The Effect Close Friends Have on Your Life (And: How to Choose Your Friends)

There’s a famous quote about how you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. As I get older, I definitely have noticed this, both in good and bad ways. From a simple fashion perspective, if all your friends are buying $1,500 purses, you feel like you’re the thrifty one if your bag is only $500. Meanwhile, if your friends are all using bags they paid $20 for at Target a few years ago, spending more than $100 on a bag feels insane. From a business/career perspective, people whose friends are all coming up with ideas for businesses seem much more inclined to go out and pitch VCs and angel investors and then immediately spend the 5, 6, or 7 figures they get, making tons of hires and leasing office space. On the flip side, if all your friends are choosing to stay home to raise their kids, that choice starts to look much more realistic and doable. This even makes a difference from a health perspective — if your closest friends eat and drink to excess, odds are really high that you will as well. (There was even a study about how your friends and family influence your weight!)the effect close friends have on your life - and how to choose friends wisely

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Scroll Forward In Your Palm Pilots…

Where Do You Think You'll Be in Five Years? | Corporette

2018 Update: This article was originally published on Nov. 25, 2013. If you originally commented, please update below your original comment where you are NOW vs where you wanted to be! 

Where do you think you’ll be in five years? TEN years? How do you think gender issues will affect your journey?

The NYT recently looked up some of the women profiled in a 2001 article, “Great Expectations” — in the original article, it interviewed new female associates at BigLaw firm Debevoise & Plimpton and asked,

Do the new female associates expect to see themselves making partner in greater numbers than their predecessors? Here, 17 of them scroll forward on their Palm Pilots and try to predict, while 4 veterans look back on what it took and speculate about the former colleagues who followed a different path.

The more recent article/documentary, “Great Expectations for Female Lawyers,” looked up several of the women profiled and found that many had not accomplished their original goals, many pondering whether the gender gap had an impact on them.

So I’m going to do something fairly ambitious today: I’m going to ask you guys to scroll forward in YOUR Palm Pilots (tee hee) and tell me: where do you want/think you’ll be in five years — and in ten years? What do you think the major challenges are that you’ll encounter? How much do you think gender issues will play into your success or failure? I’d love to ask that everyone comment with an email address in the address field — I’ll keep your emails private but I’d love to be able to come back to this post in five years (or ten years, God willing) and email a few of you to see where you are, how it shook out. (This is the ambitious part!) (Of course all email addresses will be held in confidence, in keeping with The Corporette® Privacy Policy.)

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The Benefits Of Meditation

meditation for business women2018 Update: We still think this is a great discussion about the benefits of meditation for business women, but you may also want to check out our recent discussion of how do you deal with overwhelm.

Ladies, do you meditate? I’ve never found the time to learn to meditate myself, always considering it a luxury — but I just got back from an alumni networking event that featured a lot of mini-talks about the benefits of meditation for business women, lawyers, and other executives, and now I’m kind of fascinated. Did you realize that when done right, you’re literally changing the physical structure of your brain (a concept called neuroplasticity)?

I’m still looking into it, but here’s what strikes me as some of the best benefits of meditation and a “mindfulness practice”:

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How to Take a Partial Social Media Break

Something I’ve noticed a LOT of friends doing lately is backing away from social media. I’ve been doing a partial social media break, since as a blogger I can’t really take a total break — but I’ve definitely modified my consumption. So let’s talk about it: What are you doing with the extra time if you’re on a break? Where are you getting your news and intel if you’re on a TOTAL break? What other ways are there to take a partial social media break? (In related news, we’ve also talked about how to focus on work when current events are stressful.) Some options I’ve heard of or have done myself for a partial social media break:

1) Modify your news feed so you don’t see people, groups, or news sources that are stressing you out. I regularly do this trick with people I’m “friends” with on Facebook for some historical reason, but don’t want to see every hourly thought from — for example, that guy who sat behind me in English class in 11th grade. I will also admit that I did this with groups like Pantsuit Nation and Lawyers for Good Government, particularly in the days before the inauguration where I felt like I kept seeing frenzied posts containing bad information.

Here’s how to hide posts from friends: Click the dropdown arrow and then choose “Unfollow ____.” You’ll stay friends but stop seeing posts.

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Plants, Points, Portions, and More: A Diet Open Thread

corporette diet open threadI’ve seen a lot of commenter threads about different diets lately, and I’ve been looking into them myself, so I thought I’d start a diet open thread to collect everyone’s thoughts in one place. At the outset, I just want to remind everyone this isn’t necessarily about weight loss — some people try different diets as a way to eat healthier or break bad habits. If you aren’t interested in changing your diet, or if this talk is triggering to you, please skip this thread. In case it needs to be said: this thread is not about looking “perfect.” Bodies come in all shapes and sizes; please strive to love yours no matter what size.

But, for those of you who WOULD care to discuss it, let’s hear it, ladies: Have you tried to change your diet lately? What diets did you consider, what did you end up doing, what good habits have managed to stick with you? What’s your bottom line in gauging success of a new diet (like seeing the scale move, losing weight, getting rid of a food-sensitivity symptom like bloating or fatigue)? What role do expense, convenience, and rigidity play — as a busy working woman do you dismiss out-of-hand a diet that requires you to prepare everything at home or allows no wiggle room?

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Making Time for Therapy

Reader C has a great question about work/life balance — and keeping a standing therapy appointment without being perceived as lazy.  I can’t wait to hear the readers’ tips on making time for therapy!  Here’s her question:

Hi! I’m a newer BigLaw associate. The stress of the job has caused my mental health to take a hit and so, I’ve started seeing a therapist with whom I have weekly evening (8 PM) appointments. In most other professions, asking to see a therapist “after hours” would easily be okay, but given the “constant availability” expectations of my firm, I think this may be difficult. Is there a way to firmly, but respectfully carve this hour out for myself once a week without being perceived as lazy?

Great question — I think this is a pretty common thing BigLaw associates go through, and kudos to you for taking care of your mental health. We’ve talked about taking time for frequent doctors’ appointments before, but I don’t think we’ve talked explicitly about making time for therapy and other standing appointments.  Here are some tips:

  • I really believe that most employers really do want you to have a work/life balance — but also to get stuff done. I’d be shocked if people give you too much push back on having the appointment. If and when it comes up with your supervisors, I  don’t even think you need to get into too many details here — just have an apologetic note in your voice when you say, “I have a standing appointment tonight at 8:00, but…”
  • Make yourself available after the appointment as needed, and let people know that.  “I’ll be back in the office at 9:30,” or “I’ll be back on email at 9:30.” Then, do it.  I know therapy sessions can sometimes be emotional, but whatever you say you’re going to do, make sure you do it.  (You may want to check out our discussion a few weeks ago about answering work email at home.)
  • Know your colleagues. If there’s one of your superiors who only starts work at 6PM, you may have to handle him or her in a different way, and be more direct, but also more persistent by reminding them regularly that you’ll be out of pocket, checking in with them as soon as you’re you’re out of the appointment, and possibly even setting up a backup (paralegal? secretary?) who can definitely be available for the whopping 90 minutes you need to yourself.
  • Finally, know the peculiarities of your work schedule. If your work requires you to frequently have a late-night deadline (i.e., if your company has a regular pouch going from NYC to DC on a nightly basis), or if you work with colleagues or clients in a different time zone who are still in full work mode when you’re leaving at 8 PM — then I would strongly consider shifting your therapy appointment to another time, like first thing in the morning. Another option that I know some readers have mentioned is having a therapist who they only see via Facetime/Skype/or on the phone — if you find such a therapist, he or she may offer even later/earlier appointments than 8 PM (or be in a different time zone entirely so the hours are later/earlier than a local therapist could offer.)

Ladies, for those of you who go to therapy or other standing appointments, how do you make time for the appointment and let your colleagues know? What kind of pushback have you come up against, and how have you dealt with it? What are your biggest struggles and advice for making time for therapy?

Pictured: Originally uploaded to Flickr by Garry Knight.

When you're working crazy hours, making time for therapy can feel impossible -- but keeping standing appointments and tending to your self care is very important! We round up tips from readers in demanding jobs (like women lawyers) what their best advice is in how to make time for therapy -- when you work crazy hours.