Coffee Break: BFB Laptop Tote

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  1. Moving to ATL this summer after business school and would love any recommendations on where to live! My office is downtown but I’ll be traveling most of the week… I’ve been looking mainly at Old Fourth Ward and Inman Park. Open to suggestions on other neighborhoods as well as specific buildings, hopefully near other young professionals. Thank you!

    • Those are great neighborhoods with great commutes to downtown and the airport. Midtown and Virginia Highlands are also good options that might put you more in the thick of young professionals with just slightly longer commute times.

    • I am moving to ATL for business school! Where are you moving from?

      • anonymous :

        My boyfriend is going to Goizueta in the fall, and we are moving there too. Small world!

    • AttiredAttorney :

      Welcome to Atlanta! Agreed that those are great places to live, but I would also second Midtown, particularly if you’re looking to buy or rent a condo. And, I would recommend renting a condo from a reputable property management company over renting from most apartment complexes in the city.

      My commute to Downtown from Midtown is actually shorter than it would be from the O4W or Inman Park because home is four blocks from the interstate and my office is strategically located- it takes less than ten minutes from door to door. From O4W or Inman Park, it would be about 15 because of traffic lights and horrible turns on Dekalb Avenue. It would be 15-20 for me from Virginia Highland to downtown. I also do like having close access to Marta. Though I rarely use it, it’s nice to have the option for major concerts/events and to get to the airport for personal travel to avoid paying parking.

      In Midtown, the Biltmore (condos, not apartments), Viewpoint, Mayfair, and Park Central are all a-ok condo buildings that are well located, safe, with varying levels of amenities and frequently have rentals. In Inman Park, I would carefully check the crime records of apartment buildings, a lot of them- even the nice ones- are rash with break-ins. In O4w, as hot as Ponce City Market is, I think the rents there are criminally high, so I’d avoid that building and live across the street for $2-300 less a month.

      If there’s any more specific advice or tips on specific complxes you’re looking for, feel free to shoot me an email at my username at g mail. I’ve lived in Atlanta since 2009, so happy to pass on anything that’s useful!

    • I’ll put in a plug for Midtown, which I love. That would also give you quick MARTA access to work (when you have to go into the office downtown) and a straight shot to the airport (which can be a lifesaver, because parking really fills up on peak consultant travel days). It’s highly walkable and you have a front-row seat to Piedmont Park and all of its glories. There are a ton of buildings – I would recommend against 77 12th, but beyond that don’t have recommendations to offer (I bought a condo).

    • I’ll put in a plug for City of Decatur. If you’re coming from a politically liberal area, you’ll feel like you never left it. It’s right on Marta, super walkable, foodie heaven, and new apartment buildings coming on line.

    • I’m in the process of relocating for a job in ATL. I have a family and we’re are moving to Cumming. However, my company put me up in corporate housing at the Skyhouse South apartments in Midtown and I loved it. Great staff, and it was close to amenities. It also seemed to have a lot of young professionals living here. Eventhough I could drive if I wanted too, I walked mostly and took the MARTA. I would highly recommend the Midtown area.

    • Inman Park! :

      I”ll put in a plug for Inman Park. I’ve been in ATL since 2009 and lived in the VaHi area and Inman Park. Dated dudes who lived in midtown. I adore living in Inman Park. It is very walkable, vibrant, full of restaurants and right next to the Beltline, which is a very popular walking/cycling trail that runs from Old Fourth Ward up to Piedmont Park (It will eventually run around the whole city, but the only portion currently paved is that which runs through the parts of the Atlanta real estate sector that have, up-and-came, so to say). I’m a 0.5 mile walk from two brand-new yuppie/foodie haven mixed-use developments (Ponce City Market and Krog Street Market). It’s a 1.5 mile walk to Piedmont Park, and there are a bunch of really pretty smaller parks (like, 5), within a half mile radius of my place. Some weekends I don’t get in my car at all, just walking to bars/parks/restaurants/et al. The neighborhood has a lot of newer apartment complexes, which will be meet all your needs but probably not knock your socks off. The downside on these is that the rent is fairly high and creeping up, because the area is so popular right now. The rest of the neighborhood is mostly awesome old Victorians and smaller craftsman homes. It’s very well maintained and people really care about the neighborhood. It has a lot of community events, et al.

      I find that Midtown is nice because it is walkable and accessible to public transit (MARTA, lol), but I just like the feel of Inman Park better. A little more of neighborhood feeling, a little cleaner, more trees/grass/gardens, more tolerable on Saturday nights. I will say that Inman Park does have a little bit of crime (I’ve heard of car break ins, some home/apt break ins), but I always feel safe walking around at night. In Midtown, sometimes I’ve been sketched out.

      *Decatur is also super awesome, but beware- home prices are sky high, there are limited options for renting. If discussing school districts and the complexities of gentrification is your thing, you’ll love it.

  2. I could use some advice on how to handle a work situation. I’m in my mid-30s, but graduated from law school only a couple years ago. Before, during, and until just recently, I’ve always worked in government and politics, where if you’re bright and motivated, you’ll be handed all the responsibility you can shoulder, with opportunities for making dramatic contributions to the organization.

    I’ve been at a Big Four firm for a couple months now. I work in a tiny group of only about 20 people. I’m having a drastically hard time adjusting to the culture in the group. Their culture seems to be that people who’ve been with the company for 15+ years do all the substantive work and don’t delegate anything. When you’ve been with the company at least 5 years, only then may you prepare first drafts for client memos, etc. These drafts will be completely rewritten by the senior people in the group. At my level, I’m told daily, “You don’t know how to do this. Why don’t you go back to your desk and read about X.” I do research, insignificant back-end calculations, and listen but never speak on client calls. I’m essentially paid to do nothing all day, and it’s killing me. There’s seemingly no intention for someone at my level to have substantive work for 2+ years!

    Is this just the practice of law? Were my expectations just off that I thought I would actually be doing real work: writing memos, having actual assignments, etc? My point is that I can’t learn a thing if I’m never given a substantive assignment. People learn by doing. They seem to think I’ll learn by mere exposure.

    There’s a structured hierarchy here, and most of my work comes from the people at the 5-year level (the memo draft writers). I’ve asked them for more substantive work, to be brought in earlier so that I have time to make mistakes BEFORE the client starts screaming about a deliverable (I fully understand I’m a junior lawyer), and even to be paired up with someone 10+ years in the hopes of getting scraps of real work from them, but no luck. I’m always very careful to couch this in terms of “contributing to the team,” “supporting the organization,” “bringing value.” The answer is always, “Oh, yeah, there’s just no work your first year or so. It’ll pick up eventually.”

    Now what? Obviously, this isn’t a good fit for me, but I need to stick it out for a year. How on earth do I politely ask for more responsibility and real work? Because what I’m really saying is, “Your way of doing business is absurd and I need some real work before I lose my mind,” and that won’t come across well. My “supervisor” is a thousand miles away in another office and made it clear she’s not so keen on having someone assigned to her administratively. The head partner is here in my office, and she’s VERY friendly, but this team has been her baby for 30 years, so I don’t want to offend.

    • So, you just described how pretty much every law firm works. Baby lawyers don’t know how to practice law. Law school, generally, does not teach you how to practice law. Clients do not want to pay for you to learn to practice law by taking longer than it should on substantive work.

      This is what every junior lawyer must go through at a large law firm. You receive work from mid level and senior associates. It doesn’t matter what your prior experience is or if you’re bright and motivated. If you’re at a large law firm, every lawyer there is bright and motivated.

      • Anonymous :

        I mean, yes and no. No first year associate is going to completely escape doc review, cite-checking briefs and other paralegal-type tasks, but you should certainly be getting some substantive tasks as well, especially by your second or third year, which it sounds like OP is (“graduated from law school only a couple years ago”). And maybe OP is exaggerating, but not doing a first draft of a client memo until you’re five years in seems crazy.

        OP are you at an accounting firm? “Big Four” suggests that to me and in that case I have no real advice except seeking out people who are slightly senior to you (in years out of school, not age – age counts for nothing) and trying to get a sense from them if your experience is normal. If you’re at a law firm, your experience does sound unusual to me and it might be worth talking to partners you trust or a mentor if you’re assigned one to make sure you’re getting the experience you should be getting.

        • Yes, I’m at an accounting firm.

          • Ok, I was confused by that, as well. Are you in the legal department at that firm?

          • If you’re in-house, all bets are off. Then your department just functions the way the corporate culture/GC wants it to function. And you may need to just endure until you can feasibly find a new job.

    • Anonforthis :

      Sounds like a bad fit, possibly. But it’s also only been a few months. I started at a midsized place so I got thrown substantive stuff nobody else wanted to do along with the grunt stuff pretty early on. Some of my memos got sent to the client directly with very little editing by a partner.

      Now, at a BigLaw firm, I’m finding the same or more substantive work because of my practice group’s “lean-ness”.

    • Need to Improve :

      I am confused. You ask “Is this just the practice of law?” but then say you are at an accounting firm. If you are at an accounting firm, the answer is NO, what you describe is not how most law firms are, even BigLaw. This is coming from someone who worked in Biglaw after graduating law school and is still there as a partner.

      Are you in-house counsel?

      • I’m a tax lawyer at an accounting firm. We do some in-house work, but we mainly consult with clients on tax law issues.

        When I asked about the practice of law, I was asking along the lines of JJ’s answer – “is this what it’s always like for baby lawyers and I should get over it?” I know it’s not the official practice of law.

        • To clarify, if we do in-house work, we bill them like we would any other client.

          • Anonymous :

            I was a PA/DA for a tax lawyer and group in a Big 4 firm outside of the US. I did some editing for them so I got a little familiar with their work flow. The 1-3 year employees typically sent me a few press releases / internal emails to announce new product line type stuff. The memos and more substantial client work was done by the 4-6 year lawyers and the 3rd year ones that they were thinking of promoting and wanted to test. Even the training course for legal memos in English was geared for 4-6 year lawyers.

            I sat 2 feet from the partner’s office so I could see and half hear the conference calls happening. On prospective client calls, the partner spoke and the manager occasionally put in a word or two. On the substantive calls, the manager did almost all of the talking, the partner answered emails and interjected occasionally. On both of them, if a 1-3 year person was even in the room, they took notes.

        • Old Tax Hand :

          Well, if you’re in tax, then, yes, this is exactly what tax lawyers do. Presumably you’re doing lots of research as well? When I was in biglaw, the baby tax lawyers were basically researchers until well into mid-level years (3-5).

    • No real advice, just sympathy. I don’t think it’s like that everywhere–at least, that’s what I’m telling myself–but that’s a great description of my big law job. It’s hard to get ANY work–I only billed 1400 hours last year, and I was 100% available and asking for work!–but when I do, it’s 200 hours of doc review. I’m a second year associate and starting to see that nothing is changing…maybe I need to move, because my particular brand of the law is pretty rare in my geographic area. Luckily I have no student loans. Maybe I’ll get pregnant and ride out my big law awesome maternity leave before quitting.

      Anyway, good luck. I’m really sorry. I know how discouraging it is to be learning nothing, despite a sincere desire to want to work really, really hard. I thought that was what I signed up for.

    • Although rare, I treat my student law clerks like you are being treated. And all of them end up in big firms usually with very little babysitting, being paid more than I am now – at 5 years out. That being said, I am a good mentor and hands-on teacher and they always are easy to deal with on the other side of a case. (Or maybe that’s because they know I am not messing around). I work at a high quantity litigation firm of 11 attorneys. All big law firms aren’t the same but what you describe is unfortunately the status quo.

      You seem like you’d be happier where you are given more responsibility and maybe you are paid a little less but you’d be getting the experience you clearly seem to want.

  3. Financial Help :

    I inherited $60k from a relative a couple years ago and it’s all I have for retirement. I’m 34. I didn’t know what to do with the money at the time, so I invested it in mutual funds with my ex-husband’s advisor with whom I never felt comfortable. In 2014, my money returned only 1%; in 2015, it was -3%. Unless I’m crazy, this is totally unacceptable. I need this money to start performing for me ASAP since it’s all I have. Where/what/who/how do I take care of this? I’m ashamed to say I’m kind of clueless what my options are. I’m in D.C. if it matters. I’m only making $90k, so I’m not exactly a high income individual, and so many things seem to be targeted to them.

    • I’m a fan of index funds at Vanguard. They have target retirement date funds, if you want to set it and forget it. That said, the last couple of years were not so good for the stock market.

    • 90K is an extremely good living–I know on this blog incomes skew well into the 6 figures, but for most people 90K would be a dream.

      With that said, you’re going to your money dip. When you’re young (and 34 is still young), this is a good thing when you’re contributing due to dollar-cost-averaging. When it’s low, that allows you to buy at a better price yielding much better results later on.

      That said, instead of just going with mutual funds, sign up with a good company like Vanguard or Fidelity; while you can hire an adviser, index funds based on your retirement age have been proven to perform as well or better than experts’ picks. They’ll give you an appropriate mix of stocks, bonds, and cash to suit your level of risk and the amount of time until you retire.

      And it’s important to keep contributing. At 90K, you should be able to put at least a couple hundred bucks away each month. Even if it’s just shoving $100 a month into a 401K, you really do need a solid retirement fund. I know when you can’t afford to put in thousands it seems worthless, but compound interest is a magical thing.

    • Call ex-H’s advisor and ask for your money TODAY. Do not let him talk you into staying with him and trying some other investment product. He should be able to cut you a check/cashiers check or do a wire transfer. Open yourself an account with Fidelity or Vanguard — either can be opened online though if you think you’re want face to face financial advising, go with Fidelity — they have an office downtown. When the money is first deposited with Fidelity it goes into a money market account, which is just a holding account. From there you can invest as you wish. Since you aren’t necessarily investment savvy (yet), I would just put it into an S&P ETF (check out IVV or IVW for a bit of growth), so you’re at least getting the return the S&P is getting. Then you can always move the money around if you decide to get into specific sectors etc.

      And yes the return is totally unacceptable. An advisor should be beating the S&P — the S&P was in the red in 2015 but only by less than 1% — not by 3%. It was up just over 10% in 2014. So you’re right — -3% and 1% are bad performances.

    • Veronica Mars :

      Seconding the Vanguard rec. I have them and I think that they’re the best for personal investing (granted, you do need to have higher upfront but with 60k, you should be totally fine). I’d start looking into some personal finance blogs (Mr. Money Mustache) and see what lines up with your philosophy and risk tolerance. Personally, I started by throwing money into the Vanguard Star fund and the Vanguard Balanced Index fund, which were recommended for beginners (and it was terrifying to get started). Now that I’m more comfortable, I think I’ll move more into the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index fund (which has a really low expense ratio and is basically you buying the whole market).

      One thing to consider–is your mutual fund in a regular investment account or is it protected in your 401K/403B or a Roth IRA? If it’s not in a protected retirement account, you might think about seeing if you can slowly transfer the money into the protected accounts, since those can’t be touched if you file for bankruptcy.

      • I am a huge Vanguard proponent as well, mostly because my parents used it exclusively to save for 5 kids’ college and for their own retirement, and they rave about it.

        One tip: I put almost all of my Vanguard funds into the 500 Index fund, and they recently upgraded me to “admiralty,” which means that my expense ratio is even lower now than it was before. I don’t know if the admiralty thing is available on all of their funds or not. But it’s .05%!

    • zephyrwolf :

      +1 for Vanguard.

      Also, if you’re looking to learn more about personal finance check out moneyunder30 dot com. It’s a sensible, approachable site that has a lot of good information on it that’s applicable to both the under 30 set and those of us who’ve traveled on from there. It has a lot of articles on getting started with investing, as well as articles on all sorts of other finance topics.

      I’ve learned a lot by cruising around that site and I’ve recommended it to a lot of folks who reported back that it was helpful for them.

  4. Roommate? :

    I am wondering if anyone has insight to renting out a bedroom in their house.

    I am 35, in a HCOL area, with a 2 bed/2 bath condo. I have been living on my own for 8 years (except for a brief period with a live-in boyfriend).

    I could probably get $1500-$1800 per month for a bed to with a private bath (not ensuite). I am thinking of making it no pets (I have a very mean cat) and for only 1 person (bunkmates are all the rage here and I don’t want to be outvoted iny own house) (and the tax breaks aren’t any better with a second person in the room). I have a tand parking space that we would share. Is there anything else I should consider?

    • I rented a room from a woman in the DC area. I assumed I was a housemate. Her attitude was that I was renting a room, period.

      I would be very clear with your renter about these issues:

      1. May she use the kitchen? (My landlady didn’t want me to)
      2. May she use the washer and dryer? (My landlady didn’t want me to)
      3. May your renter have overnight guests? Not even sexual overnights- just friends visiting? (My landlady didn’t want me to)
      4. May she put food in the fridge? Use your dishes? Sit on your sofa? Eat at your table? Is she a housemate or is she restricted to just her room?

      • Roommate? :

        Yes, he/she would have access to the kitchen, laundry, and living room. I think it would be weird not to. I will even let him/her cook meat in my vegetarian household (I eat meat but not at home). :-)

        Regarding guests, I am thinking no strangers (I live near a bar scene) and limited overnight guests. I typically sleep elsewhere 2 nights per week and rarely have overnight guests so I would expect similar, maybe 2 nights per week and planned ahead of time.

        • Anonymous :

          To me, you’re not ready to share your space then. Like, I’m not paying you $1500 a month and also booking my one night stands in advance.

          • Roommate? :

            Interesting. I only had one apartment (of 5) since college without a “no strangers” policy and that changed pretty quick when the other roommate woke up to three strange men in the living room (I was out of town for the weekend and was informed of the change in house rules pretty quick). I thought it was typical in a roommate situation.

          • I’ve never heard of the policy and don’t know anyone in my immediate circle who had it/would agree to it. It’s excessive and doesn’t make it feel like a home for the renter, but just that: you’re renting a room. Period.

        • Anonymous :

          Different anon, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with your proposed arrangement as long as it’s clear upfront (which it sounds like you would be). If no one bites, then you know maybe you need to lower the rent or cave a little on the parameters if you still want a roommate. But it’s worth at least putting it out there–as someone who has no dating life to speak of and only has family visit (which is planned in advance), I’d be fine with it and might actually prefer it as long as it worked both ways.

        • Do you want a rule or a result?

          The result is that you always feel safe in your house and your stuff won’t get stolen or trashed when you are away or asleep. So have a talk with a prospective housemate about that, and talk about those concerns. Pay attention to how the person responds. With a responsible adult, it’s a non-issue: every person who walks through the door would be someone they vouch for, and if she ends up dating a guy, you can have a talk about him moving in, and also about your comfort level in your own home.

          “Honestly, I am 35 years old and do not want to be walking to the kitchen in the morning iny nightgown and see some dude on the couch,” is something grown ups understand. No need for micromanagement.

          • Him NOT moving in, sorry.

          • I think it could work. When I first moved to NYC, my roommate was an older woman who could not afford to live alone so had to have a roommate. She was clear that she was not okay with a series of one night stands coming through (which was fine since it might have stopped 22 me from hooking up with questionable folks). She was okay with friends staying over (I told her about them beforehand like any reasonable roommate would), and as someone moving in straight from college, since I didn’t have furniture, etc, it was nice to move into a “home”.

      • Anonymous for this :

        I agree with all the questions the gold digger posted, and here’s a few more to consider as well
        – does your renter/roommate have storage space for pots/utensils/pantry/cold weather clothing, etc?
        – noise rules
        – what level of messiness/dirtiness is acceptable in common areas?
        – any other cultural aspects that you or the potential roommate need to be considerate of? (for me, it’s no shoes in the house)

        In general, be very upfront when interviewing potential roommates/renters. Meet them in person to discuss things before ever signing a lease.

        Re: overnight guests – In my lease language, it’s overnight guests are okay if the roommate tells me in advance and how many days, and if the guest stays over more than 3 nights a week or longer than 2 weeks, it’s time to re-negotiation of the lease. This is pretty standard lease language for my state.

        Finding a roommate you’re compatible with is rather like dating, IME.

        • +1000

          These are reasons why I am moving out of an owner-occupied home. It is aesthetically lovely, but I do not have much storage for cold weather clothing and non-perishable goods, and after moving in I was prohibited from bringing my collapsible bookshelves to the bedroom. The room is so small I cannot do yoga, and in the public space I do not do yoga because I worry about ruining the decor by breaking something.

          In short, are you truly willing to share a space? I find it ridiculous when people literally want to rent a room and prohibit people from using the kitchen. Everyone has to eat! That said, it helps to be clear and upfront about your requirements.

    • I did this during law school (I was older). It worked well for me. The only thing I missed was having a guest room for company. I interviewed and found nice women and they didn’t have pets and we shared the kitchen successfully, etc.

      My 3L year, I discovered I was actually able to make as much money renting out my house for college football weekends as I did having a roommate. Would AirB&B work for you?

      • This! AirBnB can be more profitable than a roommate with way less time with other people in your home!

        My friend has a lovely little cottage in North Carolina somewhat close to the beach. She had a roommate who paid her $700 a month (standard for a 1 bedroom there). When her roomie moved out, she set up on AirBnB and was getting $700 for a 3 night stay.

      • Anonymous :

        Air B&B has way more risk of bedbugs though (sorry to be gross, but I got them from a hotel a few months ago and am now extremely wary of having lots of people passing through my house).

      • Roommate? :

        My condo HOA doesn’t allow AirBnB rentals so that is out. I also just feel more comfortable with one person than with a revolving cast of characters.

        • renter... not a roommate :

          It can definitely work, but for what you are looking for is a renter – not a roommate. If I read you right, I would not rent to a peer close to your age and social situation. I would search for….. me! Meaning what is considered in the renting world = the perfect renter. A single, professional “older” woman without pets. I’m past the stage of life where Tinder and one-night stands are anything I’m looking for.

          And then you review prior renting history very carefully and CALL their last 2-3 landlords.

          Stick all of that rental income into your retirement savings. Ahhhhhhh…..

    • I did this for about 3 or 4 years after I bought my house at age 26. It really helped me save money for repairs and maintenance and recover after dropping money on a down payment and things that needed to be fixed before I moved in. I used Craigslist, actually, with pretty great success. I found it pretty easy to pick out the non-weirdos by email, then meeting them in person really sealed the deal. A few weirdos slipped by, but then meeting them in person helped. If I didn’t feel 100% great about a person, I moved on. I didn’t NEED to have someone right away (sounds like you didn’t either) so I had some flexibility. I live in an area with several major universities nearby, and having graduate students really worked well for me. They tended to be responsible and also had a different schedule than me (FT 9-5 job).

      Not sure what your legal options are when you’re renting, but my dad is an attorney who drafted a ridiculous lease for me that I would have them sign. Just make sure you are protected however you can be. I found it most comfortable to do a month to month lease so that if a crazy person did sneak through, it would be easier to get rid of them. Also check references.

      • Roommate? :

        Thanks! Yes, the money would be nice. I also just feel that the condo is soooo big for me.

        The state association of real estate agents has a pretty standard agreement that everyone but the huge complexes use so I am comfortable with the legal side of things. Plus, in my understanding, a live-in landlord has more rights than normal landlords.

    • I know people who have done that successfully – arrangements that worked out for years on end. The big thing is to be really patient and find the right fit.

    • Anonymous :

      Late to the party, but I second being very clear and upfront about what you want in a renter. I’m guessing that because it’s your condo, you don’t really want a roommate. E.g. what if the renter wants to hang pictures in the living room? Buy a set of new pots and pans? You don’t want someone on equal footing – you have house rules, and the person either sticks with them or doesn’t live there.

      I’ve been in the situation where I was the “roommate” and found out only later that the chosen cleaning products/nightly TV schedule/kitchen use times/guests (not even overnight guests, just people over for dinner) were not. negotiable. If things are non-negotiable, I’d say that’s not a roommate, that’s a renter.

    • I lived with someone who owned the condo and it was one of the worst experiences I’ve had with roommates. If you want to invite someone to rent a room in your condo you must understand what it means to be a landlord because that is what you are signing up for. You’re not being nice if you get things fixed in the house and you do owe an obligation to your renter. I know many landlord are terrible, but if you are living with your tenant you have more on the line which is your own comfortable living environment. Also, most decent, professional roommates who are willing and able to pay the rent will except a normal living arrangement meaning free use of the house (kitchen, living room, washer/dryer, etc) Don’t treat them like a child unless you want them to act like one and move out leaving you without the extra income. You have to live with the person! Make it comfortable. Over night guests should be discussed for both of you. You really can’t invite your new boyfriend over every night and except your tenant to not do the same. Ugh I had such a bad experience!

  5. How do you decide when to make the call between a career and a job?

    I’m in a job now where people are friendly, the pay and benefits are good, and I can get annual bonuses and promotions so long as I perform moderately well. Thing is, I don’t care a whit about the actual work I’m dealing with. It’s purely a job for me.

    I used to be in another field in my industry that totally lights me up. I love it. I’ll gladly answer emails at midnight because I’m just that passionate about the work.

    But I’m in my mid-30s and starting to feel like I need to find something and stick with it. There’s no reason to leave this company other than that there’s no passion for me. Do I settle on this job? Is it settling or is it adulting?

    • It depends. Are you a career-oriented person where that is what you envision for yourself? Or do you see yourself more doing your hobbies or spending time at home?

      I used to be the career person, but eventually reached the point where I wanted to spend more time at home with hubby and wanted to ride horses, so I took a less ambitious/demanding job that is lovely, with decent pay and benefits and gentle career growth.

      What would make you feel fulfilled and happy? No one else can answer that

    • Spirograph :

      So, I’m actually in the middle of this decision right now, too. I’m early 30s, have been in the same industry for about 10 years, 5 within one field. I don’t love it, but I’m reasonably competent, it pays well with decent work-life balance, and it basically has negative unemployment. I am married with two young kids; if I were single, I’d say “@#*$ it” and transition to something I’d enjoy more even if it meant a giant pay cut or additional school. But I think settling/adulting is the best thing for my family. And also for me, I suppose, in the short term, because I have time and money for hobbies and other interests. I am always scouting for different places and ways to apply my skills, though. I think working for a company/organization with a mission that excites me more could compensate a little for the fact that my actual function within the organization is meh.

      How long have you been in your current job? What was it about your previous job that you loved more? Your work, or who/what you were working for?

    • Consider reading “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” – it discusses how “finding your passion” as a way to drive your career is overrated and, for many people, a mistake. Instead, it posits that being passionate comes from devoting time and learning skills in a particular area – that your work can lead you to passion, rather than passion leading you to work. I won’t try to summarize the whole book here, but maybe give it a read and see if it gives you some thoughts about how you want to move forward.

      • Spirograph :

        Yes! I actually read this recently, after seeing it recommended here, and found it helpful (although I didn’t love the writing).

  6. Bos v ma? :

    Does anyone have thoughts on joining the Boston bar association vs. the mass bar association? Tia!

    • Yes. Mass Bar is much more litigation and public interest focused. BBA is broader in scope and has a lot more events that are well attended. I find the BBA events much better for networking and corporate, IP and other fields of law that are not just solos/crim law. As a law student, both are free to me, but I make real connections and have learned a ton from BBA. Mass Bar has a few socials and not many CLEs. BBA has a ton of events and lots of CLEs. BBA by far, unless you are doing public interest/crim/solo work.

  7. Hi, all. I need some shopping help. I have a long sleeved, v-neck cardigan from Halogen I got at the NAS a few years ago that I love. It’s kind of a dark golden-y camel color. Caramel might be a good way to describe it. It’s starting to show it’s age, and has a few small holes on the inside of one arm. I’m looking for a good replacement for it, but can’t find anything in a similar color. I’d like it to hit at the hip ideally (I love the J Crew Classic V-neck Cardigan, for instance, and have it in several colors, but they don’t have the right color I’m looking for.) Anyone seen anything like this? It’s a layering piece I wear often, so while I’d probably prefer a wool price point, I may be willing to go up to cashmere for the right sweater. Please help??

    • Check out Land’s End cashmere cardis. They’re very nice quality for the price

      • Thanks! I can’t believe I didn’t think of Land’s End, but they have a merino wool one that is exactly the right color and the right shape! I really appreciate the help.

        • Traditionalist :

          Just popping in to say — Don’t forget to consider sizing down, as LE runs large(at least on me).

          • Baconpancakes :

            Danger! Everything I’ve ordered recently has been returned for a size up – I think they’re cutting things smaller in response to everyone’s complaints about things being too big.

            I felt really self-conscious at Sears returning a size Medium sweater until I realized I was standing there wearing a Lands End Medium sweater from the year before. I’m a Large at every other store, so their sizing finally makes more sense.

    • Not the JCrew cardigan in hazelnut? It’s exactly what I picture for a dark golden/caramel cardigan.

  8. If you have made the move from a law firm to an in house or other non-firm legal position, how did you identify open positions and opportunities?

    I am a mid-level big law associate in a niche corporate practice. I get lots of calls from recruiters about other big law opportunities, but I have little interest in moving to another firm. There are not a ton of in house opportunities in my field, and basic job searches on the web yield few results. I know that opportunities do exist, but I sense that most companies do not post these openings publicly if they can avoid it.

    Any advice or thoughts on how you found your job? Recruiters, networking, Internet searches?

    • Luck.

      I was let go from big law as a junior associate in the 2008 bloodbath and figured I was way too junior to go in-house. As luck/fate would have it, I found an awesome in-house position that I had a unique skillset for, and I’ve been happy as a clam!

      We advertise on ACC and use recruiters as well as personal recs when looking for candidates.

    • I found my in-house job through my personal network. It was an out-of-the-blue call from an acquaintance. At my company, most jobs are filled through word of mouth and personal recommendations. If that fails, then we contact external recruiters. We also advertise on ACC, I believe.

    • Do you want to stay in your niche practice? Really specialized people are hard to hire in-house — as most companies wouldn’t have a sufficient volume of work to keep a specialist busy full-time. That said, if there’s one client that you get a significant workflow from (say, 20% of your time), you might quietly sound them out to see if they’d be interested.

      Anyway, I am now in-house as a result of a client approaching me to see if I’d like to “switch teams.” My husband is in-house as a result of a TON of googling, networking, applying, and spreadsheets — he checked a bunch of s!tes, but one that I think he found most useful is

    • Lazy lawyer :

      Mostly luck. I knew I would be moving out of state due to my husband’s work relocation, so when a recruiter cold-called me, I sort of jokingly told her I wasn’t interested in anything local but would love to hear about opportunities in [new state]. Turns out, that recruiter knew a recruiter who placed lawyers in new state, and put me in touch with her. Ultimately I got my job through that second recruiter. So — if you’re getting recruiter calls, tell them what you are looking for and it might turn out well for you! My current company advertises on our website, on ACC and with recruiters.

    • I had the same circumstances – big law niche practice wanting to go in-house. Once I hit my “I’m officially starting to look” moment, I took every recruiter call but told them no other law firms (varying degrees of how well they listened to me, but look, they exist to use you so you may as well use them). I also networked a lot. I wound up going in-house at a company I interned at ages ago (I kept up the business contact). I found that for every job I interviewed for and lost, they typically went to someone with a connection. I hate to tell you this, but the in-house world (especially in my practice area – media) is VERY who-you-know. So network like CRAZY, even if you hate it (like I did). And if you are looking to go into media, reply here with an email and I’ll be happy to talk to you with more specifics :)

  9. Snow Clueless :

    I’m spending three days at a ski resort in Park City, Utah next month for work. I live in California, have never been to the snow before and I have absolutely NO IDEA what to wear and how to dress. Can someone please help me figure out what kinds of items I should buy and how to approach layering? What do you wear for skiing/snowmobiling versus just being outdoors/walking around the resort? Also, shoe/boot help would be greatly appreciated too.

    • The important thing is that you get a good ski jacket (TJ Maxx or borrow) and trousers (ditto). People generally wear their ski jackets as coats around the ski town.

    • I lived in the area for 7 years. If you’re actually skiing in February, as opposed to walking around the resort, wear an undershirt, long sleeve shirt (workout wear), sweater, jacket, and ski coat. You may shed a layer or two during the day–I often end up spring skiing in just one or two shirts and a coat in Utah–but you also may not. Park City resort is a bit higher elevation and, thus, colder than most other Utah skiing. But UT weather can be all over the place, so look ahead when the time comes. On the bottom, wear leggings, pants, and ski pants. + goggles + gloves (not mittens!)+ warm hat + two pairs of socks, and you’re good to go. If ski rental cost is an issue, BYU down in Provo has great quality and cheap skis/snowboards and boots to rent at a place called “Outdoors Unlimited.”

      Walking around outfit depends on how professional you need to be. You could wear a ski coat, but I would recommend a more professional look since you’re going to work. When I lived there, in the dead of winter I wore a shirt, sweater, and wool coat on top and pants, maybe even with thermal underwear underneath. + gloves, definitely.

      Park City is beautiful. Head to the Montage for yummy marshmallow roasting–the marshmallows come in lots of flavors!

      • Forgot shoes–when walking around in snow, WARM boots. Park City is a place where Uggs are appropriate and preferred (waterproof them first!). Inside and professional, I’d do heels. Outside and professional, flats with tights, honestly. It’s a terrible look but it’s so cold that people do it.

      • Maddie Ross :

        Second all of this. Ski gear is basically winter workout gear (wicking material and/or wool), plus ski jacket + ski pants. I disagree on not mittens – I love love love ski mittens. Gloves do not work for me. I wear a glove liner with fingers under thick mittens. Goggles or sunglasses and a helmet (which you can rent) are musts.

        As far as walking around, if you’re a first time skier especially, I’d probably bring a second coat of some sort, or at least thick fleece. There is nothing worse than trying to go out to dinner after a day on the slopes in a sopping wet coat from falling. Otherwise, ski town (esp. Park City) apparel is pretty much a mix of ski gear and casual clothes (jeans, sweaters, etc.). There are always a few women in “après ski” clothes, but I think that’s more prevalent in Aspen and nicer places (maybe even some nicer parts of Deer Valley than I’ve been to… like Montage mentioned above).

        I like Sorel boots and you can wear those snowmobiling probably too. Don’t plan to wear Uggs. They are not great in the snow (they get wet too easily and don’t have traction).

        • Maddie’s right–Sorel is way better, but I was poor at the time, so it was cheaper for me to waterproof my Uggs.

          And a clarification: I said no mittens but should have said “without another layer” because they get wet easily, and if you fall when you ski…ya.

          • Mittens don’t by definition get wet easily. I have SealSkinz ones and they’re possibly my favourite piece of ski kit.

        • Kanye East :

          Super disagree. I lived in Park City for several years, and if keeping your toes warm is your concern, Uggs are so much better than Sorels. No contest.

          Also, bottom line: it’s Utah, and nobody but nobody is going to judge you for what you’re wearing. The only exception is during Sundance, and even then, the only people judging you will be Californians. Dress for comfort, whatever that means for you.

        • I’m a New Englander, and my Uggs are terrible on ice and get ruined in salty/slushy weather. Warm as he!!, but not appropriate for all cold weather/conditions, in my opinion.

    • I am by no means an expert or frequent skier, but you will want at the very least a coat (can vary, packable down coats are great), ski pants because you will probably fall from time to time, and good waterproof gloves. You can layer in under armour under your ski attire, you will obviously want a good hat, sunglasses or goggles, and remember to wear sunscreen. Breathable socks are also a plus. For around town, boots are useful. I don’t think you need anything else special – you can always layer under armour/thermals/fleece tights under your regular clothing if you’re cold.

      • Maddie Ross :

        Oh, Anona is SO SO right about sunscreen. There is nothing worse than a bad face (or worse, lip) sunburn. I have burnt way worse on the slopes than on beaches in my life.

    • newbinlaw :

      I don’t know where in CA you are, but there are several ski outlets that are amazing if you need real ski stuff (and if you’re going to be skiing in Park City, you really can’t skimp). There is one in San Gabriel (just google San Gabriel ski outlet) that is awesome — tons of jackets and pants on mega sale. I believe they have a sister store in Santa Ana if that is closer to you. Try looking for an outlet to at least get the major things – pants, jacket, good socks, gloves. As others have said, wicking workout clothes work fine underneath in a pinch.

  10. Help me budget :

    I need a reality check on budget – anything I can cut, or does this seem OK.

    I make $3,100 a paycheck (after maxing out 401K and paying for HSA which covers our healthcare costs) and budget off of $6,200 a month. 33% goes into a separate savings account. So I’m living on ~$4K a month. Its me + husband who is still in grad school. I live on the Peninsula of so $$$$$ COL.

    Rent: $1,600
    Internet / phone: $120
    Gas, water, electric: $100
    Car insurance: $1,500 a year for 2 cars
    Gas: $170/month
    Student loans: $200/month
    Food: $600/month
    Travel: $500/month
    Roth IRA: $500/month
    Misc/shopping: $200/month

    I love food and travel and I think those are the only areas I can cut.. or is there something else?

    • Anonymous :

      Rent? Can you get anything for less, even if tiny? How much longer before H starts working (and can he work PT now)? Otherwise, cut travel — that seems like a lot. If you are in a pricey area, you can have awesome staycations.

      • Help me budget :

        I wish lower rent were possible! I don’t say this lightly but I think I might have the cheapest one bedroom in my city. It’s old and tiny but it’s less than what I’ve seen studios go for, and I had to fight off 5 other applicants to get it.

    • When I added this up, you’re spending about 4100 each month. To determine whether or not this is good, a little more info is needed. How old are you? How big are those student loans? Is this just your income? What about your husband’s? And what debt does he have? Do you have an emergency fund? How much is in retirement? That will give a more complete picture. If you’re 22 and the student loans are $10,000 and you have no other debt, you’re doing great. If you’re 45 and have $10,000 in retirement, not so much.

      That said-your grocery bill is pretty high for 2 people. Does that include eating out, or is that literally your grocery budget?

      I would look at decreasing that by meal planning, packing lunch, etc. You could easily save an extra 2-300 just with that change if you did want to pay extra towards debt or bulk up emergency funds.

      • Sorry-saw your husband is in grad school, so what kind of debt is he taking on?

        • Help me budget :

          No grad school debt – I’ve cash-flowed all of it and we have 8 units left to pay for and there’s $8K in the bank for that purpose.

      • Help me budget :

        We have $265K in 401Ks and IRAs. Early 30s, no kids and no plans to have them (for now). Less than $15K in student loans (his from undergrad, deferred). No grad loans.

        $600/month is for all food.

        I’m terrible at packing lunch so I usually just get the $3 soup special at work.

        • Anonymous :

          Wow, $265K in retirement in your early 30s – I think you’re doing insanely well!

        • Yes you’re doing great! Go forth and conquer :) I don’t think you need to cut down if this budget works for you–you’re saving very well and are within your income, enjoy!

          • Anonymous :

            KT, I just want to say, you are killing it today. :slow claps:

          • Hahaha thanks, personal finance is my favorite thing *nerd*

          • Becoming Alicia :

            I second that- its good to have you back KT!

            And super nice of you to offer the poster earlier today personal advice- you are killing it!

    • Do you truly spend $500 a month on travel, or is that just averaged out to convert annual travel spend to a monthly amount? That’s the only one here that seems wacky to me.

      • Help me budget :

        It’s a little bit of both – we usually go on a weekend getaway once every 2 months (going to cut that down), and we do an overseas trip every year. Families live in LA so we try to get down there once every couple of months as well.

        This year there’s a big European family vacation in the works that we’ll probably have to pay $4K for.

    • Wait, so this is your budget AFTER deducting your 401k payment and saving another $2K per month? I think you’re doing pretty well… and $500/month for travel is reasonable for two people given how much flights can cost nowadays, and in light of your relatively low “misc” category.

    • Anonymous :

      I think saving 33% of your after-tax income, post-retirement and HSA, is really good! $500 a month for travel doesn’t seem crazy at all to me. We spend probably more like $1,500 a month (~$20K a year) and make slightly less than twice as much as you do.

    • Roommate? :

      I would shop around for car insurance or increase your deductibles (you have savings to afford to do this). $1500 seems high even for two cars in a HCOL area with a mostly clean driving record. I was surprised by how much insurance costs vary by company. For my auto policy, my former insurer was $1200+, AAA (where I have a homeowners policy) was $1000, and GEICO was $600. So it is worth it to shop around!

      • Are the cars older? Are you in an urban zip code? Bad driving record? A lot more goes into it than area COL. I’m in HCOL but when I moved from HCOL urban to HCOL suburbia, my premium dropped close to $600/year for two cars/2 people. And I shopped the heck out of those rates, bundled with renters/HOA, etc. Right now we pay $1,450 in our HCOL, suburban location with two “low premium” cars – not the newest, but good safety ratings, etc.

      • I agree it’s worth it to shop around, and this post has inspired me to shop around again. But I saw the OP’s insurance and thought it was low. I pay $1200/yr for 2 cars in a LCOL suburban area. Many people in our metro area are underinsured, and our roads are notoriously bad, so I guess that increases the rates.

    • Anonymous :

      I think it’s unacceptable to be spending $600 a month on food and $500 a month on travel and only $200 a month on student loans.

      Objectively, you’re in great shape. And you’re really close on your loans, but I think you should really be able to at least shift to $400 on food and $400 on loans. And if you did one big trip and one weekend getaway this year you’d basically be done with your loans, which sounds awesome to me!

      • Really? I don’t know about that. “Unacceptable” seems a bit harsh. $600 a month in a high cost of living city isn’t really that ridiculous. And while I get paying down loans quickly, if traveling is important to you, then I do think it’s something that is worthwhile to prioritize and save for.

      • Not that Anon :

        Unacceptable seems a bit harsh, but I agree with the sentiment.

        If you are already maxing out your 401k contributions, I might consider dropping the IRA contributions and reducing the travel allotment and attacking the student debt balance. It sounds like you’ve got a pretty good retirement and savings cushion, so get out from the debt so it doesn’t have to continue to factor into your future budgets.

      • Baconpancakes :

        How do two people eat for $200 a month if they go out at all? A not-fast-food dinner in a HCOL area is going to be $30 per person. And I get not everyone has the same priorities, but if you love cooking and eating exciting foods, your kitchen is a sad place on $200 a month for two people.

        • Anonymous :

          She said $400 not $200, which makes a big difference. And while I love food and definitely spend more than $400 a month on food for me and my husband, I totally disagree with your statement that dinner in a HCOL area has to be $30 a person. A fancier dinner, perhaps, but when I lived in the Bay Area our average weeknight meal was around $30-40 for two people. There are tons of excellent (but not fancy) Asian and Mexican places where a person can easily eat for $10-15 and even tons of French/Italian/American places with entree prices under $20.

        • Anonymous :

          Right. I think they should be spending $400 a month on food, moving $200 to loans of the $600 they had been spending. I agree $200 isn’t reasonable!

        • Baconpancakes :

          Ah, I read it as shift $400 from food, not shift TO $400. Yeah, $400 is perfectly doable. I mean, you can absolutely eat healthy, delicious food on $200 a month, it’s just not as exciting.

          I’m basing my HCOL food expense estimates on DC prices, where an entree is $15, a drink is $10, and tax and tip push it over $60 for two. DC proper has a couple of great El Salvadorean chicken places for cheap, but terrible Mexican food (with notable, mostly $$$ exceptions), and no super cheap but good Asian places I’ve ever run into (even pho places are $12 a bowl). There’s some pretty great, cheap, ethnic food outside of DC, but you have to drive a good 30 minutes to get to any of them. This is all to say – DC has completely messed up my understanding of the cost of living.

  11. I also need some shopping help. For years I had a camel colored (nude for me) Cami that was very thin, silky and not stretchy. It also had adjustable straps which was very useful because there is a very short space between my chin and the beginning of my cleavage. I used it to camoflage many too low necklines as well as add another layer to clingy tops and sweaters.

    I replaced this dreamy cami with one that fits the above requirements but is stretchy and is prone to bunching up around my waist which is uncomfortable and, I imagine, unattractive.

    Can you recommend one that works?

    • I would also love to find a similar cami, but in the meantime, I actually hemmed my “bunchy” camis to waist length. SO much better than constantly trying to wriggle around in my wrap dress to tug the bottom back into place… where it would stay for approximately 6 minutes.

    • Maddie Ross :

      It doesn’t have adjustable straps, but I love the Uniqlo Heattech camis. They are thin and super soft.

  12. Oh my gosh, I think I MUST have this laptop bag. Does anyone have one? How bright is the red? Do you mind that it doesn’t have a shoulder strap?

    • Yay! I was goeing to comment on this laptop bag, but wanted to see what other’s thought about it. Personaly, I do NOT like it b/c I do NOT even think it is LEATHER! For that kind of money, I want a bag that is LEATHER. Much of the other stuff on that AUSTRALIEAN website has bag’s that are leather, but I seriusly would NEVER pay good money for a laptop bag that was PLEATHER or worse yet, PLASTIC. FOOEY! I think Kat may have not choosen wizeley on this one. I have a great laptop bag for my MACBOOK AIR that is so good that I am goeing to keep it when I replace my MACBOOK AIR with another MACBOOK AIR, but I will need to wait to see when they UPGRADE the machine. Dad says I need a 512 MEGABITE Solid DRIVE, and mine is ONLEY a 128 MEGABITE Solid Drive. He want’s me to get more RAMM also, tho I do NOT know what all this is about. All I know is that I need the INTERNET to connect to my wireless ROOTER at work and also have it work at home so that I can work from home whenever I want and on weekend’s. That is why I am abel to be the best biller in our law firm. YAY!!!!!

    • Seriously? its not leather, its cheap plastic, and every one of those glowing reviews was written by someone who was compensated by the company for plugging their product. I’m pretty disgusted that this bag is even being plugged here, then again maybe Kat got a free bag too.

  13. I wanted to thank everyone for their comments yesterday re the all-inclusive ranch wedding. For those curious, the groom told DH last night that what they meant–though never said to anyone–was: if you don’t do the package, you can’t come to the ceremony/reception. Apparently, they are making no exceptions to that rule, even for the officiant. The groom said he is “losing friends and family over this.” DH told him we are not doing the package for all the reasons previously explained, we would still like to come to the ceremony, and he would still like to be the officiant if they want him to be. Ball is in their court.

    As for how *not* to plan a wedding, I think they nailed it.

    • Wow. WOW.

    • Anonymous :

      That. Is. Crazy.

    • Absolutely nuts. Sounds like the plan is to get the guests to pay for the entire wedding as part of the “package.”

      • Exactly. I called the ranch to inquire about the price of rooms. A group rate for one room is anywhere from $80 to $100/night. So the room portion of the $450 would be $200 at the most for two nights, plus tax, etc. And did I mention that the lovely couple is “strongly encouraging their guests to share rooms”? Nah, I’m good thanks.

        • SHARING A ROOM? Shut the front door.

        • As tacky as this is to let your guests pay for your whole wedding (or at least some part of a kickback), it is crazy to me that this bride and groom would think that everyone attending the wedding would have $450 to spend just to celebrate them (plus gift, flight, etc.). There are very few people that I would spend that on and usually then I’m at least a bridesmaid.

          Maybe they just wanted a tiny wedding and this is how they figured they could get no one to attend?

          • Anonymous :

            I don’t know, this is a destination-type wedding and $450 on lodging for two nights isn’t that crazy. Our official wedding hotel room rate was $220 a night (high, I know, but it was high season in a resort area) and most guests stayed for at least two nights because the wedding location was hard to reach. And at least here the $450 includes meals. Obviously this will make it cost-prohibitive for some people, but I think it is not at all out of line for a destination wedding. The fact that you can’t attend the wedding if you don’t stay at the official hotel is cray, though.

          • When I first saw that the package was $450 yesterday, I thought that actually sounded like a pretty decent rate for 2 nights + meals compared to hotel rates in the cities I’m used to going to. But I think when the normal group rate is only $80-100 night, it’s a little different scenario to be adding that much of a markup on to the room when the extra money is not going to transform the room into a fancier one worth the extra $.

          • Really? I agree that this wedding plan is batsh*t crazy, but DH and I end up spending at least that on just about every wedding we go to. We’re going to a wedding in FL in 2 weeks, and the group rate for two nights at a Courtyard Marriott (not exactly a luxury hotel) is $380. I’m sure after DH’s tux rental, we’ll be well over $450 — and that doesn’t include likely incidentals like going out for drinks after the rehearsal dinner and/or wedding, lunch for me the day of the wedding, etc. In all, this is one of the least expensive weddings we’ve traveled to, and I know almost everyone who attended my wedding paid more. That said, of course we could choose to find less expensive accommodations and still attend the wedding, and I’ve never heard of requiring guests to pay for a package. I guess a cruise wedding would require that, but I don’t know anyone who has gotten married on a cruise and invited guests outside of immediate family.

          • I’m not saying I wouldn’t or haven’t spent that for a destination wedding, but it’s never been required that I spend it. I think it’s crazy to expect that every single person attending your wedding has that to spend (even if many do). Some people will inevitably have to be tight with money and would normally find a less expensive accommodation option or wouldn’t spend that much on food over the weekend. Plus, you still could have all of those incidental costs if you didn’t want to stay at the ranch all weekend (I think there was something about a shuttle?).

            Also, I’m not convinced this is truly a destination wedding – it sounded like it wasn’t far out of the hometown (based on OP saying they were combining it with a trip to visit family in said hometown). While I might not want to drive an hour or so out of town for a wedding because it would hinder my fun, I imagine some people might be willing to in order to spend less. I definitely wouldn’t want to make it a 2-night weekend thing if I didn’t have that far to travel or wasn’t really close with the couple or their friends.

          • Care – you are correct – this is not truly a destination wedding. For the vast majority of guests, it is an hour to 1.5 hours from where they live. I can imagine a lot of guests wanting to stay Saturday night after the reception, but if I only lived an hour away there is no way I would want to do this “package” – I would just drive over the day of and probably stay the one night.

    • This is the most bizarre thing I’ve ever heard of. It does sound like they’re using the wedding guests’ packages to pay for the wedding. I know some hotels will offer packages where if you guaraatee X amount of rooms booked and X amount of money spent on activities, they will give free use of a ballroom or something.

    • That is completely batsh*t. Wow.

    • Veronica Mars :

      This is SO strange and SO tacky.

    • Anonymous :

      This is actually a bit sad, really. How awful that such a potentially joyous time will have such unpleasant fallout.

      • I agree. I have moved on from bewildered –> flabbergasted –> to just feeling sorry for them. Any honest friend, family member, or stranger on the internet would have told them that it’s a terrible idea. Hopefully they can come to their senses and make an attempt to salvage this whole thing in the next three months. It sounds like the groom wants to be more flexible, but says it’s not up to him (meaning it’s up to the bride and she’s insisting on this). Really this whole thing = disaster.

      • Right. I’m wondering if the venue sold them on this, and managed to convince them that it was fine. Terrible.

    • Anonymous :

      Thank you so much for sharing. Truly.

    • Roommate? :

      I hope their contract with the ranch lets them pull out if not enough people RSVP. It might be a lonely wedding otherwise.

    • when you said the bride wanted people’s credit card info, that was a huge NOPE. now that it’s you apparently can’t attend the wedding at all if you don’t do the package, that’s just beyond crazy.

    • Let me guess: the bride wants the credit card numbers because there is no actual “package” offered by the hotel; she’s just going to put $450 on everyone’s card to offset her own expenses.

      I would be appalled, but I feel really badly for them. City hall and a cute brunch would have served them so much better.

    • I want to feel bad for them, but I really just can’t. This is so selfish, tacky, and unreasonable that I’m mad at them vicariously for every single loved one they have. They’re either miserable or idiots and I can’t decide which is worse.

    • Dear Prudence :

      I guess all prospective brides, bridesmaids and regular invitees can stand down. We have a wedding story win, and so early in the year!
      And the wedding might not even take place after all…

  14. wedding planning nerves :

    I am planning a wedding- my second, her first. We both come from large, religiously traditional families. My extended family has been somewhat distant since my first marriage ended, and many members of both of our families are uncomfortable with our sexual orientation to begin with. (This will be the first gay wedding on either side.) We love our families. But, we’re not sure how many of our family members will actually want to attend. If we invite all aunts, uncles, and cousins plus their significant others, there would be about 200 invites just for family. We are guessing less than half will attend (maybe even fewer than that), but then again, the world is changing so who knows? I’m wondering if there’s any kind of socially acceptable way to get a soft sense of who would want to come prior to reserving a venue. It would feel sad to reserve a large space only to have an undersized party for the size of the space but we don’t want to make assumptions about who would or wouldn’t be supportive- if someone wants to come, we would be thrilled to have them there. As an additional consideration, we will be paying for the wedding entirely ourselves. Is there some sort of polite way to get an early idea of who would want to come? Or do we just send the RSVPs, make an educated guess, and hold our breath that we weren’t way off in our estimate?

    • That is a really tough one. One thought is to send a save the date through something like Paperless Post where people can RSVP? That could give you a general idea, perhaps? (Knowing that not everyone would know by then with travel plans, etc., and some people would ignore the RSVP aspect.) You know your family, but would people just refuse to even RSVP because they wouldn’t want to acknowledge the wedding?

      I hope that this ends up being a joyous and fun experience and that the most important family and friends are supportive and there!

    • Anonymous :

      Friends had a wedding scheduled and one person came out as transgender the week before in our small conservative community. Turnout was as expected, no one seems to have bailed because of the announcement.

      I think you will be surprised with how decent and accepting people can be. Good luck and congrats!

    • There are lots of books on how to predict what percent of those invited to a wedding will actually attend. I would plan on the conservative end of the range from one of those books when selecting a venue. Also, you could maybe have a family member with whom you are close bring up the topic with extended family to get a feel for whether people are generally planning to make an effort to make it.

      I would also look for venues where size is expandable if more people RSVP than expected. For my wedding, if too many people RSVPed, we could expand into the cocktail area and set up additional tables. While the logistics wouldn’t be ideal in that situation, I felt like it was worth it to plan for the more likely result but have the backup available. We didn’t wind up having to use the extra space.

    • Anonymous :

      You could send out an email informally announcing your wedding during X month, asking people for their addresses, and saying that a save the date will be coming in the mail. A lot of people will respond enthusiastically, and say something like, “Congratulations — we can’t wait to see you get married!” It’s imprecise, but it may give you a rough idea of how many people will be likely to attend.

    • Anonymous :

      “I’m wondering if there’s any kind of socially acceptable way to get a soft sense of who would want to come prior to reserving a venue.”

      A Save the Date! It’s totally acceptable to send these six months to a year in advance (before you have to book a venue) and most people will informally reply to you and you’ll have a sense of who is coming or at least interested in coming.

    • Anonymous :

      Email a practical wedding and ask!! There are lots of readers on there who have been through this.

    • I just received a save the date from my friends (a simple cute postcard with date and a pic) and it said to go to “” and I did and it had a place for you to RSVP. I thought that is such a good idea. I hate traditional RSVPs. Why aren’t we doing this evite style!?! The postcard did say invitation to come but I am sure you could do something similar and people who wouldn’t come because of the gay thing will opt out now if the postcard asks. That would at least help you ballpark and weed out bigots.

      Also, my cousin got married right after Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed so it was about a month notice. We aren’t super close but my sister and I flew across the country and attended. The only ones who didn’t attend were the (other) bride’s family and the rest of my immediate family who couldn’t pull together the money in a month notice (we both had points). That was only 2013.

    • Save the date with a request to send your most current address if you are available to attend?

  15. I think I’m looking for some reassurance.

    I’m 5 months into my job in big law, after spending 2 years clerking. I feel so discouraged at work, I think mostly because I know that I’m not good at my job. And even though I know it’s unrealistic to be good at this point, it’s just hard. I really, really hate the part where I have to ask for work and try to bill a ton of hours — that is definitely the most stressful part.

    I think I’m just in a negative cycle, especially because I know that I need to stay at this job because we need the money. But since I feel like I’m not any good at it, I get really worried about losing the job. And then I think about spending the next couple of years hating my job until we can comfortably afford for me to switch to a different job.

    I figure that this is a nearly inevitable part of transitioning into this world. It will get better, right?

    And for those of you who have gone through a similar rough transition, any advice? Right now I think my best course is to mentally throw myself 110% into work so that I can build confidence and relationships. Kind of “fake it until you make it.” I just have to psyche myself up for it!

    Thanks in advance.

    • Anonymous :

      Inevitable transition period. You just keep doing it and eventually it gets better or you quit.

    • One thing that helped me when I was there (and I was totally there!) was being reminded that it doesn’t make sense to fire first-years. They knew when they hired you that you wouldn’t be super profitable for a while, and training is expensive, so it’s in their interests to keep you on and mentor/train you as much as possible so you can be a rockstar later. Also, you’re right, you just have to fake it ’til you make it. It’s hard, but it gets better! And if it doesn’t get that much better after another year or so, you can move.

    • No real advice, but I’m 15 months in and feel about the same. I also came off of a 2 year clerkship, which was such a breeze compared to this. I did just get my bonus, so that made me feel better, and I have gotten some good feedback, but I was also told that I wasn’t invested enough in my cases. I’m dreading my evaluation this month. I also fear losing my job because I have so much student loan debt, and I desperately want to save for a wedding and a house. You aren’t alone in these feelings!

    • What do you think you are not good at? Going from a clerkship to a litigation job should put you a bit ahead, I would think.

      • Anonymous :

        Not OP, and not trying to be harsh — but in my experience, this is exactly the problem! People thought that since I clerked, I should know all the things about litigation. Clerking lets you think about all the big picture stuff and the real meat and potatoes. Being a junior associate is the complete antithesis of that. It’s “make me a chart of the potential witnesses for the third prong of the argument about scienter and figure out if we can depose them in New Jersey” for a case where you’ve barely heard of the client, nevermind the important people and facts. All the necessary details about the case feels so far out of your grasp, whereas clerking gives you so much ownership.

        OP, I totally hear you. I’m similar to anon at 5:41 — 15 months in and still having a bit of a transition phase. All I can do is look back on where I came from and try to find ways I’m improving. Another thing that has helped is pushing really hard to sit in on calls and meetings, just so that I pick up a little more info every time. Clients don’t want to pay for it (especially at your third-year billing rate, unfortunately…) so partners can be reticent, but it can really help with the problem of feeling like you have no idea where your piece of the puzzle fits in.

        Good luck — it does get better, even if in tiny increments!

    • It will get better! Think of it as practicing: everything you do is like a baseball player practicing his swing. You got through law school successfully, you got a clerkship, you are perfectly capable of succeeding at this too(even if you eventually decide it’s not for you). It’s not that you are good or bad at some aspect of the job, you are new at it, and will improve the more you do it.

      Also, why do you think you are not good at your job? Most rookie lawyers don’t really contribute anything positive to a firm’s bottom line in the 1st year, and firms know and expect that, and factor that cost of training new lawyers into the cost of doing business.

    • TO Lawyer :

      I think this is pretty much par for the course for the first couple years of a law job, even with your clerkship experience. Are there specific things that you’ve received feedback on that you’re not doing well or is it general anxiety/imposter syndrome?

    • Thanks, all. I haven’t received any particular negative feedback — just some praise coupled with constructive suggestions on each of my assignments. I suppose I feel like I’m bad at my job simply because I am not great at it, if that makes sense. There is so much stuff where I just feel like I haven’t been able to get my head above water — various firm procedures for managing aspects of cases, or the complexity of some of the big cases (where I can hardly grasp what’s going on in the little pieces of the case that I see).

      Of course, I know it’s silly to expect to be anywhere other than where I am at 5 months in. Logically, I know that time and practice are what I need. I’m just struggling right now to keep at it, day by day, hour by hour.

      The reassurance that this is all normal really helps! Thank you!!!!

      • Yay! Sorry I am late to the party (AGAIN), but I agree with the other OP’s! You are young and entitled to be concerned but NOT to worry. You will get how to do your job more eficieintley over time. I also did NOT have any experence in the PRIVATE sector b/c my past job’s were either in GOVERMENT jobs where the male lawyer’s mainley stared out the windows and rated women based on the size of their boobie’s or the shape of their tuchus–I learned from THEM that my “shelf” was cute. FOOEY! Then I had a job where I did NOT even do law, unless serveing supeeinies can count. So when I became associated with MY law firm, I realy had NO experence and had to watch EVERYTHING the manageing partner did. So I just followed him everywhere (other then the batheroom) and EVERYTHING I did exactley the way he did or the way he told me. Yes, the first year was tough b/c I could NOT bill for anything other then what the manageing partner was doeing, but the manageing partner did NOT mind b/c he said he was investeing in my future and in the future of the firm.

        It is now just over 5 year’s later and I made PARTNER, and my billing’s are the BIGGEST in the entire firm! I learned how to use the pleading’s file eficently and the copying and pasteing I first learned in college using MS Word realy helped me do many cases all at once, just changeing a few thing’s like names, date’s and claimed injurie’s. All the rest was 99% the same. So if I were you, and you are also in litiegation, just learn MS Word and do NOT be afraeid to copy and paste like me. I got a big bonus for doeing an extra 500 hours this year, so try and get your manageing partner to give you a similear billeing challenge and you will have a great year! YAY!!!!

    • It gets better. When I first started, I know I did a good job but it just seemed like everything took forever! I had to look everything up, every time I did anything.

      I made goals like bring something to decorate office that inspires me in July, motivates me in August, is beautiful in September etc. (I forgot all about this I just found the journal in my tax stuff so this was over 7 years ago). Then, focus on the part where you get to have a little bit more of a life than you did in law school. Cherish that part of your day. Take deep breaths. You got this.

      And if you don’t, you’ll know in a year and you can adjust accordingly. :)

  16. Anonymous :

    I work in a creative industry (despite not being creative) and can get away with ALOT on my business card. Can someone suggest a service that does out there cards? Thinking a fun shape, bright colours, just a fun cool vibe.

    • You can probably find cheaper alternatives, but moo [dot] com does cute/fun/cool stuff!

    • You can design your own or choose/customize existing designs at – they have regular sales too. I’ve ordered a lot of things from them and everything’s been great.

    • If you’re still checking…

      Second the moo recommendation! They are awesome. I also love Jukebox Print, they do a lot of cool and funky stuff.

  17. You guys, I am having the most delicious lunch of ramen soup made with homemade chicken stock and some leftover chicken sausages, with a few veggies thrown in. It took about 10 min to make.

    The reason I’m posting is because I want to recommend again making your own chicken broth whenever you make roast chicken. Just throw the chicken carcass after the meal into your crockpot with whatever aromatic scraps you have laying around (tops of onions and carrots for instance) and cover with water. Set to low and strain sometime the next day – I usually do it after work. I put it in 8oz mason jars in my freezer and defrost when I need it.

    I learned the tip on thissite a couple of years ago and I’ve done it faithfully since. We have roast chicken pretty much every weekend and it feels good to use the whole bird this way.

    Thought I’d repeat the tip because it has been so great.

    • Thanks for posting this. I’ve been wanting to make my own chicken broth for a while and just haven’t gotten around to it. This is exactly the specific motivation I needed.

      • Wildkitten :

  18. The Dreaded Dating Talk :

    I need some dating advice, Ladies.

    I met a man online almost two months ago. We are both in our mid-30’s, neither of us being married or having children. He emailed me first and we met up and just hit it off. I really like him and he is so different (in a really great way) from the guys I’ve dated in the past. He is kind, smart, funny, and attractive. Since we met, he has consistently set up dates with me and we have seen each other two to three times a week, aside from a two week period where he was overseas for the holidays. During that period, we had texting conversations about twice a day that he usually initiated. When he got back, he made plans to see me the very next day. We have fooled around, but not had a lady garden party because he sensed correctly that I wasn’t ready for that step. However, I obviously didn’t want to mention in that moment why I didn’t want to take that step…

    But…he hasn’t brought up being exclusive. And, I don’t want to go any further physically until we are exclusive. Ideally, I would like for him to bring up the topic, but he hasn’t. I feel like the old rule “let the man bring up being exclusive” is drilled into my brain, so I have wanted to play it light and breezy, although also telling him that I do like him. I have left my online dating profile up, as has he. I haven’t had a date with anyone else in about a month, and I honestly don’t think he has either because I don’t know when he would have. He’s already made plans for a date with me tomorrow night as well as Saturday.

    At this point, I just don’t have any interest in seeing someone else and I want to see where things can go with him. And, I don’t want to become more intimate with him without knowing he’s not seeing other women. So…do I bring this up? Do I just keep waiting for him to bring it up? I don’t want to pressure him, but I feel like I’m starting to feel nervous about things by not talking about this. Please…give this insecure dater some advice so that I can keep my head on straight with this guy and not do anything stupid.

    • espresso bean :

      Absolutely bring it up! Any decent guy will be understanding. If he’s a jerk about it, use this as a litmus test for the relationship and question whether or not you want to date someone who can’t handle this kind of talk.

      But he sounds very interested, and certainly the topic will have crossed his mind by this point. Better to know where you stand now than continue to worry about it!

      For what it’s worth, I always bring this up pretty early in a relationship and it’s never been a problem. A lot of guys feel the same way. It’s just awkward to talk about.

    • TO Lawyer :

      Just bring it up! If he’s putting this much effort in, he probably feels the same way.

      FWIW, my boyfriend never brought it up but he stopped dating other people before I did. I think he thought that it was implied that we were exclusive, whereas I needed to chat about it first.

    • I am always in favor of bringing up relationship status and similar conversations, regardless of gender. If you’re no longer interested in seeing other people, and your relationship with him can’t really progress (emotionally or physically) unless you’re exclusive, then you’re wasting your time going on dates with him and not seeing other people while waiting for him to bring “it” up. You need to know if you’re on the same page with this guy or whether it’s time to move on.

    • Anonymous :

      Bring it up! I asked my now-DH on one of our early dates (probably the fifth time we hung out or so – we didn’t meet online and like you we had done stuff but no LGP at that point) “So…are we exclusive?” and his reaction was “Of course, it never occurred to me that we wouldn’t be!” Admittedly he was inexperienced with women, but some guys just assume you’re exclusive without needed to have a big Talk about it. If you don’t have any interest in seeing anyone else, just ask!

      • +1 . I had the same experience with my husband. He’s just not one for ever dating non-exclusively or even being interested in more than one person at the time, but I didn’t really know that until later. He was also inexperienced with women though.

      • Late but +1 with my SO, if you’re still reading. He thought it was so obvious that it didn’t even occur to him to talk about. FWIW I’m not sure my BF has ever had a one-night stand, but let’s just say I “enjoyed college” so I was coming from a different background around having to define exclusivity.

    • Anonymous :

      Hey, I wanna bang but only if we’re exclusive. What about you?

      • Anonymous :

        Noooooo don’t phrase it like this! It may get him to agree to something he doesn’t really want, which doesn’t help anybody. Have a non-bedroom talk about it and don’t offer up a “reward” for him saying yes to exclusivity.

    • Bring it up!!!

      Sounds like he’s been doing all the work with this relationship so far. Woman up and do your part and ask for what you want!

      Also, from a practical standpoint – I haven’t had the exclusivity discussion until after I was intimate with someone, even though we weren’t actually seeing anyone else despite having our profiles still up (though my demographic may be different from you.) Not that I would object or find it weird at all if someone wanted to discuss exclusivity before being intimate – it just means that if you try to wait for him to bring it up… he might not.

    • I don’t think I’ve ever had an exclusivity talk. I’m living with my bf of 5 years (definitely exclusive) and we have never talked about it. I think I just assumed that once we were seeing each other regularly we were exclusive, and I think that’s been the case with all my long-term boyfriends. Honestly, you’ve been with him for 2 months, I think you can probably assume you’re exclusive…

      However, one of my girlfriends always seems to have exclusivity talks. I think she says something like “If we are going to start (sleeping over, or whatever euphemism you want to use) I need to know that I’m the only one.”

      It seems to work for her.

    • Definitely bring it up. It wouldn’t occur to me to tie s*x with exclusivity unless I had the conversation first. I also haven’t ever assumed exclusivity without a conversation — I have had relationships where I had clothes and a toothbrush at the guy’s house, but never a discussion or presumption of exclusivity. If this is important to you, you need to discuss it and make sure you are on the same page. He seems into you, though, so this shouldn’t be a tough conversation.

    • Agree that you should bring it up outside of the bedroom. Also, thanks for sharing. I’m all new-relationship-happy-nervous for you now. Good luck!

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