Coffee Break – Grace Snake-Embossed Tote, Purple

Beirn Grace Snake-Embossed Tote, PurpleI have wanted a Beirn bag forever, and I’m seriously considering this one (especially considering the serious sale). Love the purple/snake embossed leather, the thin shoulder straps, the removable wristlet, and the zip pocket inside. It was $515, now marked to $310, with an extra 30% off bringing it down near $200. Nice! Available in purple and orange at Last Call by Neiman Marcus. Beirn Grace Snake-Embossed Tote, Purple.



  1. Can't wait to quit :

    Perfect – I was waiting to ask this question until a bag post came out, and here’s one now.

    When going to a job interview, I hate to look like a “bag lady” and carry a tote (for my portfolio w/ resume, notepad, etc) as well as a purse. Does it look weird if I just put the purse contents into the tote and just carry the one item? I think it looks much more businesslike, but I wanted to hear others opinions on this. The tote I use is a “businessy” looking one, not an LL Bean Boat and Tote or more casual bag.

    • Just carry one item.

    • I always just put the crucial items from my purse (wallet, keys, cell phone and transit pass) in my “interview tote” with my resume and other documents. I also feel that carrying two bags looks a little less sleek than I like to look on interview days. On normal days I carry both purse and tote, because I am a packrat and keep a million things in my purse.

    • I use a “satellite bag” ~ I keep a clutch in my big business-y bag with just keys, lip gloss, credit cards, etc. That way if I want to downsize mid-day, I can lock the big bag in my trunk, grab my clutch and go.

      • spacegeek :

        I do something sort of similar, except that I keep the satellite in my trunk. If I run errands at lunch or whatever, I bring my work tote to the car and swap before I move my car.

        Also, I use a Purseket, which helps me move my essentials. Not affiliated, just find the product useful. Google it I think…

    • I try to never carry more than one bag, at any time, unless I’m out shopping. It makes me feel junky and overloaded to be juggling bags.

    • Yeah to be honest I think it looks weird the other way I have never seen someone bring a purse to an interview. It should be one bag

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I agree with everyone else. Definitely just use the 1 bag. The satellite bag idea is good so you can keep all your purse stuff together but hidden neatly in the tote.

    • MeliaraofTlanth :

      1 bag. Make sure it zips. During one day at OCI, I had stuck my phone in a side pocket of a bag that didn’t close at the top (it had a zippable pocket, but my phone wasn’t in it). The phone slipped out during a morning interview when my bag fell over and I spent half the day panicking and looking for it.

  2. That is pretty. I like the way it looks like it’s striped. But I can’t afford it. Last week when my boss made me cry, I decided to indulge in some retail therapy. I bought this snake-embossed tote from Nordstrom:

    • Tired Squared :

      I’m sorry about the boss making you cry part (especially because this man sounds TERRIBLE from all of your posts), but I like your retail therapy choice!

    • Super cute and *leather* for $39? Awesome find, Bunkster! I like it better than Kat’s discounted (but still pricey) Beirn.

  3. I don’t understand this bag.

    • Diana Barry :

      I don’t like the thin straps or the way the pattern works (stripes? snake? both?). It looks confused.

  4. Tired Squared :

    Threadjack: Some of you might remember my (miserable) posts from when I failed the July bar. I’ve started studying again and was just wondering if any of you second-time-passers had any tips/tricks to share.

    For some background, I got the state letter telling me that my MBE score was the problem. (My essay score was significantly higher … if I had done as well on the MBE I would have passed). So I know I need to work on MBE stuff, and I have bar prep materials to work from. I guess I’m just looking for anything else people can say to help, especially for people who were in my situation before.

    • Job Searcher :

      My friend was in a similar position. She took barbri but found that the second time around Kaplan mbe prep was much more realistic for her. I think she redid barbri for free but then bought Kaplan MBE prep materials. Second time she passed no problem! Best of luck to you. I’m sure you’ll do great!

    • I was in the same situation and found the Kaplan PMBR materials to be really helpful for the MBE. They seemed to me to be much harder than the real thing, so when I got into the test the second time, I was a lot more confident. I also studied a little less the second time. I think I just got overloaded the first time and panicked.

    • I have no advice but am sending postive thoughts in your direction. You’ll rock it!

    • The MBE sucks. The best advice is to give them the stupid answer they’re looking for. Don’t argue with the questions/answers. This is really difficult to do, because you’re a smart woman who has critical thinking skills. But that’s not what the Bar wants.

      Do as many BarBri and PMBR practice tests as you can, but it doesn’t do any good if you don’t read and understand the answers.

    • Actually, there is a REALLY REALLY good MBE prep book out there, “Strategies and Tactics for the MBE.” I had BarBri, but this book SAVED me. Without it, would NOT have passed. Well worth the investment just for the strategies it provides.

      GOOD LUCK!!!!

      • Tired Squared :

        Thank you all for the advice and well wishes! And Anon at 8:38, I might have to check out that book.

        Thank you!

  5. Anon for this :

    Corporettes, I need your insight on a sensitive topic. This morning my younger sister (24) just informed me that she is pregnant. She isn’t really in a relationship with the guy and has only known him a few months. Neither of them have particularly high paying jobs, and she is understandably freaked out. I love her and I believe that she will make the right chioce for her, and I support her no matter what that choice is. But what I want is for her to see a counselor who is truly neutral on the choice-anti-choice issue, who can talk with her and help her make the right decision. Does anyone know of an organization in the Philadelphia area that provides this sort of counseling?

    Also, here’s what I said to her so far, would love to hear others’ input: (1) you don’t have to make a decision today (she just found out this morning); (2) you don’t need to tell *anyone* today; (3) make a Dr’s appointment to get checked out; (4) that I love her and that she will figure this out, one way or another, and life will go on. Any other words of wisdom I can impart?

    Thanks in advance – this community always has such great advice.

    • I had a crisis pregnancy when I was younger (and younger than your sister.) What I would have liked to hear was that you would be there for me no matter what choice I made, that my life would be different no matter what choice I made, but that it would be ok no matter what choice I made.

      Then once I made a decision (which really I knew all along what I was going to do, and although I am strongly pro-choice I “kept” the baby, who is now almost a teenager!) I would have liked someone to help me figure out what to do and help me get the process rolling (for whatever choice she makes.)

      It would have been nice to not go through the whole thing alone.

    • i think planned parenthood offers this type of counseling, and i would trust them more than any other organization to offer a balanced perspective weighing all the options.

      • Absolutely. Planned Parenthood gets a lot of bad press from the right, but in reality the organization provides fair and medically accurate advice on all options. They are a great source for exactly the kind of advice she needs. HUP may also be a good resource, but I am not familiar with their care in this area.

        If your sister is concerned about walking past protesters at PP, call in advance and they can likely tell you which day the protesters take off/show up late.

        • There are no protesters at the Philly Planned Parenthoods. I go there for my regular gyno care and find the staff very warm and professional. I would strongly recommend her going there.

          Also, their clientele is truly diverse. There are people of all types in the waiting room.

        • I also go to PP for my annual gyno exams. They give free care to those who can’t pay, so I like to support them with my health insurance company’s money. They don’t have very many patients who pay the entire cost of care.

          Also, that’s the first place I’d take your sister. Completely judgment-free.

      • I don’t know, I’ve heard that Planned Parenthood does not do a good job offering neutral advice in these types of situations. However, I’ve never talked with anyone at PP about this myself, so I don’t know for sure. Probably her experience would vary with which clinic she went to, and even which person she talked with.

        Honestly, it seems like almost any crisis pregnancy center will have some sort of agenda or goal. Does your sister have anyone whose opinion she trusts, and who is good at remaining objective/neutral (as much as that’s possible w/r/t a pregnancy)? I would be more inclined to talk to that person than a stranger at a clinic.

        At any rate, I know such decisions aren’t easy, no matter who you can find to talk to, and your sister probably feels very alone. Sending good thoughts in her (and your) direction.

        • Seattleite :

          I quit going to PP for my gyno care after overhearing a counselor pressure someone to get an abortion. Her tone was punitive and she was haranguing the person she was talking to on the phone. I’m pro-choice but it made me sick to my stomach.

          • This sounds made-up. Counselling does not occur where it can be overheard.

          • This definitely sounds made up. The counseling would not be where someone could overhear, much less where someone was getting a gyno exam.

    • Tired Squared :

      Having been in her exact situation a few years ago, I recommend Planned Parenthood. They really listened to everything I was thinking and didn’t “push” one way or another.

      • Another vote for Planned Parenthood for neutral, all things considered advice. But I will add that many decent women’s clinics offer counseling by women thoroughly trained to help with making this decision, who, as part of their training know not to push in a particular direction. You might be able to help her find such a place.

        And a second to Anon, above, who said that life would be different no matter the choice.

    • I’ve never been pregnant so the women who have been may say this is an ignorant idea…but, perhaps her OB/GYN could recommend someone? Your sis’s pregnancy can’t be the first surprise/unplanned pregnancy he/she has seen. I would think that a good OB/GYN would have a list of people who can counsel and help her.

    • Planned Parenthood doesn’t try to convince women to have abortions–it just doesn’t pretend like it’s not a valid option. I would recommend your sister meet with her obgyn/physician and if he/she doesn’t discuss all the options (or if she doesn’t have her own doctor), she should go to Planned Parenthood. Crisis pregnancy centers will try to strong-arm her into continuing the pregnancy.

      Good luck!

      • Also recommend Planned Parenthood. The difference with PP is that they *don’t* try to talk about options if you don’t want to. When I went in many years ago, all I had to do was tell them I was absolutely sure I wanted an abortion, and didn’t have any hesitations about it, and the conversation was done and we moved on to the next steps. But another friend, who wasn’t sure, told them that she wanted to discuss the options, and the counselor spent a long time with her

        But, I also think the idea about asking her OB/GYN, if she has a good one, is a great suggestion. They should have recommendations of doctors, as well as counselors. Planned Parenthood is a good alternative because it’s low cost.

        And, good for you for being there for her. I know she’ll appreciate it.

        I would also recommend you offer to go with her to any appointment anytime she needs you, if that is possible, at the clinic or counseling, or anything. I would have liked to have someone with me, since I had a medical abortion at home, and it wasn’t psychologically traumatic, but it was a long time to be alone.

        • * meant to finish this sentence: the counselor spent a long time with her carefully thinking through all of the options, and she didn’t feel pressured into an abortion at all. She did decide to keep the baby, and was very happy with how thoroughly she felt she had considered all of the pros and cons of that decision.

    • My mom (who now primarily works in higher education as a professor of nursing) is an OB/GYN at Planned Parenthood. She is the most compassionate, realistic, understanding woman I know. She would truly listen to your sister and give unbiased medical and emotional counseling. I know she works at Planned Parenthood because they promote that type of unbiased service, so I would encourage you to send your sister there as well. It truly is one of the only places that will put all options on the table and not try to convince a patient because of an agenda.

      • Also, although she may not want to hear it right now, you should bring up the topic of birth control (well, maybe not today, but soon). Your sister needs to discuss this issue with whoever she decides to talk to about this in the medical context. Even though it might not have been an issue (99% effective is only 99% right?), chances are there might be something she can do to prevent being in this situation again, even if it’s just switching methods.

    • anon for this :

      Thank you all so, so much for your support and non-judgmental advice. I am just really worried about my sister, and I did advise her to go to PP earlier this morning. Glad to hear you all had the same thoughts! She’s a really “young” 24, and has self-esteem issues that make her kind of easy to push around, and lacks faith in her own judgment sometimes. She started the conversation this morning with “I did something really, really stupid..” and ended it with “I’m sorry to bother you with this..” Obviously I told her that’s what sisters are for, and that hundreds (at least) of women are confronted with this situation everyday, and not to feel stupid.

      I really like the wording that “your life will be different no matter what.” Those are the words I was searching for at the crack of dawn when she called me. And I did tell her that I am 100% behind her whatever choice she makes.

      • aw! she is so lucky to have you. I felt so stupid, too, I was so mad at myself. But now, 7 years later, it’s really just a bump on the road. Tell her, as many times as you can, that there really are so many of us who have had to deal with the same mistake, so many more than are usually counted, just because we don’t usually talk about it. She’s not alone, and she’ll survive, no matter what happens.

        If she’s interested, I highly recommend this website: I’m not sorry [dot] net. It’s women writing out their abortion stories. And there are so many, from many different time periods, with many different decisions and outcomes, but the upshot is that everyone made it through, and we are not alone. Some people might not like the stories, since they are from women who aren’t sorry and have no regrets, and that might not match the personal feelings of some women about abortion. But I love it, and I think more young women should read it and understand that it doesn’t have to be a big deal. It wasn’t for me.

      • these are the best organizations, actually, and more updated than the one I mentioned above:

        Project Voice:

        Exhale has a great facebook page, and an after-abortion counselor hotline:

      • Make sure she knows you’ll go with her and sit with her in the waiting room — even the ones just for the counseling.

        She’s probably going to need someone to hold her hand the whole time.

    • She can also call the hotline at Backline (yourbackline dot org) which provides neutral counseling and discussion of options via phone.

    • Is she in school or anything like that? I know my undergrad university had a good student health center that offered counseling like that. Otherwise, planned parenthood. And I second the advice of whoever suggested that you offer to go with her to the appointment if she wants. I can’t imagine facing such a life changing decision alone.

      Also, I don’t know her relationship w/ the father but has she told him? Can she? I think if they have a reasonably decent relationship and she is unsure what to do, it would be good to seek his input. I do believe that, thanks to biology, it will ultimately be your sister’s choice and her’s alone. But I think she should consult him if possible. At the very least, it would be nice to know what level of support he can/would provide if she terminated the pregnancy, kept the baby, or put it up for adoption.

  6. OK. Does anyone have any advice on applying for a job that you know you’re perfect for, but the job description lists some criteria that you can’t quite meet? Like they want 3-5 years of experience but you have 2? Or they want “practice experience” but you’ve been clerking and your only practice experience was as an intern in law school? Do you call attention to the areas where you come up a little short and address them in the cover letter? Or ignore them, play up your strengths, and hope no one notices or cares?

    • I mean this with care and support and not with any snark AT ALL, but I’m just wondering how you came to the conclusion that you were perfect for the job if you fall short of two pretty essential things — the experience of actually having practiced the position, both from a time and substance perspective? I still think you should go for it, and I wish you luck, but I’m not sure if you want to position yourself as a “perfect match,” because it might demonstrate that you have not read the job description carefully.

      • I agree but am assuming she meant the job was perfect for her, not that she was perfect for the job.

      • I haven’t listed the actual criteria – just examples of this kind of thing. For the actual job I’m applying for now, I know that I have at least as much experience as people who’ve done the job in the past and I think the employer’s “criteria” are more like wishful thinking. I also once successfully obtained a position that “required” 3-5 years experience when I had less than a year, and I stayed there for 6 years with great success and several promotions. So I think it’s quite possible to be perfect for a job without being able to check off everything on the employer’s job posting.

    • Application :

      Personally, I would apply and not address it in your cover letter (you are only 1 year off) and many attorneys fail to get meaningful experience for a significant amount of time during their first few years at a big firm. Play up your strengths and focus on them.

      • I would not mention the year. I would address the other requirement. I.e., if they want practice experience and you don’t have any post law school, I would try to relate something else you did that can fill that requirement, maybe followed by another instance of how you rose to the occasion in a similar setting. If that makes any sense. I think in such instance, you should also really try to stress your enthusiasm for the position. I find that sometimes helps get your foot in the interview door and then you can better explain why you think you’d be the right fit for the position.

        • Former MidLevel :

          Agreed. Also, I agree that listed “criteria” are often aspirational. I think I may have said this before, but it bears repeating — I once read that there is a big gender divide on this issue. Men are far more likely to apply for jobs even when they don’t match all the listed criteria. And guess what? They often get those jobs. Bottom line – there is no penalty for applying. Good luck!

          • That’s interesting about the gender divide! I was pretty surprised to read that the first two posters seemed to think that one can’t be perfect for a job if they don’t match all the listed criteria. I’ve never let that stop me and I’ve gotten plenty of jobs I supposedly wasn’t qualified for.

          • I only thought that because her examples seemed so extreme. Like they were looking for an attorney with 5 years experience and she was going to apply with one internship. Ive applied to plenty where i dont quite meet all the requirements

      • I think a lot of times those criteria are only suggestions… but I would also expect that, in this economy, they will get plenty of applications from people whose qualifications actually meet the criteria.

        So I wouldn’t hold my breath for an interview.

  7. Need mascara advice :

    Threadjack: help please! I am not a waterproof mascara wearer, but I need to buy one in the next twenty-four hours for a water-y vacation. I have available to me drugstores and possibly a Sephora if I can deal with a grumpy husband from stopping at the mall on the way to the airport. Sephora I can get in and out of quickly, department stores not so much. I wear hard contacts, so anything that flakes, even minutely, is out. Anything that smudges even a little bit is out also. I have my own, personal, permanent under-eye smudges, and even a little smudging from mascara gives a total result of looking like I’ve taken a hit to the eye! Bleh. I prefer lash lengthening and definition to making them fatter. If possible, I go for a dark brown rather than a black. Advice would be very welcome…

    • No advice for mascara, I never use the same brand and don’t notice flaking.

      How did you get permanent under eye smudges?

      • Tired Squared :

        I think that she meant dark undereye circles/patches, not necessarily permanent makeup smudges.

    • Anonymous :

      Blinc mascara – I love it and have never had it flake but it comes off with warm water and pressure in these creepy little tubes (usually in the shower). It is available at Sephora.

      • Co-signed. Blink is fantastic.

      • Thirded.

      • Blinc, absolutely.

      • A. A. Carnes :


      • Sixthed. Has anyone tried the Blinc colored mascaras? I was tempted to try the plum one, but will probably only pull the trigger if someone tells me that it is really subtle.

      • Love Blinc. I also have dark circles, and wear moisturizer and concealer that tends to cause other mascaras to smudge. Never Blinc.

      • spacegeek :

        Oh yes!! I stopped wearing mascara entirely before I found Blinc. I had tried a huge number of them, expensive, not expensive… all said they were waterproof but I’d get raccoon eyes by noon! Blinc is the best!!

      • I hate mascara and rarely wear it. Good thing I don’t need to wear makeup to work. But when I do wear mascara, I use Blinc.

        As an aside, I just don’t know how to wear makeup. And I’m physically incapable of applying mascara without getting it all over my face.

    • here are Paula’s picks for best mascaras – many of them are drugstore

    • I am a fan of L’Oreal Telescopic Explosion mascara – the wand is like a little globe, which I find easier to use with contact lenses (definitely easy to do lower lashes if that’s your thing too). It is waterproof and I’ve had no issues with it.

    • Try waterproof Diorshow. Bet you can pick it up at the airport if you are going through duty free. (I also wear hard contacts).

  8. Anyone have experience with the JCrew minnie pant in stretch wool? Is this office appropriate or will it drive my colleagues to send me the “am I wearing pants” chart?

    • They are pretty much skintight, so I wouldn’t wear them to work. They wouldn’t be confused with leggings, but I don’t think they are office appropriate.

      • I have them and they are not office appropriate. I’ve worn them with a longer blazer, collared shirt and flats on “jeans” days, but they are not okay for regular business attire.

        I do love them, though.

    • Thanks! I don’t think they’re for me based on your descriptions.

      Successfully avoided another round of online order/return.

  9. Thanks to those of you who posted baby gift ideas a few months ago. I ordered an LLBean tote for a friend in the UK. Medium size, with zipper, and baby’s name on the side.

    I just got the thank you note and my friend reports that it is the “perfect gift” because it fits everything. She said she has used it a ton and cannot believe that I knew exactly what she would need.

    Thanks for the great idea Corporette ladies!

    • Research, Not Law :

      Oh, that’s what I use for a diaper bag. Love! It was a very good gift indeed.

    • Oh, thanks for giving me a gift idea for myself. :) Now if only Corporette could help me pick my baby’s name!

      • Ellen.:)

        • Hah! Actually that is a family name… so it’s not totally out of the realm of possibility! :) Don’t worry, I intend to teach my child the rules of grammar, punctuation and proper blog commenting etiquette!

  10. Magdeline :

    To whomever recommended lots of green tea for long days awhile ago:

    Thank you! It has kept me going strong throughout this finals exam period. (The one time I deviated and had an energy drink with no caffeine to follow, I crashed at about 8 pm…)

    The addition of a little honey (also recommended by a Corporette) helps as well.

    • When my cousin was doing his residency (24-48 hr. shifts), he swore by green tea, and also honey with walnuts. He’d get these tiny jars of honey (I think he repurposed those sample size jam jars) and put walnuts in them, and then eat those with a spoon when he needed an energy boost. Obviously, it goes well with a cup of green tea :)

      • Magdeline :

        That’s a great idea- thanks! I actually happen to have many tiny jam jars around, so that would be easy to manage.

  11. Curiosity :

    Rant of the day. Don’t you hate it when you’re sitting in your office and you hear “Do you mind if I tell Curiosity?” “I’d rather you not?” and then you sit there all day trying to figure out what is going on? Just because you’re in the hall 10′ from my office doesn’t mean I can’t hear Every. Single. Word. Sigh.

  12. Gooseberry :

    Any other Boston lawyers going to the ACC women’s event tonight?

  13. Coffee-related threadjack for the Coffee Break:

    I’m thinking about getting an espresso maker but have no idea where to start. Do any of you have one that you love/hate/wish you didn’t get, and why? How often do you use it? Is it hard to clean? Etc. etc. I already have a coffee maker that I love, so I’m just looking for something that can make a little espresso and, when I feel like it, steam some milk. Suggestions? Thanks in advance, ‘rettes!

    • We use a Moka stovetop pot. They’re those little heavy metal pots with a top and bottom compartment. (like this:

      We’ve gone through several machines and they don’t last very long, but this one works really well, and is quite inexpensive. We don’t use it very often, because I guess we’re just not all that big espresso drinkers (hmm, note to self: make cappuccino this weekend), but we always like the results. It’s not super-easy to clean, but it’s not too hard.

    • the Moka does not make genuine espresso, its a stronger coffee, but not enough pressure to make espresso. I like it a lot, and drink it myself, but it’s not espresso.

      My mom has had a small DeLonghi countertop espresso machine for years, and uses it all the time. I think she has the EC155 model. It has held up for years, doesn’t take much space, and does the basics without a bunch of extra features: one espresso portafilter, and a frothing wand. Done.

      I would recommend a basic, manual machine, not an automatic one, just because there are less things to break, and it will last longer. But those are my criteria. I hear the automatic ones are really easy, which might be more convenient for some people. And there are espresso machines for the pods now. But I’m a purist: manual FTW.

  14. Hey all! Long time no post.

    I’m the last-minute plus one for my friend’s swanky office holiday party. It’s in a hotel ballroom. I’m wearing the Sophia dress from J.Crew in burgandy satin. I am stumped with the styling! Black accessories seem the easy way to go but my standby black strappy heels broke a while back and I never replaced them. Time is of the essence- I only have time to run into Macy’s or Payless tomorrow.

    I would appreciate any shoe, jewelry, and make-up suggestions. Thanks!

    • I think you can wear black with it if it looks intentional. Payless will have satin party shoes, most likely in black, so you should be OK. Depending on the neckline of the dress, I’d go for a multi-strand black beaded necklace (faceted beads, like jet) OR black dangly earrings. Not both. You can break up the black with a rhinestone or crystal bracelet or a gigantic cocktail ring. If you don’t already have a little satin clutch or chain strap satin bag, Payless will probably have that too.

      Have fun!

      • look, they have a cute little clutch

        you’d have to check it out in person to see if it fits your cell phone, lipstick and some cash.

    • again, I’m in moderation because I said c-cktail.
      here’s my comment again
      I think you can wear black with it if it looks intentional. Payless will have satin party shoes, most likely in black, so you should be OK. Depending on the neckline of the dress, I’d go for a multi-strand black beaded necklace (faceted beads, like jet) OR black dangly earrings. Not both. You can break up the black with a rhinestone or crystal bracelet or a gigantic c-cktail ring. If you don’t already have a little satin clutch or chain strap satin bag, Payless will probably have that too.

      Have fun!

    • I would go with sparkly shoes in either gold or silver. Payless website has some cute ones, hopefully they have them in the store too!

    • Metallics – silver or gold would be pretty striking (and slightly seasonal).

  15. Equity's Darling :

    I’d just like to announce that I was encouraged by the women’s group at my firm to mention that I summered with a very large corporation that is currently a client of the firm where I’m articling, and as a result, I was invited to attend the hockey game and have dinner with the clients (who I know quite well):)

    I would not have mentioned my summer at the corporation if not for the encouragement of the ladies at my firm, and I’m glad that I did, because otherwise, one of the boys would have been invited instead of me. I decided my New Year’s resolution will probably be “don’t be afraid of promoting yourself” :)

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Love this!

    • karenpadi :

      Nice job! Now to jack your thread…

      I did a similar thing at lunch today by helping out another woman. We were talking about our upcoming holiday party and people who had nothing to say about it suddenly wanted to have our office manager “make a few changes” and arguing about what those changes should be–interrupting, talking over people, etc. I could see her melting and said something along the lines that we all know M is extremely skilled at party planning and if it’s possible to still make these changes, she will do it. It felt really good to stand up for another woman.

      My New Years resolution will be to encourage and stand up for the other women in the office. We have a few recent hires and a few more women coming on board next year. My office’s female population is really growing (I was female attorney #2 and next year we are adding female attorneys #6 and #7) and I want us all to be perceived as strong and independent women.

  16. did I just make a huge social gaffe?

    was speaking with a partner about a project he assigned to me. Was going well, then I asked after his wife, who has been sick with cancer. He said she has had her good and bad days, and got quiet. I immediately thought “what am I doing asking him such a personal question?!”then said that my aunt had dealt with cancer last year, and that I am rooting for his wife and for him. After that I hightailed it out of his office.

    Now I feel dumb and anxious, since even thoughit came from good intentions, I feel it was inappropriate and the chat was going really well up to that point!

    Any advice is welcomed!

    • I think this sounds perfectly appropriate and thoughtful. While I have never been in the partner’s situation, I know many people who have been, and they are frequently sad/hurt that everyone avoids the topic and does not inquire how their loved one is doing. Your follow up comment was completely on point too.

    • Actually, I think it was sweet and kind. And something that shows you have a heart. Not inappropriate at all.

    • karenpadi :

      If this is the first time you’ve brought it up, no. But don’t bring it up again.

      People deal with cancer differently. Some want to talk about it, some don’t. And some only want to talk about it with certain people (e.g., not co-workers). Some would be touched by your concern, some feel awkward.

      My personal rule of thumb is that if I know someone is suffering, I don’t bring it up. When I am grieving, one thing that gives me hope is that I’m still able to act normally. So I try to give others the same “normality”.

    • spacegeek :

      My daughter just finished 2.5 years of chemotherapy for leukemia… it was a terribly dark time for our family but we are IN THE CLEAR!! (Please excuse the shouting.)

      I am always happy when people ask me about my daughter–it comes from a sincere place, and I appreciate it because the cancer-normal life is so hard to bear.

      • YAY SPACEGEEK’S DAUGHTER!!!!!!! Congratulations, most heartfeltedly.

        I have been a cancer mom as well, but unfortunately I lost my daughter.

        You have been through h3ll and back, Spacegeek, and I completely understand your shouting from the rooftops.

        To the OP, while my daughter was alive and fighting cancer, I appreciated people being willing to talk about it with me. Don’t worry about your conversation with the partner.

      • Congrats and love, love, love to you and your daughter. My mom is having chemotherapy now (and for the past 4 years) so I know how hard it is. I am thrilled for you both.

    • I think its fine but don;t bring it up every time you see him. My VP’s husband went through horrific cancer treatment last year and I mentioned it to her one time. She ended up talking about it for a good 15 minutes, probably our longest conversation ever. I think she was happy to let it out.

  17. Congrats on making the top 100 blogs in the ABA Journal annual survey!

  18. Does anyone know of a standard system of labeling varying degrees of foreign language skills for purposes of listing on a resume? I used to be fluent in Spanish but haven’t spoken it in so long that I would no longer call myself that, but my skills are substantial enough that I’d like to mention them. Thoughts? Thanks!

    • Tired Squared :

      I speak several languages with varying degrees of fluency, and I’ve been told to differentiate between the three skills (reading, writing, and speaking) as well as general competence.

      So for example, I studied French for several years, have lived in France, and am confused for a native Frenchwoman when in France. So for that I’ve written “fluent in French.” There’s no reason to specify reading/writing/speaking because I’m fluent (and that implies all 3).

      For Spanish, on the other hand, which I can only only read and write (but cannot speak for the life of me), I’ve written “Proficient in Spanish reading/writing.”

      hope that helps!

    • Noveltyflyingdisc :

      Perhaps the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) scale?

    • I accidentally posted below but just in case you get notified on replies by e-mail, here it is again:

      There’s something called the Common European Framework of Reference which has guidelines and level on how to classify your language skills.

      I have never seen the actual levels (i.e. the letter/number combination) used in applications outside the EU bubble but the description is a good reference on how to describe the level of your skills.
      It does differentiate for writing, reading and speaking skills too.

  19. There’s something called the Common European Framework of Reference which has guidelines and level on how to classify your language skills. I have never seen the actual levels (i.e. the letter/number combination) used in applications outside the EU bubble but the description is a good reference on how to describe the level of your skills.

    It does differentiate for writing, reading and speaking skills too.

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