Our daily workwear reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.
I have a theory that I could wear the same basic black sheath every day for a week, or maybe even a month, before anyone in my office would notice. That’s not to speak ill of my colleagues’ observational skills, but more to sing the praises of a well-fitting, versatile, black dress.
This version from T Tahari is a perfect length, has a flattering round neck, and has sleeves that provide enough coverage to wear without a sweater or blazer.
The dress is $98 at Bloomingdales and comes in sizes 2–16. It also comes in navy.
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Workwear sales of note for 3.24.23:
- Ann Taylor – 40% off everything
- Athleta – 20% off shorts, swim, linen & more
- Banana Republic Factory – 40% off everything; extra 15% off purchase
- Boden – Up to 50% off
- Brooks Brothers – Clearance styles to 70% off. Some pretty serious markdowns!
- Express – 40% off dresses & tops
- J.Crew – 25% off your purchase; up to 50% off special-occasion styles
- J.Crew Factory – Up to 50% off everything; extra 15% off 3 styles; extra 20% off 4 styles; extra 50% off clearance
- Sephora – Up to 50% off select beauty
- Talbots – 25% off select styles; 25% off markdowns
This post contains affiliate links and Corporette® may earn commissions for purchases made through links in this post. For more details see here. Thank you so much for your support!
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Workwear sales of note for 3.24.23:
- Ann Taylor – 40% off everything
- Athleta – 20% off shorts, swim, linen & more
- Banana Republic Factory – 40% off everything; extra 15% off purchase
- Boden – Up to 50% off
- Brooks Brothers – Clearance styles to 70% off. Some pretty serious markdowns!
- Express – 40% off dresses & tops
- J.Crew – 25% off your purchase; up to 50% off special-occasion styles
- J.Crew Factory – Up to 50% off everything; extra 15% off 3 styles; extra 20% off 4 styles; extra 50% off clearance
- Sephora – Up to 50% off select beauty
- Talbots – 25% off select styles; 25% off markdowns
Some of our latest posts here at Corporette…
And some of our latest threadjacks here at Corporette (reader questions and commentary) — see more here!
- What are your favorite parts of a typical day?
- At what point in your life (age, income level, whatever) were you able to take an annual vacation?
- What shoes can I keep at the office to go for mid-day walks (that go with everything)?
- How do you release stress or trauma that’s stored in the body?
- What are the best “networking for women events” you’ve ever been to?
- I feel like we’re burning through any savings we acquire…
- I hate my job and make 30% of what DH makes – should I quit?
- What do you keep in your office?
Thoughts on the Marine Layer Allison pants? I know they’ve come up before but I can’t find it when I search. Are they super thin? Do they feel flimsy? We’re business casual and I spend a lot of my time on work sites.
They’re expensive for me, but if they are comfortable and decent quality they’ll be worth it. TIA.
I saw them in person. They felt good but didn’t buy – the tulip hem made them a little more “casual” than “business casual” to me, and I didn’t need $100 WFH pants.
They’re my dream pants but I never spend $100 on clothing so I haven’t pulled the trigger
I have them! I love the fabric and that they have pockets. I like the tulip hem — they seem a bit more finished than a similar item I got at ON that reads much more casual (mostly the fabric). I wear to my BigLaw office on the regular this year. If you have large calves, I’d avoid (my problem fit area is hips / rise). I like that I can wash them and hang to dry — prior work pants were tropical weight wool with rigid waists.
My kids are trying to take them (luckily I’m a M and they are S/XS) because they really love how they feel (so they are now allowed to use their $ for clothes and maybe would have spent their $ for their own pairs, but it suddenly went from late winter to gates-of-hell weather where we live).
Thanks for the info! What number size are you? I can’t tell if I’m a medium or large so that’s why I’m asking
I’m probably an 8/10 these days, but haven’t bought anything in a numeric size in a long time. I am a pear though, so I can’t have any tightness in my hip area and nothing but skinny jeans comes in a curvy cut. Our store let you try on in person several (6?) months ago for the ones I got.
I’ve posted before so sorry for the repeat to anyone that remembers, but I also have them but I’m a bit more meh about them. They are very comfortable. I wouldn’t call the material flimsy, but I wouldn’t call it substantial either. But not in a negative way, it looks and feels like it’s probably supposed to.
I work in a business casual setting and I would wear them on rotation to the office with heels or polished looking flats, and any shirt that doesn’t tuck in (since it has an elastic waist band). They are a nice alternative to all the other styles of work pants.
I struggle with what footwear to wear with them in a more casual setting. I know, I could wear sneakers or something, but aesthetically on me it just doesn’t look right to my eye. Also, I am 5’ 6” and when I sit they feel quite cropped, so these are not for cold or even chilly weather.
I am 5-4 and mine work well on me. I wear mine with M Gemi stellato flats (or Rothys, which I commute in) or other more polished flats. It’s not a winter-weight material where I live, but more for our 3 warm or warm-ish seasons. They are what I switched to in lieu of jeans (I cannot do mom jeans or whatever they are selling now) and my feet wanted something that would work with flats. I love that they are washable and have pockets. I could see getting one other pair in another solid color. When I go back to monthly travel, I’d wear them on the plane.
Thanks everyone – appreciate the info!
I bought and returned them back last fall (gave in to the IG ads). Maybe I got a dud, but my normal size was huge and the drape was not flattering.
Reposting from yesterday afternoon, for hopefully more responses (thanks to everyone who commented!)
How do you organize your work to-dos? Does this work for you and why?
Good old fashioned list on paper. Written in colored gel pen for style points. Sometimes separate overall lists and daily lists. Nothing else works as well for me.
Same. List on paper in a small notebook. I start out with a to-do list for the week that I’ll write on the previous Friday afternoon. Inevitably that gets broken down into daily lists as the week progresses.
I try to list out the major task and then subtasks as necessary. I also prefer to do the quick tasks first and that gives me some momentum for more time consuming ones.
If I’m really lagging on something, I will schedule a check in with people who are expecting it so I am forced to get it done by a certain date. The trick is scheduling it close enough to not procrastinate but realistically give myself enough time.
all about eevee
I use a color-coded Kanban board to track daily tasks. I then use the same color-coding system in Outlook to code e-mails.
Also a paper person. I use a Day Designer A5 (small binder) planner, and have monthly, weekly, and daily sections/lists. I experimented with a few different ways of tracking until I hit on this one; it really works for me and I’ve been using the same system for over two years (I’ve been a Day Designer user for MUCH longer, but previously used their spiral-bound books. The A5 is much more flexible/customizable). One thing I’ve noticed is that I do better when I set aside time to actually plan; I often do this on weekends (looking at the week overall) and then take some time each afternoon at the end of the day and/or first thing in the AM to look at what I need to get done. Time to plan is what makes my task tracking effective.
This. I have these long pretty notepads that I get from a local stationery shop, and I just write each item on there (and get loads of joy blacking them out with a marker when they’re done).
Boring answer: Outlook Tasks. I like that it’s connected to my work email only, so if I’m not in there I don’t see or think about it. I have repeating tasks, tasks I set for 2 months in the future and can forget until then, and tasks that connect to an email I need to follow up on. It’s also easy to defer tasks to a later date. Checking something off makes it disappear, and having an empty list is very satisfying.
Same. I like that the tasks I create and the emails I flag are on the same to do list.
I also keep a paper planner. I review the Outlook tasks and write down what I plan to do on each day so I can have the pleasure of physically checking off things.
Equity partner in my 30s- old school, I have a list on a legal pad. If I get to a full page, I know I have too much work on my plate. I cross things off as I go and write new lists roughly every 2 days.
I also keep an always-updated Outlook calendar. Clients can schedule time using an online appt tool, which has cut my/my assistant’s email volume considerably (much less “Thursday at 11?”). I occasionally block time on my calendar for large drafting projects, but I’ll only block 3-4 hour blocks.
My practice requires lots of daily shifting and moving parts – when I answer an unscheduled call or field same day email, none of that goes on a list, it’s just done. The only things that go on my legal pad list are things I personally need to do in the next week or so to get back to people. I also started calendaring dates in Outlook when associates or paralegals are supposed to respond to me or a client (as well as filing deadlines/docket stuff). If I’m getting back to a client, it stays on my paper list. If i delegated it and I just want to make sure it happens, I calendar it.
I maintain roughly “inbox 20” (not zero) – if it’s on my list, I folder the email/find it when I am ready to reply, if it’s something else I need to remember or want in front of me, it stays in the inbox. I get several hundred emails per day and diligently set up automatic rules and quick steps to handle volume.
I’m an academic and my work is mostly project based. I have a yearly and monthly plan, and then on each Friday, I plan my following week, referencing my calendar and the monthly list. I do this on paper, I make a list of each project and next steps, and then have a separate column with admin-y tasks (writing lectures, emails, coordination). I then make a daily list. I try to batch the admin tasks as much as possible, and reserve them for low-energy times (so I’m doing email when I’m tired, not when I’m at my sharpest).
I’m also an old school paper list person. New project? I set up an Outlook folder for it, file everything there, and then write it down. I also write down who I’m waiting on for responses. I do a new list as needed, usually every few days.
Tried a lot of things and went back to paper, improving it by stealing my boss’ system.
You write everything down. When you’ve done a task related to an item on the list, you make a check, but you don’t cross it off the list until it’s done done.
(In the past, I would often have all of ‘my’ pieces done and be waiting on an email response, but because I had no active tasks I would have crossed it off and just left it on my ‘long term’ list. By leaving it there with a check next to it, I am 100x better at following up.
My STEM company uses Liquid Planner, which is the Cadillac of PM software. Every minute detail of every project is tracked, cross-referenced, and assigned dependencies. I do not bother with any other sort of tracking; I would be reinventing the wheel.
Sorry – have to make the reference to The Wire – to paraphrase Snoop, you mean Lexus, but you don’t know it.
I want to add that for firm consulting projects we do have digital ways of tracking projects, mostly through OneNote and an in-house built system for scheduling dispatches and tracking. For myself though, I have to write it down by hand or else I’m liable to forget.
The Lone Ranger
Planner Pad. Written lists. I color code as well but I’m pretty extra.
Tech here. I write down overall strategic focuses on a piece of paper and post it on my bulletin board so I can always reference. Weekly, I go through and figure out my top 3 priorities and then schedule time for the on my calendar. I work through others a lot, so for each 1:1, I have a parallel event where I keep notes of what I need to discuss with them. And then I send overall status updates every 2 weeks that keep me accountable for smaller details. If I’m on top of things, the details that lead to the status update milestones live in Quip or other shared documents so my team and partners and I can all reference where we are supposed to be by X date.
I have a word document on my middle computer screen up at all times and is constantly being edited. I’m in transactional world working on multiple matters at at at time (not law) and priorities can shift quickly.
I start with a “to me” list at the top – a list of things I’ve asked people for so that I can remember to follow up. Next is a “THURSDAY” list with items that I need to do on any given day. I prioritize the list in the morning and revisit as things pop up. Sometimes I make a “quick hit” list within that and add things that i need to do that will be quick on follow up – quick calls, emails, admin things. As the day goes on today I will add a FRIDAY header and start to add things that I can roll to tomorrow.
It sounds like a lot but it works really well for me. I’ve been doing it for years!
I’ve just shifted to this, and it’s working well so far.
Also in transactional. I do this in an open Outlook email called “to do”. I shift items on and off throughout the day, then send it to myself at the end of the day to look at tomorrow morning. If outlook crashes, a draft is saved.
I use a page on OneNote to list out all my matters and color code (red, yellow, green) based on status for easy reference. At the end of every week I reference my OneNote page and make a smaller more focused list on paper of things I would like to accomplish over the next week, leaving room for things to change throughout the week.
Opened up OneNote at the office yesterday and it opened to my to do list from 3/3/20….last day I was at work. My whole office very much feels like time just stopped in March. We still had March 2020 calendars up until early this year.
A not-pinterest-worthy bullet journal. It serves three functions – calendar, to-do list, and meeting notes.
Thus is what I do forbpaer tracking for myself! For team projects and tasks we use mostly Jira
* for paper tracking
anon a mouse
I use a steno pad with a line down the middle. On one side is work tasks, crossed off as they are completed. On the other side are personal tasks (write Grandma, schedule haircut, etc.) It’s the only way I can keep up with life stuff as well. When it starts to get too messy, I transfer everything to a fresh sheet of paper and start again.
Asana project management for a fast-moving higher ed communication team. Each team member also has an individual weekly to-do list beyond the project/task assignments. I use mine for daily and weekly planning and collect items/links to other related Asana tasks.
I switch back and forth between a paper to do list and Microsoft To Dos. Paper to do list in a moleskine is the preferable option, but I also tend to forget to actually grab the notebook if I’m moving between work locations.
I have a Word doc. master list that I print out every Monday/update every Monday. It’s a chart format that has columns for “matter/task/due date/status/planned workdays and comments.” It includes every matter I am staffed on and anything that is open (whether it’s draft X or follow up with client on Y), it also has a subsection of things I am supervising and on the due date, I flag when to follow up with the jr. associate handling. It also includes some non-billable tasks as well under a non-billable section.
B/c I update it fully every Monday, my jr. associate team knows that they need to get everything together before then, ha, and check-in with me before I check-in with them, but if they don’t, I have a way to remember what the heck I am supposed to bug them about.
I then use that spreadsheet and highlight my tasks for the day when I get in. I use a different color for each day, so I know what’s on the docket/don’t have to print it out again. Sometimes I make a shorter post-in note list with the tasks from the master list. In any case, that list has *everything* anyone could ever possibly ask me about and I know where it is. 90% of my success at my firm has been people thinking of me as the “very organized” associate (mostly due to this list, but also a pristine office pre-pandemic), ha.
I use the Mountain Planner Pro, a paper undated journal/calendar with daily pages and monthly planning pages, a space for notes plus a habit tracker and goals list. Each daily page has a task space where I list a task, cross it off or put a note that I called someone and left a message, somewhat like a bullet journal.
It has space down the side to list appointments that I use to take notes from meetings/conversations with boss, internal and external clients. (I use outlook for appointments.) Across the top are a list to write the top five goals for the day. Also a Gratitude and an Anticipation section. There is a habits, goal and vision area that I find helpful. I can go back and find what I told someone and what conclusion was reached at a meeting. (I do type up or send emails after important conversations for a more formal documentation.) I use many colors on each page because I like color and this notebook is only for me – purple, blue, green, pink, red, teal – Pentel Engergel pens.
Is there a way to shop for furniture by size? I’m looking for some pieces that are much smaller than the norm, and hunting and pecking has been fruitless.
following with interest because I have the same problem. We live in a city rowhouse and most furniture is designed for McMansions.
Pottery Barn has a specific “apartment size” collection but would love to know any other retailers that group smaller-scale pieces into easy-to-browse places!!
World Market has a small spaces collection. In general, googling “small space item_of_furniture” gets you in the ballpark. I’ve also purchased furniture from modernclassics.com if that’s a look you like. Their measurements are accurate and quality is top notch.
I’m not sure if there’s a dimension filter but I search for “small space furniture” and poke around the results. Many retailers have a section on their website called exactly this.
Macys has smaller size sofas and loveseats. However, I need an extra narrow dining table for my eat in kitchen, and I can’t find anything that’s about 30×60 so I feel your pain.
Room & Board makes custom tables!
If you’re open to IKEA, they have a few options that are approximately 30 x 60. You can filter your search by length and width. For example:
You could try looking at furniture made for small outdoor places. Small cafe sets for a city balcony could have tables in the size you want.
West elm and Ikea cater to people with smaller living spaces.
Wayfair has a great filter system that allows you to choose your preferred sizes for the dimensions.
General internet search for the item you want and the maximum height or width dimension should yield a bunch of products.
+1 for wayfair! Super helpful size filters.
I think Bo Concept lets you order custom sizes for each piece of furniture.
Same! I am looking for a desk to fit between two windows in a room that’s set up to be a second bedroom. Finding a narrow-enough object (doesn’t even need to be an actual desk!) has been a trial. Some rolling carts are a good size, but have no room for my legs underneath. The search continues.
You could try a narrow countertop or build-your-own-desk table top from ikea, if 60 cm could work for you, or a kitchen bar counter top if you need even more narrow.
Wayfair is great for this and they have a big sale happening today!
CB2 has apartment sized and smaller scale furniture.
Vintage furniture can often be smaller, so that’s worth looking into.
There is a way to do it in some places, but agree that apartment & small space are good keywords. Also vintage!!! Things weren’t always built for giant houses! Some of the vintage stuff also has the benefit of being built much better.
If you are in the northeast, Jordan’s Furniture has a section called “City Scale” which may help. If you’re not in their territory, you can also search the manufacturer to see where you could order it locally.
Apt2b.com lets you filter by size and I was very happy with the sofa I bought from them.
anon a mouse
Where are you located? There probably is an independent furniture store that can help with this. In the DC area it’s Creative Classics, which was a great help when we had a 20-foot-wide rowhouse to furnish. Or look at retailers for Gat Creek and American Leather — both those companies have options for small-scale furniture.
Perigold, which is Wayfair’s fancier site, also lets you filter by specific dimensions!
Anyone have positive or negative experiences with filler they can share? I’m considering having a small amount injected under my eyes and in my smile lines, but I’m a little nervous and would love to hear about others’ experiences. If you’ve had it done, any regrets?
I’ve had filler in various areas with good results, but I won’t do under the eyes again. It ended up a bit bulgy, and since eyelid skin is so thin, it was very noticeable, especially when smiling.
Not the OP, but disappointed to hear this b/c I was interested in the same thing. I cannot stand the bags under my eyes!
I have seen bags resolved with amazing effect with a more complicated procedure (it involves sucking the excess fat out from inside somehow, I don’t even want to picture what one’s face would look like during the process).
I know one person who got their “tear lines” (I think? I imagine that means the area near the nose?) filled and tbh I don’t think it really made a difference but the person who did it seemed happy with the result.
“Tear troughs” is also where I had the filler, and the plastic surgeon who did the procedure even tried to inject just over the bone so that it would be deep enough not to cause the bulging issue (I’d had it done once before and this was my second time). The first few weeks looked great, but the filler eventually settled in a bit lower and ended up looking bulgy again. I’ve had bags under my eyes forever, and the plastic surgeon said the only way to really fix the problem would be surgery involving moving fat around and shortening the muscles around the eyes.
We have a friend who is a plastic surgeon and he strongly recommends against the eye bag sucking procedure. He said it’s really high risk.
Under eye bags are considered cute and youthful in Korea. They even sell makeup specifically designed to emphasize and highlight the little fat pads. Aegyo Sal. You can google it.
Maybe it’s all about a change in perspective.
amen to this – I can’t believe how people f around with their eyes, especially when I agree that all the before and afters I’ve seen of tear troughs are barely noticeable!
I’ve chosen instead to embrace it.
My cosmetic dr no longer fills smile lines with filler. A lot of times, it makes people look like a chipmunk or puffy around the mouth. What they do now is small injections on the apple of the cheek. This pulls the skin around the mouth up, insstead of out. You might want to look into that as an alternative. (Also, if you stand in front of a mirror and gently push the apple of your cheek up and out with an index finger, you’ll see what I’m talking about).
Whatever you decide, filler dissipate over time so it’s only temporary. I say go for it; life is short!
I have done this procedure and been really happy with it (injection at cheekbone). I’m not sure how much other people might notice but I am really pleased. I’m 50+ for context.
This is the advice I’ve received as well. Most of the filler is placed around the cheeks with very very small amounts in the jowl lines as necessary. I’ve not done it yet due to cost (filler is $$ when done by a dermatologist and I don’t trust a medispa)
Yes, I had it done under my eyes 1.5 years ago and it still looks perfect. I don’t wear under eye concealer anymore.
I did it for jowls and nasolabial lines and am still happy with the results 14 months later.
I’ve been very happy with the filler I’ve gotten (under eye, on cheekbones, around mouth 2-3 times each area). I bruised very badly, but was able to have the bruises lasered 24 hours after the injections and looked presentable 24 hours after that.It HURT every time – even with numbing it is deeply unpleasant.
The biggest thing it to find a practitioner you really trust. I do it at a full service derm office, so they are prepared in case anything goes wrong. And each time, I talked through the treatment plan in detail with my practitioner, so I knew what to expect and ensure I’m getting the results I want.
Speaking of same dresses
Speaking of wearing the same basic sheath dress, in how many colors can a person routinely wear the same dress before it starts to looks a little nuts? I bought a dress in light blue a year or so ago, then bought the same one in black a few months later. Amazon has a ton of colors that are often pretty inexpensive (though they do that weird thing where one color and size is $115, another is $35, and it constantly changes). It’s a pretty basic dress – short sleeved, v-neck, solid colored sheath, and I know I like it and it fits and flatters, so I just bought a third in dark red. At some point, it’s going to be too much, right?
I’ve been trying to add more dresses to my wardrobe for simplicity, but don’t like a lot of the styles that are out now.
I think wearing the same dress more than 3 days in a week even if it’s different colors would be weird- you need at least a day’s break. So it would depend to me on how often you repeat your wardrobe week after week. That said…this dress sounds perfect, can you share?
This is a question for Moms, but not really appropriate for the Mom’s board which is largely women in the thick of parenting younger kids.
For those of you with older teens or grown children, how many of you were two full time working parents from birth of the oldest until now? Were there periods (years?) where one parent stepped back or leaned out entirely? How did your overall family working dynamic shift over the years? And how many kids did you have?
I am hopeful that there are some great/inspirational stories here. In my town, there are a lot of families that have two income streams but the more people I meet, the more I learn how families adapt to the needs of having multiple kids + the demands of a career. Some recent examples:
– 45 year old mom of now 8 year old twins stopped working as a marketing executive when she had her twins (not sure if this was the initial plan, but one was very ill for several years). Her husband was in finance and kept working. As the twins got older she started to dabble in real estate but ultimately she and her husband started a construction firm- I think his finance work had something to do with construction all along. She works well over 40 hours/week doing more traditional real estate type stuff and he is essentially a part time construction manager while also working his financial job. HHI is in the $300k range.
– Couple in their early 40s with 3 kids (4/7/10); she’s a Big 4 consultant and he was in sales. He stepped completely out for 4 years when the kids were young as a SADH and basically Super Parent coaching tons of sports, very active on the PTO, etc. He recently stepped back into sales at a much more lower level/no travel type job and they have an au pair to help with kid shuttling, but Dad is still firmly present and still coaches on weekends. Mom is at tons of games (which is how I learned this story- Dad is a coach of one of my kids). Not sure on their HHI but they live in a very nice in a very expensive town.
– Family where dad was in Big Law and mom was a Chief marketing officer; 4 kids 7-14. Dad took a job in a regional firm and cut travel down substantially; Mom gave notice at her job when she was pregnant with her second to stay home and was offered a part time consulting gig. She now consults ~20-25 hours/week, is super involved with the kids.
– Family with 3 kids under 8; Dad is a local school principal and mom is a litigator. The kids have had a nanny + preschool until elem when they started aftercare. No career breaks but Dad has summers off. Dad is the more involved parent- coach of several teams, on our town’s school committee (he isn’t a principal in our town), I literally see this guy everywhere. I don’t know how he sleeps.
I see it in doctors all the time, but they always have nannies until the last kid can drive, so “can be done, but at substantial expense.” Am in BigLaw with two middle-schoolers and most women leave before the first kid can even read words. I work with one woman in another office who is a grandparent (husband also worked the whole time, maybe as a vet???), but otherwise, can’t think of anyone b/w the two of us who has kids.
Some Banks Too Big To Fail in my city easily give some jobs 80% FTE and I know a lot of parents who take that and I’d have loved to but my job doesn’t work that way. People need predictability and a hard stop (the principal dude probably has neither, especially this year and last year).
so this is my parents’ story, but my dad was a doctor, but a specialty with fairly regular hours, so from ages 0-8 for me, and 0-5 for my younger sibling, both parents worked full-time, we had a nanny probably 50 hours a week and once old enough, both kids were in preschool/elementary school. then my family moved to a new city for dad’s job and both me and sibling were at the same private elementary school – dad drove us to school most days, and picked us up one day a week when he worked half a day. mom picked us up the other days. when we first moved mom did not have a job, but then got one part-time with a company affiliated with her old employer. we did not go to aftercare and had no nanny. my mom had a series of jobs while i was growing up and she was very efficient – so she would be hired to take on a 40 hour a week job, but somehow do the job in 30 hours so she could get us from school – occasionally relying on friends to take us home. Mom got laid off the week before I left for college and then spent 15 years working full-time at the same employer when my younger sibling was in high school and I was out of the house. dad was home for dinner 4/5 nights during the week. Mom was the primary parent, but Dad co-coached sibling’s sports team and helped with HW. Now that I’m a parent, I realize how exhausted they must have been with no help or local family once we were both in elementary school.
Interesting! my DH is an only child. His mom married someone 11 years older. As a young child they both worked full time but when he was 8, his dad took an early retirement/buy-out from his company at age 45. He became the stay at home parent (though a lazy one!) while DH’s mom worked her Big Corporate Job.
My cousin is a Fed and has taken several overseas postings which will allow him to retire with a pension at age 44. His kids will still be in older elem school at that point! Wife is Big Law.
I imagine the days of early retirement buyouts are long gone and you have to sacrifice a lot if you want to retire at 44 from the Fed but you never know!
This is a great question. I have three kids between ages 5 and 11 and my spouse and I both work FT — so while I’m not your target demographic, I can share my observations. My job is demanding but relatively flexible, his is demanding and sometimes flexible. It’s a LOT to work and manage three kids/a household, and neither of us is particularly interested in PT or SAH. We do have a weekly cleaning lady, and someone to mow in the summer and plow our driveway in the winter.
I’ve realized over the past few years that the only families I know with 3+ kids either (a) have one parent who stays home or works PT, or (b) one or both of the parents is a teacher with summers off (and that’s only 1-2 families). There is one exception to this rule; my husband’s boss is in her late 40’s or early 50’s and they have three kids with both spouses working FT corporate jobs the entire way through. Their three amazing kids are in HS, college, and post-college now, and their family has done a terrific job of raising some pretty great humans. That said, I think this is the exception rather than the rule so I’d be interested to read other responses.
do your kids go to aftercare or somewhere after school? i mean the truth is until a certain age, kids cannot/should not watch themselves. finding reliable childcare can be a challenge, especially when you don’t live near family. i can think of two families i grew up with where both parents were doctors and had 3 kids and they had full-time nannies, i recently met someone who is a partner at BBM and her spouse is a tenured academic and she said they make it work bc he has more flexibility and they have a great nanny. my current situation is the stereotypical DH has the ‘big’ job and I work part-time and we have no local family, toddler twins and in a pre-covid world DH traveled a lot. sometimes i do feel like a cop-out, like i’m wasting my very expensive education and setting a bad example for our daughters, but this is what works for us for now. DH has a colleague whose wife also has a ‘big’ job and they have two nannies, which is how they make it work.
Not the OP, but I found that once my kids were school age, on-the-books (required for everyone by law, but I could be in hot water if caught with an off-the-books nanny) PT nannies who could help with basic homework and had a clean driving record were unfindable at any price in my city. Good nannies wanted FT jobs. College students could be good but left early December (when you needed them more b/c of year end work for me) and 50% of the time just flaked out after background checks and license checks were done. I wound up using our school’s aftercare, which was very meh.
My kids (I’m the person who posted above about my realization re: families with 3+ kids) go to after-school care and summer camps in non-COVID times. We’ve also had a selection of summer sitters; high school and college age kids who fill in the gaps on school days off, between camp/the school year, etc. Never a full-on nanny but that’s not really the culture in the area where we live.
I have 3 kids ages 14 to 18. My husband and I have both worked FT since the oldest was born. However, our jobs and how demanding they were shifted over time. I was at a large law firm when each was born, so my job was very demanding and my husband’s less so at that point. We used daycare during that period. Just before the youngest was born and the oldest started school, my husband took a work from home job. We still used daycare for the younger two, but that allowed him to get the oldest on and off the school bus. Once they were all in school, we used a combination of before/after care at the school, grandma covering before/after, and an after-school nanny, depending on the year and work demands. I left the law firm around the time my youngest started school and went in-house, which provided a more flexible and less demanding schedule for me. A couple years after that, my husband took a more demanding job. He’s since moved to a more balanced job and we’re both enjoying having more time with the kids now.
So we definitely shifted back and forth over the years. It didn’t work for us to both have very demanding jobs at the same time, but that seemed to shift naturally back and forth as one person got burned out or wanted a change and the other wanted to step it up. We always talked about how things were working for us both, with the goal of keeping ourselves sane and also furthering our careers. I know some people happily juggle both having demanding jobs with kids, but we aren’t super high energy people and it just didn’t work for us! The amount of the load each of has carried at home and with the kids has obviously shifted over time as well. We learned to communicate about things clearly and proactively, because it’s easy to start feeling resentful when you’re the one carrying most of the load at home or at work.
We also talked a lot about how to handle childcare and what worked for us at any given point. We loved our daycare and it was great while the kids were young, but less helpful once they were in school. We did camps a couple summers, but found the need to pack lunches/snacks/sunscreen/swim stuff every day a lot of work, not to mention that they usually couldn’t all go to the same place due to age differences. So that’s when we started hiring a summer nanny, which worked great for several years and was very cost effective for us too. Sometimes those people also ended up helping with after school, which was great. We also sometimes coordinated with neighbors to get kids to/from before or after school activities, so each household only had to get the kids to whatever club meeting once every 3 or 4 weeks instead of every Tuesday. Once the oldest started driving, things shifted again and we haven’t needed regular help anymore.
I think the most important things are to communicate openly and regularly with your partner, and be flexible in making adjustments as circumstances change. And don’t get caught up in matching what someone else does – what works for you, your spouse, and your kids will be entirely different from the family down the street or your boss or your friends, and that’s ok.
All your examples are families with 3-4 kids. As a mom of 3, I will say that it’s a game changer once you get past two kids. It’s just that much harder to co-ordinate school schedules, activities, and give each kid personal attention. DH and I both work full time but it’s possible because we live in a smaller city where my commute is literally 5 minutes and the kids daycare was at my office building. I had a full year off after the twins were born, my parents live nearby and pinch hit when kids are home sick, my job is tons of other working moms so very supportive (if super busy) workplace. And we are both in govt jobs. Busy ones so frequent evening/weekend work but can work from home at those times and not in a ‘you’re fired if you don’t come in on Saturday’ kind of way.
My therapist said after our first kid that it is really really hard to have two full time working parents when you have young kids. I didn’t want to hear it at the time but he was right. It’s way harder to balance everything that I expected. FWIW my dad was a lawyer and my mom was a college instructor who worked 3 days a week when I was younger. At some point in the 1990s/2000s dad’s firm had zero female partners who were married with kids – some had kids and some were married but none with both. It’s better now but it’s still tough.
This is our family now – my son is in 4th, and we both work full time, and have since he was born. We pay for all of our ‘help’ as we have no local family. It is hard, and it stinks sometimes but I like working, I like the stability it gives me, the money (and flexibility) it gives my family, and frankly it is REALLY hard to do the ‘oh I’ll just take a 5-yr break when the kids are small and come back when they’re in school’ thing. Very few women I know have been able to do that successfully. We have had au pairs and now a sitter to help with the driving and all the other coverage. I will say there are not many female examples I have and it does get lonely, but eh, it’s the best decision for our family and I like to think I ‘pay it forward’ by helping mentor the women under me and talking candidly about what it takes to make our family work.
My parents did this. When we were young, my mom worked full time hours but 2 part time jobs – she nannied for a friend, so watched her friend’s kids with us, and did financial work (payroll, accounting, etc.) for a restaurant chain on nights/weekends. When my younger brother went to school full time, she got a full time job in customer service and over the past 20 years has worked her way up and is now the head of the finance department at her company.
My dad had a traditional corporate job, and”leaned in” more when we were younger. He took a role with significantly higher pay (it was like a 40% bump) when we were in middle school, but it required extensive travel. My mom continued to work full time.
All of this was made possible by two things. First, it was the late 90s/early 2000s – I was in 4th or 5th grade when my mom went to work full time, but I would walk my brother home from school, do my homework, supervise him, etc. until she got home from work – I don’t think that would fly today even though I was perfectly responsible. There are also so many more activities for kids that require shuttling around after school.
Second, my grandparents (all of them) lived in town, and could pitch in as needed, and my aunts/uncles all lived within 20 minutes of my house. So there was a lot of family support.
In the few families I know that have 2 “bigjobs” (e.g., doctors, lawyers, higher level executive – non 9-to-5ers), and have both worked continuously since kids born through age ~10 (myself & DH included) the following is usually true:
– Both jobs are not at the extreme upper edge of their field …. for example, doctor + in-house counsel, small law partner + in-house counsel. I can’t think of any 2 biglaw/2 consultant couples that I know, though I can think of a few doctor/doctor couples.
– We use more help than most of our peers. E.g., keeping a nanny when kids are in school, very comfortable with outsourcing, have regular local family help.
This is a good point about the ‘upper edge’ – we both ‘technically’ have big jobs but mine is more flexible in terms of hours/location (though I did/will travel) and while my husband is in finance he’s not in a hedge fund or white shoe firm with insane travel or client requirements. If either of us stepped it up we’d either have to get a LOT more help or the person with the lower paying role would need to take a step back.
Almost everyone I know falls into this category. I work in biotech with one kid in elementary and one in middle, and almost all families that I know from work have two working parents, often with both in biotech/pharma or other scientific/technical industries. Leaving for 5 years and coming back is extremely difficult because your skills are out of date (and no one does it, so interviewing teams are very skeptical) – I’ve only ever seen it done once. Flexibility isn’t great – these are butt in seat/lab/manufacturing floor jobs, very few part time, and a lot of extra hours. We make it work with daycare in the early years, and then before care/aftercare in the elementary years and sports/bussing/carpools in the middle school years. I watch people’s kids that are older than mine get their licenses and the parents all breathe a sigh of relief – life really does seem to get easier from a logistical standpoint at that point. It is hard, especially because people tend to be away from family but it is pretty normal for this industry. There has been a LOT more flexibility offered this year, and I hope we are able to maintain that.
My two kids are in college now and both parents have worked or the equivalent the whole time. There was a lot of variation over the 20+ years. At the beginning, I always went to work early and was able to leave at a set time. I also did one WFH day a week. Spouse did day care drop off and worked later. I started full-time law school/part-time work when they were 1 and 4. Pretty much stuck with the early start, same train every night, one day at home schedule.
Post-law school, back into full-time work (non-law firm) with the same schedule. It took a lot of networking to find the right legal/compliance job in my field that gave me that flexibility. Both of us did some travel, but scheduled in advance, flexible to WFH to cover daycare/school drop-off/pick-up when partner was out of town. Once school-age, kids were in before/after school programs.
As kids got older, we started hiring summer and after school babysitters so that they could do activities. Husband went into business on his own — no more commuting, except to home office, but still lots of travel. I’ve changed jobs a few times, but always full-time jobs with responsibility but not crazy hours.
FWIW, some of our closest friends are the parents of kids that were in daycare with my kids. That’s where we found couples that both had real jobs and continued to work. Around my neighborhood, I feel like we are in the minority.
i know this is not what you meant by this, but the term “real” jobs really rubs me the wrong way. being a teacher is a “real job”that is grossly underpaid and requires a lot more hours than simply during the school day. i have a close friend who is a teacher and between grading and prep work, etc. she works a ton. also, someone who works part-time can still have a “real” job, and 9-5 jobs can also be “real” jobs.
I think you’re reading too much into what she said. I don’t see where she said teaching wasn’t a real job.
It is different though. My mom was a teacher. She was underpaid for sure (she also had a pension and women in her family live into their 90s so she may win in the end). She also took off from when she was pregnant with me until my younger sister was in K and got a job offer on the spot in her first interview. She could get a sub. I can’t. My school holidays were her days off from work so no gap care needed. It is a different sort of working-mom job than I have. Different challenges.
I don’t know where you got the idea that I didn’t think teaching was a “real” job. One of the couples I was referring to includes a teacher. My delineation was between people who had careers and people who were doing work like MLMs or part-time retail.
We’ve worked since we were 22 and between us, have almost 50y work experience, as no career breaks except maternity for me and a few months sabbatical after that to enjoy my baby. Kids are 13 and 9. BUT we have full time live-in help. My husband and I earn enough that we can afford this and we live in Asia. Working couples are the norm here.
Not target demographic, but I have two in elementary and my husband is an airline pilot so gone several days a week (I worked more than FT- usually 50-60 hours a week). Honestly the young years were great because daycare was reliably open all the days it said it would be, and I only really scrambled on sick days.
Now that they’re in grade school, this is really really hard. Pre-Covid they were in after school care and summer camps, then we had a high school sitter who would take them to sport practices and get dinner going for when I got home. She’s now in college and PT nannies are impossible to find, so I downshifted to a role that is truly only 40-45 hours. That, plus me working from home, has kept our heads above water for now. But once I go back to the office, we have no idea what we’ll do. We’ll likely try to coordinate schedules so I’m only in the office on days DH is home, or I’ll have to seriously think about going PT. I don’t want to do that, but I also don’t know how to bridge the gap for these next few years until my oldest can drive.
(We are in an early district – their school days run 7:30-2:30. After school programs run until 5, and the latest sports/instrument practices start at 5 or 5:30.)
My girls are 21 and 18. I am an architect and my husband was in retail until 1-1/2 years ago when he started doing his side gig full time. There was a period of time while the first daughter was a baby that I worked reduced hours while I studied and took my licensing exams. We didn’t reduce hours daycare. So, it was short lived due to the expense. For the most part we both worked full time. We do not have family close. My husband’s schedule was all over the place being in retail. I do have some flexibility but unlimited. It was very hard. I would not recommend it. For many years I was the only mom in our group of friends that worked full time. The girls used to have a hard time with it. The other moms could go on EVERY field trip. But now they appreciate why I did it. Both girls are very independent and well adjusted. I could not have stopped working and gone back without a lot of difficulty. Working part time is very hard in my industry. Architects typically lead the team. There is no right answer and it changes over time.
My kids are 9, 11, 13. Around when my oldest was born I was fired from biglaw (got a settlement, pregnancy discrimination) and have been 80% at my small-midsize firm since then (giant pay cut, >50%). We have had a nanny for that 80% since then too (not Fridays). I became an equity partner a few years ago, first person to make partner while working part time at my firm, and since then my income has gone up a lot. DH has always worked from home (finance/tech), so we had good emergency coverage just in case.
My husband was laid off when our oldest was about 6 months and only went back to work when our youngest was able to start full time preschool at age 3.
He did some part time work in the evenings while mainly being a SAHD so we hired an hourly babysitter to cover three hours daily between when he needed to leave for work and I got home from mine.
My job evolved into being the breadwinning job and involved lots of travel for a period of time, so he took a job that never required overtime type hours – a true 9-5 job.
I did it. The only way we really were able to make it work was because my former husband was a teacher with regular hours and summers off (although we still had full time child care in the summer for reasons which seemed to make sense at the time but now make me think “why couldn’t he take care of his own kid?”). We divorced when our son was 6 but mercifully did a decent job co-parenting even after that.
And it was stupidly hard. STUPIDLY hard. I was in BigLaw when he was very small, switched to MidLaw throughout his preschool and elementary years, and finally moved over to a much more sane government job when he started high school.
Both my husband and I work full-time, but neither in what anyone would call a “big” job – govt. lawyer and solo practitioner in a big city. Our kids are 10 and 13 and juuuuust aging out of the aftercare/day camp age. If we wanted either of them to be in a club sport, a serious dancer, concert-track musician, etc., we couldn’t work the same hours without a substantial additional expense (like an au pair or more full-time driving sitter). Part of that is my serious bias towards schoolwork – the chances of being a pro in a creative field are pretty slim, but getting good grades and going to a 4-year college is pretty attainable. We also let/make them get to and from school on their own and have decided that they can be latchkey for a couple hours many days. If we wanted or needed more supervision for either kid, one of us would have to step back quite a bit.
We are also incredibly lucky to be able to do this in that we have a house that is walking or biking distance from their schools. Also they are white kids who don’t attract the attention of the authorities for bopping about our ritzy area (I would be much more circumspect about them roaming if they were Black or Latinx).
One of the things I’ve definitely noticed about having older kids versus younger kids is that people are way more circumspect about telling you what choices they make for their kids. When my kids were small, I knew exactly who was a CIO parent, who co-slept, who thought daycare was the devil, who loved co-op preschool. There isn’t that kind of openness with older kids, sometimes to protect the kids’ privacy, but other times because there is no consensus about when a kid can stay in the car on their own while their parent goes into a drugstore.
Working from home triggers my anxiety in the weirdest ways. Either I feel like everyone needs me and my day is consumed by work, or I have a quiet day, which in theory I should enjoy because I can get stuff done, but instead my mind is going, “they’ve forgotten about you! you’re irrelevant!”
My brain is not a fun place to be, clearly. Anyone else feel this way?
I hate WFH b/c of the millions of undone home chores and obvious need to vacuum or swiffer. I like WF Office b/c I don’t feel the need to maintain or improve the space. Someone takes out the trash. Someone vacuums. Someone orders TP for the bathroom. A someone who is not me.
Such a good point. I took for granted going to work in a space that someone else took care of. Now I am wholly responsible for the space I spend 100% of my time in and there’s always some aspect of it that could use improving, but it’s all on me to do it!
I will add: I have not been able to keep up with my workload (mandatory) and the optional but good-for-my-career projects that I should have taken on and it is killing me. One load of laundry or grilled cheese at a time. For me, I needed to be where I could concentrate on work this year (and collaborate more easily). I feel like I have been a horrible year-long staycation with cranky kids (who are rightfully cranky). We don’t all blossom in pandemics.
This. I see all the things that need to be done that are not work. Drives me nuts.
I’m so glad I’m not the only one feeling this way. The combination of home stuff and work stuff in my face, all the time, is overwhelming.
I haven’t had that issue as much. I seem to be pretty good at doing work during work hours and then stopping at end of day. I had more problems focusing in the office because it frankly wasn’t very clean, especially in common spaces, and the layout and distractions were all over the place. Personally, I’d much rather see a floor that needs to be vacuumed at home then deal with my coworkers being ridiculous and loud the whole time I’m there. Definitely varies by person though.
This, for me. My office is frigid, drafty, and smells weird because the manufacturing facility has sh*tty venting. I can tolerate a messy home if that means being warm and comfortable as I work.
Oh god, I forgot how often I was FREEZING cold in the office. That alone destroyed my productivity there. We were given free corporate-branded blankets and it wasn’t uncommon to see staff wrapped up in them all day long.
YES, THIS. It’s my biggest issue with working from home. The home stuff is in my face, no matter what else needs my attention. Of course DH doesn’t think this is an issue, but I am the one who just does this stuff and notice it more. (I know, I know, don’t get me started.) He does take care of loading the dishwasher during the day, but the other extra house stuff that’s cropped up has been a very sore point throughout the pandemic.
To be honest, I had let home maintenance go a little on the cosmetic front, and WFH was a wake up call to spend more time and money on making my house look presentable.
I am so so glad you posted this because I can relate to it so much!! If it’s quiet, I’m like “I’ve lost my touch, no one needs me, I’m missing something, this is a mess”
Are you me? I feel the same way constantly… I also never thought to contemplate how being WFH would cause enormous wear & tear on my house. So many things that need to be fixed and cleaned and replaced… not too mention increased electric, heat, water bills. I thought WFH would save me money but in the long run, it’s costing me more in multiple ways. Especially with no business travel. When I compared by 2019 and 2020 tax returns, I realized that I made almost $10k less last year due to no OT.
Yes! My wood floors have so much wear and tear where they didn’t before. My desk chair has done a number on the floor. I know I should have got a mat to put under it but I didn’t think of that until after it started looking weathered. Things are just starting to look old and used way faster than normal.
In your defense, nobody thought we’d still be working from home 14 months later!
Ohhhh very true! Thank you!
Possibly an overthinking-it question, but I’m meeting my boyfriend’s 17-year-old nephew who he’s close to, the first family member I’ve been able to meet due to the pandemic. I didn’t even know how to interact with teenage boys when I was a teenager myself! For those who unlike me have actually interacted with teenagers in the last 25 years…what do you do differently than in having a conversation with an adult stranger?
I don’t need him to think I’m cool or anything, but it would be nice to get to know him a bit and hopefully interact in an enjoyable way. I know about his interests from my bf but I don’t share or know about any of them (mostly various sports and poker). And I remember how eyerolly I felt when adults asked me about school/college.
Don’t use an overly perky voice; give them time to warm up; expect moods; otherwise treat as adult. Teenagers are awesome but not consistently able to manage emotions to be ‘on.’
Totally agree. With teenagers or even tweens, pretend you’re conversing with an adult, but privately have much lower expectations than you have for peers. Not only due to moods/emotions, but also because they don’t always have basic manners yet–or, not consistently.
+1. I still remember fondly every adult who treated me like one when I was a teenager.
I also appreciate that they cut me some slack on not actually being as smart and awesome and mature as I probably thought I was at the time.
This exactly. Have developmentally appropriate expectations about what they’ll say, but take them seriously and talk to them the way you’d talk to an adult. Ask their opinion and rarely, if ever, offer your own. Don’t interrogate. Don’t lecture. Don’t try to impress.
Ask questions about what the things they like. It’s great that you don’t know a lot about his interests. It gives him an opportunity to teach you about them.
Nothing. I do nothing different than when I’m talking to an adult, other than ask what their favorite microbrew is.
+1. You treat a teenager like a person, not as a stereotype of what you think a teenager is.
My niece and nephew are this age and I find films/tv an easy topic with their friends.
I like to ask if they’ve watched anything good recently and what was it.
Hmm I have an 18 year old son and he wouldn’t be able to answer this question. He doesn’t watch tv shows. He listens to some streamers and plays video games.
Does anyone else struggle with “waiting mode?” If I have a doctor’s appointment at 12, I find it hard to go do other things before then because I “don’t have time to start anything” or “I need to start getting ready in an hour…in half an hour..in 15 minutes.” If I have a phone call scheduled with friends for 3 pm, it’s in the back of my mind off and on all day and affecting my ability to focus on other things. If I have a 1-hour gap between meetings, I often find it hard to get started on other tasks. I’ve tried setting alarms for 30 minutes before the meeting/before I need to get ready, but then I wait for the alarm instead of the event! Has anyone else dealt with this? It’s certainly not debilitating (I’m still able to get things done in life), but it’s annoying. Would CBT be helpful here? The only thing that I’ve found helpful is scheduling appointments for first thing in the morning and trying to avoid gaps between work meetings, but it’s not always possible. Tips welcome.
I find a list of easy tasks to be helpful – it’s amazing how much you can get through in an hour. I do hate a 10am meeting, nothing will happen beforehand, and then it’s lunchtime.
Honestly, I think it’s normal. In my line of work it’s considered to be part of the price of context switching. We work around it by following your suggestion of avoiding gaps between meetings and/or by scheduling distraction-free blocks of time on our calendars.
I just want to say commiseration! I also have a hard time recovering after being “on”. Even if I don’t feel particularly stressed, if I have an interview, deposition, hearing, firm wide meeting, I need some serious decompress time after before I can get back into my work with gusto. I had a meeting end at 10 am and I have another at 11 am and here I am.
Yes, that is a major factor in my inattentive ADHD. I set a loud timer for “absolutely must stop everything and get ready” time, and that frees up my brain to let it go until I hear the buzzer.
I really wished that worked for me, but my ridiculous brain starts waiting for the buzzer instead (“I think it’s going to go off soon…).
I definitely do the waiting mode thing sometimes, but it’s usually limited to “big” items. My regular weekly volunteer shift at 5pm doesn’t bother me, but something irregular like a dr. appt mid-day might. Generally, I try to do Pomodoro as often as I can, because I often have those 1-hour blocks between meetings. Perhaps it’s something you could try? I set the Forest on my phone for 25 minutes of focused work and then you get 5 minutes off for phone scrolling/making a fresh coffee/using the restroom/reading this site. Repeat. I know I’m never going to finish a big project in 25 minutes, but I can take a bite of the elephant and over a week, it adds up pretty significantly. Wit and Delight has an overview of this and a task sheet download I really like – you can write out your to-dos, and estimate how many 25-minute increments a task will take to get done. Sometimes, I see how many small tasks I can get done in 25 minutes – how many emails can I get to, etc.
Yep. I have my second dose at noon and all morning I’ve been like well I guess I don’t have time to start this task because I’m leaving soon. Even though I had plenty of time. So I do other things like laundry or cleaning instead.
Really I’m just giving myself an excuse to procrastinate.
I am suffering from this at this moment. 10 am Zoom conference that lasted 20 minutes. Next meeting is at 11. I managed to do nothing before the conference except print out what I needed for the conference and in the 30 minutes since I have only written a brief client update. Now I am here. I am sure I could have been more productive between 9 and 11.
I have a terrible time with this, but only with work. Even one meeting destroys my entire day. This is a huge issue for me right now, as the pandemic + directing more projects seems to have quadrupled my meeting load.
In my personal life, I am really good at fitting in other tasks around fixed obligations.
I think people do know that no one gets anything done in the awkward gaps between meetings. The stereotype of “ping pong tables in tech startups” is a thing partly because while your code is compiling or running its hard to switch to another task for those few minutes and people just end up bopping around for bit. One thing that has helped me is to write an estimate of how long a task will take (inspired by a post here) so that when I have a 45 minute break I can see a 30 minute task that I could do immediately.
Strangely I find this is common for me but with virtual meetings not in person. I could be late for the dentist as I’ve made a call near when I need to leave, but if I had a virtual meeting at that time I’d not pick make the call! For work I find it handy to have some tasks I can do that are easy to stop. It’s not really a problem for me outside of work but I do think setting a timer might help so you can acknowledge it’s not something to focus on till that time.
Outlook/Windows Productivity Tools
I am a young biglaw lawyer who is a total curmudgeon when it comes to adopting new technology or any changes in my tech. However, I have been working on it, partly b/c my firm moved me to a laptop (vs. desktop that I remoted into) and recognizing that some productivity tools are actually very helpful in firm world! I recently started using things like Focused Inbox, downloaded the Outlook app. on my phone, and have started to read a bit more about “Focused Time” that helps you time block on Outlook, though I know that’s more aspirational than anything in biglaw.
Any other tips or suggestions that you love using from Outlook/Windows productivity software? I am sure there’s a ton of stuff I am not thinking of. I have a great inbox filing system and use timers for logging my billable time, but that’s about it.
This reads like an ad to me lol. What biglaw firm doesn’t issue associates laptops or require them to have email on their phones from the minute they’re employed?
I don’t find the tools very helpful because they’re not foolproof and I am not trusting Outlook not to hide something I actually need to do ASAP just because I happen to be copied on the email with a bunch of other people.
I think it may be that she had email on her phone through the normal mail client, but is now specifically using Outlook for her emails to use those tools.
I don’t think anything you listed goes with “young”. Do you mean old partner? How did you get through college and law school and, well…your first day of big law using a desktop and not having email on your phone?
I don’t think it is an ad. I think it is a function of the new tools being pushed by Microsoft that are showing up in our in-box. I hated the Cortana daily briefing at first and now I actually appreciate it.
I agree with Cat that the post does not seem genuine.
The Microsoft inbox garbage is a “feature.”
This is the first time this has happened to me on here, but can confirm that I am a biglaw atty. in a secondary market (K-JD, c/o ’16) in a practice group that has been non-stop busy since the world shut down.
I do wish I were a Microsoft ad writer and not a jr. associate on track to bill too many hours. Maybe I’m just more tech naive than I thought, but re-enabling Focused inbox has helped me a ton. I figured a group of professionals who are way techier/organized than me would have suggestions.
That is very flattering, but I am a K-JD Class of 2016 grad. To clarify, I have had email on my phone since I joined the firm, but not through the Outlook app. Out IT team actually sets it up with the native mail app, not Outlook. I like it better than the clunky Mail app that never seems to find the email I’m looking for or struggles with folder searches, but wouldn’t have thought to change things until someone in my practice group suggested it.
Also, it may have been unclear from the above, but as I mentioned, I had a desktop computer *at the office* that I remoted into with my laptop when needed and throughout most of the pandemic. Not all biglaw firms give you $ for tech or more than one computer (some have you choose, laptop or desktop), and some are fine with you using your personal computer through a Citrix-type app. that secures the connection, which is what I was doing.
Anyway, yes, the Cortana stuff is exactly what I was talking about and was new to me because I ignored/did not set up when we all upgraded to the Windows version that offers Cortana and things like focused notifications, etc. The “Insights” button has been helpful in tracking open items. I was wondering if anyone used any other capabilities that I am not aware of!
I am trying to prioritize buying US manufactured clothing. Does anyone know of stylish, quality women’s or children’s clothing that fits the bill? I know of Emerson Fry and Amour Vert. TIA!
I wear a lot of re/done, agolde, LNA, year of ours, Susana Monaco, beyond yoga, and line by k. I buy it (usually on sale) at Shopbop, revolve, net-a-porter, and Nordstrom rack. This is mostly casual stuff…my work clothes are older and purchased before I cared. :(
Karen Kane comes to mind –
Michael Stars and I think maybe Reformation?
Re/Done, Agolde, Susana Monaco, Sundry, Line by K, Year of Ours, Beyond Yoga, Leset. I mostly buy it on sale it Shopbop, Revolve, Net-a-Porter, or Nordstrom Rack. This is all casual stuff..I haven’t bought new work clothes in a long time so not sure about that.
and +1 to Reformation. I don’t really think their rayon crepe material is awesome, and it’s annoying that you have to dry clean it, but it fits me off the rack so I’ll buy it on sale)
Has anyone experienced weight gain on Zoloft? I’m taking the lowest possible dose (which was LIFE CHANGING for me) but cannot stop eating. I’ve evaluated other changes in my life but am now wondering if the Zoloft is what’s doing it. I’m up about 5 lbs. and the interwebs are a little inconclusive, so I’m looking for anecdata. Thanks!
Hi! I had a handful of life changes at the same time as I started Zoloft and I gained about 15 pounds. It honestly could have been a whole combination of things. My doctor was concerned enough (because the number kept going up and I’m someone that does not usually gain weight easily) that I switched to Wellbutrin. That switch with a few other life changes (though not a ton) has me back down 10 of the 15. So, for me, I think Zoloft was the issue. Wellbutrin was helpful enough for me that I was good with the change but I told myself that if it wasn’t, I’d go back on the Zoloft, weight be damned, because I really was a much healthier person mentally.
I similarly switched from Lexapro to Wellbutrin bc my doctor was a little concerned with the weight gain. I think Wellbutrin may have actually worked better for my anxiety as well.
I don’t weigh myself but I’ve been on zoloft for 8 weeks and need to buy new pants (see post above about the Allison pants). I have definitely noticed an increase in appetite.
This is a well-known side effect of Zoloft. Balancing the value of the drug against this side effect is super tricky given the fact that typically Zoloft is prescribed to people having a hard time seeing things from a clear perspective and that weight gain, for some but certainly not all, can also exacerbate whatever drove them to the doctor in the first place (even if objectively/medically it is NBD for that person). I’ve seen this play out multiple times but please let your doctor help with this evaluation.
Thanks everyone — this is the nudge I needed to talk to my doc.
Yep. Gained 20 pounds on it. Have had a hell of a time losing it. It worked great for me but I just kept gaining weight despite eating well and being active. We switched me off of it because the mental health/anxiety impacts of none of my clothes fitting were outweighing the benefits of the med. I’m now on Wellbutrin, which is working just as well but I haven’t gained morethan a couple of COVID pounds.
Small inheritance question
I recently inherited $25K from my grandpa. It’s both a lot of money, and yet it’s money that could disappear quickly if I fritter it away. I’m trying to figure out the best way to use it. A few ideas I had:
1) Put all or some of it into my kids’ college funds, which he would surely support.
2) Turn it into a travel fund, which would allow us to take some bigger trips and stress less about the financial impact. I think he’d like that, too. Travel was a big part of my grandparents’ lives during retirement.
3) Put it toward our mortgage. Our goal is to pay it off before our 11-year-old starts college. Boring, but useful.
4) Build a “she-shed” in our backyard and make it part of my gardening paradise. Ha. He was also a gardener and I think he’d get a kick out of it.
I have never inherited money before and am struggling with feeling like I don’t deserve this. I also don’t know whether it’s better to use it for fun, or for practical purposes. DH and I are fortunate to have healthy savings and investments, so there isn’t a pressing financial need to fill. My grandpa came from literally nothing and worked so hard to earn a good living for his family and was smart with his money. I don’t want to stupidly waste his efforts, if that makes sense. My three siblings also received the same amount. One is putting part of it toward some expenses that come along with growing a family. The others haven’t yet decided but will likely use it for home improvements, education, or travel.
I’m sorry for your loss. I don’t think there’s a “right” answer here (assuming you are otherwise financially stable, which it sounds as though you are). My philosophy on inheritance is that the recipient should do something “fun” to honor the giver with some of it — which it sounds like travel or the she-shed might do. I would also take this opportunity to review your overall financial goals and see how you might want to partition this money out. It seems as though you might need to see how you can get your kids’ college savings to where you want them to be/meet your mortgage payoff goal (we have the exact same goal AND age of kid!) and whether you need $ from this inheritance to boost your efforts in either space. There’s also nothing wrong with sticking it in a high-yield account and waiting to decide, either.
I would do half college fund and half travel.
Assuming you’re otherwise good on your debts, etc., I would totally put toward 2 or 4, or some mix of both.
I don’t think there’s a right answer here either, but I love the idea of using it to travel. To me, experiences generally end up being much more valuable than things and I think it would be really special to feel like your grandpa was “sending” you on a special trip.
I vote for one great trip and the rest in the college fund. But… the only thing I have a very strong opinion about is your mortgage. I would not put the money on the mortgage because interest rates are so low right now. Putting money in the market (in a 529 or other) would be a better financial move.
I agree with asdf. This would be my approach.
I inherited 10k from my grandfather and had similar issues deciding what to do with it. What I decided was to buy myself a small keepsake (jewelry) and save the rest until the right thing came along. This year, I decided to buy a house so it was perfect for putting towards a down payment, as he was a home builder for many years. I see no problem in letting rest until you feel good about a decision. You could also divide up the money and put a bit towards all or some of the things you mentioned. I know, for me, having it go towards something meaningful vs just “bills” was special for me.
My grandpa was also a big traveler and a gardener so were I in your shoes, I would go with 2 or 4. I personally have so many travel credits from cancelled trips that I would go with 4. The time to create a garden paradise is now! I was just outside and saw the first bloom on a climbing rose that I ordered from a nursery my grandpa always ordered from (White Flower Farm) and it made me smile and think of him.
i have inherited money twice. once was a smaller amount which we threw at DH’s grad school loans. More recently, I inherited a mid-six figures amount from a parent (other parent is still alive, but will was set up for sibling and I to split retirement funds, so this is in an inherited IRA). for now it is sitting kind of as a safety net. DH and I are hopefully going to buy a house soon and we have saved other money for a down payment, but I am someone who gets anxious about money, so having this gives me some reassurance. And while yes, I realize I am lucky in some sense to come into this money without doing anything to earn it myself, I’d give anything to have my mom back so she could spend her own retirement money and not having watched her die a slow, painful death that i would not wish on my worst enemy.
I vote #4. It will bring you so much joy and make you think of him. Similarly, I’m inheriting $15k from my grandmother who just passed. Same situation and rough set of options (mortgage, college funds, etc.) We’ve decided to invest it in our home. We’re going to put it toward light renos of the two non-master, very outdated baths. Grandma was a realtor for a long time and I know she’s approve. It’s something tangible that will make me happy and think of her, but not frivolous. It ‘s an “extra” in the sense we’d resigned to not renovate these two bathrooms for some time, but we’re going to do them now-ish, before the big master reno, so life without our master bath for a few months won’t be so painful.
I bought index funds with a similar amount, to get myself started on having investments outside retirement accounts. If I really feel strongly about wanting a “thing” that feels thematically appropriate to the giver, I can always take some profit, set aside the taxes, and buy the thing.
If your kids are old enough to appreciate and remember the trip, I would use it for a 2022 family trip to someplace special and memorable, and put the rest in the kids’ college funds. My view on college funds is that it adds up – a few hundred as a baptism present, small contributions from grandparents, slow and steady contributions from Mom and Dad – and part of what kiddo will be told is that it was a long term effort by people who care deeply about him.
I vote split between 4 and any of the first 3.
I vote to split between fun and savings. I’d spend $5-10K on the gardening shed or one family trip, and $15-20K on your kids’ college funds or your mortgage.
I’d spend half on a she-shed and wait a year for the rest.
I’d expect to spend way less on a she-shed. 5k max?
Should we worry that a she shed would be hard to leave behind? Is OP in her forever home?
I would do something that you know would make your grandpa smile. I received a smaller amount (10k) from my grandma. I couldn’t help myself and paid off the last of my student loans (boring but took a huge weight off my shoulders) and I spent $2K on a pearl necklace. She always wore pearls and I think of her every time I wear it.
We stand to inherit a bit more (200-400k) from DH’s family. We are not counting on a dime, but if we do get that amount, our plan is to put about half into the kids’ college funds and use the rest for family travel. DH’s mom is a HUGE advocate of education and we are otherwise planning to pay for 50% of private for the kids. Any extra money from the grandparents will go to what would fall to the kids to pay. We’d also probably set aside a few thousand per child for spending money in college. And DH’s parents always talked about- but never did- travel. We have decided to prioritize that as a family with out kids and we’d use any inheritance to do that. Alternatively, we would use that portion to fund a vacation home (which we’d go to instead of all this travel).
Is there a trip your grandfather always wanted to do but was unable to take?
For example, my grandfather always wanted to go to Australia but never made it. A cousin is planning to go after the pandemic and said it was inspired by the fact our grandfather never got to go. If there’s something like that – take the trip.
I inherited 20k from my other grandfather and I used it all for student loans. That grandfather was less sentimental (and we weren’t as close) so I chose the practical route. However, had I inherited money from the other grandfather I would have used it for something fun because I know 100% that’s what he would have wanted.
I’m usually a very practical person (especially with money) but I feel strongly about using inheritances for something fun and that reminds you of your loved one. Do 2 or 4, and then use the remainder for 1
I vote travel fund because it would honor your grandfather and benefit your entire family and because I think travel is as important as college in building interesting, curious, well-educated, sophisticated, and compassionate humans, especially if they can have some interesting experiences in middle school and high school years.
In a similar situation, my family and parents plus all my siblings + kids took a portion of the money and did a family reunion trip. 12 of us rented a big house in Maui for a week, flying from five different places. That was a condition of the inheritance – that we used some of it for a family reunion to see each other in a venue other than at the funeral. It was fantastic, and I’m so glad it happened when it did because I haven’t been able to see any of those family members since the pandemic started, so, for almost 2 years now.
We started our daughter’s 529 with an $8000 inheritance from my husband’s uncle. Her 529 overall returned 100% over the 18 period (so our balance is twice our contributions). I think Uncle Tim would be so proud that he paid almost a full year of in-state tuition.
We recently faced a similar decision and went with the college fund. We were behind on college savings because of law school (biggest mistake ever), and the inheritance helped us feel caught up a bit. If you are already on track to hit your college savings goals over time, I’d spend the inheritance on one or two really amazing trips when your kids are old enough to enjoy and remember.
We do 5 percent fun and the rest either pay down debt or bolster our savings.
Split between 1, 2, and 4. Take ~5K to use for your she-shed, and split the rest between trip in his memory and the rest for the college funds.
Not to be THAT Person, but: If you’re struggling with guilt, put 10-20% to a charity of your choice. We received some money (not that much) recently and gave 20% to causes we care about. Like, directly out the door, didn’t think about it, never considered it “ours.”
Has anyone worked with a resume writer in the legal field (specifically in-house) that they’d recommend? Based on all the resume discussions I’m ready to spend some money to make sure my resume is updated and as strong as possible.
Best office air freshener? I have an office in a large building, my door closes but I keep it open at night. I have been returning to the office a couple days a week and it just smells stale. I do not want to bring in fresh flowers because I’m not here every day to enjoy. I also don’t want such a strong scent that people in the halls would smell it.
Tried an open (not lit) candle – to subtle. Can’t do scentsy or anything hot/warm. Plug ins are a gray area – not encouraged but I wouldn’t get in trouble, just not sure they’re the best option.
I have the Capri Blue oil diffuser in Volcano in my office. It smells good but isn’t overpowering.
*to you. Isn’t overpowering to you. You don’t know if there are people who don’t like the scent who avoid stopping by your office for this reason…
Sorry, I feel strongly about this!
No air freshener in the office, even if it’s just your own office. They are horrible for indoor air quality, usually smell horrid, and cause a lot of headaches and problems for other people. You need to get a window open.
None of the high rise buildings I have ever worked in have had windows that open. Is that even a thing?
Agree. I’ve worked in a variety of office buildings (10 that I can count offhand) since 1987. I’ve never once had an opening window.
oh my gosh please no. What is subtle to you is absolutely migraine-inducing to your neighbor.
If you must, use an “odor neutralizing” scent, not an additional fragrance.
I am not a fan of air fresheners/scents so I would try a small fan on low to keep the air circulating; that should help a lot with the stale feeling. I have a small desk fan from vornado that I like a lot. Alternatively you could get a small air filter/purifier but a good one would be a lot more pricey than a fan.
I would try an air purifier or something charcoal based.
I am not a fan of having scents in the office, though admittedly my own assistant has some kind of diffuser thingamadoodle on her desk and it mostly stays to her space and was not enough to deter me from going to her to talk and I do use them in my home occasionally. Rather than something permanent, I would start by just spraying some Febreze or Glade in a “fresh” or citrusy scent after hours on a few different days and see if that doesn’t do the trick. If not, maybe some of those scent balls in a bowl that you can put away in a drawer.
The Hamilton Breeze plug-in charcoal filter is amazing at removing smells. Just don’t add one of the optional scents.
Please please no air freshener. I’m one of those people with bad allergies and migraines that loses whole work days to this kind of thing. If you really have odor issues, try a bowl of baking soda, an air purifier, or maybe just the carbon prefilters for an air purifier?
Can you just get a small air purifier instead? I agree with the people below that scents in the office are a trigger for a LOT of people.
If your building is musty and stale, put in a work order request with the maintenance department to deal with the issue, whether that means adjusting the ventilation, cleaning the air filters, adding dehumidifiers, etc. Please don’t bring air fresheners in. There are so many people who have awful respiratory or skin reactions to air fresheners wafting around.
put a small bit of vinegar out at night like in a mug and it will absorb odors. second the advice to contact the building staff and ask about vents/hvac cleaning. some plants also act as air fresheners.
I also agree re no air freshener.
Why not have a hardy plant? A jade plant or philodendron should help with smells.
How about an air purifier? They are pricier than a simple air freshener but work much better and over a longer period of time. We got the Blueair 411 (on sale for $120 at the time) for our infant daughter’s bedroom. It’s so nice not smelling poop from the diaper pail…
Did anyone end up buying the light blue patterned silk slip night dress that was featured back in February? I noticed it’s still on sale and was thinking of buying but don’t know anything about the quality or sizing of the brand.
Dear family: Exactly what part of “I am interviewing job candidates so don’t interrupt me” don’t you understand?
I had to have ANOTHER sit down with my family the other day. My rule is, if I’m in my home office, particularly if I have the door closed, the only reasons to interrupt me are 1) the house is on fire, or 2) someone needs to go to the ER.
I do not need to know what you are thinking about having for lunch. If you think we should get some more tea next time we grocery shop, that’s what the list is for. I am not surprised dog did something cute or something destructive – I’m fine with hearing about either later.
My husband is actually the worst offender on this. I’m clearly on a call, I’m not sure I ever need to know what you think the transmission problem might be with your car, but I certainly don’t need to know it now.
I need to be left absolutely alone because I am easily distracted and it’s hard for me to stay on task regardless.
OMG yes with the cute dog stuff. Send me a photo and I will ooh and ahh over it later.
My husband is also the worst offender. My desk is in the bedroom. For some reason he can ONLY use the bathroom attached to this bedroom. Just knowing that he might barge into the room at any second keeps me on edge all day and prevents me from focusing. And we have recently learned that his company is going WFH permanently so I will never be alone in the house again.
Oh no, that’s the worst
If a person is suddenly weepy about EVERYTHING what would you expect a psychiatrist to prescribe?
In my case, it was an SSRI. Worked like a charm almost immediately to stop the weeping, which for me was really what I needed because I understood that I was crying over something that was manageable if I could just stop crying about it. I didn’t love the other effects and didn’t stay on them long (I tried two), but I feel like that treatment has had a decades-long effect on how often I cry. Maybe that is really age/wisdom/jadedness. Just a personal anecdote, though. YMMV.
I would start with my PCP or OBGYN unless I was already under the case of a psychiatrist. Personally, every time I’ve been uncontrollably and inexplicably weepy, it’s because my hormones are out of whack, usually because I was prescribed a high estrogen BC. Ymmv of course, and if you feel you need psychiatric help then I don’t want to dissuade you.
Why go to a psychiatrist first? This could be related to stress, fatigue, hormone levels, any number of physical rather than emotional causes. See your primary care doc first.
In my 20+ years of managing depression and anxiety, the least helpful person was a psychiatrist. I combine my therapist and PCP to help me with meds and coping strategies. I echo starting with your PCP
Any tips for how to manage the post-offer/pre-notice period at my current law firm? We are really busy right now, so I keep getting asked to staff new deals even though my plate is full and I know I will need a majority of my notice period to wind down deals and do all of the admin tasks. However, I know people will already be pretty upset when I give notice since we really are short-staffed at the moment (part of the reason I started looking).
Is your offer firm (done with all the background checks etc, you have a start date)? If so, unless your firm has a history of walking people out, what’s the problem with giving a little extra notice? (If you are going in-house or to government in particular, people will often start s-cking up.)
My conflicts check is still ongoing, so I can’t give notice until it is finished. Once it is done, I can only give the two weeks since I have agreed to start ASAP at the new job and already will likely have no time in between positions.
I would not tell them until your offer is 100% confirmed and you have a start date with the new employer. If that means accepting deals that you’re unlikely to ultimately work on, that is what it is. They will find a way to staff it without you, and you should absolutely not tell them if there’s any risk your new role falls through.
Yes, I will definitely be waiting until my offer is 100% confirmed to give notice (I have heard the stories). I just feel a bit icky taking on some deals with tight timelines knowing I *likely* can’t see it through, and they will have to scramble to staff them once I give notice.
Staffing issues are not your problem unless it’s actually part of your job. I feel VERY strongly about this!
I would manage this the way I always tell myself I should manage my workload but never do because I want to get ahead so I cave to the pressure to be a rockstar. What is the actual downside of saying, I expect to free up [next month, or whatever] but my plate is full for now. Like yes people will be disappointed but you’re not going to get fired today because you say no to more work when you’re already billing 200 hours/mo, or whatever full plate means to you.
Also to address one of your comments – I would really recommend taking at least a week off between positions. Every firm says they need you right away. They will live. And tbh if a week sinks your offer, you didn’t want that job, that means they’re no better staffed than where you are now.
I think I will take this approach and say I may free up later. I would take the extra time off, but I am trying to get my start date to align with the bonus match schedule so I don’t leave money sitting on the table. I would also rather take the time off later in the summer.
Advice on how to gracefully notify close colleagues that I’m resigning? I’m submitting my resignation tomorrow after trying to make things work with a toxic, abusive coworker who was hired last year, and I’m taking some time off before looking for a new position. My boss knows why I’m leaving and is frustrated that he’s been unable to manage the situation effectively, but is mired in office politics. I can easily come up with a vague “it was the right time for a transition” to people who aren’t in my inner work circle. But for people with whom I work closely, do I tell them that I’m leaving because of this toxic coworker? Or do I keep it vague? And what do I say to the toxic coworker herself?
I would assume your close colleagues can infer the real reason.
Agree. And that includes Toxic Co-Worker.
No, don’t throw the coworker under the boss. If they’re close to you, they’re probably aware that’s part of the reason. Focus on what you’re getting out of the new position.
Keep it all vague.
If you are leaving without another job lined up, most people can infer exactly why.
Suggestion: unless your work prohibits colleagues from giving references, have several of them lined up.
Definitely do not verbalize that you are leaving because of toxic coworker. There is no upside to doing so, but for sure potential downside.
Thanks for the gut check, everyone. She’s thrown me under the bus so many times that I have endless revenge fantasies about doing the same to her. But I appreciate the wisdom about letting other people connect the fairly obvious dots and will channel my inner Michelle “when they go low” Obama.