Splurge Monday’s TPS Report: ‘Bromley’ Floral Trim Knit Blazer

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

rag & bone 'Bromley' Floral Trim Knit BlazerLoove this Rag & Bone knit blazer. The floral trim is so much more lux than the usual contrast trim, and the wool looks soft and cozy as a sweater. It’s $495 at Nordstrom, available for pre-order. rag & bone ‘Bromley’ Floral Trim Knit Blazer

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Comments

  1. To the poster(s) looking for working from home tips, today’s WSJ has 10 tips (I think all of them were covered in last week’s conversation, so take that!).

    http://tinyurl.com/bwdoayz

    • Thank you, that was me!

      I’m supposed to be cleaning out my desk today. Everything from my big office that I’ve accumulated over the 7 years I’ve sat here and the 12 that I’ve been in this building needs to be condensed to two file drawers. :( The scanner is going to be my friend.

      • I hotel on a regular basis – so ugh, feel your pain on consolidating; though overall it’s nice not to have so much crap.

  2. Nice stuff, but for this month, I have resolved NOT to buy anything for myeself, and to work in a soup kitichen with Roberta and Myrna. Yay!

    We did that this weekend and it was VERY rewarding. I have learned that other peopele are not as lucky as I was, and I am goeing to help them this month by careing about them.

    The manageing partner gave me permision to leave work early this week to work in Brooklyn or the Bronx, whereever they need me more.

    Right now, I am here early, b/c I have to call up the court’s to see if the case’s are going forward or not, and Roberta and I have resolved with Myrna that we will NOT think of men this week, b/c they let us down when we needed them. FOOEY!

    Their are alot of peeople that need warm clothe’s so I encourage all of you to donate to them or the red cross.

    My dad says I should do a mitzva, so that is what I am doing. He is doing the same thing in Garden City.

  3. Along the lines of Splurge Monday, I saw a woman wearing these in the airport on Friday: http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/miu-miu-harness-buckle-moto-boot/3324204?origin=category&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=Black&resultback=3306
    Absolutely gorgeous. I was seriously coveting them.

    • So gorgeous. As an aside, people who look nice while traveling are seriously impressive.

    • Those boots are gorgeous. Covet covet covet.

      • I know. I really should have asked her about them. I went back to my hotel room and searched for them and I was so disappointed that they were that expensive. Should have known!

  4. Big fan of the yellow pants. Probably could only swing them on Fridays… but still. They’re yellow!

    • I would not call myself a “yellow pants” person, but I am seriously loving this look as styled here. I tend to think that bolder color choices are better on darker (neutral?) colored haired women, not redhead me, so I don’t think that I would ever wear it, but it’s fabulous on the model here.

      • Cornellian :

        I agree. I’m sort of dark strawberry/auburn, and it seems like TOO MUCH COLOR to me.

        That said I bet it’d be easier to wear lots of color on the bottom than the top if you’re worried about the too colorful phenomenon.

        • FWIW, as a brunette, I never noticed that this looks off on redheads. Basically I’m just jealous because ever since I read Anne of Green Gables, I’ve wanted red hair! If the color looks good with your skintone, I don’t think having a bold color with red hair is necessarily a bad look.

      • Ugh do not look at the Banana Republic site then you guise bc I do not have one pair of colorful pants and I want like 5 now. I have the same dark redish hair and I love yellow but I work it in with purses and other accessories. But pants? Never thought of it. Totally on board.

        • Darn it. I skipped over the do not look… and well, I guess I’m joining you down the rabbit hole.

  5. Random necklace recommendation. I wear collared button-front shirts almost exclusively and am always in search of a versatile yet interesting necklace that will show up when worn with a collar. Apparently I’m someone who orders things featured in Harper’s Bazaar, because I saw this in one of their spreads and thought it fit the bill. It arrived a couple of days ago and is absolutely perfect.

    http://www.glamboutique.com/low-luv-zig-zag-necklace.html

    The site is doing free shipping and a 15% off promo. Still not cheap, but not terrible. It seems very sturdy and I will wear it constantly. With a collared shirt it’s just a little bit of statement, because only the front/center piece shows. With dresses or tank tops for fun it will be more of a statement.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      If you are still looking for others, I’ve seen a bunch on the Aldo website that are really inexpensive. I haven’t bought any of them yet though. I love a good statement necklace. I’ve also gotten some at Old Navy that have held up surprisingly well. New York and Company also carries a lot of choices, but I haven’t owned any of those.

  6. Does anyone have any tips on how to say “no” without feeling like a jerk?

    I work in public interest law and sometimes my clients have requests that they think are reasonable but that would pose a conflict of interest or would be otherwise problematic for me as a lawyer and I have a really hard time saying no to them.

    I’m kind of frustrated with myself actually, because this is such a gendered problem, and I’m a feminist, and I know that I should be able to just tell people the truth, but for some reason, I can’t make the words come out of my mouth.

    • Diana Barry :

      I would think of it as an ethical issue *not* to say no. If there is a potential conflict, that is a big deal. Also, saying no gets easier the more you do it, so try practicing on friends/SO first so that it becomes easier to say to clients.

      • That’s a good point, thanks. Sometimes, though, with my clients, it’s hard to explain *why* something is a conflict of interest. But yeah, I just have to keep practicing, I guess. For some reason, it’s super easy for me to say no to my husband, but it’s really hard to say no to someone I don’t know well, because I want to be nice and helpful.

        • Diana Barry :

          I wouldn’t worry about explaining why – just say there is a conflict and leave it at that. :)

          • S in Chicago :

            I think over-explaining is where a lot of problems come from when saying no. It’s almost like people view it as a sign that you’re up for negotiation.

            Ethical issues are a pretty clear-cut no. But when it’s something stickier (like a friend, relative, or colleague pushing for something you don’t want to do), it helps me to say to myself “Silence is OK.” It’s perfectly OK to say “I don’t feel comfortable saying yes” or “I can’t do that” and just leaving it be. Honestly, 9 times out of 10 the person seems satisfied and it goes no further.

            And agree with what others said. The more you say no to things, the easier it becomes.

      • I think Diana’s point is spot-on. I think it’s sometimes easy to think you’re being “mean” or a “jerk” when the person in front of you is the one who wants something, but if you look at the whole picture, you realize it would make you more of a “jerk” to say yes. (I think this is particularly applicable when it comes to balancing SO relationships and other obligations — people will say “yes” to everyone in the world even if it short-changes their SO, just because you know your SO will still love you but strangers might decide you’re a b—-.)

        • Btw, this totally isn’t a gendered problem. My step-father is notorious for this. He’ll say yes in the moment to anything, because he wants people to think he’s a “nice guy” but then he’ll fail to follow through or he’ll wildly inconvenience my mom or his daughters to do a favor for someone else. My step-dad is a good guy and I love him, but he’d be a nicer guy if he said no sometimes.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I don’t really have advice on this because I struggle with it as well, but as far as the requests that pose conflict of interest problems I’d just tell them that ethics rules prevent you from doing x because of a conflict of interests. I think most people would understand that and there is no reason to feel like a jerk for saying no to something that you actually are not allowed to do.

      • Also, sometimes it helps if you note that it’s reciprocal – that you’d turn down another client’s request that would somehow interfere with their case.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          Great point! That could also help with explaining to the client the reason that it is a conflict.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      I would just say “I’m not able to do that because of ethics rules” and leave it at that. The more you try to explain yourself, the more the person will try to persuade you to change your mind, so the best way is to try to be very simple about it and if questioned, repeat your original reason, rather than add new ones that the person can try to shoot down.

      It isn’t always easy and in a client-facing environment in particular it can be hard to do something that flies in the face of ‘client is always right’, but ultimately if you get fired for doing something you are not supposed to be doing (or worse, struck off), the client will still have some other lawyer, but you won’t have a job.

      Maybe in your situation, something to try might be to come up with a few stock phrases that you can just practice and roll out. It’s easier on e-mail so maybe try to deal with these questions on e-mail rather than phone e.g. if someone asks you something on the phone and you don’t immediately feel ok saying no, say ‘I’ll get back to you’ and then e-mail them the ‘no’. That is only a temporary fix for until you learn to say no on the phone, but in any case you might sometimes want to follow up with an e-mail to CYA.

      • Thanks for your comment. :)

        I agree — it’s MUCH easier over email than on the phone (or, god forbid, in person).

        I wish more of my clients used email — a lot of them, amazingly enough, don’t have email or don’t know how to check the email they have (or have limited reading skills).

    • You might be able to tell from how I comment on here, but I always feel better if I am telling a story to back up my advice/commiseration. So my example is: a lot of my client who fall into this category are asking for a monetary advance when we know there is a big check on the way but the check may take 90 days or so to process. Sometimes they might be losing their house, possibly evicted, or lose their car, etc. I feel really bad for them. What I say is “in our state, no lawyer is allowed front money – even if we know it is on the way – because in the good old days, lawyers took advantage of their clients similar to a cash advance place (I use the name of a familiar business but won’t here). Now, no lawyer can advance it or we could lose our license. It’s a bit a of drastic example but even if I have said no 10 times before, once I tell them this, they do not ask me again.

    • Don’t feel that you have to explain. If it makes it easier, just shift the blame up and say that the supervisors say you’re not allowed to.

  7. I’m turning in my two weeks notice today. I’ve never done that before, and I’m a little nervous. Should I do it at the beginning of the workday or the end? Any hints on quitting gracefully/how to wrap things up, etc.? I’ve been a temp on permanent assignment (year and a half), so they’ll be able to find a replacement quickly through the temp agency.

    • Beginning of the day always! This way your boss can start preparing for your departure and you’ll find that a huge weight has been lifted from you.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      A lot of this depends on your relationship with your boss. I don’t know that it matters whether you do it at the beginning or end of day, but try to do it when your boss has a moment of downtime or is at least not crazy busy.

      Also, I know this wont help with nerves, but do be prepared for your boss to tell you that you don’t need to come back in tomorrow, after the end of the week, etc. This has a lot to do with corporate culture, but I’ve personally worked at many places where you were asked to leave immediately after giving your notice.

      What is next for you?

      • +1. Prior to giving notice, make sure you have your contacts backed up, any personal files pulled off your computer, etc. in the event you are given a box and asked to leave immediately.

    • Updated: did it. It went really well and my boss was very excited for me. She didn’t tell me to clean out my desk immediately. Instead she told me I was the best temp they’ve ever had, and she’ll be sad to see me go.

      And @Sydney, what is next for me is a totally awesome job in public accounting.

  8. momentsofabsurdity :

    Update on the pesto-stuffed prosciutto-wrapped crockpot chicken:

    It turned out really yummy! I think next time I will actually marinate the chicken in pesto beforehand, because it ended up a bit dry (but certainly not inedibly dry and with a little drizzle of Italian dressing and some goat cheese on top, it was actually really good!). It was really easy and the edges of the prosciutto did brown nicely. I put a bed of peppers and onions at the bottom and cooked it for 6hrs on low and it was cooked through (probably would have been just perfect/not too dry at 5hrs on low). I drizzled about 1/2 cup of chicken broth on the bottom.

    Thanks everyone for your help! I think I will definitely make it again.

  9. I made the butternut squash farro this weekend and it was SERIOUSLY YUMMY!!! I’m eating it for lunch today and cannot wait!

    • Sounds delicious! I picked up some butternut squash yesterday but can’t decide which recipe to try first. Decisions, decisions.

    • I ate that all last week for lunch. Yum! I made it with barley and feta. I also received my cookbook while I was away so it was a fun surprise when I got home. I can’t wait to have time to spend with it.

      • I haven’t opened mine yet! I am waiting for the right moment when I have lots of time…..I feel like such a nerd.

  10. Started Christmas shopping today, or at least my reconnaissance. Anyone else get started?

    • Started the recon. Plan to use Veterans day as the main field activity.

    • I’ve got 2 of 6 out of the way. I’ve been ruminating on one since August, so I finally pulled the trigger (it said up to 2 weeks to print), and it showed up within the week. I’ve got the list going in my head, and am just hoping to take advantage of sales in the run up to holiday madness.

    • Made the list of who. It’s way too short so you can tell I am not even trying yet. I did make MY wish list and update my amazon list and kate spade wish list just in case other people are more motivated than me. :)

    • Honey Pillows :

      I have the list in my head. I think I’m just buying everyone books this year. Literacy ftw!

      • Books are amazing! That’s what I’m doing for all the kids in my life (when did my friends start having babies?). I’ve divided my list up into things I should buy here and fly home and things I can order to have waiting for me when I arrive.

        I’m totally buying my shortbread and whiskey at World Market rather than toting it on the plain. No one will know the difference, right?

    • DH & I owned Toys r Us yesterday. Buying kids’ presents is so freaking fun.

    • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

      I’ll be starting this weekend. Lists have been made, reconnaissance completed, time to strap on my present-hunting gun and see if I can bag some goodies for my friends and loved ones. :-)

    • I started my list and am waffling on whether I’ve decided to do too many homemade presents. I think the answer is yes so I’m going to work on Plan Bs for a couple of people. I need to have presents done for my in-laws by Thanksgiving so I don’t have to ship to them later and that always throws me off.

    • For the first time EVER, I’m almost done with my Christmas shopping in early November. I usually am not done until the week of Christmas. I have a few small things to make for people, two smaller gifts to purchase, and then I’m done.

  11. I am really supposed to be good and not buy non-work/non-workout clothing until the new year. But I really want a pair of skinny cords in an earthy rose-ish hue. I haven’t found any yet but I might just get the yellow ones from Banana. Usually these little obsessions melt away but it has now been a week. Sigh first world problems fo sho.

    • These look to be exactly the color you’re looking for:
      http://canvas.landsend.com/pp/womens-pin-straight-cords~244444_-1.html

      • Of course, now I want them, too.

        • How’s the fit with Canvas? I’ve never ordered. I usually wear a 29 in designer jeans, but a 6 in brands like Gap and BR. The size chart says that a 29 is an 8, but I’m afraid a 28 may be too small (any extra weight I have is carried in my waist).

          • momentsofabsurdity :

            I have. I bought them in a 28 (no smaller size in store) and they are basically swimming on my usually size 2/4 frame. So I think you should be okay with a 28, especially cause they stretch.

          • The other reviews say order a size down. That was my plan!

      • oh noooo they’re perfect!! I will wait until 5 but then I am pulling the trigger.

      • I want the mint colored ones too! It’s okay, I have been getting up and going to the gym on the reg and avoiding all candy dishes for 2 weeks now. I deserve a break.

      • 30% off with code lovewinter1 pin 1012

    • I have these in a light beige (bought last winter) and love them. They are incredibly flattering (even on my more hourglassy figure). If I could find an excuse to buy more cords, these would be what I’d re-buy.

  12. SoCal Gator :

    Need help on footwear. I have a really cute Boden skirt that is dark green with navy polka dots. I want to wear it with navy tights but what color shoes? Navy? Brown? Black? I have no idea. I don’t have any closed toe navy shoes and usually tend to avoid that color because women’s navy shoes can look odd.

  13. Glasses question :

    Does anyone have experience with glasses that have not been treated with the anti-reflective or anti-glare coating? I got a pair of glasses about 18 months ago and they are already getting difficult to see out of. Specifically, it looks like there are tiny pinpoint bumps all over the lenses. I think this has to do with the anti-reflective coating that most opticians recommend – I think the coating has pulled away from the lenses and developed air pockets in certain places. I’ve even been pretty good about only wiping them with the special little cloth in the glasses case. I’m looking to buy a new pair of glasses, partly because I have a lot of health money saved up that I need to spend by the end of the year, but wanted to get others’ recommendations before making a purchase. Thanks!

    • I don’t have a specific recommendation about the anti-glare coatings other than to say my glasses get this too – after a while it looks like they are always dirty, even after I cleaned them. If you like the frames and they are still in good shape you could ask the optomistrist about making just a new pair of lenses for the frames – I know when I was younger my parents didn’t have a lot of money so we would get new lenses for our glasses when our prescription changed instead of all new glasses. I know you said you had money to use, so you could do this as an option to have a 2nd pair of glasses and then get a new “fun” set of frames.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      When you wipe them, are you washing the glasses first? If you’re using that cloth on dry glasses, what you’re doing is grinding particles of dirt and grime on your lenses into your lenses, which is going to damage the coating on the lenses. You either need to wash the glasses with soap and water or use glasses cleaning spray before using the special cloth. The cloth also needs to stay in a protective box/bag so it doesn’t get dirt and grime on it that you would grind into the just-cleaned glasses.

    • I’ve gotten my last 3 pairs of glasses from Eyefly and have never had this problem.

    • I had the same problem with my Oakley sunglasses. I bought them from a discount website so could not exercise the warranty, so I did not really pursue it.
      If you have vision insurance, be aware that it covers some types of coating but not others. And ask the shop about the warranty on the anti-glare coating.

    • No Problem :

      Hmm, I’ve never had this happen before, and I’ve had glasses with the anti-reflective coating for about the last 20 years. It’s possible that the coating on this particular pair was defective. You should definitely bring them to a glasses store to have them inspect your lenses.

      The only thing I would caution about going without the coating is that if you drive in your glasses at night, it’s going to make it a lot harder to see because all the streetlights and headlights will glare. If it’s possible to get a new pair of lenses without the coating and then get it added later if you decide you don’t like all the glare (I don’t see why this wouldn’t be a possibility), that might be the way to go.

      I’ve also noticed that I really need to wash my glasses with soap and water to actually get them clean. Mine mostly get oils on them from my skin, and rubbing them with the special cleaning cloths just smears the oil around instead of wiping it off. FWIW, I usually just dry them with a soft towel or the hem of a cotton t-shirt and don’t bother with the special cleaning cloths.

    • karenpadi :

      I had this happen to so many pairs of glasses. I h8 the anti-reflective coating. H8 it. My current pair of glasses doesn’t have it, and surprise! no issues after 3+ years.

      You really have to put your foot down and absolutely reject the anti-reflective coating. Some places will argue that they don’t make lenses without it. So walk out the door. Speak to a manager. Once people realized that 1) I’m serious and 2) I’m a b*tch, they graciously allow me to go without the reflective coating with a “you’ll be sorry”.

      Make sure it’s written in big letters on the order form when you order your glasses because, yes, they will sneak it on there and I have had to reject multiple pairs of glasses because of that.

      • Glasses question :

        Thanks, this is really helpful. I’m assuming you don’t have problems with driving at night? I’m also a lawyer in Silicon Valley, so the glasses have to be both computer-friendly and safe for driving at night.

        • karenpadi :

          I do have some issues driving at night with my glasses but I usually wear contacts. There is a little glare and it’s distracting for about the first 5 minutes until I get used to it. I haven’t had an issue with computers and glasses.

          My eyes generally tire out more quickly when I wear glasses than when I wear contacts. I’ve had that issue even with the anti-reflective glare (honestly, I think it’s because I have slight astigmatism that my eye doc says the contacts correct for but my glasses don’t). Because I wear contacts, I generally use my vision insurance to pay for new contacts each year so glasses are out of pocket (but HSA) for me. I’d rather have my glasses last 5 years than worry about the coating and the glare when I have to drive with glasses.

    • Research, Not Law :

      I have been getting the anti-reflective coating for at least two decades and have never had a problem. Definitely sounds like a defective/quality issue.

      Agree with No Problem that washing with water and mild soap and drying with a soft towel or t shirt works best.

    • Glasses question :

      Thanks all. This isn’t my first pair of glasses with this problem, so I don’t think it’s a defect. I’m open to the possibility that I’m cleaning them incorrectly. I think I’ll try a pair of glasses without the coating and see how I like them.

  14. Polka dot PSA:

    This blouse (link in reply) is on sale at Lands End online but even cheaper at B&M Sears stores; there were a lot in stock at my local Sears over the weekend. The store sale price was $25 (half off!) but Sears applied some mystery discounts (maybe because I have a Sears/Lands End rewards membership?) that brought it down to about $14. So of course I bought two, the polka dot and the purpley floral. Very nice quality polyester, flattering v-neck, looks great under a blazer.
    Note, this runs seriously large — I’m a busty 12-14 but bought the size 10.

  15. Threadjack, education. My husband two years of undergrad, but dropped out after that, 13+ years ago. He’s very intelligent, just not extremely academically oriented. He’s an extremely hard and dedicated worker, though, so I am certain that if he went back to school now, he would really do well.

    He’s worked a lot in retail management, and is very good at it (but the hours stink). He’s also very knowledgeable about tech-type stuff, which is what he works in now (in a lower skilled service-type job, though). He’s very good at math and science, probably a little bit weaker on writing. We live near a major university, and there are a number of small schools around as well. He’d like something where he earned a little more money, had steadier hours, that sort of thing.

    Any suggestions as to what he can try to do? Like I said, he is really smart and I’m sure he’s capable of doing anything, but would prefer something fairly quick (probably max 2 years of schooling). The school that he attended previously was in the same system (State U), but a different location and a long time ago – is it likely that the credits will still transfer? Something in tech sounds like it would be a good idea, but we’re not sure what, exactly. He’s also considered something in medicine, such as a radiology technician, but I guess we really don’t know.

    • Credits at my state university were only good for 10 years.

    • He should order transcripts, and then make a list of local programs that he might like to pursue. Contact admissions people from each of those places, send a pdf of the transcripts, and ask how many credits he would need to graduate from the institution (maybe specifying a major to make the math easier for them.)

      That should give you a ballpark idea of how long it will take for him to finish. There are *lots* of degree completion programs out there, including many online, if that appeals to him. It’s a growing market.

      • My credits from 1993 were still good in 2009, so it definitely is something to check into. Mine was in the same system, but a different location, as well.

        I don’t know what would be good for him, but definitely as a first step, he could contact the admissions office of your local university he’d want to attend and see what would still transfer, then he’ll know how much he’d have still to do for any program he looked at.

      • The first place he should look is your local community college, if he wants a quick, primarily career-focused degree or certificate. There should be plenty of options for both technical and medical programs. The transferability of credits will vary based on institution and program requirements; like Lucy said, you should get a copy of his transcript, and contact each institution that he’s interested in.

        I will add a warning about online schools. Some of them are legitimate institutions, which really do care about seeing their students succeed, but unfortunately the majority are for-profit institutions that only exist to hoover up federal and state financial aid funds to make money for their shareholders. If your husband decides an online school is right for him, DO. YOUR. HOMEWORK. Admissions counselors should be willing to tell you, upfront, about tuition, availability of financial aid (institutional as well as federal and state), the amount of debt students graduate with, and job placement rates for recent alumni. If you get any kind of caginess, high-pressure sales tactics, or if anything looks too good to be true–run, don’t walk, away.

    • I may be the minority here, but I would suggest that he reach out to local employers (in IT, or medical or other) to learn more about what kinds of positions they are recruiting, starting salaries before pursing more school. Even if the schools mentioned that there was some sort of need for a specific kind of tech, I would try to validate that from an employer perspective.

      • I think that sounds like a really good idea, but we don’t really have any connections to anyone like that (fairly new to the area). Anyone have ideas on how to make those connections?

    • CPA to be :

      My husband and I met at a fancy pants private liberal arts university. After we graduated with our less than useful degrees, he ended up going back to school and got an associates of applied science degree in “electronics and electrical engineering technology” at a local community college. He and most of his classmates got jobs almost immediately upon graduation, some of them before they graduated. They are now all making in the neighborhood of 40-50k+, one year out, mostly working in industrial settings. The A.A.S. was a 2 year degree, but my husband had some credits that transferred, so it only took a year and a half.

      All of the “tech” (as in “technician”) degrees are a good bet, from what I can tell. Community college is insanely cheap, academically easy, and has great job prospects if you take it seriously. It is not hard to be a big fish in a little pond, and often times the professors have connections in the industry. Many of the professors (in the tech sector, at least) teach as a second job, and can recommend you at their workplace or at the workplace of some of their connections if you do well. We were both a little bit snobby about community college when he was looking into going back to school, but I’m now a total convert about it.

    • Meg Murry :

      Just an FYI, because healthcare careers are considered to be so “employable” our local community college has a multiyear wait list for some of the required classes for degrees like radiology technician. Not saying he shouldn’t go that route, but when asking questions about how long a program takes, one important question is “is there a waitlist for any of the required classes to finish this program”?
      If possible, I would suggest looking into programs that have a co-op/internship component, as this gets him real experience he can put on a resume and industry contacts, and in my experience, has been far more likely to lead to a position at the end of the program.

  16. Has anyone have to deal with work assignments you don’t understand ? I mean, you just plain don’t know how to do it ? Even worse, you don’t know how to learn how to do it ?

    I feel like I never understand what I’m supposed to do. Everything seems complicated and obscure and I’m completely lost. I know I should ask people, but 1/ my coworkers are so competent, quick and intelligent they just do things themselves instead of explaining, and 2/ I often don’t even know which questions to ask. It’s like I’m in front of a big huge black building without any visible door or windows.

    I’m not junior at all and it occurs often, so it’s worrying. I end up under-performing, feeling stupid and worthless, and of course my career is in a dead end as a result, despite my shiny diploma from Fancy School.
    The funny thing is that, in hindsight, I see clearly what I should have done.

    Please, tell me someone has already dealt with that, and found the answer (or, at least, *an* answer :) ) ? I’m afraid I’ll end up in this dead end job because I’m just too stupid … All my friends from school are über successful, and I’ve been at entry-level for 6 years (and not even good at it !). I’m ready to work hard, I just don’t know what to do …

    • Have you tried going to your boss and seeing if you could get some additional training? Maybe going to a conference or taking a class or something would help you?

      As far as not know what kinds of questions to ask, could you you be honest with a more patient colleage of yours about your self-doubt and say something like “I admire how you work on xyz project. Would you mind walking me through step by step what your process is in [doing the work, managing the project, doing specific task, etc.]”

      • As for training, well … I’ve already asked, but I’m kinda supposed to have a PhD (yes, I just can”t believe it myself :) ) so it was met with a bit of incomprehension.

        I will try to pinpoint a more patient colleague … The one with the most knowledge is very kind and helpful, but also very busy and very, very smart, but if I don’t do things well it will end up on his plate, so I guess it’s for his own best :)

        • Sydney Bristow :

          There are some things though that just don’t have anything to do with education. Would having a PhD solve your problem? It seems like it is more procedural than that. More degrees don’t necessarily translate into here is step 1 of this kind of project, here is step 2, etc. You might know the subject matter better, but that doesn’t mean you’d have the proper training to actually do the assignments.

        • Lady Enginerd :

          Re: PhD. I always say that the PhD trained you to have book smarts, by not necessarily a single ounce of common sense. If you’re asking for help, it might help to remind then that just because you have the degree doesn’t mean you know everything, or have advanced training in whatever specific kind of problem solving your job requires.

          If you’re able to divulge the sector you work in, that might help us be more specific in our advice.

    • I call this Rumpelstiltskin Syndrome — you feel like the miller’s daughter sitting in front of a pile of straw with no clue in the world how to spin it into gold. Is that how you feel? I experienced this a lot in BigLaw and while it was most acute while I was very junior, I never got up the nerve to ask the questions I needed to ask (often didn’t even know what to ask) so I still had some blind spots that later I felt I couldn’t ask about because I now felt too senior not to know the answers. Does that sound like what you feel? Is there anyone at all at your work you could talk to? This can be tricky because you don’t want to have co-workers thinking less of you or your work product, but if there’s someone who feels “safe” to you, maybe you could invite him/her out for coffee/lunch and express some of your confusion and see how that person handles it (who knows maybe you’re not alone and your co-workers aren’t so smart and efficient but just good at looking like they are). You say you have only unknown unknowns, but can you whittle it down at all? Maybe you feel that you never know what resources are available and only find out after the fact that there were huge volumes of information that might have been useful but you didn’t know to even look for them. Can you ask this person how s/he approaches the same situation. (Again, this can be really tricky because you want to present yourself as competent but looking for tips from a respected colleague.) The other thing to do is that when you get an assignment, try to get 20 minutes on the assigner’s calendar and just be very clear and say “I understand you want me to do X. Would you suggest I start by doing Y, or is there another approach that you feel would be more productive?” If they say “oh just go look in the [total goobledygook you don’t understand]” you say “I’m not familiar with that. What is it and where would I find it?” It sounds like you’ve completely lost trust in yourself. If you trust that you’re absolutely smart enough, then not understanding something isn’t proof that you’re stupid but proof that the thing wasn’t explained properly. If you trust that, then you’ll feel more comfortable asking for clarification. Good luck — this is a totally [email protected] position to be in.

      • Yes, totally !
        Unfortunately, I don’t have any co-worker I can speak with (due to my lack of promotion, I work mainly with bright, young things that are already making fun of me for being still there, so definitely not safe).

        I’m a bit reluctant to ask for time from my assigners/more competent coworkers because everyone is so busy and I’m supposed to know what I’m doing. But, as I answered previously, there is no other way and it’s for their best …

        I’m very efficient when I have an itemized list of things to do. But I just don’t know how to go from “Stupid, solve this Big Issue!” to “Stupid, do X, Y and then Z”.

        • I would be totally shocked if people really were as busy as they claim to be. “I’m just so busy — busy busy busy — I don’t even eat or sleep or pee because I’m so busy” is how so many (especially highly educated/type A) people seek status. It sounds like you’re being asked to do some fairly high-level conceptualization (solve this problem vs do this task). Can you do ANY work on the projects at all? Even plotting out some potential solutions to investigate? Then you could schedule the meeting to review these solutions — you’re not going empty-handed, but you could get some valuable insight. And if you frame it as wanting input because you respect the other person so highly and because you’re trying to be as efficient as possible, it would be hard for the other person to say no.

          • I can do a little bit of work, but once I meet a wall, I can’t see beyond “I just don’t know how to do it, I’m stupid!”.
            Not being proactive is actually one of the main things that come up in review (the other one being “very autonomous” ! Go figure …).

            You’re right, I could try to plot potential solutions instead of “the best solution” all by myself.
            And roadmaps. I too often go to one-to-one meetings empty-handed (because “I just don’t know how to do it!”).

          • Meg Murry :

            Plotting potential solutions is definitely the way to go. Sit down and brainstorm a list of ways you could attack the problem, try to think of pros and cons of each approach, then setup a meeting with the person who gave you the assignment to go over your top 2 or 3 approaches to clarify which way is best. You don’t need to know “the best way to do it” you just need to have a few ideas on what might work. You might even find that its best to persue 2 diiferent routes simulatiously, so that if one approach doesn’t work the other might – it would be slower than if you picked the “right” approach intially, but not slower than if you started off with the “wrong” approach then had to stop and go back to plan B.

            You don’t need to know how to do the whole project right away – pick apart the problem into pieces and then figure out if you know how to do ANY of the parts. Then you can go to someone else and say “I’ve figured out how to do A and B but I’m having trouble with C – any suggestions?”

            Last, as others have said – a PhD means you are trained in academia but not necessarily corporate life. Have you taken any project management training? That might help you learn to break down your projects into managable pieces and is totally translatable into real life as well as work – for instance, I took a project management 3 day course last year and one of my coworkers used all the skills and techniques we learned to plan her wedding. Again on the proactive part – don’t just go to your boss and say “help, I need training” say “I found this project management class at (local university) and I think it would help me with (skills A, B and C) would you approve my going”?

            If your job is about finding solutions, go into meetings about problems with potential solutions – even if its about your training or lack thereof! Don’t just say “I don’t know what to do – help!” say “I’ve done A and B but now I don’t know if I should do C or D”

          • LadyEnginerd :

            I absolutely agree with TBK: you look much much better if you took one, or two, or several random stabs at a problem than sitting there spinning your wheels. I can’t recommend enough that when you hit a wall you brainstorm a ton of possible solutions, evaluate them (even the crazy ones), pick the top five, and present them in a meeting. Feeling like there is Only One Right Answer is a symptom of perfectionism, so I’m going to take a stab in the dark and recommend The Now Habit by Neil Fiore to help you look at how this perfectionism might be getting in the way of you slogging on ahead when you hit a wall.

            I have a couple more thoughts for you: 1) all researchers and all scientists feel stupid. I once complained during an undergrad internship that I felt stupid. My mentor (medal of science winner, big shot) said he does too and that I should get used to it. And yes, I feel stupid almost every day too.
            2) No one is coming up with the One Best Solution alone. No one. They’re all coming up with a bunch of solutions on their own and then bouncing ideas off of people to make sure they don’t reinvent the wheel or forget something.
            3) Do you remember TAing? Remember the kids who would come to you trying to weasel the answer out of you instead of doing their own thinking? Showing up to meetings empty handed looks exactly like that from the other end. I can’t urge you enough to bring three to five ideas to meetings with pros and cons. Show that you need help wrestling with the problem, not that you expect it to be done for you.

            To me, not proactive but autonomous means that your supervisors see the cycle of you hitting walls and then retreating instead of coming up with a bunch of solutions and working thru them. I think that you’ll learn a lot if you force yourself to come up with a few mediocre solutions and talk through them with someone else. You’ll then learn how the people who are successful sort and dissect ideas to find the “best” one (which is what you need) as well as looking more proactive.

      • That is a fantastic analogy, TBK. I am in this boat more than I’d like to be in my current role, despite a lot of experience.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      First of all, you are absolutely not stupid. You just don’t know what to do on specific assignments because it sounds like you were never trained to do them.

      I agree with CPA to be’s advice completely. If you do ask your coworker about it and she decides to just do it herself, ask if you can sit there and watch her walk through the steps. Ask questions as they come to you while going through it. Ultimately, it will save that colleague work if you can be trained to do it.

      Another thought is to look at examples of what the final product looks like. You don’t say what line of work you are in, but if you can find an example of the end product from a similar assignment, you could try and work backwards to recreate the steps that need to be done.

      As you do learn the steps that need to be taken, I find it useful to write them down. They might not always be the same, but it can be helpful to look back at the list when you get a similar project and see that your first step was to perform research through x website or contact person y, etc.

      • The thing is, I work in science and we do “hand-crafted” research so assigments are mostly one-of-a-kind and every problem is different – that’s why I feel like I start from scratch every day and I can’t really “copy” from another’s process.

        • Then sounds like a totally valid reason to talk to the person who the work would otherwise bump to (like you mentioned above). Can you call it a brainstorming session, and let him know you are trying to find the best point of attack? I’d totally want to run an experiment/research design by someone (regardless of my experience level) to make sure I haven’t built in any assumptions or forgot to factor in a variable, so I don’t think it is uncalled for to consult.

    • First, YOU AREN’T STUPID! Could there be a psychological component, like anxiety or perhaps depression that’s holding you back? Or perhaps is there something in your current environment that once changed, could help you reach your potential?

      I’m a lawyer, so I was a bit in a “fake it ’till you make it” field. I’ve never been good at that and at my first job, it was a problem. And with the economy, I didn’t get as much work as I needed to learn my craft and things kinda snowballed–my anxiety about the lack of work and lack of training made me doubt myself, made me feel stupid and resulted in mistakes. At my second job, things got better, though I left because of a bad fit with the environment. I almost got out of law entirely–I felt like a stupid moron and a complete failure–until a mentor I trusted convinced me that I should keep trying and that I WAS smart enough to succeed. Eventually I found a job with a better fit and guess what? I’m doing a lot of the same the work I “couldn’t” do at my first job and am doing just fine. I’m happy. Sometimes there are clouds and I start feeling the old darkness and doubt creep up on me, but it never stays.

      For me, I needed a different environment to flourish–not everyone does great in the same conditions. That said, if it isn’t your specific environment, the other suggestions are really good on how to get the most out of where you are now. I just wanted to provide a different take in case you are in the same situation I was in.

      Good luck–it sucks to be in this position.

      • Thank you :)
        Your point is good – research is not my environment of choice :) I have to stay here until June, but hope going elsewhere after that – somewhere with frames, processes, specs and planning !

        In the mean time … questions, questions and more questions :)

        • OK, if you are looking to make a change, here’s a silly thing that helped me. I made a list of quotes that I could look at that I found inspiring or calming. I also used to keep a mental brag list of things I had done and I’d repeat it when I woke up. These won’t fix the situation but tthey helped me cope.

          • Quotes I already have …
            But my brag list ist definitely empty :(

          • goirishkj :

            You have your degree and it is from a great school! My degrees were on my list when I was down.

        • senior lawyer :

          I have a series of responses based on this thread. On one level, I feel we are being played. Your responses aren’t making sense. Commenters are struggling, with compassion, to help you. Perhaps we need more specific information. How can you have continued on for six years if you have no idea about what you are doing?

          My other response is bless your heart if you really have no one to talk to, are feeling “stupid” and are probably worried about being fired. If yours walls are so high, have you considered speaking with a therapist? Maybe she can help you see you are bright but just not suited to this job; or that you actually are doing your work correctly but don’t credit yourself, or that perhaps you have ADD — for which there are many tools; or that you need communications skills that can be taught.

          It’s really hard to tell what’s going on here . . . you just can’t be as bad as you think or relayed . . . if so, you’d be fired.

          There is a whole community here who wishes you well. I really think you should seek some outside help here.

    • I, had assignments in the past that seemed horrible at first. For instance, they threw me into this workgroup that was lateral to my everyday work. I had to dial into meetings and afterwards report on what was said, and also give input. I’d never met any of the people in the group and they had a history of working together, so they recognized each other’s voices and of course I had no clue of who they were or what area of the project they represented. What’s worse, the management first brought in another person into that meeting (in person) and he wrote out the entire meeting word for word, so the expectation was set. So yes, it was awful. At first I did not even say I was there when I dialed because I thought, if you have nothing to say you in effect absent, right?
      I had really no one available to help me so I had to figure things out mostly by myself. My principal contact was overwhelmed with other work. It took me months to figure out what that group and my client really needed from me (not verbatim minutes!), and to start contributing and enjoying this part of my duties.

      In your situation, I think the first step would be to talk to the person who gives you the assignment. Request that they define it in writing/email; if it’s not clear to you, write out your questions and request a meeting to get answers. After that, create a plan for completing the assignment, with timelines.
      If brain fuzziness is a pattern you’ve noticed just recently, there may be a health reason – fatigue or depression.
      Lastly, if there is an area or type of work where you excel, work on getting more related assignments. It is not that great for broadening your skills, but it seems like you are feeling down and the first order of business is to get you out of this mood and get you to enjoy work again (?)…

      • Omg, your workgroup sounds like h*ll !

        As I said, once I’ve stated that I don’t know how to do it, I just can’t see beyond that. In your shoes, I’d just have dropped from the workgroup after the first few sessions.

        My assigners is not really sure of what I should do either, so I may have to contact someone else … If only I could pinpoint problems !

    • 1) I guarantee you that no matter what your coworkers project they have all felt this way at one point or another. Remember this.

      2) No one will think you are stupid for asking questions. I promise!

      3) Always carry youself with confidence. People will see you as someone who is asking questions because you want to learn and be better at your job. Not because you are “stupid”.

      4) Your employer doesn’t expect you to spend time reinventing the wheel. Find out who has already done similar work, or better yet, who was in the role or a similar role. Be friend with this person. When someone gives you insight on how to do something, take notes. Save them, refer to them often. Keep drafts of previous work. Save these and refer to them.

      5) People are happy to help 9 times out of 10. Make sure you are asking for their “expertise” or “insight” on a project. Not “how to do it”. You sound like you have a fear or failure or making a mistake. I deal with this all the time. I’ll save you some worry, you will make a mistake. EVERYONE does. It will not end your career. If you learn from it and move forward it will actually be a positive learning experience.

      6) I always remember, “If you’re ripe, you rot. If you’re green, you grow.” You will always be learning throughout your career (and life!). If you knew how to do everything you wouldn’t be in this role – you are expected to need coaching at times. This happens at ALL levels in an organization.

      Don’t be afraid to swallow your pride and be wrong once in a while. When I see people that are learning (mistakes and all) I view them as someone more valuable to the organization because they are trying to improve themselves. Just be sure to learn from your mistakes.

      Final caveat: be careful divulging that you “don’t know what is going on.” People make snap judgements and someone in your organization you trust now, you may not later. Frame it as you are trying to learn how to do something better, more efficiently, effectively, etc.

      Keep moving forward – you can do it!!!

      • +1000, especially 3 and 5.

      • Thank you (I love detailed lists !)

        The main problem I meet it that, most of the time, I don’t even know which question I have to ask.

        Could we to a little RPG ? That way I’ll be able to understand best (yes, I’m dense about everything :) ).

        Example : right now. I have to make a little tool. I have the rough outline written by someone who doesn’t work here anymore (not reachable). I understand the words, but together they don’t make sense. Nobody knows how to do it (I’ve tested the waters around me) because, apparently, they count on me for that. I don’t even understand what’s its point exactly, despite having read the doc repeatedly today. My boss (assigner) is away and don’t know anything about that apparently (“you’re the specialist!”).

        How would you handle this situation ?

        • Meg Murry :

          Any chance the previous person wrote the outline in jargon-ese and it doesn’t make sense to you because the previous person didn’t actually know what he was doing but just made something up that sounded good?

          Also, if you are supposed to be the “expert” but you don’t know, can you utilise your network from where you got your PhD? Is there anyone there working on a similar project you can ask for assistance or guidance? It may involve getting a secrecy agreement, etc, in order to talk to people at your university, but it may be worth it to tap into that knowledge network. At my company, a lot of the work the PhD researchers do is networking and reaching out to other people that are experts in their field.

          Also, even if “you’re the specialist” – if your PhD these was on X and the tool is Y, its not unreasonable to point that out to someone. The question then is, who is the expert on Y? Can you find someone who is to learn from?

        • LadyEnginerd :

          I guess I’ll bite.
          Step 1: write your own outline/design doc based on the previous person’s outline, but fleshed out with some information from the literature/company documentation about how people have tried to solve problems like this previously. Try contacting the guy who originally wrote up the outline unless that’s explicitly against company policy. Propose three separate action items on how you’ll get started with timeframes for each. Send to boss to ensure that what you describe is what he wants. Time frame: 48-72 hours.
          1a. If the words together don’t make sense, draw a picture. The picture/schematic will not only help you understand it for yourself, but will most efficiently communicate with your boss how you’re understanding the problem. No dimensions, not to scale, just a sketch.
          2. Start work on the action items you sent Boss, write up the result and WHY it’s successful/unsuccessful. Propose a next action. Ask to meet to confirm that you’re on track.
          3. rinse and repeat as necessary.
          4. Kick up heels and have a beer on Friday. Contemplate how much better life would be if we did a better job teaching communication skills to people in STEM and curse the prior employee for writing up something terrible that made your life harder.

          How have you been handling this situation?

        • I will spend some more time thinking about this but my first question to you is:

          Since the directions you have aren’t any good and no one else can guide you, do you have to make the tool the same way it has already been done?

          I know this is contradictory to what I told you above (I wrote the list) but a little flexibility will go a long way. You currently have bad information to work with and do not have coworkers that can help. So you need to improvise.

          Forget about the instructions for a moment, how would you build this tool if it was for one of your PhD classes? What is the purpose of the tool? If you don’t understand what the purpose is – others may not either. Ask. Say to a coworker, “I am working on building this tool but it would help me to understand what the tool’s purpose is. What is the objective in using it? You seem like you might be able to have some good insight on this. Can we find time to discuss?” During your meeting ask, “Has anyone else worked on something similar? What MUST this tool be able to do? Who would be a good person to talk to if I have more questions?” Write down all the info you gather and keep in a safe place.

          You make come to the conclusion that there is a better way to solve the problem they are after than using this tool. Or you make discover that there is a better way to build it than what someone has done in the past. You may have more expertise than the person who designed and built it so you are able to offer new insights/opinions on how to improve the tool. Trust yourself and your expertise. They are paying you for your original thoughts.

          Do some reseach on the internet. Talk to coworkers. How do others solve this problem/build this tool? Come up with a few ideas – think creatively!! Don’t limit yourself! Don’t worry about being wrong.

          Once you have all this data you can draw some conclusions and move forward. Try building the tool your own way. If you think the tool should be scraped in favor of something else, say so!

          I know this sounds like a lot of work but it isn’t. You will have more confidence if you have a better understading of what to do and that comes from knowing the purpose of the project. If you know what you are driving toward you can better decide how to get there.

          I hope this helps!

        • 1) Why have you been assigned to make something when nobody you work with knows what it’s for?

          2) Can you guess about what it is or what it might do? Honestly, if there was nobody to provide further guidance, I’d just start making guesses and trying to put something together. You say you don’t know what it’s for exactly– I say guess, then go from there. Same thing with working through the outline you’ve been given. You may even find that as you start to work through it in whatever little way you can, some of the question marks start to resolve themselves (or at least to replace themselves with new questions). Even if you get it totally wrong (see below), you’ll have learned something while doing it, and that’s more productive than sitting around fretting about it.

          3) Remember: you are the specialist! You have training to make educated guesses, even if what it really feels like is that your training has made you aware that your guesses are totally blind. Also, if nobody else knows what you’re supposed to be doing, then it will be that much harder for them to figure out that you’ve done it wrong! :) (On a serious note, though, they certainly can tell you’re struggling when you don’t produce *any* work!)

          Reading over your posts, it sounds like you have a fear of failure that is really holding you back. Of course, nobody wants to fail, but if you get so worked up when you get to decision time that you can’t do any work, you’re not going to be able to learn. When you start to feel like you don’t know how to start, try just picking something you an understand and going from there. Make guesses. Take wild chances. Fail spectacularly! You have an impressive education– you know something about this field, even if it isn’t applied (yet!). You CAN do this. And even when you fail, I guarantee you’ve learned something.

          • Science is full of failure – failure is only useless if you don’t learn something from it. If this is stuff that nobody’s done before, don’t worry about getting it right on the first try, and just try something. Trying and failing at least gives you data.

        • What would I do? Look at it this way:

          – You have to make a tool. What is the tool supposed to do? What is the tool supposed to help with? What are you supposed to be able to do with the tool? If you were in the tool-users shoes, what would you want to do with the tool?
          – You have a draft set of directions. Given the answers to the three questions above (and some more corollary ones if you like), do the directions point to the answers you came up with? Either way, is there a way you can improve the directions? If you follow the directions, will there be a problem along the way that you would need to solve before the problem arises?
          – The directions are incomprehensible. So let’s pretend they don’t exist. Given the answers to the tool questions, how would you go about making the tool? Is the tool computer-based or can it be paper-based (or is it one of those things that can be both)? At the very least, what do you know MUST be included with the tool, what SHOULD be included in the tool, what MAYBE can go with the tool, and what does the tool not need?
          – So now you have a list of things that go into the tool (inputs) and what the tool must be (output). How would you make the inputs equal the output?
          – At this point, I would go with the answers to all these questions to my boss/coworker who knows all and say, “This is what I have, these are all my inputs, this is what the output is, this is what I’m going to do. Do you think I’m on the right track? Is there anything I forgot?”

          This is all assuming that your co-workers are no help before this point. If they are, seek their help sooner. Editing is easier than creating, so if your boss/coworkers “don’t have the time” to help you create, asking them to edit is easier.

          If I didn’t have the answers to these questions, honestly, I google the key phrases-of-art in the directions that I don’t understand to figure out what it means. Seriously, sometimes I copy and paste other people’s questions they ask me into google and get guidance (not necessarily answers) that way, especially if it’s an acronym or phrase that I’ve never heard of. About 9/10 times, it’s something I already knew, I just knew a different word/phrase for it. Are there industry message boards that you can look at?

        • Meg Murry :

          One other thing to point out – it may be that what you are being asked to do is actually impossible. In our job we refer to this as “a unicorn in a box by next Tuesday”. Our marketing department often asks us to give them the best of every feature known to man, at a lower price point than anything we’ve ever developed. Its just not possible, and we know it, but thats what they really want – in an ideal world. However, we live in the real world, bound by the laws of physics and supply and demand. So instead of developing a tool that does A, B, C, D and E, you might actually only be able to make something that does A, B and C, and is medocre at D and E OR make something that does A, D, and E and doesn’t really do B and C. So take a step back and look at what you are being asked to do and just start with one part. How would you make a tool that does A? What about B? etc etc. Are any of these things mutually exclusive? Do you know what A, B, C, D and E are? Start with googling those.
          Also, who are you developing the tool for? Is it an internal client or an external one? Can you meet with that person to try to understand more? Again, they might be asking you for a unicorn, and its your job to tell them that unicorns don’t really exist, but you’ll be happy to give them a horse with a horn taped on.

    • Charlotte :

      You are so NOT stupid! I can’t say I have any advice to lend which the others have not already given, but I just wanted to say, I was you when I started out. Heck, I’m you right now. I have a desperate fear of failure which I tamp down on a daily basis, but over the years, it’s gotten easier to “fake it.” What worked for me was moving from small law — where I worked in many different areas of the law and constantly felt like I had to reinvent the wheel and had no idea where to start — to working for the government in a specialized legal field. Simply doing that alleviated a lot of my fears. I’m not saying that is directly applicable to your immediate problem, though.

      I also wanted to say that I am amazed and pleasantly surprised at how this community has just swept in to help you with your problem. It is one that I haven’t seen addressed very much here, but I am sure it is a prevalent one among us. I really value the community here and feel fortunate to have found it.

  17. mintberrycrunch :

    Threadjack – I can’t tell anyone in real life, but my DH and I pulled the goalie! I’m excited and terrified, equally :)

  18. Anon for this :

    Need some advice for career/life options for my sister. She is currently facing either taking a leave of absence from college or possible suspension because she has not kept up with classes after returning from a prior leave of absence. She has issues with depression and anxiety, and when she is not interested in a class she just conveniently forgets it exists. Once one assignment slips by she works herself into a frenzy and can’t catch up.

    So it’s looking more and more likely that she’s going to need a back-up plan ASAP. Taking any old entry-level or service job will not be good for her mental health. She can live at home until she gets things together. She was pursuing a psychology degree; she’s great with kids and those with special needs. Any ideas on next steps for her?

    • If she likes kids, would she be interested in working at a daycare or children’s day out program?

      Depending on local requirements, she might be allowed to be a paraprofessional in the schools, working as an aide to a special needs child.

      • Word. She could also be a teacher’s aide.

      • Meg Murry :

        Schools paraprofessional was my first thought too. Or an aide at an adult daycare, or senior center. Another place to look would be a school, center or group home that focuses on people with special needs like autism or Downs syndrome (in area its called Developmental Disabilities, used to be called MRDD – every area has its own terminology depending on how PC or not they are). If she’s going to be living at home, could she just volunteer at one of these places first until she gets her feet back under her, then focus on getting a job in a year or two?

    • e_pontellier :

      Is there any way she can find a professor or two to do independent study work with? Could she get credit for hands-on work at a daycare (like an internship)? Good luck – this is tough.

      • Anon for this :

        The school isn’t being very flexible, which isn’t very surprising since this is already her second chance and she’s not meeting the terms they conditioned her return on, but unfortunate nevertheless. Telling someone who already feels like a failure that they’ve failed isn’t going to do any good to break them out of their downward spiral. It’s pretty apparent to our family this school just isn’t the right path from her, but it’s going to be difficult to get her to see that and set her down a new path.

    • Could she volunteer abroad for a time ? It may be a welcome break that helps her out of depression and anxiety.

      • Anonymous :

        I would caution against this, unless it’s something she really wants to do, is short-term, and is structured. I had depression in college, and it was at its worst point when I was abroad, since I was away from my support network (therapists, family, friends) and lost in a new environment. When I was depressed, it was my instinct to pull away from other people, and it was really easy to do that half a world away. That’s not to say she should never go abroad–I’m currently a volunteer in a very isolated place, and it’s great. However, I’ve been mentally well for a few years now, and I stay on guard for any symptoms of a relapse.

  19. For those of you more familiar with government work:

    Pros and cons of leaving an inhouse position for a staff atty position in the White House?

    • Anyone know anything at all about these jobs?! Or have worked in a similar job?

    • Divaliscious11 :

      So, assuming you can do so without financial ruin (depending on the stage in your career) this is almost a no brainer professionally unless you practice in a field that has no governmental connection. I look at it the same as if you were making a decision to clerk – even if you don’t want to litigate, the learning experience is invaluable.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Con: your position is subject to the outcome of elections, and the American voters are fickle. (ok, I’m a little bitter about the electorate. I worked for a good congressman who lost his election last time around)

      But for a staff attorney position in the White House, I’d totally ignore that con. Just wait until after tomorrow to make sure said position will exist in January.

    • anon for this :

      Regular poster, anon for this – I worked there and loved it. There’s nothing like it, even if you’re not in perfect alignment with the administration you work for (I wasn’t).

  20. Woods-comma-Elle :

    Apologies for the ‘Seventeen’ style post (I will probably end up on STFUC)

    You guise, I’d love to hear some anecdotes/thoughts on something. I’ve had a totally disproportionate emotional reaction to a pseudo-break-up and I’m really not sure what to do with it. The ‘thing’ in question was very brief albeit very intense and, for a number of practical reasons, this person and I were not suited anyway and this could never have been anything long term. Despite all this I’m having a really hard time with it, like it was a more significant relationship and am feeling really down/keep crying about it. For context, it was a really long time since I met someone I actually liked, so that may have something to do with it, but I still feel like this is totally out of character for me under the circumstances and I have been really depressed all weekend.

    Usually when these things happen to me, I get down for a bit, but then just carry on and get over it in a couple of days, but this is dragging on. It’s not pms-related, but I wonder if it could be hormonal in some way. I keep thinking about it and how unfair the situation is and how I was totally blindsided, and it’s like I want to slap myself in the face and tell myself to snap out of it, but then I would probably just start crying again.

    Anyone ever had this? I feel like I’m being totally ridiculous and I know that it will get better over time, but I’m sort of freaking myself out by how long it’s taking me to get past this and let it go.

    • I had a disproporionate reaction to a pseudo breakup back in law school. Like wayyy too much of a reaction. I think it could have been a combination of other stress in my life, the fact that it was right around the holidays/winter blues season, and that I too was blindsided.
      The best thing one of my girlfriends told me was not to try to justify or change my feelings, but “you feel what you feel.” And ice cream never hurts ;)
      Hugs!

      • This is huge. Let yourself feel what you feel, even if it seems disproportionate or unreasonable. Let yourself wallow and drink wine/eat chocolate and it will pass.

        FWIW, whenever I try to avoid my feelings because I feel like they’re ridiculous, I end up more upset for longer. If I’m upset about something, and I let myself cry and wallow for a bit, I end up feeling better much quicker!

    • springtime :

      Well, I think it’s really good that you recognize your reaction is over-the-top. Sometimes you just can’t help but feel what you feel. If this is the first time that has happened then maybe it’s just a one-of situation.

      I’ve had this happen before, and it’s usually when it triggers something very bad that has happened in my past. I’m estranged from my sister basically and if someone does something that reminds me of how she in particular treated me, I freak.out.inside. I feel like no one cares about me and why bother trying to be nice to people ever.again. It’s like a defense mechanism my brain has to make sure I don’t get myself involved in that particular drama ever again. I recognize I’m sensitive to certain behaviors and other behaviors do not bother me nearly as much. I’ve been trying to work on my reactions but recognizing what triggers your reaction in the first place might be a good start.

    • This totally sounds like something I could have written 2 months ago. I was devastated by getting blind-sided by a guy I thought was pretty great but, more importantly, I think it was so hard on me because it had been so long since I’d liked someone. Though I’m normally pretty reserved and stoic and break-ups usually don’t bother me that much, this break-up involved crying (in fact, I got really drunk one night and cried in front of my guy friends), angry rants to friends and other embarrassing things, all of which are totally atypical for me.

      I chalked it up to (1) freaking out as I rapidly approach 30, (2) being understandably upset that someone I really liked and trusted and had plans for turned into such a terrible person and (3) getting upset about the deeper trust issues I have with men. But now, 2 months later, I’m fine (though I occasionally still rant about what a doosh he was if the topic comes up) and I explain it to my friends that I overreacted to the situation. Secretly, I’m also a little happy to know my heart still works…

      So good luck and give it a little while. It may also help for you to focus on why this one is bothering you so much — whether it’s due to age, life circumstances or some deeper issue that this has triggered!

  21. Honey Pillows :

    Ladies,

    What are your favorite sale-tracking sites? I’ve found a couple of sale alerts services, but I’m wondering what y’all think are the best ones.

    • Shop it to me.com sends me e-mails twice a week.

    • I use Shop it to Me and Shop Style to get alerts on my favorite brands (sale alerts are for a range of sizes that you can specify).

      I also use Shopping Notes to track specific items I’m considering. You can set up email alerts for all price changes or specific a price below which you’d like to be notified.

  22. Style help, please! I have some gorgeous vintage pins but I just can’t figure out how to wear them. Putting them on a lapel just screams old lady. Any suggestions?

    • Always a NYer :

      I read in a fashion blog (don’t remember which one) about pinning one or a few to the natural waist of a dress for unconventional definition. And if all else fails, use as a hair decoration or as a statement necklace.

    • Do you have any long necklaces that you could attach them to, and wear on the side of the necklace? (Not sure if I’m explaining that right…)

      • I know what you’re talking about — I had this same idea (and tried to write it into my original question but felt I couldn’t quite explain it). I’ll see if it works.

    • I like to cluster 3-5 of them in different sizes closer to my shoulder, on a dress or (sturdy) sweater.

    • I have a bunch from what I call the “dead grandma collection” and I just put them all over my coat lapels. I’d never put them on a professional jacket/blazer, but for my winter coats (I have an an inappropriate amount) they’re perfect.

    • I wear mine on jackets, dresses and coats, alone or in cluster. I also use them at the side of the waist to secure cardigans, and to nip in the waist in the back of loose cardigans. For this last bit, wider brooches work best.

  23. Has anyone tried the Paleo diet? I’m thinking about starting it and would love to hear thoughts.

    • search this site for paleo. people have talked about it a lot and some people have had very good input/suggestions

    • Hi! My husband did Paleo for quite a while (6 months maybe?) and is currently doing a modified Paleo. during that time I also did Paleo for a 30 day challenge. I actually asked for advice on this site, so you can try looking for that, (I believe karenpadi had a bad experience with it) but I’ll give you my 2 cents:

      It worked really well for my husband. He loves to eat meat and he also loves to feel full, so he liked that he could eat as much as he wanted as long as it was Paleo. He lost weight on it, mostly be cutting out a lot of carbs. He also experimented with doing dairy paleo, paleo with nut butters, etc. He currently eats about 80% Paleo, and avoid gluten, but eats rice and chocolate and special treats on the weekends. Seems to work for him.

      I did the 30 day Paleo challenge and it was HARD. I was craving cheese, peanut butter, chocolate, fruit and bread non stop for the first 7-10 days. After that it definitely got a little easier. I didn’t lose any weight on it (I think I may have gained a pound) and I think it was because I was eating really high calorie meat dinners, and high calorie meat snacks- lots of ground beef, steak, eggs cooked in oil, etc. Personally, it was interesting but not for me…i’m not that big of a meat eater and I’m much more of the type who likes to eat everything but in moderation. I’d rather restrict my calories but be able to eat bagels and chocolate and fruit. But like I said, my husband hates moderation and would rather be able to stuff himself with “approved foods” so I kinda feel like it just suits different eating personalities. Anyway, long rambling response, but hopefully that helps!

      • karenpadi :

        I gained20 pounds trying to do Paleo for three months before my doctor helped me realize that a high-protein diet (and especially daily servings of eggs) are a migraine trigger for me–it’s rare but not unheard of. Everyone thought I was over-reacting to “sugar withdrawal” headaches. Umm, no, they were monster-level migraines.

        Just a word about ketosis–it can cause a body odor that smells like spoiled milk and horrible night sweats–be sure to cover your mattress.

        YMMV but I wish I had never tried to go Paleo.

        • phillygirlruns :

          just a quick note on this – eating paleo does not necessarily mean a ketogenic diet. i probably get 60g+ of carbohydrates a day, mainly from veggies. i almost always have some form of starchy carb every day, either a sweet potato or a banana or squash or something along those lines, and two or three times a week i’ll have a coconut water (so effing good). i’m sure there are people who go “low-carb paleo” with no issues, but i work out so much that i’d completely bonk if i relied solely on meat & greens.

    • phillygirlruns :

      i’ve weighed in on this before. i eat paleo, with some full-fat dairy (heavy cream in my coffee in the mornings, sometimes cook with butter, cheese a couple times a month, occasionally full-fat greek yogurt, either as a garnish on chili or as a snack – but rarely). i’ve been eating this way for over a year and have seen truly remarkable gains/benefits – my body composition has changed completely, i’m stronger and faster than i’ve ever been, i FEEL good, and my bloodwork is holding steady – i’ve always been good in terms of cholesterol, etc.

      the most incredible change for me has been mental and emotional. for my entire life, i’ve struggled with food, to the point of eating disorder, and had been “on a diet” literally as long as i can remember. i tried atkins and south beach during the low-carb craze, i ate low fat, i’ve done the “everything in moderation” approach, and all that did was fuel my obsession with food. i am NOT a moderation type – if you give me a bag of potato chips or pretzels or whatever it will be gone immediately. if i eat one piece of pizza i am going to eat five. paleo is the only thing i’ve done that has stopped this. as soon as i cut grains, most sugars and (sniff) my beloved diet soda out cold turkey, i never looked back – and as soon as i saw the performance/body comp progress i was making, something clicked for me and i started thinking about nutrition in terms of how good it made me feel, rather than a list of things i wasn’t “allowed” to have. it’s not like i never get cravings or go off the reservation – i still love food and would not want to live my life without the occasional nachos or ice cream – but the emotional response has really been minimized.

      i tend to be a pretty habitual eater and my typical diet involves a lot of eggs, spinach, kale, carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes, avocado, sweet potatoes, chicken (either thighs or full birds) and beef (all kinds of cuts, since i do a cow share). i’ve been on a banana kick lately too. i cook with bacon fat or coconut oil. i try to avoid nuts and dried fruit because i will crack out on them, and paleo or not, no one needs to eat 1200 calories of almonds or dried apricots in 25 minutes. i eat dark chocolate (typically 85% or 90% cacao content, though sometimes as low as 73 or 77) mainly while weightlifting but sometimes in the afternoons at work. i probably eat a bar or two every week while i’m in maintenance mode, with less to none at all when i’m trying to cut weight. basically, i eat little or no processed food, and everything i eat is delicious.

    • I was just going to post this same question! My colleague has started eating primal (primally?) and is super enthusiastic about it. DH actually broached the subject so I’m trying to do more research on dos and don’ts and any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Love it. It’s really more of a life-style change than a diet. Great for helping out with lots of health issues. Also, dropped 3 pants sizes & 25 lbs in 5 months, without doing a bit of exercise.

  24. Crazy to Fly? :

    Update! I spoke with the partner on my deal after our closing got pushed, and mentioned that I had originally had plans to be out of town on Sat/Sun of the following weekend, and that I knew everything was a bit up in the air, so I definitely understood if it wasn’t doable/that at the very least I would have to play things by ear… aaaand the end result was that both he and the sr. associate with whom I’ve been working most closely told me to go for it. As I thought, our team is pretty big, and they said that as long as I’m not completely unplugged for the weekend, we should be fine covering off so I can fly back to go to SO’s concert/event and be back in the office (tired, but happy) on the following Monday.
    I wanted to thank all the ‘r e t t e s who weighed in on this – the gentle reminder that Biglaw generally demands this level of commitment was important to hear from everyone, but in the end, the advice to know your office and team ultimately led me to think that I should at least mention it to my coworkers. For all that this job can be crazy (and it is), I am very happy and fortunate to work with people who are genuine human beings, and want you to be able to do things that are important to you, to the extent they can be accommodated… I know not all places are like this, and that I’m lucky.
    Just wanted to share my happy face with the hive, and to thank people for giving me their thoughts last week… this really is a great community.

  25. So…this past weekend was my birthday, and it turns out my lovely BF did get me something from Kate Spade when he went to Vegas….a Quinn bag (Belltown, for those who know that pattern). Apparently he chose it without help and he feels very proud of himself. I love it too, but the unfortunate facts are that: (a) for day-to-day, I prefer shoulder bags, (b) I don’t like to carry purses that don’t zip up when I am going anywhere on transit (which includes going to work every day, (c) because he got it from the outlet, it is definitely more of a summer design – cotton canvas, ivory with black polka dots, and (d) it rains here throughout the winter and as a result it’s going to be difficult to carry around an open-topped, cotton canvas purse.

    My problem is that I really want to use it so that he can see me carrying it around and knows how much I like it, but because it is kind of out of season, I am having trouble figuring out how to style it. As a guy, the finer points of seasonal purse designs are lost on him – all he will know is that I’m not carrying it, and that will make him think I don’t like it. I can’t really carry it around while wearing my black wool coat, for instance. (Can I?)

    Any suggestions? Thanks for the help!

    • I have that very Quinn (bought on sale on the website). I used to prefer shoulder bags and worried that it would be problematic that it doesn’t have a zip top. But, I can say that I have not had problems with things falling out of it. My stuff goes down into it and doesn’t fly out. I am carrying mine now and it doesn’t look too summery. I wear a lot of gray and black and it goes well. For winter, I have a black flannel Quinn.

      • I should also mention that it took me awhile to get used to it not being a shoulder bag, but once I adjusted, it’s been fine. For one thing, it’s a lot easier to set it down on the floor!

    • I’d carry it with a black wool coat – the smooth black leather helps balance out the summer-ness of the canvas. I don’t think you need to make it your regular, every day purse, but I’d probably try to make a point of using it the next time you guys go out, or on the weekends when you know it’s going to be nice out. If you really don’t see yourself using it over the winter, I’d make a point to use it for a couple of weeks (b/c it’s new! and exciting! and a present!), and the put it away while making a point of saying that you are so excited to be able to have something to look forward to next spring/summer.

  26. Left Coaster :

    Bay Area ‘rettes: So good to meet those of you who came to the meet-up yesterday! Must do it again soon!

    • karenpadi :

      Yay! Agreed! I think we are going to the East Bay next in our rotation. Any SF Bay women can email me at karenpadi at hotmail with suggestions.

  27. karenpadi :

    Ugh. Office rant.

    If someone is visiting a satellite office from the big noisy main office, don’t rave about how lovely it is to have a quiet office then have a loud non-work related phone conversation with your door wide open–destroying the quiet that you claim to admire so much…

    I am in a bad bad mood and this didn’t help.

  28. Leather care question:

    I have a pair of Frye boots that my mother bought while she was in college; as you might imagine, they are much-loved and much-worn. Although they are generally in great shape, considering, the leather is beginning to crack where it creases across the top of the foot. Is there any way to repair this, or are they just going to split open eventually?

    • Always a NYer :

      Take them to a good shoemaker. Ask for the leather to be buffed and polished, and while you’re there it wouldn’t hurt to get the soles redone.

    • No way to reverse the cracking and yes, they will eventually split open. But I’ve found it is possible to get quite a bit of wear out of well-loved shoes before a final retirement, if you don’t mind the cracks and are careful not to make them worse (don’t get wet and then apply dry heat for example).

    • You can send them to Frye to be reconditioned and repaired, there are details on their website.

  29. Research, Not Law :

    Are skinny jeans work appropriate? I’m in a casual office. I wear bootcut or trouser denim 3-4 days a week, which is typical. My coworkers are far from the cutting edge of fashion, but I haven’t seen them very often on the handful of stylish women in the office, even the one who wears too-short sweater dresses and flip flops.

    Does the answer change for colored skinnies?

    • I wouldn’t do skinny jeans at work. I also wouldn’t do colored jeans at work. My workplace is hardly fashion forward though and we generally don’t have denim days (with the exception of weekends or holidays).

    • I wear skinny jeans (not jeggings) on our casual Fridays. I think skinny jeans are pretty common, at least among the younger people at my office (biglaw, bizcas, NYC).

    • I think they’re fine in an office where jeans are appropriate. /shrug

    • If your office is casual, I think wearing skinny jeans is no different from wearing boot cut jeans.

    • My office is jeans casual 95% of the time, and I wear skinny jeans on a regular basis (as do most of the younger women in my office). I typically try to offset the tightness of the jeans with a looser, more tunic-y top.

    • I’m going to be the dissenter and say that I wouldn’t wear skinnies to the office. They’re body-con enough that I would feel very awkward around, say, the head boss while wearing skinnies. I might feel differently at an after-hours event, but during the work day, nope.

      (And yes, I realize boot cuts can be tight through the butt and thighs, too, but the wider leg gives the overall appearance of being looser.)

      • Research, Not Law :

        This is exactly why I hesitate, too. I’m a curvy girl and it feels a bit in your face.

        • I am not a curvy girl and I agree with Midwest. I think they are too body con for the office. My test is that if the same pants, fashioned out of suiting fabric, would be too tight/body con for the office, then the jeans are a no-go too.

    • TO Lawyer :

      I wear skinnies on Fridays, with a longer sweater or shirt usually. Sometimes I’ll wear a blouse or nice t-shirt and a blazer, or a nice sweater. I don’t feel self-conscious in them – I think they’re office appropriate if the rest of your outfit is appropriate.

      Also – haven’t had the guts to wear my colored skinnies to the office yet, but I have a gorgeous dark purple pair (more eggplant) that I think I could pull off.

  30. I’ve been wanting a Lo&Son’s TT but have been hesitant to pull the trigger as we’re in full student loan repayment/saving for Hawaii mode. So I decided to note on my phone each time I thought about purchasing something small (like a coffee, or sandwich for lunch) when I have cheaper alternatives to turn to, like the office coffee or the frozen meal I brought from home. If I can hit the amount it takes to buy the bag by deferring small gratifications, then maybe in a few months I can add it all up and get it. We shall see.

    • This is a fabulous idea! I banned tea to go recently and have been good about carrying around my little container of teabags and filling up whenever I happen across a kettle. However, I use cafes as offices (I’m one of those, I know, but I promise I only do when there are plenty of seats available, don’t hog outlets or big tables) so it’s hard to cut down.

  31. style advice needed... :

    TJ with a jewelry/style question.

    Is it appropriate to wear a diamond ring, daily, if you are not engaged/married?

    My mother died recently. She had a simple but beautiful vintage diamond ring. It belonged to my great-grandmother. White gold setting with two diamonds off-set, side by side. I guess you would call it a cocktail ring. I love it, and my mother loved it.

    I started wearing it everyday. Life is too short, and my life is not filled with cocktail parties that require bling. I wear little other jewelry. It makes me think of my mom, and makes me happy.

    People sometimes comment on it, because it is quite unique/beautiful. I

    The other day, a female work colleague that I have a good relationship with looked at the ring and asked, “Are you married?”… and when I said “no, this was my mother’s ring”, she ?smirked a little. What’s up with that…

    Honestly, I don’t care if people misinterpret that I am married (this may help my prior problem of my boss trying to set me up at work!). However, I don’t wear it on my ring finger, but do wear it on my left hand because people noticed it more on my right hand.

    Sorry I’m so silly….

    • karenpadi :

      You are not silly. Ugh. I love rings and I wear c-tail-size rings to work quite often. My “normal” ring is a 1-carate aquamarine with 12-pts of diamonds and a hefty setting. My biggest ring is a London-Blue topaz the size of my knuckle (I think it’s either 13 or 30-carats (there’s a three in there)–it’s a rock.)

      re: diamonds. Blah. I’ve been told the same thing–diamonds are for engaged women only. I reject the notion. I intend to buy a diamond ring as soon as I fall in love with one. I am kind of crushing on this one:

      http://www.brilliantearth.com/The-Ravenna-Ring-White-Gold-BTNT99992/?utm_source=criteo&utm_medium=retarget&utm_campaign=20121029&utm_content=300x250_slideshow

      If I get it, I will totally be wearing it everyday on any finger I please.

      The only concession I make to the “diamonds are for engagement only” brigade is to wear my rings on my right hand. But I am left-handed so I don’t like wearing rings on my left hand anyway. That smirker was out of line.

      Wear the ring and be proud!

      • That ring is lovely. I have a diamond necklace from Brilliant Earth (a gift that I helped pick out)–very pleased with the quality.

  32. style advice needed... :

    TJ with a jewelry/style question.

    Is it appropriate to wear a diamond ring, daily, if you are not engaged/married?

    My mother died recently. She had a simple but beautiful vintage diamond ring. It belonged to my great-grandmother. White gold setting with two diamonds off-set, side by side. I guess you would call it a c*cktail ring. I love it, and my mother loved it.

    I started wearing it everyday. Life is too short, and my life is not filled with c*cktail parties that require bling. I wear little other jewelry. It makes me think of my mom, and makes me happy.

    People sometimes comment on it, because it is quite unique/beautiful.

    The other day, a female work colleague that I have a good relationship with looked at the ring and asked, “Are you married?”… and when I said “No, this was my mother’s ring”, she ?smirked a little. What’s up with that…

    Honestly, I don’t care if people misinterpret that I am married (this may help my prior problem of my boss trying to set me up at work!). However, I don’t wear it on my ring finger, but do wear it on my left hand because people noticed it more on my right hand.

    Sorry I’m so silly…. And sorry for the repost, as I was stuck in moderation for “c*cktail”, I presume.

    • I don’t work in a conservative office but I wear a vintage diamond ring (inherited from my mother) on the middle finger of my left hand every day. It’s not a big ring so it’s not flashy. I say wear it!

    • I think this is sweet and totally fine.

    • MaggieLizer :

      You’re fine, it sounds like a lovely ring. Not sure what was up with the smirking lady, haters gonna hate I suppose. So sorry about your mother’s passing.

    • Always a NYer :

      You aren’t being silly at all. Don’t let your b*tchy coworker let you think twice about wearing your mother’s ring. Wear it on whatever hand or finger you want, no explanation needed. I, too, wear a diamond ring and am neither engaged nor married. It was a ring my grandfather had and I love that now I get to wear it.

    • For the boys... :

      Devil’s advocate here: it’s a nice memorial to your mother to wear her ring (and don’t worry about smirky folks). However, if you’re single (and are open to meeting someone) wearing a diamond ring on your left hand is going to confuse boys (who sometimes aren’t very smart about this kind of thing). ;)

    • Ekaterin Nile :

      I think it’s entirely appropriate to wear a diamond ring daily regardless of whether you are engaged/married.

      Moreover, “It makes me think of my mom, and makes me happy.”

      Enough said. Wear it and enjoy it.

    • Maddie Ross :

      I personally would not wear it on my left ring finger, but I think any other finger is fair game and would go for it. I love the diamond necklace I was left by my grandmother and think that sentimental pieces like that are very special. If you do wear it on your left ring finger, you are inviting questions. If you don’t want to field them, don’t wear it there. If you don’t care, wear it all you want, just don’t be surprised that people have preconceived notions of what it means.

      • style advice needed... :

        Thank you to everyone for your fashion moral support!

        I will continue to wear it on my left middle finger. And be happy.

        • If you get any more smirks, you can always the finger the ring sits on at the smirkers. That would be the response it deserves.

          • hellskitchen :

            (This is too late in the day so you may miss my response)
            That is a BRILLIANT suggestion – hilarious!

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