Frugal Friday’s Workwear Report: Classic Pique-Knit Blazer

Our daily workwear reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

This blazer from Old Navy looks fabulous and is a very affordable, professor kind of look. It’s machine washable, too. Note from the reviews that it does fit differently than the ponte knit blazer (the one I was thinking of in our post on 5 Great Blazers Under $50). While you’re there, do check out this cute t-shirt dress at Gap, which would be great for a casual day or the weekend, and I’m also intrigued by this Tencel blazer at Gap, which is shapeless but would be crazy soft and does look cute as styled in the video. The pictured blazer (which, by the way, has a leopard-print lining) comes in regular and tall sizes through XXL as well as petites. Classic Pique-Knit Blazer

Here’s another very affordable blazer at Old Navy that’s available in plus sizes.

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Comments

  1. Fed White Ally :

    I’m an attorney in a federal agency. I just overhead two POC discussing in hushed tones how it’s hard to come in every day and everyone pretend like nothing is happening and “it’s not fair.” And I can’t imagine how hard it is. So how do I balance working for the government and being an ally? I’m not “friends” with these two. Would it be out of line/weird/silly to stop by and just say, “It’s weird here because of where we work, but what is happening is not okay and I’m not ignoring it.” Outside of duty hours there’s no question as to how I would handle this. But on-duty, as a Fed, as an attorney (with an active ethics officer), in an executive agency with my direct superiors being Trump supporters–I’m not comfortable with assuming that publicly speaking against this administration, during duty hours, would end up okay. How do I be a better ally in these circumstances?

    • I sympathize with your situation, but I think you are handling it acceptably. You are doing your part to maintain peace, and that goes a long way when so many are giving way too much attention to the actions of a very small and wrong minority. Just keep going.

      • I disagree with this–if you don’t say or do anything, then why wouldn’t they assume that you’re indifferent or pretending that nothing’s happening, just like everyone else?

        • I don’t want to add fuel to the fire. Their assumptions are on them, not me. What is on me is my contribution to being peaceful or choosing not to be peaceful.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        For POC and others, small and wrong still equates to terrifying. I don’t have advice, but if you can, let them know somehow that you are seeing what’s going on and are fighting back when you can.

        • But I don’t want to fight. I don’t want to give credence to the preposterous position of those in the limelight right now.

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            If you disagree with the rhetoric being spouted, and care about the people who are legitimately terrified by it (for good reasons), I don’t think there’s any choice BUT to fight back. Neutrality isn’t really an option.

          • No, everyone doesn’t have to get involved with every argument in the news. Not every battle is mine to fight. I choose not to go around fighting, angry, feeling like a victim. I choose to invest my energy in actionable causes in the present to make the future better. Reviving the civil war in a reactionary way ( reactionary to the neo nazis and news this week) is not how I choose to direct my time and resources. That is OK. There are plenty of other issues I can devote myself to making a positive change in the world.

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            OK, whatever, I’m guessing you’re white.

        • silence helps the oppressor, never the oppressed.

          No one is saying you must take to the streets, but you can make it known where you stand in situations where you see someone struggling (like in this situation). “I overheard something you said earlier. I didn’t want to intrude then but I wanted you to know that I agree with you, it really is hard to continue on like this isn’t happening.” You can leave it at that, which does nothing to change your day but may be truly helpful for people who feel very alone right now. You don’t need to go into battle if this isn’t something you want to focus on, but if you feel that what is happening isn’t right, you really should speak up in support of those who are terrified right now. Otherwise, silence is often seen as consent or agreement, as it has been through the course of history.

      • I agree. It is very difficult to be an attorney at law these days, knowing what we must do as attorneys under the rules of ethics, when our leaders seem to be flounting those rules right in front of us. There are peeople at the EPA that do NOT know what they are to do. Follow the EPA law or their bosses? It is an ethical dilemna for them (and us, who work with them).

        In my field, I am often faced with the situeation where I must decide to do what is ethical vs what is practical. I usueally do the ethical thing b/c of my bar license, which I do NOT want to loose, as long as I must support myself. Many peeople would do the practical thing, but NOT me, b/c I value my bar license.

        Dad even has ethical issues, and he is NOT even an attorney. He is always ethical, even where his freinds are not. He told me he had likely spawned alot of kid’s overseas when he was behind the IRON curtain and he is NOW trying to find them so that I can have 1/2 brothers and 1/2 sisters who I can be freinds with. So, I now say to the HIVE, be ehical and you will NEVER regret it. YAY!!!!!

    • Rather than stating your allyship, could you offer to do something kind for them? I’m thinking something along the lines of saying, “Hey, I know things have been really stressful/tough lately; can I take you out for coffee or help with anything? I’m guessing you’ve got a lot on your mind.”

      That way, you’re not publicly speaking for or against anything in the context of your role, and I would also think that even a small gesture of tangible support would mean more to your colleagues than whispering “I’m an ally!”

      • This is a tough balance. It would be really easy for this to read as patronizing. I understand that’s not the intent of course…but still.

    • I am interested in responses of any women of color who post here, if they are interested in weighing in.

      • I am a WOC. obviously, I can’t speak for anyone but myself. but from my vantage point, I don’t think there’s much you can do. I think that reaching out on a personal level only works if you are a close friend or someone who would ordinarily be a confidant. Without a preexisting personal relationship, I think that the risk of such things coming off as condescending or inappropriate is just too great (imagine someone you’ve never spoken with on a personal level before offering to take you out to coffee to discuss your recent divorce).

        Because these are issues that affect us all, not just people of color, I think that allyship is effective when someone uses their own voice. I’ve found that in general, people don’t want to be reassured, they want other people to acknowledge that what is happening is wrong. I think you are absolutely right that your position may prevent you from doing so in any meaningful way. But if that’s the case, you will have to learn to be comfortable with people seeing you as part of the problem.

        • Pretty Primadonna :

          I agree withthis, unfortunately.

          Also, OP’s statement, “but I don’t want to fight. I don’t want to give credence to the preposterous position of those in the limelight right now” is confusing to me. So…what exactly are you wanting to offer, OP? That you feel badly for them and… that’s it?

    • I had a moment the morning after the election where I walked into my daughter’s pediatrician’s office and was greeted by a very nice woman in a Muslim headscarf. Being friendly, she asked how I was. I paused for a really long time before muttering, “I’ve been better. It was a rough night.” She immediately broke into a giant grin and we had a moment of understanding. Somehow I think we both felt better.

      I probably wouldn’t approach their desks, but if I saw them in the hall or bathroom I would probably say something like: “Gah, such a terrible week. The political discourse has been really upsetting. So hard to stomach what’s being said. I can’t wait to get back to a more positive topic, you know, like nuclear war.”

      • Thank you everyone for your thoughtful replies, I think this is the way I might handle it. Or at least, approach it from a more organic perspective while realizing my particular situation *at work* may just mean I look like I’m not doing anything.

  2. What’s the best kind of overnight bag to bring when you’re going directly from the airport to a client’s office? It’d be great if it was big enough to fit a suit, workout clothes, and toiletries.

    • Anonymous :

      I would just use my small suitcase that I use whenever I travel. Are you wanting recommendations for some kind of large totebag with a shoulder strap?

    • Anonymous :

      Anything you want. Small roller bag, OG, large tote. Your client does not care.

      • Ok thanks. You all are probably right — I just felt weird on a recent trip bringing my small roller bag into the conference room when my colleagues (men) only brought small messenger bag/brief case type things.

        • Small Law :

          I usually leave the bag with the receptionist up front or behind a staff member’s desk outside the conference room.

        • This comment baffles me. Why is it bad to have a roller bag in the presence of men. Are roller bags gendered now?

          • I doubt that’s what she meant. I could see how anyone might feel out of place with luggage when no one else has it, regardless of gender. It makes you feel clunky and like you’ll be perceived as a bag lady, when everyone else is sleek and hands free. In her particular case, the other people happened to be men.

            Not every question like this indicates a deep feminine insecurity, no need to jump there.

          • I agree with Pompom that it’s awkward to have luggage when nobody else does.

            But I understand gender playing a role. Some men have a perception that women are high maintenance and over-pack because they can’t travel with fewer than 4 pairs of shoes, and slow the men down by carrying around all this stuff, blah blah blah. Knowing that the bias against women exists, I’d be uncomfortable in a room full of men who had way less stuff than me.

          • And bags can be a bit gendered.

            After having someone take my bag, I have one that is in a pink plumeria print. It’s OK for me, I own that color. But on someone younger and less august, perhaps they’d feel more comfortable with the invisibility of black.

          • Rainbow Hair :

            I’ve travelled with my boss — when I was new to the job and new to traveling for work — and we went to Chicago in April, so variable weather. I met him at the airport and he had a backpack. I had a roller bag and a large purse/laptop bag. I was embarrassed a tiny bit. But when we got to Chicago and it was *freezing* and all he had was the thin jacket he wore on the plane, and I was able to unzip my roller bag and pull out my wool coat, I got to be a little teasingly smug. I am always conscious of the whole “ugh wimmen with all their shoes” stereotype (especially since the overwhelming majority of the people I encounter for work are men), but I am working toward not giving a F.

            Also, I use it as a reason to buy myself luggage that I quite like, in grey, which is my favorite color.

        • Honestly, just bring your roller bag. If you’re self conscious, arrive early and park it in the corner. It will be easier to handle a rolling bag to get through the airport, rather than a duffle or weekender- plus, you avoid wrinkling your suit with a shoulder strap.
          Caveat- dont overstuff your roller bag, and make sure it’s a conservative color and in good condition.

      • joan wilder :

        Agreed. I am the client in these situations, and we are an industry that requires people to travel. Bring whatever luggage you like. And even if we are not an industry where people travel for the work, people are not robots. They have work, and they have lives (ideally) and maybe are traveling before or after a meeting and that is ok! Also, it’s actually more cost effective for us to have you fly in for the meeting and come straight rather than charge us for hotel the night before. So I really would be a hypocrite to judge you for coming with luggage (not that I would anyway).

      • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

        Yup, this. Going overnight with just a laptop bag isn’t something I have seen any of my colleagues do, and we travel a lot. I use a purple hard shell roller. Not an issue.

    • it’s not unusual at all to walk in with a roller bag. I used to do this kind of commuting. On Fridays, the client conference room would be lined with roller bags because everyone had checked out of their hotel and would be flying home at some point that day.

    • I use a plain black rucksack. It’s got a laptop section that’s accessed from the outside and a big enough front pocket that I never have to go into the main section in the meeting and risk spilling dirty socks everywhere!

      • To add to this – for slightly longer trips I have a rollaboard suitcase which is predominantly black but has bright spots (not polka dots, not sure how to describe them) across it. It makes it really easy to find my case from the cupboard of black rollaboards at the end of the day!

    • Anonymous :

      I use a Swiss army laptop bag with giant pockets for single day/overnights like this. It fits my stuff (packable dress, not suit) and I enjoy not hauling a roller bag. I also use my roller as needed and park it at the reception desk if I pack a parka, extra shoes, etc..

    • I bring a small roller bag. My male peers bring the same or in some cases a rolling laptop bag (the ones that hold an outfit change and a laptop.). Where I think someone might notice (and frankly in my experience never would…) isnif you had a giant bag, a hot pink bag with sparkles, an overpacked tote bag that looked like you were headed on vacation, or a really dumpy bag with rips and holes.

      Mine is a black samsonite with a red handle so I can tell it from the crowd. My (female) boss has a bright green roller. It looks fine.

  3. Y’all, I am done with this week. I am done with people’s inability to use critical thinking skills or read for comprehension. Done with everyone trying to get me to do their work because they don’t want to take responsibility for making a decision. Done with the business wasting everyone’s time on terms and conditions for customers who are low value. Done, done, done. I’m at the point where I DGAF, for real, and that is not a good place to be in at work. I’ve already told my boss I’m taking the afternoon off.

    I leave for vacation in a week and two days. I leave for vacation in a week and two days. I leave for vacation in a week and two days . . .

    • Cookbooks :

      Amen. It’s been long and tedious. Something about this week really brought out the worst in people.

      Enjoy your afternoon off, and remember, you’re one day closer to vacation!

      • Thanks! It’s rainy here, so my plan is to snuggle up on the couch with the dog and cats, grab the book I am reading, and slowly enjoy a glass of wine (only slowly because I have dinner plans and I need to be with it for those).

        I hope your day goes quickly and smoothly and you have a nice weekend :)

    • cake batter :

      I think the upcoming eclipse is making people bat$hit crazy. You know how people go nuts at a full moon? It seems to be multiplied these days…

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Yes, it is the eclipse! And mercury in retrograde, right?

      Ugh I was imagining the nice glass of whiskey (do I even have whiskey at my house?) I could have when I got home from work, and then I remembered that if I’m maybe-sick that’s probably not the best choice.

      • Mary Ann Singleton :

        Isn’t whiskey a well-known remedy for being sick? (OK, maybe specifically for colds as part of a hot toddy, but I’d say you’re allowed to medicate with a nice glass of whiskey.)

    • My advice – get the business to agree on a threshold when you can do battle of the forms. Changed my life.

      • 100% You better believe that I have been pushing this point for the year I have been overseeing contracts for this sub-vertical. They are supposed to be using BoF as the first line of defense regardless, but they cave and get all mushy when the customer objects and then scream that it’s holding up an order. We got a new VP/GM a month ago and I brought it up again with counsel. Counsel went to the new VP/GM and he agreed to it as soon as he found out what a disaster it was. I sent my draft memo/flowchart (because people need graphics) to legal for review yesterday (going out under both of our names). I haven’t heard back from him yet, but I am so so so looking forward to this threshold being implemented. The sales people are going to freak, but hey, it’s coming from the VP/GM!

  4. Anonymous :

    Any Albany ladies here? I have a court appearance in Albany Supreme Court and would like to grab a nice lunch somewhere ding back to NYC. Any suggestions?

    • Anonymous :

      There’s a bunch of places sort of between you and the river such as the food court area in the Empire State Plaza, Ama Cocina, Jack’s, the Hollow, 666 Prime, and City Beer Hall.

  5. Anonymous :

    I’m seeing my aunt for the first time in almost 10 years, visiting her out in Seattle. mid 50s and a doctor, I want to bring her a nice gift but nothing that will be tough to take on a plane. any ideas? she loves tennis but I assume she has any and all the tennis gear she needs lol

    • cake batter :

      I’d bring some fancy chocolates or macarons from a local bakery in your town. She probably doesn’t need any stuff.

      • So you know… macarons don’t fly well (I think because they are so airy?) — they kind of contract. I had a friend ask me what I wanted from Paris and this is what I said……. but local baked goods are a good idea otherwise!

    • Need a cool name :

      I am currently crazy about Thistle Farms’ bath salts–the muscle relaxing one is especially nice after a tough workout. Thistle Farms is a great organization that provides the space and opportunity for women to remake their lives after trafficking. They say it better: “Thistle Farms’ mission is to HEAL, EMPOWER, AND EMPLOY women survivors of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction. We do this by providing safe and supportive housing, the opportunity for economic independence, and a strong community of advocates and partners. ”
      https://thistlefarms.org/collections/bath-body/products/bath-soak?variant=31353684105

      • I’ve gone to a talk by the woman who runs this. She is a chaplain at Vandy (or was???). I am a crusty cranky person and I had tears running down my face and that weird sort of frown you make when trying not to weep openly.

        [FWIW, I loathed the premise of Pretty Woman when it came out and this gets me even stabbier.]

        • Need a cool name :

          You might want to read Off the Cliff for fun. It is about the making of ‘Thelma and Louise’ and how radical it was to have roles for women that weren’t as prostitutes or teens. I also think Becca Stevens is amazing (she is still at Vanderbilt).

    • Does she like coffee? Obviously Seattle is a mecca for coffee, but maybe something from a local roaster where you live?

    • I love when people give me Diptyque candles. They’re about $65 and fit in a suitcase nicely. It’s also my go-to houseguest gift

    • Anonymous :

      My Seattle friends enjoy when I bring them a nice bottle of California wine.

  6. Anonymous :

    Do you have any suggestions to make flats more comfortable? I spend a lot of time standing and walking at my job. I’m usually wearing AGL or Cole Haan flats. I have flat feet, so I was thinking I need some kind of arch support insoles or ball-of-foot cushions, preferably ones I can remove and put in another pair of shoes.

    • Anonymous :

      I have flat feet too, and most flats aren’t really that comfy for me. I need a LOT of padding between me and the ground to be comfortable. I like the various Dr Scholls insoles for extra support and cushioning. Tbh though, flats are fine for my office job where I sit at my desk all day, but if I know I’m going to be walking a lot, I can’t wear them.

    • I bought superfeet insoles a few years ago and love them. Ymmv for flats (they have a version meant for women’s flats but they still are too high for some of my shoes), but I’ve found them excellent when they work and LOVE them in flat booties, athleisure shoes, etc. Iirc they are only like $15.

      • Pen and Pencil :

        My physical therapist recommends these insoles for all of his clients. I like them well enough. The ones for womens dress shoes are $30 on Amazon.

    • Get orthotics and stop wearing flats. Ballet flats and the like are such garbage shoes for your feet. Get a shoe with a real sole that provides structural support for your feet.

    • I like the Vionic slim-fit inserts, but you can get custom orthotics from a doctor.

    • I like the Dr. Scholls arch support insert. They’re sticky on the bottom, but I still switch them out between shoes.

    • Flats Only :

      I have Pedag Viva Mini 3/4 orthotic insoles that I use in ballet flats. They have arch and metatarsal support. I got them on Amazon for less than $20. I have very small, narrow feet, and they fit nicely in my ballet flats.

      • I wear orthotics in my running shoes, which replace the insoles. I use the running shoes’ insoles in my flats. You can cut the insoles to size with regular scissors. It makes a huge difference in comfort and support, but the insoles tend to be thin enough that they don’t stretch my flats.

  7. Sheetcaking :

    Just wanted to recommend anyone feeling down this week watch Tina Fey’s Summer Weekend Update appearance.

    • Anonymous :

      I kind of hated it?

      • anon a mouse :

        On one hand, BEEN THERE with wanting to eat my feelings and talk to some cake about all the ish that’s happening in the world.

        On the other hand, this is exactly the wrong time for white women to be retreating into cake. We should be showing our allyship with POCs and using our voices to stand for others.

        • Meh I just thought it wasn’t particularly funny.

          • Yeah. I liked the line about the car being driven by Hillary’s emails but otherwise I found it pretty unfunny too. I don’t really get the Tina Fey thing.

        • Sheetcaking :

          I’m not sure if I found it more funny or cathartic (or possibly just that Tina and I have very similar personalities) but I found it extremely relatable. At the same time, you know she isn’t just eating her feelings, she works hard in a not always female friendly industry. A little 30 Rock throwback to talking to some food mixed with real talk from a highly visible female role model made me feel a tiny bit better.

        • Flats Only :

          I think she was joking? Like not actually advocating that we eat cake, but making fun of those who essentially bury their heads in cake vs. doing something productive. I think there might also have been a Marie Antoinette reference going on.

          • Agree. Plus, I thought the line re Ann Coulter/ Yard-Sake Barbie was hysterical.

    • You know what a drag queen is? A six foot four black man!

    • I didn’t think it was particularly funny, but I’m not sure it was meant to be. I could relate, though. Of course we need to be pulling our weight and be allies, but I completely understand the feeling of just wanting to eat cake and grilled cheese and shutting myself off from the world. Because it is bat guano crazy out there.

      • I have nothing substantive to add to this, but I am going to start saying, “enough with this bat guano!!!” and “This is bat guano!!” Because it will make me cackle inside. Thank you for this.

    • I loved it. I totally get the urge to self-medicate… my “cake” has been wine… gotta do something about that.

    • The line about Trump being 100% fine with taking down “monuments” when he wants to build on top of them was such a good point.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Wow. I googled “Trump Bonwit Teller” as she suggested. I had no idea.

        What a truly horrible person he is.

    • IMO she is not very funny. Not a fan.

  8. Suggestions for what to wear for a firm’s group photo? The guidelines provided by the organizer of the photo suggest that we need to wear dark/muted clothing or company logo apparel of those colors…sure…easy for the men who have tons of polos and button downs with company logo! I have three items of logo apparel..none of which are dark or muted. I’m thinking navy or grey cardigan or blouse?

    • The fact that you mentioned polos and a cardigan leads me to believe you dont need to wear a suit.
      I think this is the time for less layers, if you can – layers can be hard to photograph well, and so I’d avoid the cardigan. I’d wear a really tailored/structured sheath dress with sleeves, with good undergarments to keep everything smooth and avoid lines, which are noticeable in photos.

    • I’m going to follow this one, as something very similar is happening at my company in a few weeks. Does anyone have any sleeved sheath dress recommendations in petite sizes for me?

      • https://www.talbots.com/online/petites/dresses/flounce-sleeve-ponte-sheath-dress-prdi43025/N-10189+908305413+262068109?conceptDim=4294966556&selectedConcept=Petites&isConceptFirst=true

        https://www.talbots.com/online/petites/dresses/shoulder-button-ponte-sheath-dress-prdi43058/N-10189+908305413+262068109+4294966635?conceptDim=4294966556&selectedConcept=Petites&isConceptFirst=true

        • I clearly didn’t look past Talbots, sorry! I think some Maggy London sheaths (if petite?) could work too. Eliza J and Ellen Tracy too.

      • https://www.landsend.com/products/womens-elbow-sleeve-ponte-sheath-dress/id_314769?sku_0=::BKY

        Depending on the lighting and set up, a fine ponte could either look fantastic and soft, or casual. But this dress is a favorite for a reason, generally.

  9. Ever wish you were a big fish in a small pond? I know a number of people who pursued a big name education but then instead of moving to the NYC or DC legal market like most of their classmates, returned to their hometown secondary markets. Did federal clerkships there, got a job at the one biglaw firm in town, made partner precisely 7 yrs later while their NYC counterparts are toiling away as 13th yr associates, bought huge homes as 3rd yr associates bc they could, and now are constantly being honored by this or that board – while in NYC even pursuing a board membership gets you an eye roll bc there are 55 yr old hedge fund managers in line ahead of you so no one cares that you’re a 37 yr old Penn law grad working as an associate. Ever wish you had pursued what was easier/more comfortable instead of proving you could handle the challenge/pursuing what you thought would be more exciting?

    • Nope. And I’d encourage you to explore your narrow minded assessment of this. Who are you to say that returning to their home community meant choosing the easier path instead of the most exciting challenge they could think of?

      • Delta Dawn :

        Yes, this was my first thought too. Work smarter, not harder. Being in NYC is not the be-all, end-all, and going home to a secondary market is not “easier.” Just different choices.

        • I went to a T4, so I am certainly not part of the group you are talking about. That said, I tried the “big” firm office in my small market, was miserable, went to gov’t for a better schedule, and am now in a JD-preferred position. I do not at all regret taking what I suppose some may view as the “easy” way out. I work at most 45 hours a week, make more money than a good number of my classmates who are practicing, and I am good at my job and it sounds cool when I talk about it (LOL).

          If you’re unhappy, change something, but don’t look down on people who took a different (or in your eyes, easier) path than you.

        • Sorry, DD, the “you” is the OP, not you!

      • My thought too. I get the sense some ladies on this forum really do think less of those of us who choose not to try and “make it” in NYC or DC. Ummm, because we don’t want that lifestyle? Because we want to be near family? Because maybe our hometown that happens to be a somewhat bigish city has some pretty fantastic opportunities?

        FWIW, I’m not in law, but this comment seems completely snobby to me.

        • If the question doesn’t apply to you, don’t respond.

          • But it does apply to her. There is a consistent tone here that anyone who is not in NYC/DC couldn’t cut it there. That tone on this board is not limited to law.

          • Questioner :

            And…..why do you get to decide who responds to what???

        • Yup. I still remember someone on here saying Houston had “surprisingly” sophisticated legal work. Ummmm Houston is the fourth biggest city in the country with tons of huge companies.

          • Um – Houston has a HUGE oil and gas sector. As an NYC person I’ve always been jealous — that’s the work I would’ve pursued if I wasn’t tied to the northeast (fam reasons).

    • I hear ya. I think about it, but then I remember that there are lots of reasons why it wouldn’t necessarily be easier/more comfortable. For example, living in a smaller city with less entertainment and excitement. Plus the drawback of challenging and specialized work available in bigger cities. As a woman, I doubt I would make partner in 7 years in a southern city…which is what I would be facing.

      • +1. I think about this A LOT but then I recognize that all the people I know who are killing it in Richmond and Memphis and the like – are ALL men. They are the ones getting the – oh he’s one of us/just like we are at his age – talks to promote them to partner; they are the ones getting the calls when the local Fortune 500 needs a new deputy GC or the local USAO has one spot open. Reality is – those small cities are awesome if you are – one of them – them usually meaning a guy with a family history in that city. If you aren’t – you’re a woman with an education who just happened to snag an associate job – your struggles to make partner or go I house are not that different from NYC; in fact probably harder bc there are fewer employment options and a much greater desire to “help our own.”

        • IDK

          I’m in CLT. It’s not all unicorns and roses. But it is a lot of people who are sort of from here-ish fleeing after 4 years at S&C or wherever in NYC reviewing whatever it was that seemed awesome when they were a summer eating at fancy restaurants (which turned into 24/7 awfulness and eating at your desk and gaining 30 pounds and losing touch with friends/family).

          We’re still a big city. But we’re not NYC big. And we’re small, but whatever is exciting work is very subjective and there is exciting work all over (esp if you are in any place dealing with municipalities — I’m convinced that local city attorneys and zoning boards do 90% of the constitutional law that is done in this country).

          IMO the biggest problem for women lawyers isn’t gender, it’s the horrible juggle that parenthood inflicts on your ability to work 24/7 where there is any seat-time / availability expected after 4, on weekends, and around holidays. Until that changes within the profession, it will be a struggle that I will probably succumb to. And before kids, it wasn’t a picnic; it was still awful, just a different awful.

          I say this and I really do love praticing; I’d just like to practice about 25% less.

          • CLT is my dream city…but I’m not sure there’s a market for my specialized practice outside of in-house

            SO and I would both love to be there, but I worry about the transition because (1) still a junior associate with not enough experience to jump and (2) it doesn’t seem like there are a ton of firms doing health care regulatory.

          • I think that there are more healthcare regulatory practice groups out there than you realize. Some of them, like McGuireWoods, are smaller practice groups of bigger national practices. Others are more prominent firms based in the Carolina like Moore & Van Allen or Womble.

          • CLT person here. Try Raleigh / RTP for healthcare.

            I’d prefer those cities to CLT (geographic proximity to places I like to take trips to and people I visit, not a knock on CLT). But my job is more of the sort you get in CLT vs Raleigh/RTP.

          • Gail the Goldfish :

            I’m at a large regional firm that has a healthcare regulatory practice and we’ve got a CLT office. I think most of our healthcare regulatory people are in Atlanta and some of our other NC offices, but there is a handful in CLT. So like anon said, keep an eye out on the larger regional firms.

          • I’m in CLT as well – but ended up here because I like the city, didn’t want to move back to the Northeast after college.

            I think there’s some merit to what OP says. I work for a BigLaw firm that pays NYC salaries but I live not in NYC. That’s a huge, huge, huge advantage. Also, as OP suggests, I think there is a chance to get in on “the ground floor” of various organizations and boards if that’s what you want. I don’t think it makes my job easier than my counterparts in NYC, but I do think my quality of life is better.

          • My brother works at MVA. He’s bills a bizwillion hours a year. His life is not better than it was when he worked in NYC. He just banks more due to COL being lower, and has a lovely single-family home that’s an easy commute to his office, which is not possible in NYC.

          • CLT again — this is totally true about MVA. CLT varies so much by firm. But you can choose a very short commute (or not) and still own a house.

        • that's how I got to Memphis :

          in Memphis? As a Memphian, I would say… don’t move to Memphis. it’s just not worth it. (not trying to protect a hidden gem, just think it’s hilarious that Memphis would be aspirational, as I am OVER IT.)

          • Interesting. I know 2 biglaw guys – one from my T14 law school and one from my NYC law firm who moved to Memphis for a partner job and a higher level in house job. Neither has any connection to Tenn. I think lots of people were wondering why.

        • It’s hard for me to say if gender made a difference in my partnership path. But honestly, that’s because I don’t feel like I faced a lot of obstacles along that path (I mean, I had the normal challenges everyone has, but I didn’t face a lot of political issues) and my firm is extremely clear about the partnership consideration process. You know where the goalposts are very early on here. So it’s hard to say that it would have been easier for a man, because it wasn’t hard except in the sense that biglaw is hard. However, my partnership class was about 1/3 female – even if your partnership process is very fair and devoid of politicking, the actual career arc is hard in some ways that disadvantage women.

          I don’t think it would have been easier in NYC or DC, but that’s not gender-specific. I think it’s just harder to become a partner in those markets, for a variety of reasons, including that secrecy around the partnership process seems to be common.

      • Yeah, but, it’s like like a big city would make you a partner either. The big city joke seems to be luring people in just to have you burn out by the time you’re a 4th year or be wholly desperate to leave as soon as your loans are paid off. And then you leave for . . . what, exactly? And if you stay, it’s not awesome.

        I think cities lie to you to just live for your resume. For a resume that some city person would be impressed by. So tired of “But I was DOJ Honors Program, WTF am I doing my laundry in the basement with strangers and I’m in my 30s and still killing roaches”.

        • Not suggesting you’d make partner in NYC – most don’t. Just saying that if/when you don’t, there are more employment options in the city itself so you don’t have to move. Believe me I hear you – I’m 37 and just yesterday was saying – so my life will be a one bedroom apt? But reality for me is that I’m risk averse that I’d rather take a lower std of living in a place with lots of employment options than a fantastic one in a smaller market where I could have a great house etc bc I’d live in fear of the job ending, not landing another one in the same location and needing to sell and move – and selling is no easy feat in secondary markets, you often don’t even make your money back.

      • I mean…I literally am a woman who made partner in biglaw in 7 years in a southern city. FWIW.

    • I don’t know how true it is that everything would have worked out if you’d gone to a smaller market. I’m in a secondary market and was told recently that I won’t be making partner at my firm. Some of the younger (male) partners at my firm have pitched the “big fish in a small pond” argument as recruiting for my firm, but… not everyone can be a big fish. It doesn’t necessarily matter what pond you’re swimming in.

      • I guess I should add that I did not choose my firm or this market because I believed I would be a successful Big Fish here. I graduated into a recession and got a clerkship in my hometown, and the law firm job followed.

      • This. I work at a firm with less than 50 lawyers in a flyover state outside a major city where almost everyone went to the local State U, and a lot of people don’t make partner here. I think in some ways it’s harder because being a cultural “fit” (with the racial and gender bias that implies) is more important. I previously worked at an AmLaw 100 firm in NYC and although it definitely was not a straight meritocracy, it seemed much closer to one than my current firm.

    • Triangle Pose :

      Hmmm… I sort of did this. Not my hometown, but I knew NYC and DC weren’t for me so I went back to Philly (Penn grad) after going to my T14 law school. I stuck it out exactly…2.5 years in the BigLaw in Philly before I got lucky and moved in-house. Now I have a lot of time to be active on a non-profit board, do 2 recurring big pro-bono projects, and all the professional development I didn’t have time for when I was billing hours (speak and give CLE on my area of law and diversity and inclusion in the legal field, chair a committee for a bar association conference, attend national conventions, etc.) I actually think those things are more challenging and definitely more exciting then toiling away in M&A middle market deals trying to make partner in BigLaw. I’m sure there are classmates of mine from both my big name schools who think making partner in BigLaw is be-all-end-all and can’t believe I would choose a secondary market/move to the client side, but I know myself and I am much happier doing what I am doing. However, most of my classmates have moved on from their first super prestigious firm jobs anyway (Davis Polk, Cravath, etc.) either to a boutique shop or a non NYC/DC market.

      All that to say, it’s not too late! If that’s what you want, you don’t have to stay an associate in NYC/DC Biglaw forever. You can start looking, change firms, make a geographical move somewhere where 2100+ hours isn’t the norm. You get to decide what is challenging and exciting for you. You don’t have to buy in to the one size fits all track. I actually think a lot of big name schools cast this spell over people and make them think that there is one way to do this thing called “your career” successfully.

      • anon for this :

        +1 to it’s not too late! I graduated from a T14 and moved to a smaller market right away. It seemed like everyone else went to firms in NYC or DC. Now, two friends from law school are left in NYC, and none are in DC. The rest have scattered to Boston, Houston, Denver, Baltimore, Fort Lauderdale, etc.

    • That’s a pretty snobby attitude. Forget the pond. They’re bigger fish than you all-around. You can have professional envy, everyone does, but you don’t have to go about it by insulting them at the most basic level. It sounds like you’ve made some bad choices in your career. It’s not their fault that you did that.

    • Smaller State Law :

      I don’t understand the “less exciting work” bit that I hear on here a lot. At a big firm in the big city you aren’t running your own cases until you are really senior. In a smaller market, you get your own caseload right away – full responsibility. There are businesses that exist in these secondary markets. They need attorneys. They get sued too. There are also a lot of big businesses in random locations that have very diverse needs including international import/export advice, employment law, anti-trust, the whole 9 yards. What type of case do you think only exists in a big city? We aren’t all sitting around representing our cousin in a divorce or the local farmer in a car accident. We are handling business dissolutions, and IP work and employment law and mortgage fraud and all that fun stuff.

      • How many investment banks and hedge funds are you representing? Sure maybe you don’t want to do that but some of us do and that work just does not exist in Memphis.

        • I worked for a firm in a mid sized southern city that has a booming niche practice in hedge funds. This began decades ago when a local man took his large inheritance and was a major investor in one of the first hedge funds in the early ’80s and eventually started one of his own. He’s been in and out of new york, but raised his family down here.

          You never know what you’re going to find in a smaller market.

          • I’ve heard this story before and I think I know which city. Reality is you often don’t know what you’ll find until you get there — which isn’t a risk everyone is comfortable with.

          • Right, and it’s not a risk everyone should take. I’m just saying that dismissing everywhere but NYC and DC out of hand and saying nowhere else has “interesting” or “complex” work is completely false. It’s not like you roll out of Penn or Columbia and are automatically smarter than everyone in Atlanta or Charlotte (or whatever small pond you’re looking at) and are 100% guaranteed to make partner faster than those small fish from a non-T14 school.

            One of the partners at my firm was from the NYC area and actually said to me that she just presumed everyone in the south was stupid, but she was shocked, once she got here, to find out how smart the people at our firm and elsewhere were. There are smart people doing complex work in a lot of different and often surprising places.

          • Yeah, I’m in a niche, nationally prominent practice and I’m based out of a southern city. I was formerly at a firm that ran an amazing free-speech practice out of a secondary city as well. But not every practice in my firm is a national practice, so it’s really case by case.

            The assumption that no one does complex national work outside of NYC and DC is silly, but I also find it way more common on this board than out in the world, FWIW.

        • IMO, just b/c it’s investment bank work or hedge fund work, doesn’t make it exciting.

          It’s like if you are a hand surgeon maybe you can’t get hired to do just that in every market, but every ER I’ve been in is full of drama.

          When I was a litigator, everyone poo-pooed state courts and state court clerkships. But my federal judge and his friends were all “don’t take away our diversity jurisdiction” b/c those were the very interesting cases. Not more acronym litigation.

          • Well that’s your opinion. Some people want to represent I-banks and hedge funds — and IMO the work IS different than defending commercial and regional banks bc the products offered by ibanks/hedge funds are different than commercial banks. See how that works — different people can like different things.

          • I work for Banks Too Big to Fail. There is some interesting work. There is some headline-generating work that not everone has the stomach for. But then there is some work that is about as dull as dull work anywhere.

            I know DOJ Honors people (who were going to change the world) be assigned to the DOJ torts division which seems to be defending post office vehicle accidents througout the country. There are really interesting stories there, but it’s not like it what they envisioned.

            The economics of fund work can be interesting / dull. So can transfer pricing. It is all important work. To someone. If you can’t method act your way to feeling your client’s pain that their work is important to them, then you need to find the work that does. Then you maybe will be a better servant to your clients.

          • I kind of don’t understand being defensive about wanting to do investment bank or hedge fund work. I do that kind of work, and my life would be more enjoyable if I found it interesting or exciting. Unfortunately, I don’t. But if you do, no one is stopping you from pursuing it in NYC.

      • There are some niches that don’t exist in smaller markets, like patent litigation.
        Also IME smaller market companies tend to be more reasonable in their disputes and want the matter resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible – they likely know the people on the other side and they want to win but they want to do so humanely. In big markets, companies are more savage and more inclined to destroy the other side even if it means millions in lawyer bills.
        What the smaller market companies are doing is better for their businesses and for society but it makes the cases less interesting from the lawyer perspective. To me, as a lawyer it’s really fun being all-in on a single high-stakes litigation and not doing anything else while that case is hot, and that experience is hard to find in smaller markets.

        • “Also IME smaller market companies tend to be more reasonable in their disputes and want the matter resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible – they likely know the people on the other side and they want to win but they want to do so humanely.”

          This is nonsense. Small-ish city attorney here and this has not been my experience at all. There are still plenty of companies out here capable of being difficult and unreasonable and willing to fight, giving me plenty of interesting IP work.

          • I’m talking a really small city here (~100,000 people). I’m not talking about Houston or Miami or some “secondary market” like that. And this has absolutely been my experience. I practiced in a big city previously and practicing here is just nowhere near as fun, even though the substance of the work is similar and interesting.

          • Anon 11:42 :

            I’m also not talking about Houston or Miami. Still nonsense.

        • Um…..I’m a patent litigation partner in midsize midwestern market who frequently wins bids for cases where we are competing against NYC firms. I’ve tried $50 million dollar patent infringement cases to a jury–have you?

          I’ve tried patent cases across the country, and except for the cases that settle quickly, they are all huge and involve plenty of fighting about every little thing. Midwesterners just fight with a smile.

          • I’m seriously boggled at this. Patent litigation cases get filed in federal courts all over the country. I had one in a one-judge outpost of a federal district court in Kentucky. Have you ever been out of the city? Ever?

            Look up the cities with the highest patents per capita in the country. NYC, LA, and DC are not even on the list of the top 20. What is? Ann Arbor, Michigan. Rochester, Minnesota. Burlington, Vermont.

          • Ok, chill – I didn’t say there is no patent litigation in the Midwest. I know Chicago and Minneapolis are good cities for it. But I was responding to a post that said small markets have everything big markets have, and there are plenty of smaller (but not far from tiny) markets where it’s hard to do a niche practice like patent litigation. A friend moved to Indianapolis and was unable to find any firm that had full-time patent litigation attorneys. She could have done general litigation with some patent cases or an IP counseling/transaction practice with some litigation work, but there was no option to do patent litigation full-time, which is what she had been doing at her previous firm in Boston. Indianapolis is a city of ~1 million people, it’s not exactly Hicksville. So this niche is clearly not available in SOME midsize markets.

          • “Midwesterners just fight with a smile.”

            OMG so true

          • Triangle Pose :

            I seriously question whether OP of that comment knows what patent litigation really is…

          • I’m not in Indianapolis; I’m in an even smaller city. One friend’s anecdotal experience is not reality. She’s not even right about Indianapolis.

            Leaving aside the Midwest, you realize that the biggest court for patent infringement litigation in the country (for now, at least) is in a small town in Texas?

            You made a dumb, insulting comment. Don’t double down.

    • What do you consider a smaller market? A lot of people on this blog are very NY/Chicago/DC centric, and consider those “big city” markets. Do you count larger cities with a higher quality of life that aren’t on a coast?

      Is there a population number that has to be hit? I’d consider markets like Phoenix, Philadelphia, Miami, Houston, Austin, Dallas to be big markets, but don’t really see those considered.

      • Phl most definitely is not a big market in law. I’m from there and went to law school there. Population wise – sure. But it has like 4-6 respectable biglaw firms, which aren’t doing fantastic at making partner and then when you don’t make partner you don’t have a ton of other boutique or in house options bc it’s a city sorely lacking in fortune 500s- you have some but they are the same options being exercised by every senior associate in the city. So to me it’s not about size of city or population, its about the number of employment options post biglaw.

        • Triangle Pose :

          Yeah, it’s not NYC/DC big market, agreed. But there are a number of post Biglaw options. Comcast, Aramark, IBC are in the city. In Philadelphia suburbs – Amerisource, Tyco, quite a number of pharma and CROs, CapitalOne, SAP. Also way more universities in the area than many others on that secondary list – tech transfer, OGC departments in Universities.

    • I think about this a lot. It would not have been easier in terms of workload but I would have been more successful in that pursuit, for sure. I was someone when I left my hometown and would not have had to work hard to build a network. I would have had to work hard to maintain and milk it. And I would have ended up being somebody in that community again, but that would have been a lot of work. Here, in a big but not NYC market, I just have to work really hard to be mediocre, get by, and have no real success or real prospects for much more.

    • It seems to me that you’re glorifying struggling because if you have to struggle you’ve somehow “proven” something to someone. To whom are you doing this proving? What are you getting in return for it?

      If you hate your job enough to even ask this (incredibly loaded and snobby) question, quit and get a different one.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      When I’ve been in ‘smaller ponds’ I’ve found no one gave a F about the credentials that one would think might make me into a big fish there. Very occasionally, recent law school grads would say “wow you went to [fancy school]?! you must be so smart!” But short of that, no one cared. I worked with smart people and with dolts of all educational backgrounds and from all sorts of places. Mostly, people gave me deference and respect once I showed them that I was smart/good at what I was doing.

      I suspect that a ‘small pond’ is just another version of greener grass on the other side of the fence. When you get there, you’re still just you and the only person you have to impress is yourself.

      • Yep. Your T14 degree may get you hired in a smaller city but once hired, no one cares. Then it becomes about business generation etc. which admittedly is harder bc you would be an outsider in a city where other associates/partners have had family ties for generations. Not impossible in certain places, but harder than in places like NYC or DC where practically everyone is a transplant and no one is asking – oh did your family own the zyc property up the street, I think I went to high school with your uncle is he so-and-so?

    • OP it is also possible that worked for you when you rolled out of your T14 at age 25 doesn’t work for you now and that is FINE. Thinking about my NYC firm classmates over the years some have stayed and MANY have left in order to move out of NYC and pursue a different kind of life. Offhand the cities I can think of: Seattle; Portland; SF; Denver; ATL; Vegas; Memphis; DC; CLT; Miami; West Palm Beach; Tulsa; Chicago; Boston; Western Mass; Long Island; Maine; NJ; PHL . . . so really everywhere. Both NYC biglaw and T14s have a way of brainwashing you into thinking there is one RIGHT way and one right timing to handle a career. There isn’t. It’s totally fine to pursue something else or another area EVEN IF you’ve been in NYC for 15 yrs. It’s totally fine to stay as well. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that there are wrong decisions – bc something that doesn’t work for your neighbor, may be awesome for ou.

    • This is my life. Grass is always greener

    • Tired Anon :

      I am a big fish in a small pond (not law, though) and I love it. I moved back to my home state and it’s great. It’s not easier/more comfortable. The work is the same as I would be doing somewhere else, there are just fewer people here to compete with. I’m good at it, and I’d be good at it anywhere, it’s just much easier to get recognition here.

    • gator huntress :

      I disagree with the OP as to the “easier” path concept, but anecdotally, the work coming out of my firm’s SF and NYC offices is more interesting and sophisticated and involves larger deal values than the work coming out of our other offices (I started in a non-NYC office and transferred to NYC).

      Also, to the person who considers Dallas and Austin “big” legal markets, sorry, but no. I am from Texas and went to law school in Austin. The Austin legal market is very, very small. The legal market in Dallas is larger than Austin, but by no means big. A good indicator of the size of the legal market is the number of summer associates hired. For example, VE Houston takes around 50 summers each year. I don’t think there were 50 summer associate positions offered at all biglaw firms in Austin combined in 2015.

  10. Science cafe :

    I have been thinking of organising a “science cafe” in my small university town where researchers could talk to the general public about their research work, ideally topics that would engage a general audience. What’s holding me back is although I have heard of these kinds of events happening elsewhere I haven’t attended one and I also don’t know how enthusiastic the scientists who work at my university would be in signing up to do it, and whether people in the community would attend something like this. The local coffee shop I have in mind as a venue already hosts poetry slams on a monthly basis, and I think that they might be open to hosting something of this nature if I asked. So I guess in posting this, I guess I’m looking for suggestions on what works or doesn’t work for such events. Has anyone here attended a science cafe before?

    • I haven’t attended one either, but I think these tend to work pretty well in university towns. I’d definitely be happy to participate and think that would be true for many of my colleagues. I’m less clear about who attends them and whether they draw a lot people without ties to the university.

    • The one in my town is held at a brewery, but it’s great. Super well-attended and the profs love participating.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        I was going to suggest a brewery! On weeknights, the breweries in my neighborhood are very open to trying cool new things. One actually has a lecture series (though I don’t think it’s science-based). I’m a member of a women’s [interest] group and we meet at rotating breweries on Thursday. I think they’re just thrilled that they have 25 extra customers that night.

      • That’s cool and all but many researchers are observant Muslims and they wouldn’t show up to an event because it’s at a bar or brewery. Maybe a coffee shop or bookstore would be a more neutral ground.

    • I have attended one (Chicago) and it was awesome! There were two speakers who each spoke for about 15 minutes. The organizer was a former Northwestern grad student who, I think, relied a lot on her connections to bring in speakers. I imagine it would be tough for a non-scientist to organize something like that (though not impossible). I think you need to broaden your search for scientists beyond faculty. Post-docs and more senior grad students would probably be into it too (as would community college professors). If your local school has any science education faculty they might be up for collaborating on such a venture (and they would know a lot of people).

      • Science cafe :

        I’m the OP and I am actually a researcher at the university so I do know some people but I am still new so I would probably have to reach out more in finding potential speakers.

        • The people who run science cafes in other cities probably can point you to good resources on answering your questions.

          I live in a pretty big university town and we don’t have science cafes and it makes me sad; you are awesome for thinking about starting your own!

          • I do not live in a university town and I am not aware of any science cafes and this makes me sad! Off to see if we have anything similar.

    • My alma mater does this – if you search ‘Uni of Bath three minute thesis’ you should be able to find some info. They tend to get a group together – oh, and it’s done at a pub with beer!

    • Yes! I’ve done them, I’d recommend googling explorathon and PhD in an hour for formats.

    • Anonymous :

      I participated in something like this in college. It was 99% psych phD’s and professors, and every week someone would choose a journal article for everyone to read and discuss over coffee for 1 hour a week. I was the only undergrad but it was open to everyone. I participated because I was considering graduate school but ultimately went to law school.

    • I’ve been to these in Toronto! It was really cool. I think the trick is to pick cool popular topics within science and pick dynamic interesting speakers. You don’t want anyone to feel like they are attending physics 100. I think the one I went to was on how bacteria can influence behaviour (something like that). The one I went to was in a casual bar setting in a convenient downtown location near the campus and I think you paid $5 and got a free drink. It was jam packed when I went.

      Other cool topics that I can imagine
      – what are black holes?
      – almost any abnormal psychology topic- the psychology of serial killers, psychopathy in business, etc, etc
      – innovations in cancer treatment (there has been so much! But this needs a clever title. I’m a cancer surgeon and I wish someone would ask me to talk about this)
      – how we use bacteria in medicine now (some clever title about old foes being new friends.. )
      – how people have recently shown they can hack into car computers and even surgical robots and what this means to society
      – and frankly I loved the one I went to on how bacteria can influence the behaviour of its hosts was awesome albeit a little scary!

    • I wrote a long response with topic ideas that must be in moderation… but my overall point was that yes I have been to these and they were super successful (again it was a bar setting) but you have to have topics that appeal to the general public and speakers that are experienced and dynamic. I kind of disagree with the suggestion to use senior grad students or post-docs because I just think most of them won’t have the experience to provide what you really need- dynamic speakers to talk about pop science topics. The last thing you want is for people to feel like they are attending a physics 100 lecture.

      For example, I went to an amazing (and super well-attended) cafe on how bacteria influence behaviour. It was kind of scary but super fascinating, and although the speaker was a biology professor, I don’t actually know if this was a particular area of interest for her or if this was just a clever and interesting topic that she decided to talk about. Most hard science research won’t actually appeal to a broad public. For example, I’m a cancer surgeon, but no one would want to hear about my research on EGFR-receptor inhibitors. But maybe they would want to hear about innovations in cancer treatment, or the intersection of food/diet and cancer, or robots in surgery?

      I bet if you asked some undergrads and grad students who the most popular speakers in the department are and who the best teachers are, and then audit a lecture of two, you could get a great sense of who would be a good speaker.

  11. How do you motivate yourself when you want to change careers but can’t for a few years?

    My story is that I need to stay in my law firm position for a few years to pay down debt, but I really want to leave to become a drug and alcohol counselor after fighting and winning my own battle with addiction and getting sober. I still have to take my sobriety day by day, obviously. Maybe I am answering my own question–I need to take the career transition process day by day, I guess. Any tips to ease the process so I don’t get too antsy?

    • I have no career advice but could you volunteer in that area in the meantime, so at least you feel like you’re contributing and learning? Good for you, btw.

      • Anony Mouse :

        +1 Volunteering will be a great way for you to feel out whether being a full-time D&A counselor is a good fit for you. Social work is rewarding but it can also be physically and emotionally exhausting.

      • Anonymous :

        Yes, and/or join the board of a smaller nonprofit working in this area

    • Stay busy with volunteering, taking one class per semester, and maintaining your sobriety. Do the minimum amount of work to keep your job. Get serious about the debt: pay it down faster. If your bonuses are based on hours billed, bill more hours (but see my second sentence if you don’t have this bonus structure). Get a second job. Cut expenses to the bone. You got this!

    • I agree with the volunteering idea. You don’t know whether you’d really like it as a career, whether you could make a living doing it, whether you could break into the field at all. Try it as a regular, committed volunteer for a while.

      I mean, I hear you. At various times I’ve had the escape fantasy of being an ice cream entrepreneur, a pearl farmer, owning a car dealership, and currently just hanging out my shingle as a consultant. But I am aware that as good as these things sound to me, the reason I gravitate toward these ideas (and I do get really fixated on them) is that they are fantasies – I’m not thinking about the drudgery of making ice cream every single day and being sticky full time, or not making enough to pay my mortgage because car sales are in a slump. I’m just thinking – hey, i’d be my own boss, I would set my own hours, I could be outside, etc…

      Everyone has these ideas but if you are serious you need to take baby steps. It will make you feel better to do that, taking that first step, whether it’s a night course or volunteering every Thursday at 6.

      • I once read a romance novel about a guy who dived for pearls and that’s been my fantasy ever since.

      • I encourage you to read Elizabeth Bard’s Picnic in Provence (sequel to Lunch in Paris). She became an ice cream entrepreneur. It hit all the right escapism notes for me and might help you feel swept away!

        • I will check it out!

          • The only pleasure reading I do is this genre: woman leaves USA and typical career trajectory, moves abroad, eats and drinks and loves her way to self actualization.

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            Pompom….book reccs? Because moving abroad and leaving my job and eating and drinking seems very nice.

          • Sloan, totally! I’ll just share all my food/travel memoir reccs, but I’ll star ** the ones that are in that particular vein (woman–usually–finds self and eats!). In order of where they are listed in my Amazon order list (I have a few more that were non-amazoned):

            **Lunch in Paris AND Picnic in Provence
            Elizabeth Bard

            **Bon Appetempt: A Coming-of-Age Story (with Recipes!)
            Morris, Amelia

            **The Call of the Farm: An Unexpected Year of Getting Dirty, Home Cooking, and Finding Myself
            Bilow, Rochelle

            **Mastering the Art of French Eating: From Paris Bistros to Farmhouse Kitchens, Lessons in Food and Love
            Mah, Ann

            **Pretty Good Number One: An American Family Eats Tokyo
            Amster-Burton, Matthew

            My Usual Table: A Life in Restaurants
            Andrews, Colman

            **A Fork In The Road: Tales of Food, Pleasure and Discovery On The Road (Lonely Planet Travel Literature)
            Lonely Planet (this is an anthology of essays)

            Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing
            Von Bremzen, Anya

            The Elements of Cooking: Translating the Chef’s Craft for Every Kitchen
            and Ratio
            Ruhlman, Michael, Bourdain, Anthony

            Written Together: A Story of Beginnings, in the Kitchen and Beyond
            Mallon, Shanna

            Medium Rare
            Michael, Kevin, Maran, Lacy

            Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms
            Nicolette Hahn Niman

            Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant: Confessions of Cooking for One and Dining Alone
            Jenni Ferrari-Adler

            **Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table (really any Ruth Reichl memoir, haven’t read her novel)
            Ruth Reichl

            **A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table
            by Molly Wizenberg

            **My Berlin Kitchen: Adventures in Love and Life
            by Luisa Weiss

            **********As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto
            by Joan Reardon
            (this is seriously the best)

            **It’s Not About the Tapas: A Spanish Adventure on Two Wheels
            by Polly Evans

            Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest Family
            by Kathleen Flinn

            **The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks
            by Kathleen Flinn

            **The Sweet Life in Paris AND My Paris Kitchen
            David Leibovitz

            And there you go, I have now written a novel myself…whoops!

          • I forgot one of the best ones: Mediterranean Summer:

            **A Season on France’s Cote d’Azur and Italy’s Costa Bella Paperback
            by David Shalleck

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I think you can volunteer and network at the same time. I suspect there are plenty of organizations that could really use some help from a lawyer — everything from helping secure non-profit status to filing trademarks to real estate to liability waivers etc. etc. Just spitballing here but I imagine you’ll be able to find a place that’s a good fit and that would be thrilled to have you as a volunteer. And then once you’re able to make the career switch, at worst you’ll have enthusiastic supporters, and at best you’ll have a foot in the door.

  12. Excel Geek :

    Thoughts on working from home?
    As a result of a likely acquisition, it’s possible that I may be able to keep my job in finance but it will move to being out of my house, since the headquarters will move. This is a bit of a dream scenario in terms of work-life balance as I have an 8 and 11 year old who are in tons of activities, but I worry about my sanity.
    Anything I should be considering as I work out the details with my boss? I think this could happen as soon as a month or two from now.

    • Liquid Crystal :

      I work from home and love it. I cram my hours in Monday to Thursday and then work overtime as needed or desired on the 3-day weekends.

      Having a separate space dedicated to work and not working from the couch is a critical boundary for me. The pocket doors separating my work space from the rest of the house also help tremendously.

      It really is wonderful. I don’t have to spend nearly as much time commuting, getting dressed, etc. I stay in touch, though admittedly not as much as when I worked in the Office in person, using virtual tools with several work friends. My work life balance has improved drastically because I am either focusing on accomplishing something at work or checked out to go do something else. Do it!!

    • Anon in-house at home :

      Do it! Do it!

      I’ve been working remotely for a year. I’m a 3 hour flight from corp headquarters/my former location. I kept my existing job (in-house attorney at a very large multi-national company) when my SO got a can’t-pass-up job offer in another part of the country. I’d been with my employer for 7 years, and no one in my department worked remotely. I pitched the case to my boss and he was totally on board.

      Things that have made it a smooth transition:
      – i have a dedicated home office.
      – good setup (laptop plus external monitor, dedicated phone line, printer, office supplies, etc)
      – good communication with coworkers and clients
      – i’m a self-starting introvert, so i have no issues with productivity and i’m okay if i go a whole day w/o seeing anyone
      – i make it a point to get out of the house at least once a day (morning run, lunchtime walk, errands, etc)

      I love, love, love working from home. I hope never to go back! :)

      • Anon in-house at home :

        To add – I also travel regularly (minimum of one trip per month of 2-3 days per trip, sometimes two per month). So i get regular face time with coworkers at the mothership as well as other offices.

    • I’ve been working from home since 2015. Most people live it, but most of the time I hate it. The flexibility is great, especially for sick days/snow days. My problem is that I don’t really like my job that much so I was only minimally motivated in the office. Now that I’m home I only do the bare minimum.
      Make sure you have a dedicated workspace. I also frequently go to the public library to work, just to get out of the house and be around other people.
      Think about what equipment you might need. I have a friend who got her company to give her a large screen monitor and a printer. This is prob very company dependent though.
      See if your company has an established telework policy and review it before the mtg with your boss so you can address anything you have questions about.
      I’ve also found that it has been a bit “out of sight/out of mind” for me. Depending on where your HQ is moving, would it be possible for you to go in once a week/month/quarter? Face time, at least in my company, is so critical but my company won’t pay for me to come to HQ (6 hour drive so an overnight trip at minimum) unless there’s a client need. Depending on the need/your company’s policies it may be worth trying to get them to fund X trips per year to HQ.

    • I spent 4 years working from home whenever I wasn’t on the road (road time varied from 25% to 75%)

      I found it nice once in a while, but after about four days working from home I really hated myself. I’d find myself in my pajamas with bad breath at 2 PM STILL on a conference call and really, really needing to pee. There were days where my conference calls were so back-to-back that I couldn’t go to the kitchen to make a PB&J. I literally ordered takeout for lunch several times because I hadn’t been able to buy groceries.

      I also really disliked being the one person on the phone. Conference rooms have side conversations, significant looks, written notes, visual jokes, all the stuff I was missing out on by being on the phone. And I got talked over ALL THE TIME. Sometimes they’d hold the meeting and forget to dial me in. It made me feel awful.

      All you can do is try it and see if it’s for you. I’m currently back in an office job with a decent commute and about a 25% travel schedule and my life is so much better – for me.

      • Part of the beauty of working from home is being able to do what you want even when on a call — just make sure to us the mute button! ;)

        But aside from that, I have worked from home for years and my team is also virtual, so I don’t have the issues with being the only dial-in to an in-person meeting. If your meetings are all in person normally, that could be tough. Even when I was in an office a face-to-face meeting was rare (worked for a big corp, meetings always had people from many locations), I was just on the phone anyway but in an office.

    • Get your pot roast recipes in order, of course.

      (r e t t e joke; enjoy the transition! I wish you luck!)

    • anon for this :

      I have been working from my house from about 2 years. I am somewhere between a biglaw mid level and senior associate. I absolutely love working from home, and prefer it to going to the office. It saves so much time (getting ready, commuting), so I have more time to spend with my family and on my hobbies. I end up traveling about once a month, either to one of our offices or otherwise for work.

  13. Spotify has a Feminist Friday playlist today (not sure if it’s new or not) that so far has been pretty good. This relates back to last week’s Power Song discussion.

  14. Friends to Lovers! :

    Just wanted to give an update and thanks to all the women who supported me back in June when I confessed I was falling for a dear friend and asked for advice on coming out in your 30s! My girlfriend and I are long-distance, but managed to meet up this past weekend and… it was amazing. I’m so tremendously happy. I hadn’t believed that “going weak at the knees” is something that happens to real people, but apparently it does!

    I’ve only come out to one person since then (my former college roommate/best friend, who was delighted for me). My family is religious but fairly socially liberal; I want to believe they’ll take it well, but I’m still going to take it slow. And probably do some conversational roleplay or even scripting first…

    Thank you again for your advice and support. This community has been a tremendous strength to me both professionally and personally… and in matters of fashion, too. :)

  15. reupholster couch? :

    Love our couch, but we recently moved and as it was briefly sitting directly under the hanging light fixture in the dining room, every single mark on it was magnified. A light-colored couch + dog + kids = yikes. I’ve had it professionally cleaned a few times in the past (when they came to clean the rugs, I just had them do it) and that has made a difference. Wondering if I should just do that again or reupholster. It was free to me, but I think it’s a decent quality. I like the size and shape of it a lot.

    Is it worth it to reupholster an older couch? Should we look into replacing/repairing springs or anything like that? Replacing the cushion? Reupholstering is an investment so I wanted to be sure I was thinking it through, not just paying $800 to recover it and then two years from now the springs are sagging and it is awful to sit on.

    • Triangle Pose :

      Are you committed to the light fixture placement and brightness? It sounds like you like your couch, maybe put different bulbs in the light ficture or change the orentation/height of the light instead of changing the couch? Or is there a way to move the couch so it idn’t so glaring? I don’t know the set-up of your space, just throwing ideas out there.

      • I think the couch was just temporarily under the bright light.

        If you LOVE the couch, give it a full overhaul now rather than reupholstering only for the springs to go. If you are willing to find a different one, there’s decent choices in the low to mid 1,000’s range.

    • Delta Dawn :

      When I married DH, he had a couch that had good bones but was hideous. It was the color of dead olives. But it was so comfy! He had had it for close to ten years, so I suggested it was time for a new couch. This was not well-received. Because throwing it out (and staying married) was not an option, I had it recovered. It actually looks really great now. I don’t know how long it will live, and I wouldn’t have spent the money on such an old couch if I could have gotten rid of it– however, it has made it another four years with no problem.

      The main problem is you could buy a new couch for what it takes to recover the old couch. I would set a budget of both money and time; if you spend $800, how long do you want the couch to last? Five more years? Then spend the money and commit to the couch for that time even if it gets saggy. If the couch was free, you could consider that you are paying for some of its past use as well as increasing its life span. I wouldn’t have done it if DH hadn’t insisted on keeping it, but it worked out well for me.

    • anon a mouse :

      I was just talking to a neighbor about this. She was in a similar situation and recovered her couch. It lasted another 8 years and now the springs are shot and she has to find a new one. She was so happy with her decision to recover. Couches are expensive and hard to find! If you like the size and shape, I’d go for recovering in a heartbeat.

    • There are amazing, tight fit couch covers on the market nowadays (not like the drapery fit of yesteryear). They aren’t cheap, but depending on the couch you can get a very nice couch cover (in tons of fabric options like leather, suede, etc.) for about $150. Sure fit is the most consistent brand I’ve seen:

      http://www.surefit.net/

    • Having the cushions rewrapped/restuffed may help too. Down-wrapped seat cushions make a world of difference in comfort.

    • reupholster couch? :

      Thank you, everyone! We are currently getting a sentimental chair recovered (I am Delta Dawn’s husband in this scenario) so it has been on my mind. I especially like the idea that I’m paying for its past use, too – it truly is a good couch and there’s a lot I like about it. I’ve been hesitant to pay good money for an expensive new couch as we still have two kids (and, presumably, will ongoing). I’ll ask about fixing up the cushions, too. I hadn’t heard about that before and it’s a good suggestion!

  16. Legal Writing Group? :

    This is probably a longshot, but is anyone interested in starting a legal writing group to work through some of the exercises in Bryan Garner’s “Legal Writing in Plain English” and some other legal writing books? I was thinking of using an invite only Reddit page for a platform, but I am open to suggestions on other platforms.

    • I’d recommend creating a study group at your school to do this.

      • Legal Writing Group? :

        I am a practicing attorney now. I just want to get more practice in.

        • I’m also a practicing attorney and am interested. Let’s do it!

          I have no suggestion on platforms to use as I’ve never used reddit or anything similar.

          • Legal Writing Group? :

            Reddit is fairly easy to use. I just created the sub. Once you create you account, you can request to join. Here is a link: https://www.reddit.com/r/LegalWritingWorkgroup/

        • Well then, never mind that suggestion! Good luck – this is a great idea.

  17. I’m hoping to get some advice/commiseration. I’m a very driven person and can be very Type-A at work. I’ve been told in my review that I need to be less “aggressive” and less “intimidating”. While I understand that this can be off-putting to some, I really struggle with the idea that I should not be direct when I have an opinion on a relevant, work-related issue. I get tired of the implication that I should be expressing my opinions in round about ways or risk being classified as a B. How have you effectively managed your Type-A personalities? Do I just need a thicker skin when I get that type of feedback? Is this just the price to pay for being a driven woman?

    • I think two things are equally true.

      One- women are held to absurd standards of nice-ness

      Two- people who describe themselves as very drive type a people who struggle with the concept of not being “direct” even though they know it is off putting are often jerks.

      There are ways to be direct that are not nasty. Look for them.

    • Baconpancakes :

      You should absolutely be direct. And women are held to unnecessary levels of niceness. But what someone meant when they said “you’re too direct” is probably “you’re too impersonal.” Tone and facial expression are good ways to mitigate perceived rudeness without backing down on strong wording or meaning. For example, if you need something done by 5pm, saying “Sam. Get this done by 5pm” is unequivocal and direct. It’s also kind of harsh. If you say “Hi Sam, how’s your day going? Great. I need this report on my desk at five. Thanks!” it comes off as much nicer but still unarguably due at five. If you say, “Sam, do you think you could get that report done? I’d really appreciate it if it could be finished by the end of day?” it sounds wimpy and could be misinterpreted.

      The difference is the focus on the person. People don’t like to be told they are unimportant, and by adding in a bit of human context it makes people more receptive to your requests (or demands or opinions).

      Some of the pushiest, most aggressive developers I’ve ever met always started the conversation asking about your home life and hobbies before getting to the argument and negotiation part of the conversation. It’s just good business.

      • +1 I was given similar feedback early on in my career. I was fortunate to have a fantastic mentor who coached me on how to be politely direct. I don’t feel at all that he was singling me out because I’m female; I think I genuinely came off as a jerk to some people. I think he was able to help me because he also struggled in this area. He was very clear that I don’t need to make people like me per se, but politeness goes a long way. I would not be where I am today if I hadn’t changed my tone.

      • Very good points. You just need some fluff around the edges. Here are some rules I have for myself:
        – Ask people if they have time to talk, even if it is a scheduled call, before launching into a speech. This shows you have respect for people’s time and is as simple as “is now still a good time to talk?” or “do you have about 5 minutes later to talk about X?” Do this for everyone.
        – If I need something with a pain-in-the-A deadline, I acknowledge that it’s urgent and apologize for the short notice. This shows that you respect people under normal circumstances to respond promptly when they can and are acting professionally but this time, it has a specific deadline. This also means you need to set realistic deadlines or at least be on the same page with them because if you call everything an emergency, it becomes a little boy-who-cried-wolf.
        – I don’t write one-line emails unless we are in an urgent situation or I *know* the recipient needs a short and sweet response. Tone is easily misinterpreted in email and there is a world of difference between “Where is X???” (I get those emails and roll my eyes) and “Hi Sam, I wanted to follow up on this thread from last week. Can you let me know where we are on this? Let me know if we need to discuss over a quick phone chat! Thanks, Betty”
        – I try to use please and thank you when appropriate. Very easy to do.
        – Be personal when you can. Ask about people’s weekends when you are both in the kitchen or when you are on a conference call together waiting for the other party to jump on.

    • I would file this as “easy and free to fix”. You know you have the substantive skills to do your job, now you need to work on the emotional intelligence. You can either rail against the machine or accept the feedback and act on it.
      You are rubbing people the wrong way, and it is rising to the level that they are telling you about in a performance review. This is a gift – most people don’t get told, they just ice you out. Cultivate relationships with your colleagues. Ask people if they want to have lunch. Catch up on sports/movies/television. Bring in doughnuts every once in a while. (And before somebody jumps on me…our male GC does this from time to time, so this is not gender specific advice) I know brilliant people who never got ahead because they just could not master interpersonal skills. Don’t let that be you.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I have an acquaintance who gets this feedback and is 100000% convinced it’s because she’s a woman and people can’t handle a direct woman. But the truth is, she comes off like a jerk. She’s confident in herself (great!) but to the point of implicitly (when not expressly!) putting other people down. She takes charge and get things done (great!) but to the point of solipsism and an inability to consider others’ perspectives and needs. People do. not. like. working with her, because she’s not nice.

      I agree that “nice” can be an oppressive, patriarchal scam used to keep women down. But also, I don’t want to work with/for people who aren’t nice. I think that, at the point where you’re getting “aggressive” and “intimidating” as official feedback, it’s time to reconsider your tone.

      “You’re wrong. The ABC is NOT an XYZ, it’s a PQR!” sounds aggressive and intimidating. “I hear you on the XYZ front, but I would argue the ABC is a PQR because [reasons]” sounds like someone I’d be happy to work with.

    • What, no, thicker skin is not the answer. You’re being told you need to change your behavior and you should stop and think about that feedback and not explain it away. Yes, there is likely some aspect of se x i sm there. There is probably also some truth. Don’t be so dismissive.

    • lawsuited :

      I have been called direct, aggressive and intimidating, but never as a negative in a performance review. I asked a trusted colleague after some comments were made during business lunch banter about me being aggressive whether I should be concerned, and he replied “no, you also smile a lot and that lets people know that they don’t need to be scared”. It’s true that I’m very warm in my relationships with people, so I guess that counteracts it. YMMV.

    • slightlywierd :

      I’ve gotten similar feedback (and it was tough to hear). I’ll never be as naturally social as some people but I’ve improved a lot. One book I really found helpful was “First Impressions: What You Don’t Know About How Others See You” by Demarais and White. I definitely agree with AKB that this is good news: you have the work skills for your job you just need to brush up on the social work skills.

  18. How does your firm use its law librarian? I’ve never worked at a firm with one before and I’m wondering what expectations are appropriate.

    A partner asked the librarian to provide citations to support his assertions in a document and for me to proof her work. The librarian was unable to find any sources, but didn’t tell me until an hour before the partner’s deadline. I’ve spent hours finding sources, completely blowing the deadline. Obviously in the future, I’ll manage such assignments more closely, but I don’t know if she dropped the ball or if the partner’s request was unreasonable to start. (I think law librarians are for pointing you in the right direction, but I haven’t used one since law school, so maybe it’s different IRL.) She has an MA, not a JD, and she’s been a law librarian for 10 years.

    • Yeah at my firm a partner would task a junior associate to find substantive support for arguments. The librarian would be used more for – do we have any secondary sources that broadly cover x topic in antitrust law, if yes pls send to my associate and associate – find me the citations.

      • Marshmallow :

        +1 this is how it works at my firm too. They don’t find cases, just sources.

      • +1

      • This, absolutely.

        I work in a complex niche area of regulatory law and our librarian was a wizard at finding secondary source materials (or really anything that didn’t come from westlaw) that I didn’t even know existed. She was great as an investigative sleuth and also finding original docs (like, some MOU on some permitting rule from 1987 in Florida), and support for arguments. But lexis/legal research is allllllllllllll you. I know you know this, but there’s so much more to legal research than finding citations. Librarians aren’t really qualified to do that work.

        They’re usually pretty interesting folks and amazing resources- great people to have on your side. Next time, I’d go see her in person early on to discuss the assignment and expectations and ask for a check in much earlier than the day of the deadline.

    • I use our librarian for things like researching legislative history. I would never ask her to work on something particularly time sensitive.

    • Thanks, all. That was my sense. But it’s happened twice now with two different partners (once before on a more minor issue), so I wasn’t sure if maybe I was the one who didn’t understand what a law librarian was for.

      • Anonymous :

        I would ask some other associates in your office. That is how our law librarians are used, but I’ve also never worked with a partner who would ask them to do so. Since you have had this experience twice, it may be how it’s done at your firm

    • I use mine a lot; they are such a great resource, but more for finding arcane sources, ordering books, loads of help on legislative history, finding info on people/businesses from Lexis databases, etc. Sometimes I’ll share a draft to show where my argument is going, but usually I explain that I need a detailed history of whatever law, and suggest they start with X treatise, and they will do the research for me. Our librarians are JDs, though, which helps a lot, and the one I use the most has been here for years and understands our specialized field of law.

  19. For those who are single (or were single – which I guess covers everyone here) — when you lived alone, how much effort if any did you put into making your place a home? Meaning some décor, nice furniture, some stuff on the walls — basically just making it personalized rather than the “I moved in 2 months ago” apartment look?

    I’ve always been lazy in this area. Part of this is that I was raised in a culture where no one said it (well some did) but your “real” life began post-marriage — that’s when you bought a house, made it a home etc.; whatever you did for the yr or 2 prior to that (as ppl were expected to marry by 24-25 – women at least) did not matter. So here I am at 37 with no prospects. Given my own laziness AND the thought in the back of my head of – it doesn’t matter, it’s only me living here – it’s been 15 yrs of what I call dorm style living. I have a nice apt in a luxury building (and 8 yrs prior to that was a fine apt in a non luxury NYC building) and it still has that — I’m going to have to pack up this dorm room in May, no need to go overboard — look. I make good money and now even my parents are encouraging of — make your place a home (or even buy a home – bc I think they realize a marriage isn’t happening). And yet in my own messed up head it’s like – it’s just me. But then I get down about other peoples nice homes and lives (which they’re sharing with partners). Any way to get over this? No I’m not going to therapy for it.

    • If you don’t care about decorating, then don’t decorate! Certainly don’t do it because of other people’s expectations of what they think your apt should look like.

      I put a good amount of effort into my home because I am a homebody and I like it to be cozy and feel like mine, but there is nothing that says you have to feel the same way.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I’m probably not the best person to ask because I did decorate my dorm room – paper lanterns and Japanese wood block prints along with Japanese noren -door hangings, but the only way to get over it is to just do it.

      You live there! You deserve a nice place! Being in a pleasant environment, filled with things you like, is emotionally great. If you wouldn’t force someone else to live in a bare bones apartment, why should you force yourself to live there?

      You don’t have to go Martha Stewart to make it feel like a home. Are there any art prints you like in your local museums? Getting them framed and putting them on the walls goes a long way towards making a place feel homey.

      • +1. Don’t punish yourself bc one area of your life didn’t turn out like you and everyone else expected. That does NOT mean that you can’t have the house you wanted or the car you wanted or whatever else. It does not matter if other people think – why does SHE need that type of home. If you want it, get it. I feel like this has come up here before in a different way — single women feeling like they always wanted a fancy single family type home but not wanting to buy bc others will say — you don’t have kids, why do you need a big house. Advice here is always — does not matter what others think or say! Do it!!

    • Yeah get over it by fixing it! My attitude is that getting to decorate however I want is one of the few perks of being single. I am important to me. My space is important to me. My life now, exactly as it is, matters to me. Is a someday maybe husband going to love my mint green and blush peony bedroom? Perhaps not but I do!

      Life is full of sad things you can’t change. This isn’t one of them. Drag your tush down to ABC Carpet and spend a grand on a piece you love. Go hog wild on Yves De Lorme. Imagine how much better coming home to a beautiful home will feel.

    • I did not do much until I recently purchased a home. This is going to be a nice place to be. I am determined. I want to invite people into my home, entertain, embed in this community. I like to think that I have been excellent at being single, but for in this one area. I cook real meals and comfortably attend events alone and travel solo and generally don’t let being single hold me back from doing what I want. This is my last battle. Frankly, I already own the stuff – been hoarding it – so it’s just a matter of getting moved in and starting to fully live in my home, which includes having others in it.

    • I rent so I can’t do a whole lot of decorating – but I’m planning to get a big Expedit style book case and some film posters to go above on one wall of my living room. My apartment is small and fully furnished so I’m limited as to what I can actually do.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Command strips! I have two magnetic hanger things on my walls right now, stuck on with command strips. I can change what’s hanging on them easily and they’re easy to take down.

    • If this is what you want for yourself, go for it! I looooooove making my house pretty and I’ve done it gradually over the past several years.

      Things to get you started:

      – prints for you wall
      – a couple of decorative pillows for you couch
      – a rug for your living room
      – a pretty bedspread and a couple of decorative pillows for your bed
      – a toothbrush holder and soap dispenser for your bathroom counter
      – a nice shower curtain and bath mat

      Do you have any approachable friends with pretty houses you could ask to help pick things out? I would really love to help a friend do something fun like this. I love World Market and Home Goods for lovely affordable things.

    • I’m a big believer in you do you, but if the only reason you’re not decorating is you think you need a partner to do it, I’d rethink that. I didn’t marry until I was 40 and I started decorating/making a real home for myself as soon as I graduated from college. It was really important to me to fight the assumption that you should register for things/ get married before you could have nice things. I also loved having my own space, my way.

      • + to not waiting for a registry. I started buying myself (or asking for Christmas/birthday) good quality kitchen things because let’s face it, I’m not getting married and I don’t want to wait for a hypothetical husband to buy a good knife.

        • Yep, me too. I also extended this policy to all the nice things, and bought myself pretty/ real rings because I didn’t believe in having to wait for some guy to have them.

    • I’m single and live alone and I put a lot of effort into decorating, but that’s because it makes me happy and I enjoy it. I’m in your shoes – 32 and no prospects.

      Basically my rule is that my apartment is my retreat and even though it’s just me, I deserve a nice home. Everything in my apartment looks good, smells good, or feels good. I love soft and high quality towels and sheets. I love keeping it clean and organized. Even little things like my handsoap is good quality and smells lovely. I love scented candles and pretty artwork. I take advantage of the fact that it’s just me and I can do whatever I want without someone else telling me what to buy.

    • Love My House :

      I’m South Asian (too?) and was raised with the same thought process. When I moved out at 29 y.o., I did not really decorate for a long time. I’m 37 now; a few years ago, I bought my first place and made it my own – painted the whole place by myself, installed shelves, changed light fixtures, etc. I became BFFs with the paint guys at Home Depot – ha!
      I did these things even as that voice in the back of my mind asked why am I doing all this, when it’s all temporary, anyway.
      But I ignored that voice because each step of the process brought me so much joy – and a depth of joy and contentment that, frankly, surprised me. The first step was the hardest, but each subsequent step got a bit easier. And it helped me accept that my life in its current unmarried state, no matter how far from expectations it is, is a good life that makes me happy.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I sort of love decorating, but I had a ton of fun decorating my place when I lived alone. For me it was a celebration of my independence and adulthood: “this is my space, and I can make it exactly how I want it to be.” If/when you partner up, you’ll probably have to make compromises on decor (BOO!!!) so now is your chance to live your dream! Honestly, I also liked to show my place off a little. To my friends who came over to play games and drink wine, or to …suitors, ahem. It was nice to be able to say, “come over to play Scrabble and drink wine!” and know that they’d be in a space that was all mine. It made me proud.

      • +1 to this. I love having a nice house to come home to, but also for friends and overnight guests.

        And the part about compromising once you have a partner – 100% true. I love my husband, but he has serious thoughts on what our house should look like. To his credit, they’re good ideas, just not what I would have in my house if I lived by myself.

        • Baconpancakes :

          Yes. My SO thinks white walls are sterile and white bedding is dumb. Scandinavian decor is my happy place. Bah, humbug.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      A lot. I’m extremely introverted and spend a lot of time at home. Pretty much as soon as I move in to a place I start trying to make it feel like home. Hang photos and prints, bookshelves with stuff I like on them (and my books), throw pillows, hanging decorations, etc. I’ve been in my place now and other than that I’m a slob I love coming home to it at night.

    • We were like that while saving up to by a house and I never felt that inspired to be home while living in an apartment. Now that we’ve given ourselves permission to buy nicer/more permanent things, I love staying at home. For us, it started with buying a new couch. Once the couch was installed, we wanted a rug for our living room, another bookcase and some lamps.

      Have you given any thought to how you want your home to look/feel? Is there something you’ve been waiting to upgrade but haven’t? If there’s one thing you’re excited to buy (or that really needs to be gotten rid of), that’s probably a good jumping off point.

    • Linda from HR :

      I had ideas for my current place (which I’ve shared with a roommate) that never really materialized. I wanted to invest in stuff like a small table for the front door, one of those cubby towers for winter gear and sunscreen (would have used bins to keep things looking tidy), I wanted a bookshelf and actual art on the walls. Life happened, other priorities took over, I’ll try a little harder to actually act on those ideas in my next place.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I have always been a huge decorator, beginning with my room in my childhood home, through dorm rooms and first apartments and up to and including buying and completely remodeling and decorating a house on my own. I vote “go for it!”

      Also, my anecdotal evidence based on the past few years of my life is that the best way to find a husband is to fix up your living space exactly the way you want it for your solo lifestyle. And the minute it is finished, Prince Charming will come along and whisk you away to his castle! ;)

    • Anonymous :

      Do it! But allow yourself to start small. Buy the couch you’ve always loved, or a framed print for your wall. Don’t do it all in a day, unless you secretly have an entire interior decorating scheme in your back pocket.

      And if you do end up meeting someone worthy, he’ll appreciate your place for being a reflection of you.

    • Anonymous :

      Consider using an online decorating service – most charge around $300 a room and will work with your budget. Then you could skip ahead to a sophisticated, decorated space without having to spend a ton of time and thought figuring out what works and shopping. Just spend some time online figuring out what you like and what appeals to you. I love having a decorated home, and once it’s done, it’s no more work to maintain than an undecorated home.

    • Once you are partnered, it’s pretty much decorating by commitee. Now is the time to indulge yourself and do it exactly the way that you want it. It’s one of the very few things I miss about being single. Enjoy the luxury of pleasing only yourself!

    • Read “Live Alone And Like It.”

    • Recommend “Apartment Therapy” — the book. It’s great!

  20. Paging d*mn, it has happened (skirt edition) :

    I couldn’t sleep so I looked for flouncy wrap skirts last night. Do any of these work?

    https://www.lulus.com/products/mediterranean-beach-blue-and-white-print-high-low-maxi-skirt/471792.html

    https://www.lulus.com/products/beautiful-tempest-navy-blue-print-wrap-maxi-skirt/370042.html

    https://www.lulus.com/products/anniversary-white-and-blue-striped-high-low-wrap-skirt/396312.html

    https://www.lulus.com/products/marvelously-magical-black-floral-print-wrap-maxi-skirt/484082.html

    http://www.boohoo.com/ivy-floral-wrap-front-maxi-skirt/DZZ49527.html?color=148

    http://www.boohoo.com/macy-stars-hearts-wrap-front-maxi-skirt/DZZ49468.html?color=105

    http://www.boohoo.com/zena-ruffle-wrap-stripe-mini-skirt/DZZ43457.html?color=106 (short but definitely flouncy!)

    https://www.renttherunway.com/shop/designers/tibi/sydney_skirt (purchase option, not rental option)

    This also seems like the kind of thing Free People would have but they are pricey.

  21. Fall wardrobe refresh :

    Looking for some fall ‘refresh’ my wardrobe advice, and overwhelmed at all the options out there!
    I like wearing skirts and dresses, as I believe they flatter me (and I have lots), but I’m intrigued by all the new pant silouettes available and would like to dip my toes into buying some. What styles feel current to you now?

    I also want to add boots this year — what would you buy that looks current / stylish that works with pants?

    I work and live in a casual city, and am a size 12/14 if that helps. TIA!

    • Marshmallow :

      Most current: High waist with front pleats and a tapered, ankle-length hem; high waist with wide legs, either cropped or not. These are tricky to fit and require a lot of trial and error, but it’s definitely on trend.

      I’d get some low ankle boots, like Chelsea boots. Something that dips down either low over the top or your foot or low on the sides gives a nice line with ankle pants.

      • Fall wardrobe refresh: :

        Thank you for the suggestions — I like the idea of low ankle boots, as I have mostly tall boots, or higher ankle boots:)

    • +1 to tapered pants (fancy joggers) and booties. P

    • Disagree on tapered pants. Everything I’m seeing is wide leg or flared.

      My office is in the garment district, so I’m surrounded by fashion people wearing what’s now or what’s next. The other day, it was cooler than one expects in August NYC, and I saw a woman in what was clearly a new outfit for Fall: High-waist, wide-leg, wool trousers in a cream and grey plaid, cream silk tie-neck blouse, grey & silver tweed cropped jacket, square-toe ankle boots. She looked amazing, and I totally wanted the pants.

      • Marshmallow :

        That outfit sounds dreamy! Definitely what I was getting at with the wide leg part of my comment.

        I’ve also noticed flares coming back and I can’t get onboard with them yet…

  22. On the Way Out :

    I posted this on the Ask a Manager open thread this morning, but would appreciate any advice you ladies might have!

    I’ve just accepted a new position and given notice at my current job. My boss took the news better than I
    expected. What’s surprising to me is that she seems to have no idea of why I’m leaving. She thinks it’s because I’m returning to the field I worked in before this one–which is true. However, the main reason is because she’s highly unprofessional.

    During my first few months here, my boss was verbally abusive on an almost daily basis. That tapered off as I gained a better handle on my responsibilities, and she eventually acknowledged that she had “misjudged” me.

    Aside from that, my boss has behaved questionably in a number of ways, towards some of my coworkers as well as myself. For example, she routinely criticizes her employees during staff meeting, both to their faces and when they’re absent. On our high school intern’s first day, our boss asked her for advice on her teenage son’s behavioral problems. And her rules for what does and does not qualify for overtime pay are inconsistent. Several times I’ve worked additional hours, only to be told the next week that those weren’t eligible and I needed to leave early to erase the time debt–which put me behind on other projects.

    I wish there were someone with whom I could be honest about all of this. Yet my boss is where she is because she’s well-connected. She’s well-liked by her boss, who’s housed in another building and sees very little of the daily workings of our department. Moreover, my current boss has connections with several high-level people in the department I’m moving to, and I’m concerned that saying something now could negatively affect me in the future.

    • Don’t say anything. Nothing to be gained for you, and lots to lose. I assure you the higher-ups are aware of this, even if they don’t see much of the daily workings of your department.

    • Please don’t be surprised that your boss isn’t aware that her behavior is contributing to your desire to leave. People are rarely self-aware, and it’s even more rare that a boss would be self-aware enough to indicate to a leaving employee that she, the boss, had been in the wrong. In fact, if she were that self-aware and humble, she’d be a great boss and you wouldn’t be leaving.

      • +1 Don’t say anything. It’s not going to help you at all and it won’t change anything. This is no longer your problem.

    • If you do an exit interview with HR, be honest about why you’re leaving.

      • On the Way Out :

        I’m afraid if I do, it will get back to her and she’ll trash-talk me to the higher-ups in my new department, which will hurt my chances of advancement there.

      • I had a similar situation to this in my last role and the HR person knew for most of the role that difficulty with the boss was why I was having a hard time – so while the boss may be trash talking me, the HR person says nothing but good things about me to other hiring managers. It works out.

      • Don’t do this. Exit interviews are for the benefit of the company, not your benefit. What good will come out of you telling them she is horrible? They likely already know and aren’t going to do anything about it for the reasons you listed (her boss likes her, she’s well connected, etc.). I understand the temptation to want to tell someone how horrible she is, but they probably don’t care and it risks burning bridges for you.

    • So what exactly are you wanting to have happen? If you’re hoping something you say will somehow make your boss realize how horrible and difficult she’s been, I don’t think that’s ever going to happen. I would just keep quiet and get out of there.

      • I agree. Horrible people stay horrible people. It’s not like she’s going to have a big lightbulb moment with you if she’s been consistently awful.

  23. Paging Scotland Bound :

    Runner 5 here.

    I’m based in edinburgh – the thing that will make you look most like a tourist is struggling with an umbrella when it’s windy (wear a jacket with a hood or just get soggy, it’s fine), or wearing stupid shoes that can’t cope with our weird cobbled roads and all the stairs everywhere. Otherwise you’re fine!
    We do have Uber here but I’d recommend downloading Gett which will hail a normal taxi. Bonuses: meter fare so no surge pricing, better regulations, safer.

  24. Rainbow Hair :

    I’m pretty sure no one was holding their breath to see what solution I would reach re: my dress request last night, but in case you were….

    http://www.lordandtaylor.com/main/ProductDetail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524442358253&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=282574488353949&bmUID=lTLTJQ6

  25. I have this exact blazer in Navy blue and it fits perfectly! I love Old Navy’s blazers because they are perfect for casual office wear and they’re affordable.

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