Tuesday’s TPS Report: Ansford Three-Button Wool Blazer

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

Lauren by Ralph Lauren Jacket, Ansford Three-Button Wool BlazerI was in Macy’s the other day and immediately fell in love with this blazer. It’s a bright, saturated purple wool blazer, so it has color and texture. Love the fit, and the pockets. Gorgeous. It’s $260 at Macy’s in “oxford berry” and orange (Nordstrom has it in petites as well). Lauren by Ralph Lauren Jacket, Ansford Three-Button Wool Blazer

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Comments

  1. Wardrobe Malfunction :

    Help! I biked to work today and now am having a wardrobe malfunction. It wasn’t raining but the roads were wet, resuting in a HUGE wet spot on the back of my pants. I blotted with paper towels, but that didn’t do much. There are no air dryers anywhere nearby. I don’t have a change of pants but I do have a long sweater which covers it up. How am I supposed to work all day sitting essentially in a wet puddle? Best solution I’ve come up with so far is to point my space heater in that general direction and hope for the best.

    • Is it the back of your legs? Or your butt?

      Two options:
      (1) put paper towels in between your pants and your butt
      (2) buy new pants :)

      Depending on the fabric it might dry pretty quickly.

    • Exagerrate :

      Ummmm, what type of magical pants do you have that will not dry within the course of the day? And is it your butt that’s wet, and if so, isn’t that from sweat not wet roads?

      • Wardrobe Malfunction :

        Ha! I wish I was exaggerating. They are thick cotton khakis, usually take hours to air dry…and that’s when I’m not sitting on them. And no, not sweat. It was water the tire kicked up from the puddles. So there’s grit and dirt mixed in too, which is making the wet spot problem worse. Any seasoned bikers know how to prevent this in the future?

        • Sydney Bristow :

          I think buying new pants might be the best option in this situation the. New York & Co are having a buy 1 get 1 free sale on pants right now.

        • Would fenders help? I have a rack on the back of my bike, and I’ve found that my back doesn’t get too dirty when I have a bag on the rack (the rack itself and the bag do get dirty).

          I would put some paper towels or newspaper in between your underwear and the pants. Since you have the long sweater, I wouldn’t worry about how it looks.

      • before you snark, have you ever ridden a bike through a puddle? the tire kicks water up your back.

      • Cornellian :

        Yeah… it doesn’t even take a puddle, just wet roads, to make my lower back (if I’m lucky, my entire back) sopping wet and dirty. Have you ridden a bike? No need to be nasty about it.

      • SpaceMountain :

        Hello, bicycle fenders.

        • Push it real good :

          +1

          Bike fenders are a given if you are riding your bike to work in work clothes in my book.

          • Cornellian :

            I think I maybe need new fenders, then. I have fenders, and somehow still manage to cover my ponytail in gravel and water.

          • Annoyingly many fenders are actually not long enough to really do the job. My SO added mud flaps to my fenders (making them around 3 inches longer) and that’s helped a lot.

        • SF Bay Associate :

          We called that wet area the “freshman stripe” at my college.

          • Yes, this was affectionately know as “Booty Stripe” at my college too. Fenders are really the only solution if the pavement is wet and you don’t want to be too.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Can you stand at your desk for awhile why they dry? If you can find a box, you could it your monitor and keyboard up on it and temporarily have a standing desk.

    • Do you have 1) a door you can close and 2) any larger maxi pads (maybe there is a machine in your bathroom or a CVS near by)?

      If you reverse the pads so that they are facing your pants (may do a layer inside pants and a layer on your chair so they are absorbing from both sides), they will start soaking up the water. You can replace as needed.

      • Wardrobe Malfunction :

        OK, that is brilliant. I can make it till lunch and just run out for new pants on my break. You guys are the best. The funniest part of this is that I was riding behind a guy who had the exact same “wet spot” issue and I was kind of giggling at him because it looked so silly. Joke’s on me!

    • Cornellian :

      if you have shorts to work out in or something, maybe you can take your pants off at work and hang them in front of the heater for a half hour? Good luck!

    • If you start riding to work regularly, invest in some decent fenders. Seriously, they are amazing.

      • Yup. I have fenders, a chain guard and a skirt guard/coat protector, and it keeps this sort of problem to a minimum. (Oh, and a seat cover I use if the seat has got wet while I wasn’t cycling.)

        All vital for the regular-clothes cyclist!

    • Do you have a gym in your building? It might have hairdryers in it. Otherwise, I’d probably close my office door and put up a “do not disturb” sign (probably people will think you’re on a call or something), take my pants off, and hang them to dry for an hour or so.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        That would be my suggestion as well if your office door shuts and locks. You could even take off the pants and wrap the sweater around your waist while working seated at your desk and put the pants back on to move about.

  2. Anon for this :

    Cleaning Lady Threadjack:

    My CL was supposed to come yesterday. I had to go home at lunch and was confused because my house had not been clean, but the check for the CL was no longer there. I texted my CL to see if she was there and she responded that she was at my house, got a call that a family member died, and had to catch a plane. She apologized and said she should have texted sooner and that she was at the airport then. Meanwhile this was around 1 p.m. and she usually comes around 9 a.m. What would you do? I hate to get rid of her because nothing has ever been missing from my house and I fear that, but I think this is a little over the top. She also texted that she would come on Wednesday.

    • kerrycontrary :

      If she’s telling the truth (and you didn’t mention any reason not to trust her), then why is this a big deal? Her family member died! The last thing shes going to think about doing is texting you. Best case scenario-she always puts the check in her purse first thing so she doesn’t forget it. Worst case scenario-she stole from you, so you can put a hold on the check through your bank until Wednesday.

    • Does she do a good job cleaning your house? Is she otherwise reliable? Has she ever broken anything? If you’re happy with her cleaning services otherwise, I would let her come on Wednesday and keep working with her for now, but fire her if another weird / unreliable thing happens in the future. If she’s generally unreliable and this is just an example, I’d definitely fire her and find someone else.

    • hellskitchen :

      I would give her the benefit of doubt until Wednesday and see if she shows up or texts/calls you. If she doesn’t then it might be time to let her go. Family emergencies usually make people frazzled and she may not have been thinking straight or logically enough to let you know.

    • If she generally does a good job and you like her, maybe cut her some slack this once. After all, lots of people aren’t in their right minds when a family member dies. See what happens Wednesday but again, the death of a close family member might throw anyone off for a week, right?

      As an example, if her normal routine is to pocket the check, then clean, and she got the call just as she was about to start, she probably booked it out of there and didn’t think about it.

      I agree that it’s a little extreme though (do people really run directly to the airport after they hear of a death? ), and she could have left a note if she had been thinking clearly. If she has a history of excuses, maybe it’s time to get new help.

    • I would wait to see if she comes on Wednesday. She should have texted you when she was leaving your house, but if someone in her family died whom she was close to, it’s understandable that she was upset and not thinking clearly. As far as the time gap, maybe she had to go home, throw some things in a suitcase, pick up another relative, etc? I think the time thing is fishy, but I would give her the benefit of the doubt. It’s unlikely she took the check and figured you wouldn’t notice she hadn’t cleaned- and given that she said she would come on Wednesday, it’s not like she’s just disappeared into thin air after taking your money.

      • Exagerrate :

        And I do not think the time thing is fishy at all if she had to buy a ticket and maybe flights are full, etc. and she was on the phone with grieving relatives or friends and making funeral arrangements.

    • Exagerrate :

      I’m sorry, but you sound like the most unreasonable B&*$&) if her family member died and she ran to catch a plane and promised to come and do the job later in the week.

      You know that whole, “treat others how you wish to be treated” thing about life and karma. . .

      Seriously!?!?!? (Super angry you are even considering firing someone because their family member died)

      • Anon for this :

        That was pretty harsh! Simmer down. I’m sorry for not giving more facts but I just wanted to see everyone’s take.

        Does she clean – yes. Does she do it well – ehh. Does she cancel sometimes, yes, but that’s not usually a problem. Once she texted me asking for $200 to replace her vaccuum but I think she sent it to the wrong person – who knows, I found it odd and didn’t respond.

        • Exagerrate :

          You said her family member died, she usually does a great job, and she took the money and promised to come back in a few days to clean and you are considering firing her over it.

          I don’t get how my response is harsh when I think your whole take on the situation is appalling. Have you ever had a family member die? You don’t sit around thinking “oh let me text this one lady whose house I clean as I am crying and trying to arrange funeral things and possibly have to make calls to other family members and catch a flight”

          • Anon for this :

            I’m sorry, but you just seem angry. I would never say she does a great job, put simply, she doesn’t. In fact several friends had her as their CL and got someone else because she was always cancelling, doing a very mediocre job, etc. I kept her because I want to support her vs. a large company and because the mediocre job and multiple cancellations didn’t bother me too much. Plus, this is certainly not the first, second or third time she has had an emergency in the 2 years I have had her.

            In short, I found it suspect that absolutely nothing had been cleaned and the check was gone. That’s just plain odd to me.

            Also – I sincerely hope your day gets better. All the best.

          • Exagerrate :

            And I sincerely hope you one day realize that if you are ever in a situation where you are grieving and shocked a family member dies and your supposed to clean the queen’s house that day and you run to the airport and promise to do it in a few days that someone cuts you some slack.

            Karma – and man do I not want to know or associate with someone who even considers firing a cleaning lady because they had a death in the family (do you not read that and realize how incredibly horrible that makes you sound. . . like a real housewife meets the older southern rich ladies in the movie the HELP”

          • To be fair, her handle is Exagerrate. Fitting, no?

          • Not to step into the fray here, but I think what OP is getting at is that this person has otherwise been flaky / unreliable with sketchy cancellations, and I do think that fairly raises some skepticism about whether there was ACTUALLY a death in the family. For example, if my rock solid, amazing, depend-on-her-for-anything paralegal suddenly dropped the ball and had to run out of town for a death in the family, I would give her all the space she needed and send flowers and kind emails and make sure she was ok when she came back to work. But if a flaky intern who is always “sick” or “stuck in traffic” or otherwise constantly being late or not showing up suddenly had a “death in the family,” I would be skeptical and not give her as much slack. Perhaps that makes me a heartless person, but it’s just the way it is.

            And perhaps there’s a lesson here to all of us about building good capital at work so that when you do need to pull an emergency parachute, your employer cuts you some slack.

          • Exagerrate, I agree with you.

            My cleaning lady has canceled last minute a few times–no big deal. I auto-send her check via the bank every two weeks so she still “gets paid” even if she doesn’t show. I’d guess the CL pockets the check first so she doesn’t forget/get it wet or messy.

            If I received a call that a family member died, I’d book it out of work too. I’d be in no condition to do much beyond booking a plane ticket.

            If the CL has been otherwise reliable, it’s really mean and self-centered to consider firing her for a family death. We’re all human and could be hit with a similar emergency at any time without warning.

          • Hive Mind :

            Can we all focus on the real issue here? Exaggerate’s user name is SPELLED INCORRECTLY.

          • powerfish :

            Exagerrate’s a troll. [Her] grammar is too poor.

      • All your blathering about karma and you’re running around calling someone a B—-. If you seriously believe that, then here’s karma coming back at you. *You’re the out of control b—- here and you have added nothing of value to the conversation by being misleading.

        The OP isn’t trying to fire the cleaning lady because her relative died, the OP merely acknowledges that it’s an option because the check was taken but no work was done.

        That’s a legitimate concern, which may or may not be acceptable depending on how things turn out on Wednesday. The OP doesn’t owe it to you to react and feel the way you want her to feel.

        • LOUD NOISES!

        • Woah, I kind of agree with Exaggerate and am quite shocked at the pushback. The original post said nothing about this being usual behavior and questioned if she should fire the lady who offered to come back 2 days later because of her excuse that a family member died.

          And the OP asked for how others feel, and exaggerate felt that the OP was being Harsh in even considering firing someone. The OP then gets upset that exaggerate said she sounded B&#&chy, which I completely agree with exaggerate on.

          Cleaning ladies are not making big bucks in a glamorous job saving the universe and all, so they should be able to take a few days off for a death.

          • gotta agree w puddles & exaggerate :

            I read this & thought “gee, I’m glad I don’t work for Hilly Hollbrook”

          • Completely agree.

          • I totally agree with this.

          • I agree with Exaggerate. I’m not shocked though because I’ve sadly seen a lot of people almost immediately scream “FIRE HER” for not cleaning up after them for a pittance wage during a family emergency. Get some perspective, people.

        • Considering OP’s attitude, I seriously doubt the “missing” check amounts to a whole lot of money..
          If I was the CL, I’d go back to work on Wednesday just to wipe the slate, spit in everything in her fridge, piss in her shoes, and find myself another job. A good Cl should have a lot less trouble finding another employer than OP would ever have, they’re actually in demand.

      • Cornellian :

        You don’t strike me as someone full of good will and empathy for other human beings, I have to say.

        to the OP, it is a bit weird that she took the check. you could place a hold on it, of course. It sounds like maybe you should have terminated this relationship prior to this point. I think Fiona (below) is right that when you build up “reliable good worker” credits, employers will cut you slack on this. Now you and the cleaning woman are in a sort of unfortunate, untrusting situation. I’d put a hold on the check and see on Wednesday what happens.

      • My interpretation of the original post was “hey, does this seem fishy to you?” (and, yes, it does) – not “hey, do you think it’s cool to fire someone for having a death in the family?”

        No need to call names, Exagerrate – especially if you are such a big believer in the Golden Rule!

    • I actually agree that you are being way too harsh and jumping to immediate conclusions that she is lying. Cut her some slack, she never stole, and said she’d be back in a few days.

    • I would wait to see what happens. It sounds like you are not thrilled with her generally, but I would not fire someone over this, unless you have proof that she isn’t telling the truth about having an emergency. Try to separate your feelings about her generally from this. If someone posted on here that she got fired because she had to leave work for a family emergency, would anyone think that her boss was justified in firing her for it if she was a less-than-stellar employee generally?

      After this, if she continues to do a mediocre job (do you ask her to focus on specific things, and she doesn’t?) and is flakey, go ahead and look for someone new. It’s hard to find someone that you trust and to start working with a new cleaning person, so I would definitely consider those factors when thinking about whether it’s really worth it to you to find someone else. I also try to support a smaller cleaning service, and you have to realize that things come up, and because you’re not using a giant company, they cannot just send another crew if the person is sick or has something come up.

      • Anon for this (aka OP) :

        Thank you for all the helpful replies. Yes, you are all right that getting rid of someone simply for taking the check and not cleaning because of a death would be extremely harsh and a terrible thing to do. I agree 100%. I felt icky because I didn’t like having to track her down to see what happened. Had she simply texted me first or left a short note – I wouldn’t have minded. And yes, you are all also correct if she was stellar and dependable before this, I would not give it a second thought. Unfortunately, that has not been my experience. But thanks again for making me feel ok about keeping her. I won’t place a hold on the check and we’ll just see how things go from here. I also texted to wish her well and tell her my thoughts are with her and her family.

        But thanks again for making me feel like I am not being taken advantage of. I have a bad habit of being too nice (I know some above posters would not be able to believe it) and i just wanted to make sure keeping her was rational. Thanks again and great day to all!

    • I had a cleaning LADY that was so good at cleaneing that she took alot of thing’s that did NOT belong to her. Right now, I do NOT have anyone b/c I have alot of expense’s and can clean myself without looseing anything. FOOEY!

      Jim keep’s calling about the HSR form, BUT he refuse’s to EVEN give us the name of the “target” companie! He said its’ confiendenial, so he will compelete it HIMSELF after we return him the form.

      The manageing partner is pusheing Frank very hard to get the form compeleted by tomorow. Yay!!!!

      But the manageing partner want’s us to bill Jim’s company for all of it THIS month. FOOEY!

      What make’s it worst yet is that the manageing partner told me NOT to bill more then 10 hours for all of the reserch and advise I have given to Frank, so I have worked 2 whole days for NOTHEING on this! FOOEY on the manageing partner for makeing me work for notheing! I am SURE Jim would have paid me, and now I have to bill even more to my other cleint’s this month.

      I am going to stick to litiegation and my WC cases where NO one can make me work for notheing! I am also NOT going to use my Iphone anymore for work or for sendeing emails! Doubel Fooey!

    • It seems strange to me that she would be getting on a plane yesterday and be back by Wednesday. It takes a while to make arrangements for a funeral, but maybe she’s just going to support the family for a day? It just seems like a very quick turn around.

      • That part doesn’t come across as so strange to me. We don’t know enough about her entire family situation– maybe she has other obligations (kids who need to be looked after and who have school schedules) that require her to turn around and come back after a day.

      • Depending on the religion, they may have funerals the next days. Religions that don’t allow embalming (e.g. Islam or Judaism) generally have to have the body buried within 24 hours.

    • You’re considering firing her because she had a death in her family and, in her rush to get home to visit them, didn’t put texting you at the very tippity top of her priority list?

      I’m glad you’re not my boss. Jeez.

      • But she took the check. That’s weird.

        • Exaggerate :

          Not necessarily. If I was a cleaning lady the first thing I would do when I showed up was put the check somewhere safe so I (1) didnt accidentally put it away with other papers when cleaning, (2) get it knocked on the floor or lost while cleaning, (3) make sure I did not forget it (as I am a cleaning lady and not rolling in money), and (4) I have to wipe and clean down the counters. . . so I must remove the papers from the area before I clean them.

          • And when I abruptly leave some place, I typically let interested parties know. Coworker experienced sudden family death, so he poked into my office to let me know to handle project x, informed the admin on his way out the door and called the boss within a half hour.

            I don’t think it is out of the line of exepectation to scratch a note that says, “Family emergency, will be in contact.”

        • No it’s not. She probably picked up the check before she got the phone call about the death. If she stopped at the bank to cash it on her way to the airport, that would be weird.

      • Anon in ATX :

        I agree with Walnut, the issue is that she did not tell you what was happening. Would you run out of your office building without telling your boss where you were going in this situation? If yes, then give her a pass. If no, then I think you have a legit complaint. Probably not worth firing, but maybe a head’s up, like hey, if you need to leave for whatever reason, just let me know first.

        just my 2cents

  3. Getting Grounded is AWESOME :

    [Long work TJ]

    Until recently, I travelled frequently for work. On average, I would spend 12 hours of my work week in the air, and countless other hours dealing with other travel related things (rental cars, waiting around airports, getting to hotels, etc).

    Our company recently declared a temporary “tightening of the belt” on travel, of which I (and my department) am trying to be mindful. Cutting out what I deem (and, frankly, have always deemed) unnecessary travel HAS FREED UP SO MANY HOURS OF MY LIFE.

    I now find myself with less than 40 hours a week of work to do. I have always worked very hard, and my reviews are great. People around I work with think I’m busy. But the truth of the matter is, without dedicating a full day each week to travel, I have at least 12 extra hours in my week!
    When not travelling, I work remotely. My boss is in our west coast office, and my team is in our Chicago office. So I am still getting all my work done, and nobody is sitting around watching me hang on [this site] for a few hours each week.

    Question: do I just kick back and enjoy this? I hate to say it, but I kind of “deserve” a break after a full year of flying out Sundays, giving up my weeknights to run off to the far corners of the country to do presentations to, for, and with clients that would have been just as good if done remotely. (FWIW,webex meetings are widely accepted and practiced in my industry—my company just bucks this trend).

    I’ve been considering talking to my boss and letting her know I’ve got more time on my hands…but I know exactly what will happen once travel picks up again…I’ll be swamped and will have to give up any non-travel free time on these new projects.

    HELP ME JUSTIFY MY SLACKERDOM! (Or don’t). For the record, without the new policy, I would have had to get up at 4:30am to make a 6am flight to St Louis this morning, attend a 10am meeting, and hop back on a plane home, landing at 7:45pm. But it’s just after 9 and I’m enjoying a second cup of coffee, answering some emails.

    • If you have been routinely getting up at 4:30 to make flights or leaving Sunday to make flights——YOU DESERVE TO SIT AROUND AND DO NOTHING FOR A WHILE! Yes, browse Corporette. Yes, clean your closets. Yes, take a walk while there is nice weather. Yes…..relax and enjoy-you’ve earned it!

    • Enjoy it! Prep your life for when travel picks up again. Are there routines that would make the time spent in the air more efficient? Have you been meaning to consolidate airline miles or hotel points? Organize your files so they are more easily accessible? Learn a new program or do research that you don’t normally have the headspace to do?

    • Yes! Enjoy yourself and your free time – as you said, it might not last forever! My suggestion would be to enjoy it until you don’t anymore, meaning if you find yourself bored or wishing you had more going on, then make a change, but for now have another cup of coffee and relax!

    • I went through this when I changed jobs and had a more regular schedule. I felt like I was cheating because I wasn’t getting home at 10PM. Take a breath and enjoy the freedom. Do things you have been putting off because of all the travel. Take up a hobby, try cooking more/working out more/whatever your little heart wants.

      And to make you feel better, you aren’t slacking, you are readjusting to a new paradigm.

    • Honey Pillows :

      Are you going to be slacking forever, or is this just a lull? I would enjoy the time for a week or two, see if you can’t find a project that will take up your time, and provide some kind of tangible benefit to the company. After that, I’d go ahead and say something.

      • Getting Grounded is AWESOME :

        Not forever. Plus, I’m still doing my job, it’s just being done more from home instead of in front the client which makes me way more efficient and the lack of travel (and lack of having to deal with doing my work in an airport lounge…)

        I just have 3 extra hours each day!

        • Honey Pillows :

          If you can be at home, I am all for doing yoga, organizing shoes, knitting a sweater, whatever. I was thinking you were at work those extra three hours a day, and as much as I love [this site], I have a hard time spending three hours on it a day. I must’ve missed the part where you said you’re at home.

          I am all kinds of the green eyed monster that you can work remotely when not traveling.

    • Kick back and enjoy it! You’ve earned it. Treat yoself! Work out, see friends, do all the stuff you enjoy. Or just mundane stuff like laundry and cleaning your house.

    • Enjoy your hard-earned semi-break.
      If the company provides any online training of interest to you – take it.

    • This doesn’t sound like slackerdom to me. It sounds like your working conditions just improved, at least temporarily, and that you should enjoy it! Unless you get bored, as someone else said, in which case you could ask for more work, but I don’t think you’re obligated to do that.

      • Getting Grounded is AWESOME :

        Thing is, I work at home. If I get bored, I can go out in the garden. Not going to lie, I had a 3 hour conference call yesterday that I took from the garden. I got a LOT of weeding done while listening to an entire IT team get chewed out by their boss. (I was just there for a piece of the call but had to stay the whole time. Ugh.) Would have otherwise had to sit there in person.

    • I say enjoying a relative lull is completely legit; you can’t control the crazy times so take advantage of the less crazy. The pace will pick up again. That said, there is probably something you can fill the empty hours with – I used to catch up on all my piles of business reading on planes, and with a similar travel ban for belt tightening found I never got back to it – maybe spend a few hours a week on education and related research and readings? I say as long as you’re putting in an honest week’s work (and not necessarily at your 60-hour week pace, but an onset 40 or so) enjoy the relative sanity.

    • Tell your boss you have too much free time? Are you insane? Just kick back and enjoy it. Trawl c*tte and go buy yourself some new shoes. In fact, spruce up the resume and see whether you could find a job that’d allow you to do the same with less travel, since as you know that’s becoming the norm now. Then when the belt loosens up and your boss wants to ship you out again, you’ll be able to argue more convincingly that you don’t want to.
      No, seriously, do some stuff like technical upgrades to your video conferencing setup and so on, researching options for better communications, and make a big deal of how much you can do of your usual duties without ever leaving the office. Look up skype advice on askamanager.org and practice. Then when the belt loosens you’ll be able to argue convincingly that this much travel was unnecessary to begin with, even counterproductive.
      PS: if you have to get up at 4:30 to go to a full day’s work, they should be shipping you out the night before and springing for a comfortable hotel room.

  4. DVF dress -- update :

    I loved the blue & white DVF dress that was featured here back in the spring. I had a pretty-dress need and splurged on it. I loved it when I tried it on and kept it (FWIW, I had to order — only bloomie’s and DVF’s website had that color combination).

    At first, I thought: no cami needed. Then, for a public wearing where I had a toddler in tow, I added a little bra-ette thingie (was it ever needed). Later, I have added a full-bore camisole. The good alterations people in town won’t touch it (I am a size or so smaller on top, so too much fabric, especially if I slouch).

    Yesterday: borrowing on my friends’ skills with sari wraping, I have tucked and secured the fabric in front with a small internal binder clip hidden in fabric on its way to the knot. I was pleased with the results (but not at having to do them), but this is my most expensive craft project ever (and yet I am thinking that perhaps I could add fashion tape to my arsenal).

    • google miss oops b00b tubes. i wear them under everything, including wrap dresses and deep v necks

      • DVF dress -- update :

        Ha — I think I had something similar when I was pregnant for the waistband area. Should have saved and repurposed.

        The DVF issue is not just the boob flash, but to keep the extra fabric in check (think of the too-loosely tied robe look on top). I was thinking of something akin to a kilt pin, but didn’t want to start stabbing the fabric.

        • could you add a small button (with a thread loop rather than a buttonhole) to help keep the criss/cross part on top fastened? That’s going to work best where you have a seam or stitching to hide the stitching. And you’ll want to try to position the loop so that gravity or body movement works to keep the button in the loop, rather than helping it escape. (If that makes sense.)

          That might even be something to ask the alterations people about, if you haven’t already discussed. It shouldn’t involved any major changes to the dress, and could probably be easily removed, if you wanted, but would help keep things buttoned up. :)

      • i blogger who i used to follow (i think called orchids in buttonholes or something like that wore a lot of dvf dresses, her trick for keeping the dress tightly tied was to criss-cross the ties in the back, meaning instead of wrapping the ties, she would interlock them and cross around backwards. not sure if that makes sense, she definitely had tutorial photos on her blog. maybe this would help (a tiny bit)?

        • a blogger*

          • DVF dress -- update :

            Thanks! The trick would be to wrap the top tighter while not wrapping the bottom too tight. Sort of like making a cone shape (but wait, it’s a pear!). I’ve found that wrapping tighter tightens both, while only tightening the top is needed. The tucking on top with the binder clip worked and I will try to shimmy out of it next time while clipped in to see if a permanent button might be worked in underneath.

            I’ve had wrap and faux-wrap dresses from non-s*xy stores and have never run into this before. I think it’s the va-va-voom factor that DVF has that is where my undoing / loose fabric issues arise (that and the silk jersey, while lovely, does tend to be slippery and want to unwrap itself — see, supra, toddler wrangling).

  5. Bridging off yesterday’s topic about the perfect interview bag, can anyone recommend a good commuter bag? As much as I am an accessory junkie, my love of accessories has never carried over to bags, so I am rather clueless here. I take the metro in to work and would love to find a bag that can hold the contents of my purse, a water bottle and my packed lunch, a novel, and sometimes a few files, while still being stylish. (I work at a law firm that’s close to big-law in size, but has more of a mid-law culture). As of late, I am feeling like a wacky bag lady as I carry my purse, my lunch bag, and sometimes a tote … yikes. Thanks for any suggestions.

    • Maybe the Lo&Sons tote? I’ve been eyeing them for ages.

      • I use the TT. I sometimes cannot fit my lunch in there, depending on how many containers I have, but usually it works well. I like it for commuting on Metro because it’s slender, so I don’t feel like it’s bulging out from under my arm, in my lap if I’m seated, or otherwise going to take out fellow commuters.

      • Yesss, I second the Lo & Sons TT bag. I’ve had it for over a year and it still looks brand new, despite daily heavy use. It’s the perfect combo of large but still slim — so that you’re not knocking people out with it at every turn.

        • I love the Lo&Sons TT bag. Very cute, and not ridiculously huge. They’re also running a 25% off sale if you ‘like’ them on facebook until the end of August.

      • eastbaybanker :

        I’d never heard of Lo & Sons. The Claremont Crossbody is the most beautiful camera bag I’ve ever seen! Too bad the larger totes don’t come in leather.

    • what’s your budget? I recently purchased the coach legacy shoulder tote in the large east-west size, and it holds my (large, work issued) laptop, the usual stack of cr*p I take home (a full, medium sized binder is probably a fair approximation) my breakfast/sodas for the day, my heels, and the usual wallet / lipgloss / phone / keys paraphernalia. I’m loving it!

      • Ooops … meant to put that in there. I am willing to spend up to $500 or so, if its good quality and will last. The budget seems to go up a bit each day that I lug myself up all the stairs from the metro with about three bags swinging and bouncing all over the place.

        That bag sounds awesome, I’m going to check it out. Thanks!

  6. Target PSA – if you are buying from Target online, do not use your Paypal account to pay. You cannot get a straight refund, only a gift card. This I learned after purchasing basically their entire online maternity department, thinking, “Oh, it’s easy enough to just return what I don’t really like.” They say that the website said that , and maybe it did (and they were super nice and apologetic about it), but I certainly didn’t see a notice. So much for saving the 15 second minor annoyance of typing in my credit card number.

    I only returned the first part of the order, so I may call the company before I go back to see if they can work this out for the rest, but that first part was still over $100. I mean, the gift card will get used, ultimately, because hey, it’s Target, and I do have a baby coming, but it still makes me feel very grouchy.

    • Whoa, I didn’t know that either. That is pretty ridiculous.

      I’m as against proliferation of credit cards as anyone, but I gotta say, I do like my Target Redcard. 5% off EVERY purchase (online and in store), free shipping all the time with no minimum, no-hassle returns. There’s a Target 3 minutes from my house, so it’s totally a worth it card for me. I believe they also offer debit cards with the same perks, for those who don’t want more credit.

      • Yeah, I hadn’t really realized the deal on the RedCard until the girl told me about it yesterday (I’d seen it before, but not really paid attention). I’m going to get one, too. It sounds like a great deal.

      • DC Association :

        Another benefit of the Red Card – a portion of your purchases go to schools. Please do hook up your Red Card with a local school. Or you could even hook it up to my son’s school if you want :)

    • PharmaGirl :

      This happened to me as well. I felt kind of bamboozled but, like you, knew I would spend the money at Target anyway so let it go.

    • Oh, and this is not terribly related, but if you have a baby coming: Amazon Mom ftw! 20% off anything you subscribe to, and subscriptions are available for all kinds of stuff, from diapers to wipes to toilet paper, personal care, and cleaning supplies. Comes with free Amazon Prime (free 2-day shipping on all orders, no minimum). No more hauling bulky diaper boxes to the car while toting an infant carrier–just shows up on your doorstep via UPS.

      • That sounds like such a great deal that I’m only going to complain a little tiny bit that they have to call it Amazon Mom, not Amazon Parent (Dads buy diapers, too!). :) And I’ll probably sign up anyway. I’ve always wanted to get Amazon Prime.

      • We do love Amazon Prime–signed up before I got pregnant and it is great! And Amazon Mom (agree it should be Parent, but whatever) sounds great–we have a year of Prime and will sign up for Amazon Mom when our current Prime membership expires. But the idea of having diapers/wipes delivered does sound very nice.

        • PharmaGirl :

          My year expired some time ago and the percentage discount has been decreased several times over the subsequent months. They discount heavily for the first year to get you hooked. (Not that I ever plan to cancel!)

    • This may be paypal’s policy, not Target’s, because the same thing happened to me at Anthropologie. Now I don’t use paypal to shop at major retailers like these.

    • Lyssa care to share what you liked/what you didn’t? I am v. tempted to just order a slew of Target’s maternity line and return what I don’t like but perhaps you have saved me this ordeal?

      I’m trying to get through fall and winter and thinking about some of the Merona dresses with 3/4 or full sleeves and tights (did you buy any with the long sleeves or the cowl neck one – does it look horrible?).
      Did you try any of the pants – its almost impossible to tell if they are going to look like sweat pants or actual wear to work pants.
      Also looking at longer sleeve or 3/4 sleeve sweaters.

      Thanks so much for any input!!

  7. Still here, not much going on yet. It was dry when I woke up but now it’s raining in bands and is a little windy. At least the storm isn’t very well organized and it’s still a tropical storm. It’ll be a cat 1 at most when it gets here and the track has moved a little west. Last night they were showing a track practically right over me. I have to turn off the news – the hype and the endless chatter will make you crazy. I swear, when they start to think an eye wall is forming, the weather people practically wet themselves with excitement. Everybody I know stayed but we’re all just home hunkered down. I’m thinking about exercise before I lose power. I hope it’s not annoying anyone if I check in.

    Oh, and Kat, the jacket is gorgeous. Love a wool blazer and the color is my kind of thing.

    • My MIL calls it a weathergasm. She used to work at the local news station, and the weathermen don’t get much to do, unless there is a crazy storm, and when there is they take full advantage.

    • Thanks for keeping us posted!

    • Stay safe, NOLA!

    • Glad you’ve checked in and glad things aren’t too bad there.

      You are virtuous– thinking of exercising before you lose power. If I ever think of exercise at all, it’s how I can avoid it. :-)

    • Honey Pillows :

      Yeah, that storm has the potential to be pretty crazy, but it also might just fizzle out and embarrass itself on national TV. I’d stay inside just to avoid the plague of crazy.

      …oh, you mean there’s a tropical storm in addition to the Republican convention?

      Seriously, though, do check in. We want to know you’ve gotten through it without incident.

      • Oh there’s no going outside at this point. It’s pretty windy with bands of blowing rain. Luckily, hurricane band rain is fairly light. I don’t think it’s going to fizzle enough to prevent flooding. It’s moving slowly and will drop a ton of rain and our ground is completely saturated from heavy rain for weeks.

        • If you’re thinking of exercising, make sure that you have enough hot water to take a shower even if the power goes out. Good luck!

          • We generally don’t lose gas and I have a gas water heater. But I hear you! Thinking about all of that, but I’m still sitting like a lump.

            Oh and for those of you who are keeping up – fun fact: my new boss was just proceeding with his meetings as if nothing was happening and then, very suddenly, just left. He drove back to the east coast for the closing on his house and just bolted before we even closed. We were dumbfounded.

          • Re: boss just bolting

            OK, that does it. I totally give a pass to the cleaning lady in this morning’s thread and give the side-eye to your boss. Happy he’s got a closing to attend to, but the bolting thing is a bit much.

          • Yeah I don’t think he has any idea that it has damaged his credibility here. There were people who were laughing about it but I think, for the most part, it’s important that our leadership hangs with us in a crisis. I don’t think he had planned to be there for the closing, but I have a feeling his wife said that since he wouldn’t be working, he may as well be there with her for the closing, etc.

    • just Karen :

      Thanks for the update! I was thinking about you this morning and thinking I needed to check on the storm, but got sidetracked. Bonus points to you for thinking of exercising before you lose power – my thought would be that I should eat ice cream before I lose power and can’t open the icebox.

  8. No time to reply to everyone, but I just wanted to thank everyone who responded to my question yesterday about surviving over a month of super-crazy work time. I am drinking some Emergen-C as we speak and did manage to sneak in 20 minutes on the treadmill last night. Also loved the suggestion for “fruit that keeps” – big bag o’ green apples purchased.

    Also, this jacket is out of my price range, but so, so tempting….

  9. Hey Cb, here is some information about active learning for classes and small groups that might help you to keep it lively: http://www.crlt.umich.edu/tstrategies/tsal

    <3 NOLA

    • Thanks for thinking of me! I live in an area dealing facing some pretty exciting political debates and my research is directly related so I’m hoping for lively discussion.

  10. I’ve just bought a cute CK button-up shirtdress (on sale for £20 from £130!) only to discover that when I sit down, the front gap goes VERY far up my upper thigh (seriously, it’s about two inches from flashing the front of my underpants). When I discovered this (at work, of course), I just kept a scarf on my lap all day, but I’m not sure how to make it wearable in the future. Has anyone else had this problem with dresses with buttons all the way down in front?

    • Maybe a full slip? You could do a fun color full slip to make it look intentional?

      I just had a flash of Mammy from Gone with the Wind and her Red Taffeta Petticoat….

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Could you sew it down along the placket? I do that with shirts that gape or skirts wi slits that go too high. It’s pretty easy to do yourself, or a tailor can take care of it easily.

    • Could you sew the bottom shut or is the dress too fitted for that?

    • I’ve had this happen with a front-slit shritdress i recently bought. what was worse, is that it didn’t work with tights because they clung to the cotton dress. my solution is a michael stars cotton jersey slip dress. it totally shows, but it don’t find it obtrusive.

    • what about the double-sided fashion tape? I usually use it to hold tube dresses up or bras in place so I’m sure it would work to keep your dress together.

    • You can sew snaps in between the buttons.

    • eastbaybanker :

      Glad you had a scarf on hand. I’ve given up on shirtdresses for work for this very reason. I like the vent suggestion, though. That’s clever.

      Maybe you bought yourself a date night dress? Just undo a button on the top, too, while you’re at it!

    • Your local alterations person can easily add a buttonhole or 2 and keep this situation in check.. It’s not you, almost all those dresses are like that.

  11. Shoe PSA – If you like Born, Privo, Clarks, shoes like that, Garnet Hill is having a 25% off shoes (and maybe accessories?) sale that ends today. There’s also a code (G2SAVE) that will get you another $20 off $100, which basically covers the shipping. Their shipping isn’t cheap and it’s a flat $6.95 to send things back for a refund, but exchanges for a different size or color are free.

    Just thought I’d try to enable some other people. I got some nice straightforward black knee-high boots – I feel like it’s been getting harder and harder to find leather knee-high boots that do not have platforms, ridiculously high heels, or other weird bits of bling.

  12. MaggieLizer :

    Junior associate tj/rant-

    I researched and drafted a motion, and was pretty proud of myself for coming up with arguments that the other attorneys – partners and a senior associate – didn’t think of. After I filed the motion, I planned to ask the partners if I could argue it. I decided to give the senior associate a heads up because I didn’t want to step on his toes. He said that he wants to argue the motion because he wants the experience and asked me to not ask the partners. I told him I very much doubt the partners are going to let a second/almost third year argue for this client, but I want to show the initiative so they’ll think of me for smaller clients. He said these partners don’t care about that kind of initiative (which I doubt). We have a meeting with one of the partners later today.

    In the future I think I’ll just ask the partners if I can do X without asking the SA first because I don’t want to give him more opportunities to c*ck block me on valuable experience. I hate to go above his head like that, but considering his low involvement in this motion, it’s pretty out of line for him to tell me I shouldn’t even *ask* to argue it. For today, though, can I still say something like “I know SA wants to argue this motion, but my schedule is also open if there’s a conflict; I would really like to get some more experience on my feet!”? Any other advice/commiseration? TIA, ladies!

    • Not a lawyer, never worked in a law firm.

      I’d venture that it’d be helpful to go to the partners first, but then loop the SA in, so he doesn’t feel like he’s completely out of the loop. Your SA may be feeling a bit squeezed– no place to show his initiative either, but that doesn’t make it right for him to (1) lie to you, which is what his comment sounded like to me and (2) try to push you aside.

      I’ve seen this sort of thing in investment banking, and I always wondered if there was a better way to structure teams such that senior associates (those with MBAs) and senior analysts (those with BAs, but not MBAs) would be less likely to end up fighting over the same turf when they’re on the same team.

    • Cornellian :

      haha at your use of the -block term here.

      I’d probably say what you want to, but am also a junior associate and am curious what senior associates say. Was this SA very involved in your training generally?

      • MaggieLizer :

        I just moved to this firm a few months ago. I work with SA pretty closely on just about all of my cases because our group is very small. I want to be cooperative and easy to work with, but I also don’t want to be a doormat.

        • Push it real good :

          Yeah, in my old firm you NEVER went over the senior associates or it would basically be career suicide for you. (1) they may be partner, (2) partner often gives them work to give to junior associate, and (3) partner probably respects and listens to them since they are the senior associate (and have probably been there for a while and if still there they must be doing something right).

          Next time, just dont ask SA, but for now I would definitely NOT do the exact opposite of what he said.

    • I must be missing something. You researched and drafted the motion. You filed it. Why would you need to line up behind senior associate? Ask for forgiveness, not permission–that’s my rule.

      As for what you can do now, I wouldn’t say “my schedule is also open if there’s a conflict.” Maybe something along the lines of– “SA mentioned that he’ll probably argue this motion, but I hope you’ll also keep me in mind. It would be really good experience for me, and I did the research/drafting, so I’m already familiar with all the facts and case law.”

      I don’t think a male junior associate would have any problems doing this.

    • Im interested to see what others say to this. I am a senior associate, but Ive obviously been a junior and mid-level associate. I think its a little weird that the sr. associate told you not to ask the partners, but that said, if I was the sr associate I would probably have told you I was arguing it (I mean, assuming I was in his position — personally, there is a good chance I would have told you to argue it and I would go with you).

      It is very common for sr. associates and even partners to argue things that jr associates drafted. And its probably likely the sr still needs experience b/c when he was a jr, someone above him or her was doing the arguing.

      I also would not suggest skipping over the sr and going straight to the partners in the future. It will likely be seen as going over his head, which i doubt he will like.

      • Agree with this 100%. Particularly since OP said the firm is small, I think most of the comments which suggest that she be more aggressive are way off.

        • Eh, I think there’s a way to do it in the future.

          Probably not: racing to the partner’s office after filing said motion and breathlessly asking if you can argue it while SA is down the hall getting his coffee.

          Maybe: casually mentioning to partner that you’d like to get some experience arguing motions; pre-filing, asking the partner who he thinks might argue it.

    • emcsquared :

      The only harm in your asking is that it could jeopardize your relationship with senior associate. Based on what you wrote here, it sounds like that might not be the most advantageous relationship anyway…so I’d straight out ask the partners if you can argue it. Let them decide who needs the experience more.

      And if they say no, ask if there is some other way for you to get that experience (pro bono, a small matter, etc). But also take it as a sign that the senior associate hasn’t apparently gotten much of that experience, so I wouldn’t get my hopes up too high.

      • emcsquared :

        Didn’t see your later post that you work with SA quite a bit – in that case, I’d try to be more cooperative. Herbie’s comment is great; then you’re putting in a plug for both SA and yourself. And have a talk with SA about when he got to start arguing motions, when he anticipates allowing you to argue motions, etc. so that you can head off future controversies.

        I’m not a litigator, but in my regional law firm experience, most litigators don’t get to start arguing motions until 4th or 5th year, if not later (much later for Biglaw firms). And it is common for someone who has not significantly participated in drafting to argue the motion, so the only real slight was SA telling you not to ask the partners.

      • I would also be careful about damaging a relationship with senior associates, even if you dont care to work with that person again, particularly at a small firm. senior associates have a lot more “power” than I ever know — i.e., they are often the person staffing cases. If you do something to piss off a sr associate (whether deserved or not), if anyone else ever asks that sr associate about you, the review is unlikely to be flattering.

    • Today’s senior associate is tomorrow’s partner. I’d respect the boundaries he set-even though I know it’s frustrating. However, a SA can also be your best friend-imagine if next time you missed some key case or misrepresented a fact in the brief-do you really want this guy to ignore it and let you look like an a** in front of the partners? This is why litigation is a “team” sport. You will soon have motions and depositions galore.

      • I strongly disagree with the first part of this.

        A few things.
        * Chances you both will still be at the same firm *if* SA makes partner? Low.

        * “Respect the boundaries he set”? No. There is a way to play nice with others and be a good team member. But it doesn’t mean handing over the reins of your career to someone who is looking out for himself, particularly a guy who directs you to not even ask for learning opportunities! Respecting the boundaries he set = stunting your own grown in the long run so he can advance his career.

        Normally, I pretty openly mock the NGDGTCO hysteria here, but this seems like such a “nice girl” situation. I look back at the male junior associates I knew and worked with, and I can’t see a single one of them simply sitting back and not going after opportunities because there was a senior associate involved.

      • 1. Not all SAs become partner.

        2. A c–kblocking person who becomes partner may be the type of partner who is said to “eat his young.” You won’t get much help or support out of that type anyways, regardless of how nice and helpful you are to him.

        • Still totally disagree with both of you. I have seen many, many SA’s try to help junior A’s who are part of the team, by providing junior A with plenty of opportunities. If, on the other hand, junior A (who basically only has 2 years experience!) tries to one-up me every.single.time, you had better believe I am not going to help her. The OP doesn’t say that SA does this all the time-she said this one time he disagreed with her. I also disagree that it’s c-blocking. As Anon Attorney said above, it happens all the time that SA and partners argue a motion that someone else briefed.

          • Yeah, after more thought, I think OP may need to just let this particular hearing go.

            I’m more concerned with the larger picture, though. Let’s say SA doesn’t help her, doesn’t mentor her, and usurps learning opportunities. Then what?

        • anon - other :

          Also – how do you know which SAs won’t become partner…until they don’t.

          • Actually, at every biglaw firm I’ve ever worked at (NY, London, SV), it’s been super-obvious who is “up for partner” as a SA and who is just a “hanging around” SA. So, yeah, you might not know which year a SA makes partner, but it is very clear at most firms who is on partner track. FWIW, I am in corporate.

    • My first instinct is to do something like this. But, I’m not at a law firm, and when I’ve told my boss that I plan on doing something like this, I was -ahem- spoken to about how sometimes my “initiative” reads as “bulldozing,” which puts off my direct colleagues and “scares” my superiors. I said, “well, if they don’t want to get bulldozed, maybe they should get out of the way or step up with their own bulldozer,” and my boss basically said, “yes…but no.” So then I figured it wasn’t worth the fight since I was already ahead of the game.

      But maybe your partners aren’t the wimpy pansies my superiors are? :-)

      • You sit here and talk about how you take initiative and dont want to be taken advantage of. . . and I agree to a point ladies. But I SOOO MUCH MORE VALUE TEAM PLAYERS AND THE BEST FOR THE TEAM then to see someone basically tear the team down or not care that it offends or does not sit well with the team. . .

        Sometimes I think you all are your worst enemy. I’d rather the girl in the flipflops who is a great team player then the girl in the power suit who replies when I tell her the team feels like she is bulldozing with “they should get their own bulldozer” . .

        Wow, just wow that some of you think that’s a productive way to get ahead.

        • I love how you attack the person who’s being blocked. Congratulations, you’ve got your “blame the victim” hat. Please shuffle over here with your flipflops to pick the hat up.

          If you’re not a troll, then I’m just disappointed you can’t see that it’s the SA who’s not being the team player. He fired the first shot across the bow here. If you’re a good SA, you do your bit, but you also try to help your JAs, rather than stunt their development.

          • I am inclined to believe from this and your previous post that you are a troll, but if not, ugh, here goes. . .

            Um, she just started at the firm and this is the only time he has said that to her. . . obviously it must be a victim it’s ALWAYS happening to as you said. Way to play the victim.

          • @Anon 11:19am

            Not a troll, but just incredibly dismissive of your reasons (and you) for being so non-supportive to MaggieLizer’s fairly reasonable attempt to show initiative. Also, I’m not playing the victim as it’s not my situation. What are you even talking about?

          • To Susan @11;17

            The person who thinks they are being blocked or denied and wants to go around the team (or in this case the SA, which is basically part of the team and higher than her) when this is the FIRST time this has happened . . . and thinks it’s unfair. . . is the one playing the VICTIM. And you called her that not me with your “blame the victim” comment.

            I really am worried about you and your very angry and judgmental posts this morning.

          • I’ve been told that when people use the passive-aggressive criticism disguised as worry/concern: “I really am worried about you and your very angry and judgmental posts this morning” that the best reply is, “thanks for your ‘concern,’ but I’m saving my prayers for you.”

        • I agree with you Anon. There is also a whole lot of territory between doormat and bulldozing – you can take initiative without being overbearing to the team. Often that means you don’t take EVERY opportunity to be in front or volunteer or take the initiative to do something. And yes, sometimes that means things don’t happen quite as “efficiently”, but there’s something to be said for having people on board with you, rather than trying to drag them along on your idea.

          Some of us like have collaborative, rather than adversarial (bulldozer on bulldozer), work atmospheres.

        • So coming back and reading comments to what I thought (and was originally perceived as) as throw-away hyperbole…wasn’t. FWIW, where I work, hyperboles are used once an hour at least, so it didn’t come off as strong as it may have here. Context, SH! :-)

          For the record, I do recognize there being a middle ground between bulldozing and being a doormat. I also appreciate a more collaborative environment than one that is purely adversarial. I’m 500% for the team, even when the other team members aren’t. But in my company, I got into a lot of trouble for “taking initiative” and “being assertive.” For example, sending a memo for proofreading and validation to my teammates the day before the due date wasn’t “I had time, so I did it, and here it is for when you get a chance,” it was showing off. Saying, “You said you’re busy, I’m not so busy, can I help you with anything?” is questioning a teammate’s competency. Asking how my director’s vacation went was perceived as telling her she’s lazy. Doing research for myself to prepare for a scientific meeting at which I said nothing (I’m not scientific, so to learn what the meeting was about) was offensive – I’m not an expert so I wasn’t supposed to understand what was going on to begin with.

          So please trust me when I say that we’re not talking about the same kind of “initiative” or “bulldozing.” Again, context, SH! :-)

      • Divaliscious11 :

        Yikes. This comes off as extremely over-bearing. Most managers would rather have one less rockstar than have to deal with one whose attitude is “… maybe they should get out of the way or step up with their own bulldozer…” While assertiveness is terrific, being over bearing isn’t. Its sounds like she was trying to say that nicely. I suspect the next admonition won’t be so nice….

    • Divaliscious11 :

      Caution Will Robinson! – One of the BEST ways to derail you career in a particular law firm is to piss off a senior associate, or really anyone who has input into your workflow. Perhaps a more effective of dealing with this is to ask the SA how you should go about getting the opportunity to get some additional experience. Make him/her your advocate, not frenemy….

    • I’m not a litigator so it’s not completely analogous, but I’m a 7th-year lawyer which I think is comparable to a senior associate and I would never, ever c-ck block a junior staffer like that. You deserve the chance to develop professionally. Ignore him and ask the partners if you can argue it. What a jerk.

      • Divaliscious11 :

        Not a lot of analogy in transactional practice, but closest would be – would you send a second year, who had researched an issue and written the memo to explain the concept and its application to the business client? Understanding the legal aspect of an issue does not automatically translate into the ability to argue a motion or explain business applicability. Not saying Maggie isn’t a great lawyer, but her being a great lawyer also doesn’t mean the senior associate was wrong. I personally have been in the situation where I advised a junior attorney not to do something, not because I was blocking them, but because they weren’t really as solid as em thought em was, and they got a harsh knock down, I got yelled at because it looked like I wasn’t managing the lawyer, and it really damaged our relationship, as I felt like I couldn’t trust the jr, and it definitely impacted the quality of work em received from me. So just a note of caution, that there are ways to be assertive and develop your career, without being counterproductive.

        • I don’t think the partners will actually let her argue the motion, but I think it’s perfectly reasonable for her to toot her own horn about what a good job she did on the memo and demonstrate that she has the ambition to argue motions.

          • Divaliscious11 :

            Agreed. Just want OP to be aware that the SA may not have been “blocking” her, but trying to help. The partners could respond with a smack down, you think too highly of yourself and/or be put off. That can be crushing, as well. I totally agree she should find a way to toot her horn, though. It just needs to be done far more strategically than she is suggesting.

            Its also helpful to remember that its usually not worth jumping to a conclusion about why someone has done something. Just ask, understanding that you may not like what you hear, or get all of the detail

    • Since I have never worked a lawfirm with this structure, it intrigues me. At my current position, with just 3 years experience, I regularly first chair trials and argue my own motions all the time. I don’t have to ask anyone other than my boss what to do.

      Sometimes, the lack of structure here infuriates me, but today, I am grateful I don’t have to deal with stuff like this.

      • I’m in basically the same boat (3rd year, but the only associate). 90% of the time, I just write, set, and argue my own motions without anything other than a “Hey Lyssa, what have you got going on today?” and a “How did it go?” when I get back.

        You BigLaw folks befuddle me. :) (But I agree with Anonolita that the lack of structure can be very stressful.)

      • Divaliscious11 :

        Chances are you received a much more hands on experience from the beginning, which means that although you may both be in the same class year, from a work quality and therefore real experience standpoint, you may be much further along.

        There are definitely pros/cons with biglaw/small law that have nothing to do with money….

    • If you were working on this case with SA, then SA gets first dibs at arguing the motion. Going over his head will just make you look bad.

    • soulfusion :

      Wow, I’m late to the discussion but wanted to chime in with a senior perspective that I did not see mentioned – will the client allow a junior associate or even a senior associate to argue the motion? The OP is frustrated that she was told not to ask the partners but I have to say it can be extremely frustrating as a more seasoned attorney to have a new junior come in feeling like they should be able to skip steps. I may be projecting prior experiences I’ve had with juniors here so I don’t want this to come across as snarky but I want MaggieLizer to understand another perspective and how her question might have been perceived. . . . while I haven’t had this exact situation I have had junior associates who give the impression that they feel entitled to take part in the cushy assignments – oral arguments, depos, client meetings – before they have been trained/seasoned enough for the work. Very often clients will not trust a junior person to do the work. And if the senior associate is concerned about getting the experience himself you might want to take a step back and consider it might not be to block you from the experience, he is most likely pursuing partnership at this point and needs that type of exposure and has worked long and hard to play that role. I sincerely congratulate you on drafting and filing a well-argued motion. But that is part of your role. It is how the system works in large firms. If you don’t already have one, find a mentor in your firm to discuss the situation to see what the norm is. Express interest to both senior associates and partners that you want more responsibility so they will look for those opportunities for you. But pushing further on this one will likely give the wrong impression to everyone (not that you are motivated but that you are entitled), regardless of your intention. Good luck.

  13. PSA- Zulily has a bunch of Tahari dresses today (adult sizes, not kids)

    As far as I know, there are no returns, but the prices are pretty good!

  14. AIMS, YOU ARE EVIL (re: guysinsuits.tumblr.com)

  15. I’m totally jumping the gun here but I finally had an interview with the federal gov’t which I consider to be a major accomplishment.

    It was for a position for which I am being considered at multiple grade (GS) levels. Can anyone give any advice on whether there will be room to negotiate salary or grade/step level at all? Is there a reason I should be more concerned about getting a lower salary in a higher grade v. a higher salary in a lower grade?

    • Anita (formerly S) :

      In my experience…

      1) If there is more than one candidate that meets the required number of points during the screening process, they interview everyone.

      2) Salary is difficult to negotiate and you will likely begin at the lowest grade level assigned to the position. After you have completed the probationary period, you may negotiate to increase your grade level within the posted range.

      • Honey Pillows :

        I think depending on the office, they may interview everyone who qualifies, or they may just interview the top 5 candidates. That’s what happens in an office I know of in the Treasury.

    • There’s definitely room to negotiate.

      Something to consider is that in the higher steps, you need to be in them for 2-3 years before you move to the next step. I’m also not sure whether it’s more difficult to move up a grade than up a step. So taking a lower salary in a higher grade might mean that, in 5 years or so, your salary will end up higher than if you started at the higher salary in the lower grade because you’ll be able to move up the lower-level steps more quickly. I know that at step 6, you need to be in that for 2 years before you move up, for step 7 and above, I think you need to be in for 3 years.

    • emcsquared :

      I spent some time on the GS scale, and you should absolutely point out reasons that you should be at a higher step or higher grade. Many government supervisors will try to help you by suggesting criteria that would put you in a higher category, so I would solicit help from them.

      Good luck! And so exciting!

    • always go for the higher grade. it gives you more flexibility for your next move, and other gov’t jobs will always consider time-in-grade, so you’re saving yourself the year at the lower grade. your salary will likely be set based on your current one – it would be very unusual for them to be considering a lower salary at a higher grade. But given the choice – higher grade.

      • This. If you have a choice between a lower grade with higher step or a higher grade with lower step, definitely, definitely go for the higher grade, even if the money is slightly less starting out. With the current federal government pay freezes, step/grade increases are the only way your salary will go up any time soon, and going up a step is much easier than going up a grade (going up in grade often means switching positions). I’m not sure which GS levels you are being considered for, but previous supervisory experience is always a good thing to highlight when asking for a higher grade, and is basically a requirement for anything 14 and above.

        Everyone I know who has switched to government from private sector (none of whom are lawyers, I’m sure it’s different if you are in law) has been asked for salary information, and their government salary has matched within 5-10% up or down. Some have even presented current job offers from other companies as evidence of their “worth,” so if you have other offers, go ahead and bring them up in salary negotiations, just like you would in the private sector.

        Congrats on your interview, and good luck!

    • Congrats on getting the interview and good luck!

    • Thanks, everyone. These comments were all very helpful. Like I said, I’m jumping the gun, but I want to be prepared in the unlikely event I get an offer.

  16. Lunch with a mentor — who pays? (Mentee, Mentor, Dutch)

    I’m thinking the mentor might see it as business related and pay (and even expense it). But it feels more right for the mentee to pay (or offer to pay).

    {I’m the mentee and am planning to reach out to a corporate leader to see if she will be my mentor. I suspect our first meeting, and maybe all of them in the future, will be lunch meetings.}

  17. Anyone tried out the Pleated Tie Waist Dress in Winter Burgundy from BR?

  18. Anne Shirley :

    @FrugalCityGirl. Anything fun and frugal I should do in London? I’ve been several times, so skipping most of the touristy stuff, but would love some frugal dinner/evening out ideas to balance my plans of visiting all the stores and buying all the things.

    • Ooh, yes! Obviously nearly all the museums and galleries are free, and I can never get enough of the British Museum or the National Portrait Gallery (and the British Museum is open late on Fridays, I think).

      I’d keep an eye on the Londonist: http://londonist.com/ which posts updates of cheap and free things going on in London for the next 4-7 days. There are a lot of offbeat things like art discussions in pubs, fringe theatre in pubs, movies in pubs…and even some things that aren’t in pubs.

      There are free films going on outside City Hall: http://londonist.com/2012/08/preview-more-london-free-film-festival-the-scoop.php

      For history (and a bit of exercise), I really enjoy the London Walks company: http://www.walks.com/. When I first moved here and didn’t know anybody, I would go on one a month or so, just as a way of “going out” and getting to chat to people in a structured but relaxed setting. Plus the guides are really good, experienced and dramatic. I haven’t been on the Jack the Ripper walk but apparently it’s pretty legendary.

      I don’t know what the food scene is like where you’re based, but London does do good cheap (relatively speaking) Asian and North African food: Brick Lane is overrated for curries, but Tayyab’s in Whitechapel is AMAZING and really cheap. Because of this it does tend to have a bit of a wait (no reservations), but it’s worth it. Street food is becoming a Thing, which is good because it’s pretty cheap. There’s a setup called Eat Street outside King’s Cross station on weekday lunchtimes, and aside from that my favourites are MEATLiquor (which also tends to have giant queues) near Oxford Street, Pitt Cue Co. in Soho, and Dirty Burger in Kentish Town.

    • Let me try this again with fewer links, hopefully it won’t get stuck in moderation!

      Ooh, yes! Obviously nearly all the museums and galleries are free, and I can never get enough of the British Museum or the National Portrait Gallery (and the British Museum is open late on Fridays, I think).

      I’d keep an eye on the Londonist: (londonist dot com) which posts updates of cheap and free things going on in London for the next 4-7 days. There are a lot of offbeat things like art discussions in pubs, fringe theatre in pubs, movies in pubs…and even some things that aren’t in pubs.

      There are free films going on outside City Hall: http://londonist.com/2012/08/preview-more-london-free-film-festival-the-scoop.php

      For history (and a bit of exercise), I really enjoy the London Walks company: walks dot com. When I first moved here and didn’t know anybody, I would go on one a month or so, just as a way of “going out” and getting to chat to people in a structured but relaxed setting. Plus the guides are really good, experienced and dramatic. I haven’t been on the Jack the Ripper walk but apparently it’s pretty legendary.

      I don’t know what the food scene is like where you’re based, but London does do good cheap (relatively speaking) Asian and North African food: Brick Lane is overrated for curries, but Tayyab’s in Whitechapel is AMAZING and really cheap. Because of this it does tend to have a bit of a wait (no reservations), but it’s worth it. Street food is becoming a Thing, which is good because it’s pretty cheap. There’s a setup called Eat Street outside King’s Cross station on weekday lunchtimes, and aside from that my favourites are MEATLiquor (which also tends to have giant queues) near Oxford Street, Pitt Cue Co. in Soho, and Dirty Burger in Kentish Town.

  19. I am responsible for a big ($$$) project. The project manager assigned is terrible. He has basically been “demoted” to the job; he is (was) my paygrade/title, and got moved from a job in one area of our company (accot management) and dropped in another (PM). He’s also 20 years older than me (I’m almost 30, he’s 50) and going through a divorce/move. I can appreciate all of these factors, and I’ve cut him slack all summer because of them, but at the end of the day, he is simply not doing his job.

    He keeps acting like/ trying to make the job an account management role, but it’s a PM role. His job is to take notes and create agendas and log risks and keep the project plan up to date.

    He does none of those things. He just really sucks at being a PM. I would take a fresh-out-of-undergrad ANY day (plus, they’d be a whole lot cheaper!); however this is a High Profile project so they put someone senior on the job. It is directly impacting our project.

    So I sent him an email that strips out my usual nicities and was basically like “your job is to do X, Y, and Z. This is why these things are important _________________. THey haven’t been done; here is how it has impacted our project ________________________.” He got all huffy about it, and now I feel bad.

    I really am a team player. But I refuse to spend 3 hours a week checking this guy’s project plan, making/ fixing his agendas, or sending around MY meeting minutes because his are incomplete/nonexistent. Last week a coworker and i spent 2 hours chasing down critical clients for status updates. This is a PM’s job.

    Today’s example was telling me 10 minutes before a client call that he’s sitting in a starbucks and can’t run the call or send out an agenda [which is due 24 hours in advance of the call, or the client won’t have time to prep]. Not to mention that I sent him specifics for the agenda LAST WEEK.

    The biggest problem is that he doesn’t really have a boss to report up to. He’s to us “on loan” from the PM team for this special (high profile) project. All I can do is let him know he’s doing a sucky job, which I just did. It doesn’t feel very nice.

    I AM JUST SO FRUSTRATED THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME VENT. If nothing else, this experience has taught me to treasure a good PM!!

    • Sorry– threading broke (probably user-error…)

      Not sure if your company has this, but does your company have some type of free, confidential counseling services available via Employee Relations?

      We have that at my company and employees that have been having the types of problems like the ones the PM has are sometimes referred to that, so they have some support without having to confide messy personal details to colleagues and managers.

      • We do, but I don’t think he isn’t doing his job because he’s getting divorced.

        He isn’t doing his job because he got demoted to being a PM and isn’t used to/ doesn’t want to do/ doesn’t think the work is necessary. He’s used to managing accounts, not recording play-by-plays of meetings.

        I cut him slack on things like not following up when he said he would, oversights in documentation, or needing to reschedule meetings to deal with his personal issues…but I think when it comes down to it, there was a reason he was “demoted” and I am stuck with him. This project would be easier on me if I were my own PM (which I’ve now said to him and offered to do, even though I know he has no other projects to work on.) i spend more time babying him and doing his work than it would take me just to do it myself. It would feel different if I were mentoring a junior PM, but this guy is a grown man with 30 years of work experience…

        • Hmm. I don’t think I was clear in my previous post.

          I do know that some employees who are having trouble with personal issues, or work issues or both have been recommended to use the free counseling. Although it’d be difficult to suggest this to him without him taking offense and without triangulating (onto the counseling) on the work issues.

          Re: that it’d be easier if you were your own PM. Ouch. Did you actually say that to him? Look, as you can see from my other posts, I’m no stranger to taking the harsh approach if I think someone is being an obnoxious idiot, but… you are stuck with this guy and I’m thinking that telling him something like that was probably not be best way to encourage him to do (any) good work.

          You mentioned that you emailed him, and that might prove useful (paper trail, so he can’t say, “Brant never asked me to do anything.”) Have you ever had a sit-down discussion with him in the following vein:

          [Stuff isn’t getting done]
          [I want to help you get stuff done]
          [Please tell me why certain things weren’t done. What specifically was your thought process as you looked at these tasks?]
          Maybe press him (gently) for why he thought certain things weren’t important. He may not know, if he’s never project managed before.

          It may be easier to get him to do stuff if he explains his thought process, you counter any wrong ideas and support him on stuff he’s correct about but doesn’t know how to handle, and let him know that you actually care about the reasons why he does things.

          I think many poorly performing employees get caught in this thing where they assume a project should be handled [like this], it doesn’t work, they get frustrated and slack off, and feel like whoever’s running the show won’t be sympathetic so they don’t communicate, and then things deteriorate.

          Things sound bad, but not irretrievably bad. My sympathies to you and this guy. I don’t think he’s having fun either.

    • Just because he’s senior doesn’t mean he knows how to do the job. Has he ever worked as a project manager before? Perhaps there is someone better suited for the position.

      • That’s what I thought at first. I double- and triple- checked with him (and the person in his department that sent him to me). I also was Very Clear (in writing, three times now) told him that he was responsible for (among other things), taking notes and circulating them, getting agendas out (in a specific format that the client requires) 24 hours in advance, and keeping our project plan up to date. He does a half a$$ job on some of those things, and none of others.

    • OMG PROJECT MANAGERS, YUCK. I’d say maybe 10% of them are worth their salary. Seriously, how can they be so terrible?

      • I think 10% are worth their salary, and 30% are worth any salary at all. This guy is “free” to our project, but we’re using his billing rate as an estimate for future project costs. OUR COMPANY BILLS THIS GUY AT $150/hr. If I were the client, I’d laugh my way right to another vendor.

        • Perhaps that’s a detail that you could leverage in a discussion with him? Something like, “I know it’s not what you are accustomed to, but the PM role is pretty important to this project and to estimate future project costs. Let’s review what some of the most important deliverables are and how I can help you accomplish them most efficiently.”

          I also really like Susan’s approach. I think it’s important to figure out the reason that these tasks are not getting done – is it because he doesn’t understand how to do them, doesn’t have enough time, doesn’t think they are important, doesn’t understand when they are due, or what? Hopefully if you can find out what’s going on, you can put steps in place to fix it.

          Good luck!

    • It sounds like you’ve tried to lay out your expectations very clearly.

      Possibilities:
      * I’d ask, off the record, if there’s something going on that’s keeping him from getting things done. This would have to be done before copying bosses on lots of complaint e-mails.

      * After egregious violations (like messing up the client meeting), send an e-mail to him explaining what problems he caused. Copy your boss and the head of the PM group (there has to be *someone* in charge of that group, even if it’s not this guy’s boss, right?). Go for simple, straight-forward and professional as the tone.

      * Vent (in a responsible way, listing only the worst problems) to your boss.

      * Treat him like a very junior employee and give him a task list and ask that you be notified daily/weekly/whatever you’re comfortable with of the status of those things.

      * For things like client meetings where he must have the agenda 24 hours ahead of time, set a meeting reminder for him ahead of the meeting so you can review the agenda before it goes out. He’ll have to have it done for the meeting with you, and thus will have it done on time for the clients. I’d only micromanage like this the most client-facing parts of his work.

      * Can you spread out the double-work and double-checking that you’re doing so that other members of the team are doing it some of the time? Maybe take turns writing up meeting notes?

      * I’d try again to make sure that he understands what his job description/role is in this project. Maybe write down what his duties are, e-mail it to him and the PM team, and then review the list with him in person or on the phone? If he can claim he didn’t understand, then it’s different than if he doesn’t do what he knows is expected.

    • This sounds eerily like an old boss of mine. The guy was moved from a regional management position to store manager, was in the middle of starting a retail company of his own with some friends, clearly thought that the day-to-day nitty gritty work of a store manager was beneath him (he went on two-hour lunches with his phone off all the time – unheard of!), and it was fairly obvious to everyone on the floor that the management was only waiting for him to screw up badly enough to be easily “convinced” to hand in his resignation. Which he did, and did. But he ran our store to the ground in the meanwhile.

      TL;DR: Your PM may have been set up to fail spectacularly. My condolences. Document his errors, try to save what you can of the project.

  20. Not sure if your company has this, but does your company have some type of free, confidential counseling services available via Employee Relations?

    We have that at my company and employees that have been having the types of problems like the ones the PM has are sometimes referred to that, so they have some support without having to confide messy personal details to colleagues and managers.

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