Weekend Open Thread

Kate Spade New York - Jocelyn (Cream) - Bags and LuggageSomething on your mind? Chat about it here.

Zappos currently has a number of Kate Spade items marked down 25-30%, and for the weekend, I’m loving this comical clutch that I’ve been ogling for a while. Love the pink flamingo detail, and I think the bright white and pink would be a lot more versatile than you might expect. It’s also nice that the bag expands to something a lot bigger — it strikes me as the perfect way to switch into flip flops and stash your heels as the night wears on. It was $325, now marked to $243.75. Kate Spade New York – Jocelyn (Cream) – Bags and Luggage

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected] with “TPS” in the subject line.


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Pin on Pinterest


  1. When I see this, I think: “so cute, so frivolous, so Palm Beach.” And then I think, squee. And then I realize I don’t have enough money to buy it. Shucks.

    • This bag is completely impractical for me, but I am struggling to resist purchasing right now. So cute.

    • This reminds me *very much* of my beloved Lisa Frank trapper keeper from 2nd grade.

      • MaggieLizer :

        Aww I miss Lisa Frank! I wish I had a little niece to share it with.

    • This would be a fun bag.

    • I wish I had a bigger closet to accommodate impractical but fun items!

    • Oy!

      I think the bag looks a little silly. And there is no way I could bring this into work, or I would be laughed out of the place.

      Even my assistant did not think she would like one, and believe me, she wears anything!

  2. Oh yay, open thread! I have been waiting for this. I know folks don’t want this to turn into a baby/mommy blog, but I hope the open thread is fair game. I searched back through the various maternity posts and didn’t see the answer to this. When did you start to grow out of your normal clothes? How long could you get by working with your normal things? When did you need to start sizing up and switching to maternity gear? This is my first pregnancy (11 weeks) and I am hoping I can make it 2 more months with what I’ve got, maybe with the addition of a few looser shirts (I usually tuck my blouses in) and a bella band. But wanted to see how realistic that is and what others’ experiences have been. Thanks!

    • Congrats to you! It was 6-7 months for me (first baby) when I had to give up the bella band and go for maternity pants/skirts. I wore maternity shirts at about 4-5 months that were longer so that the bella band was hidden. My non-maternity empire-cut flowy shirts did the trick before then.

      • anon-oh-no :

        It was month 6 or 7 for me when i could no longer wear all of my regular clothes, with both pregnancies. I will warn you though, I stretched out 3 pair of my favorite suit pants by wearing them too long.

        That said, you can basically get by for work with a pair of grey slacks, black slacks, and like 1-2 other work appropriate bottoms. I also found it helpful to have a basic black dress, which i was able to wear in the winter w/ tights and summer without, dressed up and dressed down for everything from weekend wear to formal wear, and depositions in between. dont ask how i pulled that off, but it worked. If you need a suit for work, just buy one. you can also wear your other suit jackets unbottoned.

    • Congrats! I’ve never been pregnant, but my best friend didn’t really have to stop using her bella band until about 5-6 months, I think. But by that point she was wearing looser/longer tops to hide it. I think a lot of the timing will depend on how high/low you’re carrying. I imagine if you wind up carrying low that you’ll need to buy pants/skirts earlier on, but you may be able to get away with looser shirts for longer.

    • I think you’ll probably be fine for 2 more months, most likely. However, consider this: You’ll have to buy the maternity things eventually. If you buy them now, you can rotate in with your non-maternity pants/skirts + bella band – essentially, more options for a while. Plus (as I’m wearing a bella band now), they aren’t always the most comfortable thing – I’m always fussing with mine slipping around.

      • I’m wearing mine right now, as well, with a pair of jeans. If buttoning the jeans didn’t make me nauseous, I would think the bella band was more trouble than it’s worth. I’m at 8 weeks and I’m still fitting in to all my work skirts, but I definitely need the band for pants.

    • Same as above for 1st pregnancy (about 5/6 months) but much earlier for 2nd (like 3rd month) – I think this is typical. Also remember that what fits for mths 6-8 may not fit for the final month.

    • TheOtherCoast :

      I’m very thin. I was in maternity clothes by like 13 weeks. I could still wear some stuff up until about 4 months, but the maternity clothes, especially bottoms, were far more comfy once I started to show. YMMV. I wish I had been able to last for 6 months.

      • If anyone has ideas on maternity work suits, please share. I was due last Sept.m and was able to avoid suits because of the firm’s casual summer policy. Now I’m due in January, so there is no getting around wearing suits this time. THanks.

        • anon-oh-no :

          pea in the pod is your best bet. try for a basic black. I wound up getting a grey one with a noticable detail (it was all that fit me at the time and i had an argument i needed it for). But, as I suggested above, you can get nice black or grey slacks and some materinity tops — button downs and some nicer shells and/or t-shirts, then just mix in your regular suit jackets or seperates, but dont button.

        • Check with HR, but at my business formal firm it was acceptable to wear a jacket over a maternity dress or pants. I just kept wearing my old jackets even though they didn’t button.

        • Check out mine for nine for rentals.

        • Crave maternity – UK brand, but ships to the US. I tried the Motherhood empire (pea in the pod, Motherhood Materinity, Mimi(sp?)), but nothing was court appropriate 3 years ago.

    • I think it really depends on your body type and size. I’m 32 weeks pregnant with my first and only starting wearing exclusively maternity pants/skirts over the last couple weeks. I still can wear many of my regular shirts that are more “flowy.” But I’m 6′ tall so my baby has a lot more vertical room in there, and as a result, my belly doesn’t stick out as far as it probably would if I were shorter. I also think that if you are very small boned and/or very thin, your belly will pop out sooner and you’ll have to switch to maternity clothes earlier. However, I’m pretty confident you’ll be able to make it another couple months with looser shirts and the band. If you’re shopping for clothes I would look for more loose shirts than maternity shirts. I find that maternity shirts make me look a lot bigger than regular shirts for some reason.

      Congrats and best wishes for a healthy, uneventful pregnancy!

    • I’m 10w3d, and still wearing normal clothes. I can tell my pants are getting tight, though, but I’m not sure when I’ll have to make the switch. My discomfort is due more to the five pounds I’ve gained rather than any real baby bump. I have, however, gone up two cup sizes–some of my shirts have been ruled out by the new bigger boobs. :)

      I’ve purchased a few Groupons recently for maternity wear, so I plan on going shopping this weekend for a couple of shirts and a Bella Band.

    • congrats! I’m at 16 weeks, and I’m about to give in to the maternity pants – just waiting on my orders to arrive. I haven’t needed maternity tops yet, but we’ll see how that works with the new pants. For summer clothes I’m hoping to just get by with larger tops.

      Also, thank goodness it’s summer and I work in a business casual office – a-line and flowy dresses tend to be more forgiving!

    • Fashion Faux Pas :

      I think it varies based on your height and how you carry the baby. I’m tallish (5’8″), very skinny and carrying low. I’m at 31 weeks and still wear normal shirts (including button fronts, open cardigans, long tshirts, and flowy blouses) and some dresses (e.g., wrap dresses, looser shifts). I can also still wear normal pants with a bella band, provided I wear a long shirt. I didn’t start using the band until around 23 weeks, but I think I “popped” kind of late. Thank goodness since I hate maternity clothing, refuse to spend very much money on it and couldn’t buy much even if I wanted to since I have had serious difficulties finding anything that fits my body.
      I’m hoping to make it to delivery with two maternity skirts, one pair of black pants, one pair of jeans, 4 work shirts and 2 tshirts.

      • Along these lines – any suggestions of places to buy maternity clothes at that are fairly reasonably priced, and work appropriate? So many of the “chic” maternity lines tend to be totally casual or business casual at best.

        • Gap Maternity isn’t bad…best quality for the price I’ve found. Completely boring clothes, so not “chic”, though…

        • I liked Motherhood Maternity pants (the ones that sit under the belly) and they also have some pencil skirts. The quality is not top, but it works. Also I liked maternity wrap dresses from Old Navy.

        • anon-oh-no :

          pea in the pod for the actual real work stuff (pants, skirts, button downs, jackets), then mix in motherhood maternity, old navy, target, gap etc.

        • Guilt Free Mom :

          Ann Taylor has maternity now. They didn’t when I was preggers, so I haven’t worn them – they look work appropriate and somewhat reasonable on line.

          • Guilt Free Mom :

            Oops, it’s not Ann Taylor, it’s Ann Taylor Loft that has maternity now.

          • I wore ATL during pregnancy. It was fine. I was sick of it by the end, but I didn’t mind it. It was professional enough for pregnancy and held up well enough.

        • Boden has some maternity wear as well.

        • Fashion Faux Pas :

          My goal was to spend as little as possible on maternity clothes, so I went to a maternity consignment store. I got two Liz Lange skirts (one black, one herringbone) for $10 each, a pair of Hudson Jeans for $50, and the maternity equivalent of button front shirts (Motherhood, Liz Lange, Pea in the Pod, and a couple from the Liz Lange for Target line) for $5-$10 each. I have a pair of Motherhood black pants that I bought new for about $30. The fabric isn’t something I would otherwise wear to work (it’s clingy), but they were literally the only non-denim pants I could find in my size.

          Friends who have been more willing to spend money on their maternity wardrobe recommended Mom’s the Word (not including link to avoid moderation).

        • Surprisingly, I’ve gotten several cute work appropriate items off ebay. I got some really cute navy blue Ann Taylor maternity cropped pants (Ann Taylor used to have a maternity line, but now only Loft does). I only paid $17 for them including shipping, and the quality is very nice. I also got a couple skirts and a cute Pea in the Pod dress for very reasonable prices.

    • I agree with the other posters that it depends entirely on your body and the way you carry the baby – everyone is different. I’m 5’7″, normally about 125 pounds, and I think I was in maternity clothes with my first right around 16 weeks or so. Strangers started noticing I was pregnant and commenting around 19 weeks, so it wasn’t that I looked pregnant at 16 weeks, I just expanded enough that my regular clothes did not fit. But the Bella Band things had not been invented at that point (7 years ago), so I just went from my own pants buttoned up straight to maternity.

      Where do I get one of those things Bella Band things anyway? Now I’m 9 weeks and my normal pants are getting snug already. Sigh. I need to go take a nap now.

      • I got mine at Target. And now that I’ve been awake for 4 hours today, I too will be taking a nap.

      • I was 5’2″, 116 pounds; no morning sickness whatsoever, and in maternity clothes by 13 weeks (10 pound weight gain by then). I am all stomach. I though the bella band was awful, but it did help keep my normal pants for a few weeks (since I was really outgrowing them by week 9). Anyway, I’m 19 weeks now and just woke up from my nap to see what was going on on Corporette. :-)

    • Just my two cents here. When I was pregnant I tried to stay in my normal clothes as long as possible with a bella band. When I finally switched to maternity pants, I realized they were SO much more comfortable! So you might consider getting some maternity stuff even though you “can” still use a bella band, because it makes a huge difference. (jeans especially.)

      That said, I continued to use the bella band on all my suit pants and slacks for quite a while, up to about 5 months I’d say. But you know what, again, the maternity skirts and dresses I had were way more comfortable.

      Also, fwiw, around 8 months, I grew out of all my maternity clothes and had to get new, bigger ones for the last 6 weeks. Soooo… that can happen.

    • Artsygirl :

      It depends on your body shape, I think.I am extremely short waisted so there was nowhere for the baby to go but out! I was in maternity pants at 4 months, although I also wore a stretchy skirt and some workout pants from Target up until 5 1/2 months or so. I work in a very business-casual university environment so I was able to abandon suits and structured jackets completely and just wear pants from Motherhood with shirts from Motherhood and Target. Two good friends of mine are or have been pregnant recently and they swear by their denim pencil skirts from Gap, so I plan to get one of those next time!

    • Divaliscious11 :

      First child – 7 months, second child – 4 months…..

    • I am 28 weeks with the first baby. This obviously varies a LOT, but my experience has been that the bella band works for much longer than I would have thought. I’m another tall woman (5’9), very long waisted and carrying high. I have been able to wear my normal pants with the bella band and long shirts without any problems. I do mix in maternity pants as well, but I only have a couple of pairs and they don’t quite fit right around the hips yet–maybe because my bump is so high up. Just in the last week I have had to retire the looser fitting, empire waisted non-maternity shirts that had been working beautifully so far. Now it’s all maternity shirts.

  3. Always a NYer :

    Threadjack – What are your thoughts on espadrilles? I never liked them and having been seeing lots of women in upper management wearing them at my business casual office. While I see how they can be cute/summery, are they really work-appropriate?

    • I’d say only on casual Friday. They’re not my favorite either, but that’s because I have big feet and in my size they look more like little bales of hay.

      • Haha! Same. I bought a pair of espradrille flats by Steve Madden, though and I love them. Much more flattering than bales of hay.

      • Hahahahahah, thanks for that. Size 10 here, and totally agree.

        • Same here! That said, I do like them under a pair of linen pants for a chico’s kind of casual day. Always looks off on me–the chico’s look–being that I’m 25 and overweight, and not 60 and a yoga instructor.

          • Chico’s ads crack me up! A paralegal in our office always wears espradrilles (like the 4-5 inch tall type), and they look cute, but she’s all around tiny. I could see Steve Madden having some nice ones.

    • I love espadrilles and have basically gotten at least one pair a summer for probably a decade now, if not more. I think they are cute and comfy and all that stuff. However, while I wear them to work sometimes, I generally feel compelled to switch out of them for any time I actually see people. I do think that some espadrilles are more formal than others (tie vs buckle, fabric vs leather/suade, solid vs pattern, etc.) and every office is different. Fwiw, mine can be a bit more formal than most. I think if yours is business casual and you are seeing your superiors wearing them, then I would think they are appropriate for your workplace.

    • Corporate Tool :

      I think it depends on a number of things. Most clearly color, height, and straps/lack. I think that black, mid-height, peep-toe espadrilles in black are probably fine, while, floral print ones with wrap-around ankle straps are probably not. I couldn’t get away with wearing either, but I think that for business casual, you might.

      • I love espadrilles (are we referring to all sandals that have the hay-looking bottom or only ones that are closed toe with a cloth upper? I’m referring to all shoes with the hay-like bottom).

        I have two pairs this summer (one in a nude with some leather on the wedge in addition to the “hay” and one in a brown, braided t-strap). I think they are a perfect mid-casual summer shoe. I only wear them on the weekends, but wear them with skirts and dresses, dressy shorts and white jeans.

  4. I posted this yesterday, but in the middle of the night US time, so am reposting now so more people will see it.

    PSA: Old Navy has some really adorable summer dresses right now. Through Friday, there’s 30% off with code ONBIG30.

    I got this one, in “pink stripe” and “in the navy”:

    Reviews say it’s big in the bust, which I hope will translate to perfect for my big bust, a rare thing in dresses.

    And I got this in the blue pattern:


    It’s online only and no reviews yet, so fingers crossed. I like that it’s natural fibers, but has sleeves. That’s rare.

    Also, ON, would it kill you to show multiple views of the dresses? Especially since your descriptions aren’t too clear? (e.g. the blue long sleeved dress purportedly has a tie front – except it doesn’t, according to the photo. So tie back, I assume?)

    Also, Ru – they have a maxi dress with sleeves! I remember you posted that you were looking for those. Sadly it’s only available in black, but still, sleeves!

    • Someone else here posted about the first dress and loved it. I might have to make a trip to ON this weekend.

    • Corporate Tool :

      I also wish that sometimes they’d show the items on a model. I know I don’t look like a model, but it’d give me a better idea of how necklines and sleeves (especially) fall. It can be really hard to tell otherwise.

      • Yes – I hate the vague “hits above knee” instead of “21 inches” or whatever.

    • I just bought the long sleeved one in the blue pattern. I got a large petite and we’ll see if it fits size 10 5’1″ me. Sometimes I have perfect success with Old Navy, sometimes not. But with free shipping, I don’t mind dropping it back off at the store when I go to the mall if it doesn’t fit.

      • I’m a 5’4″ size 14 and I also ordered the LP – something tells me one of us got the wrong size…

    • Scully, that was me. I’m wearing the blue striped dress right now and I have ordered another in the navy. Love, love, love this dress. Totally comfortable, attractive, and cheap.

      It’s not big in the bust for me. I’m a 34C. Of course, I’m only wearing it in casual settings and often over a bikini (like today).

      • That’s exactly what I want – well, maybe not a bikini, but a sports bra to go to the grocery store :). Yay summer dresses.

    • Runnin' for it :

      I love these end of the summer sales. There have been great deals lately at AT and Loft (extra 50% off their sale items). This is a great time to stock up.

    • Thanks Eponine, will definitely check it out.

  5. Wearing a white blazer today – it’s been in my closet staring at me every day for a month because it was just so… white. So today, for casual Friday, I’ve paired it with jeans, an emerald tee, and floral pumps, and I have the sleeves rolled up. And I still feel like I stole a doctor’s lab coat!

    • Sounds like a really cute outfit.

    • I bet you look sharp!
      About 3 weeks ago I rediscovered my white blazer (AT Loft, maybe 4 yrs old?) amidst some winter coats (no clue why), and I am on the verge of over-wearing it. It’s exactly right for summer with a bunch of different sheath dresses, skirts, and jeans.

    • Anonymous :

      The first time I wore my first white blazer, an assistant in the office called me “boss lady.” While as a young lawyer, I don’t necessarily want to have “boss lady” relationships with the staff, I was thrilled that I had made an outfit choice that communicated that message. Own that blazer!

      • MaggieLizer :

        So much better than being asked “so how long have you been a paralegal?” True story, second week of work. I was wearing dark gray suit pants with a purple 3/4 length sleeved silk blend sweater and carrying my suit jacket because it was hot.

    • Thanks for the support! My husband was less helpful – he just texted to ask if we could have lunch, unless I was “too busy seeing patients.” LOL – this is what happens when I ask him for fashion advice!

      • Ha ha, I frequently ask my husband for his opinion on my outfits and then usually end up saying “you don’t know anything about women’s fashion anyway!” when his review isn’t favorable.

      • I totally just bought a great white blazer from Banana Republic because of this thread! I’ve had my eye on one for about a month, and the stars aligned today with a coupon code and some reward dollars. :D

  6. I have been obsessed with flamingos all my life, and have been resisting pulling the trigger on this bag for months…

    • Ruthy Sue :

      Me too! I played a flamingo in a ballet version of “Alice in Wonderland” as a kid, and while I hated that costume I’ve been obsessed with them ever since. Every time I see this bag I sigh… so cute, but too expensive

  7. This bag reminds of Bjork’s infamous swan dress…but I want it so bad! The price is really insane for such a novelty item though.

  8. Has anyone ever purchased a Ravon convertible short dress. I purchased one in teal today and was wondering if anyone has experience with these dresses. I love the idea of it especially with wedding season! Thoughts?

    • oops – here’s what they look like http://blog.ideeli.com/todays-features/2010/6/23/the-ideeli-scoop-on-the-convertible-dress.html

    • Yes i bought one from Ideeli in an earlier sale. It’s flattering and looks nice, but good like trying to wear it as anything but a halter! I don’t know how they manage to contort it into the other style but clearly I’m inept.

      Also, the halter itself is miles long (down to the floor) to accomodate the shift to other styles, but since I can’t manage to convert it I plan on cutting them short to just tie enough around my neck.

      Hope that makes sense!

    • We wore Dessy’s version of this dress in my brother’s wedding this spring, and each of the 4 bridesmaids styled it differently (and none of us wore it “halter” style). It took some trial and error, but there are a ton of cute options. I think Dessy has a YouTube channel, or maybe the links were on their website? But I guarantee if you Google you will find lots of videos and instructions that walk you through various styles (though you will need to enlist a friend… it’s not easily a one person job!).

  9. So, not to get too sentimental here, but I just wanted to say THANK YOU to all you wonderful women who read and comment on Corporette. I discovered this blog about a month ago, and it has become my favorite to read. Not only does Kat post good content, but the comment sections are like mini-posts of their own. So much good information and a wonderful community. Thanks, ladies!!

  10. With my new job (yay!), I have more time and have started cooking more regularly. Not regularly enough to use a whole bunch of ____ [insert herb here] before it goes bad in my refrigerator, but regularly enough that I feel I am really wasting money and food. So I’m thinking of starting an herb garden — probably parsley, basil, cilantro, and mint. I live in an apartment with a balcony that doesn’t really get direct sunlight. My kitchen is on the interior of the apt and so does not have a window. I have no idea what I’m doing and would prefer any insight as to next steps.

    1. Will an interior planter near my balcony doors work? There is little “direct sunlight”, but it does get some.
    2. Is this a reasonable project for a new gardener?
    3. How quickly do the leaves replenish themselves?

    Would appreciate any other advice and insight. I think I’m going to try to make my way to a garden center this weekend, hopefully one with knowledgeable sales people! Thanks!

    • I think most herbs would prefer less direct sunlight – I positively scorched my poor basil plant this year with the morning sun it got. The people at the garden center will be able to assist you with what types of herbs grow best in your climate and when you need to plant them.

    • I have never been able to maintain herbs inside my apartment – 9th floor, west facing with a sliding door and balcony, so plenty of sunlight, I would think. Mint, cilantro, and basil are growing happily on my balcony now, although I do have to be diligent about watering the basil, it tends to get very droopy rather quickly. Last year I made a lot of pizzas with the basil – bought the crust, then topped with olive and basil oil, shallots, grape tomatoes cut in half, a little shredded mozzarella and parmesan, and some fresh basil leaves. It was really good.

      So far this year I’ve just made cocktails with the mint.

      • My husband is obsessed with his Aerogarden. It’s foolproof. I highly recommend it.

        • somewhere(less)cold :

          My husband is obsessed with the Aerogarden he got me as a gift :). I thought the herbs worked the best in it, especially since you don’t need a lot at a time.

    • I have an AeroGarden with a herb kit which I use in the winter. The thing supplies its own light, so you can put it wherever it’s convenient without worrying that the plants won’t get enough light. If you follow the feeding schedule and keep things trimmed (i.e. use the herbs) one kit will last many months. They are a little pricey, but I bet you could find one on ebay / craigslist and just order the seed pod kit for it.

    • well, not to confuse you but i think most herbs actually do like lots of light … just google “basic herb gardening” and see what they say. At any rate, growing herbs is relatively straightforward and yes, a good project for a beginner or non-gardener. i am currently growing all the herbs you mention. so here’s what i would do:

      1) buy little starter plants of the herbs you like. OR, start with seed packets, if you’re more ambitious.
      2) buy some small pots – like 5-6 inch diameter – and bag of potting soil.
      3) put one plant or 5-15 seeds in each pot with the soil, water, and repeat. if it’s really hot where you are, water once a day. otherwise, every 2 or 3 days. small pots need more frequent watering than large ones.

      if you start now on your outdoor balcony, you should get some edible leaves by late august or september, i would think? you can try moving them inside once it gets cold, like late sept (depending on where you are, of course).

      cilantro grows quickest, and then dies out fastest in my experience. basil is slower but lasts longer. when you “harvest”, pick off the largest 30% of leaves (never take more than 2/3 of a plant’s leaves, or it won’t be able to feed itself). now that it’s hot out, my basil is sprouting new leaves every few minutes, it seems. before that though, i could reliably harvest leaves twice a week.

      have fun with it! it’s cheap to do, worth experimenting, so even if it doesn’t work out as planned you should at least give it a shot.

      good luck and happy cooking!

    • I grew them in individual pots at my house for months (they fell victim to the recent move, though :(

      My straegy was to buy the potted plants when I needed an herb- i.e., if I needed fresh basil, the nicer grocery store had a pot for the same price as a package, and just re-pot them in terra cotta pots later on. They required very little upkeep; I left mine unwatered for up to a week and they still usually came back to life. Definitely a reasonable project for a new gardener- if nothing else, your cost is pretty low. I liked them inside because I didn’t want to give them up in the winter.

      As for leaves replenishing, it depends on season and how big of a plant. I pretty much always had parsley, which came back very quickly, but I very rarely had enough basil to make something like a pesto, and if I did, I would only have a little bit available for several weeks.

    • S in Chicago :

      Wish I had a green thumb. Looking forward to seeing the responses. I’m cooking more myself but haven’t gotten into herbs so much as spices.

      Totally recommend Penzeys if you’re looking to explore that way (or when the weather makes herb growing tougher). I’m fortunate enough to live near some stores but they do mail order as well. www.penzeys.com

      • Seconded times 1000! Penzeys is fabulous. Go to the store if at all possible – their online catalog is great but there’s nothing better than actually getting to smell and taste everything.

      • if you live in chicago you should also check out the spice house in old town! it’s pretty great, they sell lovely packaged spices and spice blends that make great gifts (or splurges to yourself)

    • Outside on the balcony would be best, IMO. I find basil slightly fussy, rosemary really sturdy, oregano impossible to kill. Sage is great and also hardy. Thyme is pretty easy to grow, too.

    • North Shore :

      Check out the self-watering planters at www.gardeners.com. I thought it was a gimmick at first, but they really work. The bottom of the pot/planter holds the water, so the plant won’t die if you go out of town or forget about it. You can get other ideas by searching for “herb” at that web page. It’s a great store.

    • I have a tiny little balcony, so to save space I used planters that hang over the edge of the railing. I think I got them at Lowes early this summer. I planted sage, mint, basil and parsley. They are all doing well, but you definitely have to remember to water them. They droop pretty quickly if you don’t (at least in this heat). However, if you forget for a few days and then water them again, they usually come back. At least mine have so far. You should definitely do this! I use so many more herbs in my cooking now that I can just go pick them. The basil makes pasta sauce taste amazing. And mojitos are now my go-to summer cocktail. Good luck!

    • anotheranon :

      Basil and parsley are pretty easy. I’m trying to grow cilantro this summer though and it’s not doing too well.

  11. frustrated :

    Threadjack: I’m a legal intern at a government office. I read Corporette regularly to keep in mind what sort of behavior is appropriate or not, and I like to think that I conduct myself well in front of the attorneys.

    However, I found out today that one of the attorneys in my office thinks that I am “uptight” and “too ambitious.” Apparently my habit of calling him Mr. Surname, instead of his first name, bothers him… as does my habit of saying “Yes” and “No” promptly to queries.

    What the hell am I supposed to do with this sort of criticism, especially since it had to come my way via a third-party? I understand that at least some part of it was me mis-reading the situation, and that I should have toned down my behavior to match, but what does “too ambitious” mean?

    I guess I wish I had some advice on how to deal with this sort of casual sexism, where individuals sort of uncritically look for ‘more of the same’ from those that they work with. Or possibly a link to a “Beginner’s Guide to Professional/Collegiate Sports.”

    • I think I must be missing something because I don’t see any sort of sexism here at all. I work in a government office that is very collegial. Everyone is chatty and on a first-name basis. If we had an intern who answered everything with a curt “yes” or “no” response and called everyone by Mr./Ms. Surname, I think we’d all feel the same way. I am not interested in collegiate sports, but most people here are (men and women)- again, I am not seeing how that is really sexism. It just sounds like you need to loosen up a bit and try to be a little bit more open/friendly with your coworkers.

    • I don’t see sexism either. If he asked you to call him by his first name then you should.

    • Well, I would start by referring to him by his first name, if that is his preference and is consistent with the office culture. You might try smiling more (neutrally, if that makes sense, not like a psychopath). As far as too ambitious, that could mean a lot of things. A recent intern in my office declined shadowing opportunities that were presented, because she said she was only interested in shadowing a certain level/type of position that is at least a decade (or two) beyond her experience. She was also creepy ambitious, gave us all the feeling that she’d like to be hired as CEO thank-you-very-much, but she couldn’t deliver on even the basic of tasks. If any of that sounds even remotely like you, stop it. In the more likely case that you can see the insanity in my description of her, then I wouldn’t worry about it. Just stop being quite so formal, maybe relax a bit more, but that’s it. If you have what it takes to back it up, I don’t feel like ambition is something that should be toned down. Oh, but I just noticed you made a big leap to “casual sexism.” Maybe, maybe not. I’ve been told at various times that I’m either too direct or too “aggressive.” Sometimes these comments seem to stem from sexism (even from women), and sometimes they have some validity. It’s important to recognize the difference.

    • I think with respect to the name issue, you start calling him by his first name immediately and in the future, just take cues from others around you – I wouldn’t consider this sinking to the lowest common denominator by any means. In my office, no one uses that level of formality in addressing anyone else (a few people we call Last Name, but not Mr./Ms. Last Name – mostly because they have funny names or common first names). Would have been nice if he’d just said to you, “call me Bob” at some point though, rather than letting this bug him (I assume he hadn’t said anything).

      As for the Yes/No, I’m not sure I quite understand the issue. Do you have an example?

      There is such a thing as overly formal, and it reads as a bit out of touch. Same goes for ambition. I think being amitious is great and certainly should be celebrated, but the type of eagerness/ambition that you can smell from a mile away is not what you should be going for. I certainly don’t mean to pile on, and if there really is sexism at play here that’s awful, but from those facts alone I’m not entirely sure that’s what it is.

    • What region are you in? I’m in NYC, so YMMV.

      I’ve have done multiple government legal internships and worked in government for several years before law school. The culture is generally much more relaxed. I can’t imagine calling anyone Mr. Lastname after the first day or meeting, including heads of agencies, general counsel etc. I’ve even had some job interviews that veered into very casual territory – nothing inappropriate, just… “comfortable.” So maybe what he really means is that you are too formal. Consider that if you are behaving in the office day in and day out with the same level of formality as you would in court, maybe you need to loosen up a little. Don’t go crazy! But crack a joke occasionally, mention weekend plans or outside hobbies when appropriate, commiserate about the heat. If you are walking somewhere that you can’t discuss work stuff b/c of confidentiality concerns – like public street, elevator – make small talk. Try to treat people at work as bosses 80% of the time and friend/mentor 20% of the time. Be friendly with the support staff – not just polite, but friendly – make small talk.

      You can best tell if this is what’s going on with you, but that’s been my experience.

      • frustrated :

        The thing is, I do that. And I’m the only intern at the office that makes the effort to do that. The others will respond when spoken to, but I’m the only one consistently asking the secretaries about their sons or seeing if attorney X went to the same restaurants that I did in City Y where we both attended undergrad. Hence the confusion.

        • It sounds to me that you’re at the same time too formal with Mr./Ms. Surname and too casual with asking lots of questions that others may see to be intrusive, excessive, or just too personal. We have someone at my office who does that and he really rubs a lot of people the wrong way because they feel like he’s not genuine at all.

        • Former 3L :

          This would strike me as sort of striver-y and I’m-here-to-network-ish, for what it’s worth. (I’m sort of judgmental about that, though.) We had an intern that did that and probably thought she was an excellent conversationalist, but it just came off as sort of fakey and a**-kissy.

        • No offense, but you sound like a gunner. Tone it down and try not to interrogate people. And calling people Mr. or Ms. is not appropriate unless you are in elementary school.

    • Agreed that I’m missing the casual sexism here. Not all constructive criticism from a man stems from his sexist tendencies. And your last two sentences really give an off-putting vibe. People want to work with people that they like. There’s nothing uncritical or lacking instrospection about that.

    • I don’t think it’s sexism, but rather failure to read the office culture. You’re too formal, and come off as uptight. You’re acting like you’re at a law firm, not a government office (speaking as someone who’s worked for both). Relax and be less formal.

      I do think there’s an element of casual sexism in this kind of comment – a formal and reserved woman is going to be perceived as an uptight b—, while a formal and reserved man is not as likely to be perceived in this way. But the real problem in your situation is that you don’t fit in to the office culture, and you need to make an effort to fit in.

      • We have an intern now who people think is too uptight. We wear jeans, flip-flops, and t-shirts and we are very, very casual in our demeanor. She wears very appropriate Ann Taylor type skirts and blouses, with her hair up. She has classic Southern manners but we gently teased her and she has loosened up while maintaining a very professional and classy demeanor. I like her and go out of my way to provide her with tasks and opportunities for experience. So, try to join in on casual conversations and fun, but don’t necessarily change who you are.

    • i don’t know how to say this without sounding offensive, but it’s what us non-first years like to call the first years in my firm – sooo gunnerish – just be friendly. Being friendly and not all uptight, go-getter doesn’t equal unprofessional. Some ladies need to realize that.

      Also, I admittedly HATE that dumb, corner office, act like a b word to get ahead book that half this blog seems to be in love with (that I will never understand).

      • frustrated :

        The thing is, I’ve been friendly. I regularly eat lunch with some of the attorneys, ask them about their lives- books they’re reading, their background, their families, about their weekend plans- none of the other (male) interns do this. I know I can come off as shy sometimes so I’ve been making an effort to do the big smile-and-chat thing on a daily basis. I don’t understand how this translates into “unfriendly,” other than my hesitancy to refer to someone by their first name.

        • Well, trying to change your behavior to fit in can sometimes result in just being totally awkward. Maybe your questions come off as forced? Perhaps you can just relax a bit and be yourself a bit more, so you come off a bit more natural.

          It’s tough – but you’ll get past this and eventually figure out a way to relate to your coworkers that works.

        • Another Anonymous :

          I wonder if, perhaps, the “too ambitious” part is coming from you being TOO talkative and/or “friendly.” What may seem to you as making friendly small talk so as not to seem too uptight may actually be translating as you just trying too hard. It’s really hard to walk that fine line.

        • Are you asking too many questions, especially personal questions, during lunch and other casual conversations? That can definitely come off as gunnerish.

      • I definitely agree, that book is not for everyone.

      • Anonymous :

        Have you read NGDGTCO? “act like a b word to get ahead” is probably the opposite of the point of the book. The book says that you have to act appropriately given your office environment to get ahead. If you’re not reading people right and not adapting to the culture, it can be a challenge to get ahead. Frustrated might want to read that section, in fact.

        The book also says be yourself, don’t let people think they can take you less than seriously, don’t be a wallflower, don’t expect just to work hard and get noticed. You need to be a member of your office and behave appropriately. Isn’t that what we’re talking about here?

      • Ballerina Girl :

        I agree, I hate that book, too! I was all excited and I think it’s total b.s.

    • Another Sarah :

      I see that you say you’re normally shy and so been making an effort to do the “smile-and-chat” thing, so good. Not to throw a complete wrench in your plans, but if it looks like you’re “making an effort,” that may also come across as “unfriendly,” since it may seem like “Oh, the uptight and ambitious girl is trying to be all proletariat and stuff…well la-di-da.” If you’re regularly friendly but just not talkative-friendly, just be yourself.

      In terms of the casual sexism, do you mean that the male attorneys/interns in your office seem a bit frat-ish? And that you get treated differently because you’re not one of the bros?

      • It sounds like you are making every effort to do the right thing. I just want to encourage you to relax a bit and allow yourself to make a few mistakes along the way. When you are first starting out, you may misread situations. You might be too uptight. You might be awkward. It’s okay. You can grow and learn from it. I’m still learning how to adapt to my work environment too. We all are. You’ll be fine. This is just one person’s opinion. You’ll figure it out as you go.

    • Former 3L :

      I think “too ambitious” is the professionally-appropriate way of calling you a gunner. Are you a gunner? If the answer is no, do you know any people in your class who ARE gunners? If the answer is still no, then you probably are a gunner.

      • From your responses, it seems to me that it might be him, not you. The advice here is on track if the comment was appropriate – but maybe he’s the weird one? Just a thought.

        • Anonymous :

          Forgive my ignorance — what’s a gunner?

          • Another Sarah :

            One of those kids in class who knows all the answers all the time and wants you to know that he/she knows all the answers all the time too.

          • The first example that comes to mind is Hermione Granger.

        • I had the same thought.

        • Esquirette :

          See way down below b/c my first comment did’t reply properly. I’m thinking this too. In sum: it may be this guy, it may be this office, it may be you — you can only really change the latter. Relax a bit, follow office conventions, and focus on the positives.

      • ding ding ding!

      • from a so-called "gunner" :

        I’m 29 and worked successfully in two fields, as well as cruddy jobs, before law. I’ve been really surprised by how standoffish, stressed, snide, prestige-obsessed and hierarchical law students and lawyers can be. I do think there is a double standard about being communicative, but I’m not qualified to give you any advice on that because I’m apparently a “gunner.” (The social nastiness at my school did really hurt for about six months; now I just barricade myself and look for opportunities to interact with people who are still enthusiastic about life and learning, and who take life less seriously than my classmates.)
        If this guy wants you to call him by his first name and didn’t bother to tell you, fine. Call him by his first name and have a good laugh later when the day is over. If you’re coming across as overly ambitious, well, you’re young, and maybe you actually are ambitious, even if you’re shy. Take charge of the situation and find a way to adapt so that it doesn’t eat you up inside. You can’t please everyone, and you have a right to set emotional boundaries to prevent this stuff from sending you up the wall.

        • I’m a little confused about your comment, just because a “gunner” is someone who knows all the answers, wants to answer every single time, and is basically a know it all. It is not someone with enthusiasm! If anything its almost the opposite because it’s a desire to show off not a desire to learn.

          • Thats a very fine distinction that isn’t made by most law students today. Engaging in class at all will get you labeled a gunner.

          • Anonymous :

            Disagree, Lynnet.

          • I disagree with Lynnet as well. In my school we were happy to have people engage (e.g. raise their hand once or twice in class and stay on point when answering the question), but annoyed when gunners raised their hand for almost every question and went off for 10 minutes on some unrelated topic of their choosing.

      • Hah! This reminds me of the principle that every office has a jerk. If you can’t look around and identify the jerk, then it’s probably you. Or, The Office version: every office has a Michael Scott; if you don’t know who it is, it’s probably you.

    • You’ve gotten some great advice. Being a part of the office culture is hugely important. I know for a fact that my current employer heavily considers how job candidates fit in with the office culture when making hiring decisions. When my boss offered me my job, she said that all of my interviewers (4 of them, one my office mate and the other my mentor/supervisor) unanimously voted on me for the position, which apparently is rare. I’m fairly sure it’s because I’m a good fit with my office culture, and that came out during my interview. What I’m saying is that turning in good work products and dressing the part is hugely important, but if you’re calling your coworkers Mr./Ms. Soandso when the office culture doesn’t support that level of formality, you look uptight and clueless. I apologize if that sounds harsh. In my experience, even in my high school jobs, I’ve always called my coworkers and bosses by their first names. Using surnames sounds like you’re in elementary school and your superiors are the teachers. We’ve got 2 interns in our office, and I’d have a heart attack if one of them called me Mrs. Whatshername. :)

    • Divaliscious11 :

      Sounds like you may not be adept at reading the social cues of your organization….. That’s not sexism, it’s office politics, and if this organization is someplace you’d like to work permanently, an attitude adjustment is likely in order, pronto.

      I’d also caution following everything heard on this board to the letter. Despite the regular caution of ” know your workplace,” too many seem to think what others say as writ in stone, and that isn’t professionalism, it’s abdicating your responsibility for yourself. You HAVE to know your organization’s norms, your industry norms, your bosses norms and expectations, and most importantly, you have to realistically assess your abilities against all of the aboves expectations. You can be thebmost prim, conservative person in the world, and it won’t matter at all if your not that good at your job. You can be perfectly ok, but not exceptional, and your demeanor& appearance may tip the scales in your favor, or you may be a rockstar, and you can push the envelope on fashion etc…. But please don’t get put out because you followed some advice here, and the folks at your workplace didn’t respond the way you wanted……

  12. A few months back there was a benchmarking thread about law firm salaries. I’m in-house, and we’re reevaluating our compensation, so I would love to know what other in-house attorneys are being paid. For those of you in-house, would you mind sharing?

    I’ll start:

    Position: Assoc. Corp. Counsel
    Salary: $120,000
    Industry: Retail
    Region: West Coast
    Bonus Potential: Depends on company performance

    Thanks in advance.

    • Another Anon :

      Position: Senior Attorney
      Salary: $100,000
      Industry: Financial Products
      Region: Southeast
      Bonus Potential: Depends on company performance
      Years since graduated law school: 5

    • Anonymous :

      Position: Staff attorney for a professional association (i.e. like the ABA for its profession), 5 years of experience
      Salary: $67K
      Industry: Professional association (it has nonprofit status)
      Region: East Coast
      Bonus Potential: Annual bonus dependent on performance, never more than 3% of salary.

      • Anonymous :

        By the way, staff attorneys where I work (and I think this is true of most professional associations) either work in the GC’s office or in government relations (lobbying).

    • Anonymous Rex :

      Industry: Retail
      Region: South
      Salary: $160,000
      Bonus: 20% of annual salary
      Long-term incentive plan: restricted stock awarded by the board every year. The award is quite substantial, but I prefer not to go into details.
      401k matching: 5%

    • Anon Today :

      Thank you for asking this question. I am currently interviewing for an in-house position, and this will help me evaluate the offer!

    • Anon Again :

      Position: Sr. Director
      Salary: $210,000
      Industry: High tech
      Region: West Coast
      Bonus Potential: target = 35%, but depends on company performance
      Also: RSUs, 401K matching up to 10%

      • In House Lobbyist :

        Position: Government Relations
        Salary: $125,000
        Industry: Insurance
        Region: South
        Bonus: Depends on company performance – last year was 20%.
        Also: 8% 401K match
        I’ve been out of lawschool for 8 years and in-house for 1 year.

    • Starting a new job August 1st, so here’s where I’m coming from/going to.


      Position: State Trial Clerk
      Salary: started at 46,500, ended at 51,000
      Industry: Judicial/State Gov’t
      Region: Northeast
      Bonus Potential: ROFL

      Going to…

      Position: HR Analyst/Hearing Officer, Labor Relations
      Salary: starting 61,000
      Industry: State Gov’t
      Region: Northeast
      Bonus Potential: (see above)

      FWIW, I’m a May 2010 law grad.

      • Also, I view in-house and gov’t as pretty similar, generally speaking, thus my reply. It seems very left field, I realize.

        • May I ask why you view them as similar? I consider them to be very different, so I’m curious.

          • anon for this :

            I must politely and happily remind the lawyers that with such salaries, your billable hour rates must be lovely. Please view them as such as many of us with “equivalent” graduate degrees which took more time, courses, and post-doc internships etc. often do not even equal your starting salaries.

            Here’s to Corporettes really setting great examples for young college co-eds!

            I’m not envious, just wish I knew this before entering/selecting my graduate emphasis in the late 1970s….

            Had no idea and am so thrilled for the female attorneys out there. “You go corporettes!”

          • If you’re working for an agency (e.g., counsel to the EPA or Labor Dept) it can be quite similar to being in the GC’s office at a company. If you’re working for, say, the Justice Department or the courts, it’s not similar at all.

          • anon for this at 4:30–I’m a little confused by your comment. Are you saying that people who get other advanced degrees and make less money aren’t setting an example for college women?

            I almost went to law school and, through both work and friendships, have always been around many lawyers. Instead I got a PhD, which took 5 years (considered fast for my field!) during which I made less than enough to live on. Yep, my retirement and savings will always bear the mark of that decision. And I will never make as much as many lawyers can. I have zero regrets and feel I set just as valid an example for any young woman interested in my field. I do what I love and what I am good at, and I own the choices I have made, as well as their consequences. To each her own, no?

          • Anon @ 4:30 pm-

            For every attorney making six figures there are several unemployed attorneys and attorneys barely making a living wage who have still accrued tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars of student loan debt. It’s not as rosy a picture as this thread may suggest.

          • Anon its interesting you say the billiable hour rates must be lovely, for an 80 hour work week it is around 30/hour. When I was a secretary I made 24/hour, and that was before I spend 180,000 on law school. Not that I made near those numbers above I went government, but while the salaries above are a lot, I think often the hourly basis is not high at all

        • Divaliscious11 :

          I’ve worked both, they are quite different…

    • Anonymous :

      position: Senior Counsel

      salary: $130,000

      area: Silcon Valley

      industry: it/high tech

    • Position. Assistant G.C.
      Salary. 150k
      Industry. Sports
      Region. West coast
      Bonus. 10k guaranteed. Remainder based on company performance and the boards mood
      Misc. 401k match to 4%; 1 mo vacation; no set work hrs and can work frm home if desired
      5th yr Atty

      For those of you who have expressed bitterness, please realize that I work in a metropolitanish area (translate: crazy high mortgage) I’m expected to drive a luxury vehicle and wear designer clothes (I’d rather not waste money on cars and clothes but it’s a necessary evil of the industry niche I am in) I have significant student loans and I supplement my parents income as their lives have been hit hard by the economic crisis. I am not complaining as I love what I do and am blessed to have the job I have but I tell you this to encourage you to realize that the grass isn’t always greener and 150k doesn’t mean someone lives in a mansion and sleeps on a bed of cash.

      • Yeah, I get being thankful for what we have and all that, but I find it nuts that people here on a blog for self proclaimed overachievers would ever think to give someone a hard time for making a six figure salary, or make it out to be something so extravagant. I am personally trying to position myself to be making in the high six figures over the next few years – not an easy thing to do but I am getting there. It really rubs me the wrong way when people here are positioning perfectly reasonable salaries for well educated, well qualified professional women as somehow outlandish.

        • Runnin' for it :

          I agree, and I am actually surprised that these salaries are not higher than they are. I am in the fed gov’t in DC (2 yrs of clerkship, a few months shy of 4 years as a litigator) and I make just under $130k. When I graduated lawschool in ’05, the starting salaries for the big firms were around $140k. I have been thinking about in-house as an alternative to continuing on with the government, and thought the salary would be higher.

          • Divaliscious11 :

            It will be…. There has been a little bit of salary depression because of the plethora of out of work attorneys. When you get 400-500 resumes for every job vacancy, compensation gets depressed. $130K for 4 yrs in govt is very good, not sure if your in an agency or DOJ, but the difference, and where you see the comp difference more dramatically, is when you get to management and bonus eligibility/stock plans etc…..

    • Anon2Day, Regular Poster :

      Position: Assoc. GC
      Region: Midwest
      Comp: $265K, incl bonus (about 1/3=bonus)
      Industry: food
      Years out: 10 (confessed gunner- professionally)
      Misc: 4 weeks vaca, 401k match equiv to 3%; equity

    • Praxidike :

      Position: Senior Claims Attorney
      Salary: $90,000
      Industry: Insurance
      Region: Midwest
      Bonus Potential: Depends on company performance.

    • In-House Europe :

      Position: GC
      Salary: 86k €
      Industry: electronics
      Region: Europe
      Bonus: zippo

      I think my salary (especially after European taxes!) is quite low BUT I work 8 to 4:30, often with a 1 hour lunch break, sometimes from home. It is my working mom trade-off; my long term plan is to move to a more challenging job when DS is older…

  13. Does anyone have experience working in finance on the West Coast? I’ve been giving it some thought as there seem to be some openings out there in my niche, but I’m not sure I can handle getting in so early. Some firms seem to get in at 6, while others have a 4:30 morning meeting (with people getting in a bit earlier)! Is this something you just get used to or is it a constant struggle? I’m currently in NYC and get in around 8.

    Significant other would follow me for the right opportunity – he is a corporate lawyer. So for you west coast lawyers, do you get in early as well, or would our schedules be completely out of whack if, say, I had to be in bed around 8-9pm and he’s starting at a “normal” hour and fairly regularly not getting home until after I’m asleep (he routinely comes home around 8:30 now from his big law job).

    • I’m in the Midwest, but my company has a significant presence on the West Coast. The majority of us here start around 7:30 CST, and our West Coast counterparts tend to come in between 7:30 and 8:30 PST. There are, of course, occasional exceptions due to meetings, etc.

      I’ll add–I’m in corporate finance, not in what I would consider the finance industry.

    • My boyfriend is in finance and normally gets into the office between 6:45 and 7:15 AM. He works late though and often works from home in the evenings. His firm has a more significant presence on the West Coast though, so I know the people in NYC are generally accommodating of the time change. He has woken up occasionally at 5 AM or so for an early meeting though.

      I work for an insurance/financial services company and our analysts and investment managers normally get in around 7 AM, with an occasional early morning for a meeting or conference call. It seems like East Coast people are generally pretty considerate of the time difference.

    • SV in House :

      I am on the West Coast, regularly have meetings at 7, occasionally at 6, every so often at 5. I work for a global corporation, so most of the really early days are with Europe. On the plus side, I rarely have meetings after 4pm.

      My DH is a night owl and has a really hard time w/me needing to go to bed ~ 10-10:30. Then again, it drives me crazy that he thinks 9:00 is an unreasonable time in the morning . . . .

    • Thanks for the responses so far! Keep ’em coming. For further clarification, my role is markets oriented, so it’s basically a given I’d have to get in by 9:30 Eastern / 6:30 Pacific (when the market opens), and one especially reputable firm I’ve been speaking with has a daily team meeting two hours prior. There is no chance that I’d be able to find something with a 7-7:30 start time out there, which strikes me as a much more reasonable (though still early!) time to get in.

      • Corporate attorney in CA here. We get in around 9 everyday. We only get in for east coast/market hours when there is a specific deal-related reason for it.

    • I am on the East Coast, and have a global role in a very large multi-national. I start at 7:00 four days a week, and sometimes 6:00. So, I wake up at 5:00, run, shower, get dressed and am on the phone by 7:00–sometimes at home, or else while commuting.

      I go to bed every night at 10:00, and have lost the ability to sleep late in the morning! You can get used to the hours, I think especially if your day ends early. Mine lasts until 6 or so unless I make firms plans to stop earlier. For me, the biggest challenge is that I am very busy until 12:00 or 1:00, then Europe closes down. But–by then I am frazzled and it’s really difficult to settle down to any complex, thinking type work. Then, work picks up again around 8:00 when it’s morning in Asia, and I have to admit by then I am not at my best.

    • It's Friday, I'm in love :

      I’m a corporate attorney. I get in around 9… Earlier if I have to. A colleague of mine comes in at 6- 6:30a and leaves much earlier than me everyday. His wife works for an investment firm and has to be up and running well before the market opens so he just gets up with her and makes them breakfast and then just heads into the office. That way they keep on the same schedule and he gets about 2 hrs of uninterrupted work which I wld love to have (if I cld actually get out of bed early).

  14. Anonymous :

    Has anyone recently installed wood floors that they really really really like?

    • I’d like to hear the answer to this question as well. H wants a wood floor in the kitchen while I prefer tile. The battle has begun.

      • I can weigh in on this one, because I have both tile and wood in my kitchen.

        Tile pros: you can scrub it harder than wood, so if you get something on the floor like say, honey (that you don’t discover until you step on a glob the next day, eww), it comes right off with the back of a scrubby sponge. Nice and cool in the summer on your feet.

        Tile cons: if you drop something heavy, it can crack a tile. Also, grout is no fun to clean, so go with a forgiving color of grout.

        Wood floor pros: nice and warm in the winter. No cracks or grout to worry about when cleaning.

        Wood floor cons: it will eventually scratch, no matter what you do. You have to watch how much water you mop with because the wood will soak it up and warp if you leave a puddle. You can’t use any abrasive cleaners, so it takes a little more elbow grease to get really clean.

        I like the look of wood if you have it throughout the whole house in an open floor plan. It really keeps the flow to continue it into the kitchen. But if you want the kitchen as more of a separate area, tile can set a definitive space.

        I like both. I don’t think you can make a bad choice.

    • Yes. They are the real thing (not laminate) – American cherry, number 1 common, and have darkened beautifully in the 1 year they have been down. If you go with cherry be prepared for the shock when you pull back a rug 6 months later and there is a clear demarcation between where the floor was covered and where it was exposed to sunlight.

    • Haven’t pulled the trigger yet, but I’ve had my eye on some distressed, wide-plank reclaimed barn wood flooring for a while. But I’m basically in the same boat as “Bonus Potential: ROFL” above.

    • Anonymous :

      I love my red oak that is varnished, but not stained. It’s a much lighter, warmer color than most wood flooring. It wouldn’t work in a very formal living space, but for my more casual style it is great.

      • Brazilian Cherry, BR-111. 4″ planks. Love the color. Only tiny bits of scratching so far (after a year, no kids, cat with claws). Really look great.

    • Not recent, but I am a huge fan of wood. Our 1930s-era condo that we own has gorgeous floors that still look great, with minimal maintenance. I know it’s expensive to have them done new, but it really is durable and worth the effort if you plan on staying put. We are currently renting in another state, and renting out our condo. I have tile and carpet, and sorely miss the easy cleanup wood affords. And on the off-chance you’re in Denver, I can recommend a great wood floor guy.

    • Real wood only. My family owns a sawmill so I may be biased but there is a huge difference. You can buy pre-finished wood floors that aren’t laminate but you don’t have to sand and finish after the yare installed. I have wood floors in every room except for my sunroom.

    • We have white oak with a medium-to-dark stain that we love. Very durable and beautiful.
      In the past we’ve had bolivian cherry with a clear varnish. Also beautiful and virtually dent-proof, but difficult to sand when installing because it is so hard.
      We’ve also had bamboo. While it was beautiful, I would never use it again because it just wasn’t durable enough. Although it is advertized as “hard as oak,” my experience was that it dented and scratched much more easily.

    • Yup. Just installed Amendoim 3 1/4 inch planks in my apartment from BR 111. It is a South American wood. Absolutely love it. Harder than red oak, less photosensitive than brazilian cherry

    • We put in very basic red oak floors in our place (but not the kitchen) several months ago and love them. My husband is about to start renovating a condo we bought as a rental, and we plan to use maple in there throughout the kitchen and living area. We live in a cold climate so I think tile would be too chilly for the kitchen.

    • Yes, had all my old carpet torn out and replaced by wood floors. Love them. Carpet was in bedrooms and bedroom closet. Rest of the house is brick floor (living, library, dining) and tile (kitchen, hall, utility). Love the brick but not the tile.

  15. Considering leaving a job I hate that pays really well for a job I think I would love, that is a pretty big pay cut! Any similar experiences out there?

    • Ballerina girl did this, and I think is loving her new life.

    • Can you physically/realistically live with the pay cut? My uncle just went through a French immersion course, and his favorite new saying he learned is (and I have no idea how to say it in French): Shrouds do not have pockets. It’s another way of saying, “Live for today”. I recently left a job in an incredibly dysfunctional office for a job that I LOVE. It is a pay cut for me, but it’s because I’m working part-time now, so it’s not a direct comparison to your situation. I’m still adjusting to working for normal and reasonable human beings after working where I worked. I say go for it!

    • Yup – left private practice for the government two years ago, and took a 65% pay cut (though I also moved to a lower COL area).

      I make enough to live on and save for retirement, and still enjoy my hobbies. I do not order shoes by the boatload any more, but I am so happy with my job. My only regret is not making the jump sooner.

    • Did it, and love it. When I left big law, I also moved overseas, away from my (new) boyfriend, family, and all my friends, and even though that aspect is challenging, I am still SO much happier. Leaving a negative situation is so liberating…

      Just be prepared to take a hard look at your finances and your purchasing habits. If your entire social circle is still making the big $$$, it may be challenging to live within your new means, so you should evaluate what you can actually afford, and if the tradeoffs are worth it to you. On the bright side, when you’re happy, you may be less inclined to buy yourself expensive things because you “deserve it” after the hellish stuff you put up with at the job you hate.

    • Just did it and no regrets. You don’t realize how much hating your job can make you depressed until you’re not depressed anymore. If you can crunch the numbers and swing the paycut, the payoff in mental health is more than worth it.

      • This exactly. I took a 60% pay cut and knew I would be happier without the electronic leash, lack of respect for personal and family commitments, and SNAFU hierarchy . . . I had no idea how much happier I would be. If you can make it work (we cut gym membership, eating out, size of gifts to others, luxury level of vacations, cable, clothes budget . . .) – it is totally worth it. I have picked up new hobbies and DH and I are loving our lives together.

        • Thanks for the perspective! Lots to consider, but being miserable is no fun!!

    • I made a HUGE change. I went from working at a VERY respected insurance defense law firm with billable hours in a big city to being a paralegal in a teeny city for a one attorney personal injury law firm. It was hard on my ego to go from an attorney position to a non-attorney position (but my boss indicated that he would like me to eventually transition and take over the firm in 5 years) but the lifestyle change is incredibly amazing! I took almost a 50% paycut but I have no commute (I used to commute 4-5 hours a day) no billable hours (I actually get paid vacation time!), absolutely NO stress and my job is still interesting (plaintiff paralegals actually do a lot of attorney work). SOmetimes reviewing medical records all day and having to do administrative tasks is annoying but overall, VERY VERY happy! I have been blogging about my career journey at:

      www (dot) wildnorthwestlitigator (dot) blogspot (dot) com

    • Ballerina Girl :

      Haha, just saw that someone mentioned me! I love this little community!

      I took a 66% paycut for a job at a national non-profit organization. I couldn’t be happier. My hours are much more regular, which leaves me to enjoy my friends and interests a lot more–which has contributed to my overall happiness much more than I imagined it could. The day-to-day joy that I get out of knowing that I am doing work that I care deeply about and am proud of is priceless to me.

      All that said, it has been an adjustment and I worry about long-term financial goals being met. But that said, I also know that my salary will increase as I climb this new, non-profit ladder. And higher paying jobs will usually still be there for you if you don’t like the choice you’ve made (at least I think that’s true as someone who worked in Big Law for about three years and continues to work in litigation).

      I like to think of it this way: before, I used to worry that I’d never find a job I love or have enough free time to be happy; now I worry about not having enough money to buy the new dress I liked or put as much aside for retirement this year as I’d hoped to. I’d rather worry about the latter–each one of us has to make our own choices. Good luck!

  16. There are always going to be trade-offs. I took a huge pay cut when I left NYC for a smaller market. I’m not going to say I don’t miss the money, but I definitely don’t miss the a$$holes I used to work for. ;)

  17. LinLondon :

    I’ve recently gone from a deputy-boss role, occasionally overseeing about 6 people, but mostly just take care of my own business, to being the boss of 30 people and having to cater to a much more demanding external market than in my old position. I’m finding it very hard to prioritize my internal and external tasks and often find myself staring at my computer at 4pm, with three half-written emails to external people and a couple of internal problems that need to be solved, and no idea which to do first.

    Essentially, I’m much too disorganized for my job and I’d like to work on that. Do any of you have good recommendations on books or just general behavioral tips that can help?

    • Read the Pomodoro method e-book. It helps you just get started doing something.

    • Guilt Free Mom :

      I struggle with this, too. I don’t have a book to recommend, but I can tell you what I do to be more effective. I’m a list maker, but when I find my ToDo list becoming too overwhelming, I go through and prioritize each item 1-4. 1 is high impact urgent, 2 is high impact nonurgent, 3 is low impact urgent, 4 is low impact nonurgent (I’m sure I read about this method somewhere, but not sure where). I try to focus on 1 and 2 in that order, delegate 3, and blow off 4. If I need to further prioritize 1 and 2, because there are just too many things, I’ll first address items that require input from other people, since that is often the rate limiting factor. For long term projects, I find timelines with clear milestones and deadlines to be critical. If I’m working on a long term project with other people, regular status meetings are a must.

      The other thing I’ve found is if I’m having a hard time focusing, I’ll challenge myself to focus on something for just 10 minutes. I find that once I get into something, 10 minutes turns into an hour pretty easily.

      My current struggle is that I tend to have a lot of meetings (who doesn’t?) with limited time in between to tackle actual work – so at the end of the day I haven’t accomplished much except to add to my ToDo list. I’m still trying to work out a strategy for handling this.

    • I’ve found the methodology from the book Getting Things Done to be helpful when I’m balancing a bunch of small, but important tasks. I find it helps me focus and work more efficiently.

  18. Outdoor girl :

    Hello, you genius Corporettes who helped me concoct a “stress fracture” to account for my pregnancy-related sports prohibitions. Thanks to this clever dissembling, I’ve been getting plenty of sympathy for my “injury” without seeming to dis my friends.

    Here’s another dilemma for the hivemind: now, at 8-9 weeks, the pregnancy symptoms of extreme exhaustion and constant nausea have really kicked in. This creates two problems: 1) Though I work from home, I’ve been able to get verrrrrryyyy little done over the past week. Any strategies for maintaining energy/ focus during early pregnancy?
    2) We have a series of houseguests, who understand why I can’t hike/ bike/ climb, due to clever dissembling described above. But how do I explain my inability to cook, hang out late in the evening, be excited about doing much of anything???

    • “Anemia. Doc said it will clear up in a few weeks if I eat my veggies.”

    • Anonymous :

      Mono. The flu. Food poisoning. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

      • Depression?

        • Outdoor girl :

          huh… I don’t want them to worry or think I’m contagious. After this most recent batch of house guests, I’m pretty sure they’re suspicious: no hiking, early mornings, or gin & tonics for me; and lots of naps. I muttered something about having caught a bug on my recent cross-country flight, but I don’t think they bought it.

          • Anonymous :

            You could try faking a sinus infection. It’s not contagious, it explains not drinking alcohol if you said you were taking Sudafed, and they really do tire you out, so the lack of energy and need for naps would be a plausible symptom. Also, it’s common to have post-nasal drip cause nausea, so that takes care of that (and even hinting at something as gross-sounding as post-nasal drip should stop them from inquiring further).

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t have a better lie, but try Sea Bands for the nausea. I don’t know why they work – they just do, at least for me. Requires long sleeves to hide them, though. Tough in the summer.

    • This is hard! I am awful at lying to people (even if it’s harmless), so I have just been saying things like “I’m trying to take it easy” or “I don’t feel like a beer tonight”. I know it’s not convincing, but I am ok with a little suspicion!

      I am less far along than you are, so I haven’t had really bad nausea or fatigue yet. BUT, so far for nausea, I eat often and have found that wearing my pants/shorts lower on my stomach seems to help. I work from home, too, so I end up wearing soccer shorts and rolling the waistband down (I know it’s silly). When I get tired in the afternoon, I have some tea and a snack. Throughout the day, I drink a ton of water (I find that dehydration=fatigue for me even when not pregnant)! Good luck! Hope the 1st trimester symptoms lift and that you have understanding guests!

  19. Nothin’ like finishing a week where your crowning acheivement at work for the last 24 hours is, Well, at least I didn’t cry in the office.

    • I have so been there. It got better for me, and I hope it gets better for you. Hang in there. Get some rest this weekend and do something that makes you happy.

    • Same. Really tough week. Had one of those days where I realized an error and had to fess up to it. Tough.

    • I’ve had more of those weeks than I can count. FINALLY, started seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist. Meds + therapy = no office crying. I’ve never had depression issues until I started my Biglaw job that I hate (but can’t leave yet for financial reasons). Wish I’d started seeing a therapist and psychiatrist 5 years ago when I started at my firm. You may want to consider it.

  20. Ladies, any website recommendations for makeup and hair inspiration?

    • thebeautydepartment.com – It’s run by Lauren Conrad, which could be a pro or a con, depending who you’re talking to. But it’s beautifully put together and has very easy to follow, well photographed hair & makeup tutorials.

    • Someone posted this recently: http://joannagoddard.blogspot.com/search/label/hair%20tutorial

    • http://www.keikolynn.com/

  21. Another Sarah :

    Quick question: Things are (finally) starting to fall into place for me, and I might soon be in the enviable position of having a choice of jobs to take! Yay! But honestly, if they came in the same day, I have no idea which one I would pick. They all would pay about the same. A couple are in my main area of academic (and professional) interest and a couple are in my main area of experience and professional interest (which are in completely different areas of the law and ne’er the two shall meet). Chances of advancement would be about the same and the weight they would give to my resume is about the same. So basically, they’re essentially the same. So what other factors am I missing? What do I need to start thinking about? Do I really have to choose a practice area now? TIA!

    • Some thoughts:
      1. Really give some thought to which area of interest (practice area?) you would prefer to work in. Would any of the jobs allow you to try out both or switch at some point?
      2. Negotiate for higher salaries and take the one that offers you the most.
      3. Think about quality of life issues, like the where the jobs are, what your commute will be like, what the hours are, if relocation is involved, what’s the office atmosphere, dress code, etc.
      4. Look at the benefits packages and leave policies.
      5. Decide to just accept the first offer that comes in. Or flip a coin. Or something else just as random.
      6. Talk to a mentor or someone who can give you some guidance in this area.

      Congrats and good luck!

    • You’ve left off any discussion of effect on your own day-to-day comfort (commute time, typical work hours, flexibility to work from home/nontraditional hours, vacation and sick, dress code, travel requirements). That’s HUGE. Also, try to get a feel for whether it’s a positive environment. Do you have any sort of read on how long everyone else has been there? That can be pretty telling about how happy they are. What impressions did you have about the sort of person you would be reporting to, coworkers, reports? How strongly do they support ongoing education, membership in professoinal associations, and other resources to help continue along your career path? What are their processes regarding reviews? I haven’t worked at very many places–but from what I’ve seen, the more structured the performance evaluation process, typically the better run the organization since everyone is clear on mission, value, and goals.

      I know this sounds bad, but what did you think about the physical space? I once declined additional interviews after seeing a rip in the lobby sofa and a stain on the carpet (office where the executives were based). That’s the first impression of the organization and telling if they don’t see that as a priority. How well will employee comfort be regarded if the most visible aspects to the public are treated so poorly?

      • Also think about asking what sort of office space you’ll get. 4 years ago when I was weighing 2 offers, I so wish I’d asked that question. I like my job, but am stuck in an unventilated, windowless, shared office. Did you know you can develop SAD due to lack of sunlight, even in the middle of the summer? And that since the lack of sunlight never goes away, your SAD will never go away either? A sun therapy desk lamp is a poor substitute for a window.

        • Anonymous :

          We are looking for new office space and my boss is insisting that everyone, support staff included, gets a window. I work for a good guy.

    • Office culture – it is key.

  22. Anyone familiar with the sizing on Nordstrom’s Halogen brand? I’ve been eying some items in the sale, but I’ve never gotten this brand before and Nordstrom is too far from my house to go trying things on. Does it run big/small? Thanks!

    • In my opinion, it runs big. I normally wear a 0-2 or an XS/S at Banana Republic/Ann Taylor type stores, and occasionally I’m sized out of Halogen clothes because they’re too big. I would definitely order a size down unless reviews say otherwise.

    • On that note, can anyone speak to what body type Halogen generally seems to be cut for? I know some brands are more for the narrow hipped, and others more generously cut in the hips and thighs. Thoughts? Just trying to make up my mind while there are still some good pieces left in the NAS.

      • I’m pear-shaped, and Halogen has worked well for me. I second K’s opinion that they tend to run a size bigger than Banana Republic, though they’re not perfectly consistent.

      • I am narrow-hipped and I CANNOT MAKE that Halogen pencil skirt work for me. I get hip-wings. (Conversely, J Crew pencil skirts are reliably great.)

      • From what I understand, Halogen has a couple of different fits in pants that they have helpfully named so you can remember them next time. I’m being sarcastic here, because I can only remember which fit works for me because it shares a name with a close family friend. One fit is best for gals with a waist/hips. I don’t have a ton of waist definition with narrow hips, and the “Quinn” fit works well for me. The sizing is similar to BR, ATL, and Gap, IMHO.

    • Legally Brunette :

      Do you have a specific Halogen item in mind? I feel like I’ve tried on most of their stuff, so I can try to help more specifically. In my experience, Halogen runs big in certain items and true to size in others.

      In that seamed pencil skirt that everyone raves about, it’s definitely at least 1 size too big.

      In their Taylor pants, which are perfect for pear shapes, I wear my normal pant size.

  23. Taking the VA bar exam this upcoming Tues & Wed for the first time! ACK! Any last minute tips or encouragement?

    • Makeup Junkie :

      Trust yourself. You can do it!

    • Another Sarah :

      It’s going to be ok.

      Don’t listen to barbri if they told you not to study a subject or two. Do it anyway.

    • Take the weekend off from studying or do very little. Do something fun and try to relax. You’re ready and anything you would try to cram into your already-overwhelmed brain in the next two days will likely just stress you out. Good luck!

    • Maddie Ross :

      Good luck! I took it years ago now, as did my husband. We both lived. In the middle of day one for me, the AC broke. Day two, the inner liner of my suit pants fell out while I was walking in to the exam (yes really. it fell out and pooled around my ankle. around the top of my non-marking shoes to walk on the floor the convention center). Just don’t stress to much, get coffee from the Dunkin Donuts a few blocks from the Roanoke Convention Center both mornings and make sure you have your hotel room confirmed! Otherwise, no specific VA advice — you’ll do great!

    • Tip: Don’t bring the bar study books with you to the hotel you stay in during the exam. If you don’t know it by the night before the exam, you’re not going to know it, and you’ll only stress yourself out.

      Encouragement: Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Kathleen Sullivan (dean of Stanford LS), Richard Daley, Jerry Brown, and a host of other incredibly successful lawyers failed the bar exam the first time. So did my mentor and my coworker, both successful lawyers. So really – not that much is riding on this. Even if you fail, you’ll still go on to a great career.

      • I disagree with this a bit. I had old exam questions (from the actual bar, not barbri practice questions) with me, and during the lunch break before the essay section, I read through them. Not really studying per se, just reading through them, and one of the essays right after lunch was almost exactly the same as one of the old questions (with model answers) I had just read. I was sooo happy that was how I’d spent the lunch break. You never know!

    • It's Friday, I'm in love :

      You have all of the info you need in your head right now so keep your studying light. You just need to be rested, confident and nourished so you can recall the info and so you can problem solve. Make a list of what you need to take with you to the exam down the the Kleenex and get your bar ziplock ready. Go grocery shopping. Plan your meals. If you are staying in a hotel, figure out what you will have delivered to your room and at what time each morning. Plan those 2 (or 3, as applicable) days so you don’t have to make any decisions except which armpit you will shave first. Lay out your clothes, down to the undergarment. When all that is done, think about all you have accomplished and be proud, assured and clear of mind and practice taking yourself to that place so you can find it during the exam. Oh, and don’t forget. Do not talk to anyone at all ever ever ever during those testing days about anything that was or was not on the exam. Protect yourself from other people’s doubts, insecurities and overconfidences. Best of luck!

      • Me too! This is super scary. I’m just trying to calm myself this weekend as much as I can and get the logistics in order, so when I’m down in Roanoke, I can just worry about actually taking the damn thing.

    • Another Sarah :

      Honestly, you’re going to go to lunch on Tuesday and think, “THAT was what everyone was so scared about? That wasn’t so bad…could have been worse!”

      And if you think about it, not THAT much is riding on this exam. If you fail, you will still have friends (I actually picked up a few, via commiseration), your parents will still love you, you will still have your health, and you won’t have lost anything in your life. All the bar exam does is give you a license that will allow to do just one more occupation than you could have before. You’re not going to be eaten alive by the crazy monster Bar Exam if you can’t remember the Rule of Perpetuities. It’s going to be OK. :-)

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Do something relaxing on Monday (perhaps after a quick last review Monday morning). Go see a movie, go to dinner, etc. Good luck!

      • My plan is to go get a pedicure. Of course, I’m taking the notecards with me to the pedicure, but that should help to relax, right?? :) Good luck to all the other bar exam takers out there!

    • AnonAnon33 :

      I’m taking it too, though not in VA! Soooooo nervous. My plan is to keep studying all evening and then study all day tomorrow, but then on Monday I’m getting a manicure and going to the pool. Today hasn’t been as productive as other days, though… I think I’m starting to get to my burnout point, even though there is still so much I could do to study!


  24. Happy weekend, Corporettes! I don’t work in law or finance but but could use some advice on professional dress codes. I oversee a staff of seven (women and men) in the advancement office of an educational institution. One of my tasks over the last year has been to professionalize the office and I have to say, we’ve come a long way. As part of this, I’ve been a relative stickler on dress code since arriving; even though my own preference is a more laid-back look, I think you’ve always got to be ready for a major donor or board member to walk through the door.

    So now it’s midsummer and the building is slower, more empty — and I’m thinking of instituting casual Friday. However, I have one woman who thinks “casual Friday” means “I can wear shorts to work” — and I disagree! To me, casual Friday = summer skirts, a dressy flip flop (?), nice jeans, etc. FWIW, most of the rest of the building dresses SUPER casually in the summer, and I’d say we err on the dressier side when compared to the rest of the faculty/staff during the school year.

    Any thoughts on (a) what is and isn’t appropriate in a school setting? (b) whether I can say, “No shorts” in an email without coming off as a total micromanager? (c) How best to lay out guidelines for dress without delving into all kinds of specifics?

    Also — for men, in this kind of casual setting, are shorts appropriate in summer? Does this make me a total sexist for thinking women shouldn’t wear them in the office, ever, but that men might be able to get away with a nice pair of golf shorts? Help!

    • I think people tend to have the easiest time conforming to dress codes when they are specific and laid out in black and white. And I think if shorts aren’t viewed as appropriate for the women in your office, they shouldn’t be viewed as appropriate for the men either. That’s what khakis are for.

    • Yes, you can absolutely say no shorts without coming off as a total micromanager. I’d also say no spaghetti straps. Honestly – casual Friday is usually a slippery slope. Be as explicit as possible. And don’t allow flipflops – your idea of a “nice” flipflop may differ from what people actually wear.

      I wouldn’t say shorts are ok for men and not for women. Just make a blanket prohibition.

    • There’s nothing wrong with sending out reminder dress code emails. I think if men can wear golf shorts, women should be able to wear longer length shorts as well. I suggest finding pictures of appropriate/inappropriate outfits and sending them out with a reminder email of what’s okay and what’s not okay.

      • Anonymous :

        Thanks all…I appreciate the feedback. I’ll err on the side of more explicit than not. And, no shorts!

    • Very belated post, sorry. I would be shocked if I saw anyone working in advancement at my school in flip-slops or shorts or a tank top/spag straps. They, the president’s office and the admissions folks are always the best dressed. I think a polo shirt and nice khakis on a man is as casual as Friday should get in those offices. (I’m in the deep south, if that matters.)

  25. Just had a bizarre encounter with a male senior partner from our co-counsel’s firm (let’s call him Mr. Senior). Me, two male partners from my firm, and Mr. Senior and a junior partner from the co-counsel’s firm attended a meeting. As we all said goodbye, Mr. Senior shakes my hand and then awkwardly leans in to try to kiss my cheek. I had never encountered this in a professional setting (and very rarely in a social setting), so I stood frozen, probably with a deer-in-the-headlights look on my face. Afterwards, the junior partner e-mails one of my partners, saying, “Sorry your associate is going quit now that Mr. Senior tried to kiss her, we’ll help you find a replacement.” This was only the second time that I’d met Mr. Senior in person, although we’ve had email and phone exchanges before. Not sure what I should have done. Offered up my cheek? Done an air kiss? Run screaming? If it helps, I’m from a Northern firm and Mr. Senior is from a Southern firm. Maybe this is a cultural thing?

    • Totally cultural. Europeans and Southern guys cheek kiss and hug in my experience. With some of my Southern clients, I’ve turned it into a joke about my zone of no-touching to turn something awkward into something that we can laugh about.

      • AnonInfinity :

        I’m Southern, and I have NEVER had a man kiss my cheek like this. Sometimes they will clap my shoulder, but that’s as close as it gets. I do have some European (male) friends who do the cheek kiss, and lots of Southern women kiss cheeks, but never men, ime.

        With the European men who do this, I have always done the thing where I press my cheek against his and kiss the air. Executed quickly.

        Sounds very awkward, and I don’t think I would hae been able to think quickly enough to be “smooth” either!

      • Same for me–I’m Southern, and this would definitely be weird coming from a guy (but fairly normal from older women. Not so much with young).

        • I’m the anon from above – I even once had a witness (from rural Georgia) give me a huge hug and kiss on the cheek after I prepped him to thank me. I had been warned he probably would be mean to me because he didn’t think women attorneys were capable, but he was so pleased with my prep that he just went on and on and on about how prepared he felt and then topped it off with a hug and kiss. It was sooo not anything remotely like being hit on. I hardly think I’m the type someone is drawn to kiss and hug. I am not a touch-feely person…but I have had a lot of clients do the half hug and cheek kiss thing. I think its a sign that the person sees you as a person and not just a colleague/advisor

    • Cheek kissing is pretty normal in my work environment, between women and women, and women and men. Large international organization, DC.

    • I kind of think the frozen deer in the headlights look might have been the right reaction. It conveys that you do not think that cheek kissing is a normal way to interact with other lawyers, and I can’t imagine that the partners you work with are going to fault you for reacting awkwardly to a senior co-counsel doing something weird (and if they do, it’s at least helpful to know that they are giant dicks).

      But honestly, while the cheek kiss is weird, I’m a lot more disturbed by the junior co-counsel’s reaction. It’s massively inappropriate to follow up on your senior partner’s questionable behavior to a young female colleague at another firm by contacting her employer and a) making a joke of it, b) suggesting that it would drive the woman out of the firm, and c) offering to find a replacement for her(!).

    • Lana Lang :

      Cheek kissing is very common in London in social situations. I have female clients who I would do it with, but ones I know very well. I can’t think of a time when a male client/attorney has done it to me, but I feel like it has happened. That said, probably in a situation when I’ve met them a number of times and more likely in a social setting e.g. drinks after a closing rather than a daytime meeting.

      Agreed that it can be mega-awkward, but it sounds like actually the junior partner’s email was the most awkward thing about the whole situation – wholly unnecessary!

      • I am so glad my co-workers do not kiss me on the cheek! I don’t even like it when they touch me on the arm or shoulder. I like my space. They are not my friends or family. Having them kiss me on the cheek? Blegh.

      • Totally agree about London clients. Have had several awkward encounters with male clients leaning in for the cheek/air kiss. People I barely know. Usually at a pub when pints are involved.

        • I encounter the cheek kiss (or double cheek kiss) most often with European colleagues, albeit those I’ve known for quite a long time.
          I don’t even like being hugged by colleagues so I too would have done the deer in the headlights thing if cheek-kissed by a senior partner!

    • I cheek kiss my general manager (5 steps ahead of me in the corporate ladder) and it is perfectly fine. I am moroccan and he is french.
      This is very common in Mediterranean countries. We kiss regardless of age or gender.

    • Pretty obvious Junior Partner realized how COMPLETELY AWKWARD Mr. Senior made the situation. What you did was fine. You’ll all be laughing about it pretty soon.

    • I’m from the South, and can’t imagine in a million years having a man kiss my cheek in a professional situation.

    • I’m in the Northeast and the senior partners at my first firm did the hug/cheek kiss with all the females – attys, support staff, spouses of other attys — but it was more at firm events than day to day things.

    • I’m born and raised southern (school in midwest and northwest) and have never had a relative stranger male professional do that. Women, yes, but usually only if they are friends/collegial colleagues, and men who I have known for years or who have known my mom for years, for example. I agree that the deer in the headlights look was perfectly appropriate.

      I disagree that the junior colleague’s comment was out of line; it was probably just his way of expressing his acknowledgement of how inappropriate the “kiss” was or expressing his embarassment.

Comments are closed.