Suit of the Week: Topshop

For busy working women, the suit is often the easiest outfit to throw on in the morning. In general, this feature is not about interview suits for women, which should be as classic and basic as you get — instead, this feature is about the slightly different suit that is fashionable, yet professional.

There are a lot of boring suits and really wacky suits out right now. This bright green jade suit from Topshop is an interesting one because it’s well-reviewed and comes from a younger brand. Colorful suits are usually associated with older women, but this cut is very modern, and the brand is very modern, too. So if you want a really fun suit that’s also affordable and professional, check this out. It’s nice that you can wear it as separates, and the pants look good by themselves for work. They come in green, blue, and pink, while the jacket only is available in green and pink. At Nordstrom, the jacket (Double Breasted Suit Jacket) is $125, and the pants (Tailored Cigarette Trousers) are $68. The size range is 2–12.

For plus sizes, here are some pink (in two shades) and green pants at Eloquii, and a pencil skirt there with a lot of color choices that include pink and green.

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Comments

  1. Marshmallow :

    I love the look of this suit in the photo (minus the graphic tee) but I feel like on myself, there’s no way I wouldn’t just look like a leprechaun in a double-breasted green suit.

    • I love it too, but it’s not quite the right shade of green for me :(

    • Anonymous :

      The rise of the pants seems to be a bit high, no?

      • Marshmallow :

        I’m fully on board the high-waist-pants trend! I think it’s flattering on my body (hourglass, average height) and makes my legs look longer. I’ve gotten annoyed lately with some of my older, lower-rise suit pants, actually, because I find shirts don’t look as good tucked into the lower rise.

        • Anony Mouse :

          I find the opposite to be true. I’m tall and have a straight body with long legs and short torso. High-waist pants make me feel unbalanced.

    • I wish I could wear a pant’s suit once in a while, but the manageing partner FORBIDDS it. He says that I need to look lady-like in order to attract and retain cleint’s and he is right. I do feel sometimes like men just like to ooogle me, but I NEVER let them touch me. I was SOOOOO happy for Taylor Swift winning her case where the guy grabbed her tuchus and sued her! FOOEY on men who grab our tuchusses and then sue us! I would be mortified if some guy grabbed my tuchus and then sued me! TRIPEL FOOEY on that!

  2. “Colorful suits are usually associated with older women, but…”? But what? What a weird and ageist comment.

    • Anonymous :

      Did you read the rest of the sentence? It says “but this cut is very modern, and the brand is very modern, too. “

      • Anonymous :

        Even with the second half of the sentence it’s still a weird, ageist comment.

      • Yes, I did. The rest of the sentence explicitly draws a contrast between the older woman and a modern cut/brand. Please don’t equate older with frumpy, old fashioned, etc. It’s a stereotype.

    • Anonymous :

      Idk, I totally have this image in my head of a 50+ woman wearing a snazzy pink suit. Her name is Linda and she probably works in HR.

      • Yeah, that’s the problem. The stereotyping.
        Signed,
        Over 50 and owner of zero “colorful suits”

        • Me too. Over 50, in the South, and my wardrobe is composed of black, dark gray, light gray, white and ivory. Where does the older woman in a colorful suit stereotype even come from? I don’t know personally any over 50 women who work in a professional setting who wear colorful suits, unless you count seersucker or light blue oxfordcloth in June, July, and August.

          • Hillary Clinton, and all sorts of women senators/congresspersons. It’s definitely a look.

          • https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5b/Senate_women_March_2009.jpg for instance. Look at all the color being rocked.

          • Did you ever think that what these women have in common is “working in politics” and not “old”?

            And they’re older as a group because this is a very senior level job. They don’t have it because they’re older, it just took this long to get it.

            Really.

          • When we were young in the 80s and 90s, colored suits were in style. Some people got used to them and still like them. That’s all.

          • Anonymous :

            Oh please, you surely know who they mean! Linda from HR was one of the first to get the new VW bugs when they were new. Those Linda’s are nearing retirement now, nut there are others to take their place. I’m 50 (until tomorrow, HB t2 me) and am very aware of this look. It’s one I’d rather avoid, so even though I see the ageism in that comment, I also see it as a warning that wearing a brightly colored suit could set off this stereotype in other people’s heads.

      • Brands do not have ages :

        And again with the “younger” brand thing. When is this going to stop?

        And do people still say, “modern”? That sounds like something someone would say in the 70s about a new blender or an am/fm transistor radio.

        Barf.

      • I’m just over 50 and I wouldn’t be caught dead in this suit or a pink suit. Stop it. Honestly replace “50+” with a race and see if you still feel comfortable making that generalization.

      • Linda from HR :

        I will have you know I wear no such thing!

        • When I was 25 and worked in HR, I was totally rocking tons of color. So, opposite day?

          • Linda from HR :

            I will admit, I rock colors – navy, red, yellow, for the most part, although my green cardigan makes am appearance. I had a cute plaid skirt that doesn’t fit these days . . . but yeah, my wardrobe isn’t boring, but I don’t wear suits because my industry doesn’t require them.

          • Oh, I should be clear: I was opposite-daying the original “50 and probably works in HR” comment. I’m sure you rock what you rock!

          • anonlawyer :

            me too. I’ve worn bright pink and bright blue full suits, as well as blazers of every color in the rainbow since i was 25. 41 now and still going strong.

        • Pahahahahahahah love you Linda

      • Senior Attorney :

        I totally bought the bright pink suit from BR this spring and I am wearing the heck out of it, although for the most part I break up the pieces. And I rocked a bright pink suit when I was a young lawyer in my 30s.

        But yeah, I don’t super appreciate the whole “older = bad” thing.

    • Anonymous :

      I feel like Kat is working hard to cut down on the pushback against her reviews. If she doesn’t put in statements like these, she gets a lot of ‘ewww, that’s old” “ewww…that’s frumpy…” in the comments. (We could give her a break. She can’t please everyone.)

      Still… I’d agree that there’s no need to stereotype clothing by “it’s too old.” It’s just as easy to say, ‘not my style’ or “too classic for my taste” or whatever. And commenters can as easily say, “Not my preference” as “ewww… frumpy.”

    • Anonymous :

      Some women work industries wherein looking older that way is a problem. They can try to change it themselves, or accept it and fight different battles.

      Acknowledging ageism and sexism is not agreeing with it.

      • Really. Should we talk about how natural hair holds women back too? No. This is absolutely perpetuating it.

      • Brands do not have ages :

        But clothes themselves do not have an “age.” It all depends on the woman, her style, and how she styles the clothes. Donning a colored suit (assuming it is not 20 years old) does not make one look older, and wearing something from Topshop doesn’t make you look younger. It’s in the styling. That’s why it’s so annoying when someone says something is “old” or “young.” I can wear whatever and look stylish or frumpy regardless of age.

        • Brands do not have ages :

          And yes, agree with Anon at 4:13. I should be saying stylish and frumpy, not old or young. That just perpetuates all of the youth madness in our culture.

        • And just the idea that “old” = bad and “young” = good.

          Shame on you, Kat. Seriously.

          • Former Retail :

            Maybe “dated” is a better descriptor. I think of the jewel-towned skirt suits my mom wore to church in the 80’s.

            But also, this is a fashion blog, and far from the most seious thing going on the world right now. Everyone take a deep breath.

        • Liquid Crystal :

          So how much Eileen Fisher can I pull off, casually, at age 34?

    • Agree! What?!

  3. Tired Anon :

    Man, it’s been a week. I just had a pretty disappointing professional setback after a week or so of anxious hopefulness and I’m drained. I have a trip planned next month to Dallas (I’m in the PNW) for a convention for a personal interest (not a work trip). Normally I’d be pretty excited to nerd out about this interest with other like-minded people, but after what’s been a pretty intense summer I’m thinking about canceling and going on just a personal, zone-out and relax vacation instead. Any ideas?

    • Rainbow Hair :

      My advice is this: I’d go to the convention if you can psych yourself up for it. Speaking for myself, when I feel down in the dumps sometimes I cancel/avoid things that will make me happy because they seem like so much work. But then when I don’t go I’m like, “ugh now I’m not even doing the thing I was looking forward to! everything is worse!”

      Is it at a nice hotel by any chance? Maybe you can bribe yourself like if you go to the first two sessions, you can skip the rest and have blender drinks by the pool if you aren’t into it.

    • Lorelai Gilmore :

      So I definitely get the appeal of the zone out vacation – but in my experience, when you’re drained and burned out, it can sometimes be better to do something like this convention that would recharge you. Maybe instead of resting, you can get re-energized and inspired about all of the amazing things in your life outside of work. I’d probably be tempted to try a little of both – a day spa and a great pool, together with the convention. Good luck and I hope you find just what you’re looking for.

    • Anonymous :

      Go but give yourself liberal equivalents for Senior Cut Day. I’m sure there’s a pool and frozen drink calling your name . . .

      • Senior Attorney :

        This. I skip a lot of the sessions when I go to those kinds of things and just sightsee or chill in the bar or by the pool.

    • anon a mouse :

      Go. Call the hotel now and book a spa treatment (or book something at a nearby spa) so you have something non-convention to do too. Sounds like it will be a great change of scenery for you — the convention and the location.

    • Tired Anon :

      Thanks everyone. It’s been such a disappointing week and it would be so easy to just wallow in feeling sorry for myself.

  4. I really need a late summer/early fall wardrobe refresh, but I am struggling hard to find anything I like. If anybody has ideas for great tops for someone who is a size 10 on top but has a size 12 waistline/hips, I am listening. I’m used to having fit issues with pants, but I can’t even find good tops these days! Mediums are usually too small around the waist and the larges are too wide for my shoulders/bust. And I am so sick of polyester everything, although I realize I’m not going to win that battle. (What I REALLY don’t get is polyester that’s dry clean only. Isn’t easy care supposed to be the upside of this fabric?)

  5. slow August :

    How do you all pass the time when things are slow at work?

    • Boston Legal Eagle :

      Read and respond to a lot more comments on here :) Try to get some much-needed doctor’s appointments out of the way. Longer lunches. Maybe a few professional webcasts if there are things of interest. Finally tackle some administrative projects at work that I don’t ordinarily have time for.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Reading every comment here.

      In all seriousness: Organizing my desk, setting up systems, reading journal articles, catching up on trainings, doing the little things I never have tiem to do (reimbursements, etc).

    • Cookbooks :

      I address small things that I overlook when I’m busier, things that I’ve let slip, like my inbox. I’ll sort through my email and clean things up. Or my voicemails, because I save almost everything and periodically I need to go in there and delete old messages. My desk is my own little paper kingdom, so I’ll also through stuff and see what I can discard or shred.

    • Pinterest. Recipes. Dream about fall baking.

    • Plan my next vacation. Make templates, envelopes, etc. to make life easier when it does pick up. Read articles and case law. Make a budget. Take surveys online for money. Catch up with old friends. Set up a lot of social engagements. Plan my holiday shopping, meals for the week, grocery lists.

      • Anonymous :

        Oh tell me more about the taking surveys online for money, please!

      • Could you recommend a legitimate website for the online surveys? They all seem somewhat shady…

        • Maybe not the same site X-woman uses, but I have a referral link for the one I’ve used if anyone is interested. I’ve earned about $90 since November doing surveys when sitting on my couch. It can take a while to get the points to add up to the redeeming level, but hey, it’s $90 I didn’t have before. If anyone is interested, email me at britbrit1228 at the google and I’ll send you the referral link.

    • Shop for new insurance policies – car, home, and health

      Schedule and attend doctors appointments

      Drop off dry cleaning and shoe repair

      Mail needed letters/buy more stamps

      rebalanced retirement accounts

      renew car registration

      register for EU passport

  6. LondonLeisureYear :

    Moving to from London to New York this week. I need a new username here. Any ideas?

  7. I’m trying to figure out whether my struggles with anxiety in my new-ish (6 months) job are behavioral (aka, I can CBT my way out of them), chemical (I’m happy with my meds…I think), or if maybe the job isn’t the right fit for me/what I want out of life. This is my dream job that I’ve spent years working towards: I work with great people, I like 70% of the work, the pay is pretty good, the benefits are very good, I work 40 hours per week, and I have zero actual stress. (Any stress is self-induced by perfectionism and the 30% of my job that isn’t up my alley.) I’m a lawyer in politics.

    But that 30% of my job and the attendant daily anxiety have me dreaming of chucking it all and running away to run a Christmas tree farm in Vermont. There’d be no formal written documents to agonize over, no obsessing over whether I used the right word to convey my meaning, no worrying about client relationships (well, a different level), no entering my time. I’d just get to wear sweaters and give people hot apple cider. (I know there’s more to it than that. A Christmas tree farm is just a stand in for any homey, non-office job.)

    Unfortunately, I can’t afford therapy right now (thanks, SLs). Maybe next year with a raise. Have any of you with anxiety changed jobs and it’s been better? Am I “quitting” my career or am I realizing that maybe I don’t want the high-powered job I thought I did? Is this is a personal identity thing or an anxiety thing? Any anecdotes appreciated.

    • Anonymous :

      No advice, just wondering what your 40 hour a week, stress free lawyer in politics job is? It does sound like the dream!

    • Maybe it’s the current political environment?

      Also, I totally would make a Christmas tree farm stressful and have anxiety. I MEAN NEEDLES EVERYWHERE.

      If meds don’t help with the anxiety then I would say it’s a personal identity thing. But your career doesn’t have to be your entire definition. You seem to like most of it. Is there a side passion you can pursue? Also, I have these moments all the time and working out gets me over it. Also my mantra “It’s just life” helps.

      No one is 100% satisfied by their work. It’s work. You’re doing well it sounds like.

      • FWIW I love my job. I can’t think of anything else I would rather do short of winning the lottery. But I definitely have times where I totally am like, I don’t want to go today. And most of the time, I can’t pinpoint why.

    • I kinda got a headache from hitting my head on a glass ceiling, and i’ve taken an “ok for now” position that pays the bills to try to get some perspective.

      This is kind of weird–but I’m into some weird $hit lately. (IDK what to tell you to do re: where the anxiety is coming from, but here’s some stuff that has been helped me w/ anxiety:

      -this acupuncture mat from Amazon
      -essential oils (I know, I know)
      -the book Warrior Goddess Woman (I know, for real, wtf)
      -64 oz water
      -20-30 min. walk
      -a meditation

      I feel better. Sometimes I feel like I’m not reaching my potential, but a guy at my former firm died (total grinder), and then the next day everyone was like, “huh” and went along with their business–not in a disrespectful way, just in a “life goes on” kind of way, and I want to make sure if I’m killing myself or constantly stressed, I’m doing it to leave a legacy I care about (which means different things to different people–some like the $, some want to build a company, some want the kids to be the legacy, I’m figuring mine out.)

      • Anonymous :

        I really liked your ideas. Thanks for sharing.

        Sincerely, an Anxious Annie who’s also trying to figure out what kind of legacy makes me happy before I crush myself at work :)

    • Anonymous :

      My guess is that it’s an anxiety thing — you’re “worrying,” “agonizing over” and “obsessing.” You’ll take those patterns with you to any job you go to. EVERY job is going to have that 30%, and it’s better to learn how to deal with it now than keep trying to change jobs.

    • Anonymous :

      Three words jumped out at me: agonizing, obsessing, worrying. All in relation to relatively minor issues – client relations, word choices….. Yes, I think you are anxious and could use therapy to help yourself work through these feelings. It actually sounds like this is a job you’ll regret throwing away, even for a Christmas tree farm in VT!!
      A lot of therapists work on a sliding scale, or have trainee therapists, or will accept insurance. If you do a little work on this in therapy, you have the oppportunity to succeed in your dream job, which is fantastic!

    • I also recently landed in what I thought was my “dream job” and had a surprising amount of anxiety after. Mine was centered around a very strong feeling of – is this it??? I’m where I always thought I wanted to be, so now what? And I still have to bill my time (which I HATE) and I also have about 30% of my job that I really don’t like.

      But now, I have to say that I’ve kind of settled into it and I’m feeling a lot better. I have a lot less angst about the whole thing and have sort of just relaxed into living my life. I was already going to the shrink before this, so I continued going about once a month and found it to be really helpful in this whole process.

    • It’s the anxiety/you, if you are anything like me. I started working as a teenager and have had tons of jobs in a wide variety of industries. I have been approximately the same level of anxious no matter what job I have had. Except maybe public accounting. It was ratcheted up a notch for that. But I still miss that job a lot, because with the anxiety came a lot of learning and mental stimulation and being surrounded by really smart people who were always urging me to get better. But when I worked at a coffee shop, I was anxious about how poor I was. When I was a teacher, I was anxious about talking in front of a class for 6 hours a day and dealing with obnoxious parents. In public accounting I was worried about my billable hours. In my current job I have a lot more client interaction and I worry about that. No matter where I go, there I am.

      It sounds like you’re in a good job with some annoying parts, which would be true even at the Christmas tree farm. Read Daring Greatly, maybe bump the meds up a notch, and give it some more time. 6 months is not that long.

      • Ugh, that’s me too! Sometimes I wonder why I just can’t be happy where I am.

      • Anonymous :

        on the daring greatly point, I love Brene Brown, but I found the “The Gifts of Imperfection” to be an easier entry point.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      My therapist recommended for me David Burns’ When Panic Attacks… I haven’t bought it yet because I’m really mad at Burns for an example in an unrelated book. But it might be helpful?

    • Anonymous :

      If you can’t afford therapy, maybe try a CBT workbook to see if that is helpful. You could also look into John Kabat-Zinn’s work on mindfulness meditation – it’s research backed. And talk to whomever is prescribing the medication.

      FWIW in my experience anxiety usually pushes me to step away from things I really want, so I think you are right to question your fantasy. Change is always stressful, and 6 months is still new.

      In addition, it doesn’t sound like you can afford to quit/change careers now. So maybe it would be better to take the question of “is this the right job for me?” off the table for at least another 6 months and focus on trying to feel better in your current situation. For me, eliminating what ifs is very helpful. There is no one perfect job. You will probably always struggle with anxiety to some degree, but perhaps it can be managed better.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I feel like if you’re really in this much distress it would be worth taking a good hard look at the budget and figuring out a way to pay for therapy.

      And OMG the Christmas tree farm would be horrible because all those kids running around climbing the trees and the parents complaining about everything…

      • Rainbow Hair :

        I hope this comes across as encouraging and not preachy, OP: I lost insurance coverage for my therapist, and I am finding the cash in my budget to pay out of pocket to see her twice a month. When my paycheck hits, I go to the ATM and withdraw the cost of one appointment. It stinks, TBH, in an already tight budget, but it’s worth doing. A good therapist is invaluable.

    • Maybe you need to re-adjust your expectations? Most new jobs are stressful for people and it can take time to feel settled and secure. I totally understand why you would feel anxious. Plus, landing a “dream job” and even labeling it that way can put more pressure on the situation. I read a book on managing depression that talked about the importance of “distress tolerance.” This is a coping skill that allows you to take a break from your situation. Doesn’t that sound nice? You don’t have to change your life necessarily or avoid your problems. Just give yourself mental breaks from having to wrestle with your stress all the time. Do activities that engage your other senses – exercise, look at beautiful scenes that inspire you (museum, hike), listen to music, spend time with people who lift you up, take a hot bath. And when you do those things, try to be present and give yourself permission to take a break. Good luck! A Christmas tree farm is a neat idea, but I bet that would trigger other stress if you actually did it.

      • She’s recommended a lot around here, so maybe you’ve already read it – Brene Brown has a book that really helped when my self-induced anxiety was getting the best of me. It’s called “The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are”. (I saw her work “Daring Greatly” was mentioned above as well.) All her stuff is honestly great, but some may be more personally applicable than others.

      • Oooooo distress tolerance. That’s exactly what I need to develop. What is the name of this book?

  8. Comment Jumping :

    Small complaint– I have noticed recently that when I am reading the comments here, I get pretty far down the page and then it jumps back to the top. Even if I’m not touching the mouse or keyboard. I lose my place in the comments and have to scroll for a while to find it. It’s been happening for over a week. Kat, help?

  9. A funny office moment today:

    I have a colleague from a partner organization who generally wears a full face of gorgeous make-up. She was late to our 10 AM meeting this morning, and when she arrived and took part in the rest of the 90-minute session, which included people from other organizations, she never removed her mirrored sunglasses–I’m guessing because she hadn’t had time to put on her face.

    Super casual non-profit environment, so totally fine either way. But it made me smile.

  10. Help me not discriminate :

    Re-posting since I was late before:

    I hired a woman for a very public-facing and time-sensitive job. She is an independent contractor. We met for the first time in a while in person last week, and she is very pregnant. She is clearly due right in the middle of what will be the most intense period. She did not raise any coverage issues, so I presume she hasn’t made any. Frankly, even if she has: 1) I hired HER, not some behind-scenes flunkie, and 2) the fact that she didn’t even think to proactively raise this with me, her client who stands to lose thousands of dollars if this goes off the rails, strikes me as unprofessional in the extreme. I’m tempted to revoke our agreement and start fresh with someone else, but that will result in tens of lost hours.

    Advice?

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Talk to her about it. You don’t have to say, hey are you pregnant? You could say do you anticipate taking any leave during this project and how will that be handled?

      • anon a mouse :

        If you’ve hired an independent contractor, you both need to have a contingency plan in case life happens. Pregnancy you can at least plan around (mostly, assuming she’s healthy).

      • blueberries :

        +1. Simmer down and have a discussion about plans before you write her off as unprofessional or terminate the contract. She could a) not be pregnant, b) due later, or c) have a suitable plan (which may involve taking very little time away, which is totally her prerogative, or having her employee cover, which is also her prerogative as an independent contractor).

    • This is a really great opportunity to whip out your communication skills and just ask her. There’s no way around asking her what her plans are, so just do it and develop a plan from there.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I would caution you on assuming when her due date is. I had so many strangers tell me I was going to “have a Thanksgiving baby!!!” when I was due in February. You really can’t tell by looking.

      • lawsuited :

        I looked 40 weeks pregnant for the last 10 weeks of my pregnancy. The number of times I answered some comment about how I was “about to pop” with “I really hope not!” was not insignificant.

    • “she is clearly due … so I presume she hasn’t made any”

      That’s a lot of assuming, both on her due date and her coverage arrangements. You’re not her OBGYN so you don’t actually know what her due date is. Ask. Discuss the arrangements. Why wait for her to bring it up if you’re concerned about it?

      • Not *your* lawyer :

        Agreed, “clearly due” and “I presume…” all smell like you are regarding her as being incapable of her work due to a medical condition/fact.

    • Not *your* lawyer :

      https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/pregnancy_factsheet.cfm

    • pugsnbourbon :

      Talk. To. Her.

      This is why there are so many posts on this page by women agonizing about when to disclose and how to job search while pregnant.

    • I posted it there so will post it here.

      Just want to chime in to also say you don’t *know* she is pregnant. My SIL miscarried at 6 months and walked around for a few weeks with a baby bump afterwards. She burst into tears when a sales person excitedly asked her about her baby. Certainly was not the salesperson’s fault, but ever since then I don’t say a peep about pregnancy until the person says to my face “I’m pregnant.” I also had a friend who it turned out had cancer. She looked pregnant and most certainly was not because her tumor was the size of a baby watermelon and popping out of her abdomen. Simply put – other people’s bodies are just not my business.

      Aside from my advice of keeping to yourself, if you are concerned about coverage, the best way to approach this would be to not say pregnancy at all and just say, “Because time is of the essence in this project, how do you feel about being able to meet these timelines/milestones/goals/whatever? Do we need to discuss alternative schedules or contingency plans before we officially sign?” That way, she can tell you what she needs to tell you (i.e. I am pregnant but due in 4 months, I am confident we can meet this deadline in 2 months or I am pregnant and due in 4 months, I am confident we can meet this deadline in 3 months and here is our fully fleshed contingency plan in the event I personally cannot… or whatever!)

      The truth is even if you hired a man, he could come down with a freak staph infection in a month or have a heart attack or whatever and you can’t control for that, so focus on knowing what you need to know (can this deadline be met).

      • Anonymous :

        I know your comment was well-intentioned (and I totally agree with your point about not assuming the woman in question is pregnant) but I just want to point out that a pregnancy loss after 20 weeks (~5 months) is considered a stillbirth, not a miscarriage. Many woman who have experienced a stillbirth are offended to have their loss referred to as a miscarriage, which most people think of as an early pregnancy loss.
        And I’m sorry for your SIL’s (and your) loss.

        • I know. And thank you. For her, stillbirth was a much more traumatizing word, so she refers to it as her miscarriage – or her ‘angel baby’ :) But you are correct, it was a stillbirth and she had to have a full delivery. It was just terrible. (Also a good reminder to not assume everyone in the maternity ward is having the happiest day.)

          Anyway, all this is to say, tread carefully, OP.

    • Similar situation. I hired a consultant and when I interviewed him, it was clear he was going to break both his legs in a skiing accident in the upcoming 3 months, which was smack dab in the middle of our busy season. I was miffed he hadn’t even mentioned it and he would clearly be dealing with that during the closing. Another time, I hired a woman who wasn’t pregnant but 6 months from the date I interviewed her she was going to catch her husband having an affair with her friend and I figured she was going to be completely distracted by that. And one guy I hired didn’t even think to tell me that in the next year he was going to have to deal with a major health crisis.

      You take the risk of unavailability with anyone you hire. Take preganancy out of the equation. How would you deal if she was hit by a bus or had to go out of the country or had a health scare. You are being discriminatory- this is something you can plan for and tackle.

    • Anonymous :

      I was an independent contractor while pregnant with my second child. I didn’t usually meet my clients in person (we used Skype and phone), but when I was about seven months pregnant I had to meet a client in person.

      Our project was due to wrap up a month before my due date, and I was doing work that could have been done from anywhere. As in, I could have done the work while pregnant, while at in my PJs at home while nursing a newborn, while on an extended safari in Africa, from the summit of Machu Picchu, as long as I had a laptop and internet connection.

      So I did not think to mention to the client that I was pregnant, because in my mind it had ZERO bearing on the work and my ability to do it. Like, it had as much relevance to our working relationship as my plans to renovate my home office later that year or change internet service providers. Not relevant.

      I showed up to meet the client in person seven months pregnant, and he could not stop talking about it. Oh my god, you’re pregnant? When are you due? First child? How are you feeling? So exciting. Etc etc. No direct questions about how it would affected our project, nothing but what seemed to be genuine benevolent concern.

      We wrapped up the project on schedule, no issues. We were supposed to start another project a couple of months after my due date. That didn’t happen, and I never got work from him again.

      My other clients, the ones I never saw in person who never knew I was pregnant, kept asking me to work on projects, no change. I have no idea if my pregnancy was a factor in losing that one client. I would like to know, and I never will.

      TL,dr: OP, don’t be that client.

  11. Writing Sample Q :

    I am a career appellate clerk and am applying for a clerkship in a different state. What is the rule on writing samples? Can I submit an opinion I wrote that has already been released? Do I have to submit the draft I submitted to my judge before the judge made any revisions? I can’t remember the ethics/confidentiality rules for this situation.

    • Anonymous :

      I think each judge has their own standards. Assuming your judge knows you are leaving, I would ask your judge. I used a redacted bench memo.

    • Former appellate clerk :

      Even if you wrote the draft, I don’t think you should use an opinion that went out under your judge’s name. Many judges like to maintain the polite fiction that they author their own opinions, and it might be embarrassing for your judge to have a clerk claim authorship of an opinion. The judge to whom you are applying might also think it presumptuous. A redacted bench memo that went out under your own name is preferable.

    • I called the judge and asked him about this. He said that you should FIRST get your judge to give you permission before releasing one of his opinion’s as one that YOU worked on. It is HIS name on the opinion, but with permission, you can share it. But it is VERY VERY IMPORTANT that you do NOT release an opinion that has NOT yet been published, b/c it could still change until it is published. I am glad to be abel to help thru my own connection to the judge. YAY!!

  12. Linda from HR :

    So while my handle says “from HR,” I actually work specifically in talent acquisition as a researcher. I’m super useful (I think) to people in my own department, but useless to just about everyone else. But my cubicle is right near both the TA coordinators (those who schedule interviews and escort interviewees) and the HR admins who handle new hire forms, gift matching forms, hand out service awards, and take people’s laptops and badges on their last day, that sorta thing. But people see me before they see the admins, so when they come to HR for that stuff, they come to me first (often looming impatiently outside my cube until I notice they’re there, then barking the thing they want at me, like “service plaques!”) and when I direct them to the right person, or say “Jane handles that, but she’s not in right now” they either act very put off and confused as to why *I* won’t take care of them myself, or they expect me to know when she’ll be back and whether I can take a message for them.

    I really wish there was some way to indicate on my cubicle, maybe near my name plate, that I’m not the person to go to. I don’t know what solution I can reasonably propose. Should I ask to put my job title near my name? Could we specify, when telling people to “go to HR” who specifically they should look for? Can there be a sign “see Jane for X, Y, and Z” with an arrow to her desk?

    I get why people keep coming to me and expecting me to serve their HR needs, but I also hate being treated like an admin when I’m not an admin, and I want to find a way to minimize this occurrence.

    • Anonymous :

      Can you put a sign by your cube with a little flag at the appropriate persons desk (so even if everyone knows to go to Linda they don’t ask you where Linda sits)? We have an “on call” person each day of the week in my department and we put a whiteboard out. So it says “if you need assistance see person x cube 1234”

    • To be honest I think all you can do is ask for a cubicle move. I’d do that now. You have perfectly reasonable business justification for it.

      • Linda from HR :

        I feel silly, I actually picked this cube months ago. I was located in a different department when I first got here because my own department didn’t have a spare cube yet, of course it was the cube of an old admin so guess what kind of inquiries I got (yaaaaay). When I was going to be moved here, I had the choice of one of two cubes, and I picked the one that wasn’t right outside a manager’s office, I thought too much face-time with that manger might make me feel like I had no privacy at all. It didn’t occur to me that this cube would have its own set of annoyances. Then again, the other cube is outside some executive offices, so I might have been mistaken for an assistant.

        But yeah, I wish I sat somewhere else, I really should ask but I’ve only been here for 6 months so I feel weird making that request.

        • I think you just need to do it. Just say you’re doing research, you get interrupted constantly by people thinking you’re the department admin. As a result you’re not happy and they’re not happy. Offer to do the majority of the cube move work yourself.

    • I don’t suppose there’s a door on your department? Or a cubicle wall that people see before they see into your cubicle? You could post a flyer that says, “Welcome to HR, For X, Y, and Z, see Jane. For ABC, see Jill.”

    • Ask to move! I’m a woman with a Ph.D. in a technical role, in a company where 95% of the people in technical roles are men. I also sit near the printer. I am endlessly asked if I know why the printer is not working, if I can clear a paper jam, if I can order more paper. (The two hardware guys in the office next to mine, equally near the printer, have never been asked these questions.)

      • blueberries :

        Totally not your job, but please tell me you school people who ask you to order more paper/fix the printer.

    • Maybe it’s in the delivery? Nothing puts me off more than hearing someone say, “that’s not my job, that’s so and so’s job.” Even if that is true, it can come across as very “unhelpful bureaucrat.” Maybe instead of saying, “that’s Jane’s job,” pass it off by directing them to the right person, giving them the initial first steps and any useful information you can provide. For example, “Sure, we can help you with those service plaques. First you’ll need to email Jane. She’s not here at the moment, but I’m sure she’ll respond to you as soon as she is back. Be sure to tell her X, Y, and Z. It usually takes 2 weeks for them to arrive.”

      • I think this might make the problem worse. Then you’ve taken partial ownership, and the person will associate you with the task even though it isn’t up to you. I like the idea of having a visible sign about who handles which general task so people know who to talk to. Make it really visible though, because people get tunnel vision when they go into a new place and won’t see the sign unless it’s really eye catching!

      • Tired Anon :

        Nope. That’s taking on way too much of not her responsibilities. People can deal with being told that they’ve asked the wrong person.

      • Anonymous :

        I think starting off with “not my job” is the problem (literally had the head of “Events” at my firm tell me “events are not her job”) and starting with “i do X, but the right person would be Y” would garner you a lot of goodwill

    • I would approach the boss and explain that you are constantly interrupted by other employees and also you have noticed some improvement opportunity (put an admin in the “entry/high traffic area” so that she can manage the flow and provide better service). I had similar situation, when coworkers were approachung me with requests regarding brands I am not managing. It was distracting as in your case and have sorted it out by sending one email with split of brands/brand managers. I saw it printed out and pinned to some cubicle walls, which was nice. I usually stopped people asking me about not-my-brands, told them I am useless in such case and they need to see colleague XYZ, I am here happy to talk about brands ABC. Since I am generally very open and direct, nobody felt bad.
      My observation is that people do not go to the “wrong” person on purpose, but bc they do not understand the details of your job. I would talk to the boss on how you/HR team can get more facetime with other employees, to share what each of you is responsible for to make sure that people will associate you with that specific role. One of our HR is responsible for managing perks and benefits – so she made a presentation on our new system at an all-company meeting.

  13. Anonymous :

    Maybe put a standing sign by your cube hallway that says stuff like “Employee checkout, Jane –>”

    For people who don’t read signs (not many people do), I’d preface all my comments with “I’m sorry, I’m a researcher and don’t know anything about that. If you go on around the corner, one of our admins can help you.”

  14. Anonymous :

    Do you vaccinate your dogs for leptospiros? Our vet really pushes us to do it, but when we did last year, our dog had a bad reaction to it. It wasn’t a life-threatening allergy but she was acting like she was paralyzed (we assume because she was in so much pain) and she literally did not move for 16+ hours (amazingly, she held her pee and didn’t create a mess in our house). Our vet knows about the reaction and says it’s still fine to keep vaccinating. But I’m really reluctant to subject our pup to this level of pain again, especially because everything I’ve read about the vaccine suggests it is not super effective (i.e., dogs can get it and still get the disease) and it’s really only necessary for dogs who are likely to drink from puddles on the street or swim in standing bodies of water (our dog is a prissy chihuahua who HATES water). Would be curious to hear what other dog owners do.

    • It’s not part of a standard vaccination schedule for dogs, your dog has a bad reaction, the vaccine is not super effective, and your dog doesn’t have behavior that puts it in danger of leptospiros. There is zero upside to this, it just puts $ in the vet’s pocket and puts your dog in pain.

    • No, we’ve never given lepto and don’t plan to. I’m opposed to doing any unnecessary vaccination – not anti-vax, just anti-unnecessary-vax. Ask your vet for a titer test for all diseases except rabies. The titer will tell you if your pup still has immunity to the diseases, or if she needs a booster. Give rabies as normally scheduled but ask for a 3-year instead of 1-year if available. With the reaction to the lepto vaccine, I’d be hesitant to give any vaccines at all moving forward, except rabies.

  15. Lorelai Gilmore :

    Possibly too late in the day for this, but I am looking for home decorating advice. I need to redo my living room and am hoping to hire someone local to do a makeover. My goals are family friendly, robust, comfortable, but still beautiful and serene. I keep looking at pinterest and houzz for decorating ideas so I can show the decorator what I want or at least have language to describe it, but keep striking out. I have young kids, so all of that white furniture, shag rugs, and killer glass coffee tables are out. Where should I be looking for design ideas that are truly family friendly? Or what search terms should I be using on pinterest?

    • Check out catalogs first, which will help you narrow down your style a little more: CB2, West Elm, Pottery Barn, etc. Alternatively, you may love a room you see except for the hazardous-looking glass table. Pin it anyway and then tell your designer, I love everything about this room except I want this coffee table from this photo. A good designer will understand those things without you even saying it! As for inspiration, the best way to search these isn’t by opinion descriptors but by style descriptors. Do you like Modern? Mid Century Modern? Traditional? Beachy? Zen-like? Clean lines? Quirky? California cool? These are hard to capture from “beautiful” as that means different things to different people. Catalogs will help you with this at first (for example, Z Gallerie has a much more modern glam aesthetic and Pottery Barn has a lot more traditional and shabby-chic looks to it). And as for kiddo ideas, I just searched “child friendly living room design on p interest and found a lot of stuff, that should get your ideas flowing with design elements and also practical ideas like toy storage, and couch height, etc.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Would it be helpful to email some pics back and forth? I’m my user name + e t t e at google’s mail. And I have a cute living room and a toddler and two cats.

  16. Thanks for sharing such informative blog article with us in which you have shared colorful styles and fashion. Please keep sharing more.

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