Handling Frequent Doctors’ Appointments

How to Handle Frequent Doctors' Appointments | CorporetteWhen you have to take time off work for frequent doctors’ appointments, how can you schedule them to minimize the effect on your workday?  What are the best ways to explain your absences to your boss, secretary, and other coworkers?  Reader L wonders:

I was wondering what the proper etiquette is to deter nosy coworkers when you are frequently in and out of the office for medical attention.  While my team superior is aware of the procedures I need done so I can request time out, the other people that I work with daily are extremely nosy and ask questions as if they were trying to diagnose me.  One even asked about my bathroom habits!  As a young professional, how do I communicate to people I work with and under to explain frequent absences without compromising some privacy?  Telling them I was out for a procedure or just not feeling well is apparently too vague and spurs intrusive follow-up questions.  I understand that they are genuinely concerned, but I want to keep my health problems private except for HR and my boss.

Meanwhile, a second reader, S, is stressed about how her high-risk first-trimester pregnancy is affecting her job. Due to a subchorionic hemorrhage, she’s limited in her activities at home and at work, and she was nearly hospitalized for hyperemesis gravidarum (severe morning sickness). She hasn’t yet announced to her coworkers that she’s pregnant.

Great questions, Readers L and S.  I think that any time you’re getting into the realm of health-related issues (whether pregnancy or other things), it’s in your best interest to keep things on the DL — coworkers just don’t need to know until there’s Something to Know.  We’ve talked about how to deal with a miscarriage at work, as well as how to deal with a potentially embarrassing illness — but we haven’t talked about this directly.  These are a few tips that I can think of, but I’m curious to hear what readers say:

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Offensive Clients: How to Deal

Offensive Clients:  How to Deal When Your Client Suggests Your Bag Is Too Expensive | CorporetteHow do you deal with men at work making derisive comments about the expense of your bags, shoes, and clothes?  I’ve been thinking about this one ever since she sent it in. Reader O wonders…

After a recent exchange, I’ve been thinking about my preferred strategy for handling inappropriate/sexist comments from male colleagues/clients: making a joke that disarms the offender while sending a message about boundaries and respect. What are your thoughts on this strategy? Here’s my recent example:
Greeting the team pre-meeting, client looks at my shoulder and says “remind me when we’re done – I have a great Louis Vuitton story for you!! Don’t let me forget!!” Post-meeting (where per the usual I am the only woman in the room), client remembers & proceeds to tell this great “story” to me. And the team. “I’d never been in the store before and went to find a purse for my wife. I’m looking at this bag and can’t find the price anywhere, I finally find it – $2500! For a purse! I guess we know where those legal fees are going.” Another male team member seems particularly amused.
Me, looking at their wrists: “So, I see that you’re both wearing Rolexes. This is my Rolex.”

Like I said, I’ve been thinking about this since Reader O sent it in, and I can’t quite pin down my thoughts.  We’ve talked about sexist clients and sexist coworkers, but I’m not sure the advice there totally applies here.  Here’s what I know: I’m pissed on Reader O’s behalf.  But I’m also not sure she handled it well, considering this was a client.  More specifically:

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How to Deal with Political Talk at the Office

How to Deal with Politics at the Office | CorporetteHow do you handle a lot of religious and political talk at the office — particularly if you disagree with it?  Reader S wonders:

Could you do a post about politics at the office? I am a moderate liberal, and my approach has always been to avoid discussing politics at work at all, except when necessary to serve the needs of a client (i.e., analyzing a judge’s leanings or referring a client to a PR/lobbying specialist). I now find myself in a small-ish firm (about 35 attorneys) in a conservative, evangelical region, and political conversations are very common in my office. Some of the partners with offices near mine are constantly making derisive comments about president Obama and his policies, the liberal agenda, the liberal media, etc. Sometimes the critiques venture into gender issues. I find many of the things they say to be pretty offensive. I try to avoid participating in the conversations as much as possible so they don’t ask me what I think, but I can’t help overhearing them. Do you have any advice on how to handle this situation, short of (or until) leaving the firm?

Yeouch.  We’ve talked about election politics at the office many years ago, as well as pressure from coworkers to give to charities at the office (which sometimes veers into the political realm), but we haven’t talked about either in a really long time.  (We’ve also talked about how to handle it when your coworkers are sexist pigs.)

I’m curious to hear what readers say here, but in this particular situation, this sounds like a Fit Issue.  A big time, capital letters, serious fit issue.  It sounds like you don’t agree with or respect their opinions regarding politics or religion, and you feel like your opinions wouldn’t be respected either.  Not only is it unpleasant and awkward at work, but honestly I think your career prospects are also limited, because Fit is a major reason why people get promoted (or don’t).  So: for you, it’s time to move on. [Read more...]

How to Buy Jewelry For The Women In Your Life

How to Buy Jewelry for Your Secretary | CorporetteEver wonder what to get your mother, secretary, or sister in law for the holidays?  Jewelry always seems like a safe choice, but you have to do a bit of analysis — fortunately guest poster / Corporette commenter Kanye East is here to advise us on how to buy jewelry for the women in your life.  In real life,the author is an attorney at law, New York City ex-pat, sarcastic Corporette commenter, and amateur metalsmith. On the rare occasions she leaves the office, Ms. East slays dragons and makes jewelry with their treasures. She’s previously demystified pearls and types of metals for us.  Welcome back, Kanye East! – Kat

I don’t know whether “TIAKYOS” is a Corporette commenter acronym yet, but it could be. No, it’s not a new kind of Greek yogurt. “This is a know-your-office-situation.” We say it all the time when it comes to wardrobe, etiquette, socializing—next to JSFAMO (“Just say FOOEY! and move on), it might be the most popular advice among our commentariat. And it’s just as important for giving gifts: it’s a know-your-recipient situation. If you want to give gifts of jewelry that will be appreciated and worn, be observant. That’s my best advice, so if you want to go ahead and stop reading now, no hurt feelings.

Now I won’t pretend to be unbiased, but jewelry is always a go-to gift for the women in my life. (Know what my legal assistant gets on every holiday? I’ll give you one guess.) I love giving it, and I love getting it. But how do you pick the right piece for the right person? Allow me to make a few suggestions in the style of a bastardized Myers-Briggs Personality Test. We’ll be grading our recipient’s traits in four categories, and then assigning her a Giftee Profile (and giftee suggestions) based on those traits. Finally, I’ll leave you with suggestions from some of my favorite Etsy shops. [Read more...]

How to Hire an Assistant

how to hire helpWhat qualities should you look for when you hire someone?  Reader G wonders, particularly with regard to legal assistants:

Can you do a post about tips for interviewing and hiring a legal assistant? I’m a newer attorney and I share a legal assistant with two other attorneys. What should I look for in a new assistant? What questions should I ask during an interview?

Very interesting question, G, and I can’t wait to hear what the readers say — we’ve talked about delegating work, how to inspire a lazy secretary, and whether you should be friends with your staff, but never how to hire help. I’ve been reading a million articles on hiring people myself but aside from contract workers and virtual assistants I don’t have direct experience with this myself. A few links that may help: [Read more...]

Great Gifts for Business Associates

Gift Ideas for Business Associates | CorporetteWhat are the best gifts to give business associates and colleagues?  It still feels a bit early in the season, but I suppose that’s the best time to plan gift-giving… Here’s Reader R’s question:

Not sure if this topic has been covered, but any ideas for holiday gifts for fellow attorneys who refer you business.

Interesting!  We’ve talked about what to give your secretary for the holidays, and what hostess gifts are appropriate for work-related parties, but we haven’t talked about this.  For some reason I always think of alcohol (a nice bottle of a good liquor) or gift baskets as being work-appropriate business gifts.  For my $.02, I highly recommend avoiding soap (even artisanal soap) — I’m always mildly offended when I get that gift!

Readers, what do you give business colleagues?  What are some of the best gifts that you’ve gotten?

(Pictured: Rocky Mountain Goldmine, available from Hammond’s Candies for $49.50. Not included in the gift set, but amazing: their caramel-wrapped marshmallows.)

(L-0)