Wednesday’s TPS Report: Pepper Blazer

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

Tart Pepper Blazer Happy Wednesday! I think this striped peplum blazer looks like a lot of fun — a great way to liven up a simple black or white sheath, and an interesting choice to mix with more colorful pencil skirts and the like. It’s $116 at Zappos. Tart Pepper Blazer

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]


  1. Boston 2L :

    I love peplum blazers, but I’m not a fan of this one – probably the stripes (which I stay away from, because they just don’t look good on me normally) and one button. I think it would look great on some people, though!

    TJ (repost due to posting way too late last night): I’m a rising 2L looking for Resume/Stock Paper for OCI and further interviews (hopefully). Bonnie kindly replied last night with a simple but heavy ivory paper that I think looks great (link is at the end of the 7/30 coffee break – don’t want to get stuck in moderation), but I’d love to hear from more of you that went through the process (possibly from the other side). Also, Bonnie said she didn’t put her writing sample on the stock paper. Should I put my resume, grade sheet, and reference list on the stock paper and writing sample on regular printer paper?

    • Boston 2L :

      Here’s the link Bonnie kindly posted:

    • Anonymous :

      I got everything printed at my local FedEx onto resume paper. They only had 2 kinds and I could touch the samples to see what I was ordering. Their online printing system (which allows you to upload whatever you want printed and the number of copies you need) works great and is only like 10 cents/page.

      • mintberrycrunch :

        +1 to FedEx. Their online ordering system is great and saved my cheap printer.

        I just did cover letters, resumes, grade list, reference sheets on the nice resume paper; I printed the writing sample on regular paper. Not only does that save some $, but I think it’s easier to flip through and read when it’s not on heavy paper.

        • Anonymous :

          Yeah, ink quality is definitely important, especially if you’re going to bother using nice paper. I’d go with a high-quality or high-volume printer (like the industrial ones at FedEx), NOT your home ink jet.

          • I hadn’t thought of ink quality – thanks! I have a dinky home printer, so I should probably use something else. I’ll probably do FedEx then.

            Thanks so much!

        • OnCampus Interviewer :

          I’m going to be doing on campus interviews for my firm next week, and I would be really surprised if anyone tried to hand me a writing sample on the thick, nice paper. I’d actually be shocked if anything other than a resume were ever on the thick paper – and frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if no one handed me any paper at all. All your materials will have been received by pdf and I’ll already have everything. Please don’t hand me a lot of thick, heavy paper that I’m going to feel bad about recycling knowing you spent a lot of money on it–but I will have no use to keep.

    • While I love nice paper, I think that the age of putting resumes on beautiful paper has passed. In my firm, we got most of this year’s crop of resumes by e-mail, and the ones that we got in paper just got scanned into the system within about 5 minutes, so no-one even saw what kind of paper they were on. Who knows, maybe in your university it is the norm to give out paper copies of your resume but in reality very few people are going to see the paper anyway – it’s just going to be scanned and/or photocopied. Sad, but true.

    • I am 99.75% certain that I could give myself an ophthalmic migraine if I stared at this blazer for five minutes.

  2. Is anyone else really uncomfortable with the way Abovethelaw wrote this article? I can’t pinpoint what it is that bothers me, but something does.

    • It’s just a rude and trashy article. The author repeatedly makes fun of where she went to school. This woman is just going about her life and is likely doing what she thinks is best {whether we agree or not} and the author is the one turning this into tabloid fodder.

    • Boston 2L :

      I agree. I think it’s the combination of associating people with their school’s prestige level and clear gender stereotyping and saying that she is throwing her life away because her career will tank due to her personal life decision to stay with her husband (which would be fine except that he’s a low life teacher, so how COULD she?) – so basically the entire article.

      • I think it’s more the fact that she is throwing her life away for a pedophile.. Not because he is a teacher

        • I get the disgust with that, my point was that she was saying that it was fine/understandable if her husband were a politician or such but not for a teacher. I think there are actually some good points there (in terms of public perception), but I don’t like the way she tried to make the point.

    • It’s ATL, a legal TABLOID. What do you expect?

    • Ciao, pues :

      also, totally woman-blaming/shaming for her HUSBAND’s crimes. there is nothing in here implicating her in the crimes, so why is she to blame? women are constantly the target of moral judgement for others’ actions. it’s sick. add that to the condescension about her law school, and the comments on her physical appearance, and you’ve got a classic ATL piece on women.

      • The prestige thing is weird, but I absolutely think she bears some blame. She is standing by a child rapist, and she has a daughter. This isn’t an affair, he is a sexual predator. I absolutely judge that, just as I did the husband that stood by his teacher wife after she had committed a crime with a student. I think it’s enabling, and wrong. I don’t think this is a “do what’s best for their family”

        • Yeah, while I agree that ATL’s coverage is ridiculous, this part bothers me. I think I could stand by my husband for lot of transgressions under the right circumstances, but this type of crime is beyond my loyalty allowance.

        • goldribbons :

          The coverage actually didn’t bother me because I think it is so horrible that a woman with a young daughter would stay with a convicted s3xual predator.

        • I agree with you. I don’t care where she went to law school or what she does, but it’s disgusting that she would support her disgusting husband. Obviously he bears the most blame b/c he’s the perverted and sick one, but how could she stand by him? And also agree with your point – she has a child!! I would NOT want that man near my child, I don’t care if it was the father. So so disgusting. I couldn’t believe it after I read the article.

        • I can’t believe that they were making out in court:

      • Ciao, pues :

        Regardless of my own personal judgement, I just can’t get behind this kind of woman-shaming.

        • Really? I agree the focus on prestige was weird but this isn’t woman shaming, it’s person shaming. If you post bail for a child rapist, you are a bad person. This isn’t a personal judgement call. Not much is more black and white than child rapists are awful, and standing by them and requesting that one live in your home, with your child, is awful.

          But in general atl has become awful. Staci writes embarrassing articles and is sometimes the wort offender of the sexist comments. She tries way to hard to be “cool” with atls mostly make commenting demographic. Elie continues to be the worst though I think. His lack of logic is shocking.

        • I judge her harshly for being part of what perpetuates “rape culture.”

          That makes me think her decision-making and moral compass are totally horked.

          I don’t judge her harshly for being a woman, that seems to be the job of the ATL bloggers.

        • Ciao, pues :

          I don’t disagree with you that her stand-by-your-man actions are deplorable in the context of child rape. Absolutely. But my comments are about the article, not the woman. The article doesn’t engage in the kind of analysis and valuable critique that would promote dialogue about perpetuating rape culture and the danger of her actions. The article instead focuses on her actions as they implicate her value as a woman- specifically, a beautiful, successful-despite-her-pedigree, woman/wife/ mother. And it’s that angle that I find deplorable.

          • Not that one is okay and not an issue, but was this actually child rape or he had an affair with a 13 yr old student? I get that 13 year olds can’t really consent in a meaningful way and that the teacher/student dynamic is a huge issue, but I do think it makes a bit of difference. Not defending the guy in any way – still a crime and still a scumbag, but we have degrees of crime for a reason.

          • Ciao, pues :

            This is where we get the term “statutory rape.” It varies by state, as this particular criminal law is state-specific, but if a person is under the age of consent, as you say, then they CANNOT consent, and by statute it’s rape. He pled guilty to rape.

          • Anonymous :

            Umm no. We don’t have child rape or forcible child rape. Aims this is seriously one of the worst comments I have read. There is no difference

          • Yes, you do have child rape or forcible child rape. It is called rape in the 2nd degree or rape in the 1st degree.

          • Oh good lord, I guess sometimes it’s better to say nothing at all. I was by no means disputing the fact that it’s statutory rape. I was merely pointing out that although he is by definition a rapist, there was no allegation that I read that he was a violent offender as the common usage of the term implies. Also, while 13 is far too young to be justified and I am not trying to do that, there is a difference between a 13 year old and 5 year old (as the repeated use of the word child implies). Again, at no point, close to justifying his behavior or trying to imply that it is not absolutely morally reprehensible, shouldn’t be punished by jail, that he shouldn’t lose his job, be prevented from working with minors, and so on. But there is a difference between statutory rape and violent rape and the fact that we hand out different sentences for these crimes is indicative of that.

          • Anonymous :

            A 13 year old cannot have an affair with her teacher. It’s disgusting you would even ask if she “wasn’t forced.”

          • Ciao, pues :

            in NY the first degree/ second degree distinction isn’t necessarily about physical force; there is also a distinction for the age of the child.

            i think an important thing to remember is that force is not always physical. this child was subject to psychological force by nature of her age and the age of the rapist. that is rape. that is force. but regardless, i think the term “forcible rape” is extremely toxic to the goals of eradicating rape culture– placing the onus on the victim to resist or fight or otherwise defend his or herself in a terrifying and dangerous situation. it’s a term that has been bandied about by the right in the abortion context and is very damaging. unconsented-to s*x is rape, whether or not there is physical force. and in the context of a child who cannot consent by nature of his or her age, it is always rape. it’s not beneficial to parse what is *really* rape based on some notion of what it’s the victim’s responsibility to do.

          • Anonymous :

            Agree completely with your last post ciao. well said.

      • I hate sexism in the media and in public. FOOEY! When will men ever treat us as teh EQUAL’s we are??? DOUBEL FOOEY!

        We should NOT share our BODIES with MEN WHO DO NOT RESPECT OUR MIND’s!

        Sam sent over some flower’s, includeing roses, and gardenas and lily’s. It was very nice and it said: “I DONT EAT MEAT, BUT MEET ME IN THE HAMTON’S!”

        It was very cute and Frank wanted to know all about him. I told him he was a VEGGAN and did NOT eat meat. I also said he did NOT eat GLUTEN, and Frank said “OH, ONE OF THOSE!” and he snikkered.

        I did NOT tell him that Sam picked his nose b/c I am not sure b/c I did NOT see that. I suppose that is not VEGGAN or GLUTEN, but will ask DAD.

        Dad is NOT goeing to tell me exactely what is in the report, but he said that I should NEGOTEATE an extra $75K guraanteed salary. I wonder if this means that I am being UNDER PAID or if it mean’s I need to get more. I should ask HOW I should do this? DOES THE HIVE HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR ME? I will ask MYRNA, b/c she was abel to get a good raise and buy a car with it. YAY!!!!

    • Anne Shirley :

      I can pinpoint what bothers me: everything. But most especially that it’s become acceptable to the profession the Above the Law is our primary tabloid and newsbreaker, while also being an absolute cesspool of misogany. David Lat was just named one of the 50 most influential innovators in the legal industry in the last 50 years by The American Lawyer. I didn’t realize providing a venue for hating on women was a new idea.

      • Lat’s not so bad. I don’t mind Ellie and I like Kash when she was there. The newer writers seem to have all been pulled from the pool of comment trolls/I couldn’t get a job so I’ll just hate on everyone who did muckrakers. (Not that not being able to get a job in this economy as a lawyer makes you worthy of scorn. Being bitter and writing hateful smear clickbait in a tabloid as your form of therapy does.)

        • Anne Shirley :

          He’s in charge, so I hold him responsible for the terrible writers and the comment pool. If he cared about making the comments not vile, he could.

      • I think the problem is that ATL’s philosophy is to report the stuff that people sent them. Sometimes that stuff is really important for people in the legal field – layoffs, bonuses, law school transparency, etc.. Sometimes though it’s random garbage. You need to self-filter; I’m not sure it’s the blogs job to do that for you. That said, it’s true that it would be nice if they hired halfway decent writers.

        • How is it NOT the blog’s job to do that for you? It’s called being in control of your content. They’re free to post whatever they like, but it’s completely fair to call them out on posting garbage. Especially when it’s hateful or degrading. They benefit from all the page views they get from providing sexist trolls a forum to unleash their hatred on women (esp women lawyers). And David Lat is given a platform by numerous legal bodies (like The American Lawyer) despite all this.

      • Amen! I hate ATL and find it extremely sexist. I also find it threatening to know that, as a woman lawyer, any little thing I do can be “cause” enough to get me on that horrible website and have men (and women) use it as an excuse to trash my school, my professional background, and my physical appearance.

        • I live in fear of showing up on ATL. 3L year, I was nominated by my journal staff in my law school’s “S*xiest 3L” competition (which was not an actual competition – the nominations were basically all focused on stupid law nerd jokes about Chevron deference and Lawrence v. Texas and Shephardizing). The next year, ATL covered the contest, posted all of the nominees’ pictures, and of course, the comment section went to town on all of the women. To this day, I’m incredibly grateful that it happened the year after I graduated, instead of while I was there. When I think about clients finding that sort of thing by googling my name, I actually feel sick.

      • You’ve also inadvertently hit upon what bugs me about STFU (this site).

        For all that that blogger wants to present herself as teaching us to all be less racist and sexist by harshing on us, she’s choosing a soft target because we’re generally well-meaning. STFU (this site) is a coward while basking in the glow of her own smug moral superiority.

        I want to tell her to go wade into the shark tank that is ATL’s commentariat and go chide them about being sexist. Tell me how that goes. Until she’s done that, she should STFU herself.

      • I stopped reading ATL a few months ago because the commenters are so awful. You probably shouldn’t blame a site for their disgusting, hateful, misogynist trolls, but I do. I think they pander to it. So, I stopped reading.

    • It’s by Staci Zaretsky, formerly Morning Dock33t3. She is the worst. She once made fun of a 13 yr old who had s3xy photos taken of her. A 13 year old. There is a special place in hell for Staci Zaretsky.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I’m not clicking through to the article b/c I’m at work. My issue with ATL is they try to be a serious legal publication regarding some important stuff but then they post so much trash too. They really should split into two websites, one being real underground legal journalism and the second being their tabloid. I have seen bar associations promote ATL articles in their newsletters. These articles are usually the type worth promoting like “how to bring in business as a small firm lawyer” but the comments are still disgusting and insulting. It bothers me that my bar association could give credence to an article without any warning or distancing from the comment section. There are many older lawyers who have never heard of ATL that do click on the bar news stuff.

      Haven’t read the article at issue and am not familiar with the case but did the guy plead guilty or was he found guilty. In my prior LEO life there were some people who adamantly maintained their innocence. I’d like to think that if I or my husband was accused of something, no matter how horrific, and we maintained with plausibility that we were innocent but were otherwise convicted that we would stand by each other. I would have to truly believe he were innocent though.

      • He pled guilty to felony 2nd degree rape, 4 months prison, 10 years probation. He may try to withdraw the plea out of concern that registry status may prevent him from living with his child. Source: NY Post.

    • Guys in my high school used to write rude and trashy articles for Above The Law all the time, it was no big deal. [sic]

      Srsly though, people still read that cesspool of a website?

  3. I like this one, the black and white is really cute. Could use one that travels well for conferences, but can’t tell if this one would. There’s another one-button from Pendleton on sale that’s advertised as wrinkle-resistant and travel-friendly. Any luck with either of these brands?

  4. Rising 2L (Boston) :

    Heading into OCI season, I am hoping some of you lovely people might have some suggestions for OCI (or general interview or 2L job search advice). I looked at your comments to Hannita – I like the idea of folders or notecards and will definitely be incorporating them. I’m looking more for general interview advice and any further recommendations for mailings, etc.

    Just to give you an idea of my position: I received more OCI interviews than I expected (don’t have stellar grades), which is exciting. I still don’t have a ton of interviews, but I have a very decent amount and am waiting to hear on alternates. I am also sending mailings to firms asap after my career adviser reviews my basic cover letter (BigLaw as well as mid-sized and potentially small, though I’ve heard those mailings should go out later) in addition to the networking I’ve been doing (events, follow ups, informational interviews, contacting alumni from my undergrad and law school, etc.). I am also planning to send mailings in-house (but that will be later, since my understanding is that most of them hire later). I am very interested in a few areas of law (transactional side) and so am, of course, focusing on firms that practice in those areas. I’ve also been practicing interviews, because I know I need to improve!

    I’m planning on wearing my black suit for the screeners (have pants and skirt, so will probably go more with pants to avoid pantyhose during a hot August week) and gray suit (pants, skirt, and dress, probably will go with pants most often) for any *fingers crossed* callbacks. I have nice button downs (and blouses) for under the suits. So, I’m not concerned with the wardrobe so much as the actual interviews and entire process.

    This is a repost from Tuesday’s TPS Report, because I know my comment was in moderation for a while and wanted to get some of your advice. Sorry for the long post, but thank you in advance for your replies!

    • Anonymous :

      Considering you’ve already made 3 posts about it, my advice is to relax. Be organized and be confident, but relax. Speak clearly and strongly. Look people in the eyes when you speak to them. Unless you wear something wacky, nobody will notice what you are wearing (grey, black or navy suit). They are seeing many, many students. A black suit with a professional blouse underneath is fine. Wear professional shoes and make sure your hair is neat and out of your face.

      Be interesting and nice and confident.

      • Anne Shirley :

        This. It sounds like you’ve done everything you need to. All you have left is actually doing it, and there are no tips for that beyond do a good job in interviews, which is mostly subjective, and hope.

      • Rising 2L (Boston) :

        Sorry for the double post – as I said, I reposted because I knew my original post yesterday was in moderation for a while (after I posted on the late side for that thread) and so thought it might not have been seen. In the past, people on here have had some really good tips for specific types of interviews (beyond the wardrobe, which I’m not concerned about/have set), so that’s why I was asking again about how to improve interviews, reduce nerves, things like the notecards tip, or any suggestions beyond that more specifically. I know in speaking with current attorneys I’ve learned of other ways people go about finding jobs, so I thought people on here might have some non-OCI suggestions as well.

        Thank you both for your tips (and yes to hoping!). I always try to maintain eye contact, but then I think I’m staring at them too much instead – but I’m an awkward person, so it may just be me feeling awkward! I also do overprepare for things, so relaxing is usually a good thing to remind me of! I’m pretty uncomfortable, because it seemed farther away and now I’m trying to get my mailings out, then travel to another city for an off campus, then back here for a week of interviews. Oh, well!

        • I know interviews are inherently stressful, but really, just be yourself and then you don’t have to worry about being uncomfortable. It will be far more awkward if you overthink things. Just relax! You’ll do fine.

          • Rising 2L (Boston) :

            Thanks! I just did a mock interview and only had a few nerve moments (at the beginning that I noticed and stopped), so hopefully I can shut that portion of my thoughts out for the real thing, too!

            I am also going to try to avoid long pauses, because that seems to make things awkward. I don’t know if anyone reading this has done interviews, but if you have, do you prefer for the interviewee to continue speaking/ask a new question or wait while you write something down? I know a lot of people that get distracted and forget what they are writing, so I try to be considerate, but sometimes it just becomes an awkward pause while they write! (Of course, by that time, I’ve made the decision to let them write, so asking something before they finish jotting whatever it is down seems like it would make it more uncomfortable – especially if they don’t notice the silence since they are writing.)

            …I now realize this is probably one of those things I overthink.

            Thanks again, everyone who replied! I find the advice very helpful.

          • I have not seen that many interviewers write while they are talking to me (I think it can come off as rude on the interviewer’s part), but I would wait to let them finish.

          • Rising 2L (Boston) :

            I agree it can come off rude – but I’ve had it happen to me a few times in informational interviews and similar, so I wasn’t sure how normal it was. Glad to hear it isn’t the majority!

            Thanks, that’s usually my instinct, but then I feel awkward, so I wanted to double check.

    • Moved to the City :

      +1 to the advice from Anonymous and Anne Shirley. Also, come up with some general questions so that you have something to ask for the interviewers that just ask what you want to know. For example: the assignment system, how generalist v. specialist associates are, types of people that are succeed at the firm . . . .

      • For questions, I recommend trying to give the interviewer a chance to talk about themselves or their practice. If it’s an associate, ask if they summered at the firm/why they chose the firm, maybe for partners ask about how they go about staffing cases.

        • Rising 2L (Boston) :

          Thanks! I like these questions. I’ll try to mix these with more firm-specific questions as well.

          • Also – firm-specific questions are risky, and I would avoid asking too many of those. Ask why the associate chose that firm, what the culture is like at that firm, how matters are staffed at that firm, etc., but I’d avoid asking too many firm-specific questions because I think you risk showing that you overlooked some basic piece of info.

          • Rising 2L (Boston) :

            Thanks, January. It’s interesting, because I keep hearing (from the career office, practicing attorneys, hiring, etc.) that you should ask as many firm-specific questions as possible to show you did your research. I can definitely see your point about asking a specific question that just shows you missed the answer, though! I’ll definitely keep that in mind and be careful to fully research my specific questions.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I know this may be an annoying response, but Ask A Manager has some great advice on cover letters that I’d recommend checking out. Definitely make the time to personalize each one after doing some research on the firm.

      As for OCI, I had 2 interviews and really didn’t have a chance at landing a job at either one, so take this with a grain of salt. If you know who the interviewer will be then research them as well as the firm. Check your network to see if you have connections to anyone at the firms and try to chat with them before your interview. They may have good advice or say something that sparks your curiosity and leads to a great question that you can ask your interviewer.

      Your outfits sound perfect. Good luck!

      • Rising 2L (Boston) :

        Not annoying! I used to read Ask A Manager but fell off of it for a while (probably due to law school). I’ll search for those.

        I’ve heard mixed things about personalizing, but it seems well worth the time to me. I have a spreadsheet of firms, so it isn’t like it will take all that much extra time to personalize!

        Thanks! I am trying to reach out to the firms, but there isn’t much time. (I had reached out to many earlier, but not to all the ones I received interviews with.) I have more interviews than I expected, but I don’t think there is much of a chance at most of them. I’m still going in with full confidence, but I like to set low expectations for these things so that I can be pleasantly surprised or move on more easily!

        Thanks again!

      • Rising 2L (Boston) :

        Just wanted to update you that I’ve been looking through her section on cover letters and it is really helpful. I’m having my career adviser review it now, because I want to send them out asap, but there is a lot of good information in here. I do have trouble with the show, not tell, but I think that is difficult for many people!

  5. momentsofabsurdity :

    Not sure what is happening with my posts – I tried to post a couple times last night and they disappeared into the either. So I’ll try this one without the link, and put the link in a second comment.

    I came across this article, which I found really moving, and also seemed very apropos to the discussion we had a couple days ago about weight/health/lifestyle/how comments from your mom can shape and break you. If the link won’t go through, google “An Open Apology to All of My Weight Loss Clients.”

    • Houston Attny :

      That hurts my heart. There were parts where I thought, “Wait! I know this weight loss consultant. She was mine in high school.” I missed the original discussion a couple of days ago but will go find it. Thank you for posting this.

    • goldribbons :

      Thanks for sharing this.

      Also, to the mom who posted, I hope that you can feel confident about your daughter and about what a great mom you’re being. I think it took a lot of courage to post your question and I think you got a lot of good feedback.

    • Related to this, does anyone have any suggestions for dealing with a husband who is too fat/diet focused? My husband was chubby all through school and was often teased for it, had a terrible time with girls, and now believes that being fat is totally incompatible with a healthy social life. He is constantly calling himself fat, squeezing his belly fat and saying “gross”, and calling himself names for being “lazy” or eating the wrong things. Is he overweight? Yes. But I don’t believe anything he’s doing is actually being helpful either emotionally or physically. He tends to go for an all-or-nothing approach. He’ll go on a diet of nothing but lean meat and vegetables, then two weeks later, wolf down a giant burger with cheese, bacon, chili, guac, a pile of onion rings and four beers. Then the next day he’ll say “what the hell, I’m effed anyway” and eat pizza, ice cream, more beer, etc. Until another week later, he’s back to calling himself names.

      I don’t see “fat.” I just love him. He really doesn’t believe he’s as valuable as a fat guy. It breaks my heart.

      • goldribbons :

        It sounds like you need to help him find a fat-positive (for lack of a better term) physician. I know there’s a Tumblr by A Greek Doctor ( that is very fat-positive, you might refer your husband to that website. It discusses how fat does not automatically equal unhealthy, and how you can be healthy and heavy at the same time. He frequently answers questions posed by readers too.

        • Thanks. While he’s somewhat concerned about health (he’s terrified he’s already diabetic although he has zero symptoms) he also is really worried about the social aspect. He thinks other men don’t take him seriously because he’s fat, and he’s just jolly, buffoonish fat guy. (Btw, I don’t think he’s fat. He’s the one who calls himself fat.)

          • goldribbons :

            It just sounds to me like he needs an authority-figure to help him get straightened out on this. I would recommend therapy but I know that’s typically more difficult for men than women, so I recommended starting with a physician. If he’s told he’s healthy or at least has someone to talk to, I think that would be a good start. This is one of those things where you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves. You can definitely discuss with him how it makes you feel (that you made a mistake marrying him, that you’re not good enough for him, whatever) and how HE needs to stop making YOU feel that way with all of these self-depricating comments.

      • Another wife :

        My husband does the same thing though he is in amazing shape and always has been. He participated in a very competitive high school and college sport that I think contributed to his image problems. It reminds me of girls that grew up in dance or gymnastics with pro-ana mind sets around them. He is so afraid of being fat someday. It is to the point where if we go to a restaurant and there are several very obese people there, he will no longer want to eat there. Like one meal there will just turn him obese. It also makes me wonder how he would view me if I ever became overweight. The plus is not having junk in the house but the downside is I find myself hiding the fact that I ate a snickers bar or something from him. Destroy the evidence!!! He has admitted that he has a skewed body image but doesn’t want to seek help for it unless he starts eating too few calories or becomes underweight. He currently eats very healthy and is fit and not under weight. What makes it worse too is that he is muscular so he ends up near the high end of the BMI scale which reinforces his “fat” thoughts.

        • SoCalAtty :

          I’m the offending spouse in this situation – my childhood sports were ballet, figure skating, and gymnastics. Yeah. My mom was also 4’10” and weighted about 90 pounds healthy. When I would take her to lunch, even as an adult, if I made a bad choice for lunch she would ask if I wanted to run behind the car on the way home….she didn’t mean it to be damaging, but I sure hear her voice in my head saying “fat” even when I’m not.

          My husband said this exact thing to me: “ok, yeah, you need to lose 15 pounds to be happy, but you’re not going to get there by stressing out about it, so let’s just eat healthy and get to the gym. [pause] but whatever, I think you have nothing to be embarrassed about at the weight you are, and I love you so that’s all that matters anyway”

          That helped, some. Honestly, no amount of therapy of helpful physicians have been able to alter my “eye” for fat on myself. My husband is the one that has helped me the most, reminding me that as long as I’m fit and my bloodwork looks good, some arbitrary body fat % isn’t that big of a deal (now if I could only convince myself of that…)

    • Baconpancakes :

      This made me tear up a little bit. Regardless of whether we have weight loss consultants or just read fashion magazines, I don’t know a single woman without some kind of body issues.

  6. @ hellskitchen: I just saw your question from last night about The Gift of Fear. With the caveat that I haven’t finished it yet, I would say that yes, it’s true that de Becker avoids giving specific advice about what to do once you’re already in the threatening/dangerous situation. However, there’s a reason for this. He says everyone wants a playbook to use but that he can’t give one because every incident is different, and aside from a few principles (which he does lay out) you have to read the people involved and surroundings as you decide what to do. Thus it would be irresponsible of him to give any blanket instructions.

    Of all awful coincidences, I was actually followed and sexually threatened by two guys while walking alone just a few hours after I posted the book recommendation. After any such experience I’m always shaken up and angry, but since I’ve been reading the book I was also very reflective this time about my response–how did I read the situation, why did I do what I did, why did they respond how they did. (I hate that I’m self-critical about such an incident when it was 100% not my fault, but I am trying to learn if there are strategies that work for me with any consistency.) Ultimately I feel like it was just luck that I was ok, which is terrible, but I’m very intrigued by what apparently made them stop harrassing me: I ran ahead to two women who were complete strangers and said “those two guys behind us are scaring me, is it ok if I walk with you for a few minutes?” They said sure. (Thanks ladies.) Then when the guys caught up with us, they stopped making comments to me. Did I effectively shame them? Did they realize I was scared and for some reason respect that–when nothing else they were doing was remotely respectful? Sorry to go on and on about something so off-topic, but it just fit in all too well with my answer to HK about the book’s approach.

    • I am so sorry to hear that this happened to you. For what it’s worth, it sounds like you reacted totally intelligently and did absolutely the right thing. I’m glad those women were willing to help you out.

    • I’m so glad you were okay and that what you did worked out. It was not luck that you were ok. It was the fact that you (1) noted your gut feelings, and (2) did something about it to prevent/stave off anything worse happening.

      The times I have ignored such gut feelings(when I was younger), I got (a) assaulted and (b) mugged.

      I am planning on reading the book soon, so thanks for sharing!!

      • Glad to be helpful. To be clear, the reason I feel it was luck was that if these guys actually started to do the disgusting and violent things they were repeatedly saying they would do to me, I don’t assume anyone would/could have helped me at that location and time. They just happened to decide not to carry out their threats. I have no idea whether my actions affected that. If they had made the other decision I certainly wouldn’t want to be wondering how I could have prevented it–that feels too close to victim-blaming.

        • hellskitchen :

          Monday, thank you for posting this.

          I am so glad you are safe after this incident – I have actually been part of groups that fight street sexual harassment and my theory is that most of these harassers are so used to women just silently ignoring their harassment that they are taken aback when someone responds… in any way, whether it’s running for help or confronting them (when you can do so safely in a public place). One of the groups I trained with suggested that even something as simple as pausing, making eye contact, and noting their appearance in an obvious way can make the men pause and stop harassing you. I don’t think it was just luck that they stopped – your actions probably made them realize that you wouldn’t be a complacent victim, so kudos to you lady. And thanks for sharing your reflections on the book; I’m going to buy it

        • I’m so sorry this happened to you. I bet your actions caused them to change their behavior. It is not uncommon for a perpetrator to start by testing boundaries a bit, and then more and more if they aren’t called on the first action. Your action of getting social support showed that you were aware of their actions and were going to resist if they escalated.

        • Big internet hugs, plus *tea & sympathy*.

          You handled a rotten situation very well and prevented it from becoming a tragic one. Thank you for posting this.

  7. Ciao, pues :

    Hi r e t t e s : i posted this yesterday, but wrote it in a confusing way, so i’m hoping this clarification will help.

    Calling ladies who work in the non-profit legal world: will you post your org’s parental leave policy? My tiny org doesn’t have one, so I’m trying to figure out what an appropriate ask is. I know that people say that in legal services the salaries are low but benefits are high, but i’m not entirely sure what that means. Right now I’m thinking I’ll shoot for 8 weeks paid, 8 weeks unpaid, but not sure if that is over- or under- ambitious and looking for comparisons. For what it’s worth, I work in a big city and my salary is on the low-end, so I feel like my leave should be generous.

    • Anonymous :

      Why not try to get more paid? I would shoot for 12 week paid, at least, and then perhaps an additional 4 unpaid. I might even start with 16 weeks paid leave. 8 weeks paid seems like a pretty bare minimum.

      • Ciao, pues :

        is this what your non-profit offers?

        • No. I don’t work for a non-profit, but if its true what you say about salary being low and benefits being high, 8 weeks paid / 8 weeks unpaid doesn’t sound very “high” to me. It sounds quite middle of the road. I am simply suggesting that you aim a little higher and see what they say.

    • For context: I work at a non-profit with less than 10 employees, in a major metropolitan area. My pay is less than market. My employer’s maternity leave policy is pure & utter crap: 12 weeks, unpaid. So from this non-profit lawyer’s perspective, ANY paid time off you can wrangle would be a boon!

    • Our policy is 12 weeks off at 2/3 pay, plus whatever vacation or sick time (at full pay) you want to add on. Most people take 16 weeks.

    • Can people keep posting what their leave is? I find it surprising that 12 weeks paid + additional unpaid leave is actually obtainable. I thought our policy was great: 8 weeks paid, additional unpaid leave is negotiable (mid-size firm, small-ish market). Other smaller firms in our area haven’t offered any paid leave.

      • Ours is 13 weeks paid, 4 additional weeks at half pay.

      • Our company (IT/services)’s is 12 weeks (FMLA); the first 6 weeks are 60% pay via company disability, the next 6 weeks are to be taken as PTO @ full pay. Our company has a very generous PTO policy so it is not unreasonable to ask employees to budget so they have enough PTO banked to cover the last 6 weeks. At my level, I technically have “unlimited PTO” –HA! (I take, like, 4 days/year).

    • We get 12 weeks. We can use sick, vacation time and personal days to get paid. We also have short-term diability insurance that covers a portion of our pay for 6 weeks. Most people save up as much leave as possible, use the insurance and then usually take some portion unpaid. Though we can spread out the unpaid time so that we receive a couple of smaller checks rather than no check at all, if that makes sense. We could probably ask for more unpaid leave, but everyone here so far has financially needed to come back to work!

  8. Miz Swizz :

    Alright ladies, how many emails are in your work inbox and how many do you consider acceptable? I’ve been having to do much more email triage lately and am wondering how everyone else handles it.

    • I try to keep it to under 100. I actually start to get a bit twitchy and out of sorts if I’m over that, because I know it means that there are things in there that I should be attending to and am not. What people will tell you is that you should set aside certain times of the day to check your email and during that time, deal with as many things as can be done quickly, and then save the things that need more attention/can’t be done right away for later. But the people who give this advice, which sounds lovely, aren’t in a client-service business. If you are (such as law), you undoubtedly need to be looking at your email all day long and responding virtually immediately to any number of emails, which makes it hard to get any “real” work done. Such is life these days.

      • THANK YOU FOR SAYING THAT! I’m always reading/hearing this advice from people and I think, “They don’t work with publicists or demanding clients.” All the time I get emails asking for information by noon or whatever. Also, my supervisor is very unresponsive and I need to make sure I’m jumping on stuff on his behalf – I also get a lot of, “Hey, anon o, I called/emailed boss yesterday for this time-sensitive information but I haven’t heard back and I need to send it today.” If I’m ignoring emails it’s at my peril. I’m at 6800! But it’s my busy time and I’ve been away so I’m unusually high right now. I try to set aside time to clean out my inbox but frankly I work for a small short-staffed company and there are always other priorities.

    • Anonymous :

      I try to keep it under 15 in my inbox. Everything has a folder and it stays in my inbox as long as I’m actively working on it. If I’m not actively working on it (or I know I can’t turn to it for more than 3 days), I flag it with an appropriate reminder (say, 3 days) and folder it.

      • This is me exactly. I use the reading pane in outlook with folders on the left, inbox emails on the top, and message view underneath that. If the scrollbar in the inbox emails section starts getting longer, I know I need to go through and respond to messages so I can file them away.

    • I had been really bad and had around 600. But during a slow period in the past month, I went through and deleted and moved about half of it so now I’m under 300. I’d love to keep it under 100. During the early part of the day, I like to keep that day’s inbox only to things I still need to respond to or do something with. Later in the day, things tend to get left so I need to get better at cleaning them up first thing in the morning!

      • Similar – at the moment I’m at 537 but my ideal is under 100. I need to spend some time and clean it out soon.

        • Yeah, it actually scared me when I realized I had gotten down to my current 268. I was afraid I had inadvertently lost messages! I think it was just that I went way down in my inbox and found messages that were important at the time but no longer.

    • Diana Barry :

      I try to keep it to under one page in Outlook, which is about 15 or 20. I keep one email for each client in the inbox until dealt with – then I move it over to the client file.

      • Carrie Preston :

        This is what I do too. I didn’t always, I was of the 5,000 in box school but switching to one active email per issue and folders made all the difference. Much less overwhelming and it functions as a to-do list as well.

      • I’m the same (usually around 20 or so). I file emails by project, usually right away unless it requires some time to respond. I’m a frequent user of the task function in Outlook to track emails relating to outstanding tasks, so I’m not afraid of forgetting them once archived. Once a week I clear out the random emails that are still in my inbox and aren’t worth filing (event reminders, office wide emails, etc.).

    • 5373…(hangs head in shame). I feel like I’ve been in email triage for nine months.

    • I have 4 emails in my inbox currently…yes, 4. I’m crazy about filing emails and transferring outstanding items to a to-do list. If I have more than 25 I get twitchy.

    • Cornellian :

      5809. haha.

    • I’ve been trying to keep it under 100 but I feel like I could get it lower if I’d just set aside time to work on all the crappy ones I’ve been avoiding. Sounds like I need to carve out some time to do that.

    • doh. mine is usually between 250-350. every two weeks or so, ill go through it and get it down to maybe 50-100, but it always gets back up there within a day. i basically use my in box like my to-do list. if i transfer an email that has something i need to do to the archives, i will never do it.

    • anon although who cares :

      oof. I’m at 17,951. And I get regular emails from IT saying I have to reduce it but the lowest I can ever get it is 7,000 or 8,000. yes, I have a problem.

    • Equity's Darling :

      5, all from this morning. I’m obsessive about electronically filing them away to their appropriate folders/files (I get my assistant to help me too), I hate having a full inbox.

    • Anonymous :

      11, because it’s the end of the month. It can get over 500 depending on how busy I am. I file my emails into folders organized by matter when I input my time. Reviewing the emails helps me to remember details about what I was working on, provides an exact stopping time for a lot of assignments, and helps me to avoid missing little things that I might not have recorded (i.e., partner emailed a quick question).

    • I’d like to be under 20 but it’s usually closer to 50. I get so many emails that my inbox explodes if I’m not constantly checking email, and filing away what’s needed.

    • lucy stone :

      108. I strive for inbox zero but am happy if it is below 30. I leave things in my inbox until I’ve taken care of my portion of the task, then set a flag reminder and file them. I have a crazy folder system and work for the government so nothing is ever deleted.

  9. I have to give a small presentation later today to my boss’s boss. I have no trouble giving presentations, and actually find them to be really enjoyable. I’m also very comfortable with the material, and my boss has told me he loves the ideas I’m putting forward. The problem is his boss. She is awful. She doesn’t like any idea that isn’t her own. She makes snarky backhanded comments instead of actually offering constructive critique. Her tone always suggests that you’re a bit slow and she’s the playground bully making fun of you for being dumb. She is also decidedly not smart and is suspicious of anyone she thinks might be smarter than she is (whenever I’ve heard her talk about an employee I think is sharp and on the ball, she always talks about how that person thinks they’re so great). I have now made about three proposals to her, all of which she’s hated and belittled. I’m trying to pull together talking points with an eye toward hitting her top concerns and showing how this proposal will address them, and help her look good in front of her own boss. But I’m second-guessing everything I’m writing. I realize that I just need to go forward and accept that this is not going to be a fun process, but I’m proud of my ideas and believe they really are good, and it’s so demoralizing to have them torn apart time after time. It’s not that I can’t take constructive criticism. I’ve had great bosses whom I’ve admired and who’ve torn my work to shreds in the past — and I appreciated that because it made me better. But this woman, ugh, she’s just terrible. (Yes, I’m actively job-hunting. Meanwhile, presentation later today.)

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Does your boss have any advice on how to deal with it? Sorry I don’t have any real advice, but I wanted to say good luck!

    • I had a boss who was similar to your boss’s boss in some ways. The key with this boss was to make them think that your idea was thier idea. Present Idea A and mention that it is a good solution because it, in part, addersses Issue Y which you, boss’s boss, have raised in meetings X and Z and in memo 1. Or, Idea A is very similar to Project Q, whcih was initiated by boss’s boss! So, boss’s boss, thanks *so much* for leading me to Idea A.

      You’ll have to totally do away with your own ego for this to work, but it can be rewarding in other ways. Your boss’s boss also has to have a very large ego or be something of an idiot not to see through your plan, but that usually isn’t an issue.

      Good luck with the presentation.

    • Would it be helpful to you to have an honest talk/problem-solving session with your boss? As you could note your prior experiences and ask for help strategizing. (Whenever I have presented to Big Boss, I tend to get criticism but not constructive feedback. Do you see anything I can do to change this?)

  10. Suggestions for good YA books?

    • The new Divergent series is pretty fun (two books out now) if you’re looking for something Hunger Games-y.

      • +1. I stole those books from my daughter after she read them and thought they were quite good.

      • I thought “Keeping The Castle” by Patrice Kindl was cute if you’re looking for something light and a little funny.

    • Anne Shirley :

      Hunger Games, Matched, The Fault in our Stars, Wrecked, Beautiful Creatures. But when I was that age I was addicted to Sharon Kay Penman. The Yohnalosse Riding Camp for Girls was also great.

    • Eleanor & Park, anything by Chris Crutcher, not YA but could be: A Discovery of Witches

      Also, did anybody else love the Christopher Pike vampire books?

      • SoCalAtty :

        Yes!! I keep telling people that I liked vampire books before they were “cool.” I noticed the entire set with new art on the YA shelves at Barnes and Noble the other day.

    • Buckeyeesq :

      The Wicked series by Gregory Maguire.

      • Eh….I don’t know if I’d consider those YA. There’s some pretty adult stuff going on in the first one.

        • Which isn’t to say that a middle school/high schooler can’t read them, I just wouldn’t classify them as Young Adult novels. They go in the regular fiction section because they aren’t written with YA as the target audience.

          • Buckeyeesq :

            Haha. I sometimes berate myself for not reading enough “serious” literature, or even literature written for adults (actually my favorite books of all time are those in the multiple Alanna/Tortall series by Tamora Pierce and anything by Ann Rinaldi), so it’s nice to know someone thinks that I own books not meant for 12 year olds.

          • Mostly, I think “literature” is a crock :) Reading is reading in my book. I tend to be a genre reader (sci-fi, fantasy, romance, mystery), but never really caught onto anything that someone might consider “literature”.

    • I recently read the Lumatere Chronicles by Marlina Marchetta and it’s fantastic — on the older side of YA though, if you’re buying for a teen, as there are some very serious issues addressed (and I think the writing is intense vs. the simple style employed by a lot of YA). The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. The Killer Unicorn Series by Diana Peterfreund. The Diviners by Libba Bray. Oh, and the Princess Series by Jim C. Hines, one of my all-time faves.

    • My son loved the “Pretties” and “Uglies” series by Scott Westerfeld.

      • And also anything by John Green, although he thought “The Fault in Our Stars” didn’t live up to the hype.

      • I loved these books in middle school! They’re based on a really interesting concept and I would say they’re good for pretty much any age/reading ability (I would probably still enjoy them now).

      • Oh yes! I loved the entire boxed set!

    • Birthmarked and its sequels

    • Anything by Tamora Pierce. LOVE.

      • +1

      • Me, too. I’ve been re-reading her books this year while waiting for Battle Magic to come out.

        Reading the Daine books now. The only others I haven’t re-read this year are the Beka books and Tortall & Other Lands.

    • I’m looking forward to reading Philippa Gregory’s new YA series. I enjoy her adult fiction & hope I also enjoy her YA.

    • “Ella Enchanted,” by Gail Carson Levine
      “The Dark is Rising” series, by Susan Cooper

      • + 1 million to “The Dark is Rising” series. Those are amazing, amazing books. I can still remember much of the poem that the series is built around…

        • I actually re-read them a few years ago, and they’re JUST AS EPIC as they were when we were twelve. Sorry for the Ellen Caps, but they were truly a delight to read.

          Susan Cooper’s “King of Shadows” is also fantastic for a kid who has been exposed to Shakespeare–it’s about a modern-day little boy who winds up magically transported to act in the premiere of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (playing Puck to Shakespeare’s Oberon). Gorgeous storytelling and lots of good historical context about childhood in the Elizabethan period.

    • Senior Attorney :

      The Golden Compass and sequels by Phillip Pullman.

      And oldies but goodies, Little Women and sequels, and anything by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

    • new york associate :

      Anything by Robin McKinley. The Bayern books by Shannon Hale (Goose Girl is the first one). If you like fantasy, I also highly recommend Graceling by Kristen Cashore and its sequels, as well as the Girl of Fire and Thorns and sequels by Rae Carson.

    • Brooklyn Paralegal :

      the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman.

      I read them as a kid 12 or 13 years ago and I still love them to this day

  11. Frye Boots? :

    I finally purchased a pair of coveted tall Frye Boots in the NAS. What should I do to protect them before I start wearing then this fall?

    • nordstrom sells “frye leather conditioning cream” for $9.

    • I use Leather Honey on all of my boots. It’s also highly recommended on the Purse Forum for leather bags.

  12. Lyra Silvertongue :

    I love this blazer, but I am technically on a stripe-buying freeze. I didn’t start wearing them until last year and now they’ve kind of taken over my closet…

    • +1. Probably 50% of the clothes I wear regularly have stripes at this point. Glad to know I’m not the only one with this issue!

      • Ha. Ditto. Pretty much all my casual clothes have stripes, and an increasing amount of my work wardrobe does too. I can’t help it, I just love how stripes look!

        • Lyra Silvertongue :

          I find I’m somehow bolder with mixing colors and patterns when stripes are involved too, for some unknown reason, so that’s another plus.

    • Senior Attorney :

      You definitely need to branch out.

      To polka-dots! ;)

  13. The blazer looks very long – could work well on certain body types but would need to see this in person!

  14. I’m a 34G, and I’ve been wearing the moving comfort sports bras for running (usually the Fiona, also the Juno). They’re much better than the run of the mill racerbacks, but I don’t know if they’re quite doing the job.

    Any suggestions for fantastic sports bras? I’m sized out of many of them. I’ve tried the Enell and hated it, it was hard to breathe and too high under my armpits so I chafed. I just think I need more support, and would prefer not to double-up.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I have a Panache one that I like. I’m a 36F, so there’s a good chance they’ll have one in your size. Sorry I’m not sure which model it is.

      • Is it underwire? I don’t have any with a wire, because I think they’d dig into my armpits, but maybe it would be worth a try. I’ll check out Panache. Thanks!

        • Sydney Bristow :

          Yeah, I think it is. Clearly it’s been too long since I’ve worked out! I find it really comfortable but sturdy at the same time. I haven’t noticed any poking.

    • The Wacoal 85517 underwire sports bra is the best one, IMO. The underwire is on the outside so its more comfortable and less prone to rust (a big problem if you are sweating a lot, which I do when I run). I run a lot and I’m a DDD/E and these are the best ones I’ve found. I’ve been running for 12+ years.

      • Link:’855170’_underwire_sports_bra:244207&cm_pla=underwear/lingerie:women:bra&cm_ven=Froogle,Google_Product_Ads&mr:referralID=00c70798-f9f6-11e2-a969-001b2166c2c0

      • Recommend: :


    • I like Moving Comfort. I think the Maia is their underwire one that I have and it works pretty well, no digging that I have noticed.

  15. Anon & badly reviewed :

    First year biglaw associate. Just had a horrible mid-year review. Received a fair amount of positive feedback on assignments via emails (this is great, thanks; very helpful; thanks for your hardwork). Then was pretty surprised when performance review I was told I was not meeting firm’s expectations, questioned my desire to even be in the practice group, said my work lacked effort, etc. Scheduled meeting today w/ dept. head (who gave review) to discuss. Plan to bring up inconsistency btwn email feedback and review. Any tips, advice? Etc?! TIA.

    • I have to run and will write a longer reply later, but ugh! I am so sorry. Biglaw lawyers are awful when it comes to management. They are notorious for hanging onto feedback for months and months, only to dump it in a performance review because it’s easier for them than telling you to your face while being worse for you because now it’s in your record. Hang in there.

    • Don’t take it so personally. There are lots of reasons to give bad reviews. Don’t panic.

    • Ugh, that stinks. It’s good you scheduled a meeting though – it shows that you care. I would say just go in with the attitude that you really want to improve and you’re genuinely wanting to be a member of the team, etc. (assuming all this is true and you do want to stay in your practice group). Don’t really have any other advice other than that. Good luck, let us know how it goes!

    • I hate to say it, but what you describe as positive feedback on assignments by email is just people being polite. I would not consider any of that positive feedback unless the person actually went further and described to you what was helpful about it, or that they sent it to the client essentially unchanged, or how they were able to incorporate it into some other work product, etc. Otherwise, those are pretty much just standard responses and don’t really tell you anything. For the most part, if you want feedback as you go along, you need to ask for it. Also, you need to learn to recognize when you’re getting feedback without the person saying so — for instance, if you draft something and then see the final version (let’s say of a letter to a client), compare the final to your draft. If it bears a significant resemblance, that’s positive feedback. If it’s been drastically changed, you should find a quiet moment to ask the more senior person about it, being non-defensive. Something like “I saw the final version that went out and it looked quite different than my draft. Is there sometime that you could spend a few minutes talking to me about it? I’d really like to understand why you made the changes you did so that I can do a better job next time.”

      • Anon & badly reviewed :

        Point taken. Though, I have seen my emails being sent straight to clients / other departments or to Partners with minimal changes (if any). So that’s probably why it’s so confusing. And other emails are used in bigger research projects.

      • This may all be true, but it’s also so not helpful to junior associates. Don’t say something was “helpful” if you actually had to stay up the whole night re-writing it. After a little while a junior associate may learn that “this is great” means “document received” but come on, that’s not how the rest of the world functions.

        OP, this is really hard, but there are things you can do. Scheduling the meeting is a great first step. Were there specifics in the review? Were your documents (briefs or whatever you happen to write in your practice) poorly organized? Were things not fully researched? If there are no concrete criticisms, be sure to ask for them. Your department head may have no idea. If that’s the case, schedule meetings with each of your reviewers. Make sure you understand what they were unhappy with and what they wanted instead (e.g., if your documents are poorly organized, ask if they can recommend an associate who consistently write well — then ask that associate if they’d share some samples with you). Also, see if the more senior associates on your teams are willing to have coffee/lunch with you. (If there are none on your team and you just work one-on-one with partners, talk to a few associates who are around 4th-6th year and see if they’d look over some of your work.) Ask the associates for brutally honest feedback. This might be really difficult, but it’s the only way to improve.

        Meanwhile, gather all your resources to have a totally knock-it-out-of-the-park next six months. You must have very good billable hours (make sure you’re hitting 2000+). When you complete an assignment, put it aside for a few hours or overnight, then return to it and apply everything you learned in your meetings with the department head, reviewers, and other associates to really critique it. Do another draft. See if there’s someone else (your assigned mentor might be an option, or a more senior associate) who can look over it and give you feedback. Try to get your assignments done early and see if the assigning partner will let you do your own edits (if the partner is the type to charge in and just re-write it him/herself) and say it’s because you really want to learn. (Although understand that this last one might not work since partners’ schedules are often completely crammed.)

        What you want to accomplish these next six months is not only doing stellar work and showing your willingness to learn, but also to make sure you’re changing the conversation about you in the halls. You’re currently at risk of having partners and senior associates tell each other not to work with you (low-tech firm Yelp, basically). Some of them are “stuck” with you because you’re already on the team. Knock their socks off so they instead tell their friends “hey, were you looking for someone for that new case you just brought in — see if you can get A&BR because she’s terrific.” You’ve got some brand management/marketing to do in addition to the other hard work ahead. But you have the right mindset and you were bright enough to get hired, so it’s probably just a matter of elbow grease. Good luck!

        • mintberrycrunch :

          TBK, I just want to say thanks for this. You always write such thoughtful responses, particularly about biglaw, and I always learn a lot from your posts.

          OP, best of luck to you. I think you can definitely turn things around!

          • Thank you! People have been saying the nicest things to me here lately. It really brightens my day.

      • The other thing to consider is how does your performance compare to that of your peers? I’m not in big law, so it might be different there, but in the corporate world you could write The Best Brief Ever today and the person next to you could write The Best Brief Ever +1 tomorrow so you would get a low performance ranking. Just something to think about.

    • This same thing happened to me. I am not in law so many other can chime in but you need to make it your #1 priority to manage you reputation in the coming months or you may be sealing your fate at the firm. Ask for specific feedback throughout the next 6 months and in 3 months from now set up some time with your reviewer and go over the feedback you have gotten thus far and what changes you have made.

      I was in a similar situation as yourself and I just had my 6 month review and knocked it out of the park. I made sure that I knew exactly what my manager was going to say before the review because I had been checking in with him and sharing feedback I had solicited from other members of my team. As Don Draper would say, “If you don’t like what they are saying, change the conversation.”

  16. Portland OR :

    If you were to spend 24 hours in Portland OR, what neighbourhood would you stay in, and what would be on your to-do list? (This is in late August, if it matters.) If you have any hotel/b&b recs, I would love to hear them. TIA!

    • AAAHHHHH! Okay, 24 hours. I would stay downtown in either the Nines (often described as an LA-style hotel), the Ace Hotel (very hipster), or the Heathman (classic). For your day I would rent a bike and hit a few neighborhoods on the East side of the river: N. Mississippi and Williams Avenue, then head over to Alberta, and then down to SE Hawthorne. More yuppie (less hipster, but also more generic) areas are the Pearl District and NW 23rd avenue. They have good shopping and decent people watching, but are also neighborhoods that you could find in pretty much any city.

      If you want to do more traditional touristy things then you can go to the Japanese Gardens, the Rose Garden (not the arena, the actual garden) which has great views of the city, or the Classical Chinese Gardens.

      Make sure you eat! We have lots of good food. I would avoid Voodoo Donuts because it’s a tourist trap and completely played out. There are lots of good dining guides on Portland food now. Go to Willamette Week’s website and look at their dining guide. Some top places are Pok Pok (Thai), Ox (Argentinian/Mediterranean), Roe (seafood, Asian influence), Beast, Le Pigeon, Paley’s Place, Castagna.

      I can also give beer, coffee, wine, and more specific restaurant or shopping recommendations if you’d like!

      • Seconding the Heathman. I always stay there in PDX. The customer service is out of this world (and is focused on practical things, like helping you get a rental car returned, figuring out the best way to get to X place on public transit, etc.). You could also stay at one of the fun hotels run by the McMenamin’s folks.

        I am a garden freak, and the Classical Chinese Garden and the Japanese Garden are both out of this world. The Classical Chinese Garden has an awesome little teahouse with delicious snacks. I would probably do that if you only have 24 hours, because it’s closer to downtown.

        And I always recommend checking out the Clear Creek Distillery – very interesting brandies/liqueurs, all made with local ingredients.

    • There’s also a good discussion about travel to Portland in the July 10, 2013 post – Wednesday TPS Report. Here is the link:

    • I’m in moderation because I posted a link to thissite that had a good discussion about Portland travel. Go to the July 10, 2013 TPS report post (it’s on a Calvin Klein 3/4 sleeve sheath dress) and scroll down to the comments.

    • Seattleite :

      If you like to read, check out Powell’s bookstore. Be sure you’ve got the main branch as there are smaller, subject-specific, branches.

      And, maybe I’ve just been unlucky, but the downtown restaurants I picked the last two times I was there started putting chairs on tables at 8:30 p.m. On the weekend! The suburbs, however, were still going strong at 1 a.m. …

      • Portland OR :

        Wow, you have no idea how excited I am to get a comment from Seattlite! Hope you are doing well! We will also be in Seattle for a few days, so happy to hear any of your recs for that city as well (although we have a friend who grew up there, so we have at least some guidance from her, which is why I didn’t ask for tips on [this site]).

  17. I don’t always thread hijack, but when I do . . .

    Our ladies room reaks of perfume. Has since yesterday. It’s like someone either spilled the bottle or sprayed a ton of it at some point. It’s less intense now, but still really strong, and the smell seems to somehow follow me back to my desk. Not cool.

    • Ugh. Total sympathy to you. A few months ago, someone put a really heavily scented aerosol cleaner in our ladies room, and I *hate* it when people use it. They always seem to use way too much (and they treat it like air freshener…it’s not!), and it fills the hallway and tracks around the corner to my office…and it makes it hard to breathe when you have to use the bathroom!
      /rant over

      Anyway, I feel for you!!

      • Apparently some people feel it’s polite to spray an aerosol air freshener after moving their bowels, I had two roommates in college who would fill the bathroom with the stuff and it was absolutely unbearable.

        I love home fragrance. Plug-ins, candles, reed diffusers, air fresheners, anything that you set in a room and doesn’t smell too strong is great. Not a fan of room sprays, and really not a fan of people who spray stuff in bathrooms.

  18. Smelly Pants :

    My exercise clothes smell funky right out of the wash. None of my other clothing else smells. I would like to avoid and/or delay replacing everything. I’m not even that stinky. What should I do?

    • Equity's Darling :

      Throw in a cup of vinegar when you wash them- I’ve been doing it for years, magic. And no vinegary smell, it rinses away.

      • Does this work with front-load washers? Like, the kind where you put the detergent in a separate opening (not with the clothes)?

        • Equity's Darling :

          Yep, I have a front-load, I just toss in a cup or so of plain white vinegar where the detergent goes.

          Also for the original poster, just FYI you’re not supposed to use fabric softner with wicking clothes- I’ve found that when I’ve accidentally used fabric softner on my gym clothes, they actually retain smell much worse than simply detergent, hot water and vinegar.

        • We put vinegar in the fabric softener spot and it works well to keep athletic clothes fresh.

    • There’s a Tide laundry boost for this that I use. There’s also a few sports clothes washes that might work for you. Even if you don’t stink, the sweat has a way of making clothes smell gross.

    • Sport Suds (available on Amazon) is the best sport wash I’ve found for getting rid of the smell, even from sweaty runs in 100 degree Texas heat + humidity. It also doesn’t turn the underarms yellow like my regular detergent and that orange bottle sport wash sold at sporting goods stores did.

      • +1 to Sports Suds. It’s amazing stuff (albeit pricey). You may need to soak the items with a half-scoop or wash items multiple times, but it has rescued several synthetic shirts that I otherwise would have trashed because of “baked in” odors. Do the washing-machine rinse they recommend doing first – to clean out your machine too. It really helps get rid of the gunk in your machine. Order on Amazon.

    • baking soda works…i put a half cup in the wash for Mr. BigMeds super smelly running clothes and it works great.

    • My dh is a sweaty sweaty guy. We always wash his workout clothes in special detergent we get at out local running store. Makes a BIG difference!

    • I put a few drops of tea tree oil in with my gym clothes. The scent from it barely lingers after drying, but it has definitely kept them fresher.

  19. My sister is getting married in a few months and very stressed (about the wedding and other things). I am the MOH and have offered to do what I can, including flying to her city for a weekend to help her shop for her accessories and do anything else she wants help with. I love her very much and I want her to be happy. Two questions: Brides, what were the best/most helpful things your MOH did/took off your plate for you? (I have only been in one other bridal party and it was not a great experience and I was not that involved in these types of details.) And second, is there a mantra I can use for myself to not absorb her stress as my own? The first email I read this morning was from her, complaining about how much her flowers cost, and ending with “WHAT THE F—” which is not her usual style.

    • goldribbons :

      Reminding her that she is not alone, and repeating to yourself that this is not your struggle. I wished my MOH had cared and just responded to my emails more. Wedding planning was really stressful for me and it felt like nobody cared. Maybe nobody did — maybe I was the only one who cared how the day turned out — but it would have been nice if others had just responded more often.

      • Lol. My sister made the same comments to my mom, but she literally keeps asking us about $ decisions that are between her and her fiance, not us… so we don’t feel comfortable makign recs either way.

        I will try to respond more, but it literally is her wedding, not mine, so I don’t feel comfortable picking venues, # of bridesmaids, etc, for her.

        • goldribbons :

          Oh absolutely the decisions are between her & her fiance, but (to me) there’s a big difference between no response and “good thinking!” or “gosh those prices are insane!” or “that sucks!”

          • Anon in NYC :

            Agreed. You can’t make financial decisions for them, obviously, but just some acknowledgement or sympathy is good. If she’s asking for your opinion about money decisions, just say something to the effect of, “I can’t make that decision for you. I think you need to talk to FI about this. In my opinion, you need to prioritize what you want for your wedding based on whatever your budget is. Do you want expensive favors or fancier flowers? What would make you guys happier, and what would make your guests happier?”

            Without knowing what she’s asking, she might just be looking for confirmation that she’s doing the “right” thing.

    • In terms of the first question, if your sister is juggling input from lots of other people (parents, relatives, future in-laws), just help validate her choices and let her know it will be OK. Sometimes, it’s difficult not to second-guess yourself if there are lots of strong opinions.

    • I got married earlier this month with my sister as MOH. We live far away from each other but both spent the week of the wedding in the city where I got married. She went to all the meetings I had before the wedding (hair and make up trial, dropping things off at the venue, grabbing last minute items from stores, etc). She took charge of tips day of – I put everything in envelopes and she handed them out night of to make sure everyone got paid. She also made sure when we left the venue we left with everything we brought there.

      The best thing my sister did was run interference. My mom is not the greatest at helping out or following through with what she says she will do. My sister made sure my mom and FMIL showed up and had their hair and make up done at the right time. I was planning on riding with my parents to the venue to save money, and my sister was able to foresee that the ride would be super stressful and she ordered a limo to take me instead. Seriously, the limo was the best wedding gift ever and we aren’t even limo people.:) She also answered all of my mom’s questions the day of when mom was freaking out about alternate transportation we had for guests to the wedding. We had a bus going to/from venue. I had written down the instructions on where to catch the bus, what time it was leaving, and who to contact with questions (another bridesmaid) in a welcome packet, but my mom still couldn’t figure it out and was panicked for hours before the wedding started. My sister answered my mom’s many phone calls and did her best to shield me from any added stress that others were adding to the day.

      We got ready in my sister’s hotel room and when I showed up my sister had music playing and champagne with strawberries, cheese, crackers and other snacks all set out for me to munch on as I got ready. Basically, she did whatever possible to calm my nerves, esp day of and it really worked. Because she lives so far, she wasn’t really able to do much in the months leading up to the wedding. I sent her emails for opinions on jewelry or some detail and she would respond. The most important thing she did in the months leading up to the wedding was reassure me the week of she would be there and at my disposal to help as much as possible. That really helped.

      Weddings are inherently stressful and when you add in any other life events it just compounds the stress. The best thing you can do is listen to her vent, continue to offer to help and reassure her the wedding will be beautiful no matter what.

    • I second making her feel heard. You don’t always have to step in and offer advice, but let her know that it’s okay that she rants to you. If she’s freaking out about the wedding, odds are good that she might displace at least some of that stress onto her partner, so she may not always feel like she can talk to him freely. Be her sounding board. Be sympathetic, offer advice whenever she asks and you feel that you can (but don’t take it personally when your advice is ignored!), and be patient with her.

      Planning-wise, you could take some planning off her plate (if she’ll let you). Are there other members of the wedding party? Be the point of contact for them. Help spread information to them, see about scheduling appointments (for hair, etc) if necessary, and consider drafting the day-of schedule for them to follow. Let them know that if they have problems or questions, they should come to you first, so that your sister doesn’t have to worry about every hiccup.

      If you offer to take care of things for your sister, though, be sure that you are really on top of them. Whatever jobs you volunteer for, get them done as quickly as possible. If she feels like she delegated something to you only to have it not get done, she’ll worry about it even more — even if there’s still plenty of time (by normal-person, non-bride logic) to get it done!

      On my wedding day, my sister/MOH was great. The best thing she did for me, though, was telling me a really stupid joke as we waited for the other bridesmaids to walk down the aisle. I was really nervous, and she broke the tension for me. It was sweet and wonderful, and one of my favorite memories from that day.

  20. Suggestions for a small gift (under 30) that is unique to dc?

    • DC Wonkette :

      Check out the Cap Hill gift store in Longworth if you want super DC nerd stuff. Also the Smithsonian or National Gallery gift stores (although they’re over-priced).

  21. Senior Attorney :

    Dang! Stuck in moderation for name of the things I was smoking. Trying again…

    Dragging my sorry self in here looking for a pep talk, ladies!

    As I’ve posted previously, I left my husband a few months ago and the divorce is turning out to be unexpectedly prolonged and acrimonious. Confession: The day I told Mr. S.A. I was leaving, I bought a pack of cigar e t t e s (after having been smoke free for some years) and have been smoking maybe 10 cigs a day ever since. Finally decided to stop last week, which I did.

    But ZOMG it turns out those stupid cigs were both a diverting hobby and a great anesthetic! So here I am stuck in my little apartment with no reason to go outside for a smoke break, and worst of all I am FEELING ALL MY FEELINGS! And. it. just. sucks.

    I know this will pass, I know it was stupid to start smoking in the first place, I know it’s the right thing to stop now, I know everything I’m feeling is normal. But… ouch.

    Anybody got an internet hug to spare?

    • Here’s a big internet hug. I’m so sorry you’re going through this — we’re about the same age (the senior citizens in this group) and although I’m not divorcing DH and I have had our moments and I’ve really related to some of your posts.

      You are strong and fabulous, and you. will. get. through. this.

      And post your city — someone surely will take you for a drink or a coffee or something other than a smoke.

      • Senior Attorney :

        But… but… I want somebody to take me out for a SMOKE!! LOL

        Ahem. Not really.

        I’m in the northeast part of L.A.

        Thanks, Jules! Let’s hear it for Team C-R e t t e Baby Boomers!

    • Big hugs to you, SA. Hang in there.

    • I have one to spare! *Hugs* I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. It sucks, and I hope it gets better for you soon. I will say, I’ve started running to release stress and ALL THE FEELINGS (and I am the LEAST athletic person I know) and it’s really helping. You’re near Pasadena right? You should substitute ‘lette macarons for the smoke breaks. ;) They always help me feel better! Those and the cupcake place up the street, but I can’t remember the name of it at the moment! Instead of wine and cupcakes, I self medicate with macarons and cupcakes. Whatever works right?

    • Big internet hugs! And good on you for quitting when you’re already dealing with SO much.

      I think you need another distraction – something to make you stop feeling all of your feelings. It’s all too much at this stage and you need to distract yourself. Plans out with friends, shopping, a run/walk, constant episodes of mindless tv? Anything you can do to avoid sitting around and feeling your feelings is helpful I think.

      And I’m going to repeat what Jules said – you are strong and fabulous. You will get through this.

    • That is rough. Serious hugs to you. I’m not in L.A., or I’d be happy to take you out for a drink. In lieu of that, I’m rooting for you; please continue to let us know how you’re doing.

    • Big hugs. I know, from experience, that this sucks. I couldn’t sleep after my divorce so I ended up taking Ambien way too long. Part of that was living in my house by myself for the first time in 10 years. You’ll be ok. It takes time. And yeah, I’m one of the more “seasoned” members of this group.

    • goldribbons :

      GO OUTSIDE!! Take your “smoke” break with a soda or a fruit drink or anything you can consume through a straw. Big big hugs; you’ll get through this.

    • I have no advice, but I just wanted to say that every time you post, I think to myself “Aww, Senior Attorney – she’s awesome in many ways, and one of those ways is how proud she is of her Marine son!”

      Your son is so lucky to have such an awesome mom.

      – signed, a proud sister (x2)

    • Hugs and rawrs

    • So many internet hugs. ()()()()()

    • Senior Attorney :

      Aw, thanks, ladies! I really appreciate the hugs and especially the rawrs!

      TO Lawyer, believe it or not I am doing everything you mentioned — 5 days a week at the gym, dance classes with a friend, at least a couple of social engagements per week, and ENDLESS mindless TV! Turns out, though, that there’s still a ciggie-shaped hole in my busy schedule that needs to be filled! ;)

      Anon proud sister, ooh rah!! I get to talk to my Marine every week even though he’s far away, and that is such a big help I can’t even describe it!

      Goldribbons, I’ll have to consider sitting on my little retaining wall with a beverage instead of a cig — thanks for the good idea!

      You ladies are all awesome!

  22. Reposting from a few days ago – shoe advice needed please!

    I bought a pair of Minnetonka boat moccasins in fuchsia in a regular width. While the length fits me well, the sides of the shoe sag when my feet are in them so they don’t hug my feet. I wear a wide width in some other shoes so can it be that my feet are too narrow for these shoes? In any case Minnetonka doesn’t make narrow widths so I can’t exchange. What are my choices?
    (1) Is this an issue that will become better with wear (as they adapt to my feet),
    (2) is there anything I can do to make it fit better, or
    (3) do I just need to return them and accept that I cannot wear these shoes?

    • Yeah, I don’t think you can do anything to make these fit better. I found myself returning flat shoes made with leather that’s too soft and not sewn together to uphold its own structure.

    • I think I have those exact same shoes or something very similar. Do yours have a hard rubber boat sole or a softer rubber sole that’s almost like a driving shoe? I have kind of the same issue with some other Minnetonkas (a pair of those tall boots with the fringe on the top). They will stretch over time, which means that the problem will only worsen. Is your problem how they fit, how they look, or both?If it’s the former, try a pair of thick insoles. They’ll help create a more snug fit. I’m not sure if the gap will go away, though. I have several pairs of Minnetonkas and have found that the hard rubber (not crepe) soles are the best at retaining the structural integrity of the shoe after everything is broken in. The crepe soles are the worst at everything, unless you like looking like a representative from the Ministry of Funny Walks whenever it’s remotely wet outside.

    • Minnetinkas are just like this. If you find it uncomfortable and you don’t need to size down, I would just return. They are not the most supportive of shoes, and there’s nothing you can do to fix it… If anything it will become even more loose with time.

  23. Anon Counselor? :

    Having some major relationship issues, and I’ve been playing around with dosage for my migraine medication (which, ironically, is used as an antidepressant)….so I’m feeling pretty majorly crappy. Any affordable counselor/therapist suggestions in DC?

    • No recs but hugs and rawrs for you, too.

      Anybody else need hugs and rawrs? I have an unlimited supply.

    • Anonymous :

      Books are cheaper than a therapist if you’re really hard up for cash. Since no one’s recommended a therapist (and I’m not in DC), here are some book recs:
      – Project Happily Every After – saving your marriage when the fairy tale ends
      – Too Good To Leave, Too Bad To Stay – figuring out whether your relationship is worth it
      – For Women Only – overly Christian religious in parts, but if you can ignore that, a decent (& very quick) read on being a woman and a partner

    • Anon in DC/MD suburbs :

      Good luck and kudos to you for recognizing a need and taking steps to address it!

      If you can get to Rockville (easy drive; long walk from Metro’s Twinbrook station; don’t know about Metro or RideOn buses) try DuPont Associates (www DOT dupontanxietytherapy DOT com). Elizabeth Spencer is an MSW who does counseling; her current rate is $125 per 50-min session; she may offer 25-min also. She’s smart, kind, compassionate, and IME not interested in keeping you in therapy forever.

      Other ideas:
      – Try Psychology Today’s directory of therapists (can search by zip code, specialty, last name, etc.). Some providers may take insurance.
      – Ask your local reference librarian (you can do this in person or by phone during most hours that public libraries are open) for ways to find social workers. They may know about online directories, web sites of national organizations or magazines similar to Psychology Today, etc. My experience has been that MSW people have lowest fees; then psychologists; then psychiatrists.
      – The national organization of NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) or one of its local chapters may have referrals of affordable providers and/or lists of who does/doesn’t take insurance. National = nami DOT org; Montgomery County, MD = namimc DOT org; Virginia (entire state) = namivirginia DOT org
      – Perhaps your employer has an EAP?
      – Check with your local city or county…these may be income-based and/or limited due to current economy
      – JSSA (Jewish Social Services Agency) in Rockville offers counseling on a sliding scale fee basis. Their Rockville office may be on bus lines; it’s not close to a Metro station.

  24. I do. And I think it’s already a pretty big step that you know all the sensible stuff. I’d still be wallowing, in your shoes. Don’t beat yourself up too much, take it a step at a time.

  25. Question about how to handle sickness @ work. I get a lot of comments one particular superior when I’m out about how maybe I am pre-disposed to getting sick. This makes me feel uncomfortable and I find it offensive.

    I take off about the same amount of time as other people in my department, but no one does a great job of recording sick time off, so there really isn’t a good record of this. I keep a written record now because of these comments which shows my sick time for the last year is in the middle of the range for the department (about 10 days/yr). Superior tends to come in sick and make everyone else ill.

    Is there a best way to handle this? Basically I don’t want to be perceived as ‘always sick’ even if its not remotely the case (how can I get this spotlight off me?) and I also wonder if there is a good response to my superior when superior comments on my health status/supposed pre-disposition for illness.

    • That is so inappropriate. Maybe turn it on them – why do you say that? Or ask their advice – any good health tips?

    • I agree with Monday, below, about the way to handle it. I think that’s interesting though; ten days a year is near the upper end of what people at my office take (unless someone has a major health crisis in a given year, of course). I wonder if your boss is generally frustrated at the level of sicks days and making these comments to everyone in the department when they come back. Of course, that doesn’t make it okay, but might slightly shift the issue.

      • Agree with Em – my first reaction to your post was “Holy cr*p, 10 days? She must be really sick!”. I don’t know anyone in my department who has taken that many without a chronic illness or pregnancy, and people here aren’t shy about staying home when they feel ill. I think your boss might just be annoyed in general.

    • Are you being too honest with your supervisor? Are people calling in a “personal day” and you are giving out tmi by saying that you’re *actually* sick?

    • This is very interesting. Our staff have a set number of sick days per year. I have some staff who run through them quickly. Others build up hundreds of sick days. Our faculty do not have a sick leave policy. Meaning, if you are sick, you stay home, but you don’t accrue days or whatever. That generally means that nobody takes a sick day unless they are REALLY sick. I have one person who says “I’m not feeling well” in the middle of the day and leave, but she’s really junior and doesn’t have the obligations that many of us have. The thing is, in my area, if you are teaching or you have a big meeting that has been difficult to schedule, you suck it up and come in unless you have the flu or something debilitating. I guess what I’m saying is, we distinguish between not feeling well and really sick.

    • Thanks for your comments, this is helpful. To add, superior also takes off roughly the same amount of time. Staff generally just generally stay home when they are not feeling well, and I suspect sometimes it’s a ‘mental health day’ which I am fully in support of. I actually sick if I’m home (like delirious or vomiting). We have a high # of sick days available per year (maybe 40). I like the suggestion of ‘why do you ask’.

    • Do you talk about your illnesses at the office? I don’t think I am your Superior, but one of my juniors is constantly talking about their illnesses and doctor’s appointments and bla, bla and I really don’t need to know all the details. I guess it is helpful to know when people are really, really sick and not just “working from home” sick, but other than that, I don’t think your bosses need to know any of the details.

    • Thanks again to all for your feedback. Part is perhaps being singled out, and part sounds like 10 days IS actually more than normal (though not at my atypical office). Maybe this year I can be more mindful and take less, and if it comes up Monday’s suggestion is a good one. Thanks!

    • This is way late, but brings up a point that I wish people would often realize – you don’t have to “look” sick to be sick. For example, I look perfectly normal, but I have a few complicated health issues that are exacerbated by high-stress/lack of sleep. During normal times, I managed quite well, but when duty calls and I’m traveling every 3 days, I can’t help it. I shouldn’t have to state “actually, I have X so back off” to nosy coworkers who otherwise don’t speak to me. It’s rude and inappropriate.

    • I think this may be your supervisor’s passive aggressive way of telling you not to take too many days off, which I don’t think you are _at all_. But sounds like _he_ may think so, and instead of outright saying anything about it, he’s trying to hint. He may have gotten the impression that you’re taking time off when you’re not super-sick but more tired/stressed/overworked or mildly not feeling well. One way to dispel this may be to actually give *more* detail e.g. “home today – sick with the flu” and also to not hide your symptoms if you are actually in the office mildly sick one day. And if he says something like ‘you’ve been sick a lot this year’ then just respond normally “yes I have, I should really consider taking the flu shot next year, I’m not normally sick a lot but this flu season has really hit me hard” or “Yup I need to stock up on the emergen-C”.

      For context, I just checked my balance and I’ve taken 4.5 sick days this year so far so my total will be about the same as yours. Some of mine has been for when my toddler was sick though (but I do fall sick more often as a result of his generosity with his bugs). 8 to 10 days is also common among my colleagues many of whom have children and working spouses.

  26. “Thanks for your concern, but I actually keep a record of my sick leave and found I’m right in the middle range for our group here.” I feel like this demonstrates your diligence and responsibility (in contrast to Superior’s assumptions and carelessness) and gently reminds this person that the only situation in which your medical status would be his or her business would be decreased job performance.

  27. Anonymous :

    I agree that your supervisor’s comments are out of line, and I think you’ll need to tackle it next time it comes up by saying something like what Monday suggested. That said, my office sounds like Em’s – 10 days would be really high unless someone had a serious week-long illness.

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