Coffee Break: Skedaddle Laptop Backpack

It’s been a while since we rounded up the best laptop bags for work or backpacks for work. As I’ve said before, they’re not super stylish — but there are a million reasons you may be in the market for one, whether you’ve got back issues, or you prefer it for your commute, or you just like the style. I happened to see this affordable bag from Baggallini in a Facebook ad, and it looks really great — and super lightweight. I like the bright colors — mulberry and cobalt — but we’re picturing the black. (I like the pop of color of the neon yellow zipper, though.) The bag has a zipper closure at the top and includes a coin purse and key ring holder. If you’re looking for a sleek, nylon, waterproof bag to tote your laptop to work, this one is $69.99 at Target. BG by Baggallini® Skedaddle Laptop Backpack

This post contains affiliate links and Corporette® may earn commissions for purchases made through links in this post. For more details see here. Thank you so much for your support!


  1. Horse Crazy :

    I’m currently job searching, and I have a question about references on your resume. I’ve been out of college for almost 4 years, and I’ve had my current job for the last 3 years. My supervisor from my current job is a reference, but I haven’t told her I’m job searching yet, so I don’t want potential new employers to contact her without talking to me first. The other reference I have is a professor from college who I also worked for for all 4 years of college. Do I need a third reference? I have a few supervisors from internships that I could use, but I only worked for each of them for a few months. I’m at a loss for other people I could put. Any advice or input would be greatly appreciated!

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      I think you need to drop the professor at this point. Four years out of college is three years too many for that, IMO. I think a (recent) internship supervisor is ok. Do you have any colleagues you trust, especially one that’s more senior than you?

      • Horse Crazy :

        Even though I was also the professor’s office manager for 4 years? I’m not trying to argue – I’m honestly just curious.

        Unfortunately I don’t have anyone above me that I trust right now – the supervisor I mentioned above is the person right above me. The most recent internship I have is from 3.5 years ago…

        Thank you for your input – I really appreciate it!!

        • Elegant Giraffe :

          Hmmm. If you want to keep the prof, don’t include the dates of your work in that office. And perhaps talk to the prof about what you want s/he to highlight if anyone calls. I still think you should drop that reference altogether though.

          Also – don’t include references *on* your resume. If the application system requires you input a couple, then fine. But it’s pretty outdated to submit a page of references either with or alongside a resume (at least in most fields).

          Good luck!

      • Anonymous :

        Eh, when I applied for my current job at the age of 30 one of my references was a college professor. At the time I had only had two jobs and I didn’t want to use anyone at my then-current employer, so I had two references from my first (and only at the time) former job and one reference from a professor. No one seemed to think it was that strange and I got the job.

    • Since you actually worked for this professor for a substantial amount of time, I think it’s fine to leave the professor as a reference. This wasn’t a one-off internship or a class but a four year working relationship, which differs the reference from a random professor who you did a paper with.

    • Not directly what you asked, but you mentioned references “on your resume”. I would suggest you don’t include references directly on your resume. You could put “references upon request” if you feel weird about not having anything, or just leave them off entirely.

      I don’t typically check references until after I’ve done at least an initial interview. Then I can usually get some context on who these references are – so explaining that your professor was your boss in addition to teaching would be helpful. Also, most hiring managers should understand the catch-22 of having only had one job and not wanting them to know you’re job hunting. You can explain all these (totally reasonable) things better in conversation than trying to figure out what to put on your resume.

      • This. Most “business” industries, and law, do not have references on your resume. It is implied that they are available by request.

        I would brush up on what’s current, but Ask a Manager and WorkItDaily by JT O’Donnell are great places for you to start getting current.

    • Recruiters generally understand the complexities of reference checks. If you are asked for four references but can only give two, ask the recruiter for advice on the issue. There may be flexibility around the number of references or the relationships of the references to you. For example, they request four references, but are ultimately fine with two managers and one peer.

      And since you worked for your professor for four years, it’s fine to keep using her as a reference.

    • References :

      Just wanted to add one more idea–if you have anyone you trust who has worked alongside you, that can sometimes be powerful as well. I’m an editor who executes branded content–fellow editors equal to me (but where we proofread each other’s content or were involved in shaping editorial strategy together) and business development staff were just as powerful of references for me as a former editor I reported to. Perhaps there is someone current or former that has worked with you on a team? A customer who witnesses your work product may also be useful. Also note–this is also why it’s good to keep in touch with folks as they leave your company or customers as they leave their positions. I didn’t recognize this importance early enough in my career. But when you’re trying to keep things private, they can be a really good workaround .

  2. Baconpancakes :

    Favorite chickpea salad recipe? Or other legume-based, vegan salad recipes?

    • The black-eyed pea salad from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food is really easy, and so delicious I crave it even though I’m not a huge bean person and definitely not a *cold* bean person. Link in reply.

      • Ignore the pork section, obviously.

    • KateMiddletown :

      I really like topping a salad with lentils – Kroger has canned cooked ones that I add to beets, spinach, walnuts, goat cheese (omit obvs) and dress with balsamic. If you’re looking for more hearty type salad, I am such a fan of cowboy caviar – black beans, corn, rotel or fresh tomato, red wine vinegar, onions if you’re fancy, and cilantro.

    • Chickpea of the Sea from Simple-Veganista. I also add a little squeeze of spicy mustard.

    • Look up Aroma Espresso Bar warm chickpea salad (just leave off the hard boiled eggs).

    • Never too many shoes... :

      This salad from Oh She Glows is just amazingly delicious (and this is coming from someone decidedly non-vegan so it has “cross border” appeal)!

    • Anonymama :

      Smitten kitchen had a chickpea and roasted butternut squash dish, I think with tahini? Anyway, it was pretty good, you could probably google it.

    • Midwesterner :

      This is one of my favorite chickpea salads:

      Also, this one has beans/edamame rather than chickpeas, though you could sub. I’ve been making this for years and it’s simple and delicious:

  3. For those of you that have tried an online decorator service- which one did you choose? I am thinking Modsy, but then lately the book Of the Face has shown me Havenly… and others so any input would be appreciated.

    Just looking for my weirdly long livingroom that has a few connecting rooms and to work my existing bookshelves, sectional and coffee table in the markups.


    • Anooooooooon :

      I actually just put in a project with Modsy this weekend. So I don’t know how well it works, but I was sucked in by the renderings I saw! If it doesn’t work out it wasn’t that expensive so I figure the worst that happens is I’m out $50 and end up calling a “real” designer.

    • Former Retail :

      I used Modsy for my living room where I want to replace about half of the furniture. It was fun, but ultimately not useful because (1) the furniture chosen skewed too far to one style (based on my survey answers) when in real life my style is more of a mix/eclectic and (2) the rendering won’t include any furniture that is staying in the room if it is not similar to funiture they are selling. So, my piano and large bookcase were not in the renderings. My real issue is finding new pieces that will work with those items.

      Also, the renderings added mouldings that don’t exist, took off my (admittedly dated) blinds and totally changed my fireplace. Not things that are in my near term plans, so it made for a slick-looking yet unrealistic picture.

    • Anonymous :

      I used Kimberlie Wade who works through Laurel & Wolf.

      She is great and there is a WSJ article about her. I found this all out on this site even though I regularly read the WSJ, so paying it forward.

      • thank you for your comments :

        How much was Luarel & Wolf? this is one that hasn’t popped up on my book of the face

        • I just used Laurel & Wolf for two projects and I’m very pleased. The designer I worked with was Sarah Vore from Pastiche. The costs vary based upon the tier of the designer. I paid $150 for one room. They give you 10 days to work with your designer and in that time, you can ask for as many changes as you need to. They source the items too, and you can buy directly from Laurel & Wolf’s site if you like.

          Couple of tips:
          1. Check L&W’s site on the weekends as they often have sales
          2. Create a Pinterest board with your ideas for the room, if you have time. Makes it much easier for the designer to “get” your style
          3. Be sure you launch your project with L&W when you’ll have time to check in daily (at least) with your designer; since you only get 10 days, it’s important to give lots of feedback frequently

          Let me know if you have other questions!

        • I do have a r3ferral link for L&W but unless it works with the other sales, it’s not going to be the best discount you can get. It will give you $25 off. You can likely get closer to $50-75 off if you catch a good sale.

  4. Anonymous :

    My extended family always does a trip together in August. I’ve requested zika-free this year, since we’re TTC, and so far the suggestions have been Oregon, Iceland, and France. What do y’all think, for a group that includes people in their early 70s, 12-16 year olds, and late 20s-30s folks? We are fairly active, and like bike rides, beautiful scenery, and good food. No one has been to any of the places on the list. Thanks!

    • My mom (then 58) and my sisters (then 25 and 23) loved Iceland. Mom’s mobility is probably closer to the 70s given her psoriatic arthritis and artificial knee, but my sisters are pretty active. I do know they were glad they rented a car, for what that’s worth, and they stayed at a small house. Can’t speak to the food, but they had a great time exploring and soaking. The Northern Lights are on my wish list, so maybe some day.

      We are also on the Zika-free vacation list, which is driving my “cold”-hating (i.e., under 70) husband nuts. Coastal Maine is on my wish list. We’re going to Phoenix this spring to visit my parents.

    • Anonymous :

      Oregon coast hits all of your requirements. France is too hot that time of year and everything is closed. Iceland is beautiful, but more for road tripping. Food starts to get more limited outside of Reykjavik: although if you like lamb and langoustines, you’ll be fine.

    • France completely shuts down in August (I unfortunately always seem to get staffed on French projects in August). They all take vacation and disappear. No taxis, no locals, no restaurants (well, some).
      It is mostly annoying if you plan on going to restaurants and such. If you don’t mind going to a supermarket and cooking some of your meals, or if you like outdoor activities and roaming around closed shops then it’s still worth a try.

    • I do a family reunion in Sunriver, Oregon every year and have since I was a kid. I love it. High desert in the mountains – great for biking, swimming in beautiful unpolluted lakes, exploring caves, and amazing local breweries and great food in the little downtown area.

      In August it’s usually 80s in the day, cooler at night. No mosquitos.

    • I recommend Ireland.

    • Iceland is not that great on the food front.

      • I should clarify, all of the food is excellent quality and very expensive, but very bland and very little variety. I still miss my Icelandic coffee and cheese. Alas.

  5. Anooooooooon :

    Lawyer ladies: I am a mid-level associate and work with a partner sometimes who only has emergencies. Basically, she has way too much work, is bad at delegating, and isn’t great at time management. When I first started working with her I thought this was a phase that would die down, but it hasn’t, it is just her way of life. For example, today she asked me to deal with a third-party document subpoena for a client. The response was due yesterday. It is has been sitting in her inbox for over a week and she is only just now getting around to delegating it to me. I went back to her with a question on it, but she keeps telling me she doesn’t have time to get back to me on my question because she is so busy on other time-sensitive things. Any delay or client frustration will inevitably be my fault.

    My approach most of the time is to be so busy with work for other partners that I don’t need to go to her for work. But that doesn’t always work out – I’m slow at the moment and so I need her projects. I just don’t want to deal with her constantly-on-fire mentality. Is there any way to manage up on this? I feel like I’m always getting sucked into things that don’t need to be emergencies but are because she lets them be.

    • Anonymous :

      CYA. Lots of emails, try to keep on top of deadlines and have them all calendered on her calendar as well, loop in the relevant assistants/paralegals. If you drop off hard copies, write draft with the date/time on them and follow up by email. When you have questions for her, try to have done all the up front thinking so she just has to say yes/no. Make regular appointments with her and then knock off all of your questions at once.

      • Anooooooooon :

        Haha, it makes me feel better that I’ve tried a lot of these! It isn’t just me, I guess. We had a pretty good run when we had regular appointments going but eventually she started cancelling our appointments because she had “too much to do” and then, as you might expect, I wasn’t able to get anything done (which gave her more to do – go figure). I haven’t tried dropping off hard copies because she says she prefers electronic, but I’ll add that to my list of things to just try and see if it works!

      • Alanna of Trebond :

        Here is my strategy:
        1. Send an email with all-caps subject line.
        2. Resend the email high-priority.
        3. Call the partner.
        4. Go to the partner’s office with the hard copy printed out.
        5. Decide to just do the action you recommended (unless you really can’t) / call the client directly.


        • Anonymous :

          In the email that is high priority state exactly what actions you will take if you don’t hear back by X time.

    • I hate it when the manageing partner does this to me, and I always thought it was a male thing — sitting on something then dumping it on me after there was no time left and getting ME to figure it out. But now I see that your female boss is just as scatterbrained — I do hope she treats you right for dealing with her dithering on things and dumping them to you, tho like the manageing partner, she needs guydance. Tell her, like I did to the manageing partner, that you need a clotheing allowance and that should get you decent clotheing for a fraction of the cost! YAY! B/c I never would have gotten it without suggesting that my clotheing was getting tacky and I needed nice clotheing to get more cleint’s! Good luck to you. You sound like you need it. Remember, you always have the HIVE to kvetch to about your hairbrained boss, and we are here for you! YAY!!!!

  6. Legally Brunette :

    One space or two spaces after the end of a sentence? And what’s your reasoning? Please help resolve this controversy raging in our office. :)

    • Baconpancakes :

      One – because we have auto-kerning now, and two spaces was to make up for poor type spacing. It’s outdated. I’m ok with it in legal literature.

    • Flats Only :

      Two space. Because that’s how I was taught to do it when I learned to type in 1984, on a manual typewriter with all the keys painted black so you had to touch type. I find the one-space method makes it hard to read the paragraph.

      • Two, because I learned to type in 1976 on an IBM Selectric typewriter and although this old dog is generally happy to learn new tricks, 40 years of muscle memory will not be thwarted. I tried one space and found that it was about one out of four or five times I got it right, and that with effort put in to it.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        I am also a +2 4EVAH.

    • One.

    • One. I was taught 2 spaces back in high school in the late 1990s but when I entered the workforce after college I was informed that advances in technology made 2 obsolete and 1 was the standard.

    • One space. Because otherwise middle-aged people get mocked by the smart young folks who know all the technology as Baconpancakes describes. Ask me how my husband and I know this. . .

    • One – because Chicago Style. Fun article to follow!

    • Two. Local legal rules.

    • Anonymous :

      Two – it’s much easier to read (otherwise it looks like the sentences all run together).

    • Two – the paralegals in my group insist upon it (as did my judge when I was clerking)

      • Anonymous :

        I was on tam One Space all the way before becoming a lawyer. Now many of the partners I work with require 2 spaces, most prefer it, and not a single one actually prefers one space. Begrudgingly, I am now in the habit of using 2 spaces.

    • Legal Twitter can’t even reach consensus, so you do you, unless local or other rules apply.

      FWIW, Team Two Spaces here, but I learned to type around the same time as Flats Only and own my age.

    • Anonymous :

      One because I am a millennial. When I read a document with two spaces, I immediately know it was written by an older person.

    • Two. (And I’m firmly a millennial — early 30’s) I grew up with that, and find 1-space harder to read.

      • Conversely, I am solidly Gen X, and believe in one space. I find 2-space hard to read, because it looks like something is missing.

    • One. Two is absolutely unnecessary for the reasons explained above. If you do two, you are An Old.

      • Anonymous :

        Two was never necessary. But is such a superior use of managing white space IMO that I will be #TeamTwoSpaces forever. One makes things appear to be in a hurry.

        I am an ENTP with a very high N and I think that my N drives my feelings on this.

      • People already know I’m not a millennial haha so I don’t really care what they think.

    • Two spaces. Because no one else in my office will agree to only do one space (although as others have said, two spaces is unnecessary with computers). Sigh.

    • Honestly, I don’t care. Just be consistent about which you use. I don’t know that I even notice (except my spellcheck in Word highlights when it’s 2, since I set it to accept 1 space as correct).

      • Yes, agree with this. I’m an older millenial (early 30s) and I do 2 and don’t want to relearn how to type. Sure, go ahead and call me an “old”. As long as the document is consistent, why does it matter?

        As aside, I work closely with 2 lawyers, albeit in a not strictly legal capacity. One does 2 spaces, the other 1 space. They are about the same age.

      • Anonymous :

        Actually, I don’t even care if it is inconsistent, esp under tight time constraints. With multiple people working on a brief, two styles might get incorporated and if you are racing to get it out, then that might not get prioritized over other issues.

    • One. I work with post-secondary students and they tell me that they can tell when an “old” has written something because of 2 spaces.

      Also my university’s stylebook says so.

    • Anonymous :

      I moved from law to a non-law career in 2015 and learned that two spaces is only standard in the legal industry. Everyone else seems to think one is normal.

    • Linda from HR :

      I do one, I think two is unnecessary BUT in the past I’ve gotten some very aggressive messages from people defending their extra space. That’s how they were taught, that’s how they will type until they die, and who am I to tell those older and wiser than myself how to do anything?

      That said, try to be consistent, and know your audience. If you’re writing something that’s supposed to appeal to 20-somethings or even people in their early 30’s, the extra space might work against you. It’s not because they’re wrong and can’t see that you’re right, it’s because they learned to type a different way.

    • BelleRose :

      24y/o here, FWIW. I have always done 2 spaces, as I find it easier to read and that’s how I learned to type. When I was doing application essays where every character counted, it was so hard to just do the one!

    • Two-Spacers: do you type with 2 on your phone? My iPhone places a period and one space when I double-tap the space bar. I figure there’s probably a setting to change this shortcut to place two spaces, but I’m very curious if Team Two Space uses two spaces in texts and phone emails.

      To add my context, I am firmly Team One Space, because of the two-is-outdated-and-unnecessary arguments made above, and because I’m 24 and was taught to type with one.

      • I am Team Two Space (mid-thirties, fwiw), and changed the autocorrect settings on all of the phones I have had. :)

        (Unrelatedly, also an enginerd, or at least used to be one.)

    • BelleRose :

      Is this also where we get to weigh in on the Oxford comma?

    • One. I’m 53. Old dogs can learn new tricks. But I use two spaces on my iPhone (like typing this right now) because it autocorrects one of the spaces to a period.

      I have a teenager. The real question is whether you use periods in texts. The answer should be no, but I’m not quite able to achieve that.

    • I prefer one space but am in the habit of using two because that’s how my bosses like it. It is nice that changing two spaces to one is much easier than changing one space to two with a “replace all.”

    • I’m a 34-year-old attorney and I VERY, VERY much prefer two spaces. I think one space is difficult to read. It also makes paragraphs look cluttered, and somehow seems rushed and aggressive to me, like the person writing is not speaking calmly. I use two on everything I write (I’ve never had a boss or superior that made me use one).
      I get annoyed at intern*t/phones autocorrecting to one space. Despite how strong I feel about this (didn’t realize how much until I started typing this out!) I haven’t ever forced anyone junior to me to change a document to two spaces. Thankfully both of the law firms I’ve worked at use two spaces as a matter of course. I don’t really think of it as an old/young divide — I know plenty of younger people who use two and older people who use one — it’s really more classic versus trendy to me (at least when I think of who uses each).

  7. Anonymous :

    Has anyone here gotten treatment for varicose veins?
    Two questions for the group:
    (1) anyone Used NYU’s Vein Center in NYC?
    (2) is summer a bad time to perform this procedure? Will have to wear compression socks for 3 months per my insurance before I can schedule any procedure. But that means it will be summer. Trying to decide if its worth having unsightly legs this summer and doing the procedure in the fall.

    • Aunt Jamesina :

      I haven’t done this treatment, but I find compression socks to be super hot and rather uncomfortable (plus you’d have to wear pants over them unless you’re cool rocking them with a skirt or shorts. They aren’t too pretty!). I vote to postpone the sock-wearing until cooler weather. Medical compression socks are far more constricting than compression leggings. I couldn’t wait to take mine off at the end of the day.

    • Anonymous :

      I had it done before. I would not want to be wearing compression socks in the summer. Think wearing black opaque tights during the summer, only worse.

      Something else to keep in mind, that I wish I had realized before I started – it sometimes takes more than one treatment. So I had my first treatment done in the early spring, thinking everything would be totally taken care of by the summer, but really it took several more treatments after that. What I’m trying to say is you might have “unsightly legs” this summer either way, depending on if you need more than one treatment or not.

      • OP here. Thanks for the feedback! You’re right that it might take more than one procedure. So maybe its better to postpone for the fall. Insurance wont know whether I’m wearing the compression socks. They just require drs to prescribe them for 2 weeks before they will cover any medically necessary treatment. They are hoping you wont come back for the treatment.
        I’m just bummed because I’m going on vacation in July and was hoping to wear cute dresses. The veins also hurt when its hot out, so it isn’t just a vanity thing.
        For those who had treatment, which one did you go with? Laser? Heat? And were you happy with your choice?

      • OP here. Thanks for the feedback! You’re right that it might take more than one procedure. So maybe its better to postpone for the fall. Insurance wont know whether I’m wearing the compression socks. They just require drs to prescribe them for 12 weeks before they will cover any medically necessary treatment. They are hoping you wont come back for the treatment.
        I’m just bummed because I’m going on vacation in July and was hoping to wear cute dresses. The veins also hurt when its hot out, so it isn’t just a vanity thing.
        For those who had treatment, which one did you go with? Laser? Heat? And were you happy with your choice?

    • Diana Barry :

      How will your insurance know if you’re wearing your compression socks or not?

      • Anonymous :

        Good point, but I also had to wear them for a week or two after the procedure as well to try to prevent the veins from refilling.

  8. Anon for this :

    I interviewed for a lateral associate position at a large regional law firm yesterday. The interview was broken up into timeslots, and I interviewed with the head of the department and another senior partner first. (The rest of the interviews were with associates, junior partners, and of counsel partners.) The head of the department and senior partner both had other meetings to get to, so the interview with them ended somewhat abruptly when they realized we had gone over the allotted time. As a result, I did not get a chance to ask them about the timing of a hiring decision. Is it okay to reach out to someone and ask? If so, is the head of the department who I should reach out to, the director of recruitment, or someone else? Thanks in advance!

    • Anonymous :

      I would send a thanks to the recruiting director and ask that person about hiring timelines. There’s a possibility that they won’t have as much info (or maybe as much current info) as the hiring partners but I would not follow up with that to a partner. If you get another shot to speak with an attorney though, like a second round interview, you can ask any of the attorneys.

    • Anonymous :

      Fine to ask. Ask director of recruitment. Know that their answer may not be the gospel. Do not bother the department head with it.

  9. What neckline/collar would you recommend for a blazer or cardigan to wear with a sleeveless split-neck blouse?

  10. The Azores :

    My husband and I are thinking about taking a trip here. Only a 4 hour flight from Boston! Has anyone been? Any recommendations?

    • Yes! and loved it!
      Will post again later with recs

    • My friend did this and had an amazing time – it looked beautiful from photos. It seemed to be a very outdoorsy vacation with lots of hiking, if that’s what you’re looking for.

    • Anonymous :

      I’d love to hear more – my husband and I have a trip planned for May!

    • It was an amazing babymoon. Highly recommend. Which month are you going?

  11. I posted a while back kvetching about how my boss suggested that I apply for an opportunity that I really wanted, but felt staggeringly intimidated by. I posted here, and many told me to put my big girl pants on and do it. Well, I went through the application process and I ended up receiving an offer. I have been walking around in a daze all week.

    Thanks for the support. I know that the tone here can be a little tough at times, but I posted here when I really needed a swift kick in the behind, and I got it. And I truly appreciate it.

  12. Totally random question– but my house was built in the late 1940s and all of the doors are weird sizes. Is there a good place to get custom doors that aren’t a billion dollars each?

  13. They kept my application on file :

    Someone I interviewed with a couple years ago just emailed me that the position has opened up again. They didn’t offer it to me outright, but instead of asking me to apply or interview, they asked me to meet for information with the outgoing guy. At less than a week’s notice. Is that normal?

    I’m very happy with the job I’m at now, but of course I’m going to answer the email. I particularly don’t want to alienate him, because the open position is one of only 3 or 4 in my field and geographic area (my current job included). SO I would welcome any advice on wording, particularly:
    1. Should I mention my current employer? They’re not a business competitor, but locally known to be a better shop in virtually every way.
    2. Do I mention that my title is a full level up (unambiguously)? Presumably if I ever do reapply, my current job title would be on my resume anyway.

    • Anonymous :

      No and no. Your response should just be that you thank them for keeping you in mind and would love to speak further. Just meet the guy and understand the scope of what they have in mind, in case there’s some angle you are not quite seeing right now. Plus, if you do apply, this conversation will help you tailor your app materials. If he asks you to send a resume, you can always do it afterward.

      • Well, I have no intention of meeting with them. Because I’m not looking for work, I would have to take time off, and it would almost certainly get back to my current boss.
        But I can certainly thank them for keeping me in mind.

        • So you’re asking if you should mention your currently superior employer and job title when declining the meeting? No, that’s unnecessary (and alienating). Just say you appreciate them reaching out but are happy with your current position.

          • I guess I thought the email had to mention my current job, so my original post here preemptively listed all the reasons I didn’t think that was a good idea. Glad to know I don’t owe them a detailed explanation.

      • I have to say that if I were in a field that was that small, I’d want to make sure I had relationships with everybody. Even if you are not job hunting today, this is a good investment in your career

  14. Are there any humanities PhDs here? I am considering pursuing a PhD in History…I know, I have had the ‘talk’ and realize that the job market is grim. If you did it, would you do it again? What is the best advice you would give someone looking into a PhD for teaching (if it matters, I don’t care necessarily about being tenure track). I would either be pursuing public history or teaching.

    • Hi,
      B-school Phd, though I have a number of friends who did humanities. Several dropped out, but a few stuck with it – one even has a tenure track position! If you want a Phd because you love reading, writing, learning, and don’t care about money, or your self-esteem, I think you should go for it. Honestly, it is gruelling and demoralizing and most people I know are somewhat bitter about their programs. However, personally, I love being faculty – the automony, the intellectual challenge, the colleagues. For me I saw it as a means to an end. My best advice is to really weigh the cost of the process for you vs. your goals. Good luck!

      • Anonymous :

        I left a doctoral program in the social sciences after getting my master’s to take a job with the government, and I’ll break down my experience:

        1. I went to a top-15 school in my program. Everyone I know who was smart and devoted to their research got a job offer. ONE job offer. So if you don’t want to move to the middle of Kansas because that’s the only place hiring right now, think twice… depending on the year you go on the market, you might not be able to choose your coast, much less urban/rural or R1/teaching. In the humanities, if you want a tenure-track job, you should go to a top-ten school in your program. If you don’t mind adjuncting/leaving academia, you have some more leeway.

        1a. The people who finished in less than six years and got a job offer had an advisor who really worked on their behalf. If you have a lazy or out-of-touch one, or just one that doesn’t drive you, it is significantly harder to get out in less than 7-8 years and harder to find a job as well. Even more than picking a good program, picking a well-respected and active advisor will make a really big difference. Choose your program based on who you want to work with, and communicate with them early and often. Impress them and they can pull you up with them.

        2. It’s easier to get through if you’re either young (twenties) or have a spouse pulling in a real salary. I went back to school at 27; my husband had a “real” job; we didn’t have any kids. I loved it, but that was because we could still keep pace with my peers age-wise and buy a house, etc. The younger people in my program (everyone but me and one other woman) were doing fine because it was their first or second job out of college and they were used to having five roommates and only making $20k per year.

        3. There can be value in the program even if you don’t make it all the way through, and it sounds like you are not wedded to tenure-track. Like I said, I left after my MA, and I have a way better job than I did beforehand, I got to do some amazing research, I met some great people, and I love the city.

    • Not a humanities PhD, but I work in this area. You’ve had the talk, so I won’t reiterate all the points, but I’d recommend saving every penny you have before go, work for a few years beforehand to at least get your 401k started so that it can grow while you pursue the PhD for 8 years (the average time to degree in humanities), don’t take out loans while you’re in school, maintain your health if you have it, plan all life decisions accordingly.

      If you want to teach, and not necessarily tenure-track, then I’d recommend getting a teaching job. One of the more sobering realities of the last decade is that often PhDs are no longer required, and in some instances graduates are removing them from their resumes to improve their chances of getting positions. So first I’d identify the job(s) you’d like to have, ideally at many different kinds of institutions/organizations, then see who has those jobs and what their qualifications are, and work back from there. And while you’re at it maybe take a run through the book Designing Your Life to see what else might float your boat.

    • Anonymous :

      My cery close ends is at the end of his PhD in history so I have heard – in great detail – how excruciqting his job search has been. He is in his 7th year (extended a year because he did not get a job last year). This year he has applied to 20 positions and not received even one interview. One person in his program got a job last year. Everyone is competing for his school’s 1 open fellowship position.

      It is so so difficult to hear of his struggles after all his hard work. He has a long, excellent, job history with teaching. Teaching and history are his passions. With his experience, I have to advise against this idea for you because I cannot see it working out well.

    • Science PhD. The only reason to do a PhD is because you want to spend 5+ years becoming the world’s foremost expert in something. It will not increase your hireability, and often can detract from lifetime earnings. The academic job market is grim, demoralizing and hypercompetitive ( PIs range from sane and supportive to absolutely not- horror stories abound. if you’re considering academia after PhD, going to the most high powered institution you can with the most supportive advisor is absolutely necessary- institutions hire from higher ranked institutions almost exclusively. Keep in mind that you will be working with your advisor for the average length of a marriage in the US with a level of dependency almost approaching that of a marriage- pick carefully. That being said, my PhD years were absolutely great, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

    • Sad humanities professor :

      Don’t do it. Mayyyyybe if you can get into a top 3 program in a hot field of history and get fully funded, but even then, I wouldn’t. It’s basically opting into a pyramid scheme. In addition, even if you do land a tenure track job (I have one and am about to get tenure, fwiw), you will find most of your time is spent on committees and service and grading; there’s very little time for (or value placed on) research.

      I also thought that I “didn’t care about tenure” and “would move wherever” when I applied — turns out, after grad school, I felt differently, especially about moving. (the scare quotes indicate my own naivete, not yours). Seriously, you would not believe how many good jobs are in terrible locations. If you meet someone and they have any sort of career that’s not 100% portable, it’s that much harder. and if you meet another academic, as I did in grad school, ughhhh you’re in a world of trouble and long-distance relationships.

      If you are still thinking about it, I’d suggest reading pretty deeply into the comments on Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle. It’s difficult to grasp just how bad the job market is, because it’s insane.

      also, last comment — even if you want to teach primarily and not research, it’s insanely competitive. We routinely turn down top people with multiple books who are great teachers, even for non-TT positions. So even if your goal is teaching, you also need to be doing a ridiculous amount of good research just to get the teaching job.

      If you want to talk more, feel free to post an email and I’ll write!

      • Anonymous :

        I have a PhD in history, which I’m not currently using directly. I don’t regret having gotten it, but definitely if I could do my 20s over, I would have done something else instead. I definitely would not recommend that anyone get one unless they are independently wealthy and just interested in the intellectual challenge. (Reasons for that are already listed in the comments here, but I particularly want to call out “Sad humanities professor” for saying everything I would have.)

        Basically, watching my friends finish, move around repeatedly to try to find a TT position, and then ending up somewhere they didn’t want to be, where either there wasn’t employment for their partner or where they were super unlikely to be able to meet a potential future partner, was heart-wrenching. I’m very glad that I had an alternate career path to pursue.

        I had a few friends try to go the public history route – know that that is also EXTREMELY competitive.

        PS Also happy to talk more if you want to post an email.

        • To all of this. I have a PhD in history and all told, it wasn’t worth it. I’m in a satisfying place now, professionally and personally, but it’s really in spite of rather than because of my degree and grad school experience. I sort of had to dig myself out.

          Gently, I have to say that “the talk” is more like a years-long process of discovering just how deeply demoralizing the field is, based on how few people actually get jobs. I thought I understood, too, before I started. I didn’t. My message to my younger self would be “Try other things professionally. Just about anything else carries a lower risk than getting a humanities PhD. Read a bunch, and keep up with your nerdy friends, but do not try to be a professor.”

    • Humanities PhD here. I got the talk before I did it and ignored everyone, and I regret now not listening. The job market issues are so, so real. I went to a program that is either #1, 2, or 3 in my field depending on who you ask…the job market is still horrific. I opted out of the TT market because I realized it was not for me, and retrained–best decision I’ve made. Ironically, the PhD seems to have more value in my new field (unrelated area, but people think the PhD is fancy) than it did when I was in academia and alt-ac.

      Practical concerns aside (and again–practical concerns are super real and you should pay attention to them): By FAR the most crushing part of the experience for me–after I decided not to care about the job issues and just focus on the love of learning stuff–was learning how intellectually uncurious and unrigorous people who are supposed to be at the top of their field often are. In my department, and in other humanities departments at the school I attended, the groupthink and narrowmindedness was unbearable. I’m not talking politically (I’m pretty far left myself), but simply sloppy, incurious work by even well-regarded people. If you are only there for the intellectual gratification, you may not find it. And that can make all the other humiliations, frustrations, and challenges completely not worthwhile.

      And the sexism…I could not believe what my peers and I experienced. Often from people who were well-versed in feminist theory.

    • Anonymous :

      If you want to teach history you don’t need a PhD. Get a teaching cert and teach high school. Public history is not a realistic goal and being an adjunct is worse than being a high school teacher

    • I’m late to the convo here, but non-tenure track ‘teaching’ jobs in academia are also incredibly hard to come by. You will be competing with everyone else for these as well. Plus they pay under $50K. The adjunct lifestyle is really hard – no healthcare, paid on a class by class basis (annual income under $30K). Frankly, don’t do it if you don’t want to be a TT prof.

    • Assistant Professor :

      I’m a social sciences (not history) PhD on the TT at a decent liberal arts college. I loved grad school and would do it again for the fun of having interesting conversations with other smart people regularly (my advisor was very kind as well, which helped). However, from your post, I’m just wondering what kind of a life are you envisioning for yourself if you are teaching after PhD but not on then tenure track? Basically, you’ll either be adjuncting for $3000 per course at a college local to you (but only in the semesters they need a course covered in your specialty, which is never a given), OR you are moving every single year to a new one-year visiting professor appointment (if you can beat out the 70+ other people who’ve applied for said 1-year gig). With option one, you need to be independently wealthy or have a partner who can support both of you, because you won’t make a living wage adjuncting. Option two, you need to either be single or have a partner who is able to move every year/doesn’t care about putting down roots. Permanent, full-time teaching jobs that aren’t tenure track don’t really exist even at “teaching” colleges. I just wanted to make sure you realize that and are okay with adjuncting for pennies or forever moving every year for visiting positions since you don’t want to pursue TT jobs. But, if you are comfortable with those options, definitely go and enjoy grad school.

  15. I’m signing divorce papers tomorrow; what should I do to celebrate?

    • Anonymous :

      My go to foods for both celebration and consolation are Thai and/or dumplings, personally.

    • treat yourself to whatever indulgence your ex couldn’t stand or would harp on you about and tell yourself it’s the first of many indulgences to come with your newfound freedom!

    • Paging: shots shots shots!

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yep! I invited everybody in my office out for Happy Hour and to my surprise almost everybody came. It was great.

    • By doing whatever you like doing that your ex hated!

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I would have a margarita and maybe nachos, but that’s just my current go-to for celebrating.

    • Anonymous :

      Take a trip!

    • Congratulations.
      Hog the bathroom all to yourself for hours if needed, candles, bath oils, the lot (the kind of thing that an undeserving husband would whine about). Roam around in your bathrobe with a glass of champagne and listen to loud classical music.
      Fun fact, in Mauritania they have divorce parties because a woman’s social status rises the more she divorces, men get nothing. My aunt and her friends living there did quite a few of these parties.

    • Your suggestions made me smile! The settlement has dragged on, and I’m so exhausted. I think I will do all of these things. Thank you, ‘rettes.

    • BeenThatGuy :

      I bought myself a ridiculously expensive watch that was dripping in diamonds. I figured if I was no longer wearing diamond rings, my left hand needed a “little” something. I still wear the watch, 10 years later, and it always reminds me of how strong I was during that very difficult time.

    • cake batter :

      Fill your house with beautiful flowers – kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, everywhere.

    • I bought a Peloton

    • Second to doing something you love that ex would hate. (When I got my post-divorce house, I most loved the new furniture and accents that he would never have wanted in our house.)

      My divorce was final two years ago almost to the day, but it’s odd, I can’t remember what I did that night. But, funny story: An employment client who I’ve helped over the years and who lives in my neighborhood sent me flowers as a thank-you as she was taking a new job and leaving town. She didn’t know I’d moved out and she had them sent to ex’s house, on the very day the divorce was finalized. He called me and said, “well, someone isn’t wasting any time!” I let him stew on it for a while but did finally say where they came from.

      • This. All new furniture his a55 never sat on. Or at least the mattress and upholstered stuff.

    • Veronica Sawyer :

      After breaking up with a 4 year live-in ex (not married), who was kosher and a cheapskate who wouldn’t let me order sodas at restaurants/movie theaters, I had what my friends and I called the Great Bacon Rebellion. I ate bacon on everything and got the $10, massive, couldn’t finish if I tried, diet coke at a movie theater. Neither ever tasted better. AND I got a new mattress. No bad juju following me into my singledom.

    • Shots. Shots. Shots. :

      Hi you rang? Ima let these ladies finish with their reasonable sensible ideas but also spend a night with me please? I want to help you make bad decisions.

  16. Where do you buy fun, but still professional, floral print tops? Bonus if it’s on sale. I know this is super basic but I’m struggling! Been looking at Loft, NY&Co and Gap!

  17. Anonymous :

    Has anyone felt this way and can you recommend anything?

    Last night I couldn’t sleep; my mind was racing. This morning I felt sort of sad and lonely, not for any reason I could put a finger on. I had an appointment early in the afternoon and when I came back to the office, two things had sort of blown up – neither my fault, but both directly affecting me with the feeling that I’ll be called on the carpet. I can see that both are not big deals and will be resolved, but for some reason it’s really hitting me hard. I feel on the verge of tears, and like I want to lay down and sleep, or go home, or go running outside. I feel – I don’t know, desperate? Unhappy? I almost feel like just leaving my job and not coming back. All of these feelings seem really disproportionate and I don’t know how to help make myself feel better or what’s going on. Does this feel familiar to anyone?

    (Had my period two weeks ago, so I don’t think that’s related?)

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Hmm, you sound like me when depression/anxiety are flaring up. A lot of it manifests in exactly what you’re talking about, disproportionate emotional reactions to things, esp. at work.

      What works for me is drugs and CBT.

    • Anon in NYC :

      A lack of sleep or a lot of stress often does this to me. When you get home tonight (leave early if you can!), don’t do anything on your to-do list and try to unwind the best you can – watch tv, get takeout, take a bath, put on a face mask, etc. Try to go to bed really early. See if you feel better in the morning.

      • Me too. If you have never felt this way before and haven’t had issues with anxiety, I’d chalk it up to lack of sleep. Everything seems more stressful and unmanageable when I am sleep deprived.

        • Anonymous :

          +1 – For me, I would have pinned the lack of sleep. The lack of sleep may be due to anxiety though. I usually turn on a tv show (or something else I’ve listened to before) to interrupt my brain enough that i can fall asleep.

    • I used to have this as an anxiety build-up on bad cases, especially when I am finally happy to finish and I learn they are extended by 2 weeks: toxic team, sleep deprivation, skipping meals, eating badly and very late.
      In these cases, you need a reset, here is how I more or less successfully did it: say no to social outings, get as much sleep as possible, stop social media and mindless streaming, eat the best food I could get (really up the greens), take supplements e.g. vitamin D, Iron and magnesium. My doctor also prescribed hydrocortisone for adrenal fatigue but some people believe it’s not a real thing, so not sure whether that helped.

    • This is how I feel when I’m eating too many carbs/starches/sugars and not enough other stuff. I love pasta – would eat a big bowl of buttered noodles for literally every meal if I could – but I think it messes with my blood sugar and makes me exhausted and emotional. When I’m feeling this way, I try to focus my eating on protein and greens.

      Also, when I’m having a panicky, over-emotional reaction to things at work, it is amazing to me how much fresh air helps. Just feeling a slight breeze on my face from walking outside helps so much in calming down.

    • Anonymous :

      I have worried about depression and anxiety before (in talk therapy) but this type of physical reaction is new or at least rare. I have been considering drugs for other reasons so if anyone is comfortable sharing how you came to that decision/what drugs/etc, I would be really glad for help thinking about it!

      • It isn’t a decision I made alone. You need to talk with your doctor. Start with your primary care doctor, and ideally it is great if they have a referral to a psychiatrist that knows the meds. If you are in talk therapy still, ask your therapist who they recommend.

        Psychiatrists are often not the best therapists, but you can tell them how you are feeling and the physical reactions and they will be often be good about weighing the pros/cons of meds.

        And it is good to talk with your primary care doc first because in a small proportion of cases something else physical could be going on. Like hyperthyroid or B12 deficiency etc…

        So time to see your doctor. That’s what they are there for.

        Lexapro is a common first start.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        So for me depression and anxiety came in together, but depression was definitely the loudest at first. My clear memory is (at home) sitting on the floor in the hallway in my undies feeling like it was just too, too hard to get up and get dressed… could I please just sleep/cry/maybe take a boxing lesson? At work it looked like, “well, I’ve tried convincing this person three different ways and I can’t get through to them so probably I should sit under my desk and sob forever.” Anxiety looks to me like, “oh noooo I misstated what the CEO said and now he’s going to see this email and I’m probably fired and I’ll lose my house and everyone will hate me and I am garbage…” and I’m sweating and maybe breathing hard and kind of have a hard time focusing my eyes.

        CBT really helps interrupt that bad self-talk. The drugs I’m on are zoloft and wellbutrin (but the generics). The drugs helped that complete-shutdown level of anxiety and depression, and the CBT gets me where I can be like, “yeah, I hear you, anxiety, but I am on top of this.”

        It’s been said on here, but it bears repeating: it can be hard for type-A, achievement-y women to feel like they’ve got it “bad enough” to merit treatment if they’re still getting dressed and going to work and holding it together. But you deserve to get help so you aren’t exhausting yourself to just ‘hold it together’! If it feels terrible, it’s worth changing.

      • BelleRose :

        Sorry for the long post, but I have a lot of experience with this in my own life. Treating depression based on lifestyle is huge. Exercise, eating healthfully, getting outside, spending time with your support network.
        Medication is for when your condition is affecting your day-to-day life more than can be fixed by lifestyle. If your depression/anxiety is manifesting physically, it may mean that it’s
        also affecting you more emotionally than you realize (I was out of school for 2 months with fatigue, nausea, and aches before a doctor suggested that I was experiencing the physical symptoms of depression).
        My suggestion? If you have had therapy recently, talk about it with your therapist. Even if they are not qualified to Rx, they may still have insight. Talk to people close to you, who may have noticed changes in your mood/behavior that you haven’t.
        Then talk to a psychiatrist (one who is qualified to Rx). IME this should feel somewhat like an initial therapy session. Talk about your history of depression/anxiety, and your most recent experiences. Let them know your thoughts on medication (do you definitely want meds? are you unsure? are you against medication?) and ask them what their thoughts are, and if there are other options they would recommend (different type of therapy? other lifestyle changes?). I’ve personally been on-and-off antidepressants for several years, but I find that even if I don’t necessarily feel different, my executive function and overall health is much better when I am taking my meds, so I’m staying on them. YMMV.
        If you are Rx’d a medication, it will probably be an SSRI (eg, Lexapro, Prozac, Zoloft) or SNRI (eg, Cymbalta, Effexor). Be sure to mention if you think your depression is affected by the seasons, because they may also consider an NDRI (Wellbutrin). If they Rx a MAOI or TCA, be *very* cautious, because while effective, they are also older drugs and have tons of side effects and drug interactions. Do your research, ask your doc about side effects, and see if you want to try one out. Remember that it will take ~6wks for the drug to start being effective, and you may have to experiment with the dosing. Also remember to slowly taper off medication if needed, as suddenly stopping can cause very serious medical problems.
        Also remember that research has shown that by far the most effective treatment for depression is a *combination* of drugs and CBT (as mentioned above), with lifestyle and support network also making a huge difference. Sorry for the long post, but hope this is helpful. Best wishes!

        • Rainbow Hair :

          You make a good point about lifestyle. I haaaated when people (my well meaning husband among them) would be like, “idk, go for a run to cure your depression?” and it’s like, “ok well first i would have to stop *crying on the floor* y’know?” I felt like I had no energy for anything but not falling the F apart, and certainly no energy for exercise! But once I was a little more together (yay drugs and therapy!), exercise and sunshine and human interaction really helped. And I mostly hate exercise! But it really helps me emotionally, so I do it. Sigh.

      • BelleRose :

        Longer comment in mod. Definitely agree with the other posters here!

    • I hear people saying you are dealing with depression but I wouldn’t jump to conclusions based on one day. You’re acting exactly like I act when sleep deprived. See if you feel better when you catch up on sleep – and really try to do that, even if you need to take something to get there.

      • Anonymous :

        This. I have no history of depression or anxiety issues, but I have had a couple of episodes similar to what you’re describing when I’m sleep deprived. It especially happens when I have gone to bed at a relatively normal time, but have “poor” sleep, as opposed to having stayed up excessively late. If I’m interrupted at a crucial part of my sleep cycle and am unable to fall back asleep, I have a similar almost emotional response.

  18. Big/Little Sister? :

    With such varied ages who are regulars here, is it strange that I wish we had a big sister/little sister option? I feel like I learn so much just by reading and I wonder if we had enough people in different professions where there would be logical pairings amongst us, where we could ask some of the questions that have too many specifics to list here without outing ourselves and where so many of us could/would benefit.

    I’d totally start a fb group or a throwaway email account if that’d work or try to find some other way to connect people if anyone else would be interested in this! (I’m 34ish, would be down to be the big for someone younger as well as the little for someone more seasoned!) Would anyone be interested? If so, do you have a preference on format of how connection would be made?

  19. I recently read Ender’s Game and Ready Player One and loved them both. Any additional recs in that category?

    • Anonymous :

      The Miles Vorgkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold. And maybe the Vatta series by Elizabeth Moon, which is less space opera-y than her other military space series.

      • +1 Vorkosigan saga.

      • Amberwitch :

        Another vote for Vorkosigan – start with the Naismith books, Cordelia is amazing.
        Elizabeth Bear has written some pretty great science fiction to, some stand alones, some series.
        The Confederation series by Tanya Huff, storting with Valors choice

        Personally I found some of the other books in the Ender Universe to be underwhelming in comparison to Enders Game – particularly the first Bean book where I found that the authors religious beliefs taintet the story beyond repair.

    • Armada is another by the same author as Ready Player One.

    • Check out “Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits” by David Wong. Less outer-spacey but I think similar in tone to RP1. You might also like Artemis, Andy Weir’s second novel. (Not as good as the Martian but a little more fun/silly.)

      Also, there are three more Ender books and a variety of Ender’s Shadow books (about Bean) for you still to enjoy!

      • Oh, also, I like the Lunar Chronicles books if you don’t mind it being a little bit on the YA side. Seemed silly at first (oh, a cyborg Cinderella, great…) but very well written and intricate and fun.

        • I agree that these were fun. I’m a pretty easy sell for fairy tale adaptations, but Star Wars or Firefly fans might like these too. Lots of action and the right amount of world building for a fast read.

    • Anonymous :

      Check out the Ender’s Shadow series, which is parallel to Ender’s Game.

    • Hyperion is one of the best books I’ve ever read in this genre! And FYI, the rest of the Ender’s Game series got a little weird IMHO, but Ender’s Shadow is a great side-series based on Bean (in case you haven’t had enough!)

    • The Red Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson is wonderful!

    • Senior Attorney :

      This may not be bang on genre, but I loved Station Eleven by Emily Mandel St. John. It has some very appealing children as characters.

    • I know I’m late to the party, but also the Red Rising series and the Illuminae series. They’re easier reads than some of the above recs, but very engaging and capture the essence of the genre.

  20. Anyone have a favorite bubble bath? I just got a tub and want something super bubbly with a nice smell. Bonus for drugstore or cheap on Amazon!

  21. Any favorite Etsy shops (or other online stores) for cheap but not terrible jewelry of the delicate type? Lately I have found myself really wanting a station necklace (inspired by someone’s post several weeks back about giving one to a daughter as a graduation gift, I think). I’d want CZ and probably like 10k gold-plated, so I’m not looking for something incredibly fancy. Just something tasteful and of the wear-everyday delicate type. I’d like to spend less than $50. Suggestions?

    • Anonymous :

      No station necklace at this shop, but I recently purchased a ring for Noisette Jewels on Etsy and am really happy with it.

    • Anonymous :

      i actually got some great delicate thin necklaces on sale from baublebar

    • I think I was the poster who mentioned getting a white gold and teensy diamond station necklace for my daughter’s 8th grade graduation, which she still wears every day.

      If I were looking for an inexpensive CZ version I’d check out Ross Simons online, and definitely make sure there’s some sort of coupon offer.

  22. Science PhD. The only reason to do a PhD is because you want to spend 5+ years becoming the world’s foremost expert in something. It will not increase your hireability, and often can detract from lifetime earnings. The academic job market is grim, demoralizing and hypercompetitive ( PIs range from sane and supportive to absolutely not- horror stories abound. if you’re considering academia after PhD, going to the most high powered institution you can with the most supportive advisor is absolutely necessary- institutions hire from higher ranked institutions almost exclusively. Keep in mind that you will be working with your advisor for the average length of a marriage in the US with a level of dependency almost approaching that of a marriage- pick carefully. That being said, my PhD years were absolutely great, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

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