Wednesday’s Workwear Report: Floral Jacquard Blazer

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

This blazer from Loft is really interesting — I don’t think I’ve seen this sort of jacquard pattern on an otherwise matte blazer. It would be great for holiday parties or just for an unusual blazer to wear around the office. (Note that there are matching pants if you really want to go all out, although I don’t know how advisable that would be.) It’s machine washable, too, which is always good. The blazer comes in regular and petite sizes 00–18 and is $128. You can get free shipping and 50% off right now with code VERYMERRY. Floral Jacquard Blazer

Here’s a plus-size option.

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  1. Gonna start us off with….


    • I had to google that but yes!! RMFT!!

      • Senior Attorney :

        Haha the first result I got was “registered marriage and family therapist!”

        But yes! RMFT!!!

    • Or WDE. Better yet, “turn it up”- clearly people put rivalries aside.

    • YES! I am still elated from last night. It was/is crazy awesome.

    • Anonymous :

      Thanks Black People of Alabama!

      • Never too many shoes... :

        + 1 Billion.

      • Anonymous :

        This. I’m white and I’m pretty frustrated with Moore getting a solid majority of white people. Black women voted 97% for Jones. White men had enfranchisement to themselves for hundreds of years, we’d all be better off if enfranchisement was limited to black women for a few election cycles.

      • Yes, this. 70% of white people voted for Roy Moore. The only reason Jones won is because black voters showed up and voted overwhelmingly for him.

    • Have yall seen this tweet from Mike Huckabee? Heck yeah! lol

      “Roy Moore won’t concede; says will wait on God to speak. God wasn’t registered to vote in AL but the ppl who voted did speak and it wasn’t close enough for recount. In elections everyone does NOT get a trophy. I know first hand but it’s best to exit with class.”

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        “God wasn’t registered to vote” is one I’m going to have to remember for future elections

        • nasty woman :

          I want to make sure he’s able to offer proper photo ID before he can vote. I’m no biblical scholar or anything but I don’t think the father, son, or holy ghost have a driver’s license, birth certificate, or other government issued ID.

      • So God would have def voted for Roy Moore? Under the God is all powerful theory, I’d say he definitely voted and it wasn’t for Moore.

        • Anonymous :

          This. I attend church regularly and my God was not voting for Moore. I don’t know who Moore thinks is talking to him, but it ain’t Jesus.

        • That is a rather tortured reading of Huckabee’s statement.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        It is a weird world when Mike Huckabee makes sense.

      • I heard this quote from a black pastor on Morning Edition this morning…powerful:

        “All of these evangelicals who claim that they have a corner on Jesus…the black church stood up and said that the true Jesus of liberation and justice will always overpower the Jesus of dominance and racial hierarchy and division.”

      • That’s what people fail to see about Roy Moore- He has no CLASS!

    • I have a client in large city in AL and spend a lot of time down there. The people I work with work with are almost all white. I was absolutely (pleasantly) shocked to wake up and see this result. I was telling DH last night I had no idea why anyone thought the race was even close. Nobody I spoke with changed their views; they’d rather vote for a morally questionable person than someone who would legalize abortion.

  2. Anonymous :

    I went to a new dermatologist about a week ago for a skin cancer screening. I was hoping for something more thorough – The doctor spent under 5 minutes with me and didn’t say a word while checking my skin. I was specifically curious about a brown spot on my arm that has inconsistent coloring and jagged edges. When I asked about it, I was told that they saw it and that it’s probably nothing.
    I was hoping to have a doctor that would talk about what some of the spots were, why they’re not issues, and what to look out for. Is this a reasonable expectation? I’m just a bit disappointed by this experience.

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve found it hard to find a good dermatologist for the same reason. I’ve seen 3 in my area and none of them have a very good “bedside manner”. I had surgery a few years ago and on one appointment I asked if the doctor might look at my stitches to see if they were healing ok. Same kind of non chalant response you described. I’m still looking…

      • Linda from HR :

        When I was 17 I was lucky enough to find a really good dermatologist and, I shirt you not, it changed my life. I finally got rid of my horrible acne problem! The practice my family went to literally had two dermatologists, one was meh, a little weird and just kinda looked at you and went “yeah you definitely have acne, here’s the same benzoyl peroxide stuff I give literally everyone with acne” or “eh, that mole doesn’t look so bad” but the other dermatologist thoroughly examined my skin AND explained the best way to remove a mole if I wanted to have mine removed for peace of mind. Everyone deserves a doctor like that.

        I was so sad when she left, no idea where she went.

        • Your state may have a website that you can search that lists professional license holders (doctors are common) and their contact information.

    • I would go somewhere else. Better safe than sorry.

    • If it helps, my dermatologist is basically the same at my annual skin cancer screening but when she did the same to my husband she found a spot she was concerned about, which was excised and found to be stage zero melanoma. Of all the weird spots on his body, this was a tiny one neither of us had ever noticed. So, I guess I’d rather she concentrate while checking us that chit chat with me.

      Brown spots are likely sebborheic keratoses for what it’s worth.

    • Constant Reader :

      That’s not my experience with my excellent dermatologist — she tells me what she is doing (although five minutes is pretty standard) but she always answers my questions when she is burning spots off and is very informative. However, while she has been great for my rosacea issues, she is primarily a skin cancer doc (I have very high risk). She was recommended by what I call my “spa dermatologist” (laser treatments) when I asked for a good skin cancer doc. If skin cancer screening is your main concern, perhaps looking at the focus of the practice might help in finding a new one? [email protected]:08 — that’s a weird response from a dermatologist. In my experience, they are the only ones who care about scarring from stitches….

    • Anonymous :

      Eh, they checked, you don’t have cancer. You need a pep talk about every spot? No.

      • When I choose a service provider, I expect a certain level of service. No, OP, this is not a reasonable expectation – keep looking for a new dermatologist.

        The person I see first asks if there are any spots that I have observed changes and examines those first. Then does a full body review which is pretty quick. After that, he identifies any spots that he suggests keeping a closer eye on and proceeds with removal of any that look dicey.

        I’ve had about five benign spots removed over the past 15 or so years. The appointments are efficient, but all questions and concerns have been discussed thoroughly.

    • I don’t think it is an unreasonable expectation, but did you ask those questions? I think doctors don’t realize that the person they are seeing might want to understand those things. My mom is notorious for complaining about doctors and that she didn’t get information, but she doesn’t ask questions. But if you really don’t like the doctor, then yes, find a new one.

    • I LOVE my dermatologist in NYC: Jane Schneider. Amazing bedside manner. Near Columbus Circle.

  3. Betterandbetter :

    Is a Yankee allowed to say “Heck yeah”? Cause Heck Yeah. I know the universe had to conspire for this to happen but sometimes the universe conspires and I am absurdly pleased.

    • Trump is a loser who backs losers. Good riddance to Moore. I hope he’s humiliated to his core and so distraught that he can’t function in public life anymore.

      • Minnie Beebe :

        Roy Moore hasn’t even conceded yet. I’m thinking he’s not quite ready to disappear.

        But great work, Alabama and the Doug Jones team!

        • Anonymous :

          Yes, let’s all remember that God is (somehow) on Roy Moore’s side and God “is not done working,” or something. Roy Moore, acknowledged pedophile, somehow has a direct conduit to God’s thoughts and his life is being directly influenced by God’s actions.

          Fortunately, the margin of victory was such that no automatic recount would be triggered, and the Alabama Supreme Court already thwarted one (pre-election!) attempt by Moore to retain ballots for a recount effort. I think the vote last night speaks for itself: Alabamans are not buying what Roy Moore is selling. But it will take awhile for poor old Roy to get that message. Pobrecito.

          • Anonymous :

            That makes me think of the joke where it flooding and the guy prays to God for help. A boat passes,, offering to take the guy and he says “No thank you, God will save me”. Several other opportunities come up for the man to get out and he declines each time, citing God. Guy dies, goes to heaven and asks God “Why didn’t you save me?” God replies, “What do you think the boat [and other options] was?”

            Roy Moore may have a direct line to God, but he’s not getting the message (allegations, non-endorsements, LOSING THE ELECTION) that is being sent.

          • Technically, he isn’t a pedophile.

            He is clearly an awful creep re adolescent girls and women, but if he’s also checked the pedophile box, I missed that.

          • Never too many shoes... :

            10 am Anonymous who is not sure about Moore “checking the pedophile box”…here is a link to a photo of Leigh Corfman at age 14 when she was assaulted by a 32 year-old Moore.

            That is a child, right there.

          • Never too many shoes... :

            Better with the link!


          • The things I’ve been hearing Christians say in defense of Moore are really unsettling. The one that is sticking with me is the claim that “the Bible says” (it doesn’t) that Mary was a 14 year old when she married Joseph and gave birth to Jesus.

            I know there are popular Catholic traditions that Joseph was old and Mary was young, but even Catholics don’t take those seriously, so I don’t know why Protestants would.

            The best I can come up with is that somebody reasoned out that if women in antiquity married when they reached sexual maturity, they would have married at 14, which is assuming a lot especially given that menstruation (which =/= ovulation!) starts at younger ages in the modern world. I guess I’m left with the impression that this story is popular because it vindicates creeps, and I think religious people everywhere need to push back on this.

            Back to the election, I am worried that Moore will not feel that discouraged given how close the vote was.

          • IIRC from my internship in family court, pedo is prepubescent (like very young children, not teens).

            Both <18 and pedos are problems, but IMO not the same.

          • Never too many shoes... :

            The DSM diagnosis for pedophilia defines “prepubescent” to age 13, so not just very young children.

          • Anonymous :

            If Joseph was old and Mary was very young, that would explain why they were telling everyone Mary was a virgin.

        • Linda from HR :

          It’s like he’s super persistent and can’t take “no” for an answer . . .

        • he hasn’t conceded the Civil War yet.

  4. Baconpancakes :

    How much do you pay for standard tailoring, like getting a skirt waist brought it or getting pants hemmed? I still want to bring my complicated pieces to my excellent seamstress (like the asymmetrical Halogen twist-front skirt I posted about a while ago – she’s hemming that for $25 and that seems cheap for how complicated it seems to me), but I simple things, like a seam that needs reinforcing or a basic hem, are still $20, which seems high?

    • No that’s not high. Just taking the time to work on your piece and bill you etc would be worth $20 of her time.

    • Anonymous :

      That’s not high

    • cat socks :

      I recently found a new tailor and paid $10 to get a pair of ponte knit pants hemmed. I haven’t gotten anything more complicated done yet.

    • Anony Mouse :

      I think it depends on cost of living in your area. I’m in a LCOL city and my tailor charges $8 to have a pair of pants hemmed and $15 for a lined skirt. Even in my city, though, I think if I went to a tailor in a nicer part of town, I’d probably pay prices closer to what you’ve said.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Our COL index is at 113, so above national average, and she’s downtown, in a very convenient spot, so it’s probably in line with the cost. I might get it cheaper if I drove to the suburbs, but I love my small-city urban lifestyle, so the extra five is probably worth it to be able to walk to her on my lunch break.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Ok, thanks, y’all! I stumbled onto a tailor in DC who did hems for $10, and took in the waist of skirts for $15, and have only been to that guy, a woman here who was wildly incompetent, and my current seamstress, so I wasn’t sure.

    • Triangle Pose :

      Hemming pants and having a skirt waist brought in are two really different tailoring tasks. I would expect to pay more for taking in the waist of a skirt than a pants hem. But even then, there isn’t really “standard” tailoring because every garment is different – if your hem is for pants that are lined or made or a difficult-to-work-with fabric, that’s going to up the time the tailor spends and thus the price. I would try to frame it as paying for the tailor’s time, rather than thinking about “standard” and “non-standard” tailoring.

    • lawsuited :

      I take every single thing I wear to work to my seamstress, so I think she may give me some kind of loyalty discount, but she charges me $10 to hem a pair of pants,but $20 to hem a skirt or dress that is fully lined.

  5. Looking for a recommendation on a spa/nail place in Prescot, AZ? Any help from the hive?

  6. Anonymous :

    I like to wear socks around the house, but mine are leaving indentations at the top. Any recommendations for better ones?

    • Minnie Beebe :

      I have a pair of smartwool socks with what I’d call a roll top, instead of normal banding. Those might work. otherwise, try slippers instead?

    • Try the pillow sole socks that are sold at Nordstrom Rack. They are super soft and do not leave any marks in my experience. My mom is also obsessed with these.

  7. Thank you Alabama!!!!

    I feel like I have been holding my breath for a month and can finally exhale.

  8. Does anyone have suggestions for a holiday gift for an 18 month old niece? Or websites that have good recommendations for kids by age groups? This is the only kid in my life so far so I’m clueless.

    • The gift guides on Modern Parents Messy Kids are fantastic. They break it down by ages and interests.

    • Puddlejumper :

      Ask the parents what they need. But the kid probably has more than enough toys. Of course ask them but I often find experience gifts really appreciated such as providing the family a year membership to the children’s museum or a zoo or swimming lessons.

    • I like the Savvy Auntie site, which sounds like exactly what you are looking for. I haven’t looked at it in a while but remember good descriptions and curation in their gift lists.

    • Anonymous :

      Books. Get books. Ask the parents if there are any favorites that need replacing. Or find new flashy ones (with popups) that the parents would never buy themselves.

    • Board books and more board books.

      • Yes! Boynton books are great for that age. In my house we are also big fans of I am a Bunny, which is gorgeously illustrated and usually $5 or less at Amazon. The Bunny Book from the same author is also great (I like these last two because they are older and most parents today don’t have them so it’s usually a safe bet). Hush Little Polar Bear is also a nice, less common option and you can sing the whole book, if you’re into that.

        I wouldn’t get Pop Up books b/c most kids just destroy them and honestly I always feel awkward saying what my daughter actually needs unless it’s like my mom. Even if she needs snow boots, I probably want to buy them myself and I am not a person with an amazon wish list, but maybe that’s just a me thing.

        Generally, at this age, bath toys and toddler art supplies are also good. Duplos, too. Musical things, if your sister/brother won’t mind. I would look at toys for 2 year olds because kids tend to grow a lot and very quickly at this stage.

      • I absolutely lurve Mo Willems’ elephant and piggie books! Also, my two year old just discovered Llama Llama books. These aren’t board books, but they work well for the 2-4 yr old range. And my 5 yr old still likes them.

        • Anonymous :

          I found a llama llama holiday board book on amazon for my nephew a few months back. You may be able to find some!

    • Wow, thanks so much everyone! This is just what I needed.

    • Anything by Green Toys. Sturdy, practically indestructible, fun in the bath and made from recycled milk jugs! The boats and planes, recycle truck, dishes/pots and pans, and flower set all were big hits at my house and the vehicles still get regular use years later.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      My kiddo was getting into mild pretending at that age, if I remember. Mostly “making waffles.” She would’ve flipped for set of pans / mixing bowls / whisk. If this is for Xmas, see if the parents/grandparents are getting a big thing and you can contribute an accessory. Like when she was almost 2, Kiddo got a play kitchen, and her aunt and uncle got her a coffee maker to go with it. This year grandma is getting her an easel and aunt and uncle are getting her some kind of “easel accessory kit” that the same manufacturer makes.

  9. “B. Wheeee-ls! Soft Cars” – get hours of play in the 1-2.5 year range by both girls and boys.

    Any play food from Learning Resources – their food is tough plastic that holds up. They have great healthy lunch/dinner sets, a cool coffee set, and the best one – a farmers market color sorting set.

    A doctor kit with a stuffed animal patient.

    The plush wonder woman rabbit from Gund

    The cube “Roll and Play” toddler game.

    For an entire list, the “Mighty Girl” website has a gift guide that you can sort by age. You might want to go for the 2-3 age, so she can grow into the toys.

  10. I’m annoyed with my husband and don’t know if I’m overreacting. He is, apparently, having trouble coming up with Christmas gift ideas for me. Earlier this year, I lost my fitness tracker. (The clasp was loose and it fell off my wrist, never to be found again.) Yesterday, he texted me and asked if I was interested in a new one. I said sure, why not. His response was along the lines of “OK, pick out what you want and send me the link, and I’ll get it for you for Christmas.”

    That was annoying enough — like, seriously dude, you’re really going to make me pick out my own gift? Never mind that I’ve been talking to your mom ALL WEEK, feeding her gift ideas for our entire family, including you.

    This morning, he emails me again, wondering if I’ve picked out a fitness tracker yet. No, dude, I haven’t. I saw you and the kids for approximately 45 minutes last night until I headed out to a dinner. I got home at 9:30 and went to bed right away. When would I have time to look for my own present?

    I want to tell him not to bother. I don’t have time to research my own gift, in addition to all the other holiday duties I’m carrying. I haven’t even finished shopping for other people yet. It’s extra annoying because DH looooves researching purchases. He’s spent literally weeks deciding which Gizmo watch to get our kid. But can he do the same for me? Apparently not.

    • Anonymous :

      “Surprise [email protected]

    • Anonymous :

      You’re right to be annoyed – there’s a definite lack of thoughtfulness/sensitivity to what your life is like. Tell him. Email basically what you’ve said here. If you were happy with the fitness tracker you had, tell him what it was and ask him to look into the newer/upgraded version, come back with that and a couple of other options and you’ll pick one.

    • Tell him this. Say you are feeling unappreciated for all the mental labor you are putting into the holidays. That you wish he could come up with a gift idea for you without your help and that you at least want him to do the research. He is not a mind reader. He obviously is reading your feelings and wants wrong, so tell him what you need.

    • “I’m hurt that you are asking me to pick out my own gift, especially since you spent weeks researching the perfect gift for Kiddo. I’ve spent the week coming up with ideas for your mom for everyone, I just can’t muster any more energy to research a gift for myself. Please surprise me with something. Love you.”

      • I like this script. The thing is, gifts aren’t even my love language. Usually I don’t mind giving him ideas, but this request just put me over the edge. This is what emotional labor looks like!

        • In a way, this falls into, or at least blurs into, Acts of Service. It’s not about the gift, it’s about the task of researching and picking out the “right” one.

    • I totally get why you’re annoyed and I would be too. The only reason I could even think of him doing it this way is if fitness trackers are all so different/people have strong preferences for which one they want. However, in that case, he should research the different types, provide you with a list with the overall pros and cons listed, and then ask you which one. That would be being thoughtful. The way he’s doing it now is asking you to do all the work.

    • He probably did start researching and discovered there’s a lot of differences and that’s why he’s asking a preference. Better that than get the wrong thing (and have you mad because he couldn’t read your mind). Are you sure this is about a fitness tracker? You sound spoiled and unnecessarily hostile. Would you feel the same if this were a friend asking you? Maybe take a deep breath and deal with this when you’re less busy. (He thought of the tracker on his own, right?)

      • It’s not “spoiled and unnecessarily hostile’ for her to be frustrated that he expects her to pick out every single gift for Christmas for everyone including her own. Buy her something – get a gift receipt but it’s not a ‘gift’ if she has to do the work behind it as well. A good friend wouldn’t be that insensitive either.

      • Lol what? Spoiled and hostile? She’s helping HIS mother to pick out gifts for the kids. She doesn’t have to do literally everything for everyone – including herself! – to avoid being “spoiled”. If anything the husband is the spoiled one, he’s just sitting back pretending to ignore the fact that she’s doing all the work.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Honestly, I think you are overreacting a bit (not surprising as it is a stressful time of year). A fitness tracker is a pretty personal item so perhaps he feels like you may want a specific one with whatever applications or details suit you best. I would way rather get the one that I want than one he picked for me for something like this.

      Then again, I am a woman who picked out her own engagement ring for the same reason so YMMV.

      • Equestrian attorney :

        I had a very similar conversation with my husband this year. He is otherwise great and pretty good at the random just because gifts, but terrible at occasion gifts. I mentioned I liked some of the stuff in one store and sent him a link (small selection, all gift appropriate). A few days ago, I mentioned something about family gifts and he was like – darn, I haven’t bought your gift yet. Can you send me that link again? And tell me what you like? – at which point we had a long talk about how part of gifting is the mental labor of picking something out for the people you love and while I am happy to provide guidance it should not result in more work for me. There was a nice package under the tree last night so hopefully my point has been made…

        • “how part of gifting is the mental labor of picking something out for the people you love and while I am happy to provide guidance it should not result in more work for me.”


          • Rainbow Hair :

            I’ve had to do this with events that we celebrate — anniversaries and my birthday, mostly. Like, “OK, the special thing that I want to do on my birthday is NOT pick the restaurant. Got it?” … aside from the fact that I have to say it every time, it does work.

          • THIS except when the person who wants to be emotionally labored over then complains about the inappropriateness of the gift. This is what happens in my marriage and why we basically don’t buy each other gifts, which doesn’t feel bad at all.

          • Anonymous :

            +1 to tesyaa
            I have had to explain to my mother multiple times that the reason she now has to make every decision in her life is that when others have made decisions in the past, she has, without fail, criticized or shown her disappointment about those decisions.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Yeah, my husband is like this. He is fantastic at “just because” gifts (as in, over the weekend he seriously wanted to buy me a red two-seater convertible for no reason!) but notsomuch “occasion” gifts.

          So I have decided to just let the occasions go and enjoy the heck out of the random gifts. It’s just easier and much more pleasant that way. YMMV, of course.

      • Yeah, I definitely get that a fitness tracker is a personal item. I’m probably reacting from holiday stress around gifts in general. But, I still agree with Equestrian attorney’s point that a gift shouldn’t require more work from me, especially when I’m doing most of the mental labor around gifts as it is!

      • I’m like Never too many shoes. I’d rather pick out exactly what I want and get it rather than have him buy me the wrong tracker. But you can be mad at him for nagging you about it this morning, if you want. You can pick out your fitness tracker at your leisure. :)

        • There’s this, which I do understand. It’s not my approach to giving or receiving gifts, but I understand why people want that. What drives me crazy is when someone picks out a reasonable gift and then the giver of that gift complains about the person’s selection.

          I chatted for a few minutes this morning with one of my colleagues who I am fairly close friends with. He was complaining (yes, complaining) that his wife has asked for an apple watch for Christmas. he doesn’t think she’ll really “use it” and thus he doesn’t want to get it for her. this is the only thing she’s asked for. He said it’s not about the cost, so I know that’s not why he’s complaining. I just told him that this was one of those times you just shut up and buy her the d*mn gift.

          • Never too many shoes... :

            Oh now that is not ok. If the person is asked to pick, then you get them what they picked without questioning their choice.

        • Linda from HR :

          Often, when I know what I want, I know exactly what kind and color. If I don’t, I’ll just say very honestly “I know I want this thing, but I don’t know exactly what model or color or anything, and honestly I have so much going on that I can’t spend time figuring it out,” and my mom accepts that. But when I’m not specific and she does the choosing, she will usually check in after presents and make sure I’m happy with what she picked.

      • biglawanon :

        I agree with this. I was picky about which fitness tracker I wanted, particularly the display features. But then again my husband and I don’t do material gifts for each other, so ymmv.

    • Linda from HR :

      People have different approaches to Christmas presents. You’re like my sister, you don’t want to pick your Christmas presents, you want the people close to you to put in some thought and effort and show you how well they know you, to show that they’ve been paying attention and listening to you throughout the year. But the rest of my family is all about making wish lists and passing around ideas that someone has actually said they want, and it’s possible his family is like that and that’s why you’re the one feeding his mom ideas.

      For electronics, it is important to know what specs you want. Do you want a simple tracker or a fancy one that tracks your heart rate and tells you when you get a text message. Unless you’ve told him what you liked or disliked about your tracker, he probably does have no idea what kind to get, so if you just say “get me a simple one that tracks steps” or “get me one that measures my heart rate,” that might be enough, he can chat with a salesperson who can help pick something specific, or he can shop around for the best deal.

    • I totally get this! I recently had a conversation with BF about what it means to each of us to give and receive a thoughtful gift. For me, it’s understanding what the person needs or will like and taking on the labor of finding it and buying it. Receiving a thoughtful gift means that you actually thought about me, not just bought what I asked you to buy. For him, it’s about buying a gift that is absolutely perfect and exactly what the person will use, even if that means asking them to pick out their gift. Receiving a thoughtful gift means that it’s not something that will go to waste or that he’ll feel guilty about pretending to like.
      I’d try having this conversation with your husband if you haven’t already to make sure you understand each other’s expectations for giving and receiving.

      • apparently I'm a gift grinch :

        Yeah, I’m similar to C’s boyfriend so to me, your husband’s behavior is not only acceptable but really appreciated. I explicitly tell people not to get me gifts, or to just write me a nice card because I so actively dislike getting thoughtful gifts that are not in line with my needs or wishes (don’t worry, I would never say that second half aloud). I feel the same way about giving presents. I think in this situation you should try to assume good intentions and use one of the scripts above to ask for what you need!

        • Linda from HR :

          This seems like it’s the straw breaking the camel’s back. OP has done so freaking much this Christmas to make sure hubby gets nice gifts, and has probably taken care of a ton of other stuff because that’s what women are expected to do around the holidays. Asking what fitness tracker she wants is innocuous but to her it’s one more thing she has to think about, less than two weeks before Christmas.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Honestly, this is why SO and I stopped giving each other gifts years ago. Neither of us want to deal with picking out presents for each other when we already had to come up with presents for other family members. Picking gifts is hard. Decided it’s not worth adding the work of picking out gifts for ourselves and most things we need we just buy anyway when we need them, so we go out for a nice dinner instead.

      • +1. Life is stressful enough. If we want something we buy it whether it’s Christmas or not. We go out to a nice dinner for Christmas or make dinner at home. Christmas is all about my kids now, not us parents. But I do get that some people’s love language is gifts….mine is not.

      • This is what my husband and I do too. If we do want something specific, we send each other the link to what we want and we know that specific item will be under the tree Christmas morning.

        To the people who just love gifts and get their jollies participating in elaborate gift-giving rituals – please understand, not everyone is like you. I hate Christmas because every year in my house growing up, gifts became like this test of how much you loved the other person. My mother would never say what she wanted, but if you guessed wrong and gave her the “wrong” gift, it was obviously because you didn’t love her enough and you hadn’t paid attention. She would sulk for days over getting the “wrong” present. If she got us something we didn’t like, we were just selfish and insufficiently grateful. Gifts were also never given in a true spirit of generosity – it was always implied the “gift” was either payback for a past favor or created an obligation for a future favor. Once I became an adult, I decided I was tired of the game and gift-giving being treated as some kind of high-stakes exam, and I stopped participating in family Christmas. Because I finally realized nothing I did would ever be good enough. I’m sympathetic to the OP’s husband. In just asking for specifics of what she wanted, he apparently failed the test she set for him, which he didn’t even know he was taking. Don’t be surprised, people, if eventually the people in your life whom you keep testing also decide they’re done playing the game.

        • Whoa, that’s terribly unfair. I am not setting up a test for my husband. I said it upthread, but gifts aren’t even my love language! I’d be fine with getting nothing at all, as opposed to having to do all the legwork and research for my own gift. What I’m balking at is my DH adding yet another gift-giving task to my list. I’ve already told him that I’m not picky about the type of tracker — just get me something with a heart rate monitor and a display, and I’m good to go. To me, that seems specific enough.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        I need to get back into NOT gifting to my husband. My favorite xmas gifts ever, I think, was the year we pooled our pennies and got two pieces of art for our home framed really nicely at a post-christmas sale. Why am I not doing that all the time?

        • Never too many shoes... :

          We gave up years ago. When we were first married and making a lot less money, we used to buy ourselves a house thing that we wanted together. That is how we got our PVR, which is somehow still in use.

      • DH and I have also stopped making gifts for each other a big part of Christmas. This is after several years of him not buying me anything and returning what I bought him (and neither of us really caring or being offended). Last year, we pooled money and bought ourselves a camera lens. This year, I sent him a link to what I wanted, and I’m going to put money into his Steam account to buy video games. Energy to care about gifts for ourselves is in short supply.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yep. This is the second year we’re doing a trip (last year a big one, this year a small one) instead of gifts, and I think that’s going to be the standard going forward!

    • So he already sent you a link for his gift right? It’s reasonable to ask you to pick out something like a fitness tracker – it’s pretty individual. But if he gets to cop out then so do you. If he hasn’t told you what he wants then ask him to send you a link. Or if you already got him something tell him you picked out his gift, you’re not picking out yours too. And while you’re at it, seriously rethink how you’re sharing holiday emotional labor, because it sounds super unbalanced. He can tell his own mother what to get the kids.

    • “Honey, the gift is YOU taking the time to consider what I’d like and what I’d need and then doing all the things to make it happen. The gift is YOU deciding. I’ll like it because YOU spent the time and mental energy to decide.”

      Why the f*ck should you do the emotional labor of your own gift.

      • Just Say No :

        on top of all of the above on point comments, I’d also add – let him deal with HIS mother and her gifts. don’t let yourself put that on you.

    • lawsuited :

      This is not universally important to every person. For example, I pick out, purchase and wrap my gift “from” my husband and don’t mind at all. So if it’s important to you that your husband spend time researching and choosing what to give you, you do need to let him know that. And saying “don’t bother” will bewilder him but not actually communicate that.

  11. Anonymous :

    Today’s ‘why women don’t report s. harrassment’ example. With stories like this, it should be more shocking when women actually have the courage to report.

    “…one of site managers began touching her on the shoulders, slapping her buttocks, making lewd comments, asking her to lower the blinds and view pornography on his work computer. At one point, she said she needed new tires and he offered to get them in exchange for sex. She said the behaviour often left her in tears at the end of the workday. When she complained about the harassment, the tribunal said, Nixon fired her. Her termination letter was faxed to her harasser, who then had it passed on to her.”

    The guy who fired her is a legislator in Alberta.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      The United Conservative Party are basically the wannabe GOP – I mean they elected Jason Kenney (insert barfing emoji) as their leader, so not that much of a surprise.

  12. Privacy Attorneys :

    I keep hearing how this area of law is “so hot right now.” Do any of you in the Hive work in this field? If so, would you be willing to provide a brief synopsis of your day-to-day and how you like your job? I’m not looking to make an immediate jump, but I’m sitting for the CIPP test in 2018 and interested in hearing more.

    • I have considered taking the CIPP test because I seem to be doing more of this type of work lately. Is it actually challenging, or can a reasonably competent attorney learn what is necessary for the test over a couple weeks of evening studying (or even at a one day course)?

      • The CIPP is super easy. The questions are weird (like, out of the following four correct answers, which one is the MOST correct) but if you read the book you should be able to pass no problem.

    • I’ll bite. I’m in the area working in house – so not a law firm, which I can’t speak to. I absolutely love my job and the field. My day to day is primarily project driven and meeting-centric. I will sit in meetings for upcoming marketing initiatives, new products/services, and new technology initiatives. I will issue spot in these meetings for areas of concern, then do more research and follow up on these issues on an individualized basis. Then I will have regular meetings with that project group to make sure we are implementing the privacy protections at every stage (yay for companies that take privacy by design seriously!). In addition to projects, I also do day to day privacy work – look into potential breach situations, deal with random questions, etc. I also have regular meetings with marketing, compliance, and the tech areas so we have open communication between the different stakeholders. I love it for a variety of reasons – 1) I never do the same thing every day 2) my company takes privacy compliance seriously 3) it’s a dynamic field that always has me learning and adjusting my understandings and 4) job security (hellooooo GDPR). For what it’s worth, I haven’t taken the CIPP yet (I take it next week) and studying has been a breeze because I’ve worked in the field.

    • IANAL but my business unit’s compliance team report into me (the head of which has a dotted line into the legal department- our company’s GC). That team monitors policy, deals with breaches, is part of any new product or segment offering as part of the go-to-market work, is occasionally used for contracting (they don’t do contracting work per se, but they do read and advise on language around privacy/breaches/etc in the contracts).

      I’m in healthcare tech, so we have a lot of privacy issues.

      • Oh, and my legal people don’t have any kind of tech background, though they had an interest in the general industry and got a brain dump when they got here.

        I know tech, what I needed was people who know the laws, can do research when there are questions, and who can keep me out of legally grey areas with products. I often will white board out the more technical details and my team is certainly bright enough to follow/understand, but they don’t have a background in technology.

  13. A question yesterday got me thinking- I’m a software engineer and I would like to transition into a politically relevant career. I just don’t know where there is a use for my skills. I also think I might want to run for office one day, but there seem to be so few representatives with a STEM background, so I’m kind of discouraged. Does anyone know anything about this or have any advice?

    • I think that’s one of the things that would set you apart for the better. We have so many elected positions but so few backgrounds that there isn’t much diversity in their experience. All the more reason for the STEM fields to start running for office!

      • any thoughts on how to capitalize on it though?

        • I think all of the advice from yesterday applies. Trump aside, political experience still matters, so pay your dues at the state and local levels.

          I wouldn’t be discouraged by a lack of STEM people in office. I think it may just be that STEM people are by their nature perhaps more interested in other career paths.

          In the meantime, there are plenty of relevant policy discussions going on: bitcoin, net neutrality, IT security. See how you can get involved locally and establish yourself as a knowledgeable source about those issues.

    • There is a new PAC, 314 Action, that aims to get more Democratic STEM candidates elected to office. If your politics align you might start there.

    • I have an acquaintance who has a tech background and is running for congress!

    • Can you volunteer for a campaign or political organization? Most of them would be thrilled to have someone with technical skills, you will be in high demand. Even if none of your local candidates inspire you, you can volunteer for an organization or candidate from another state. You’d get some experience in how a campaign works, and make some great connections for when you run for office. A woman running for my state legislature is a lab researcher (something about diabetes research), which definitely excites me. Education is a big deal in my city, so she’s using her experiences from from elementary through grad school to relate to voters’ education concerns.

    • Run for your local school board. Even if you lose, you’ll start getting involved. Or city council. Join you local party organization. Go. Sign up for She Should Run.

    • Look into Annie’s List – they offer training for people interested in running for Office. Here in Texas we have a career scientist and career teachers running for offices at state and federal level. Their intelligence, care about issues germane to their constituents and enthusiasm is so refreshing after years of overly conservative BS.
      I hope you heed the call and run for office! We need people from all backgrounds to start making better decisions and plans for the communities they serve!

    • Anon for this :

      My husband is in this field, broadly speaking (no desire to run for office, but software engineering for politics). He has a data science background in addition to straight software engineering, and currently works for a data nonprofit focused on criminal justice reform – if you post an email, I’d be happy to send you the specific org. There are also positions in state and local parties, for campaigns, and for tech consultancies that provide services to both of the former. Civis Analytics came out of the Obama data team, for example. I have friends at McKinsey who do government-focused consulting, including policy stuff – presumably the same is true for the other big name consulting firms.

      I’ll say that running for office and making a career out of software/data in politics are different things. You definitely don’t need to do the latter to do the former, and it might even make it harder. If your real interest is in running for office, I would start by getting in touch with one of the candidate recruitment/training orgs (Run for Something, Emerge America, etc) to have a conversation about how to make that happen, and how/whether you should think about shaking up your career to set yourself up for success as a candidate. Plenty of the people who won in the VA delegate elections had never held office or worked in politics before.

    • Horse Crazy :

      Check out She Should Run, Emerge, or Run for Something – they’re all resources for first-time candidates.

    • Get involved in your local politics. I participate in my City Democratic Committee. Some larger cities may have ward committees, too. I got elected as a delegate the last 2 years to attend the State Democratic Convention. Basically everyone who shows up gets elected. It was really fun to meet delegates from across the state, and we discussed what should be included in the state Democratic party platform. This year is a nominating committee that could potentially choose our gubernatorial candidate.

      I’ve worked on many campaigns, and people who can use modern campaigning tech are ABSOLUTELY needed. Most campaigns are now metrics driven. There’s software that targets who to contact for doorknocking/mailing/get out the vote. But you have to understand how to use the app. Many candidates don’t and resort to old school paper lists. With new apps, they tell you who to doorknock. They let you mark if the person answers the door, wants to get involved, etc. Its so streamlined compared to paper. You absolutely could use your STEM experience to help in this arena.

  14. Would appreciate some encouragement/advice from the Hive, since I don’t feel like I have family or friends with whom I can talk about this.

    My husband, who works in IT, has been at his current company for about 3 years and is burned out. Company culture is a big factor. Upper management sets highly unrealistic goals and employees are penalized when they fail to meet them. In the last year, 7 out of 12 people on his team have left for other positions, and 2 was fired. He’s known for a long time that he should be looking for a new job. Then, last month, his boss told him “he wouldn’t have his back” at his performance review in January.

    My husband is discouraged and demoralized, has taken to binge eating late at night (after I’ve gone to bed), and is generally dropping the ball. He also has ADHD, which I know has a lot to do with the inability to focus, but can’t take medication for it or for depression due to his weight and high blood pressure. I’ve talked to our doctor about it, and encouraged him to go see the doctor himself, but he hasn’t done so.

    What really concerns me is that this depression has even impacted his job search. He’s waiting to hear back after a couple of interviews, which is great. On the other hand, there have been several times recruiters have contacted him about a position and he’s failed to follow up with them. One recruiter e-mailed him on Friday saying they wanted to interview him, and, despite my reminding him to call her several times, it wasn’t until this morning that he did so. (I’m not sure that company would be a good fit for him, but not responding to in interview offer for 3 business days is shooting yourself in the foot.)

    I’m doing my best to encourage him, reminding him to follow up on things, while also trying not to nag. I know it’s his job search, not mine, and ultimately he has to take responsibility for it. On the other hand, I’m very concerned about our future. He’s already underpaid for the kind of work he does, and if he gets fired, it will be that much harder to find a position with a better salary. Moreover, a few months ago I took a 15% pay cut to leave a job I hated for one I love. Now I’m wondering if I made a mistake–maybe I need to assume that I will need to be the primary bread-winner? (Which may be difficult, since I work in higher ed.)

    My husband and I have talked about this at length, and he knows there’s are problems but seems unable to change. I don’t want to kick him while he’s down, yet I’m so anxious and frustrated, it’s challenging at times to keep my own emotions in check.

    • That sounds REALLY hard and would be difficult for me as well. But, just on the medical note, you may want to search out some psychiatrists that take your insurance and encourage him to make an appointment (though I realize this not within your control).

      I am overweight with hereditary high blood pressure, and I take Adderall to supplement my bipolar disorder meds. It is really effective for my work anxiety and productivity. My psychiatrist (and the 5 others I’ve had in the last 15 years) is fine with it. My PDoc prescribes the BP meds, Psych prescribes Adderall and checks my blood pressure at every 3 mo. visit and everyone is on the same page. And, as I’m sure others will agree, there are some classic depression symptoms there. Depression is like trying to do your life while walking through molasses. I can totally see the job interview thing happening to me when I was my sickest.

      And, if it helps, a lot of my usual doctor anxiety is not activated in a psych. visit. You don’t get weighed, don’t get naked, just chat. I’ve never been shamed for my weight, habits, or coping mechanisms (mine was alcohol, and lots of it).

      Mostly, hugs to you, be kind to yourself. It’s so hard.

    • “You are going to the doctor this week. I made an appointment. I am coming with you. You owe this to me and our marriage and our family. I will support you every step of the way but you must do the work and you must do it now, because we can’t afford for you to be unemployed.”

      • I have anxiety and depression and it was my anxiety that caused me to binge eat for years. I didn’t realize that’s what it was until I finally got on meds and looked up one day and realized it had been months since I had binged. FWIW, I started bingeing in law school when the only “acceptable” reason to take a study break was to eat.

        In my dark moments, I really would have appreciated this ^ approach. Your husband may well know he needs help but the effort may just be too great.

    • Couples counseling. While it sounds like your husband has a lot to work through on his own, sometimes people going through something difficult get so wrapped up with what is in their own head that they have trouble fully recognizing/appreciating its effect on others and need a 3rd party to hear from. My husband suffers from anxiety and he was having trouble taking the steps he needed to take to get the help he needed until we went to couples counseling. Of course this only works if your husband is open to it, but you can make the appointment and drag him along. Mental health stuff with spouses is hard! I’ve always found it very isolating/lonely and assume that no one else has to deal with their spouse’s mental health issues.

      • +1 to trying couples counseling if you can’t get him to the doctor on his own. Even if you can, it is good for you to have a place to work through the resentments you are building up (for good reason). I went through something similar with my husband and it was a long, hard, painful journey, but we did get through it. I think also making the doctor appointment for him and taking him there is a good idea. I would try to stay out of the job search unless he asks for help – it’s just going to drive you nuts and make you obsess more. You might also start getting counseling for yourself so you can deal with your own anxieties and sort out appropriate boundaries. Some of your fears/reactions may be exacerbated by past experiences, and a therapist can help you sort that out. I’m not saying you are overreacting or have no reason to worry, just that therapy can help you deal with worry better. Good luck to you!

        Also if you think your husband might try a self-help group (HA! dare to dream!), I found Overeaters Anonymous helpful for dealing with my own binge eating issues.

    • Studies show that the best people to help people are those that aren’t close to them. Your love and history will make it harder for you to provide boundaries and appropriate expectations for your husband. If you can afford it find someone to be your husband’s life/job coach. Take yourself out of that role and be his spouse and find a professional to get his health and life back on track.

  15. Shopping Help Please! :

    So my family holiday plans just changed and instead of going away, we are going to my parents’ place so now I need gifts for my mom, dad and sister. I’ve been working a ton lately and will continue to do so over the next two weeks so I need help coming up with ideas.

    My mom is incredibly picky, don’t really have hobbies besides shopping and reading, cooks only because she has to but doesn’t love it, doesn’t bake… I have absolutely zero ideas

    My dad travels a ton for work, other than that, he watches a lot of sports and likes scotch

    My sister is 27, and just moved to a new apartment so maybe there’s something I can get her in that vein?

    Honestly, I’m just really fried from working a ton and now the stress of needing to get everyone gifts is not helping so any help/suggestions would be amazing!

    • For your mom, what about a reader’s care package? Stuff like a collection of teas or coffees for reading time, a soft throw blanket, fancy bookmark, tote bag or basket for books, stylish bookends, book darts, or a reading journal (pretty sure Moleskine has one).

      How well do you know your sister’s tastes? I’d go with a cool art print or framed photo for her new apartment.

      • anon, you’re really good at gift suggestions!

        Building off this, for the sister, what about something from Etsy? State cutting boards are cute. I got one years ago for the state where I went to college, and with a little heart cut where the college town is, and I use it all the time.

    • If you think it would fly with your family, I’d do gift cards for the gifts and then swing through the grocery store on your way to their place and buy munchies for the weekend. Cheese/crackers/easy fruit/pita chips/ salsa/guac/hummus/etc. Let your Mom know in advance that you’re bringing snacks to share so she doesn’t double up on the purchase.

    • Get your dad a nice bottle of scotch (Balvenie is a good go-to if you don’t know what he likes).
      Get your sister a soft, throw blanket or some cute kitchen stuff from anthropolie (free shipping over $100 right now).
      For your mom, I would just chalk this up to a “can’t win” and go with something generic. In that vein, my mom always appreciates gift sets from L’Occitane. Maybe you can get her new pajamas and a container of fancy hot cocoa from Williams and Sonoma? A spa gift certificate? Just pick something and don’t overthink it!

    • Mom: book of the month club membership

      Dad: Eagle Creek packing cubes

      Sister: fancy cashmere throw/blanket or robe, nice slippers, gift certificate to West Elm

      Supplement as needed with nice bottles of wine!

      • I have a longer reply that’s in mod for no apparent reason, but I also suggested book of the month for Mom!

    • Mom: perfume
      Dad: ESPN 30 for 30 DVDs
      Sister: Tiny Galaxies earrings

    • Subscription boxes for all! Book of the Month for Mom (lets you pick between several books each month), Not Another Bill box for Sister (lets you pick from gift categories each month), MunchPak for Dad (snacks he can enjoy at home or easily take on the road).

    • For mom, Levenger has a “reader’s tote” with assorted reading implements that might be a hit.
      Wine glasses and implements for sister.
      For dad, Scotch stones, matching coaster and a bottle of something from your local liquor store.

    • Easiest solution:

      Mom/ Dad gift card to a nice restaurant. Mom doesn’t have to cook, nice night out, and Dad can wash it all down with someone else paying for his Scotch.

      Sister: Target or similar gift card. She can get apartment stuff, or whatever catches her fancy.

      Create a card for both out of pictures of you all doing something that you probably haven’t looked at in a while.

      Easy peasy.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      My dad came over to my house last night to show off the underseater luggage I didn’t even gift to him — I just sent him the link. He was so happy that, schlepping around a huge convention center last week, he didn’t have to carry a laptop bag on his shoulder. So that’s a potential gift for a travel dad.

      I like the idea of something cool and homey for the sister. Anything a little higher end than normal, in keeping with her tastes. I like the cutting board idea, or a nice set of rocks glasses, or art (always art!) etc.

      Mom sounds impossible :-P Nice slippers? Amazon gift card?

    • I would get your dad a gift certificate to Tumi, but not something directly travel-related. As someone who travels a lot, you figure out what works for you, and not all the typical advice/top 10 travel items work for everyone. For example I never use a neck pillow, sleeping mask, or packing cubes.

    • Shopping Help Please! :

      Thank you all so much – this is really helpful! So many amazing ideas here…

      And yes… my mom is impossible in so many ways (she also hates gift cards) but I love her anyways. This year, I’ll just get something someone suggested and hope she doesn’t complain. I don’t have the time or mental space to do all the shopping a perfect gift requires…

    • My mom is similar to your mom. She often gets fancy pajamas and a gift receipt. Sometimes I’ll get her slippers or a sweater and a gift receipt.

      Gift card for a mani/pedi (if you know what she likes)?

  16. I am an income owner at a midsized law firm mentoring a 1st year associate through a formal matchup and am finding it more challenging than I thought. I am having trouble with a few things. My mentee is anxious for feedback and is anxious about whether her work has been good enough. I want to be reassuring but I heard from another partner some general critiques (She needs to pay more attention to detail, etc.) Is my role to just support her as a mentor or relay to her feedback or what? Also, she complains about having to work an occasional night and weekend day, but I worked my -ss off and said yes to every assignment at biglaw for 5 years before lateralling so I feel like she is getting off easy. How to draw sympathy? I guess I’m unsure of what my role is – reassuring her, helping her to be a star associate, of mainly listening? Separately and this will sound weird, but she treats me like a peer and says stuff to me that makes me cringe (i.e. details re her relationship with her SO). How do I avoid that (or should I just listen and then ask a question about work)? I’m a problem solver by nature so just listening and not suggesting anything is hard for me.

    • I mentor a lot of young women and she just sounds young. While she may be academically gifted – and that’s why she got a job at your firm – she’s still only 25 [probably]. She sounds like an especially young 25, so some nudging would be helpful.

      I would couch the feedback you’ve heard as: “One of the best things that young associates can learn is to pay attention to detail, so make sure you’re triple checking your work. Take a break from an assignment, even for 15 minutes, overnight if possible, and come back to it with fresh eyes to make sure you’ve caught everything. Higher ups don’t have any patience for typos or sentences that are missing words [or whatever example you’ve heard].”

      Re: working hours, “Remember that law has long hours. That’s what we’re paid for. Our clients expect timely service, and sometimes that means working nights and weekends.”

      Re: boyfriend, “Oh gosh, that sounds like such a fun date! But be sure you’re not talking about personal stuff too much in the office, ok? Until you know people better, it’s safer to stick to work topics.”

      Generally, speak to her in “we” terms and not “you” terms. You’re supposed to be her ally, and that’s how she views you, even if you don’t feel reciprocal. Think of it as making suggestions to a friend rather than directives to a subordinate.

    • My reply with example scripts seems to be stuck in mod. What gives these days?

    • Step back.

    • Yes, mention the feedback you’ve heard, just don’t mention the source. Just about every junior associate gets the “attention to detail” feedback, so it’s not like this should be earth shattering.

      Re the hours – what are the hours expectations at your current firm? Is everyone working nights and weekends (so she needs to suck it up) or is she getting scr*wed because she’s junior/childless/some other reason that you can help her understand and navigate? Your experience in biglaw is kind of irrelevant here. She’s not in biglaw. Help her to understand your firm’s culture around working late, working from home, etc. – tell her what other people are doing to succeed.

      The oversharing is tough. It’s like she thinks you’re her friend. Can you make the meetings more formal? Take notes? Set goals? Make her put together a chart that you’ll go over? OTOH, if she’s asking for advice about how to balance a relationship and work, that strikes me as within the scope of mentoring. Men talk about this stuff all the time, idk why women tend to shy away from it.

      • Thank you for the helpful advice. The meetings are over lunch so that might be why she goes into personal stuff with me. I should reconsider that.

      • No Problem :

        Agree with a lot of this. Your role is to help her understand and navigate expectations and provide unbiased and honest advice when she’s stuck. And as much as possible, try to be a confidential ear. She can feel free to tell you her concerns because you agree not to divulge anything.

        When I mentor someone more junior, I always try to tell them things I wish someone had told me at that age. E.g., it’s normal to be anxious about feedback and whether her work is good enough, but if she hasn’t gotten specific feedback from her managers she should ask for it so at least she knows what she’s up against. The attention to detail thing is also pretty normal, so suggest some strategies you’ve used or seen others use to improve (checklists, Word style and grammar check, checking all acronyms, etc.).

        It is so helpful as a young person/newer employee to hear that the people around them who seem to have their isht together did not have it together at their age or experience level (and maybe don’t now, either). You don’t have to relate every mistake, but help her avoid the ones she’s likely to make.

      • I agree on not shying away from the personal stuff. I’ve done a lot of mentoring at work & personally, my approach is to just be real. I don’t think discussing relationships (as long as it’s not brunch with girlfriends talk, but more on the “how to balance work & life”) should be off limits and I think it’s a useful conversation to have. I just think there’s a lot of value to having real relationships with people. All that said, mentorship has to be a fit – if you don’t click with this person that’s a different story. But if the issue is around your current levels/age & you otherwise like her, I’d take her under your wing.

  17. Starstruck :

    A super famous actor is directing/starring in a movie version of a super famous book. And they’re considering filming it at our house!! The location folks have picked it out and the actor himself is coming to see it at lunch today. I’m working from home and totally distracted. I want to like “casually” bake something just to have on hand. Have any of you ever had movies/shows filmed at your house? This is totally new to us.

    • My ex’s parent’s (gorgeous) house was used for filming for some things. Don’t bake anything, probably just stay out of the way. They completely removed all furniture and fake-decorated so it may look nothing like your house at the end.

    • Tell me its George Clooney and Catch 22…..

    • Not my house, but there have been a few on my block that have been used. A movie was shot over the summer across the street (exteriors — pool, driveway, yard, etc.). That one was on and off for a few weeks and it was fine. The neighbors got notice ahead of time and we were prepared for the cars and trucks that were parked on a normally quiet street.

      Another neighbor tried to let her house be used by a reality show. She was going to move out for the filming. In that case, the neighbors spoke up about its potential effect on our lives and the deal fell through.

      My advice is to be prepared for some feedback from neighbors. It could be a great thing (I enjoyed sitting on my porch with a glass of wine and watching filming after work) or they could object (trucks, strangers, lights at night, etc.).

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      That’s so cool! Do they pay you for it? Did they just knock on your door one day and say hey, we’d like to use your house?

      • Starstruck :

        Yes, they just knocked, and yes the pay is a lot! (1-2k/day!) .. it’s kind of funny, we just had the facade of our house redone and literally a few days after it was finished, the location scouts showed up. Talk about ROI! We’ve gotten these offers before (onetime Homeland was interested in filming here), but my husband thinks it’s too invasive – he’s agreeing to this because he loves the novel so much! I’m excited.

    • Rather Be Painting :

      We had a tv movie filmed at our house a few months ago. I will not do it again! I stayed in a hotel but stopped by the house (I do not recommend this). My husband was there the whole time since he’s the one who really wanted to do this. In retrospect, he needed firmer boundaries for what I was comfortable with. Discuss these in advance! Your house will not be your house during filming. Anything out in the open will be “fair game”. Know which rooms they will use and put things away that you want hidden or not used. Read the contract carefully and make any changes you need. Make sure you get a copy of the film company’s insurance and get a certificate naming you as an additional insured for any damages. If they will be painting or moving furniture, take pictures of how you want it to be restored to its condition. Actors and directors will be pretty considerate. Crew not so much. There will be cigarette butts everywhere and trash in odd places. If you have an older home, consider plumbing issues if you’ll have 30+ people in your house for days on end. There will be a LOT of crew members. Make sure they hire a reputable cleaning crew to come in after. The film company should coordinate with your neighbors but if you have some grumpy folks next door, it will also affect them. And the hours will not be normal 9-5 hours. Filming went to 2 or 3 am. All that being said, it was interesting and fun to watch – mostly the editing and computer stuff more than the actual filming if you ask me.

      • Cosign this. “Your house will not be your house during filming” and everything in sight is fair game. In the film I noticed a background actor wearing my hat. In a close up of the lead actress in bed, I saw my own sheets still on the bed. They scuffed walls and floors. Of course they did cut a check for the damage, but seeing our place torn up like that was very difficult.

        The reality is, “the show must go on.” Regardless of whatever it says in your contract, they will push to extremes to finish the shoot- like shooting all night, or setting up lights on cranes all around your yard, even if it’s bothering all of your neighbors, you can’t imagine the lengths they will go. Also, something to note, while the producers assure you that everything will be taken care of, consider that there’s a lot of people on set, from production assists to background talent that don’t know about your contract and don’t care. They will open drawers, use the bathroom on set as opposed to the trailer bathrooms outside.

        I wouldn’t do it again, but then, after living in LA for years, I don’t really have the feelings about the magic of Hollywood that some might.

    • That’s so cool! Can you share what’s special about your house without it being too much info? I feel like multiple location shoot offers means there’s something unique.

      • Starstruck :

        Yes sure – it’s relatively unique, a brownstone in Brooklyn w a ton of original 19th c detail. I have a theory that our house has a lot of original detail but is not in a great neighborhood, so it’s cheaper than shooting at an equally nice house in a fancier neighborhood.

    • Congrats on living in Austin! Yeah just do what they ask, move furniture and stuff and be polite and try to stay out of their way. They have a whole crew who will come in and stage your house for the film.

    • If this is a large production, you may want to consider hiring a location management company to represent you. They will handle all the details of the contract and be onsite during filming to ensure that your property is being treated appropriately. Production crews (esp on a large budget movie) are professionals, but things move quickly and stuff happens. A seasoned location professional can keep things in line. They will take a percentage of the fee, but as I said, if this is a large production, it will be worth it.

    • Senior Attorney :

      WOW!! So fun!!

      We have talked about this but not lately… you’re inspiring me to look into it again!

    • A few friends of mine growing up had movies filmed in their houses. I recall the biggest issues being the stuff already mentioned – mainly the wear from crews. A friend grew up in a 1900s house with a lot of original woodworking on everything (staircase banister, crown molding, and baseboards) and the baseboards were really beat up with thick ropes of cables being snaked in and out of every room as camera crews just yank the cables through the halls. They also blew an outlet with so many plugs on it and had to have that replaced. In another instance, some glass got chipped on an antique light fixture. Knowing this, when another friend’s family had their house used, they moved all the furniture (themselves so it was done carefully but paid for by the contract) and also factored in not just cleaning but touch up painting into the contract. Their home was newer and so replacing a baseboard wouldn’t be a big deal.

    • Joining late, but even though the rate they’re planning to pay you sounds good, it may be way under market. I know a good entertainment lawyer who handles things like this – post an email (or tomorrow as I might forget to check again) if you’d like contact info.

  18. Advice on how to help a 15-year-old girl who is overworking herself with academics and activities? She is highly internally driven and feels like she needs to be studying all the time. Her “breaks” are to play one of her three musical instruments for a few minutes.

    Her parents tell her to take a break, that she doesn’t need to worry, etc. but I know it isn’t hitting the right tone with her. I was very much like her in high school and have been asked to spend some time with her.

    I would classify her as smart, hard-working and driven as opposed to highly gifted. She is interested in acting and music. Excels academically and is in the G&T program at her large public high school. She is struggling somewhat socially. She finds most of the boy-crazy talk boring and shallow. She had a group she was enjoying but when she declined to be the girlfriend of a group member, the others dropper her.

    I have a feeling many of us were very hard workers in high school. What would have helped you keep perspective on the situation?

    • I’m not sure this is a problem- what makes the adults involved think it is? I was this person, and frankly I still am. I don’t have a ton of balance in my life but honestly it works for me, and that’s hard for the people in my life to really understand.

      I would just say this- I would be concerned if she’s approaching this from a standpoint of wanting to avoid failure or trying to be good enough. Better to be driving toward something you’re passionate about than running from the possibility of failure.

      • +1 to your second paragraph. Hard work in and of itself isn’t an issue- but what’s driving it? It could be the cause, not the symptom, that needs attention. For me, part of my obsession with hard work was crippling fear of failure and the idea that I needed to achieve/ be “the best” (whatever that meant) to find love and acceptance with my family of high achievers and to feel worthy as a person. Oooof. Not super healthy.

    • Can you explain the problem with what she’s doing? How is it causing problems for her or others?

      • Yes – sorry. She is having what her parents are calling “breakdowns” – uncontrollable crying, wanting to sleep in their bed for comfort, more crying, a sense of loneliness and maybe almost a compulsion to be studying?

        They already have her seeing a college counselor as a freshman which worries me. Neither parent was a particularly strong student and, I think, don’t truly understand her drive.

        When I reflect on my own experience, no one told me to stay up all night studying or to get the 98 instead of the 95 but I wanted it. Ultimately, it backfired when I got to college, however.

        • Okay, I will revise my post below to say that it sounds like she would benefit from seeing a therapist. If she’s having breakdowns and feeling compulsions, I think it’s already gone beyond you simply spending some time with her to provide mentoring and guidance.

        • Anxiety disorder. She probably can’t back off just by being told. She should see a therapist.

        • She needs a therapist! This poor girl is struggling with anxiety. She needs professional help not a fun auntie figure.

          • The mom is in agreement that therapy is needed. Thanks for backing up that instinct. Hoping I can at least provide a perspective of true empathy. Her parents truly cannot understand but I do feel like I can.

        • Oh my gosh, my heart aches for her. When I was that age, I wasn’t particularly athletic or popular, so the only thing I really had was my good grades, so I wrapped a lot of my worth up in that. (My mom had also been a poor student and had put me in a good private school where she didn’t understand the culture.) It would have been so helpful to have an adult point out my worth outside of racking up resume achievements for college applications. Because all I had heard from age 5 was “what do you want to be when you grow up?” and “where do you want to go to college?” I really didn’t think there was more to life than college. Everything was about getting into the best school possible – never mind, really, who I was on the inside, who I was outside of bullets on a college resume. It was get good grades, get into a good school, Achieve Big Things With Life. Talk about pressure.

          I really struggled with feeling like I needed to compete with the smartest girls in class. I was “only” honor roll (not dean’s list) and I was dead in the middle of the pack in law school. But now I have a really fun and fulfilling job that pays well. And I think that’s the ideal! It’s especially interesting to me that the girls from the top of my class are now bloggers and personal trainers and those of us from the middle of the pack are now the doctors and lawyers.

          I’d encourage her to explore her interests outside of the college resume. Baking? Movies? Take her for a mani/pedi. Let her be a girl and not a resume.

          And to echo everyone else, a chat with a therapist to learn coping mechanisms probably wouldn’t hurt.

        • I’m so sorry for her. The WSJ had a big article last weekend on anxiety in children.

        • Lana Del Raygun :

          Oh golly, she sounds like me in college. I’m adding my voice to the “she needs professional help” chorus.

          Part of what discouraged me from getting counseling is that I felt like I *should* be able to handle everything, so getting help would feel like cheating. In retrospect, I was fully qualified to handle each of the things I was doing, but not to handle all of them at once.

          The world of young people is also flooded with ironic memes where everyone is teetering on the edge of total collapse, lol, and that made it hard for me to get help–counseling/therapy was for Special Problems, and everyone seemed to have my problems, lol, so I didn’t “qualify.”

          Can you say something like “This is a lot for you to deal with on your own. It sounds like you could use some help”?

    • I think you might try talking to her about life as a marathon and not a sprint otherwise she risks burning out at a really critical time like second semester junior year (grades and AP exams for college applications). When I was her I didn’t think I would burn out but eventually I did (all of junior year). Perhaps you’ve had a similar experience.

      Another tack would be to think about some things you missed out on in high school that you can’t go back and do now that you’re older. I was a very serious kid / and high schooler. I did fun things but I never really enjoyed them in the moment because they seemed like they were taking time away from the more important things like homework. I think a good way to approach this is to see if she has an interest in doing something that she isn’t particularly good at, but just thinks might be fun or interesting. For me I think I would have like to do dance. Sometimes these things translate into life long hobbies that give you a lot of joy.

      And if none of that works, what about just inviting her over one evening a month to have a marathon watching session of some TV show so she can decompress. Even if she doesn’t need it she probably does.

      • Yes, this – life is a marathon and not a sprint. I was SO burnt out by the end of high school and my academic career. I found a good balance in college, but really struggled when I entered the working world bc I didn’t feel like giving up nights and weekends again for my demanding job because I naively felt like I’d put in my time. I had trouble making friends in HS and had some family stuff going on, so in some ways throwing myself into school work was an escape, but I also think I would’ve benefited from being able to just chill and watch tv (but due to my younger siblings my parents had strict rules about tv and thought it was a waste of my time). She might not have a lot of friends or might find some of the social pressures in high school to be a lot so DO NOT pressure her to go and hang out with friends. Remind her it is ok to find things to do on her own to relax/unwind. Talk about how those things are even important in your life as an adult.

    • Yeah, that was me (except swap music + acting for athletics + fine art) in high school. To be totally honest, the only thing that helped me get perspective was to realize, organically and for myself, that I didn’t love the direction my life was headed and decide to make some changes. Before mid-way through my senior year of high school, I just don’t think I had the maturity to find that perspective. And nothing anyone said or did could have changed that.

      By the time I got to college, I was notably more zen about balancing school + activities, had figured out self-care strategies, and established a social group that was a great fit for my personality and values. This is a weird thing to brag about, but I get compliments on my work/life balance and ability to turn off the nose-to-the-grindstone mode when appropriate. One specific thing that helped a lot was to study abroad in (and then subsequently work in for a year) cultures that placed a much higher value on work/life balance than the US, where people were genuinely weirded out if you got too intense about work.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I’m not sure I recommend this, but I will never forget when my high school english teacher said, “what happens, though, if after all that time on the college applications, you’re walking across [street that divided our campus] and you get hit by a bus?”

      On a less morbid note, something that lets me indulge my overachieving instincts while not working myself sick is to zoom out on the game I’m playing. Getting a 98% on that test is great, but what’s even better is looking at the whole picture and realizing that you can still get an A in the class if you get an 89% on this test, which means you have time to go for a long walk with the dog tonight!

    • I’m sure there’s a wise article on this somewhere on the Web, but talk to her about the need to be proud of herself for more than one Label. Right now she’s the Smart Achiever, and that’s probably how her friends and teachers and parents and family all talk about her. But everyone needs to have more than one label – it’s like how they tell models to have something other than their beauty to fall back on, or football players to have more than their game.

      She needs to find another couple Labels that appeal to her and speak to who she wants to be, and high school is the best time to start trying to find those. Her Labels might be Good Friend, or Able to Eat All the Mashed Potatoes, or Really Into Historical Fiction, or whatever. The point is for her to work on them. You, as a side-adult, can help her do that exploring and suggesting and supporting, and you can also talk to her parents about the need for them to watch their Labeling and support her new ones. In her presence, they can talk up her Mashed Potato Eating Abilities to other family, or expand on her latest novel obsession, or whatever, so her narrative isn’t solely about how she did on her last test or how her extracurriculars will look on her college app.

      • Oh, this is great. Thank you!

      • this is great advice! all i felt and honestly still sometimes feel like i am/was good at was being a good student. would’ve been much better for me to have another sense of identity

        • Agreed. I read a piece by Sallie Krawcheck a while back that talked about how women get out of school and assume that the skills that made them good students who received praise expect that to translate to the working world. It often doesn’t in my experience. So much better to broaden this idea of labels so we can adapt as we move through careers.

    • Can you talk to her about what does she hope to gain from this? What is she worried about, or what does she need to prove and to whom? For me, my self esteem was tied up in excelling academically. I wasn’t very popular, but that was okay because I was “smarter than them.” I also thought I would get a big college scholarship and that would provide external validation I craved. But then I applied to a school that basically only gave need based aid and I didn’t qualify for need.

      The other thing you could say to her is when she is trying to decide whether or not to do something, will this matter in 10 years? Will I care whether or not I did this? That is a really hard mindset for a teenager I think though.

      • Wait, I just read more above and definitely agree she needs professional help. Don’t wait, do it now, please.

    • Thank you, everyone, for the incredible input. I feel like so many of us were like her. I was definitely proud of the label of “the smart one” when I was in her shoes. But then I went to a top 5 LA college and discovered I was really just kind of average amongst those selective peers. After all this time and after working in higher ed, I have come to believe that, for many of us, it really doesn’t matter. Good grades are good and getting into a good undergrad is good but it doesn’t always have a huge impact on one’s career (with exceptions, of course).

      I am taking notes and prepping for the time I will spend with her over the holidays. The trick is making the help palatable to the ears of 15 yo. Thank you again!

      • I’m glad everyone is on board with therapy. I think it’s critical. For things you can do, what about some sort of craft class when you’re their? Painting, pottery, cake decorating? Something where you need to let everything else outside go.

        • I am not local to her but I am hoping the time we are together over the holidays can be the start of regular check-ins. I have suggested to her parents that anything she adds to the schedule – even a fun activity – needs to mean something comes off the schedule as well.

          When I questioned why she was seeing a college counselor this early, her mom told me that they can find activities that the family/school may not know about and “can help mold [girl’s name] into the kind of student her top schools admit.” It made me shudder. I also need to think about how to talk to the parents. They are hoping she can find merit scholarship money. They won’t qualify for need-based aid. I don’t think they have any idea how hard that will be.

          • There’s no merit aid and Ivies but there is definitely merit aid for good students at good state universities. Hope they realize that.

          • *at Ivies

          • She won’t get merit aid at a top school. They need to be told that. She doesn’t need check ins. She needs reality based parents and therapy.

          • Anonymous :

            She won’t get merit aid at the Ivies or Stanford or MIT but excellent schools like John Hopkins, WashU and University of Chicago give merit aid and very good state schools do too. My husband had a full ride at Michigan (in-state, which I assume affects things).

          • How about “your daughter is having mental breakdowns because of the stress you are putting on her. Stop. “

        • To qualify, there are third-party merit scholarships that a student might use at Ivies, but as you realize, those are few and far between, and not necessarily huge chunks of cash either.

  19. Pics in Office ? :

    I recently moved back into an office from a cube and want to make it a little more personal. I am a single person who has vacationed alone for the last several years, so I have vacation pics that I enjoy. Is it weird to put up a picture of me on a vacation in my own office? It seems kind of self-centered and like I enjoy staring at myself? It’s me on the side of a mountain with glaciers, glacier pools, in the back if that makes a difference.

    I am probably overthinking this, huh?

    • I don’t really think I would notice. Or if I did, I would think it was cool you had done that.

      If you had a lot of pictures of you by yourself, I might think something about it, but I definitely don’t think one of you in a cool place would make me judge you.

    • I don’t think it’s weird. Or if it is we’re both weird.

    • Senior Attorney :

      You’re overthinking. It sounds great.

    • Not weird at all! If you were talking about an 8×10 professional headshot style portrait I’d feel differently. But a vacation photo seems totally appropriate to me, I wouldn’t give it a second thought.

      Fwiw, I’m married but alone in most vacation photos because my husband and I are just not selfie-stick people (and can’t always find someone to take a photo for us). I display them happily.

  20. Tipping doormen and staff help! :

    Good morning! I’m hoping you all can help me with my situation.

    I’m 25, just started in biglaw in NYC with biglaw salary, live in Queens, in a building that has 40 staff, including 10 doormen and 1 maintenance person who I’ve actually interacted with. The building has 1000 units. I rent my place, do not own. I have a ton of loan debt and some personal debt I had to pay off right away when I started working, so I’m only just now getting to a place where I can put money in savings. I’m completely at a loss for how to tip! And I don’t have any friends in similar situations – they either don’t have doormen, or only have just a few, or have been working for a while, etc. things like that.

    My initial thought is that I should only tip those who I interact with – the 10 doormen and 1 maintenance worker. Maybe $25 each? But then I worry that 1) this is way too low, 2) I should be tipping all 40 staff. I really can’t afford to tip all 40.
    I’m also wondering how I should go about giving the tips? It might be easier to get Visa gift cards and write their names on them that way I can keep track of who I already tipped. I know I need to get this done asap.

    Thanks in advance for any insight!

    • I’d tip the maintenance guy and the ten doormen $20 each.

    • Tips should be in cash; get a stack of holiday cards (I always go to the “dollar store” for this and get a couple of boxes) and put it in the card for each.
      There is no right amount. You can give the people you actually interact with more. It is customary to tip everyone because your building doesn’t run itself; the fact that you might not know the guy who takes out the trash is sort of besides the point.

      I would give everyone $20 in a card and maybe give anyone especially helpful a bit more (or not). That ends up being $800, which I appreciate is a lot. Obviously if it’s not in your budget, it’s not in your budget. Some people give nothing, especially if they know they’re leaving soon because they figure it doesn’t matter. But I always tip everyone because I see it as part of the cost of living in my building. There are probably years where I spent more on holiday tips than all other holiday presents combined. It sucks in the moment. But you wouldn’t go out to a nice restaurant and expect not to tip just because it adds to the bill, right? Does it matter if you’re not going to go that restaurant again?

      • That’s insane. No. People are not doing this. She is in a rental in Queens not a co-op on the upper east side. That is not the cost of living in the apartment. This is absurd. Don’t spread it.

        • Tipping doormen and staff help! :

          Are you the same anon as above? If you have experience I’d love any additional insight.

          • Yeah I am. I live in a thousand unit rental in Jersey City. Most of my neighbors do not tip at all. I do $20 for the couple of doormen I see, and $10 for everyone else, for a total of $200. That’s what I can afford, it’s generous in my building, and it’s all I’m willing to do. Sorry, 40 doormen? Nope. You aren’t all getting a holiday tip because reality.

        • A typical rental in queens doesn’t have doormen and a staff of 40 (or 1000 units). To me that read as a luxury LIC rental. Not the same territory a six-floor rental in Forest Hills (where you should still tip the super). I’ve lived in every kind of building imaginable in NYC and I’ll concede that a lot of people don’t tip b/c they are so transient but that doesn’t mean that it’s not expected or considered a “best practice.”

          If it’s not in the budget, it’s not in the budget. Tip the person(s) who actually help you the most, if you can. But people do expect tips whether you like it or not.

          • Anonymous :

            No. AIMS you are just wrong. No one expects you to spend $800 tipping 40 different people. This is not a true thing. If you’re spending $800 on doorman tips in a large rental building you’re a sucker and I’m sorry.

          • AIMS, I agree with you. for the best three years I’ve been in IB and lived in a luxury rental in long island city at queensboro. We tipped every single staff member, mostly because we had interacted with most and loved all of them. If it’s not in the budget, it’s not in the budget, but this extremely forceful anon is dead wrong. And yes, my husband and I spent $800 on holiday tips last year.

      • I agree that is a lot. I live in Brooklyn, in a building with no staff other than a super, and we never give the super more than $100. Often more like $50.

        Park Slope Parents has a holiday tipping survey that might offer some insight on what is standard.

      • Tipping doormen and staff help! :

        There’s no way I can afford $800, at least not this year…

      • +1. I live in a 500 unit doorman building and give each member of the staff (20 total) a holiday card with cash. The amount varies by position and how often I interact with them. In total, I spend around $500-600. Its high, I know. However, it comes with living in one of these buildings.

        Also, Anonymous at 11:54, LIC should be treated the same Manhattan for these purposes.

    • Is there someone in charge you can ask for advice, like a super or maybe the management company? I’ve never lived in a building with a doorman, let alone dozens of them, but I generally tip our super $50-100. I never ask him to do anything and we live a less affluent Brooklyn neighborhood. I agree with cash in an envelope.

      • Tipping doormen and staff help! :

        Good idea, I’ll ask someone at the management company! And thanks, I’ll do cash in an envelope.

      • Anonymous :

        If I may threadjack, how do you get the tip to the super? Our super is never around, so there’s no way to just run into him and give him a holiday tip. It seems weird to text him to come and pick up $50….
        FWIW, we are not a doorman building and are closer to the “crappy starting out in NYC” type of apartment building than to anything nice so I’m also not surprised at how little we see him given the overall lackluster state of our building.

    • I’d get a nice gift basket of goodies for the front desk. I would not tip individually.

      • Senior Attorney :

        No, do not do this. Can you imagine if everybody did this? 1,000 goodie baskets at the front desk? No.

    • My condo building management collects on behalf of ALL the staff, because otherwise the not-visible staff would never get tips. $20/person would result in an outlay of triple what I spend on my own family. No way.

    • AnonLondon :

      At least when I was in NYC (in biglaw, living in a doorman building with similar staff), they sent around a card with everyone’s name and job on it, and the expectation was you tipped everyone something in cash. It was one of the costs of living in the building and it was expected that you’d factor it into your budget when you rented the place as part of the market practice. Not sure if things have moved in the last 5 years, but if it’s a luxury or luxury-style building, that’s a significant chunk of those workers’ pay for the year.

      • Thank you.

        • Anonymous :

          No. Not for 40 people. Just no. It is not market. At all.

          • Hmmm.. so we have several people saying some form of this is what they did when they lived in similar buildings and what sounds like one anonymous poster saying, ‘no, no, not market, only suckers do that.’ My point is not that everyone does it – you clearly disprove that point – but that a lot of people do and the workers tend to count on it.

            Personally, I don’t live in a building that employs 40 staff members and I’m happy that I don’t, but if I did, I would tip them because that’s part of what I would have signed up for by moving into a building that requires so much staff to maintain it.

            This seems to come up a lot. It did last week w/r/t how much to tip a cleaning service at holiday time. A lot of people said that if you can’t afford to tip the cost of a cleaning, you can’t afford the service, period. I won’t go that far but I do think it’s reasonable to have to acknowledge the people that keep your home running smoothly in some small way. If that’s ten dollars, fine. Building workers get a big range of tips. But the idea that you only tip people in a co-op you own (and will presumably deal with long term) and don’t need to tip people in a rental (b/c you’ll move out soon anyway so they don’t count) is absurd. Tipping isn’t based on what someone will do for you going forward but what they have already done for you in the past.

          • Anonymous :

            Eyeroll. No. No one is saying dont tip at all! Just that it’s actually okay to tip the 10/40 workers you see, because that’s what you can afford. And expectations are lower in a rental, not no tipping at all.

            Look. She can’t afford it. Idk what crawled up your tush but you’re just piling on the guilt about her perfectly reasonable and normal plan. Stop.

            You’re such a Polly Princess. You aren’t doing this! How dare you judge her? As though we all have the luxury of renting based on this. Just chill out. She’s doing the best she can and it is good enough.

          • Anonymous :

            OP, I disagree with Anonymous @ 1:27. If you’re concerned about what is market, you can ask fellow biglaw associates, who likely live in similar buildings as you do.

          • From another forum: “This question comes up every year from people who have moved to New York. A rule of thumb that we use is to take your annual cost, either the rent or a rental equivalent of your apartment and then calculate 1-2% of that amount to determine total tips for the building. Say your rent/rent equivalent is $50,000 a year, that means total tips of $500-$1000. “

          • Anonymous @2:47 and various other times:
            Nothing crawled up my tush and no one is judging the OP. How many times can one say “if it’s not in the budget, it’s not in the budget.” She asked a question and she got lots of answers. Most people seem to be of the consensus that yes, you should tip everyone and it is a lot and it’s just part of the cost of living in a building (whether that’s giving one super a tip or many people lots of tips) but if you can’t, you can’t. You can include my response in that camp. I don’t know why you feel compelled to take this so personally or make it so personal just because you think that we are ALL tipping too much.

      • Anon in NYC :

        This is what I did when I was in biglaw and in a “luxury” high rise. We tipped everybody (a lot of staff) and about $20 per person. Maybe $30 or $40 for certain people that helped us more than others. It was more than I spent on gifts for my own family. It sucked to have that additional expense around the holidays, but I thought that it was part of the cost of living there.

        OP, if it’s a stretch for your budget, you could tip certain staff members more or less (but I wouldn’t go below $10) depending on how often you interact with them.

    • Typically in a big building like this you give one bulk amount in cash that is distributed by the building to everyone on staff. Find out who you are supposed to give the tip to so it can be distributed. You don’t get to decide how much each person gets, but that way even the people you might not interact with but might actually do a ton for you behind the scenes get tipped too.

    • I fall squarely in the middle of everyone here. Typically the larger the building, bigger the staff, the less you tip per person. A 1000 unit building does not mean you have to tip every person an exorbitant amount because the sheer mass of people (and the resultingly less time they spend per tenant) makes up for it. If you MUST tip everyone (there are some positions that don’t require tip), go $10 per person and call it a day. Honestly I think you’re being generous tipping the entire staff of people that you don’t see and that may not even service your building and/or floor (a large building might be split into sectors).

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Ask your building management company. I used to live in one of those buildings in LIC and I think the management sent around a notice about tips (I don’t remember if it was a “it’s our policy not to do tips” or “we’re collecting tips and will distribute among all staff,” but it was one of those). For what it’s worth, I didn’t tip, because I simply couldn’t afford it at the time (not biglaw but with big student debt, and I was living in LIC because at the time, it was still cheap compared to Manhattan)

    • Anon in NYC :

      Wow, seems people have strong feelings about this. I know this is a day late but thought I’d contribute my 2 cents since I’m in a similar situation. In Manhattan but in a more affordable/older/not as nice of a neighborhood luxury building. It’s a condo building and I rent from the owners of my specific unit rather than a management company. My ideal situation would be if there was a tip pool that gets distributed but unfortunately that’s not the case. I’ve tried to do a lot of research about this too and talked to friends and my approach is to tip only the ones I actually see/interact with (so 8-10ish/40) and tip more rather than tip everyone. Obviously everyone has had different experiences but this makes the most sense to me when there’s no tip pool. There’s some staff I literally have never seen/interacted with, and that includes the super (I personally think they don’t provide as many services in a condo building but I could be wrong). I definitely understand that it takes a whole staff to run a building and you often don’t see the work that goes on behind the scenes but think staff members tend to build a relationship with certain residents versus try to get to know everyone too. Also I think it’s common practice to tip extra if you have the staff helping you a lot (i.e. family with kids who gets assistance with packages and unloading cars all the time). Last point to my reasoning is I go with the holiday card with cash inside and since there’s no common holiday party/gathering type thing or coordination by management you have to track down each person on their shifts to give them their tip. I think it’s a little bit unreasonable to expect every resident to track down 40 people separately too…

      Hope this helps and isn’t super appalling…if anyone sees this response

  21. Piggybacking on a question from yesterday, how common is it to gift down to your subordinates at the holidays? I’ve never done so at my current job and I don’t receive a gift from my boss. I don’t plan to change but I wonder if we are an outlier.

    This is a relatively small financial investment firm. We’re all pretty highly compensated.

    • I don’t know how common, but this is one of those things that I think can easily go wrong. I think it’s common and nice to take subordinates out to a holiday lunch. I once got money and that was weird! Like it wasn’t a bonus and it just made me feel odd. Traditionally money is just for support staff in places I’ve worked. A nice bottle of wine or some chocolates is okay, I guess, if you really want to do something symbolic but I would prefer the office to be free of gift obligations.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      My office is so into gifts – we work in teams, so a partner and some associates and then clerks and then admin. I am staffed on multiple teams so there is a lot of people, although nobody expects anything more than a token (apart from your own assistant).

      All associates in my firm also gift up to the partners as a “thank you for giving me enough work to hit my hours”. I know people here are very against gifting up, and I certainly do not want a gift from my assistant and clerk, BUT if all the other associates are doing it, you do not want to be that one that does not.

  22. Motivation :

    Cross-posting from moms site

    Hi ladies, what are your best tips for limiting your “just got to my desk” procrastination and internet consumption?

    I’m a mid law litigator with fairly high annual billable hours targets. When I have internal or external deadlines, I’m totally motivated to work the moment I get to my desk. The pressure from the court, client, partner kicks my people-pleasing self into gear. The fact that I might miss bedtime or weekend time (or know I will be missing it twice this week, let’s not make it three) to meet deadlines is a huge motivator too.

    When I don’t have that pressure, like in the last month, I find I waste a lot of time not working. Even though there’s stuff i could be doing, if it’s not deadline driven, I can’t get myself to meaningfully work until like 2 hours of internet wasting have occurred. By the time I get to my desk, I’ve already been in mommy mode for the last 3 hours, so I suspect part of it is just needing a break for a few minutes. But that break just extends and extends and extends.

    The problem (only in law) is that I’m really efficient, but of course when your comp is tied to how many hours you bill, getting a full day’s work done in 5 hours is not helpful.

    Any tips you have on building better habits here would be so appreciated!

    • Someone on here suggested the pomodoro method, and it’s made a huge difference for me (although I use it flexibly). I use the Focus Keeper app for it, and like it.

    • I have the same problem!
      I’ve heard about setting shorter deadlines (like finish first draft by lunch), or trying to pomodoro method where you work in big chunks followed by short breaks. TBH, none have really worked for me.

      What might work is an internet/distraction blocker- perhaps an app like stayfocused that will limit the amount of time you could spend on the internet or block out distracting websites at specific time chunks. You could download something similar on your phone so all distractions are blocked and you have no choice but to get to those tasks

    • Anonymous :

      I know exactly what you’re talking about. I treat myself to some internet time to unwind from hours of getting my kids out the door, commuting, etc. When I find it’s turning into more than 15 minutes, I try to hit reset by scheduling meetings or calls shortly after my usual time getting to work. I don’t have the same problem of needing to surf after I’ve had a productive – or even unproductive- meeting because I’m in work mode. Calls are a little less effective because I take them at my desk and can more easily re-open a window I minimized to take the call.

      • Motivated :

        that’s a great idea. I might start tricking myself by putting calls i want to make on my calendar for 9:30 am. maybe the outlook reminder will jolt me back to work…

  23. SO with long hours :

    I work a pretty 9-5 job, while DH works 65-90 hours a week, typically getting home after I’m already asleep. Our only time together during the week is the 5-10 minutes during our morning commute. I’m currently pregnant and realizing that our morning commute time together might not make sense once we have kids. (as an aside – if one more person asks me if DH is going to switch jobs once we have kids I might scream, we used to live in the northeast, but now we live in the south, and no DH does not plan on switching jobs the second i give birth a) he likes his job, b) it’s an important stepping stone in his career, c) he is well compensated and d) i realize he isn’t a transplant surgeon and isn’t saving lives (he works in finance/law), but if he was no one would be asking me if he would switch careers)

    Kids aside, tips for staying connected/making time to communicate with their SO if you do not see each other a lot M-F? I know that there are a lot of people on this board with demanding jobs themselves or whose SO’s have demanding jobs, might be consultants and travel a lot, etc. so thought you might have some good suggestions for feeling connected even when not physically spending time together

    • When is he planning to parent your child?

      • That is not a particularly helpful response. While it may not be the norm, there are people who are management consultants traveling 4 days a week who have kids and are involved on Friday evenings/weekends. There are also people who are medical residents who have kids. She is not asking for your opinion on her DH’s work schedule or on parenting her kids.

        • I think that’s the question everyone is asking her. It’s also the answer to your question. At what point in his day does he have time for his family? If the answer is “never” you chat on Saturday and single parent.

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            You don’t “single parent,” you have a parent that’s not there as much. Single parent implies a lot besides the other parent not being home for dinner.

      • So rude.

      • Anonymous :

        Let alone when is he planning on being a husband. I couldn’t deal with seeing my spouse 2 days a week.

    • I think people are asking if he’ll be changing jobs because it’s incredibly hard (aka, impossible) to be there for a child when you’re working 90 hours per week. You’ll essentially be a single parent.

      DH and I exchange emails during the workday to say hello, talk about dinner, talk about weekend plans. It only takes a few minutes, but it really makes us feel more connected.

      • SO with long hours :

        Thanks for the advice. Perhaps I should’ve specified that this is not a long term job plan for DH. In 1-2 years his hours will become much more predictable and fewer (~40-50), so this is a short term pain for long term gain type of situation. I realize (though I also know I won’t fully appreciate how h*llish these few years are going to be until I’m in it) that I will essentially be a single parent and while it is not ideal, it is hopefully temporary.

        • 1-2 years is a long time when you’re not getting a lot of sleep and you’re dealing with every episode of colds, HFM, strep etc on your own.

          Look into your childcare arrangements (are night nannies available in your area at a reasonable cost?) and have some real conversations with your SO about how to balance the burden. Will he get up with baby at night as well? If not, why not and what is your plan to deal with that. Yes, he works a lot but if he’s sleeping at your house, he can get up at night as well. DH and I switch off nights every night but others do a 8pm-2am and 2am-8am system and go to bed early or sleep later.

          If you don’t have a lot of time to communicate/spend quality time together now, that will only decrease when you also have to chat about logistics around childcare/parenting. So start having those conversations now. You can make it work, but get in the habit of carving out time to connect. Can you set up a standing time for a daily or even weekly phone call to check in?

    • There’s been a few posters lately asking about how to get quality time or balance family life when their SO has a travel heavy job. Do some searching and you might some great advice in addition to the responses to receive here. If you commute together, presumably you work somewhat close together. Could you meet for lunch once a week?

      Your SO’s hours are such that you will be solo parenting the majority of the time. You will need childcare and very strong back up arrangements. A nanny or 1.5 nannies would likely be best as kids at daycare usually get at least one cold per month for the first couple of years. Having to take a couple days off every month can burn your PTO quite quickly.

      • And keep an eye out for resentment on the personal side. Even if it is for long-term gain, being a single parent while not actually being a single parent is something I could do for a very short while (as in, a few weeks) or for a noble cause (military, medicine) but is not something I could do for a couple years solely for professional gain. Resentment can destroy a marriage, so be sure to keep the lines of communication open and identify ways he can help so you’re not shouldering the burden entirely yourself.

    • I get your frustration, but I actually think it’s awesome that people are asking you this question rather than just assuming that you, the mother, will take on 100% of the childcare responsibilities.

      • That was my reaction too!! I think it’s incredibly refreshing that the people in your lives expect him to actually parent.

        • Anonymous :

          Yes! And while I recognize the OP is asking about how to stay connected to her spouse, I can say from my own experience that feeling like you’re carrying a disproportionate share of the childcare burden (in a two working parent set up) takes a bigger toll on a relationship than not getting enough quality time.

      • Senior Attorney :


    • Could you meet up for lunch once a week? Wake up a bit earlier to work out together/eat or make breakfast together etc? Does he have the option of WFH once a week/month/occasionally in the evenings so you can cook/eat dinner together? Could you call him on your way home to talk about your day while he takes a short work break/walk?

      Other than that, sync calenders, text and email updates about your days often. I recently discovered the voice clip option on whatsapp and love it because it’s not as painful as retrieving a voicemail or scheduling a call but lets me hear the voice of all my girlfriends around the world.

      I hope your situation improves soon

    • Frozen Peach :

      I am the SO who works really long hours. Especially in my kid’s first year of life, we had to have a lot of strategies around this. It’s gotten a lot better since I went in-house from a firm.

      Here are things that work for us:

      1) We text a lot throughout the day, sending each other funny stuff and news I see online (me) and kid pics/videos/anecdotes (him)

      2) my SO would bring our kiddo and dinner to my office and I would take a break and have an “office picnic”

      3) I schedule at least one time in a week to take our daughter to daycare. I get in later than I usually do, but that time is really special for us. I also make a point of planning mama-kid dates on the weekends.

    • biglawanon :

      I went through something similar, except I also work pretty long hours being in biglaw. My husband worked at an i-bank, and was working 70-80 when our twins were born, and continued to do so for almost two years until he had enough experience in his role to take an in house position, and his hours dropped to 40-50 a week. I went back to work full-time after my paid maternity leave was up. What was key was having clear communication between us about how things were going to be – when we’d have family time, how childcare was being handled, etc. And also having good, reliable childcare – we hired a full-time nanny and a part-time nanny, but we had twins and have two other older kids.

      On keeping in touch, my husband I text frequently and really try to block out time on the weekends where we just see each other and our kids. We really have cut time with friends/other family to a minimum to focus on each other and our children given the limited time we have during the week, even with his cut in hours.

      Different people have different opinions on whether an arrangement like this is OK or not, and people can be really harshly judgmental as you can see just from this thread. You and your husband have to decide what it right for your family.

  24. Linda from HR :

    My guy and I have been together for a year and a half, and it’s typical for me to spend a night or two with him over the weekend, and then often once during the week. That’s a lot of nights so far! And some nights I’m able to sleep fairly soundly through the night, other nights not so much. Like last night. Sometimes I figure it’s because it’s just not routine, and that if we lived together and shared a bed every night we’d adjust to it, other times I worry this might be a compatibility issue. Is it normal to still have this issue so far in?

    • Why can’t you sleep? Why doesn’t he ever stay at your place?

      • She didn’t say it wasn’t at her place.

      • Yeah I’m also unclear on what the actual issue is. Are you bumping into each other? Get a bigger bed. Do you steal the covers? Put an extra set on the bed. Does he snore? He probably needs to go to the doctor.

    • Do you sleep well all the time at your own place? When SO and I were not living together and we’d take turns sleeping at different places, I often didn’t sleep well, but that’s because I’m generally not a good sleeper and need a lot of routine to sleep well (which didn’t happen when I was sleeping in different places). I also do not usually sleep well the first few nights in a hotel. I do not think this necessarily has any implication on how you feel about your SO or your relationship.

    • I struggle falling asleep generally, but it was especially bad when I first moved in with my now-husband. It was so bad that for a while we had to sleep in separate rooms in the apartment – still in the same apartment, but separate rooms. It’s been about 5 years now, and it’s gradually gotten to the point where now I struggle falling asleep if he’s NOT there. So yea, it was a big struggle at first (about 2.5 years in) and then I got used to it.

    • No advice, just commiseration. I am having the same problem with my partner of six months, so it’s nice to know I am not alone. I suspect my issue is (1) a disruption of my routine and (2) my bed is simply just too small for the too of us.

    • If you’re spending 2-3 nights with him, you’re still sleeping alone most nights. For me that’s not often enough to really establish a routine of sleeping in the same space such that, for example, the guy’s regular and totally normal volume breathing doesn’t sound super duper loud to me.

      Are there things though that you can request adjustment for at his place to help you sleep better there? Maybe if you hate his pillows, bring one of your own and leave it there, for example.

  25. Another tip question :

    Another holiday tipping question – what do you tip your hair stylist for the holidays? I generally give 2x normal tip at my last appointment of the year. I read somewhere that you’re supposed to give the cost of one appointment??? That seems like an outrageous amount considering I tip throughout the year (unlike, say, a cleaning person). Fwiw, my hair appointment is $200, I tip $40/appointment, and $80 total for the holidays.

    • I tip 20% throughout the year at every appointment. I usually just to 25 or 30% around the holidays along with a small gift (this year, a cute box of caramels).

    • Anonymous :

      I definitely don’t do that, I’m not made out of money. I have an appointment tomorrow and I’m going to tip my normal 20% and bring a small gift.

    • I tip the person who does my whole family’s hair around $100 at the holidays (on top of 20% or more at each visit). I don’t think it’s generally necessary but I do it because 1) we have two young kids and are therefore on the challenging side about scheduling, being on time, etc. and she’s always super nice and understanding; 2) she charges very little for our VHCOL area; and 3) we’ve known her and her family for a long time and I like indirectly helping her awesome kid.

      I didn’t do a special holiday tip on top of regular appointment tips when I got my hair cut a few times a year at a fancy-ish salon.

  26. I got divorced this year, no kids, and have a small family that’s spread out. I’m feeling pretty lonely this holiday season. I haven’t put up my Christmas tree yet, and frankly I don’t want to. I keep thinking of traditions that my ex and I established. Any tips on how to get in the Christmas spirit? I did buy myself a ticket to see an Irish stepdancing Christmas show next week, but honestly I wish I had someone to go with to dinner before the show.

    • My first Christmas post-divorce I just accepted that I wasn’t in the Christmas spirit and allowed myself that. During the actual holiday break, I made a batch of my grandmother’s cookies and enjoyed holiday movies, but I didn’t decorate and didn’t force myself to follow all the usual traditions. In other words, be gentle with yourself.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yes, this. Also, I wasn’t shy about inviting people to go to things with me. Is it too late to get another ticket and invite somebody to the show with you?

  27. Just venting. Why do people find the need to email 5 different people simultaneously, but separately with the same question?!?! If you are going to do that, then just copy everyone because it is a waste of the 5 different people’s time to spend time tracking down and providing an answer to your question!!! Or if you are hoping to get a different answer from each person – stop behaving like a child asking one parent for something, not liking the answer and then asking the other. It is so inefficient!

    • Anonymous :

      Because if you email 5 people with a single question, no one will answer. They will just assume that one of the other 4 people on the email will answer.

  28. KateMiddletown :

    I offered to pick out my own Christmas gift this year but I’m stumped. $150 ish (maybe more if I’m feeling it.) I’d love a new work bag, but can’t find one I like for that price point. Any ideas?

    • Anonymous :

      A tote? Should it fit a computer?

      I did some research on totes in that price range last year, although I never pulled the trigger. Victorinox and Hedgren both offer nice totes in that price range, nylon/polyester with fabric handles, with plenty of structure — top zip, pockets, etc. You can also get a completely plain, not really structured, leather tote in that price range from Everlane, Madewell, BR, etc.

  29. Thoughts on Pampered Chef products? I’m not a MLM fan normally, but I have a friend going through some financial challenges (hello, unexpected third baby in HCOLA), and buying a product or two through her party seems like a decent way to quietly give a little support.

    • I think that the products are decent, but I don’t know how much profit she will actually keep. Maybe a gift card for baby stuf or even target? You can do it anonymously if you don’t want to sign your name.

    • KateMiddletown :

      My mother sold Pampered Chef years ago and I still have a ton of their stuff today. The quality is great, but you definitely pay for it. (I was just invited to a virtual Pampered Chef party right now and I’m SHOCKED at how much they want for something like a silicone brush.)

    • Frozen Peach :

      I really love their can opener.

  30. Anonymous :

    I think there’s lots of dc ladies here – anyone go to GW for ob gyn care, esp the 2300 M building? If yes, does every dr necessarily have a resident or med student with them? Can you decline them being there/doing the exam without ticking the doctors off (I know you can always decline but there are teaching hospitals where you just start off on the wrong foot if you do that).

    • Anonymous :

      I go there, and I haven’t always had a resident/med student with them. I think I only did twice (out of a bajillion pregnancy appointments), and they were both med students, not residents. I did ask about not having them in the delivery room and they got a little bristly because it is one of the largest teaching hospitals in the country, and to be fair my doctor said “you aren’t going to to be that aware who is in the room when it comes time to push” which was 100 percent true. Honestly – it is how doctors learn to become doctors, so I don’t mind helping out with their education.

      • Anonymous :

        I get it – and I never say no to students in internal med etc – but the odd thing here is I’ve never had a pelvic before (which is ridiculous) and I’m both nervous and embarrassed and it’s hard enough to talk to a dr about it. But you can pick a dr based on gender, age, bedside manner – but then to have a med student/resident you didn’t expect be in the room seems a bit much.

        • No advice but I feel the same way about this. I went in for an ultrasound during a high-risk pregnancy that I was extremely nervous about. In the middle of the ultrasound, before I knew whether everything was ok or not, an observing medical student handed me a box of tissues. She meant well, I imagine, but as someone who has had recurrent miscarriages it sent me into a total panic. To this day I have no idea what she was thinking, but I now decline medical student observations. Sometimes the doctors are annoyed, but I don’t really care.

    • Metallica :

      I am a physician at a teaching hospital—you are absolutely allowed to decline the presence of trainees. Personally, I decline med students because there’s a good chance they will be in my class. I wouldn’t recommend doing that with residents or fellows though—they are the “first responders” when something happens and it’s helpful to have them in the loop.

  31. Anonymous :

    I’ll repost but can anyone help me find an open black cardigan that:
    – I can wear over business dresses for meetings
    – Is opaque
    – Made of higher end fabric – cashmere, merino wool
    – Washable
    – Hits at the hip all the way around (no high-low hemline, not a boyfriend sweater)
    – Ideally under $150-200

    • Anonymous :

      Cashmere is never going to say on the label ‘washable’, so try again?

    • It’s neither wool nor below $150-200, but this otherwise sounds like a job for the MMLF Woolf jardigan.

      • Anonymous :

        Hmm. That’s the right idea. Not a fan of the vents on it but it’s the right concept.

        I see MMLF mentioned here all the time. Are the items washable* and are they worth the money (longevity, looks nice, good quality)?

        *in real life, not per label :-)

        • I think the jardigans are dryclean but honestly you don’t have to wash them very often. I’ve had the Woolf for about a year and a half, wear it all the time and it has held up really well. I think the quality is there and it’s hard to find something that fits this description (i.e., that works over dresses).

    • Very late, sorry.

      I got a really great one this summer at BR that someone here recommended, but of course it’s no longer available. (I really wish AT, BR, etc. would keep some good basics as regular items.) This is similar, but it might be shorter than you want.

  32. Is there a more affordable version of the Morandi sweater? Something that’s polished/professional yet comfy, goes with everything (pants and dresses), and works for pears?

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