Wednesday’s Workwear Report: Stretch Knit Trousers

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

We just did a roundup of comfortable workwear for late nights, and these stretch knit trousers from NYDJ have gotten lots of shout-outs as pants that are comfortable but also appropriate to wear all day — they’re not just something to change into after hours. They are very highly rated and come in navy (pictured), black, and gray, in regular sizes (00–16) and petite (00–18). Nordstrom has them for $114. Stretch Knit Trousers

The same pant is available in plus sizes, and huzzah: It’s on sale. Amazon and Lord & Taylor also carry regular and plus sizes.

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  1. Counseling Rec - Philly :

    Does anyone have a recommendation for a couples counselor in Philadelphia? Preferably in center city and accepts insurance. Feel like my marriage is deteriorating and my husband and I both agree we need some help.

    • I suggest you search for someone Gottman-trained. the Gottman Institute’s website should have a search feature. You can read through the blog posts/articles on their site to get a sense of their approach.

  2. Veronica Mars :

    With all the natural disasters we’ve had recently, is anyone stepping up their home preparedness? I’m a bit concerned that our winter this year will be harsher than normal so I’m already getting my bottled water, flashlights, canned food, etc. set aside so I’ll be ready to go when it hits. I live in a state that’s crippled by even a small amount of snow and I’m looking forward to avoiding the typical grocery store panic. One of my coworkers thought it was crazy to get ready so early!

    • As someone who was in a mandatory evacuation zone for Hurricane Irma, I would say it is definitely not too early! (We’ve lived in Florida for ten years and this was the first mandatory or even recommended evacuation we’ve had.) Good luck!

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I have had a hand cranked/solar radio in my amazon cart forever — I need to pull the trigger and put it with our earthquake supplies. We don’t have a great set-up, earthquake-wise, but we have some bottled water and some canned food.

      I don’t think it’s ever nuts to have stuff just in case, but maybe that’s from growing up in an earthquake place.

    • I used to think all that prepper stuff was crazy, but now I’m coming around to maybe we should have a family “go bag” for any emergency evacuations, and we need to dedicate a portion of our closet to basic supplies like flashlights and canned food.

      I can’t tell if I’m just overreacting to an outlier of a year, or if this is a sane plan.

      • Veronica Mars :

        I’ve gone down the prepper rabbit hole on youtube. At first, it was just fascinating, and now I think that some of them have valid points. One of them said about food storage–“It’s like any other kind of insurance you’d buy, except with this one, you know you and your family have to eat. If you don’t have a disaster, just eat the food!” So I’ve just kept my pantry a little fuller than I used to. I gotta eat! I also reason that I can donate anything I don’t use to the food pantry at the end of the season. Plus I don’t want to buy into any of that freeze-dried, MRE type stuff. Just things I’d normally buy like soups, pasta, cereal, snacks, etc. Then I can just get a bag of apples and some fresh fruit pre-storm.

      • We had a fire in our high rise building a few years ago, and while we were unhurt and our unit unscathed, we were outside in the freezing cold with two small dogs (thankfully no kids; there were plenty who were cold and afraid!) in our PJs for 4 hours. We made a little dufflebag after that, just in case it had been longer and worse. This isn’t a “go bag” that we could live off, but rather a “shelter, just in case” bag.

        Nothing special: a change of clothes each (including a bra for me haha), socks, sneakers, extra dog leashes and collars, a quart size zip of dog food and dry treats, some granola bars, deodorant and toothpaste/brushes, a 20$ bill and copies of our drivers licenses and passports in a ziploc bag, and a flashlight. Maybe an extra phone charger. Dufflebag lives packed in a closet, right next to our small black fireproof box that we can grab and go; thankfully we’ve never needed it.

    • Anonymous :

      We always have bottled water, a few gallons of water plus MREs (husband is in the military). I also keep baby supplies, water, and one MRE in my car. In the winter I always have my sleeping bag in my car. We don’t prep other than that but I figure 3-5 days of supplies is always a smart idea. I don’t have it together enough to have a go-bag ready in case of like…threatened nuclear war with North Korea or something haha

      • I wish I found the North Korea joke funny…but these days nuclear war doesn’t seem so far fetched.

    • There’s a difference between building an underground storm shelter with its own ventilation system and keeping common sense emergency supplies. My grandparents in Florida always kept a stash of canned goods, bottled water, flash lights, and an emergency radio in the guest closet. (The guest closet doubled as their extra pantry for all the bulk purchases my grandfather loved from Sam’s Club, so they ate through the canned goods and replenished them throughout the year.) If I lived somewhere like Atlanta for snow or the coast for hurricanes, I’d absolutely keep common sense supplies in my home.

    • cat socks :

      I need to do better with this. My emergency supplies in the basement include a pack of bottled water, a case of wet cat food and several bottles of rare rum my husband got in Europe.

      We’re in the Midwest where the winters can get bad, but the city does pretty well with clearing the roads.

    • Anonymous :

      We had a wicked rain storm over the weekend and my power was out briefly which made me realize I’m not prepared AT ALL (but I don’t live in an area with hurricanes or earthquakes thank god). I went out and bought extra batteries the next day!


      You might like this kit!

    • We keep a first aid kit in the car and a big one at home. We have a bunch of gallon jugs of water for emergencies. When snow is on the horizon, we stock up on canned food, but otherwise we do a crap job of keeping things stocked.

      Maybe. I don’t really know. My husband handles this.

    • Puddlejumper :

      Back we lived in the bay area with earthquakes and had a car, I had this stuff in our car in a 20 gallon tub in the trunk. It looks like a lot but that way if we had to evacuate everything was in one place and ready to go:

      Comfy Blanket
      Booster (jumper) cables -These can enable you to get your car started with a dead battery (if a good Samaritan comes along) and also enables you to help someone out in a fix.
      Bottled water
      Carpet remnant If you’ve ever been stuck in mud, snow, or ice, a carpet remnant is the best way to help get yourself out.
      Change for tolls, parking etc
      Change of clothes reasonably expected to fit everyone who would end up in the car. In case you have to go out to fix your car and get soaked and its cold. Or someone throws up on you etc
      Crank Flashlight
      Crank-powered radio
      Disposable Camera to take pictures of accidents (in case your phone is not working)
      Duct tape
      Emergency cash (example: tipping tow truck people)
      Emergency poncho
      Extra cell phone charger or Solar Phone Charger
      Extra jug of oil for car
      Fire extinguisher (5 lb.)
      Break open the window / cut the seat belt tool
      First aid kit (and manual)
      Fix-a-flat If your tire has a pretty rapid leak, Fix-a-flat can often provide just enough to get you to a repair station. I recommend at least two cans.
      Insurance information
      Map of the state you live in case your GPS is not working – I was shocked hearing all the stories of people during the eclipse where GPS got overwhelmed with all the traffic and it didn’t know how to direct people
      Owner’s manual for the car
      Reflective blanket
      Road flares
      Shoes- extra comfy (especially if you have to push the car or walk anywhere and you are in heels…so like your old tennis shoes)
      Small Tool Kit
      Solar Cell Phone Charger
      Spare tire
      Tire air gauge This one isn’t so vital for emergencies, but is absolutely essential for preventive maintenance – keeping your tires fully inflated not only improves gas mileage, but reduces the risk of tire explosions.
      Tire iron
      Tire repair kit If the tire has deflated rapidly, a tire repair kit makes it possible for you to patch up the tire well enough for a short period.
      Utility tool set/Swiss Army knife
      WD-40 This can help loosen any bolts that won’t come loose. WD-40 has saved me in a pinch several times.
      Windshield washer fluid
      Written out important Telephone numbers (insurance, people to call, doctors numbers, etc)

      Winter Emergency:
      A shovel
      Ice Scrapper
      Road Salt
      Hat, Scarf, Gloves

      Nice things to have in the car, but not vital:
      Book to read in case we get stuck and I need something to occupy the time
      Breath Mints
      Evelopes and stamps
      Hair ties
      Hand santizer
      Lint Roller
      Deck of cards
      Reusable Shopping Bags
      Set of Utensils
      Sewing kit for when a button falls off right before you walk into a wedding

      • My goodness….

      • This is genius. Copying and printing . . . especially because some of these items (crank flashlight and radio, solar cell charger, flares, good jumper cables) would be good to put on the holiday list. The ILs love this kind of stuff and it will solve the problem of what to get us this year and maybe next.

      • Puddlejumper :

        When I don’t have a car- I make sure I have proper water, food, light plan and an evacuation plan at home. The links below have lists filled with good ideas. I make sure at my home I have an emergency binder with copies all my important papers in an easy to grab location. I also have a copy of my papers at the bank in the safety deposit box in case I lose mine or mine get damaged, maybe there is a chance the bank also won’t get hit.

        Some more thoughts: don’t go to bed without knowing where your keys are. If you have minutes to evacuate you don’t want to be running around not knowing where your keys are.

        Have your stuff in backpacks or even rolling duffles so its easy to carry for long distances.

        Have back up shoes at work if you don’t take your car to work. If you have to evacuate you will want tennis shoes that you can walk far in. I also personally if I don’t have a car but work some place where I have a desk make sure I always have back up clothes that I could move easier in than work clothes: old pair of jeans, t shirt, sweat shirt, socks, tennis shoes.

        These websites are helpful:

        And this is a smart trick:

        Also I don’t own a house – but if I did I would install this: It sends you a text if your water is running a weird amount so you know right away if a pipe has burst or if your toilet is running over and over again while you are on vacation.

      • How big is your car?!

        • Puddlejumper :

          At this point it was a small car. It was just a plastic tub in the back. Again the list looks crazy, but it packs down to be really small. The biggest thing you couldn’t squish down was the bottled water.

          • I’ve also carried extra TP and large maxi pads left over from having babies (my EMT friends say they are excellent to help stop bleeding if you get a bad/deep wound, esp. since have the barrier on the sticky side).

            Dad is an engineer and my first car with a small trunk came with a filled rubbermaid tub not unlike this one. Also: an inverter.

          • It really doesn’t take a lot of space to do this. I have an emergency kit in my car with most of that list in it and it fits in a tub in the trunk (tub is I think 15-20 gallons, maybe 2 ft long by 1.5 ft by 1.5 ft) with plenty of room to spare. We hike and fish and I like having a kit in case we get out on a mountain or country road and get stranded.

    • We have a 30-day supply of food and bottled water for both us and our pets. I didn’t want to spend the continued time and effort rotating food so I just bought the freeze-dried meals that last for 20 years. They probably suck but in an emergency it’s better than starving. We also have a small stock of canned goods that we use regularly. In our basement we keep a generator, a hand-crank/battery/solar powered radio that also charges phones, insulated blankets, a very well stocked first aid kit, flash lights, lanterns, extra batteries, and $1,000 in cash. We actually aren’t in a hurricane or typical earthquake zone, although we are in an area that gets tornadoes.

    • Calibrachoa :

      Seeing as Ireland just was hit by a flipping ex-hurricane, I feel like I am going to be putting my ducks in a row by making sure I *know* where all the things I have are. that, and gonna buy a couple of cases of bottled water to keep around.

      (Also, you never have enough buckets. My fave storm/diaster prep tip is, fill buckets with tap water beforehand because if you lose water pressure/electricity, you’re still gonna want to be able to flush the toilet)

    • I think it is smart to have a 72 hour kit.

      I’ve been thinking a lot about many people lost everything. This probably sounds silly, but I want to purge my house so I have less to lose.

    • We’re in the Midwest so hurricanes and earthquakes aren’t a real risk, and tornadoes pass quickly so we don’t really need supplies for those. Honestly, my biggest worry is a nuclear attack and not sure there’s really any way to prep for that…I’ve heard the basement is the safest place to be so we have a lot of bottled water and some canned food down there, so we could stay down there for a while if necessary. I should probably be better about having stuff in the cars in case we get caught in a winter storm, but in the winter we rarely drive except to and from work on city streets so in a worst case scenario we could always go knock on doors and find someone to help.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Don’t have anything to add except that if you have a serious medical condition or your child does and it requires electricity, make sure your local fire department/emergency response teams know that. In Seattle, you can sign up for a 911 profile with that information highlighted. In case of emergency, or even just long-term power outages, the city prioritizes people with medical conditions.
      That being said, I once walked across the street to my local hospital when the power was out for most of a day (living across from the hospital rocked) and used their generator power to nebulize in the ER waiting room. They didn’t bat an eye.

    • I posted last week that my friends got evacuated in the Northern California fires. It totally changed my outlook on being prepared. They had to leave so quickly they had time to grab their wallets, their diaper bag and a couple of blankets for their baby, and that was it. The fire moved so fast they had to get out with no time to lose. Fortunately, their house didn’t burn, but if it had, my friend said they would have lost all their identity documents, their daughter’s baby pictures on his computer, and many family heirlooms they could not ever replace. They ended up not being able to go home for 5 days and had to go to Target to buy clothes and everything they needed for themselves and the baby.

      So,this weekend we are putting together “go bags” and also I am consolidating our photo albums, family heirlooms and keepsakes into a couple of tubs we could theoretically grab if we had to leave. I am also going to sort through our camping equipment because if we had time to grab that – camping would be preferable to going to an emergency shelter, at least IMO.

      My friend’s experience really brought home for me just how quickly things can happen, and how little time you have to prepare when they do. My eyes are open now and I’m going to invest time into making sure we’re ready for an emergency.

      • Puddlejumper :

        You might be interested in backblaze. Its cloud back up that you have running on your computer at all times so it auto back ups your computers. They will mail you a back up hard drive of your files if you ever need it and you can access your things on your phone. It means all those pics and files on your computer are safe.

    • Installed a Generac home generator that runs off our natural gas line. Powers the entire house. Expense but best money ever spent. Do not live anywhere near a flood zone but had power our for 2 weeks after Sandy. Never again.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      It’s not crazy, but make sure you’re covering non-supplies items!
      * Make sure you know how to turn off your water, gas, and electricity in a hurry. (Test it out if you haven’t done it in a while–the valves may be super stiff.)
      * Get all your important documents together so you can grab them if you have to evacuate.
      * If you have kids, do they know your full names and phone numbers? Do they have someone to call if they can’t reach you (preferably a local and a non-local contact)?
      * Is your computer backed up?

  3. I want to look less tired all the time. :

    I was at a dinner/play date last night with my kids after work. Two separate, but both well-meaning friends, commented on how tired I looked and asked if I was ok. I was tired, but no more so than the usual – work all day, stress about work later, and then handle all of the family activities. So, basically I looked like my normal self, which apparently looks “tired.” I’m almost 40 and have a makeup routine consisting of some undereye concealer, a brush on powder foundation, eyeliner and mascara. I probably had slightly more on than usual yesterday because I had to go to court. So, what can I do to make my face look less tired? Vitamin C or some type of skin brightener? is there a fabulous under eye brightener that helps with the bags that I’ve noticed over the past few months. I’d prefer something that is less expensive and available in the drugstore, but will pay sephora prices if its worth it. Please help. Thanks!

    • Veronica Mars :

      It’s probably because you’re blanking out your face with the foundation and concealer and not adding any color back in. I’d get one of the tarte clay blushes to add a bit of color back to your cheeks (makes you look healthier, maybe not less tired). The other issue is that if you’re not adding any kind of eyeshadow or concealer on your lids, your eyes might look a bit red (my eyelids look red if I don’t put anything on them). There are a bunch of easy things to do– you can get something like a one-step cream eyeshadow/primer (Maybelline color tattoo in bad to the bronze is like $6, universally flattering, lasts all day, and looks like you tried). MAC’s paint points are also very nice (painterly or soft ochre just to cancel the redness. Bare study if your skin is light enough. Groundwork if you’re darker skinned). Laura Mercier and bobby brown also have some nice cream eyeshadow sticks that are just one swipe and you’re done if you want more colors than maybelline/mac.

      • Diana Barry :

        Plus lipstick! No one ever says that I look tired when I put on lipstick, but when I don’t >> bam. My lips are naturally pale and so I think it washes me out, esp. if I am wearing concealer/foundation etc. I have a bunch of the sticks from Clinique, Tarte, etc., that are like crayons so v easy to put on and blend.

        • Veronica Mars :

          That’s a great point! My favorite easy lip right now is the Dior Addict Lip Glow balms–they look really natural and are a dream to apply.

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          Sometimes if I need to look nice but don’t have time to do my whole face I swipe on some pinkish-taupe eyeshadow (MAC paint pot in bare study) and a slightly more pink than my lips actually are lip stain. It brightens my whole face.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Depending on the opacity of my foundation (I usually stick to a somewhat sheer thing) I can just like, rub my knuckles across my cheeks to bring some color back into them… It makes me look a little less corpse-y.

      • Marshmallow :

        This was my first thought too. Foundation is making your face too much of a blank canvas. If you only want to add one easy thing, I’d get a lip/cheek color and pat it on your cheekbones and lips. I like RMS Lip2Cheek for this– “Demure” is a nice medium pink.

    • Chicago anon :

      I’ve gotten into Ulta’s store-brand products lately due to trying to cut back on my budget. In particular, I love their brightening serum (way better than any other vitamin C serum I’ve tried, if you can overlook the scent. Reviewers mention it has glitter, but I’ve never been able to see any on my face).

      I’ve also found my under eye area looks much happier when I’m using a hydraulic acid mist (Ulta also has one). I usually use it right before I put on sunscreen in the morning, or right before I take a shower.

      None of these have made my skin look younger per se, but my skin looks much healthier and happier overall.

    • Anonamoomoo :

      When multiple people have commented on how I look tired despite my normal makeup in the same day, it was almost always a reflection of a change in my body language. I wouldn’t discount how much your body language may have “said” before making a change to your makeup routine.

      • Anonymous :

        This. If you had a rough day at work, dinner plans plus having to work later then it’s looking tired from a busy life, not a concealer issue.

    • Anonymous :

      You could always look worse. Here is my glass half full thought:

      I think I look like I’m two comments away from becoming Michael Douglas in Falling Down. Which is not good, but it has kept these comments at bay. It’s like RBF on steriods. Again, not good.

    • Also, how is your hydration? I know when I do not drink enough water my skin looks duller and the dark circles are more pronounced.

      • Delta Dawn :

        +1 to drinking more water. You described your makeup routine; what is your skincare routine? With concealer and powder you may seem a little dry– maybe a serum and moisturizer would help. The Ordinary is super affordable for all kinds of serums depending on what you want. Neutrogena water gel is a great moisturizer ($20) and they make an eye gel that I really like (also $20). I also use a caffeine serum from The Ordinary under my eyes (based on recs from here) and think it makes me look less tired. I have been trying to look more “dewey” lately, so I switched my powder for a whipped foundation (Maybelline dream matte mousse). Overall, I find that when I look tired, it’s puffiness in my eyes– caffeine serum plus eye gel has really helped.

    • Flats Only :

      For a quick fix use an exfoliating scrub and follow it with a rich moisturizer. Your skin will look less rough in the morning. And definitely wear blush.

      • Exfoliating scrubs are so bad for your skin. Use a chemical exfoliant like AHA/glycolic acid.

        • Flats Only :

          How are they bad? I’ve used one several times a week for decades, and I have no wrinkles and get frequent comments on how great my skin is. Even from the lady who does my facials. Is there something I’m not aware of?

          • Never too many shoes... :

            There is a theory that they cause little micro-tears in your skin. My esthetician also recommends a non-scrub exfoliant.

          • Anonymous :

            They’re way too rough for facial skin and can actually cause micro tears. Your amount of wrinkles have nothing to do with facial scrubs.

          • Flats Only :

            Huh. I had no idea. My face must just be tough, because they don’t feel at all harsh to me.

    • Cat Lady In Training :

      Maybelline’s Age Rewind undereye concealer. Seriously, it makes a big difference. We are also about the same age and I can no longer go without blush/bronzer if I wear foundation.

    • I started using Rosewater Mist (from Beautycounter), and it made my face look so much better! I definitely think I look brighter and fresher. I spray it on after my shower and before bed.

    • Maybe you do ‘look tired’ and it’s not about makeup, rather an internal state that although you think you’re okay maybe you’re not exactly. I find something to perk me up mostly works–listening to fun music, maybe reading or youtubing something that makes you laugh, spending a bit of time outdoors either for a short walk in gardens or a run.

  4. NYDJ -- thoughts from a pear :

    I have tried NYDJ and as a pear I have to say that I dislike them. There is somehow not enough room in the seat / thighs (and that meshes poorly with the very high rise in the front). I think I need a lower tummy rise while a higher rise in the back seems to accommodate the seat junk OK.

    • Anonymous :

      That makes sense, since I am a long-waisted apple and I like the fit.

      • Tech Comm Geek :

        really? I’m suddenly interested in these.

      • I bought this exact pair in the dark navy last week and love them. Also an apple and have to have petite size. Love the cut of the legs -makes me look slimmer. I bought them after moving from a jeans on Friday workplace to a no jeans place. Great to be comfy on Friday and since I don’t wear navy blue other than with jeans normally it lets me wear tops that work with navy. Pricy at $114 but I tried alternatives and these were the ones that flattered.

    • I’m also a pear and NYDJ doesn’t work for me. I think their whole thing is tummy control, isn’t it?

      • NYDJ -- thoughts from a pear :

        I think they mean tummy control for apples. They 100% just do not work for my shape (which is also cusp petite, so the rise seems extra high).

        If mine weren’t one of my only non-denim casual winter pants, I’d have tossed a while ago. But looking to replace with some Loft Julie cords (Loft Julies are awesome in general but the sizing seems to be all over the map (my closet has 4s, 6s, and I may reorder the cords in an 8 b/c the 6s seem to be a bit snugger than I like and could be a dryer shrinkage accident waiting to happen)); Kut from the Kloth didn’t work for me and the name seems so Kardashian).

    • Yup, another pear here. They don’t work at all for me and feel like dowdy Mom jeans and not in a good way for my shape.

      • Exactly, I feel that they are so dowdy.

      • Anonattorney :

        For me, it really depends on the specific style. The ones I have that I really like are in the “Samantha” cut – which is a skinny/straight leg; and they are a good wash. I don’t think they make the ones I love anymore. Bummer.

        And yes, it’s definitely tummy control. For me, I was always more of an hourglass shape, and then got a little tummy after my first kid. The NYDJ jeans helped deal with that without causing a muffin top.

    • I like Kut from the Kloth at Nordstrom better than NYDJ. Might be worth trying although I’m not sure they make low/mid rise.

      • I love Kut from the Kloth. My go-to jeans brand these days. I’m a short-waisted pear shape with a small waist, big bottom and muscular thighs, size 14/16.

  5. How do you get in touch with someone who doesn’t answer phone calls or emails? I’m trying to invite several local professors to speak at an event my organization is holding next year. We are offering them a good sized honorarium (minimum $1,000 but willing to negotiate higher) and reimbursement for travel costs (which should be negligible since they’re less 1 hr away, but we’ll happily cover gas) as well as a large amount of flexibility in scheduling and the topics they will talk about. I’ve sent several emails and made phone calls, but received no response to either. I’ve heard a stereotype that professors can sometimes be difficult to get in touch with, but short of driving down to the university and finding them in person, how should I address this?

    • Postal mail? Find out if they/their department has an admin and reach out to him/her?

      • +1 to go through the admin

      • Or, depending on how much effort you’re willing to put into getting in touch with the professor, and the department admin doesn’t work, possibly contact the registrar at the college and see if they know a good way to get in touch with the professor.

    • I also agree about the admin idea and going through their departments. The university may also have some offices that deals with specific external groups. Maybe ask corporate and foundation relations or career services for advice?

      Let me warn you, if getting hold of them is this difficult, working with them is not going to be much easier. The offices I listed may be able to suggest people who would enjoy giving the talk and would be responsive. Does it have to be the professors? Could a grad student in their research group do it? Grad students would jump at the honorarium and it would be good professional experience for them.

    • Two other things:

      (1) What department these profs are in? My observation in economics is that external requests that are not of interest are often simply ignored.

      (2) You may need to offer more $. Preparing a talk takes time and professors are often already working 60+ hours per week. I saw as a grad student a similar request with a $750 honorarium hoping for a fairly senior professor. No faculty were interested so they passed it to the grad students

    • ‘Tis true. Professors are practically impossible to reach! Commiseration, but no tips.

      • 33.3333% of my job is wrangling faculty, down from 66.66667% in my previous position. I have never engaged with another population who are so difficult to get in touch with. Of course, #notallfaculty, etc., but the responsive and communicative ones are the exceptions, not the rule.

    • I’m in communications for a university and basically 30% of my job is hounding professors to set up interviews. After emails and phone calls fail, I usually contact the department admin and ask them to put me in touch. I don’t think contacting the registrar would work, at least at my U they have basically nothing to do with faculty and would just tell you that if you called.

      I will say though that a lot of professors simply have no time for stuff like this – my husband is a prof and we are not wealthy by any means, but he would not be interested in doing this even for $1000. Money just doesn’t mean that much to him and he would rather do his own research. He is definitely not alone in that mentality. So expect you’re going to have to get in touch with 2-3 times as many people as you need at your event.

    • Definitely not postal mail- I never check mine! You could try the department admin, but you could also make sure that your email sounds legit and not like you’re blasting it out to hundreds of people. I constantly get emails about shady sounding conferences and invitations to publish in sham journals that I delete instantly (or they get caught by spam filters and I never even see them), so you need to stand out compared to those. Sending a personalized invitation that clearly spells out the details about the event and compensation definitely ups the odds that I’ll reply, but anyone well known is constantly besieged by unsolicited email and the lack of a response to multiple customized emails is probably an indication they’re just not interested no matter how hard you try to get in touch with them. If you don’t need these specific professors, try inviting more junior faculty members or try asking if they have a student or postdoc who might be able to attend instead.

      • Yes, this. Also a prof, and I get literally dozens of “invitations” every week, most of which are various forms of spam. I assume you are clearly identifying yourself as part of a local organization, which should set you apart from the shady stuff, but it still might be falling through the cracks for that reason.

    • I am not in academia, but if I get these sorts of things and I am both busy and not interested, I ignore it.

      You may have to accept that the majority of these people are just not interested, whether it be for monetary, time, or other reasons.

  6. Looking for professional advice! I’m not sure of what to do (if anything). I’m currently very pregnant (about 2 months from my due date). Before I was pregnant, I had my annual review and was told I was well on the path to being a [Level III] at my company (most senior non-manager role). I’ve been a [Level II] since I started almost 2 years ago. In my employee group there were 2 Level IIIs, and one quit. I was the only Level II, and then there were several Level I employees.
    In early summer I shared the news that I was pregnant (I planned to wait longer but former boss was starting to panic that I was interviewing at other companies, so I told boss so boss would calm down). After some reorganizing, I got a new boss a few months ago. This boss was part of our group and is very familiar with the dynamics.
    At the end of summer, I started asking new boss about my promotion to Level III. In contrast to old boss’s messaging on the topic, I was told I needed to prove myself further by taking on a “big client” and that I would get my promotion on the annual review schedule when I came back from maternity leave. At that time, I was assigned the biggest client the company had and within a few months I got rave reviews for how quickly I turned that around, how much colleagues enjoyed working with me, and how everyone had great confidence in my work.
    Company has been working to staff up as we near my mat leave. They initially advertised for a Level III role, but later changed it to a Level II and told me they wanted to allocate that budget towards my promotion. A few months later, they were having some trouble finding anyone qualified so they suddenly promoted two [Level I] employees to be Level II. These employees are great, but they are more junior to me, and I was basically told that promotions occur at annual review time only. I let it slide because I figured they wanted the group roster to look a bit more senior to boost client confidence.
    Recently boss hired a new group member who was advertised as a candidate for the Level II role. But without mentioning anything to me privately, they hired new person to be a Level III. New person comes from a completely different industry and does not have direct experience in many of the aspects of the work here. I was shocked and others in the group were also very surprised.
    My skills are very in demand and I get a lot of recruiters contacting me about open roles. If I wasn’t really pregnant, I would leave. Unfortunately I also feel like if I wasn’t super pregnant, I would have been promoted months ago, but they know I can’t leave right now, and they don’t want to pay me the higher rate during my leave.
    Do I just shut up and wait it out? I’m sure I’ll be in a good position once I’m back from my leave, but I am so bothered by what has gone on here, and I feel completely stuck.

    • Anon in NYC :

      If I were in your shoes, I would wait it out, take your maternity leave (congrats!), and then begin interviewing. It sounds like your new boss is being really shady and discriminatory, and I wouldn’t want to work for him/her.

    • I’m not an employment lawyer, but isn’t there something in employment law about discrimination for pregnancy? i.e., you can’t be passed over for a promotion because you’re pregnant?

      • Anonymous :

        Yes pregnancy/related conditions are covered by an amendment to Title VII. It applies to companies with more than 15 employees (and governments).

  7. Trying To Stay Calm :

    I need to vent. My SO and I have had a european vacation planned for months. We leave tomorrow.

    Last night, he revealed that he make a critical mistake at work three weeks ago, and gave up his vacation to make up for it. I don’t know what to do. Everything was fully paid in advance, and we’re supposed to be meeting family there. I’m trying to stay calm and figure out a solution, but I won’t have time to work on anything until 6pm. By then, it might be too late to change anything. I’m just sitting on eggshells at my desk and I feel like I might burst into tears at any moment.

    • Anonymous :

      Go anyway. Take a girlfriend/sister.

      • +1, although I know it must feel terribly disappointing.

      • You can’t normally change the name on a plane ticket. You can change dates/times for a couple hundred bucks but you can’t change the name of the passenger.

        • Yes but boyfriend may be able to get a refund and should then pony up $$ for the friend to go in his place.

          Or a friend may be willing to pay for a ticket since they won’t have to pay for accommodation.

          Or just go on her own.

        • Never too many shoes... :

          I have done it although it cost quite a lot (several hundred dollars).

        • Anonymous :

          Sure you can. It’s the same as making another change. It’s probably going to cost a bit of money.

    • You go and have a wonderful time. See if there are any friends or family who can come with you -it’s last minute but you never know. When you get back, rethink your relationship.

    • This is super-clear-cut to me. Go without him!

      It was cowardly to wait to tell you until last night. I’d be furious!

      • Also in the “go anyway” camp!

        To provide a tiny bit of encouragement, in case you’re wary of going alone, I went to Europe recently for work by myself. I was insanely nervous about traveling overseas alone. I am SO GLAD I did it. I felt really empowered by the trip, figuring things out on my own, etc. And quite honestly, the time by myself was pretty nice – of course I had some work obligations, but I also had a fair amount of downtime. I met some really great people who I probably wouldn’t have gotten to know if I’d been traveling with people I knew. I hope you’ll consider enjoying the trip on your own, even though it’s not what you intended.

    • I’m so sorry. This sounds awful. How long ago did he give up his vacation without telling you?

      I’m leaning toward you going on your own and using it as some much-needed time to yourself after this huge disappointment from him…

    • Flats Only :

      You are going to Europe tomorrow – how exciting! Too bad your SO couldn’t come with you. You may need to re-think some activities if you had a lot of romantic stuff planned that would feel weird without him, but you are going to have an awesome time seeing / doing / eating whatever you want and sleeping in the middle of the bed! Worry about your relationship, etc. when you get back – for now just enjoy yourself! You can tell friends/family that SO had a work issue come up and will try to join late in the trip.

    • Go without him, 1000000%. There is no scenario in which you should stay home. I really, really hope you go.

      • I hope she goes too… because if she doesn’t, she’s signaling to the boyfriend that she’s the kind of woman who will put up with any kind of nonsense and foolishness he may see fit to dole out in their relationship. He can mess up royally and she will put on her game face and deal with it and make it all better for him. I don’t know how you ever re-create a an equal, respectful partnership after setting up that kind of expectation.

    • Delta Dawn :

      Please go to Europe! You will have a wonderful time. Do you have a friend who can buy a plane ticket and take two weeks (or so) off on a day’s notice? Who is your most spontaneous friend? Call her right now!

      On a less exciting note: you say he made the mistake at work three weeks ago, so did he also give up his vacation three weeks ago? And only told you last night? I… would dump him.

      • +1

        It’s not the fact that he had to give up the vacation to save his job (and that’s the only situation where he should have done it), it’s the fact that he didn’t tell you.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      Go! Take a friend or parent or sibling! Enjoy!

    • Shots. Shots. Shots. :

      Go anyway. He hid this for weeks? He’s not worth it. I got alllllll kinds of Euro men who are dying to meet you.

    • Co-sign with what everyone else has said. Go on the trip, have a fantastic time, and don’t think about him. When you get back, reconsider whether this is the kind of relationship you want to be in. Because, girl, really: of my husband of 20 years did something like this I would consider kicking him out of the house. At least temporarily.

    • Do you think he just got cold feet about it and doesn’t want to go away with you? Maybe it implies a higher level of commitment than he is ready for and is backing out for that reason. The work excuse is cowardly and lame if true. Who does that to someone the night before. You go and have a great time.

    • Cosign what everyone else said, and also want to add: this is not your problem to solve, and not your consequence to endure! You say you won’t be able to work on a solution until 6 PM tonight… you should not be working on a solution at 6 PM, you should be packing!

      It is sad for your husband that he had this issue at work and won’t be able to go on vacation. But, at this point, he needs to endure the consequences, not you.

      I would advise you to be a little empathetic towards him, though you’re probably very angry. Keep in mind that he has probably felt terrible about this for the past few weeks and was hoping that it would somehow be resolved. And he also has to deal with the fallout of his mistake AND not getting to go on the trip. (There’s a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon that is relevant that I’ll post in a follow-up comment.)

      I think the most kind and loving thing you can do for yourself and your husband at this point is to tell him that you’re sorry he’s been having so many difficulties and that he hasn’t felt like he can talk to you about them, and that you will be going on the trip without him and are sad that he won’t be there, and you would like to talk more about this when you get back.

      • Here is this cartoon, which I try to think of whenever I’m mad at someone for making a mistake:

      • This is a kind and empathetic response. My gut reaction to OP’s post was to identify with her SO–as in, “I can totally see myself making a mistake at work, giving up vacation to make up for it, and then hiding it from my SO out of shame, embarrassment, and anxiety about their reaction, while hoping to make it all go away (maybe if I fix the mistake, I can ask for my vacation back, and SO will never know I was such an idiot to make that mistake).” Of course, if her SO has been hiding this for 3 weeks, it’s childish and was the wrong thing to do. It’s not OP’s problem to solve or consequence to endure. But man, her SO has had a rough month at work and may be at risk of losing his job, doesn’t get to go on a planned vacation to Europe (did he give up PTO or just cancel this scheduled time off?), and now has had to confess everything, including that he handled the situation horribly, at the last second.

        All that said, OP, enjoy your vacation. Europe is a great place for solo travel–you can do exactly what you want when you want to. You don’t have to leave such-and-such museum because your traveling partner is hungry and wore uncomfortable shoes, or you can blow of a museum you weren’t really that interested in anyways and sit at a cafe for an hour or two.

      • Anonymous :

        Maybe if it happened yesterday. Three weeks is enough time to grow the eff up and own your mistakes.

    • How long has he known this? Unless it was a development as of yesterday, I’d consider it a dealbreaker, and not just for the trip. You go, you have a good time, and don’t worry about him while you’re gone. Maybe think about how he has acted when you’re on the plane coming back, but don’t let it interfere with your trip. As for solving problems, the trip stuff is his problem to solve.

    • Anonymous :

      Go! And dump your bf when you get back.

  8. I’ve heard quite a few positive comments about uniqlo heattech, but has anyone tried the airism line? My office is always warmer than I’d like, so a reliable source of basic cool shirts would be great…

    • My husband tried the airism under shirts for men and was not a fan. They are definitely sweat wicking, but for him, they just moved the sweat from his undershirt to his dress shirt, which was not a good look.

    • I wear the airism tanks as an undershirt when my dress/shirt is too low cut or sheer. I’m not sure if it keeps me “cooler”, but it doesn’t add much heat or bulk. I like them for this purpose.

      FYI, the airism shirts are really sheer and form fitting. They can’t be worn alone.

    • Anonymous :

      My DH always feels warm, he doesn’t care for the airism shirts very much, but he LOVES the dry ex line to keep cool.

  9. anonopotamus :

    Can someone give me a reality check? Coworker came back from maternity leave in August and is pumping. She slashed her bookable client meeting slots by 50% and is currently booked through November. All of the clients she can’t accommodate are coming to me instead (or are vanishing into the ether). A big part of our job is being accessible, and in fact we got chewed out in a departmental meeting last month about not being available enough. Do I tell my supervisor what’s going on? I don’t want to be whiny and I want to be supportive of my colleague while she’s juggling being a new mom, pumping, and coming back to work…but also let’s just say it’s not a new pattern for me to have to pick up her slack. If she was an A+ coworker I would not feel as salty as I do right now. But she struggled to keep up with our non-crazy job even before she had the baby. I just don’t know how to manage wanting to be an ally in a time that’s difficult for any working woman, with my own time constraints. FWIW, we’re in a mission-driven nonprofit-type org, not filling widget orders for a faceless megacorp, so I genuinely want all of these clients to be seen and will bend over backwards to make that happen if that’s what I need to do.

    • Flats Only :

      Are you the only one who can cover the client meetings? Maybe there is someone or a few someones who don’t normally do them but could handle a few each to cover the load while your co-worker ramps back up to speed.

      • Flats Only :

        Also, are you sure your co-worker didn’t negotiate this reduced load with management. Sometimes management will agree to things and then not actually communicate the new arrangement to others who will be effected by it, mainly because they hope you’ll just deal with it and not come to them for a raise to compensate for your increased workload. And “motivating” you by chewing you out in a meeting might be a part of this strategy.

        • anonopotamus :

          We have a part timer who pitches in to cover meetings if both of us are out, but he has limited availability and this is his busy season with a big event. He also mentioned to me that he’s been getting more traffic, after the chew-out meeting when we were trying to figure out what caused it.

          Our supervisor is usually very communicative about coverage and adjusting workloads to compensate for [whatever], so it would be out of character for her to have negotiated something specific with my colleague without giving me a heads-up.

    • I think you tell the supervisor that she’s not taking enough work – totally legit complaint that should have nothing to go with her new mom /pumping concerns. DO NOT mention the new mom/ pumping issue to your supervisor. That’s besides the point. (And I’ve pumped at world and taken the hit for other coworkers maternities etc).

    • Have you talked to her? Sure hope you would talk to her before you tattle to the supervisor. You say you’re willing to bend over backwards to get these clients seen, but that actually does not sound true since you’d rather throw your coworker under the bus than see them yourself. (Not to say that you should see them all yourself, but don’t say you’ll bend over backwards for it when really what you want is to damage your coworker.) It is really very concerning that the first thing you say about your coworker is that she came back from maternity leave and is pumping. You don’t start off with how you’ve had to pick up her slack in the past– you start off by blaming her for transitioning back into work at a pace that does not work for you. Consider that.

      • anonopotamus :

        Okay, fair criticism. And to be clear I AM seeing the clients that come my way, and will keep doing so. I just led with the pumping bit because that’s why she slashed her appointment availability—she has “pump” on her calendar where there has historically been “appointment slot.”

        I don’t want to throw another woman under the bus, which is why I posted here. But we just have this uncomfortable historic dynamic. I’ve been here longer and have more experience; I’m a lot more up close and personal with her daily work than our supervisor, so I’m the first person to see when issues come up. If it’s small stuff I definitely tell her myself. It’s with the bigger-picture pattern issues that I struggle, because our boss has emphasized to me multiple times that I’m not her supervisor and should be communicating issues upward…but I also want to be a supportive colleague.

        • Interesting – you know from the calendar, ostensibly, but haven’t asked? In your shoes, I’d go to manager and say, given this identified problem, lets share calendars/have a shared calendar of availability or lack thereof to help identify how we can do better. Let your manager see what you’re seeing and put the ball in their court.

          • anonopotamus :

            She told me she was going to be cutting her appointment availability because of pumping. It’s also reflected on her calendar. The whole department has shared calendars—our boss just doesn’t like to micromanage how we manage our days. Occasionally she’ll ask for reports on how many clients we’ve seen.

    • How much time per day is each of you supposed to make available for client meetings?

      • anonopotamus :

        We’re supposed to have, e.g., 10 slots per day and she has 5 right now. It has always been my understanding that we take more clients if more clients come, since providing direct service to clients is 1) the first line in our job description and 2) we are directed to always conduct ourselves with an attitude of service to our client base.

        • Anonattorney :

          She should be pumping 3 times a day, for 30-45 minutes at a time. This should slash 3 appointments, not 5. Of course, I don’t think you can mention that to her. I’m just commiserating because I think she’s stretching things a bit. This is really hard, I don’t know the answer, but I don’t think you’re being disloyal to women-hood by standing up for yourself and your own time and workload. (This is from a working mom who had to go through the awfulness that is pumping at work.)

        • Then that’s the conversation-keep it to the numbers. Your question for your boss is whether your colleagues reduction in slots means you should add slots, or that you stick to your 10 and simply serve fewer people for now.

        • Betty White :

          I would just bear in mind that companies have a legal obligation to allow their employees breaks to pump. You can’t pump and have client meetings (at least not in person) so it makes sense to me that there would be a reduction. Whether that reduction is reasonable or not is another question.

        • Anonymous :

          I think you really need to readjust your attitude about helping EVERYBODY. It’s just not possible in any line of work. It’s going to make you angry and burnt out to try to do so. Accept that there’s a limit to your abilities and your coworker’s abilities and your organization’s abilities. Just do what you can. Don’t take on this extra stress if there’s ultimately nothing you can do about it.

    • Kindly cut the woman some slack. Pumping is so time consuming, and it is hard enough to balance everything after returning from leave. She probably needs to pump at least every 3 hours, and pumping can take upwards of 30 minutes (especially if she doesn’t have a private office to pump). Instead of going to your supervisor, can you talk to her directly? She may have blocked off more time than she really needs because she wasn’t sure hoe many breaks she would need or how long each break would need to be. If she really does need that much time blocked off, maybe you can take appointments, but she works on other things during her break. Of course, if she has to pump in a location without a computer, working during a pumping break may not be feasible.

      • “Jane, I can’t possibly take all of these meetings. You’ve got to take some of them.” and then send them directly to her to deal with.

        There are some people who block off time like this and it’s sort of what I see as “preference” unavailability vs actual unavailability. So I disregard those sorts of “I’m busy” calendars and just make them make things work out.

        • Anonymous :

          Sorry, no. That doesn’t work with someone who needs to pump. It’s not a “preference” that you can decide is valid or not.

      • Anonymous :

        Not the OP, but honestly, as the single woman who is always expected to pick up the slack for mothers because it’s “hard,” I’m kind of sick of this. If she can’t do functions of her job (for any reason), my job should not get harder without even a discussion or acknowledgement or attempt to mitigate some of that hardship. At least in my workplace, mothers are given a world of slack, and it falls to those of us who don’t have kids to pick up that slack. It’s exhausting.

        And, it’s the supervisor’s responsibility to manage that dynamic. I don’t think OP asking her supervisor to acknowledge and work through the changed dynamic is unfair to womenkind. Why should OP pick up that slack silently without credit, acknowledgement, assistance, or increased pay?

        • Anonymous :

          OP shouldn’t have to pick up all the extra work, but the employer is legally required to give her co-workers several breaks per day to pump. Meeting clients can probably only happen during certain hours, so three long breaks during regular business hours pretty much necessarily translates to a reduction in her ability to meet clients. So I don’t know if this is “mothers being given a world of slack” so much as it is “employer upholding its legal duty to not discriminate against a nursing mother.”

          • Anonymous :

            Right. And I’m saying her employer needs to deal with that. And people here are calling that ratting out the mother. It’s not.

      • anonopotamus :

        She only has a tablet when she pumps, and does not historically respond quickly to emails so I was actually hoping pumping would help her stay more on top of her inbox. That hasn’t been the case though…maybe I’m just in the bitch eating crackers phase. I like her as a person! She just seemed to struggle with the demands of our not even remotely crazy job even before adding in pumping and a baby.

        I actually just had a couple of walk-ins that should have been hers, and they gave me a good, non-awkward opportunity to talk to her about availability moving forward. So that’s good. The bad news is that I definitely think I need to talk to my boss now, since I don’t think my colleague’s answer is in alignment with our unit’s mission and I can only see so many human bodies while not falling behind on other responsibilities. Or maybe I’m wrong about our priorities. Either way I’d like to know!

    • Of course you discuss it with your supervisor- you discuss you having too much to do not her boobs.

      • This, too. “I’m at 100% utilization and can’t get to XYZ stuff that has unmet scheduling needs.” And then leave those needs unmet — he needs to figure out (either by dealing with co-worker or maybe getting a temp). BUT you HAVE to step away.

    • anonopotamus :

      I keep posting responses and they keep getting eaten…trying to be a communicative OP and provide you with the requested details! Just not succeeding very well.

    • You set your own boundaries and let the chips fall as they may. Do not throw your coworker under the bus. This is not really a her issue. The issue is this right here – “I genuinely want all of these clients to be seen and will bend over backwards to make that happen if that’s what I need to do.” You are not solely responsible for saving the world. Do what you can with the LIMITED time you have; if the organization is not able to accommodate everyone then they just can’t.

      Ask New Mom if she is sending these clients to you. If she is, tell her that you can take A, B, and C, but not X, Y, and Z and she will have to find other coverage for them. If X, Y, and Z come back to you, then tell your boss that they reached out to you but you cannot accommodate them, can boss help find coverage, and copy New Mom on the email.

  10. Legally Brunette :

    Happy Diwali my friends! May the festival of lights bring you peace and prosperity in the upcoming year. I’m very grateful for you guys and this awesome community of driven, smart, savvy women.

    • Happy Diwali/ Deepavali to you too! Not Hindu, but feel like we need all the light and love we can get (in addition to channeling my current anxiety/ rage into something more productive for the world).

    • Happy Deepavali to you all too! We bought sparklers for the kids this year and they had SO much fun this morning. Will be even more cool to do them again this evening!

    • Dumb question–how come it’s spelled two ways? It is because Hindu letters/sounds don’t translate well to our alphabet. Genuinely curious. TIA to anyone who can educate me on something that I wonder every year!

      • Not a dumb question at all. The holiday is called Deepavali in South India, and Diwali in the North (different languages are spoken in different regions, hence the slight difference in names).

    • I heart being part of a community that honors these holidays instead of ignoring them.

      Best wishes for warmth and splendor during the Festival of Lights!

    • Happy Diwali! I work at a (nondenominational) school and we had a celebratory outdoor assembly, complete with fireworks and dancing, to commemorate the occasion this morning. I love this holiday and all that it signifies.

  11. How long should a writing sample be for a legal job? I have one that is 18 pages, which is too long. For reference, it is for a government position.

    I know I’ve been asking a lot of job search related questions, but you all have been so helpful.

    • I think my writing sample for a government legal job was about 10 pages, and I had a one-page intro to tee up the discussion section I provided. FWIW, I got an offer for the position, but don’t know how much the writing sample had to do with it.

    • Definitely 10 or fewer pages. You can excerpt — like take out all the facts of a brief/memo and insert a note that says [Factual summary excluded].

    • I deleted five pages. Then I started editing using the Garner method, which deleted two more.

  12. Can anyone recommend a good cooler that fits enough food and drink for 2 people for a weekend trip (Friday night through Sunday morning?) We’re not big drinkers and don’t want to spend $350 on a Yeti, but something that keeps things cold and ice in cubes would be great. This would mostly be used for camping in day temps in the 70s and night temps close to freezing (mountain environment).

    • We recently bought a Rubbermaid Extreme 5 Day cooler from Amazon and it works well. I don’t know if it would really keep food cold for 5 days, but it worked great for a weekend trip. Bonus, it has wheels. Posting link separately.


    • Rtic is similar to yeti and half the cost

      • +1 to RTIC – they recently got into some legal issues with Yeti but the new designs work just as well

    • cooler purchase :

      Wirecutter/Sweethome have reviewed this. I have whatever their top pick was a couple years ago and have been very happy with it; I’d take a look at whatever they recommend.

    • Thanks all!! Will check out RTIC.

  13. A work acquaintance of my husband is having a few people over for a fall-themed party and has said she’s serving foods like pumpkin bread and apple crisp. I was thinking of bringing food (that fits with the theme), but the party wasn’t pitched as a potluck and I don’t want to seem like I’m trying to upstage the hostess (the gathering is small enough that it’s very possible the hostess could make enough food for everyone). If not food what should I bring? DH and I don’t drink and the party is in the middle of the day, so bringing alcohol seems weird.

    • Just have DH ask what he can bring.

    • A small box of chocolates. A candle. Don’t bring food uninvited it’s rude and annoying to take over someone else’s menu. Bring a gift for the hosts.

    • Asking the hostess is a good idea, or you could try lowers?

    • Apple cider?

    • Alcohol would be fine, but since you don’t drink, I would pick up a jug of good, local apple cider to share. I would not bring food.

      Alternatively, your husband could ask the host if there is anything you can bring. If she says no, do not bring anything.

    • A beautiful pumpkin

    • Sparkling apple cider

    • +1 ask the hostess. If she says “nothing”, then bring a nice bottle of apple cider (to be consumed either at the party, or later, at the hostess’s discretion).

    • thisiswater :

      I would skip bringing food or alcohol. Bring flowers arranged in a fall way, maybe in a pumpkin?

    • Anonymous :

      1. I never show up to a party empty-handed, so chocolates would be nice. If they must be fall-themed, Trader Joe’s has these super cute pumpkin-shaped Belgian chocolates…
      2. …but it is DH’s job to consider and purchase a host gift. Otherwise, this is why women get lumped with the emotional labor/ household management!

      • Anonymous :

        Eh, some people divide chores up like that though. My husband is terrible at remembering to give gifts or other logistical stuff, so I do all of that and he does a large majority of the day-to-day chores like cooking and pet care. He definitely pulls his weight overall and honestly I’d rather file our taxes and bring a hostess gift to the handful of parties we go to in exchange for him cooking dinner most nights. It works for us.

  14. Life insurance :

    About to sign up for life insurance. Rate for 20 year term is $29/mo; rate for 30 year term is $53/mo. million dollar policy.

    I’m 33 and my kids are 5 and 2. If I have another kid, it’ll be in the next 2 years.

    So in 20 years, i’ll have a 25, 22 and worst-case 18 year old.

    If I die between 53 and 63, my husband will take the million dollars, retire a few years early, and buy a yacht. The kids’ college tuition will either be paid or be saved for (or not). My retirement fund will be hefty and will all go to my husband. The house will be paid off (we have 18 years left on our mortgage as it is, and we’re likely to pay it off early).

    Any reason I need to purchase the 30 year vs the 20 year? What am I missing?

    • Yeah you’re missing that most 18 year olds still need support perhaps especially if their mom suddenly dies, and that you’ll be missing a decade of contributing to joint retirement plans.

      • Life insurance :

        Just digesting here– but if we already have college $$ saved, and if we are saving now with plans to retire at 55, does this still really apply?

        Worst case scenario: DH and I both die, uninsured*, at 54. Assuming we stay on our general track, we would have 2+ million in retirement assets, a home worth >>$750k (it’s worth that now), and whatever else we had in savings and 529s. Kid 1 and 2 are out of college, Kid 3 is headed off to college with a 529 and whatever else we planned to provide. The kids split our assets 3 ways.

        Less worse scenario: I die, uninsured, at 54. My retirement assets all go to DH, who is now going to be living alone and not need the same amount of money as two people (understandably not 1:1). Kid 3 goes off to college and uses money we’d been setting aside for years. I can see how DH might have to work a year or two longer than planned but this doesn’t seem that bad to me….but I fully understand I could be missing something.

        *we both have employer life insurance as well. I forget exactly what, but let’s assume 1 year salary each, so conservatively $300k.

        • Life insurance :

          And this sounds heartless, but I am admittedly a little too practical about these sorts of things. If DH was somehow in dire straights, he’d sell the house. Conservatively it’s worth $750, realistically it’s worth $1M+ 20 years from now. When you’re talking about death of a parent when the kids are still living in the house, then of course you want to maintain normalcy. But if we’re talking about kids all out of the house (youngest in college or at least out of high school) then it seems perfectly reasonable to downsize–for lots of reasons. Heck, we’ll probably sell the house as soon as the kids are out if we’re alive. Too much maintenance.

    • You’d be locking in a lower rate for 10 more years. If you go to renew your policy at the end of 20 years, chances are your monthly premium will be a lot more than 53/month.

      • This. I’m a Financial Planner. Might be worth having the flexibility to keep it around in case of unexpected illness that can wipe out reserves or make you ineligible (or become way more expensive) to continue the policy if you determine you need it down the road.

    • It seems sufficient if the kids are 25 and 22 when the policy expires, but not if there’s an 18 year old when the policy expires, especially if you won’t have saved enough for college (which is not clear to me from the original question). Given that the 18 year old is hypothetical at this point, I’d get the 20 year at this point and buy something longer later on if you end up having a third kid.

      • Life insurance :

        Ah- what I meant is, “whatever we are planning to save to give the kids for college will have been saved by then.”

        IE if we are planning on fully funding, it’ll be fully funded by the time the youngest is 18. if we decide they have to pay for some, well, then they’re no worse off if I’m alive or dead since the money is either there or it isn’t.

        • I see what you’re saying, but they’d probably need the money a lot more in the event you pass away, since their mom’s death would cause a big disruption in their lives that might make it harder to, for example, work while in school or graduate in four years. Even if you decide not to fund college assuming you stay healthy and all is well, I’m not sure why you wouldn’t want to cover college with life insurance given the opportunity.

    • Sounds right to me. We are about to purchase as well, no kids currently but plan on them (just started TTC) and will do 25 year policies (2M) which will ensure everyone is out of high school before the policies end. Similar situation re: retirement accounts and home.

    • We just did the 20-year vs. 30-year term debate ourselves. We ended up doing the 30-year after a financial adviser friend commented that if we want to turn our 30-year policy into a 20-year policy, you just stop paying after 20 years. Yes, your monthly rate is a little higher, but it’s better to lock in that optionality now while you’re young and healthy.

      • I think in this case the price difference is substantial. The 20 year policy will total $6,960 over its term, a 30 year policy will total $19,080. To figure that you can always “just stop paying” after 20 years in this case would mean paying nearly twice as much for the 20 year policy as at $53/month it will come out to $12,720. Maybe it makes sense in your situation but the premiums here don’t make this very sound reasoning.

        OP, your logic seems sound, I guess maybe the only thing you’re missing is what happens if you die well before your kids are college bound. When we were trying to figure out how much life insurance to get and what term, my basic analysis was if something happens at any time between now and 20 years from now, how much do we need. And I figured that basically we need to be able to pay off mortgage, fully fund college and have enough left over that the left behind spouse can cope with the situation that’s left behind. Obviously if something happens towards the end of the term, the policy will probably be more of a financial benefit vs. if it happens sooner but the analysis needs to include year 1 as well as year 20. So think thru the math if something happens next year not when you’ve had twenty years to save for college and pay mortgage. Also – maybe just look into other policies.

        • So just to add – what you could do is see how much it would cost to get 20 year insurance with a larger policy (1.5M, e.g.). It may make the most financial sense depending on the difference in premiums.

          • Life insurance :

            This actually makes sense, so thanks. I don’t think we need the extra coverage BUT I think I’d rather spend the extra $20/month on an extra 500k or so in the near-term then an extra 10 years of coverage when my kids are off in the world.

            We also have some unknown amount of inheritance coming our way from DH’s parents and grandmother. We don’t mentally count it for things like insurance, but it’s probably enough to pay for 3 kids college tuition for 4 years. I already told DH that if he dies before the kids are in high school, I’m selling our house in the burbs and moving to something smaller in a more metropolitan area closer to extended family with the kids. Our house and town works well for our life, but if ti’s just me and the kids, we’re outta here.

          • Anonymous :

            +1. This is what we did. No kids, but DH makes significantly more than I do. We did 20 year term for both of us, but made it a higher amount, because if he was hit by a bus during year 1, I would have had a hard time managing all the obligations on my own.

            Of course, if I kick it first, he’ll just take my $1.5M, retire earlier than expected, and buy a beach house.

    • Purchase the 20 year term. Your assets are on track to build and replace the insurance benefit. This is the exact right strategy with term insurance.

      Also, as an actuary, I will tell you that price differential between the 20 and 30 year looks way off.

  15. A. Shoulder :

    DC folks, I have a friend going through a tough time, and we need a place to meet up and talk/cry tonight. Some place that serves drinks and food, quiet, preferably dark, and in the general downtown area. Any recommendations?

    • Bistro Cacao is near the hill, but it has private little curtained off booths, which could be great for a sobby friend session (rather than romance, as they are intended). Call and see if they have one of those! Hugs!

      • Or Off the Record, which, has some nice quiet corners (intended for politicos, but crying works too!).

      • Delta Dawn :

        +1 for a curtained booth at Bistro Cacao. You could also try a speakeasy (lots of dark corners)– my #1 rec would be the deep booths at Harold Black, although it is not downtown. The Sheppard is a downtown speakeasy that might have some dark corners, too.

    • Aperto on I Street has a long happy hour (i.e., from 5 pm to close), is a tiny little restaurant on a quiet street, and is rarely crowded. It’s not dark, but otherwise might fit the bill?

    • No clue. Just wanted to say you are an amazing friend to figure this out for her and find a spot to be supportive. Not many people have friends like this.

  16. Looking for an attorney in College Station, TX to do some property management legal work, like small time collections, evictions, letters to residents, etc. Any recs? Thx!

    • Marketing anon :

      My college friend Shane (in College Station) does mostly criminal defense, but he might know someone.

  17. Excel Geek :

    Where can I find a pair of chocolate brown dress pants for work? I have a pair that was from Express that I’ve worn to death but I can’t find chocolate brown anymore? Am I missing something, is that just a color that we don’t wear anymore?

    • It is a challenging color for some of us, depending on your coloring. It is almost never seen as trendy, but it can be lovely.

      My Mom looked great in brown, which she often mixed in different shades and her bright green eyes (or any flash of complementary color she wore near her face) really popped.

      I did not look good in brown. I looked sickly. So once you realize most of your clothes/shoes are black/grey/navy, it’s not really cost effective to keep a pair of brown pants around, which often look better with different shoes etc…

    • Talbots. I hear you – I had some I loved but they went shiny and the lining ripped to shreds.

    • Agree with Talbots, and Kohl’s generally has some, but I’ve found it’s a difficult color to wear because it’s hard to find shoes that look good with dark brown. I’ve moved away from darker browns and do a lot of dark textured tans, which seems to be more wearable with everything. I really like the Talbots herringbone pants for that.

    • I have a very dark brown (is that chocolate brown?) suit from Ann Taylor circa 2015 that I love, but they don’t have any browns at the moment. I am a fan of dark brown professional wear and generally wear my brown skirts/pants with a brown or camel shoe.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      I commiserate on how hard it is to find dark brown. I have two chocolate brown suits I love and can’t fit in to anymore and can’t find replacements anywhere (I keep hanging on to them just in case I lose the 5-10 pounds…)

    • Not much out there but these look nice:

      • Cheaper option with good reviews:

    • Lafayette 148 has chocolaté brown stretch wool suiting this year.

  18. I’m a WOC who would otherwise be considered conventionally attractive, but I sometimes have trouble feeling unattractive because of my race and right now I’m really having a hard time with white standards of beauty. I also feel like men/people view me as less attractive because of it, which somehow bothers me. I wouldn’t really care if people don’t find my attractive, but somehow it seems worse if/when it’s because of being non-white. Does anyone else struggle with this or have thoughts?

    • Please do not feed this one, people!!!

      • How can you tell?

      • OMG. For real.

      • What, seriously? Is this an unreasonable thing to feel? What makes this seem trolly to you?!

      • ….okay then. I feel like it’s a legitimate feeling and reasonable thing to ask. I don’t get what the issue is, but sorry for offending you.

      • I’m confused. This seems like a legitimate question to me, albeit one that is probably best answered by other WOC, which I am not.

        OP, I’m sorry you are experiencing this, and I hope you find a way to make peace with yourself within our sh*tty white supremacist culture.

        • I have felt the same way, sort of. Except I don’t really care what white men think of me, as long as they promote me and pay me well.

      • There was another post using some of the same buzzwords (e.g., “conventionally attractive”) a couple of weeks ago that many people identified as someone deliberately trying to stir up trouble. This seems like the same type of thing, except this time it’s about race instead of weight.

        • I don’t think that just because someone is talking about race or weight or being conventionally attractive, they are trying to stir up trouble. Yes, some posts are clearly BS but this one seems genuine and I think it’s always better to give the benefit of the doubt when someone is reaching out for advice.

      • [deleted by management]

    • The best part – is that the OP Anon and the one that called out the Anon for trolling – could in fact be the same person! Just stirring up trouble. And the ones commenting could also be the OP Anon. Its the internet folks!

    • Fellow WOC :

      The responses here, none of which address your concern and some actively dismiss it, are part of the reason WOC feel this way and why we don’t often come to diverse or predominantly white spaces for advice on these questions.

      This is probably a real post. It may not be. But it is a real and valid concern for many people. You can’t dismiss this person’s concerns if you can’t possibly have been in their shoes.

      • Thanks for this.

        There have been a few appearance based tr0lls lately but when in doubt the better response is not necessarily to call tr0ll, but to provide a brief response and not engage further if it degenerates into tr0ll comments.

        On conventional attractiveness, the messaging so often is if only you have the right hair/skin/body, then you will be attractive. And those attributes are so often defined by how close they are to ‘white’ ideals. As a white person who struggles with her weight and attractiveness ( a changeable characteristic), I can’t imagine how hard it must be to face constant messaging that even your best self is not ‘ideal’ when that messaging is based on a core characteristic like racial heritage.

        I don’t pretend to have any kind of answers, but please continue to share your experiences and concerns hear. Your voice is valued and appreciated. Any suggestions on what any of us can do to help?

        • Thanks, I appreciate this.

          I really would like to hear people’s viewpoints on this, and I think what would help most is not being called a troll. I probably could have used different words in my post, but it really seems like people think this couldn’t possibly be a real issue because it’s not one they can relate to, which to me definitely feels like it’s silencing WOC.

          But that’s basically what you and someone above you said.

    • I struggle with this too. The most glaring example is that any time I straighten my hair, I get so. many. compliments. People love me with straight hair and it sometimes feels like the old-timey movie trope where the secretary takes off her glasses, pulls the pins out of her updo, and suddenly everyone notices that she’s an attractive woman!

      I’m sorry that I don’t have any advice, just commiseration.

    • I feel this way as well, to a lesser degree. As in, I feel like a non-contender in the dating game due to my ethnic group and the numerous negative stereotypes people have about it. Is it common for people in your group to also follow mainstream ideas about white beauty standards? If not, maybe more in-group socializing can help. If so, I am SO very sorry as someone in the same boat. It can do a number on one’s self-esteem.

      The most generic advice is to find people who don’t think that way and spend time with them. Also, the web and social media is useful in finding positive imagery of people who look like you and are praised for it.

      To be honest, because of the level to which this sentiment exists in the USA toward my group, I would leave the country if not for 6-figure law school loans and a 5-figure job (using IBR). I know of women in my group who leave the USA permanently or travel abroad just to have their femininity acknowledged, so travel can provide a short-term boost. Based on my experience, it helps to live in areas with more cosmopolitan people who understand that although we vary in shape, size, and coloring, people are people around the world.

      +1 to Fellow WOC

  19. Tom's boots :

    I just got the Tom’s ella boot in grey suede and love it! So comfortable right away, though seems to run 1/2 size small. Is it overkill to also get a black suede pair? I feel like I can mostly wear the grey with anything. I have black leather moto boots, similar to Frye veronica shortie, but sadly don’t seem to find as much to wear those with.

    • I think black boots look better with black jeans than gray ones do. Do you wear black jeans (or even leggings) often?

    • Maddie Ross :

      I am a terrible influence, but I definitely don’t think it’s overkill to do this. I often buy duplicates of shoes in several colors when I find a pair I like. Toms are comfy and wear relatively well, so not overkill to me.

  20. I need bath towel recommendations please! Ones that hold their color and don’t pill and fade over night. I swear, I had some cheapo towels t that are a million years old, still the same color. Purchased some soft Ralph Lauren towels and every product or lotion that gets near them bleaches them out! Perhaps the plush towels aren’t as sturdy as the cheap ones in terms of being color fast. Thank you!

    • Puddlejumper :

      I swear by turkish towels. Its a a different experience then a plush bath towel but it air dries faster, takes less room in your washer/dryer (better for the environment), takes up less room in your closets, and the more time you use it the softer they get!

    • The Charisma bath towels have shown themselves to be color safe and long-lasting in my house. Not a ton of colors but the grey went really well in our home

    • Lands End towels are great and you can usually get them 30 or 40 percent off

    • Costco has legit the greatest, fluffiest bath towels for $8. I love them. Have a friend order them for you if you’re not a member. I literally feel like I am at a spa now.

      Also, I always get white towels, but I have a few beige ones from them and they’ve held color well since early summer, when I bought them.

    • Restoration Hardware. Wait for one of the sales.

    • Anonymous :

      I get the hotel collection ones from Costco, in white.

      I have a couple colored towels from college (10-ish years ago?) from Target (Threshold?) that have kept their color as well, admittedly not used much in the last few years.

    • Lands End

    • Thanks, everyone!

  21. Debt Management Plan :

    I’m one of the posters who has written here about being ridiculously in debt and feeling overwhelmed. I had another breakdown about this about a month ago and my dear dear friends sat me down and made me face the reality of what I’m dealing with. They did it in a non-judgmental way, they did research into options, and they made calls on my behalf. THEY ARE AMAZING. I finally came to grips with some really hard facts and signed up for a DMP. There are some other portions of debt that I need to deal with as well but those will take a little more time. Even though I know this is a good step towards a debt free life, I can’t help but feel like a failure. Has anyone done this before?

    • Yes, and it was SO helpful. I know there is a lot of negative pr on these kind of programs, but it took a lot of stress off of me at a time when I really needed the help. Having the program people manage all the different companies so I could move on with my life and focus on healing was the best thing that could have happened for me.

    • Be nice to yourself! You’re not a failure – you’re taking concrete steps towards solving your problem. You’ve put yourself on the path to success, and starting is the hardest part. I admire your strength!

    • So i haven’t done this, but if it gets you motivated and working towards your goal and feeling like it is possible to achieve, then great!!

      It’s like losing weight. Some people are fine w/ just watching portions and exercising a bit more. Some need the accountability of WW. Some need medical supervision or personal trainers. You do you.

    • As a bankruptcy attorney, it really is something to consider. If you are eligible to file a Chapter 7, you could have a fresh start VERY quickly. People always worry about their credit, but if you in a DMP- your credit is already bad.

      • +1 most offer a free consult too

      • Strawberry :

        +1000000 Please, please, please see a bankruptcy attorney.

      • Debt Management Plan :

        Most of my debt is student loans so it won’t be dischargeable anyway. I’m using a non profit that I have checked out and I am an attorney so I’ve looked at the pros/cons of bankruptcy. At the end of the day, it’s not the route for me.

    • Chiming in late to say I have done this, and am in this process now. Mine will take five years, but I take solace in watching the various debts decrease and know I made the right decision.

  22. Sort of related to the looking tired post above – Is there anything that can be done about RBF? I’ve gotten a few comments recently and I’m just wondering how I can convey that no, I’m not in a bad mood or upset about anything, without plastering a constant smile on my face.

    • I remember someone on here posting that she kind of raises the corners of her mouth, not in a smile, but just enough to get her face to “neutral”. I have it too. And if someone tells you to smile tell them to f off. :)

      • +1

        This is what I do….. when I remember…. or after another person asks me what’s wrong…

      • Anonymous :

        This is related to people telling me to do it, but I notice that I often carry my stress or preoccupation in my face. When I notice that, I consciously let my face relax and loosen up. I relax my mouth and let the edges loosen up so they could easily slightly turn up, put a smile into my eyes, and relax my forehead. Basically, relaxed into pre-smile mode. I do this even when I’m sitting at my desk with no one around. It’s a far better facial and mood habit for me than to go around wearing fierce concentration on my face.

    • Marshmallow :

      I have RBF and I think it manifests more in my eyebrows than my mouth. I think about relaxing the top part of my face and kind of pulling my ears back a little. Like consciously trying to de-wrinkle my brow.

      But I only do that if I really catch myself scowling. Otherwise I just do life and if somebody doesn’t like my face, it’s their problem.

    • I think it can help to just try to vary your facial expressions more – if someone is speaking, nodding slightly, raising your eyebrows a bit, tilting your head, etc. You don’t have to just vaguely smile; I think part of RBF tends to be that people can have trouble reading you (and assume the worst) if you are expressionless or not outwardly reacting to what people are saying. “Active listening” body language can be very helpful for everyone, not just people worried about RBF.

    • Anonymous :

      More and more I believe that RBF is about sexism. I’d ignore comments about it and call people out if they have an issue with your face. (look at guys’ faces at rest – they have it too)

      • Maybe a bit, but it can be just as much an issue for men. Mr. AIMS totally has a RBF – he has strong eyebrows and what looks like a permanent scowl as his default expression. People always assume he is mean, grumpy, hates them, whatever. When he started his first job post-law school he actually noticed that it was a problem in how people perceived him so he would do the slightly upturned mouth thing and it helped a lot.

        Sure, maybe no one on the street told him to ‘smile’ but this can be an issue in other ways. I would be perfectly comfortable telling a stranger on the street who told me to smile to F off but if people at work perceive you in a negative way, you have to address it.

    • I’ve embraced the RBF. At this point in my personal, professional, and political life, I can’t be bothered to create a more pleasant experience for old white men.

  23. Not an Ivy :

    I moved to an area recently where 7 in 10 people went to Harvard, Stanford or USC. It is hard not to compare myself. I never did this before moving here. I am successful in my own right and went to good schools and have 3 advanced degrees myself. But for some reason being around people who went to IVYs makes me feel worthless. I will talk to my therapist about this in our next session but until then. Has anyone else experienced this? and how did you deal?

    FWIW I grew up in a part of the country where going to the BIG 12 schools were what everyone wanted to do and is where I went to school. No one I knew – not even our valedictorian went to an IVY. We went to the top schools in the south. Besides that I just never considered an IVY. I do not think I would’ve been competitive for a scholarship there for one, I was across the country for me which I never considered/wanted to go so far from home/didn’t have family that even considered it either. So for all intents and purposes it wouldn’t have been my reality either way. I feel SO silly for even having this train of thought. Thoughts? Commiseration? Scolding some sense into me?

    • Eh this is snobby, but USC isn’t really academically better than plenty of public schools so I’m not sure why you’d feel worthless next to people who went there. I’m sure 70% of the people in your city didn’t go to Stanford or Harvard or another Ivy because that’s statistically impossible, given their low admission rates and the fact that only a small fraction of people even apply in the first place.

      • So true. I went to USC for undergrad and an Ivy for law school, and USC definitely didn’t make me feel like I fit in any better in the Ivies. OP, be proud of the path that you took, it was the one that made sense for you at the time.

      • Not an Ivy :

        I live in the Silicon Valley working at a huge global company – so that’s the vantage point I am speaking from. But respect your opinion about USC.

        • Anonymous :

          Huh. I also work at a huge Silicon Valley tech company and feel like people really look down on USC. I feel like it has a rep in the Valley as a place rich people send kids who can’t get into any of Stanford, Berkeley or UCLA (2 out of those 3 are public by the way). Anyway, we have lots of grads from all the public schools with good engineering programs – lots of Michigan, Georgia Tech, UIUC, NC State, Purdue, etc.

    • I think everyone struggles with comparisons like this periodically. Did you like your school/think it was right for you/ are you happy with your success so far/ are you generally happy with your life and how it’s played out? If so, then rock on! Your school is part of your journey and the experiences that in part made you who you are now. Be content because your life is pretty good.

      If you’re not happy with your life as it is now, figure out what you can reasonably change, but keep the focus on you and not other people. I find not giving too much weight to feelings like these and focusing on you and what you want to do is very helpful.

      • Not an Ivy :

        This is a good point! Yes actually those years made me the woman I am today. I had some very very shaping experiences there and also met DH there ;) Great advice! Thank you!

      • Anonymous :

        Cosign. Also, do you want to be like everyone else?! Nope. You are a breath of fresh air.

    • Are you doing the same type of job as all these people with ivy league degrees? If so, you are doing what most people need an ivy league degree to do. You are living where most people need an ivy league degree to live. If you even deigned to care about such silly, superficial matters it would be to observe that you are probably smarter and harder-working than many of those people to have gotten where you are. But you don’t care about or notice such things. You know that we are all just people trying to make our way in a difficult world, and each of us has challenges and advantages that we can never fully see in each other, and a piece of paper doesn’t make any person more valuable than another.

      A community college alum who got to law school and felt very intimidated by fancy people with fancy degrees until I realized I was just as smart and capable as them and felt pretty dang proud of myself

      • +1 – It seems like you ended up in the same place, good for you!
        Also – when I go down this rabbit hole, I think about all the things I would have to give up if my life didn’t unfold exactly the same way. Sure, some bad stuff might disappear, but so would a lot of friends, experiences, etc. When I frame it that way, it doesn’t seem like a good trade off at all.

      • Not an Ivy :

        Wow just wow. VERY good point. In fact – I am doing what they need an IVY to do and then some. But am being super cruel to myself clearly. I guess it is the shock factor. Up until moving here I never even met anyone who was an IVY or a group of people that it mattered to so much as here. So I think it rattled me. For the first time in my life I have began to minimize my achievements and belittle my education.

    • For whatever it’s worth, I have multiple Ivy league degrees, as do most people I work with. I can’t imagine people view the non-ivy leaguers among us any differently. In fact, unless they talk about it a lot or carry around some swag, I probably don’t even know where people went to school. I don’t think pedigree is nearly as big of a deal as it might seem in terms of how others see you.

      • +1. I’ve known people for years before they get around to asking where I went to school (Ivies). It shouldn’t be the first thing you learn about a person unless you’re interviewing them for an entry-level job, and if it is, that says more about them than it does you.

      • +1 multiple Ivy degrees, and after being in the workforce for several years, I don’t think I could tell you where any of my colleagues went to school unless it came up in some specific circumstance (like we went together on a recruiting trip to their alma mater). And for those few folks who I do know their schools, there is zero correlation between prestige of degrees and my respect/liking for them.

      • Anon for this :

        Well, you did just say that most of the people you work with have Ivy League degrees. So you DO know where people went to school. Just pointing that out.

        • I meant any individual person. I know my employer pretty much only recruits at those schools and I remember the corpus of schools I see on bios or resumes. I don’t retain that information otherwise though. I didn’t mean no one would ever know.

      • Not an Ivy :

        I should add – I joined several professional women groups upon the move and the new global company I work for and it was then that the education background of everyone came to light. I agree I would’ve never known – nor do I see non-ivies as worthless. I just for some reason have began to see them as above or better than me because there are SO MANY IVIES. Some less show-y than others. Some of them are very “we went to Harvard Business School and you went to state business school so you cant sit with us ever”.

      • This is what I was going to say! I don’t ever, ever look down on anyone on where they went to school. College is hard, and high achievers achieve wherever they are, regardless of the USNWR ranking of a school. Heck, my dad didn’t even graduate from college and he is one of the most learned and well-read people I know.

        Please don’t think that you need a gold-star, Ivy pedigree to be considered smart. That’s simply false. Be articulate and proud of what you’ve achieved, wherever you achieved it, and I promise your intellect will shine through.

        And if people are snobbish–F ’em. They’re losers.

    • Anon for this :

      I went to an Ivy. Didn’t like it, left school, “found myself,” and ended up graduating from state U. Then ended up graduating from law school and working with a number of Ivy League grads. I can assure you that there is nothing particularly special about your average Ivy League grad. Many of them come from highly privileged family situations and went to competitive high schools that prepared them well for college. They are not better than you. Be forewarned, however, that they may think they’re better than you. I remember a lot of conversations among my fellow students at the Ivy justifying their role in society, and talking about how great it was that they went to an Ivy League school. I’m sure many of these students grow up and grow out of that belief, but some don’t.

      • Eh – they were 18-22 at the time. Not exactly the most self aware time in one’s life. I went to an ivy as well and remember a lot of those “we have arrived and will rule the world” types. Reality is they were the rock star of their high school and often of their small town; they got into the school they wanted and were thrilled; the way they saw it, life was set. And then as with all of us — life happens — you realize you aren’t the top, you aren’t the best, you won’t always get the promotion or make top dollar, or unexpected things happen in the course of life. Then you realize that the degree – while impressive- is just a piece of paper and does not absolve you of the same struggles faced by Rutgers grads, community college grads, and high school grads.

      • Not an Ivy :

        I think this is definitely the attitude of the professional groups I am in on this side of the pond… I am really reconsidering being in these groups because I generally don’t like the you can’t sit with us attitude and also – I need to get out of this comparison bubble, sadly its very prevalent in the tech world, in the silicon valley, in “higher up” positions like mine..

        I do not like the general atmosphere here, at all… no southern hospitality! But cannot move for now because it was a strategic and personal move for me and my family. Definitely not settling down here!

    • 2 ivy degrees here (not the HYP type though). The people I have the most respect for today (I mean I always respect them but I am REALLY impressed with their work today) are grads of Big 10 state u; UNC; and big 10 state med school. It’s not the degrees. It’s the quality of work, work ethic, and the people they are. Besides these people are between 43-55 yrs old — and I’m in my late 30s, college decisions were made a LONG time ago.

      • Not an Ivy :

        True… we have all been out of school for a while expect some of them that went to HBS haven’t been out for too long, not young women though.

        • Somewhat similarly – I am an academic, we are prestige-obsessed, I am surrounded by people with Ivy League degrees (and have two of my own). I just found out a colleague went to a no-name public school for undergrad. My first that was, “this person must be super smart.” Because it’s actually more impressive to end up at the top of your field when you don’t start out there.

    • Congrats on your achievements!

      And hey, what you feel is honest, and common.

      You sound a bit young. As you get older, no one asks where you went to college anymore. You earn respect from what you are doing now. At least you do in circles of intelligent folks with good values. Hopefully that’s where you find yourself!

      And honestly, no one cares about where you went to school. You worry they do, but they don’t. So this is coming from your own insecurities. I’ve got them too, and I went to all the schools….. and no one cares anymore.

      USC? Kinda an odd combo of schools you put up there.

      • Not an Ivy :

        I’m not young, but thank you :)

        In CA its a big and very respected school apparently here in tech world/silicon valley. I am not from here so – beats me. But from the people I have been exposed to, that’s the attitude/tone. I would agree that it stems from insecurity which is why I am internalizing it – despite knowing better.

    • Stanford and USC are not Ivy League schools (and Ivy is not spelled with all caps, FWIW). It sounds like you went to a flagship state school in the South, which is nothing to sneeze at. I work at a prestigious law firm, and many, if not most, of the associates/partners here went to one of two local schools that have an excellent regional reputation but are not in the very top tier of law schools. It reminds me every day that once you are out of school and get a job, what matters is your work.

    • anon a mouse :

      You said it yourself: you are successful in your own right. Where you went to college can matter, but it tends to matter less the longer out you are. Think about what a great role model you are for other people — you are living the same life as those 7 in 10, without the leg up that going to those schools can sometimes give you.

      Also, give yourself some credit! Three advanced degrees! You are no slacker, lady.

      • Not an Ivy :

        Truth! I appreciate the encouragement! I am being silly – and need to stay in therapy to figure out why my heart knows that but my head is not computing.

    • Anonymous :

      This may be wrong – but do you think that people are just bonding around their schools bc it’s a common thing they share, not just bc it’s an ivy? I feel like young people tend to do that — frankly it’s very common with big 10 grads – anytime I’ve been in an office with more than 3 grads of a big 10 school still in their 20s, I feel like there is a LOT of talk about the college days, football, going back to visit etc. Only reason I thought this is bc you mention USC and to me (albeit knowing little about the west coast schools), I feel like USC is one of those schools that engenders that type of loyalty. And then the people who didn’t go to those schools end up feeling left out/feeling like theirs weren’t good enough etc.

      • Not an Ivy :

        None of us are young – so I do not believe so. Again, I am not from California, but this is what I am experiencing in the circles I am now exposed to at work and in professional groups. Its news to me that USC isn’t a great school, I am not super familiar with what’s considered “good” outside the south. Just what the perception seems to be here and what people are saying.

        • Anonymous :

          Yeah I’m from CA and USC is the probably the ONLY school in the country I look down on.

    • Anonymous :

      I think everyone struggles with feelings like this. Fwiw, I went to HYS and feel like I haven’t lived up to my school’s pedigree since graduation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m gainfully employed in an interesting job and pay my own bills. But my classmates are literally curing cancer and arguing before the Supreme Court and doing other things like that that are front-page-of-the-NYTimes-worthy and I’m just toodling along in suburbia in my decidedly un-fancy job.

      • Not an Ivy :

        One of the schools that I went to which is a private highly ranked school – I felt the same way especially early on. alot of them went on to medical school or went to work at the big 4 consulting and at the time I climbed the ladder quickly at privately held companies so I felt for many years like a failure. I will say however, ALOT of them had both parents, and/or money, and/or guidance. I have none of those. Not looking for pity but back then I cut myself slack by knowing that I started out at a disadvantage and did well for myself considering.

    • Anonymous :

      Where you went to school has nothing to do with your value as a human being. For A LOT of people who attend those schools, it has a lot more to do with how lucky they got with their family circumstances (born to wealthy alumni able to give them lots of advantages, for example) than how good they are as people.

    • First, I agree with so many of the comments above. But, based on some of your replies, OP, I wonder if this is more about a culture thing than an education degree thing? Northeast schools, not just Ivy, can be a little nose in the air. Could it be about a class thing – are all these ‘you can’t sit with us’ people from rich families?

      • Not an Ivy :

        It’s very possible. I cannot really tell about their family situations just yet, due to the fact that we can’t gotten too personal on that level yet. Although many of them did several internships and didn’t work through college which to me, may mean privilege. I worked since I was 14 and several positions through college to support myself even through advanced degrees. Zero help from family. Right now those its a lot of nose in the air if you don’t work at one of the global companies or what school you went to and if you have advanced degrees. I have never ever experienced something like it in my life.

  24. Chicago people – I will have a few hours to myself (probably ~1-5pm) in the Chicago Loop area on Friday. I grew up in the area, so I’m familiar with the geography, but have just come back for visits for the past 15 years so I don’t really know what’s new.

    Suggestions for things to do? I will probably wander and maybe do a little shopping, maybe see if I can get to the glass boxes in the Sears (Willis- it will always be Sears to me) Tower. I’m wondering if anyone has good recommendations for coffee places or bars where I can go sit with my Kindle and have coffee or a cocktail, maybe a light snack.


    • teal, but not that teal :

      The Nutella Cafe has opened on Michigan Ave just south of the river. The lines were nuts originally but it may have cooled down…

    • -The Gage on S Michigan Ave is a cozy/busy spot in the afternoons- I like the big leather booths, and the food and cocktails are great.
      -If museums are your style, the Art Institute is my favorite.
      -You could always go to the top of the John Hancock- the signature lounge is a cool spot for a drink and you’d have great views

    • I’ll be visiting my sister and she is a Nutella fan, will have to check that one out.

      The Gage looks good, too – thanks for the information.

    • Eataly

    • Chicago gal :

      You want the Allis at Soho House (West Loop) or Beatrix (River North or West Loop) or any of the cafes along the river or on the river walk (it rained crazy over the weekend and there was flooding, so fyi).

  25. Friend just posted this article and I thought it was very helpful for people trying to decide “What do I want in a job?”

  26. Anonymous :

    Suggestions for where to find social justice-y poster prints for my office? I already have a framed Women’s March poster but have another blank space on my wall that needs filling!

    (And my office is mission oriented and super liberal, so I’m not worried about potentially offending anyone by expressing these ideas)

  27. For anyone looking for comfortable dress pants, I HIGHLY recommend Betabrand. I have traded out all of my work pants for these – and they really do feel like yoga pants (but still feel like pajamas). Feel free to use my link for $15 off (but feel free not to, too!). They are GREAT.

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