How to Lighten Your Load

how to lighten your loadIf you’re carrying a million bags, how do you look professional?  How can you lighten your load and reduce the number of bags you’re carrying? Reader R wonders…

I work in a large corporate environment and recently had a daughter. I’m back at work, but I feel like a bag lady. I’m only 5’3″ and have to carry in my laptop, purse, pump, lunch, and coffee. (Not brave enough to add my gym bag to the mix, although I’d like to.) I feel like the bags overwhelm my frame and generally make me look smaller, younger, and unprofessional. How do others juggle all this STUFF?

Congratulations on your daughter, R!  Great question — I can see how this is a problem for new mothers, but also for other people carrying too much stuff.  We’ve talked about what your tote bag says about you, as well as how to save your back while commuting, but we haven’t really talked about a) how to lighten your load, and b) how to balance your load (particularly if you’re petite) so it looks more managed.

From my perspective, most of reader R needs to do is to reduce the amount of stuff she carries.  Some tips: [Read more…]

Coffee Break: Martha Stewart Office Accessories

Martha Stewart Home Office AccessoriesI’m sorry to say I don’t remember where I first saw this new line of Martha Stewart desk accessories — Pinterest, perhaps? There’s a lot to like, though — it isn’t overly cutesy, it’s organized, and there are a lot of ways to customize it to suit your needs. I’ve pictured the “Stack+Fit Desk Accessories” here — the idea is that you can stack inboxes, storage boxes, drawers, and smaller organizing compartments to make exactly what you need. Nice. Prices range from $1.99 to $14.99 for individual pieces in the Stack+Fit system; the whole Martha Stewart line also includes furniture, totes, wall systems, and more. Martha Stewart Office Accessories


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…]

How to De-Smell Your Office… Without Annoying Your CoWorkers

Cuppa, originally uploaded to Flickr by grimescene.How do you make your office smell nice — without offending any of your coworkers or clients?  Reader P asks a great question:

I work at a law firm, and my office is pretty close to the kitchen on my floor. My office inevitably ends up smelling like food during lunch time because of people constantly microwaving their lunch. Do you, or your readers, have any suggestions for an office-appropriate air freshener that won’t smell too floral and isn’t too overpowering, but would take care of the food smells? I hate it when people walk in and my office smells like Lean Cuisine! Thank you!

I’ve advised against office fragrances in the past (in part because I think I made that mistake when I started!), and readers are always against easily-smelled perfume at the office (Pictured.) A few ideas… [Read more…]

Coffee Break – Zip Around Portfolio

Serapian Zip Around Portfolio Reader M wrote in to recommend this leather portfolio at Barney’s, noting: “Alas I don’t have it so I can’t vouch personally (so expensive!), but I’m pretty sure I would DIE of happiness if somebody gifted me this gorgeous, gorgeous zip-around leather portfolio.  It should even fit legal size paper, judging from the dimensions.”  Le sigh — I love a good zip around portfolio, but they are so difficult to find online!  This one is $385… readers, where do you get great leather portfolios and the like?  Serapian Zip Around Portfolio


Staying Cool in a Hot Office

Fan, originally uploaded to Flickr by Ryk Neethling.How do you stay cool in an overheated office? Reader L — who notes that she is nowhere near “hot flash” territory — wants some advice on working with some overactive radiators:

You’ve written about staying warm in a cold office. What about staying cool in a hot office? The weather outside is frightful, but my office feeling as hot as fire is not so delightful.

Great question, and I’m curious to hear what readers say. (Pictured.) Some tips off the top of my head:

  • Dress in layers. Obviously. You may want to particularly look into breathable fabrics like cotton, linen, and silk (which can block cold winds outside but still be comfortable inside).

[Read more…]