Coffee Break: Whitney Pump

Block pumps are everywhere right now — every single brand has them — and for some reason I was surprised to see that Naturalizer does too. I don’t know why; obviously they have a reasonable height and a nice founded toe line so there’s no reason they shouldn’t be comfortable. This one comes in this lovely blue leather that we’re featuring but also in black and dove gray. Naturalizer offers a generous size range of 4-12 in narrow, medium, wide, and extra wide sizes, so if you’re hard to fit this is a great brand to keep on your radar. Whitney Pump



  1. Anonymous :

    I’ve heard everyone say that retirement accounts earn approximately 5% interest and you should put money in there instead of paying down debt that’s at less than 5% interest. But the only increases I see to my retirement fund balance are 1) principal contributions from myself (I have no employer match) and 2) tiny dividend payments of about 1% at year end, that aren’t even sufficient to cover the fees on the account. Thus, I seem to be losing money relative to a no-fee savings account at 1% interest and certainly relative to my 3% mortgage debt. I have my money in Vanguard index funds. Am I doing something wrong? Why am I earning so much less than other people?

    • My money is in vanguard index funds too and its value is increasing way more than that and my fees are more like .2%. Specifically what index fund are you using?

      • Anonymous :

        My fees are normal I think (~$80/year), I just don’t have much money in there yet so for me right now it is almost 1%. When I have more money it will be a smaller percentage. The funds are VIEIX and VINIX.

        • Um, are you sure you’re looking at the right thing when you look at your growth? I just looked up the VIEIX fund performance record on Vanguard’s website and its 10 year performance is more like 8%…

          • Anonymous :

            No, I’m not sure I’m looking in the right place but I’m looking at my transaction history page and it shows my contributions and the dividends and nothing else. Are there other gains that don’t show up until some later point in time? I have only had money in retirement accts for ~6 months, but those 6 months included the end of year 2016.

    • Ah, ok, the transaction history page only shows when you bought shares. You bought X shares on Y date at Z value per share.

      Six months later, those shares are worth more money, but since you haven’t sold them yet you haven’t realized any gains. So the “gain” is in the current value of the shares vs the value they had when you bought them. To see that, go to “Accounts” and then click “Balances and holdings” on the dropdown menu and go to the “Balances over time” tab. Then you can click the “Investment Returns” radio button and the graph will show you the amount of money you’ve deposited and the value growth over time. If you hold your mouse anywhere over the graph, a little dialogue box will show up and it will explain the investment returns.

  2. Let's Play a Game! :

    Fill in the blanks:

    What I really want right now is _____________.
    What I really need right now is _____________.
    What I wish I could tell someone in real life but never would is ___________.
    What I wish people knew about me but I’d never tell them is __________.

    • What I really want right now is a mani/pedi.
      What I really need right now is a raise.
      What I wish I could tell someone in real life but never would is you talk too loudly.->coworkers on the phone
      What I wish people knew about me but I’d never tell them is I am afraid that people don’t take me seriously.

    • Diet Coke
      To get my work done
      I might have ADD
      I’m more sensitive than I seem

    • JuniorMinion :

      What I really want right now is for my husband to get the dream job he is interviewing for tomorrow
      What I really need right now is more coffee
      What I wish I could tell someone in real life is how proud I am that I cut off contact with parents who damaged my life and childhood irreparably, and how much progress I have made from that life
      What I wish people knew about me but I’d never tell them is that I really enjoy my job and am proud that I’ve been able to support my husband and I through a really difficult period

      • Good for you for so many of these things!

      • cut mine out too for the same reason… YAY for us!

        • What I really want right now is a boyfreind.
          What I really need right now is good s-x with a guy who apreciates me.
          What I wish I could tell someone in real life but never would is that they smell funny on the subway.
          What I wish people knew about me but I’d never tell them is that I am not crazy about doieng everything the judge and the manageing partner want me to do.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      What I really want right now is to go on vacation.
      What I really need right now is nothing.
      What I wish I could tell someone in real life but never would is that I am not nearly as career-focused as they think I am.
      What I wish people knew about me but I’d never tell them is that I worry about people discriminating against me, despite my “I don’t care what people think” exterior.

    • Baconpancakes :

      What I really want right now is to watch tv shows and eat bon bons all afternoon.
      What I really need right now is a post-graduation job in my field and chosen town.
      What I wish I could tell someone in real life but never would is I’m terrified I will be infertile by the time I try to have children.
      What I wish people knew about me but I’d never tell them is my off-duty personality is a lot more fun than my work personality.

      • JuniorMinion :

        #3 is a fear of mine too… by the time I am “ready” my body will have made the choice for me.

      • shamlet96 :

        Same, #3 is my biggest fear. I’m ready, but no partner to do it with me and terrified it will be too late by the time he shows up (if ever).

        • JuniorMinion :

          I have a partner but just job / life stuff doesn’t align anytime in the near future. It’s hard to figure out the right things to do…

    • Never too many shoes... :

      hot chocolate
      more sleep
      I am so sick of listening to you whine about your life issues, taking the time to give you thoughtful advice and then you *never* following it
      I am terrified that people will not like me

    • What I really want right now is a manicure.
      What I really need right now is $#@%ing vacation.
      What I wish I could tell someone in real life but never would is I am never going to move out of my apartment with my roommate or have a normal boyfriend or husband or children.
      What I wish people knew about me but I’d never tell them is I am really, really sad.

      • Anonymous :

        *Hugs* from this internet stranger. It gets better. And don’t foreclose the possibility of a normal boyfriend/husband/children, it happened late in life for me but it was worth waiting for!

      • Baconpancakes :

        Assuming you want to move out of your apartment with your roommate, it can happen! Lots of people are just “late bloomers” as my mother likes to say. I’m not sure if you’re only sad because of #3, but hugs.

      • I think more of us are some form of sad/really sad/really really sad. I wish we as a society were better at treating people as if they needed hugs more than rules or scolding or whatnot. Sending you hugs <3

    • What I really want right now is a partner and a family.
      What I really need right now is health insurance that actually pays for the care I need after a cancer diagnosis.
      What I wish I could tell someone in real life but never would is that I am very depressed after a hysterectomy at 30-something has left me unable to have children and the guy I thought really loved me couldn’t handle my diagnosis and left.
      What I wish people knew about me but I’d never tell them is being brave is hard.

      • Oh, deary. This internet person is thinking of you and wishing you felt like you had more support in real life for these really hard things.

        • Never too many shoes... :

          Absolutely. ALL the internet support and hugs. The health insurance thing makes me so angry on your behalf, Sad.

      • Anonymous :

        Is there a support group you can join at your treatment center? Sending you hugs.

      • My heart went out to you so much reading this. I too wish you had more support in real life. Please continue to reach out here if you need to!

      • Oh my goodness. I’m so sorry to hear that you’re going through this. Being brave is so, so hard, and I am sending you all of the anonymous Internet support that I can.

      • hugging you… my hysterectomy was a blessing since I never wanted kids but I know that the hormonal changes plus the emotional implications can be life-shaking. Sending you love!

      • JuniorMinion :

        Aw sad take care of yourself!! I am so sorry you are going through this.

      • Marshmallow :

        I am sending you ALL the virtual hugs! Thinking of you.

      • I cannot imagine what you might be going through right now. I am very sorry for your current situation. You will be in my prayers.

      • This sounds so hard and I’m so sorry. Please know that yet one more random internet stranger is thinking of you and hoping hard for all the best things for you.

      • Senior Attorney :

        What I want is for you to have the things you want and need! Sending all the internet hugs!!

    • What I really want right now is a massage and a different work project
      What I really need right now is nothing, really
      What I wish I could tell someone in real life but never would is “I kinda am totally in love with you and not sure what to do about that”
      What I wish people knew about me but I’d never tell them is I’m good at seeming confident but I’m scared and unloveable-feeling on the inside, and worry I will die alone in a nursing home.

    • Shenandoah :

      What I really want right now is a bowl of Cadbury mini eggs.
      What I really need right now is some Advil and sleep.
      What I wish I could tell someone in real life but never would is that I’m tired of hearing about them being unhappy and unsuccessful while inconsistently taking their prescriptions for anxiety/depression and refusing to try and develop coping mechanisms for life.
      What I wish people knew about me but I’d never tell them is how difficult it is for me sometimes to open up to people and share details of my personal life… even to friends I’ve known for years.

    • What I really want right now is a massage.
      What I really need right now is a breast reduction.
      What I wish I could tell someone in real life but never would is….I don’t know, I don’t have much of a filter. It”s pretty much all out there.
      What I wish people knew about me but I’d never tell them is I’m afraid I will live my older years alone because I don’t want kids and I’m afraid my husband will die young and I’m not skinny/pretty enough to get married again.

    • biglaw anon :

      I really want a new job that pays like biglaw or near that but my lack of book after ten years as an associate makes this basically impossible.

      I really need a new job before my firm officially fires me instead of just the soft notice I was given.

      I wish I could tell someone how angry I am about how much I have lost my identity since I became a mother.

      I wish people knew that I’m not always this tough b!tch and I don’t want to be, it’s just that I feel like I have to be in order to keep my career and my household going.

      • solidarity, sister, on #1-2. I’m a step behind (not yet soft notice) but finding that even getting the much-lower-paying in-house gig is way more competitive than I thought it would be. I wish you luck!

      • And solidarity on #3 from me. I feel the same. And wonder if it was worth the price. And feel guilty for wondering it.

        • Never too many shoes... :

          re #3 – I think it is a really common feeling but one that does dissipate somewhat as your babies get a bit older. Those first years are so intense.

    • What I really want right now is a massage.
      What I really need right now is a workout routine and the time to do it.
      What I wish I could tell someone in real life but never would is it makes me sad when my friends are mean. I like everyone and it makes me so sad and tired when my friends can’t get along with each other.
      What I wish people knew about me but I’d never tell them is that I saved a friend’s life last year. And it was so emotionally exhausting I never want to help anyone ever again. I just want to be selfish going forward. I won’t be, but I want to.

    • What I really want is a raise
      What I really need right now is more support at work
      What I wish I could tell someone in real life is my true emotions
      What I wish people knew about me is that I’m gay. It’s emotionally exhausting and terrifying to continuously have to come out

    • Rainbow Hair :

      What I really want right now is a massage and the *time* to get one.
      What I really need right now is to stretch, at least.
      What I wish I could tell someone in real life but never would is — “I am incredibly proud of the work I’ve been doing in therapy to process being r*ped, and I am going to be so much stronger on the other side of this!”
      What I wish people knew about me but I’d never tell them is that I am actually really cool and fun, but in non-work-appropriate ways, so I just *seem* staid and serious.

    • What I really want right now is a stiff drink.
      What I really need right now is alone time and good TV. And some direction in life.
      What I wish I could tell someone in real life but never would is even though I have it all down pat for my career, I have no idea what I want to do about my long-term relationship.
      What I wish people knew about me but I’d never tell them is I really want to be friends with you, I’m just awkward and shy and come off as cold.

    • Self Acceptance :

      What I really want right now is rest.
      What I really need right now is rest.
      What I wish I could tell someone in real life but never would is how tired I am
      What I wish people knew about me but I’d never tell them is how tired I am.

      • Meg March :

        Any way to address this? There’s a long weekend coming up– can you take Friday off as well and not leave the house? Do you have kids? Can they have a sleepover at a friends or grandparents? Can their other parent be in charge of them for one night and you get a hotel room, take a long bath and go to bed at 8 pm?

        Or are you getting enough sleep, and this is related to mental health? Take care of yourself– hope you get the rest you need/want/crave.

      • Self Acceptance :

        I don’t think I will get the rest I need till 25th February. I am taking a day off on friday, but I will be busy that day and rest of the long weekend because we have guests coming over (planned long back). Then I have to work next week. So the earliest I can rest is 25th.

        I have not slept well from last two months :-(. I am happy that I figured out what my issue is and I can start being kind towards myself. But right now, all I need is not to think about anything, just have some quiet time and and give my mind some rest.

    • What I really want right now is 4 extra hours in the day to sleep, workout, or see my kid (in that priority order)

      What I really need right now is some glimmer of home that the Trump reign of terror will be short lived.

      What I wish I could tell someone in real life but never would is that my husband is an alcoholic and its exhausting.

      What I wish people knew about me but I’d never tell them is that my insane and unreasonable demands on myself are entirely driven by my fear that if I ever let anything slip, the entire world around me will fall apart.

    • Meg March :

      What I really want right now is to hear back about my law school applications.
      What I really need right now is to stay focused on work for the next ~6 months (major senioritis!).
      What I wish I could tell someone in real life but never would is how little I care about the death of my grandfather. We weren’t close, I haven’t seen him since I was in high school, and any tears I shed over his death were for my dad.
      What I wish people knew about me but I’d never tell them is that I’m not stuck up, I’m just bad at work-appropriate small talk.

    • Anonymous :

      What I want: a drink and then a nap
      What I need: to focus on getting some billable work done today
      What I wish I could tell someone: Hey, slightly senior to me dude at work, you are completely out of line and I won’t tolerate any more of your disrespect
      What I wish people knew about me: Yes my husband of 10 years is practically perfect by all objective criteria but we’re actually miserable right now because he desperately wants kids and I can’t stomach the thought of motherhood

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      What I really want right now is my new leopard print booties and the book that are both supposed to arrive today.
      What I really need right now is to close some cases and get some work out I’ve been putting off.
      What I wish I could tell someone in real life but never would *using this phrasing* is that I’m furious at my legal assistant for not doing her job and then imply that I’m making her do my work.
      What I wish people knew about me but that I’d never tell them is that I’m exhausted of being on top of work, a serious chronic illness, social life, family, etc. and at this point, don’t give a da*n if they call me an inspiration, because not everyone can handle all of this.

      I am not in a great mood, if that’s not clear. I’m sitting in my office glowering with the door shut and sulking.

      See below for a question about how to deal with the legal assistant issue.

    • What I really want right now is a day to do some serious spiritual reflection – prayer, mass, Bible-reading…just a day to focus on that and refresh my soul.
      What I really need right now is nothing. I feel like I have everything I need.
      What I wish I could tell someone in real life but never would is that most of my close friends’ marriages seem pretty miserable and it makes me really sad…especially when I see them presented publicly and on Facebook as so happy and positive. It just depresses the heck out of me to see so many people I love trying to hard to look happy when they aren’t. And also that I worry that I’m getting jaded about marriage based on watching all of this. I can’t say this in real life because the people I would say it to are either (i) one of those couples I’m depressed about or (ii) my BFF who is currently engaged, and I’m hopefully that she’s going to have a good life with her dude who seems pretty great.
      What I wish people knew about me but I’d never tell them is nothing. If I want people to know something about me, I tell them. I feel like people’s perception of me is fairly well-matched to the reality of me, if that makes sense.

    • Marshmallow :

      What I really want right now is to leave work because it’s 5:11 and I just came to a good stopping point, but my boss is still here.
      What I really need right now is a quiet night at home with my husband.
      What I wish I could tell someone in real life but never would is I can’t stand my in-laws. I think they’re just awful people and we have nothing in common.
      What I wish people knew about me but I’d never tell them is just because I’m a lawyer doesn’t mean I’m rich, so please don’t assume I can commit to various expensive activities and travel. It makes me feel bad to say no to so many things!

    • What I really want right now is … more ponies.
      What I really need right now is … fewer ponies.
      What I wish I could tell someone in real life … that I don’t want to be a lawyer any more.
      What I wish people knew about me but I’d never tell them … is that I am not the curmudgeon I come across as in the office. I’m just burned out and a little bitter.

    • What I want right now is a new kitchen.
      What I need right now is a full night sleep and to lose the last 10 baby pounds.
      What I wish I could tell someone- I’m still angry and bitter and probably will be forever about being laid off two years ago (despite everything working out fine next job wise and money wise). I hope the guy that did it gets hit by a bus, that sexist a-hole.
      What I wish people knew about me but I’d never tell them- I’m terrible at making friends and am fairly picky about companions, but would like more.

    • What I really want right now is to see my LDR fiance
      What I really need right now is sleep
      What I wish I could tell someone- even though I am very successful at my career, I’m pretty much ready to throw it all away to be with my fiance and start a family, even if it means abandoning my career completely
      What I wish people knew about me but I’d never tell them- I get distracted and I am sometimes not great at showing that I care but I love my friends

    • You ladies rock. Take a bow. Life can be really, really hard but I see y’all coping as well as you can.

      What I really want right now is a tidy home–without having to clean it. (No $ to outsource.)
      What I really need right now is to brush my teeth and get into bed.
      What I wish I could tell someone–not a lot. I’m pretty good at telling people what I to say to them.
      What I wish people knew about me but I’d never tell them–not a lot here either. If I haven’t shared it widely it was a deliberate decision.

    • What I really want right now is to hear back from grad schools about acceptance/rejection.

      What I really need right now is to be able to look at or even think about food – any food – without feeling like an abject moral life failure for being hungry.

      What I wish I could tell someone in real life but never would is that I want kids so bad…but not with my husband.

      What I wish people knew about me but I’d never tell them is I’m not worth their time.

  3. SALLY YATES 2020

  4. I love these pumps and will order them. Grey shoes are not that easy to find!

  5. midwesterner :

    Fashion help, please! I’m a fairly junior associate, new to this law firm, going on a warehouse site visit with the partner I work with and several client VIPs–all men. Partner told me his plans to wear slacks, button-down, sport coat, no tie. I almost always wear a sheath dress + non-matching blazer + pumps or flats, but that doesn’t seem right for a warehouse (we will be out observing parts of the operations, not just in a meeting room). WWYW (what would you wear)?

    • Warehouse meaning operations center (no special protective gear required) or warehouse meaning somewhere that people would need to have special shoes, helmets, googles, etc? Your answer will impact my response.

      • midwesterner :

        Good question: Operations Center – I think we will have to wear a safety helmet in portions of the facility, but no other special safety equipment required.

        • Wear flat shoes (and maybe bring sneakers?) in case they require you to put on steel toed shoe covers. A lot of women’s shoes don’t accommodate the steel toe covers, even flats.

          I’d recommend wear slacks, a blouse, and a non-matching blazer.

    • Ankle pants with a nice blouse and blazer, flat shoes

    • Just swap the dress for pair of slacks and a shell and opt for (closed toe) flats instead of pumps and I think you’ll be fine.

    • lost academic :

      No heels, no dress. If you wear glasses, you might consider if you need safety glasses because it can be hard to make sure the ones that are meant to go over regular glasses actually stay on. Site will provide PPE but wear your hair in a way that will accommodate a hard hat, and recognize that same facilities will require a hairnet or for you to have hair up – chinlength hair may be included in ‘hair must be put up’ rule. So consider your style! And you can usually ask what the PPE requirement is ahead of time.

    • Trousers with a sturdy shoe (covering the top part of the foot–ie, not ballet flats), blouse or light sweater, non-matching blazer. If you have to wear a skirt or dress–I know some people avoid trousers–could you add flat tall boots instead of your usual pumps or flats? I think you want to avoid having your lower legs exposed.

    • Slacks (khakis should be fine), sweater or blouse and rubber-soled shoes. I have seen too many people show up for inspections without rubber soled shoes and they are sliding all over the place.

  6. Anonymous :

    I am thinking replacing my 2001 Honda Civic with a new Subaru Forester. My two friends who own Subarus love them. My internet research has uncovered some complaints. Any advice re reliability, maintenance and whether to spring for Eyesight?

    • I have a subaru outback and it’s been great. we’re about 5 years in with no significant maintenance.
      My MIL had a forester that was OKand she ended up trading it after a few years for a fancier car.
      Both subarus have been very reliable and no maintenance issues. They were a little low-frills in terms of perks/electronics (but that’s also as of a few years ago). The forester has a short front-to-back front seat that made it hard to fit for a RF car seat. We’re actually thinking of replacing our old outback with a new one, so overall thumbs up!

      • um – back seat was short front to back (distance from front seat to back seat). No car seat in the front seat.

    • I LOVE my Subaru (outback). We skipped the eyesight – I thought it would be annoying. I don’t miss it. It’s only 1.5 years old. The bells and whistles are nice – we did the top package. Heated seats, sunroof, navigation, all that stuff. Only thing I wished we had was remote start. Get the all weather floormats. You will not be sorry.

      • Anonymous :

        I test drove one with the eyesight and it was SO annoying with the beeping. And then apparently it will “nudge” you back in your lane if you wander outside the lines? The sales guy was like, don’t worry, you can easily overpower it if you want to. And I was like, I don’t want to have to worry about overpowering my own car.

    • Anonymous :

      I have an Impreza that mysteriously consumes a quart of oil every 2000 miles or so. This is the subject of a class action settlement, but the dealer did an oil consumption test and claims that this rate of oil consumption is within the normal range so they won’t fix it.

    • I have an Outback with bells, whistles and Eyesight. It’s a nice, reliable car, but I probably wouldn’t get another one. Despite the company’s claims, it doesn’t handle well in the snow for me (lightweight, lacks traction despite trunk with sandbags) and it is really noisy on the highway.

      All that said, I will miss the Eyesight feature when we get another car. I do a lot of highway driving for work, and the adaptive cruise control is a dream. For lane drifting, it doesn’t nudge you back into your lane, but will give an audible beep when you are crossing a line (unless you have your turn signal on). However, you can turn this feature off easily. The other feature is the automatic braking when it identifies a stopped car in front of you. I don’t think this feature works well, but it doesn’t bother me.

    • anon anon armani :

      I love my Forester! Bought it just a year ago, so I don’t have long time experience yet. I use it for city driving and have a short commute. The sight lines and vision available in the front really sold me on the car. We got a mid level version so we don’t have the Eye Sight and really, I am not going to pay for the continued StarLink. This is all due to my short commute. Got a Weather Tech set of front floor mats and that’s all I’ve needed. I will say that the rear/cargo mat that comes with the car ends up being rather slippy in terms of items flying around.

      The Forester certainly seemed less “fancy” than the competiting Toyota. Not luxury, but it is more than functional and has everything I need for a solid price point. We are sold on Subaru … after lifetimes of only purchasing domestic vehicles.

      My prior car was a Ford Escape. It had a similar roadside and tracking service which I never used – it would have been useful the day the Escape just stopped dead while I was sitting at a red light … six lanes of traffic, rush hour, on either side of me.

    • Have had multiple Foresters. Have loved them all. Don’t have the newest model yet. Good in the snow. They keep going and going and going.

    • Forester heart emojis :

      I have a Forester. I adore it. It’s a 2007, and runs like a dream with minimal mechanic intervention over the years. I live in the Northeast on top of a steep hill, and no matter what the road conditions, I’ve never felt it lose traction while climbing. I’ve driven it up to/around the White Mountains during multiple blizzards and can promise that you have to drive like an idiot to get it to slide in the snow. Bonus:I’m prone to lower back garbage, and I can drive for hours in my Forester without issues. I fully intend to buy another when I’m ready to retire this one, and the four other people I know who own one feel the same.

  7. So continuing the question from this morning (though I’m a different poster) – ever feel jealous of wealthy friends who have it all handed to them and then act like they earned it? Friends in NYC living in a $4 million apartment – brand new, luxury, with a view etc. They walk around saying – why would anyone leave the city, if you need a bigger place, our building has 3 bedrooms? Meanwhile he is a big 4 consultant (an associate – not a partner) and she did biglaw for less than 5 yrs, hated every second of it, and left to go be an HR manager at a consulting firm. If it was THAT easy – after 11 yrs of slogging – biglaw for a decade followed by a higher level gov’t role – I too would have a $4 million place and yet . . . . Obviously they’ve had parental help – she comes from a super wealthy Asian family and he comes from a well to do Asian family – both families paid for their kids’ school outright and has always set them up with anything they needed including real estate.

    I kind of want for their lifestyle but moreso I find myself thinking – if I had that kind of financial security – sure I’d live better, but a $1-2 million place would be fine and then I’d take some chances professionally like going into an industry I really want even if it means leaving the relative security I have now . . . . And yet other people just get things handed to them. I know it’s life but still . . . .

    • MargaretO :

      I think its totally normal to be jealous of people who have things handed to them on a silver platter – life would definitely be a lot easier in that situation! It’s a natural emotion to feel, you just have to handle it in a healthy way. If you are fixated or its getting in the way of other things, thats a problem you should deal with with yourself. If your friends are being insensitive or rude you should point it out to them. When a friend who has more money than me says something clueless I am honest with them and tell them that they live in a different reality than the rest of us. Decent people will be able to deal with it if you do so gently and politely.

      • anon anon armani :

        This! We both put ourselves through college (and me through grad school). We have no inheritance and all our parents end up “giving us” is having to supplement their incomes. No kids. We work hard, we’re the only ones in the neighborhood who “do” our own yardwork, have no maid, and simply take care of ourselves.

        I often have to tell my friends that I am not in their league and cannot purchase what they amass in terms of brands and so forth. They find it mysterious as we are well put together, have nice things, take long vacations every two years, and drive decent, but ageing cars.

        It’s all about their expectations colliding with our satisfaction with our lives.

        Gently, I remind them, and they do “get it.” There are instances of envy but I snap back to reality quicker every time.

        Wishing you the best and happiness in your own skins, OP.

    • Wildkitten :

      I hate feeling jealous – it’s the most unpleasant emotion for me. I’d rather be angry or sad or anything besides jealous. So, I very actively try to NOT think about these things, because it’s such an unpleasant feeling and so unproductive.

      • Wildkitten :

        Also, sure, you could be someone who had four million dollars handed to them, or you could be a Syrian Refugee, and there are more of the latter than the former. All you have is your life, so figure out what you want to do with the life you do have.

        • Anonymous :

          This is what is so weird about living in NYC – you can ride the subway for ten minutes and go from thinking I’m so poor to I’m so rich/lucky. When I feel this way – and I do occasionally, although I don’t have super rich friends in general – I think about my neighbors that are day laborers living 10 people to a room and saving up money to send to their families in other countries.

          For me personally, I had a lot of advantages growing up – first generation middle class, went to good public schools, parents paid for good college – and I chose to work in the arts. I did not choose a career that would make me rich. And I chose to marry a teacher who is very generous and hard working and also not really motivated by money (like me). So I also try to remind myself that I made choices that got me where I am today, and for the most part, I still value the same things and would make most of those choices again. This didn’t just happen to me.

    • JuniorMinion :

      I think it is natural to be a bit jealous of people who don’t have to travel through the flames / have a lot given to them but I think its a great opportunity to practice gratitude as well as think about some of the tradeoffs you may not know about.

      In my experience as someone who went to college with people who have had a lot given to them a few things come to mind 1) remind yourself that there really is no such thing as a free lunch, and overwhelmingly in my experience that kind of financial support comes with strings, even if they are implicit 2) They in particular sound very out of touch and not understanding of the breadth of experiences in the world which would annoy me as well. My friends in the wealthy parents bucket don’t behave this way and I would give people serious side eye for some comments.

      Try to own your choices and feel pride in your accomplishments aside from the financial gain.

    • your friends sound like d*cks. I’d get new friends.

    • Anonymous :

      When I started getting a divorce, my therapist told me, “the best revenge is to live a fantastic life and be truly happy.” If you’re truly happy, you won’t spend time thinking about the $4M condo that somebody else lives in. I agree with Wildkitten, I try very hard not to be jealous.

      • This is absolutely and completely true.

        Envy is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

    • Anonymous :

      When I was a kid, I read Poor Little Rich Girl (and then a biography of Doris Duke). Their lives were prettier, but not happier. I would like a prettier life, but I would much more like a happier life.

      It’s a good beach read (and how I first knew about Mar-a-Lago).

    • Anonymous :

      Some really rich people have their lives basically predetermined for them. DH has a good friend who has parents who have hundreds of millions. He was told basically from infancy that he would someday take over their lucrative family business, so he never got to dream about being an astronaut or a movie star or a best-selling novelist the way most kids do, and it really messed him up. He lives in a $20k/month NYC apartment and enjoys pretty much all the travel, fancy meals and stuff he could ever want, but I don’t think he’s a happy person and I would not trade lives with him.

      • Anonymous :

        The one truly wealthy person that I know is a recovering alcoholic. He works in the family business and never really had an opportunity to do anything else. I think it’s taken him a lot of therapy to be content.

        As for the original post, yeah, I sometimes feel jealous of people who never have to worry about money. But I acknowledge the jealousy and tell myself to shut it down. They may never have the financial concerns that I do, but I am happy with my life and the choices that I’ve made. And I actively reaffirm that feeling because I choose to be happy and content.

    • Anon for this :

      So, in a safe space: can I ask if anyone of wealth feels incredibly guilty? I am from a lower middle class family: worked a part time job in retail all through high school and my state-school college. The idea of my parents paying for anything for me after I was about 12 just seemed insane (like, how could anyone have that handed to them??). I married into a wealthy family – my husband’s immigrant parents worked incredibly hard upon arrival to the US, and now we have this enormous financial safety net – mostly due to the fact that it’s just him who will inherit all that they have accumulated over time. I feel guilty knowing things like: my house is literally worth 10x my mom’s current home. My kids will be able to have private school/college paid for. Etc. So I am now able to enjoy these things, but it’s not like I worked hard for them. I don’t know. Not even sure what I am trying to say!

      • I think I understand what you’re saying. I feel similarly sometimes. But then I switch my focus to how lucky, healthy, and blessed my life and my family is. We are only in this situation and able to provide for our kids through very good luck (combined with hard work). That can be taken away in an instant.

      • You have super powers! :

        You don’t have to feel guilty about $, even a windfall that you have via luck.

        Periodically, I get a little bit of Dickens in me. I do things like sponsor a kid to go to nature camp, pay field trip fees for other kids at my kids’ school (it’s a public school, there is a scholarship fund for field trips that the guidance counselor handles), etc.

        It’s not your money (yet), but you have an opportunity that we will never have to do a great amount of good in this world. It’s like you have a super power — I think it’s awesome. I’m not saying that you have to be Andrew Carnegie and build libraries everywhere, but think of what you and your family *could* do.

      • I understand and am in a similar situation.

        My husband’s family comes from extreme wealth and we will always have a safety net. We try to be extra careful not to portray the family’s wealth in our daily lives. My husband and I work very hard and he has molded his career and education to work for the family now. His sister “works” for the family but has never had a real job in her life. I resent her but then again it’s not my place to have an opinion on his sister’s life.

        It’s awkward, sticky and comes with strings.

      • When my partner’s mother passed away a few years ago, we learned that Partner was inheriting $1.5M. Partner had a very comfortable upper middle class upbringing but was not anticipating an inheritance, especially on that scale; our combined salaries at that point were ~$70K in a MCOL city. We are still both younger than 35.

        It has been an interesting adjustment. We now have a financial advisor (also inherited from my late MIL) who says things like “You should feel free to dream a little.” I feel very aware of being one of those white homeowners who only bought thanks to inherited wealth that isn’t available in most communities of color. Partner thinks I’m silly to keep funding my Roth IRA, set up through my first job when I was making $27K. When we bought our house, I had a few awkward conversations with my mother, who knows roughly how much we make but (per strategic omission) doesn’t know the scope of the inheritance–she was worried that we weren’t going to be able to pay our mortgage.

        Mostly we miss my MIL. She was critically ill the entire time I knew her, so I never really knew her as herself. We recognize that this money is a tremendous gift and we want to honor her intentions, which–for the entirety of Partner and Partner’s Sibling’s lives–were to devote herself to her children. We think she would really like the 100-year-old house we bought, and we know she’d be hugely proud of Partner’s decision to go back to school for a caring profession. That helps, but it’s definitely still odd and sad and complicated.

        • MillionDollarAnon :

          At the age of 30, I have recently become the beneficiary of about $1M in inherited wealth from two elderly relatives. While I know this is not $4M apartment in Manhattan levels of wealth, it still seems like an insane amount of money to me.

          I had no idea that they were leaving behind that much, nor that I would be one of the ones selected to receive it. Both relatives were the children of immigrants (separate sides of the family) who literally came over on boats with nothing and were the “pull yourselves up by the bootstraps” type. I am especially conflicted given the recent rise in anti-immigration mentalities- there is no way my family would have this wealth without the opportunities afforded in the U.S.

          My feelings about this new found status range from guilty to determined. I work in public service, and this gift of inherited wealth means I can continue to focus my professional career on helping others and working as hard as I can to make an impact. So, I chose to mostly focus on the determined side, and I have upped my level of charitable giving as well.

          • Anon for this :

            YES thank you for articulating my thoughts: as an American – my opportunities were theoretically unlimited but in reality, pretty limited based on my family’s poor financial health. And then, thanks to my immigrant in-laws who have worked hard in ways that are unimaginable to my family (think 7 days a week for years at a time), me and my children are now sitting on a pile of property and other investments that will take care of us for the rest of our lives. It’s hard to feel so guilty and grateful and be able to enjoy it.

      • Growing up, my family was lower middle class. We were probably not even in the middle class, but we lived in such a poor, rural area that we didn’t feel as poor as we really were. I got some scholarships and a lot of student loans and went to college, and the salary on my first job was twice what my mother made. My husband’s family was middle class, but only because his parents worked incredibly long, hard hours.

        My husband and I now each make over six figures. It feels very surreal to us that we don’t worry about money like our parents did. We take an international vacation every year. I often wonder if my old high school friends on FB are jealous of me. I don’t want them to be – they have beautiful families and homes and pets and they should be happy and proud of their lives. I know my husband and I aren’t “rich,” but we feel that way compared to our families. Its a very weird feeling.

      • Yes. I struggle with this daily. My parents paid for my (fancy) college, and I went to one of the best public high schools in the country (thanks, parental property taxes). I traveled internationally twice before I was 18. I now work in tech and make six figures, as does my SO.

        Interestingly, therapy helped to calm the anxiety about what I couldn’t control (the life I was born into, the opportunities I have had) and focus it on what I can control (deliberately giving back, fighting for causes that will not benefit me financially but are better for people as a whole, etc.). I still don’t feel like anything I can do is enough to give back what was given to me, but I’m supposed to not focus on “enough” and focus on “something.” So I try. And I hear you.

    • I felt like this about my roommates in college who didn’t have to work 3 jobs and go to school. While I did appreciate that my parents didn’t have any oversight or say in my classes, etc., they got to workout, do homework at coffee shops, and participate in campus life while I was always scrambling to get laundry done for my next job (clean uniform), skimming books two hours before exams, and barely getting by on sleep. But they all turned out losers and I am a total boss diva now so whatever.

      Different scale but the exact same resentment. I never went on spring break.

      If I do have kids, I’d want them to focus more on class but if it meant taking away my vacations…I’ll resent that. Probably won’t have kids though.

    • Honestly? No. I know that type of financial support comes with strings. Families who support their offspring in a significant financial way tend to want a lot more input in how they live their life, who they date, what they do, etc. No chance I would exchange a my independence from, well, anyone for financial support. Obviously, I say that from a fairly privileged perspective, as I have never been in a truly financially precarious position, but I am certainly not rich by any stretch of the imagination.

      • Anonymous :

        My friend’s parents just bought her a $3M home in the bay area. She and her hubs are successful professionals who make six figures each but they could not have afforded this kind of house for many years without parental support. And her parents have basically given her a list of demands in return – she must visit a certain amount, they can drop by whenever they want, etc. The whole thing seems very quid pro quo. She is also Asian-American and this is more common in her culture, but it would drive me insane.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        It doesn’t always come with strings though. In my cultural background (Greek), there is a significant amount of financial support for children growing up and well into adulthood, but not necessarily strings. My parent paid for undergrad, a Master’s and law school (all away from home) but did not expect to dictate what classes I was taking or anything like (there may have been some gentle teasing about a “bird” course in first year but that was it).

        • Anonymous :

          I think paying for education is pretty different. Most of my friends had parents paying for 100% of undergrad and many also paid for 100% of graduate degrees (yes, I’m privileged). For the most part the parents did not make demands, although I think students in college and even law school are naturally parented more like children than adults in their mid-30s are. But only a small minority of people had help from parents after their education was completed, and that support almost always came with strings.

        • greek gal here :

          Another Greek and I agree. This is one way (often overlooked) in which families pass on wealth — by paying for expenses like education, weddings, and houses (or even down payments). Mine did not come with tight strings attached, but more like “we aren’t paying for you to joke around in school,” which meant a lot of pressure to get into top-ranking schools and to apply to serious programs. I do not think that immigrant parents are fond of creativity but rather security – there is a lot of pressure for you to be able to do the same for your children, to given them an even better life than you had. That means it didn’t matter how great you were at sports or art or music, more focus was spent on “guaranteed” fields like medicine, banking, and the law. One of my good friends (different immigrant background) married a professional athlete, who is extremely successful, and we both think that kind of “creativity” would never have been allowed by our immigrant parents but was for him (non immigrant background), which lucked out to be those one-in-a-million success stories.

          • Never too many shoes... :

            That is so absolutely true. I had a million convos in my youth along the lines of “you don’t need to play tennis, be in the play, go to movies (or whatever). Do your school. No boyfriends. School.” The career choices were lawyer, dentist, doctor or accountant but since I was terrible at math and science…. that being said, I love being a lawyer, so it worked out pretty well for me.

        • My parents paid for my college education, for which I am thankful and fortunate. However, I am not thinking of that type of financial support when I am talking about strings. I am talking about $4m apartments, five luxury vacations, a luxury car, etc., which is the scenario posted by the OP.

          While there were no overt strings attached to my college education, you can bet your a$$ it was implied that had to get excellent grades and pursue a career that would get me off the payroll upon graduation.

    • Why is their ethnicity important? Would it conjur the same feelings if they were black/white? I’m only asking because I’ve been hearing more and more people in NYC complain about “foreign investors” picking up all the real estate.

      • Anonymous :

        Funny. I’m on the east coast and would have assumed russian oligarchs.

        I bet in Miami the assumption is different still.

      • Anonymous :

        She may have thought it was relevant because it is traditional in many Asian cultures for the parents to purchase or substantially contribute to the children’s first home.

      • OP here – feelings for me would be the same if they were white/black/purple etc. Only mentioned Asian bc the money is coming from Asia – i.e. her family is very well to do there. She came to the U.S. for college – with her parents paying full freight from Asia. Then stayed here for law school and then settled with her husband in NYC; the fact that her parents don’t earn in dollars hasn’t hindered their ability to bankroll her lifestyle one bit, even with a strong dollar.

        This came to mind today bc she posted a long message to her DH on facebook – of course pointing out that she was sitting at the window looking at their view and she’s so grateful that they can provide their kids with a luxurious life . . . . Just rubbed me the wrong way that even an I love you message MUST talk about their things and highlight how they’re SO much better off than most.

        • Anonymous :

          Money aside, these people sound obnoxious from the sappy public Valentine’s day message alone.

          • +1

            OP, it sounds to me like their FB/social media lives are very performative, and that makes me question whether or not, despite all of their money and things, they’re actually happy people. The happiest couples I know don’t post obnoxious sappy messages to each other on public fora.

          • Anonymous :

            Yep, I think there is pretty much an inverse correlation between how happy you are and how much you post “so blessed!” on FB.

        • Gross. They sound awful.

    • I live in Berkeley and have done so for years. There is almost no way to tell whether many of the people in Berkeley are wealthy because of the hippie/ inconspicuous consumption lifestyle. However, over the years my husband and I have had neighborhood friends who were what we like to call (between us) “silver spoon hippies.”

      The only time it ever really bothered us was when they clucked at us over the years for not spending a ton of money on “green” stuff – for instance, doing a kitchen remodel that wasn’t LEED certified. Being first in line to buy an electric car when they were selling for well over invoice. Top of the line solar panels. No BPA in the house. Organic everything. Et cetera. It’s very easy to jump on these things when you have all the money in the world. Neither my husband nor I come from money and have had times where we were just barely making ends meet. We just do us and try to ignore it.

      And now that I have worked for almost 30 years (!) and have been relatively successful I guess my kids will be those silver spoon hippies. I always try to teach them to see things from other people’s point of view, tell them about my childhood (which was consumed by my parents’ financial straits) and hope they are never obnoxious about it.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        In the UK they use the charming term “trustafarian”, which I love.

        • Swiping that name. And now I’m thinking of a trustafarian Ras Trent (which is extra funny because Andy Samberg is from Berkeley and I know his mom)

    • Wealth does not equal happiness :

      By virtue of our work, both my husband and I have spent considerable time with people of all different levels of wealth. It is our observation, that for day to day life, the less well to-do have a lot more fun. There is a trailer park we pass on our way downtown to go grocery shopping. In the summer, the kids are splashing in their inflatable pool, the teenagers are playing basketball, the adults are drinking and grilling and everyone is having a good time. The very rich people we know are working or networking at the country club with their fake friends. Of course this isn’t true of everyone rich or poor but it is a general observation that we both noticed enough to comment on. Look at the picture of Trump watching the Super Bowl at the fancy country club. Does that party look at all fun? I’ll take a six pack and my friend’s couch please.

    • Extra Anon for This :

      Because of life choices (like atheism and marrying a lower class man) I was cut out of the family money and it’s exhausting going to family events and hearing complaints about only 3 (?!?) vacations last year, I’m sorry I haven’t been on one in years. Then hearing complaints about stupid things like utility bills is extra demoralizing. Like is paying your bills really that difficult with a trust fund?

    • Marshmallow :

      I’m late to the discussion, but I experience a lot of this living in New York. Mostly I would not want to trade lives with those people, because money comes with strings and I’m pretty happy in my life. But I wish I had even the most basic semblances of a middle-class childhood, like parents who pay for (even part of) undergrad, who understand the college application process, know how debt and investing works, etc. More than the idea of inheriting cold hard cash, I wish I had had a footing of financial knowledge to start out with. I’m really glad I went to a lesser-known school on a scholarship and didn’t wind up graduating with mountains of debt even before law school, but I will never know if I could have done better because I didn’t know to try.

      On a more minor and kind of silly level, I miss out on a lot of the pop culture references people my age love because I never had cable, or went to the movies, or ate fast food. I didn’t go on field trips or to summer camp, couldn’t play whatever sport I wanted, etc. I wish I had had those experiences. I was always working multiple jobs so I never got to really just be a teenager.

  8. Anyone else out there a little sad about being single this Valentine’s Day? I am 42, divorced, had my last relationship back in 2015, and frankly feel a little sad watching my colleagues slip out of the office early.

    • Wildkitten :

      Nah I hate Valentine’s Day. The only thing I like is the heart shaped pizza you can get delivered from Papa Johns, and being single means I don’t have to share my pizza with anyone.

      • I’m married, but hubs is working tonight. This is my dinner plan, and I’m not at all sad. You know why? MORE PIZZA FOR ME.

        Why no, I’m not a really romantic person. Why do you ask?

        • Anonymous :

          I’m married too and we’re having pasta for dinner tonight. Not fancy homemade pasta, grocery store pasta. Neither of us cares about the holiday at all.

          • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

            Same here. We don’t do anything for the holiday.

          • Not married, but SO and I live together and we don’t care either. He asked what I wanted to do for dinner and I told him a package of frozen chickpea curry from costco was defrosting and I would make rice when I got home.

          • Never too many shoes... :

            Yes to this. Although I recognize that this sounds a bit “smug married” because at least we have a partner to do nothing at home with.

          • Hey married and coupled folks, I totally get your sentiments in chiming in, but the OP here wasn’t posting because she didn’t have V-day-special plans with hearts and candy, she was posting because she is single and feeling down about that…so the stories about being coupled up but not having plans are really not well-tailored here.

            I share your feelings, DesiGirl. I am mid-30s and single despite good attitude, all the best efforts, and a good life. I don’t have any advice, just support–I understand your feelings because I am feeling the same way, and I am sending you hugs.

          • Nudibranch :

            Thank you Anon at 4:09. Yes, not helping.

        • BF is also working tonight. I’m eating leftovers and falling asleep at 9pm.

        • anon for this :

          Seriously? She’s asking if others are sad because they don’t have a partner on a day designed for celebrating that. I’m just gonna throw the #smugmarried grenade out there ’cause I’m not in that kind of mood and I’m tired of the obliviousness.

      • There were just free cupcakes in our coffee room. VALENTINE’S DAY IS OFFICIALLY A SUCCESS.

      • Baconpancakes :

        I am so upset my town’s Papa John’s doesn’t do the heart-shaped pizzas.

    • I’ve been trolling all day looking for Ellen’s stupid post and nothing. That’s probably what I am most sad about. Ellen has a date and I don’t.

    • Surprised there haven’t been more comments but I plan to get a mani and take a bubble bath. I know I hated the last three valentines days with the guys I was dating. So I am going to enjoy the lack of expectations.

    • Not about Valentine’s Day specifically, because that has never been my thing, and I’m particularly digging my singleness right now…but I understand why you feel bummed and just want to validate that it’s okay to feel that way.

      • +1 Your feelings are totally valid!

        I have a first date tonight with someone from Bumble and neither of us realized what day it was when we set it up. I told him that we have to tell anyone who asks how we met that we were prison pen pals. I may be an a$$hole, but I enjoy making up stories like that when someone decides to butt themselves into my conversation!

      • Wildkitten :

        + 2

    • Shenandoah :

      When I first adopted my dog from the shelter as a puppy, the best guess was that she was born in February. So I made her birthday Valentine’s Day because I had never particularly liked the holiday. This year we are celebrating her 8th birthday. It’s made Valentine’s Day less hokey.

      • Anonymous :


      • Rainbow Hair :

        Well this is lovely. FB reminded me of a pic I took of my cat (trying to eat some heart shaped candies) 8 Valentines Days ago. I am focusing on all the great love I have in my life — family (esp. kids!), pets, and my badass lady friends. And my cats. <3

      • I picked the 14th as the day my pooch gets his heartworm medication because of Valentine’s Day. So today is the day I look after my little guy’s health, and that makes me pretty happy.

      • Miz Swizz :

        My dog’s birthday is also Valentine’s Day (ish)! I think I may let her have some yogurt as a treat.

      • SFAttorney :

        That’s sweet. What a good thing to celebrate.

    • After years of feeling a little sad on Valentines Day as a Forever Single, I finally decided to make it a day for me. I buy myself the best chocolates and flowers, put on my favorite shows, and treat myself to whatever I want to do. Today I’m having a homemade noodle stir fry with chocolate cake and lemon bars for dessert plus all the red wine. And I’m going to watch Crazy Ex Girlfriend (season two is now on Netflix) with my pup and paint my nails and put on a mask. Way better than any Valentines Day I’ve had with a boyfriend and I’ve been looking forward to it all week.

      • +1

        I send myself See’s candies Milk Chocolate buttercreams (my fav) and I watch Cyrano de Bergerac (with Depardieu).

  9. Anonymous :

    Is there a tactful way to ask a partner to be taken off of a case? I was assigned a case in an area of law that I’m not familiar with, and am not getting the needed guidance from the partner who assigned the case to me. I told him when I was assigned the case that I don’t have experience in the area of law and he said he’ll provide guidance. But it turns out he is just forwarding everything to me (including correspondences addressed directly to him) and telling me to handle. I’m spending a lot of time to basically learn the subject area, which I’m not billing to the client but it’s cutting into my hours. The case is becoming more and more complex and the opposing sides are all represented by counsel who specialize in this area of law. I feel I’m in way over my head and that the client is not getting the value of the service they purchased. I’m also concerned about being viewed by the partner as not rising to the challenge and not willing to learn. Any advise on how to handle this situation from the Hive? Thanks!

    • Anonymous :

      Why aren’t you billing your hours? Excess hours spent learning this area of the law seems like *exactly* the type of thing the partner should be dealing with, on a bill in cold hard numbers. If the partner said he’ll provide guidance and then sees zero hours spent “learning the law” — he won’t understand that you need guidance. If the partner sees “40 hours learning the law” — he’ll probably flip out, write off the hours, and either reassign the case or give you some guidance.

      • Anonymous :


      • Anonymous :

        Because this particular partner does not ever write off the hours before the bills go out to the clients. And when we receive push backs from the client on the bills, he’ll forward the client email to the associates and ask them to explain to the client.

        • Anonymous :

          You need a new job.

          • Anonymous :

            +1 this sounds awful. I’m sorry. If it’s any consolation the fact that you feel like you’re in over your head probably means you understand what’s going on and care more than other people. Just try to learn what you need to learn. And maybe someday this trial by fire will come in handy. Specialized areas like patent and ERISA can be good practice areas when you aren’t working for someone so difficult. Good luck.

          • Anonymous :

            OP here (also me at 3:16 pm) – absolutely. This is just one of the many issues I have with this partner.

          • Does this person do anything besides forwarding?

        • Sorry but this partner is terrible. I don’t want associates explaining bills to me, I want _partners_ doing it. The bills are their responsibility.

          Is there some other partner you can ask for assistance? Or a seminar you can sign up for that might be helpful? If you haven’t, I would actively look for CLE in this practice area. I’m not sure how feasible it would be to ask to have him taken off the case or who you would even ask; I only worked at one firm before going in house and I know that that would have been an impossible request there, but I don’t know how other offices work.

          • Anonymous :

            Let’s just say that my biggest frustration with this partner is his penchant to push client relations issues to associates. Sometimes I wonder what he does all day when the associates are doing all the substantive work and also dealing with most of the client issues. It’s great to have client contact but I won’t even get into how often I’m tasked with calling clients on bill collections.

            To clarify, I was asking how I can be taken off of the case, not the partner. Although I really don’t think he should have accepted the engagement of this matter in the first place because it’s not even an area of law that our firm does.

          • Ah, sorry, misunderstood.

            Can you work your network and ask around for anyone that works at other firms that does have experience in this area, and invite that person out to lunch to pick hir brain? I have done this in the past with areas I had no experience with: for example, an old coworker contests his property tax valuation every year, and after I bought a house I took him out to lunch and basically said, tell me how to do this. He was happy to give me a mini-lecture on the process. Likewise I’ve had friends pick my brain about my practice area, and I’m happy to answer questions.

        • lost academic :

          Sounds like he needs an awakening, but you can’t not bill your time. If he forwarded to me (in our consulting practice this would not be done but it’s a similar partner arrangement) I’d probably respond with my explanation right to him and summarize the reasons I was forced to bill so much additional time.

          On another side, is it possible this partner is expecting you to be more pushy about what you don’t know and get more help from other SMEs when you need it rather than trying to do it all yourself with minimal pushback?

        • You still need to bill the hours, being as specific as you can about the legal research you’re doing. When he forwards the client’s complaint to you, tell him what your response to the client will be: “The bill is high because I spent 8 hours researching A in order to prepare X document, 2 hours researching B to respond to Y letter [and so on]. Am I okay to explain that to the client or do you want to handle this some other way?”

    • Are you in biglaw? Wouldn’t it hurt your career (esp if you are already mid/senior) to be asked to be taken off for “lack of guidance.” At my biglaw firm – the response would be “figure it out, that’s why we pay you hundreds of thousands per yr.” Some may say that. Others won’t say it – but will make a mental note and it WILL affect your review in the next cycle. And at my firm in litigation, they “affect” reviews by giving you a horrendous one re how you don’t take initiative, they can’t trust you to manage a case etc. – then you are put on “probation for 6 months” even if you were a star up until that one case and then lo and behold when the 6 month review happens, you’re told you’re not improving and have to leave in another 6 months. At my firm, it’s better to just do a mediocre job on something/do the best you can – rather than speak to anyone about anything.

      • Anonymous :

        OP here. Yes I am and this is exactly my concern.

      • Anonymous :

        Yep, this was how it was at my firm. Honestly, I would bust your butt to try to figure out the case and the law, and (politely) get in the partner’s face about what’s happening in the case. Drop into the partner’s office to discuss what’s going on. Use this as an opportunity to learn a new area of law and impress a partner.

      • 3:36 poster – if you are AT ALL worried that your firm functions like mine, DO NOT ask to be taken off — esp. if you’re anything over a 1st-2nd yr associate (I think juniors get a pass sometimes that mids/seniors do not). Do your absolute best. And yeah – pepper the partner with questions whether he answers or not. Frankly I’d do some drop bys but a lot more in email form. He may or may not respond but at least you have the emails if it ever comes down to a bad review. If you’re having to make executive decisions on things you’re not comfortable with – but there’s no choice bc you’ll miss filing deadlines and the like if you don’t — then CYA emails — i.e. “Jim – as I’ve mentioned the brief must be filed Monday. A draft is attached for your review. Please let me know when you’ll be available to discuss.” Then on Monday when you still haven’t heard — “If I don’t hear from you by 10 pm tonight, we’ll have to go ahead and file. Let me know if you plan to have comments before then.” Then you’re free to file at 10:01 and if he creates a fuss – you can say you emailed him about it. Short clear, to the point emails is what you want here.

        • I’m not a lawyer, but my main question after reading the OP is how she expects him to provide guidance if she isn’t asking questions. “Peppering” him or not, when he sends something over that she doesn’t know the appropriate response to, why not ask, occasionally with a reminder that she warned him in advance that this isn’t her area? (She has since said that it isn’t something the firm usually does, so I wonder if he actually knows this area himself. Asking him & making him admit it gives her a much better chance to shine once she figures it out than just quietly slogging away. Imho)

      • In my former Mid-law firm, asking to be taken off a case would not have been an option. I imagine that’s even more true of Biglaw. Figure it out, or do your best trying. But don’t give up on learning the substance before you have to–maybe you’ll impress someone, maybe you’ll have a good story for a job interview, maybe you’ll become the go-to person for an area of law you never knew you wanted to be an expert in.

    • Try that Homer Simpson fading into the bushes GIF, by e-mail.

    • Anon for This :

      Don’t ask to be taken off. Take ownership of making this a successful engagement for the client. Record your actual time, and then give the partner a heads up in advance that the bill will need to written down. Take initiative to get on his calendar to discuss the strategy. Check with your library for appropriate practice primers in the area of the case.

  10. My family’s laundry consists mostly of kids’ cotton clothes, our casual and business casual clothes (mostly cotton, jeans, etc), and lots of towels and sheets. I just ran out of my usual perfume-free dryer sheets and was thinking about buying another gigantic box, and then it occurred to me that maybe there’s no point? Is there a reason to use dryer sheets except to remove static cling, which has never been a problem for me, and to add scents (which I dislike, see “perfume-free,” supra)? I know for a fact that some household products (see, e.g., Febreeze) were invented and heavily marketed by household products companies but are totally unnecessary – is that the case with dryer sheets as well? Any reason why you keep buying them (or not)?

    • I only use them to clean the buildup off my shower doors – seriously a magical tip I learned a while ago.

      • I was just going to comment to say that I never use them and have never even bought any … but I might go out and buy some now for this purpose rather than their intended purpose! Thanks for the tip!

      • lost academic :

        You just changed my life!

      • Another use for dryer sheets is to get the frizz out of your hair! Growing up in FL, many of my friends kept dryer sheets in their purse for just this reason

    • lucy stone :

      We use wool dryer balls instead.

      • We also use wool dryer balls. They’re great. The only downside is the sad, sad look on our golden retriever’s face whenever we open the magical metal box filled with balls he doesn’t get to play with…

        • Lol, I know that face well. My dog is so thrilled whenever one of the dryer balls comes out with the sheets. And so so sad when I take it away and lock it back in the dryer.

          • Sydney Bristow :

            For some reason when I was a kid we wound up with these rubbery dryer ball things. Our dog claimed them as her own and we’re her favorites. I don’t think we ever even got to try them out in the dryer.

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t use them because I’ve heard they damage clothes, although I have no idea if that’s true. I haven’t seen a difference in terms of static cling since I stopped. My clothes don’t smell like “fresh linen” or “mountain breeze.” They smell like nothing, in a pleasant way.

    • Anonymous :

      My family has never used dryer sheets and so I never learned to use them… and I still don’t. My clothes are ok, I think.

      • Yup. My BF uses them, I don’t, and our laundry comes out of the same dryer, with the same detergent, exactly the same.

    • Anonymous :

      I stopped using them years ago.

    • I’m allergic to them, have never used them in my life, and have not suffered any consequences (except when I break out in hives because hotel sheets were washed with them).

      • I put a healthy splash of white vinegar in the wash (bleach compartment?), which seemed to preclude needing to use any dryer sheets.

  11. I don’t use dryer sheets and feel like my life is complete without them.

    • Anonymous :


    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      Ha. Same.

    • Anonymous :

      Not only do I think they’re completely unnecessary, they’ve got some nasty chemicals in them. If you’re at all into green cleaning products or organic food, I wouldn’t use them.

    • We use fabric softener from time to time but never dryer sheets after I discovered my fiance was using them when he did the laundry and thus learned the source of my breakouts! Will have to use the remaining ones for the shower doors – mind blown right there!!

    • Only for static hair/clothes!

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve never seen them for sale in my country or heard of anyone here using them.

  12. When do block heels cross the line from trendy to old lady? Tbh most block heels look a little old lady to me, but I know they’re on trend and I need to get over myself. I can’t tell if the featured shoes skew older? Maybe it’s the heel height combined with the block heel that’s bothering me?

    • These look old lady to me – I think it’s the height of the heel. So I think you’re right…

    • I think a lot of it has to do with the toeline. The old grandma ones covered much more of the foot.

    • Minnie Beebe :

      Wondering the same. I think if you’re old(er), and not dressed in a stylish way, block heels can be grandmother-y. But if you’re dressed in a fashionable way that’s age-appropriate, any age can pull off block heels.

      • Yeah. When I was younger I took kind of a perverse pleasure in wearing stuff that look like it would be totally unsexy and unfashionable and blah. I looked good in it. Now that I am closer to 100 that I am to zero I tried some block heels recently & asked my son what he thought: were they fashionable or old lady shoes and he said “you’re an old lady anyway so why does it matter?” Blerg. 😡

    • These remind me of the color of old ladies hair that coined the term blue-haired.

    • I am not exactly a trend follower and fully admit I think that 99% of block heels look “old lady” and dowdy to me. I just don’t get the style, although I understand that they are more comfortable.

    • Hmm I think a pointed or almond toed block heeled pump looks modern and architectural.

      Conversely I think most stilettos look dated and most women look terrible trying to walk in them.

      I reserve particular side eye for a platform stiletto shoe (platform in the front, skinny heel in back) which looks neither elegant nor balanced, and is the mullet of shoes.

    • Anonymous :

      I love the idea of these shoes but I always end up wishing they were just wedges in the end.

  13. Anon to Spain :

    Cross posting-I’m considering travel to Barcelona & Malta from the midwest US at 27/28 weeks pregnant in May. Yay or nay? I’d probably fly premium class so I’d have room on the plane but would it be horrible getting around those cities at 6+months pregnant?

    • Anonymous :

      I wouldn’t hesitate to go to an all-inclusive resort or on a cruise at 28 weeks, but I was uncomfortable enough at that point that I would not have wanted to be on such a long flight or (more importantly) walking around trying to see stuff. If you’re ok with a very laidback travel schedule that allows for lots of naps and breaks it could work, but I think I’d prefer a babymoon that’s more low-key and closer to home at that stage.

      • Anonymous :

        To counter, I felt amazing at 27/28 weeks, although I was very active during my pregnancy and stayed in pretty good shape overall. I wouldn’t hesitate to do it, especially if it’s your last chance to travel pre-kids.

    • Anonymous :

      Barcelona and Malta seems hectic even if you weren’t six months pregnant, honestly. I’d pick one and then assume you’ll be sightseeing at half your normal pace.

    • Anonymous :

      I asked my doctor about traveling around 28 weeks and her response was basically – you have to assume that you’re going to deliver there and the baby’s going to be in the NICU there for several months, because that’s a real possibility. If you’re traveling first class, I assume you can easily swing a several month unplanned stay in Europe in terms of finances, but I’d still ask yourself whether you want to potentially be stuck abroad for that long if something goes wrong. I also felt great at 28 weeks and was perfectly able to walk around and see stuff all day, but we chose to travel domestically instead for that reason.

    • Personally, I wouldn’t. I’m 22 weeks pregnant now, and DH and I discussed the possibility of traveling internationally between 26-28 weeks. We ultimately decided we weren’t comfortable with it – if something went wrong or I delivered prematurely, we would be stuck in another country where we may not know the language, would not know how to navigate the health system, and would not have the resources to stay indefinitely. We ultimately decided to do a trip to San Fran/Monterey when I will be 24-25 weeks pregnant. It is still a transcontinental flight for us, but we at least won’t have to worry about the other issues. We have also already been to SF (and loved it), so we don’t have the pressure to try to see everything in a short period of time.

    • anonymous :

      I traveled to Barcelona and Madrid for 7 days at that same time in my pregnancy, but it was the second half of June. No problems at all and I had a great time! It was a Rick Steves tour group so there was a lot of walking. I felt great. Go for it! I did have some swelling in my ankles from the flight over but I just elevated them at the hotel and it was no biggie.

    • I wouldn’t. In my experience, the flight would be fine, but it’s not at all rare to develop minor pregnancy complications that make that much walking really unpleasant. I had two otherwise uncomplicated pregnancies, but had to stop walking more than a few blocks around 24 weeks each time due to SPD. I’d pick a vacation that lent itself more to lounging around, in case that happens.

      (I know you could lounge around beaches in Barcelona and Malta, but it’s a long way to go for that).

      • Good point about the specifics of this pregnancy that strangers on the internet can’t know.

        Like several others here, I was fine at that point. Two months before my child was born when I was 36, I moved several states. I didn’t use a U-Haul, but I did pack & unpack, including about 80 linear feet of books. Biggest mistake I made was getting. a handicapped parking pass a few weeks before delivery instead of staying in shape–there is precious little time to get back in shape once little one arrives!

    • I traveled domestically while pregnant with my first and this time will be traveling to China at 24/25 weeks pregnant with my second. With my first, I felt amazing at that time and had more energy than any other time in my pregnancy. In addition to travel, I spent a ton of time landscaping our home which involved hauling bags of dirt and mulch as well as dismantling retaining walls and regrading by hand.

    • It wasn’t overseas, but one of my girlfriends and I did a weeklong plane-then-roadtrip across Florida when I was 28 weeks. My doctor was fine with it and I felt great at that point, so it was a great time and in retrospect, I’m glad I did it as we haven’t been able to pull off a trip like that since. Things can happen – I know two people who delivered at 30 weeks – but as long as you have a game plan for problems, and your doctor will clear you, I think it’s fine. I see very pregnant tourists while I’m traveling all the time, fwiw.

    • Women live in those cities. And have babies. What would there be that would make getting around “horrible”? Are you not accustomed to walking/public transit that you’d use there?

      • Walking and taking public transit can be very uncomfortable for women in their last trimester.

  14. Account transition :

    I bought a company (service, but not professional service) last year and things are not going well. One struggle right now is our biggest customer (most profitable, largest percentage of sales) has been handled by the same person for about a decade. Said person is semi-retiring. He was supposed to go part time Jan 1-June 1 and only serve as a “senior advisor.”
    He has been reluctant to bring his replacement to meetings at the client, claiming he forgot or they’re not a big deal, etc. Except when he is leaving for a week (usually once a month for vacation) Customer seems to be happy still but we need to stay in front of this. Overall, the company is happy with everyone who works with them, so it will take a major issue with this transition to lose the customer, but that doesn’t make it any less concerning.
    He is also supposed to be handing off daily responsibilities (going after new work/invoicing/direct managing) but has been doing it so long, he struggles to NOT do it.
    I need to develop a specific transition plan for this guy to transition out of his daily role into an advisory role and more specifically, come up with a transition plan for this large customer that is structured in a way that I can manage it.
    Do any of you have any experience with these types of transitions?

    • Wildkitten :

      Why don’t you ask him to make the plan and give him a deadline to turn it in to you?

      • Account transition :

        That is a possibility, although I’ve never been exposed to one and would have a hard time either a) assisting if he asked for help or b) assessing it once he completes it. In my mind, it’s a simple: list your customers, determine who is going to take them, transfer knowledge, inform customer, support new person through transition. Is that really all there is to it? Any suggestions for specifics on any of those steps?

        • lost academic :

          It sounds like each of those steps has a LOT of details you need enumerated! And a lot of knowledge is trapped in one person’s head. I’d start by reviewing any available information on transition planning for senior execs/staff that’s out there and maybe talk to people at management consulting firms to see if they have any easy/fast advice (maybe you need to hire some help to get through this process…)

          • Anonymous :

            There is definitely need for a knowledge management process that needs to happen with an employee like this, and it needs to be handled delicately. The absolute worst thing you can do is sit the employee in a room with a record and say TELL ME EVERYTHING YOU KNOW! You’ll get nothing. OP, please call a professional, and I hate to say this, but a lawyer is probably not the professional you need at this stage. A lot of HR professionals are dealing with this issue right now and you can find someone experienced who can help you.

        • figure out how much access he has in case you upset him. You don’t want him to hold info hostage or reach out to your clients if he’s going solo or elsewhere. Then, sit with him and whomever is taking over for him and have him talk through the process. From then on, every meeting he has or direct client contact via phone/etc is with the new person too, so they’re seen as a team to the clients and he will begin to be less and less involved. In addition, if you are able, put software tracking on his computer and you may want to let him know, sort of a thing. The goal here is that the clients see no weakness and this guy can’t screw your company over. Remember that many companies do not have a transition for this reason; they internally choose a day and remove the employee and then remove them from access the office or anywhere, keeping the client from having the opportunity to reach out to clients or to steal or to copy records. In addition, read over his contract in case there’s a payment for terminating employment before a certain date. If he doesn’t have an NDA, maybe you want him to sign one, as well as a non-compete clause. Each company does things a bit differently, but the successful ones often seem like @$$es because they oust the employee with no notice. Too often, the “nice guys” get $crewed over by the employee and their reputation or contacts end up in the garbage.

    • Coach Laura :

      I Posted a long reply in the Siri thread. Basically contract for deliverables w payment.

    • Anonymous :

      In short, I have handled these types of situations (I was a small-business HR consultant for 4 years), but rather than advise you over the Internet, I am going to recommend you contact an HR consultant in your area. Find one that specializes in small business and also says they have experience with leadership or key employee transition plans (it’s a thing, especially as boomers age out of the workforce). There needs to be a written plan here and there need to be check-in points and triggers for action written into it. I would recommend a short-term plan with an end goal of having the client fully transitioned to the new consultant within, say, 4-6 months, vs. a year or more. If he’s exempt (salaried), be very careful about saying you will dock his pay (or even threatening to dock it) as a negative incentive for his cooperation, because that is only allowable in very particular, limited circumstances. Bonuses/commissions are different and you can restructure those at basically any time for any reason.

      There should be small-business resource centers (either Small Business Development Centers, which are funded by states through colleges and universities, or Women’s Business Centers, funded by the SBA) somewhere near you. Different centers have different consultants with different skill sets, but advice is usually free or low-cost and they may have someone who can help you. Otherwise, look for a private HR consultant in your area. Having someone who can help you with higher-level HR/employee management issues can be a real help when you’re in this transitional period of just having bought the business. Good luck to you. :-)

  15. How bridesmaid-y does this read? I can choose any dress for my best friend’s wedding, as long as it’s in a light rose color. I’m hoping to get one that I can actually wear again. Would you think this had been a past bridesmaid’s dress if you saw it on someone?

    • Anonymous :

      I think you could definitely wear that again. Chiffon is the dead bridesmaid dress giveaway, imo. Although I know friends who have had to purchase chiffon bridesmaid dresses that they actually liked and wore again.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      It is perfect for your friend’s wedding. In any other context, I would think you were trying to get a second wear out of a bridesmaid’s dress. I know that is possibly not what you want to hear but honestly, I think any light rose dress suitable to be a bridesmaid is going to look like exactly that.

      • I tend to agree. Any long, pastel-colored dress is probably going to read “bridesmaid.” I go to a lot of formal events, and pastels just aren’t that common. Also, sexier touches (such as slits, halters, deep v’s, cut-aways, sheer panels), bling, and lace are more common on formal dresses but not bridesmaids dresses. Basically, most formal gowns have a little more drama, which isn’t appropriate for a bridesmaid’s dress.

        • I’ve found that BHLDN is a good place to find bridesmaid dresses that don’t scream bridesmaid. I think they tend to add more of the drama that SC is talking about. Does it have to be long? For example, I purchased this one as a bridesmaid dress and ultimately decided against it, but I’m keeping it as a dress to wear to weddings as a guest (it’s more sparkly in person):

        • What about adding drama later via tailoring, accessories, and/or other layers? Would that help?

    • New Tampanian :

      no. you’re good.

    • Anonymous :

      I think it would look bridesmaidy because of the length and formality. You could hem it, but it would ruin the shape of the skirt. I would go for something more like this:, or if you want something long, you could rewear a more boho style like this:

  16. career coach? :

    I think I’ve seen recommendations here for career coaching, but I feel unsure if that’s a resource I should seek out right now.

    I’m <10 years from undergrad, maybe ready for a move to a new job, and thinking that I would like to have more of a long-term career strategy in place. I have a solid professional resume, a sterling volunteer resume, top-notch references, and a decent network, but I'm not quite sure what my next steps are or how to leverage my options. (Or if there are things I should be downplaying or beefing up.) Does that seem like a career coach question? I suppose I could also talk to the career office from undergrad or grad school . . .

    If anyone has worked with a career coach, I'd be curious to hear what you went in asking for, what you felt you got out of the experience, and how it worked logistically (ie lots of facetime vs. emails, flat fee vs. hourly rate, etc.). And, I guess, if you have any good recommendations for someone in the mid-Atlantic or who works remotely. TIA!

  17. anon for this :

    About a month ago I started a new job in a niche area of law. Before that, I interviewed for a job in this same area of law at a small law firm, and the interviewer/hiring attorney never called me back. Now that same attorney is referring this type of business to my law firm, and I’m working on it. I can’t help feeling a little bit smug that I’m doing the work he was interviewing me to do even though he didn’t hire me. (My guess, since they’re still referring this business, is that the firm decided not to hire anyone, but he still could have called me back.)

  18. Wedding attire :

    Would you wear this to a wedding?

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      No. I can elaborate, but what is your role in this wedding?

    • Anonymous :

      Only if I were the bride.

      • Senior Attorney :


        A good friend of mine got married in a similar gown (same gorgeous ice blue) and it was stunning.

    • As a guest? Depends on the wedding. Most weddings I have been to 90%+ of the guests wore cocktail length dresses and something this long would’ve stood out and not really in a good way.

    • Wedding attire :

      I have an opportunity to have this dress for free but I am concerned I won’t be able to wear it anywhere and should opt for something different. So, nothing in mind, but weddings are frequent. Black tie galas, i guess?

      • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

        I definitely wouldn’t wear it to a wedding. It looks too bridal.

        I personally would never wear it even if I got it for free because I don’t like it. It reminds me of 1980s figure skating outfits and looks incredibly dated. There are a lot better looking and classier black-tie wear.

      • What are your other options?

        FWIW I think it’s pretty but its utility is pretty limited.

      • I wouldn’t wear it to a wedding because it looks too bridal/too formal. You could wear it to a black tie gala, but it’s pretty formal/elaborate for many of those since fancier cocktail-length dresses are appropriate for black tie. It would fit right in at a white-tie event, but those aren’t as common in many areas.

      • Anonymous :

        You could use it for an elaborate Halloween costume

    • Simply. No.

    • Only if i was the bride.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I think it depends on the wedding. I have been to several Russian weddings lately where that dress would fit right it as everyone was super fancy.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Have you seen it in person? I feel like there’s a very large risk that it’s going to look cheap in real life…

  19. Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

    No. I can elaborate, but what is your role in this wedding?

  20. Sloan Sabbith :

    Might be too late.

    Context: I’m a junior attorney at a nonprofit. Never had the assistance of a legal assistant during any of my internships, and myself and my colleague now have one. I’m about 25 years younger than she is, and she does not appreciate (at ALL) taking requests from me. To get her to not be passive aggressive and listen to me so she doesn’t screw up the tasks I give her, I’ve begun to have to start every email with a compliment about how WONDERFUL she is and I’m SO GRATEFUL and end it with the same over the top BS. This is for things like….sending a fax. That I’ve gotten completely ready to send. Literally just putting it in the fax machine and sending it to the right number (…difficult, apparently).

    My legal assistant is, to put it kindly, really bad at her job. To put it honestly, there’s a good possibility she’s actively trying to make our lives more difficult so we stop asking her to do things. I am a) stubborn and b) a firm believer in that people should do the jobs they’re paid to do, so that’s not working. I’m about 25 years younger than she is, and she does not appreciate (at ALL) taking requests from me. To get her to not be passive aggressive and listen to me so she doesn’t screw up the tasks I give her, I’ve begun to have to start every email with a compliment about how WONDERFUL she is and I’m SO GRATEFUL and end it with the same over the top BS. This is for things like….sending a fax. That I’ve gotten completely ready to send. Literally just putting it in the fax machine and sending it to the right number (…difficult, apparently).

    However, she just crossed a line. I didn’t respond assertively enough at the time (although I held my ground), and I don’t really know what the next steps are, since telling her off is unprofessional, APPARENTLY.

    I asked her to stop doing something that was relatively minor, but causing issues for my ability to get my work done (think I wanted file in order 1…2…3… and she was putting it in 3….2….1 order, or alphabetizing files by first name, not last name like I have them set up). It was/is not at all the end of the world but I couldn’t find things when I needed to. The way she was doing it and the way I want it done are two sides of the same coin, there’s no legitimate reason other than her complete lack of motivation for her to do it her way.

    When I asked her, I asked her kindly- said please, explained why and how it makes it difficult for me, and was firm, but not angry. She reacted very strongly. She told me that she wouldn’t have to do it if I wasn’t “telling her to do my work,” and was initially refusing to change the way she does things. When she implied I was asking her to do my work, I didn’t really say anything- I was quite frankly stunned. I’ve never, ever asked her to do anything outside her job description, and ensure every time I ask her to do something new that it’s appropriate for her to do and she knows how.

    She said it’s too hard for her. I more firmly asked her again, and went through two different methods to ensure it’s as easy for her as possible. She still refused, and I told her I needed it done that way, with no room for argument. She stalked off and slammed my door on the way out.

    I had to leave the office I was so upset- I’ve never supervised anyone and she was /so/ nasty about it. I wasn’t asking her to do something unreasonable. She’s alleged discrimination in the past when someone calls her out, so I’m worried about that, but I also am not really into asking her to do anything now if she thinks it’s not her job.

    I don’t think discussing it with her is going to be fruitful- see above, she dislikes me and has no motivation to do better. My two options are discussing it with my colleague (who I’m pretty sure will be at a loss and is a guy, so doesn’t understand the….young female sexism dynamics?) or our supervisor, who is my assistant’s direct supervisor. I don’t really know what to say. I’m STILL shaken. Advice? Script? Am I in the wrong?

    • Couple questions cause I’m not clear on what happened:

      1) what did you ask her to do exactly…? It’s odd that she thinks its your job and you think its hers and I’m not clear on what the request was

      2) Does changing the way she does it going forward mean _redoing_ quite a bit of work that she has been doing her way to date? If so, I can understand why that would upset her. If it’s a question of you learning her system so you can find things taking 5 minutes vs her redoing a lot of work to reorganize things the way you want them (which it seems to me she didn’t know about beforehand) and redoing it is going to take her hours or days, respectfully, I’m not sure your request was reasonable. I could be wrong, because I can’t tell what you asked her to do, but this was my immediate thought.

      Either way, I’m sorry this got nasty.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I asked her to stop changing the names of my files in my office cloud drive without notifying me because I can’t find anything. I didn’t ask her to do it. It just started happening.

        No, I’ve been fixing the files as it comes up and didn’t ask her to fix it, just not do it going forward.

        I talked to her supervisor and we’re going to have a meetings about expectations for her and not being openly hostile towards me when I ask her to do things.

    • No, you aren’t wrong. She is being ridiculous. You need to go to her direct supervisor and explain that you have asked her to do X, Y, Z, etc., (all things that are her job) and are getting pushback. I don’t have a script, but I am sure someone else will!

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I did- after typing it out and talking it over with someone else, so I didn’t seem as upset and angry.

    • I’m not getting it – why is this a big long discussion? Why are you sending her flattering emails to get her to do a task? I personally take the guy approach to these things — I need filed organized as 1, 2, 3; thanks. If she goes on and on about how she won’t be told how to do it/it’s harder etc. — I blankly say — as I said, I need them as 1, 2, 3. Rinse and repeat 2-3 more times when it comes back to you wrong etc. THEN when it’s been 4-5 times of this — I let her know — I’m not clear why this is an issue for you, this is what I’ve asked for 5 times and if this keeps up, I’m going to have to mention it to X (a supervisor not a peer). Then go mention it to them.

      Frankly I make it a point NOT to be friends with support staff starting day 1. I’m nice but distant and come across as the “boss.” Then as I learn who is there to do a good job vs. who is taking advantage – the friendships naturally develop with the good ones. As for the bad ones – yeah – you end up doing their work for them but you make it clear that you are well aware that they aren’t doing their job.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Because she’s been known to actively sabotage attorneys who she thinks are mean to her. Long story.

        I started being flattering to try to minimize the amount of cutting me off when asking her to do things, etc. I tend to go with the “you get more bees with honey” idea and the idea that good leaders make people want to help. But she…doesn’t.

    • I’d probably go with Option 3, which is to not discuss this particular story or her performance with anyone. Put all requests for your assistant, and all explanations for how you want things done, in writing. Be as specific as possible for tasks and deadlines. Stop including compliments–just “Could you please do X by 5pm? Thanks.” You could ask your mutual supervisor what type of tasks you should expect Assistant to do, but I’d leave the whole story out of it and stick with something vague about “confusion” or “misunderstanding.”

      FWIW, I had an assistant like this once. I am 100% convinced that she actively sabotaged my practice so that I’d stop asking her to do work. It worked, and I basically stopped speaking to her for the last 4 months she worked for me. (I was not in a position to discipline her or get her fired.) Eventually, she requested a transfer to another office for personal reasons and went to work for a partner in that office, who called us one day and asked, “Is she trying to sabotage my practice?”, then fired her.

    • How does your supervisor get along with the assistant? When I was at a firm, there were definitely assistants who felt emboldened to disregard associates’ work because of their strong or longstanding relationship with an important partner. And in those cases, there was really nothing to do about it other than not use them. I’ve also worked at a non-profit where support staff were considered “equal” to the point of dysfunction, i.e. no one was allowed to “tell them what to do”- if you work in that type of environment, you’ll know what I mean, and in that case again I think there isn’t much to be gained by pursuing it. If you’re in this scenario, just wait till she cools down, apologize for upsetting her (without apologizing for your request), try to re-explain your request but be prepared to let it go/back down if she won’t listen, and then have a more limited relationship as SC described–requests by email only, no flourishes, just the plain ask and be prepared to have to do it yourself if she doesn’t comply.

      On the other hand, if *you* have a good relationship with your supervisor and think he/she will be receptive, I’d approach them. I think you have two options, depending on how confident you feel. No. 1 would be to say, I’ve had a rather troubling interaction with assistant, and basically describe what happened and see what the supervisor says (basically, making a complaint). No. 2 would be to frame it as a question about the assistant’s role and whether your request was reasonable– asking for a gut check because you made what you thought was a completely reasonable and routine request and got strong push back. I think No. 2 is the way to go if the assistant has been at the org longer than you, or is generally well-liked etc.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Great relationship with her supervisor, who knows she’s awful. We’re going to be meeting with her. She is not liked. At all. One of the older attorneys told me that if I wanted something done well, quickly, correctly, or without any crap, ask his assistant and no one would have an issue with it.

  21. vday girlfriend :

    Paranoid Valentine’s delivery girlfriend from yesterday. Waited all day for something to arrive… only to get a call right as I’m walking into my apartment that I have a delivery guy waiting for me at my office and could I please come down and get the flowers because they can’t let him come up. Ten minutes of discussion later I *think* the security guy is going to bring them up and leave them in front of my door, god bless him. It’s a great gesture on BF’s part but I’m not about to redo my commute to put flowers in my office.

  22. Coach Laura :

    The next Batchelorette is an attorney from Dallas. Hope it’s one of y’all!

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