Wednesday’s TPS Report: Paige Jacket

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Elie Tahari Paige JacketAngie at YouLookFab just had a post about how navy is everywhere these days, but brown is so hard to find, which got me thinking about my own brown clothing through the years. This particular mink/light coffee color has always been my favorite, favorite shade of brown (and was the color of one of my favorite suits) because it looks great with both black and white, whereas most brown looks best with white. Along those lines, then, I like this shrunken stretch wool jacket, and think it would look lovely over simple black sheath dresses and more.  It was $398, but is now $139; lots of sizes left. Elie Tahari Paige Jacket

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]


  1. Legal question t/j

    I signed a mutual release to get out of a condo purchase that was going on too long. It was signed on December 11 and I do not have my funds yet. Properties and forms signed in Ontario, if that makes a difference. Emails and telephone calls to builder office and law office have been ignored. They’re both big businesses I do not expect them to disappear but what is a reasonable length if time to get back my (big to me) $50,000?

    • What time frame did the release/contract specify?

      • Nothing that I can tell, I will re-read it. Hubs thinks they are holding the funds so they can report to the bank we have XX$$ in deposits to signify enough interest to get the rest of the lending. But ignore communication ?? Not professional , rant over

    • I would send a certified demand letter, stating that (i) given their lack of response to your emails and TCs on dates ABC and (ii) given release execution date of X date, you expect your funds to be returned by Y date or you will take legal action. They’re not being professional, so visit in person or up the ante in writing, creating a record.

  2. Purplepear99 :

    Hi everyone. Early thread jack.

    I’ve recently taken on some new, much bigger responsibilities at work. I’m happy to be given the chance to prove myself but I am struggling with some “imposter syndrome.” Sometimes I feel like I’m underqualified and like I’m playing “grownup.” Any tips to keep faking it until I make it?

    On a related note, since I have so many new tasks, I’m very busy at work. In order to keep pushing through my work I need to stay focused. I’ve been experimenting with the pomodoro method but does anyone else have some tips? Thanks!

    • Not sure what type of work you do, but when I was in this spot (was given a brand new department to run with a handfull of midlevel staff who had been there forEVER in different roles), I did a few things:
      (1) keep my departmental goals front of mind. Make sure to ask “which goal does this tie to?” if I was spending a [email protected] of time on something.
      (2) schedule regular 1:1s with my new staff to make sure that a. they were busy and happy and b. that i was using them to their full potential
      (3) keep an appiontment for 30-60 minutes every day on my calendar with a list of all the things on my plate/ my team’s plate. I’d review it every morning over coffee and delete what’s been done, shoot emails around if I needed a status update on something, and block out time to do anything I owned but hadn’t gotten to yet. I add to this list every day and guard that time block very very carefully.

      If you’re in a client facing role, make sure to “dress the part.” Don’t go nuts, but make sure you look like a pulled together, professional adult. I can’t quite put my finger on it, and maybe it has to do with accessories, but often I’ll see women of the very same age in a meeting and one will look significantly more junior than the other.

      Make sure to spend a lot of time getting to know your new peers. You want them to see you as a peer and you want to make sure they are aware of your new role/ what you can do for them/ how you might need them to work with you moving forward.

      • Oh– another thing that makes people– women especially– look more senior is their ability to be articulate and contribute in meetings. So, if you don’t have anything to say, keep quiet. But do try to go into meetings–especially high profile ones– with one or two important points to make.

        When you have to present, practice, practice, practice. Everybody looks better when they can get through a presentation without “ums” “uhs” and whatever other language “tics” you may have (“you know?” “sort of…” “are you with me?” “so, ” are some of the things I hear poor presenters say 40+ times per presentation!). Also, know your facts. When you don’t know the answer, don’t try to fudge it. Say, “great question, I’m not sure but I look into it and get back to you.” And then do just that.

      • Love this advice!

    • CapHillAnon :

      Yes to all of Brant’s advice, plus watch Amy Cuddy’s Ted talk on power posing for a boost on fighting imposter syndrome. Well worth the 10 mins. Good luck!

      • Thanks for mentioning it. I am about to start a new job. I have been looking for 6 months doing temporary work in between. I have a strong academic background in my field but not enough litigation experience. One of the partners recognized me as a class mate… I am so nervous but at least I hope I can fake it for now until I catch up… (It feels a bit like Alicia from “the Good Wife”).


    • Also, reading some of the psychology behind it may help. You can start with this article but believe Psychology Today has covered a few times. Many, many people feel this way.

    • When I took on the role I have now, I was having to learn tons of new stuff at what felt like break-neck speed. I made it a point that if I wasn’t absolutely positive about my answer when I was asked questions, I would confidently say something like “I will do some research and get back to you on that.” I can’t tell you how much better this goes over with my manager as opposed to a wishy-washy half answer. It also gives me time to contact any other individuals who might be involved on said project and come back with full, complete results to my team. I’m in that situation less often now, but I felt like the first 6 months or so that was my standard response.

      Good luck!!

    • “Getting Things Done” great book for task management
      Search womenshealthmag dot com for an article I read about overcoming imposter syndrome one time at the salon

  3. Wow, that jacket is WAY too short! It looks so awkward even on the model. Not sure if it’s just the pants though. Maybe it looks fine over a dress.

    • KS IT Chick :

      I was thinking that there is something off about the button placement, too. It is cupping under her bustline in an an awkward way that would make me uncomfortable.

    • It just looks like it doesn’t fit her well — which makes me think it won’t fit me well. Agree that it’s a versatile color though.

    • River City :

      I agree. The model is tall and the suit is not cut for a taller/longer figure. The story of my life. The sleeves are too short, button too high, and jacket too short. Somthing about pants seems off, but the real fit issue is in the full lenght pic…they’re way too short.

    • The sleeves are badly sewn – they really don’t look polished. The button is too high. The color is drab, and the pants look baggy in a bad way. Everything looks slightly rumpled, like one slept in it.

    • The jacket is definitely too short on her and looks horrible with the pants. I do have a few cropped jackets that look great with dresses but not as suits.

      Although brown is a neutral, I seem to never wear my brown suit.

  4. I used to have so much brown! But when I tried on things in my closet last week, the few things I have don’t fit yet… Now I just have one dress and cardigan. Oh well. Agree that the short jacket and pants look awkward.

    We’re off again today. The heater in my house is on its highest setting and still inadequate. I guess I’ll be under a blanket all day!

    • Ok, when I turned on the space heater in the kitchen, it said 45 degrees. Yikes! Brought the heater upstairs. Downstairs is just too cold!

      • Look out for freezing pipes – if it’s 45 degrees in the middle of your kitchen it’s probably colder on the perimeter. If there is no way to turn up the heat you can have the faucet drip to avoid having the standing water freeze.

        • Oh yeah, that’s a regular thing here. I actually have a pipe that runs on the outside of the house up to my bathroom. It has frozen in the past.

        • Leaving the doors open in rooms/cabinets that have pipes also helps.

    • Can you bake some bread? Or chili or something? I tend to work in the kitchen while something is cooking just to warm myself up a bit.

      • I wish! In fact, I was thinking this would have been perfect timing to do something slow roasted like pulled pork or BBQ beef that takes hours in the oven. And that’s even what I was going to make for the Super Bowl. But I have nothing in the house to cook and can’t get to the grocery at this point. I tried to bake cookies one day when it was like this and the butter wouldn’t soften!

    • Oof – that sucks.

      Can you close doors/vents to rooms you aren’t using, to force the heat to where you are (assuming forced air heating).

      Run a tub of hot water in the bathroom. Put a pot of water on the stove to boil.

      Light some (well attended) candles.

      Bake stuff (as mentioned above).

      Close curtains or put up blankets on the windows to cut down on drafts. Block the underside of doors with towels to rooms you aren’t using or outside doors.

      Do laundry and run the dryer (and vent inside).

      Block outlets (electrical, phone) if they are drafty.

      • I don’t have central heat. Just a gas wall heater in my diningroom (center of the house downstairs). The heat rises pretty well upstairs but doesn’t make it back to the kitchen (behind the diningroom). I can close off the livingroom but I may go down there and get on the treadmill. I just can’t lay around in my pajamas another day! I might put a pot of water with some spices on the stove. Oh, and I should close the curtains in my bedroom. Hadn’t thought of that. My laundry room is outside (very common here).

        • Actually, the heating thing could still apply – shut off rooms you aren’t going to use (close the door, hand a blanket, whatever) to prompt the warm air to go a certain place.

          Generally, a ground floor room will be warmer than an upper room if the upper room has an unheated room underneath.

          Otherwise, double up on the socks (bonus for bigger wool socks over thinner socks) and layer the sweaters.

  5. Ladies- I need help coping. I am on track to bill a lot this month (around 230 hours, which for me is a lot), the weather has been brutal (well, that’s pretty much everywhere), I feel like I am constantly disappointing people/cancelling/can never get ahead, buying all my meals (thus spending $$), because I don’t have time to cook or shop, haven’t gone out in weeks except the odd little thing here and there.

    I realized that a big part of why I’m getting so frustrated, on top of what I just mentioned, is that in my job, I’m always trying to fix problems. I do research and often come up with law that isn’t helpful for us, and it’s like the lawyers I work with somehow blame me for the law being against us. No one has ever said I’m wrong, and I know they believe me, but it’s getting utterly exhausting to get the “nothing helpful? can you look again? (no, I looked all last week!)” or “I know you found these two good points, but what about this?” even though I’ve specifically given a detailed analysis of why it doesn’t help or apply to us. Because of this, people don’t really give praise because who says “thanks for finding out that our case is screwed!”? I’m also having to manage a file on my own and I feel like I’m getting 20 different people emailing to find issues (nothing I did wrong, but what about this? i just found this problem out- what should we do?) and I’m just so tired of this. I need help to cope. I need something- I need a hug? I need someone to tell me I’m doing a great job! I got some praise last week, but a lot of the people I work with don’t really believe in ‘praise’ so I’ve been told- i.e., you will get told when you mess up, never if you do well. It’s really hard to be putting in all of this effort and hours with little motivation to keep trying.

    • Would it help if you gave the more senior people on your cases a summary of your research when you haven’t turned up anything useful? If they say “can you look again” you can say “well, here are the searches I ran in WestLaw. Those searches turned up these cases. Etc. I’m happy to continue looking, but I was wondering if you had any suggestions for other searches to run because I feel like I’ve covered the waterfront.” Because honestly they can only go to their clients and say “sorry, you’re screwed” if there’s really, really, really nothing at all out there to help. If they can’t come up with anything, then they’ll feel more comfortable knowing that someone has really looked under every rock. This isn’t law school or a clerkship where you’re looking for the “right” or “best” answer. You’re looking for anything at all that can support your client’s argument in court. If you can’t find something to support argument A, can you suggest another argument that would get at least some of the same results? (e.g., “I’m not sure Mr. Jones/ABC Corp. has a very good cause of action for A because [results of research]. However, have we considered arguing that [cause of action for B]? I found a few cases in [our district/another jurisdiction] that suggest…) It’s true that sometimes the answer really is “no, we just can’t make a case for that” but that really should be the exception. Maybe your bosses are terrible lawyers and are taking loser cases, but generally if they accept a case it probably means they feel it has some chance.

      As for praise, if it’s not a praisey place, it’s not a praisey place. That means maybe it’s not the best fit for you. (Which is fine!) Alternatively, maybe you need to set your own goals and rewards. Did your last brief come back from the partner with fewer red pen marks than the one before it? Booyah! Gold star for you! (And even make yourself a little chart if it helps. Five “points” and you get — a pedicure? a new download from iTunes? chocolate cake?)

      Was the 230 hours month a fluke or is that what you typically bill? Because one month of 230 hours isn’t a huge deal, but if that’s what you do month in and month out, that puts you on pace for about 2700, which really is a lot. Are other people your level doing about 2700 a year? If so, then again, maybe it’s a bad fit. But if other people are hitting more like 2000 or 1800, then maybe you can see about shifting some of your workload.

      • Well, that’s what I am doing when I find these other 2 points that are helpful- that’s my initiative in finding something else that IS helpful for us that you didn’t ask me to look into. And yes, my memos do have a summary of my research, I don’t just turn up and say I didn’t find anything- I say why this won’t apply, or why this will, and what I found, etc. I know enough not to do that.

        Also, I work in a very narrow area of law, there isn’t much going to other jurisdictions (I am trying not to give myself away here) to find a novel argument. We are trying to argue X is Y, even though the court has determined over, and over, that X is not Y. That’s how blatant the issue is.

        Also, it’s not uncommon in my field to have cases that are stacked against us, really we are just trying to do our best to preserve our client’s interests. It’s not that we choose loser cases- it’s the nature of our industry.

        Also, I don’t work in NYC biglaw, the targets are 1700-1800. Bonuses not really dependent on being over target. I’ve consistently billed around 200 a month for awhile now, so I am way over target, and one of the highest billers here. I think it’s an unreasonable expectation for me to work and work and here NO commentary back, with zero guidance. How am I supposed to know if I did something correctly?

        • Are you billing that much because you’re in trial prep or have big deadlines coming up? I think every attorneys has 1 or 2 years where they billed much bigger numbers than usual just because they were busier than usual with trials/briefing/etc.

          If you’re one of the highest billers, then you can presumably start pushing back on any new assignments outside of your existing cases. That way at least you won’t have any new work to manage.

          When things calm down, schedule one on one meetings with the partners that you’re working for and ask for feedback. Say that you want to make sure that you are progressing as necessary (or that you’re interested in a promotion, raise, etc) and that you’re interested in any feedback or constructive criticism necessary to achieve your goal.

          • +1 on all of this. If it’s the nature of the practice that the law is usually stacked against you, then I can see how that would be really exhausting over time. How do other attorneys in this field deal with the burnout? Are there other attorneys at your level you’re friendly with? Do they get the same push-back from partners on their research? If not, are they doing anything differently from you? And if you’re billing that much when targets are so much lower, can you at least push back on all new work? It’s kind of insane for you to be working so much more than other people.

          • Agreed fully- I need to do that. Reviews happen in February and I was thinking I just need to hold on until then because that seems like an appropriate time. But it’s driving me nuts that most people get reviews in December/early January and of COURSE I’m at the one firm that I have to sit and wait the longest time possible. I just can’t cope with uncertainty anymore.

            I just got off the phone with a partner and she seemed happy with me. We talked about some logistics things and questions she needed to make a judgment call on. But sigh…who knows if she’s just trying to cope but secretly wishes I would do a better job doing X.

          • Ok, no offense but you’re going to deive yourself crazy second guessing other people. If she seemed pleased with you, great! The end. If she was not pleased, it’s her responsibility to convey that in a clear and constructive manner.

          • Preg31- no offense at all taken! I get that. But sometimes people don’t assume their responsibilities to convey their issues with others, and I would still get blamed if I screw up.

        • It sounds like no news is good news so if you don’t get any grief then you did it correctly. I have a manager like that – I work for the owner of a small company. I have a 2 staff who report to me. So basically I get complaints flowing up to me and down to me and no one says anything nice. It’s been a really good lesson in not caring what other people think about me, which is something I need to do more of. I do a lot of self-examination and I think I’m doing a pretty good job of evaluating where I should and shouldn’t improve and I have been working hard at focusing on those areas. Try to make time to see some friends and get some perspective (and wine).

          But if you want feedback then ask – “Do you have any ideas on what else I can do to help you with what you need?” or “I think I’ve tried everything – any suggestions?” If you pose it as you’re both on the same side (which you are) then I find that helps. Good luck.

        • JJ- no we are just really busy at the moment. I get if trial is coming up times will be insane, but this is just an issue of too much work, not enough people. I’ve been pulled into files last minute and asked to do a lot of things that i think are frankly above my level. Normally I would assume that’s a good sign, but we are so busy, I wonder if it’s just that it needs to get done and I’m one of the few people with time to do it.

          TBK- I have pushed back a bit. Some people I do research for don’t push me like that, but some don’t (mainly senior associates who push me actually, probably because they are desperate for something helpful). I don’t get many research tasks flowing through partners but the ones I have they have seem pleased. Funny enough, the research questions partners give me usually have a better argument for us!

          I think at the end of the day, I don’t have confidence to know that I’m doing a good job by self-evaluation. At least in school there are grades. And I’m very, very single at the moment (no prospects on the horizon) so and haven’t had a date in awhile so I just feel very alone, which doesn’t help.

          • Here’s something that happened in October that really upset me- I drafted a motion we were possibly going to have to file. Very difficult argument on our side. Lots of novel arguments at play, but we had a decent shot. We didn’t end up having to file the motion (it got decided by another means, hard to explain), but some of what I did applied to ANOTHER motion someone else on the file wrote. He blatantly took my research and some of my exact wording from my motion, didn’t tell me good research, I used this, etc., pretended like it didn’t happen.

            Nevermind the taking my work, but I frankly would have been fine with “used some of what you wrote, it was very helpful”. I never received credit from the partner for all of that because the motion was never filed, and I don’t know how much the midlevel told the partner I researched.

          • Other associates can be tricky. You just have to make sure you’re doing enough self-promoting. For example, if you happen to see the partner on the case where the midlevel used your work, say to the partner “hey, I hear you just filed [motion] in the [name] case. I’m so glad the research I’d done for [other case] was helpful to you guys. I hear [midlevel] used quite a bit of it. If you think any other part of [unfiled motion] might be helpful, let me know. I’d be happy to pass along my research.” And if you see the partner for your own case, you could say “I hear [midlevel] was able to use quite a bit the work I did on [motion that wasn’t filed]. So glad to hear that was useful to their team, even if we never filed our own motion.”

          • AnonInfinity :

            I totally understand why you’re frustrated, Tired. I agree with the above advice and will have to try to remember to follow it myself sometimes. I can especially relate to the pieces you write about not getting feedback.

            I’m not at all trying to downplay your feelings on the motion; this is a sincere question. We do this type of thing at my firm all the time because it is efficient and we’re all in as a team. Is that not the way it’s done in most firms?

          • OK, no offense, but that sounds kind of petty on your end. Your work isn’t really “your” work – it’s firm work, and people can use it without giving you the commensurate credit (I mean they should give you the credit, but you can’t expect them to).

            It seems like you’re overly wrapped up in needing/wanting positive feedback and you’re not getting it in the way that you want, which is really frustrating for you. From what I can tell, people use your research and your exact wording on motions, people give you additional work, no one tells you you’re doing a bad job, and sometimes people even tell you you’re doing a good job – but none of these things seem to register to you as sufficient positive feedback. It’s nice to be patted on the back and be told you’re doing excellent work, but that is not the reality of your job, and you need to adjust your expectations. Partners at law firms are not known for their sensitivity, so if you’re not getting yelled at all the time, I would assume you’re doing OK. Stop second guessing what people tell you. If they have a problem with your work it is their job to tell you, not your job to read their minds.

            It sounds like you have a lot of insecurity issues that are probably being compounded by the fact that you’re completely burned out. If the target is 1700-1800 hrs, and that is what the average associate bills, then why are you billing 200 hrs a month? You need to keep yourself in check because a law firm is not going to tell you to bill fewer hours.

          • How long have you been practicing? If you’re being given things that you think are above your level, take it as a vote of confidence. No partner is going to risk malpractice or losing a client with bad work if they can do anything about it.

            The October situation that you describe doesn’t seem that out of the ordinary to me. Honestly, I’d be shocked if relevant briefing in an unfiled motion *wasn’t* used in a later motion. In a perfect world, the older associate/partner will thank whoever previously drafted that section, but sometimes it doesn’t happen. And, it’s a good sign that the associate used your section verbatim. Trust me, good writing and good research will get recognized and remembered. If you keep producing good work, people will notice.

          • Well, I’m actually glad to hear the motion wasn’t out of the ordinary so I know that I didn’t without realizing it get sort of shafted or something. I didn’t worry at the time, but as I have been worried about getting feedback lately it started to concern me.

          • Sr. Associate :

            Please don’t take the use of your motion/research as someone stealing your credit. Firms own your work and this is exactly why we use Doc Management Systems — so we all can access everyone’s work. You can’t expect a thank you or even an acknowledgment every time something you did gets used by someone else. That’s just not realistic given how busy many of us are. Take comfort in the fact that that associate thought your prior work was good enough to rely on your work this time. They keep coming back to you with more work – I don’t do that unless I think your work is good.

        • I know there is a lot of great feedback and advice here but I just wanted to put my two cents in:
          – I think sometimes the nature of the beast (as Ellen says) is that if you’re not getting any feedback, it’s because you’re doing things right. Which is backwards, especially when you’re used to grades or reviews but it sounds like you’re doing things right generally and people would probably tell you if you weren’t.
          -I think you need a break. I know you’re probably thinking well duh but I don’t have time to take one. But I find taking a full weekend day off or going to bed really early on a weekday helps refresh you enough to keep going. Just go to bed a few hours early – the work will still be there but you will be better placed to deal with it and probably more productive!

          Good luck!

    • Hug’s to you! This, like my dad say’s, is the “nature of the beast” (whatever that mean’s)–if you are a beast, then how natural is it I say! Your billing alot of hours, like ME, and I have the same probelem — all I do all day is fix thing’s legal for my cleint’s. They usueally have a worker who is trying to get away with something, but they are NOT alway’s 100% kosher theemselve’s, so it is my job to smooth over the crappey things they are DOEING with their worker, and make the judge say that the worker is dogging it and reduce or elimineate their worker’s benefit’s.

      Sometimes I feel for the worker b/c they are out of work sick, but most of the time they do NOT want to work and just want to get benefit’s. I even have invesitgatiors tail them and take picture’s. Last week, we caught a guy shoveleing snow who said he could not moove his back! I can’t wait to take this guy into court to show the judge! YAY!

      But as for the OP, you will learn how to be more effective over time. RAWRR! as the hive says. YAY Hive!

      Finaly, I want to commend Cat’s choice today. I totaly LOVE Tahari, and would love to wear brown with a skirt, tho, b/c pant suits are VERBOOTEN here by order of the manageing partner. If I had leg’s like Madeline, mabye he’d let me wear slack’s, but it’s strictely skirts and dresse’s for me (at least I guess until I get porky). FOOEY!

    • I totally understand where you are coming from. But have you thought at all about suggesting strategies outside of the cite-these-cases-for-support mold? It’s really hard to give advice without knowing your field, but I’m thinking something like “well, in these cases client settled, but in X circumstance there was a much smaller settlement.” Or if it’s a government agency challenging the client, perhaps research successful negotiation tactics?

    • Olivia Pope :

      *internet hug*

      Sanity advice: Go to bed super early one night. Recently, I was in the middle of a never ending project with lots of law that was not helping my case, etc. On Friday night, I went to bed early. I was asleep by 8:30pm. I woke up around 8:30 am and I felt amazing. I still had the same project and I worked on it after I woke up, but I felt so much better. And I still feel better!

      Research advice: When there is no case law to support your side, detail how much you searched for it. (“There are no reported or unreported state or federal cases in State X on the interaction between Statute and Fact Pattern.” and even “Courts in this State have applied the Restatement Second of Whatever in other issues. For this particular issue, the Restatement rule is blah blah blah.”) If the law is mostly against my client’s perspective, I will ALWAYS try to find an out or counter-argument, even when it’s a weak one. (“We want X, but the law says Y. Courts allow exceptions when Z.”) Even if I don’t think Z completely applies, I will still describe it in the off chance that there are facts I don’t know about the client or situation.

      Relational advice: People often reveal who they are. If your colleagues have revealed that they don’t praise much, then they won’t praise much.

      Also, recognize that they may be praising you, even if it’s not in the way that you prefer. For example, I consider it praise whenever someone let’s me handle something without looking over my shoulder. That says “I believe you are smart, reliable, hardworking, and exercise good professional judgment,” even though all they actually say is “Plaintiff filed a response to our motion. Take a look at it and file our reply.” Likewise, there is a partner who likes to review my work. He writes down the amount of time he spent reviewing on it. When I get it back and it says “.1 Give to [paralegal] to file,” I read it as “Excellent work. I am willing to show this to the client and the court with my name on it because you are so good at writing.”

      Okay, I need to get to work. Feel better!

    • new york associate :

      You’ve gotten so much good advice, but it sounds to me like on some level, you are just fundamentally burned out. When you get to that point, no amount of advice is going to help because you are just DONE. If that’s the case, then I highly recommend that you start looking for another job. It sounds like you are well-regarded at your current firm – which means that it’s the perfect time to move to a new place, before the burnout takes over and you start doing indifferent work. (Believe me, you cannot sustain the kind of work you’re doing from a place of total burnout. Just doesn’t work.) Even talking to a recruiter or scheduling some networking lunches would help. Give yourself something to work towards! If you really, really can’t make a move, then you need to set up a long vacation – a time when you can really get away.

      Good luck. Your job sounds really hard right now and I completely empathize.

  6. Whoah. That sounds really tough and …oppressive, like you’re hemmed in from all directions.

    I’m sorry things are so unrelenting and it feels like there are constantly problems to solve. I bet you are doing a great job, which is why you’re being given more work. Others in BigLaw have commented on this before, but I believe it’s time for you to take a vacation where your cellphone won’t work. :-)

  7. Gail the Goldfish :

    How’s everyone in the South doing with the snow? My mom keeps texting me pictures from my hometown in Georgia with the snow, which looks like a lot for an area that never gets any snow (and I hear Atlanta highways are still basically gridlocked).

    • We didn’t get snow – just freezing rain and sleet. People were making sleetmen. Ha ha. There was snow on the northshore and in BR. But since so many of our roadways are raised or have bridges, we’re completely shut down. People spun out in the ice on both the Causeway and the twin spans yesterday so the state police shut them down. I-10 was closed by the evening. Given that all of the bridges (including the Spillway) were closed, you couldn’t really have gotten far anyway. I haven’t ventured out. Just trying to stay warm.

    • Coastal GA- basically a non-event, we got less precipitation and slightly warmer temperatures than expected. Schools and most businesses were preemptively shut so its really quiet. Further inland got snow and Atlanta is about the biggest mess anyone has ever seen.

    • We got hit pretty hard in Tennessee – I left work early (late morning – no one was expecting more than flurries when I left the house) yesterday and wound up barely making it home. Apparently, a rear-wheel drive sports car with an empty trunk is not the best thing for snow driving. Anyway, I lost traction several times but made it to literally 2 houses away from mine on my street before getting stuck and unable to stay straight on something that, up ’till yesterday, I wouldn’t have even considered a hill. (Had to call my husband to walk out and get me, baby in tow!) A lot of my friends wound up stuck in their cars for hours in various places, so I guess I got off lucky.

      Staying in today – my street is still covered in snow, though I’ve seen a few people drive by. Working now, but after baby’s nap and lunch, we’re planning to try to take him out to play in it. It sure is pretty!

      Hope everyone else is staying safe.

    • I have a walking commute, but it’s been very bad here. My sister-in-law hasn’t been able to get home from work (fortunately, she’s stranded in a building, not in her car). And if I see one more northerner chime in with a “OMG WHY CAN’T SOUTHERNERS DRIVE IN SNOW?!!!!” I’ll lose it. Because it doesn’t snow here very often, okay?

      • Right – and unlike northern cities, we don’t have stockpiles of salt for the roads.

        • I lived in Seattle for four years, and there was a summer when it topped 100 degrees for four or five days straight. It was miserable – people don’t have air conditioning – and there were people who died from the heat. And nobody from the south was all, OMG WHY DON’T YOU PEOPLE HAVE AIR CONDITIONING LOL?

        • And if you did, you’d get, “Why do southern cities waste so much money on plows and salt that they hardly ever need?”

          I moved to DC from Michigan, and grew up in Chicago. At first when I moved here, I didn’t get what seemed to be the panicked reaction to relatively little snow, but now I get it. The terrain is different, there are microclimates that can have extremely different weather (snow vs. ice vs. rain within ~ 20 miles), and yeah, a lot of people come here from places that don’t get any snow, ever, so lots of people don’t know how to drive in the snow. Or don’t know when they should just stay put.

          So yeah, I don’t mock the South for the lack of snow preparedness anymore.

      • Coach Laura :

        Cbackson, you were the first person that I thought about when I read about the snow. Glad you’re ok.

        Seattle is the same way – we don’t get snow a lot. In 1990 I was 5 months pregnant with my daughter, left work at 2:00p.m. in suburbia for a 4 mile drive home. We got 18 inches of snow in a few hours with lightning and thunder. I knew the snow was coming and had packed blankets, snacks, boots and a full tank of gas. Got home at 9:45p.m. after virtually every other car got stuck and/or ran out of gas. This was pre-cell phones so my husband and parents were apoplectic. I was fine other than having to hide behind bushes to relieve myself.

        When I got home I wondered why I just hadn’t walked to a friend’s house instead of staying with my car.

        • My first winter in Seattle (2008-2009), it snowed a massive amount – I was living on Bainbridge Island and something like 13 inches fell in 36 hours. The only thing that made it better than it is in Atlanta, frankly, was that we had better public transit, so I could still get to work. I was walking to the ferry terminal when a little Kitsap Transit bus came trundling along with chains on the tires and picked me up. But unless you were a transit commuter, that was an awful storm – remember how everyone blamed it for Greg Nickels’ election loss?

          People always think that it snows a lot in Seattle, until you point out the fact that it’s right on the water. Although two of my three winters there were super-snowy…

          (I’m actually flying to Seattle tomorrow to ski, ironically!)

          • I hope you’re not going to Snoqualmie for skiing! I was there last weekend and conditions were awful. I think the mountains are getting snow today though, so it might be better.

          • I am going to Snoqualmie, but for nordic, not downhill (so we can get buy with less accumulation)- I can’t believe it only just opened!

          • It’ll probably be ok for Nordic. We’ve had a pretty nice winter for Seattle (lots of sun, not too many cold days), but it has meant that the mountains are pretty bare. There were rocks and small trees still poking out of the slopes, and a couple of bare patches on some of the green runs. After the past couple winters where skiing went til July in some places, this is a big change.

      • I was living in Atlanta during the 2011 mess. This is a good explanation of why SnowJam 2104 was the “perfect storm”
        Plus, there really isn’t a need to keep a winter emergency kit in your car like you might do in points north. I generally keep supplies in my car to jump a battery or even snag a lost dog, but nothing for car camping in the cold.

        • Yeah, it’s absolutely true. I did seem some stupid driving when I was out walking around last night, but mostly what I saw was a solid inch of ice at intersections. And very light traffic, at least on surface streets – people were trying to stay off the road. I can see Peachtree Street from my window, and it’s completely empty.

          The only saving grace is that people are extremely, extremely kind to one another in this kind of situation – there were literally people who lived near highway exits heading out on foot with backpacks of food/water/cellphone chargers/blankets/formula/etc. to help stranded people. Given that there were lots of people who were stuck and miserable, but not in a life-threatening situation (and thus were rightly not a priority for EMS), this was really helpful.

        • Seeing what was going on in Atlanta and how treacherous my normally very sedate drive was yesterday definitely scared me – I had nothing but a coat, I didn’t even bother with a scarf or hat yesterday (I park in a garage and they’re just more trouble than they’re worth most mornings), and I’ve never bothered to get a cell phone charger for the car, since I usually don’t need one. If I’d been stuck, I would have had nothing. I’m really going to have to pack a just in case kit.

          cbackson, that’s really cool that people were going out to help.

      • Don’t worry — most of the Northerners I’ve encountered these past few weeks can’t drive in snow either :/

        • FWIW, NYC proper doesn’t get much snow being on an island. I grew up in the boroughs and never learned to really drive in snow until I moved to the New England area!

    • AttiredAttorney :

      Atlanta, as everyone has already seen, is still a mess. With temps still below freezing, major road arteries are now skating rinks. Everything is closed, motorists are still stuck from yesterday’s commute, and it looks like it will be that way for one more day.

    • I’m in Tennessee and we didn’t get any snow but it was 5 degrees out when I walked to work this morning. Crazy! I hope everyone affected by the snow has a safe and warm place to go.

    • About an hour south of Atlanta here, and we got some snow. Most of the area schools closed all day yesterday/today, so that helped, although we’re not large enough to have major traffic issues. DH and I work at area colleges, so we’re home relaxing for our snow day too. I feel really bad for the Atlanta folk, and similarly get upset when people blame it all on some overreaction or not being able to drive in snow. It ices over fast, and any precautions are met with people up in arms over cancellations. There’s very little way to win in these scenarios.

  8. I Hate Hate Hate Performance Reviews :

    Getting ready to do 4 (!) reviews today, one of which is sure to be contentious. Is it wrong to want a glass of wine at 10 am?

    • Not at all. that’s why God invented mimosas. ;o)

      Good luck!

    • Performance Reviews :

      Good luck! One of my friends had to lay an employee off yesterday due to budget cuts. I felt terrible for them both.

  9. Ru paging TMJ/TMD :

    So, I have approximately 5 different kinds of headaches simultaneously and they all cause me to grind my teeth ALL THE TIME. It’s a massive pain (no pun intended). My family says it sounds like I’m grinding rocks in my sleep. I can feel my jaw unhinging when I open and close my mouth all the way. I pulled out some wisdom teeth hoping it would help (not sure if it did). I wear the night guard religiously/randomly and I remember the morning after the first time I wore it, I punched really deep holes in the mold. Nice.

    Nsaids and muscle relaxers didn’t really help and I wasn’t really interested in taking them long term. What did help were trigger point massages that I learned from this book Wash your hands with soap and water. Put your right thumb in your mouth, grabbing your left cheek. Gently squeeze until you find a thick band of muscle. It will feel like a supremely firm rubber band right in front of the bone. Squeeze each knot of muscle in 30-60 sec increments. This will hurt. But with persistence, you’ll eventually loosen all of the knotted muscle. Repeat with left thumb for right cheek.

    Right now, I am also getting trigger point injections in my jaw muscles. They help alleviate the terrible tight feeling. But again, nothing is really a long term solution. I also had braces as a child and I’m interviewing various orthodontists to realign my bite. I’m hoping that braces will help. Depending on how badly I grind through the invisalign trays, the orthodontist will prepare special retainers for me. But I’m on the lookout for a really good TMJ/TMD specialist.

    I really like that my oral surgeon said I have overdeveloped jaw muscles. Makes me feel super buff.

    • Ru paging TMJ/TMD :

      Oh and I did get acupuncture done. The needles sliding into the jaw area HURT because my muscles were so stiff (I have a high pain threshold and needles don’t bother me at all). It didn’t make my pain worse or better but I was dealing with a whole host of headache issues. I don’t think there’s any harm in trying.

    • What is trigger point injections? Is this like trigger point needling (which I have had in other places, but not my jaw)?

      • Ru paging TMJ/TMD :

        Yes, same concept except they inject lidocaine mixed with herbs. The important part is the needle stimulating the muscle to relax, not the actual injection. I’ve had orthopedists, neurologists and a nurse practitioner administer them. It’s interesting because they each have different technique and it all works.

    • oddly, the best thing that I have done for my TMJ has been going to my chiropractor. I went for a different issue, and they actually noticed I had TMJ issues as well. I don’t know if it is a long term solution, but I am no longer punching holes in my very expensive night guards, so I call it a win.

      • Ru paging TMJ/TMD :

        Oh, my chiropractor was the very first person to ask me about my jaw. I didn’t even know I had TMJ/TMD issues. He presses on the jaw (I can’t explain it except that it’s super painful but feels much better afterwards). He’s great. Love my chiropractor.

    • Corporate Cowgirl :

      Not sure what type of night guard you use, but the night guard my dentist gave me is a small one that I wear on the front teeth only. It works great, mostly becasue my front teeth are not strong enough to bite through it, or to let me continue to grind my teeth. This has helped me tremendously!

  10. SV in House :

    Attention Middlemarch fans: I just caught up on yesterday’s post and saw a lot of you say you love Middlemarch. I heard an NPR review of “My Life in Middlemarch” by Rebecca Mead. Sounds like it might appeal to many of you.

    • Excellent! I’ll check this out. Always looking to add to my list of things to read.

    • Eliot Fan :

      I heard that review as well–sounded fascinating. Mid-Victorian literature is strewn with incredible women languishing in unhappy marriages . . .

  11. TJ- Yesterday someone said they used a recruiting firm that specialized in in-house jobs in the bay area… could you share which firm you used or info on looking up such info?

  12. I may have the opportunity to spend a day in Tahoe. I’d like to ski, but I heard that the snow is not good right now. Can anyone confirm this? Also, if I can’t ski, does anyone have any other tips for things to do in tahoe?

    • Friends just got back and said snow is about 15% of normal! resorts are making snow but pack is under 2 feet. Not a great year so far for skiing in Tahoe but it’s gorgeous up there regardless. You could always hike/ice skate, etc. more like fall than winter.

    • They are calling for two feet of powder by the end of the week.

      • Dust on rocks isn’t good for skiing either, but hopefully it will turn into a good base later….I was in Tahoe for New Year’s and my friends urged me not to ski…so I went horseback riding instead. When I flew over on my way out…lots of brown mountains. Really sad–the communities up there are hurting, big time.

      • We are receiving drizzle and showers today, so this weekend should have some actual snow for a better trip. (Hopefully!)

    • My family skis in Tahoe every year, but not this year. Conditions are terrible. While many places on the East Coast can get away with less than two feet of snowpack, it doesn’t work as well in the rocky West.

    • Anon from Chicago :

      I was there a few weeks ago and conditions were terrible. we only wound up skiing one day they were so bad. my family lives out there and have gone a few more times, but its still pretty bad.

  13. I sit near a director who takes several meetings a day. Oftentimes she’s not in her office when her meeting starts, requiring her attendee to wait by her door. I’m two cubes away – the first is empty. Sometimes, rather than waiting by her door or near the empty cube, her guests come to my desk to chat, while they wait. And – it is really getting on my nerves. I have stuff to do! They’re all people I’m friendly with, but I don’t appreciate having to entertain them while they wait. I don’t blame the director – I just wish that rather than assuming I’ll keep company them until she returns, they at least ask if I’m busy. I usually am!
    I know this makes me sound like an ogre. It’s just annoying, but I’m trying to figure out if it’s legitimately annoying, or if I’m being really overreactive. I’d love your feedback!

    • Can you put a photo book on the other cube desk? Like something you’d see at a reception desk? Or just head to the bathroom when someone sits down – then they’re by themselves and might be less likely to bother you when you return? (I find this so frustrating though — i understand!!)

    • hoola hoopa :

      “I’m sorry, but I’m in the middle of something. Can we chat later? There’s a chair in the empty cube next to her office if you’d like a place to sit.”

    • Why not just direct them explicitly to the empty cube? “Oh, so nice to see you! Director’s on her way back from another meeting, so you can just wait right in here for her. Shouldn’t be long.”

    • Hi Mark! Nice to see you- sorry I can’t chat because Im on deadline, but we should catch up soon

    • I used to keep industry magazines (the type everyone thows away) on the filing cabinet next my cube, so people waiting for my boss could browse through them and not need to chat to me. It worked well.

  14. I should add that one of these guys stands at my desk, and then after asking me a question, will start scrolling through his blackberry. He’s apologized a couple of times for doing it – when it’s egregiously long that he’s reading through something – but it doesn’t help make me feel any more welcoming.

    • I’m right next to the boss so people stop by my office to chat when he’s not around. It does get irritating if I’m trying to get something done.

      A couple things that have worked for me:

      Wear headphones and don’t acknowledge them.
      Nicely say that you’d love to chat but have a deadline.

    • Wear headphones, even if you aren’t listening to anything (just make sure they are plugged in!). Preferably conspicuous ones. Don’t make eye contact. People will think you are in the zone and only the very rudest will interrupt you.

      • I can’t tell you how much these help – thank you for your most excellent suggestions! They’re all nice and subtle, too. Much appreciated, lovely ladies!

      • My advice – check first prior to wearing headphones. My office forbids employees in cubes/secretarial desks to wear them because they think it looks unwelcoming to visitors and makes answering the phones awkward or delayed. My assistant is stuck sitting in one of those high traffic areas where people just start chatting with her while waiting for other people to return their offices. I gave her the advice to greet them but politely return to her task, let the person know she doesn’t keep X’s calendar and direct them to the person who does (they frequently start with “Do you know where X is?”), get up and grab papers from the printer or get some water or make a pretend phone call to me. I also suggested that she look at it as an opportunity in some cases – if our COO is waiting for our CIO to get back and he wants to chat with her, she should take the opportunity to chat with him and get to know him better.

  15. hoola hoopa :

    I’m so glad that I’m not the only one who has noticed the disappearance of brown! I’ve been having luck with Pendleton and American Apparel.

  16. I want to get a small non-shedding dog. For reference, I own a small home with a decent sized backyard for the dog. We’ll have a doggie door for times when I’m at work at school.

    DH is not a dog person, but has agreed on the terms that it be small, non-shedding, not get on our bed, or go in his office. I can work with these requests; but I would love input on a breed to look for. I’d like to get a younger dog from a shelter/pound/rescue, so it will most likely not be purebred.

    What breeds should I be looking for? I would prefer something pretty low maintenance with regard to grooming and major health problems, and that’s good with young kids.

    • Wildkitten :

      pit bull. (totally serious).

      • I wouldn’t call a pit bull a small dog.

        • Killer Kitten Heels :

          A true pit (not cross-bred with anything else, which is admittedly rare to find in a shelter) can be as small as 30/35 lbs., which would qualify as “small” for some people. (Personally I’d call it medium-sized, but considering there are dog breeds that can weigh 80/90/100 lbs., 30 might reasonably be called “small” by some.)

          • Wildkitten :

            Ah, I was thinking 30 lbs was small. If that’s too big – carry on.

      • Very surprised at this suggestion. Pit bulls can be suitable dogs in some circumstances but I had always understood thatit was best to have experienced dog owners (OP cites husband is not a dog person) and avoid small children (who are more likey to be seriously injured if there is an issue vs. a larger adult)

      • Anne Shirley :

        I have never seen a pitbull that could reasonably be described as small. If I told my partner I was ok with a small dog and they suggested a pitbull, I’d think they were just ignoring my wishes.

      • Anonymous :

        Love pits. Not small dog however, definately a medium dog (if not large) Small dog is corgi size and under

        • True story – I have a corgi and he weighs 37 lbs, and many apartments and hotels have a 25-lb cut off for dogs. But as long as I say “he’s a small dog. He’s a corgi,” he’s always allowed. Big dog, small legs!

        • Corgwyn are great for apartments. We have one in our studio — he’s the normal weight (usually 25-30lb) and short.

          But uh, non-shedding? They never. stop. shedding. 24/7. Shedding. I’ve gotten him de-shedding treatment and he sheds the next day. Don’t get a corgi if you can’t deal with the FUR. EVERYWHERE.

      • Pitties are awesome, but they are NOT a small dog. When I think small, I think under 20lbs (or maybe 30lbs but a fattie). Trim, female pit bulls are probably 35-40lbs. Males can go up to 70lbs!

        My guidelines are:
        xsmal: minpin, chicuaua, etc. think: cat sized or smaller, definately purse sized.
        small: <30lbs but short. Can probably bring as a carry-on in an airplane. Daschund, jack russel, pug, etc.
        medium: 20-35/40lbs. Border collies and the like. Whippets.
        Large: 40-60/70 lbs: very trim labs/goldens, setters, pit bulls, vizlas
        XL: 65-90lbs big labs, big goldens, huskies, german sheps, etc
        XXL: megadogs. Newfies, St. Bernards, Great Danes…basically, a dog that may be mistaken for a horse or bear. :)

    • My MIL was thinking about a small dog and had some of the same concerns (shedding, small children). She found this breed, which looks like a great fit. Not sure how many Coton mixes you’ll find at a shelter, but thought I’d pass it along.

      • In-House Optimist :

        These little cuties are seriously high maintenance though (though super adorable and cuddly and sweet). My aunt has one and has to take it to get professionally groomed once every three weeks or all of its fur tangles up and makes mats and then the poor thing gets neurotically upset (I’m not judging it – I would too!).

    • Well…almost all dogs shed. Unless they have hair instead of fur (so think toy-poodles). Try a mini-schnauzer cause I think they have hair (so it will have to be cut, like human hair). I have a dachshund and size-wise she’s great, but they’re stubborn and a little bit insane (also very attached to one person so a little needy). I love my dog but I wouldn’t recommend her to anyone.

      • I was also going to suggest mini-schnauzers. I know someone who got theirs through the rescue organization, so you can look into that.

        If I were you, I’d actually look for a larger couch potato. Small dogs tend to have small brains and are often too hyper for my taste. When you go to the shelter, look for a dog that is relaxed when you approach.

        • The dog I *really* want is the ultimate couch potato…a Basset Hound. But they shed too much for my husband to be ok with it.

          Thank you all for the suggestions so far!

        • I was thinking larger couch potato, too…greyhound. If you go through a greyhound-specific rescue, they should have a wide age range of dogs. They shed, but their hair is short, and they don’t shed as much as other dogs. Very little grooming required (we give her a bath 2-3 times a year). There are no major health problems that greyhounds experience more than other dogs in general. Pretty low maintenance. Our dog has never been interested in going on furniture, although YMMV.

          Happy to answer greyhound questions!

          • Anonymous :

            I was also thinking greyhounds. Ironically, they are actually usually very lazy. They hardly shed and do not require grooming beyond normal nail clipping. The rescue organization can help match you to a good fit, too. Some are better with kids than others, but it’s easy to get one that is. Plus you get the bonus of joining the greyhound owner family, which is fun :) They are really special dogs. So much personality, social. They can usually win over the non-dog-lover.

          • AnonInfinity :

            I think we got a defective one because ours sheds A TON. He also slobbers. But I love him so much! They are great dogs.

          • Ditto on the greyhounds. They meet all of your criteria except for size. But they are quiet, lazy, generally non-shedding, and obedient dogs who are so grateful to have a home after being on the track for the early part of their lives. My husband is not a dog person, but he quite possibly loves our greyhound even more than I do. And while our greyhound would love to sleep on our bed or couch, she knows the rules and would never do it. We just lay out some comfy dog beds for her around the house and that keeps her happy.

          • We have a theory (based entirely on anecdata) that they shed differently depending on their color. We have a red fawn, and she is not too bad, but the white greyhounds we have seen shed a ton.

          • AnonInfinity :

            Rosie — Ours is white! Maybe you have solved the mystery. Do not get the giant, white, dumb-looking one with his tongue hanging out because he will shed, slobber, and be a complete goober. (Though, admittedly, a lovable goober)

          • I have two whippets and they are essentially smaller versions of the greyhound. My friend has two greyhounds and our dogs not only look alike, they have very similar dispositions. Whippets range from 20 to 40 pounds, depending on the gender. They are great dogs and very low maintenance when it comes to grooming, just nail trims really.

      • Anon in NYC :

        Yes, schnauzers and poodles are good choices. Look for breeds that are supposed to be good for allergies (i.e., non-shedding).

        • Anonymous :

          Poodles (and poodle mixes) don’t meet the criterion of low grooming maintenance though. I’d estimate I spend 6 hours a month on brushing and bathing my 3/4 poodle mix (and he’s only 15 pounds, so it’s not that I’m spending a long time brushing a huge dog), plus professional grooming every 2-3 months (base charge is $40, but it can be up to $60 with dematting charges because even with regular brushing he’ll be a tangled mess). I love my little guy more than anything in the world, but just a PSA that poodle coats are far from low maintenance.

          • Cut his hair short! We have always had cocka-poos & cockers & their hair can get insane. We shave them every few months (to about 1 or 2″) and it cuts down on the upkeep immensely. Plus, they look pretty cute that way.

          • Anonymous :

            I do have him cut to about 3/4″ in summer, and 1″ the rest of the year. I won’t go any shorter than that because he looks like a bald chicken, and because contrary to popular belief, shaving doodles is NOT the right thing to do in summer–it actually messes with their body’s natural cooling mechanisms.

      • Anonattorney :

        I love mini-schnauzers!! I had one that didn’t shed, was pretty low-energy, and was just the sweetest thing in the world. I don’t know if it’s true across the breed, but for me, she was the perfect dog and sounds perfect for your lifestyle.

        • In-House Optimist :

          This! Also a Wheaten Terrier. Super cute, no shed, hypo-allergenic, and on the small side (though I have two big sheddy ladies, so they may just seem smaller by comparison!).

    • Dog Q re this :

      I live in a city where we have to pick up after our dogs when we walk them. I also have a small (.05 acre) back yard that’s fenced. My husband says that’s usual for people to just let the dog go in the back yard. We have small children (so they touch everything and their hands are in their mothers constantly). I am not comfortable with the dog going in the back yard without anyone picking up after it (there are companies that do that, but that leaves the times b/w pick ups).

      We don’t have a dog yet, but my husband really wants one. A really large dog (~125 pounds), so I think it would be very . . . productive . . . in its output.

      FWIW, we have to put a lid on our sandbox so that it doesn’t become a litterbox for neighborhood cats. On that rationale, I don’t want the same thing to happen for the yard. I didn’t grow up with pets and feel like there’s a whole world that I don’t understand (I did live in the country though, so having the dog outside and going in the back 40 would be no big deal, but we’re not dealing with farms here).

      • You can do a few things to reduce the amount of poop. 1) Feed the dog food without grains/fillers- it reduces the amount of output 2) feed the dog at set meal times- this makes their output more predictable and 3) pick up the yard 1-2 times a day and do a sweep before letting the kids out there. A small yard won’t take a lot of time. You could even train your dog to utilize the pinestraw instead of the grass if you want.
        Fundamentally, as a pet owner, you have to realize that pets have bodily functions. There will be a time when they may have an accident indoors, throw up on the rug, or start bleeding. You just treat it like a kid mess and clean it up and wash your hands. IMO, at least for dogs, it’s no grosser or germier.

        • This. I feed my dog (labradoodle) 2x a day and I can predict down to a few minutes when he needs to do his “business.” When he was a puppy, I always brought him to the same corner of the yard to relieve himself. Now, when I let him out to the back yard, he runs to that corner, takes care of things and then is ready to play.

          Using positive reinforcement (treats, lovings, words), your dog should pick up on this routine eventually. We also do not begin playtime until he has at least tried to use his corner. Dogs are a lot like children in potty training, if there is a more exciting activity, they will always choose play.

      • If you don’t want poop left in your yard, just pick it up. You should be supervising your dog (not to mention a LOT of playing with it if you are planning on yard time being the dog’s daily exercise) while it is in the fenced yard anyway, so just keep poop bags by the door and have a convenient outdoor trashcan. A large dog is not going to poop more frequently than a small one (twice a day is pretty normal), although the output will be a bit larger. The best way to reduce the grossness factor is to feed the dog a top quality dog food, as a significant factor in the size and general grossness of dog poop is the quality of food you feed.

      • Our neighbors would just go through the fenced-in area of their yard every once in a while with a scooper and pick up after their dogs. However, they did not have kids. I have a dog but no kids (and no real yard), but FWIW, I don’t think I would be ok having my dog’s primary bathroom area be a place where my kids played all the time, even if I picked up after the dog on a regular basis.

      • We always pick up after our dogs. My parents tend to do right away (or at least once per day) with their dog, while I tend to do it weekly. Especially in a small yard, you will probably want to pick it up regularly. Picking it up is not a big deal– there are bags especially made for it, your hands never touch it, and you just tie the bag up and throw it in your outside trashcan.

      • You can train dogs to go on the outskirts of your yard, and a lot of dogs do it naturally. I still pick up if you use your whole yard though. A lot of people don’t pick up because a lot of people are lazy/don’t care, but it really doesn’t take long. Another option is getting a pooper scooper and throwing it over the fence if that’s an option (i.e. wood on the other side). We have rotties, so they have “productive” outputs, but it’s no biggie to pick it up.

      • Our dog is trained to poop in a specific area of our (large) yard. I don’t have time to scoop poop!

        With training, you can absolutely designate an area for your dog to use, then just go shovel it out once a week or so. Keep in mind that dogs do need exercise, so you’ll want to make sure to walk your dog regularly even if you allow it to use the back yard.

        • Anonymous :

          Regular walking will probably help keep the mess out of the yard too. I would say at least 50% of my dog’s “output” occurs during our walks–so I just put it in a bag and throw it in the trash when we get home.

    • anon in tejas :

      we have both a scottish terrier and a cairn terrier. both are considered hypoallergenic dogs who do not shed (much). And they don’t compared to other dogs that we have had in the past. both of ours are rescues. I wouldn’t recommend getting a scotty unless you really really want one. they are smart, stubborn, and sometimes difficult. But our carin would probably adapt well to your environment/issues. Our dogs don’t sleep on our bed, but they are allowed on the couch, and they are 17-21 lbs.

    • Maybe a terrier, like a rat terrier or a jack russell terrier?

      • Jack russell terriers are usually extremely hyperactive and like to bark. My b/i/l bred them and I wouldn’t have chosen that breed (even though he loved them). We have a beagle which barely sheds, but he’s quite hyper too. Needs alot of walking/running in order to be calm and sane in the house. He’s very loving though and not at all aggressive.

        • Yeah, I loved our family jack russell but she shed a lot and was hyper until she was like 7-8 years old (she lived to be 16).

    • AttiredAttorney :

      Hmm, have you checked into English bulldogs? They’re fantastic with kids, can’t do long walks, and don’t really bark. Though they do shed, they don’t shed much.

    • Havanese!

    • Maltese. And they are hypo-allergenic. I have one and she is awesome, and doesn’t bother my SO’s allergies. And, she doesn’t shed.

    • Look into Italian Greyhounds. Small, minimal shedding, and can be litterbox trained if you are away long periods of time. Very low maintenance other than nail trims and teeth brushing (which most dogs need), but hardly any other grooming. I think we truly bathe ours once per year? Otherwise we just wipe them down with baby wipes!! Lovely personality, some catlike qualities (sun and blanket lovers), and more of a big dog than little dog attitude. You can find puppies through IG rescues frequently.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      You’ve gotten lots of good recommendations, but I’d stay away from toy dogs (<12 lbs or so) because of your kids – I've heard too many tragic stories of small kids who don't understand that tiny dogs are fragile doing serious harm to or even killing them completely by mistake (crushing them, knocking them off a deck, "petting" too roughly and causing broken bones, etc.). Reputable toy dog breeders (and rescuers) won't allow the dogs to go to homes with kids under 6 or so because of this.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      Miniature schnauzers don’t shed. Ours is good with our 3-year-old too.

    • Labradoodle! :

      I have a miniature multigenerational Australian Labradoodle and we love her. She’s 17 pounds, so a bit on the petite side, but loving, friendly and funny. There are obviously issues with respect to “designer” dogs or any dogs are are bred specifically for sale. Our breeder is very reputable and we know several other dogs from her ranch who are all delightful. She needs a good walk every day rain or shine and we don’t have a fenced yard so she is on-leash all the time and we pick up after her every time but these are small sacrifices in the scheme of things. She is very smart but happy to go with the flow whatever is going on in our crazy house.

      Ours loves all kids but we did a fair amount of work at the front end to expose her to lots of kids besides our own which helped a good deal. She does require regular grooming but little maintenance in between visits to the groomers. I honestly can’t say enough good about her.

      I should say my husband was vehemently anti-dog and after 17 years together the best he could promise was “not to divorce” me if I bought her, lol, but he is totally head-over-heels in love with this creature. She’s trained to a crate which is fab, but after a year he insisted she move to the foot of our bed where she’s ensconced most nights and she lays on his feet or on the sofa with him every evening. You might find your DH a similar convert. Mine says ours brings “a certain peace” to our home and he’s really quite right about that.

      If we were to consider a second dog I wouldn’t hesitate to consider a non-shedding rescue. Watch the documentary “Shelter Me” on Netflix and be prepared to cry. If you are in a big enough centre a shelter might be able to find you a dog who would really fit with your family’s needs. The puppy months/years are lots of work and may be a challenge if you’re working full time.

      Good luck! Let us know what you decide!!!!

    • ex enviro :

      How much are you home? How much is your husband willing to help train/discipline the dog? I love Mini Schnauzers and Poodles. Poodles with long hair are adorable. Schnauzers are very smart but can be stubborn and high maintenance. Poodles are generally more easygoing and easier to train, but can be needy. I have a Standard Poodle and the only reason he’s not completely neurotic is because my other dog (a coonhound) is his buddy and keeps him company.

    • mini goldendoodle (golden retriever/poodle mix). No shedding, no allergies and very smart. I love my pup so much!

      • I have a bichon/poodle mix about 15lbs. and there’s hardly any to no shedding. In my experience smaller dogs do tend to be high energy, though. You might want to consider an older/senior dog when starting your search. They’re usually mellowed out and potty trained. The other thing to consider is making sure that your yard is well fenced and that there’s no possible escape route if you plan to allow the dog unsupervised/free access to your backyard. My bichon is older and well behaved but if given the opportunity she will hightail in a heartbeat it when off leash.

    • I have a YorkiePoo, and I think that breed would fit your needs exactly. He is 13 lbs. He is a rescue that I found on petfinder when he was 2 years old. He is non-shedding. I do not do any upkeep on his coat other than get it trimmed down by the groomer every 3-4 months (so I guess that is something, but not something I do myself). He does not need a ton of exercise. We live an an apartment, so he gets 4 walks per day (one with a walker while we’re at work), but we have no yard. On weekends we take him on longer walks and that totally exhausts him. He loves to play fetch inside with us and loves, loves, loves cuddling. He has some anxiety, but I think that is due to the being a rescue thing. He is extremely attached to me and while he’s fine being left at home during the day, he doesn’t like to be in a different room from me, won’t go in a yard unattended, and doesn’t like being left with other people who aren’t me. He likes small children because (I think) they’re closer to his size and don’t scare him. He doesn’t like big dogs, and has quite the Napoleon complex when we’re on a walk and see one, barking with all of his might. He does bark at noises in the hallway, but nothing so excessive that we’ve ever received complaints. I opted for a 2-year-old dog because a) they are less desirable than puppies for most people, so less likely to be rescued, b) I couldn’t deal with potty training a puppy, and c) 2 years old means he (knock on wood) still has a very long life in front of him.

    • I was the hold out on getting a dog in our house and long story short, we have a Shih Tzu. he is very nice, never barks, too small to jump on bed (although I lift him on it to cuddle) ; frankly, I cant imagine our house without him. we have teens, 13 and 17, and my husband has trained him to sit, stay, come, drop socks (his only bad habit – stealing small items out of laundry basket).

      His grooming habits seem small, we try to brush him every couple days and every 6 weeks he goes to the groomer for approx $50. I drop him, get a coffee, run an errand and pick him up. if I am late, he plays with other dogs. we both work a few days in the office anda few days at home. I love him like one of the kids :)

    • Some dear friends have a schnoodle, whom they adopted from a shelter. He’s small for his size–under 20 pounds–and non-shedding. I am decidedly not a dog person, but I love this dog.

    • Poodles don’t shed (at all), and they are quite smart, so you can train them easily. I have a Standard Poodle, which is a big dog (~65 pounds), but you could get a miniature Poodle, which is about half the size.

    • Get a roomba for the hair. It’s so worth it. I love my Jack Russell but he doesn’t bark very much and is pretty snuggly. He’s about 8 or so. They have the reputation for being hyper and barking a lot but he’s pretty good. I didn’t think I was a dog person because I hate barking. HATE it. He is a psycho around other dogs and tries to kill them (he tries more the bigger the dog is! He is 19 pounds!) but he is all I need since I don’t want any other dogs so it works.

      • Wildkitten :

        If its on the floor. If it’s on the couch/your clothes a roomba won’t do it.

    • shi-huahua :

      I have a shih-tzu and chihuahua cross. She’s 5 pounds of adorable and does not shed. I bring her in the shower with me once a week and take her to the groomer every 8-10 weeks. People coo when they see her. She can hike 10 miles but is also happy to just sit on my lap and watch a movie. She’s probably too small for a family with very young and rambunctious kids. But normal sized shih-tzus are about 12-15 pounds and they are great small dogs.

  17. Paging Cb.... :

    Cb, regarding your shopping challenge yesterday, I’m wondering if this isn’t the envelope-type thing your student had:

  18. anonosaurus :

    Does anyone have any experience offering an unsolicited negative recommendation?

    I found out today that someone I’ve worked with is a semi-finalist in a national search for a *very* prestigious, influential administrative position. This person looks very good on paper. This person is also a total nightmare to work with–manipulative, bullying, victim complex, lying, refusing to be held accountable for his/her actions, repeatedly forcing out people who disagree, seemingly emotionally unstable.

    If this person were hired for this position, it would have very significant ramifications for everyone in my field for a very long time. I feel as though it is my duty to say something to the search committee, but given what I know of this person, I also am afraid of how s/he would react if ever it came out that I gave a negative recommendation.

    What to do?

    • Anne Shirley :

      No good can come from this. Do nothing.

    • Would it be impossible for this person to get fired if they exhibited the same behavior you have described? Why would there be significant ramifications for your whole field for a long time?

    • Anonymous :

      Do you know anyone on the search committee? You can say something to them off the record.

      Another thing to consider is whether the candidate’s temperament is already well-known. If it is, don’t bother. They are considering them regardless. You don’t know what kind of pressure, politics, or priorities they have.

      It’s hard to advise without the specifics of your status and relationship to the candidate and to the search committee. The search committee will consider the anonymous warning much differently if it comes from someone holding the confidence of a trusted committee members vs a whiney ex-grad student with a grudge who does the equivalent of slipping a note under a door. Assuming you’re the former, my experience with search committees is that they would like to know, but you don’t want to put yourself out there when you do it and you have do it understanding that it may fall on deaf ears or that they may select them regardless.

      • anonosaurus :

        Thanks, Anonymous. The candidate’s temperament is well-known among my colleagues, but not in the larger field. (Though I think that’s changing–a former colleague was apparently asked some very pointed questions about this person when she interviewed for a new position in the field.)

        I am pretty well-established on a different track from the candidate. We have worked closely together but have never had a supervisor/supervisee relationship.

        There is someone on the search committee who is a friend of a friend. I feel safe reaching out to her, and I’ll keep your good suggestions in mind.

        • Anonymous :

          Also, a good search committee will be actively looking for such input. They should be googling the person to find red flags and working their network for people who have had contact with them but aren’t listed as references. You may only need to make it known that you’ve worked with the person and they will ask you for your thoughts. I did it that way when I was in essentially the exact same position as you.

  19. Career Change :

    I’m in my early 30’s want to make a career change into patent law. My BA is in business and my professional experience has been general business so far. Is it too late for me? Would I need a master’s in a STEM area before going to law school? I’m interested in biotech and pharma – would a master’s in bio be suitable to go into these fields? I’m sure I want to make this transition but I really don’t have any idea how, practically speaking…

    • Are you interested in patent prosecution or patent litigation?

    • Anonymous :

      My understanding is that you cannot sit for the Patent Law bar without a BS / MS.

    • To sit for the Patent Bar when you do not have a Bachelor’s degree in one of the qualifying areas, you must have a combination of semester hours sufficient to meet the requirements. These requirements are posted online. If you minored in one of the hard sciences, I believe that can count towards the hours, so you would only have to take the remaining number of hours necessary to qualify.

      • Career Change :

        This is my concern. I don’t have a minor is a qualifying area so it sounds like I would need to earn an MS. Is this correct?

        • To meet the requirements for the Patent Bar you don’t need a MS–you need the qualifying number of hours in the necessary subjects. Whether that is sufficient to get a job is another question that I don’t really know the answer to…

      • Anonymous :

        Yes, check the USPTO requirements online. But if you are interested in prosecution and biotech, you are probably going to have a hard time finding a job without a PhD. You will have a lot of competition from people who do have PhDs, and I think it will be difficult to convince most law firms to hire you without one. And I definitely would not recommend trying to get a PhD at this point. Assuming it is going to take you a few years to get a bachelors, add at least 5-7 on top of that for a biotech PhD, and you are looking at being in your late 30s/early 40s by the time you have a PhD. Then if you go to law school (instead of just practicing as a patent agent), that is another 3 years, and a huge amount of debt unless you get a scholarship.

        Litigation is another story–lots of people do that with a bachelors or masters plus a law degree. But I still wouldn’t recommend law school unless you get a full or nearly full scholarship. Otherwise, it is just too much of a gamble to take on such a huge amount of debt when very few people the high paying jobs.

        • Career Change :

          What type of master’s would make me most attractive to law firms? Thanks!!

          • Anonymous :

            In my experience, no masters degree in a chemical or biological science is going to help you much–employers are really looking for PhDs. Mechanical and electrical engineering patent work is different, but I can’t really speak to what specific degree(s) you would need for that.

          • Anonymous :

            And actually, a masters in a biological science could even hurt you somewhat as opposed to just having a bachelors. People who start a PhD program but don’t finish often leave with a masters degree–so when I see a resume with a biotech masters degree, I always wonder if this is what happened, and it makes me slightly suspicious of the person’s qualifications and ability to follow through with things. It is probably a bit unfair of me, but you should be aware that people will think that if you get a masters and not a PhD.

  20. Ambitious PhRMA :

    Okay hive, I need some advice: I just got invited to my manager’s baby shower (she is 6 months preggo with twins and the pregnancy hasn’t been an easy one) and am trying to decide if I should go and what the etiquette is if I do attend. Here are the salient details: She is new to the company (4 months) and since we have a small department I’m one of the few people she works with closely on a consistent basis, and since she just relocated from LA to take this position, she has very few friends in the area. She was recruited for the position by one of my company’s VPs, who she worked with back in LA, and his wife is the one throwing the shower. (He is not our VP, but we do work closely with his team.) I know Kat says that gifts in an office are supposed to flow downward — do you think this is true for out of office events like baby showers? How much is appropriate to spend on a gift? (She is Director-level and is considerably more well-off than I am.) Should I purchase a gift even if I decide not to attend the shower? Also, given the fact that the VP and his wife are hosting the event, should I think of the shower as a work or non-work event? And the ultimate question — what on earth does one wear to a baby shower brunch at a 4-star hotel in February??

    • I would not attend but give her a gift, probably after the shower (and apologize for not being able to make it, say you were busy but are happy for her, etc.). Going sounds generally uncomfortable, plus I would be worried about dress and also having my gift seem really small compared to everything else the mom-to-be received when she opens everything.

      As for a gift, maybe some nice swaddle blankets (maybe Aden + Anais, which I think people have recommended here and look nice) and a couple of books? I agree that gifts don’t flow upward, but I think this is a little different situation.

    • Anne Shirley :

      Go! Spend $50 on a gift and wrap it nicely. Wear a jersey dress, tights, and boots. This is a nice opportunity to build closer ties with her.

    • This sounds more like a work shower held out of the office than a traditional shower. I think you should make an effort to attend. Don’t spend more than you’re comfortable spending on a gift, and certainly don’t worry about what other people are giving her. I can’t imagine your manager is going to judge – if anything, I bet she’s anxious about having this look like a gift grab. I suggest a children’s book/books. As for clothes, wear something business casual like a sweater dress or trousers w/ a cardigan.

    • I think you should go, and I think you should give fun baby board books. That’s my go-to. I don’t think you need to be extravagant. And I think you should wear a pretty wrap dress and swank it up with accessories.

    • new york associate :

      I agree that you should go! This is a great opportunity and on a more human note, it sounds like she would appreciate some friends in the office. For a gift, if you are worried about money, I’d buy something sweet – a beautiful baby outfit, or a set of your favorite books from childhood (just not Goodnight Moon). Write a lovely card saying how happy you are for her. Then go and enjoy.

    • saltylady :

      I agree with the others that you should go, and for a gift, a cute baby outfit, spend about $40-50.

  21. Ugly Shoe Question :

    So, I want to buy a pair of new weekend/casual shoes. I wear Keens a lot, but recently, the oiled leather of a pair of my friend’s Danskos caught my eye.

    I have a lot of nurse-friends who vouch for them, but I am still hesitant to put anything on that isn’t ridiculously padded for comfort shoes. I don’t wear heels much (like, maybe a few times a month) so my typical shoe wardrobe is pretty casual and outdoorsy-styled.

    Anyone have Danskos? Love them? Hate them? Other alternatives? I don’t mind shelling out the money (see above: several pairs of Keens) but I would hate to do that for something that isn’t going to get worn a lot. The added benefit of 2″ in height without being a heel is a super bonus for me, as a shortie.

    • Ugly Shoe Answer :

      I have a pair of oiled Danskos and LOVE them. I mostly wear them on weekends at the barn where I keep my horse. I change out of my tall riding boots and into them because they are super comfortable. While the padding is the squishy kind of padding, I find them to be kind to my feet – well made, great arch support and virtually indestructible. I have the kind with the back vs. the kind you just slip on like crocs.

    • Dansko Fan :

      I swear by them–they have a large deep toe box that is so comfortable. The newer styles (Betty, Olivia) would work well in the office, too.

    • Danskos are amazing unless you have unstable ankles.

    • I would also add that as much as I loved them, I found them too heavy for long city walking. I had the mary jane style and my legs would just get so tired, but I heard ppl who stand all day love them. Maybe there’s a difference between how standing vs walking stresses our feet.

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