Worlds Colliding: When Networking Groups Want You to Join a Facebook Group

Facebook networking groupCan you keep your Facebook account private from colleagues and professional friends? What is the polite way to respond when asked, as Reader E was, to join a Facebook Group for a committee she’s on?

I recently joined a committee for the local bar that organizes a fun run every year to support a local charity, which I’m excited about doing because I’m a runner myself and I really like what this charity does. Today we got an email about the first meeting, and the woman in charge asked us all to join the facebook group for this committee. I am really uncomfortable with this request. My facebook profile is almost completely locked down from my professional life. I’m not searchable, I’m not friends with any of my coworkers, and I don’t want people I work with reading it. Is her request that we join this facebook group unreasonable? Can I decline? I have a work email set up so people can communicate with me about work related things. I don’t want to use my facebook profile for it!

We haven’t talked about Facebook in a while — we talked about what to do when your boss wants to “friend” you, as well as looked at FB’s privacy settings (a long while ago — here’s a Lifehacker post on privacy settings that promises to be “always up to date”) — so I’m curious to see how much readers think the situation has changed. [Read more...]

Strategic Volunteering: Do You Do It?

Strategic Volunteering: Do You Do It? | CorporetteDo you guys volunteer? Do you do it at a high level (board member or committee level)? How did you get started doing it — were you interested in the organization, did you purposely do it for networking, or did you somehow fall into it? We’ve talked about this in the context of making new friends, as well as pondering what professional organizations you should join and polling how much everyone gives to charity – but we haven’t really talked about volunteering.

I’m way under the weather today, so I’ve been lying in bed catching up on reading, watching TED, and playing Candy Crush. (I honestly can’t remember the last time I had a sick day!)  One of the articles I’m trying to catch up on (if the NYT didn’t have a huge banner ad that pops up right in the middle of the text) is the recent one about how “the opt out generation wants back in.” Anyway, I was particularly interested to hear about the role that volunteering played in returns to work:

Among the women I spoke with, those who didn’t have the highest academic credentials or highest-powered social networks or who hadn’t been sufficiently “strategic” in their volunteering (fund-raising for a Manhattan private school could be a nice segue back into banking; running bake sales for the suburban swim team tended not to be a career-enhancer) or who had divorced, often struggled greatly.

So, ladies — are you strategic in your volunteering?   How much time do you devote to volunteering?

(Pictured: Fundraising in the dictionary, originally uploaded to Flickr by HowardLake.)

 

How to Tell Your Beloved Mentor You’re Quitting

How to Quit When Your Mentor Is Your Boss | CorporetteYou’ve been offered a new job — but how do you tell your beloved mentor and boss that? Reader L wonders how to quit your job when your mentor is your boss.

I am a fifth year associate and have been at my current firm for just over a year. Recently, an unexpected job opportunity presented itself and over the course of the past two months I have quietly been going through the interview process. Simultaneously, a mentor at work offered me a few great opportunities. For example, I tried and won my first jury trial! I’ve now been offered this new job and am going to take it. My question is how best to handle my resignation when my mentor has so recently invested in my development. I feel like I am somehow betraying him! Help, please.

We’ve talked about how to quit your job with style and grace, as well as how to conduct an exit interview, but we haven’t talked about the often emotional side of leaving, including the tough job of telling your beloved mentor or boss that you’ve taken a new job. I have a few thoughts up front: [Read more...]

Best Reading for MBA Students

Which are the best books and blogs to read if you’re a woman MBA student? Reader M wonders…

I love your blog and find all of the fashion and career advice incredibly helpful. You address a lot of corporate issues and a lot of legal and I was just wondering if you knew of any blogs that deal with business school specifically. I’ll be starting a full-time MBA program in the fall and I’m looking for some advice on what to expect and how to get the most out of it.

Great question, M! I know of a few, but thought I’d open this up to the readers…

  • Forbes Woman. I find it easiest to just like their Facebook feed to see Forbes stories that are more targeted for women — they’re really helpful, good articles (and usually at least one makes it into our Weekly News roundup). They also have a list of the Top 100 Websites for Women (which we’ve been honored to appear in for a few years now!).
  • Forte Foundation. This women-focused, non-profit consortium of major corporations and top business schools has a ton of information about the MBA, from the consideration stage, to the application process, to the student years, and beyond.  They offer free newsletters, and for paid members, podcasts and videos.

And… beyond that I’m stumped — there’s a lot out there, but I’m curious to hear from the readers which are their favorites! There are obviously blogs like Poets and Quants and Clear Admit for the admissions process, and hopefully blogs like Corporette (as well The Daily Muse and Levo League) and organizations like 85 Broads are helpful after you’re out, as well as alumni groups.  Once you know your focus blogs like The Glass Hammer (for women in financial services) might be helpful as well.

Readers — which are your favorite blogs and websites for MBA students, as well as women who hold MBAs?  

The Hunt: Charcoal Suits

The Best Charcoal Suits for Interviewing | CorporetteSure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

Charcoal suits are one of the great basics for working women — particularly for interviewing. A nice dark charcoal in a seasonless wool can be worn with almost any color, but they look particularly great with white and pastel button-front blouses. Even though interview season is coming up, a lot of stores don’t have any gray suits available online as of this writing (e.g., Ann Taylor, Brooks Brothers, Reiss, Talbots), so perhaps check again in a few weeks if you’re on a personal hunt and none of the below fit the bill. Readers, how do you like to wear gray suits the best — with pastels? With jewel tones? Worn as separates? [Read more...]

Building a Wardrobe for Law School

How to Build a Wardrobe for Law School | CorporetteWhat clothes should you add to your wardrobe before you attend law school?  Reader N has a great question:

I am in my mid-twenties and will be starting law school this fall. I’ve spent my time since undergrad traveling (living out of a backpack) and working with kids (only wearing clothes that could get messy).

I’ve set aside some money to buy a new wardrobe for law school, but am looking for advice on what I should invest in that will be part of my wardrobe over the next three years. The school I’m going to is in a city that has a long, cold winter, and the sense I get is that the school generally has a preppy vibe. Any advice?

Good luck to Reader N!  I’m one of those people who enjoyed law school more than the practice of law so I think fondly of my years there — they were intense but fun.* We’ve talked about which bags are great for law school (way back in 2008!) but we haven’t actually talked about what to wear to law school.  I think this is a great question, and mid-July is a perfect time to think about it. Where I went (Georgetown ’03) people wore everything from business suits to sweatpants — one professor actually gave us a list of tips during our 1L finals week that included tips like “don’t forget to bathe.” So “laid back” can be an understatement, and I suspect a lot of your wardrobe will already work just fine for the classes themselves.

So instead, let’s look at what clothes you will definitely need for job hunting and networking, and focus on that instead. [Read more...]