How to Deal When Your Boss Makes Rude Comments About Your Engagement Ring

boss makes rude comments about my engagement ring - advice from Corporette on how to dealOoh, here’s a great reader Q today: how to deal when your boss makes rude comments about your engagement ring. Here’s Reader C’s question:

I am recently engaged, and am having difficulty handling my boss’s reaction. Specifically, he makes “joking” comments about when I will be quitting now that I am engaged. He gave me a hard time for eating my sack lunch saying I “can obviously afford a $10 lunch given that ring.” He also asked me how much my ring was worth (it is a nice ring, but nothing extravagant, ~1.5 carats). I work at a Big 4 firm for reference and am a highly rated employee. Help! How should I handle this??

Wow… I have multiple angry emojis for your boss. We haven’t talked about diamond rings at work in a while, and I can’t wait to see what the readers say. (This has shades of some of our other discussions on sexism at work, including the offensive client who commented on how expensive a bag was, as well as our discussion on how to deal when you work with sexist pigs.)

For my $.02, I think that you need to take your boss aside and say something directly, because this goes beyond “razzing you like one of the boys in the office” or whatever it is HE thinks he’s doing. This is calling up stereotypes of women who quit as soon as they get married — the type who go to grad school for an “MRS.” SUPER fun stereotype, but it can be really harmful to the work environment as well as to your own career. Keep in mind, this is what he’s saying to your face — who knows what he’s saying behind your back? You might want to find another woman in your group to talk this out before approaching him, because she will hopefully know the different personalities at play.

Readers, what would your script with the boss look like? How would you handle it if your boss made rude comments about your engagement ring at work?

Picture via Stencil.how to deal when your boss makes rude comments about your engagement ring - image of a bride's ring finger

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How to Start a Tasteful and Professional Jewelry Collection

When you first start working, how do you build an appropriate jewelry collection — one that’s interesting, tasteful, and professional? Reader A wonders…

I come from a decidedly non-professional background, and most jewelry I’ve bought has either gone out of style in a month or been so cheap I feel it doesn’t fit with my upgraded wardrobe. I don’t want to look like I’m loaded down with bling, but I also don’t want to look like my grandmother. Do you have suggestions for classic pieces that I can wear to school and then to summer internships? My particular school is extremely competitive (aren’t they all?) and many women dress in business casual every day.

How to start building a jewelry and accessories wardrobe is a great question, and something I struggled with when I started in BigLaw.  My previous jewelry collection was a mix of thrifted/self-made/funky — and at first, I didn’t see any real problem mixing it with business suits.  Then one day I got called into a Big Meeting.  Great, I thought, I’m wearing a basic black suit and a simple blouse.  My confidence disappeared sitting in the VIP’s office, as I became acutely aware of the statement ring I’d chosen to wear that day: a large green agate ring (we’re talking 2″ long) on a chipped, undetermined piece of metal.  I’d paid $20 for it at a DC flea market.  What must he think?  I wondered.  I wound up turning it to face my palm as I took notes and asked questions about the assignment.

I’m curious to hear what readers say here, but I’ll offer a few suggestions: [Read more…]

Diamond Rings and the Working Girl

2017 Update: We still stand by this advice on wearing diamond rings to the office and whether or not you should remove an engagement ring for interviews — links have also been updated below. You may also want to check out our more recent discussion about how to deal if your boss makes rude comments about your engagement ring, such as by suggesting you can quit now that you’re marrying someone rich.

This should be a fun conversation. Reader S wonders what size diamond ring is appropriate for a professional woman…

What size wedding ring/engagement ring is appropriate for a professional office? Personally, I think giant rings are gaudy and tacky. But I overheard a couple of attorneys saying the other day “”Do you ever see a friend posting pictures on facebook about her recent engagement and when you see her ring, you think to yourself ‘oh, honey, I’m so sorry!'”” so I guess rings can be too small as well. What size will keep you safe from the gossip?

should-i-take-my-engagement-ring-off-for-interviewI’m glad she asked this question, because I remember some of the comments turned to engagement rings in our conversation on the intern with the Hermes handbag, and there were some fascinating differences of opinion in there. For my $.02, I think that any size ring is appropriate for a professional office, provided that the ring is actually an engagement ring, and not a cocktail ring worn as an engagement ring. (Engagement rings are fairly simple, in part because they’re intended to be worn on a daily basis. Diamond cocktail rings (full disclosure: I own one, love it, and wear it a ton) can be gorgeous, but they’re often bigger (either in length, width, or height), sparklier, and to a certain extent, gaudier, than what an engagement ring is; they should be worn only when the occasion calls for it. I’m right handed, so I like to wear mine on the middle finger of my right hand, particularly if I’m attending a cocktail event where I’ll be holding a glass with my right hand.)  I will say, though, to those of you looking to get engaged, pass this tip on to your soon-to-be fiance: don’t go into debt to buy an engagement ring.  You can always add to the ring later, either by adding diamonds to it as baguettes, by “upgrading” your diamonds (from a less-clear one to a clearer one), or so forth.  (2017 Update: the rings pictured above are no longer available; instead you can drool over some of these gorgeous estate rings at Neiman Marcus.)

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The Intern with the $9,000 Handbag

hermes to workWe got an interesting e-mail from reader N:

I am an intern at the equivalent of a BigLaw firm in Singapore. I have a Birkin bag (a small one, 30cm) and am wondering if it is appropriate for me to take it to the office. I’ve heard two conflicting opinions: (1) you should dress what you would like to be, ie, if you want to be a partner one day, dress as such; and (2) dress appropriate to your level in the firm.

We have MANY different opinions on this issue, actually, so we’re going to try to put them in cohesive format.

First: No matter what reader N decides to do, we beg of you — please do not walk around the hall with your handbag unless you are entering or exiting the building.  We have seen women do this carrying multi-thousand dollar bags, and we have seen women do this carrying $50 bags, and it is never a good look. If security is a concern in your office, lock it in your office drawer while you move about the halls.

In general, we don’t have a problem with dressing for the job you want to have — or even with carrying an expensive purse.  But here, where the Birkin bag is known for being an exclusive, highly sought after bag (complete with an only recently debunked “waiting list” myth) that costs more than some cars — and where it has been popularized more by socialites than businesswomen — we’re just a bit hesitant. The fact that you have one of the smaller ones, which will not fit work papers inside it, doesn’t help matters. (We’ve heard the $9,000 figure quoted, but in all honesty we don’t personally know how much they cost, and the Hermes website does not report the fact.) [Read more…]

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