Plus-One Style: Dinner at Your Husband’s Boss’s House

Plus-One Style: What to Wear to Dinner at Your Husband's Boss's House | CorporetteWhat should you wear to your husband’s boss’s dinner party?  How does plus-one style (in appearance as well as approach) differ?   Reader L wonders…

My husband and I are both lawyers in our late (or, more accurately lates-est) twenties. He recently accepted an associate position at a new firm, and one of the shareholders invited us to a small dinner at his home along with several other associates and their significant others. The dinner is not until the end of March but I am already in a panic about what to wear. Any suggestions?

We have talked about what to wear to your boss’s holiday party, but the suggestions there (post and comments) are all very seasonal, so I thought we’d revisit.  The important part here, I think, is that you’re the plus one — it isn’t your boss; it’s your husband’s boss.  In my mind this is a very different approach than when you’re going to your own work-related social event.  Things that might be of concern were it YOUR boss: being too feminine, being interesting in that “I have a life outside the office” way,  having the entire social event run in a way that it bolsters your boss’s and colleagues’ good opinions of you as a work colleague and doesn’t undermine those opinions at all… But when you’re the plus one, none of that matters.  Obviously, you’re intelligent and a lawyer yourself — don’t pretend to be something you’re not, and don’t do/say anything that will lay the groundwork for a bad impression if you later meet another dinner attendee in a work-related capacity.  But: if you leave that evening and their impression of you is, “she’s pretty and makes a nice wife for Mr.  L,” that’s A-OK.  You wouldn’t want that if it were YOUR boss, but since it’s HIS boss it doesn’t matter.  (Incidentally, this has nothing to do with husband/wife dynamics — in general I think it’s the mark of a bad plus-one if they outshine you at your work events.  Part of having/being a good partner is knowing when to throw each other the ball and let the other person run with it, rather than trying to make all the goals yourself.  I would be peeved if my husband and I went to an event for MY work and he actively hogged the spotlight, or even if he led/perpetuated a conversation that he knew I couldn’t take part in.)

THAT SAID — what should you wear, whether it’s to your own event or your husband’s event?  My advice is kind of the same: if it’s on a weeknight, wear something you could have worn to work.   [Read more...]

How to Turn Down Opportunities

how to turn down opportunitiesHow do you turn down opportunities at work when the timing isn’t right?  Reader M wonders…

I was recently asked to relocate offices (I work at a mid-sized law firm). The relocation would be something of a promotion based on the work I’d get to do and the people I’d get to work with. I was asked because the other office is very busy and has more work than capacity at the moment. If I were single, I’d probably say yes. Or least strongly consider it. But I’m engaged to a wonderful man who is not enthusiastic about the idea of uprooting his life and his career to follow me to a smaller city with less opportunity for him. My question is, how do you turn down an offer for relocation without appearing to be uncommitted to your job? I want to signal that I love my job and appreciate the opportunity, but that it’s not the right time or circumstances for me.

I had a similar situation come up when I started dating my husband — a company I would have loved to work for started heavily recruiting me, even offering to train me in an area I was eager to get into.  The catch: it was all the way across the country.  I’ve always endeavored to stay in the same time zone as my family, but with the addition of this new guy I’d started dating (only two months in at that point!) it was an easy decision: I turned it down outright.  At the time I felt like a bad feminist, a bad overachieving chick, a bad…everything, but I have no regrets.  (Of course, hindsight is 20/20.)  Along similar lines, I know that my father turned down fairly major career opportunities when my brother and I were in high school because it would have meant uprooting the family to a foreign country.  [Read more...]

Tales from the Wallet: Who Manages the Money In Your House?

Kate Spade New York Glitterball Coin PurseWho is in charge of your money — you? your partner? everyone?  This came up recently with a friend, and I thought it might be an interesting open thread.  For those of you without a partner, do you want to stay in charge of your finances — or will you be happy to give that drudgery over? (Pictured: Kate Spade Glitterball Coin Purse, available at Zappos in pink and black for $50.)

For my $.02: In our household, I’m the primary one in charge of our finances, both day-to-day and long-term.  (We tried when we were first married to put 80% of our income into a joint account and 20% into separate accounts for spending money, but we simplified everything and have totally joint accounts now.)  I give my husband a “State of the Union” summary about twice a year (or whenever the mood strikes) — what the balances are, how the investments are doing, how we’re doing on our goals for the year, the good news (how much debt we’ve paid down/savings we’ve banked), the bad news (if we had to dip into savings to pay any bills, how much, when, etc).  He also gets the weekly summary emails from Mint, as well as text messages when our accounts drop below a certain balance (I think that’s another Mint feature, but it may be through our bank, Chase.)  In all honesty, I think it’s easiest to have one person manage everything, but that’s just what I know.  (Especially in our situation, where I occasionally write about personal finance and so I’m reading about it more, whereas my husband just was never into it that much.)

I think it’s funny how sometimes this is seen as a “gendered” family role — I think it’s usually seen as “the man’s job,” but my mother was the primary one in charge of day-to-day finances while I was growing up, as were both my grandmothers before her.

Ladies, who manages the money in your house? If you’re not the primary person, do you get “reports” from your partner?  Was this something you negotiated before you intermingled finances, or did you just fall into your roles?

Guestpost: Reader B’s Experiences with an IUD

Are IUDs the right birth control method for busy women? I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but a number of the Corporette commenters love (love) (love) their IUDs. I’ve never had one, but I was intrigued (particularly by their fervor!), and put out a general call for one reader to write about her experience for us. Reader B generously stepped up, and this is her account* — thank you, reader B! Let’s use the comments of this post to otherwise discuss the issue. Readers, if you’ve had a positive or negative experience with IUDs, please weigh in.

The Decision

Getting a Mirena IUD was actually a relatively easy decision for me. I have had nothing but complications and woe whenever I’ve tried to take the pill, no matter what form of the pill I took, and I take a medicine for a chronic illness that is absolutely incompatible with pregnancy. I was in a new relationship (since ended), and given the relatively high failure rate of condoms (about 15% with typical use), I was uncomfortable using condoms alone as a method of contraception. So I did some online research about non-hormonal methods, and went to my gynecologist intending to discuss the possibility of a diaphragm or copper IUD (brand name Paragard). I quickly discarded the idea of a diaphragm when I learned that they too have a high failure rate, but when I mentioned my heavy periods and bad PMS, my gyno suggested Mirena rather than a copper IUD. [Read more...]

Kat’s “Time to Break it Off” Test (and other Dating Thoughts)

Pink and Red Hearts Cupcake, originally uploaded to Flickr by Zen Cupcake.How do you know when a dating relationship isn’t worth pursuing?  How do you know when to break it off with a romantic interest?  I thought this might be a fun topic for today, in part because I was just reminded of (and thankful for!) one of my “it’s time to break it off” tests for relationships, and in part because it’s been far too long since we talked about dating.  (Pictured.)

Let’s say you meet a person, either through a friend, or an online dating site, or maybe even the office.  Things are going great! Then, five or six dates in, things start to take a turn for the worse.  Maybe your phone stops ringing quite so much — or maybe it’s ringing too much for you.  Maybe the conversations you’re having leave you with niggling doubts.  This is all the normal start of a relationship, right? It takes some time to get used to another person in your life!  No one is perfect; everything is a compromise… right?

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Love, Marriage, and Pre-Nups

Reader C has a great question about how to deal with her fiance, who wants her to sign a pre-nuptial agreement…

After 7 years of dating (since my junior year of college) and one year of being engaged, my fiance just brought them up. Both of us have advanced degrees but he’s in finance and I work in public interest law. I am significantly less financially secure than him and will make significantly less in my career. But we’ve always functioned like a team. We’ve both made moves and career decisions for each other. He’s my best friend. But I’m really hurt. Our wedding is only a month and a half out and this feels very rushed to me. We both have said we would never get divorced (and after 8 happy years together, I truly believe we’ll make it), but his phrasing is that “he analyzes risk for a living and he just wants to be extra secure that in the unlikely event of divorce, he is prepared.” I think that even having a pre-nupt opens the door to divorce and don’t understand why if he says he doesn’t believe in divorce that he’d request one. This feels like the biggest breach in our relationship ever. Advice? Am I being ridiculous? Is he? How many corporette readers have pre-nupts (statistics I found said 5-10% of marriages but that includes second marriages and marriages with children from previous marriages where I think it makes more sense)? Can anyone help me get on board with this or am I right to be freaking out (after all, a pre-nupt can only hurt me)?

Interesting question.  I’ve seen articles that say pre-nups are on the rise (even though the oft-quoted statistic that 50% of couples divorce isn’t really true).  Personally, I come to pre-nups from the other side of things: even though I’m wildly in love, as well as Catholic and of the “divorce is not an option” mindset, I’m the one who brought them up with my husband, R. I broached the subject with this little speech:  Good Kat and Good R are marrying now, and we love each other and of course would want to take care of each other (or at least be fair to each other) even if something were to happen and if we were to divorce.  But — if we actually WERE to divorce, that would be a sea change (because we love each other so much right now and can’t possibly imagine it!!) and, in that event, we’d probably be dealing with either Bad Kat or Bad R or both.  And my point was that if we really loved each other now, wouldn’t it be a nice thing if Good Kat and Good R had agreed to the terms of the divorce — and not Bad Kat or Bad R, who probably would have hurt feelings and maybe a bit of blood thirst. Furthermore, even though the pre-nup terms we discussed were very close to New York state law, something else I liked was that if the law changed, or if we moved to a new state, we wouldn’t have to deal with new information — the terms of the divorce would always be a known quantity.

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