Gift Idea: Punjammies Lounge Pants

Readers have recommended these interesting pajamas, which are made by women in India who are working to free themselves from sex slavery. They’re a good gift for a socially-conscious person you know — or just for someone who’d like some new pajamas. They also have shorts, tops, robes, and more — including items for men and kids. The pictured lounge pants have 300+ reviews and five stars. They come in slim, regular, and tall sizes XS–XXL, and they’re 100% cotton and machine washable. They’re $49. Punjammies lounge pants

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  1. I’m sure this discussion has been had before but couldn’t track it down. Managers, how much do you spend on a holiday gift for your direct reports? I have 8 individual contributors reporting to me, spread through the country but all LCOL or MCOL areas, in consulting.

    • I think it depends on your salary and capacity for giving. I’m in higher ed with a team of 4 and usually do a $25 gift each and $50 gift card for the admin, plus I host a holiday lunch at a restaurant. This year I can’t do lunch so everyone gets $50 gift cards.

      If you were a BigLaw partner pulling down more than $1M per year, I’d expect you to give them more. If you were working in a non-profit and making < $50K, I'd expect less. Think about it in terms of their salary and what it will mean to them.

    • When I was VP with 4 directors under me, I spent $75-100. My salary and bonus was about $200k.

      When I was a director with 7 direct reports (combo of managers and indiv. contributors) it was more like $30-50. I was making about $150k.

      Caveat: I expensed my gifts when I was a VP. I didn’t know I could when I bought them, but I found out in time. I could have expensed them when I was a director, but I didn’t know it and instead wrote it off as a biz expense on my taxes.

      So– check your employer’s policy. You might be able to expense them.

  2. I’m very confused by this company description. They are working to free themselves from s*x slavery? As in they’re not free yet?

    • Anonymous :

      Kat paraphrased it badly. The company’s own description makes more sense:
      The Sudara Punjammies collection features women and mens loungewear and pajamas ethically made in India by women working to remain free from sex slavery. Every purchase invests in job creation and skills training for women in India who are at a high risk or survivors of human trafficking. Thank you for empowering women to live in FREEDOM!

    • Yeah, the company uses a very different one: “empower women who have escaped from, or at the highest risk of, human trafficking by providing dignified employment opportunities.” They are all free, and the company provides training and sufficient wages so that they aren’t compelled to return to it.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I had this thought too. Like JFC, let’s do it in this order: (1) get ’em out of slavery; THEN (2) jobs making pajamas.

    • what a poor word choice. :

      I was horrified for a moment there.

  3. Cat Person :

    I just read “Cat Person” in the New Yorker. Anyone else read it? I have very mixed feelings. It seems to mirror some of my dating experiences so closely.

    • Anonymous :

      So boring. I don’t get why this is a sensation

      • Anonymous :

        YES THIS. I don’t get it at all. This story is fine but nothing special.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Because mollifying men and feeling guilty that you have preferences or negative reactions that would hurt a
        man’s feelings, and then getting verbal violence in return, is a very real experience that many women have, and almost no one says it out loud.

        • Never too many shoes... :

          But maybe if she had just been honest with him that she wasn’t interested in anything more instead of half-ghosting, letting her friend text that mean message and then having that obvious drama at the bar… Men can be complete arses a lot of the time, but the girl in that story was kind of terrible too.

          • Lana Del Raygun :

            It’s not supposed to be a story about a perfect woman being victimized by a terrible man, though. The ways that Margot exacerbates her problems, and the extent to which this is just her choice vs. something she’s socially trained to do, are (part of) the point.

          • Lana Del Raygun :

            And anyway I don’t think it’s fair to expect women to be “honest” with men when “honest” means “blunt” and so many men react badly or even dangerously to blunt honesty. Because you can’t generally predict which ones will–you can just test and cross your fingers, or avoid.

      • Anonymous :

        The writing was so bad I couldn’t get through the story. I don’t doubt that she has an important point to make but I couldn’t get past the fact that this read like a 13 year old’s diary.

    • Anonymous :

      Very much so. The feeling that men have to be mollified at every turn. How about you?

      • Same. Actually the story was so close to my own experiences that I found it made me pretty uncomfortable.

        • Anonymous :

          Yeah, I was kind of depressed the rest of the day.

        • Baconpancakes :

          My reaction was anger – at the author for being too real, at myself for being this woman, and at the world, and all the Roberts I’ve mollified because “the thought of what it would take to stop what she had set in motion was overwhelming; it would require an amount of tact and gentleness that she felt was impossible to summon.”

          • Lana Del Raygun :

            Part of what upsets me is that I can’t figure out to what extent men actually do demand this mollification, and to what extent women push ourselves to do it unnecessarily (which of course feeds their expectations)–I guess basically I can’t figure out how much to blame myself, which may not be productive. But what would happen, actually, if I stopped doing all of this work? Which of the individual men in my life would be mad? How mad? How much would I have to care? I’m both tempted and a little frightened to test it.

          • Baconpancakes :

            When I hit thirty, I suddenly found a lot more confidence in my own actions, gave fewer f*cks about what other people thought, and realized I had to be honest about what I wanted (most of the time) in order to get it. It was wildly freeing.

            It also quickly highlighted which men in my life were responsive to honesty and legitimately interested in me as a person (my then-friend, now-SO), and which ones were only interested in the vision of me they wanted, and that I had let them believe (my then-boyfriend, the men I dated briefly after that relationship, my grandfather). Those men punished me for not mollifying them and catering to their whims by acting disgusted by me, saying they were disappointed in me, refusing affection, and arguing louder and getting angrier when I said they were wrong.

            Women do encourage this behavior by mollifying men. But once the expectation is set in men to be placated and pleased by women, usually at a young age, they punish women who don’t fall into line – with dismissal, with rudeness, with violence, with disinterest, or with cruelty. A young woman can experience that, once or twice, and hear their mothers say that men need to be guided, like horses, and allowed to think it’s their own idea to go to the watering hole, and the girl might think it’s the right thing to do, and not figure out the truth until she’s thirty.

      • I feel like I could have written parts of this. Not only the mollifying, but the anxiety, trying to figure out what he’s thinking, wondering how much to stroke his ego, and the wonderful but sometimes deceptive world of inside jokes and wit between two people who don’t know each other that well.

        Oh, and putting on a show. God. I spend so much time trying to make sure my reaction to whatever a guy is doing to me is appropriate that it gets in the way of my actual pleasure. I basically quit having casual s*x because dealing with men’s egos was not worth the trouble.

        • Anonymous :


          Plus the genuine fear of getting murdered when you make him mad.

          • Anonymous :

            In one way I’m glad I’m married and don’t have to deal with this anymore. On the other hand, I almost wish I could go back to that time and react to men through today’s lens. If in fact I could because these fears are still around and even worse now with social media, which wasn’t around. The worst they could do was crank call you or key your car.

          • Lana Del Raygun :

            But I think it’s really important to the story that she *didn’t* get murdered, because then it would feel like “you see? red flags –> murder, this isn’t that hard” but it IS hard specifically because “red flags” DON’T always lead to murder, so then you doubt yourself–were they really red flags? Am I overreacting? He didn’t murder her, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t have, or wouldn’t have, and that uncertainty and ambiguity is a huge part of what I found relatable.

          • Anonymous :

            Yeah I was surprised she backed away from the fear response when she was at his house. That seemed very disconnected. She decided she wasn’t interested in him anymore but she says she wasn’t afraid… then why’d she move forward? I can tell you why a lot of women do: what will he do if he gets mad? what if he won’t take me home? how will I get home (before Uber)? where even am I (before smartphones)? maybe if I just go along with it everything will turn out ok….

          • I can tell you why I’ve gone along with things before when I wasn’t *afraid* that a man was going to hurt me, per se, if I said no. It’s because I got pushy vibes from him, and figured that it would be more pleasant for me to go along with it even though I wasn’t into it rather than say no or resist and have him get very pushy. In those situations, going along with meh encounters I didn’t really want but also wasn’t completely and utterly opposed to is nicer than having a guy escalate to really forcing you to do something. I’ll forget about/get over meh LGPs (haven’t heard that term here in a while). I won’t get over being forced, even if I’m not beat up or murdered.

          • Lana Del Raygun :

            Thank you for explaining that–I’ve had similar (but milder) experiences and you put into words a calculation I was making subconsciously.

            I think in the story it’s ambiguous whether that’s why Margot stays, or whether it’s just that she doesn’t want to be rude–but part of the point is how hard it is for women to disentangle those, when rudeness can be punished with violence. This is part of what men don’t get, because sometimes we talk as though we’re just trying to avoid being rude, and men are like “Whatever! Just be honest!” because they don’t realize what the stakes of “rudeness” are.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Gosh the part where (paraphrasing to avoid reading it on my work computer) she has this ‘egotistical’ vision of herself as this perfect gift being given to this unworthy/not attractive man, and that turns her on? It was so weird to read that because I’ve definitely been there but thought I was a weirdo. And the whole thing served to remind me, again, of how we all swim in this same sea of misogyny, and how it can permeate our brains right down to how we see ourselves.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        That was the part that I hated most of all, her vision of him as this fat, ugly loser who would want her perfect young self so much he might die…it just seemed so judgey and fat-shamey on her part.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          YUP. But also, she’s 20. We’ve all been 20, or at least I’ve been very 20. I am a lot kinder and smarter and more confident and less f*cked up about s3x and bodies and myself than I was 15 years ago. (Also a lot fatter! That’s what happens when I eat food!) What a mindf*ck these things are.

    • Anonymous :

      Amazing read. Thank you.

    • Anonymous :

      I mostly found it confusing. He’s a horrible kisser so why would she think he’d be good in bed? He called her a name when she basically ghosted him after one date and s$x? Just block his number and move on with your life. So much overthinking.

      • Anonymous :

        It’s mostly just two people being immature.

        • Notably, one of them was a 34 year old man. To Anonymous at 2:57, yeah I think it’s pretty clear the author would block this guy and move on. She’s not “overthinking” that, she wrote a story about the experience. It’s okay to share your experience.

        • Guys. It’s a story. I think you two are kind of missing the point.

      • Anonymous :

        Yup. Boring story, uninteresting characters,

      • Anonymous :

        I’m always concerned about blocking numbers if the guy knows where I live/work/hang out. Once you stop mollifying a guy, he can get scary. If you block him you don’t know whether he’s sending you crazy texts.

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        This sounds like an argument against all character-driven literature ever.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      Oh my word. I’ve never hooked up with anyone and I still related to this story.

      • Anonymous :

        Me neither and me too!

      • wait what?

        • Lana Del Raygun :

          Yeah, because the hookup illustrates all these weird complicated feelings and social dynamics/roles that also permeate the non-hooking-up spheres of human life. I once almost-dated a guy who was appealing to me partly because he seemed sort of hapless and pathetic, and it made me feel out of his league in a “wow, he must think I’m so terrifically amazing” way. I’ve agonized about how to tell someone I wasn’t interested in him without being too mean. I’ve wondered whether men were going to murder me. I’ve gone and stayed on bad dates because it seemed easier than summoning the wherewithal to make a non-hurtful exit.

    • Anonymous :

      Yikes a NSFW would’ve been appreciated.

      • I mean, it’s been all over the internet for the past 48 hours.

        • Anonymous :

          … ok? I hadn’t heard of it. I’m sure I’m not the only one. It has a benign title. If you’re going to post a link that’s NSFW then maybe say so?

          • Lana Del Raygun :

            I totally agree with you!

          • Anonymous :

            I thought NSFW referred to images/auto-playing videos, not words. It’s really hard for someone who just glances at your screen to notice the dirty words so I wouldn’t really call this NSFW.

    • I was reminded of my 20-year old self when I read it, and it made me sad for former-me. Figuring out who you are as a sexual being is so confusing. I remember when men first starting seeing me in a sexual way – I think I was about 12. I understood from movies that I should be flattered by that sort of attention and that it meant I was doing something right — but I was also confused because I didn’t actually have any romantic interest in any of these creeps and I felt like I’d something wrong by having them think that way about me . It’s was a weird pride / guilt hybrid.

      By the time I was an older teen and early college student, I was still unsure about how to identify what *I* wanted in a sexual relationship, but I was absolutely certain that there was no pain quite so exquisite for a man than sexual rejection / humiliation. I ended up in lots of situations where I did things because I didn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, or because I felt responsible for ”leading them on,” or I didn’t want them to feel embarrassed or put down in front of their friends.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Yes, the way we take the blame for a man being attracted to us, like that means we owe them something… ugh. There are so many scams out there.

    • Oh man I just read that. That is years of my life. Except I wasn’t twenty. I was 31 and divorced and … it was awful. In hindsight. In the moment I managed to convince myself I was having fun.

    • anonymous :

      I’ve been married forever, but reading this piece made me remember how dating seemed to be an exercise in who could care the least about another person, and yet somehow still end up in a functional relationship with them. There were situations in my dating life when I was Robert – putting myself out there only to get shot down – and others where I was Margot, the person doing the shooting. It is so freaking hard to make a real connection with someone when both people are trying their hardest to act like they’re not invested. Sometimes I wonder how anyone ever gets together at all.

      This piece made me sad, because I felt for both people. Robert for getting his heart broken (not excusing the abusive texts) and Margot for realizing too late she slept with someone she shouldn’t have. Man, have I been there. In both situations. Many times. And I’m sorry people who are not me are still having to go through things like that.

  4. Anonymous :

    Having been to Southeast Asia, I can’t imagine spending $49 for pants like this. They’re sold in street stalls all over Thailand and Cambodia for a dollar or two.

  5. Christmas Eve in Central PA :

    I know it’s a long shot, but anyone know of a decent restaurant in Harrisburg, York, or in between that serves the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve?

    • Not seven fishes that I know of. The Hershey Hotel has a few lovely restaurants that would make a nice Christmas Eve dinner setting.

    • Anonymous :

      It looks like Tutonis in York is doing it on December 23rd, if that helps. There are actually a fair amount of italian restaurants in the area (I grew up in Hershey)….but for a relatively high amount of italian catholics (me being one of them), this wasn’t as big of a thing growing up.

      • Agree on this- I grew up in Harrisburg and am Catholic (although not Italian) and it’s not a tradition I remember my Italian catholic friends participating in growing up. That being said, I’d give Dolce Vita in Camp Hill a call- if they aren’t doing it they may be able to tell you somewhere that is.

    • I’d also call Visaggios and see if they are doing it. It’s a very nice Italian restaurant in the Harrisburg area.

  6. Need hope :

    Does anyone have tales of being the runner-up for a dream job and ending up happy in another position?

    • Anonymous :

      Yes – about 10 years ago I interviewed at my state AG’s office (I’m an attorney). Up to that point, I had always intended to work in the public sector and this particular position with the AG’s office was my dream job. I was actually verbally offered the job by the Deputy AG – who was summarily fired the next day (I learned by reading the newspaper). Apparently he hadn’t communicated to the powers that be how phenomenal I was, because I got a rejection letter a few weeks later. I was DEVASTATED.

      Fast forward 10 years and I’ve been in-house at a couple of companies and couldn’t be happier. I never would have ended up in these positions if I had gotten that job in the public sector. Additionally, I make a lot more $$ and I never would have met my husband if I’d gotten that job. I love telling people this story because (while it’s entirely anecdotal), it shows that everything happens for a reason!

    • This isn’t exactly what you asked for but I can tell you tales of getting your dream job and finding out that it’s actually a total nightmare that will plunge you into depression requiring medication and therapy, give you chronic migraines, and ruin 2 years of your life.

    • I’m happy in a job that is not my “dream job,” after being the runner up at a place where I would have been pretty damn happy and better compensated. I’m looking at this as a necessary place in my career where I take on challenges and tasks and build skills that the other place wouldn’t have offered, even though the jobs are basically the same (different prestige and therefore money involved).

      I’ll leave here when the time is right, hopefully for the fancier, better paying place. Until then, no use being bummed everyday.

    • Anonymous :

      Just to challenge you on the thoughts behind this – there isn’t really a thing as a single dream job, and even if there was, you can’t know it’s your dream job unless you’re already in the position. So, yes, it’s 100% possible to love the job you didn’t think you preferred.

      • Yep, this. I was trying to tip toe around that concept above, but there’s no such thing.

        Professional cava-swilling lazeabout puppy cuddler-but-not-walker west-wing-watching at an all-inclusive resort with endless pina coladas is not a job. But it is my dream.

        • Need hope :

          Ohh, your dream job is my dream job, too. (But not the job in question, which was a regular job).

          And thanks for the perspective. :)

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I’ll do you one better. Being a runner up for a dream job AND ending up even happier at my current job. An opportunity to interview for an amazing in house position came up so I jumped. I got far enough that I discussed it with my current boss. He was happy for me but would be sad to see me go. Turns out, I didn’t get it. That same year, we won/settled a bunch of cases at my current firm so that under my compensation structure, I received some sizeable bonuses. Money certainly doesn’t buy happiness but the successes I was having made me much happier in my current job and I’m glad I didn’t leave it. Dream job still would have had downsides, like a bad commute until we could have moved and some other things I won’t bother getting into. Also, there is no one true dream job.

    • Anonymous :

      Yup. Interviewing during law school, I was dying to work at firm X. My best friend at law school got hired at firm X instead, but the firm called to tell me in a nice way that I was their second choice. I got hired at firm Y instead. 5 years later, I’m so much happier at firm Y than I would be at firm X. I get to do the kind of work I want to do at firm Y, and they don’t do that kind of work at firm X. I have great mentors at firm Y, and who knows what would have happened at firm X. I make more money at firm Y.

    • Yep, happened to me in the runner up part, but I’d reframe the “dream” part. You never know until you work somewhere if it’s really a dream job. I took the job I have now thinking “eh, it’s a good placeholder for a year and is in a location I like, doesn’t seem horrible” and it’s a unicorn gig. I never would have known it was my dream job when I interviewed. And I’d probably never have interviewed for it if I’d gotten the gig I was #2 for. Things work out. Also? If you’re #2, you’re pretty darn competitive so take that as a win.

  7. I feel like this shouldn’t be so difficult, but can someone walk me through how to buy a new iphone 8 plus? (I KNOW)

    I have an iphone 6 that I’ve had forever, and the ATT website says I’m eligible for an upgrade, but I cannot figure out what that means. It clearly does not mean what it used to mean (sign on for another 24 months and you get a deep discount on the device). I just want to buy the darn thing, not pay $30 per month or whatever, which I am presuming makes it more expensive.

    Has anyone done this research recently/figured out what is the cheapest way to do this?

    • Anonymous :

      Do you mean you want to buy the phone outright? Just got to the Apple store.

      • Yes, I guess so, but I was also wondering what it meant when it said I was eligible for an upgrade, whether there was any way to save money on this purchase, and if buying from ATT is the way the savvy people are going about this.

    • Anonymous :

      Sounds like you want to buy an unlocked version of the phone (not tied to any cell carrier) and then you take it to your service provider and they activate it/load the SIM card. Or you go to AT&T and say want the upgrade and you want to pay upfront instead of month-to-month.

    • Anonymous :

      I just bought it outright, but you can find them cheaper on OfferUp, Ebay, etc. Even my NextDoor site has them from time to time. It sucks when you used to get them for free!

    • It actually doesn’t make it more expensive. They really just divide the price by 24 or 36 or however many months.

      • Anonymous :

        But then you don’t have the option to keep it, you have to trade it in for the newest phone, right? That’s how it was when I tried to do it two years ago(ish). I like to sell my old phones.

    • The “sign up for 24 months and get a deep discount on the device” was never really a thing. They just used to bake the price of the phone into your monthly bill invisibly, and now they tell you how much it’s costing you.

      Newegg usually has unlocked phones for cheap.

      • Anonymous :

        Really? I have Sprint but I always got new devices on deep discount by just extending my contract for 2 years. My monthly bill never changed and it certainly hasn’t gone down since then, so I don’t see how the cost of the device was built into the monthly charges.

        • I switched from AT&T years ago but recall that at some point I was able to change to a cheaper cell phone plan after one of my 2 year commitments had expired. I could have bought a new phone and continued paying the higher price, but I switched plans and kept my old phone instead. They don’t _tell you_ that’s available to you as an option but it should be. I would ask.

      • No doubt they didn’t lose any money on those “discounts” but I can’t say my phone bill got any cheaper when they stopped doing it.

      • Oh and thank you for the recommendation!

    • KateMiddletown :

      Sprint got rid of the option to buy the phones outright, so when I upgraded I traded my 6+ (owned outright) for the 8+ on a monthly payment plan. I was NOT into this idea except I found a cheaper data/minutes plan that made up for the cost. My advice is call ATT and ask them WTF you should do. Know how much you want to pay per month for your phone bill and don’t budge. (And know you’re going to be losing 45+ minutes of your life on that phonecall.)

    • I had to go through this math when I got my iphone 7…. and, at least with my work discount and being “eligible” for an upgrade, the monthly fee for the device was cheaper than buying it outright. But yes – it’s super complicated. I whipped out a pad and pen at the verizon store and they were not amused as to how much thought I was putting into it.

    • Why don’t you call ATT and ask them what their terms mean?

  8. Anonymous :

    My boss was on a business call this morning, and the call turned to the MeToo stuff apparently. I heard him say something like “Many (most? a lot? similar qualifier) of these are false accusations, and they are saying it happened years ago, so to avoid the he said/she said, you just have to write a check to make it go away.”

    Ugh. Anything I should have done/should do?

    • Wow. Were you on the call? Wtf kind of business call requires a discussion of this anyway?

      • Anonymous :

        No, and I only heard his end of it. I was only half listening and then perked up when I heard that.

        • Anonymous :

          Your boss is gross, but, no, you shouldn’t butt in if you were eavesdropping on someone else’s call.

          • Hearing a conversation that is happening next to you is not the same as eavesdropping. But agreed you shouldn’t say anything, OP.

          • Anonymous :

            Eavesdropping literally means “listening in” — whenever you listen in on a conversation you’re not a part of, it’s eavesdropping. I wouldn’t say she was “snooping” or “spying” or anything like that, because obviously she overheard it without doing anything devious.

          • Anonymous :

            Have you never been on a conference call? I wouldn’t call that eavesdropping …

          • Anonymous :

            If you’re on a conference call, you’re part of the conversation even if you’re not speaking at the moment. She said she wasn’t on the call.

    • “I disagree”

      I don’t see any point in arguing with people who don’t believe women experience sexual assault. But I think when people say things like that they sometimes take silence as agreement, so I like to just state that I don’t agree and then just not get into it.

    • biglawanon :

      If I didn’t think I’d lose my job, I’d report my boss to HR. I might first talk to other senior people I trust and get their advice on how to handle.

      • Anonymous :

        Report him to HR for what? Do we think this is a situation occurring inside the OP’s firm? It doesn’t sound like it is.

      • Shocked to see that even if people wouldn’t report him to HR themselves, they don’t think that is an appropriate course of action. Absolutely what you should do. This is precisely what we teach in harassment training.

        • Anonymous :

          Where is the harassment?

        • Anonymous :

          No one has been harassed.

        • I get why people are saying don’t report this, but I really disagree. I am in HR at a law firm. I would hope something like this gets reported to us. Reporting an incident to HR isn’t the same thing as filing a complaint-the point is to raise awareness. It is argubly not appropriate for a workplace, and we would want to know about it. Having this information is really important if a formal complaint if ever filed against this person. It is frustrating to be conducting an investigation and to discover that various bad behavior was not reported to us, which invariably happens.

    • What’s the context? Could your boss have been discussing how to handle allegations against your company? I don’t like the opinion, but doesn’t sound like anything you’d need to do something about.

  9. I’m a consultant and I’d like to work in politics. Everyone I’ve read about who made a similar transition was a lawyer. Any thoughts on what kind of positions my skills would be useful for?

    • What part of “politics?” Policy? Campaigns? Press? There are so many possible roles! What are your best skills? For example, I’m 1) really outgoing and 2) great at explaining complex topics in layman’s terms, so I make a good lobbyist for my super nerdy/technical niche field. What do you bring to the table?

      • Also what kind of consultant?

        • Oh, I’m a different Anon than 3:26

        • I’m a management consultant at an MBB. I’d like to run for office at some point, but until then I just need some kind of exposure to the field. As far as skills- Eh, I’m really analytical and a PhD and a policy expert in a relevant field (national security). I’m not outgoing but I am really good at writing in a way that’s really accessible.

          Other than that I really don’t know. I don’t think I bring a lot of standard things to the table- I’m not charismatic, I’m not a super networker (although working on that). What else is relevant here?

          • Anonymous :

            Look for interesting local campaigns to volunteer with. You’ll learn a lot about different aspects of campaigning.

            Or, look up a local social justice nonprofit if you’re interested in ballot questions/policy versus getting a local politician elected. Campaigns and nonprofits alike are always in need of volunteers.

            Many states have training programs for Democratic women. Look up Emerge.

          • Other training programs could be offered by your state party and by League of Women Voters.

            I think you should also work on talking to strangers, in as many different scenarios as you can, particularly if your ultimate goal is elected office.

          • Candidate :

            You’re getting good advice already, and we sound like we have similar skill sets in regard to being analytical, good a writing, but not charismatic or a super networker. I succeeded, and you can too!

            I did find most voters (and likely most people) just want to be listened to. So you don’t necessarily have to be super charismatic if you can be compassionate. If that’s a skill you want to develop, a local volunteer group is a great place to start.

            Emerge does great trainings, and there are likely local activist or political groups you can get involved with as well. I found Run For Something to be super helpful. Volunteering in a campaign is a great place to start – a lot of candidates will be in the signature collection phase soon so you can start there.

          • Had to google MBB – like the Big 4 of accounting – got it ;)

            A few random thoughts:

            – To win any office, you have to know your local party. You need their support, their network, and their money. That means getting involved with the county chapter of your party and pitching in. Attend meetings, offer to help, etc. “All politics is local” and local politics starts with your county Rs/Ds.

            – While some people do begin their political careers by running for national office, start locally. With your background, being a state delegate/rep on the military committee would be a good start and provide critically valuable experience. Don’t make the mistake of thinking state politics is “piddly,” “beneath you,” or “not worth your time.” Having worked state and federal, I vastly prefer state – the pace is faster and the work is closer to the people you’re affecting.

            – If you’re in D.C., attend some defense policy symposia. You’ll want to approach these from a different point of view than you have been – how are the Hill staffers talking about their issues? What drives issue prioritization? What are they saying about their bosses’ priorities…and what aren’t they saying? Which issues matter to which constituencies? Listen to how they *speak* about the issues – there is a circumspection in Hill-speak that isn’t found in business-speak.

            – Are there defense policy trade groups? Can you get on the email list of an organization to see what their legislative priorities are? Military veteran organizations often host fly-ins for people to visit legislators on the Hill – that’s fantastic experience in talking to lawmakers and seeing the process up close. Pro tip: never tell a staffer you despise their boss.

            – To be a politician, being engaging is a requirement. You don’t necessarily need to be charismatic and light up a room, but you do need to be engaging and able to connect with your constituents. Consider brushing up on soft skills – persuasive speaking, body language, etc.

          • Thanks for the advice. I am working on talking to people and being engaging- that’s been a big development goal for me this year. I will say though, I am a really good listener and good at building relationships and making one-on-one connections with people outside of the purely small talk arena.

            Any suggestions for how to work on persuasive speaking and other relevant soft skills?

  10. Candidate :

    How much do you usually spend on a suit, including tailoring? I’ve got my eyes on a couple but I can’t quite bring myself to pull the trigger, because I don’t usually spend a lot on my clothes, so I have no metric of what is reasonable.

    I’m asking because I need to get some clothes for city council meetings. I’ve only ever owned one suit, and it doesn’t fit quite right anymore, plus I bought it while I was in grad school so it’s pretty inexpensive and I’m hoping to upgrade. I work in a business casual office now so I haven’t needed a full suit in a while; this also means suits I can break up and wear to the office are a good choice as well. Total budget is probably $1500 for some kind of “newly elected” capsule wardrobe. The position is paid so I’ll have some extra income if I want to grow my wardrobe a bit once I’m officially inaugurated.

    Right now the men usually wear suits, or slacks plus a sport coat, and there are only two women. One wears severe black pant suits for every meeting, the other wears whatever she wants (but has also served for 42 years and doesn’t give a hoot what anyone thinks of her clothes).

    I think I’ll have room to set my own style to some extent, and have been looking to the women of the Senate for inspiration. Any thoughts beyond suits as well? I didn’t ever campaign in a suit, I usually did slacks plus a knit blazer or a dress, but I think erring in the side of more conservative to start is the right choice. Especially since I’ll be the youngest in the room.

    I do have my heart set on getting inaugurated in winter white, with purple and green accessories.

    • I have no suit advice, but just wanted to congratulate you on your win! How exciting! We need more females in elected positions.

    • My suits have all come from places like Ann Taylor, so I think it ends up being around $300 per? They’re not the best or fanciest suits out there, by any means, but they get the job done. For city council I don’t think you need to go full on HRC quite yet. Your campaign outfits sound fine. And also think of comfort — sitting through an interminable city council meeting in a full suit sounds uncomfortable to me.

      • Candidate :

        Comfort is definitely a concern. My current pants are all comfy, and I’ll have a nice wide legged pair in my closet by January. Jackets are the big gap, but if knit blazers or sweaters are formal enough I’ll be okay?

        • Full of ideas :

          Knit blazers are almost certainly ok. Sweaters are a maybe. Can you view any old meetings to get a feel for what people are wearing?
          Also, do you. You don’t need to fit someone else’s mold.
          Also also, congrats!

    • My suits are from Talbot’s. Right now I find they have the best intersection of quality and value. You can wait for a sale, though they aren’t as sale crazed as most mall stores (i.e., 15% off once a month instead of 50% off every week).

      I’m the lobbyist from above, and my work uniform is dress + blazer. It looks interesting and put-together without necessarily being a suit. If you do go with suits, show some personality. You don’t need to do black suit + white blouse to be taken seriously. (You’ll notice women in the Senate often wear color or great accessories.) I do wear a suit for Very Big Meetings.

      • Anonymous :

        I would go further — to be taken seriously, you should avoid a uniform of basic black or navy suit + white blouse. My constant criticism of House of Cards was that they put Congresswoman Sharp in that as a uniform and it made no sense to me as her wardrobe when they were portraying her as in increasingly powerful national legislator.

      • +1 for Talbots, specifically the seasonless wool, because you can get matching separates and mix and match. Tailor the heck out of the blazer so that it fits you to a t.

    • Anonymous :

      About $800-1k per suit after tailoring. I’m short and curvy so my clothes need a ton of tailoring – like $200+ for a jacket, ~$100 for a dress and ~$30 for a skirt. The tailoring costs are the same regardless of the quality of the suit, so I’ve resigned myself to spending more on the suit in the hope that it’ll last longer.

    • Flats Only :

      What fun! I would get two pant suits, navy and charcoal, and a matching dress for one of them. Then another neutral dress that you can wear alone. And two blazers on colors that you can wear with the pants or the dresses to switch things up. Since you won’t we wearing these clothes to death I would go with Talbots level quality – $300/suit, $150 or $200/ dress, $150 / blazer. Plus tailoring as necessary.

    • Anonymous :

      About $5-600 per suit. Mostly from Talbots, but with a good amount of tailoring because I am short, but curvy and nothing fits off the rack. I really love my suits when I get them back from the tailor though.

    • probably anywhere from $400-$500, but i wear suits every day for work so they get a lot of use. My favorites are j.crew (on sale) and the theory outlet (if you have one near you). Whenever possible, I try to buy blazer + dress/skirt + pants so that the blazer (usually the most expensive piece) gets as much use as possible. I don’t love how black looks on me, so I usually gravitate toward navy, charcoal, and pinstripe variations of both. Congratulations!!

  11. My exBIL married the formerly married woman he had been having an affair with. The affair (among other things) ended his marriage to my sister.

    Sister and exBIL have 4 kids
    exBIL and his new wife have 4 or 5 kids (it may vary — one kid has a different dad and may have moved out); half of the kids just had to switch schools midway through the school year b/c they finally combined households

    9 kids are miserable sharing space 52 Wednesdays and 26 weekends a year (can’t say I blame them), not to mention my sister

    I hope that exBIL and new wife are perfectly happy for the rest of their lives b/c otherwise they are making everyone else angry and miserable at their expense. I really wonder if the happiness of two people justifies the unhappiness of everyone else in their lives.

    • This sounds like the plot of Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett.

    • What does your sister’s divorce decree say about re-examining the custody agreement if a spouse remarries/there’s a material change in circumstance? If I were your sister, I’d be over schlepping kids to dad’s that often and dealing with all that drama.

      • Anonymous :

        Please do not suggest that your sister try to cut off visitation between her kids and their father unless there is a true issue of health or safety. This will not turn out well. I was in a similar situation. I did not generally enjoy having two stepsisters suddenly crashing in my room and their brother sleeping next door 26 weekends a year from age 13-17. Despite the discomfort, I now have real, meaningful relationships with my stepfather and stepsisters. But I sure do resent my father and stepmother, who suggested we should stop visiting because my father needed to focus on his new family. I would not have appreciated my mother suggesting that, either.

        • This.
          Not to mention that children often feel compelled to complain about things in the other parent’s house so that first parent doesn’t feel bad or think they’re happy being away. You should listen to kids if they are being placed in an unsafe situation but I don’t know that this rises to this level.

    • Anonymous :

      Do sister’s kids get their own rooms and privacy? Where are they sleeping? I’d be concerned that they’re in sleeping bags in the living room or something.

    • Anonymous :

      I also know a couple who left their spouses for each other and have 8 kids between them, with the oldest ones in high school, and they just announced they’re expecting a baby together so there will soon be 9 total. I like kids and everything but at some point isn’t it just too many kids to manage? And I can’t imagine wanting to start all over again when you have kids who are getting ready to leave home (they still have several elementary schoolers too, so it’s not like they’re panicking about being empty-nesters any time soon).

      • anonymous :

        I think the whole “darling, let’s have our own child together even though we already have a gaggle of children” thing comes from a combination of foolish romanticism and a desire to cement the relationship. Regrettably, the “cementing” thing doesn’t work. My kid goes to school with a kid who has one full sibling and three half-siblings – each of the half-siblings is from a different relationship of his mother’s. She’s currently single after divorcing her fourth husband. I try not to judge other moms, but purely from a logistical standpoint, this situation boggles my mind.

    • “I really wonder if the happiness of two people justifies the unhappiness of everyone else in their lives.”

      There is nothing you can do about this and worrying about it is a waste of mental energy. Life is not fair.

    • Anonymous :

      I also carried a lot of bitterness about affairs/divorces for a long time and I was a child in this situation. Good people do bad things. Not saying everybody who has an affair is a good person, but really… holding on to that is not going to make this any easier for anybody involved.

      As long as the kids are safe and cared for, lots of people live 24/7 in less ideal set-ups. I have friends who grew up 3 or 4 to a bedroom and they’re fine — and many of them are very close with their siblings, biological and blended both.

  12. +1 Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!!

  13. Carhartt Coat Recommendation :

    A week or so ago, a commenter recommended a particular Carhartt winter jacket that was available on amazon. If memory serves, it was an olive green and roughly around $79. I thought I added it to my wish list but apparently did not, and I keep getting an error message when I try to search the website. Help!!

  14. Carhartt Coat Recommendation :

    Thank you so much!!!

  15. Someone close to me is nearing retirement (but still a few years out) and just lost a big piece of business and the accompanying substantial part of their salary. He’s distraught but too proud to show it. If it were you, is there anything someone could do to make you feel better?

    • If he’s too proud to show it, I would not talk about it either. Just be kind and supportive through this rough time

  16. Sr. Business Analyst to Product Manager :

    My husband has years of fairly technical and hands on experience in Big Insurance Data (LTD and mental health). He’s done everything from client data scrubbing / loading to customer-facing roles, leading creation of custom client reports based on their very specific needs using SQL & visualization tools under AGILE framework. He’s also led a few large projects that encompassed creation of custom software to help with client and internal reporting needs. He’s been doing this for about 10 years and really wants to move on. He is thinking of getting into Product Management within either IT (software creation) or manufacturing sectors. For his resume, he presents the custom reports and the software he’s created as IT products that he has managed. However, his only manufacturing experience is working medical equipment assembly line right out of college (which he correctly omits from resume). He’s been sending applications for a few months now and is really getting discouraged without any replies.

    Does anyone currently work in Product Management? What is your product? What are the skills that you view as absolutely essential? How did you get here?

    Has anyone successfully transferred from Sr. Business Analyst to something else? Where did you end up? How?

    Thank you!

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