Thursday’s TPS Report: Capri Silk Pullover Blouse

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

Equipment Capri Silk Pullover Blouse, Fawn Last Call has a lot of Equipment silk blouses on sale — always a favorite of fashion magazine editors. Take, for example, this simple blouse in “fawn” (it’s also available in a dark green “clover“) — I like that you could wear it untucked or tucked, and the half-placket/pullover seems like an interesting update. The blouse was $229, but is now marked to $119, and with an additional 20% off it comes down to $95.20. Nice! Equipment Capri Silk Pullover Blouse, Fawn

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  1. moneyanon :

    Threadjack right off the bat:

    I know a lot of y’all are super successful women. How do you (or do you) talk about money with your non-law, non-MBA, etc. friends? How does money affect your relationships with friends? Do you have to hide or avoid talking about certain subjects?

    • I’m not as well off as most of the r e t t e ladies, but financially, DH and I are a bit ahead of others in our group. We know this only because of things they’ve told us and more obvious indicators, like career choice. In some cases, I’d rather not know the details about how others manage their finances. DH and I try not talk about money much, even with our closest friends, and when we do, it’s more in general terms, like talking about savings/retirement strategies, rather than getting into specific numbers. Specific numbers usually equals hurt feelings. As we all get older (we’re now in our early ’30s) and differences become more apparent, the money thing has gotten harder to hide. It’s gotten especially awkward with one couple in particular who is still living paycheck to paycheck, 11 years after graduation. They’ve implied that some of us are doing well because a) we must be living outside our means (not true) or b) have chosen a less noble way to make a living. (One is a teacher, the other is a teacher-turned-SAHM.) That gets down to a (perceived) difference in values, which is tougher to bridge.

      • Would those differences in values drive you apart eventually, regardless of finances?

        • Yes, I think so. Friend has made some really crummy comments about daycare, knowing full well that I work full-time and we use daycare. A daycare that we’ve been very, very happy with, by the way. She thinks daycare is an inferior choice to staying at home because of the vast experience she gained while working for 3 months in a daycare (in the classroom next to my mom, who basically GOT her the job when she couldn’t find a regular teaching position) and as a former teacher, she thinks she knows all the ways parents screw up their kids. That’s been a bigger wedge than the money issue. I have several other SAHM friends and our employment status is a total non-issue.

          The growing distance in this friendship makes sad because we’ve known each other since junior high. I’ve always thought that even though we’re different in a lot of ways, we shared many of the same core beliefs. It’s hard to tell whether that’s still the case. She seems to equate money with materialism, and I equate money with security. So, maybe money is really a symptom rather than the core problem.

          Sorry, this turned into a novel.

          • Cornellian :

            Money can really be a problem in friendships. The majority of my friends and I have interact in very respectful ways about it, but I think, honestly, that as we get older (I’m 26), my friends’ views on money are so intricately tied to their views on wealth distribution, entitlement, and other things that if we have problems discussing money, we’ll have problems in all sorts of other fields.

            Some of my friends who came from established money and had their parents to lean on through college have realized how lucky that was and how much security that gave them, but those who haven’t…. it’s unlikely that we’ll ever be as close as we once were.

    • That’s a great question! Personally, I’ve probably got a 50/50 split of friends who are equally successful and I’m pretty open with those friends regarding financial issues and career progression; oftentimes seeking out their advice and vice versa.

      I’ve also still have friends from back home or college, who chose a very different life style and disapprove of my “capitalist ways”. But I usually find that with them our comon topics are subjects outside of money and career anyway, so we don’t touch upon that subject too much. Whenever the subject does to money/career I try to be sensitive and try hard to hear them to understand where they are coming from. However, when I’m not awarded the same courtesy and accusingly confronted with blatant, popular media endorsed stereotypes about finance professionals, I do politely set the record straight.

      I’ve had one more serious confrontation with a friend from the opposite end of the career/political spectrum before, but while the symptons where money and career, in the end our differences boiled down to a fundamental difference in our understanding of economics. After an hour of heated debate, we just agreed to drop the subject and not revisit because we were just too far apart. In the long-run that discussion probably contributed to the fact that we’re not as close as we were before, but I think sometimes both sides try hard and it can’t be helped.

      • One of my friends thinks I’m a “shopaholic” but the thing is, she works from home while I work in a professional environment. Like you, I have friends who are equally successful and others who are either in less lucrative careers or are just starting out. We don’t talk about money much. My friends who are just starting out ask me about things like life insurance, etc. They make as much as I do but have a lot of debt. I like to treat them and always have – especially when she was in grad school.

      • I have a good friend who’s a labor journalist, and I’m in a finance-focused practice. In the end, I just end up avoiding finance – whether personal or public! – in conversations with him. You just have to, you know?

        My friends split between fellow biglawyers and my childhood friends, who are mostly from the religious community I grew up in. My childhood friends are generally from poor-to-working class backgrounds, and remain in similar economic situations today. I’m pretty open about personal finance/money issues with my biglaw friends, in part because a lot of us are trying to figure out long-term financial planning (buy or rent, investments, staying in a high COL city, etc.).

        With my childhood friends, I figure there’s no sense in pretending that I make more money, I’m just not showy about it. In general, I follow their lead on social plans, and when I invite them for stuff, I try to pick things like hiking, making dinner together, etc. that don’t involve big financial costs.

        My ex-husband, who was in private equity, tried to conceal how much he made from his friends, who were often in creative fields. This got to the point at which he wanted to go on vacation with one couple, and instead of just offering to pay, he lied about how much it cost so that they could feel like they were covering their share of the rental. Like, lied by a whole lot. The rental prices were available on the website of the place that we were going. I tried to explain that a better solution would be either (i) to make it clear that it was our treat or (ii) to pick some place that they actually could afford, but he was stuck on the lying plan (which I thought was offensive and insulting to them).

        As you might expect, that didn’t go well….

        • Cornellian :

          Yeah, making decisions on peoples’ behalf like your husband did can be awkward, at least if the people are all peers. I know I am guilty of “forgetting” that it’s my non Big Law friend’s turn to pick up the check when they ask, though, so I probably shouldn’t throw stones.

          At some point I think you just have to respect peoples’ decisions in life and what effect that has had on their finances. Like, if my friend is strapped because she decided to invest a lot in real estate, that was sort of her choice. That some of my friends have kids changes their finances, of course, but, again, their choice. When my working friends could afford going out to dinner when I was a poor grad student, that was, again, my choice. You can always offer to pick up the check or whatever, but doing it without their knowledge or permission smacks of paternalism to me.

    • espresso bean :

      I’m in a weird spot. I probably make more than one group of my friends (the ones that work in nonprofits and/or universities), but I make way less than the corporate leaders, traders, and the ones at top accounting firms. And then there are the friends with jobs in the first category but with family money that pushes them into the lifestyle of the second. I’m always feeling a little uncomfortable depending on the situation.

      With the second group, I’m sometimes shocked at offhand comments about how $100 isn’t much for a blouse or dinner (while I can afford it, technically, it still feels like a lot to me). But with the first group, I always feel like I’m the one who’s inadvertently tripping up by mentioning an upcoming trip or eating at a new restaurant (I never state dollar amounts or anything, but I notice that they don’t do these things as often or mention not being able to afford these things as often). The first group also mentions being broke or not being able to afford things, and I get the sense that they mean it as in they don’t have the money until their next paycheck. When I say I can’t afford something, it’s because I haven’t budgeted for it, but not because I actually don’t have the money.

      Several of my friends have alluded to credit card debt and/or having almost nothing in savings. I’m a pretty aggressive saver, but I don’t talk about it much except with one other friend who is in a very similar financial boat (saves a lot, maxes out retirement accounts, no family money) because I don’t want to make anyone feel awkward.

      • I get this, completely. I feel like I’m always doing or saying the wrong thing.

    • Diana Barry :

      I don’t have many friends who aren’t r e t t e types – just thinking of the couples/families we hang out with, almost all of the women are lawyers (one is a CPA, one is an MBA, rest are attorneys), the men are professors or management or finance, etc. But we don’t talk about really specific numbers, except when we discuss real estate. All of my girlfriends, spread out around the country, have advanced degrees, too.

      I do get to see my friends’ finances, if they come to me for their legal work, but I don’t discuss those with my husband (privilege!) or with my friends outside of work.

    • I’m 24 and many of my friends are still in professional school (med school, law school, phd programs) while I have been working full time for 2 years at $100k/year. I have no doubt that in a decade or so, they may be outearning me.

      I do my best to avoid the topic in daily conversation – it really only becomes a challenge we we talk about or go shopping (since my price point can be much higher than theirs, I try to avoid buying things with them in store if I worry it might be too flashy), or go on vacation together (when I just try to be sensitive to their budgets). In the long run.. I’m probably saving more money by living closer to my friends’ lifestyles, although I buy several splurge items every year to reward myself for terrible work hours (and keep my sanity)

    • Divaliscious11 :

      Depends on how receptive they are. I like financial planning – it is interesting to me, and people generally know that so if they come to me, I talk about options, but never tell people what they should or shouldn’t do. I warn if I think something is not sound advice (Looking at you whole life insurance policies!) for the vast majority of people, but in the end, let people do what they want. I don’t only talk about the good decisions I’ve made, I talk about the bad, the ones the jury is still out on etc…. if they are close enough friends. I don’t give dollar details, unless its public record – like how much I lost when I sold my old house – lol, but people get squirrely around that kind of stuff. My MIL once opened my pay stub and decided she should have all sorts of things because I/we could afford it, without the slightest consideration of our bills….

      Anyhoo, as long as you don’t tell people what to do, I think exchanging info is almost always a good thing.

      • Wow, Diva – I think that any time you can start a sentence with “My MIL once opened my pay stub” and NOT end the sentence with “…and I haven’t spoken to her since” means that you are a much more tolerant/forgiving person than I am!! Damn!!

        • Divaliscious11 :

          We got to that pointeventually, but not when she opened my pay stub… it was when she told me she hated me. In between, she opened mail from my parents to me, then told my husband they’d sent me $1000 as if he didn’t know, without knowing they wanted to buy something for my son, but didn’t want to pay for the shipping, so they sent us the check to pick it up locally……

          The biggest weight off my shoulder was no longer having to pretend with her.

    • I like this TJ! Let me see – I’m probably on par salary-wise with most of my friends from law school but they’re not the girlfriends I see most often. However, all my other close girlfriends from undergrad are all well-educated (have 2 degrees) but tend to be making much less than I do. As a result, my discretionary spending is probably much higher. I try not to talk about how much I spend on clothes etc. but have to admit sometimes I feel guilty for being able to treat myself when I know things are often very tight for my friends, who work insanely hard but chose careers where salaries tend to be lower.

    • TJ off the TJ — it also depends on how you define success. While I make more than some of my friends, my work isn’t exactly changing the world like theirs might. Other friends make four times what I do, so I guess they’re technically more successful in one sense of the world, but their work seems dull and uninteresting to me or requires them to work 13 hours a day, so I don’t know if that’s how I’d define success.

      • YES to this. I am a lawyer, making much less than many of my friends. But I love my job (public interest) and I think it makes me an interesting conversationalist with different perspectives. I find myself hosting folks for dinner/ drinks fairly often (since my schedule is 9-6 and I’m a good cook) and I do sometimes let them pick up checks when we go out. (But never order assuming that will happen…I just don’t fuss if they insist.)

      • Thanks for adding this. Making a lot of money is not synonymous with “successful” in my mind. Not that you can’t be, but they’re not the same thing.

        • Great point. Many moons ago, I worked at a hedge fund, and made this point at lunch one day, and all of the traders I worked with looked at me like I had three heads. Too funny!

      • another anon :

        So true! I love my job and wake up every morning excited to go to work because I know that what I am doing is actually helping to change the world. I am in early 30s so I know this is not just the honeymoon period. I started out with a lower salary than many of my peers who went into consulting or finance but after all these years I am at a senior level in my organization whereas they are still at middle levels so the salary gap isn’t that dramatic. I think it’s because in my field you get to move up the ranks quickly and take responsibility at a younger age. Many of my friends in consulting or finance are now feeling burned out working crazy long days and crave “meaningful” work – quite a few of them are trying to switch careers into my field but have to start at lower levels in order to break in to this field. I define success as a good balance of money + meaningful work + decent work-life balance and I feel fortunate to have all three

        • What do you do, if you don’t mind my asking? It sounds inspiring!

          • another anon :

            I work in the field of social entrepreneurship. I can’t get into more detail without giving myself away. There is an innovation aspect to it which I love because it’s intellectually stimulating and the social focus of it makes me feel that what I am doing is meaningful, even if it’s a drop in the bucket

    • Very interesting question. Most of my friends are in the same bracket, but for the couple who are not, I just do not talk about it because it can be a tad awkward. I find it interesting because when we were in college, they were in a much better position financially than I was because of their parents’ support and that was very awkward for me also. So I think the issue is more mine than theirs.

      For SO, his income is quite a bit higher than some of his friends. He will usually pay for dinner or sporting event tickets and make a joke about being a “big city doctor”. They know he is joking and find it funny, but it makes me cringe.

    • Most of my friends are in similar situations to me, but I do have other friends who haven’t been as lucky professionally. I had one friend who made a snarky comment at me after I declined to buy a gala ticket for his friends charity that I made as much alone as he and his wife combined, but I don’t think realizes the differential in me owning my condo vs. Them renting, etc. For my friends who I know make way less I do try to be sensetive abt mentioning big purchases/bitching. Its tough though.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      Interesting. For me, because I went to law school after working for a couple of years, my law friends tend you be slightly younger than me and are not having families/married etc. My university friends, however, are half sprogged up, all in serious long term relationships and three are married. I probably make about £30-40k more than they do, so the difference isn’t as pronounced (Big Law salaries here are NOT NY salaries). However, I also have law school debt, so ultimately, we probably have about the same disposable income, but because the things we spend on are different, it makes the difference sometimes more obvious. Like, I would spend more money on clothes/shoes, expensive holidays etc. whereas they are providing for a family, so have less money for those kinds of things and they sometimes think I am loads better off than they are.

      I agree with espresso bean that often, even though I can afford stuff, I still feel like ‘no way’ spending loads of money on certain things. So I still shop at Forever 21 and as much as I would love a Chanel handbag, I just cannot justify spending that much on JUST ONE THING. On the other hand, a weekend girls’ trip with my lawyer friends can easily set us back a grand each, but it’s just what you choose to spend money on.

      There haven’t been any huge money dramas in my group of friends because with my law-friends, we all earn about the same and are in similar positions, whereas with my non-law friends we just don’t talk about it. Also, I see my married friends less now, so these things aren’t as much in the open. That said, they all own houses, where I own like 50 pairs or shoes ;)

      Really interesting TJ, by the way!

      • I’m with you. My friends who are earning less have bought a house/contemplating house or grad school but have done so because they haven’t foregone years of earning by being in school, lived in NYC, or taken out law school loans. So, while their income stream is less, their lifestyle is also non extravagant as their work clothes cost less and they have fewer other expenses.

        On the other hand, while I earn more right now, my expenses are proportionately higher so I feel poorer/about the same…

        Which leads me to appreciate the friends who have similar values even if we have different incomes/expenses and the friends who have similar situations (law debt/income/retirement concerns).

    • Money is part of my background noise, in that my family has some and I’m in a profession known to be well-compensated. I seldom if ever raise it but don’t avoid the subject if it comes up, and don’t think it really affects my friends who are a pretty diverse lot.

      In recent years, I’ve been approached by folks including a couple of professional contacts about advice on family wealth and its impact on their heirs, with the unspoken implication that I seem to have my act together on this one, which I’ve found quite moving. The credit is to my parents, of course.

    • I think about my finances a lot, but I don’t really discuss specifics with friends. Our friends have a range of income, but I don’t think that any of them are barely making ends meet. One of our close friends is a financial advisor, so we get a little more specific with him, and my BFF and I sometimes touch on certain items in a general sense (like, retirement savings, daycare expenses, etc.). I think that our core group of friends still has varying lifestyles so it’s like money is somewhat not important (i.e., me and DH rent and I have a ton of student loan debt that offsets our high income, compared to another friend who is single, makes a good income, and has no student loan debt, vs. our married friends who own a house and just had a baby).

      I do take into account my perception of a friends finances when I consider the expense of doing something with them (like, going to a fancy dinner or the opera), but I also don’t feel guilty for doing something fancy (without them) if I can afford it.

    • My friends and I don’t talk about finances, beyond very general conversations (aka bemoaning student loan interest rates, the cost of rent, etc.). It’s pretty clear that I make more than those who work in the public sector/are in grad school, but we’re young enough that I’m sure the distribution will change with time.

      I’m fortunate that my friend group is very frugal, so we don’t have the problem of someone suggesting a restaurant that’s too expensive for some. The area I struggle with is gift giving. I will splurge if something would be a perfect gift… which is bad for budgeting too.

    • I don’t have much of an issue with this with my NYC friends — they’re either lawyers / bankers and making salaries not dissimilar to mine, or they understand that biglaw salaries can seem ridiculous, money isn’t a measure of a person’s value, we all make choices and they each have their merits, etc. With the latter I definitely try to be mindful of where we eat out and try not to be flashy about vacations, but they all probably have a sense of how much our new apartment costs and seem not to be bothered by it.

      The issue I have is with friends who live outside of NYC, especially back home in the Midwest. They think that because we have a doorman we must be Donald Trump. I just try to avoid any references to salary, housing costs, vacations, etc. — or if it comes up, I try to downplay it by pointing out that DH and I work obscene hours so that they don’t think our life is so glamorous. Taking a car service home to a doorman may sound like you’re living the highlife, but it doesn’t feel like it when it’s your third night in the office past midnight.

      • This. My family in the Midwest thinks that I’m living the high life because I have a housekeeper and a gardener. My dad told his side of the family how much I paid for my house and they think I live in a mansion rather than a house that is smaller than theirs. My Marine cousin can’t believe I drive a Honda that’s worth less than his truck.

        Because of my job title, I’ll occasionally get a “You make a lot of money/are rich.” I try to stick to “I’m very fortunate” and change the subject.

        • Cornellian :

          Yeah. the cost of living is so important. I was okay living off of 19K or so a year in Austin, and now I feel like I have a legitimately lower quality of life in Manhattan at big law rates. Yes, I can take a cab door to door, but only because I leave work at 3 AM…

        • This. My response is usually “not as much as you might think” and try and leave it at that. I’m still early in my career and have mounds of student loan debt, so my disposable income isn’t all that exciting. Yet.

          I think my closest friends are also the ones that make the least money. One of them actually does occasional filing / bookkeeping for my husband so unfortunately she knows exactly how much he makes (with the business). It gets awkward because she is really struggling and actually had her car repossessed. She got it figured out, but it kills me because she is really amazing and should be doing well at this point, but just has caught some bad breaks.

          My other best friend is a librarian – well, she’ll be a full librarian in about 6 months. As an assistant librarian she’s only been making like $30k / year for a long time, but once she finished the Master’s she’ll be making a minimum of $80k. This is my friend that gives me a hard time about my spending / horse / capitalism, too. She is as far left as you can get, and I’m very libertarian so we clash but it doesn’t matter because we’ve been friends for so long. We keep each other on our toes! Anyway it is going to be hysterical when she doubles her salary and starts working a crazy work week and has to start outsourcing.

          • Leslie Knope :

            This is irrelevant to the actual discussion, but I’m very curious to hear about a fresh MLIS making $80k. Is she already in a managerial position and just needs the MLIS to get the official pay bump?

          • anon for this :

            I agree, Leslie Knope. Hard to know about adjusting for COL in California but our entry-level library faculty start at about $48K-$50K. BTW, SoCalAtty, the usual terminology is library assistant to librarian. Assistant librarian implies that she is a librarian, which she wouldn’t be without a degree.

    • Cornellian :

      Ugh, I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. I feel like I get flack both for earning so much money, and also for working too much, which are obviously sort of related things. I earn a BigLaw salary in part because I’m giving up weekend trips and dinner plans and a normal amount of sleep and the ability to predict my schedule, and not only because the firm liked my grades/alma mater/writing/work ethic/etc. I grew up working class at best, so I don’t think I ever have tone deaf moments with friends making less money, but I do have a difficulty communicating the connection between my 100 hour billable weeks and the money I earn. I guess it comes down to family money and the resulting security vs. current income for these friends.

      I was an orphan before I finished high school, which made things in my generally very well-off college awkward and difficult. Now I feel like the tables have turned a little bit, but for me the tension with a few friends who have working, middle or upper-class families to lean on in case of job loss, to sleep on the couch of in emergencies, or to financially rely upon when necessary is still huge. Although I didn’t have a family in college, either, I didn’t have a terrifying debt load following me around, so in some ways I feel almost more insecure now.

      • Silvercurls :

        Admiration and hugs: Admiration that you’ve built a life, and hugs for the occasional loneliness that is a byproduct (“giving up weekend trips and dinner plans and a normal amount of sleep and the ability to predict my schedule”). I hope you’ve found a few people from whom to seek occasional emotional, social, or logistical–if not financial–support and that you have a savings cushion or disability insurance (financial planning isn’t my area of expertise) to offset some of the terror of the debt load. I also hope this comes across as true admiration, which it is, and not a comment of pity, which it is not.

        I’m always amazed by the hidden heroism of other people, but probably most of us deal with problems that bystanders can’t imagine managing, much less living with in a way that still gives us room for happiness! Thanks for inadvertently providing one more piece of good news about humanity–namely that everyone is capable of being resilient in at least one area of life. Your comment is helping me recover from a bad case of JHG (Job-Hunter’s Grouchiness).

        • Totally cosign! One of my closest friends at work was orphaned as well in high school…it’s all terribly tragic, but she is so wonderful and pulled together and such a rockstar. I really admire what you have overcome. And I, being transactional, also understand how lonely, legitimately, it can be, when it’s just you and your closing on a Saturday night. Boo. Anyway, kudos and high fives for getting to where you are!

    • Greensleeves :

      What a great discussion! I think I’m similar to several prior commenters, in that we have friends at different income levels and just try to be sensitive to that. Our closest friends make substantially less than we do, but we never really talk an money with them. And our values are very similar to theirs, so when we do talk about cost with them it isn’t awkward, because we tend to spend our money on the same sorts of things. I have a group of law friends with similar incomes and everyone knows generally how much everyone else makes. We will talk generally about expenses and saving and such. Then there are the neighbors we hang out with, who live a similar lifestyle to us but make probably make a fair bit less than us. We don’t really talk about money at all with that group. The only awkwardness there is not in interactions with them, but when my oldest child says something like “I know that I can’t have X that my friend has because we don’t have as much money as friend’s family.” Um, no, actually we have more, we just choose to spend it differently than they do. That makes for some very careful discussions with her intended to teach her that there’s a difference between not being able to afford something and choosing not to buy it, trying to convey some of our financial values without causing her to say something embarrassing at her friend’s house!

    • Senior Attorney :

      I’m 25 years out of law school, which means by this time my friends have taken paths that have led to wildly divergent financial outcomes. A few are partners in BigLaw and rolling in dough; one close friend is a law school dean; my very best friend in the world is my former paralegal who is now working in a bakery; I have a lot of friends from my son’s school days who are/were SAHM’s with husbands whose jobs ranged from modest small business owner to Captain of Industry. At this point everybody realizes it’s about the many choices we’ve made along the way, and it’s quite rare that money comes up as a subject.

      Although I will say there have been more than a few lunchtime conversations about retirement lately, here at the office. Which makes me feel unbelievably old!

    • I do not talk money with my non financeial freinds b/c they are not sophesticated like me in SUCH MATTERS. As a result we just talk girlie stuff!

      So Gonzalo called 2x today leavening messages with Lynn. I do NOT want to appear to anxious but LYNN says he is very determined! Mabye I will call tomorow. Yay! Finally a man interested in me! But I will NOT GO to his apartement! FOOEY on that!

      • I love the image of leavening messages.

        Are they heart-shaped baked goods, rising, and filling with hot air….?

    • As someone with a career in the non-profit/govt world, I definitely have doc/lawyer/banker, etc friends who make WAY more than me. Honestly, it’s never bothered me.

      I am generally really happy with my life and chose to be richer in areas like time and personal satisfaction (as I define it) than money. I do dome times lust over a friend’s fancy purse but I am sure they’re jealous of things I am able to do in my free time. Additionally, I like dealing with personal finances and work in an area that does in fact lead to my “wealthier” friends asking me for financial advice – which I am happy to give.

      Honestly, it would really bother me if a friend felt uncomfortably “rich” around me. We all choose to prioritize different things in life and I did not choose money. Perhaps I would feel differently I had wanted a successful private sector career and failed at it?

      We all bring different things to the table in a relationship,I’ll enjoy drinking their awesome wine that I could never afford myself and they’ll enjoy the organic tomatoes I grew in my garden.

      • This. My friends are either lawyers or my college friends. Of my college friends, pretty much all of them are social worker/creative/rural doctor in underserved area/writer/etc. types. I think we’ve always felt that we all started out at the same college with the same degree and if I chose a path that led to more money because that was important to me and because that was the type of work that attracted me, well, they all had that choice, too, and chose other paths. I think what’s important is that we’re all doing what we wanted to do. I think it would be much different if one of them, say, went to law school as well but was now unemployed and struggling.

      • So true. I left Big Law because I hated it with a passion. I’m making less than half of what I used to make, but I’m happy with my choice because I’d rather have the extra time and (this is subjective, obviously) greater job satisfaction in the field I’m in than a fancy apt/vacation/bag, etc. That said, yes, it can be tough to feel like I’ll never get ahead financially–but that doesn’t mean that I would go back to Big Law. I’d just love to find a job that meets my criteria AND pays more! That’s why I take issue with “success” being defined by money because, in all honesty, my current, lower-paying law job was MUCH more difficult to get and significantly more prestigious than my previous law firm job. I don’t mean to be nitpicky, though. I’m sure the OP was just trying to avoid the word “rich!”

    • Cornellian :

      Also, an interesting article I read about privilege that this thread made me think about to come…

      • Cornellian :

        • Do-gooder :

          This is an interesting article but I fail to see how it relates to the discussion.

          Are you equating non-wealthy people with gays and wealthier people with people who disagree with gay marriage? I just really fail to see the parallels, like at all.

    • Young Consultant :

      As a recent grad who took a business consulting position starting around 65K, this is an incredibly interesting topic for me. A few of my good college and childhood friends have taken positions similar to mine, while others work on professional degrees that will likely make high earners in the future, and some have chosen different types of careers that will not earn as much over the long term. Particularly since I live in DC where there are so many lower paying public sector/non for profit jobs that people my age work in, I see how this will likely come up more and more. While I have only been working for about 6 months, i have noticed the difference in disposable income and wonder how it will all pan out in the future. For now I really just eat out more and buy more expensive shoes than some of my friends, and most of that is not too apparent to them, or even me!

    • Awesome thread and I’ve really enjoyed the responses. We have a lot of creative-type/non-profit couple friends and I rarely feel tension over the fact that we, a double lawyer couple, make a lot of money. We don’t do expensive activities with them and I’m still cheap as heck, which keeps us on the same level. The main differences are living in a bigger, fancier apartment and employing a nanny. But our real friends know we love to entertain (and always have, even when in tiny places) and need a nanny because of our crazy hours. The only time I feel weird is when someone new comes over and thinks our place is fancy, but I usually just say, “we got really lucky” and move on. I don’t think it is an issue unless someone has a chip on their shoulder about it.

      I do pick up the bill for my really broke friends (un/under employed), especially when we are explicitly doing something that was my idea (like fancy cocktails somewhere cool).

      P.S. these blouses did not fit me at all (I’m normally a 10 in everything).

  2. Question for most everyone – what is the team culture like at your workplace? Are most people deeply involved or very close friends with everyone else or spend a large amount of time outside of work with co-workers? Are you facebook friends with most, any, none? I’m at my first full-time job out of school and feel like trying to maintain a work life and a home life is next to impossible with the culture of my company and my team – almost all of which are friends and/or family to each other except for me. Is there a way to maintain a balance between work and life without alienating the rest of my co-workers who want to spend weekends and evenings partying together? I’d love to hear about other office cultures related to this.

    • My first work environment out of grad school was totally like that – outings for drinks at least a few times a month, a large chunk of us were all around the same age and point in our lives, several relationships going on (no Facebook at that time, this was the early 2000s). The founder of the company was known for being something of a party boy in his heyday and that culture carried on for a couple of ‘generations’ of staff. But then things changed, the company started falling apart and people began moving on. I kept on, scared, hoping it would be that way again. Meanwhile it shrunk and shrunk and I got so lonely, it contributed to my mental health problems. I finally got out last year, and I’m in a place that social, but not over-the-top. I think it’s good for me.

      There were people at that place who were better at maintaining some distance. They would attend some outings and parties, but not all. I think that’s a wiser approach – depending so much on my office for my social life hit me really hard when things went South. Maybe only go for certain occasions, like toasting someone’s departure or other milestone, or holidays. You don’t have to apologize for having other things in your life – I had a boss at that place that was like that. She was friendly with people, came along sometimes to social events, but had her own life and made that very clear.

      Hope that’s helpful.

      • I can relate to this… I’ve worked in a couple offices where a critical mass of the employees were friends, or at least socialized outside of work on a fairly routine basis. Standing office-wide Friday happy hours, night or weekend plans involving 5+ people in the office at least once a month or so, that type of thing. I really, really liked these environments when I was younger, and am still good friends with several former coworkers, but it was tough when people started moving on; the office dynamic and my social life both changed for the worse at the same time.

        There were also coworkers who were perfectly friendly with us during the work day rarely came to someone’s poker night/BBQ/whatever. No one held it against them. I’ve started taking a bit more of that approach, partly because I just have more of my own friends and commitments now that I have lived in the area for a while, partly because I don’t want to have all my eggs in one basket again. I make a point to lunch with coworkers instead of eating at my desk, and go to happy hour somewhat regularly, but my nights and weekends are mine unless the plans are something I would want to do anyway or feel obligated to show up at because of a special occasion. I don’t say it that way, of course… “Oh, I’d love to come, but I already have plans that day!” works every time.

    • Mine is a little different because I supervise many people and I have been fairly careful not to be too buddy-buddy with my supervisees. I hate to say it, but it also often depends, for us, on faculty or staff. I am much more likely to socialize with my faculty colleagues than I ever would with staff who report to me. I have a life outside of work that doesn’t involve my colleagues much at all. I invite a few of them to celebrations at my house and we have craft nights, but honestly, I don’t hang out with them much at all. I am closest with my one direct colleague in the organization (at the same level and close to my age). Part of it is age group – I’m older and more senior than most of them. Some of the younger faculty and staff have happy hours and I have never attended one. I work out after work and I’m not excited about bars. My youngest faculty supervisee said she was disappointed about that because she would like to get to know me better but I’m just not interested. That said, I have great mentoring relationships with many of the young faculty who I do not supervise.

    • I work in a small trading firm (~50 employees) where the majority are under the age of 30 so we are in that strange land between friends and coworkers who spend 60-80 hours a week at work and sort of can’t not be friends because 1) we have no time to find many other friends and 2) if you get along and spend that much time at work , how can you avoid it?

      I really like the collegial nature of it but it gets a little high school at times (since we have no on else to meet…we alos have no one else to date!) but it’s nice that when I have to be at work until 2am, my friends are with me.

    • anon for this :

      I’m the youngest person on my team so it’s a little different. We are all friendly on my team of 6 at work, taking breaks to talk to each other occasionally, but we never spend time together outside of work. Everyone has children (but me) so they can’t exactly go to happy hours. It’s pretty normal for you to hang out with other people in an entry level job outside of work, just don’t over imbibe during happy hours. Some day those people may be your boss.

      • This is me. Sometimes it’s lonely being the young one on the team. But it forces me to maintain friendships outside of work, which is good.

    • Cornellian :

      This if my first “career” job, and I finished law school last year. I am facebook friends with 0 of my colleagues, with the exception of a few of them (both in this office and in other offices) that I attended law school with, and I will not be adding more coworkers.

      Personally, I’d go to an after-work happy hour at least once a month, but keep my weekends coworker free in the most polite way possible. I really adore some of my coworkers, and I spend plenty of evenings and weekends working with them, but when I’m not, I think it’s totally acceptable to beg off.

    • Research, Not Law :

      In my four professional jobs, I’ve never worked somewhere with an intense friends/family feel. Most workplaces have been affable and I’ve genuinely enjoyed my work relationships, but they stay work relationships. I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve socialized with coworkers outside of the office, lunch, or work events. That’s consistent with the culture of the places I have worked.

      My general rule is to never FB friend anyone that I work with – although I have a few that I’ve friended after I or they left the company.

  3. Jumping on the threadjack bandwagon…

    Recent posts about financial matters have led me to wonder – what cable and/or internet services do other readers have, and how much do you pay for them?

    I have:
    – “Family” cable package (this is what the provider calls it; I think of it as “basic cable.” In addition to the networks, I have channels like HGTV, Comedy Central, and MTV, but I don’t have any movie channels like HBO or Showtime) for 2 TVs
    – DVR for 1 TV
    – Internet access
    For all this, I pay $145/month (just raised by $10/month as of 2013; includes taxes and fees).

    I feel like this is a lot, but don’t really have anything to compare it to.

    • I have verizon, and pay about $110 a month for basic cable (not the cheapest package but the next one up), land line and pretty slow internet connection. I think it sucks that it’s so much. I’m considering getting rid of cable and upgrading my internet connection, because I mostly just watch netflix/hulu on my PS3 anyway.

    • We have one TV, with dvr, cable, showtime & HBO, plus high speed internet. I think we pay around $130-140/month. Our building has a slight bulk discount with the cable company. In our last apartment, we were paying maybe $10-15 more.

    • u-verse internet ($50/month)
      no cable
      no landline

      we use Hulu ($8/month), Netflix ($15/month) and Amazon Prime for television/movies.

      • LackingLuster :

        This, except we don’t have Netflix anymore because we never used it. We also have a digital antenna (yes, antenna) for network/local programs. We have a landline ($30, I think) because our security system ($32) uses it, but are looking for alternatives to the landline.

    • I have internet, and only internet. I don’t own a tv and I don’t really feel the need for a home phone when my cell works just as well. My internet is through the cable company, though, so if I get a tv at some point, I can add that.

      • And I pay about $35 a month, I think, which includes modem rental.

      • I have a similar set-up, I pay $50/month for internet, and $40/year for Prime Student membership. I gave my tv to my mother because I ended up watching things on my laptop 90% of the time.

      • In an ideal world, I would do the same. Unfortunately, my roommates are huge on tv, so we end up paying about $115 a month for an internet and cable package. Not ideal, but I’m sure there other parts of our apartment I use more that they are subsidizing, so it evens out.

        I do look forward to the day I live alone and just have internet and a cell phone :)

    • I have high speed DSL (12 Mbps) for $50/mth
      1 TV + internet streaming blu-ray player
      no cable
      no landline
      Hulu – $8
      Netflix streaming only – $8
      Amazon VOD for new releases and stuff that isn’t on Netflix yet.

    • Verizon fios basic cable package + internet + 2 additional TVs in house ($10 for additional cable box) = 120/ month.

      My roommate and I also have netflix ($8/month) and we split the ~$130/month bill.

    • East Coast Anon :

      I pay $98 a month for basic, expanded cable (no movie channels, no dvr) and the cheapest internet service.

    • Diana Barry :

      Just looked – we pay 164/month for FIOS tv, with 2 boxes, and internet. We get all the channels, showtime and HBO. We have vonage for home phone, that is about 35/month, and netflix streaming for 8/month.

    • espresso bean :

      About $74 a month for Comcast cable and internet.

    • Internet access only $30/month. No cable, no tv, no home phone.

    • Parker - Boardroombelles :

      Internet and Netflix. Total of $ 48 a month. I hooked up a real TV to a PC and mostly stream. Whenever I do feel that’s not enough, I supplement with video streams via Amazon. Considering whether upgrading to Prime ($80/ year so an addtl. 7$ per year) would be worth it for both savings on recent movie streaming and shipping.

      • Merabella :

        I have Amazon Prime and I love it. I think there are more options on Amazon Prime streaming than on Netflix (or at least the same) and overall the Amazon Prime subscription is cheaper than Netflix.

    • I’m in NYC. My building only has Time Warner, I believe. I pay $176/mo, for 2 tvs (one with DVR, one with Tivo), cable with HBO, internet, and a landline.

    • Cornellian :

      I have internet access, ~$40 a month. That’s it. No cable, tv, home phone, netflix, etc.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      Ugh… my Comcast bill is ridiculous – I am calling them this week because our bundle package expired and they either need to cut some prices or I am cutting some services. I want better internet and could do without all of the stuff on my home phone since I rarely use the thing.

      Our problem is we have 4 TV’s and each of us usually gravitates to our own space (well the three of us) and watch different things on the weekend…

    • This summer will have Google Fiber and Google TV for $120 a month. Includes DVR for all televisions in the house (1 terabyte storage drive), the Google Nexus tablet as the remote control and internet speed of a gig! a gig up and down! Google Fiber is one of the reasons we recently turned down a move to another city.

      Currently we pay $40 a month for Clearwire Internet and $120-130 for Dish

    • Sweet as Soda Pop :

      Internet, Netflix, and Amazon Prime with an HD antenna. Internet is $40/month, $25ish for Netflix, and $70/year for Amazon Prime, which has other benefits. Previously, I was paying $90 for cable/Internet/dvr through Uverse.

    • Time Warner Cable (which I hate with a passion but is the only option for my building) for $114/month, which is cable for two tvs, dvr for one, and the lowest internet speed (which is fine).

    • lucy stone :

      We have Comcast cable with:

      *DVR for 1 TV
      *High-speed boost or blast or whatever the top Internet is (business expense for my husband)

      Currently we’re paying $110/mo before taxes. I like to keep it around $100 so will frequently call to negotiate a better deal.

  4. I don’t have any Equipment blouses, but I do have two Equipment shirt dresses (also on sale at Last Call) that I loooooooooooooooooooooove.

  5. I don’t have any Equipment blouses, but I do have two Equipment shirt dresses (also on sale at Last Call) that I loooooooooooooooooooooove. The links are in moderation, but they’re the Long Sleeve Calla Lilly Shirtdress and the Tegan Paisley Print Shirtdress. Highly recommend.

    • I love this blouse, but I have an affinity for cream colored silk blouses and have 3 of them already, so I need to back away from the computer. Plus, I’m on a shopping ban!

    • I was looking at those dresses Herbie. Does the thin material show every lump?

      • Bonnie, I also was concerned about how thin the silk would be. It doesn’t feel thin or cling; I was very pleased with the quality of the material. I don’t think it shows lumps.

  6. Has anyone done P90X? I have some friends that did it and got amazing results, but I’m a little intimidated.

    • MaggieLizer :

      Yep, love it, though for me at least I would say the results are… a work in progress. People tell me I look great, so who knows, but the scale hasn’t moved that much. Don’t be intimidated. You’ll definitely be sore every day for the first week or two but it gets better. There are a lot of “cheats” depending on your fitness level. Good luck!

    • [insert clever name here] :

      I know 2 people that have done it. Both ended up with relatively serious injuries. It gives decent results from what I’ve heard, but please be careful.

    • I’ve done it, and if you follow it faithfully it will get you results. It is really difficult, and I would say if you aren’t already pretty fit (when I did it I was really fit) you won’t be able to do a lot of it, which can get frustrating.

      To prevent injury, just listen to your body and don’t do anything that doesn’t feel right.

      Also, don’t pay full price – there should be some good discounts floating around, Beach Body isn’t doing too great right now (P90X 2 didn’t do as well as they thought it would).

      • Merabella :

        I cosign pretty much all of this.

        As to the injuries/being fit to begin with: My husband is an athlete with years of experience, and he found the P90x system difficult. Obviously you can adjust and listen to your body and do what you can, but I have a really hard time believing that someone with no athletic ability wouldn’t end up with some injuries just because of the extreme nature of the program.

        I also think that if you did anything for an hour a day 6 days a week you should see some results. I think that p90x does give you a good structure and plan to follow, but you could also do something on your own for much less money.

    • I have done it and it made me too bulky because I build muscle pretty fast. I really liked
      Insanity and got excellent results because it is more cardio and using your own body weight. It’s super hard at first, but you progress quickly!

  7. Keeping in mind my casual business environment, I have a couple of questions for the hive.

    1. I’ve read some business books for women and a couple of them say that you should never wear jeans on casual Friday. Do you agree?

    2. I have 2 piercings per ear and am curious if wearing 2 earrings per ear is unprofessional. I think as long as it’s something small and tasteful it’s fine but I’m not 100% convinced.

    • I just don’t keep anything in my second lobe piercing while at work. I also don’t see anything wrong with wearing two small studs but I work in a business casual environment

    • East Coast Anon :

      I wear jeans every Friday and honestly preferred when I could wear jeans everyday at previous jobs. I have three piercings in one ear and often wear small studs in the top two. I doubt anyone even notices let alone cares. I surely don’t.

    • 1. I think you should still look put-together, but you can do that in nicer jeans. I don’t think that’s just for women, though. For younger (less-experienced) workers, you want to always be ready to sit in on a meeting, if invited, so you should avoid jeans or have a change of clothes ready to go.

      2. I sometimes wear a stud in my second hole at work, but I don’t like sleeping with any earrings in, so it’s more of a laziness issue for me. I see people with mutiple earrings fairly frequently in my business cas office.

    • At my (biz-casual) firm if anyone routinely refused to wear jeans on casual Friday, they would stand out…and not in a good way. When I wear jeans, I generally think of them as “instead of a pencil skirt” and wear the same types of tops that I would wear any day of the week. That way, when I’m sitting at my desk, you can’t look at me and immediately think “Boy, she’s casual today.” Most attorneys in my office probably do the same, with the few standard outliers.

      I think this ultimately boils down to “know your office.”

    • 1. I wear jeans to work any chance I can. I think it’s a matter of making sure the rest of the look is professional. Basically, I wear the same tops that I would wear during the rest of the week (blouses, sweaters, nice shirts w/ cardigans), but swap the skirt/slacks and heels out for jeans and flats.

      2. I have 2 piercings in each ear. I always wear a stud in the second hole with a larger earring in the first hole and I doubt anyone that notices thinks twice about it.

      • I’ll throw out there, though, that my direct supervisor doesn’t wear jeans on Fridays. Never, ever. I don’t know why and I’ve never cared enough to ask. He’s definitely an outlier in that regard at my firm (though I will give him props because he’s rather sharp dresser).
        I will admit though that one Saturday when he and were both there working, I started giggling when I realized he was wearing shorts and boat shoes.

    • I’m in a management position, but non-law and I always wear jeans on Fridays. Usually with a t-shirt & a cardigan. My (female) boss even wears jeans with a very casual tee on Fridays. I think it’s a know your office thing.

      • This. I didn’t wear jeans on Fridays when I started working because I didn’t own any work appropriate pairs and it made me come off as stuffy. Then again, engineers are not a fancy bunch.

      • AnonforThis :

        Semi-regular poster; I have two semi-odd earrings in addition to my lobes (one side tragus and one side upper cartilege) and have always worn very small (fake) diamond studs in them; no one has commented, aside from the one time an “elderly” inidivdual at work asked me “how can they even pierce that?!?!” after sitting immediately next to me for 45 minutes in a pretty boring meeting :-).

        I also have my nostril pierced, but wear a flesh toned retainer screw- no one’s even noticed it’s there (or has written it off as a skin colored mole?) as far as I can tell!

        Definitely a “know your office” thing, though…

    • Thanks for your input! I feel like higher ed is a weird beast because if you look around my office, I would say that most of the women are under-dressed for business casual so “know your office” doesn’t really apply. And if you look at most women in higher ed, it’s hard to get a sense of how to dress. Think of going to your school’s admin offices and that’s the environment in which I work. For instance, we just got polos for our office and most of the women got a men’s size and then complained because the sleeves are too long. This doesn’t prevent them from wearing them, they just look like they’re wearing a men’s polo with too-long sleeves.

      I feel I should also clarify that I love my job and plan to stay in the field, I’m just frustrated by the lack of female style role models. Everyone I look up to is 20-30 years older than I and I’m not quite ready to shop where they shop.

      • Academia is tough.I’m still here as a student but definitely am overdressed. I can’t help it, I’m a formal dresser!

    • I used to have two holes in each ear, wearing small studs in both. In my second year, I started working with a senior woman partner. She’s from the old school, five digit bar number, one of the first to blaze the trail. I went with her to court, to depos, etc as her document monkey. The third or fourth time I caught her looking at my second studs, I took them out and haven’t regretted it. They were an impulse when I was 17, and not something I was particularly attached to. I didn’t want her to hesitate for even a second to bring me somewhere. As for jeans, I’m in California. Always jeans on Fridays, and sometimes on other days too. Not wearing jeans on Friday would be bizarre.

      • I also got my second piercing on a whim right after I turned 18. I’m not particularly attached but I noticed they haven’t closed despite me not wearing earrings in them for at least a year and it seems silly to pass up on an opportunity for another accessory, right?

    • I only wear jeans if I’m working on the weekend. We’re casual on Friday, but the partners don’t dress down, so on the “dress for the job you want” principle, I do the same.

    • SoCalAtty :

      Heck, I’m wearing jeans today! Definitely a know your firm thing. Where I’m going? My jeans are being retired semi-permanently. Going in-house with a lot of direct reports, and I look pretty young to begin with. Once I’m established and have solidified my role, then I’ll probably go back to casual Friday if everyone else is doing it.

    • lucy stone :

      In my government office, it is weird if you don’t wear jeans on casual Friday. About half the people in the building wear jeans every day anyway because they go on site, so those of us who aren’t able to really enjoy casual Fridays. If I have a hearing on Friday, I’ll bring jeans to change into!

      I have two holes in both ears and rarely use the top holes anymore, but lots of my coworkers wear hoops in the first hold and studs in the second. I think that’s fine.

  8. Baltimore Recs :

    At the end of our family vacation (me mid-20’s + parents), I’ll be dropping my parents off at BWI on a Saturday afternoon, but my own flight to go home doesn’t leave until Sunday afternoon. Does anyone have any recommendations as to where to stay or things to do? Is the light rail system safe and reliable for getting to the airport on Sunday? I live in a place where public transportation to the airport is a no-brainer, but I’ve never been to Baltimore before.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Divaliscious11 :

      Light rail is safe, and Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is a nice afternoon activity. I’d probably get a room near the airport, and then hit Arundel Mills outlet mall in the morning before flying out. There are a few really good stores there….

    • Can you check if there is zip car available, or perhaps if you can get a last minute car rental deal on Priceline or one of those sites?

    • I would suggest staying in the Inner Harbor area. There are lots of hotels within walking distance of the inner harbor and the light rail that will give you plenty of things to do, although they can be expensive at times. You can usually find a good deal. The aquarium is a tourist’s favorite but it is expensive (around $30 now I think) and it can get crowded on weekends. The city has a free bus system, the Circulator, which can take you almost anywhere you would like to go. There is some good shopping in The Gallery in the Inner Harbor if you are interested in that, but the better shopping is in Harbor East. You can get to Harbor East on the Circulator or you can walk depending on the weather, time of day, and how much you like to walk. It is less than a mile from most points in the Inner Harbor. There are also good restaurants in Harbor East and you are very close to all of the restaurants in Little Italy.

      Divalicious11’s suggestion of staying near the airport and going to Arundel Mills is good also, especially if you want to shop.

      The Circulator can also take you to Fort McHenry and Camden Yards (two of my favorite places).

      The light rail is safe and fairly reliable. Traveling on it on a Sunday afternoon you should have no problem getting to BWI for your flight.

    • Can I ask where you’re going with your rents? I am also planning a trip with mine and we’re debating on where and how – ie. Get two hotel rooms in an all inclusive or rent a condo…

      • I’m going to my little brother’s college graduation. So maybe it’s not a normal vacation, but I’m still very excited :)

    • I went to college in Baltimore (Bluejays represent!) and it’s a fun, funky little town. The Baltimore Museum of Art is really nice, as is the Johns Hopkins campus. Mount Vernon (a neighborhood) is artsy and cool and has some nice bars. Hampden has good hipster shopping. The light rail is safe but takes FOREVER to get to BWI. You’re much better off taking the MARC train that runs from Bmore to D.C. — slightly more expensive (was $5 when i was in college although I think it is $7 now) but well worth it for speed/comfort.

      Have fun! Don’t get scared–stick to the main neighborhoods (the Inner Harbor, Fells Point, Fed Hill, Charles Village (the area around JHU), Hampden, and Mount Vernon) and you will be JUST FINE.

      • Divaliscious11 :

        Pretty sure entire rest of the city would be offended at not being called a main neighborhood, probably also at being called a town – lol.

    • Another vote for the Inner Harbor. I think Arundel Mills is a pretty crappy outlet mall. They have a couple good stores but since they added a casino, the mall is really packed.

    • Light rail is really easy and safe during the day. You could also get supershuttle to the airport if you don’t want to shell out for a cab. I would stay in the inner harbor/harbor east/or fells point. In terms of activities, I would go for a long walk along the harbor and try out all of the great and affordable food in baltimore. There are also a lot of quirky festivals and events on weekends that are quite entertaining.

    • saacnmama :

      We (9 yr old boy and I) went there for vacation this summer.

      Both the Marc and the local public transit work for getting to the airport, but check schedules ahead of time.

      The Inner Harbor was good for an afternoon, and we liked the restored ship, the Constellation, that’s there. The Lexington Market was not what I thought it would be, and I would not recommend it. Fort McHenry was great, mostly because there was a “twilight tattoo” while we were there. Worth looking up the schedule online. You can take a water taxi there from the inner harbor & it stops at Fells Point on the way. We stayed at the Hilton downtown, right next to Camden Yards (as in, you can see the field from the gym in the hotel) and I wouldn’t recommend it (I sound like a grouch here, but we had a great time). A friend in the area suggested we stay near the airport; there are apparently a bunch of new hotels there.

      • ChristinaMD :

        Water taxi doesn’t start running again until March/April depending on weather – so be aware depending on time of visit.

  9. The culture you speak of – is it just this particular company or is it the industry?

  10. Threadjack rant of the unemployed and searching: employers – when your job application site is so complicated and poorly designed that I (a person of at least average intelligence and computer literacy…I think) am not sure if I managed to apply successfully for the job that I was trying to apply for, well, I think you need a new webmaster.

    End rant. For now.

    • A friend of mine (a just-starting out software engineer-type) had the same problem when he tried to apply for a job with Reuters a little while ago.

    • Silvercurls :

      You earn Graciousness Points for not ranting about how the job application site = HR dept’s outsourcing the clerical work (of entering applicant data) to the applicants. But hey, if we can enter all the data pertaining to our application, why can’t we also enter a kindly worded rejection letter that can be automatically sent to us later if we’re not hired? (Or, for a variation, the employer could send each applicant’s rejection letter to another rejected applicant?)

      Ending rant before I suffer a relapse of JHG (job-hunter’s grouchiness). Sending positive vibes to all other unemployed and searching souls.

      • Let’s continue the rant of HR’s outsourcing to this side of the desk – the stupid filters they put in route resumes to the WRONG PLACE. Or delete them entirely. I WANT THE RESUMES, ALL OF THEM, GIVE IT ME ALL. ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

      • I would LOVE to write my own rejection letters. So I would get one. And it could give me instructions to get some Penne and Meat Sauce and some cabernet and to watch Hart of Dixie and that it doesn’t matter what they say or do to me I’m still a worthwhile person.


        • Diana Barry :

          OMG, if I am ever in a position to hire people I will totally do this!!!!

          Hugs. Job hunting bites.

    • Lady Harriet :

      The worst job application site I ever encountered was from a relatively-famous nonprofit consulting organization. They’re supposed to be really technologically advanced, but the application system would give me error messages if I tried to have more than one tab opened from the site at once. I decided to job wasn’t a good enough fit for me to go through the pain of doing a whole application and just gave up.

  11. no advanced degree :

    I don’t have an advanced degree, and it’s always bothered me. I would say 80-90 percent of my friends do. It feels like I should have one, based on my background, my peer group, and my work colleagues. But when I graduated undergrad from a great school, but also one that was private and expensive, with little student assistance, I had debt. Not as much as many people, but enough that it scared me. So I focused on working and paying it off. I really didn’t want to take on any more debt for a degree that I wasn’t 100% sure about.

    I spent the next ten years building my career. I kept thinking about going back to school, but it was hard to justify going back for a degree in the arts (which is the only area I have interest in), so I never did it.

    I don’t need one for the field I’m in, and I have a great job. If anything, leaving to pursue a degree now would probably set me back. The only way I could see doing it would be to work full-time and pursue a degree part-time. I guess I’m just asking… is it okay not to have one? Will I regret it later in life?

    • It doesn’t sound like you need an advanced degree to do what you want to do and pursuing one at this time will mean lots of debt you don’t want. I don’t see how that is regretable. Do your friends have advanced degrees because their jobs require it? I have a JD, but that’s because you can’t practice law without one. While I might enjoy getting a masters in something else, like ethics, that’s not really practical for where I am in life. It would just be for my own goldstar/enjoyment. Short answer, yes, it is fine to not have an advanced degree.

    • Also in Academia :

      I think some important question to ask might include, “Will my earning potential later in life be affected?” and “Would I need this advanced degree not for the job I have or even the next one, but the one after that?” I encourage my younger staff members to consider working on their next degrees not because they really need them for where they are at present, but because they might someday want a different job. I am sure you already know this, but what seems like riches at 24 (where a couple of my staff are) will not seem like such a great salary at 34 or 44, and the job that is so awesome and satisfying now might not be after they’ve been doing it incessantly for 10 years.

    • anon for this :

      Don’t go to grad school if you don’t need it for your career. It’s not worth it. If I could’ve skipped my advanced degree I would’ve.

    • Unless you’re looking for a career change, I wouldn’t get one unless your employer payed for the degree.

    • Research, Not Law :

      Do not get an advanced degree just to feel like you’re on-par with your peers. For some careers, they are crucial. But socially? Not important.

  12. Houston Attny :

    Oh my goodness. This sounds *awful*. Please know you are not crazy. You are not bad at your job (if you weren’t up to snuff, your bosses would say, “unfortunately, you aren’t picking up on this as quickly as we’d like for you to or expect for you to, so we’re going to terminate your employment.”) But they are not saying that. They are saying something much…weirder. I can’t think of any other word for it.

    Here are some suggestions – please edit and disregard at will. :) :
    1. Keep saying what you are saying. “Actually, Weirdos, I do want to challenge myself. I’m particularly enjoying the project I’m working on with blah/the task I get to do every day/whatever. I can see how it really fits into our company goal of blah or our overall strategic plan/or whatever.”
    2. “Actually, the culture here is unique, and I’m really getting used to it. I hope you realize it’s uniqueness – you should be so proud for creating this – so I truly appreciate your giving me a little room to catch up to it. I feel I’m there.”
    3. Ask if there are some specific tasks you can take on or do differently so they are assured of your commitment to them.
    4. It is OK to say that, even though you really do not care about the culture and even though you will be at home this weekend searching for another job. You will be calling your friends & acquaintances at companies and saying, “hey, this job isn’t really a fit. Do you know of anything?”

    Please do not panic about your resume. You are 25. 25 is young, and in my opinion, it’s OK to not have a job in large chunks of time when you are in your early-mid 20s. It’s OK to find something else just a few months after you’ve found this position. You might love the new job so much and stay there so long you don’t even put the weirdos on your resume! I wish you the best of luck. And I hope you’ll let us know how the meeting goes tomorrow.

    • thanks so much. I asked Kat to delete it because I had too much info in there because I was emotional. I actually was fired this morning. I really appreciate the kind words

      • Leslie Knope :

        I know this is late, and I didn’t read your original post, but I’m so sorry to hear that! If you need to talk about it, I’m sure people in the Weekend Open Thread would be really supportive. It sounds like an awful situation all around.

  13. Apropos of our recent discussions on spending & budgeting: I got a hilarious alert from Mint today, notifying me of “a large transaction named Barney” posted to my credit card.

    • Is it large and purple, or did Mint not specify?

      • Haha

      • Ha. In fact, my husband informs me that it’s slim-cut and navy blue…a Zegna suit on sale. But I now have visions of a purple dinosaur strolling the aisles at Barney’s.

        • Does the purple dinosaur walk slowly up to customers while singing something dopey but cheerful?

  14. It sounds like both you and they have recognized that you’re not a good fit for the culture there (I wouldn’t be either; it sounds awful and I’m so sorry you’re in this situation), and I wonder if they’re trying to pressure you to quit so they don’t have to pay unemployment insurance.

    Normally I’m in favor of doing what you need to do, with respect to employment, to maintain your happiness. In this situation it sounds like you actually would not be able to eat without this job. If this is the case, I would definitely not let them bully you into quitting, but I would aggressively seek a new job. This is truly terrible, though – good luck.

  15. Divaliscious11 :

    Not in any way discounting your emotions, because bullying just completely sucks, as well as being yelled at, but what are they yelling at you about?

    Just trying to parse what is crappily communicated critique from, well, crap…

    • Who are Houston Atty, Divalicious, and eleanor replying to? it seems someone just told a serious story but I can’t see it?

      • There was a post but it disappeared….Very odd.

      • Divaliscious11 :

        There was a post where some seemed like they had an okay job but she was getting yelled at and the boss was a bully.

        • I think the post about yelling/bullying disappeared … and then re-appeared in a different location. Internet gremlins?

      • This is what happens if the original poster asks Kat to delete a post.

  16. Summer Associate :

    My brother just announced that he is getting married this summer. The wedding falls right in the middle of my 11-week summer associate position and will be held in his fiancee’s home country which is halfway around the world. Perusing travel options, it looks like I would need to be out of the office 1.5-2 days just to make it to the ceremony and reception. Should I even ask about being gone that long or will doing so reflect poorly on me? I’d love to attend the wedding, but I’d much rather have a job at the end of the summer. FWIW, the firm has traditionally had a very high offer rate (>95%). Thanks.

    • anon for this :

      I’m not a lawyer, BUT I think it’s very important for you to go to your brother’s wedding. I would say you need to take more than 1.5-2 days off if it is literally halfway around the world. My parents just traveled like this for my brother’s second wedding celebration (big wedding was here in the US) and it took them 2 weeks to recover from jetlag.

    • darjeeling :

      The firm should 100% understand and not hold it against you. (Also, if you skip a sibling’s wedding as a summer associate, just think of the sacrifices that they will expect you to make as an associate!)

    • MaggieLizer :

      You’re fine, go to the wedding. I probably wouldn’t take a whole week off over your summer if you can avoid it, if only because the summer is so short and you’d be missing out on good experience, but 2-3 days for your brother’s wedding is more than fine.

    • Go to your brother’s wedding.

    • Unless they figure out that they need to make serious cuts, firms tend to treat summers very well, since they actually want you to come work for them. They should be understanding and let you take 2 days. I probably wouldn’t ask for more than that since the summer isn’t very long, but you could inquire about working remotely/adjusting your schedule if you need to recover from jet lag.

    • just Karen :

      If there is any possible way to swing it, I think you should go to your brother’s wedding. You are much more likely to regret not going than going. I think that if you approach the issue with your firm well in advance of the start of the internship, you should be able to work something out (possibly even starting early or working on a project after the usual stop date). If it is a place that won’t facilitate you taking 3 days off for your brother’s wedding with six months advance notice, I would think twice about whether not getting a job offer with them would really be a long-term loss.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      “I’d love to attend the wedding, but I’d much rather have a job at the end of the summer.”

      Try this: When you are 80 years old, will you think ‘gee, I’m glad I didn’t go to my brother’s wedding’ or will you think ‘I wish I had just asked them about two days off’. it is a once in a lifetime thing (hopefully). You have one family. There are oh so many jobs.

      When you ask them, the answer will tell you everything you need to know about this firm’s culture. If they say no, then it may be that you don’t want to work there anyway as they may be a horrid sweatshop. Also, over 11 weeks, they will have plenty of time to assess your capability/commitment and they should be totally understanding of this. You will not be the first person to whom this has happened to. I would ask as soon as possible, to show initiative and willingness to make it work.

      Also, wedding abroad sounds super-fun :)

      • Kat in DC :

        You know, I used to use that “when you’re 80, what will you remember most” logic–but, when I’m 80, I hope I’ll have had a job in my younger years that allowed me to pay off my student loans and also, hopefully, save for retirement! If I can’t pay my medical bills when I’m 80, I will not look fondly on having taken the opportunity to jaunt across the world instead of keeping my head down in my 20s!

        Not snarking–and I generally agree with your philosophy–but I do think it needs to be taken in moderation.

    • There are very few things that are trump cards at firms. One of them is a sibling’s wedding. I think any firm would understand that you need to go to your brother’s wedding, and you can’t help where it’s located at. I would bring it up now, and tell them that you’d be willing to start early or stay a week late to make up for the lost time.

    • LA_Attorney :

      I took a day off work when I was a summer for my best friend’s wedding. No one even noticed. I think your personality, intelligence, and work habits are being judged–not whether you take a day or two off work for something as important as your brother’s wedding. People here may disagree with me, but I refuse to believe that missing a day of work for an important life event will matter even a little bit if you are an otherwise conscientious and dedicated worker. And if it does matter, that’s insane.

      • If it does matter, think to yourself “is this the type of firm I really want to work for anyway?” I doubt I’d want to work for a company that wouldn’t allow me 2 or 3 days off to go to my brothers wedding!

    • Absolutely go to your brother’s wedding. No question. Tell the summer coordinator about it in advance, and without apologizing, and take your 3 days. When you’re actually there, make sure you let assigning attorneys know if a project you’re working on will land on those days so there’s nothing being expected of you while you’re gone, but definitely go.

    • AnonInfinity :

      Go to the wedding! Talk to whoever you need to now so they’ll have plenty of notice (and maybe remind them when you start), but go to the wedding. For realz.

    • I took 2 days off over my summer to attend/participate in my best friend’s wedding. It was not a problem. Your firm will understand. Tell them in advance.

    • Not a lawyer but this really shouldn’t be a big deal. I’ve had summer interns take time off to attend family events/vacations.

      When you start, you should speak to your supervisor. Say something like, “I have to take 5 days from July 7-11 to attend a family wedding (you don’t even have to say what it’s for but people are generally understanding of family events). What is the protocol for taking time off?”

      Also, since you seem like a young person (now I feel old) – don’t feel like you have to be apologetic for having a life outside of your professional persona.

      • Anonymous :

        This. And offer to start a few days early or stay a few days late. Every firm I’ve worked for had summers starting and ending on different days for any number of reasons. (Not NY BigLaw, but secondary large city LargeLaw.) In fact, a surprising number of partners, and a lot of associates, would hold it against you if you chose to skip the wedding or tried to fly around the world and back in 2 days. Really.

        • Yeah, who does that? As a summer? Flying around the world and back in 2 days is just ridic.

        • This is actually a great idea. Ask if you can start a week early or a week late to make up the time you’ll be out of the office.

      • I would absolutely not ask for 5 days off. Its one thing to attend your sibling’s wedding, its another to ask for a weeklong paid vacation in an 11-week summer program. That will not endear you to your fellow summers or the firm. If it were in the US on a weekend day I would say you should take no more than one day off (Friday for a Saturday wedding/Monday for a Sunday wedding, and take a red-eye flight if necessary). Given that it is international and it is a sibling’s wedding, I think its reasonable to take 2 or even 3 days if necessary to travel, attend the wedding, and travel home. But you do not want them thinking you are gallivanting around a foreign country on their dime. Sorry, just being honest. I would definitely judge a summer associate who took 5 days off for anything other than a serious medical problem or a death in the immediate family (e.g. spouse, parent, sibling, child). And I would really take the minimum amount of time that allows you to fly to the wedding, attend the wedding and any closely associated events (e.g. a rehearsal dinner the night before), and fly home. You can go to work even while dealing with jetlag, etc. You don’t work that hard as a summer anyway.

        • Ick.

        • That’s why I put that “protocol” bit in there. When my intern took time off, we let him know it’s unpaid. Every company has different policies.

          Futhermore, have you ever traveled internationally? 2 days seems possible but highly unrealistic. If a summer came up to me and requested 2 days off to travel to Germany (for example) and back, I’d think this person doesn’t have the common sense to even plan a trip.

          • I read OP as saying it would take 2 days to get there… so 4 days travel total.

    • Parker - Boardroombelles :

      Prioritizing work is important – especially early in your career, but when it comes to those types of decisions I try to remind myself that who of the parties in question will be there for me when I’m old and dying and whether deciding against them could possibly prevent that. A sibling’s wedding is a must and every firm should understand.

    • I’m not defending this practice, but at my old firm, taking any time off — including for a close family member’s wedding — during the summer associate program would be something you’d want to get approval for in advance and should try to limit time off as much as possible. The rationale was that the firm has very limited time and so they didn’t want to get in the practice of allowing people to plan trips/vacations during the 8/10/12 week program. Again, I don’t think that this makes sense or that you should choose summer associate program over your brother’s wedding, but I did want to add a voice of dissent to say that it *could* be an issue — I agree with everyone else that it *shouldn’t*. All that being said, I think it’s more about how you handle the issue than the days off themselves.

      What I would do is reach out to your contact at the firm ASAP to explain that your BROTHER is getting married IN ANOTHER COUNTRY, and that you recognize that time off may not generally be permitted, but in light of the situation, you need to plan on taking [exact two days] off and will make sure that this has minimal impact on your work and the program. Also make sure that you are relatively certain of your travel plans and have a little wiggle room, as I wouldn’t want to get two days off only to have to call on the third to say you’re stuck wherever and can’t get back as scheduled.

    • Go to the wedding. I’m in biglaw, and can only think of a couple of really ridiculous firms where this might be a problem. You should alert your recruiter now that you are super, super excited about the summer program and can’t wait to start, and that you will be out on x day and y day because you’re attending your brother’s wedding in Country X. You will assure your recruiter that this travel will not affect the quality nor timeliness of any of your assignments, nor the amount of work you will take on. Say the same thing when you start to your assigned mentor, and the partners you work with. Then demonstrate both before and after the wedding that you are smart, dedicated, focused, eager, pleasant to work and socialize with, and you deliver quality product on time. Then that’s what people will remember you for during the evals – “the girl who did consistently great work,” not “that girl who took two days off.”

      I agree with aw that you shouldn’t plan on taking the last possible flight back home. Heaven help you if you miss that flight or connection, and show up to work later than your self-imposed deadline. Leave at least one flight extra between the wedding and your job, juuuuuuuuuust in case something happens.

      • And don’t take the last possible flight to the wedding either – you would hate to fly halfway around the world only to have a delay mean you miss the actual ceremony. Talk to his fiancee about what traveling to her home country entails and how much travel time to anticipate – as others said, taking time off for a wedding is reasonable, but you don’t want to be known as “the flake who asked for 2 days off that turned into 4 when her flight arrangements weren’t realistic”.

    • Go to the wedding and see if you can get the week off blessed so you have enough time to miss connections, get over your jet lag, and actually have a good time. BigLaw won’t work well if you start letting it beat you up as a summer associate.

      Partner here. We don’t expect summers to actually do anything. We try to get to know you and see if you do anything horrificly wrong. If not, it’s how do you fit with various groups and what are our needs likely to be. If you were traveling that much and only took a day or two, that would look weird to me. So many firms are doing abbreviated summers that I wouldn’t think a week would make much of a difference and as long as you’re there more than someone splitting a summer in total, I would not worry about it. If you like, maybe phrase it as “My brother is getting married in Uzbekistan and between getting there, getting back, and attending the wedding, it might take a week. I hate to miss a week of my summer and could start earlier to stay later [they will likely decline]. Please tell me what I need to do to take care of my work responsibilities for you.”

      The types who run summer programs are used to stuff like this and if you know someone at the firm, feel free to run it by them first.

      • Not a partner, but have been in biglaw for a while and totally cosign this. We give our summers realistic assignments, but if one is gone for a week, we’ll survive. And if she’s gone for a good reason, a “trump card” as SFBA called it, such as a sibling wedding, we wouldn’t bat an eyelash, as long as it was disclosed in advance. Enjoy the wedding!

    • Take 2-3 days off. Don’t make a big deal out of it but make sure people know and can plan around it. Obviously, you should complete any time-sensitive assignments before leaving even if it means coming in during the weekend or skipping a summer event or two in the evenings.

    • In fact, I would say that if I found out that a summer associate had skipped her brother’s wedding because she was afraid to ask for the time off, it would actually be a negative. I’d question whether that person had enough guts and self-confidence to succeed at BigLaw.

    • Just chiming in to say, go! When I was a summer (in a recent year where there was no guarantee of 100% offers), one of the other summers took a whole week off for her own wedding. It was fine. There were a bunch of us coming from semester schools and a few from quarter schools and because of that, they had different start/end dates anyway. I think she stayed a few extra days, and yes, she got an offer. Similarly, three months after I started as an associate, one of my other classmates took 3 WEEKS off to attend a siblings wedding in another country. He was definitely teased about it a little bit, but he kept his job and it never affected the work he got. I would make sure to mention where the wedding is taking place. At least at my firm, travel to far away countries for almost any reason is somehow more justifiable than travel closer to home. Also, travel for family reasons is looked upon more favorably. I’d say you’re just fine and you should take more than 2 days off (can you roll it into a weekend? leave on T/W, come back the following monday?)

    • Summer Associate :

      Sorry for the late response, but thanks for the advice and insightful discussion. I plan to research my flight options so I can approach the recruiter with a plan of exactly which two days I will be gone and offer to be available remotely and to make up the days either on weekends or after my end date.

  17. Generally you can’t get unemployment if you quit. If they want you to leave, make them fire you. That’s your best chance at getting unemployment.

  18. I got dumped last night. It wasn’t a real relationship, so not even a life-altering occurrence, really, but man, I was way more into this guy than I wanted to admit. And, unfortunately, apparently much more into him than he was into me. Dating s*cks.

    JSFAMO, right?

    • JSFAMO. You don’t want to be in a relationship where you’re more into the other person than they are into you. If for no other reason than it shows an extreme lack of judgment on their part ;). It is worth waiting for someone whom you do not have to feel like you’re convincing to like you. That said, take a day to lick your wounds if need be. Tea, cookies, wine, sympathy, etc!

    • I’m sorry, that really sucks. Be nice to yourself today!

    • Dating is awful sometimes. Sorry dear. And no matter what the relationship status, rejection stings. And yes, JSFAMO. Over a glass or two of wine tonight!

    • Hugs and rawrs

    • When I was seeing a guy, and we were in that situation (I was much more into him than he was into me), he *didn’t* dump me, and believe you me, that is much worse. I kept hoping things would change, he kept jerking me around, and when eventually it fizzled out it took me forever to move on.

      I feel your pain, but JSFAMO.

      (But first, get thee to a cookie store, drink wine, and wallow for a bit. *hugs*)

  19. Thanks to everyone for their tips on Barcelona yesterday! I’ve decided to stay in the city my entire trip rather than try to squeeze in Madrid and/or Granada. I’m going to do trips around the area (especially Figueres- I’m a big Dali fan, and Montserrat). I also signed up for a cooking class, and a bike tour. Yay!

  20. Travel TJ- I’m doing a last minute trip to Chicago this weekend to meet up with my SO!

    I looked back through the threads for Chicago recommendations, and while I think it’ll be too cold for any outside tours we’ll probably spend one day (afternoon) at the Field museum. Are the extra exhibits like “underground! and “extreme mammals!” worth seeing or are they more for young kids?

    This weekend will also be our “valentine’s day” so any intimate restaurants recommendations would be great.
    Our other night is going to be with friends at a pub type bar so the opposite of that would be great! We’re not big on Italian or upscale Americana, love Indian, Middle Eastern, and Asian.

    • espresso bean :

      If you can get in, try Arami or Yusho for Japanese/ramen/sushi. I’ve also heard great things about Takashi in Bucktown, but I haven’t been. Wasabi is great for a more casual spot. And Union Sushi & BBQ in River North has an inventive menu and a funky atmosphere (think street art on the walls).

    • kerrycontrary :

      I’ve been to the field museum and I liked all of the exhibits. I also like the aquarium in Chicago. For restaurants, Bistro 110 has been my favorite place there for a while.

      • Just FYI — Bistro 110 has been closed for awhile.

        • and was a tourist trap. don’t eat on the Mag Mile if you can avoid it.

        • kerrycontrary :

          Haven’t been there for a while, and thanks for the attitude…I know plenty of people who live in chicago that liked that restaurant.

    • GirlMeetsWorld :

      For Indian food, there’s Jaipur on Randolph. Alternatively, there’s Gaylord in the western suburbs (it’s close to Woodfield mall in case you also wanted to shop indoors).

      • Jaipur is awesome for Indian food in downtown Chicago, totally recommend.

    • layered bob :

      I think there is SO much great stuff to see at the Field Museum without the extra exhibits. It’s my second favorite Chicago museum.

    • Slurping Turtle for ramen and duck fat-fried chicken. Taxim is a great Greek place that’s not in Greek Town but Wicker Park (meaning, not touristy) and has an intimate feel. Urban Belly and Belly Shack are both Asian-fusion places that were delicious and interesting but better for lunch.

      If you like video games (old school) and drinking, there’s a fun bar called the Emporium in Wicker Park. It’s a craft beer bar meets arcade. The games are all from the 80s/90s and only cost a quarter to play. We went in the late afternoon on a Saturday, and it was busy but not ridiculously crowded.

      The Art Institute’s miniatures exhibit was super interesting to me (they were like the most elaborate dollhouses you’ve ever seen, but modeled after different historic period decor).

    • Field museum is great, but agree there is no need for the extra exhibits. Where are you staying? A few suggestions in the River North neighborhood. Slurping Turtle is great if you like Asian noodles/ramen. Q is a fun place for bbq. Bavettes might be nice for valentines dinner. My favorite Indian is India House.

      • Chicago consultant :

        Second Taxim rec – great for a couple dinner. Also Telegraph (logan square)
        For Asian – In addition to others already listed, Takashi is excellent at a higher price point, and Yuzu (West town) is a great wallet-friendly option.
        For a pre- or post-dinner drink (and excellent charcuterie), 694 wine & spirits.
        For Indian/SE asian cuisine – Try Cumin (wicker park).

      • We’re staying at the four points sheraton downtown, but we’ll have a car. Car may turn out to be a good thing or a huge hassle.
        All these recs look wonderful, thank you so much!

    • Tango Sur. BYOB and crazy packed, but if you call now you might be able to get on the wait list early.

  21. Ugh.

    Guys, just this week it occurred to me that I might be interested in a career in a different field. I had been happily planning on making my life in my current industry, but suddenly, now that I’m thinking about learning about this other option, all I can think about is how annoying my boss is and how much I am bored by my current job.

    My boss is actually pretty widely regarded as a total jerk, and I’ve been told by several people in my office that I’m the only one who can put up with him. Except suddenly now I feel myself straining to do so. (For what it’s worth, I adore all my other colleagues. Great, smart, supportive people.)

    I do like a lot of my job, and I’m at the beginning of working on a big project to expand my current responsibilities–but all I can think about is how much I’d rather be learning about this other industry.

    I didn’t have *any* of these feelings until this week, and although I’m definitely going to follow my gut and start looking for other opportunities, I don’t want to just be miserable and unmotivated until something changes. How do I get my groove back?

    • One square of a really good dark chocolate.

    • hellskitchen :

      Do you think you’d be fine with your current field if you could just change your current job or current boss? Perhaps you like this other field so much precisely because of your current situation but if you had a diff job or boss, you might find you don’t mind your current industry so much. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater and all that…

  22. Sweet Tooth :

    Does anyone have good ideas for foods to have as a treat at night that aren’t too high in calories and sugar? I always crave something sweet, but I hate to derail a day of healthy eating with a giant brownie.

    • Freeze a banana (it’s easier if you peel it first.) Put it in a food processor, and tadaaaaa! Ice cream! You can at a bit of nutella, or berries, or chocolate syrup…

    • I love banana soft serve (what De suggested above). Also, take an apple, peel, core, and chop it. Put it in a baking dish with a little bit of water and cinnamon, cover it with foil, and bake until soft. Your house will smell like apple pie.

    • if you’re into anise/licorice flavored stuff, I drink a licorice spice tea with no sugar that tastes like candy- there is some kind of chemical reaction that tricks you into thinking it it is sweet although it isn’t really. I like the ritual of making tea too and think that it marks a kind of “dinner is over” threshold.

    • Frozen blueberries are my favorite treat ever. They’re like candy, but healthy; I pour myself a bowl and eat until my fingers and mouth are purple.

      I’ve noticed that the price varies from about $2.50 – $5 depending on the grocery store, so worth scouting around if you become an addict like me.

    • Maddie Ross :

      Frozen individual size York peppermint patties. Yum!

    • I’m a huge fan of chocolate covered almonds. They’re fairly heavy so I usually only have 2-3 so even though they tend to be relatively high in calories, I find myself fairly satisfied after a couple.

    • I have a huge sweet tooth. I’ve been relying on flavored sparkling water for my fix. My office has a black raspberry flavor that tastes like kool-aid. Target has more flavors that I’m sure are equally sweet.

    • I have 2 coffee nips when I’m in need of a late-night sweet fix:

    • PB2 (powdered peanut butter, pick it up at Whole Foods) mixed with a few chocolate chips. Tastes so indulgent, yet it is well under 100 calories.

      • Praxidike :

        I think I may love you for introducing me to this product. Or hate you, depending on the size of my ass after I buy it. Or maybe both.

    • I have a big sweet tooth too. One of my favorite treats is fat free (I limit artificial sweeteners) vanilla yogurt with some raspberries or sliced strawberries (usually I sprinkle a little sugar on & let them sit a little so there is a little bit of a syrup). Just sweet enough to satisfy my sweet tooth, but still much healthier than a brownie. I also like the Skinny Cow ice cream treats. Not sure why, but ice cream usually hits the spot just before bed.

      Sometimes a fruity tea with a little honey also works for me.

    • I keep No Pudge brownie mix around. You can make individual servings by mixing with yogurt and microwaving. You can add some vanilla, peppermint, chili powder, etc. depending on what you feel like.

    • Diana Barry :

      Really dark chocolate. I like about 70%. Hits the sweet spot and if you eat it slowly, it WILL be satisfying. (Yes, I was also skeptical!!!)

    • hellskitchen :

      Fruit sorbets. Not as high in calories as ice creams. You have to be sure to get ones made with real fruit and with no added sugar.

  23. Nervous Negotiator :

    Hive, I could use some advice. I work for a very small firm (<5 attorneys). My 5th year anniversary with the firm is coming up and I think I would like to ask for my vacation time to be increased from 2 weeks per year to 3 weeks. However, the firm is doing very poorly. We have been in a downward slide for approximately the past two years. Because of this, I did not bother asking for a review or raise the past two years and, without me speaking up, my anniversary date was conveniently forgotten both of those years. I know that the firm is very happy with my work and wants to keep me. The partner never comes in and I basically run the office for him.

    I feel that I made a mistake in not asking for a raise the past two years (a conversation that I did not want to have because I am paid pretty well for the size of the firm). However, I understand that in the meantime they have given raises, increased vacation time, and little "bonuses" to the file clerk (who they recognize is not very competent). They have also hired on a new associate when we don't have enough work to go around, and they have hired another administrative-type full time to replace someone who was working part time. Psychologically, it is depressing to me not to be moving forward in my career in terms of pay. If I don't speak up, I am sure that they will continue to ignore this issue.

    I will note that I have been looking for another position, but so far have not even had an interview. Whenever I think about broaching this topic, it makes me very nervous. I feel like it is kind of outrageous to ask for something when the firm is doing poorly. However, I think it's pretty clear that they will not remember me when they do have extra funds– the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

    Should I ask for an increase in paid time off plus a raise and hope for the increased time off? Not ask for anything? Just ask for the increase in time off that I want? If I do ask for something, how should I approach it since the partner never comes into the office? I know this is a novel, so thanks for reading!

    • goldribbons :

      Why aren’t you looking for a new job?

    • GirlMeetsWorld :

      Yes on looking for a new job and yes you should ask for a reasonable raise/increased vacation time, esp if they are hiring other people. It’s ok for them to say no due to financial reasons but they need to know that you know that you are valuable and aren’t being compensated accordingly/are making sacrafices. If they do say no, maybe you can suggest some alternative, like a re-evaluation in 6 months instead of 12 months etc.

    • Yes, you should ask for a raise and/or increased paid time off. If you are uncomfortable, maybe read through the Ask A Manager archives to get some tips,

      Also, I would ask for reviews, even if you don’t think you’re likely to be able to get a raise. You should have a chance to hear about how you’re doing, and they should be willing to sit down and talk to you.

    • Anon in DC :

      Nervous Negotiator, you can do this. Read “Ask for It: How Women Can Use Negotiation to Get What They Really Want” by economist Linda Babcock. Amazon has it in Kindle and paper versions. It is immensely helpful with big picture and little picture issues in negotiations, including the baby steps you can take to become more comfortable in every day negotiations and big-deal negotiations. This book was transformative to me as a (former) nervous negotiator. One of my non-law friends–also a former nervous negotiator–used it to land a 40% raise. Granted, she is extremely talented and hard-working, but if you are basically running the law office, then you are too!

  24. Anyone else just discover that there is a new SimCity coming out, and are unaccountably excited?

  25. layered bob :

    picked up a navy lightweight wool suit (link to follow) at a substantial discount in Banana Republic after work last night. I’m headed to law school in the fall – is it conservative enough (with the skirt) for OCI and other law school interviews? or should I keep looking?

    • layered bob :

      • The only issue with this blazer would be the buttons, which you can easily change. The buttons have a casual look to them, hard to explain but you’ll know what I mean when you see them.

        • layered bob :

          thanks Lavender. Any recs for what kind of buttons to replace them with?

          • I would go with a standard tortoise shell button, the kind you’d find on any other BR blazer. You’d also be fine with black, I think.

    • I think so. I did OCI for small firms, gov’t, and NGOs, but I think it should work for any law school interviews. If you want to look conservative, keep your accessories conservative. I like the suit, though.

      You might want to keep looking just to have another suit so that you don’t have to agonize over wheter it’s ok to wear the same suit for the 1st interview and the callback or panic if you spill on your suit and need to get it cleaned. I would just keep an eye out for a suit that fits you well (or could be tailored to fit you well) for a good price, since you have a while to build your collection.

    • Yes–I own that one (I think it’s the same one) and have worn it on job interviews.

    • layered bob :

      thanks ladies! I have a grey suit too but just with pants. I’ve been working on slowly building my collection, holding out for suits I really like at a good price. I figure this way I have time to get them tailored and wear them a few times so I feel comfortable.

  26. I’ve been thinking recently about my shopping habits. I love shopping, and I love wearing beautiful clothes. I don’t spend wildly, and shop within my price range/budget and it makes me happy. I’ve been working for about a year and a half now, so spent a lot of last year amassing a “working wardrobe” of clothes that I love and hanging out on this site always makes me want more! (I’m looking at you, cheap equipment blouses!)

    BUT – I work in a small firm. No one sees me except my older (male) boss, our secretary, and two other female associates around my age. Occasionally I am in court, but I have more than enough suits that I rarely wear. So I think my question is – is there even a point? Why am I wasting my money on lovely office attire when no one cares what I look like?

    I think the other women in my office also spend a good amount of money on their clothes and also dress up much nicer than is really expected of any of us. I just don’t know why we do it though. I could be saving so much money if I just had one nice pair of shoes, a couple of slacks, and some blouses and a good rotation plan.

    • I think you answered your own question in the second sentence you wrote. “I love shopping, and I love wearing beautiful clothes.” If you like it and it makes you happy (and isn’t making you broke in the process), why change? Sure you could get by just fine with a paired-down wardrobe. Most women reading this blog probably could. But just because fewer people see your pretty clothes isn’t a reason in and of itself to stop wearing them. You see you every day and if those pretty clothes make you feel good about yourself, then rock on.

      • this

      • This! I could have written the exact same post because I have more than enough clothes and don’t need more but I feel really good about myself when I’m in a nice work outfit and because I feel like I’m dressed like a grownup/professional, I try harder at work sometimes.

        My shopping allowance per month is probably fairly high but I’m covering the rest of my expenses and saving a decent amount so I don’t let myself feel guilty about it. I don’t have expensive hobbies and shopping + wearing nice new clothes makes me happy so I don’t feel bad. (sometimes I do – but I can always end up justifying ti!)

      • Yes, you’re totally right. I think I just need a bit more balance in the whole thing – I’ve decided that I’ve now built up my wardrobe it’s time to slow down. I have more than enough clothing so shopping has begun to feel a bit wasteful.

        • Senior Attorney :

          I hear you on that point. I’m doing a 12 x 12 this year: LImiting myself to one purchase per month, and I’m also determined to stick to my monthly budget. However, I am allowing myself to “roll over” unspent money and unbought items. So, for example, because I didn’t buy any clothing in January (a first!), I have all of January’s money and January’s one item available for February, in addition to February’s money and February’s one item.

          It’s been fun so far and has kept me from making a lot of impulse purchases that wouldn’t have added much value beyond closet clutter.

      • Ditto. I like nice clothes and continue to shop even though I have plenty of clothing. It also makes me feel more confident to be put together. Now that you have a core wardrobe, perhaps focus on buying only things that you truly love. I buy a lot online but probably return 90-95%.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I am also in a position where nobody really sees my fab work outfits except my immediate (small) staff and the two colleagues with whom I regularly lunch. I could definitely spend WAY less on work clothes and dress much more simply.

      But I love my pretty clothes and figure fashion is my hobby. And it’s okay to spend money on hobbies.

      That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it.

      • TO Lawyer :

        haha I wonder if my SO would buy that “fashion is my hobby and it’s ok to spend money on hobbies” reasoning. He always rolls his eyes at me when I buy something new or try to justify expensive purchases to him.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Mr. Senior Attorney never gets the chance to do any of that because we have (a) a clothing budget for each of us, and (b) a personal spending budget for each of us. As long as my clothing purchases come out of one of those two budgets, he doesn’t really get to comment on it/I don’t feel the need to justify a purchase to him.

          And similarly, he doesn’t have to justify his ridiculously expensive gadgets to me as long as they come out of the gadget budget or his personal spending budget.

          • TO Lawyer :

            ya my SO doesn’t really need justification or comment on my purchases anyways – he just has trouble understanding why I continue to shop when I have a fairly full closet. I think he’s starting to understand that it’s just something he’s going to have to accept because I love shopping and new clothes

    • anonymou5 :

      this. no one in my firm cares what i look like as long as everything that should be covered is covered. my new cobalt blue silk shirt is for me!

  27. How do I nicely help my husband get healthier? In the past 8 months he’s gained about 25lbs. I think it’s mostly from having a high stress job that involves a lot of desk time during the day, a lot of client dinners at night, and a lot of travel. It’s a brutal combination. He was always healthy-ish, but health and fitness have definitely fallen by the wayside recently. It’s really important to me that I help him build healthy habits now while we’re young because both of his grandfathers died young of heart problems. I’m not sure the best way of addressing it because I’m in business school and have much much more free time for exercise and I don’t want him to feel like I don’t get that his day is much busier than mine. I already do 90% of the stuff around the house given my free time, so there’s any one thing that I can take over to free up time for him to exercise. Any advice?

    • I would (and have) approach it in a “Honey, I know you’re very busy, but I’m concerned about your health. I want you to be around for many, many years. Will you please think about some small changes we could make together to help with this? Is there anything I can do to help support you?”

      Truth is, unless he decides he really wants to get healthier, there’s not a whole lot you can do without being a nagging wife. Once he decides what he’s going to do to be healthier, support him 100%. My dh goes to the gym three evenings a week. Some nights I really would rather he stay home so we can spend some time together. However, I know it’s important, and it’s not something he really enjoys, so I’m always very supportive, put the kids to bed, do evening chores, etc. so he doesn’t feel bad about leaving me for an hour or two.

    • chubby hubby :

      I posted a similar question on a Coffee Break earlier this week. Run a search for my handle and you should find it. Good luck, and report back if you find a good solution!

  28. The earlier thread about money got me thinking is it a bad idea to set career goals for yourself based on salary?

    I grew up without a lot of money so I have had it in my head that I need to earn six figures to feel accomplished. I am not there yet and I constantly beat myself up over it for feeling like I am not successful. I understand that money doesn’t determine your worth as a person but I do think that is coincides with your professional worth to your organization. Hence I always feel like I am less accomplished than someone who gets paid more than me.

    • Having made career goals based on salary, and becoming a very miserable person, I think it’s a horrible idea.

      Most important, I think, is working at a place where I am paid fairly with people that don’t drive me batty. I am only now catching up to the salary I was making 4+ years ago but it is worth it because I am now rid of a bullying boss and insane, unpredictable hours. I turned down a casual, potential job offer just this morning from a friend who is a partner in BigLaw. It would be a $100k+ raise but the price I’d pay is a longer commute, 200+ more hours billed per year, and moving into a higher-drama office setting. No thank you.

      That said, salary is a good gauge of advancement and growth. I’ve revised my salary goals to being less “must make $X” and more “I want to raise my wages n% each year.”