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Workwear sales of note for 6.02.23:
- Nordstrom – The Half-Yearly Sale has started! See our thoughts here.
- Ann Taylor – $50 off $150; $100 off $250+; extra 30% off all sale styles
- Banana Republic Factory – Up to 50% off everything + extra 25% off purchase
- Boden – Sale, up to 50% off
- Cole Haan – Up to 50% off select styles; extra 20% off sandals & sneakers
- Eloquii – 60% off all tops
- Express – 30% off all dresses, tops, shorts & more; extra 50% off clearance
- H&M – Up to 60% off online and in-store.
- J.Crew – Up to 50% off “dressed up” styles (lots of cute dresses!); extra 50% off select sale
- J.Crew Factory – Up to 60% off everything; 60% off 100s of summer faves; extra 60% off clearance
- J.McLaughlin – The Sale Event: extra 30% off
- Loft – 40% off tops; 30% off full-price styles
- Sephora – Up to 50% off select beauty.
- Shopbop – Up to 60% off sale
- Sue Sartor – Lots of cute dresses on sale!
- Talbots – 25-40% off select styles
Other noteworthy sales:
- CB2.com – Up to 40% off; pop-up sale up to 30% off
- Joss & Main – Up to 60% off, plus an extra 20% off with code
- Tuft & Needle – Save up to $775 on mattresses (Reader-favorite brand; Kat really likes hers!)
- West Elm – Up to 25% off in-stock furniture; up to 60% off clearance
Some of our latest posts here at Corporette…
And some of our latest threadjacks here at Corporette (reader questions and commentary) — see more here!
- Favorite comfy pants for an overnight plane ride?
- I’ve got a nasty case of tech neck…
- What’s a good place for a relaxing solo escape?
- What’s the best commuter backpack?
- I’m early 40s and worry my career arc is ending…
- I canNOT figure out the proportions in this current season of fashion…
- How is everyone wearing scarves in 2023?
- What shoes are people wearing to work between boot and sandal season?
- What’s a good place for a relaxing solo escape?
- What are some of your go-to outfits that feel current?
- I need more activities that are social, easy to learn and don’t involve extreme running/jumping/etc.
Always a NYer
I would second the spurge on Chanel should I ever come into a large sum of money. However, I don’t like the zippers and studs on this jacket. I prefer my tweed to be classic in every sense of the word.
Agreed. Also, I don’t really like the zipper look for work – it always looks too casual for me. I had a zipper jacket for years that I never wore and finally got rid of for that reason.
I would NOT buy this, even if on sale. I read that coco chanel was very pro Nazi during World War 2, so FOOEY on that!
My take on this type of situation is that Coco Chanel died in 1971 and that will not be benefiting from any Chanel purchases I might make. Those who work at the company now have only a distant association with her, and any nefarious act she may have comitted, so I’m not willing to hold current management responsible.
I’m curious, though, what other corporettes think, since this is clearly a controversial subject (and not just for Chanel, but for VW, etc.)
anon for this
The way I see it is that everyone has their own belief system and more likely than not I won’t agree with it now and then. Coco Chanel was a visionary in the fashion world and her personal views won’t stop me from enjoying her creations. She may have died in 1971 but her style is still alive in the Chanel creations today.
That being said, I have a pair of ivory earrings (pre-ban that belonged to my great-grandmother) and always tell people they’re plastic when I wear them. Should I have to do this? No. Will I be viewed in a bad light if I don’t? Most likely.
I would see right through it if someone told me their great-grandmother’s earrings were plastic, since plastics weren’t in wide use until the 1950s. Maybe say mother of pearl instead?
Look what the NY Times said last week about her! I may not be to smart, but the NY Times is:
FOOEY on Channel!
I’d personally rather profit Coco Chanel (who dated an officer during the occupation – it’s not like was bankrolling the war) than Karl Lagerfeld, who is, in my opinon, a jerk. He said:
“What I really didn’t like was that certain fashion sizes were made bigger. What I created was fashion for slim, slender people. That was the original idea… Incomprehensible decisions made by the management have removed any desire I had to do something like that again.”
when H&M made his exclusive designs in size 14.
Chanel’s involvement in the war was deeper than you suggest, and her anti-semitic beliefs are well documented.
The really hilarious thing is that Karl Lagerfeld himself used to be like 110 lbs overweight, until he hired a dietician and a personal trainer to MOVE IN WITH HIM and help him lose weight. What a putz.
I think Ellen is widely regarded as a troll. (At least, that’s my impression from the responses to other posts of hers.)
That having been said, in answer to your question, I don’t know that boycotting a company in 2011 because of what some long-dead people did in 1937 really accomplishes anything. It might make more sense to just donate money to Holocaust survivor group, for example. Then again, actions like these are about conscience more than anything else, so if boycotting VW (or whatever) feels right to you, who is anyone else to say otherwise?
Troll? I dunno. Don’t trolls post specifically to bait and cause drama/dissension? If Ellen isn’t real, I think of himmer as more of a character meant to add humor to our day. Like the Church Lady, or Eunice Higgins.
That’s a nice way to look at it, @Seattleite. Ellen always makes me feel like my little brother is bugging me and my friends again.
i always thought troll = someone utterly lacking in sincerity WRT their posts, whether meant to irritate or infuriate or mock or whatever. but anyway, i didn’t look it up in urban dictionary :)
anon the 6th
Germany, unlike Japan, has taken responsibility for the atrocities of WWII and apologized many times. The youth of Germany are educated about the German past and the Holocaust. It has laws to prevent such recurrences, laws that would seem like censorship here, but we don’t have their history. I’m willing to cut Deutschland some slack.
1. VW paid restitution.
2. Karl’s a knob but I love my Chanel bag!
3. Agreed, spend your money so that it makes you happy.
4. Ellen usually makes me smile.
anon the 6th
Well, first of all, I hope you realize that the featured item is NOT Chanel. It’s a jacket in the style of Chanel.
I’m not happy with Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s apparent Nazi sympathizing, most notably, her affair with a Nazi officer, but it was a long time ago and she was ostracized in France for several years after World War II. And, as Terry says, it’s not as if Chanel is going to be directly benefiting from any purchasers.
Alanna of Trebond
This is an interesting topic — even if Ellen did raise it. I think that Chanel’s role in changing fashion for women is notable, regardless of her personal sympathies. Many French fashion houses of that era (i.e. Dior) were similarly complicit with the Nazis/Vichy government. Furthermore, it is clear that Chanel is not benefiting from our current purchases from her eponymous label. I think that it is a generally difficult thing to dissociate the personal views and shortcomings of the creator of art from the art itself — a good example is Roman Polanski — many people continue to watch his movies despite his atrocious behavior.
I find it much more problematic when fashion becomes obsessed with an “icon” who hasn’t necessarily contributed much creatively, but is a glamorous figure and often skips over the nastier parts of his/her history. A good example of this is the fascination with Wallis Simpson.
I’m late to this discussion, but I give Ellen a lot of credit for raising this point. Hisher posts have gotten much more informative/on topic in the past few months.
I agree re: Wallis Simpson. And while this is not as big a deal and he was an idiot kid, let us not forget that Prince Harry, the eligible one, once wore a WWII German military uniform to a friend’s costume party.
i am even later to this discussion, but – really? Are people really fascinated with Wallis Simpson from a fashion POV? I thought she was the scandalous American divorcee that made Edward abdicate, and that was it (not that *that* wasn’t enough to handle). I didn’t know she was a fashion icon, but I guess you learn something new every day.
As for Prince Harry – agreed, he seems like an well-born idiot, but since when was anyone giving him credit for anything else, really? Is he a fashion or creative icon? It seems like most people recognize him for just what he is.
Prince Harry wore a Nazi uniform. Not every German soldier was a Nazi. It’s unfathomable that someone with his family and national history could make that kind of mistake. He must be one very dull blade.
I’ve always regarded Wallis Simpson as a highly unattractive clotheshorse, who was a snob and a racist to boot.
@anon — I am confused by your italics, but I chalk that up to a typo.
I *thought* it was a Nazi uniform but wasn’t sure and didn’t feel like fact-checking. Thanks for clarifying.
I am also tickled that we are both up this late and reading Corporette. :)
I’m not super-crazy about the jacket (for the same reasons that Always and Diana Barry noted above), but I really loved the post here- such enthusiasm! Good fun!
Shopping's My Cardio
Why thanks, Lyssa! And I do have to admit, while I think this jacket is incredibly fun, I agree it doesn’t have the style longevity that a Chanel would. There’s just no topping the real thing! I do think this would be a good way for a younger woman to edge into the world of tweed, without aging herself.
SMC, have you read “The Gospel According to Coco Chanel”? The author of the book is obsessed with having a real Chanel tweed jacket, and, unable to afford one, attempts to make one herself. So much goes into them – a chain at the hem, the way the linings are stitched. I sew enough to know I would never want to do that much work! So it makes the price tag a little more understandable.
Shopping's My Cardio
Mamabear, I’m going to have to check that out! I can’t imagine being crazy enough to try it on my own. There is an incredible amount of detail in those pieces…no one makes them the way Chanel does. I admire anyone that can sew at all, but something like that would be quite an undertaking!
anon the 6th
Susan Khalje and Claire Shaeffer both teach classes on how to construct a Chanel-style jacket. Shaeffer’s Couture Sewing discusses some of the techniques and Khalje wrote an article for Threads Magazine some years ago. There’s a website, Go Chanel or Go Home, which had a group Chanel-style jacket challenge. Some people are still posting.
anon the 6th
I have the same obsession. In the couture version, the silk lining is hand quilted to the tweed. On top of all the exquisite hand work, don’t forget that a muslin (practice garment) has to be made and fitted to the customer at least twice before the real fabric is cut into. French couture workers are decently paid, too. A Chanel couture jacket would be a lot more than $4K.
I want that outfit exactly how it is – skirt and all. Maybe I should kick up the intensity of my shooting-star wishing and birthday-candles blowing. ;)
I like the styling. I have (and am wearing today) the Halogen skirt in mustard and I hadn’t thought of pairing it with black tights, white shirt, and a black blazer. I guess I thought it would be too bumble bee looking? It’s cute on the model, though, so I’ll definitely keep it in mind when the weather gets colder.
I also bought the mustard Halogen skirt (though am considering returning it and buying the J. Crew wool pencil – twice as much but it fits better), and had been thinking the same thing about how far I needed to go minimize any potential bumblebee effect. I was considering gray as the go-to color pairing – charcoal tights and sweater, purple/wine or multicolored top, worn with black boots. I agree that this looks okay, but I’m not sure that I could shake my own thoughts that gold-on-black stripes = bumblebee enough to wear it without wondering if everyone else was thinking the same thing.
I am curious how others are considering styling this color. My wardrobe heavily skews to the cool colors, so I’m not sure why this particular item spoke to me….
And I do like the jacket quite a bit, though that’s a non-cost adjusted opinion!
Shopping's My Cardio
What a fantastic community you ladies have – I am absolutely loving all the chitchat happening here!
Don’t fear black and yellow…the key is to mix in a third neutral (white, cream, dove grey) to nix the bee effect. And for those of you with that Halogen pencil skirt from the Anniversary Sale (I think we *all* picked that up…have you seen the new colors for fall?) – try mustard with a deep emerald green or a navy blue. Both are unexpected, but perfect!
Amused that I’m not the only one concerned about “bumblebee” effect. I’m in the South, and during football season I’m also concerned about many of my favorite color combos being interpreted as college teams: yellow and black (GA Tech); navy and orange (Auburn); deep purple with yellow pumps (LSU), and the list goes on.
I was happy when I moved out of Georgia that I could wear red and black together once again without it being assumed I was pulling for UGA.
I was so sad last fall/winter when I couldn’t wear navy and orange because I love both (I’m in the SEC but definitely not in Auburn country).
I’m glad that I’m not the only one who has to worry about these things…
I’m wearing maroon pumps in honor of A&M’s victory (yes, I did hold them up to a real A&M football helmet to ensure I got exactly the right color). I will need to reassess my outfits in the coming years as we (presumably) join the SEC. I am so glad it’s college football season!
Maroon is dangerous bc it can be so many different teams, depending on the exact shade and what you pair it with.
I do love football season, too!
Not from the South, but definitely concerned as well. I love my orange sweater, but it feels wrong somehow when I wear it with blue (Boise State) or black (Oregon State).
Sounds crisp and confident!
Nobody’s thinking bumblebee unless you’re rocking a yellow and black mariner stripe sweater.
And, if you are and if they do… what then? Not a problem. Not ever a bad association.
The Bad Wife
Threadjack: are you unhappy in your Biglaw job?
I’m a 2L and yesterday someone recommended The People’s Therapist so I went to look on the website. It seemed, frankly, hysterical. He claimed that everyone hates their biglaw job, it is the Worst Job in The World – and that it is like being a prostitute! The people are evil. The partners are worse, etc. He claims that people who say they like Biglaw are liars and are secretly unhappy. He is partly undermined because in his responses he seems arrogant and oversensitive but I wondered if anyone currently in Biglaw can give me the truth straight. How bad is this job? I don’t mean the unsupportive when pregnant stuff, more the everyday tasks on the job. I’d especially like to hear from people who did any other job before Biglaw and so have comparisons.
I’m interested in a niche transactional practice with fairly regular hours so especially interested in hearing from non litigators.
Despite the constant talk of misery among BigLaw associates, it really is impossible to generalize. Things don’t vary just between firms, but between practice groups at the same firm. I recall one BigLaw firm that had a terrible reputation in its M&A group, but its banking associates were quite happy. The most important thing you can do is get a full picture of the places you are considering. At the end of the day, a lot of your happiness will depend on the people you are directly working with and your clients.
Most people like it or find it generally interesting for the first 30-40 hours per week and hate it after hour 50. I think it’s pretty typical to like your job about 2/3 of the time, so really, I don’t think biglaw is any worse than any other job.There is a lot of pressure in biglaw, so if you don’t thrive in high pressure environments, you won’t like it. And if you want to do something “meaningful” in your job, you won’t find existential satisfaction at biglaw (although you’ll be able to afford to donate to charity and you’ll be able to do some pro bono work).
With the caveat that I’m not in BigLaw (although I always intended to be; I just didn’t make it), The People’s Therapist is associated with Above the Law. Above the Law is good fun, but it is entirely hysterical and populated by people who are bitter about everything legal. I would take anything associated with it with a grain of salt.
I’ll add that I summered in a BigLaw (big by mid-sized southern city standards, much smaller than NYC/Chicago/Atlanta/LA BigLaw) firm, and people seemed generally really happy. I would have given my right arm to get a permanant job there. (Yes, I’m still a bit bitter about this damned recession.)
Keep in mind anyone going to see a therapist probably hates their job, so that guy’s sample is incredibly screwed.
I’m not in big law (smallish-medium law in a very particular field), so i can’t offer a perspective, but a lot of my friends, though they hate the hours, don’t seem nearly as miserable as that guy’s clients.
SF Bay Associate
Screwed and skewed, I think ;)
100% agree with Lydia and E. Happiness varies widely and wildly depending on who is in charge of that particular group and that particular office. Another office in my biglaw practice group hates their jobs because of bad leadership, while my group is ok. Also agree with E on hours – a few years ago, I was on pace for 2700 and hated my job with a burning passion. This year I’m on pace for 2100 and it’s ok. I’ll add that it also varies based on the individual associate’s temperament – some associates did great on the LSAT, great in law school, landed prestigious biglaw jobs, and absolutely hate actually being a lawyer. Given biglaw’s hours requirements and extra pressures, it’s especially bad for those who really shouldn’t have become lawyers to begin with.
Summer Associate last summer: HATED it. Every minute. And the first and second year associates seemed pretty damn miserable too.
whoops, yes, definitely meant skewed. but also probably screwed…
Actually, biglaw folks tend to be more conservative, controlled, and more in denial than others I’ve known, so the fact that someone is seeing a therapist does not mean he is markedly more miserable at work than his counterparts. He’s just more honest about it.
Never heard of the site and don’t intend to visit; it sounds accurate and depressing.
This is not unique to law. Over the years, I’ve known a few people who worked at The New York Times. I don’t know what it’s like there now, but back then, the Times was a very unpleasant place to work. Almost universally. It was, however, extremely prestigious and provided opportunities. One person said to me: “I’m most happy working for the New York Times when I’m outside the New York Times at cocktail parties telling people I work for the New York Times.”
That’s the way it works. People employed in prestigious jobs generally don’t make their complaints public. For a number of reasons. It’s bad form, it undermines the status of their institution, thereby diminishing their personal prestige, etc., they’ll be accused of whining or being bitter, etc. No one should be surprised that one reads about these things in odd places like an anonymous therapy website.
Ha! Working for prestigious universities (which I don’t, but friends do) may be similar. They complain a lot about workload and stress, but it sounds a lot better to say ‘I work at Ivy U’ at a cocktail party, than to try to describe a school that no one’s ever heard of (where I work). However, my working conditions are excellent, colleagues supportive, classes small, students mostly good, and administration responsive. This all counts a lot more for quality of life than the Ivy U designation.
It really does depend on the firm and even more so, on the practice group and the actual people you will be working with. My friends and I who worked in the same Biglaw firm had vastly differing experiences.
In a niche transactional practice (real estate? T+E?) the work/life balance is much better – you work a lot but if there are no emergencies, you get to schedule your own life to a far greater extent than in litigation and even in corporate. I was in T+E in biglaw and only once (!) had to stay late and work a weekend, over 5 yrs of working, and that was because one of our estates was being sued. However, that didn’t mean I wasn’t working with a bunch of pompous d-bags (because I was). ;)
“It really does depend on the firm and even more so, on the practice group and the actual people you will be working with.”
This is true, but it’s also true of any workplace. Working for a screamer or a passive-aggressive micromanager is hell wherever you are.
found a peanut
disagree w/r/t real estate. There are definitely real estate emergencies. I agree if you are doing a residential closing, there are likely to be no emergencies, but biglaw doesn’t do residential closings. There is the same due diligence is real estate as there is in any corporate practice.
For my two cents, biglaw is really that awful. I know many people in biglaw (including many family members) and the only people who like it are people who really care about prestige, really care about money, or honestly thrive on the adrenaline and stress. If you do not fall in those categories, you will not last.
And it *does* depend on the people you work with but the partners in biglaw are disproportionately very difficult people. They got to where they are by being difficult people and now they will continue being difficult people because a) it got them where they are; b) no one was nice to them when they were your age; and c) they don’t care about you, your feelings or your attempt at a work-life balance. They don’t pay you $160k to review documents; they pay you $160k to review documents at their beck and call, whether that be on Tuesday at 3pm or Saturday, Sunday and Monday of Memorial Day weekend.
Agreed with all of this. I recently left my biglaw job. Based on my experience, the only people who stay long term are those who really want/need/can’t live without 1) the money; 2) the prestige; or 3) the stress.
This is not to say that there aren’t exceptions that prove the rule, or that things don’t vary (somewhat) between individual groups/departments/offices/firms. But, in my experience, the differences are not that great and frankly, are nearly impossible to discern from the outside.
The People’s Therapist is ridiculous and totally overwrought. As is ATL.
I second Lydia that job satisfaction varies widely from firm to firm, office to office, and practice to practice. I’m a sixth-year associate now, and I’ve been at two firms. People in my group at my current firm are much happier and generally content compared to at my old firm. But I know other people in my firm in other practice groups who are miserable.
I also have found that job satisfaction is cyclical — people tend to bottom out a bit roughly in their second year in terms of job satisfaction, then it rises again. So I think the key is to have a long-term outlook and commitment to make it through the rough times and see the bigger picture. A friend once told me to think of law firm life like you do your education: you need to invest 3-4 years to really train yourself and get the hang of it. The people I know in the 4-7 year associate timeframe do NOT hate their jobs, but many are looking for the next opportunity because it is not the right job for them long-term.
I agree that the People’s Therapist is frequently ridiculous and overwrought.
That said, when I was working in biglaw, anytime I read a People’s Therapist post, I would be thinking “Wow, this seems really over-dramatic,” while at the same time nodding along in agreement.
I worked for several years before going to law school. I worked for a time in biglaw, in litigation.
I believe that most people are unhappy. The work, no matter what you are told, is not that interesting — not after 60-80+ hours a week — the environment is stressful, and there are a lot of assholes.
But not everyone needs to be happy. Some people want money and prestige. Or experience. Except that the quality of experience you get can depend on factors like whether your superiors like you. If you do well, it’s not easy to leave, unless you’ve salted away a huge amount of money. No one will understand. Besides, they usually won’t make you a partner unless they think you want it bad. For one thing, it would be bad for their recruiting efforts. The associates have to come in believing that if they’re just good enough and work hard enough, they too, can make partner despite the ridiculous odds.
I’m not familiar with the site you discussed, but the author does not sound in the least hysterical.
In my opinion, the people who REALLY hate it are the people who view it as an extension of their identity, i.e., people who take every comment on a document as a judgment on their value as a person. The fact that you missed a comma or made some other typo and a senior associate comes your office yelling or screaming does not mean you are a failure at life. It’s hard to strike the right balance of apathy towards unnecessary criticism and dedication to producing good work. In my opinion, people either find that balance, quit because they take criticism too seriously or are slowly phased out because they don’t take criticism seriously at all.
Aside from that, the hours can be horrible and you really don’t have a ton of control over when you do the work that you’ve received. There are artificial deadlines imposed by partners, and you’re frequently waiting on people to give you their work in order to do your work, so there’s a lot of wasted down time during the day. Once you come to accept these as just part of the job and learn how to be productive during the downtime (e.g., using it to buy groceries, do other errands online, etc.) instead of just dwelling on it and complaining, then I think it’s easier to enjoy the job.
Also, you will work with assholes in every firm. There will be moments when you are completely uncomfortable with the way a partner or a client treats you. You will likely feel like you are wasting your life to make someone else a ton of money while you are slaving away for a pittance in comparison. You may also cry in your office for hours upon hours while plotting your escape to a remote island after imagining how great it would feel to send a scathing farewell email.
With all that said, you have to take the people’s therapist with a grain of salt–people don’t often start blogs dedicated to how much they love their job. It is an interesting job and you get to work with really interesting people who often go on to do amazing things. You make good friends while commiserating during the late hours. And, the pay really isn’t that bad. As E said, you may not find existential satisfaction in your job, but it’s really not a bad place to work while you think about what job would help you find that existential satisfaction.
Anon Corporate Atty
Wow. I could have written this exact same thing!
found a peanut
not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, you’re right that you can’t take every mistake personally. On the other hand, if you miss a comma and a partner reams you out about it (which happens), even if you don’t take it personally, that doesn’t mean the reaming out is OK. A person might develop methods for dealing with the abuse, but that doesn’t mean the abuse is OK or not that big of a deal.
Former Public Defender
“It’s hard to strike the right balance of apathy towards unnecessary criticism and dedication to producing good work.”
I think this is spot on. I went to the public defender’s office after law school, and I experienced the same thing. Clients tell you that you are worthless all the time, and an awful attorney. You have to develop a thick enough skin to take that abuse, while still producing quality representation. I think the same is probably true for the prosecutors – they take constant criticism (from opposing counsel), and must tune it out enough to produce quality work.
A thick skin is important… but it doesn’t mean you don’t have room for improvement, or shouldn’t work hard.
anon the 6th
“The fact that you missed a comma or made some other typo and a senior associate comes your office yelling or screaming does not mean you are a failure at life.”
No, of course not, but some people try to make you feel that way. It’s very personal and very ugly.
I’m a fifth year litigation associate in biglaw, and I only half-hate my job. Some of the people here are too hilariously bad to even try to describe. When I have to work with those people, I am glad that my windows don’t open. Other people are really great to work for/with.
The biggest problem with biglaw, in my opinion, are the first couple of years where you are just going to do some completely mindnumbing work. You’ll certainly have substantive work (and some of the mindnumbing is “substantive”), but unless you’re incredibly lucky, you’re also likely to get saddled with some of the most boring tasks on the planet for at least awhile. If you get stuck on one of these projects, you may be forced to do said mindnumbing work for 65+ hours a week. Even more problematic (at least if you are even remotely extroverted) is that with all the technology these days, most of this work is done sitting alone in your office without interacting with anyone else. I’m a super-extrovert (practically off the chart on myers-briggs), and those lonely days nearly drove me out-of-my-mind-bananas. There were seriously days where I felt like I had lost the will to go on (perhaps a wee bit dramatic, but it was really depressing in the clinical sense).
Luckily (?) the economy tanked while I was in these rough years, and so there was no escape and I was forced to hang on. As a mid-level associate, there is plenty not to like about the job, but at least I’ve bid adieu to the worst of the loneliness.
In the universe of all jobs, most people don’t love their jobs, but most people don’t hate their jobs either. They understand that it’s a means so that they can pursue the rest of their lives.
Having worked in many industries tho, I have to say that never have I met so many people who HATED their jobs as I did in biglaw. Which is what I think is reflected in the People’s Therapist posts.
Yes , but law is different from the universe of jobs. If you don’t have a Passion for what you are doing, it is better to get out of it as early as possible and go for something else. This profession is not for wimps or the faint of heart, and it should not be just a money machine, either. That does not mean that every minute is enjoyable – there is a difference. I may have a passion for a sport, but not every training session is fun.
When I was in teaching I knew a lot of people who really hated their jobs. Most of my friends who quit after I left did so because they were physically ill every morning and couldn’t enjoy their lives at all outside of the school. Teaching is no more for wimps than law- probably less so since the pay in some states is atrocious and the standards keep becoming less realistic as time goes by. I would say there are a variety of other jobs that require a similar passion. Law is not really that unique in the overall scheme of things. I can name several other jobs that are similarly stressful/taxing.
Thank you for this. It’s good to be reminded that other jobs are just as bad in different ways, but with less pay.
Great point! Some nonprofit work is similarly stressful — always chasing funding while trying address some urgent social need — all on a salary equal to or less than that of teachers, let alone lawyers.
I Love My Job
The older I get, the more I realize there are just some people out there who are never going to reconcile themselves to the idea of working for a living, and sometimes doing things they don’t want to do because they’re paid to do them. Any job they did would make them unhappy.
There are also people who want a mythical highly-engaging, highly-paid job that involves meaningful, world-bettering work with uniformly pleasant, intelligent, and reasonable colleagues; and no long hours. I have not met anyone who has a job like this but I guess I’m willing to believe they are out there.
Just like people used to say “there is a lid for every pot” when it came to life partners, there’s a job out there for everyone. I met an air-traffic controller once who just absolutely loved his job – which would be, like, my ultimate nightmare – to the point where he never wanted to do anything else. Even if you don’t LOVE your job I think you can at least LIKE it because it enables you to have a particular kind of lifestyle. The flip side of this is, the grass is not always greener. It’s like that NYT article about the people who quit law jobs and such to become entrepreneurs and then figured out – hey, this is a lot of work!! There are trade-offs in everything.
The older I get, the more I realize also that for most average Americans who have jobs, food to eat, clothes to wear, cars to drive, a house to live in, and health coverage of some kind, happiness is a choice. I know lots and lots and lots of people who have just about anything anyone could want in life and they’re miserable because they choose to be. Make sure that’s not who you’re taking career advice from, folks.
Agreed. I think what makes BigLaw a bit different in terms of the intensity of “hatred” people feel toward their jobs is that by virtue of working in BigLaw, it becomes virtually impossible to “pursue the rest of their lives.” The hours and pressure can become all-encompassing. Social lives shrink down to co-workers on similar schedules with similar pressures who bring little new/different/exciting to your interactions. Suddenly, it feels like the rest of your life has disappeared or passed you by and you don’t have time to rebuild it. Money may make up for that for some but others either feel trapped by the money or find themselves spending any pay differential keeping themselves in the conveniences that the BigLaw lifestyle requires (plus paying off debt they acquired for the privilege of working a job they don’t particularly like).
anon the 6th
I’d venture to guess that lawyers are uniquely dissatisfied with their jobs because there is a much higher level of disillusionment with what the career actually entails. I think a lot of people go into law thinking it would be a lucrative career that is intellectually stimulating. Then, once they start, the first few years can be brutally boring (making binders and charts for hours upon hours), and you work more than your banker friends and make a fraction of the money. Add that to the idea that you are kind of interchangeable for the first two years, and the profession is ripe for disillusionment.
The Bad Wife
Thanks for the replies. I find them really strange. I should have been more specific. There is the weirdest form of distancing going on. “Some people may be unhappy”. “I’ve found generally people are unhappy”. “I agree with some of those conclusions. Let me be more specific:
1. Do you work in Biglaw?
2. Are *you* unhappy?
I read this board every day and have done for years – since before law school. People seem to talk about clothes, holidays, partners, friends, hobbies. You seem to have lives. Are you unhappy? Not “people in general”, friends, neighbors, colleagues etc. You. Are you unhappy?
I worked in Biglaw for five years and was unhappy for almost all of it. I loved the people who I worked for/with, but hated 90% of the work (both the “good” work like hearings, depos, etc. and the “bad” work like doc reivew). Working for the firm was the first time in my life I’d ever been unhappy with life. Because I loved the people I worked with but was still miserable, I finally realized that firm life generally wasn’t for me and I moved to a government job (still working as a lawyer) that I absolutely love. Good luck!
not a lawyer
i think the reason for the “distancing” is that a lot of people on here, as a longtime reader like you probably knows, are used to giving advice in their comments. usually someone will post a quandary (should i take this job or not? etc) and commenters will say, you should do this, think about that, etc. etc. So i bet a lot of people just assumed that you are trying to make a decision and are giving you ways to approach that decision, datapoints to consider, etc.
Anyway my very specific answer to your specific questions would be 1) No! and 2) Yes!
Hope you get the answers you want.
1. Work in Biglaw–entering the mid-level ranks; recently lateraled from a smaller NYC-centric big law firm to a larger international firm.
2. My former job was miserable. I woke up every morning and would check the news in hopes that some terrible disaster happened so I wouldn’t have to go to the office. I realized this was totally unhealthy, but I wasn’t sure it was totally due to the fact that I didn’t like being a lawyer so I decided to switch firms and give it another shot before I quit being a lawyer altogether. I’m a few months in at my new firm, and I’ve tried to take the attitude of “I’m going to do it my way, and if I don’t like it, they can fire me and I’ll know for sure it’s not for me.” So far, I’ve had a much healthier relationship with work. I work from home when I want to, I decline work I don’t want to do (within reason) and overall just feel much better. I wouldn’t say that I’m “happy” but I’m at least stable and don’t hope to break my leg on the way to work so I would get short term disability for a few weeks.
I worked in Biglaw for 6 years, was on track for partner, and got an offer to go in-house with one of my clients. I was pretty happy at the firm — the people were interesting, the work for the most part satisfying (environmental law), and the hours were long but not crazy. But the in-house position is far superior. You’re part of a consistent, long-term team. New subjects come up constantly, and there’s enormous potential to grow in your knowledge base. The hours are long here as well, but more controllable (you have a single boss).
Of course, there are days with mundate projects, and I have to work with the occasional arrogant twit. But I feel my work is important, appreciated, and requires a high level of skill. That makes me happy.
Fashion Faux Pas
I am a second-year associate in a niche litigation practice. My practice group is small. I like my coworkers. I wholeheartedly agree with everyone above who said that your coworkers will determine whether or not you hate your experience in BigLaw. I do interesting work most of the time, e.g., I wrote my first dispositive motion 3 months after starting. However, since I’m the most junior person in my group, I have to do the mind-numbing work when there is mind-numbing work to do, but this doesn’t bother me because mind-numbing work tends to be low stress. The days when I don’t like my job are generally those days when I am dealing with heinous opposing counsel, but I would have that experience regardless of whether I worked for a big firm or a small one. The hours don’t bother me, but as a consultant before law school I routinely billed 2500 hours a year, so my perspective is a bit skewed. Hope this helps.
Worked in biglaw for just under 3 years, hated it, stopped practicing.
1. I don’t currently work in Biglaw, but I used to (and may go back to it as I am clearly a sucker for punishment). I am currently in a small firm and have been a lawyer for 9 years.
2. Yes, I am unhappy in my current job. I came to it for work/life balance reasons, but in my view the move has not been worth it. I like the adrenaline rush of a Biglaw transactional practice, the satisfaction of completing big, complex deals, and being surrounded by super-smart people. I do not like dealing with small clients who don’t want to take legal advice because they think they know better, or negotiating with clients who quibble over bills, or doing the constant marketing that comes with a small firm practice, or not having a tax lawyer down the hall with whom I can chat through a problem.
Was I happy working in Biglaw? Some of the time. It was intellectually stimulating and I found the work interesting. But I left because in my particular practice group, I found myself accepting odd things as “normal” (like working until 10pm or having colleagues continually having work-related nervous breakdowns), and I did not want to become a person for whom those things were normal and acceptable.
On the balance, I think my personality is better suited to Biglaw than a small firm. But this analysis is different for each person, and I wouldn’t have known it if I hadn’t tried out small firm practice.
1. I no longer work in BigLaw. I did it for 4 years. I am now in-house.
2. I’m a generally happy person so before and after BigLaw, I would say yes. While I was in BigLaw, I loved it and hated it. I got a rush from the deals and I was doing very challenging work. I liked the people I worked with and I liked my clients. Because of the stress and hours, I dreamed of leaving. Giving notice was one of the happiest days of my life…and on the day I left, I cried. My experience would have been vastly different if (1) I did not like the people I worked with, (2) did not like my clients, and/or (3) did not like the work. Now that I am in-house, the work is not as interesting and I do not love it, but I have more of a life.
1. Used to.
2. Yes, very. And not because I was “hypersensitive” or “unrealistic.” In my first year, I saw a shrink, who, after hearing some of the things that had been said to me, said the partner was “abusive.” That was his reputation. Nobody cared.
Some of my fellow associates were nice, interesting people. Others were nasty, competitive shits. There was a great deal of drudge work and artificial deadlines and unnecessary all-nighters mixed in with a few intellectually interesting issues. Nobody had a life and everyone was afraid that even seeming to aspire to a life would cause his or her commitment to be questioned.
1. I did until just a few months ago.
2. I was extremely unhappy.
For me, the problem was two-fold. One, I assumed that because I was/am Type A/motivated/hard-working/driven etc., that the people who didn’t like biglaw were people who just weren’t like me. I was wrong (and very naive). Two, I assumed that because I did (and do) enjoy legal research and writing, that I would enjoy practicing law at a big firm. Also wrong.
My (new) boss (at my much, MUCH better legal job) and I were just discussing something along these lines the other day. She started in biglaw, and when she was being recruited to her then-firm, the associate she identified with the most at the firm took her to lunch and said something along the lines of, “I’m not going to lie, I mean, there are definitely nights where you just burst out crying.” My boss told me, “I just filtered what she was saying through the lens of money, and assumed that she was weak.” Of course, my boss soon discovered that it had nothing to do with being weak, and everything to do with what the job was like.
All this said, by the time I was halfway through law school, it didn’t really matter how miserable people were in biglaw– I had hefty student loans and needed a job that would help me make a dent in them. And, there is a part of me that would have always wondered if I should have tried the biglaw route, had I gone a different way. Now, I can look back and say, been there, done that, and thank goodness I figured out the right path for me.
Anonymous at 1:02
2. Yes – for the reasons I described. Oddly, I don’t mind my job, my work, or the people I work with. I’ve found a happy place in a generally unhappy environment. But I am miserable in general because in order to get to this happy place at work I’ve sacrificed almost everything outside of work. Clearly, others manage their time better than I have.
The caveat – I’ve never ever been more unhappy than I was working for a very, very small firm. The hours were worse, the expectations were much more unreasonable, and the former BigLaw partners who founded the firm were the worst of their kind and there was NOWHERE TO HIDE.
This describes one of the main reasons I decided to leave biglaw. I was good at my job, but I felt like it was the only thing that I had the time/energy to be good at. I wanted a job that allowed me to feel like I was succeeding in more than one aspect of my life.
Also wanted to note that I completely agree with I Love My Job at 9:42. The only thing I would add is that you do need to be able to recognize when your issues with your job go beyond the normal fact that it’s a job, and it’s never going to be fun and fulfilling all or even most of the time. My current job is still a job–it has moments of tedium, frustration, etc. But my level of happiness now compared to when I worked in biglaw literally cannot be compared. You don’t want to have unrealistic expectations for your job–but every job is not right for every person.
I worked in BigLaw for 5 years.
Was I unhappy? A lot of the time, yes. Some of the time, no. Some of the partners I worked for were unrelenting aholes. Others I enjoyed working with. The hours could be absolutely crushing. After about 18 months of 200+ hour months (with a few 300+ hour months tossed in for good measure), I found myself looking out a plane window one day just bone tired, watching the guys on the tarmac with the little glow sticks directing traffic, and seriously thinking, “I wonder if I could get that job? That looks like an alright job. How do I get that job?” Biglaw can also be very isolating. There were periods when my entire team was busy, and I enjoyed that, even if I was at the office until late at night or into the morning. The company helped make it bearable. But it was depressing when everyone else was peacing out at 6 or 7, and I was night after night working by myself either at the office or at home.
I’m much happier since I’ve left Biglaw. My hours are set. I can go get drinks with friends after work and not worry that I’m going to get called back to the office. I don’t have to feel guilty about spending time with friends instead of billing. I can make weekend plans and know they’re not tentative. I don’t have to look at my calendar and think, “What can I get away with cancelling this week?” I work in an environment now that doesn’t reward a-holes and that is much more collaborative.
I think if you can get past the hyperbole and vitriol, the People’s Therapist accurately describes Biglaw.
I’d say that for some people BigLaw is a happy place. A minority of those people are psychopaths who are happy because they can bully and make others miserable without consequences. Avoid the psychopaths.
Avoid the psychopaths.
If you can.
I would never tell anyone not to do BigLaw if they were interested/needed the money, etc. But I would caution them not to dismiss the horror stories as the exaggerated whining of the terminally bitter. Many are true.
Or maybe it’s better not to have too much knowledge. :-) :-(
The Bad Wife
Thanks guys. Much appreciated.
No Drama Momma
I think the zippers will date the jacket eventually. Regardless, if I’m going to drop that kind of cash for a tweed jacket, it will definitely be Chanel. Distant second to Stella McCartney.
Ooh la la, Paris?
I’m getting overwhelmed trying to plan a trip in October to Paris. I’ve never been to France, mainly because I find the whole concept oddly intimidating. For those who are not so easily put off as I, where is a good place to stay, neighborhood wise? It will be me and my bf, and we would like to be central to as much as possible because we like to walk to as many places as we can. Obviously safe and charming are part of what we are looking for, too. Any specific recs. that are not too expensive would be appreciated, but at this point I would be thrilled just to nail down some areas to look in.
Merci beaucoup in advance :)
I love the Hotel Castille on Rue Cambon — right next door to Chanel! Request a room in the Rivoli Wing — perfection.
(Sorry if this is a dupe – I got the “you’re commenting too fast” notice from WordPress, even though I only had one entry, and I don’t know if my first comment will appear.) Take a look at the Rick Steves book for Paris. I’ve found him more helpful than more comprehensive guides, as he picks a neighborhood and relatively inexpensive places to stay.
I would recommend staying in the Latin Quarter. There are a ton of cute bistros and night life. Also, very easy to walk to most of the main tourist attractictions such as the Louvre and Notre Dame. Paris is wonderful. Don’t feel overwhelmed – most people speak English and the city is quite manageable. Don’t feel like you have to cover every tourist attraction; sometimes, it is nice just to walk around and soak up the wonderful atmosphere. One of the best experiences I’ve had in Paris was just sitting on the Champs du Mars (the park across from the Eiffel Tower), buying a bottle of wine from a corner store and drinking the wine with my friend. I was just there in June – got a great deal at the Hotel Fontaine du Luxenbourg, which is in the Latin Quarter – near the Luxembourg Gardens and the Sorbonne. Not overly chi chi, but nice cute boutique hotel with good rates. (BTW – I think the Luxembourg gardens is much prettier than the Tuilerie Gardens). Other recommendations – Ste. Chappelle is probably the prettiest church I’ve been to, the Rodin Museum is great, Place du Teatres in Montmarte is totally charming with all the artists painting outside, and, though it is touristy – take a night time Seine cruise anyway.
1) I love the Latin Quarter!
2) Agree with Ste. Chappelle. They frequently have evening candlelight concerts (usually Mozart or some other classical music) during which the church takes on a completely different look than by day. I suggest going during the day and buying a concert ticket to return in the evening. It is worth two trips!
Sainte Chappelle - YES
Definitely worth more than one trip — and try to time your day visit so that the sun is coming from the direction of the apse for full daytime stained glass effect! I have been to one of those little evening concerts, and it was terrific.
Also, Sainte Chappelle is close to the Marais, which used to be “just” the Jewish neighborhood (great falafel and bakeries), but is now conveniently both the Jewish neighborhood (still great food and now a really interesting Holocast monument) AND the cool, hip, gay neighborhood. Two tastes in one.
As an aside, in the past decade or so someone (city government?) has posted plaques on many, many buildings and street corners attesting to the roundups of French Jews during WWII. Interestingly, the language, as best I recall, says something like, “on this spot on X date, Y children who were born Jews were rounded up by the French government working with the Nazis and taken to Z.” I was very touched that the plaques had gone up and that they were so straightforward about everyone’s involvement.
Try http://www.eurocheapo.com. It lists a lot of reasonably priced places with reviews both by the editors and everyone else who has stayed there. I’ve used that site many times and generally had good luck with the places I picked.
My new favorite neighborhood for exploring is the Marais. It used to be run down but has been a real up and coming fashionable neighborhood for the past 10 years or so. It’s on the right bank. Good metro access and walkable to many places. You won’t feel like you are in the tourist horde so much as if you stay near the eiffel tower, notre dame, etc. There are lots of bistros and fun night life. Also, this area is well known for boutiques. Don’t miss Collette, a perinneial fashion editor favorite. Whoever owns it has a really good eye for selecting the best of everything. My favorite chain store is Zadig et Voltaire, there are locations throughout the city.
Don’t be intimidated. People are nice, and Paris is very well laid out and easy to navigate. Study a map a bit before you go to get a sense of neighborhoods. Figure out what metro stop your hotel is near and get a sense of how you would get to major attractions. Try to learn a handful of basic french phrases, even if its just “Hello, I’m sorry I don’t speak French, do you speak english?” You will be surprised how much friendlier people are if you make even this small effort.
I completely agree about the small effort. Makes a world of difference.
I disagree actually. Spent 3 weeks in Paris and used my basic french to order in restaurants, etc. People were nice. Then when they would chatter on and I’d say “Parlez vou Anglais?” they would be haughty.
When I went places and just spoke in English and apologized, they were lovely.
But I do love Paris.
and so anon
Learn to pronounce the basic french phrases with the very best accent you can develop in a short time. When French people are rude to Americans, it’s often because their accent is painful to listen to.
If you’ve heard Mayor Bloomberg of New York speak Spanish at press conferences you’ll understand. It’s admirable that he tries, but could he please make an effort?
I’ve always wondered why speaking English with a foreign accent is seen as charming, whereas speaking most foreign languages with anything less than a perfect, native accent is perceived as dreadful.
and so anon
Anonymous 11:35 a.m.:
It is not true that all accents in English are considered “charming.” There’s a hierarchy and accents tend to be considered attractive in direct proportion to how Americans feel about the culture of the people with the accent. British, Irish, French and classy Italian accents are considered enviable, everything else is on a case-by-case basis. The writer Frank McCourt wrote candidly about this in “‘Tis,” when he was advised in the 1950s that he might want to maintain his Irish accent.
French badly pronounced sounds horrible. It’s also really hard to understand. Many Americans don’t take foreign languages and other cultures seriously. Anyone speaking a foreign language should try to speak it as well as possible or not speak it at all. Often a perfect accent will not be possible for an adult. A clear one will do.
I would highly suggest using vrbo for a rental. Many property managers will provide you with air port pickups and other useful perks. Also use limeandtonic.com for deals!
having grown up in Paris, I’d second the Latin Quarter comment, it is very lively, with a lot of cafes and cute restaurants, and you’re near the Sorbonne and all its intellectuals which can be a lot of fun. An alternative is around Notre Dame de Paris. Finally, another option is around Bastille, very different vibe, a lot more modern, but good connections with buses and tube.
Regarding the hotel, just be prepared: rooms in Paris are TINY. Accept it, realise that you won’t spend a lot of time in your room, and you’ll be fine!
a few places you MUST go to:
– Laduree, it’s a tea room in Paris, near La Madeleine tube station, that’s where Carrie was in the last episode of SATC (the one where she feeds the dog), most amazing pastries in all of Paris
– my favourite restaurant is near Odeon, it’s called Le Procope. Go to the 1st floor. I love it because of its history: that’s where Voltaire, Franklin,etc met to discuss politics. Food is very French and gorgeous too.
– shopping: lots of lovely shops around St Germain des Pres, lots of little boutiques.
Second Laduree. Eat one of their macarons and your life will never be the same.
I agree with what everyone has said about the Left Bank. For hotels, I like Hotel Familia on rue des Ecoles, near the Sorbonne. I have stayed there on several occasions and it is always clean and friendly. I think it was originally a Rick Steves recommendation.
Former Paris Resident
I’d say the Marais would be the perfect place to stay–slightly less touristy than the Latin Quarter, with lots of cute shops and cafes around, and you can walk to some of the major sights (or take a short metro ride–the Marais stop is on the 1 line, which is one of the 2 main lines tourists end up taking the most). I don’t have any hotel names that I know of as I was a resident rather than a tourist.
Paris is the greatest city in the universe. you will have the most wonderful time. I miss it literally every day.
Hotel Rivoli in the Marais is a great bargain (although not the nicest rooms in the world) and right by the Hotel de Ville. When I last stayed there no one there spoke English but it’d be worth a try even if the OP doesn’t speak French.
also a lefty
This was a great refresher to me on a recent trip— good, clear summary of Paris neighborhoods.
The sights/museums of Paris are well-know, and you should see them, but try to make time to just walk around and get a feel for what areas you love (I’m sure you’ll find several); then just hang out in between sightseeing and absorb.
I like to stay on the Left Bank and walk or Metro around from there. Relais Christine and Le Six, both in the Latin Quarter area, are great boutique hotels. There are cheaper options too.
Wonderful food at Le Timbre (6th), Spring (2d), love the Rubis for a casual wine after the Louvre or other sights in the 1st. If you like duck, try Domaine de Lintillac… not fancy, but any and all parts of the duck can be had in different forms. Picnics in the parks (Tuileries, Luxembourg) are the way to go for lunch. Water & jambon-buerre, what else do you need?
On second thought, can I come with you?
We recently stayed at Hotel Select adjacent to the Sorbonne. LOVED it. Was my first trip to Paris and I was nervous, too, but we had a great time.
October is perfect. The Marais is great, trendy but not top-dollar. Paris is pretty safe, as cities go – all of the restaurants are good – many are excellent. Publuc transportation is great. There are some el cheapo discount department stores where you can buy great things
Early Threadjack – I should have posted this over the weekend, but I am starting my first job as a lawyer (well, really first “grown up” job) tomorrow! I’ve received so much great advice from this site, but wanted to see if anyone had any last minute tips for the first day of my career or things you wish you would have known/done early in your career?
Same sitch!!!! Advice please!!!!!
Introduce yourself to everyone you meet with first AND last name, good eye contact, and a strong handshake (if appropriate). I hate when people don’t give a last name. Giving both is more professional and provides an extra handle to help people remember you.
And do your best to remember the names of everyone you meet, including especially support staff. You will see and work with support staff all the time, you should be friendly with them, and it pretty quickly becomes awkward to admit that you don’t know their names and try to learn them later.
Good advice! Especially the part about the last names. It always makes me think of When Harry Met Sally, when she says that we have an entire generation of cocktail waitresses running around. Don’t be a cocktail waitress!
Good advice! Especially the part about the last names. It always makes me think of When Harry Met Sally, when she says that we have an entire generation of c-tail waitresses running around.
Anon Corporate Atty
Congratulations and have fun! Do your best to come across as professional and intelligent to the other attorneys without acting like a gunner and be respectful and friendly to the staff.
Introduce yourself, use a strong handshake, ask intelligent questions, and wear comfortable shoes because you’ll probably be trotting around the office and possibly out to lunch.
My best advice is to remember that *everything* counts from Day One— from your work product to your people skills. The expectations might be lowered in the first weeks, but that’s all the more reason to set a tone early. A good first impression will stay with you for a long time, and it’s great to have that foundation laid when the inevitable mistakes happen. So check your work, keep the energy and attitude in a good place, and don’t hand in any rough drafts! Good luck & congratulations!
Oh, and also— keep in mind that a new job, especially a first “real” job, will be emotionally draining, or overwhelming, even if you like it. So be good to yourself in terms of protecting down time and getting sleep, and allow the adjustment phase to happen without getting freaked out by it. You might not have a ton of energy for other things because your mind & body are taking on a whole new challenge. Not that you should become a hermit, just keep in touch with how you’re adapting to the new routine and plan your other time accordingly. And if you do struggle with the adjustment, don’t even think of having a “did I make the right decision?” moment before the three (better 6)- month mark.
Make a point to meet and be on good terms with the associates a year or two ahead of you. You may not have met the rising second years when you summered (because of the bar), but they’ll be the ones you want to go to for advice about how to do your job and how to play well with others in the office.
Keep your state-specific bar books in your office. They’re incredibly helpful and time-saving research tools when you need a case cite for something simple (like the standard for a TRO, etc.).
There are a bunch of books geared toward new lawyers. I found Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks to be comforting. A few months in, I was feeling totally overwhelmed and the book helped to remind me that it’s normal. The book also has a list of stereotypes of new associates so you can be sure to avoid behaviors that make partners and senior associates judge you unfairly. Good luck!
laundry crisis. My BF left chapstick in his shorts pocket, which of course we didn’t notice before we washed and dried a load of laundry, and now half the clothes (including one of my favorite shirts) have these dark spots on them, I assume from the wax or oil in the chapstick. I’ve tried vinegar, dish detergent, oxyclean, and colorsafe bleach and it’s not really getting them out (though I need to try soaking them overnight instead of just for a few hours). Any suggestions?
I’m pretty sure you’re screwed, but I suggest checking out The Laundress website. If anyone knows how to get it out they will.
If it’s wax, place paper towels on both sides of the stain and then iron over the stain. The heat will make the wax move into the paper. However, if it’s not wax then the iron will set the stain. Try this first on an item you care less about.
This works great for wax but I’m pretty sure chapstick is made with petroleum jelly, which would just spread even more.
If you do try this, OP, make sure you place a towel on top of the paper towels and iron on top of the towel. My mother neglected to put a towel down while doing this once, and, well, paper towels burn.
That happened to me recently, and worse, the chapstick was kind of reddish. On some of the clothes, I had success with liquid stain remover Resolve (let it soak in, then scrub with scrub brush). Others clothes ended up in the trash. I soaked stuff overnight in Oxyclean, and it didn’t help at all, FYI.
I did this once when I was 10 (also tinted chapstick. May have been a Lip Smacker) and ruined an entire load of my whole family’s laundry and was effectively killed by my mother for it. I would recommend whatever you normally use on grease stains (Dawn is my go to, but check the internet for other options).
For oil stains, if that’s what chapstick is, I have good luck with this technique – saturate the spot with an oil-targeting dish soap, like Dawn, undiluted. I like the concentrated version of Dawn for this. Let sit overnight. Then wash.
We have had luck with repeating this another time if it doesn’t get all the oil the first time.
I have a magic bullet! Get thee to the internet, and order a bottle of Fulsol cleaner from the Fuller Brush Company. Not the diluted version in the spray bottle but the concentrate. Best laundry degreaser ever. Apply it to the affected areas and let it sit for several hours before washing normally. I promise it removes chapstick stains (I’ve done this a million times), lipstick, and those little grease spots that all small children get all over their clothes whenever they decide to hold their buttered toast up against their shirt – butter side to shirt.
Try Lestoil. It’s a floor cleaner and smells a bit odd, but my college roommate used it on every greasy, oily, set stain in the world and it (almost) always worked. For bad stains she’d soak overnight.
But be prepared to wash pretty soon after and with a strong detergent. (I’m not kidding about the smelling odd.)
Try “De-solv-it Plus” Stain Remover …you can get it from Amazon.
Ladies, where is a good place to buy a French cuff
Brooks Brothers non-iron. They have a variety of fits and selection of fabrics. Check their sale section.
Charles Tyrwhitt ctshirts dot com also has a couple nice ones on sale now.
rainy (almost) fall day in nyc
I’m looking for a fall rain or trenchcoat, water-resistant or water-proof, and preferably something with a removable lining so I can adjust for warmer/colder weather. Any ideas? I’m hoping to find something for undetermined $200.
Always a NYer
I’ve had good luck with LL Bean and Eddie Bauer. They aren’t the most fashionable but they are very warm with removable linings and have a hood to protect your hair (a big plus for me). Most of them are around your pricepoint of $200 and come in neutral colors.
Ditto. I got a very nice trench coat from LL Bean and it was only $120, I think.
rainy (almost) fall day in nyc
Whoops, I meant under 200. Autotext error!
SF Bay Associate
London Fog – check Sierra Trading Post.
London Fog. I think they are now sold online exclusively at Macy’s but you can also find them at Burlington and other outlet-type stores.
I think I got my trench from Sierra Trading Post and am really happy with it – amazingly small price, very flattering and classic coat from maybe DKNY or someone like that
I’d also check bluefly [dot] com, and the sale sections at us [dot] allsaints [dot] com.
Has anyone used professional help in drafting their resumes? I am looking for a new job. It has been many years since I updated my resume with anything other than new dates and I think my experience level (I have been practicing over 10 years) warrants a new approach. Thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.
Former Resume Writer
I used to be professional help. Usually we’d interview the person, find out what type of job(s) she wanted, and then tailor the resume to the specific skillset required by that job in a succinct manner. For experienced professionals who did not need a CV, we always kept resumes to no more than 2 pages. If you’ve switched job types and some earlier positions really don’t have any relevant skills, just list the position with a one-line description max just to show you don’t have any gaps in employment.
Consider your law/grad/undergrad school’s career services?
I used my undergrad career services to review my resume every time I switched job. I recommend trying, why not get the benefits you paid for during college.
My law school CSO was awful. I started law school some time after getting my undergraduate degree and they recommended I remove experience entirely to put in an interests section. I refused, because I knew removing those jobs would result in questions as to why I didn’t work for 5 years after finishing my undergrad. I say know your school and whether the CSO will be helpful before asking them for help.
OilLondon Moves to Texas
hello and apologies for the early threadjack!
I have just found out that I am going to be sent on an assignment to Houston for the next couple of years.
The workplace is a lot more formal over there, so I’m going to need to buy a couple more suits. I’m desperately looking for a flared / a line navy suit, any suggestion from anyone? Happy to buy when I get there.
Any advice from those living there is appreciated!
thanks a lot!!!
Try Ann Taylor. I just got a really cute flared suit in gray and they have similar styles in navy.
Wearing a navy suit today from Ann Taylor Loft Factory store that I absolutely love. I got it last winter, but I am sure you will be able to find something comparable.
I hope you love Houston! It’s a great city.
Welcome to Houston (and Texas). I am not in law, but I see attorneys all the time and they are mostly wearing the traditional suits (skirt or slacks) that posters comment about. There does, however, seem to be a bit more leeway for the colors. Houston, for me, is a two season place. The ac in the summer in the buildings makes me wear just lighterweight clothing. So it’s still long sleeves, cardis, jackets etc. Finally we have a break from highs in the triple digits. I can’t remember, it must have been May that it began. Very unusual here. Lots of humidity and typically rain, but it usually disappears quickly. So you won’t need wellies!
Suits – Nordstrom rack, Macys, Talbots, Nordstrom all moderately priced.
Suits – Neiman Marcus, NM Last Call, more expensive (alot of Albert Nipon)
Depending on your area of town, there are lots of shopping options. ALl the maintstream USA vendors are here.
I often mix/match skirts and jackets and have been adding to my wardrobe from Boden.
Based on your moniker, are you currently living in London?
If so, I highly recommend Hobbs for nice suiting; also the ubiquitous T.M. Lewin for basics. If you take what City lawyers wear as your base, you should be fine.
Can this style of jacket be worn by those of us who are more well-endowed? I love the look, but always feel like it just emphasizes my…assets, and not necessarily in a good way. Can this be solved with tailoring? or is those one of those styles I just need to admire on other body types?
Shopping's My Cardio
Meg, I think this would look stunning on a bust-blessed girl (being one myself)! The trick is to look for a piece that’s more fitted/tailored, versus something with a boxier cut. A trimmer fit will allow you to wear this closed or open, and still show off your shape. That may mean buying a size up (to accommodate your decollette) and then having the waist taken in to fit. Well worth the effort on a splurge like this, though!
I think it can work by not zipping the jacket all the way up, thereby avoiding the top heavy look.
Another threadjack–I’m looking for some advice for a new attorney. Just started my first “real” job today, and I’d love suggestions on what I should bring to put in my desk. I’ve got some basic toiletries (toothbrush, deodorant, brush, etc.) But would love ideas on what you all recommend that I might not have thought of. I have my own office, and I’ve been told to “move in already” so I’m not worried about overstepping any boundaries by bringing in a bag of things.
SF Bay Associate
First Aid – Tums, Immodium, Gas-X, Tylenol, Pepto, Advil, Band Aids, Blister Blocker, Hand Sanitizer, etc.
Eye care – eyedrops )not Visine), glasses cleaning cloth, contact solution, contact case
Face care – face wipes, makeup remover, small mirror, etc
Clothing emergencies – Tide pen, mini sewing kit, safety pins, double stick tape, spare pair of panties, spare pair of stockings, bobby pins/hair bands etc.
Period equipment – tampons and pads of choice
Temperature regulation – pashmina, portable space heater.
I second the eye care and the clothing emergencies – I didn’t put these on my list because I carry that in my purse and not my desk drawer.
– Paint-on bandaids for blisters
– extra stockings or sock liners (whatever it is that you wear)
– clear nail polish for runs if you wear hose regularly
– comfortable shoes (you do not want to walk down the stairs in heels during a fire drill)
– water bottle
– coffee cup
– plate, bowl, utensils
– Clorox wipes (or similar) to clean off your desk after eating
– dental floss
– mirror (so you can check your teeth after eating and touch up your makeup at your desk)
– feminine hygiene items
– baby wipes
– I also keep sunscreen, Tums, and Ibuprofen because those are things I commonly need. And I have some toner and cotton pads so I can take my makeup off before working out.
We did have the fire drill thing once and I am still grinning at how slow most of the people were to get out (some because of heals, others because they wanted to pack their purses, etc.)
Lint roller, safety pins, extra shirt (ideally one that goes with everything), flats (to wear around after hours), advil, cardigan for arctic AC, earplugs.
I’ve been thinking about leaving a pair of black yoga pants at the office, in case of disaster (weather or biological related). Note to self, do that. Also, a lightweight tote/fabric shopping bag to cart home things that won’t fit into your daily bag(s). And all the wires/chargers you’ll need for your gadgets (mini/micro USB, iPod, etc).
Just for fun: a coin bank/dish, to collect all those pesky coins that you don’t want weighing down your bank. I have a freebie pig sitting on my computer, keeping me company in my cubicle. He sits on a piece of hardened yellow and white thermoplastic (the stuff used to make lane markings on the highway) so I just refer to whole collection as my bacon and eggs.
AAAAaaaaaaaaaaaand back to work =).
Ha! Bacon and eggs. Nice.
A suit with the appropriate shoes and a blazer in case you are called into a meeting or have to run to Court.
Always a NYer
My original post is right after yours, I forgot to link it. I agree with all the suggestions given. I keep everything in a plastic storage box that fits in the bottomdrawer of my desk. Since you have an office and not just a cubicle, I’d have a box for each category. Congrats on the new job!!!
In my desk: safety pins, plastic hair clip, band-aids, tampons, hand mirror, deodorant, lotion, advil, kneehighs, extra blazer and cardigan, some sample make-ups (gift with purchase kind — for quick touchups at the end of the workday when something unexpected comes up and I look like death), Tide pen, extra cheapy fabric tote for days when I need to take work home and haven’t brought my briefcase. I keep all my work shoes in my office.
Just a few additions to the above lists: mini-mouthwash bottle, Zicam, static guard spray, and nail clippers (not for everyday grooming, just to fix the occasional torn/broken nail). Also, I keep some not-too-perishable food around for really busy days/late nights. Tuna, Luna bars, instant oatmeal (I have an electric tea kettle – best. present. ever. from my old secretary), frozen dinners (in the community freezer). Lots of tea bags and emergen-C.
Aaand, after an unfortunate shoe incident recently, I am back to keeping extra pairs of black and brown flats under my desk.
This is a good reminder to bring in some extra running shoes for emergencies. I keep forgetting!
Wow, this is a lot of stuff. They are all good suggestions. If we all had everything listed, we’d be prepared for all kinds of situations.
The only thing I would add to the mix is a pair of slippers. I prefer to kick my shoes off under my desk, and my feet get chilly, so I put on some slippers. (Don’t bring ratty ones or Snooki-esqe puffy ones. Plain moccasins are fine. Sometimes I forget I have them on and walk down to the restroom or my assistant’s desk in them.)
Also tissues and hand lotion.
Also, candy, if you’re a candy person. But heed the warnings in NGDGTCO about feeding the office.
Thank you all for the responses. These are great ideas, most of which would have taken me weeks to figure out I needed!
On a positive note, the HR woman told me that the office was definitely business casual, but I wore a suit today anyways, and planned on taking the jacket off. Since I had a suit handy, I got to attend all the mediations that had been scheduled for today, and have been assigned my first deposition for two weeks from now because of how I conducted myself in the mediations!!
Always a NYer
Kat did a series of office staples back in 2008. I found that all the suggestions from her and the comments were great.
Always a NYer
This was supposed to be in response to CSF.
and so anon
I like it, although I would pair it with a black skirt or a black dress. If I were spending $3K on a jacket IRL, I’d select something more traditional.
Chanel Prêt-à-Porter? If I were really rich, it would be Chanel Couture all the way. :-)
Can anyone recommend books/websites/resources they’ve found useful when contemplating a career transition? I’m an attorney with three years of government practice under my belt and I’m thinking more and more about transitioning to a totally different practice area – think moving from litigation to transactional (I think ideally I’d like to leave the law entirely, but unfortunately I won’t be able to do that until the student loans are much reduced or gone.) I have absolutely no clue where to start and would greatly appreciate any advice the Corporettes might have.
If you type “law degree” into Amazon’s search within Books, the first three books that come up are all ones that I found helpful:
What Can You Do With a Law Degree?: A Lawyer’s Guide to Career Alternatives Inside, Outside & Around the Law by Deborah L. Arron (Sep 2003)
The Lawyer’s Career Change Handbook: More Than 300 Things You Can Do With a Law Degree, Updated and Revised by Hindi Greenberg (Dec 1, 1998)
The Creative Lawyer: A Practical Guide to Authentic Professional Satisfaction by Michael F. Melcher (Sep 27, 2007)
Michael Melcher is particularly great on the psychological side of things. The other two books have sections on self-evaluation, but are more nuts-and-bolts practical in terms of listing potential job titles/practice areas/fields.
Brand Spanking New Public Defender
Hello, All. Please advise on first days as a public defender. What to wear, what to learn, what to bring? Thanks in advance!!!
Are we all starting at the same place tomorrow? If so, we need a code word.
Congratulations! Wear comfortable shoes above all else. Being a PD is a very active job that involves running to the hall to see out of jail clients, to where in jail clients are housed, to depositions, to the jury box and lots of time standing on your feet at the podium. Get a copy of the criminal rules and a good evidence book and don’t get caught in court without them. Also, remember that you could be in a burlap sack and be sexy to your clients. Careful with tight skirts, toe cleavage, etc. No sexy jeans at the jail, either! Be firm with your clients a first, and always sit by the door. Be aware of your pens, glasses, etc., but don’t be afraid of them. Fear will be your worst enemy. You are in charge and they need you! Once you have their confidence, you can be a little more friendly and natural. As a public defender you have a chance to help people in a very real way. Remember that anyone can get arrested at any time. First-timers are terrified of what can happen to them. Remember that. Repeat offenders will know more than you about certain aspects of the law so don’t forget that either. Oh, one last bit of advice: when they tell you “No paper” it means they can’t do probation because it is too hard. A short jail sentence may be better for some people who don’t have family support and the economic means to complete probation. Good luck!!!
In some places “no paper” is the term used when the government declines to prosecute. You’ll get training that will explain these terms and don’t be afraid to ask questions. When I was a new attorney, I frequently made up reasons to leave during a client meeting to ask a collegue a question.
Former Public Defender
This may be too late but… don’t wear skirts to the jail. You want your clients to focus on what you’re saying. Same goes for court when there are in-custody clients.
You’ll get used to going to the jail cells and running to courtrooms. You’ll do great. Don’t be afraid to stick up for yourself. Your clients will often doubt your abilities, but don’t do that yourself. If you fight really hard for some clients at the beginning, and you lose, and they go away for a long time, then at least they’ll pass your name around as someone who fights hard.
Dress older than your age. You don’t want to ever be known as “the hot lawyer” to your clients.
Brand Spanking New Public Defender
Former 3L: are you in NYC? All others, THANK YOU! Will be sure to keep you posted :)
…Yes. I think we need a code word. It’ll be like playing gunner bingo!
There are a few threads today from Corporettes starting a new (first) job so I’ll ask a question I’ve felt too awkward to get into with any of my new friends or acquaintances here. I have moved to Toronto from a city further south where everyone drives everywhere. I’ll be using transit when I start my new job soon, and just can’t get my head around the logistics of commuting shoes. If I’m sitting on the train and walking to the office in flats, where do I change into my ‘hello I’m your professional-looking new colleague’ heels, – number one, on the first day, and then secondly, after that (if it’s different)?
I change in my office – nobody has ever looked askance at me for wandering in flats or sandals (though, to be fair, I work in a business casual office and also don’t wear tennis shoes or flip flops to commute, though at my office that wouldn’t change things).
On the first day, though, I’d wear commute shoes that you can easily slip into your bag before you get into the office since you’ll presumably be meeting with HR or perhaps others first thing.
I started my articles a couple of months ago. For the first few days I just wore my heels all day, then once I was finished training, I left my heels in my office and wore my commuting shoes until I got to my office. I now pitter-patter into my office wearing my bright red toms and no one bats an eye, and I leave all my work appropriate shoes in my closet or under my desk.
If I were you, I’d suck it up for the first day or two until you have your office or cubicle or whatever, and just wear the heels. On the first day, when you’re walking around immediately and meeting people, etc, finding a place to stash your commute shoes or a place to change can be a hassle, and walking around with commuting shoes sort of sticking out of your purse all day does not say ‘professional’- unless they’re those really tiny, soft ballet flats that just fold into your purse.
Plus, Toronto has great transit in comparison to some other Canadian cities (cough *Calgary* cough), so there’s a pretty good chance your walk won’t be that long, especially if you’re working anywhere downtown.
I typically change into heels around the corner from the office. Its worked well for me. I commute in flip flops though, so I don’t want to ride the elevator in them in case I run into someone important. If you are wearing flats that match your outfit, I don’t think it would be a big deal to change in the office.
Welcome to Toronto!
Think warm commuting boots shortly. It gets sloppy here in the winter and the TTC is horrid.
At first (I did first week or so) – just inside your building, or if a very large building, at least at some point before you get in the elevator.
After that, it’s totally fine to walk in wearing flats/more comfortable shoes and change at your desk. I keep my work shoes at my desk most of the time. In my current city where everyone takes trains/subways, people can and do walk in in flipflops and all manner of commuting shoes and change; in your case, I’d make sure your commuting shoes are a tad more professional (comfy flats) because most people won’t have commuting shoes.
Let’s say we have a nice chunk of money to buy one classic this-was-damn-expensive-so-it’d-better-be -worth-it tweed jacket.
What should one look for to maximize utility and wearable life?
Blacks or greys are probably the most practical, right? No weird zippers, not too much fringe, and not too much dangly stuff? Hitting at the hip, tailored to fit to a tee, and … what other things should one think about?
I think Lisa from Privilege has posted on this topic before – maybe check out her blog? amidprivilege dot com
I would make sure that the style/cut of the jacket suits my body type – tailoring does not pardon all style issues. I’d also consider sleeve length – I love full sleeve, bracelet sleeve as well as 3/4 length sleeves. The jacket shown today just looks shrunken today as opposed to bracelet sleeves, well, to me, anyway.
As for color, pick one you like, that goes with most of your wardrobe. Personally, I’d go charcoal gray or a blackish brown (charred brown?). And in terms of purchasing an “investment”, I always visit in the store, at least once a week or so if I’m still thinking about it. If I did it more than once or would truly regret not going home with it, I’d buy it, no matter what the rules are.
Does navy tweed exist? That might be nice, too. And I think Lisa would approve of navy tweed ;).
anon the 6th
Of course navy tweed exists. :-) Especially in what I assume is a “novelty Tweed,” which is what Chanel-style suits are usually made from. It’s very soft and spongy, sometimes airy, which is why it’s usually lined. Many Chanel suits are famously produced from Linton Tweed.
anon the 6th
To avoid buying clothes that will look dated prematurely:
Avoid extreme, narrow lapels. If styles change, lapels can be cut down, but not widened. I think I read that a good, moderate lapel width was 3.5 inches (That sounds too big; Google Roberto Cabrera’s book on women’s tailoring.).
Watch out for extreme silhouettes and shoulder pads. Ask a tailor or dressmaker if the garment could be altered if necessary, for example, could smaller shoulder pads be substituted when styles change?
Nothing crazily short. Similar to lapels, a long skirt can be shortened, not the other way around.
Select classic colors, unless some odd hue is your signature color and won’t look dated. (I hate the Pantone company. :-) What do I care what the color forecast for the season is?)
Pick clothes that can be coordinated with each other to distribute the wear.
Following are some signs of a well-constructed garment:
100% wool, if it’s wool. Good wool performs better than synthetics. It also usually looks and feels nicer. Same thing with other natural fibers.
Good buttons, although those can be replaced. Extra buttons. The buttons are sewn on securely.
Quality hardware that won’t tarnish.
In menswear, less true in women’s clothes, jacket sleeve buttonholes that actually unbutton. Welt pockets that are real, not just for show. Quality pocketing material, which in menswear is called “Silesia.”
Large patterns, stripes and plaids should match at key seams like shoulders and side seams. Stripes should run parallel to the edges of the jacket lapel, not curve.
A well-formed, shaped, two-piece collar.
For a woman’s tailored jacket, at two- or three-piece sleeve. It fits better and is more comfortable.
Quality lining material.E.g., High-quality rayon (Bemberg), China Silk. Lining prolongs the life of the garment by protecting it and making it easier to slip on and off.
If not lined, well finished seams, such as Hong Kong seams (fabric wrapped around the edges of the seam allowances) or French Seams (an “enclosed seam” that looks like a tuck from the inside).
In skirts and dresses, a “soft” hem, that has some life in it, not a hem that looks like a knife edge because it’s been pressed within an edge of its life.
Back vent and other points subject to stress reinforced with bar tacks.
Double hooks or a hook and a button on skirt and trouser extensions
In better clothes, wider seam allowances that would allow garment seams to be taken out if necessary.
Can you tell I’ve taken classes at FIT? :-) I’m telling you, try learning to sew well, and you will look at the cheapest T-shirt from Asia with admiration.
Tailored to fit to a tee is great, but you’ll have to stay at that weight. I would err on the side of a slightly looser fit than is necessary, as people tend to get bigger as they age even if they take care of themselves.
The dirty little secret of beautiful, expensive clothes is that they require more care, not less, and can be more delicate than “ordinary” things. But the pleasure they give makes up for it if it’s something you love.
anon the 6th
No wire hangers (Joan Crawford was right. :-) )
Hang up your clothes (still learning to do this)
Try not to get the garment too dirty, see if you can get by with a light airing or brushing (depending on the fabric) and a press at the dry cleaners. Try to dry clean only a couple of times a season. Commercial dry cleaning kills clothes.
Remove the dry cleaner wrapping; apparently, it’s made for the fibers.
Don’t use the shower to get out wrinkles. It undoes the permanent pressing that was used to construct the garment. I think a steamer is OK because the steam can be directed. I have a stand up kind with a tank. I only bought an iron when I decided to learn to sew.
anon the 6th
“bad for the fibers.”
Whoa, great comments. Maybe I should sign up for a course at FIT, my sewing machine is just languishing away, not earning its keep.
anon the 6th, this was amazing advice. looking forward to more comments from you.
and i’d love to take a proper sewing class in my town when i can afford it in money and schedule.
wow … thanks ladies for the input! and anon the 6th .. i need to start taking notes and googling some of the terms you mention. a lot of food for thought.
I would find a tweed that incorporated both black and brown so you could wear it with either. Or both black and navy. I have a sort of woven jacket that is Valentino. I don’t know if it counts as tweed, but its woven of 3 colors – cream, brown, and black. It goes with so many things. Its also boxy and I wear it belted, so it can be worn when I lose/gain weight.
THIS! Good luck!
[Unable to post as a reply because unable to access the “Submit” button.]
Re French, I wasn’t talking about anything fancy:
Enchanté [If you are introduced to someone.]
Be very polite. Superficially, the French are more polite than we are. Here are some links that may help:
http://french.about.com/library/bl_newsletter.htm (The “Travel French” newsletter is probably pretty good.)
that’s a very good point: whenever entering a shop, especially a bakery or a small shop, always say “bonjour” and then when you leave “au revoir”. Some people will get very upset if you don’t greet them when entering!