Wednesday’s Workwear Report: Scalloped Crepe Sheath Dress

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

In the post we did recently on how to dress like Selina Meyer in Veep, you’ll notice that she wore a lot of scalloped details. At the time, I didn’t really think of it as a hot trend — but I’m seeing a lot of it lately (and I do like it), so I guess it’s a trend after all. This lovely sheath dress from Adrianna Papell is very affordable, and you can dress it up or down and wear it to work, to a holiday party, and so on, with just a few shifts in your accessories and makeup. I like the little sleeves and the fact that it doesn’t have an exposed back zipper. It comes in both black and marsala and is available in regular & petite sizes as well as plus sizes. It’s $108 at Nordstrom and $58 in the sale color, flare red (in straight sizes). Scalloped Crepe Sheath Dress

Psst: WHOA – this off-the-shoulder plaid blazer we featured a little while ago just went down to $297, and it’s available in a ton of sizes. Holiday parties, anyone?

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  1. Probiotic recommendations from the Hive? There have been a few discussions over the last few months about different kinds, can anyone who share their experience? IIRC, there was a kind that your pharmacist could order and had to be kept in the fridge?

    • Puddlejumper :

      I had great luck with a round of VSL #3. I used the packets that were kept in the fridge and stirred it into yogurt in the morning.

    • Doesn't Belong Here :

      Ditto VSL #3 in a packet! I put goat’s milk kefir in a shaker bottle, sprinkle VSL on, and shake it up. It’s expensive but worth it for me.

    • My GI told me that with probiotics that the type or brand was less important than how much of the probiotics actually absorb or stay in the gut. A lot of the supplements are largely untested to see whether they are absorbed or if the probiotics had a long-term impact on bowel health.

      I think the reason that probiotic yogurts are so popular is that the yogurt helps the probiotics absorb better, so I like the idea of a powder to add to yogurt or other things if you can’t do lactose.

      Otherwise, as my GI or PCP said once (don’t remember which) – probiotics aren’t likely to do you any harm but they can result in you having very expensive p**p and no noticeable change in gut function. (Also in general I would ask your doctor if he or she has a brand to recommend or a method of administration because YMMV as I have Crohn’s and continuing severe malabsorption issues in general.) One other idea is that if you can find a liquid version of probiotics, liquids absorb earlier in the system and (may) give the probiotics more of a chance to take residency.

    • You’ll have to try a few from a few different brands and see what works for you. Weber IBS Support is the only one that I’ve noticed to be effective for me. It’s just over the counter. Weber has a few different ones but this is the only one I find helpful.

      Yoghurt, kefir and sauerkraut are also great natural sources.

    • There’s no evidence that probiotic pills/supplements actually colonize your GI tract- most go straight through because your gut is already full of bugs. I’m a big fan of prebiotics like high fiber greens along with yogurt and fermented foods so that you can essentially fertilize the strains that you wanted to grow

      • anonymous :

        I think this is right (that there’s no evidence probiotics colonize).

        There is some evidence that they help prevent worst case scenario outcomes (including growing ill with c. difficile) when taken in conjunction with antibiotics. When someone I know had c. difficile (so, even though it was too late), the probiotic the doctor recommended “just in case” it would help was advertised at more than a trillion count per pill… and even then, the doctor was skeptical about whether that would even make a dent.

        • So, this is belated and I doubt you’ll see it, but I had c. diff a few years ago and the actual advice I got was not to take the probiotics during the antibiotic treatment but then to start it immediately thereafter.

          I forget what the reasoning was but they did say c. diff. is somewhat unique in this and for most other infections or medical issues, that taking probiotics is generally harmless even if, as noted above, there is some question about the actual effectiveness of probiotics themselves.

  2. Anonymous :

    I’ve never learned proper posture, and I don’t think mine is great. Any tips for learning how to better posture when sitting and in daily life? Is there a type of professional who can help with this?

    • Yoga and ab strengthening exercises will help your posture a ton.

      • Flats Only :

        And specifically a beginning yoga class where they spend time showing you how each pose is really supposed to be done. You’ll become much more aware of your body and how you’re holding yourself.

    • Feldenkrais method is fantastic for posture. Also Alexander technique. You can find teachers for individual sessions for either modality, and Feldenkrais also has group classes.

      • Minnie Beebe :

        There are lots of Feldenkrais videos on YouTube, which can be useful in helping understand what it’s all about.

    • Maybe consider taking a beginner’s dance class for adults?

      • I’m going to add something else to my post now that I’m thinking about it. I was a competitive swimmer and now coach and there’s something we (or at least I) call the “swimmer’s slump” because we work so hard on training our abdominal muscles and shoulders, arms, etc but it’s easy to forget to also always do the opposite exercise too.

        So for example, with posture, if I see a kid with a swimmer’s slump (or even better if I can catch it early,) I make sure to always work on back strength in addition to abdominal strength. And the same thing really goes for the whole body – if you work on your triceps then you should work on the corresponding muscle, the bicep. Most of our muscles have a corresponding muscle that does the opposite and it’s really important that you work both muscle groups for strength. Not just for posture but also because an overly developed muscle in some places can mess up your joints. When I was 14 or 15, I started having pain in my knees when swimming and it freaked me out, but the physical therapist basically just told me that the problem was that my outer thigh was significantly stronger than my inner thigh and so it was pulling the knee out of position.

        So, good yoga teachers are pretty fastidious about working corresponding muscle groups, but if you are interested, it sounds like you would benefit a great deal from some weight lifting. Though if you’ve never lifted before, I’d definitely make sure you have an expert there to guide you through how each machine works and the proper usage so you don’t end up hurting yourself.

        Also as a random aside for all those desk workers out there, I found that putting a lower back lumbar pillow that forced me to sit up straight. I’ve also had friends who have had luck with setting a reminder alert every 15 or 30 minutes simply saying “remember to sit up” which I think is a creative idea because whenever I see something aout sitting up up at your desk, it reminds me to actually sit UP at me desk.

    • Weirdly enough, my posture got a TON better after dislocating my shoulder. I don’t recommend trying that ;) but I do recommend doing lots of upper back and shoulder exercises. Think rowing on an erg, using bands to do shoulder-pull type exercises, using an exercise ball to do back exercises, etc., and make sure you REALLY concentrate on keeping your back straight and your shoulders pulled back as you do the exercises. My PT was a tyrant about my slouchy back, but it really helped once I corrected it.
      This actually reminds me I need to start doing some of these exercises again, so thanks!

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      Several years ago there was a NY Times article that revolutionized my sitting posture. It recommended turning your palms up. This makes it much more natural to keep your shoulders back and not hunch over. Even one hand makes a difference for me.

    • I found that taking private pilates lessons on the machine really did wonders for my posture. I had to learn so much body awareness about my core, my chin placement, shoulders, etc. And the instructor is looking only at you giving assessments of where you are holding yourself wrong. It’s not cheap. But I only went for 1/2 a year, and it greatly improved an area I always struggled with.

      • turtletorney :

        this. pilates reformer (even small group classes) helped me so much. I also do barre and now that I know what it should feel like, i am able to correctly strengthen my back muscles. it helps that in class they are always reminding you to “keep your shoulders out of your ears” and “draw your shoulders down and slide them down your back” – i think about this just sitting at work too

    • This sounds like such a small distinction but being told to hold my shoulders “out” instead of “back” helped me.

      • I just tried this and I instantly felt a difference! Whoa.

        My youngest told me her dance teacher told her to walk on stage with “open shoulders”. We all laughed assuming she had the phrase mixed up, but trying your trick of holding shoulders “out” just clicked. I had to uncurl and widen my shoulders–which opened them out–so that’s it! Open shoulders is a thing!

        Total side note, but I think posture is linked to how we’re told as women to be small and take up less space. We shrink into our ourselves, subconsciously trying to be small and petite. We cross our legs, we round our shoulders, fold our arms our stomachs. It’s a hard habit to unlearn! I’ve been shrinking and trying to be smaller since my growth spurt at age 13.

        • Eh, it’s part of that, but it’s also due (I think) to sitting at a desk all day, and a couch when i get home. Neither of those things promote good posture.

          I mean, I also gave up on being small/petite (I’m 5’10” and often wear shoes that put me over 6 foot) ages ago and embrace the tallness. Doesn’t mean my posture is awesome.

    • I once had a horseback riding instructor tell me to imagine that I had a string inside me that started at my belly button and went out the top of my head. And then imagine someone is pulling up on that string – abs go in, shoulders relax, neck lengthens, head aligns. I still think of that visual when I realize I’m slouching or hunching.

  3. Self-Taught Guitar Players? :

    Has anyone taught themselves to play the guitar at home? I have a musical background and I can read music. I’d prefer to mess around at home with it and not take lessons, but want to gauge how difficult it would be.

    Any suggestions of not too expensive acoustic guitars also appreciated!

    • My husband had a program where he plugged a guitar into his computer and then the software taught him mini lessons. It could tell when he was playing the right note or not. It would give him a score on how accurate it was. He had guitar lessons as a kid but as an adult wanted to pick it up again and this was a good method for him.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      My brother taught himself and is pretty good at it and had really no musical inclination, so I think it’s doable.

    • Definitely do-able. I would learn a handful of chords (“cowboy” chords, non-bar style) and sing some of your favorite songs. You can usually get away with a I, IV, V7 pattern, maybe add a VI once in a while. I personally like the keys of G (learn G, C and D7) and D (learn D, G and A7). Toughen up your fingers and focus on getting good sounding chords with no buzz. Then move on to more technical stuff like individual notes and different strumming or picking styles.

      • In terms of buying a guitar, visit a guitar center and don’t be embarrassed – lots of beginners come in. Figure out what you like – classical wide neck/ nylon strings (too wide for my small hands) or a standard dreadnought with a tapered neck and steel strings.

        Then look at craigslist and you’ll see tons of guitars on there. Lots of people have a guitar they never play and have decided to unload.

        I have a Taylor GS Mini (small guitar for small hands) that I love. You can get it for $400 ish which may be out of your price range, but your Craigslist search will demonstrate to you that name brands like Taylor and Gibson and Martin hold their value, while others don’t.

    • Totally doable. I taught myself chords and fingerpicking from old books my mother had left over from the 1970s.

    • Thank you all!!!

    • Anonattorney :

      My BIL is a music genius, and knows a TON about guitars. And he manages a music store. I wanted to get my husband a new acoustic guitar last year, and my BIL recommended the Yamaha FG800. It was only about $200, including all the things (case, stand, etc.) BIL said it was the best value out there.

  4. I just found out I made partner (!!) and I know that two people in particular played a huge role (everything everyone says about sponsors is so true!). I really want to let them know how much I appreciate their support, so am thinking a handwritten card. Would it be appropriate to also include a small gift, or should I just stick with the card?

    Also, any tips on how to start prepping finances? I know my insurance costs will sky rocket and this whole quarterly tax thing. I’ve also heard I should think about forming my own PC. Not really sure where to start.

    • Anonymous :

      Congrats! I would do card plus small gift only if you know a gift that would be personal vs. generic. So a small box of a chocolate lover’s favorite gourmet chocolates etc.

    • BigLaw partner anon :

      Find out if you get even draws throughout the year or if comp is back-end weighted (we get peanuts in January each year — you save up for everything, almost like a farmer and live very very frugally at first; almost like a first year with hefty loans).

      Find out if you will truly be a K-1 partner or just a “partner” who still gets a W-2. If K-1, see if you get tax draws at year end (often firms don’t “make” money for the first 3/4 of the year and are net negative then and relying on lines of credit for cash flow). And then probably one CPA does most of the partners’ taxes. Talk to that person and become their client. Unless you are just located in one state, you’ll want the CPA to coordinate your out of state and federal filings. If you are just in one state and it has no income tax, you may be OK on your own if you already do your taxes (this is not the time to start). Also: pending federal tax changes.

      • Another biglaw partner :

        +1 Talk to a few different current partners, including some junior partners, about how/when you will be paid and if there is a capital contribution in your first year (if not, when). The first year can be particularly difficult to acclimate to the strange cash flow and more senior partners or someone in admin might understand and be able to explain the system well, but forget what its like paying your expenses when your compensation is back-loaded toward the end of the year.

        And congrats!!!!

    • Just wanted to say congrats! All that hard work finally paid off!

    • I would give them a card, and then say that you’d love to take them out to dinner to celebrate (in the card). This will deepen your relationship and should be a good way to pick their brain!

      • Congratulations! I agree with Anon on what to give as a gift. If your sponsors are partners themselves, then they probably don’t need more material items! But a nice dinner out at a restaurant you think they would enjoy is a thoughtful way to show your heartfelt appreciation.

    • Congratulations! I would engage a CPA before you do anything else. There may be tax consequences in your state to forming a PC. Also, a CPA can advise you on retirement plan issues, particularly if you form a PC and therefore are an employee of the PC. As Biglaw Partner Anon mentioned above, uts likely that several of your partners use the same CPA. I’d check out that person first.

    • Wanderlust :

      Congratulations! What a great accomplishment!

    • KateMiddletown :

      Congratulations! Start fresh w/ your CPA and FA – let them know your expectations on income, etc. They can give you tailored advice. (If you don’t have either, ask the other partners in your office who they recommend. People love recommending their good FAs because it makes them feel like they have insider info and also they probably get a bottle of wine or cookie basket as a referral gift.)

      • Q re financial advisors :

        What is a financial advisor and what do they do?

        I haven’t heard of this (except for one partner who has a spouse who seems to be in private wealth management) and I’m a BigLaw partner.

        My read is that if someone is getting paid to manage my money, they ought to understand (and tell me straight up) how much better off I’ll be after paying their fee. [And had better understand tax issues where I don’t want my account churned b/c I am adverse to recognizing gain on my 1040 if I don’t have to.] I have seen a bunch of salesmen but nothing that seemed to strike me as “Oh, I need this.” Do I? Or is my Boglehead bias showing? Can someone convince me?

        • KateMiddletown :

          Sorry you’ve had bad experiences in the past with salesmen. Financial advisor is basically a catchall term for investment advisor, retirement advisor, financial planner, stockbroker, etc. It’s not a board certified term, but anyone who holds themselves out to be investment advisers has to pass national licensing exams; CFP is a national designation by the CFP board, requires two years of study, lengthy exam, CE, etc.

          If someone is getting paid to manage your money, you’re right, they should be able to tell you how they’re earning their fee. You can go the DIY route, which idk what bogleheads is, but that may work for you if you are simply investing in an ETF and want market-like returns. (You won’t want market-like returns when the market goes down, which is why a diversified portfolio is important. You probably know that, but many don’t, which is why ETFs and passive investing strategies have been so popular as of late.) I won’t be able to compete all the time based on performance alone, but over time (ie 10-20 years) our clients perform better. We help clients understand mortgage terms, help them choose how much to allocate to pre-and post-tax investments, help them understand how 529s and other college savings plans work, help them understand their deferred comp, stock options, etc. FAs should take taxes into consideration, but they should also be able to give you more holistic advice that your CPA or business attorney won’t be able to give you.

          The other thing is that financial advisors can’t give specific tax advice unless they’re CPAs as well, and at my firm, we can’t give tax advice even if we are CPAs because it’s a liability that the firm doesn’t carry insurance to cover.

          • Anonymous :

            Wow on financial illiteracy — I cannot imagine that a person who has enough $ to be your client would need professional assistance understanding a mortgage. I guess I need to get out more.

            I am 100% not shocked that people who are of marginal literacy in English don’t understand mortgages, or that people who are not high school graduates don’t understand RESPA statements and complex ARMs and prepayment penalties.

            What I guess I’m hearing from this is if you are financially sophisticated and diversified, you probably don’t need a FA.

          • Anonymous :

            CFP is the real deal. Or at least someone capable of doing something worth your fee.

          • KateMiddletown :

            Money is super emotional, so a lot of my job is hand holding and helping people make better choices than they’d make themselves.

            I have a college degree and before getting into the business I didn’t know the difference between Roth or traditional IRA, let alone RESPA statements or choosing between complex ARMs and other mortgages. (My high school didn’t have financial literacy curriculum and it wasn’t particularly on my radar as a 20 year old!)

    • New Tampanian :


    • Never too many shoes... :

      Super huge congratulations are in order… you did it!!!

    • Thanks all (for both the congrats and the helpful advice). I’ll have to admit I’ve had a big grin on my face all week.

  5. Is it Friday yet? :

    First thing this morning I dived into a relatively complex request from a coworker, determined to have it done before 9am. I accomplished the goal, even including additional information that I knew she would find helpful, and promptly emailed it to a different coworker with the same name.
    The information wasn’t necessarily private, but it’s also not something that is typically shared publicly unless the person chooses to do so. Anyway, my feeling of accomplishment flew out the window when I got a response saying “Did you mean to send this to the other Sansa?”
    Shots, wine, chocolate, anyone?

    • I get messages meant for the other Tetra at my workplace all the time, so I understand. I just let the sender know and delete. I maybe sometimes enjoy the secret knowledge I’ve learned, but I never, ever tell anyone about it. Should be no biggie if the other Sansa is professional about it.

    • Delta Dawn :

      It probably happens to them a lot. There is another Delta Dawn at my work (first and last name both the same, and not super common), and we get each other’s emails at least once a week. I never think much of it, and I don’t think my name twin does either.

    • One of my work friends shares the same last name with someone else in the company (HUGE company) and their first names are only off by one letter (like Carolina vs Caroline). So I make sure to check very carefully that I send e-mails to the right person since I accidentally e-mailed the wrong person.

      • Clementine :

        My coworker ‘Michael David’ gets emails for ‘David Michael’ all the time and vice versa. It happens, no big deal.

        A former coworker in a lowly call center job had a very common name that he shared with someone in the C-suite of the HUGE company we worked for. Yeah, he got some INTERESTING emails.

    • KateMiddletown :

      I love that your workplace has two people named Sansa.

    • I have a similar name to an HR person in our org. People leave me voicemails with ALL KINDS of super sensitive information. I only listen to the first 15 seconds before I forward and delete.

    • I have the same first name as a prosecutor (I’m a public defender) and occasionally get emails from her office that are meant for her. Sometimes they have sensitive information, but I never read them and always let the person know that it was meant for the other Miss and that I was deleting the message. Don’t worry about it. Everyone does this and it’s not a big deal.

  6. Dress Hunt SOS :

    I’m looking for a dress for a black tie Christmas party and I’ve totally struck out. I’ve tried 3 so far and had to return all of them. I am thin in general but with a very small waist, so I think I need a stretchy material. The last three I tried weren’t stretchy and they were just huge in the waist. It’s in two weeks so I’d rather not get something I need to alter unless its’s a hem. Some additional details:
    –It’s a non-work christmas party (so wanting to go somewhat s*xy; strapless/low back okay)
    –I prefer midi over long so that I can walk easier but I’m open to all lengths
    –I wear a 0/00. My waist is 23 inches which is the hardest part to fit (this is why I think stretchy might work)
    –I’m flat-chested so the style should accommodate a lack of bo*bs
    –I prefer solids or metallics over patterns

    Does anyone have any ideas? TIA!

    • Diana Barry :

      Asos tends to run small and they have lots of more s*xy dresses! Also they are having 25% off right now. :)

    • Check All Saints. I’m not sure about backless, but they have at least a few dresses meet your other requirements, and they tend to run quite small.

    • Veronica Mars :

      You didn’t mention budget, but I’d look at Catherine Deane dresses on ebay. The atelier version of her stuff runs super small and should fit (and you can check measurements). Here’s a few (posting below in case of moderation)

      • Veronica Mars :


        2&3 are 22″ waists so you may need spanx if there’s no give. But keep poking around and look for her dresses in size 0-4

        • Dress Hunt SOS :

          Love the green one! I messaged the seller about stretch in the waist. Thanks for the find!

      • Veronica Mars, as I live and breathe.

        Did you get out of the PI business and into vicarious shopping? Or did you find this blog during law school or when you were interviewing for big firm jobs?

        You would have never made it in big law, you’re way too much of a secret marshmallow Veronica.

        You should totally make snickerdoodle cookies for the person above who made Partner for their locker before the big day.

        Okay, I’ll stop, but I am seriously jealous of your username, especially since I spend most of my time here tracking down and vicariously shopping for people…like a pro-bono PI but for fashion. Lol.

        • Veronica Mars :

          Thank you! Even when I was a wee girl, I’ve always been a sleuth for good deals. I’m not in law but I enjoy the community for professional women

          • Of *course* you’re not a lawyer, you are much too busy solving crimes with your Dad and probably Netflix and chilling with Logan all the time!

            Serious, I’m not usually this much of a nerd (okay well that’s a bold faced lie) but Veronica Mars was one of those formative shows for me. Like Buffy. Or like My-So-Called-Life.

    • Have you looked into Reformation?

    • If you’re looking for a less expensive option, Dress the Population might work for you in their XS size.

      I love these:

    • Go to an old school department store at the mall. Try on lots of dresses. Dillards, Macys at the low end and Neimans, Nordstroms Saks at the high end all have tons of dresses for the holidays. If you have budget for it, Neimans/Nordies/Saks all typically have on site alterations that can turn it around within your time frame. Other options would be British brands, but those are more a know your size to begin with.

  7. Career books? :

    Best career advice books? I’m in my early 20s going into my 2nd post undergrad job (in finance). I’ve read Lean In and Wonder Women but looking for something a bit different. TIA!

    • Anonymous :

      It’s super-old and perhaps it’s in a library near you since it may not be on Amazon.

      Anatomy of a Merger by some guy named Freund (“Friend”) who was a M&A partner at Skadden. Not a lawyer? Not what you do? Too bad. It has tons of helpful negotiation advice in there, which everyone should read. Like for if you buy a house or work for a nutjob.

      • Queen with a Plain Face :

        I have this book on my desk right now! It didn’t have the specific topic I was looking for and I was about to return it to the library but now I’ll give it a read through.

    • Anonymous :

      Deep Work and also So Good They Can’t Ignore you, both by Cal Newport.

    • Nice Girls Don’t get the Corner Office.

      Dumb title, great advice. I credit some of my career success to a combination of that book and this board.

      • There was a while there a few years back where NGDGTCO was huge on this website but I feel like there’s been a little backlash for both it and for Lean In (though for slightly different reasons.)

        My biggest beef with NGDGTCO is that it spends a lot of time trying to get women professionals to act more like men so they can move up the corporate ladder; like, I have issue with anyone (or thing) that says that we should model ourselves after successful men and ask ourselves “would a man do this” despite the fact that I know just as many men who don’t do the things covered in Nice Girls…

        As for Lean In, it’s harder for me to tell you what I liked about it then all the reasons I disliked it, but my main objection is that the overall thesis seemed to be “if I can be a successful professional, you can too” while barely acknowledging the fact that her significant assets made finding things like child care infinitely easier. But, even though she acknowledges she is privileged in the book, the whole “Lean In” concept became so popular that I think female professionals were frequently blamed for not being promoted or not getting a raise or whatever because they just didn’t lean in enough, instead of focusing on the larger picture of corporate America that has created an atmosphere where women get mommy-tracked or stealthily laid off. Honestly, the whole thing just made me want to Lean Out even more.

        I do know that she has said in a few interviews that the whole Lean In thing became much more difficult when her husband tragically passed on and I appreciate that, but I still feel like Sandberg truly believes that women can pick themselves up by their bootstraps if only they would project an air of total commitment to your career. (While ignoring the double standard of women with children being toxic or uncommited whereas men just get called sweet and such a good father when he leaves work early for a child’s sporting event.)

        So, sorry OP, I don’t hav e a great suggestion right now, but I know I have a couple of friends who swear by a book that is about helping you think not just about your current job but also where you would like to end up in the future and how to make plans to get ot that place. I will come back and post the title if I ever remember it or track down. the book itself which I know is floating somewhere around our house.

        • Designing Your Life is a book I like for long-term strategic thinking. I did like Lean In, because I felt like it was helpful in terms of forcing me to think about some of my self-sabotaging patterns of thought (I was definitely guilty of “leaving before you leave”), but I think Lean In got oversold as The Solution to All Working Women’s Problems, and it definitely…wasn’t that.

          Lean In did acknowledge structural s*xism pretty clearly, and I’ve actually given it to men I work with and it was influential in getting them to confront some issues they were a bit willfully blind to.

          • Designing your life by Bill Burnett? there seem to be a few books by this name so I just want to make sure I am picking up the right book

        • Boston Legal Eagle :

          Unfinished Business by Anne Marie Slaughter had great counter-points to this, IMHO. Basically, caretaking is seriously undervalued in the U.S. and instead of pushing women to be more like the stereotypical man (completely devoted to work and abandoning the family), we should be encouraging and valuing more balance, particularly caregiving responsibilities. Lean In only works if your spouse or someone else “leans out” and if you are both ok with that dynamic.

      • Aaargh, once again my post is in moderation so not sure when it will appear.

        Quick question for everyone though, is the website (especially when typing in the comments) working really slowly today for other people? Or is it just my computer or wi-fi’s fault?

        • My wi-fi (both home and work), various email services, internet speeds, text message reliability, etc. have been wonky all week. In my tin-hat moments I notice this behavior is often preceded by news of solar flares or followed by headlines about a thwarted cyber attack…

      • I mostly like NGDGTCO but I agree that some of the “act like a man” advice is frustrating. I also find Lean In to be a bit…smug and perhaps a bit tone deaf as well? She wrote an article after her husband passed away that expressed how much easier it is to lean in with a partner, which makes me kind of want to read it again and see if I’m a bit more forgiving on this read.

        Some books that I like: I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This by Kate White. She’s a former magazine editor so some of her advice isn’t directly applicable to my industry but I enjoy the writing and I think that her advice about being your own advocate is so valuable. I also like her Best Rules for Being a Boss list.

        Getting Things Done by David Allen – This is more about productivity than career advice but it’s worth reading.

        Honestly, most career advice books are somewhat helpful. If you find one that you enjoy reading, you’ll probably get something out of it. If a book comes highly recommended and you have to force yourself to read it, put it down!

    • I like Feminist Fight Club. I loved that it talked through how to deal with specific difficult scenarios. It felt like an implementation guide for Lean In.

      • +1 on Feminist Fight Club. I plan to give it as bachelor’s degree graduation gifts to some of the undergraduate women in my life.

    • If you’re looking for something a bit different….

      *evil chuckle*

      Check out Penelope Trunk. If career books were characters on Glee, you just listened to advice from Will Schuester. You’re ready to go take on the world and prove that Glee kids aren’t losers! Huzzah! Reading Penelope is like running into Sue Slyvester in the hallway and getting a face full of slushy.

      It’s a dark corner of the net. Prepare yourself.

    • Playing Big by Tara Mohr, all the way.

    • Coach Laura :

      Business Brilliant by Lewis Schiff. Recommended by Warren Buffet. I give as a gift to new grads.

      Business Adventures by John Brooks. It’s on Bill Gates’s list of most important business books. Best business book he’s ever read.

  8. Anonymous :

    It’s super-old and perhaps it’s in a library near you since it may not be on Amazon.

    Anatomy of a Merger by some guy named Freund (“Friend”) who was a M&A partner at Skadden. Not a lawyer? Not what you do? It has tons of helpful negotiation advice in there, which everyone should read. Like for if you buy a house or work for a nutjob.

    • Coach Laura :

      I wish it were available at my pubic library (Seattle) but it’s not. And it’s $349 on Amazon… for a used copy. Must be bound in gold. Maybe I’ll try used book stores.

      • Mary the Librarian :

        Check if your library has an interlibrary loan program. They may be able to borrow it from a different library system. You can also check WorldCat (org) and see if there’s someplace nearby that you might have access to.

      • Queen with a Plain Face :

        If there’s a law school or a large law firm near you you might also check their library. You probably couldn’t check out but it’s not too dense so you could skim for the good parts.

  9. At the In Laws in FL :

    I need somethings to do in Melbourne, Florida with the In Laws. Any recommendations for food or fun? They are driving us a little nuts.

    • Brevard Zoo- they have ziplining and kayaking through the zoo for a fun twist on a day at the zoo.
      Vero outlet mall
      Airboat rides
      Bioluminescence kayaking tour- check out A Day Away Kayak Tours
      Orlando is not that far- spend the afternoon at Disney Springs or Universal’s City Walk

    • Kennedy Space Center? My dad is in that area and that’s His Favorite.
      Seconding Orlando.
      Brunch on the water (does that count as a thing? It can involve mimosas…. which at least would help numb the pain?) depending on how far you want to drive, Captain Hiram’s is popular with my extended family…

      • Definitely Kennedy Space Center. The Atlantis exhibit and the Astronaut Encounter are both great.

    • Kennedy Space Center is only about an hour and far more entertaining than you might expect–I spent almost a full day and wished I had more time. Get there early and check the schedule. For a nicer dinner, Djon’s and the Chart House are good. Trend Kitchen has great food but suuuuper slow service. Other than that, all I’ve got are recommendations for carryout (ah, trial life).

    • I had some recommendations but it appears to either be stuck in moderation or disappeared into the ether. But second Kennedy Space Center and I have some restaurant suggestions that I’ll post back later if the earlier post doesn’t show up.

  10. Does anyone have any experience with marrying someone from a completely different culture? My bf and I have been together for about a year and are talking about our future but he comes from a different background. Think Eastern European marrying an Indian. I’m concerned because I don’t really know what to expect and no one in his family has ever married outside of his culture/religion. I’m not sure if it could work long term. Has anyone ever done something like this? For example, I worry i would have to wear a red Indian outfit for our wedding and not be able to wear what I want and his family is much more extravagant than mine. I guess I’m just interested in how others may have handled these cultural differences or if it torn them apart. Sorry for any typos! Writing on my iPhone with annoying autocorrect.

    • Their expectations, your expectations, and your future fiance’s expectations will all be very specific and unique to your situation. If you’re not sure what those expectations are yet, time to start talking!

    • Anonymous :

      You don’t have to do anything! Wear white if you want. What you need to start talking about is how you will support each other even when it means standing up to your family, how you will handle religion, finances, kids, whether his parents get to move in with you in your one bedroom for 3 months of the year. If he just says everything will be fine, he’s not thinking hard enough.
      I️ couldn’t make the challenges work but lots and lots of people do!

    • Anonymous :

      Talk to him about it. This is so individual. Have you met his family? How do they treat you? Does he have reasonable-to-you boundaries with his family? What is his/their plan for caring for them as they get older? Does he financially support them? If they live abroad, do they expect to visit for 3 months at a time and for you to wait on them hand and foot? Etc. I don’t mean to be completely dismissive of your wedding concerns but… if the wedding is the only thing you’re worried about then you’re not ready to marry into another culture. The wedding can be a good place to start staking some boundaries but at the end of the day it’s only one (series of) event(s).

      • It’s not just the wedding thing. It’s what will I️ be forced to do in order to be with him. You can have two wedding celebrations, but there’s only one real legal date of marriage and you only celebrate one anniversary. i guess I feel like if he’s not flexible with me and makes demands then I would have to be done. It’s mostly about being forced into things I’m not comfortable with. Also my family doesn’t have the money to go to a destination wedding in India so that’s out for me. i couldn’t imagine a wedding celebration without my family there.

        • I have friends who did a Western wedding and an Indian wedding but picked a third date for their legal wedding and use that as the anniversary date. It worked out better for them to go get legally married at the courthouse, then do both celebrations as just that- celebrations, not technically the wedding itself. I don’t know if this would work for everyone, but the bride explained to me that it made everything feel more equal and the legal wedding date remains a significant personal date for the couple without family drama directly attached to that exact day.

          • Hmmmm ok C, if we get married i want you as my wedding planner! That would be fine w me! We obviously have a lot of issue to see if we can work out.

          • This is what our friends also did. First small civil ceremony that they use as anniversary date (just parents/siblings present), then Indian religious ceremony/reception, then ceremony/reception in Europe.

        • Are you having actual problems with these issues, or are these all hypothetical?

          • We are not even engaged! We are just both type A over thinkers. I’m concerned he will not realize oh yea my wife needs to say certain vows at our wedding or else we can’t be married in his religion. Which I wouldn’t say bc I don’t believe in his religion. If that’s a dealbreaker for him then we can’t be together. That’s why I️ want to talk about these things now.

          • I get that this is hard for an overthinker, but I think you’re borrowing trouble at this point. If you don’t have these problems yet, and you don’t see signs of these problems, why are you spending mental energy on these problems?

          • I think just because i don’t know what he will expect me to do. Since I’m not so familiar with his culture i don’t know the expectations. We probably need to have a long talk.

          • Baconpancakes :

            These kinds of conversations were part of our decision-making process. I’m Jewish. He’s athiest, raised Episcopalian. His agreement to have a Jew-ish wedding and my agreement to make it a wedding that wouldn’t alienate his family was part of what helped us decide, because those compromises translate into our every day lives as well. Nope, we aren’t having a Christmas tree or having any Christmas “inside the house.” Yes, we will celebrate Christmas with his parents at their house. Etc.

            It’s not necessarily borrowing trouble to ask. It might be a huge eye opener, or it might be a good step towards marriage. But I do think that focusing on the conflicting wedding elements is less important than focusing on the conflicting marriage aspects.

        • Is he inflexible? Have you talked or are you assuming?

      • Deep Velvet :

        My husband and I are from different ehtnic and cultural backgrounds, although same religion. I think it depends on 1) how much your parents will expect you as a couple to follow their cultural norms and 2) how much either of you want to meet your parents expectations. I could not care less what my parents expect my marriage to look like and am only interested in what is right for me and my husband. In fact, my mum does not like my husband but I (obviously!) married him anyway. Equally, my husband moved thousands of miles away from his family to be with me and has told them we will not be having lots of children for them to fawn over.

        On the other hand, we do agree on some big issues in terms of family expectations, including that we should support our parents when they are older. For my husband, that means sending money regularly to his family and hoping his siblings take on the practical side. For me, I will do more caring as my parents are close by, but I would put my marriage first.

        In summary, make sure you and your husband are on the same page and head off the family issues together.

        Oh, and about having multiple weddings – you either have several weddings so everyone can attend at least one, or stick to one place and exclude some important family members. There is no perfect way to do it when you are from different places. Do not worry about having several weddings dates – in the vast majority of countries the legal wedding and the wedding ceremony have to be kept separate. It is only places with law derived from the UK, like the US, where the religious ceremony in a church etc. can also be the legal marriage. (PS – I know India was also a British colony, but the British stupidly did not recognise Hindu weddings as the equivalent of their Christian ones so did not license Hindu wedding venues as legal registries. So Indian people will be used to having at least two wedding dates.)

    • Veronica Mars :

      Most westerners marrying Indians that I’ve known have had 2 weddings: one that was western / traditional (white dress, church, etc) and then a big Indian wedding (Indian dress for the bride and groom, huge guest list) (either in India or at a location that’s convenient for the family, for some of my friends this ended up being New Jersey–why, I don’t know). I’d recommend you join a forum that’s specific to those issues so you can learn more about his culture and how to navigate being respectful of both.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m white (Jewish) and two of my closest friends are Indian-American and Chinese-American. We all dated people of various ethnicities in college and beyond, but I don’t think it’s coincidence that we each ended up marrying some from the same race/religion. Cultural differences can be really hard to navigate. With Indian-Americans in particular, I think there is much more expectation of caring for elderly parents in your home than there is in white American culture. My friends parents moved into her home for several months when her mom underwent surgery and both my friend and her husband expect that both sets of parents will eventually move in permanently when they can no longer live alone. This would be a dealbreaker for me, and I think it would be a dealbreaker for my Indian friend if someone wasn’t willing to let the parents move in, so it’s an important thing to discuss before you get close to marriage. I’m happy to support someone financially, assuming I can afford it myself, and I’m happy to move a relative into a facility near my house and visit regularly, but I couldn’t have my parents and certainly not my in-laws living in my own home for any extended period of time. (My parents wouldn’t want to move in with me either, fwiw – they’re in great shape financially and are already talking about buying into a retirement home in my area so they can eventually be near me without moving in).

      • I guess to add to this – I don’t think the wedding is what you should be focusing on. The wedding is just the beginning, and I think your cultural differences are likely to only grow from there. So sure, talk about how you might have a Western and an Indian wedding and what you might wear, but make sure you discuss things what will happen after the wedding, including things that seem far down the road at this point, like caring for elderly parents.

      • He only has a mother. i met her and we get along fine. I say she can live in our home but it is our home and she will have to accept me and my culture. If she doesn’t like it she can leave and live with his brother. i would also expect that we have a big enough house so she can have her own bedroom on the first floor. i also would not wait on her or my husband hand and foot. I would never do that.

      • + 1

        Caring for elderly parents and having them live with you is a huge issue you need to discuss beforehand, because this is the norm in Indian culture. Both DH and I are Indian and I still find it hard to grasp that his parents will likely be moving in with us permanently for the foreseeable future. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but I know two Indians who married white people and got divorced because of the parents moving in issue.

        My cousin is married to a wonderful white woman and they are very happy together. One of the reasons why it works so well, however, is because she has absolutely embraced Indian culture (e.g. they had an amazing big wedding in India, she took Hindi classes, she participates in religious holidays, etc.). She also had a Catholic wedding in the states too, by the way. Both of their kids have Hindu names. If this doesn’t sound like you and your bf and his parents are pretty Indian then I would think about this all very carefully.

        Also, I’m not sure where you get off writing that there is any expectation that you would have to wait on your husband hand and foot. That’s insulting. Most Indian guys I know are great cooks and do more than their share of childcare. Stop generalizing.

      • + 1

        Caring for elderly parents and having them live with you is a huge issue you need to discuss beforehand, because this is the norm in Indian culture. Both DH and I are Indian and I still find it hard to grasp that his parents will likely be moving in with us permanently for the foreseeable future. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but I know two Indians who married white people and got divorced because of the parents moving in issue.

        My cousin is married to a wonderful white woman and they are very happy together. One of the reasons why it works so well, however, is because she has absolutely embraced Indian culture (e.g. they had an amazing big wedding in India, she took Hindi classes, she participates in religious holidays, etc.). She also had a Catholic wedding in the states too, by the way. Both of their kids have Hindu names. If this doesn’t sound like you and your bf and his parents are pretty Indian then I would think about this all very carefully.

        Also, I’m not sure where you get off writing that there is an expectation that you would have to wait on your husband hand and foot. That’s insulting. Most Indian guys I know are great cooks and do more than their share of childcare. Stop generalizing.

        • Well i don’t really know much about the Indian culture and i am learning. I “get off” saying that about anyone i would marry. I would never wait on someone hand and foot regardless of their culture. Thank you for your comment but the snark isn’t necessary.

          • The snark is necessary because that was a very condescending comment. Highly doubt you would have written that if your bf was white, so check yourself please.

          • Actually no. Every man i have dated knew that I’m not going to be the stay at home wife waiting on him hand and foot. I have made that clear to past white boyfriends. I even told them i would never change my last name. It is something I️ strongly believe in regardless of the race/ethnicity of my future husband. Even if my bf was white, he would know!

          • Also, if you are ever going to educate people about your culture, you can be a little nicer. It wouldn’t kill you and all you are doing is making people turn away from you. People have stereotypes about all cultures. Educate, but don’t belittle them in the process. You’re doing more harm than good.

          • Of course she wouldn’t have. This entire thread is about Indians having way different expectations for parental devotion than your regular American white person.

    • Several Indian friends have had only one wedding but have worn traditional Indian dress for the ceremony and a white Western wedding dress for the reception. Multiple wedding dresses are becoming increasingly common even where there aren’t multiple cultures to be incorporated, so I don’t think anyone would bat an eyelash about it.

    • I married someone from a different country/religion/culture/language – we are both white though. A big part of making it work for us and our kids has been fully embracing and celebrating each other’s culture. So I’ve learned his language and read to my kids in that language, he moved to the town where I grew up. His mom comes to visit us for a month each year and we visit his hometown and stay with his mom for about 3 weeks.

      Highly recommend pre-marital counselling with a counselor experienced in cross- cultural issues so that you have someone to help you work out your vision of what life will look like together and to help you to learn to embrace the chaos. Combining two families of origin is hard so be careful to not attribute all differences to culture. I get along with my DH’s brother much better than I do my own sister who has really changed her values from how we were raised.

    • Honestly, it sounds like you’re looking for an excuse to leave. It’s okay to leave if you’re not comfortable in the relationship. It doesn’t have to be a “legit” reason. Any reason that gives you pause about the relationship (or about yourself in the relationship) is legit.

      • Two Cents :


        I know it’s hard to detect tone from online messages, but you also sound a bit reluctant to embrace your bf’s culture. You wearing a red sari should be the least of worries – think about religious differences, care for elderly parents, celebrating holidays, naming your kids ethnic names….the list goes on. It’s absolutely fine to not want to embrace the culture, but if that’s the case I would consider getting out of this relationship. I agree with others that the most successful interracial couples I’ve seen where one person is non-Indian is where that person fully embraces Indian culture.

        • Couldn’t he fully embrace my culture? Why does it have to be so one sided? Why would i be expected to fully embrace his and not the other way around?

          • Two Cents :

            He should absolutely embrace your culture, but you haven’t given any indication from your post that he is reluctant to do that. You, on the other hand, have indicated that you’re not as willing. At least that is how it is coming across.

          • True. That is how my comments come across but not intentionally. I’m fine with 50/50 both of our cultures. We have discussed that, but I wonder if he really understands what that means since he is more religious than me and may not be thinking about all these things. My family is pretty relaxed, but I still want my culture to be a part of my life.

          • Talk to your boyfriend.

    • Light Therapy Lamps? :

      I recommend premarital counseling if you stay with this man and decide to get married. In the gentlest way possible, I think you’re overreacting to hypothetical what-ifs for the moment. For context, my family is Chinese and my cousins and aunts have married white men, and very little cultural clashes have happened so far.

      With regards to the red wedding dress – this isn’t even worth worrying about. Most bi-cultural brides, if they get married in the US, wear a white wedding dress at the ceremony, and switch to traditional dress for the dinner/reception (also easier to move around in, according to my cousins). (I’m not sure about Southeast Asian cultural norms, but white is considered a mourning color in East Asian cultures.)

      Family expectations – I think this is the huge issue that you will have to work out between the two of you and that’s why I suggest premarital counseling. Someone who grows up in a culture where it’s expected to take care of your parents may not realize that in other cultures there’s a much more defined boundary between parents and adult children, and vice versa. For my culture at least – our parents raised you with the expectation that you will take care of them when they are elderly, whether that be living in your house or providing money to the sibling that is taking care of them. You don’t have to wait on your ILs hand and foot, but there is a certain sort of respect that you must give them, and I think it’s difficult to grasp the certain level if you didn’t grow up in the culture.

      • Yes, i am overreacting to all the hypothetical issues that may come up. I generally try to consider every issue and resolve it first. Typical type A (former) lawyer personality. But no one will be perfect and I’m trying to accept that there will always be issues that you cannot account for. Also I️ hate this apple auto correct for every i. Sorry about that!

        • Light Therapy Lamps? :

          One more thing – I recommend watching the movie “Meet the Patels” for a perspective from the XYZ-American side of things, I think it’s available on Netflix.

          I saw that upthread you mentioned that you didn’t know the expectations, and thought of this movie. it’s a comedy-documentary but I can tell you straight up that it’s very relatable to any XYZ-American who has to deal with cultural clashes when your parents expect you to marry within your culture, but you’ve met someone who is from a different culture.

      • anon for this :

        I’m neither Indian nor Chinese but have good friends from both cultures who married white guys, and from what I can see there are much, much larger cultural differences with marrying someone Indian. Many Chinese are Christian, have “american” names, have many generations of relatives that have lived in the US, are much more likely to marry someone white. My Indian friends, on the other hand, are Muslim/Hindu, have clearly ethnic names, parents were the first generation to move to the US, are much more likely to house elderly parents at home, there is a lot less interracial marriage in their families, etc. Clearly I’m generalizing but I’ve seen this again and again with many families. Just offering a counter that comparing Indian culture to Chinese is apples to oranges.

        • Light Therapy Lamps? :

          @anon for this: it really depends on the specific family – one side of my family is first-gen from China so the traditions are more strongly adhered to, the other side has been in the US for a couple generations similar to your generalization

          @anonOP: I believe you asked why should you fully embrace his culture upthread. well, the thing is, you don’t have to if you don’t want to, but he is probably already more-or-less trying to embrace American culture by 1) living in the US and adhering to its norms day to day and putting up with all sorts of micro-aggressions of racism (meant in general life scenarios, not anyone specific here), and 2) dating outside his nationality/race/culture.

          • I’m ok with it being 50/50 as long as it really is 50/50. Of course 60/40 each way sometimes because there’s never a true 50/50.

    • I married an immigrant. Even though we are from the same culture, I’m American-born, and we did have some differences. His mother and some siblings and extended family members have also immigrated, but he has close ties back in his home country.

      For instance, he expects us to financially send money back to his family. We all speak the same language, literally, but we often aren’t on the same page.

      I did not expect these issues to come up, so I suggest you discuss them in advance. I am fine with us getting an in-law apartment for either of our moms (both children of single moms), but his expectations we regularly remit money causes friction. He also wanted us to invest in a brother’s business enterprise. Make sure you have conversations about your money, his money, and your joint money and where it goes.

    • On the topic of a therapist or pre marital counselor, any recommendations in nyc? I have had some relationship issues in the past and would be open to seeing one for individual counseling as well as someone for pre marital counseling.

    • Anony Moose :

      Not me, but my brother, Irish-American Catholic, married a Turkish-Greek Muslim woman.

      One thing that helped: He completely won over his mother-in-law-to-be early on, by little things like helping with the dishes, carrying packages for her. (And because he’s a pretty nice guy.)

      They got married in Turkey in a Turkish civil ceremony, followed by a reception that her parents hosted. Followed the next day by a Catholic ceremony with only our family and a few of his friends. Their children have been baptized Catholic, but are being brought up with the tenants of both religions. This was discussed before they got married.

      I do think that both families were very willing to accept the other and that made a huge difference. My sis-in-law is one of the nicest people I know and her family is warm and welcoming.

      When they moved back to the States, his MIL would come to visit for three months every year. I have never heard him complain about this. My SIL will also go back home with the kids for one or two months every summer.

      After his FIL passed away, he has taken over her financial business (rather than her own son; she apparently has more confidence in my brother). And I know they are prepared to offer her a home if she can’t live on her own at any point. However, my brother has drawn a line at supporting his brother-in-law, who hasn’t had a job in 15 years. I don’t know what cultural expectations there might be around this.

      One thing I have noticed is that they tend to tell their families what they are going to do. They don’t ask for advice or in any way invite opinions. It’s basically, “This is what we are doing. Like it or lump it. If you want to see us, these are the terms.” Not in a mean way, just very matter-of-factly. I think in acting this way, they are making it clear that they make the decisions for their family, and that extended family doesn’t have a role in what their family does.

    • Thank you all for your comments on this stressful topic. I think I need a glass of wine tonight!!

      • Light Therapy Lamps? :

        Last thought – I didn’t mean to pile on you with my comments, but as others have pointed out, some of your earlier comments came off as defensive or even slightly condescending of Indian culture, so that’s the tone I responded to.

        Anyway, I agree with what Two Cents said above, and marriage ultimately is about compromise on both sides. At least now you have a bit of a framework to go on and best of luck in discussing these issues with your bf.

    • Yes, and I think you’re being very sensible to examine this at an early stage of the relationship! My grandparents (on one side; stayed together but resentfully) and parents (bitterly divorced) are also cross-cultural, and both advised me to marry someone from the same or an international (3rd culture kid) family. I love my husband dearly, and he’s a wonderful man, but we routinely hit cultural issues, not just from each other but from our extended families. Heed the advice upthread about the expectations of extended family, both financial and the likelihood of them moving in/demanding greencards or a place to stay “temporarily”. My husband comes out with one-liners like “in [my home country], men don’t wash the floor” which may be true, but the wives also don’t…his peers have housekeepers who do that daily for them…as well as cook, clean, change diapers, nanny their children etc for a pittance. That kind of nonsense is hard to swallow, and a reply of “neither do the women”, “the women also don’t WORK full time” etc are not particularly conducive to marital harmony or personal happiness. In addition to that, we have slightly different values (we both are Christian but East/West branches) but I’m glad that we both value our children’s education, we both wanted them to be baptized, we can go to the same Church (which is kind of mid-way between our families’ respective religions), have similar preference for healthy cooking/food. However, even here we differ; he prefers his native dishes and so I learnt a few of them but they take a couple of hours to prepare…worth it for special occasions, but he sometimes mentions his friends’ wives (brought over from his home country by his friends who live locally in US) who cook great food daily (and stay at home with their kids). Again, the reminder that they don’t work gets raised but isn’t particularly helpful. I’d also add that his family were absolutely lovely before we were married, but now that his mother moved in, she often makes subtly rude or judgmental comments, and now he’s applied for his siblings to get greencards too. Hmmm. Anyway, to cut it short, the days are long but the years are short. Keep poking around for clues, make it clear that you will/won’t learn his language, get to know his extended family and listen to their comments about America/family friends with American spouses, etc. You’ll be able to make an informed decision. Good luck, and I do hope it works out for you.

  11. Call your reps :

    According to the NY Times, analysts from Goldman Sachs give the tax law/health care bill an 80% chance of passing. It includes a repeal of the ACA mandate to buy health insurance. Please call your representatives and senators today to express your thoughts on this before it’s too late!

    • Cat Lady In Training :

      I know this is their plan-to wear us down-, but damn I’m tired of fighting this fight.

    • I just do not understand how this can pass given that so many republicans in blue states would be basically voting themselves out of office by going along with this given the elimination of the state tax deduction, among other things. I’m not saying it won’t happen, just that I am mystified as to how it could.

      • Which Republicans in blue states? The entire Massachusetts delegation are Democrats. Are there Manhattan Congressmen who are going to lose their jobs? Do you think someone in upstate NY or inland CA will punish their GOP representatives for raising taxes on NYC or San Fran?

        The people who live in these super-expensive areas have almost exclusively Democrats to represent them, or vote D no matter what.

        But repealing the individual mandate is a huge win, seeing as a lot of people who pay the penalty aren’t high earners.

        • anonymous in Chicago :

          Uh, no. There are plenty of Republicans in Congress that come from high tax states. In Illinois, the rich suburbs of Chicago have plenty of Republican Congressmen and even those old school R voters are angry because they are going to be paying more in taxes. Just because the line is “rich liberal elite” does not mean that all rich people vote Democrat and in fact you will find many establishment Republicans are so because of taxes. If their taxes go up, what benefits do Republicans offer anymore?

          The individual mandate is the whole point to the Affordable Care Act, because without mandating insurance coverage, then healthy and young people don’t buy in and healthcare becomes prohibitively expensive for people who just happen to get cancer, such that you can only really fight cancer if you are a multi-millionaire. It is what keeps ordinary families from being medically bankrupt because their child was born with epilepsy or Down’s Syndrome.

        • anonymous in Chicago :


          “In New Jersey alone, there are as many as five Republican-held districts where the tax plan is likely to be unpopular; add in those in New York and California and the number approaches 20. To gain a majority, Democrats must take two dozen seats away from the G.O.P., and they have already been hungrily eyeing the educated suburbs where President Trump is unpopular.”

          From the NYT. That’s three states.

          • Anonymous :

            There are a total of 5 GOP congressmen from NJ and 14 from California. Both states have a progressive, not flat, state income tax.

            The question is how many of those Congressmen hail from high earning, high housing cost districts. That number isn’t 5 and 14.

        • That’s simply not true. There are plenty of republicans in NY’s congressional delegation or NJ’s or CA’s. No one is talking about upstate NY, but Long Island’s Peter King is sure going to be in trouble. Frankly, I’m fine with it, and if this bill passes, watching him get the boot from his otherwise gerrymandered seat will be one of my consolation prizes.

          And repealing the individual mandate isn’t going to do anything but make health care more unaffordable for people who can least afford it.

          • Anonymous :

            If you don’t understand that the individual mandate doesn’t work and drives up the cost of insurance, you need to stop consuming such biased media.

            The fact that a handful of super-rich people aren’t going to be able to deduct the mortgage interest on ther five million dollar homes won’t tip elections. There are tax decreases for far more people than will see increases.

            Corporate taxes always get passed on to the consumer and make us less competitive abroad.

          • Anonymous :

            You do not seem to understand how individual mandate works.

    • Well said – especially if you live in Maine (just voted to expand Medicaid), or the high-tax states (NY, NJ, CA, IL, MN, DC, Wisconsin). Even staunch establishment Republicans where I live are not happy about this because even their taxes are going up; this doesn’t help the “working rich” it helps the “idle rich” who don’t work.

    • This just makes me so angry. My taxes will certainly go up, which I could take, but at the same time it will be funding the estate tax repeal and gutting the programs for the less fortunate. It keeps getting worse!

      • Right! I’d be fine with higher taxes for greater social gains and benefits. But the idea that I’m going to pay more so someone can hoard inherited wealth even more than now and corporations can pay less while insurance markets crumble – not so appealing.

      • Right! I am hoping to get a 5-10% raise at the end up this year–and it will likely all go toward a tax increase, higher health care premiums (about 10% higher this year, which I recognize could be much worse), and health care expenses that fall below our deductibles. It makes me so frustrated–I’m working hard and doing a good job, but I feel like I have to run faster and faster on the hamster wheel.

    • KateMiddletown :

      Upside – this bill could only be in effect for max 10 years, per a statute saying that anything that increases the deficit by greater than a set percentage has to have a time limit. (This is per NPR this morning, apologies for not having the facts 100% in my pre-coffee fog.)

      • The only upside I can see is that it will help the Democrats retake the house since any Republicans from NY, NJ and California who pass this bill to the detriment of their constituency will be really hard to re-elect.
        But ten yrs of this is hard to stomach

  12. I am currently trying to conceive and have been hypothyroid for over a decade- just got my results back from my annual physical and while my TSH is in “normal” range (3.4), I have heard that its better for it to be lower when trying to get pregnant. My regular physician doesn’t think it is an issue but I want to follow up with an endocrinologist. Anyone have a recommendation for a good endocrinologist in DC (or Northern Virginia)? Thanks so much!

    • I don’t have a local recommendation for you – but save yourself some time and have your OB/GYN refer you specifically to a Reproductive Endocrinologist. (I’ve been to both and you want a specialist for this.) With a hypothyroid diagnosis they should be more accommodating in moving you to a fertility specific doctor (especially if you’ve been TTC for 6+ months).

      The initial blood work should include FSH and Anti-Mullerian Hormone level testing. Once the RE has that information they can discuss a game plan specific to you. Good luck!

      • Anon in NYC :

        I agree – ask your OB. I have a normal thyroid but actually became hypothyroid during pregnancy and had to see an endocrinologist / go on meds for the duration of my pregnancy. My OB referred me to an endocrinologist that also had expertise in reproductive issues.

    • I am usually very quick to tell people to go to a reproductive endocrinologist, but if you haven’t been trying to get pregnant for at least 6 months, your insurance might not cover it and it might not be necessary. And my repro endos have always sent me to a regular endocrinologist for my hypothyroid issues (generally only have issues when trying to get pregnant — that is, my levels are high for someone trying to get pregnant but not for a “normal” person). In terms of recommendations, I recommend Suzanne Rogacz in Fairfax.

    • SuziStockbroker :

      I did some research on this back before I was TTC the first time. It was a long time ago, but my understanding is that for TTC it was ideally in 1-2 range. Mine was 3.2 at the time. My doc didn’t listen to my concerns, just saying 3.2 is “in the normal range”. I changed docs and she increased my dosage gradually, and we kept monitoring. It got down into the “ideal” range shortly before we started TTC, and I had no problems conceiving.

      I think one of the very first things an RE will do is check your thyroid function, it is such a common culprit of TTC difficulties.

    • As a counterpoint, before I was TTC, I also had all my levels checked by my regular OB. My TSH was 3.78. It was in the normal range for the lab and the OB wasn’t concerned. I asked her to send me to a reproductive endo (my insurance covered it) and she did. He also wasn’t concerned. I left, started trying that month, and got pregnant in the first month trying. I don’t think they’ve tested TSH again since I’ve been pregnant.

  13. Christmas Overload :

    What does your office typically do for Christmas?
    I’m in my first professional job and just learned about all of the events taking place here for the holidays, beginning after Thanksgiving. These include (but are not limited to) an office/cubicle decorating contest, an ugly sweater contest, a service project, decorating personalized ornaments for a tree, and a potluck party during the workday with a gift exchange and cookie exchange.
    This seems like a lot, especially during one of our busier times of the year, but I don’t have anything to compare it to. Has someone in the office gone a little jingle-bell crazy, or is this normal?

    • Wow definitely overboard. Of my sample size of 3, each department had a holiday lunch for everyone (you can either chip in cash or bring a dish), and some people strung lights around cubicles — but nothing more. The company always collected Toys for Tots or similar with a large bin in the lobby.

    • This sounds like a ton to me. My office has a holiday party the week of end-of-year reviews after our quarterly internal meeting and that is it.

    • Does everyone participate in everything? If it were me, I’d skip the decor, wear the ugly sweater, skip the service project (assuming you are legit busy – I usually have meetings that conflict with these), bring an ornament from home to contribute to the tree, bring a dish to share for the potluck, skip the gift exchange and skip the cookies.

      It’d give the impression of participating, while skipping the time consuming stuff.

    • That does seem like a lot! My office has a holiday party, which is a nice lunch during work hours. They also collect donations for a toys-for-tots type thing that our state bar association organizes.

    • We do basically nothing. One year, we had an after hours dinner. Last year, nothing. This year, some coworkers are organizing a bowling party that has poor attendance thus far.

    • I’m at a big company, and none of the following are mandatory participation. Some are company wide, some are just my department (about 50 people) and some are for the building I’m in (we have multiple bldgs on campus). The following are happening over the next 6 weeks…
      1. Thanksgiving dinner (tomorrow, in fact) served by senior mgmt in the cafeteria
      2. cube decorating, though most people don’t participate
      3. I think my dept is doing a potluck with the other depts that sit nearby – first time for that
      4. Department outing (fancy lunch, no alcohol)
      5. Adopt-a-family for whoever wants to participate.

    • This is a lot but I know exactly how this happens, or, at least, how it happened at a previous company…

      We had an overall holiday party that everyone was invited to. My department had a lunchtime chili cook-off tradition that had been around for years but was technically “unofficial”. Another department hosted a “friends and family” holiday happy hour that I got invited to. Things pile up; you don’t have to go to or participate in all of them.

    • Anon for this :

      We have:
      1) A few charity drives that culminate in a “spirit week” of sorts with a cookie exchange
      2) Holiday party
      3) Holiday tea (for a specific group of women)

    • Baconpancakes :

      Be honest – do you work for Santa? Because if so I think you should’ve seen this coming.

  14. I would give them a card, and then say that you’d love to take them out to dinner to celebrate (in the card). This will deepen your relationship and should be a good way to pick their brain!

  15. I just ran a

  16. Jobsearch Woes :

    I am one of the law firm associates who was asked to leave a few weeks ago. I get to stay on the website until late Jan. I am starting to freak out that I won’t find anything and my career will be ruined. I have had several interviews and several informal meet-and-greets. I am trying so hard! I think it’s good I am getting into the door, but no one is in a huge rush to hire, which is frustrating.

    Hive, please share with me your awesome, “I WAS HIRED IN DECEMBER!” stories. They will help me not curl in a ball on my couch.

    Also, Hive, if you have a friend that is jobsearching, call her. Offer to take her out for a drink. It’s hell out there. It really is.

    • If you’re trying to lateral, the market often opens up later in winter, as associates collect their bonuses and THEN give notice…

    • Maybe check into eligibility for clerkship programs? If you can get something starting between January to April, the firm might extend you to cover the gap. That gives you a year to build additional experience and find another firm position.

    • I got offered my current job the weekend before thanksgiving. Started on December 28. You got this!

    • Just a different perspective–I was given 3 months and did not get hired before the end of that time. I was unemployed for a few months, which, it turned out, gave me time to recharge and refocus after some pretty serious burnout. I got another job offer, and I’m coming up on my one-year anniversary in a law firm with a good work/life balance and mostly reasonable people where I get to do exactly and exclusively the work I want. My career was not ruined but has new life.

      I really hope you get a job before January–really, I do! But your career is long and may not be a straight trajectory, and sometimes that works out well too!

      • How did you explain the gap? I am coming up at the end of my period.

        • I really couldn’t “explain” the gap–just had to put a spin on why things didn’t work out at my previous firm and what I had been doing since. I probably didn’t get a job or two because of it, but the important thing is that I did find one that’s a good fit. Also, I learned along the way that it’s extremely common to be asked to leave a firm for one reason or another, regardless of whether there’s a gap, so while people have to take it into account, they may also understand that sh*t happens or at least be sympathetic.

    • If you feel like staying on the website longer would help, then ask after the New Year. It’s really not that a big a deal to a firm to keep you on the website a bit longer if it buys you time.

    • It sounds like you’re in Biglaw, which is such a different beast. But I graduated in May, after spending all of 3L job searching, job searched all throughout bar study, started a temporary local govt job in September, job searched daily along with another recently licensed attorney… losing hope… finally at the end of December I get an offer at law firm, and so does my colleague (on the same day!). It can happen.

    • I got hired (twice!) in late Nov./early Dec. It can be done, its a slog, but you’ll get through it.

    • I’m not a lawyer, but after I was laid off from my last job, it took me three and a half months to get a new job. I had multiple interviews every month. At the time, I was desperate to get a job as soon as possible, but looking back, I just increased my own personal suffering by having unrealistic expectations. Go easy on yourself. If you have a few months gap in your resume, no big deal. Most people go through something like this at one point in their career. It’s not a sign you’re a failure. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Just a reason to get problem solving. Good luck! You’ll be okay.

  17. How long did it take you all to hear back about a job after a second interview? I had a follow-up two weeks ago for a job. I called the hiring manager yesterday to follow-up and left a VM. Now I am waiting and It. Is. Agonizing.

  18. Anon in NYC :

    Hair Dryer question – do people still like the T3 Featherweight, or is there a better hair dryer out there? I’m not sure I could stomach paying the price of the Dyson hairdryer unless it were truly amazing.

    • I loved my T3. I loved it much more than the Babyliss I replaced it with. If you are looking to save a bit, also consider the Rusk W8less. I think I landed on it for price reasons after being disappointed with the Babyliss (which others love) and not wanting to throw another chunk at a T3 and it’s now been my daily hairdryer for at least 4 years.

    • I have gotten the new T3 proi which is supposedly comparable to the Dyson. I still prefer my Sedu blowdryer over that. Look into the Sedu

  19. Has anyone done a Norwegian fjord cruise? Recommendations for cruise line or ports that are not to be missed? (We have cruised before and know what we’re getting into as far as mediocre food, etc. – it’s not our favorite method of travel in general but we loved it in Alaska and it seems like Norway is similarly best seen from a ship).

    • I haven’t done one, but I did some research last year on a potential Norway trip. It seems the popular thing to do is Norway in a Nutshell where you book a series of boat/train/bus rides from Oslo to Bergen or vice versa. There are companies who will book the package for you with each leg perfectly timed for transfers, or you can book the individual tickets yourself. This way, you can choose to linger in a certain town at your own pace. It sounds very doable and if other destinations hadn’t hijacked my plans I would’ve done it.

      • Anonymous :

        DH and I did Norway in a Nutshell this summer and loved it! My 2 tips – (1) Go from Oslo to Bergen. We went the other way and our last train ride was the long train ride to Oslo that was mostly in the dark; (2) if you are doing the trip in one day there is a porter service that will pick up your bags at your hotel in Oslo/Bergen and drop them off at your hotel on the other end. No luggage meant we could enjoy the day with just our day pack and scope out the best seats while others were finding room for their stuff. Worth every penny.

  20. Letting It Go :

    Has anyone ever been through a house remodel where the contractor did something and it was too late to change it, and it looked not good, and you had to live with it forever, and you’re spending the cost of your house on the remodel, and you just want to sit at your desk and cry, and not do work, and your husband doesn’t care, about the remodel, about your frustrations, about any of it?

    • I️ believe literally everyone who has done a major renovation has these feelings. You are not alone.

    • Yep, my advice is get on pinterest and type in the problem issue and see what creative things people have done to remedy them, it may not be as bad as you think. It’s a bummer though, I’m living w a few things I hate and plotting a remodel in my dreams.

      • And then therapy! Does your husband really not care?

        • Seriously? Therapy? Eyeroll.

          • Why the eyeroll? OP is so upset about something she wants to cry and her partner doesn’t seem to care.

          • Because it’s not unreasonable or abnormal or pathological to get so upset about something you want to cry. I cry all the time. I cry when I watch the lion king and (spoiler alert) Mufasa dies and I think of my parents getting old. I cry if I spill hot tea on my thumb. I cry when my terrible boss says something hurtful, or when another date is meh. I cry reading about Syria. FWIW, I’ve been going to therapy regularly for years at various points in my life and am all about CBT and treating depression/anxiety. But sometimes crying is just a normal reaction and not a pathology.

            Her solution re; her partner is to talk to him about it.

          • Does the H not care that OP is crying, or does H not care about the error to the same extent OP does?

            If the former, and it’s part of a pattern, therapy might be in order. If it’s the latter – no, you don’t need therapy.

    • Not an entire remodel but when we had our floors refinished the guy had to replace a couple boards. Our house is super old and my partner wanted a “reclaimed” look. He thought he could achieve this by having the replacement boards stained s different color than the rest of the floor. It would look pretty cool IF the replacement boards were more evenly distributed, but they’re not, and it drive me crazy every time I looked at it for weeks until I got used to it. And my partner didn’t care. What got me through was knowing that in the end we really can change it some day, it’s just money. But I feel your pain.

    • What’s the problem? Unless, it’s like a wall in the wrong place, there are very few things that can’t be addressed through good design.

      • Letting It Go :

        They placed the recessed lights in his office in the dumbest place. It’s 4 recessed lights in a 12 x 12 room with each light 18″ from the wall. We wanted general illumination, which normally calls for 36″ from the wall. You go closer with 18″ when you want to accent the wall (i.e., beautiful artwork, built in bookshelf, etc.). Well, now we are “accenting” an unused corner of the room that will be hidden behind the door, because we normally leave that door to the room open. Another recessed light hangs right over his 90 gallon salt water fish tank, which itself is covered by one huge specialty light that has the power of the sun to help the corals grown. So basically, we have a recessed light highlighting a big black utility light. It would be like putting a recessed light over your big screen tv. Then, they placed the pendants over the kitchen peninsula too far apart. One of them is basically against the wall. It’s going to look awkward. They dry walled it all in, and said it’s too late to change it. I had 2 weeks to notice the problem and make changes and why didn’t I bring this up sooner. Well, I’m working full time, taking a class a night in a city two hours away, and my husband doesn’t notice/doesn’t think of things like does the lighting placement make sense. But he does ask me why I’m not getting insulation put in the walls. So he sends me on research missions but doesn’t help anticipate and solve problems. So, yeah, that’s why I didn’t notice earlier. Aarrgghhh. I wish I could quit.

        • Can’t they just open up the wall/ceiling and move the lights (and patch the old holes)? We have had recessed lighting adding and existing ones moved and they just patched up the old holes.

        • This can totally be changed. Really. It’s drywall – it can be patched. Even if your ceiling finish is up it can be refinished. I’m not saying it will be cheap if ceiling refinishing is required but seriously if it is driving you now, just change it! I will cheer you on if you do if that helps!

        • anon a mouse :

          It’s not too late to change the lighting. They can re-drywall. It will take time, and probably will cost you money, but it’s worth it to do it now. Stand your ground.

        • 1- his office, he doesn’t care, move on.

          2- Kitchen. Really not a big deal

        • This is fixable. Unless you’re in his office a lot, I would let that go. Focus on getting the kitchen light fixed. They should give you a deal on the work if you emphasize that you would like to be able to give them a good reference but this issue has changed that.

        • It is not too late to change and it is not an expensive fix for the contractor. It is a matter of cutting holes in correct location, running the wiring for the lights to those locations and patching the prior holes. They do not have to take drywall down and redo it. I would insist they fix it if it was clear that they should have been 36″ from the wall. If you don’t fix it, it will drive you crazy and if you end of selling it at some point, I am sure sellers will notice it.

        • Anon DIYer :

          It is SO not too late to change it. It’ll cost extra money, but it’s clearly worth it to you. These contractors work for YOU. Make them do work.

          • Senior Attorney :


            Make it happen!

          • This. Relocating these is NOT a big fix. Will it cost some time and money? Yes. But MAKE A FUSS. They work for YOU, and unless you are happy, you will not refer them!

        • I would fix the kitchen but not his office. You’re not in there that often, he doesn’t care, it won’t bother you that much after 6 months. The kitchen island is a place you’ll spend all your time though, I would fight/pay to fix that one.

    • Are you sure it’s too late to change it? If you’re already paying bajilions of dollars, a few extra to fix a fatal flaw seems worth the conversations.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I agree with this a million percent. It’s worth almost any price to fix it instead of living with a mistake that will make you feel horrible for the rest of your life.

    • Hugs! You’re me, two years ago. You have two choices: learn to live with it and be…satisfied (looking at you, stupid tile floor that attracts every molecule of dirt and dog hair) or do it over again, which will be expensive, if it’s even possible.
      Once you’ve had a moment to think (I know stuff moves quickly on a remodel), if you really can’t stand it, can you honestly and unemotionally discuss with your husband whether it’s feasible to change this element and whether the additional cost would be worth it? I’m a firm believer that you should love everything your contractor does, but there were some things I initially thought “god that is awful” that I eventually came around to at least being ok with. I think a lot of that was due to the contractor being very good at explaining his logic: he picked grout color that I didn’t love and that stupid tile floor, but he was committed to a theme I wanted and end the end those choices really were the best, even if they aren’t perfect. I realize these are small examples and you may be working with something huge – like a bad bathroom setup. Those are more difficult to fix and I feel for you! Good luck!

      • Letting It Go :

        This remodel feels like that. We are adding a second floor to a back office that will serve as a master bath, master bedroom. We are redoing part of our kitchen, and his office. Replacing all the siding, which involves lead remediation, adding trim, painting brick, replacing front door, interior doors, basement doors, changing door hardware, lighting, replacing deck, rewiring all the two-prong sockets for three-prong, fixing termite damage in the basement, fixing insulation in the attic. The list is endless. It’s worse than planning a wedding. Basically, trying to bring up a 1938 colonial house with 1970’s aluminum siding up to date, and nothing in this house was done until now.

    • Yep! We remodeled our kitchen about 5 years ago. It’s not the contractor’s fault, but DH wanted something a certain way, and he talked me into it. We both regret that particular decision, but it would be hard and expensive to redo. Five years later, we still brainstorm ways we could improve that part of the kitchen to make it better. But mostly we live with it.

    • Puddlejumper :

      My best technique for situations where nothing can change and you are hurt is to write a letter saying everything you feel to the person at fault. So maybe the contractor in your case. I then read that letter outloud and get rid of it.

      On my wedding my wedding planner didn’t put out place cards. This meant that people with allergies or special meal needs didn’t get them. It also meant that all the hours I went into making sure people were placed in the right spot went out the window. She also didn’t put enough seats at my table so my parents couldn’t eat with me on my wedding day. This was her last wedding as a wedding planner. No review of our experience would help future couples stay away from her. The day was over, nothing could be done about it. But it still made me upset. I wrote a letter telling her exactly why I was hurt. Read it to my husband. Threw it away. And moved on. Maybe this will help you.

      However with most house stuff…I do think there is wiggle room to get it changed. Unless they cut down like a tree.

  21. Ghost Chairs as Dining Chairs? :

    I love the look of ghost chairs but are they too uncomfortable for dining chairs? We currently have heavy leather chairs that a huge but comfy and I want my guests to linger at the table.

    Trying to keep the space light and air so they are a great fit. Plus they are stackable so I can easily store the extras. Table seats 8 and extendable to 12.

    • The hard plastic material and lack of padding (leather or fabric cushioned upholstery) makes them uncomfortable for dining. You can try adding cushions but will need a way to secure them.

    • Wildkitten :

      The clear chairs from Ikea are super comfortable.

    • I have clear plastic chairs and they have arms and are comfortable, stackable, easy to clean and they dont take up too much visual space. Very happy with them.

  22. I just ran a couple of calculators and it looks like we’re going to owe 3-4k in taxes come April.

    Our situation got complicated this year. We got married, so it’s our first time filing jointly. Naively I thought this meant we’d get a refund. DH was on unemployment for about 1/3 of the year, with no taxes withheld. He now earns a quarter of what I do. We both (as singles) got refunds last year. We have rental income so I guess that and the unemployment income through us way over our withholdings.

    Should I adjust our withholdings dramatically now to cover most of the bill? Will we get a fine in April?

    • I don’t think you’ll get a penalty. We owed $20k the year we got married and there was no fine. But going forward you should adjust your withholding – not to cover this bill but so you don’t end up owing again next year. Both my husband and I fill out our W-2s as “married, but withhold at higher single rate” and we usually end up with a small refund at tax time.

    • First, you’ll want to take your situation to a CPA for actual advice. Whether or not you’ll owe a penalty stems from a myriad of details comprising your individual situation.

      From one internet stranger to another, I would increase my withholdings to whatever my cash comfort level is to get closer to even.

    • You also need to consider your state tax obligations. Sounds like you need to talk to a tax professional, not the Hive!

      • Also – I’m pretty sure the underpayment penalty only applies if you are paying your taxes on a quarterly basis, or if you are self-withholding (e.g., self-employed). But again, tax professional.

        • I got hit with the underpayment penalty last year and I’m a W-2 employee. You need to be withholding 90% of your tax liability to not be required to pay it. It was an unpleasant surprise.

          • +1. If you increase your withholding now you can avoid a penalty but if you owe over $1k you’ll pay a penalty. (For some bizarre reason the IRS doesn’t care if your withholding is uneven, just if they get everything by Dec 31.)

          • If it’s the first time you owe big, I don’t think you get the penalty. It’s if you underwithold going forward, after having done it once.

    • I can’t say for sure you won’t get a fine, but one year we were underwithheld by $15K and there was no fine. Next year, despite attempting to manage the ATM, we were still underwithheld by about $10K and there was a fine in the low 3 figures range. You can adjust your withholding now, though, if you know the approx amount and you want to reduce the pain in April.

    • Letting It Go :

      This happened to us, and we got very nervous. Consistent with the comments below, my understanding is that the first year there is a dramatic change causing you to owe a lot more in taxes than you normally do, they don’t give you a penalty. Think of it as not punishing behavior that was not intentional. But the second year, if you haven’t fixed the situation, you will get a penalty. Because you should have known better. But yeah, I second everyone here who suggests you talk to a tax professional, and I suggest you talk to more than 1. You’ll get different answers. Go with the safest answer, even if it involves some financial pain. You don’t want to be fighting an IRS audit. They go down hill fast.

  23. Thanksgiving appetizers: are these a thing? My SIL has offered to bring a few, but we eat at noon or 1PM and I’m loathe to do all that cooking and have it ruined by appetizers. My instinct is to ask her to bring buns and condiments for sandwiches instead (so to cover the Round 2/after-meal “appetizers” instead). Thoughts? She is also bringing pie and a side so it’s not a question of her willingness to bring stuff — just that other than a relish tray, I’ve never really considered this an occasion that requires an appetizer before the meal!

    • I think it depends. We usually do them but we eat later. If you’re set on eating at 1, just say that and if she still wants to bring, maybe they can be saved for round 2 or you can redirect to buns/sauces. You could also just say that side and pie is plenty.

      • Anon in NYC :

        Yep. We provide appetizers, but we usually eat at around 6, and people show up at around 3. I think asking for buns/condiments is a great idea.

    • For me it depends on breakfast and what time people are arriving. If I know that no one will have eaten breakfast and they’re all getting there at 10 or 11 to hang out before the meal, I think a light appetizer is good to have around. If they’re getting there right before the meal or I know that they’re likely to have eaten already that day, no appetizer necessary.
      The key though is a light appetizer. Heavy hors d’ouvres type things wouldn’t be appropriate to bring.

    • Yes (if only to keep people out from underfoot in the kitchen). How about suggesting she bring something super light / not filling? Like a nice veggie tray?

      • This. Veggie trays keep people from bugging the cooks about when the food will be ready. And I’ve yet to see someone fill up on veggies.

    • Our family eats thanksgiving promptly at noon every year. It is standard to have a relish dish with veggies and a basic ranch dip to munch on before the meal and also to have fixings to accompany leftovers around 5PM. Suggesting she bring something for either scenario would be perfectly appropriate in my family.

    • We always have shrimp cocktail. Just tell her thanks bug no thanks, don’t assign her another thing instead.

    • Yes… but the caveat being we’re Italian. We have appetizers for our appetizers.

    • Anonymous :

      Yes, appetizers are great. We SAY we’re going to eat at 1p, but it always ends up much later than that, and the appetizers give people something to do while they’re waiting around for all the last minute food stuff.

  24. What’s a good gift for a 17yo birthday girl that is not too “fluffy”? I already got her a makeup/skincare item but I’d like something more intellectual or improving or functional to go with it. She is in high school, thinking of going into nursing, has a caring disposition, into baking (but I’ve gotten her baking stuff before), not very sporty.
    Maybe a Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul book or another book (dont know what she’s reading now)? Or something related to nursing (though hopefully wont go astray if she’s changed her mind about career options!).

    • God not that trite [email protected] Get her a novel. A new one that’s getting good reviews.

    • Get her a real book about feminism.

    • Puddlejumper :

      Get her some “Call Your Girlfriend” merchandise from their podcast website. Introduce her to this fantastic feministic podcast!

    • anon a mouse :

      Megan Amram’s Science for Her. It’s pop science with a feminist bent. It’s a little trite for actual adults, but a 17-y-o would be a good age to read it, and the science might tangentially relate to things she’ll study for nursing.

    • there have been a bunch of fun books about how to be an adult or how to be a person of the world or how to be strong woman in recent years that I think would be good for a 17 year old –
      How to be a woman
      How to be a person in the world
      I know what I’m doing and other lies I tell myself
      Shrill – notes from a loud woman
      Too fat, too loud, too sl***ty – rise and reign of unruly women

    • How about a “The Future is Female” t-shirt?

    • I think a seventeen year old does not want to be improved by you or by anyone else. A lot of people that age that I encounter are really into bulletin journaling and, at the very least, she has to take notes and do homework, so I would incline toward some really nice notebooks, cool pens, and so forth. You might get her some cute enamel pins that reflect her interest in medicine. Or cash.

    • Anonymous :

      My 17 year old and a couple of her friends are really into these journals that give writing prompts and then have space for them to write. So that plus some nice pens would be good. She also really likes i-Tunes cards and cash.

      • SMC-San Diego :

        I have a 17-year old daughter and add to the chorus of not getting her anything “improving”. She will smile and thank you; and then it will sit on a shelf unused/unread. A snarky t-shirt is generally appreciated. Someone gave my daughter a NASA t-shirt that was much appreciated because it is considered subtly subversive. Having said that, cash and gift cards (iTunes, Amazon, Etsy) are always most appreciated.

    • Nudibranch :

      I’d hate that. Give her an Amazon card and tell her to pick herself out a book she’s been wanting to read.

    • The Body Shop Advent Calendar if she celebrates Xmas
      Sephora gift card

  25. I’ve been job hunting like crazy. Had one phone interview yesterday but I’m not sure it went well. There is one job I applied for that I am 100% qualified for and super excited about but of course I haven’t heard anything from them after I applied. I’m going to keep reworking my resume and cover letter…in the meantime at least I have a job but I’m so frustrated.

  26. Rainbow Hair :

    I’m at a moderately important technical meeting (think like engineers talking about science stuff where counsel provides procedural guidance). I’m wearing my company ID badge and sitting behind a name card that says, “Rainbow Hair, [Company] Associate General Counsel” and I’m also am wearing a boring but professional black dress. This meeting has been going for 15 minutes. So far the chair has tried to kick me out of executive session as an outsider (nope, I’m a lawyer who works here) and someone else has pointed to me and said, “well is the court reporter recording this?” (nope, still the AGC!) … sigh. I really need to up my bro-ish-ness somehow to fit in with this group.

    • Ugh! I get the court reporter question sometimes and it’s the worst. People are idiots.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        OMG he just apologized(ish) by telling me his wife is a retired judge…. well you couldn’t possibly be s*xist, then, Buddy. Thanks.

        • “Oh, you’re a lawyer? I knew another lady lawyer once!”

        • Ugh. That reminds me of my co-worker who told me he couldn’t possibly be a sexist because his wife is a sociologist who studies gender.

          • I have a colleague who responds to *any* suggestion that he’s sexist by reminding you that he wrote his dissertation on a lesbian. Dude: it’s not a transitive property.

        • I was once asked to replenish the bagels and orange juice at a high-powered breakfast industry event, and rudely for that matter. Wish I could have caught his eye when I sat down on the panel to speak. I hear you – ROAR.

    • RatherBePainting :

      This is my life. I’ve been in meetings where every other attorney has been “Mr. So and So” and I’m called my first name, asked by a Judge if I was the paralegal, asked during a deposition I was taking if I’d make the other counsel coffee, and been spoken over at meetings where I was the company’s general counsel more times than I can count. It is exhausting but so important to speak up every time to make the necessary correction and at times I admit I am not so diplomatic anymore. This is the textbook example of how women are still devalued, and if it’s any consolation, I’m now angry and fired up on your behalf. And wow, don’t we all wish we didn’t have to be more “bro-ish” to be taken seriously?

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Do men wink at other men? Is that saved for women/me?

      I. HATE. IT. SO. MUCH.

      • I don’t know but whyyy do men do this?!!! It makes me insane. It’s just so awkward and basically never a good idea.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          it makes me want to go full baboon and rip a face off (not really, but definitely metaphorically)

          • Anonymous :

            Yes! I usually give them my best cold-angry face. But this is how I feel!

    • That’s the worst. Somehow anything without a blazer reads ‘assistant’ on me in these situations.

      I have a navy pantsuit and a grey pinstripe pantsuit that I save for these occasions, usually wear a cream blouse or shell underneath and really awesome shoes because otherwise the boredom would kill me.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        The men are in POLO SHIRTS (well, 1/2 are in blue button down shirts, one is in a plaid shirt, and the rest are in logo polo shirts. Not a blazer in sight (except, actually, on the court reporter!)). But you’re right, a blazer would probably help.

    • ad nauseum :

      “Are you a *full* attorney?” (As opposed to what, partial? Didn’t you notice me in here defending your deposition?)

      “Are you [partner’s] secretary?” (x 1,000)

      “So are you a lawyer?” (I am standing outside of the court room in federal court and I am wearing a black skirt suit holding case files and I just told you I am a lawyer and am waiting for my colleagues to arrive.)

      “Are you the court reporter?” (x 1,000)

      I cannot count the number of times I’ve sat in meetings with partners, talked about the law, *run meetings,* and then been asked if I’m an attorney. Why, it’s almost enough to make my wonder if I’m actually competent.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        “This is Rainbow Hair, she works for the lawyer.” I. am. the. lawyer!

        “OK, but may I speak to the lawyer?” You. are. speaking. to. her.

      • Anonymous :

        I get the “full” attorney question too. What is the other option??

    • UGH! When people ask where I work, all.the.time., I get “oh so you’re a paralegal?”

      • All the time. All. The. Time. Caveat that I understand that the guys who work at the deli in my building absolutely have better things to do with their lives than remember the details of mine, but I just felt so let down when I mentioned a trial we had just finished up and the guy said “oh so you work for lawyers?” Like… I’ve been coming down here 2x week for 3 years and we routinely make idle chat about work. Even though I’ve told you I’m a lawyer before you still default to assuming I’m not.

      • I once was asked what I do and when I said I was a lawyer, the male lawyer to whom I was speaking asked me if I was “sure I wasn’t a paralegal.” Of course I’m sure of what my career is.

    • Anon for this Judge :

      I am a judge. A judge. I preside over a courtroom all day, every day.

      And still people ask me things like “Oh, is that like a full time job?”

      And don’t even get me started on the mansplaining from male lawyers young and old!

      Barf on all of it.

      • Another anonymous judge :

        Sing it! (+mansplaining from some of my male colleagues, many of whom I am senior to and have more relevant experience). Sigh.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        That is just *so* disheartening.

      • Metallica :

        IANAL, which will be made apparent by the following question—just out of curiousity and too many episodes of legal TV shows, can you hold them in contempt for that? I love the idea of holding some doosh in contempt for mansplaining :)

    • Yes, I am often mistaken for the court reporter when I show up for a deposition or arbitration. When I was much younger – and looked even younger than I was – I was frequently told that I didn’t “look like a lawyer.” While in a suit carrying a briefcase.

      About 10 years ago I was second chair to my ten-years-older, male law partner in a federal court jury trial. (I’ve first chaired my own trials, but this was his case.) I was about 45, so not a baby lawyer. When the judge asked the jury for feedback after the case was over, they commented that they liked ‘[Jules’s partner’s] assistant.”

      And a few years ago when I deposited a sizeable distribution check from my firm – of which I am a name partner, my last name was PRINTED ON THE CHECK – the (female) bank teller said, “oh, did you win a lawsuit?” I said yes, lots of them.

    • oh HECK no :

      This makes me mad on your behalf, that’s BS! I really try not to fall into a “measuring” contest (you know which body part is always being measured, good grief), but every so often, I do. One older fellow I worked with intentionally mispronounced my last name and always called me by my last name. Kinda like the high school football players where they just refer to you by last name, no title, nothing. Anyways, after correcting him over and over and asking him to call me by my first name, I finally gave up and started responding in-kind. He was shorter than me, esp. when I wore heels, and I knew he HATED that. So any time he came into my office, I would sit behind my extra-large monitors so that he had to come around the side of my desk to speak to me. Then I would stand up to talk to him, towering over him. It was glorious, because he knew full well that I was intentionally doing this, but what was he going to do? Complain that I stand to speak in my own office? It was a small victory to know that every time he talked to me, he was intimidated.

      I also have surprisingly muscular arms, so my power dresses for these situations tend to be sleeveless or very short sleeves. It makes me feel like no one will call me a shrinking violet when I can literally outlift them!

  27. Does anyone else have problems managing their time at the office? I just cannot seem to motivate myself to get work done unless I’m busy. I recently joined a new firm as a senior associate, and things are slow compared to what I was used to previously. Instead of focusing on the small amount of work I could be doing, I read blogs, surf the web, take a million coffee breaks, text people. It’s terrible.

    I feel like a slacker college student, and I know I should be able to motivate myself without pressure at this point in my life – I did well in law school and am not a lazy person generally – but instead I’m stuck in a cycle of wasting time and beating myself up over it.

    • I am totally like this and kind of hate myself for it. I have tried using StayFocused to block my time wasting s1tes (like this one!) with limited success (as you can see!). I’ve heard that the best thing to do is forgive yourself and move on. I tend to have some success when I write out to-do lists and really stick to them. Even if it’s personal items, it gets me going for the day.

    • I’m too focused on my relationship/cultures. Working from home today which may make it worse actually! My bf and i have a vacation at the end of the month. We really need it!

    • I have this problem too. I’m super productive when I have a deadline coming up, but I don’t have a real deadline right now, just busy work that I’m avoiding. I also tend to have success with to-do lists, it’s one of the only things that helps.

    • +1,000
      I started the pomodoro method today and got more work done in the first two hours than I did almost all day yesterday. I’m also trying the to-do lists with the shorter goals. So today my goal is to finish one part of the assignment I need to have done by the end of the week. Plus, I remind myself that with law things may come up last minute so I need a little bit of wiggle room in case I need to push back the current assignments to work on something a bit more urgent.

      I’ve also found this app I recently discovered to be an amazing help with general energy etc. It’s called Fabulous but isn’t available on IOS yet. I seriously love how much it has changed my daily habits

      • Are you the person who posted about this the other day? I saw your post and signed up for the iOS beta waiting list. I hope it comes out soon – it sounds awesome!

        • Yes! It has been life-changing. I can’t wait for them to release the IOS so i can send the invite to every single one of my iphone-loving family members and friends.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I’m the exact same and it is worse after vacations.

  28. KateMiddletown :

    Getting over a stomach bug. Any suggestions for BRATTY-like foods that aren’t sugar-heavy? I’ve had a gatorade, a banana, and a yogurt today and I’m on sugar overload already.

  29. Re: The Little Sister on Calls with Big Sister :

    When I was playing your role I found morning calls as opposed to night MUCH better. I was still able to offer support, but I wasn’t already tired. I’d have enough time to work through everything during the day and didn’t spend the remainder of my day in a funk. Good luck!

    • Little Sister :

      Thanks! Due to time differences/schedules it has to be during my lunch break at work but something to keep in mind regarding energy levels

  30. Hi hive – any recommendations for a therapist in Toronto? Preferably accessible from downtown. I’m trying to talk myself into seeing someone and figured developing a shortlist of people to contact would be a good way to start…

  31. I recently announced my first pregnancy and I’m astounded by how many people have asked me if it was planned or not (multiple coworkers, several friends, some members of my husband’s family)….in what universe is this an ok thing to ask? It was planned, but if it wasn’t, I can’t imagine wanting to divulge that to people. And I’m 33 and have been married for more than 5 years, so I’m not exactly a stereotypical candidate for an “oops” pregnancy. Weirdly, nobody has asked me if we tried for a long time without success, which actually seems to be me to be a much more logical question based on my age and marital status, but is obviously still inappropriate to ask…

    • Actually surprised that people would ask this, even if I thought this about someone I don’t think I would actually ask them.

    • I made some clueless errors in this area before I fully appreciated how inappropriate this type of question is. Now that I know lots of people who have experienced infertility, or unplanned pregnancies, or pregnancy complications with planned pregnancies, etc. etc. etc. (and now that I’ve gone through my own pregnancy) I know that you just don’t ask or comment, ever, other than to say “Congratulations!” after someone has, themselves, confirmed a pregnancy.

      PSA to the universe: Don’t ask someone if they’re trying to get pregnant. Don’t guess whether someone is pregnant if they haven’t personally divulged that information to you. Don’t touch pregnant people or comment about how ‘big’ or ‘small’ they are. Just … don’t.

      • I’ll add:

        Don’t hold a shot of liquor up to a woman colleague and say, “If you’re not pregnant, you’ll drink this.”
        Don’t lean over to sniff her clear drink with a lime to see if there’s actually vodka in it.

        Just. Don’t.

        (PS: 2 years of fertility treatments here. In my most beautiful, vivid dreams I go up to each of these colleagues, announce my pregnancy and let. them. have. it.)

    • I wonder if people are asking whether it was planned as a surreptitious way to get at whether you had trouble conceiving or underwent fertility treatment, on the faulty assumption that this line of question is somehow less intrusive or offensive. Like they are expecting you to answer, “Of course it was planned–we tried for three years and then did IVF.”

      • Yeah…I think you might be right that the “was it planned” question may be a way of asking about infertility. Although one co-worker just straight up said “Was it an accident!?” Like, why on earth would it even occur to you that it was? I’ve been at this job for several years too so just totally confused by who would immediately think “accident” when a married woman in her 30s who’s been in her job for a while announces a pregnancy.

    • My sister gave me and I have used a line that works wonders: “Are you really asking about what birth control we might or might not have been using [during time leading up to conception]?”

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      While the question would still be wildly inappropriate, is the timing odd such that people wouldn’t expect you to want to be pregnant during this time? I know a friend in law school got asked that a lot because people couldn’t comprehend wanting to be pregnant while taking the bar.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        Actually, people didn’t ask. It went more like this. Her: I’m pregnant. Them: OMG, I’m so sorry, what are you going to do!!!” Her: I’m happy. We planned this. Them: Oh. Congrats! That awkward age where pregnancy is transitioning from a dreaded thing to a good thing.

      • Nope, been at my job for just over 2 years now, doing well at work but not trying to kill myself for a promotion or anything, we bought a house last year….if a friend in my shoes announced a pregnancy, I”d think “oh yeah that makes perfect sense!”

    • My friend with twins gets asked if they were “natural” ALL the time.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        Better than getting asked if they’re identical all the time. I’m a twin. People ask me if my twin *brother* and I are identical far more than you would think. After I stare at them for a few seconds, they get it.

        • Anonymous :

          My BFF has a twin brother and also is asked all the time if they’re identical! People are so stupid.

        • Yep, same here, twin brother

          I used to explain how that couldn’t happen, but it seemed to accentuate the other person’s stupidity so I stopped

      • great…. i’m pregnant with twins (no one knows yet) and anticipate being asked that, but why do people think it is ok to ask how you conceived? if they are a close enough friend/family member that i want them to know, i will share this with them. otherwise it is NONE of their business.

    • Anonymous :

      In academia at least, I honestly think that people ask this in order to give pregnant women an “out”… as if having a baby while also having a career can be forgiven if it’s an accident.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m think about having a kid on my own, and worry about getting that question. At my job, I think it might be more accepted if I had an “oops” baby then admitted I tried to get pregnant on my own, and I’m not sure what that says about people

      No help to you, but it must be so awkward.

    • People are SO rude when it comes to pregnancy stuff. I was just trying to explain to my 60 something father why it is not ok to ask people if they are trying to have kids or anything else about their family planning as you are essentially asking them about their sex life and birth control methods, which is private! I read a great article about how to respond to questions about this, and the first response was to turn around and ask “how often do you masturbate.” Just like that is NONE of my business, neither is my sex life! I really wish people would understand that if you wanted to share any information with them about your family planning/infertility you would, otherwise it is none of your business! And if you respond by saying, that is personal to me and not something I like to discuss, then you get accused of being the rude one.

  32. Any suggestions for someone to do botox/fillers on me in Dallas?

    • Chris Crawford, who is a dermatologist. I’ve been using him for several years just for Botox. I don’t like him as a derm doing skin checks because I don’t think he’s thorough. I don’t look frozen from his injections.

  33. First World Problem: my only task today is to make my Thanksgiving grocery list. I was planning to use all my regular recipes saved on All Recipes dot com but it keeps crashing! Ugh.

  34. Need a vent outlet. My period hormones are completely insane this month, for the last two days I’ve felt like I’m totally failing at all of life. That I suck at my job, that I’ll never make enough money, that I spend too much money, that I make terrible life decisions, that I’m uninspired and I don’t know how to get big stuff or little stuff or any stuff done. DH and I are making a huge life move right that we’re in the middle of right now – leaving jobs, moving across the country, buying a new house – so this is the very worst time to have this crisis of confidence. It feels like confidence was all that was holding this whole dang plan together and right now I feel completely unraveled. I know this is fear and not rational but it feels really big and insurmountable right now. Oh, and I feel like utter crap physically – my head hurts and I’ve been nauseous for two days straight. I keep reminding myself that the only way out is through; I am going to feel confident again; I am good at things. But ughhhhhh. I can’t talk to my best friend because she has to put down her dog this morning (so crappy on it’s own), I feel like my husband and I are just making each others fears worse and that I’m being too needy, and I’m so annoyed at my family (mom, dad, sisters) because they never call and ask how I am and if I tried calling my mom right now I’d just want to yell at her and ask her why she can’t EVER call and check in with me.

    • Little Sister :

      I’m sorry you are going through such a rough time. Sounds like you deserve a short meditation session or exercise or whatever your choice of self-care is.

      A few suggestion, if you choose to read on: Force yourself to make a mental list of things you are grateful for…it may be something simple as having shelter and the ability to make a move with your DH by your side. Call your mom, the venting may help and she may be able to offer some advice/kind words that help.

      Hope everything works out

    • you have lots of big stuff going on and i think on some level it is only natural that this happened at some point. DH and I moved across the country last year to a place where we didn’t know anyone and even though i knew that it made sense and was on board, a month or two before we moved i totally freaked out. you will get through this! cut yourself some slack, give yourself some breaks and maybe make a to do list of stuff relating to your move? you are probably also managing a lot of logistics right now in your personal life and particularly around holiday season when it can appear like everyone else is happy and has their sh*t together can be really hard. hang in there!

  35. Meddling Cousin :

    My cousin and I were always close growing up, but she had a difficult childhood that she is still recovering from. She never graduated from college and has been working as a waitress for the past 14 years. She avoids the holidays because she feels out-of-place in our immigrant family of high achievers. She recently broke up with her long-term bf and is at a low point in her life. I want to be close to her again and let her know I am there for her, but our lives took such different paths that it’s getting harder to relate and she knows it. I talk about my struggles in my career, TTC, etc so that she knows no one’s life is perfect, but I don’t know if that is helpful. Anyone else have similar experiences? What else can I do?

    • Talk about stuff other than work and family. What are your hobbies/interests? What are hers? How about you treat her to a paint nite or similar?

    • Anonymous :

      You may feel it’s helpful to talk about career and TTC struggles but she could be hearing it as — oh please you have a 100k+ job, does it matter if you didn’t get promoted? Or you have a loving DH — you’re not alone even if you don’t have kids.

      Why not just talk about regular stuff? TV/movies/football games/clothing styles — why talk about yourself? It opens up obvious comparisons?

  36. Anonymous :

    Next month I’m headed to Riviera Maya for a week of laying on the beach and reading. Any recommendations for beach reads? In the past I’ve enjoyed: Liane Moriarty novels, Girl on the Train, Defending Jacob, a handful of Jodi Picoult novels (please don’t judge me)…

    • cat socks :

      If you liked Liane Moriarty, I would suggest JoJo Moyes. Gone Girl or other books from Gillian Flynn.

    • Anon in Rural Oregon :

      Any book written by Colleen Hoover. Great beach reads

    • Paula Hawkins’s (The Girl on the Train) second book, Into the Water, is excellent

      Maybe Steig Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, starting with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo?

      And of course all of the thrillers by Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl, Sharp Objects, I can’t think of the third title)

      The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is essentially a rom-com, it’s a fun read.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        All of these plus Emma Staub (Straub?). She wrote The Vacationers and Modern Lovers. They’re fun reads.

    • a millenial :

      im really into the tana french crime/.thriller novels. avoid the hidden place because that one is weirdly and confusingly also a little paranormal

      • I also love Tana French and have gotten my 22-y-o son addicted to them (as audiobooks, since he does a lot of driving). And the book a millennial is thinking of is The Secret Place; he and I both liked that one.

    • I enjoyed everything you listed except Girl on the Train. I second the rec for Gillian Flynn. I’ve also recently read and enjoyed: The Ten Year Nap (Meg Wolitzer), Rainbow Rowell (generally but most recently I read Attachments, which was sweet), Luckiest Girl Alive (Jessica Knoll), Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld (Prep and American Wife are also really good).
      I liked the newest Jodi Picoult (Small Great Things) if you haven’t read it yet.

    • Beartown is probably the best book I’ve read all year. Highly recommend.

      These are all over the place as far as genre, but you might also enjoy:
      The Magpie Murders
      The Execution of Noa P. Singleton
      Little Fires Everywhere
      The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.
      The Golem and the Jinni
      The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair
      The Poison Tree
      The Son

  37. Three questions for you smart ladies:

    1) I’m a cpa. Started at firm 9 months ago and was given a Christmas bonus today. I have young children and work 70% time (if it matters). Much appreciated but not expected. Should I say thank you? Feels weird not to say thank you but I see things saying not to say thank you for a bonus.

    2) I had a couple of past co-workers and one existing client refer business to me in the last month. Woo hoo! I would like to send ‘thank you’ notes to let these people know I appreciate their referral. I asked one of the partners if they have thank you notes in the office for such a thing and they said no. I guess I’ll buy some generic, business looking thank yous. Seems this is something you would want branded with you logo. No? Isn’t this weird? They do receive referrals from time to time, why wouldn’t you send your client that referred business a hand written thank you note?

    3) Regarding business I generated through my contacts and on my own – is there a standard percentage I should receive of the billings since I am not a partner. There is no formal contract in place here (probably because they’ve never had staff generate biz before). A prior firm I worked at gave 10% of first 3 year’s billings. Seems pretty standard from what I’ve read in Accounting Today, etc. How should I approach this with partners?

    • Anonymous :

      1) I suppose you could say thank you, but to whom? When I’m told in person about a bonus, I usually say “great! I appreciate the recognition.” (or something similar). I did once get a letter notifying me about an unexpected project bonus, and I wrote an email to the person who signed the letter — but that was more about the politics of the situation. I would never write a thank you email/note for a year end bonus.

      2) Just send an email to the people who referred you. Hand written notes are nice if you’re into them, but they’re not particularly practical, especially for people who work in larger offices where physical mail has to be routed to desks.

      3) I can’t comment on the percentage, but I suggest you set up a meeting with the partner(s) in charge of comp and make your proposal as part of an overall discussion of comp. I don’t think you can apply this retroactively to work you’ve already brought in, but I think you could ask that next year’s billings for those clients be factored into your comp and could negotiate an approach for future work you bring in.

    • 1. I used to work for a small family owned company where they gave out Christmas bonuses- they were just gifts from the surplus of cash, and flat across levels (directors for x, Mrgs got y). This was a “thank you for all your hard work this ear, happy holidays!” It warranted a thank-you, like a bottle of wine or box of chocolates.

      I’ve also worked for firms that pay out annual bonuses at year end. E.g. My comp plan has me targeting a 40% bonus. If I get 50% because I killed it this year, I say “so glad we did so well this year.” Or “that miller accounts really made the year for us!” Or “cheers to a great 2018!” This is not a “thank you” occasion.

    • 1. No
      2. Email will suffice.
      3. Not an attorney; can’t answer.

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