Professional-Looking Padfolios

Professional Padfolios | CorporetteWhere can you get a great padfolio for the office?  Reader N wonders about a decent padfolio..

I have been searching for a decent padfolio for what feels like ages. It seems like everything out there is clunky and overly masculine. Where can I find a professional, but feminine or at least sophisticated padfolio? Help!

I remember hunting for something similar a few years ago.  I wanted: something zippable and expandable, something that could hold my Blackberry (ah, the late 2000s) if I didn’t have pockets or a belt and suddenly needed to carry a box (or 3) back to my office.  I also wanted something that I could keep “packed” with a notepad, pen/pencil/highlighter, lip gloss, hand cream, business cards, tape flags, and post-it notes and just grab and go.  Also key: I wanted something that looked nicer than a redweld or a Trapper Keeper.  I finally found it at Office Max or Staples, but I remember having to hunt for a while.  If I were looking today, these were the ones that I would choose (below).  Readers, do you use a padfolio at the office?  Whether you’re running to a quick meeting or working away from your office (e.g., in a conference room) all day, what do you grab with you to go? [Read more...]

Colorful Pants and Professional Women

Can You Wear Colored Pants to Work? | CorporetteAre colorful pants appropriate in an office setting?  Are they for young’uns only?  Reader J sent in this question a while ago:

Question – today’s trends are to wear colored pants.  What are your thoughts on wearing colored pants to an office setting on casual fridays?  And, more relevant to me, what are your thoughts on wearing trends such as this if you’re over the age of 35?

I am obviously all for colorful pants, and I don’t think there’s an age limit on them.  I’ll even make a few arguments in favor of colored pants before turning it over to the readers, because I’m dying to hear what other ladies think.  In my mind, the pros to colored pants: [Read more...]

How to Respond to a Good Bonus

How to Respond to a Big Bonus | CorporetteHow do you respond to a generous year-end bonus? Here’s Reader C’s question:

I am a young lawyer, and have worked at my current firm for 1.5 years. This year, I got a generous bonus. I’d like to know what the etiquette is for responding to the bonus. Is a thank you note for the 5 partners appropriate? an in person thank you? or nothing? The envelope the check is in says “Merry Christmas -The Partners”. It is a small firm (10 lawyers, 5 partners) and I have a good relationship with the partners but would feel a bit awkward going into their offices and closing the door, just to say thank you. What about a small gift from the senior partner and his wife, (think chocolate)?

I looked in the archives for an answer to my question, but wasn’t able to find anything on point and would really like to hear any tips on this!

You and me both! I still remember the big BigLaw bonuses before the recession, and I will always remember getting my biggest bonus (back in January 2008).  We all knew the number before our individual reviews — bonuses were lockstep with class year, and a memo had been circulated to say my firm was matching the going market rates.  Still, when my reviewer said, in a very cursory manner, “Your bonus is $80,000 this year,” and I tried to graciously say “thank you,” it was followed by an awkward, cringe-worthy pause from both of us.  It just felt SO little-girl/feminine and not at all what a Captain of Industry would say. I imagined men saying something like, “Well yes, I earned it!” or “Wonderful, I can make the next payment on the yacht!” or perhaps, “Bully, let’s all go play golf!” But not “thank you.” [Read more...]

Asking Your Boss For Help With Networking

How to Get Networking Help From Your Boss | CorporetteIf you’re new in the field, should you expect your boss to introduce you to her contacts and take you to networking events? How can you ask her to start helping you network? Reader S wonders…

I’m new in my career in a small office and my boss is well established in our field. She has wonderful contacts and is a member of many associations and groups. I had hoped my boss would take me under her wing a little and be a great mentor as I learn the ropes. Unfortunately, I have not be invited to join her at any of these events. Is it appropriate to ask to be introduced to her network and to accompany her to events? I don’t want her to feel threatened that I’m looking for better opportunities, but I think it’s important to get to know the industry players as well.

Great question, S!  We’ve talked about how to network when you’re junior, how to get networking help from an adjunct professor, how to network at a conference, and how to know which networking organizations to join, but we haven’t talked about this before. [Read more...]

Halloween at the Office

Halloween at the Office | CorporetteHalloween is one week away, ladies! We’ve talked about office-appropriate Halloween outfits in the past, but I thought I’d start an open thread to see what’s happening this year: Are you dressing up for office-related Halloween events? What will your costume be? Is Halloween generally a source of stress for you, or a fun time?  (Personally I love the idea of being Rosie the Riveter as a smart costume… maybe next year!)

I’ve seen a ton of articles circulating lately on smart, non-slutty Halloween costumes for women, so I thought I’d round up some of the links below: [Read more...]

How to Dazzle at a Meeting (Book Excerpt)

How to Dazzle at Meetings || CorporetteToday we have a rare treat: a book excerpt from Kate White’s new book, I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This.  Kate White’s been on my radar since my magazine junkie days — I vividly remember sneaking into the Family Circle library to read her older book, Why Good Girls Don’t Get Ahead…But Gutsy Girls Do, and I’ve followed her career (former editor in chief of Cosmo, mystery writer, author of multiple best-selling career books) ever since.  It’s an honor to have an excerpt here today! – Kat

Not long after you start a job, you will probably be asked to attend your first meeting there.  Meetings are a great opportunity for you to impress your boss and peers. But if you aren’t prepared, you can also come across as a boob. I’ve probably held way over a thousand meetings in my career, and I’ve loved watching some of my staffers really strut their stuff in them. They’ve also been a perfect way to get a closer look at those on staff who don’t report directly to me. Yet unfortunately, for every person who’s dazzled me at a meeting, there have been many more who have never volunteered a single solitary idea and have sat there with their jaws totally slack, as if I were up at the head of the table reading the instructions for installing a plasma-screen TV. Never miss the chance to shine at a meeting. Meetings may sometimes seem very casual, and you may not even be called on to participate, but your boss is paying attention to how you perform. If you contribute and look engrossed, it will raise his opinion of you and may even lead to new assignments. If you do poorly, you will lose ground—and you may not be invited back. Here are ten fail-proof strategies: [Read more...]