Frugal Friday’s TPS Report: Trim Sweater Jacket

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

Halogen® Trim Sweater JacketThe Nordstrom Anniversary Sale officially starts today! I’ll do a roundup of some of my top picks later this morning, but if you’re not familiar with it; this is the sale where new fall clothes are marked down — for a limited time. Take, for example, this trim sweater jacket (available in black as well as navy) — right now it’s $49.90, but after the sale it will be back to full price, $79. Not bad. The sale starts today and runs through August 4. Halogen® Trim Sweater Jacket

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  1. Veronique :

    Love that sweater jacket! Too bad I’m on a shopping fast…

  2. Miss Behaved :

    That is cute, but I have no need for it. And, honestly, I can’t even fathom sweaters right now when it’s supposed to hit 101 degrees in Boston today.

    • yeah, it’s like 100 degrees in NYC today (or, with the humidity index, third circle of hell) and I just can’t even LOOK at a black wool sweater.

  3. Anonymous :

    Can I get really excited about something that is tone deaf as h*ll and makes me look like a jerk? I want to squee about it to my IRL friends but it would be completely inappropriate.

    I start an MBA program in the fall and will be paying entirely through loans/grants (no company sponsorship). The cost is what it is, I expect to graduate with approximately 6 figures of debt. I don’t have any undergraduate debt since my parents (generously) paid full freight.

    Yesterday I was on the phone with my mom when she said, “Well, hey, I haven’t looked at your 529 since I paid your last college bill. Maybe there’s $2-3K in there you could use for school.” She took a look and said, “Oh wow. There’s $50K or so in there. We’ll transfer it over to you for your second year.”

    I am SO excited you guys. We will probably keep the money aside until next year as I have already ironed out all the financing for this year (and then I will report it in my financial aid renewal app as support available, of course, etc). I know how incredibly lucky I am to have extraordinarily generous parents. And I’m so excited to have (hopefully) virtually cut my student loan bill in half. SO excited.

    • Anonymous :

      What good fortune! Enjoy it!

    • Olivia Pope :

      That’s great! I’m always, always happy for people who can cut down their loan debt.

    • Heck yes! You can sleep a little easier tonight.

    • That’s awesome! Good think she looked.

    • Hooray! I’m so glad to hear that, and also glad that this website exists so we all have a place to be happy about these things that we would never discuss with most other people. Like, my mom just offered to pay the balance of my fall tuition (around $2,500, so nowhere near yours) and I can’t tell anyone, because most of my friends are having to take out loans. I am incredibly grateful to my mom, though, for making that offer (especially since the party line has always been “you’re on your own for grad school,” which I completely respect) but it’s not really something I can talk about when I know so many of my friends are taking out (more) loans.

      • Agreed. Bonus was paid out today and I’m happily paying off the car. It’s hard to keep this happy dance to myself in the office.

    • I’m delighted on your behalf! Yay to not having as much student loans. :-)

    • Congratulations! That’s fabulous! We just paid off DH’s last $25k Stafford this week in one fell swoop (once we realized there was no freaking way we could afford real estate around here, saving up for a down payment became saving up for loan repayment). We are now one Perkins away from being 100% debt free and are so excited. Not really the kind of thing you can announce on Facebook.

  4. I got my NAS box last night! Here’s what I got:

    665937 Halogen Merino Wool V-Neck Cardigan – I ordered this in the dark blue and the dark blue. Loved the colors and the light weight. Would have been perfect except that the ribbing at the bottom pulled it in and it doesn’t look right with a dress. Since I mainly wear my cardigans over dresses, they’re going back. Unfortunate, because this is a staple I could really use.

    681413 Enzo Angiolini Presley Boot in Alpaca (light tan) – also returning these. They are kind of big at the top but then slightly narrow. If I wore socks to make them fit the rest of my foot, they might pinch at the toe. They are also somewhat long and pointy. Not a great look.

    265006 Chantelle Rive Gauche – keeping. This is just a different color of one I already have. Great support for an unpadded lace bra.

    676701 Sam Edelman Darla pump – definitely a keeper! The heel isn’t horribly high and they’re very well balanced. The crossing straps are studded, which makes them appeal to me even more. Not something I need, but awesome nonetheless.

    • I saw those shoes at the store and they are definitely drool worthy.

    • I am so tempted by those shoes. I have so many beautiful heels that I rarely wear and I do not need another pair to sit in my closet, but I sure do love them. They are gorgeous.

    • SoCal Gator :

      Glad you got those shoes and liked them. They are so fun!

  5. BigMed does the NAS :

    I just ordered:

    1-Hanky Panky reg rise thongs in some *crazy* colors/prints. Not my style, but beats full price. I just keep telling myself how wild and crazy I will be under my boring work clothes

    2-The Skirt in black (I don’t do skirts really; pant girl here…but you guys finally convinced me on this one).

    3-cute little dress for my daughter for her upcoming birthday.

  6. Miz Swizz :

    I’m going to Nordstrom tonight to try some stuff on. I have high hopes for The Skirt!

    • MaggieLizer :

      Ugh they keep changing the sizing and style of The Skirt. I don’t even know what size I am in it anymore. You used to have to size way down, then just 1 size down, now maybe it’s TTS and cut a little more narrowly through the thighs and around the knees? And it has a band around the waist for some reason??? Idk idk. I’m going to try to make a trip this weekend and just grab ALL THE SIZES and see if anything fits in this New New The Skirt. Why can’t they just leave good enough alone?????

    • I feel so much better about going to the store to try it on now. Anything else I should try on while I’m there?

  7. Hey Kat — I’m viewing the site in Chrome, and when I try to click on the links that you feature in the post, I never get past the “click 1×1” redirect.

  8. I just received a job offer. I’m willing to accept the offer as is, but I’ve read the articles about women making less than men because they don’t negotiate. The problem is, I don’t know how to negotiate. They sent a written offer. I suppose I just call them up and ask for more, but it just feels so awkward. Any tips?

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I think it is always worth negotiating. You have the great fall back position that even if they say “No” the offer is still enough for you to want the job so it’s virtually zero risk – no one pulls a job offer for someone trying to negotiate.

      I would call them up and say something like, “Hey I just received the job offer. I’m excited about the possibility of working at ABC Company. The offer generally looks good but I was looking for something more in the $XX for salary. Is there any room for negotiation?”

      Then just (this is hard) bite your tongue and wait for them to respond. Almost every company will build in some negotiation “room” into their initial offer. They may say no (because their offer is already market rate, because this is the max they want to pay based on your experience/candidacy, whatever) but then you can try to negotiate more vacation days, or even just take the offer as is (since you said it’s pretty good).

      Good luck!

      • Minor detail, but I have read a few horror stories on AAM of companies pulling an offer based on negotiation. The end result is normally that you would not want to work for such an unreasonable company, but if this is a last-resort kind of job be warned!

        • They already know I’m desperate.

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          Oh gosh that’s horrible. And completely unprofessional. Once you offer the job, unless a major red flag comes up like a failed background check, IMO it’s only ethical to then put the ball in the candidate’s court on whether to accept or reject. Staying firm on the original salary is one thing, but rejecting a candidate because they asked for a bit more money (how does that even go? “I was actually looking for something along the lines of $XX, can we discuss the salary?” “No, and now we don’t even want you to work here, how DARE you?”) is just ridiculous.

          So I guess then be careful — but also I agree that the kind of company that would do that is really not the kind of company you want to be working in.

      • I did have to give them a salary range and they are offering the bottom. I’d like at least $5000 more, do I ask for that or do I ask for $10000 more and “settle” for $5000 more? I’m going back to the field I worked in pre-law school, so I only have an idea of what reasonable is these days.

        • Assume whatever you propose above the current offer will be cut in half. If you want $5,000, ask for $10,000.

        • I think the number you counter will depends on the original offer – if they offered $40k and ask for $10k more, that’s a 25% request – that’s a lot. If they’re offering 100k and you’re asking for 10 more hoping for 5, that’s 10%, and I think that’s in the reasonable range. When I negotiated, I asked for 6-7% more and they met me in the middle of that. I probably could have gone for more, but I didn’t have any other offers and really wanted the job, like you mentioned, and would have taken it at the original offer.

        • Houston Attny :

          Also, if you are an attorney and want to keep up your license, you can ask for them to pay your state bar fees and CLE fees “for courses relevant to my new job.”

          • Cornellian :

            That is a great point. Or whatever the equivalent is in other professional fields… I know my cpa friends have CLE-esque training, and that adds up.

          • I’m actually leaving the practice of law.

      • Agreed! I was super surprised when I received a recent job offer (my first out of school) that my employer was willing to negotiate at all. I started with something like the above – “I’m really pleased with the offer – is there room for negotiation?” My mistake was not having a number in mind, so we waffled for around for awhile. I asked, they said something like “We think the offer is fair because of xyz.” The thing is, they didn’t say no. A few days later I asked again, “Have you given any more thought to if there was room for negotiation?” They repeated the ‘We think its fair because of xyz” thing. At that point (after a pep talk from a female mentor in my office!) I threw out a number, and they eventually met me in the middle. It wasn’t a big increase in the grand scale, but it was a lot of dollars for just a few minutes of discussion.

        If I were to do it again, my advice would be to be ready with a specific counter number as early as possible. I think I was expecting that if I said “Can we negotiate?” they would say, “Sure! Take as much money if you want!” but of course they won’t. If you ask and what they say isn’t “No.” then throw out a number that makes sense considering their offer, and see what happens. Best of luck!

        • hellskitchen :

          For the OP, this is a good way to phrase it – “I’m really pleased with the offer – is there room for negotiation?” Rather than directly counter with a number and risk them rescinding the offer (seriously, who does that??), you can gauge whether there is room for negotiation and proceed based on whether the answer is a NO or “not a NO” as Elysian says

        • Houston Attny :

          Another thought: if your suggestions are rebuffed or if you don’t get what you ask for, say you’d like to revisit the discussion in three/six months. Once they see how stellar you are at your job, I hope that’ll give you leverage.

          And maybe, as Ellen mentions below, you’ll get a CLOTHEING ALLOWANCE!

      • Yay! Fruegel Friday’s!!!! I LOVE Fruegel Friday’s!!!!

        It is also a very HOT and SWEATEY FOOEY FRIDAY in NYC. FOOEY!!!

        As for this OP, Kudo’s on getting a job. In this economy it is a GREAT testement that you were abel to land the job so quickly! I onley have ONE word of advise to you at this point.

        DO NOT BE TO PUSHY ABOUT MONEY at the outset. Why? B/c at this point you are only a new name and have NOT established a repueation YET. Start hard out of the gate, like a race

        I was VERY happy when the manageing partner offered me a job after I bumped into him in the elevator, but did NOT negotieate a salary on day 1. He offered and I accepted. After 6 month’s I had established myself as invalueable, so when I brought up MONEY, he imediately gave me $5,000 as a raise and $10,000 as a bonus, and he also gave me the clotheing allowance!!!!

        After a year, when I had my first review, he gave me another $10,000 b/c I had learned how to become a billeing MACHINE!

        So if you do what I do, you can get regular raises, and then you can even become a PARTNER, and will be very sucessful if you follow my lead. YAY!!!!!!

        • Ellen, if you ever check back to read comments, make sure the MP does not screw up any chance you may have for happiness with Sam. Be careful that he is not a jerk in disguise, but do not be afraid to open yourself to the possibility of love, even before he gives you a ring.

      • Instead of just asking for more money, I would recommend coming up with a reason why. IE, the benefits aren’t as good or you think you are worth the high side of the range you presented because you bring x skills to the company.

    • If they don’t budge on the salary, you can also negotiate for benefits like vacation time.

    • bananagram :

      I’m very excited about this opportunity, and this is a very interesting initial offer. However, I think $X/+vacation/etc is more in line with my experience.

    • Did you discuss salary at all during the interview process? While you are completely within rights to negotiate after getting a written offer, this subject should have been broached before.
      Being on the other side of this process, I can say that producing a written offer is a bureaucratic process and it’s more convenient for both parties to agree on compensation beforehand, so as not to go through the hassle multiple times.
      However, this should not be your top priority, and you absolutely should negotiate.
      You should also keep in mind that the recruiting/hiring process is separate from actual work, so you should not worry about the compensation dispute creating a negative reputation for you as a worker (p!ssing off the employer, plainly speaking). There are no downsides to being assertive!

    • last time I got a job offer, I negotiated a 15% salary increase and a starting bonus with about 7% of my salary. I simply said, “I’m really excited about this role. However, my salary expectations were more in line with $Y. Further, in accepting this role, I will be fore-fitting my annual bonus opportunity with my current firm, and won’t be eligible for an annual bonus this year…” HR asked what my “lost bonus $” was, I replied with $Z. He went back to the hiring manager + his boss, and called me back with a salary at my $Y rate, and a signing bonus worth $Z.

      • Coach Laura :

        Please don’t say this: “Further, in accepting this role, I will be fore-fitting my annual bonus opportunity”. It’s FORFEITING not fore-fitting. But yes, otherwise, Brant is correct.

    • Georgiana :

      UPDATE: I went with the soft opening “I’m excited. I would like more, is there any room for negotiation?” Was told that the offer had to do with the fact they weren’t sure how much training I would need since I’ve been out of the field for almost six years. We settled on revisiting it in six months.

      Thanks for all the suggestions.

  9. Wild Gray Hairs :

    I have staight brown hair. And then the grays came in, largely in front, where I have a giant cowlick. They picked up the texture of the cowlick and then went crazy. Even colored, it looks like I had a hair transplant with Golda Maier in front. I am trying conditioner + anti-frizz stuff and try to blow it straight so that it blends in with the rest of their hair. In the summer humidity, it just looks like I have a bad perm in front. I am wanting to just cut it all off. Has anyone else had this problem (or better — FIXED it)?

    • I’ve never done it, but I’ve always considered the Japanese (?) straightening treatment for my all over frizzy hair. As it is, I am forced to blow-dry and flat iron whenever I wash it. You could ask a hairdresser about doing the treatment on just the front so as not to unnecessarily damage the rest of your hair.

    • First, I laughed out loud at your Golda Maier comment.

      Second, I love, love, love, love my Keratin treatment. You might want to ask your stylist how grey hairs would react to it, though. But when I have Keratin, my wild and wavy hair is sleek (but not flat) just from blow drying it. I don’t have to straight iron or anything.

    • I was considering Keratin but ended up getting my hair lightly relaxed (so much cheaper and less upkeep). I love the way it looks! My frizzy mass of hair (which I owned, but was tough to make look professional) is now sleek waves even when I wake up in the morning (instead of frizzing out a foot or so).

  10. why biglaw? :

    I know there are quite a few attorneys on this board, so I thought this would be a good place to ask: why did you choose biglaw?

    • Everyone always talks about the pay, but for me it was way more about job certainty. With my school’s loan repayment assistance, I could have definitely been totally ok making 40-60K a year, but public interest jobs were so, so scarce and uncertain that I just didn’t want to take the risk (no LRAP if you didn’t actually have a job). I felt so much better knowing that in all likelihood I had a post-grad job lined up when I got a BigLaw summer associate offer the summer before 2L vs. waiting until the last few months of 3L to figure out my job situation.

    • I think that for a lot of people, it’s the opportunity to pay back loans. My loan payments were over 2K a month when I graduated (I had a little undergrad debt, and I did a joint degree program). I know that was a huge driving force for me–I had known going in to law school that I would go in that direction. Although the LRAP programs can be great, it’s a long road to loan forgiveness and I was worried about being phased out of eligibility (moving up the government pay scale) and being hit with a lot of accumulated interest. And, frankly, in 2006 (when I was doing OCI), coming from the top third of a lower range T14, biglaw was the easiest job to get. (I realize this may no longer be true- I did OCI as an interviewer last year and my firm would NOT have hired me in 2012).

      • AND, if you want to be in private practice, or go in-house, or even government down the road, I think the training/skills gained/”prestige” of big-law resonates on a resume.

        • I’m a current law student, but I wanted to mention that in-house seems to have started hiring straight out of law school. I don’t know if they did this previously (I didn’t think so), but it seems like a trend that more and more are hired straight out each year.

          I still think BigLaw on the resume probably helps more down the line, but I was curious about people’s thoughts on this (or if it is a regional thing).

          • Veronique :

            I’m only a few years out of law school and have only worked in house. I’ve had one promotion so far within my company (huge intl technology company) and recently accepted an offer for a managerial level position in another company. It’s a huge bump in both pay and responsibility. They advertised the job for applicants with at least 5 years experience. I highly doubt I would have gotten this opportunity with only a few years of Biglaw experience. It can be hard to get in the door for in house positions because there’s relatively few of them and “everyone” in Biglaw wants to go in house. Just like with law firms, the “quality” of your company seems to matter almost as much as the quality of your experience. From what I can tell (also based on my conversations with respected recruiters and career counselors) lack of Biglaw experience isn’t an issue except maybe at the highest level (GC of a fortune 100) if you have quality experience from major companies,

    • Cornellian :

      I worked at a tiny (two-lawyer) and small (fifteen-lawyer but national boutique) firm in law school, and summered in big law. I think two things pushed me towards BigLaw: the complexity of the work that I saw, and the knowledge (perhaps false) that it is easier to go from BigLaw to inhouse or smaller law than vice versa.

      it sounds like you have the great position of having an offer or summer offer in biglaw and some other firm. I think you have to find a good niche in BigLaw… it can be a brutal, demanding, inhumane place. If you don’t love the place where you interview and everyoen you meet, I’d think twice about taking the job if you have other options.

    • The $.

      I had to put myself through law school and the *only* thing I cared about was paying the $ back as soon as possible so that I could then go do what I wanted. I paid the $ back last year and am trying to figure out my next move (but saving every penny in the meantime).

      I like what I do and I have been treated much worse for much less $. I think of it like playing in the NFL — great $ while you can, but not sustainable forever.

    • MaggieLizer :

      Because I can’t afford the $2300/mo minimum payment on my student loans (plus little things like, you know, rent, utilities, transportation, groceries, etc.) with any other job I could get right out of law school.

    • I’m going to answer the flip side of this question – why not biglaw? I spent 2L summer in biglaw, and the firm I was at seemed like a decent place to work. My fellow summer associates seemed to be truly excited about the work they were doing. If you are interested in transactional work or civil litigation, the big firms are the ones doing the majority of the cutting edge work.

      In contrast to the other summer associates, I found my work to be extremely tedious and boring. I don’t really like researching and writing. I had done other internships at prosecutor’s offices, and knew that I liked working on those types of cases. I love criminal law, and biglaw not the place for it.

      I feel that most of the people I know went into biglaw because it pays the most, has the best exit options, and is the best place to go if you don’t really have a good idea of what you want to do with your law degree. There were a few that knew exactly what they wanted to do and chose their firms because they do the best work in that field. I think all of those are completely valid reasons to choose biglaw.

      There are definitely times I wish I was passionate about securities litigation instead of criminal law, like every two weeks when I see my paycheck. Sadly, I find it much easier to work 80 hours a week on a murder trial than 80 hours a week writing a brief and doing document review. I figure, as long as I can support myself and live a comfortable lifestyle, I’d rather spend my days doing something I really love.

      • Amen to that!

        I really liked criminal law and clerking, so this might have been my exit plan had I not been doing a lot of transactional work over the past few years (so I am feeling the need to get my bona fides back).

        There is a lot of mind-numbing work or there can be. I used to schedule that for when my brain was already tired, to the extent that I could.

        I wish I could work 80 hours a week (or past 6). Now that I have children, I feel that my “dream” career options are off the table for other reasons. So I’m looking for a meaningful mommy-track job (or predominately at ones with a predictable schedule).

    • lovebiglaw :

      Initially (i.e. before I ever set foot in the door): the pay, the prestige, and the training.
      Now (about 1 year in): all of the above + knowledgeable/saavy clients who pay their bills, support staff and general assistance resources (basically an in-house kinkos, UPS/Fedex, microsoft products assistance, etc etc), gorgeous office space, and an abundance of bright attorneys around so that we’re pretty much a one-stop shop for clients if they need assistance, upward mobility, incentive bonuses, good health benefits, in-house CLES, etc. I could pretty much go on and on.

      Although the hours (sometimes–not always) suck, and it’s not fun to feel like I’m always on call, I think the positives outweigh all of this. At least for now. I know now that I could never ever ever really be happy at a small firm (unless they offered comparable services/benefits/etc). And honestly it might just be my firm–everyone above me is happy with what they do and who they work with.

      • Woods-comma-Elle :

        This is basically what I was going to say. For me it was a choice between banking and law and (though clearly I could have made more in banking) transactional law was a good place to be in the middle of the two. As someone said above, for much transactional work (the Big Deals at least, which I wanted to be involved in), biglaw is the way to go. I wanted to be a corporate/transactional lawyer and I was never really attracted to other areas of law, so it was an easy decision. The money helped, but my firm is at the average part of the payscale, rather than the crazy NY rates some firms pay.

        Ultimately, there is a huge variety of firms out there varying from holiday camp to crazy sweatshop and I can see how the latter makes people want to stab their eyes out with a fork, but in the non-crazy places the comp and benefits are still good, you get high-quality work and high-quality clients and it’s this type of firm that tends to generate happy big law campers.

        • First, let me say that these comments are really encouraging. I find that the squeakiest wheels are the people saying “BigLaw is hell, you’ll hate your life and it’ll work you to death.”

          To pick your brain, if you have a minute: how did you know you wanted to get into corporate/transactional law? I’m pre-law school and I’m attracted to that area as well, but when pressed, I’m not really sure why – I have little knowledge of how corporations operate, or mergers & acquisitions, or what exactly it entails. It just feels right and aligned with my likes and dislikes.

          I guess my question would be: what about your personality, skills, and preferences make you enjoy your work?

          • Woods-comma-Elle :

            For me, it was pretty similar, it was always something I was interested in without really knowing why, and ultimately having tried it, it became more obvious to me why. Usually trusting your instincts on this stuff is fine, though if possible I would try both contentious and non-contentious work, as often people find that they think they want to do something and actually hate it.

            My (very personal) reasons include:

            (1) it’s very commercial – I don’t enjoy reading cases and doing academic research both of which are quite theoretical at times, whereas I like the more practical, business aspects of ‘how can we structure this to make the most money’ (see above ref banking vs law)

            (2) it is methodical and appeals to my organised, mathematical mind – I like having a deal on, getting through checklists, negotiating documents, organising stuff etc etc.

            (3) I enjoy drafting and writing, particularly the ‘how shall we say this best’, though this applies to contentious work as well

            (4) transactional work tends to be more amicable (though not always). Everyone wants to get the deal done and is working towards the same goal, so dealing with the other side is often less adversarial

            (5) clients tend to be sophisticated business people and you are advising the business, rather than a person – though again, the more human element is why others prefer areas like family law, wills and trusts etc, so this is a very personal choice. Also, clients often get less emotional about transactions, because you are (usually) helping them make money, whereas the litigators are helping them not lose money

            (6) things happen more quickly – if a deal has been going for three months in my particular practice area, it is a very long time, whereas a court case or arbitration can take years, so you get the satisfaction or completing a project more quickly (though this is more the case in commercial, big-ticket litigation)

          • Woods-comma-Elle :

            Also, just for context, I always wanted to do corporate/M&A and what I actually now do is an industry specialism which is a mix of private equity, corporate and asset finance, so there are plenty of options out there (and plenty of transactional practice areas that do not involve corporate).

          • lovebiglaw :

            I just randomly ended up in corporate/transactional practice as well. The firm was literally like “ok your assignment is with the corporate practice area.” I thought all along that I wanted to do litigation–but I realize now that it was because a) I had no idea what “corporate” practice was, b) it’s all you see on TV, and c) it’s (pretty much) all that law schools teach towards.

            Now that I’ve been practicing in the corporate area, I realize that it is MUCH better suited for my personality and skill set. I agree with all of Elle’s comments above. It’s incredibly fulfilling–though at times the work can be tedious (lots of charts, summaries, checklists, etc.) It’s also THE BEST way to transition in-house (or just to a non-law corporate job) if that’s something you’re at all interested in.

            Just to reiterate, though, there ARE times where my job is hell–I feel like that’s with any law practice/job. There are times where the demands on you exceed what you THINK you’re capable of–but what I’ve learned is that those times are where I’ve learned the most–about teamwork (asking others to help), about delegation (to assistants), about time management and productivity (no blog commenting/ browsing), and communication (saying there is no freaking way I can get this to you by lunchtime–can we push back the deadline?!?!) But, again, the positives of a biglaw practice are so great that I can generally push through those busy times without going (too) crazy.

            Hopefully that makes sense.

          • I can’t reply directly, but thank you SO much for your responses. Woods-comma-Elle, I think we have very similar “work taste” as far as being organized, numbers-minded, and liking checklists and projects that are neatly wrapped up. I’ve had some exposure to family law (and specifically, how domestic abuse is handled in the legal system through a battered women shelter) and while it’s meaningful work and fulfilling as a volunteer job, I absolutely could not deal with others’ high emotions all day; I would burn out so quickly.

            What you and lovebiglaw describe sound a lot like what I expected corporate law to look like, but I know that in so many professions the day-to-day tasks are not at all what you would expect so I really appreciate your insight.

      • Amen to smart clients who pay! I’m just coming off two small law firm jobs, which were both very pleasant and flexible places to work, but a large part of my salary came down to what I actually brought in. (Not every small firm operates like that, but I’m gathering that it’s been more and more common.) Great sometimes, other times, very not so great, and I put a lot of not just hours but emotional investment into cases where I ultimately did not see much of the money I should have. (At least partially my fault; I was responsible for ensuring payment, but that’s hard, too.) Also, there were times that I had a lot, but far too many times that I had literally nothing to do, which is extremely stressful.

        (The firm I’m at now is medium, but operates more like a bigger firm, if that makes sense.)

      • This is exactly what I was going to say, too. Couldn’t say it any better. The in-firm resources I have, especially the amazing litigation support, paralegals, and assistants are not typically things you get at smaller firms. Hearing my friends at even midsized firms talk about the utter incompetence and laziness of some of their staff makes me want to go hug all of mine. I spend hours writing their reviews in great detail in the hopes that they get great bonuses. And as for me, the work is complex and interesting, my colleagues are as smart or smarter than me, I love having financial security, and I feel like what I do matters, which I guess is sort of like prestige. Then again, I was here until 10 last night yet again and my colleague was here until after midnight, as he has all month.

      • Alanna of Trebond :

        This is exactly what I would say. I love my job — and I have worked an insane amount of hours in the last two weeks. I’ve been to trial, written an appellate brief, represented my client at a major antitrust agency (on my own), helped clear a major deal. My colleagues are brilliant and I love my boss.

        My firm sets the payscale for NYC.

        And I am crazy sad to be leaving to clerk at an appellate clerk in the fall — I applied for it in law school and never thought I would love my job so much.

        • Alanna of Trebond :

          *appellate court, obviously. Makes you wonder how I got it at all.

    • Sean John Combs f/k/a Diddy f/k/a P.Diddy f/k/a Puff Daddy :

      Because of the obvious.

    • Well biglaw didn’t choose me, but I would have gone biglaw for the money. I’m leaving a five attorney firm. The bullsh*t you have to deal with at small firms is the same as at large firms, so you might as well be reasonably compensated. (Nothing like a surprise billable hours requirement–2200-after you’ve already been working at a place for a year.)

    • I ask myself that question every day, sigh. JK……honestly, I think for the money and the prestige, which are kind of dumb reasons but whatever. I also went to a law school where that’s just what people did so I didn’t actually really put a ton of thought into other options. But I also had the max amount of student loans so I knew I had to make money to be able to pay them off. I also think that it’s probably easier to go from big law to something else (in house, non profit etc) than vice versa.

    • I almost feel like I didn’t choose, it just kind of happened. At my school it was either like “I’m a super dedicated public interest person and I absolutely definitely want to work in [X public interest field]”…or you did OCI. So, I did OCI and got a Big Law job. The money and various perks are obviously huge incentives too. But really it was just the only clearly defined path.

    • I didn’t choose BigLaw. I worked for MediumLaw (is that even a thing?) and my firm merged with a BigLaw firm. So, the real question is why I stayed. I enjoyed the work I was doing and the people I was doing it with. I enjoyed the opportunity to work with new people and even more complex litigation. I love that there is an expert on almost every area of law somewhere in our firm. I was also past the point of the graceful mid-level exit at the time of the merger, so staying to make partner made more sense. So, now I’m a BigLaw partner doing really interesting work with great people. But, I didn’t come up through the BigLaw associate years (I was just a very senior associate/almost partner then a partner), so I don’t know if I would have made it to the same place through that path.

      • I think this has been discussed before, but how do you define big, medium and small law?

        • Cornellian :

          BigLaw is the top 100 firms as defined by American Lawyer (the AmLaw 100), I’d say. Not sure about the rest. It seems like medium law is more likely to be regional firms with several offices in non-global cities. Small law is everything else.. firms with fewer than, say, 2 offices and 25 lawyers. But there are some firms that break the mold, especially boutiques that are tiny but pay like biglaw (or better) and do huge deals.

    • I started in “regional Biglaw” and I lateraled to am AmLaw 50 firm. So unlike a lot of folks who started in the biggest of Biglaw and then moved to something more low-key, I consciously threw myself into the fire.

      The upshot is that I wanted to do big crazy deals, for big crazy clients. I wanted to be doing the hardest, most complicated, most cutting-edge work. I’ve gotten that in spades. It’s not without costs, but the truth is that I love it.

    • These responses are so interesting!

      I chose big law because 1) I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and this was the easiest/most clearly defined way of getting a guaranteed job well before graduation 2) I had a lot of loans that were seriously stressing me out 3) I was under the impression that exit opportunities from big law are very good…not entirely sure that is true because it really depends what kind of big law and what you want to do…but there are some options at least.

      I will also say that having worked in a small firm (12 attorneys) prior to law school, I absolutely knew I didn’t want to do that. I really hated (even as a legal assistant) the part where clients don’t pay. Corporations/GCs/their insurance generally pay on time. Yes, you have fights with the insurance sometimes, but that happens at a pretty high level, so its not something you’re exposed to right out of law school, and even if you are, in my experience it is much less emotional coming from an insurance provider than when its coming right out of a single mom’s paycheck.

      Similarly, I had worked with clients in fairly intense situations, both legal and non legal (abused women, people going through divorces, refugees, abused children) prior to and during law school and eventually I decided I didn’t’ really want to do that on a day to day basis. While part of it was very fulfilling and meaningful (much more so than fighting over discovery, at least to me), it was also incredibly stressful and draining. I’ve found big law to be actually LESS stressful even though its more hours, because at the end of the day I can tell myself “eff it…no one is going to die here, just do your best and move on.” Whereas in those other situations, I felt a lot of responsibility because if I screwed up or just didn’t win, the client might go to jail/get deported/get sent back to an abusive parent etc. etc. So i learned something about myself, which is that i like doing those intense client focused cases on a pro bono/optional basis, but not as my bread and butter.

      Having been here for a few years, the other things I appreciate about big law (didn’t choose it for this, but see the benefits now) are the enormous resources. As others have mentioned, we basically have an in-house kinkos, i have my own secretary, we have a mail processing center, we have numerous paralegals and staff to help with all kinds of things. Coming out of non profit jobs and internships where it was usually a struggle to get the one copier to work, it feels very luxurious to be able to just hand things off to the processing center/secretary and says, 10 binders, collated, chronological, need them in 4 hours, thanks. I never enjoyed that kind of detail oriented work (some people I think actually like this type of stuff- find it soothing/relaxign/are good at it) so I would much rather spend my time drafting/advising/researching/counseling/etc than getting documents in perfect chronological order.

      One other thing, and this is small, but along the lines of resources- I love having my own (big) office! it’s great. When you work a lot, it really improves your quality of life not to be stuck in a cube. I can put my feet up, take naps, change clothes, etc. etc. Its very nice. And the office space is beautiful.

    • I LOVE these responses and you guys are giving me so much hope. It seems as though the squeakiest wheels are the people who are miserable in BigLaw, and make it seem as though it’s literally impossible to be happy or fulfilled there.

  11. I agree with roses on the job certainty point, but for me the bigger issue was quality of the work and the people I’d be working with. Before anyone gets in an uproar, I certainly don’t mean to suggest that there aren’t smart people working on interesting issues in small firms or in public interest positions. But I think that can be more hit or miss. I’ve worked in BigLaw my whole career and have felt really fortunate to work with incredibly smart people for clients who have very complex problems, often involving novel issues of law. Especially these days, big firms don’t get commoditized work; clients only want to pay those big firm rates when it’s truly a bet-the-company case, a really big or complex deal, needs some creative lawyering, etc. Again, that’s not to say you’ll never work on anything that’s boring, but I think a higher proportion of the work fits into what I just described. Plus, the pay’s pretty darn good.

    • The quality/variety of work is a valid point. I lateraled into a big fim as a mid-level after being in small firms (6 attys or so). I got to work on much bigger matters and had clients in multiple states. The exposure was really good and I learned from experts in the field. I’ve since moved on, but I was happy about the experience I gained.

  12. Equity's Darling :

    Here’s a fun Friday question for you all. What would you do if you won the lottery for $10,000? $100,000? $1,000,000? $10,000,000? $100,000,000?!?!

    Assume the amounts are after-tax, for you Americans, Canadians get their sweet winnings tax free.

    • Cornellian :

      No tax on lottery winnings in Canada? That seems strange. Windfalls are classically easy to tax.

      10K- invest in a couple pieces of grown up furniture, put a bit in a 529 for nieces, put a bit in my retirement fund
      100K- ditto, actually. With an eye towards buying a 2 or 3 BR on Morningside park in a few years.
      1,000K- buy the place on morningside park (could only afford the 2 BR, haha).

      I can’t really imagine beyond that.

      • Equity's Darling :

        Well, easy to tax or otherwise, they’re not taxed here:)

        • Cornellian :

          Interesting. I meant easy in the sense of there’s little political pushback, it’s hard to argue you deserve the whole thing, etc. Seems like a very progressive tax to have, and I guess I imagined Canada would have it.

          In an alternative life I’d be working at a tax think tank.

          • Equity's Darling :

            I think Canadians generally feel like we’re sufficiently taxed, so I cannot imagine how the government would be able to get through taxing lottery winnings, and the current government would have no desire to do so. Plus, I sort of think that most Canadians are cool with progressive taxes in theory, but not in practice.

            Tax policy is really interesting- I did a class on it in law school with one of the leading tax policy thinkers in our country (he’s all about consumption based taxation, which can be quite regressive), and during undergrad (accounting degree) with a different thinker on the opposite side of things (very in favour of progressive taxation). It was interesting to see both side, though I don’t entirely know where I fall personally it’s definitely an interestjnf area.

            To make it more interesting, the law school class is also in the flat 10% income tax province (tops out at 39% if you add in the federal tax, plus 5% federal sales tax, no provincial sales tax) and my undergrad was in the province with the most progressive tax rate (marginal rate tops out at around 50%, plus 13% sales tax total), so the perspectives were totally opposite ends of the spectrum within the classes too.

    • A Nonny Moose :

      DH and I play this game all the time, actually.

      Anywhere between 10k and 500k is going toward me + DH’s loans.
      Between that and 3 million or so, buying a house in the DC area.
      Above that my sister’s loans are getting paid for, my nonexistent children will have college paid for, and the local animal rescue leagues are going to quintuple in size :)

    • 10k – Wipe out a loan.
      100k – Use 1/2 towards loans and 1/2 towards an investment?
      1m – wipe out loans, buy modest property on Maui and have a garden while trying to get a AUSA job
      10m – ditto, plus I could do good things like funds scholarships

    • Ah, a girl can dream!

      10k – Honeymoon. Yup, completely frivolous, but it would be nice to do and not have to worry about $$.

      100k – invest/down payment. help out my grandparent who is getting older.

      1 million – after I stop jumping up and down? I’d basically do the same thing as with the 100k, but maybe a nice trip. I’d also help out a few people who have been really good to me through the years.

      10 million + – everything with the million and I’d quit my job and open a foundation in which I help the homeless. I would love to do community service work and help make a difference in people’s lives in a more tangible way. Selfishly, I’d take a lot of cooking classes, and buy a nice beach/mountain (hell both) house. And a really nice show horse.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      Love this question! I’m going to be frivolous and although I would of course donate to charity, this is a ‘fun’ question, not a ‘sensible’ question, so that one is a given.

      $10k – take my parents on an awesome trip somewhere they could never afford to go themselves.

      $100k – pay off my student loans, save half and use the rest on an awesome trip for my parents and a Chanel handbag.

      $1m – pay off student loans, do an MBA and buy a house and awesome car for myself, buy a house and said trip for my parents (prob around the world), go on an awesome shopping trip and invest the rest.

      $10m – all of the above and… wow I actually have no idea. I like my job, but I probably wouldn’t want to do it if I had $10m. I would want to study some more, travel, live in various different places around the world. This is so utopistic that it’s hard with so much money!

    • $10k – hubby and I are currently saving for a home so that amount would go in the down payment fund – all of it.

      $100k – that’s about what we need for a down payment, so most of that would be the down payment and then extra would go to savings or possibly furniture to furnish the new home.

      $1m – buy home, pay off student loans for me and hubby, possibly give an amount to my parents and hubby’s parents, and just save/invest the rest. And probably go on a lavish vacation to Paris with hubby.

      $10m – all of the above, and honestly I would quit my job!!!!

    • No matter what amount, I would tithe 10% (donate to church causes, not necessarily to a specific church)

      10K – 1/4 in retirement, 1/4 in savings, rest on an amazing dream vacation (African safari) with my mom and sister
      100k – new (to me) car and the rest would be my down payment on a house in my Caribbean homeland
      1M – same as 100k, except nicer car and bigger house payment
      1oM – new car, Caribbean house, savings, retirement, gifts for my family, travel
      100M – all of the above, plus a scholarship at my alma mater

    • If I won a million plus:

      First, set money aside for a small house for us.

      Second, pay off my parents’ mortgage, pay all family student loans/education costs (minimal compared to US b/c we’re in Canada), and gift some cash to each of our siblings (I have 4 and my husband has 1, so that’s not so equitable but they need it more).

      Third, put aside a hefty chunk for children’s future education.

      Fourth, set aside a chunk for us to donate, whether in small amounts to a bunch of organizations or a few big chunks to organizations dear to our hearts (my school growing up, our community centre, local family/children’s aid/poverty relief organizations).

      The rest would be divided between savings and some fun discretionary purchases and vacations. I don’t think we’d change our lifestyle much except that I might consider taking extended unpaid mat leave.

      If we won under 10K, we’d probably save it all in our house fun. 10-100k+, smaller scale versions of the above.

    • DH & I also pay this game regularly.

      $10k – family vacation

      $100k – family vacation, pay off dh’s last student loan, savings

      $1m – family vacation, pay off dh’s last student loan, new car, savings (buying a house is not a priority for us right now for many reasons)

      $10m – pay off the loan, take a leave of absence from my job (or quit if they don’t let me) and travel the world for a year as a family and homeschool the kids for the year. What the boys study in school would determine where we would travel. “Oh, you are studying how life in Alberta compares to life in Thailand? Let’s go see in person (typical social studies unit here)” or “Oh, you are studying British history and how it impacts Canada? Let’s go to London & tour the parliamentary buildings”. I would LOVE to do something like this someday, but it would take winning the lottery to do it. But wouldn’t it be awesome? And then we’d go home, I’d start working again, but we’d buy a flat in London (or our new favorite place) and travel regularly.

    • We also play this all the time :)

      $10K – pay off part of student loans

      $100K-pay off all student loans, the car, and part of the mortgage

      $1M-pay off all debt including mortgage, take a trip to french polynesia, college savings for the kids, and retirement

      $10M-all of the above and quit our jobs. DH would then embark on his dream career while I would embark on never working again. And also I would move the heck out of BFE.

    • Also play this game on a regular basis!

      $10k – towards impending wedding

      $100k – towards impending wedding, pay off fiance’s student loans

      $1m – all of the above; of the remainder, half in retirement savings and the rest towards future car, future down payment, restoring family cabin in the woods

      $10m – all of the above; immediate search for jobs in desired location, regardless of pay; fiance back to school immediately if desired…and probably a honeymoon

    • 10K: new roof
      100K: adopt a child and finish home renovations
      1M: above and invest

    • $10,000 – vacation
      $100,000 – pay off all remaining debt / really cool vacation / donate to charity
      $1,000,000 – pay off all remaining debt / short sabbatical for long, amazing world travel vacation / donate more to charity / invest rest
      $10,000,000 – pay off all remaining debt / quit job / long, amazing world travel vacation / wise investments that I can live off for rest of life / donate to charity
      $100,000,000 – pay off all remaining debt/ quit job / buy new house / long, amazing world travel vacation / wise investments that I can live off for the rest of life / donate serious amounts to charity.

      • And at the quit my job levels, I think I’d get a PhD. Just because I always kind of wanted one and so I’d have something to do.

    • I love this game and play it so often! Unfortunately I don’t buy lottery tickets enough.

      $10k – $1k to “play money”, $4k to savings, half to a family vacation

      $100k – $1k “play money”, completely pay off all debt (including a long-term loan from my parents), buy DH a new car, remainder to savings.

      $1,000,000 – as above, with the addition of renovating two bathrooms, filling in the freaking swimming pool in the backyard (I hate the pool – it is such a freaking stupid idea to have an outdoor swimming pool in a temperate rainforest) and having it landscaped.

      $10,000,000 – as above, give a good chunk to family, travel for 6 months or a year, buy waterfront vacation property or possibly a small plantation in Kona and donate funds to a favourite charity.

      $100m – I don’t even dare to think of it. But definitely quit the job, decamp to India or Malaysia to write the next Nobel prize-winning novel and become a full-time fibre artist.

      But as they say, you gotta be in it to win it. That’s my problem.

      • Oh my goodness, how could I possibly forget paying off the mortgage at the $1m level? That should be the first priority.

        Now how many of you are off to buy a lottery ticket today? :-)

        • Equity's Darling :

          Truth time: I have never purchased a lottery ticket, I just enjoy hearing other people’s aspirations.

    • I’d change nothing for any of the amounts, except for the $100 million.

      At $100million, I’d sell the house. Sell the car. For me, house and car > all the crappy apartments I’d lived in and having to listen go my neighbors play music at odd hours, scream, yell, f*ck, and vacuum.

      But having a house and car is maintenance and crap-ton of annoying little projects and headaches.

      So, with $100m, I’d sell everything, and go from posh hotel to posh hotel. When I started to get sick of my posh London hotel, off to Paris, and then off to Florence, Prague, Tokyo, Sydney, etc.

      • I always told my ex I would live in NYC if I had enough money to do it right and have a car and driver to take me everywhere. I’d definitely have a pied a terre in the city!

        But, heck yeah, Florence, Bologna, Salzburg, etc.

    • $10,000 – anniversary trip next year to Austria, new laptop, maybe a new couch

      $100,000 – don’t know – maybe buy a house? obviously this wouldn’t *buy* a house but it would go a ways toward it.

      $1,000,000 – travel, buy a house, donate some to charity, retirement

      $10,000,000 – travel, donate to charity, buy a house, invest

      $100,000,000 – endow everything I could in my job so our budget wouldn’t be dependent on the university’s budget, then quit. Endow our choir director’s salary, upgrade the choir loft. Pay for my nephews’ college tuition. Have a fabulous life traveling, volunteering, knitting, cooking, etc.

      • Austria! I studied abroad there and loooooooooove it.

        • Yeah, when I say “anniversary” I’m talking about the 30th anniversary (gulp) of study abroad in Vienna for me and my friend. We keep talking about going next year and we’re hoping we can make it happen. If I go to Vienna, I definitely need to go to Salzburg. Despite the gray and cold, I think I would want to go in December. There’s just so much happening there culturally at that time, plus Christmas markets!

          • Gosh, I loved Vienna. I lived with a family in the 18th district and took German classes right by Schottentor – still ranks as maybe the most perfectly happy summer of my life…

          • I lived in the 9th. Near Freud’s house and the university. School was inside the Ring, across the street from the Vienna Conservatory.

        • Equity's Darling :

          I did an exchange there too! I really loved also- I feel
          Austria is underappreciated.

    • Neat!

      10K: Probably put it towards student loans, but use the fact that we’re that much more “ahead” to justify a very nice vacation within the next year. Or fence in the back yard (boring, I know, but we’ve been wanting to for years.)

      100K: Pay off all student loans, international vacation, put 10-20 K towards the house.

      1 million: Hard to say. I might quite my job and either take a few years off (while kid A is young and to have hypothetical kid B) or look for something part-time. Pay off all loans, do whatever I want to the house, international vacation, college fund for kids (and maybe a little bit for my niece and nephews?). Oh, and I’d be obligated to buy my husband a $100K sports car. Hmm, that would go pretty quickly. :)

      $10 million: quit job, all of the above, get a car elevator, travel the world, fund college for every kid in the family, eventually settle down and try to start some sort of charitable organization.

      Or, alternatively, open a restaurant and just expect it to lose money. Hire someone to manage it and come by and cook whenever I feel like it. Do random things like make every dish pie for a week for no apparent reason.

    • NationalAnthem :

      If I won the lottery, I would have a little bit less anxiety about the bar exam happening in less than two weeks. :)

    • Such a fun question! Thanks Equity. :)

      10K- Spend a night with H in a luxurious 5 star hotel. Maybe with a fabulous dinner. Blow the rest on a trip to Paris for my mom. She speaks some french and has always, always wanted to go but even though she could technically “afford” it, she won’t spend that much on herself, especially for something frivolous.

      100K – Downpayment on a house, plus the above

      1 million – all the above plus pay for two of my sibs to finish college. Pay for graduate school if they are interested. Buy something nice for H’s parents. ?? Savings? I have no idea…

      10 million – all the above, plus quit my job and invest the rest. I’d also donate to charity.

      100 million – i can’t even fathom this amount of money, so seriously no ideas beyond what’s already been said!!

    • Anon in NYC :

      Fun! A girl can dream.

      10K – pay down student loans. No question.

      100K – pay down student loans. Sadly this would even cover my current balance. I’d probably set aside a good amount towards savings and a splurge-y vacation. Repeat of my honeymoon? Sure!

      1 million – Pay off student loans. Put several hundred thousand into savings. Pay off my mom’s mortgage, figure out how to help out my dad and my siblings, and DH’s parents. Oh, and definitely an awesome vacation.

      10 million+ – incorporating the 1M above, quit my job, travel extensively (perhaps be a permanent traveler), buy vacation house(s) in fabulous locations where I can split my time – probably London and Italy for starters, and something in a tropical locale – and feel free to indulge in whatever “passion” I’m feeling at the moment that I don’t currently have the time/money for (cooking classes, gardening, fitness certifications, etc.).

    • 10k – wouldn’t really change much, it would go in the bank and I’d feel more comfortable making several little splurges I otherwise talk myself out of.

      100k – husband would probably reduce/quit his work and get (another) graduate degree /sigh/

      1M – buy a house so I don’t have to deal with all the HOA BS at my townhouse

      10M – quit my job and buy a horse ranch

      100M – same as 10M, but maybe with TB racehorses

    • DowntownBK :

      Fun Game!

      10k – Maybe buy a Cartier watch I’ve been wanting, use the rest to make charitable donations.

      100k – Same as above, start 529s for future kids, give half to parents for mortgage, buy car.

      1mm – All above, but set up full education funds for future kids. Plan an amazing trip to SE Asia. Pay off parents’ mortgage, brother’s college loans, sister’s (small) law school loans. Save the rest for next down payment (just bought our first place).

      10mm – This is where it gets fun :) All of the above plus quit job for sure, figure out what I truly want to do (probably some type of part time personal finance job coupled with volunteer work in same field). Pay off mortgage and put aside $$ for dream condo / townhouse (though happy where we are, so wouldn’t move immediately). Buy a vacation home outside city big enough for family and friends to visit. Pay for par or all of nieces’ and nephew’s education and apartment in the city for my grandma. Travel everywhere!

      100mm – All of the above, but even more travel with high end everything! Pied a terre in Paris. Leave enough $$ for future grandkids’ educations. Buy huge beach compound for whole family to use in the town that we go to every year. Make some major donations to organizations we are involved with where they would make a huge impact. Invest wisely.

  13. I’ve seen “know your office” thrown around quite a bit when we talk about whether something would be work appropriate or not. As I’ve mentioned before, I work in higher ed where the dress code seems to be no pajamas, jeans only on Friday. I looked around my office and I seem to be the one to set the bar for women’s wear. So if I’m at the top end of the dressing spectrum in a lower role, how do I determine what’s office appropriate?

    • Also in Academia :

      I would guess your intincts are already correct. There are days when my administrative assistant and I turn up in identical outfits (pencil skirt/nice T/cardigan), and I feel like I should be dressing better — but really, no one in student affairs (my part of higher ed) wears suits in the summer. Even a jacket makes me fancy. Today I’m wearing dark jeans/T/blazer/flats, and I feel very dressed up. My husband reminded me of the “dress for the job you want,” advice, but I think today my dean is wearing flip flops, so that doesn’t work. For the fall, I have resolved to wear low heels more often, aim for wearing a suit twice a week and jackets the other two days, with cardigans put off for Fridays only. So I guess we should count our blessings for having flexibility!

    • Miss Behaved :

      In my higher ed office, jeans are acceptable any day, but I rarely wear them, especially not when the weather is this hot.

      I’m at the very high end of the spectrum when it comes to wardrobe. I wear mostly dresses and skirts, but I pair them with flip flops, because I often have to go to meetings on campus, which is usually at least a half mile walk.

      I’m in IT, for reference. Today I’m wearing a Brooks Brothers seersucker spaghetti strap sheath dress that falls to just below the knee, with my ubiquitous crocs sexi flips. Yesterday I told myself I should bring in some low heels to keep at my desk, but I probably won’t bother.

      I do keep wedge heels under my desk for winter, though.

    • I was thinking about “dress for the job you want” too. It probably doesn’t help that I’ve been rewatching The Good Wife and lusting after most of Alicia and Diane’s wardrobes and having a hard time justifying them when I work with women who mostly wear t-shirts and black pants.

      • Well, as a younger teacher, I used to wear black slacks, nicer button downs/sweaters/blouses and nicer sneakers. My students seemed to notice this effort (as they told me later on in the school year) and appreciate it and act accordingly. A lot of the other teachers wore jeans + polo or T shirts every day. The principal wore miniskirts and inappropriate stilettos (she had issues)

        While it may not be what your peers or superiors are doing, I think there is nothing wrong with dressing professionally in the way that you want.

    • I think that the know your office thing is less about how formal you should be than it is about whether certain “looks” are going to get you the side-eye/impact your appearance of professionalism. I.e., wild shoes, unstructured dresses, lace, etc. may not actually violate any rules, but still be outside the norm and make people take note in a less than positive way.

    • Same here, I have felt that I definitely dress up more at my business casual office, especially after I started reading this blog. Today I am wearing a black pencil skirt, a sleeveless top, cotton cardigan with peep toe pumps and I thought it was good for casual friday. But one female co-worker is wearing capris/t-shirt/flip flops and an assistant showed up in spaghetti strap maxi dress with no cardigan/blazer. I feel women at my work place dress far more casually than the men who are all in nice pants and dress shirts (no one wears suits/ties).

    • I came across an article today (from my trade organization’s newsletter) which discusses how attire affects your career:

  14. Interview outfit help needed. I work in the nonprofit sector and will have an in person interview in about a month. I feel like a suit would be inappropriate as this nonprofit works with youth and projects a fun, casual image. I have a couple of good work appropriate black dresses but am wondering if that is too severe a choice for summer. Any suggestions? Also tips on accessories or other things I can do/act to project the image of an executive director – the role I am applying for. Extra points if the outfit can go with my dark brown Coach work tote that I bust out for special occasions. Thanks!

    • I don’t think a suit is too severe for an executive director role. Maybe choose a less formal suit with a more vibrant shirt or shell? Think about what you would wear to a meeting where you’re about to make a signficant fundraising ask and dress similarly for the interview.

      • I haven’t bought many suits so how I would know a suit is less formal? I only have one black pant suit so I am open to buying another suit – what do you advise?

        • A less formal suit would be something that isn’t black in a traditional cut. Maybe do a little shopping and just choose a suit or separates that make you look and feel confident? I would expand my search to include a few more colors (navy, brown, gray etc.),and suits with an interesting fabric texture or a flattering detail.

        • Muslim anon :

          I would wear that and get some funkier accessories and jewelry.

    • Cornellian :

      Navy blue suit with a cream silk blouse would go with the bag, I think. I would probably go suit or sheath dress in a structured fabric, but make it less conservative in accessories or color.

      • When you say suit, do you mean skirt suit or pant suit? Is one less conservative than the other?

        • Cornellian :

          I think skirt suit is the most classic and conservative choice, which is maybe not what you’re going for here. Between the two I’d just choose whatever I felt more comfortable in/had the shoes/bag for.

  15. Lyra Silvertongue :

    TJ, long-time lurker, 1st time poster…

    Just got laid off from my clerk position at a Big Firm in Boston yesterday. I knew it was a temporary position but my boss said they wanted me for a year, and it had only been 5 months. Feeling shocked, freaked out (financially mostly), and a little bit betrayed b/c it seemed like my boss (2 bosses actually) knew it was coming. I am a licensed attorney in both NH and MA, and had been commuting from NH for the job.

    I feel stupid because I left an associate position at a sole practitioner’s office in small-town NH to clerk at this BigLaw job. I had good reasons for leaving- 1)the associate position was stagnant and not enough financially 2) my boss was very old-school and sexist and 3) there was a possibility for the clerk position to turn into more AND they said during my interview that they’d help me network into a new firm “when the time came” for me to leave, if it turned out that way.

    Now the firm has basically cut all ties (i.e. no references from my superiors) and I’m in, theoretically, a worse position than before, except that I now have that firm on my resume.

    HR and my boss said it was for purely financial reasons that I was let go (the position was newly-created when I took it because they had an overflow of work that the attorneys couldn’t handle) and that they couldn’t financially support it anymore as the billable work died down. Nevertheless, I’m doing a LOT of introspection about what I may have done wrong and how I can avoid those mistakes in the future.

    I’m looking for any kind of advice from the hive while I try to process this. How to approach this in interviews and networking, paths to finding my next position, things I should be working on in the meantime. Or you know, just tips for dealing with the sense of desolation that is overwhelming me. I’m 25, just graduated from a TI law school in Boston last year and passed the bar exams. I feel like this is the opposite of where I’m supposed to be and it’s really painful.

    Any advice appreciated!

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      I’m so sorry to hear about this! That really sucks. I’m sure others will be able to offer more practical advice knowing the market, but the thing that strikes me is the no references thing. Do you know why they wouldn’t do this? If it was purely for financial reasons, I don’t understand why you wouldn’t get a reference. I would try to find out more about this so that either (1) you can explain why you didn’t get a reference to interviewers or (2) if there was another reason why you were let go, you can find out and address it.


      • Lyra Silvertongue :

        My boss said it is a firm policy that attorneys can’t give personal references for past employees. Actually, she said that was the standard at most Big Firms. The only reference available from that firm is through HR, who undoubtedly will just confirm dates and that I wasn’t let go for cause, etc. Nothing useful, which is a shame b/c I was proud of my work-product. Even if it is a standard practice, I think it’s going to look horrible.

        • Woods-comma-Elle :

          Ah, I see, apologies, I thought you meant no reference at all. This is indeed standard practice and employers know this, so to reassure you, it really doesn’t look as horrible as you might think. Also, it doesn’t mean that these guys wouldn’t welcome an informal telephone call from another firm asking for off-the-record feedback, which is also pretty usual.

          • Lyra Silvertongue :

            That is slightly reassuring. On my references list, should I still put down Boss Name, with just the general number to the firm?

            Also, I just had an interview last week, and had given Boss Name as a reference to them. I guess I can’t change that now, BUT should I update prospective employer about my lay-off?

          • Yes, we have the same policy. However, legal communities are small, and the partners that you worked for know people/attorneys who know partners at firms you apply to, guaranteed. So, your prospective firm’s HR calls your old firm’s HR to confirm employment dates. Meanwhile prospective partner backchannels through his/her network back to former partner and says “so what’s up with Lyra? Yes/no?,” and prospective partner will mention that feedback in the hiring committee meeting, but none of this gets written down. Mention the names of the partners you worked for in your interviews to facilitate that backchannelling.

        • I’m so sorry this is happening to you, and I wish I had some advice for you, but I’m in a different industry & a different country. But I hope something works out for you soon.

          The no reference thing is pretty common in other industries, too. My company – an international oil & gas services company – has a policy of no personal references. HR will only confirm dates of employment and that’s it, but we can take our performance reviews with us, and there is a very formalized review process here.

          • Lyra Silvertongue :

            Thank you, hearing it again confirmed that the reference thing isn’t unusual helps! We had a very formal performance review process there too, but because I was hired in February and reviews are held in March/April, I didn’t get one :( In fact, my first time meeting with HR was when they laid me off, ha.

        • That’s just a flat lie. I work at BigLaw, in Boston, no less. I have given personal references for past employees a gazillion times, including as recently as yesterday. You should just speak directly to the attorneys you worked with and ask if they’d be willing to speak to any potential employers to give you a reference. I really can’t imagine anyone saying no, unless they didn’t feel that they knew your work well enough to comment. Even then, most people would be willing to at least say that they knew you, you were a good team player, nice to work with, etc.

          • Lyra Silvertongue :

            I asked an associate that I worked with a lot (who always seemed pleased with my work), and she said that Boss told her the same thing- can’t be a reference, must go through HR, firm policy, don’t even think about it :/

          • Anon for this :

            Agree with Anon above. HR/former boss is bullying you – that may be their policy but it is certainly not what happens in Big Law. I’ve worked at multiple large law firms (1000+ attorneys) in both Recruiting and Development. Speak directly to the partners and senior associates with whom you worked about being a reference. Most will gladly agree assuming you did good work (and often times take great delight in circumventing the witches in HR).

      • Even if they won’t give references, it might be a good idea to make a list of people you worked well with and contact them to ask if they know of any firms that might be looking and can keep you in mind if they hear of any. It’s not much, but it’s something.

    • Miss Behaved :

      Sorry, no real advice. I’m not in law, but I have been laid off several times. Make sure to take some time for yourself and enjoy the fact that it’s summer. Go to the beach on a weekday, if you can.

      I know you probably don’t feel like coming into Boston from NH, but I’ll buy you a drink, if you want to come this way again…

      • Lyra Silvertongue :

        Thank you for the offer, but I kind of want some distance from my city :/ I unfortunately have to take my little cousin to a modeling thing in Boston tomorrow and I have to drive right by my old office, ugh.

    • Just wanted to say this sounds rough. Try not to second-guess yourself about quitting the previous job, because it sounds miserable. Also, lots of people on this site have mastered the “firm-let-me-go-because-they-didn’t-have-enough-business” spiel for job interviews. Just polish up your response to the inevitable “why were you let go” question and deliver the answer with confidence.

      • Lyra Silvertongue :

        Thank you for the advice. I’m second-guessing myself about a lot of things now (Did I not put in enough “face time?” Is it b/c I took some days off when my aunt had breast cancer surgery? Is it b/c of that one time when an associate snapped at me for not getting an assignment done as quickly as she expected?). So many questions; I couldn’t sleep last night b/c I was going over everything in my head.

        • Moonstone :

          When I saw your handle, I thought: “At least she has her daemon to keep her company.”

          • Lyra Silvertongue :

            Hooray! I’m so glad someone recognized it :D My daemon is my maltipoo, Lilo, and she is indeed doing a very good job of keeping me company today.

    • I’m so sorry this happened. It just sucks.

      I can only imagine that if I were in your shoes, I’d second guess myself too. But, remember this: you made the best decision you could at the time you made it, based on the information you had. You can’t predict the future. All you can do is do the best you can, right now based on what you know.

      As for the references, if that is standard practice at that shop, chances are that the practice & shop are known for that around Boston. The Boston legal community is small, and reputations proceed almost every firm.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      At the risk of totally outing myself – I’m in your state. Email me. projectmundaneart @ gmail

  16. Break up the suit?

    Pants + non-suit jacket and more on-vibe shirt?

    More casual pants / skirt + suit jacket + shirt that works with the ensemble?

    If black dress is short-sleeved, it might work (or veer into LBD territory — hard to tell).

  17. Anon for this :

    My assistant has lost a lot of weight. I know she is in an exercise program and being very cautious with her diet but she rarely if ever talks about it. A few days ago my boss complimented her and said she was looking “thinner and thinner each day.” He is a health nut and always on some new fad diet so he didn’t mean it in the usual insulting way one would take such a comment. She seemed to appreciate the compliment and said something like “it has been a lot of work but worth it. Thanks for noticing.”

    I wasn’t part of this conversation, I just overheard it. I’m typically an over-sharer and my assistant knows a ton about me. But, she doesn’t share a lot about her so I assumed she was more private. I haven’t commented on her weight loss because I know this is something we all say here not to do. People’s bodies are private. Such a comment assumes one look is better than another. They could be sick. The last time I complimented someone’s obvious weight loss (young and naive) it totally backfired. Now I don’t know if I am being insulting by not mentioning it. This isn’t just a little change but a major one over about six months. Should I say something? If so, what is a polite way to word it? I was thinking something like “are you still enjoying that new exercise class? You look great!”

    • I try not to comment on people’s looks. I think that’s because it makes me vaguely uncomfortable when people comment on mine. There are some women in my office who call me the “Skinny Minnie” (in a complimentary way) and it makes me just extremely uncomfortable (especially because I’m not even skinny – I could stand to lose 5lb or so).

      On the other hand, I was over the moon when my coworker complimented me on being able to carry a heavy file box – as in “Wow! You’re so strong — you must have been working out a lot!” That didn’t bother me at all – because it felt like they were complimenting something I could *do* not the result in my looks.

      • I feel the same way. I always feel vaguely uncomfortable when women, especially at work, tell me I’m so SLIM and so THIS and so THAT. Usually this is middle-aged ladies and up who love to tell me that I have a Lovely Figure. First of all.. I also feel I could stand to shape up and frankly feel very uncomfortable in my body sometimes right now. Second of all, I don’t love body-focused compliments (awkward, irrelevant, not modest, fraught with societal tension and unrealistic beauty ideals). If they compliment a style choice or clothing or so, that’s totally different – compliment my steady eyeliner hand, or my cute shoes, or whatever. Or just a general “you look great.” Not my waist-to-hip ratio because it is soo not what matters.

        If it’s someone’s 80+ year old grandma, I totally don’t mind, but other than that… ya. No body-specific compliments. /vent

        • Brooklyn Paralegal :

          Agreed. A woman in my office occasionally makes comments that make seem wildly inappropriate to me. Always something like, “Ugh, I’m so jealous, you’re so thin!” or “How are you so skinny?”

          I would much rather be complimented on my work than on my body. Or, if you must make a comment about how I look, make it about my clothing! But those weird double-edged comments have a weird tinge of aggression to them and make me feel uncomfortable.

    • AAM actually kind of had this discussion on one of yesterday’s post, from which I will summarize my take aways.

      Compliments about the body are fraught with issues, so I wouldn’t feel bad about not having commented. If you want to say something, maybe the thing to do is to make the compliment general – “You’ve been looking really good lately”, rather than make a comment about the body specifically like “You’ve lost a lot of weight”. There are things within a person’s control (haircut, clothes, shoes, accessories) that could bear more specific compliments, as opposed to things about the person’s body which may or may not be in the person’s control (weight, injury, skin rash).

    • espresso bean :

      If you say anything at all, just say “You look great!” without mentioning the exercise class. Then let her response dictate how the conversation goes. If she says, “Thanks! I’ve been working out a lot,” you can ask her about it. But if she clams up, leave it at that. That way you’ve paid her a compliment without putting her on the spot.

      • +1 to this! I don’t think there is a person around who wouldn’t like to hear that they look great.

    • A couple of years ago I lost 15% of my body weight (and 2 clothing sizes) in 3 months due to a very severe diet. It was a very noticeable difference and I really appreciated it when co-workers made a benign comment like “You look great!” or something similar. I was uncomfortable, however, when people wanted to know the specifics of how I lost the weight since I didn’t want to have to hear their opinions on my drastic diet.

    • As someone who recently lost a lot of weight myself, I really hate any commentary on it. I know I lost it, but when people say things it just makes me feel like I must have been really worse before than I even thought. It doesn’t feel good. I’ve had to come up with a response along the lines of what your assistant says, but I hate engaging in the conversation. For me, it’s really private yet public b/c it’s noticable, but I wish people wouldn’t say anything.

    • “You look great!” It never fails.

  18. OK, this is a TMI kind of thing, but I am hoping for some commiseration.

    I just had a baby at the end of June. I’m breastfeeding her, which is about 100% more difficult than I had imagined (slow eater, wants to graze all day/take random 12 hour breaks etc.). I’ve talked to lactation consultants and her doctor, and it seems like everything is fine (she totally shows off for them imho!). I think I’m going to switch to exclusively pumping when I go back to work, just because there aren’t enough hours in the day to feed her at her leisure. (I already pump several meals a day of hers to give myself a break and let her dad feed her). Here is the issue:

    How do I work out?! My b**bs area always full, and my n***les freaking HURT and leak, probably more when jostled. I was active before pregnancy, and want to be active again, but the LOGISTICS are kind of insane. Pump, put on heavy duty bra with pads (the idea of the friction is enough to make me cringe!!!), work out/shower, then pump again? Any tricks?


    • I’m the mom of 3, breastfed all of them several months (but I was working p/t from home when they were born). I don’t have a lot of advice for you for the working out part.

      However, the breastfeeding DOES get easier. Your baby is only about a month old. As long as your latch is good, and I assume it is because you’ve talked to lactation consultants, your br***ts will heal (do you use lanolin on your n***les?). Breastfeeding is a learned process, both for mom & baby. As baby figures out more what she needs to do, and as she gets older & her stomach gets bigger, she will become more efficient & it won’t seem like you are constantly feeding her.

      Your story reminds me of when my middle son was born (also in June, btw). He’d eat every 2 hours during the day, and it would take 45 minutes to an hour to feed him. I was starting to get to my wits end. Then I took him in for his 4 week appt, and realized that he had been gaining an average of 2 ounces per day over the last 2 weeks, which had to take SO MUCH milk to do, so I tried to calm down about it. By the time he was about 3 months old he’d finish a feeding in less than 20 min, and was going 3-4 hours between feeds. I felt more like I had my life back. Those first few weeks, though, were really tough. I felt like I couldn’t go anywhere because I wasn’t yet comfortable feeding him in public, and that I didn’t have any time for my older son, let alone myself.

      Hang in there! I always noticed things started to get much, much easier once the baby was about 3 months old. I had things figured out more, my body was healed (though not the same size), the baby started interacting more & being more fun, and everything started to settle into a rhythm/routine.

      • This is so reassuring, and I’m not even the OP!

      • Agree with this. I think my daughter pretty nursed nonstop for the first couple of months. Eventually, it got to the point where it was 20 min every 3-4 hrs like CKB, which makes a huge difference. Plus, your body probably still feels funny from the delivery at this point, so I think working out will be much more manageable in a couple of weeks.

    • As someone with no kids ( yet! TTC!) and with pretty severe breast pain related to my cycle, this made me wince. Breast pain is just awful.

    • My experience is that my babies got better at it and I got better at it, so things were more efficient over time. So a first-AM feeding with hungry baby + lots of food = not enough time to watch all of the trash TV I had recorded. Definitely like that at 3 and 6 months out; probably even at 9 months. Sometimes they are just all business. Sometimes they are emotionally trying to settle down, I’d try to snuggle them on the boppy rather than let them keep nursing.

    • hellskitchen :

      You delivered in end of June and you want to work out already? Give yourself a break dear. Most doctors don’t advise you to work out until your first postpartum checkup at 6-8 weeks. I was advised to feed baby on demand and eventually she will settle into a routine. Babies do learn to eat more efficiently… it might take a few more weeks or around 1-2 months more. She might also be going through a growth spurt or just want to comfort nurse. My baby is 6 weeks old and we still have days when she nurses all day but it does get better. I miss working out as well but even if you can get in a 10 min walk or do some stretches that will help. Get some Lansinoh cream for your b00bs and check out babycenter community forums for support. That’s what I do to hear that other new moms are having similar experiences. Good luck!!

    • Agree +1000 to CKB’s comments. BF’ing is incredibly difficult at first. You are doing amazing! Your n**ples will toughen up (yes, use lanolin) and your baby will become way more efficient and will develop a feeding routine. When do you go back to work? If not for another two months, I would be willing to bet my paycheck that your baby/feeding routine will have straightened out by then and you will be able to feed, go to work, pump, come home, feed etc. It does get much much better, probably in the next 2-4 weeks. Good luck!

    • Hollis Doyle :

      It definitely gets better! Your milk production will regulate itself with time and the pain will (eventually, for the most part) go away. Definitely 2nd the suggestion to use Lanolin on your n***les. I can’t remember how soon after my baby was born that I started working out again, but I would just time it so that I fed her or pumped right before and wore a really good supportive sports [email protected] I didn’t put any pads in my [email protected] because I didn’t really care if I leaked. I figured I was gross and sweaty anyway, so who cares!? The baby’s eating will stabilize as well. My daughter was a grazer, so I felt like all I did in the beginning was sit with her attached to me! Once she gets older, she’ll start noticing the world around her and then she will just use you for her food and then want to go and explore the world around her.

    • Also in Academia :

      Totally agree that it gets better at 3 months and again at 6 months when you start introducing a bit of solids (if you choose to do that). I didn’t even try to work out at the early stages, just a lot of walking with the baby in a stroller. With the second, I couldn’t wait to start running again, but I did in fact wait . .. I just couldn’t imagine stuffing myself into a sports bra for a while. I sized up a bit when I got a new running bra and that seemed to work. For me, I definitely stopped leaking after a while and my chest hurt progressively less. Finally, I really understand the desire to be active, but you may want to ease up on yourself. You just made a human, and you are still feeding one. It’s ok to take a while to get back to your previous activity levels.

    • About 18 months ago, I posted almost the exact same question and received very similar, helpful responses. You’re not alone!

      The answer is, it will get better. And your milk will regulate and you’ll get on an actual feeding schedule and you’ll be able to figure out when you can work out. A lot of people won’t tell you this, but n*rsing is HARD and it’s WORK and sometimes you just want to quit (sorry for the caps, but I feel strongly about this). Eventually, you work through it and I was able to exclusively n*rse and pump for 6 months.

      Logistically, I bought a bunch of sports br*s in larger sizes simply because my smaller ones didn’t fit anymore. Don’t do what I did at first and shove yourself into your original ones, though. I can tell you that leads to a nasty case of m*stitis, which I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

    • Congrats on your new little one! This doesn’t answer your question on working out, but is just my take on b-feeding in general. My little guy had the same issue, with wanting to graze and eat all the time he was awake. I felt like I never go to do anything with him other than feed him. Two things: First, the pediatrician said to just not let him do that. Let him feed for 20 minutes, then stop, and don’t let him start again until it’s been 2 hours. He’ll learn pretty quickly to be more efficient if he has to.

      Second thing is, don’t go crazy about b-feeding. I decided that I did not want to pump at work, and so I started weening to a bottle around 6 weeks. As soon as we switched just to doing every other feeding by bottle, it was like a light switched on – I had so much more fun just being a mommy. He’s still on formula (and solids – 7 months) and doing absolutely great. Formula’s not poison; it sometimes is a better choice for the whole family when all things are considered.

      (If you really want to b-feed, please don’t take this as me telling you not to, just don’t feel obligated to keep it up if it’s making you miserable and you don’t want to. It’s definitely a very personal decision.) Good luck!

    • LackingLuster :

      Mom of 2 here, BigLaw (for a few more weeks), breastfed #1 for 14 months and going on 10 months with my 2d baby. Congratulations on your baby! Everything gets better. Soon, your production will even out and you won’t feel full all of the time. Your body will get used to BF-ing and you won’t hurt as much. Your baby will also figure it out. My first baby nursed all the time for the first 2 months, then she got interested in life and it got better.

      Working out– this is a tough one. If your doc says it’s okay for you to work out now, maybe try some stuff that’s more low impact, like walking, for a month or two. Also, I’d try not to pump unless it’s really necessary (like your baby sleeps through a feeding). Every time you pump, you are telling your body to make more milk. You are going to be pumping enough as it is once you go back to work. I think your production will settle down soon.

      I know you didn’t ask for advice specifically about your plan to EP, but why don’t you just see how it goes. You would still have to spend 15-20 minutes pumping and then give the baby a bottle, and then maybe have to nurse her anyway if what she really wants is to nurse, so it might not be a timesaver. Plus, you might get so sick of the pump that you quit BF-ing earlier than you might have otherwise. It’s hard, Mama, but every week it gets easier. Good luck and enjoy this time with your baby!

    • It gets better, as everyone else has said. Others have weighed in on general BFing, so I will give my 2 cents on BFing and working out: First, give yourself some time to heal and get your doc/midwife’s OK before trying to really work out. I didn’t even attempt to start running until my son was probably 3 months old and didn’t really get back to it until he was 6 months (I ran and BF until he was 2… when I got pregnant again). In those early days, just try to get outside and walk. Put your kiddo in the stroller and just go. Bring a nursing cover, if you want, so that you can BF in public when your daughter demands. I felt so much better when I just started getting out of the house with a bit of being active. Eventually, I BF in public, no problem.

      When you are ready to work out, I would pump/BF and immediately throw on a very supportive sports bra and go. (I also learned how to BF with my sports bra, which zipped up the front.) When you get back, I would take off the sports bra pretty quickly because the added pressure/support did cause a clogged duct at one point. If you are full, nurse/pump, if not wait until your regularly scheduled feed. By the time I was working out, I wasn’t really leaking any more. I did leak on one run, but the sports bra pretty much absorbed it. (Random tip: When you shop for a sports bra, try and shop after you have BF so that your b**bs are about the size they will be when you exercise.)

      I know the logitistics seem overwhelming, but you can manage it. As I said, I BF for two years with my son. I started running and training for races when he was about six months old (conveniently about the age he could handle a jogging stroller). I balanced running and BFing the whole time without losing my mind. (I worked in biglaw for 18 of those months.) Lanolin is a lifesaver and kellymom has great information.

    • It will get easier–baby will get more efficient, pumping on a schedule at work will help regulate things and you won’t always feel so full. However, I really had to ease myself back into working out (partly because my body was still healing, was just different, and I was so tired. I also found it hard to eat enough while breastfeeding, so I didn’t want to have an additional calorie burn.) But I really enjoyed taking the baby out for walks in the carrier and eventually runs in the jogging stroller once baby was old enough. It wasn’t until my kids were eating solids and nursing less frequently that I was really able to work out hard. So it may be a process, but try to be kind to yourself and take it slow. You will get there and things will get easier.

  19. espresso bean :

    Just wanted to thank everyone for the many recommendations for Laura Mercier foundation. I’ve always used drugstore foundation, but lately I felt like they weren’t really doing the job, so I went to Sephora and tried Laura Mercier. I was shocked. I honestly didn’t know foundation could be this good. It made my uneven, somewhat blotchy, slightly acne-prone skin look nearly perfect. I took home a sample to see how my skin reacted to it throughout the week (it can be slightly sensitive), but I think I’m going to bite the bullet and buy it. What a great product!

    • A Nonny Moose :

      I love this stuff. Love it even more when I started applying it with a sponge instead of my fingers. Just a tip in case you were planning on that! I use the hot pink oval/triangle ones that came in my birchbox (I’m sure someone knows what I’m talking about) but any sponge would probably work. Soak it, squeeze all the water out so it’s just damp, and then use to apply.

    • I actually think it looks best when applied with this brush (, or anything with tight, kind of stiff bristles. It gives a really nice airbrushed effect and makes application super fast.

      I always felt like the sponge just kind of moved the make-up around unless you pat it on everywhere (which is annoying), whereas with the brush, you can just sweep it on in circular motions very quickly.

    • NationalAnthem :

      Ahh I’ve been looking for a new foundation and missed this recommendation! Which LM foundation is it?

  20. Could this mean she’s in labor?

    • Oooohh! That’s exciting.

      I can only imagine how she feels. I think most women feel like a watched pot at the end of their pregnancies, so with the whole world watching, such pressure.

    • Why do I get the feeling that Kate and William really like staying with Kate’s parents? They seem to be there a lot. FWIW, I think it’s really great that Kate has parents who are so supportive. I can only imagine what marrying into the royal family is like but, from my memories of Diana and Fergie, it sounds awful.

  21. Paging anondater32 :

    I just saw your post about online dating on yesterday’s thread and wanted to tell you that your experience is totally normal. I tried Match and eHarmony before signing up for OKCupid, and on OKC I would say 99.9% of the messages I receive are just “Hi” or something weird and gross. I think I’ve had maybe 2 messages I would actually respond to in the 3 or 4 months I’ve been on there. On that site more than the paid ones, you really need to take the initiative in messaging guys. I’ve had a LOT of dates from there (3 this weekend actually), and pretty decent quality dates, but 100% of those have been contact I’ve initiated.

    I’m still on EH, but I haven’t had anywhere close to the amount or quality of dates as I have from OKC, though that could be geographic. I had much more success with EH last summer than I’m having now, so I can only think that maybe people just aren’t willing to spend a lot of money on an expensive website when they can get basically the same thing for free.

    I’ll also echo one of the other commenters in saying DO NOT give out your phone number lightly. A lot of guys want to just text indefinitely, and ain’t nobody got time for that. A guy only gets my number if we have a phone call in which we will perhaps set up a date within the next few days if he’s not a creep. Relatedly, always talk to them on the phone before you agree to meet them. You’d be surprised how crazy people can come off in a 20 minute conversation. Good luck and try not to feel discouraged!


    • Young Consultant :

      Yes to all of this. I have been online dating for a few months and gone out on a lot of dates from it, but pretty much no one worth seeing more than once or twice. However, no one was totally terrible, its fun to meet new people so im not too bothered. But really, like 1 out of every 15 or 20 messages are not totally weird, so you just either need to be patient or take the bull by the horns and message people you like.

      I also agree with other posters that you should try to meet as soon as you think the person is cool, endless messaging is not fun and feels off. I also try not to think about how my amount of messages ebbs and flows, some weeks I will get a ton, and then none for awhile. Don’t let quantity bug you, quality is what matters in this situation.

    • I could not agree more about the initiating first contact thing. I felt very uncomfortable the first few times I did it because I’m extremely unlikely to be the initiator in person, but I found quickly that a glass of wine in hand made it easier. Invariably, my dates with the guys I’d picked were better than the dates with the guys I waited to hear from. I met my boyfriend of six months on OKC, after I messaged him.

      I’d also recommend graduating to a date fairly quickly. It’s a little counter-intuitive, but it has always worked better for me to just chat with someone over coffee or a drink in a public place. I think it’s easy to get bored with somebody on the other side of the screen. Plus, trying to learn everything about someone you’ve never met is HARD, and it makes the first date a little more awkward when you already nominally know a lot about the person.

      • On initiating: IRL I would never be the initiating party, but when I was on EH I initiated contact with my now-fiance. He told me later that he probably wouldn’t have initiated contact with me of his own accord since I lived in a different city at the time. I am so glad that I bit the bullet and did it!

        • This came up the other day, and my boyfriend didn’t even remember who had initiated! We spoke so briefly on OKC that it doesn’t really feel like an important part of our story.

    • anondater32 :

      Thank you for all the responses! This is really helpful. A few things:

      Interesting about OKC. It seems full of my kind of guy (slightly nerdy, smart, urban, liberal), yet I’ve been contacted way more on Match, but by guys I wouldn’t normally consider! I’ll try to make the first move more often.

      I’ve heard such mixed responses about initiating content. One of my acquaintances said she only responded to guys because she “wanted someone who cared enough to take the initiative,” but one of my friends met her husband on OKC because she emailed him first, so who knows! I guess it’s as much of a crapshoot as anything else, so it can’t hurt to put some effort into it, right? And I tend to like more sensitive, less aggressive guys, so they might not be the type to come on that strong.

    • anondater32 :

      Also, I was surprised to hear that so many people give out their numbers. I am ultra- paranoid, but I never give out my number (or even my real email address!) before a first date. I sometimes don’t even give it out until the second or third if I’m not sure about the guy. When a guy asks for my number but doesn’t suggest a date, I counter by suggesting we meet in person. If he disappears after that, I assume he wasn’t that interested. Definitely agree with everyone that it’s key to move to an in-person meeting as soon as possible so you’re not wasting your time!