How to Help Young Men Dress Professionally

best workwear advice for menWhich blogs provide workwear advice to young male professionals? Reader S wonders, and now is a great time to talk about men’s style since I’m guessing there will be some killer Father’s Day sales coming up… (update: here’s our roundup for some big sales happening the weekend of 6/14) –

Do you know of any blogs that provide sound fashion advice to young male professionals? One of my firm’s summer clerks has become the subject of office ridicule because of the way he dresses, as well as his general awkwardness. This really bothers me, as he reminds me a lot of my younger brother. In an attempt to help him, I am planning on sending an email to him and to the two female clerks recommending helpful blogs regarding office etiquette, professional clothing, etc. I am going to recommend Corporette to the ladies (you have helped me immensely), but I do not know of a site for men. Are there any that you would recommend?

This is something that I’ve been asked so often that I’ve actually bought a few domain names and thought about launching a workwear blog for men myself. (Trust me when I say it’s at/near the bottom of my to-do list, though!) I’m curious to hear what readers say here — some of my best resources for men include: [Read more...]

When to Accommodate Co-Workers

when-to-accommodate-coworkersWhen should you accommodate coworkers to be a “team player” — and when should you hold your ground to avoid looking weak? Reader K wonders, particularly whether she should give up her window:

I have an office etiquette question. I’m a lawyer in the public sector and we were recently told that we’re going to have to double people up in offices to make room for new staff. Our offices were made to be doubles, they’re long and narrow, so the person in the back half of the office gets a window (prime seating) while the front half doesn’t. I currently have the window half and was told I am getting an officemate. The person moving in has been an attorney for 15 plus years, but I have seniority at our current office because I started first. She is not happy about sharing an office and is further frustrated because she’ll be getting the windowless half of the office. I’m a brand new attorney; should I offer to switch sides?

Interesting question.  I’m curious to see what the readers say, but here are my initial thoughts for why I’d be polite and welcoming to the new officemate, but would stay put near the window: [Read more...]

Cupcakes and the Office

avoiding-food-pushers-at-workHow do you politely say no to cupcakes at the office? Reader A has a great question, with shades of “how to stop the food pushers at the office,”  as well as how to adapt to the “snack culture” at a new office, and more. Here’s the Q:

I recently started in a new office, and people love to bring in food and snacks all the time. Trouble is, I don’t like to eat lots of sugary snacks, and, frankly, don’t enjoy flavorless cakes with too much icing. How can I say no without appearing standoffish or snobby?

Well, I wouldn’t include the bit about “flavorless cakes with too much icing.”  Instead, how about: “This looks delicious, but I’m good, thanks.”  or “What beautiful frosting! None for me though.”  or even “I’m not a big snacker, but thank you for offering!” [Read more...]

Should You Visit Coworkers in the Hospital?

should-you-visit-sick-coworkers-in-the-hospitalShould you visit coworkers in the hospital? Reader E wonders…

I’m a second year associate at a very small law firm (there are, essentially, five full time lawyers), and have worked very closely with one particular partner since I started with the firm. She found out a few weeks ago that she needs major abdominal surgery, and it’s scheduled for next week. I like and respect her enormously, and she’s been really fabulous to work for, and I want to get her something while she’s in the hospital. I had two immediate thoughts: 1) flowers or 2) an iTunes gift card (she has an iPad) Any suggestions?

I’m also not sure what the protocol is on visits. She told me what the surgery is for, but I don’t want to cross any boundaries or be intrusive while she’s healing. Should I stop by while she’s in the hospital?

I have only had two stays in the hospital, luckily, and one of them was for my birth (which I don’t remember) and the other for the birth of my son.  For the second one — for my $.02 — I would most certainly not have wanted any visitors beyond family to the maternity ward.  I was exhausted (hooray for 34 hours of labor that started at 9PM), felt groggy and out of it, hated being confined to a bed and a hospital gown, and generally skedaddled out of there as quickly as I could.  (Possibly too soon — we left about 36 hours after my son was born, and I nearly fainted while walking out.)  But then I had a less than stellar experience at the hospital for a lot of reasons, so this may be completely unique to me.

Anyway: I think flowers and an iTunes gift card sounds really sweet, and perfect — and I might save a visit to her for when she’s home and recovering.  I think my answer might be different if your colleague were so sick that the stay would be a very long one, or one that might not have a happy ending of going home to recover — but I think for a few days to a week in the hospital, no visit is necessary.

Readers, what do you think — have you visited, or would you visit, a close colleague in the hospital?  Would you want to be visited if you were going to be in the hospital?

How to Show Your Secretary You Appreciate Her

how-to-show-your-secretary-you-appreciate-herReader L has a great question about how to show her appreciation for a new secretary who’s doing a great job:

I’m a young associate at a new firm and a few times recently, my secretary has helped me put together and file huge motions. Of course such filings are always done up against tight deadlines , so my secretary has stayed late to do this. What’s an appropriate way to show her how much I appreciate this? I barely know her and am much younger, so I don’t feel comfortable inviting her out to lunch. I rarely take a lunch break anyway. We have coffee, tea, etc. in the office, so bringing her a Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts coffee tomorrow, doesn’t seem much of a gesture. I don’t want to buy her a gift, I just want to do something thoughtful to show how much I appreciate her help. Any ideas?

This is a great question — I’ve had older secretaries myself and I know how difficult it can be to strike the right tone!  We’ve shared stories about great support staff, discussed how to use administrative assistants, and talked about what to get secretaries for holidays — but we haven’t talked about small gestures of thanks for staffers.

- You’re new, she’s been helpful — make the time to take her to lunch!  [Read more...]

OMG, LOL!!! How to Convey Tone In Email Without Seeming Childish

How do you convey tone in email without seeming childish or girlish?  Can you ever use exclamations in emails?  Reader C wonders…

I’m hoping you can address the issue of using !’s in emails at work. As we all know, tone is hard to convey properly via email. However, whenever I am inclined to use an ! to convey a positive tone, I get the sense that it actually reads as childish or immature. I also never seem to notice men using !’s in emails, either…. I’d love to hear yours and others thoughts on this!

Outstanding question, and I can’t wait to hear what readers say.  A lot has been written about overuse of exclamations in emails — with some people even suggesting that one exclamation mark per email is a good rule to follow.  There’s even an app to help you check the tone of your email!  My best general advice is that abbreviations, multiple punctuation marks (!!!), and overly casual phrases (“amazeballs!”) have no place in professional emails.   Beyond that, I think a lot of this depends on why you want to use a positive tone.  For example: [Read more...]