How to Tell Your Boss You’re Not Her Personal Assistant / Chauffeur

boss-treats-me-like-a-personal-assistantHow do you tell your boss you’re not her personal assistant / chauffeur / secretary — when you are instead a junior associate? Is there a way to have that conversation without burning your bridges? Reader S has a great question:

How do you professionally handle being treated like your supervisor’s secretary or admin–when you are not? I am a junior associate, and the partner that I typically work for frequently asks me to do things like get lunch, make copies, drive her to far away meetings, etc. (Note: the male associate I work with is NEVER asked to do these things). I know that as a junior associate I need to be willing to go the extra mile, but when is enough enough? And how do I let her know without sounding lazy?

Oooof, I’m sorry to hear that, Reader S. (Pictured.) I think you’re probably right that she’s treating you unfairly as a woman — still, as a general caveat, I will note at the outset that there’s a chance that some of this stuff may actually be part of your job, or may be a miscommunication. For example, maybe you heard “make copies,” suggesting to you that you stand over the copier for hours — when really she meant “have copies made,” as in, take the binder to the Duplicating department, fill out the order sheet, and check the 12 binders that come back to you for accuracy and completeness (or supervise the paralegal who does that).  As any lawyer will tell you, legal work is not glamorous and sometimes feels like it has as much to do with formatting as it does actual law. STILL, with that caveat out of the way, it does sound like you’re getting the raw end of the deal.  Here are my best tips to stop your boss from treating you like a personal assistant — but I can’t wait to hear what advice the readers have for you.

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Tuesday’s Workwear Report: Glen Plaid Blazer

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

brown-orange-blazer-olivia-palermaBoth Olivia Palermo and Chelsea28 create a lot of interesting fashion — very stylized pieces for stylish women. This blazer, with beige and orange accents and a menswear vibe — seems very cool. There are matching pants, but I’m not really a fan of the high-waisted, loose pants (plus, as Tim Gunn would say, it’s a lot of Look).  I’d wear it with a simple black sheath dress or — depending on how style-forward you and your office are — possibly with a leather accent like a leather skirt or vest. (I think I am remembering this suit from Akris.) The blazer is $199, available in sizes XXS-XL, over at Nordstrom.  Olivia Palermo + Chelsea28 Glen Plaid Blazer

Frustratingly I can’t find a good glen plaid blazer in plus sizes, but this tweed jacket has a slightly similar vibe, and this highly rated blazer comes in a similar-ish khaki/brown.

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]


Coffee Break: Mini Faceted Stud Earrings

rebecca-minkoff-jewelry-saleI mentioned this the other day over at CorporetteMoms — there are a ton of pieces of Rebecca Minkoff jewelry marked way, way down on Amazon — like add-on item low. I’m not quite sure what’s going on with pricing and inventory — the earrings I paid $8 for are back up to $48 — but some items are still marked down, so if you see something you like at a price you like, I’d buy it now.  These simple studs are only $16, in gold at least — the silver ones are back up to $28. Rebecca Minkoff Mini Facetted Stud Earrings


Backpacks for Work

backpacks-for-workAre there any backpacks that are stylish and large enough to hold file folders, binders and more on your commute from work? Backpacks are super trendy right now, but all of the really stylish bags are far too small for file folders or work papers. I was just at an event where I saw a young lawyer carrying a large, stylish backpack and my first thought was, good for her — whether she’s biking to work, walking to work, or just watching out for back problems down the line, it’s a smart move.  Coincidentally, I also recently got a question from Reader B, who wants to start walking to work and carrying large files — so I thought we’d go on a mini-Hunt. Here’s B’s question:

I’m looking to start walking to work more as I recently bought a home which sits about a mile away from my office. However, I’m an attorney and am often carrying case files and other paperwork back and forth. Tote bags, no matter what the straps are like, begin to hurt my shoulders on this. I know a backpack would solve the problem but as a relatively young professional, I’m afraid to look like I can’t let go of my college backpack days. Is it ever acceptable to wear a backpack to the office

Interesting question, B — I’ve written before of my love of walking to work, but I’ll admit that for any real file carrying I took cabs and client-paid cars to and from the office.  A few notes on tote bags, just at the outset: first, note that a leather bag is going to be far, far heavier than a nylon tote for work — and that I always found a single shoulder strap to be more comfortable for a long schlep. (You may also want to check out our advice on how to lighten your load.) Still, if you’re already feeling pain, there are a ton of backpacks right now that distribute the weight better across your back — I’ve rounded up a few of my top picks below, ranging from $29-$550.  Readers, would you consider wearing a backpack to work? Have you bought any backpacks for work lately that you love — and what qualities make one more or less professional and stylish in your mind?

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Splurge Monday’s Workwear Report: Baye Chain Detail Dress

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

Reiss chain detail dressReiss, as always, has some adorable dresses in right now. I love the wide slash neck, figure-skimming drapey fabric, and — maybe it’s me — but I really like the gunmetal chain detail at the waist. (The dress looks great for fall as styled — I’d try it with a thin jersey turtleneck or long-sleeved shirt beneath it for fall/winter. It’s available in black, as well, but only lucky sizes are left — the red dress is $330, available in sizes 0-10. Reiss Baye Chain Detail Dress

Here’s a similar(ish) dress in plus sizes (on sale!), and here’s a $118 dress available up to size 16.

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]


Weekend Open Thread

sts-blue-release-hem-skinny-jeansSomething on your mind? Chat about it here.

Keeping up with denim trends can be challenging. Right now, the raw edge/released hem look is one of the newer details that’s showing up — and while the detail is common on $200+ jeans, it’s less common on more affordable jeans. But these $58 jeans have the released hem look — and a few other qualities I like, like minimal distressing (as opposed to, say, a pant where there’s a chunk missing from the upper thigh), distressing that isn’t at the knee (so it works for women of all heights/leg lengths), and a nice dark wash. They’re $58, available in sizes 00-14. (While this pair doesn’t have a single review yet, other STS Blue skinny jeans get pretty good reviews, which is a good sign.) Pictured: STS Blue ‘Emma’ Release Hem Skinny Jeans (East La Canada)

In plus sizes, this jean or this jean looks good.