Career Advice

Below, find some of our recent career advice stories. Have a question for Kat? Check out the Contact page.

Etiquette Tips for the Office Gym and the Gym Near the Office

gym near the office etiquette (and office gym etiquette tips)Here’s a topic we haven’t talked about in forever: what are your best tips office gym etiquette? Whether your workplace has a gym for employees, there’s a gym near the office so you always see coworkers there before, after, or during work — or you’re traveling with coworkers and see them at the hotel gym — what are the dos and don’ts? (ARE there any in 2018?) We’ve talked about a lot of office to gym issues in the past, including how to fit in mid-day workoutswhat to wear to workout in front of your coworkers, and how to handle workouts near the office — and we kind of discussed whether leggings with “daring” mesh cutouts were appropriate in our recent conversation on comfortable workwear for late nights.

So let’s discuss! Various questions:

  • do you really care about how much “cooldown” time you’ve got as a buffer between your gym time, or are you cool to go to a meeting with your cheeks flushed and some sweat still in your hair?
  • If you exercise at a gym before work, is wet hair at work ever acceptable?
  • Are there certain things you won’t wear to the office gym (e.g., bra tops, short shorts, leggings with mesh cutouts, graphic t-shirts, 80s-inspired workout headbands)?
  • Are there any workouts you won’t do in the office gym, like preferring not to do a bouncy aerobics class in a windowed room?
  • Similar to our discussion of the dos and don’ts for salons near the office — do you try to avoid dumping a lot of work on your subordinates and then working out in a more public spot like something viewed from the windows (or being seen in the office hallways with workout gear on)?

For my $.02, I’ve seen more men make gaffes with “gym near the office etiquette” — I remember one older partner regularly coming into work at like 9 AM straight from his shower at the gym up the street with his shirt completely unbuttoned so his bare chest was on full view… and while I’m not sure it’s a gaffe or not, I do remember one more junior partner who would dump a bunch of work on me and my team members and then loudly announce he had a 4 PM spin class to get to. (Good for him for fitting exercise into his busy day… just maybe keep it more vague?)

All right, ladies, let’s hear from you — what are your thoughts on corporate gym and gym near the office etiquette?

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The Best Women’s Suits of 2018: Affordable, Designer, and Everything In Between

Whether you're looking for a stylish interview outfit, courtroom attire, or an investment suit with that "corner office chic" look, check out our roundup of the best women's suits of 2018. We're also asking the readers what their power suits are, as well as what their favorite interview suit or work outfit is! Which are the best women’s suits of 2018, whether for a stylish interview outfit, a power suit, or some other major career event? (Or, hey: a simple, chic suit often makes a great work outfit all by itself!) We’ve recently updated The Corporette Guide to Interview Suits, but we haven’t talked about the best suits for women in ages (aww, here was one of our first discussions on suiting basics for women!) so I thought we’d do a roundup. (We’ll also be updating our guide to plus size suits, petite suits, tall suits, and more in the coming weeks as well!) Readers, which are your favorite interview suits right now? What do you consider to be your “power suit”? What are you looking for in a suit in 2018?

(June 2018 Update: Check out where to find stylish plus-size suits for work! Looking for petites? Check out our roundup for where to find stylish petite suits for women.)

First, some general tips on what to look for in a great suit:

  • Confidence is the key to interview attire and power dressing. The goal of any interview suit or other suit like this is to let your brain do the talking and let your fashion sense take a back seat — so if you feel best in a pants suit, or flats, go for that. You don’t want to be that “baby giraffe” trying to walk in uncomfortable heels that are too high for you and sitting awkwardly in your interview fussing with your jacket. Really: whatever makes you feel like a polished professional is what’s going to make you the most confident. So take the rest of these tips with a grain of salt, BUT for my $.02, here are some shopping, styling, and budget tips: 
    • If you’re hunting for a budget-friendly interview suit: go for a
      black skirt suit rather than a pants suit
      , because pants fit is by far the hardest thing to get right. In my experience a $60 skirt suit looks OK but a $60 pants suit makes you look like you come from Planet Frump. Furthermore, the skirt suit will go farther — you can wear the pencil skirt as a basic bottom in your wardrobe (but always dryclean all pieces of a suit together!), plus if you have a “dressed up” occasion, a skirt suit is always going to be the more formal option. Another pro for a simple pencil skirt: you completely avoid the issue of what length/type pants to get, which really does feel like we’re in a period of flux — for a while all you could find were ankle pants, even though they were too trendy to wear to most conservative workplaces — now that flared pants and bootcut trousers are coming back I feel like the ankle pants will look outdated pretty quickly. Other trends I’ve seen with suits: jumpsuits! culottes! short suits! You want 1) a pencil skirt + hip length jacket or 2) a fitted sheath dress + hip length jacket — these combos have been in for years and probably will be for years to come. (Here’s our guide to pantyhose, which yes, if you want to be “safe,” you should probably wear for any interview if you’re junior, particularly in more conservative areas — but go back to our first point on confidence/comfort and factor that in.)
    • If you’re shopping online, look for words such as: seasonless wool, stretch wool, tropical wool, gabardine, triacetate. Avoid words like sateen, shimmer, linen. Crepe can be really tricky — sometimes it means a polyester drapey blend for suiting and sometimes it means a bridesmaid’s dress/MOB type thing.
    • If you’re busty: traditional wisdom here is that you want more buttons on your blazer, not fewer. I’m plenty busty and have had some favorite one-button jackets over the years, though, so your mileage may vary here. Depending on trends you can sometimes find suits with as many as four or five buttons. Check out this post for more workwear style tips for busty women.
  • Treasure hunting for a suit (where you MAY or may not find something good): T.J. Maxx, Yoox, ASOS, OFF5TH, and Nordstrom Rack
  • Consider taking your suit to the tailor.  Common suiting alterations include shortening sleeves, adjusting the waist. Note that the blazer (specifically the shoulder/arms) are the hardest part to tailor, so focus on that fit when you’re shopping.
  • Please don’t forget to cut your Xs, always dryclean suiting pieces together, and — if you’re wearing the suit somewhere Very Important like an interview, make sure you use the mirror trick.
  • For other tips on buying a basic interview suit (including considerations on colors, care, accessories, layering, and more), please check out The Corporette Guide to Interview Suits. (We’re in the midst of updating our guide to what tops to wear under suits!)

We’ll put a few handy pins at the bottom of this post for you with general prices for suiting alterations and general advice for what to wear on interviews. But first: on to our roundup of the best women’s suits of 2018!

Affordable Suits For Women

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Red, Yellow, Green: Is Your Job Right For You?

is your job right for you pinDo you like your job (or career)? If you were asked, “is your job right for you,” what would you say? There are a number of different ways to ponder this question — whether the work-life balance you’ve got is the job/career is the work-life balance you want; whether the salary for the job is worth it to you; passion for the job or its goals; whether you think the job is “important” enough for you and the promise you hope you have. I recently sat in on an interesting talk from Carter Cast, the former CEO of WalMart.com (talking about his new book, The Right—and Wrong—Stuff: How Brilliant Careers Are Made and Unmade) (affiliate link), and he added a new way to know whether your job is right for you: the micro level, day-to-day happiness stuff, which he called Red Yellow Green. He noted that when he sat down and thought about his job as CEO, most of the day was red for him — stuff he didn’t want to do, stuff he dreaded doing, stuff he felt was a waste of time. On the flip side, when he thought about the job right before CEO, he found that his day was mostly green — he looked forward to it, thought it was a great match for his skills, strengths, and passions — and ultimately wanted to do the tasks in front of him. (If your own skills, strengths, and passions are somewhat a mystery to you, this Fast Company interview talks more about the different personality types that may be at play when you do this assessment — we’ve talked personality tests before but Cast spoke highly of the Hogan test.)
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The Best Career Advice from Coaches for Lawyers and Other Professionals

We recently contacted several top career coaches (many recommended by Corporette® readers!) to ask them to share their best career advice for professional women in BigLaw, BigFour, and other Big jobs. They shared their thoughts on growing your network and building your reputation, communicating with colleagues and making your expectations clear, keeping an open mind regarding your future career path, and deciding whether or not it’s time to leave a job. Readers, have you ever used a career coach? What’s your best career advice to share with young lawyers, accountants, or other professionals?

Psst: we’ve talked about how to find career coaches before, as well as offered other tips on how to succeed in your career.

Here’s what they shared with Corporette® readers as far as their best career advice:

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Work-Life Boundaries: Rituals and Other Ways to Separate Your Work and Personal Life

work-life boundariesI just heard a speaker talking about the importance of boundary rituals for doctors — little habits and rituals that set work-life boundaries to keep your work and personal life separated. I knew exactly what she was talking about, and thought it was such an interesting way of phrasing it — and I thought it might make a nice discussion here. So, ladies, what are your boundary rituals? Have you always done them or did you adopt them over time? What are your biggest challenges with work bleeding into your personal life?

Psst: we’ve talked in the past about answering work emails at home, homing from work, and after-work routines.

Work-life boundary rituals and habits to try after work:

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Is Your Life On Hold at All?

how to stop putting your life on holdSomehow this came up with a friend recently — we were discussing times our lives had been “on hold” for one reason or another. I thought it might make an interesting conversation here — particularly about how to STOP putting your life on hold. Some questions, to kick off discussion: Have you ever wanted to do something, either personal or career-related, because you were waiting for something else first? “I’ll buy a house/good plates after I get married…” “I’ll get a new job after I’m in a solid relationship,” etc. How did you work through the holding pattern? Did the thing you were waiting for happen, or did you just go forward and take the plunge anyway?

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