike home I can’t wear them all wet and gross. Bare minimum I have to let the sports bra dry out.

        The coat rack seem s a good option, as I could hide things under blazers etc. Unless someone isn’t telling me, I don’t think my stuff smells (as opposed to the shoe collections under some other people’s desks….yuck).

    • Leave them in a plastic bag inside my gym bag and wash them when i get home.

  6. HereThere :

    Here is an article from the Globe that I thought some here may find interesting regarding “having it all” as a professional women with a family to take care of: http://www.boston.com/community/blogs/fiftyshift/2012/07/to_have_it_all_and_to_have_not.html

  7. I Love Brook’s Brothers and this crewneck is nice!

    Anyway’s, I made it thru the pool party and HAROLD was very atentitive as I thought, but I warned him that I could NOT be his girlfreind b/c he was to young.

    The only thing HE did DO that was NOT good was when I went into the pool (I had to b/c everyone did), he jumped in right after me and HE and rubbed his body against my tush, I think INTENEIONALLY.

    But b/c it could have been alot worse, I let it go, b/c the manageing partner was laugheing at him all day.

    The manageing partner’s wife thinks I am very cute, and she even said SO in front everyone so mabye he will NOT keep comenteing about me in front of all the other partner’s.

    The manageing partner said I am getteing a 3% BONUS on August 1. YAY!!!!!

    • He rubbed his body AGAINST you’re tush?????? INTENEIONALLY???????????? Gurl, that is NOT OK. You should have kicked him in his crown jeweles so he knows EXACTELY what an unwanted touch feels like. FOOEY.

    • Francie Nolan :

      Ellen it was wise that you were firm with HAROLD. It seems to have paid off for you, although you should put an end to the accidental brushing against you or he may see it as encouragment.
      How did it work out with the Nanny and your nieces? Do tell more!

  8. Amommynous :

    The thread the other day on divorce was so helpful to me. I wasn’t the OP, but over the last 18 months I have also come to the very sad conclusion that I have to leave my husband. We have three young children. It is has been a very hard decision to make, but for lots of complicated reasons I feel like it is the best thing I can do for my children.

    Having said that, do any of you ladies who have been in this position have any advice? Something you wish you had known? A little additional background info: my husband won’t fight me for custody of the kids (thank goodness) and we have serious money issues. I have an appointment to talk to someone about the money situation, and I am going to make an appointment to speak with my attorney. My husband does not yet know that I’ve made my final decision, but he won’t be surprised to hear it.

    • Always a NYer :

      I want to say good for you for reaching this decision. It must seem like the hardest decision right now but ten years from now you will look back and know you’ve done the right thing. While I’ve never been divorced, I’m a child of divorce and my mother has helped many of her friends with their own divorces. Please know that your children will be so much better off with happy parents than fighting and bitter parents. Make sure your finances are in order, ie separate bank accounts. I’m not saying to drain the joint accounts, just take your half and put it into another bank without his name on it. Best wishes to you in this difficult time and hugs.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        +1 on children being much better off with happier divorced parents than fighting and bitter parents. I had the latter, and it really screwed up my views of what a relationship was supposed to look like. My best to you, amommynous.

        • Co-sign. My life improved immeasurably when my parents finally pulled the trigger and divorced. Wish they’d done it sooner.

      • I cannot agree more with this. I too am the child of divorced parents and was SO THRILLED when my parents decided to end it. They are much happier, better people now that they are divorced, and have in fact become very good friends. My childhood was infinitely more stable and happy once my parents divorced. So much turmoil in the house is not good for anyone, especially young children. Best of luck to you.

      • Absolutely agree. My parents are still married, but it was a second marriage for both of them and I have an older half-sister. Everyone in our family gets along extremely well and my parents have now been together for 30 years. This could not have happened if they both had not divorced their first spouses. Good luck! This doesn’t appear to be a decision that you’ve taken lightly, my best to you and your family.

    • If you’re near DC/Northern Virginia, the Women’s Center in Vienna/DC has seminars on preparing/protecting yourself prior to and during a divorce.

      Best of luck, I know this isn’t easy, but you can do it.

    • Seattleite :

      1. I wish I had known how much my children would blossom once our house stopped feeling so sad.
      2. If you’re not in counseling, please get some. If you really can’t afford it, read “Keeping the Love You Find” by Harville Hendrix. Do the exercises in it. They will make you mad, and you won’t want to do them. Do them anyway. Despite the title, this isn’t about saving your marriage, this is about recognizing your emotional patterns.
      3. Among my friends who have divorced, the ones who have done best, and whose children have done best, have NOT dated yet. (We’re all still <3 years out.) I wish that weren't true, but there it is.
      3.a. Personally, I dated briefly shortly before my divorce was final (long separation) thinking I was ready…but now, two years later, I would pick very differently. Too many of the same bad emotional patterns from my marriage were there, but I was so habituated to them I didn't see it.
      4. Give a trusted friend medical power of attorney. Knowing someone will have your back in case of a car accident or whatever really does help.
      5. The biggest mistake women make is trying to keep a house they can't afford. Downsize.
      6. Do everything you can to limit travel times. Work, live, daycare, doctors, shopping, etc. should be within as small a geographic area as possible.

      Good luck and many internet hugs to you.

      • Second the downsizing. 10 years after my divorce, I am stuck with a house I can’t sell or afford to maintain. I really wanted my son to have the same lifestyle after the divorce as before, but I doubt he would have cared that much if we had moved into a smaller house. Now he’s in college, and I’m broke after 10 years of mortgage payments and maintenance on a big house, and wondering what the heck I’m going to do when I get to old to work.

      • Constance Justice :

        +1 for Keeping the Love you Find. I have never been married, but after a string of really terrible relationships, my therapist recommended it to me. It was really helpful. I recommend it to anyone who is in a rut.

    • Been There (more than once) :

      1. Get your own lawyer. Even if you do mediation (which is tempting because of the price), you need someone looking at the document with your, and only your, interests in mind.

      2. Be clear about who owns which debt and who will communicate that with the lender.

      2a. In addition to child support, make sure your order addresses paying for college.

      3. Get a parenting plan in place immediately. Have it in your court order. I think the best one is week on/week off transitioning on Mondays before/after school, with a list of holidays with mom/dad in even/odd years. But choose what you want. The point is to have structure so everyone can plan around expectations. This is the simplest issue but you would not believe how it can wreak havoc with your life, well-being and household when there no plans. ever. for where the kids are when.

      4. There is absolutely no question that your kids are better off with two parents in separate homes who each love them than in one home with parents who do not have a healthy marriage. You and your ex-ing husband may remain single or may re-partner, but now you have the chance to show them a healthy household.

      5. See a therapist with extensive experience in divorce and kids your ages and blended families. Better to deal with it now.

      6. If you think your ex-ing husband may try to manipulate the kids, read Richard Warshak and Amy J.L. Baker’s books.

    • I really recommend that you and your spouse go to “divorced parents” counseling. Our jurisdiction actually required it as a condition of the divorce, and it really was helpful. The counselor talked about how damaging it was to children if one parent disparaged the other, and how important it was for your children to maintain at least the appearance of a united front, and a friendly relationship, with your ex. After 10 years of divorce, I wish I had taken a few refresher courses, because my relationship with my ex turned very rancorous after a couple of years, and I know it did nothing but hurt my son. I know this seems a long way off, but when you get to high school graduations, I recommend you put aside any differences, and do a joint party with your ex for your graduate. My son’s graduation was a disaster, it turned into a horrible emotional tug of war, with my son in the middle, and I blame myself, because I knew better. My ex is an a$$hole, and I can’t ever expect him to take the high road, but I wish I had done so, for the sake of my son. Too late now, you only get one high school graduation.

    • Thank you for all of your kind and extremely helpful responses. One of the things I am most concerned about is how to talk to my kids about their dad. Although he is a good person, he has a personality and a mood disorder. From the outside, he looks like a fine father, and he’s not unfit. I have even left my kids with him for the weekend on previous occasions. The good news is that he seems to be able to hide his issues from the kids a bit better when I’m not there to step in. On the other hand, I feel like it’s important for my kids to know that the way their dad acts sometimes is not “normal,” and that it’s not their fault. I want them to be tuned in so that they can tell me if something at their dad’s house is off. But I’m afraid to say anything because I don’t want to be accused of disparaging him to the kids.

      I do have an appointment for my two oldest kids to talk to a counselor. I intend to ask her about this stuff privately. In the meantime, have any of you dealt with something like this?

      • Been There (more than once) :

        OK, I have a lot of experience with this. My stepkids’ mom has a personality disorder (borderline), and it controlled the marriage pre-kids, the entire household pre-divorce and still controls all interactions post-divorce. Only her immediate family members notice/acknowledge this. The rest of the world thinks she is great and the life of the party.

        Not many people will tell you this, but I have learned the following after dealing with this for 6 years: you must find a therapist who will tell the kids the truth about their dad, in an age appropriate way of course.

        My stepkids (now 16 and 21) are dealing with the consequences of having been raised by a borderline mom and probably will for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, they are so enmeshed with her (one of the characteristics is no boundaries of any kind between mother and child) that they think she is the touchstone of normal and anyone or anything she disagrees with is wrong. Even more unfortunately, each of their respective therapists has gone out of his/her way to avoid pointing out that mom’s behavior is outside of the norm and that there a skills the kids can use to get along better with her while still leading a healthy life of their own. Until they deal with this, they will continue to suffer. Better for them to have been told the truth as young teens than to come to this realization as young adults or even later.

        It is critical for your kids’ development that you interview therapists until you find 2 or 3 who will speak the truth to your kids. (Again, in an age appropriate way. You don’t tell a 5 year old dad is crazy. You say, sometimes when dad does X to you, it might help you if you do Y.) Then let your kids meet with each one for 15-20 minutes for a complimentary consultation to find the one with whom they feel most comfortable.

        Pretending dad is normal and not talking to the the kids about it will only make them feel more alone and more confused. “Taking the high road” in this instance isn’t the best option. I really recommend Amy J.L. Baker’s two books and also Rachel Raskin’s “An Umbrella for Alex.” Links to follow.

        • Been There (more than once) :

          I Don’t Want to Choose! How middle school kids can avoid choosing one parent over the other.

          http://www.amyjlbaker.com/books.html

          Beyond the High Road: Responding to 17 Parental Alienation Strategies
          without Compromising Your Morals or Harming Your Child

          http://www.ncfm.org/libraryfiles/Children/Alienation/BeyondthehighroadMay2008-1.pdf

        • Been There (more than once) :

          PS: If your ex-ing husband has been formally diagnosed, get a copy of the diagnosis. It will be helpful to show the kids’ therapist (so s/he doesn’t think you are overreacting). And if you include it, or a reference to it, in the custody order, then when you have to go back to court or call the authorities if his custodial time with them is endangering their safety (physical or mental), you will be able to deal with his illness as an established fact instead of having to prove it again and again.

      • I grew up in a similar situation with divorced parents who I think handled talking about each other very well. First, they didn’t often talk about each other. I remember my (non-custodial) father once saying that my mother “wasn’t an easy person to live with,” as an explanation for the divorce, but that’s the only time I ever remember it coming up when I was little (I had a sense then, and know even more now, how true that statement was!). I think that the feeling I had that they got along made it much easier for me to bring one parent up to the other, when I wanted to. I don’t know how young your kids are, but even at a young age they’ll probably already have a sense of when their father reacts disproportionately– I know I did when my mom had bad days (she’s had a number of diagnoses over the years, including bipolar and depression). If they know that talking about Dad doesn’t upset you or make you angry, they’ll be much more likely to tell you if something seems wrong. Talking to their counselor is a great idea, too, so that she knows the background. I think the best-case scenario is for your kids to understand that it’s okay to miss their Dad and to miss being together, and for you to understand that they probably will miss him. The more they feel that they can confide in you, the more they will do so. Good luck.

        • I think JessBee made some great suggestions. You need to tread very delicately here. Kids are more perceptive than you think (they’ll know something’s off w/ dad), but they aren’t mini-adults. I work in an area where we see a lot of children of parents with mental illness or drug addiction. You have to remember that the kids are half his, so anything negative you say about him (true or not) traces back to them- the biggest part of adolescence is figuring out your identity and a lot of that comes from family. If dad’s not normal, am I not normal? And if he hides his mental illness well around them, then they aren’t going to know what to believe. Talking to them about the DSM diagnosis will prove that you’re right, but what else does it accomplish? I agree w/ Jess that the best thing is to keep the lines of communication open so your kids will feel comfortable telling you things about what happens with Dad, without feeling like they are betraying anyone or taking sides. It’s sort of like how I can say negative stuff about my siblings, but I’ll be p*ssed if you do it. Even if you’re right (maybe especially if you’re right). Here, your kids can say negative stuff about Dad, but you better not do it. They will take it personally. You see what I mean?

          I think it is a great idea to talk to the counselors about it. Good luck with everything! The fact that you are thinking things through and not acting impulsively bodes very well for the success of your family in this situation.

          • Been There (more than once) :

            The kids do know. Sometimes.

            My stepkids confide in their dad when things with mom get really out of hand, but it is always along the lines of “Mom exploded today. I don’t know why. So I can’t talk to her about X [some unrelated important school thing] for a while until she calms down. Can you take care of it for me?” He always does. And he never badmouths mom. But fast forward two weeks, and those same kids will have “forgotten” that mom ever did any such thing and if you remind them, even in the context of “hey, let’s be proactive and think about what you might do next time mom acts like that,” they will deny that it ever happened.

            Never fails to tick me off. DH, having lived with it for 20+ years, deals with it much more elegantly.

    • One lesson from my mom’s (second) divorce: do your best to prepare mentally and emotionally for things not going as smoothly as you think they will. It’s great that you think there won’t be a custody dispute, and I hope you’re right, but sometimes people going through a divorce can suddenly lose sight of rational thought. Be amiable as much as you can, but also be careful. As others have said, get a lawyer of your own, and get everything you possibly can in writing.

      • Anonforthis :

        This x1000. We just screwed my stepdaughter’s mother out of medical bills she could have demanded my husband pay more than 50% of because she didn’t (as we knew she wouldn’t) have the agreement reviewed by a lawyer before signing it and having it entered by the judge.

        I know this sounds horrid but I assure you there is more going on here that makes this not as awful as it sounds. I just wanted to provide a real life example of what can happen if you don’t know the law. The law in our state says the parents share medical bills according the percentage of income they earn (which in our case is 80% dad/20% mom), unless agreed otherwise by the parties. Well, mom agreed otherwise because she didn’t know the law really allowed her more than a 50%/50% agreement on medical bills and she didn’t have an attorney review the agreement to tell her that.

        • Wow.

        • yikes. I would not share this story at happy hour

        • Sounds like you landed a really great catch.

        • Anonforthis :

          My friends at happy hour know the full story and think we did the right thing.

          I know it sounds really really awful. But I promise there is tons more in play here and my husband really is doing what is best for his daughter. I’m afraid to give away too many details b/c the situation is so crazy I could easily out myself. A minor example is that mom refuses to pay for counseling for child so we pay for 100% of that and tutoring and other things that we know benefit child. The list is endless so I have no moral qualms about making mom cough up 50% of the cost of braces.

          • You know the situation obviously. But I would not have made my daughter’s health the hill to die on. You’ve just given her way more amo to dig in her heels. Your husband, or the combo of you and your husband obviously make way more. So if the dentist says she could probably use braces, half of that cost is obviously way more money to her than you. the reason the state law says is it should be percentage of income is because thats best for the child…

          • Anonforthis :

            Well, the household incomes are almost the same. It’s just that my (low) salary isn’t factored in to the calculations and neither is her current husband’s (high) salary because that’s the way it works in our state. They only look at mom and dad. So really the ability to pay is the same in practical terms.

            And it’s not the hill to die on. Mom was the one who brought up medical bills and asked that we agree to split them 50/50. We agreed. It’s not like we argued her down from a higher number or anything. My husband already pays 15% above the guideline in child support. If mom ever told us she couldn’t pay, we clearly would (see the earlier comments about therapy, tutoring, etc.).

            I was mainly trying to illustrate to the OP why it’s a good idea to pay for an attorney. 50/50 seemed fair to mom in this case because of all the facts in play but a lawyer would have told her that fair or not, she could get more.

          • Been There (more than once) :

            Dear Anonforthis:

            I fully understand that only you and your husband know what the right thing to do is and that you did it. One thing I have learned is that the reactions of others who do not have to live with the lying and the abuse can add insult (they think mom is sacrosanctly always goodness and light) to injury (you have to deal with her in the first place).

            I know it is hard. I’m sorry.

            Been There (more thank once)

        • I um. Wow, indeed. At least you know that sounds horrid.

        • Speaking as the daughter of a crazy, alcoholic mother – I wish my father had screwed her out of her alimony and child support (and fought her for custody). His trying to do the right thing doomed me to 13 years of hell living with her. Everyone who’s criticizing Anonforthis, don’t judge until you’ve been in her shoes.

  9. Can someone help me with a follow up email for my dream job? Ive never actually had to follow up with the status of my application. I applied two weeks ago through their genetic website application process and feel like I should send a brief “expressing my interest email” but I keep writing out like a full second cover letter

    • Have you interviewed there yet? I wouldn’t contact them if all you’ve done at this stage is apply.

      • all ive done is apply. is that the only time you send one of these emails? maybe thats why ive never done one before haha. i found the name of the director of the program and wanted to send a personal email but maybe i wont i dont want to bother her

      • Hmm. I know Ask a Manager says not to send an e-mail if you haven’t interviewed yet. On the other hand, the career services director at my law school has encouraged me to call up recruiting directors at law firms and ask if I could stop by at lunch to introduce myself. So, I don’t know, really. You could try sending an e-mail to introduce yourself and express your interest and perhaps try to meet the program director? Sorry I’m so unhelpful!

    • AnonInfinity :

      The thought of a “genetic website” made me chuckle. I was picturing you taking a cheek swab and putting it on one of those little finger print sensors and waiting to hear back.

      Aaaaanyway — To your real question — Ask A Manager has a great column about exactly this. Link in my next post to avoid moderation.

  10. I’m summering at a firm in DC, and I don’t know the proper etiquette – should I give my secretary a gift when I leave? She works for 4 other attorneys, and I’m her only summer (there are plenty of other summers in my office, but they have different secretaries). I’m still adjusting to even having a secretary, and I want to express my thanks for her help this summer. But a $25 Starbucks gift card seems trivial and/or like it might be insulting. Any better ideas? No gift at all?

    • I took mine to get coffee and gave her a card, and told how how grateful I was for her help and guidance during my summer (she was as much a mentor to me as my associate mentor was). I thought that was more heartfelt than just giving her a starbucks card, though it amounted to about the same thing price-wise. I thought about giving a gift but had no idea what would be appropriate. In hindsight, flowers might have been nice. Or chocolates, if your secretary likes chocolates.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        The risk of flowers is that it’s a visual display – if the other secretaries don’t get flowers, it can lead to resentment/jealousy of your secretary because she did. Secretary politics can be very complicated, so it’s better to not wade into that area without knowing the dynamics well. However, if all the summers get their secretaries flowers, that would be brilliant. Secretaries have the ear of their partners, and if you all got your secretaries flowers, that will show the entire class is thoughtful and appropriately appreciative, which the partners will see every time they walk past their secretaries’ desks. And their secretaries will tell them, too.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Mine would appreciate your thoughtfulness. $25 isn’t a lot on an attorney salary, but it might be a lot to her, as her salary is spread across lots of normal household obligations. $25 she can spend just on herself for something she likes but wouldn’t normally buy, like fancy coffee drinks, would probably be really appreciated.

    • Kontraktor :

      What about a selection of chocolates, tea, or coffee? I think a small item like that and a hand written card are nice ways to show appreciation for somebody without being over the top. I would write something like, “Dear Jane, it has been lovely working with you this summer. I appreciate all the help you have given me and hope to keep in touch.” Plus, DC has so many little shops that sell fun, artsy gourmet items that I am sure people would love to get and would find perfectly appropriate and kind.

    • Definitely a card thanking her for all her help this summer. A $25 gift card isn’t trivial. She makes less than you do and she knows you are in school and have student loans. I do like the flowers idea if you know enough about office politics.

      • Check out Chocolate Moose (i think it’s on 18th) and conn – they have great gifts, you could get her something funny/cute to put on her desk to make her smile!

  11. Absolutely love this top, but shipping is a little steep for just a t-shirt. Anyone have a code for free Brooks Brothers shipping?

    • They almost never do codes. It’s the biggest gripe I have with ordering from BB online.

      • Thanks for the heads up. Seems like a strange business model to make shipping more expensive when you buy more. This was going to be my first [this site] recommended purchase, but I guess it will have to wait!

  12. Trying again as my first attempt failed. Tech question: pulling my keyboard out, I pressed something that changed my screen display. I’ve tried messing around with settings to make the font larger to no avail. Thoughts on how to undo whatever I did?

  13. Frustrated and need help :

    I’m sorry I don’t want to be a downer on Friday but I think I need somebody who can help me by telling me what exactly I’m doing wrong. I don’t want to lose people anymore and be reasonably happy at 29.

    - I forgot how to be friends or make friends
    - I am nervous most of the times – foe eg. extremely self conscious when I go out for lunch with my colleagues about my table manners (but at the same time I’m quite proper when I go out with my husband or people I am comfortable with)
    - I think I appear confused and slow to other people – this is my perception but I think I’m right
    - I am quiet in company
    - I have these high lofty dreams about a great job, great friends, great body, living a fast life, but I’m stuck right on step 1. And when I hear about somebody who’s doing well at work, or out having fun with friends, I get depressed wondering why I’m this way
    - Sometimes I know what I need to do to improve myself like going to the gym, may be take a hobby class, but I never do it
    - Honestly, I’m not too clear about what I want out of life. I am not in a position to confidently say “THAT’S what I want to do”. Interests keep changing, and most of my interests are base don my mood. I go through these phases if you know what I mean

    I’ve just started doing these things over the last couple of years, don’t remember being this way before. May be there have been some incidents in the past (which are probably surfacing now) that probably made me self conscious and withdrawn.

    Do I go to a therapist? I’ve been living in US for the last 7 years (born and grew up in a different country), I’m afraid there may be some cultural difference in terms of expectations when I see a therapist.

    • Frustrated and need help :

      Thank you for your replies HereThere (thank you for your tip in step 3) and JJ

      • I think this is normal, esp. at this transitional age. When I feel out of sorts, I find that working on small things helps work on big things. E.g, it’s hard to make new friends overnight, but it’s easier to join a gym and force yourself to go 3 times a week and maybe take a class there (two birds with one stone!) … I think doing small things sets the wheels in motion and makes you feel more in control, which it sounds like you might benefit from feeling.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Hugs to you. I don’t have enough time to respond in full right now, but I will say that there are therapists that work well with patients who are from different cultural backgrounds, either because the therapist has that background too or because the therapist is experienced with that group. They often specifically include on their cv’s/websites that they are experienced in working with patients from particular cultural backgrounds. There is more diversity than you might expect – not all therapists are white, and not all of them are American from birth. And any good therapist will work with you to set expectations, not impose her expectations on you. Therapy can be so powerful and healing, so please don’t let your fear of cultural differences with therapists in general prevent you from finding one that fits with you.

    • Going to a therapist certainly can’t hurt. It would be a good opportunity to discuss your concerns with a neutral third-party.
      If you are worried about cultural differences, lay it all out on the table with the therapist/counselor/whatever. “Although I have lived in the US for 7 years, I am originally from [country]. In my culture, therapy is for [reason]. Can you tell me a little bit about your philosophy and what I can expect to get out of our sessions together?”
      Good luck!

      • This is great advice. And remember, it’s normal and okay to try different therapists if you don’t click with the first one after a few sessions.

    • I felt this way after I realized I needed to change my major during undergrad. I agree with the other commenters that there are therapists that will work with your expectations.

      For your changing interests, is there a common pattern? Like, are they all related to physical activity? Helping people/being around people? Creativity/art/music? If you can find a common theme, that might help you decide what you want to do. Are you just trying to find a career path, or more that you’re looking for hobbies? If the former, I found informational interviews to be very helpful during my time of indecision. If the latter, I’ve found that giving them all a try is worth it. Spend a season playing soccer, take one ceramics class, sign up for one summer of tap dancing lessons… whatever you choose in either respect doesn’t have to be permanent, and it’s fine to try a few things before you pick “the one”.

      As for taking a step, I would pick one thing that you can do today. Do that thing! It doesn’t have to be something big, but just one thing that you think would make your life better. Then, tomorrow, pick something else. Even if it’s just going to the gym for 10 minutes or having coffee with a friend, commit to doing just one thing.

      I’ve been there, and you can come out of it. I think it’s normal to feel a little wandering at times in your life, but it will get better!

    • I feel this way sometimes (well, often), too. I think you’re being a little bit hard on yourself – the way to find out what you want out of life is often just to go out and live life, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing that you’re still exploring or experimenting. I also think, based on some of the things you say here, that you might be an introvert, and for that I recommend reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain, which may help you understand your own temperament a little better (and help you see that there’s nothing wrong with it!)

      I also highly recommend The Happiness Project, which has a lot of insight and suggestions about how you can make yourself happier by working on little things.

      All of that being said, I understand feeling lost, and lonely, and a therapist can probably help you work through these feelings. Good luck and lots of hugs.

      • Second “The Happiness Project” book (and/or you can read the blog for free — it’s www dot happiness-project dot com) and also recommend both “Wishcraft” and “I Could Do Anything If Only I Knew What It Was” by Barbara Sher.

        I also agree with others’ suggestions to pick one small thing and do it — or pick one potential hobby and sign up and try it out. It’s very much okay to be a ‘scanner’ (someone who likes learning about a lot of different things rather than going deep into only one thing) — and it’s also okay to take time checking different things out and taking the time to figure out who you are and what you want your life to be. Many, many people need time and exploration to figure this out. And it’s even possible to enjoy the process . . . .

    • I get like this, too, and it takes me a looooooong time to remember what makes me happy. Too long. But the happiest times of my life were when I was helping other people, so whenever I get into a moody funk, I volunteer for something. It gives me the option of actively doing something while I think about what I *really* want to do. If I volunteer regularly enough, then I get built-in plans and eventually, built-in friends. So if you’d like to productively procrastinate in what you want to do with your life, maybe look into volunteering.

      • Second this! Join a thing, and then you’ll have 1) a thing to do regularly; 2) friends who do that thing too; 3) bonus points if it’s an athletic thing so you get in shape while doing it! I am on a softball team and it’s a great way to make friends outside of your regular life. And it’s no pressure. You don’t have to actively make plans to hang out with these people – you will see them every time you have a game.

    • I used to think like this, too, but realized a few years ago that it all boiled down to one thing : I was trying to be someone I wasn’t. I was trying to please a lot of people : acquaintances, family, people on the street, women’s press and, above all, I was trying to please ME.

      Not, I’ve come to term with a lot of things. I’m not a gym-goer, no matter what. I’ll never go spinning 3x a week unless I’m forced to ! I’m quiet and prefer to spend an evening reading than going to a noisy bar. I’m very picky about friends but am loyal to death. I’ll never have a fast life because that’s not the way I’m wired. I’ll spend my life hoping from hobby to hobby because my curiosity is bottom-less and I love trying new things. Food will always be a big part of my life, I’ll never be able to pick idly at my salad. Alas, I’ll never be able to be 100% vegetarian either :(

      I’d love to be this over-achieving woman who rules the world by day and spend the night clubbing with friends, or the one that can focus on one thing and devote her life to it, or the one that works out 5x a day, eats paleo and stays thin and fit no matter what. But I’ll never be, it’s not the way I am. I’m just going to be this woman travelling quietly through life, with ears and mind open, always learning new things, looking around and trying new ice cream flavors. In the mean time, I’ve, surprisingly, picked up a hobby that I *know* will follow me for a long time. *That* is me.

      • I could’ve written this word for word.

      • This is a great response. How wonderful it must be to be so comfortable with yourself.

        • I didn’t want to sound preachy – I’m a perfectionnist at heart, never satisfied, and often unhappy with the way I am – but I’m also very rational and noticed that, by trying to be someone else, I’ve been making myself miserable for decades with absolutely zero ROI.
          I’m also quite a few years older than the OP, that helps a lot :D

          • Oh, I didn’t meant to sound sarcastic! Actually, I can’t wait to be older, so I can grow into myself.

      • Kudos to you anon! I’m coming to the same conclusions about myself too!

      • Frustrated and need help :

        See, this is exactly where I want to get to. Be happy with what I am and genuinely improve wherever I can, instead of feeling miserable about not being able to be everything. It definitely sounds like you’ve reached your level of inner peace. I am a perfectionist in my mind too, and probably that explains a lot about my perception.

        You’ve really written this so well. I’m going to read this everyday just to remind myself that the first step to even try to achieve something is to stop feeling miserable.

      • I am kinda jealous of people who don’t need 8 hours of sleep.

        In my dream life, I can stay out late to dance and socialize, wake up early to exercise and feel well rested. In real life, only 2 out of 3 are possible.

    • There are therapists who can meet your cultural needs, assuming your country people exist where you live in large enough numbers. If you have insurance, you can look for familiar last names or people with experience with cultural difference issues. That’s what I did to search for a therapist, because ethnic identity can play a role in your perspective. Don’t get discouraged if the first person doesn’t work. For better or worse, sometimes your identity can play a role in their perspective of you, because my condition should have been diagnosed ages ago, but due to the stigma, some people may feel uncomfortable labeling you because they think you can’t handle it. I finally got it right with the 6th person.

      You CAN do this! It won’t be immediate or easy, but improving your well-being is worth working for.

    • Frustrated and need help :

      Hugs to everybody who replied to this thread.

      I’ll go for therapy. All this while, I thought I would be strong enough to set things right myself, but all I’m ended up with is lost time. Plus, going to therapy probably has nothing to do with being strong or weak.

  14. Impromptu SF Bay R e t t e Meetup this Sunday!

    I thought it would be fun to have an impromptu meetup this weekend, since the last one was so great! I am in the East Bay, so this is my little ad hoc plan for some summer street fair fun. (not that we apparently are getting a summer, but you know what i mean)

    Sunday, July 8
    12-6pm
    Temescal Street Fair
    Food, music, vendors, open art galleries!
    Telegraph Ave, btw 42nd & 51st Streets, Oakland
    Free

    Corporette meetup plan:
    I’ll be at Remedy Coffee (43rd & Telegraph) from 1pm-1:30pm, I will find a seating space either outside or just inside the front windows. Join us there to meet up, and then we can head out at 1:30 and hit the fair. Anyone who is coming later than 1:30pm, can text or call my cell phone to find us and meet up. I’ll be fairin’ till at least 5pm.

    Here is my email, if you have questions, or to get my cell # if you will be joining us! zoradances on google’s email service.

    MacArthur BART Is only a few blocks from our meeting point. If anyone is driving, I can help with parking advice, drop me an email.

    Ok, hope to see some of you on Sunday ;o)

    P.S. This does not preclude a more organized South Bay meetup soon. Feel free to contribute suggestions for meetup dates/locations to help organize.

  15. Impromptu SF Bay R e t t e Meetup this Sunday!
    I thought it would be fun to have an impromptu meetup this weekend, since the last one was so great! I am in the East Bay, so this is my little ad hoc plan for some summer street fair fun. (not that we apparently are getting a summer, but you know what i mean)

    Sunday, July 8
    12-6pm
    Temescal Street Fair
    Food, music, vendors, open art galleries!
    Telegraph Ave, btw 42nd & 51st Streets, Oakland
    Free

    [This website] meetup plan:
    I’ll be at Remedy Coffee (43rd & Telegraph) from 1pm-1:30pm, I will find a seating space either outside or just inside the front windows. Join us there to meet up, and then we can head out at 1:30 and hit the fair. Anyone who is coming later than 1:30pm, can text or call my cell phone to find us and meet up. I’ll be fairin’ till at least 5pm.

    Here is my email, if you have questions, or to get my cell # if you will be joining us! zoradances on google’s email service.

    MacArthur BART Is only a few blocks from our meeting point. If anyone is driving, I can help with parking advice, drop me an email.

    Ok, hope to see some of you on Sunday ;o)

    P.S. This does not preclude a more organized South Bay meetup soon. Feel free to contribute suggestions for meetup dates/locations to help organize.

    • Yay! Thanks Zora! You are wonderful!

      • Kontraktor :

        karenpadi, maybe there will be some art we can look for? I remember you saying you wanted stuff for your office. And I need (clearly need) some vintage or interesting glass pieces for my table and hutch. I hope you can come!

    • SF Bay Associate :

      I can’t make it this weekend, but I totally love that you set this up. I love that area of Oakland too. So many tasty things over there! Have fun, ladies!

      • :o) well, it’s summer (sort of) and there will be LOTS more free things going on all over the bay, so maybe we can do a few more!

    • Nice work, zora. I won’t be able to join this Sunday as I’ll be singing with the SFS and Symphony Chorus at Stern Grove — y’all have a blast!

      • Dude, Amy H., that is sooooo much cooler, i’m going to be thinking of you on Sunday and being so jellus!! break a vocal chord! And, hopefully we can come up with another one soon that you can make it to. ;o)

  16. In a slump :

    TJ: i am in my mid-40′s and have had bad posture my entire life. People tell me to stand up straight, but my body won’t physically do that – if I try to stand straight, I can never quite get there and I’m in agony. I’ve tried posture pillows, a few exercises (none for a long enough time to make a difference), some PT (which helped some with the pain but didn’t really change my posture), and I’m at a loss. Am I just stuck with my slump or has anyone tried anything that is truly effective for combating bad posture?

    • Sounds like you might need to build up your core muscles. Crunches alone won’t do it. You need to exercise all the muscles in your torso. Things like planks can be very good for this. Maybe do some googling for core strengthening exercises. I also just noticed your comment “none for a long enough time to make a difference.” You do have to stick with it, but if you can find some really effective exercises, you may start feeling and seeing a difference sooner than you think and that may motivate you to continue. I take a weight-lifting class that features about 15 minutes of abs work, and I have to say that since I’ve been taking the class I’ve essentially had no back problems.

      I’ll also throw this out there – ballet. It can be really good for teaching you how you to align your body so you aren’t slumping, or, in my case, standing like a sway-backed toddler. It can be tricky to find good adult classes and can be sort of tedious and slow in the beginner stages, but it is a good way to develop good posture. I find ballet much more fun than yoga, but a lot of people probably find yoga to be effective for this sort of thing, too.

    • Have you tried something like yoga to stretch and strenghen your core muscles? That might help

    • I once took a really good mat-based Pilates class for several months, which really helped me with my back pain. I would look for small group Pilates reformer classes or your area’s version of Bar Method/Dailey Method/Physique 57/etc. All these kinds of classes have also really helped me strengthen my core and stay pain-free.

      • Anonymous Poser :

        Second the Pilates.
        I’ve had posture issues all my life and still do, but I’ve just started Pilates at a gym (with a certified instructor), and could tell a difference after just a handful of classes.

        Standing at the counter cutting vegetables? Oh, hey–those are my core muscles engaging! Hello! Where have you been these past four decades…?

        It seems to be working better than yoga did for me, for building up core muscles. And it’s fairly easy for me to keep doing, since I enjoy classes. Any good teacher will show you how to adapt the exercises while your weak core muscles catch up. Even the simplest things were still a workout for me a few weeks ago.

    • ChocCityB&R :

      I have posture problems too, and I haven’t figured out a solution, so I’m subscribing to see what others say.

    • If I’m picturing this right, it sounds like your shoulders curve forward. That can be caused by hunching over a computer all day – tight, smaller chest muscles and longer upper back muscles. Do you have a thick foam roller from your p/t? If so, spend some time on it. Hold your head between your hands (like sit up style) and slowly ease the roller down from the base of your neck to your bra strap line, pausing to let the muscles release. It will hurt.

      I’d also take the roller and lie on it vertically, so that it aligns with your spine. Then hold your arms out wide ways and make them into a W shape. Lay like that for a minute if you can. It will release your chest muscles. While you do that, squeeze in your core, helps align everything.

      Hope some of these made sense. You can also do shoulder stretches in a door frame, by bending your arm and placing your forearm along the wall. Let the rest of your body move forward through the door. Stretches out the chest.

      You may need to strengthen your chest muscles and upper back. I’d google “y lifts” – you basically lay on your stomach with your arms out in a Y position and lift your arms up and down. There are lots of variations to try to hit at the little muscles.

      Good luck!

    • Welcome to my world. According to my trainer, it’s all about training the muscles in the core to actually support the skeleton. When the muscles are too weak to support the skeleton, the ligaments take over. According to my massage therapist, when the ligaments take over, and with sitting in a computer desk all day, the shoulders are pushed forward and up.

      I see a trainer 4x per week and a massage therapist every 3 weeks to try to correct this. I saw a lot of improvement in my first month with the trainer. We do a lot of core and shoulder work. Body weight exercises (like calisthenics) and weightlifting really help.

      If you can’t get into the “right” posture, it’s a warning sign. Posture comes with time and hard work to improve strength and flexibility.

    • Without knowing precisely what your issues and limitations are, nobody can really give you specific advice for your body. But generally, if these are options for you, I’d look into

      (1) open/beginner adult ballet classes,
      (2) one-on-one Pilates sessions with an experienced instructor,
      (3) a really good chiropractor,
      (4) a really good orthopedist who specializes in back and spine issues, especially if you’re in pain (to assess structural issues),
      (5) seriously, ballet.

      Good luck!

      • PS Strength and stability training (core, chest, back, external rotators, etc.) are all well and good, but if you’re not doing functional work, you’re not integrating any of that strength or stability into your day-to-day life outside the gym. Developing strength without learning how to use it, or without retraining bad muscular habits, isn’t really going to get you anywhere.

      • anonynonynon :

        I have to strongly disagree with the chiropractor advice. I know people have faith in them, but so many people end up in the hospital with terrible back injuries because of seeing a chiropractor and need corrective surgery — the very thing they seek to avoid by visiting a chiropractor in the first place. I’m certainly not a healthcare provider and don’t expect to be the anonymous internet that changes anyone’s strongly-held beliefs, but there are easily searchable peer-reviewed studies concluding that the good caused by chiropractors is outweighed by the harm.

        Pilates, ballet, and weightlifting are all excellent suggestions and don’t have peer reviewed studies suggesting that they hurt people. I was hit by a car at a young age and have had lifelong chronic back pain. Weightlifting and stretching have gone a long way to alleviate them. A common misperception is that the ‘core’ consists only of the abs — the muscles in the front and the back are both important to good posture.

    • Have you seen a physical therapist or a really good massage therapist about it? The back is a very complex piece of mechanics, and sometimes the problem is not situated where the symptom is. For me, a lot of slouch disappeared when a physical therapist simply told me to tilt back my pelvis! She also did a thourogh examination of my spine and gave me specific exercises to counter the problems.

      So go see some kind of back specialist who can figure out what makes your particular body slouch, that´s my advice.

      • In a slump :

        Thanks for all the responses – I think I may have seen better results had I stuck it out with my PTist but she and I didn’t gel, so I dropped out. Very good suggestions, all, particularly about focusing on the core muscles, which are sort of sitting here idle most of the time. I appreciate all of your suggestions.

    • Alexander technique gives people fantastic posture also.

    • Barre method? Yoga and pilates also are great for this. But you have to really stick with it. Going to four or five classes are not going to help in the long term.

  17. Can someone recommend a family law primer (practical and not theory)?

    • Can you give a little more information on what you want it for? In my experience, it’s really hard to find good comprehensive practice books– I usually have to start with a theory book and go from there– but if you have a specific issue, folks might have good recs. Also, family law is incredibly jurisdiction-specific, which also makes it hard to find good practice guides.

  18. The sleeves on this tee ruin it utterly. I have seen it instore and tried it on.
    Might look good on a size zero but I doubt it.

  19. Spanx Noob :

    I’m buying my first Spanx today… think I’m going with the Higher Power underwear. Any words of wisdom?

  20. Venting/self-pity moment. My co-worker “friends” forgot me and left for lunch. I had checked with one of them not 15 minutes prior to see what the plan was, and even saw him as we both stopped at the restrooms before going to the elevators to meet everyone downstairs. I guess I took a few minutes longer? Result is I’m sitting at my desk, feeling like crying, eating the random cold cuts I keep in my office fridge. I hated high school, and this feels like we’re right back to it! Ugh :(.

    • Throw those cold cuts away – and take yourself out to lunch! Go somewhere that’s your favorite or a place you’ve been wanting to try. Then, maybe 5 minutes of window shopping. It’s Friday – give yourself a nice break and treat yourself. Screw them if they are too inconsiderate to include you for lunch. Enjoy your own company. If you were in Chicago, I’d take you out. :)

    • :o( I completely know how it feels to feel all left out and sad. Commiseration and (((((Hhugggss))))) … i would eat lunch with you if I worked in your office!

    • If you didn’t take yourself to lunch, take yourself our for a fancy coffee drink or milkshake (just discovered Potbelly milkshakes!) this afternoon. I know it feels like high school, which I also hated, but just remind yourself that it was not intentional…unless your office actually is high school clique-y, in which case, I’m sorry.

      • LOVE Potbelly malts. I might have to get one on my way to the Metro (don’t worry DC metro no-food-on-the-metro people; I’m sure it will have melted away to nothing in the 4 blocks it takes me to walk there). What a perfect Friday treat!!

    • AnonInfinity :

      I also feel hurt sometimes when I realize that the lunch regulars go without me. Like someone below said, it probably really wasn’t intentional. A couple of weeks ago, my group of regulars accidentally left someone at the office and didn’t realize it until we’d already gotten our food. Oops. But it still sucks to be the one who was left, even when it’s an accident.

    • Thanks so much, ‘rettes :). I ended up taking a long lunch at HomeGoods and picking up some lovely decorating items (re-doing the bf/my bedroom), then working from home. Feeling much better after the long weekend, and after the wonderful support from you! Xo!

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