Coffee Break – FreshPocket Insulated Man’s Lunchbox

A while ago, the good folks at Koko were kind enough to send me some of their lunch bags. They have a number of very fashionable bags that look like satchels or totes, but inside they’re insulated. My favorite thing they sent me, though, was this square little lunch box, which they apparently market as a “man’s” lunchbox. I think it’s great, and that the uniform, flat size makes it much easier to pack in a larger tote. This baby is $14.99 at Amazon.

Koko FreshPocket Insulated Man’s Lunchbox


Please note that all product reviews must comply with The Corporette Review Policy.


  1. K... in transition :

    early TJ for shopping help… has anyone seen this dress or something similar for a lower price?

    I love the shape and the fabric, it seems like it might be the right shape for my super pear shape and I’m diggin’ the color (though I could be talked into another color that works on a super pale chick with dark hair!). Thanks, clothing experts!

    • Similar, but long:

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        That same dress but shorter:

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Wow, that dress is really, really pretty. Must resist.

    • Philly CPA :

      Dress looks similar to Donna Morgan dresses. There is one on sale for $99 at Nordstrom…

      • I bow down to your search skills!

      • K... in transition :

        the 2nd is the best of these options, the rest either wouldn’t work with a bra under it (which is where a decent amount of my clev a ge comes from lol) or the reviews were pretty bad… still more than I can spend on a dress though, even though it’s for a wedding I’m a part of!

        Thank you all for your searches though, I am blo wn away by your awesomeness!

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          K — what size are you? Seems like eBay has a ton of those Donna Morgan dresses in a variety of colors for low cost.

          • K... in transition :

            oooh, good idea! I’m about an 8 on my lower half and smaller on my upper… though my being a pear shape makes me nervous about strapless dresses being small enough on top/not super weird on the bottom, which is why I like this dress

          • K... in transition :


            just nabbed this for $35!!!!

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Not sure how you’d feel about the back of this one:

    • Yes! I have this exact dress in a different print. This looks to be a knockoff of a Donna Morgan dress that Nordstrom had over the holidays in a zillion colors. Looks like they only have it in black w/ small polka dots right now (but maybe stores have more?) It’s not really much cheaper right now though and I fear that if you are hippy, the way pattern goes might accentuate that – hard to describe but it kind of goes sideways across the hips, not straight up and down.

      Use the zoom feature to see the detail on the chest.

      Mine was a black and grey watercolor floral print. I got it on sale for about $120 I think, in December. I wore it to a wedding with a black pashmina and heels. I adore it. I am also very pear shaped and it was super flattering. It’s a great dress! Hope you find it on sale! Try searching for “Donna Morgan Belted Pleated Chiffon Dress”. Good luck!

    • attiredattorney :

      The Nordstrom Racks near me had this dress (the Donna Morgan version others have referenced) for $49. It’s super cute, but I felt it looked a little boxy on my hourglass, size 12 frame.

  2. This is so FUNNY!

    The manageing partner has a lunch bag JUST like this, and he put’s his sardine’s in them, so it has a funny SMELL to it even tho the sardine’s are still in the CAN! FOOEY!

    I think it is b/c he also has ONOINS and HORSE RADDISH in there to, so it get’s a little smelly when he put’s all of it in there.

    Right NOW, the manageing partner is rubbeing his head with that lunch bag, so that could also help make it smell very FUNKY!

    • AnonInfinity :

      Now, Ellen, why in the world would the manageing partner be rubbeing his head with a lunch bag?

      • Perhaps he was hit upside the head by the wonderful 15 oz “Just Say FOOEY and move on” mug for too much ogling?

  3. I have a cheaper lunch box. It is actually my collection of used plastic grocery bags. My husband does the grocery shopping in Virginia where they still don’t charge 5 cents for each of them.

    • But this is still sooo wasteful. Please people, use recycled bags. I find it appaling that people still use plastic bags yet complain with high gas prices. Irks me to no end!

      • It is not wasteful. The amount of synthetic material that goes into traditional plastic bag is miniscule compared to the amount of plastic and other man-made materials in a “recycled bag.” It is also much more sanitary to reuse a bag just a few times.

        • cloth grocery bags are washable, you can just throw them in with your clothes.

  4. The packaging illustration looks straight out of the Mad Men credits sequence. I’d hear that foreboding theme music playing in my head every time I packed my yogurt.

  5. Napa Valley :

    Headed to Napa Valley this December! Very excited, you guise.

    Has anyone done a Platypus tour? Thoughts? The whole process is very overwhelming because there are at least one million B&Bs and at least one million wineries and at least one million delicious restaurants. Any recommendations for any of those things would be great.

    Also, I know that reservations at French Laundry are a total long shot, but has anyone ever actually eaten there? I’m interested to hear your thoughts.

    • DH and I went to Napa for our honeymoon last year, and loved it so much that we’re going back in August. We did a Platypus tour through Sonoma and it was great. Super laid back but knowledgeable guide, and even though they say you can have up to 10 people on your tour, there were only 4 of us. We went to four small wineries that we never would have found on our own, had a really yummy picnic lunch, and on the way back to our hotel, our guide even stopped at one last winery so that I could get some bubbles :) Our guide was friendly with all the winery owners, and I felt like we got a lot of personalized attention (including walking out through the vines and learning a lot about the grapes are grown – so interesting). I also felt like I could ask our guide any question I wanted – it was definitely not a wine-snob environment. I highly recommend them; we are planning to do another Platypus tour in August.

      Also, I recommend going to Del Dotto if you can – they do cave tastings, where you go into the caves with a guide and taste straight from the barrels. Such a cool experience – although it was definitely pricey (maybe $50 a person?).

      We didn’t do French Laundry because we were there during their summer closing (boo), but we LOVED Bouchon. I’ve also heard great things about Ad Hoc (we are planning to go there in August), and FARM at the Carneros Inn (another reservation on our list). If you want to go to French Laundry, call first thing the morning that the reservations open up for the date you’re interested in (I called at about 2 p.m. EST and was told they were already booked for the one date they were open during our trip).

      We stayed in the Embassy Suites in Napa last time, which was nothing fancy but suited us just fine (we decided we’d rather spend money on wine and food than our hotel room, since we weren’t there much anyway, but ymmv). This time around, we’re trying out the Elm House Inn, which I’ve heard good things about. We enjoyed staying in Napa itself – the prices are cheaper than Yountville or some of the other swanky small towns, and it was easy access to the main roads and a quick hour-ish drive from SFO.

      Hope this helps! I’d be happy to follow up after our trip in August – I cannot WAIT to go back. It’s the most relaxing vacation ever.

    • new york associate :

      I love Bouchon. It’s delicious.

    • We stayed at the Candlelight Inn. There was a bit of trouble redeeming a B&B gift card we’d gotten (it was a generic B&B card) but once we resolved that, the room was lovely (they upgraded us because they had the space) and the breakfast delightful. French Laundry was excellent, I will say, this is a TOTAL nitpick but we thought Per Se was miles above excellent, even… at Per Se, there was more of a gravitas befitting the spending of hundreds of dollars :) French Laundry was a bit more casual (this may be a West Coast/East Coast thing) and, in my opinion, some of the vegetable dishes were a bit too simple — yes, showcase the vegetables, but also the chef’s talent, you know? Although FL did make us a nonalcoholic drink pairing since we don’t drink, which was nice. And the meal was really great, as I said — it’s just that as to Per Se, I generally say, this was the best restaurant experience of my life and worth every penny! (I can be a miser so this is high praise). Whereas as to FL, it was just slightly less memorable, somehow.

      • Napa Valley :

        How did you get your reservations at FL? Were you able to call?

        Also, completely stupid question — Do they pretty much expect you to buy wine or nonalcoholic drink pairings, or is it ok to just drink water?

        • We had a connection do it for us. My recollection is the nonalcoholic drink pairings were free. After all it’s really just some grown-up sodas :) I did appreciate that no one made us feel badly about not drinking the wines. To that end, by the way, if you have any interest in doing non-wine Napa things, we did an olive oil tasting that was fun and informative!

    • Did one last summer, and it was wonderful! We did tastings on our own a few days but the experience was better with Platypus because the tasting room employees give you more attention.

      We had an awkward moment at the end of our tours when we didn’t realize that gratuity was expected. After spending that much money on the tour and on wine, it didn’t cross our minds until our tour guide seemed very concerned that he had done something wrong. Stupid on our part, but we called the company and took care of it later.

    • another anon :

      I just recently tried to get reservations at French Laundry and was unsuccessful. But from what I have read on the internet, your best bet for actually getting a reservation is to make a hotel reservation at one of the hotels in Yountville, and ask the concierge to make a reservation for you. Apparently there is a special number that the hotel concierges can start calling at 9:30 AM (the regular phone line for everyone else doesn’t open until 10:00AM), and if you are the first people staying at the hotel to request a reservation on that date, you are likely to get in. You will probably have to call around and see what hotels can do this, and which ones haven’t already had a request for the date(s) you are looking at. I would do this soon if you are serious about wanting to eat there.

      Some people on the internet have also reportedly had success using the AmEx concierge service (I tried using the Visa concierge service and they really didn’t help). I think they also release a few tables through OpenTable, but you have to get on at exactly midnight pacific time to have any chance of getting those (do an internet search for more details).

      I just called starting at 10AM three days in a row. The earliest I got through was 10:45 AM, and by that time they were already all booked for both lunch and dinner. (The other two days I wasn’t able to get through until 11:15 or so, and of course by that time they were already all booked.)

    • Also check out (sister site of Conde Nast Traveller) for specific Napa and Sonoma recs for wineries and tours. Yelp and the SF Chronicle are also great resources to see how people really feel about tastings. (SF Chron does a column that rates certain wineries–search the archives.)

      If you are looking for something in Napa that’s gorgeous and not pricy, check out Saddleback Wineries. They are located just down the street from Groth, have lovely picnic tables right in the vineyard (bring a sandwich or cheeses) and offer an $8, 12-wine! tasting menu. Best deal in Napa.

      I also love Hall Vineyards’ Rutherford tour. The building and cellar are stunning. It’s about $50/person and you should try to hit it at sunset. Totally gorge!

      Last, maybe hit up Sonoma too. There’s a lot less attitude and plenty of delish wines in Sonoma, and Healdburg is downright darling.

      Also note that December is a bit bare in CA–the vines will be just vines (no leaves), so the wineries are not at their most gorgeous. But the oak trees will be ghostly and awsesome and the hills will just be springing green if there’s been a teensy bit of rain by then, so it will still be pretty!

      • PS — Food and Wine magazine just did a Napa issue. Search google and Oneotri for it. (My friend’s brother, Tyler, is the chef there!)

        • Napa Valley :

          That place looks awesome!

          The trip is stressing me out just because I have no idea how to narrow anything down! Eep!

          • SoCalAtty :

            All good suggestions so far! I was lucky enough to have an Aunt that lived in Napa growing up, so we spent a ton of time there. Have you looked into the wine train? Check google, it is really fun.

            AMEX can sometimes get you reservations at FL, otherwise your best bet is probably through your hotel. If that’s a “must” for you, you might even choose your hotel based on their ability to get reservations!

            December can be rainy and cold (speaking relative to CA, here) so pack accordingly.

            I use Yelp for these things all the time. Take the reviews with a grain of salt, of course, but I’ve found it to be pretty reliable.

      • SoCalAtty :

        If you go to Healdsburg, and want to jewelry shop, check out Dianne’s Old and New Estates…they have amazing stuff! They started my obsession with old european and mine cut diamonds…

    • Check out this prior thread on Napa/Sonoma Valleys in December/January/winter:

      I definitely repeat my recommendation of Indian Springs Resort & Spa and Hotel Healdsburg. Also, if you don’t make it into FL, I highly recommend Cyrus, in Healdsburg, as an alternative.

    • Tons of winery and other recommendations on this weekend thread as well (search on “healdsburg” to find the right section:

      • And finally (assuming I ever make it out of moderation), watch the movie “Bottle Shock” for inspiration!

        Try not to stress about narrowing down options. So much is truly wonderful that you can’t really do this “wrong.” Have a wonderful trip!

    • We just did a Yountville/Napa weekend in May (we live in the bay area). The primary purpose of the trip was to eat, since we are not wine drinkers. So I don’t have any advice about wineries or wine tours but I have lots of food recs.

      We went to:
      1. Bouchon. This is a 1 Michelin star Thomas Keller place. It is pretty standard French bistro fare but we loved it. Fantastic pain d’epi and we shared the gnocchi and steak frites both of which were wonderful. Prices are very reasonable, given the chef and the location ($30ish entrees).
      2. Bistro Jeanty. This was quite a foodie place a few years ago but I think is considered past its prime now. Had a Michelin star but lost it. Nonetheless, we went to try the famous tomato soup in puff pastry and that alone was worth the visit. Entrees are solid and very reasonably priced (in the $20s) but nothing outstanding. You must go here if you like tomato soup, but it might be good as a lunch stop.
      3. Ad Hoc. 2nd out of 3 Thomas Keller restaurants in Yountville (3rd being TFL of course). $52 set menu of 4-courses (salad, entree, cheese, dessert). Every other Monday they do Keller’s famous fried chicken (today, June 25th, is fried chicken day, so you should be able to calculate it). We were able to get to fried chicken day, and the chicken itself was wonderful. The rest of the meal was actually somewhat disappointing, largely because it was not really to our tastes at all (downside of the set menu I suppose). This was our least favorite meal in Yountville but it was still good.
      4. Redd. 1 Michelin star. Absolutely phenomenal food (carmelized diver scallops are what I had and they were to die for). We only did lunch here, but I woud recommend doing dinner. It was one of our favorites and I wish we had had a bigger meal here.
      5. Gott’s Roadside (formerly Taylor’s Automatic Refresher). Cheap burger and milkshake place. They have locations in St. Helena and Napa. Its very hyped up in the Bay Area so I didn’t really expect it to live up to our expectation, but it was phenomenal. One of the best turkey burgers I’ve ever had with their homemade apple onion chutney.

      Yelp has many more detailed reviews and photos of these places, but I would recommend all of them, with the caveat that Ad Hoc is probabl only a good bet if you can get there for fried chicken night.

      Also, its not a restaurant but a stop at Bouchon Bakery for dessert is a must!! Amazing for chocoholics – bouchons, macarons, chocolate ganache tart are all highly, highly recommended, pastries less so.

      • Also FWIW, I’ve heard the best way to get TFL reservations is through a concierge at the really high-end inns and hotels. If you can afford to spend $500+ a night for a room, that’s probably the way to go.

  6. trepidation :

    Staying anon for this. I’m headed to business school in the fall… and am getting serious anxiety about this. Lame, I know. I know this is a good step for my career but am worried about being slightly older and keeping up. And in general, I get anxious around meeting new people and being in large groups. It always feels like I take way longer than anyone else to form friendships. Anyone out there with similar experience? How did you deal?

    • I’m an introvert, but found it really easy to make friends in business school. Most will divvy up their entering class into cohorts/clusters/etc. of between 50-90 people.

      You will take almost all of your 1styr classes with this group of people, and there will be many opportunities to get to know a few at a time in classwork/group projects, and other activities. There will be a lot of social activities formally on the calendar (school clubs, etc.) as well as informal opportunities to hang out with classmates and make friends.

      I think the people who really didn’t make as many new friends were:
      (1) People trying to run an existing business that they started AND take business school courses. Just not enough hours in the day to also squeeze in any networking

      (2) People who lived really far from their school. If you have a long commute or are worried about missing the last train, etc, it will cut into your social life.

      (3) People who were both married and the parents of very young children. (See what I said about #1.

      That said, I think they all still got something out of their business school experience; just not as much on the networking/socializing side.

    • In my experience, older students typically do way better than the youngsters academically.

      As far as friendships, I think it’s whatever you put into it. And it of course depends on what stage of life you’re in, like whether you’re married or have kids. That means friendships will often be limited to school, but it doesn’t mean you won’t make friends.

      • This! The vast majority of people who graduated in the top of my Top 14 law school class had been out of college at *least* 3-5 years.

    • On the taking longer to form friendships issue, one thing I have learned is that the people that are going out for lunch in between classes or studying together probably haven’t become super tight, they’re just more social. I like being alone and can be anxious when meeting new people, but once I realized that I didn’t have to categorize a person as a close friend in order to do something with them, it became a lot easier to have casual friendships with people that I met in school, at events, etc.

    • I’m currently working on my MBA, and there’s a huge range of ages in my classes, from 3-5 years of experience, all the way up to 25 years of experience and looking to change fields. The older students haven’t had a problem keeping up, at least that I’ve seen. Re: forming friendships, I’ve found that people are generally much more open in an academic environment than in the “real world”. I wouldn’t worry about making friends, as much as finding group members with a strong work ethic and good quality contributions. You’ll be fine! Don’t stress!

    • There will be lots of social events throughout the year, but especially at the beginning. Definitely go, even if you are tired of meeting people and doing the small talk gig. Eventually you start getting a feel for which events are going to be your scene, and which ones you’d rather skip.

      • Seconding that you should go to a lot of stuff at the beginning, even if you aren’t crazy about the activity/location/time of day/dress code/etc. (as an introvert, these are all things I use to talk myself out of going to something).

        I’ve done two graduate degrees, and both times I found that friend groups formed almost immediately. It’s easy to go to stuff in the beginning when everyone is new, and you can talk to lots of different people and see who you click with. If you talk yourself out of going to stuff at the beginning and decide later you want to make friends, it’s more awkward to try to join a group that’s already formed. Not to say that it can’t be done, but it just requires a little more effort that can seem overwhelming to an introvert.

    • trepidation :

      Thanks everyone – this is very good advice, especially the distinction between casual and close friend, which I will keep in mind. And I needed a kick in the pants to start showing up for events – been a little overwhelmed at the thought of meeting new people!

    • Can’t speak to the social anxiety but definitely don’t worry about your age. I’ll brag a little and say that I just finished my first year of law school at age 36 with two kids and am currently ranked #1 in my class. I think age is an advantage!

  7. Can someone explain why Birkin bags are so expensive? Is the quality that much better? Or, are you paying for the brand? Serious question.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      The quality is good (a friend has one) but frankly, you are paying for the luxury and the brand. At the end of the day, it is still a handbag.

    • I’m sure the quality is great, but anything Hermes makes is ridiculously expensive, imo. You are paying a good deal for the brand and the prestige.

      Still, my dream bag in an ‘if we won the big lottery’ sense is a red croc Kelly bag. But I’m ok with the fact that it will never happen (to win the lottery you have to buy a ticket!)

    • You’re mostly paying for the brand. Serious answer.

      Also, for laughs, read Diane Johnson’s _Le Divorce_. There’s a funny bit about how a very young woman carrying a Birkin bag would get these annoying smirks from (strangers) she’d pass on the street. (It’s set in France. The assumption that the strangers were making was: no one that young could afford it unless she was an heiress, or, more likely, the kept plaything of a rich, much older man.)

      • Actually the bag in Le Divorce was a Kelly, but still Hermes and the story still holds true.

    • Well, not saying the price is not inflated, but the bags are made by hand in France by people specially trained to do this, not on an assembly line in China. Add to that the fact that quantity is limited and there you go. Yes, Hermes could automate production, make more bags, and lower price, but then where’s the luxury in that?

      All things considered, the price of a Birkin makes much more sense to me than the price of, say, a Tory Burch bag.

      • ITA re: Tory Burch and all these so-called mid-priced labels you find in many department stores.

        I’m always astounded that labels like Tory Burch charge in the $200-$500 for what is merely mass-produced stuff made in China and other places with questionable labor practices.

        I do wonder if these mid-priced labels actually have the best profit margins– the cost of labor and materials is still fairly cheap, but the markup is that much more. Not to single out Tory Burch, but to pretty much tag all of the labels like it, I think they’re really not worth it.

        • Kontraktor :

          Hence my love of the Coach outlet. Really great qulity leather bags, more often than not for less than $150. Outlet lacks the weirdness/flashiness of current ‘regular’ line pieces. I think they are a good balance between quality in price, and in some cases I think they are better quality (or just as good) than the mid-range ‘designer’ lines.

          • So, if I’m looking for a reasonably priced quality leather handbag I should check out the Coach outlet near me? Even though I *hate* with a passion the bags that have the letter ‘C’ all over them? I might actually find a nice bag that doesn’t scream ‘COACH’ to everyone as I walk down the street? If so, I might eat my words & actually step into the outlet next time I’m near by.

          • It depends. The Coach outlets have a mix of old season bags and bags made for the outlet and can be inferior. Kate Spade outlet has nice bags IMHO.

          • I would trade the Coach outlet for a Kate Spade outlet in a heartbeat! Someday I’ll shop at a Kate Spade outlet and spend too much money. It’s good to have goals, right?

          • Another Zumba Fan :

            Not all Coach bags have the logo printed all over them. They have all-leather ones with the single, subtle logo imprint.

          • Kontraktor :

            Kate Spade outlet is still really expensive. Most bags there are way over $250, even with sales, and that’s not in the budget for people.

            I have never had experience with inferior quality at the Coach outlet, and I probably have… gosh, 6 or 7 bags from there? There are a lot of great ones. Most aren’t covered with weird C’s. There are a lot of plain ones. They don’t seem to have the ugly bright ones there as they do in the ‘real’ lines. Most bags there are the nice cloth prints or plain leather (most of my outlet bags are all plain leather). The one C-print bag I have is actually patent leather and the C’s look more like quilting than they do C’s. It’s my favorite bag.

            I would highly, highly recommend the Coach outlet if you want a nice bag, good selection, and a price under $150. Sure, KS might be nicer in theory but I’m just not at the point where I can reasonable spend so much even on an outlet bag.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      Exceptional quality single piece leather hand constructed, hand stitched and cache…

  8. Okay I give – where do you put the food?

    • LOL. It looks like it can only fit those bags of dreadful microwave popcorn that terrorize any of us with cubes near the kitchen.

      Folks who sit in my row of cubes are thoroughly sick of the smell of slightly burned popcorn (the type with no salt and fake butter) every f—ing day at 4pm.

      • Microwave popcorn is actually now banned from my building!! Too many people were burning it and setting off fire alarms sending 5000+ people out for a nice break.

    • Research, Not Law :

      I thought the same thing! So you can pack a sandwich and maybe some carrot sticks… My appetite can’t be limited to flat food.

    • The link takes you to the Amazon webpage, and it actually seems pretty spacious. Reminds me of those bento laptop lunchboxes for kids, except it doesnt have the weird alien motif on it.

  9. momentsofabsurdity :

    If anyone is interested, I was very amused by Burberry’s new foray into easily transportable blazers for men.

  10. Ladies, I had to share. After a year of working really hard at my strength training, I went to Home Depot today, picked up an 8,000 BTU air conditioner from the stack and put it in my cart, went to checkout, picked it up again and put it in my trunk, drove home, got it out of the trunk and into my house – in a skirt and 4 1/2 in. wedges and without breaking a sweat in well over ninety degree weather. Whew!

  11. Very Anon :

    TJ- I’m a mid-level associate at a big law firm. I generally like my work, and I get great reviews. But I’ve recently been stuck on a case w/ a sr partner who is an absolute nightmare to work with, and it is killing my self esteem. It’s generally well known w/in the firm that this guy is a terror, but honestly, his comments border on verbal abuse. I grew up in an abusive home. It’s never caused me problems at work, but this guy starts berating me, and it’s like I’m a little kid again. The number of times his comments have left me literally sobbing in my office (thankfully with the door closed, and I hope I disguised it during our phone call) is too embarrassing to admit.

    Avoiding working with this guy is not an option. I need to come up with a strategy for dealing with his fury in a way that’s more normal. I know I’m probably reacting more viscerally bc it’s churning up old memories, but I don’t know how to address that.

    For what it’s worth, the guy actually doesn’t dislike me. He’s nice to me on a personal level, he gives me very good reviews, and he speaks highly of me to others at the firm. He just has these moments when he lashes out, and — as ridiculous as it sounds — I cannot seem to get a grip and just ignore them.

    • I’m so sorry you have to deal with this. No magic bullet but I find it helps to treat people like this like you would a child that is very angry – stay calm, be firm, and don’t engage in the crazy parts. I know that is easier said than done. I also find, personally, that it helps to think “I have to deal with you now, but you have to go through life interacting like this all the time.” Then I feel bad for them.

    • Former MidLevel :

      Frankly, if I were in your shoes, I would start looking (quietly, of course) for another job. This guy sounds like a nightmare. If you can make a move, I would seriously consider it.

      • karenpadi :

        This. I’ve been in your situation. Try to get work with other partners and transition away from this guy (my bully was also territorial over “her” associates).

        If that’s not possible (or even if it is), call your EAP and get some counseling. Seriously. Trust me.

        • In this situation now. I have been for years. Look for a new job. He won’t change.

    • I disagree with the suggestion of looking for a new job. Any place you work, you could end up working with someone who’s a problem for you. You can’t run to a new job every time there’s an issue, especially if (as it sounds) this is really confined to one person you’re having a problem with. One of the best things about working at a big firm is that it’s a “big umbrella” — usually you can avoid working with people you don’t like in the future (unless you’re in a small practice group within the firm and this guy is a key player in that group, then it’s a different issue). All you need to do is get through this one case with him, and then hopefully you can just avoid him in the future (this is why I’m not a securities litigator, actually. First securities case I worked on was with a partner who I just didn’t get along with, and the easiest way to avoid him after that was just to not do securities work). So, now to a strategy for dealing with him while you have to. I hate to sound trite, but have you actually tried talking to him after one of the lashing out incidents when he’s calmed down?

      • You are right. The man has got to be muzzled. Up until now, others have not done so. He may be a bully at home (assuming he is married), or he may be bullied at home. Either way, you don’t get paid to be his piñata. I say he is worthy of a FOOEY!

      • Former MidLevel :

        I actually would agree with you if she were in a big firm or *could* avoid the guy. But she specifically said that “[a]voiding working with this guy is not an option.” That makes me think that she is either in a small firm or a small and/or rigid practice group. It is true that there could be equally terrible partners at other firms. But not all firms are structured in a way that forces you to work for them.

    • Open Book :

      I was in a similar situation but it also involved this person sneaking up on me when I didn’t know he had entered my office. I had been physically attacked in a prior job (an occupational hazard for the line of work I was in and totally run of the mill but still scary) so anytime angry senior attorney snuck up on me I would have anxiety attacks for hours or days after.

      I calmly told him one day “hey, you know I worked as x, right? Well, I was physically attacked and injured in that job. Ever since, I get terrible anxiety if someone sneaks up on me, particularly if they are upset at the time. Could you please make sure you knock when you enter and that I acknowledge you before you start yelling?” He of course took this as an invitation to sneak up on me MORE.

      The plus side, I then went to even more senior person, explained the situation, he said mean partner’s behavior was completely unacceptable to any associate, but 100% more so given my past and where I had informed him of my past. He spoke with him and the abuse STOPPED dead in its tracks. I would have expecting him to come after me more or to throw a hissy fit, but he totally backed down to more senior partner and cut the BS. We never got along but I was able to keep working on his cases. I would not have been comfortable going to more senior person if I hadn’t tried it on my own first.

      You could do this in a very vague way. For example, “I’d prefer not to get into specifics but due to traumatic events that occurred in my past, I have a very difficult time working with you when you yell at me. Could you please try to speak with me after you have had a chance to calm down?” If he doesn’t, complain up the chain.

    • I find that yellers who don’t actually have a problem with you usually yell because that’s how they are used to communicating. As such, they aren’t taken aback when someone yells back. Alternately, OpenBook’s suggestion of just asking him not to yell is probably a good (and more mature) one.

    • You could always say something to HR. If it’s well known that he’s terrible, I’m sure you won’t be the first one who has complained about him. You could request to be taken of the case, moved floors, etc. I can understand not wanting to tell HR (or not wanting to make it an issue because you want to stay on the case), but it might be the thing to do before looking for another job. IMO, you’re not overreacting – being berated at work is something that would make anyone upset. I also work in BigLaw and I have seen many associates in this position, and they all eventually either requested not to work with the partner or left the firm. It’s just not a sustainable situation.

    • Seattleite :

      Another approach in addition to these very good suggestions (taught to me by a counselor, because I was in a situation similar to yours):

      1. Identify the spot in your body where you ‘feel’ him yelling at you.
      2. Think back to the very earliest time in your life that you felt that same sensation.
      3. What was happening, how were you feeling?
      4. Send your adult-self back in time to comfort your child-self. Tell the child-self all the things that someone should have told her back then. Invite her to come forward and live with you in the present.
      5. Walk forward in time with child-self, stopping to repeat steps 2-4 as memories of traumatic events reappear.

      This will probably involve ugly crying, wracking sobs, and a reluctance to open old wounds. Do it anyway (if necessary, offer self bribes). It sounds very woo-woo (::waves hands::) but is incredibly healing.

      And, FWIW, you’re not being ridiculous. We hold our emotions in our bodies, we don’t grow from bad experiences until we process them meaningfully, etc. The fact that you don’t take it personally on a global level with this guy is pretty impressive.

    • Very anon, it seems totally reasonable to me that you’d get freaked out when you get treated as if you were a helpless little kid again. That’s just how people operate, and growing out of these things doesn’t happen spontaneously. I’m not sure you should be looking for a job either, it may actually come out much healthier for you in the long term to face your abuse issues and use him to overcome them. To clarify what I mean, many jobs will have a bully, who is likely to be well-practiced enough to detect your abuse issues and pick you as a special target, so you’d remain vulnerable if you don’t learn better patterns. And as you say this particular guy sounds more like a terror than a bully, in terms of having disgraceful behavior but not necessarily hating you personally or trying to put you down systematically. So it may be a relatively safer place for you to practice resistance and to learn to blunt your reactivity..

      Can you get yourself to a therapist specialized in abuse issues? Some support group for formerly abused children?? It’d be most helpful if you could, immediately. Learning things like Seattleite’s good techniques might also make all the difference to you in practice.

      You could try honesty, and being upfront to the terror about how terrorizing he is and how he needs to work on himself to avoid terrorizing you, assuming the underlying goodwill on his part that seems to be present. I think in any case there’d be absolutely nothing wrong with walking right out or hanging up when he starts yelling at you, saving explanations for later. HIS behavior is inappropriate, even if your reaction to it may be a bit exaggerated. If you simply explain calmly later that you cannot, and will not, be treated like that, that it’s nothing against him personally just like you don’t think it’s anything personally against you, but that it cannot happen, he may take it well enough and learn. For all you know, he’s aware that he terrorizes people but not too aware of exactly where the limit is, and might welcome the feedback. Well anyway, I don’t want to sound like I think you should play Mother Theresa and try to reform every bully out there :-), far from it, my preferred method is definitely avoidance. I’m only suggesting cooperation may be possible because he sounds like he may have learned misbehavior without being really a bully. Most important is to learn strategies so you don’t end up sobbing over interactions that wouldn’t be justified even if you’d screwed up somehow.

  12. Hi ladies! I know we covered this before but I am having trouble finding the thread. Situation: Good friend living in another city just had her first baby. Want to send something fun and congratulatory for her. Thoughts include champagne, nice coffee, gift certificate for a massage – is there anything you received that you would recommend? Thanks!

    • Research, Not Law :

      Food. They need food. Gift cards to convenient take-out or delivery, edible arrangements, etc.

      If you want to get a fun something extra for her, you could get jewelry with her child’s name or initial. Etsy has tons of ‘mom’ necklaces. This site recently featured initial rings from urban outfitters or anthropologie.

      Prenatal massages are appreciated, but be mindful that for some new moms, the stress of leaving the baby balances out the benefits of the massage – so I’d make sure she had a few months to use it.

      • Research, Not Law :

        Dang it, I meant post-partum massages. Too late for prenatal ;)

    • If they eat meat, some young moms I know have mentioned that the best gift they got was the heat and serve chicken entrees from Omaha Steaks. They stay frozen until you’re ready to heat them so they were perfect for not having to have to think about dinner.

    • I’d suggest food delivery/giftcard to Seamless or a cleaning service (ideally a “green” one that also does laundry). That plus a nice keepsake gift would be a great gift – I like the suggestion of a piece of jewelry, perhaps a bracelet with baby’s initials and birthday inscribed?

      I wouldn’t do champagne or coffee because many women don’t drink alcohol or caffeine while breastfeeding. She also may not want to go off on her own to get a massage or something. Most new moms like to spend as much time bonding with the baby as possible; it’s disconcerting to have the little one outside your body, let alone in a different building from you. When the baby’s a couple months old, she may like mommy/baby yoga classes or another activity that she can do with the baby outside the house.

    • Massage! Just make sure the offer is good for a long time, not something she must schedule right now. I didn’t get massages when mine was that little, but I did when he was 4. Massage therapist was totally cool with him playing quietly in the waiting room. Infants can’t do that, but if she really can’t bear to leave him, she could get the massage while he naps.

      Yoga might be good too, particularly at a place that has a wide array of classes; meditation, Mommy & me, fitness, whatever. Some centers have aromatherapy, Ralfing, all sorts of other things she could choose from.

      Some women complain about the baby getting all the glory, but I loved the books and clothes (size 6 mos and up) I got for my little one. YMMV

      Second the housecleaning idea.

      • I meant napping in the treatment room.

        Another idea–childproofing usually means putting away all kinds of knick-knacks and decorations. If you know her tastes well, she might like a nonbreakable thing with no small parts to decorate their living space.

  13. Ugh, nothing is going right today… even the soda machine is broken. It’s probably time for a frappuccino.

  14. anonIguess. :

    Any advice for someone sitting a JAG interview? fresh from law school.

    • Have you tried watching episodes of JAG?

    • Kontraktor :

      Do well. JAG hiring is so, so, so, SO competetive these days.

    • I think regular poster Bonnie used to be a JAG/military lawyer. Try asking again in tomorrow’s TPS.

      • Good memory eek. I did spend a chunk of my career in the JAG Corps and absolutely loved it. Be prepared to explain why you want the job. I interviewed too many people who were desperate for any job and thought they were doing me a favor by interviewing. It’s a very competitive hiring process. A JAG career does involve moving around every few years so highlight any foreign travel or desire to move around. You also have to be willing to practice in several areas including criminal law, administrative law, contracts etc. Feel free to email me if you have questions at dccorporette at yahoo dot com

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I know someone that interviewed last year and was offered a position. She turned it down (relocation issue) so she can’t give you any insight into actually working there but she can probably tell you about the interview process. Email me at [email protected] and I’ll pass your email along to her.

    • Might be too late for you to get this. But oh the stories I have…

      I was a JAG and have remained in good contact with my former supervisors in the AF. I met him for lunch the other week and he told me it was AMAZINGLY competitive nowadays (he sits on the Board). Like they have more applicants who are in the top 10% of their school, and have served in government positions during internships/time before law school/Peace Corps, etc. than they could accept.

      I also did recruiting and met applicants when I was a JAG. My boss would send them down to us JAGs after he was done with the interview for them to speak to us and get a better idea of their interests/background, and what it means to be a JAG. Then he would come around and ask us what we thought of them.

      I would say your friend needs to be early – at least 10 minutes if not more. They need to be prepared to enter a military installation – current insurance, registration and non-expired Drivers License (believe me – the applicants are just embarrasing themselves all the time by not having this stuff).

      If they have been arrested more than twice, chances are they will not get the job. If they have 2+ DUI’s (BTW not a good idea to blow off a question about the 2 DUI’s), chances are they will not get the job. If they continue to use marijuana, or have used marijuana or any other drug recently, they will likely not get the job. If they have serious, ongoing, mental health issues that require psychological counseling, it is also unlikely they will get the job.

      Beyond that – show an actual interest in the JAG Corps – research it, what are recent issues affecting the services, ask specific questions about the specific areas of the law JAGs practice in. Do not say you are just “throwing this out there” in the case the biglaw thing doesn’t work out. If you have never done even a little summer internship in some kind of government/public service role, it will be an uphill battle. Do not say you would never want to deploy. Do not say you would never agree to move after 2 years.

      That’s all I can think of for now. Oh…the sad sad stories…

  15. Ladies, just wanted to take a minute to rave about Trader Joe’s pre-cooked lentils. They are AMAZING. What are your favorite TJ’s convenience items?

    • Like your lentils, my favorite is the precooked brown rice. It comes in two-serving size packages, with three packages in a box. It’s in the freezer section and also comes in jasmine rice. That package is perfect for two or three people, and microwaves to perfection in 3 minutes.

    • Second the microwaveable brown rice. I also love the frozen naan with their frozen Indian dishes. And the fresh pizza dough. I need to get back there soon!

    • I just bought those! So glad to hear this. Did you add anything to yours?

      • No – they can be eaten hot or cold, so I just put a bunch on a salad for lunch. Topped it with some turkey, veggies, and a red wine vinaigrette (I love vinegar-y lentils), and it was delicious. I might put them in a stir fry with some veggies next.

      • Oh, my comment is stuck in moderation. No – the lentils can be eaten hot or cold, so I put a bunch on a salad for lunch, topped it with turkey, veggies, red wine vinegar and oil, and it was delicious. I might try them in a stir fry with veggies next.

      • I like to add one slice of Havarti cheese to the lentils. In fact, dinner tonight will be lentils, cheese, spinach and egg. UMMMM. Can someone please start this thread again tomorrow? It’s so helpful to get reviews on TJ products!

      • I liked the TJ’s sample of those lentils – tossed with chopped walnuts, carrots and celery and dressed with balsamic – so much that it became a regular summer side dish for us!

        • I live a block from Trader Joe’s, so I’m there all the time. One of their samples one day was the lentils mixed with the papaya salsa, and an avocado. AMAZING.

    • Pre-cooked frozen edamame! It’s a great low cal but high-protein snack. I’m on a high-salt diet so I add soy sauce, but they are incredible on their own too!

    • Makeup Junkie :

      I love the tuna curry in foil packets!

      • I wish I could give you the packet that’s been sitting on my shelf for 3 months. I bought two, hated it, and don’t know what to do with the second.

    • The 99 cent noodle soups where all you have to do is add hot water. They’re a 30-second lunch. I lurve them.

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