Frugal Friday’s Workwear Report: Tissue Turtleneck Tee

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

I feel like turtlenecks are having a moment right now (I even just saw a whole article on how to wear necklaces and turtlenecks) — so I’m excited to see that J.Crew’s tissue-thin turtlenecks are still available. They are down to $17 at Nordstrom today (whoop whoop!) and available in about a zillion colors and stripes.  J.Crew Tissue Turtleneck Tee

Psst – If you’re a Level 2-4 Nordstrom cardholder and haven’t yet chosen your “Personal 10 Point Day” at Nordstrom, I believe the opportunity expires on 12/24. Their big sale won’t be in full swing until Christmas day, likely, but they’ve already started marking things down, like these turtlenecks — so it isn’t a bad time to do a swing of the site if you’ve got time today. Great time to stock up on basics for work like these hose, these pantsthis cardigan, this cardigan, or this camisole — or for the basics for the weekend like denim.

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  1. I work for a small company in the Midwest. This morning the COO sent an email saying that to allow for flexible schedules the office doors would be locked starting at noon today and continuing through the official company holiday (Mon 12/25) and would reopen on Tuesday morning. The point of the email was to remind people to carry their badges with them so that they can get into the office and not get locked out.

    But I read this as so annoying and simply not generous. Other places I’ve worked in my career, an email like this one telling people that doors will be locked today at noon would also have told people that they could leave early today at noon and enjoy the holiday weekend. If the office is open, keep it open. If it’s closed, make it closed. We don’t need flexible work schedules when the office is officially closed on Monday. Just another example of our management missing the mark.

    • Shots. Shots. Shots. :

      Hi. I think you could use me right now. Many of us could. The holiday season is long and festive cheer and good spirits fray. But I have here for you, specifically in the form of the peppermint patty shot. I know you all forget about me after college, but ask yourself this: would filling my mouth with chocolate syrup and peppermint schnapps fix this problem?

      • Anonymous :

        This is the kind of wisdom that keeps me coming back to this site.

      • Oooh, fond memories! Might have to bring back the Peppermint Patty this holiday season!

        • I LOVE Peppermint Patty. She always made me smile, but I like to eat Peppermint also, so that always looked forward to Charley Brown comics on tv and in the paper! YAY!!! I wonder if she ever got MARRIED? Does any one in the HIVE know if she found a guy other then Charley Brown? I would LOVE to know.

      • Is that all that’s in a peppermint patty shot? Now you’ve got me wanting to look up holiday shot recipes on Pinterest.

      • Pen and Pencil :

        This is the gift we never asked for but sorely needed.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        I’m having a skype party with friends tonight (why must my favorite people be so far away?!) and there was talk of all making the same special cocktail… I didn’t suggest peppermint schnapps but believe me I wish I had!

        • New Tampanian :

          How do you set up a skype party? I think I want to do this.

          • Rainbow Hair :

            I think we’re going to use … what’s it called on g00gle that used to be ‘gchat’? Anyway, that one has a video function that works pretty well for multi-way chats.

          • Meg March :

            Google Hangouts! My college friends and I do this all the time.

      • Wisest commenter on this site.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        I love you, Shots, in all your forms. I am presently having a very prosecco-heavy mimosa at my desk while docketing for emails I missed last week.

      • Clementine :

        Let me tell you, I’m having a sub-par day and this improved my day 500%.

      • You, dear poster, deserve a holiday bonus for this post.

    • Uh, what if you forget something at work and need to pop in a grab it? You are borrowing trouble here.

      • This is how I read it. I’m the worst for forgetting the heels I want to wear to church on Christmas eve under my desk at work. There’s heavy crossover between office wear and church wear in my wardrobe.

    • Yeah this doesn’t sound bad to me — in anticipation that many folks are departing early today, we’re going to set the doors to lock starting at noon?

      • +1. I honestly don’t see what the issue is here.

        • Maybe it’s because I have to carry a badge 100% of the time I’m at work (even to go to the bathroom), but I don’t get it. Also – what does locking the doors have to do with flexible schedules?

    • In a way, it is nice that they are being so accommodating to the security staff or whoever locks the the doors. It sounds like you still have access to the building if you need it.

      • I think OP was more complaining because she read it as an expectation that access would be required because people would be coming into work over the next few days.

        • And maybe some people WANT to work over the next few days. I think OP is just being kind of grinchy.

  2. Can we talk about the very strong feelings people seem to have about wishing folks a Merry Christmas versus Happy Holidays?

    I consider myself a pretty crunchy liberal. I send out New Years cards at this time of year and I wish my friends a happy Rosh Hashanah or Eid or whatever their tradition may be throughout the year. I get that the term holidays is supposed to be more inclusive but it seems like people just switch out the word Christmas for holidays. No, your office Secret Santa is not inclusive of non-Christian traditions. Nor is the fact that the term holidays seems to only refer to the last two weeks of December. So on the one hand, I appreciate that people are trying to make an effort, but on the other, the effort seems… misplaced.

    And then there’s the fact that the word Christmas is treated like a dirty word by the same people who’ve never even heard of Diwali. I actually had someone try to correct me when I referred to that tree I put up in my house as a Christmas tree. Srsly you want me to call it a holiday tree? I didn’t realize that a decorative tree was a Hanukkah tradition, I’ll have to let my Jewish friends know they’re doing it wrong. And I hate HATE that this well-intentioned but poorly-executed attempt at inclusivity has been hijacked by the right who are (understandably?) reacting to what they perceive to be the erasure of their tradition (now that you know how it feels maybe don’t do it to other people?).

    And I really hate that I sound like a whiny know-it-all even though I know I have my own biases and plenty of work to do on myself.

    • Yeah, again, ‘‘tis the season for a peppermint shot, as above. I don’t care if you’re celebrating the birth of Christ- our office is closed two days next week and one the week after. You’re taking a holiday, like it or not, and I hope it’s happy.

      Srsly. You’re ranting about nice people trying to be nice. Chill.

    • Yeah, I’m Jewish and it bothers me when people (who know I’m Jewish) say “Happy Holidays” to me right before Christmas. My holiday is over and has been for a while. Saying something like “Have a nice break” or “Enjoy the time off” or something is a completely appropriate way to recognize that we’re all off from work for a few days around Christmas, but “Happy Holidays” right before Christmas just feels faux-inclusive to me. If you mean Merry Christmas, just say it.

      • I mean happy holidays.

      • New year’s?

        That’s what I mean. I”m atheist. Send Happy New Year cards. Friends of all religions and none. Week between Xmas and new year’s is a holiday mess since I was a kid growing up here. Most people have some time off. Many travel since time off or have visitors. Yes they are all jumbled together. I rarely have time off as I’m a doc and so far have worked most Xmas weeks. Maybe I Should be more bitter about that…. But I don’t know what you are what time you have off ….

        We’re just trying to be polite, friendly.

        • I was referring more to the co-workers who said “Happy Holidays” to me this week, post-Hanukkah and directly pre-Christmas. They all know I’m Jewish but couldn’t be bothered to recognize Hanukkah at all when it was happening and saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” a few days before Christmas is an empty gesture that makes them feel more PC and inclusive but isn’t actually including me in any way. We will all see each other again before New Year’s Eve so I think it’s a stretch to interpret it as a New Year’s greeting.

      • Baconpancakes :

        You put your finger on what I’ve been struggling with this year. Pretending it’s inclusive to say “Happy Holidays” on green and red paper covered in reindeer is just annoying. If you’re actually trying to avoid excluding anyone, you have to step away from the Christmas mania, and just let it be December, and not “The Holidays.”

        My boss asked me (I am Jewish) what Jews do for Christmas. I said “nothing, really, we don’t celebrate Christmas. If we’re with friends who celebrate we’ll join their festivities, and there’s a modern tradition of eating Chinese food, but it’s just another day for us.” She could not wrap her head around that. And that’s what kills me – not that people want to celebrate, but that they can’t fathom that someone else wouldn’t, and get huffy and offended when I remind them that Christmas is (supposed to be) about baby J, and just isn’t my holiday.

        • Anonymous :

          I understand your greater point, but it’s also not at all your place to “remind” people what Christmas is really about.

          • Baconpancakes :

            It’s in the context of “You don’t celebrate Christmas?!? WHY NOT?!?” “Well, because it’s a Christian holiday, and I’m Jewish.” “It’s not a Christian holiday!” “It’s definitely more secular now, but it’s literally named Christ’s mass.”

      • givemyregards :

        Where I screw up here is when someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas says “happy holidays!” or “have a good Christmas!” to me (I’m not actually Christian, either, but my family does gather around this time of year, so it’s fine) and I instinctively respond “you too!” knowing full well that they’re not celebrating. I always walk away thinking “oh crap!” but then it feels weird to follow it up with “I mean, have a good break! happy new year!” and draw more attention.

      • Anonymous :

        Lol, I’m Jewish/atheist but my family actually celebrates a very atheist version of xmas, it actually kind of bothers me when people assume I celebrate Jewish holidays because that’s not based on any personal knowledge of me (people who know me know this holiday quirk), but an assumption based on my last name and perhaps my appearance. Seems like stereotyping to me! Happy Holidays is just fine.

    • Joan wilder :

      I agree with the OP. I’m Jewish and this time of the year just makes me feel left out at work. Calling it holidays instead of Christmas and sticking a sad half broken dusty menorah doesn’t make it inclusive. I wish people would give more thought to the appropriateness of letting the “holidays” take over the work day for two weeks. (If we got time off, I’d be excited but I work for the federal government which makes the Christmas fever bother me even more).

      • I’m also Jewish, and I wish that we had the flexibility to take the first two days of Passover off instead of two days off for Christmas. Spring (for Passover) is when my extended family gathers, and I always have to burn vacation time for it.

        Just had to get that off my chest, it irritates me every year.

        • When I was with the federal government, my boss gave me the option of working on Christmas and any other days we were given off for winter holidays and then taking off for Passover, etc. I also was allowed to do comp time for the Jewish New Year, etc., so long as I worked my extra hours in advance.

    • I feel you. In my faith tradition, this month actually commemorates some our martyrs, so while I enjoy the secular parts of the season (hot cocoa! cookies! the general feeling of joy and generosity!), this is a time in our family/religion to reflect on the sacrifices made by those that came before us. I’ve found myself annoyed at the reaction I get when I say, “Oh, I don’t celebrate Christmas/any holidays this month, but I’ll be taking advantage of the time off to see my family!” I don’t begrudge anyone else their holidays or mention the martyrs because I know it can make people uncomfortable, but even in a progressive and openminded work environment like mine, I’ve been surprised that I’ve essentially been labelled a scrooge.

      • Happy Dance :

        If I can ask, what faith do you practice?

        • Happy Dance :

          I’m a regular that went anon yesterday to not out myself and forgot to change it, sorry, “happy dance” was not on purpose.

          • I’m a Sikh. Happy to answer any questions to point you towards resources to learn more if you haven’t heard of us :)

    • ::shrug:: I’m an atheist. None of this argument applies to me whatsoever because I’m not celebrating a holy day of any sort. I’m celebrating not having to go to work because other people have religion, and I’m doing it with whiskey because so many of those religious people become drama llamas this time of year.

      I say Merry Christmas to people I know will appreciate the sentiment and don’t bother telling people who say it back to me that I don’t believe in their friend in the sky. I just don’t see this as a thing to waste energy caring about.

      • Anonymous :


      • While I try really hard to recognize and appreciate everyone’s holiday traditions, I just want to note that we literally just had a long, drawn out discussion on this very site about a week ago about how many non-Christians celebrate Christmas and why – with a strong side of implying that the person who found that surprising had obviously been living under a rock her entire life.

      • Yep, +1000
        Just be nice to everyone, I don’t mean to pi$$ anyone off but I simply cannot use my energy to figure out your culture, holiday, religion and even asking is now politically incorrect

        I just want everyone to get along, love each other and enjoy good food, goof friends and good booze if that’s ok in your religion/ culture

    • Muslim here…
      I don’t particularly care if someone said Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas. I am going to enjoy having a few extra days off so it is like a holiday for me. Plus I know a lot of people will be out in the week in between Christmas and New Years so it does feel like holiday season (holiday in the British sense of the word I guess).
      I do feel like I am missing out on Christmas things like a tree and presents but I am glad to not have to do all the things at the same time. Heck, people are festive and happy and are trying to share the joy and wish-well on others without making them feel excluded.

      I say keep on spreading the holiday cheer

    • I am Catholic, and I hate “happy holidays.” Monday is Christmas, regardless of if you celebrate it or like it. The backlash against Christmas in the USA sickens me.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        There isn’t a backlash against Christmas. Get over yourself.

      • Anonymous :

        And I’m Catholic, and I actually prefer “happy holidays,” because it easily includes everything from Thanksgiving to Epiphany. It feels weird to wish someone a “Merry Christmas” at a party on December 2. Different strokes!

      • I mean, I’m sure that as a devout Catholic, you’re not wishing people a merry Christmas, right? Because it’s not Christmas yet. We’re in the liturgical season of Advent and I’m sure you’re engaging in prayer, penitence, and fasting as you prepare yourself for the coming celebration of the incarnation. Maybe a little contemplation on the role of Christianity as a majority religion in this country and whether or not we as Christians are living up to Christ’s example of radical love, particularly towards our brothers and sisters of other faiths? That seems like a good use of this time.

    • I am going with “Have an enjoyable seasonal celebration of your religious or ecumenical preference.” And sometimes adding “Disclaimers and provisos to follow in small print.”

      All but the most dour have been laughing — because what else would a lawyer say this time of year?

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      This seems a good place to share my holiday party story. We had our work holiday party recently, and I, a person of non-western faith, was wearing a green blazer and a crimson dress. Someone (I believe she was Jewish) remarked that my outfit was not very inclusive. Let me tell you, no one has ever wished me happy holidays during the time that I actually celebrate anything. I am not offended, but I thought it was hysterical, especially because I am South Asian and thus, likely not Christian. Workplace has a menorah and a Christmas tree but has never had anything else indicating my faith.

  3. Traveling by car from above NYC to lower Virginia. Need to be there by Sunday at 4pm. Would you leave Saturday morning? Sunday morning? I’m thinking Saturday is going to be a mess but the roads will be much more clear by Saturday. Thoughts?

    • I’d go for Saturday and not chance it.

      I live in DC and have driven to NYC and Albany many times – I’d recommend avoiding 95 and taking 81 if it goes where you want to go. It’s so much more pleasant (and free!).

    • Southern Virginia like Emporia or Roanoke? If Roanoke, you could get there via 80W to 81S and not really hit a lot of traffic.

  4. HR interview :

    Ladies, I’ve never done a separate interview with HR before. What’s it like and how do I prepare?

    I interviewed with the department I’d be working for, and then as a second step they’ve passed me on to interview with HR. It’s at a hospital, if that matters.

    • In my experience, the “interview” with HR is mostly about selling me on the employer. But sometimes it’s a true interview. Have questions for them about the organization, the culture, the hiring process. You can ask them about benefits. I would prepare by researching the hospital, knowing what the institution’s mission is and asking about how that manifests itself in the work environment. Prep is not so different than what you would do to before you interview with the department. They may ask you about your previous work, about items on your resume, etc. Good luck! You’ll do great.

    • Whenever I have interviewed direct with HR it’s only been to discuss my job history (how long were you here, why did you switch) and to talk compensation. Some companies use their HR to screen for salary compatibility. They usually do it on the front end though.

    • For my hospital, the HR interview is a bit of a formality. It usually happens first, as a screening tool to determine which candidates get department interviews. If someone is personally recruited, they may interview with the department first and then HR, in which case it’s a box-checking exercise.

      Expect some standard interview questions about how you handle conflict and diversity. Hospital HR may also ask about how you see your role in support of patient care or patient satisfaction. In general, hospital HR departments have to ask the same questions of everyone, even though they’re hiring for hugely diverse roles. I wouldn’t ask someone interviewing for a patient transport role the same questions I would ask someone interviewing for a finance role, but hospital HR does just that.

      Good luck with the job!

      • givemyregards :

        +1 in my experience these are always generic behavioral interview questions, along the lines of “tell me about a time when you worked with a client that was unhappy” or “how do stay on top of your to do list?” They’re usually just screening to make sure you sound sane, that your salary expectations are in line, see what your timeline is, etc.

    • HR interview :

      Thanks for all the replies so far! Much more helpful than Google results. Any more input welcome!

    • KS IT Chick :

      Hospital IT here… Our HR department does “Values Interviews” to make sure that the people we’re hiring have a general understanding of our values regarding service, integrity, stewardship, etc, and that they share those values. We’ve improved the diversity of our workforce significantly by instituting these, and our patient & staff satisfaction scores have show marked improvement. It

  5. I just searched this s i t e without thinking for gift recommendation for gardeners, because surely we’ve discussed this before. I am now having more coffee and a good laugh at all our gardening euphemisms. Cheers!

    • I have to do this now.

      • I gave a card and $20 Target gift card to each of two gardeners who visit weekly. Afterwards I had some second thoughts about not giving more generously. I started the gardening service middle of this year and therefore have no prior experience with this.

        • Wait, are we talking gifts for gardeners who you pay to provide a service? If so, tip them cash. If we’re talking friends and family who garden as a hobby, then I have no clue.

        • Anonymous :

          If you are providing the service, you certainly don’t need to pay your gardeners more, but the token gift to a client is always appreciated no matter what your line of business, and it keeps them coming back for more. If they are providing the service, you might be a little low for a true holiday tip, depending on what echelon of service provider we are talking about, but then if you’re paying for it, no gift is actually required.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      You may try “actual gardening” or “real gardening.”

      I don’t remember when it was…or any more details than this…but I remember a post about real gardening gifts and some ideas were one of the pads for below a person’s knees and a nice watering can (copper? I don’t remember if people recommended or didn’t recommend it).

      • We need to play a “real gardening or ‘gardening'” game.

        Knee pads! Watering can! Ho(e)!

  6. I feel as though my supervisor may have killed team morale and I’m not sure what to do. I have two direct reports. While I was on mat leave he “promoted” the lesser performing of the two. It wasn’t really a promotion, he moved her to a simpler role, which a I think was a good move. But then he gave her a title change to attorney so that our company would pay her bar dues. I think he thought he was just being nice. The effect it has had is that my high performing direct report is totally demotivated. She has been complaining constantly about the difficult part of her job and how she doesn’t want to do it anymore, and telling me she is so tied up with that part of the job that she needs my help on a bunch of projects. Upward delegating. She hasn’t been responding as quickly as before, and she used to respond on off-hours and has stopped doing that. I’m really not happy he has demotivated my star performer and I have to pick up the slack. Is there a tactful way to have a conversation with him about this?

    • This is really odd to me- that someone (even your supervisor) would have promoted a direct report in your absence/without consulting you. I’ve never worked for anyone that would do that— even on Mat leave, I’d expect a text from my boss about it, and schedule some time that works for me to discuss.

      So, I’d start with reviewing what happened while you were on Mat leave, then explaining the fallout you’ve noticed upon your return. Can your other report get the title change too, if it’s really as meaningless as you imply?

    • I wouldn’t worry about talking with your supervisor just yet as much as getting a plan together for fixing this. First, reward the high performer for having been a high performer in the past. Give her a glowing year-end review ASAP pointing out the exact things she’s done well, like handling difficult part of her job independently, being on top of workload even outside official working hours etc. Make sure she knows you know. Then, talk to your boss about kudos you can throw her way, like a potential title change (change to Senior Assistant, whatever). Ask him to who specifically was supposed to pick up slack that newly minted “attorney” left behind while being given a simpler role. If he didn’t have a good plan, ask for half a person who can assist your new “senior assistant”. If she doesn’t already have direct reports, she will consider this a big step in career development and I bet this will be a big help in getting morale back, getting you out of being delegated to (and getting your backbone back from that horrible supervisor who made rearrangements in your absence).

  7. Any good advanced strategies for keeping the clutter at bay?

    I have read Marie Kondo. I am pretty good about touching mail once and tossing the junk items. I pay bills online. I make regular trips to drop items and clothes at Goodwill. But there is a certain amount of clutter that I cannot conquer.

    Main offenders:
    tax-related paperwork that we need to keep (1 rental property)
    kids school-related items
    items of ephemera that don’t have a home

    My grandmother just went into a nursing home. While she has been giving her possessions away for years, it is a big sad to one day be at home with your things and then to be in a nursing home with a house full of your items that you will not return to see again (so what we “need” perhaps we don’t really). A lot of stuff is just stuff I haven’t had time to deal with (and likely won’t ever, thanks to work + kids making me want a clean house, but without time to devote to the task regularly).

    I live in an older house with not enough closet space. I’ve tried bins. I’m always short of time, so the only thing I can see as likely to solve this really is lighting a match . . .

    • For most people, there’s a phase of life in between “busy with work and children” and “moving into a nursing home.” I would accept that this isn’t the stage of life where you’re going to have a completely clutter-free home — once your kids are grown and you have more time you can focus on paring down your stuff.

    • Tax stuff – filing cabinet drawer or file box.

      kids stuff – filing box for each kid with a folder for each school year; for currently needed school stuff (calendars etc) – bulletin board in kitchen

      ephemera – do you need it or love it? if you love it, display it or store it carefully (e.g. baby blankets – keep one or two not twelve). If need it, figure out how much of it you need to keep and for how long. When in doubt, throw it out.

      • Ephemera =

        — books left out (our book capacity > shelves for books; mommy has a book problem; time to purge?)
        — homework items (no dedicated homework space; kids use kitchen island or dining room table; leading to constant clearing / reclearing / shuffling of table or counter stuff)
        — pens, markers, etc.
        — plasticware that doesn’t dry in the diswasher left out on counters to really get dry
        — husband clutter

        I fantasize about renting a storage unit and deliberately not paying the fee so they’ll auction off our junk. It’s almost like if they offered that as a secret service, I would gladly pay double.

        • Yup. Purge your books. Throw out that plastic ware. Recycle your husband.

        • Books – yes, sounds like it is time to purge. kindles are great!
          Homework – time to create a dedicated homework space? Each child gets a desk in his/her room? If this can’t be done, maybe get a cabinet/dedicate a cabinet where homework items (pens, paper, markers, etc) are kept.
          plasticware – I have the spot next to my sink dedicated to drying dishes. I put them on a pretty towel and accept that this is a permanent fixture in my kitchen.
          husband clutter – buy some organizing things for him. Boxes and bins for the closet, pretty baskets for non closet space.
          A file cabinet is a must for paperwork. Could keep schoolwork in it also.

          There are so many blogs dedicated to organizing, maybe check some out.

          • Books- take the pile to an old book store, donate to a library, prison or the like.
            Homework- Talk to your kids about a plan that works for everyone. If you say homework goes here and it’s not something they were given a choice on the follow through may not actually happen. I’ve been reading recently about the power of choice and its role in building internal motivation so try asking the kids to help you come up with a solution. Maybe they can sort after they are done with the homework on the kitchen table. A hanging file system on a wall in their room might be helpful especially if they are younger and can use the help of colors to identify what goes where.

            Plasticware- time to recycle, if you can get glassware instead because of the health benefits to both you and the earth

            Husband clutter- see above re: kids. Designate spots for things he always places, perhaps a small tray/basket he can dump his pockets into?

    • Expanding Husband :

      In a similar vein, my husband keeps expanding.

      He has suits from before when we met that do not fit.
      He has ~25 buttonup shirts that do not fit.
      He has ~10 pairs of pants that do not fit.

      The pants/shirts have been replaced. We seem to have a closet of unused clothes (on hangers).

      How can I sell him on parting with this? Say when he loses weight, it’s OK budget-wise to just go out and buy new clothes? Put everything in a rubbermaid tub (and eat the eventual cost of drycleaning if/when this fits again)?

      • Talk up the rational: “Hun, when you lose weight, you’re not going to want to wear this old blue suit. You’re going to want to celebrate and buy a new blue suit.”

        There’s no motivation in working hard to…wear old clothes. Right? Once he absorbs that, he’s going to be all for clearing out the old small clothes.

        • givemyregards :

          For SO clutter, I try to find a dedicated space where I can just dump his stuff that is out of the way and won’t bug me. For us it’s a wardrobe in our guest bedroom, which is FULL of weird random paperwork and stuff, but I’m not going to dedicate time to creating an organization system that he won’t follow, and he seems to know where everything is.

          • givemyregards :

            Oops, sorry I meant to reply to someone else further up! But +1 to Jacque’s suggestion – plus, even though men’s clothing doesn’t go in and out of style as much, he’s still going to want new, updated, pieces if he goes back to being that size. (I say this as someone who had to convince her SO to get rid of 15+ brightly colored striped banana republic button downs that were in style during the early 2000s)

      • Fold it neatly and you won’t need to dry clean again. I’ve been slowly working on losing weight and am absolutely GLEEFUL to be wearing skirts from 2013 again.

      • blue stocking :

        If you have space, put it somewhere else. I’m fortunate to have a basement closet where I hang clothes that I don’t wear regularly but am not yet ready to part with. Before I had the basement closet, I put things in a box on a top shelf of a closet. When I lost weight, I was happy to have some of those items. The rest were easier to get rid of when I hadn’t even seen them in 2+ years.

  8. Quiet today, and I leave at 3:30 for the airport!

    • Our office is SO quiet today. Definitely hoping to shut things down early.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      SO quiet today. We close at 3 pm but I am not sure how I’ll fill the time between now and then. I would let myself go home early, but kiddo is at the on-site daycare and they’re having a big ol’ party so… i dunno. Drawing at my desk is it for me.

    • Linda from HR :

      I thought it would be quiet today, but it’s just as loud if not louder. The people who are here, including nearly everyone who sits near me, has decided today isn’t really a workday so they’re doing stuff but also chatting loudly, laughing all the way and having a grand ol’ time. I wanted be productive . . .

    • Clementine :

      Super jealous!

      I have a mountain of work to get done, but it seems like everyone at every office except for mine is out! It’s really really difficult when I need to hear from either Jane or Susan in office X but EVERYONE is out.

      …my office is unforgiving with regards to deadlines. Side note, how can convince my office that I literally can’t make (office we have no control over who doesn’t really care about our timelines) to give me things that they don’t have?

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      About half of our office will be in today. We are all trying to close cases before the end of the year and it is a very. Stressful. Time. Yesterday was quiet, even though a good number of people were there.

  9. Opportunity :

    I have an opportunity to take on a role at a start-up organization in my same field, basically running the department I’m currently in. So I would have the equivalent of my boss’s boss’s role but at a smaller company. I would be starting the team from scratch, with few resources or precedent. Pay would remain about the same but hours would increase greatly.

    It would be a huge step up in responsibility, which is exciting and terrifying. But it might be an unparalleled chance to jump some levels and take an influential position in a growing company. I’m flattered to be asked…but also worried I’m not ready. The consequences of failure in my industry are high.

    How do you determine if you’re ready for a (super) stretch role? What would you want to know to inform your decision?

    I’m talking to people at the company and trying to get my bearings, but I just don’t know how to approach this one. Guidance and positive vibes appreciated.

    • Startup opportunity :

      What is it that you want to know? When I’ve taken stretch roles in the past, I’ve usually known two things:

      1) the vague outlines of the shape of the thing I’d be running/doing, and
      2) whether I meshed with the people I would be working with the most.

      #2 is the most important. I would jump at just about any position if I knew I had the backing of my executive leadership.

      You’re going to feel unready. It’s OK. Let that feeling drive you to ask questions, do your homework, and decide whether this is a risk you’re willing to take. Let it inform your decisions as you build your team and contribute to the culture at your company. Dig into why it is you feel unready and use your assessment of your weaknesses to build strength.

      You can do it. Be scared, but do it anyway.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        I like this advice. In law school, a professor once pointed out how the students who thought the test was hard ended up being the ones who did better: they saw the issues, they could see *why* it was hard, and even if they couldn’t address the problems perfectly, they were ahead of the game by spotting them. In the same way, I think that going into a new thing with your eyes open will always be scary. Scary doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.

        Logistically, with a start up I would want to make sure of two things: (1) you think that this is going places (won’t fizzle out) and (2) that there is a good contingency plan for your career if things do fizzle. I gather that’s the nature of startups — they don’t always succeed — so make sure you have some kind of safety net in place.

    • Why would you take a job that’s harder with longer hours for the same pay?

      • Rainbow Hair :

        For career advancement? It sounds like she thinks this would be a good, exciting step. (TBH, I doubt I’d do it because I’m in more of a ‘strive to find balance’ phase than an ambitious phase, but to each her own!)

        • I feel like only women think of more work for no more pay as advancement.

          • Not true of my guy friends who went to startups! Good for them, not for me :)

          • Baconpancakes :

            Your guy friends who went to startups probably got equity. They definitely aren’t doing more work for no pay – it’s just a different kind of pay. It’s a risk, yes, but they’re not depending on someone else to see their worth and pay them more later (the traditional women doing more work for no more pay type of advancement). If the OP has the opportunity to get some kind of equity, it might be a good move, but startups are by their very nature risky, and not to jumped into lightly.

          • I disagree. I think there’s a lot more to “advancement” than more pay and I’m sure even the men have figured that out.

          • Oh my @ baconpancakes — I guess I was assuming equity was a part of the offer. If that’s not the case, then I absolutely agree with your analysis — that’s not the greatest deal. Most of my friends actually took pay cuts going to startups, but received equity that they expect to more than make up the difference.

            I don’t have the appetite for that risk this time of my life!

      • Working at an early-ish startup is a fantastic way to leap-frog several levels at once and also to get experience in areas you wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to. The uncertainty isn’t for everyone, but if it’s a thing that doesn’t stress you out too much, you are likely to get opportunities that will be really worthwhile.

      • Frequently if you’re going to a start-up you get equity. If the start-up’s plan is to sell in a few years, it can be an incredibly lucrative move even if your base salary doesn’t go up right away. Whether I’d do it would depend on how much I believed in the start-up.

        But if that’s not the case for the OP, I’d negotiate for a higher salary to go with the responsibility.

    • SF in House :

      I did this recently. I went from a stable, not challenging, but likable job at an established company to being the GC at a start up. Same pay. I got equity, but its value is uncertain, whereas the equity at my former employer was a known value. I now do everything, which is a stretch for me. I work more hours, but am learning every day and getting experience I never would have gotten at my old job. Why did I leap? Because I couldn’t come up with a reasonable downside. Even if this job/company doesn’t work out, I now have the title and experience to be a GC somewhere else. The reality is that most companies like to hire GCs that have done the job before.

      Good luck!

    • OP if you come back to read – I have done this except my path was opposite of yours. I was already in the job but was moving over to a completely new industry. I struggled significantly, and a year and a half later I’m doing better and making good money but it was very very hard. It honestly would not be worth it to me without the equity. There will be crazy long hours, times your paycheck gets delayed a few days because the money is coming in but not within the bank deadlines, and lots of growing pains to work around. You are building this company for the founders and that’s a huge risk – you deserve a piece of it if it’s successful.

  10. Does anyone have advice for surviving the first trimester of pregnancy after miscarriages? I’m so stressed and worried and just cannot relax – and I’m only 7 weeks. I have to have weekly ultrasounds (we did IVF), and each one sends me to the verge of a full-blown panic attack.

    To make everything worse, I made the mistake of googling our fetal heart rate and learned it’s in the “borderline” range after the doctors office told us everything looked great. I have no idea how I’m going to get through work today, much less acting happy and normal with family (who I’m definitely not ready to tell yet) over Christmas.

    • Therapy. My clinic has an amazing psychologist who specializes in counseling women through infertility. And I’m the meantime all the regular stuff people tell you for anxiety- positive mantras, deep breathing, meditation, gentle exercise. I’ll keep you in my thoughts too.

    • Hugs. Talk to your doctor about it, and ask for any suggestions. You are not the first person to feel this way.

      I actually sought out a therapist when pregnant because I was having so much anxiety I could barely cope. She helped me come up with strategies for minimizing the physical effects. It also helped me to know I had a place where I could go and just break down and cry regularly.

      And step away from the google! Your doctors will tell you if there’s cause for concern.

      Oh, and congratulations!

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Thirding therapy. Oh how I wish I had started therapy before the kid was born.

    • Stay away from Google! You can google literally anything about pregnancy and find someone who says “Me/my baby had XYZ and my baby didn’t survive” but that doesn’t mean that XYZ is related to the death in any way or that 99% of babies with XYZ aren’t perfectly healthy.

    • Hugs! I have no great advice, but I have been there. Right down to the ultrasound panic and the borderline heartrate at the 7 week ultrasound (and baby measuring a few days behind, when I was sure of my dates). All I can say is it gets easier, and I’m sorry you’re going through it (and my formerly borderline heartrate baby is doing great at 6+ months gestation, as a high, high percentage will end up doing).

      Obviously we know well things can go wrong and be devastating, but they can also go so smoothly – I hope before you know it you are feeling baby kicks and getting that daily comfort. At that point, hopefully for you, like for me, the daily extreme anxiety will be replaced by actually enjoying the miracle of pregnancy (most of the time – I think occasional panic is unavoidable for women who have had losses, but it’s very occasional for me at this point).

      Hugs again. This journey can be so tough.

      • I had a very worrying twin pregnancy after my miscarriage, and I hear you– I was constantly worried they would die, especially when something was quite wrong with one twin in utero (they are both fine now). There were constant problems locating the heartbeat of the problem twin and my stomach sank and I started shaking every time. I actually didn’t get therapy, though I know it has helped a lot of others. I just forced myself to accept that I essentially could not control the pregnancy at all. I could try to eat veggies and avoid lunchmeat or whatever, but as a practical matter none of that caused my miscarriage and nothing I did made the babies come out healthy and happy. I just had to leave it to God or fate and trust my doctors. That mindset actually helped a lot with the new babies, since there’s pretty much no controlling newborn sleeping/eating/crying schedules anyway. I am VERY Type-A and I like to be able to act on information, so I had a hard time with this. So I just kept telling myself “I’m doing what I can. I’m doing what I can.” over and over when we were in a rough spot, like a little mantra. I hope the tone of this doesn’t come off as “suck it up”– just know you’re doing what you can and controlling what you can, and try to limit pre-worrying, because it won’t reduce the amount of actual worrying or grieving you would do later if something was wrong.

        And I second trying to avoid Google… it did nothing for me but ply me with dead baby stories. Even my doctor was like, look, we’ll tell you what you need to know, do NOT go look this up online, it will make you cry. I did not listen… but I probably should have listened. I was looking up a lot of potential diagnoses and freaking myself out. The time for googling is AFTER a diagnosis, if any.

      • Thank you! This was very helpful.

    • My OB said that I’d be able to relax when I left the hospital with a healthy baby (post miscarriage), which was largely true.

      But the grip of fear loosened bit by bit every day, especially past the first trimester.

      Getting through the first trimester:
      animal memes on the interwebs
      oddly enough: The Wire (or: something totally removed from my actual life and drama)

      otherwise: no internet! it will not help!

    • hugs. this is hard. this was me 8 weeks ago. literally every morning when i woke up it is what i would think about. if i had a weird stomach pain, oh i must be miscarrying, etc. we didn’t do IVF, but IUI so i also had weekly ultrasounds, which made me panicky, but were also kind of reassuring since most people do not even get to see their baby so early. when i got pregnant and miscarried, i was SO anxious once the pregnancy test came back positive and could not believe that i still had to wait weeks to go to the doctor. while i know this is probably not true, i’m still somewhat convinced that is what made me miscarry to begin with. this time, i really was so paranoid the first trimester. i was pretty nauseous all the time, but one day i felt good and was ravenous and i ate a ton of food and then freaked out that something was wrong since i wasn’t puking, so i messaged the doctor, who reassured me that morning sickness can vary from day to day. realize that your feelings are normal and common for someone who has previously miscarried. talk about it with your partner, try to distract yourself and if you are becoming super panicky consider seeing a therapist. i went to talk to someone and it helped. hang in there!!!! and congrats on getting pregnant!

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I haven’t been in your situation but I do have a lot of experience navigating scary medical things and the internet. I’m not going to tell you to completely stay off the internet. There is a wealth of comfort and knowledge out there. What you have to avoid is using Dr. Google because almost anything you type in will result in some form of death for any type of ailment. Sore throat? Could be cancer. At the same time, there is lots of great info on how to treat a sore throat and you don’t want to miss out on that.

      My advice is to never google symptoms looking for an answer. Don’t ask questions on boards like that too. So, don’t say did anyone have symptom A and B and if so, what were your outcome? Instead, if you need it, you can post does anyone have any experience treating symptom A?

      Another option is to trust a third party to screen your searches for you. Do you have a BFF that knows what is going on? You can say I need internet info on X but I don’t want all the doom and gloom. Can you send me some positive links that will be helpful?

      Obviously you should be availing yourself to your medical professionals too but so much of what you may need goes beyond traditional medical advice. My doctor for my situation would essentially say take your meds and don’t eat foods that make you sick. He had no interest in answering how to get the weird stains from my medication out of my toilet. The internet did. What I didn’t want to read though was oh, if you are one of the 5% that get the staining side effect, you are more likely to have this super serious complication. While that’s good info to know, it might not be good info to know *right now*.

    • Anonymous :

      I was like that all the way through my pregnancy, after three miscarriages (and then I had threatened miscarriages at 12 and 19 weeks with my son and then had to deliver him at 36 weeks…major drama). I got a fetal doppler to check his heartbeat but I limited myself to checking once a week. That helped somewhat. I think talking to a therapist would have been helpful but I didn’t do that. What really helped was getting to 30 weeks and realizing – if the baby was born tomorrow, we would almost assuredly be fine. Until then, I basically just walked around expecting any minute to lose the baby. I probably should have asked about some kind of anti-anxiety medication, but I didn’t. I would encourage you to ask.

      Big hugs to you. It is really hard. People kept telling me “trust your body, your body will tell you if something is wrong” but after three losses and infertility, I didn’t just not trust my body, I actively DIStrusted my body. I felt like all my body had done was betray me. TBH, the ridiculous anxiety I felt during my pregnancy (and my son’s newborn period) was a factor in deciding not to have a second child. I didn’t feel like I could go through it again.

  11. My team chipped in to buy me a gift card for more than $100. I believe that gifts should flow downward, and I’ve communicated this in the past, but our new-ish admin was the one to coordinate/push team members to contribute.

    I’m really uncomfortable with accepting this gift, but don’t want to look rude or ungrateful. No one is in the office today, so I’d like to send out an email thanking them for the gift. Does anyone have a good script where I can say thank you but also let them know they shouldn’t spend their money on me?

    • Just say thank you.

    • “Thank you for your unexpected and generous gift. Warmest wishes for you and your families this holiday season. “

      • Flats Only :

        Say this, and talk privately to your admin so she does’t repeat this performance for your birthday, and then again next Christmas. To ease your discomfort you could use the gift for breakfast or lunch at a staff meeting, or something else that will be a treat for your team.

    • Is it a gift card that can be used in any way on the team? Like could you thank them and say you’re planning to use it to buy them a team lunch or something? I think a script could go something like, “I could not be more appreciative of the thought and consideration behind your gift to me. I am so grateful to each of you for your contributions to our team this year, and think it only appropriate that I use your generous gift to celebrate our collective success when everyone returns in the new year!”

      And then quietly talk to your admin at some point between now and next time there is a gift-giving opportunity.

      • yes I love this. take the gift graciously, but then gift it back on your team for a circle of graciousness

    • I would send a thank you email (I love the line: “Thank you for your unexpected gift!”) but follow up with the admin in a couple weeks. I’d causally say something like, “Hey, thank you for heading and collecting for a Christmas gift for me. I really appreciate it, but I don’t want the office to feel like they have to shell out their money for a bosses gift. No more gifts for me, okay? We don’t do that here. Thanks!”

      The problem is that gifts to you are going to become A THING. Precedence is set. Unless you pull that admin and explain that YOU DON’T WANT THIS, it’s going to continue next year.

  12. There’s no way in h3ll I’ll buy any “tissue” stuff from J. Crew. It’s soooo poorly made. It lasts, like, one wear! It’s no wonder they’re having financial difficulties — their clothes are cheap garbage.

    • I’m so frustrated with JCrew’s quality. I have a suit I got there in 2008 that is still one of the nicest-looking suits I own – I’m constantly getting compliments on it 9 years later. Meanwhile, their Super 120s suits are just ok but definitely not what I’d call good quality. Seems like the rest of their clothing is similar.

      • givemyregards :

        Someone pointed this out a while ago, but I think their super 120s suits are on their way out – it looks like they’re just clearing out old inventory on the site now. Which is a drag because they’re the suit that fits me best in that price range, even though I agree with you that they’re not the highest quality.

      • Anonymous :

        I have a super 120’s suit from 2014 that I pretty much wear just for photos or the one off interview where I feel a very traditional suit (as opposed to my Ann Taylor dress suit or an MM LaFleur outfit) would be appropriate. It’s so…uncomfortable, it’s got no give. I can’t possible sit there and work with it on. Anyone else?

  13. So, how would folks feel if they got feedback from a trusted colleague that their work is well-respected but that fellow colleagues think they are a bit flakey and excitable and it’s off-putting? I am far enough along career-wise that I am not terribly concerned, but trying to decide if it does merit some changes (without losing my authenticity).

    • Flakey how? Like you’re late to meetings? You don’t complete projects on time? You don’t follow through on commitments? That’s how I understand the word “flakey”, but I don’t get how your work would be well-respected if that’s how the colleague meant it, so I’m a bit confused by the comment honestly.

    • Hmm, “flakey and excitable” to me would imply somebody who shows enthusiasm for every little thing that comes along but then doesn’t follow up. Like, “I think that’s a great idea, we should totally do XYZ thing!” and then never any follow up. If that’s you, maybe you’re never intending to follow up, just trying to recognize good points, in which case I wouldn’t worry about it. But if you do intend to follow through on things that don’t happen, I think that merits a change.

    • Anonymous :

      Flaky isn’t good.

  14. Burberry cleanup :

    I spilled a bit of coffee (or chocolate?) on my burberry trench coat. I see a few drops of something brown and am wondering if there is a way to spot clean so I don’t have to take the coat to the dry cleaners and shell out money? Has anyone done this before? Do I have to suck it up and take it in and pay $$$ for a dime-sized spot?

    It’s the 100% cotton shell FWIW

    • Anonymous :

      Sure, you can spot clean it. Something like that should come out easily.

    • I just did this on my same trench on what I think was a chocolate stain from my kid’s grubby fingers. I used dish soap and water. It took a few tries, but it came out. Scrub the spot gently with soap (not too hard!) and let the soap soak in for a couple minutes, then rinse it out. I’d be afraid to use a Tide pen or anything like that. Good luck!

  15. Tree Drama :

    I am not Christian (Hindu) and don’t celebrate Christmas. I have never had or bought a Christmas tree and have two young kids. I will get them a present each and they have stockings that they colored themselves with fabric color. I didn’t grow up with a Christmas tree custom and I don’t like plastic plants and overall I’m just against getting a tree (plastic because it’s plastic, and real because you throw it away). Its just not a custom that has ever been important to me.

    This year my kid and I did a (I think artistic and a bit zany) decor of a zigzag green “tree” art on our wall with crepe paper. When I mentioned it to a (also South Asian but Christian) dear friend she scoffed at it and said that’s ridiculous and today she texted me asking if she can come over to drop off a couple of presents for the kids and a small plastic tree “for the kids”. Her kids are grown.

    I originally asked her to come a bit later (since I didnt read the text entirely and I wasn’t home). When I realized it was about the tree, I also replied giving my reasons to not have a tree and saying that if she insists she can bring me a potted plant from her garden (she is a great gardener and has offered me stems for replanting before) but not a plastic tree. She said its not for me but for my kids and is bringing it over anyway.

    I am super annoyed at being steamrolled. If she brings it over my kids will be excited and I cannot get rid of it. I think I am losing sight of my original arguments for not having a tree. (In our text exchange I said that I went to Catholic school and have even attended mass and that Christmas is not *really* about Santa or the tree! It’s about the birth of Christ.)
    Should I get over it in the spirit of Christmas? Am I right to be annoyed and if so, what can I do about it? I can’t uninvite her as we are close friends and she is otherwise a good and helpful/caring friend.

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