Suit of the Week: Tahari ASL

Corporette's Suit of the Week: Tahari ASLFor busy working women, the suit is often the easiest outfit to throw on in the morning. In general, this feature is not about interview suits for women, which should be as classic and basic as you get — instead, this feature is about the slightly different suit that is fashionable, yet professional.

Happy Wednesday! Today I’m liking this suit from Tahari ASL. It’s reasonably priced, has a nice neutral beige/”beach” color, and I love that collarless jacket… it’s definitely a summer suit but a lovely one. Lord & Taylor has the $280 suit marked down to $140, in regulars and petites (try code SHOP to knock another 20% off). Dillards also has the suit, including size 18, for $190.



  1. mama of 2 :

    Hi all – I wanted to flag a new find for those of us who are plus-sized and constantly looking for plus-sized workwear. I went into a Dress Barn this weekend and was really pleasantly surprised by what I found. They cover straight and plus sizes, the prices are reasonable, and they sell really nice-for-the-price-point suit separates. They have a fairly extensive set of “Jones Studio” work separates and suits, and just about every piece I tried on was lined. I ended up buying two work dresses, black suit separates, and a really pretty work jacket. Not everything in there was to my taste, but I really liked the Jones pieces and a few others as well. And as fellow plus-sizes will know, it’s hard to find decent workwear and suiting, especially if you want to try stuff on instead of ordering online.

    Dress Barn! Who knew?

    • Anonymous :

      +1. Their stuff is cute for the prices.

      • On a related note, I was in Wal-Mart (!!!) last week buying cat litter and noticed a really nice navy ponte pencil skirt…an item I’ve been searching for FOREVER but haven’t found one I like. It was perfect. I liked it so much I went back and bought the purple and black versions. I’m a weird cusp size-somewhere between petite and regular, and plus size and regular-and this skirt fits me perfectly. The ponte is really nice, especially for the price. So if you are looking a nice pencil skirt…

    • I just wish it had a different name. Who thought “Dress Barn” was a good idea?

      • Anonymous :

        No worse than Pottery Barn :-)

        • Anonymous :

          actually it is. in one you’re referencing a decor for your home for homegoods. for the other, you’re referencing dressing women in a space that’s used for animals.

  2. Anonymous :

    I love this suit! I think it would be great as separates too. Bummer it doesn’t come in any sizes smaller than 4 :(

    • Orangerie :

      Me, too. Does this brand not make anything smaller than size 4, or are some sizes just sold out?

      • They do, I think they’re just sold out. I actually love the way this suit looks, but Tahari always looks frumpy on me. But it is tempting….

    • Yay! I love Tahari, but b/c of my tuchus, size 4 works for me now. I am thinkeing tho, that dad is right– that if I start buying size 4’s that I will NEVER go back to my size 2’s, and that would mean giveing in to my tuchus, dad says. Dad make’s alot of sense, but it is NOT him walkeing his tuchus off to fit into a size 2, it is me– and I thought that if I DO get some size 4’s that I would be abel to use these in a PINCH, when the size 2’s feel to small b/c of my tuchus, which dad call’s OVERSTUFFED. FOOEY on dad for compareing my tuchus to an overstuffed chair!

      Myrna and I saw alot of dinasaur’s at the Museum over the weekend and she took picture’s but I am NOT sure she should of, b/c the guard skowled at her for doing it even tho she onley used an IPHONE!
      There were NO eligibel guy’s at the Museum tho. I did NOT want to go to the planeatarium b/c I did NOT want to have to go in the dark and look up. FOOEY!

      We did have ice cream at their food court and it was VERY good. Myrna also had a little pasta, but her tuchus is alot smaller then mine. She said she would go back with me again soon. YAY!!!!

      • Go with the size 4, and to heck with your dad and his tuchus comments. You have to be comfortable, and not worry about it.

  3. apartmenthunting :

    Immediate apartment TJ:
    DH and I are searching for apartments … looking to go in in May and have it for June. My debt-to-income ratio, credit, etc are good. However, my husband has ONE account in collections where they’re going back and forth and it’s just dragged on for years.

    It’s now looking like this is going to affect our apartment search.

    Can I just leave him off of my apartment applications? One complex has already brought this up as an issue even though everything else is perfect!

    • baseballfan :

      I can’t speak for the individual property owners/managers, but from my perspective (and I own rental property), every occupant must be approved and be on the lease.

      That being said, I am evidently a lot less picky than the complex you’re speaking of – I look for consistency in timely payment of bills – one blemish would not disqualify an applicant for my houses.

      I would say that you don’t want to put yourself in the position of having lied to the landlord by way of omission.

      • apartmenthunting :

        We’re not sure what to do otherwise with this … even if we pay it off, it might not be resolved in time.

    • My fiance’s credit was horrible when we moved in together (collection issues, as well). I just told our apartment that I wanted the lease in my name only so the lease is in my name and he is just listed as a resident. They had no problem with this arrangment and we have never had any problems with him requesting maintenance, picking up packages, etc.

      • My complex also allows this–one person “on the lease” and the other person listed as a resident (they supposedly require this latter disclosure of anyone staying there longer than 7 days for background checks). As long as the person on the lease has income sufficient to support the rent, they’re fine with it. This is a top 5 population state where most complexes use the standard state rental association lease, so I think it’s pretty common practice.

        • apartmenthunting :

          I might try this then, as I do want him to be able to request maintenance and pick up packages. It’s just that I can pass the application by myself as I make 3x more than rent per month and he’s basically a stay-at-home dad anyways.

          • baseballfan :

            Just be upfront with them and if they will allow a resident who is not on the lease then they will structure it that way.

            The thing you don’t want to do is conceal him entirely and then have them find out later that you withheld information for the sole reason that he would not be approved otherwise.

            We require all adult residents to be on the lease and they are all jointly and severally liable for the rent. This is because I don’t want a situation where the only person responsible for paying moves out and leaves us holding the bag with a resident who is not on the lease and therefore not bound by it. The income requirement is per household. Basically what I don’t want is someone moving in who has been evicted in the past or who is unemployed/has no source of income or whose credit is extremely bad. From my perspective, the reference check with past landlords and proof of employment (or co-signer, in the case of, say, a student) are much more important than the credit check. Obviously this is a YMMV situation and many property managers/owners have other criteria that they prioritize.

    • Breezyred :

      Offbeat Home recently covered “5 tips to get your rental application approved, even if you have bad credit and pets” and, along with comments, is actually pretty informative. Check it out here:

      • apartmenthunting :

        We’ve already been in plenty of times and have spoken to almost everyone … it’s just this one sticking point that seems to be make or break.

        • baseballfan :

          Apartments are, as a rule, more inflexible on their application approvals and the larger the complex, the more inflexible they are. I don’t know what area you are in and if this is feasible, but you might consider a house owned by a private party/small business. Like I said, we check references, and verify employment, but I am very unconcerned about a blemish or two on someone’s credit. If it’s a constant pattern – that’s another story.

          The above is not bad advice, but in a situation where you have to either meet the criteria or not, it probably won’t help. It will, however, help if you are dealing with someone who is in a position to make a judgment call.

    • Anon-athon :

      It may really depend on the complex/company. My sister lived with me while she was interning (and thus making no money), so I just applied on my own before she moved here and then requested keys for her once she arrived. I think that I put down an extra deposit for the keys, but that was it.

  4. Anonymous :

    Has anyone had professional baby photos done? How much was the session? A friend reccomended her friend and I called to set up the appt. and a 30-45 minute session with 10 photos costs more than $300. I was floored. Is this the normal price for this type of thing? I feel like I’m in a weird spot because I expected it to be much cheaper, used my friend’s name and now want to back out of the appointment after I heard the price.

    I was expecting about half that. Am I going to find something cheaper or is this the going rate?

    • Not sure where you’re located, but that sounds pretty outrageous for less than an hour.

    • I’m in a major city in Texas and that sounds pretty reasonable. I know a lot of professional photographers and it’s not uncommon for them to charge a session fee (which it sounds like this is) and then charge a la carte for the prints/pictures.

    • layered bob :

      my husband is a freelance photographer and his standard “portrait” rate is $200 for 90 minutes and full rights to 5 photos. We’re in the Midwest.

      as a side note, I encourage you to think about the rights to the photos – many photographers retain reproduction/distribution rights so they can put your child on their website or business cards/etc. One of the reasons my husband’s rate is a bit higher than the market around here is that he promises not to use his clients’ photos in any way. This is a comfort for many people concerned about privacy for their children or who just want to control the distribution of their own images.

      • Maddie Ross :

        Oh yes, this about the rights to the photos. And not just the re-use by the photog, but also your rights to copy yourself.

        • S in Chicago :

          Yes. Rights indeed. I had pet photos done once at about a similar price (yes, I’m THAT person when it comes to the dog). And I was stuck ordering large prints and couldn’t make any prints on my own. In the past, I had someone charge similar and was able to keep a CD, which was wonderful since I could share freely and make as many copies and at the size I wanted. If you have sticker shock now, back out while you still can. The pressure to spend only gets worse after you’ve already sat for them and are looking at prints.

    • Maddie Ross :

      Depending on where you are located and the photog you are using, this is not all that out of the ordinary. You can certainly find cheaper, but in my experience, you usually get what you pay for in this regard. And especially with baby photos, a more experienced photog is a good thing – not just for retouching, but for having the experience working with little ones to know what works. All of my sessions for my LO have been booked for an hour, but they usually get done sooner. LOs can only handle so much.

      • Adding on to agree with this. You’re not only paying for the photography skill, but especially with newborns, you’re paying for the knowledge of safe “poses” and the experience handling the baby.

    • Anonymous :

      That sounds like a good deal to me, assuming you like the photographers work. I’m in a Midwestern city (not Chicago) and just paid $500 for a similar package.

      It’s not just 30-45 minutes of the photographer’s time. Think about the editing time, equipment, etc.

      That said, you can get photos much cheaper in a chain studio, but it’s going to be a very different style.

      P.S. If you go forward with this photographer, make sure you know if you’re getting 10 prints, or print rights to 10 images. There’s a difference.

      • Anonymous :

        It’s print rights and 10 photos, so it seems like this is a decent price based on all the responses.

        Thanks! I’m going to go for it.

        I know it’s more than the session, just still seemed like a lot. But if that’s the going rate, then that is what it is.

        • No experience with baby photos, but for print rights alone for most “portrait” type photos, if you do it per photo it’s often $70-100. So if you are sure its included in the package its seems like a pretty good deal from that stand point alone!

    • That’s pretty cheap, actually. In my area, it’s more like $500-700 for a professional photographer.

    • We had photos done of our kids (this was the three of them together and individually–not specifically newborn photos) and the cost was $300. She spent probably an hour and a half with us and allowed a couple of outfit changes. She gave us a CD and rights to all the images. If we wanted anything significantly re-touched there was an additional fee, but if we wanted something small done to a particular photo she did it as part of the original price.

  5. Coach Laura :

    I don’t have time to make a lengthy comment but I found this cnn article to be interesting and fitting in with Kat’s 3/24/14 post on Empowering Clothing. The author makes some points that match both the opinion of “Amy” and others with opposing viewpoints. I’ll post the link to follow but the title is “Does what women wear to work matter?” posted on cnn’s website today.

    P.S. Love the suit, Kat.

    • Favorite short and sweet comment was posted by user name Sofia, “Dress how you want to be treated.”

      Pretty much sums up a world of viewpoints in one, simple sentence.

    • SAlit-a-gator :

      What’s the name of the article?

      • Coach Laura :

        It’s included above in the original post. “Does what women wear to work matter?” posted on cnn’s website today.

  6. biz card holder? :

    Can anyone recommend a business card holder? Ideally not too expensive, in a conservative color like black or tan. Thanks!

    • Leatherology’s are very conservative.

      The Lodis mini Audrey is a similar shape but they usually have a contrasting color inside. And Kate Spade’s have the logo.

      • oh no, those Lodis are cute!! good thing I already have a good business card holder I like, that has massive capacity, too. That is my biggest pet peeve is a business card holder that is so thin it only hholds like 4 cards at a time, ugh.

        • Yeah I have it in turqoise with hot pink. I use it for business cards, but I also keep IDs in it so I can pull them out easily to go to the gym. It holds a lot! And I’ve bought many of them for graduation gifts.

    • TO Lawyer :

      I got a nice card case from Henri Bendel – the colours on the site are a little crazy right now but when I was in the store a couple months ago, they had a ton of conservative colours.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Check etsy. I don’t have any specific seller recommendations, but there were a lot when I was looking (I ended up deciding to not go as conservative and got a metal one from the Met that’s inlaid with a magnolia design-they don’t seem to have it anymore, but it’s like this bookmark:

  7. I love the suit in the pic put up by Kat. I headed over to Dillards to look at the suit and it changed my mind. Looks awful there.

    • Anonymous :

      Agreed. Disappointing and since I have multiple tan suits, I will pass on this one.

    • Can you expand on awful? Tahari suits fit me well so this is tempting. I realize that their fabirc blends aren’t the highest quality.

      • The picture in Dillards didn’t seem as good as this one. Probably because the suit is paired with a paler bouse (white or off white?) as opposed to a black one shown here. Now that I look at it again, it’s probably not really “awful.”

  8. "Sun" Lamp :

    I sit in the middle of a dark cube farm with no hope of seeing sunlight. I have a light therapy box which I use in the winter, but I’m wondering if I should bring it to work and use throughout the day. Has anyone done this and noticed a difference? How often are you turning it on?

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Yes! I have a verilux Happy lite. It comes in a two pack. I have one at home and one at work. I have windows now and only turn it on when it is dreary out. When I didn’t have windows I frequently had it on for all daylight hours in the corner of my office.

      • Thanks! I have one at home, so I was thinking of just bringing it here and trying to get in a good solid hour or two. I was worried somehow I’d screw up my sleep by having it on too long, but your point about “daylight hours” not work hours is well taken.

    • NWanalyst :

      I have a HappyLite too, which lives at work (at home I use a programmable dawn simulator lamp). I’ve gotten in the habit of leaving it on for multiple hours on dark mornings. I know that isn’t according to the standard protocol, but it seems to improve my experience.

  9. Makeup Shakeup :

    Reposting from this morning (and hoping to get some responses):

    I’m planning to change my makeup products (I use foundation and foundation powder). I have a very oily skin (I go through 5-6 blotting papers easily during the day) and been using Perfection Lumiere fluid foundation and Double Perfection Lumiere mattifying compact powder from Chanel until now. It’s good on my skin as I’ve been using it for the last couple of years but I feel there could be a better product out there that could probably be a little more mattifying and may be reduce my blotting paper count to 3-4? Any good products that you guys have been using recently that are oily-skin-friendly?

    • Makeup isn’t going to fix your oily skin problem. That’s a skincare issue. Moisturize and hydrate and take your vitamins. Eventually, your skin should stop producing as much oil.

    • Chanel makes a “mat lumiere” foundation which is specifically for skin that tends to be on the oilier side. Why not try that? I am a big fan of Chanel foundation. That and YSL touché éclat are the only ones that I don’t hate the look/feel of on my skin.
      Or if you don’t mind something lighter coverage, I’ve been very happy with BB cream and a little translucent powder to set. I like Dr. Jart in the black tube.

    • I like bareminerals mineral veil for mattifying (not the moisturizing formula).

    • The best thing I’ve done for cutting down my blotting sheet use is to stop using powder. I used to think that because foundation was liquid, it was worse for my slippery skin and I just layered and layered and layered on the powder. Now, I use a primer, liquid foundation with good coverage (so that I don’t feel the need to go over it with powder like I did with tinted moisturizer), bronzer and blush in certain spots, and a very light dusting of mattifying powder. I’ve cut my blue sheet use from about 5 to 1 (and sometimes none).

      I think you could probably replicate this with a variety of products, but what’s worked for me is Hourglass Mineral Veil primer and Immaculate Liquid Powder foundation. I think my mattifying powder is also Hourglass at the moment but I’ve used others too and been happy with them.

    • I use Tarte primer in the spring/summer when my skin is super oily. It doesn’t completely stop the oil from producing, but it definitely helps my skin feel much less greasy and I don’t end up with an oil slick on my forehead by midday, or even at the end of the day.

  10. Due to some major changes at my company, I think there are going to be layoffs in the near-ish future and it may even close down. Several people have expressed the same concerns. I’m looking for a new job. Two questions:
    1.) When I interview elsewhere, should I give that as a reason for leaving my current position?
    2.) If I do leave, should I tell them it’s because of my uncertainty regarding my future at the company?

    Thanks, ladies. It’s been a long year already.

    • For 2- doesn’t matter. All you tell them is that it’s been a pleasure working for them and it’s time for you to move on.

      • Orangerie :

        +1. The majority of companies don’t give a crap about feedback provided in an exit interview. Save your breath.

    • Meg Murry :

      I would first say all the things you would say in a cover letter about why you want the new position (new company has more room for growth, better alines with your interests, etc) and only offer up the instability as secondary for the reason you started looking. You want to make sure you are giving off the vibe that you really want the new position because you really want it and would be a good fit, and just because you want to jump ship from where you are right now just in case. I WOULD bring in up if you think you might otherwise look like a job hopper.
      Also, are the changes known publicly/throughout your industry already? Don’t air your current company’s dirty laundry if it isn’t already known that they are struggling – that could lead to concerns about your ability to handle confidential business info, especially if there is any chance of using business info in your field for insider trading.

  11. I love this suit but hate the v-neck the model is wearing underneath the top in the picture. That is way too low to be work appropriate.

  12. Yo Anon with the inappropriate clothing commentating supervisors, I just wanted to reply to one of your followup posts (which I copied and pasted):

    I’ve discussed this with my husband and he says that I shouldn’t get all defensive with them otherwise they will consider me uptight and they’ll be afraid to joke around with me.

    Would a simple “it makes me uncomfortable when you make comments regarding my appearance” be okay? Because put quite simply, it does make me uncomfortable. I’m more insecure with myself now because of their comments.

    The way I see it, your “simple” comment blames YOU for THEIR inappropriate behavior. I saw that you said that they make these comments to male coworkers, too. Someone else gave a great suggestion, “why are you the only people who comment on this stuff?” Be a mirror, reflect their behavior back on to them. You are not being defensive, you are dishing out some offense.

    I think this is a personality issue but when my coworkers or supervisors are being a d!ck to me, I ask them to explain what they meant by d!ckish comment. I am RAWR that they affected your self-esteem but they are @$$hats and you should call them out on their nonsense. They SHOULD be “afraid” to joke with you regarding inappropriate matters. If they stop joking with you all together, so be it.

    They are inappropriate, not you.

    • Thanks Godzilla. You’re right, this is just me being defensive and not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings…when mine are certainly hurt. I appreciate the time and thought you took to respond to my question.

  13. I love this suit – it seems like something Alicia Florrick would wear (with a less low cut top of course). I actually like how its styled at Dillards too, a little less $exy and fashiony, but still very pretty and professional. I think the white top maybe makes it look more appropriate for warmer climates like California or the south.

  14. Shoe Hunt :

    If anyone has some spare time today, I’d appreciate the help. I’m looking for a pair of black leather pumps, either T-strap or Mary Jane. Almond or round toe, between 2-3.5 inches heel height. I have super wide feet, so wide widths appreciated. Plain is fine, but if they have a cute detail, even better. No real price range, although they’d have to be amazing if they are over $250.

    • *listens because I want these magical shoes too*

    • Comes in wide, 3.5 in heel, 3/4″ platform, $69

    • Naturalizer :

      Check out naturalizer:

      • Naturalizer :


    • Maddie Ross :

      Dude, I had this pair from Target like 5 years ago and wore.them.out. If anyone finds them again (preferably in real leather this time!), let us all know!

    • How about these? Lucky sizes only but Nordstroms has some cute mary janes right now on super sale.

    • NWanalyst :

      I have a pair of Payless mary-jane style shoes with a 2.5 inch heel. They are remarkably comfortable and I’ve walked moderate distances (~1 mile) in them with no ill effects. They also come in wide and are currently on sale… and as someone with bunions, I find the toe box very accommodating without having the dreaded boxy look.

  15. Anonymous :

    I have had an on again-off again thing with a guy for the last 18 months or so. He kind of strung me along for a while, I recently decided that I was done, because he clearly wasn’t putting me first, and wasn’t going to. I think it was a poster here who wrote “stop crossing oceans for someone who won’t even step over a puddle for you”, and that was my tipping point to decide I deserve better.

    Well, now he’s being extremely attentive – I didn’t really explain my choice, I just took a huge step back, and stopped being available. Do I owe him an explanation? Can I just ignore the phone calls/texts/emails?

    • You really don’t owe him anything. If you’ll feel better after saying “I’ve moved on” (and don’t think it will result in you getting entangled in a prolonged separation process), you do you. Otherwise, ignore away.

    • Anne Shirley :

      I think ignoring him entirely with no explanation is just plain rude. This isn’t a guy from OKCupid you went on 2 dates with. Call/email/however you communicate and let him know that the on again/off again switch is permanently in off. Just cause he’s behaved badly doesn’t mean you need to.

    • I think you’ll get a lot further in your relationships in general if you get in the habit of talking to the other person & explaining where you’re coming from. Be honest about your needs, how you’ve viewed the relationship, give him an opportunity to talk. You may not want to continue anything after that or perhaps he says something that makes you reconsider. You’ll never know if you don’t talk. And if not with this guy, it’s just good practice for the right person.

      • +1. Well said.

      • AnonBroTown :

        +1 You don’t owe him anything. This could be a good “practice interview” for you to articulate your relationship needs and wants. If he won’t cross a puddle for you – and he hasn’t so far – good riddance. I read something recently that marriage means you always put the other person first. I don’t buy it, all the time, but I think if a guy always pretends to put you first and doesn’t, you have encountered a deal breaker.

        Please be aware that when jerks act like nice guys after being jerks, it can be that they are in the “calm” stage of domestic (emotional maybe) violence:

      • That is a very,very good point. However, I was for a while seeing someone who was stringing me along, and every time I cooled on the relationship he would all of a sudden become extremely kind and attentive. He just wanted to know for his own purposes that he could have me if he wanted me. Just watch out for this. And find a new boyfriend. That helps :)

  16. A friend forwarded this article which I found really interesting (link to follow). The hypothesis is that women are more “grade sensitive” when it comes to majoring in certain fields, which results in fewer women selecting higher earning majors.

    From an anecdotal perspective, I can think of more female than male friends who switched majors after receiving a low grade in an introductory course. That said, my female friends consistently had higher grades upon graduation than my male ones, and a good number of them remained in STEM majors.

    • Link:

    • I’d be interested to read the article. I still feel kind of bad about the terribly low grades I got in my math major classes, although I know that my grades were probably above average for the classes.

    • I did a double (STEM, non STEM). Before college no one told me that STEM majors (especially mine) often get MUCH lower grades than average, so I felt like I must be incapable/not up to the task, when in fact I was average in my class. Maybe if more women/students were told to expect it to be hard and that mediocre grades were actually the norm they’d keep at it more.

    • When I read this article, my first thought was: “What if the women have a real reason for this–maybe they are less likely to get hired with lower grades?” In other words, maybe there is a reason for this result other than “oh, those silly girls are afraid of getting a C.” For example, maybe a low grade on a woman’s grade transcript is a much bigger deal on a when she looks for a job than it would be for a man. I was disappointed that the article didn’t address potential real-world reasons for the behavior. As a similar example, Linda Babcock’s research shows that women are often socially punished for negotiating. So, according to this research, we aren’t being too “nice” when we fail to ask for things (like a pay raise), we are responding to real social cues and (unfortunately) have to learn a different way of going about our negotiations when men can be more direct.

  17. Fee for 1 hr consulting - update :

    I posted a question here yesterday on how much to charge for a 1-hour consulting call with a research firm. I originally thought I’d put something like $75-$100, but three very helpful ladies said that’s way too low. So I listened and I put down $250…. aaaaaand the client accepted! So now I’m going to do my call on Monday and get paid $250. :) This makes me happy, but also makes me wonder if I should’ve put down $300 or at least $275!

    2nd question: should I do anything to prepare for this call? I obviously have my background knowledge, opinion about future industry trends, etc. that the client is paying for, but I want to make sure I sound polished and smart, and not ramble ramble ramble. I’m thinking of putting down several main bullet points that I can fall back on. Thoughts? If you’ve done something similar before, how did you prepare?

    • Anonymous :

      For the most part, you will just be responding to the interviewer’s questions. I wouldn’t think you need to prepare too much. What you do need to do is take a mental inventory of topics you might be asked to discuss and be clear ahead of time what you can/cannot say about your former employer. Sometimes research firms do these interviews anonymously, so you won’t know who hired them. Assume it’s a future/current competitor and proceed accordingly. Otherwise, don’t worry about it too much. Just be sure to give them your full attention and answer their questions as best you can.

  18. Baconpancakes :

    I am so bad at taking professional criticism! I had my yearly review today, and even though it ended with me getting a 10% raise, I was kicking myself for even having any areas that explicitly need improvement, and I was so embarrassed, I know I was beet red the entire time. This isn’t professional, I know, but I’m not sure how to control my emotions, either when I get yelled at by clients (one of the areas that needed improvement) or when I have performance reviews that aren’t absolutely glowing.

    So I have two questions: A) If you’re an emotional person like me, how do you control it in a professional setting? And B) If you’ve already filled out a personal evaluation and the review is just comparing your results to your manager’s and going over the differences, what are you supposed to do or say in the review? Should I just accept what they say? Try to explain myself? This isn’t stuff they teach in college, but it would be great to know.

    • I feel you – mine is on Friday and I already know there are going to be some issues, mainly due to issues outside of my control. I have just tried to identify the areas I anticipate being brought up and thought about appropriate responses. I plan to accept any criticism and agree to focus on those issues/areas of improvement in the future. I think with the exception of a few unique situations, if you try to explain anything it comes off as making excuses. I think it’s good to also have some strengths in mind to talk about during the evaluation as well so the focus isn’t entirely on what you have done wrong.

    • I am also an emotional person and these conversations are hard. The first time I ever had a not-completely-glowing-positive review from a manager my face was red and I cried afterward in the bathroom and had to take a long walk to clear my mind.
      Since then, I’ve given difficult feedback and been on the receiving end, and I’ve even had very difficult non-review conversations. It does get easier the more you do it. Now I’m anticipating a tough conversation all day and feel stressed, but manage to remain calm and say the things I need to during the meeting itself.
      You also can take time to come back for a follow up meeting, and think through whether you need to respond and how to do so without appearing defensive.

      • mama of 2 :

        Here’s what I want to hear when I give negative comments or feedback:

        1) I’m listening to what you say.
        2) I understand your point and take this seriously.
        3) I am committed to doing a better job, appreciate input into how I can be more effective in my work, and will take concrete steps to fix the problem.

    • If you aren’t receiving criticism, it means your employer doesn’t care about your professional development (either because your employer is bad at prof dev overall, or because they’ve given up on you personally). Take it as a compliment that they see you as being worth working on.

      For areas where you already know of examples where you didn’t perform as well as you would have liked/as well as your employer would like, you can say something like, “I know X, what I did, wasn’t the best thing to do. In reflecting on the situation, I think I should have done Y instead. Am I on the right track?”

      For an area where you’re criticized but it’s a surprise to you or you’re not given examples – first of all, if this ever happens, you have a terrible manager. Secondly, ask for examples, or if you can think of any, ask if you are on the right track with them.

      Don’t apologize unless what you did was specifically a mistake, vs just “not being great at X thing yet”. Professional development is SUPPOSED to happen. Your employer knew you were not perfect when they hired you, and they still think you’re worth having (esp if you got a 10% raise!). What you do want to do is take ownership of your own development (this is what the discussion of specific examples is for, even if it’s painful) with the advice of your supervisor/organization as a whole. Ultimately you are responsible for your own improvement, but it IS their job to help you make that happen. Investing in developing good people is the best time/money a company can spend – if they choose to spend that on you, take advantage of it and don’t feel guilty about doing so – they are doing it for the return on investment, not as a personal favor.

    • amberwitch :

      I’ve always had very supportive bosses who were interested in me improving, so I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to see a performance review as an opportunity to learn about myself, the expectations my boss has to me, how/what to improve, and ask questions to figure out what/how/why.
      If at all possible, try to get into this mindset that your boss is trying to help you, for your own good, the companys good and for his/her own good.

      Regarding the evaluation results. The best way to go about it, IMO, is to articulate to yourself why you have scored yourself the way you have before the meeting. Bulletpoints, examples, be as concrete as possible. This allows you to back up your own evaluations with ‘facts’, and can facilitate a deeper discussion about the difference in expectations between you and your boss.

  19. I love the action!styling.

    • +1

    • Me too (and everyone really does look better in sunglasses!), but I hate that there is no other shots of this, inc. the back. Especially with Tahari as so many of their suits include some ridiculous butt bow or unnecessary back ruffle.

  20. Coach Laura :

    Any word from TBK? Did I miss an announcement?

    • ack you’re right! I haven’t seen anything either. I hope everything’s okay, can’t wait to hear about those boys!

  21. AnonBroTown :

    How do you deal with/respond to a boss who appreciates you as a professional but still (professionally) advantages the male co-workers as people/friends?

    • It can be hard. He acknowledges you, but prefers to be friends with some guys. Can feel terrible, but is it wrong?

    • This happens at my firm a lot. I’m the only female associate in my group, and the partners email with the other associates about jokes, you tube videos, etc. I’m always left off the emails. I try not to let it bother me, especially since a lot of what they are sending is inappropriate, but it still gets under my skin sometimes.

  22. Threadjack: my boyfriend has not been entirely satisfied with his career in law. He worked in civil litigation for several years and has worked as a law professor for the last few years. Can you guys tell me what sort of professions people may branch out into from the legal field? He especially likes collaborative work environments, problem solving, and writing. Thanks!!

  23. Sorry, am posting with no additional content because I neglected to check the “follow post” box :(

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