Coffee Break: Vixen Bootie

These booties from Sole Society are very highly rated, and they come in seven colors, including gray, burgundy, navy, and a dusky pink. The pictured black suede would be great if you’re looking for a very simple, low-heeled bootie to wear with black tights. The heel is 2.25″ and they have a side zip. The available sizes are 4–12, which is a wider than average range. They’re on sale for $60 (down from $99) at Nordstrom. Vixen Bootie

This post contains affiliate links and Corporette® may earn commissions for purchases made through links in this post. For more details see here. Thank you so much for your support!

Psst: I just noticed the Friends & Family sale at Talbots ends tonight — 30% off everything. Check out our recent post on the reader favorites to buy to build your work wardrobe at Talbots.


  1. Quebec trip advice? :

    Going to be in Quebec next week until the end of the month. What do I carry? Cold enough for big boots? Booties? Will be indoors 60% of time but will be out and about in the weekends. Any recommendations for things to do/ see/ experience in Quebec city, Ottawa or Toronto? Any chance of seeing any fall colors? TIA!

    • Anonymous :

      Quebec City, Ottawa, and Toronto are all quite far apart so plan your traveling carefully!

      Fall colours are out now, but will probably be over soon since it’s getting really cold and most leaves are falling. It’s not unusual to snow in November. Bring waterproof boots and layers.

      • Oh wow, didn’t expect snow in November! Thanks so much! Good excuse to shop for some mittens and woolen cap as well ;)

        Pleas let me know if there are any favorite affordable boutiques I should check out for woolen stuff while there.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      There were discussion on this last week about both QC and various short trips from Montreal and there were lots of great suggestions there.

      As for weather, it is pretty variable at this time of year but definitely waterproof boots and some layers.

  2. Weird problem- I’ve been getting nosebleeds at work, because the air is so dry. I think those air misters with essential oils look so hippy for at work, but i think I might need one? Am I reading that wrong? Any other solutions?

    • you might need a small humidifier or try a saline nasal spray as well. this happens to me in the winter.

    • Are you me? I just came here to ask this exact question! The dry air is killing me.

      • Follow-up Q as well
        What are your best tips for dealing with a nosebleed in an office?

        • I always have kleenex at my desk, so I grab one and rush to the bathroom until it stops. It’s a little embarrassing, I guess, but nosebleeds happen so I wouldn’t be too upset if somebody saw me.

          • In a pinch, you can put vaseline-based lip balms into your nostrils and they do stop the blood. I use Aquaphor lip balm anyway, so when I have nothing else I put a little bit on my finger and then into my nostril. It’s better than bleeding all over yourself!

    • Anon in NYC :

      Humidifier, saline nasal spray, and aquaphor inside your nose (assuming that your nasal passages are cracked / keep re-cracking).

      • +1 to all of this. My daughter used to get nosebleeds all the time and this is what the ENT recommended. It has stopped them.

    • Anonymous :

      I used to get nosebleeds all the time in winter. I found that using saline nasal spray every morning virtually eliminated them.

    • Anonymous :

      Two things save me in the winter:
      – A small humidifier, powered by USB so it can be plugged into the wall with an adapter or plugged into my computer.
      – Nasal saline spray. The kind intended for babies and small children is gentle and you can use it often.
      Sleeping with a humidifier will help a lot also.

  3. Rainbow Hair :

    Does anyone have a favorite professional-ish laptop backpack?

    (I’m not worried about the question of a backpack’s professionalism, generally, because both of the people I work/travel with carry their laptops in backpacks exclusively.)

    • Knomo, it is on the smaller side but perfect for a laptop, a few books and electronic charger related accessories. There are good deals on ebay to be had.

    • Miz Swizz :

      I have the Knomo Harpsden and I really like it. It’s sleek but still holds my old and bulky work laptop and I can also fit my lunch and any other things I need to bring to or from work.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Oh it’s pretty!

        • Miz Swizz :

          Thanks! I was starting to get some back aches from carrying a tote around and I wanted something that looked nice but could still hold a good amount of stuff. It’s categorized as a men’s bag, so it may be too big if you’re petite but I’m tall enough that it isn’t a problem.

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t have one, but love the Jetsetter from Henri Bendel.

    • I use a Thule backpack. It makes me look slightly like a bicycle messenger but it’s inconspicuous and super comfy.

    • Tumi. My husband has one that has been stuffed under airplane seats, on public transportation, been stuffed to the brim, been spilled on, been rained on, etc. and it still looks great after over two years of daily wear. It seriously looks brand new. He likes it because it is also relatively compact. It holds a ton but in a compact way and the straps are adequate support for the weight it can carry. I don’t need a backpack everyday but would buy one as a petite woman, too, because a lot of backpacks are too big for my size, if that is a concern for you, too. Seriously, though, we call it magic because of how good it looks and how much it holds.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I just bought the WalkingToSky Professional Laptop Backpack on Amazon and really like it. Lots of pockets, but looks relatively sleek outside.

    • I recently bought the Tumi Voyageur Calais. So far, I really like it. Has a functional and roomy laptop sleeve (my laptop is a bit of a behemoth and wouldn’t fit in my Dagne Dover tote); is good for travel as it will hang over your suitcase handle; and is relatively stylish (I think) for a backpack. Lots and lots of pockets and compartments for everything. My only (small) complaint is not every pocket has a two way zip (only the main compartment).

      It’s pricey but I recommend.

    • Chi Squared :

      I just bought a Tumi Alpha Bravo Knox backpack. Very happy with it. Compact (but expands) and fantastic organizational features. I picked the Knox over Tumi’s women’s options bc it’s actually sleeker-looking imo, and the straps are better.

  4. Anonymous :

    What is the typical raise for a lawyer at a firm after the 1st year? I’m up for my first raise at the end of the year and wondering what is a typical percentage? It’s not biglaw but a decent size firm in a large market. Any guidance would be appreciated!

    • Biglaw jumps around 15-20k per year for associates. So about a 10% raise going from year 1 to year 2.

    • Anonymous :

      Somewhere around 2-3% would be considered cost of living adjustment (“COLA”).

    • Third year :

      Mid-Law medium sized market, 3% per year so far

    • Anonymous :

      Non-Big Law is much smaller than Big Law IME. I was at a medium firm in a small city that gave associates 3% increases per year.

    • Anonattorney :

      My market (MCOL, regional firms) typically do around a 4-5% raise for the first few years. There may be a bigger jump at some point as you move up the chain.

      • Canadian lawyer :

        I’m midlaw in an MCOL city in Canada and we get a little about 7% + bonus based on billables.

  5. I am a third year associate in a mid-size firm. I have done around 50% employment work for the last three years, in a role typical of in-house counsel (advising on policy, drafting contracts, benefits, fmla, flsa, internal investigations, etc.). I am constantly stressed about billing, firm politics, and am not really interested in becoming partner. Based on my exposure, I really think I’d like to jump over to HR. Anyone here in HR that could advise me on what certifications I’d need to make this switch? There appear to be several out there. Anyone else who has gone this route have any practical advice? Thanks!

    • Keep in mind that employment law is an area where it can be (relatively) easy to go in-house and have a very, very different life without billing/making partner/etc. You may want to also think through whether it makes sense to try a different firm or go in-house early, and you could always transition to HR at that point (whereas I think it’d be very difficult to go firm -> HR -> back to practicing).
      I haven’t made the switch to HR but have practiced employment law for 10+ years and just recently made the in-house move. Good luck in whatever you choose!

      • Triangle Pose :

        +1. I’d consider in-house employment before a transition out of law to HR if you truly just hate the billing, firm politics, becoming partner parts of law firm practice. If you actually hate the law then it’s a different story and HR could be a great option for you.

    • I’m in HR. The main certification is the PHR/SPHR (senior professional in HR). I would not waste time on it if I were you – as a lawyer practicing in employment, you already know so much more than what the SPHR tests for. I wouldn’t think any employer would expect you to get that certification – seems like painting the lily.

      It seems like your big issues will be: pay, and employers’ concerns that they couldn’t meet your requirements; prestige and loss thereof; assumptions that you can’t/won’t want to do the grunt work of HR. Seriously – talking the CEO’s spouse down off a ledge because she’s at the pharmacy on Saturday night and can’t get a prescription filled. And can’t just pay out of pocket and wait until Monday because… CEO’s wife. Or being the dress code police. Or telling that weird guy in tech that he can’t keep his tarantulas at work. Or explaining to someone for the third time how the overtime calc works.

      Some of this depends, of course, on what industry you end up in, and the company culture, but most of my friends are engineers, and only come in contact with other engineer-types at work, and they’re astonished at the types of problems I have to deal with every day. You encounter a huge cross-section of people when you work in HR. Sometimes that’s good, but it can be a culture shock.

      I would be prepared to hit these issues head-on in an interview. You have to show that you’re not just about the theoretical application of laws and regs, but can also handle the very human side.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Echoing, I’m in-house in a tiny legal department, and I do a lot of employment work and work closely with HR. I imagine in a bigger department a lawyer could specialize — or at least largely focus — on employment questions. If you decide you really really don’t want to practice law, that could be a good intermediary step.

    • I did this! I went midlaw–>in-house counsel–>HR at same company–>HR director for a nonprofit and I could not be happier. I wish I’d figured out sooner how much HR suits me. I loved advising the HR team on employment issues when I was in-house, so when an HR position opened up at that company, I jumped on it. Several months later I left for my dream HR job.

      I would actually suggest going in-house first as well, given that the transition felt easy and logical when I did it. If you do want to make the leap straight to HR, I’d suggest developing relationships in HR by joining your local SHRM chapter and attending their events (if you don’t already do this as part of your practice), as well as doing some informational interviewing. HR has become quite the specialty in the last 20 years, so you’ll want to have a clear idea of what competencies you’ve developed (or need to work on) outside of the employment law piece.

      As for certifications, the trend is going toward SHRM-CP/SHRM-SCP, so I’d suggest that. Those certifications would certainly help if you’re looking to change careers without the in-house transitional step.

      I’m happy to email more about it if you’d like – caitlin at goaskhr dot c o m.

  6. Everything is blah :

    I seriously feel like crap… and I have no idea why. Like just super checked out and nothing is exciting or making me happy. Not depressed, just very disengaged. It happens from time to time and usually something kicks me back into gear but coming off dealing with some health issues and feeling very blah and low. Any recs on getting out of a rut or just feeling better in general? Shopping or eating doesn’t and hasn’t done the trick in years.

    • Do something drastically different and new, ideally out of the house and with other people. Think about a class in acting, art, or cooking that will make you a little uncomfortable but be fun.

      • Monday is right. I took up baking, and it has helped to fill the void of not having a steady boyfriend. The onley thing to be carful about is eateing to many of the pies I bake, b/c Myrna can run them off, but I can NOT. I have been VERY good about my 10,000 steps but the apple pies are great and dad is always counseling me about my tuchus. So to the rest of the hive, you can bake, but if you value your tuchus, give away the cake! YAY!!!

      • Everything is blah :

        I like this idea. Heading to Groupon to see what I can find.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      A hobby to light you up? When I’m doing my favorite things in the evening, everything else is a bit sunnier.
      And what about exercise? I hate exercising, but damned if I don’t feel better about life when I do it.
      And then what about sunshine? Seasons are changing and it’s harder for me to feel happy without sunlight. Can you take a walk at lunchtime?


      • Everything is blah :

        I try to get at least 2-3 workouts a week and a walk everyday, it definitely helps in the moment and for a few hours. Maybe new workout clothes may help too.

    • Exercise for sure, no matter what the cause. And a happy light and vitamin D if you live in the north.

      • Anon in NYC :

        Yes – and I’ll just add that when I’m feeling sort of down, the thought of exercise can be so exhausting. Getting dressed, going to some high-energy class where I have to be coordinated… ugh. In those situations, I turn to yoga. I can move at my own pace, there’s an emphasis on the mind/body connection (which I am only okay at), and at the end of it I feel like my muscles got a little looser.

      • Everything is blah :

        +1 very exhausted but maybe I should try to go in the morning before work tomorrow. Never tried it but it may help?

    • Anonymous :

      Drinks/appies with one of us?

      • Everything is blah :

        I find that makes it worse bc still trying to peel back layers of my “authentic self” I am almost there but not 100% at the place that real life convos dont feel like work or a performance.

    • Are you sure you’re not depressed? I feel this way quite often, and I assume some level of depression has something to do with it.

      • Everything is blah :

        Yes its not that, I’ve felt that as a very young woman so I can tell the difference with this one. I feel more uninspired than depressed. Like maybe need a trip, dramatic new hobby or who knows bleh.

  7. Last-Minute Halloween Conundrums :

    A division of my org always does a big halloween party during the work day that’s combined with their annual meeting (admin is fine with this arrangement). I found out today that I’m expected to be at the event to troubleshoot/consult on some issues that are in my area. Do I wear a costume? I have nothing planned. Do I wear a halloween-themed outfit? What would that entail? My office is loosely business casual.
    Or do I just look like a double wet blanket because in addition to being there to tell them what’s wrong with their work from my end, I’ll be the one not dressed for the occasion.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Wear something! I’ll respond with a link to a unicorn makeup tutorial (not that you need the tutorial, but eh) — something like that that’s easy and fun but you clearly made an effort. Target probably has funny little hats/eyeballs on headbands for sale in their jumbled Halloween section. Or can you go goth/witchy? With a hat it’s super simple, but even without, with lace and a choker and all the makeup…

    • Super easy :

      Wear orange and black (even just a colorful orange scarf with a black dress – nothing too out there needed). Shows that you’re on theme and not a wet blanket but no costume required.

      • I like this suggestion. Honestly, I think I’d have a hard time taking someone seriously at work if they were in costume. Or maybe all black with some fun Halloween earrings? You might be able to get some at Target or something.

    • How about a Harry Potter robe over top of your normal clothes? You could throw it on top and be in costume, but also pull it off and put it away if you need to ditch it. It’s not a 100% commitment, you know?

    • Anonymous :

      Something like a cowgirl can be easily done from your wardrobe – jeans/riding boots/white button up/kerchief/big belt&buckle; add cowboy hat?

    • Wear an accessory rather than a whole costume – witch hat, cat ears, vampire cape. Then you can take it off and go back to your regular work day.

    • Miz Swizz :

      Are you someone who usually dresses up for Halloween? If not, I think a black outfit with some Halloween-ish accessories is fine. There’s some weird history with Halloween in my office so my plan for tomorrow is to wear a black sweater with a black bat pin that I have and I think my coworkers will be doing something similar.

    • I’ve done the themed (removable) accessory route in other offices when Halloween aligned with meetings for which full costume would be inappropriate but my team was dressing up. bonus points: watching someone try to make eye contact and keep a straight face while you’re wearing deely-boppers is great fun!

    • K-beauty rabbit hole :

      Go as Rosie the Riveter! I did that one year and it was pretty awesome. I wore my navy hiking pants, brown boots, denim shirt, and khaki belt, and put my hair up in a red bandana with ’40s-style makeup, including a nice red lipstick. If you want to be business-y about it, go with navy suit pants/crops/pencil skirt and chambray or light blue shirt, brown shoes/tights/belt. If you want to be a bit more dressed up, add red headband and/or ’40s makeup/hair.

  8. Rainbow Hair :

    Wear something! I’ll respond with a link to a unicorn makeup tutorial (not that you need the tutorial, but eh) — something like that that’s easy and fun but you clearly made an effort. Target probably has funny little hats/eyeballs on headbands for sale in their jumbled Halloween section. Or can you go goth/witchy? With a hat it’s super simple, but even without, with lace and a choker and all the makeup…

  9. Usually I like my shoes to match my pants for a long, sleek look. When I don’t have shoes to match my pants, I tend to match my top. For instance, today I’m wearing a tan sweater with darker plaid pants and tan shoes. Is this a dated look? For some reason it has lately been feeling slightly off to me. Right now I have no brain power availabe to think about style, but I’d rather not wander around my office looking like I belong in another decade.

  10. Fun question…I watched some YouTube fashion history lectures and the presenter would name “Cultural Hot Spot of the Decade!!!” Some examples:

    – 1950’s – PARIS (poodles, ex-patriots living abroad, Dior, Channel)

    – 1960’s – LONDON (mod, Twiggy, the Beatles)

    – 1980’s – NYC (punk, Madonna)

    – 1990’s – SEATTLE (grunge, Nirvana)

    So…if you were to assign a cultural hotspot for 2010-present, what city/area is it???

    • Anonymous :


    • anon a mouse :

      Silicon Valley, jeans, t-shirt, hoodie.

      • I wondered if a more tec city would make sense, with Apple products everywhere. I also wondered if the cultural hotspot isn’t a *physical place* anymore, but rather something like “Social Media” or “Instagram”.

        It’s hard to step back and try to think of where our culture is coming from–or narrowing it all down!

    • Like it or not, I think it’s LA. Artistic renderings of the experience of living there (don’t know how realistic they are) really permeate music, movies, TV, and fashion. Reality stars almost all live there. Media figures who get famous almost all eventually move there. To follow social media or pop culture is to hear about LA all the time.

      I also agree with the point that physical locations are losing some of their heft, though.

      • To be more specific to fashion: think long, wavy blond hair, low armhole muscle tee with a fancy [email protected], the “festival look,” distressed jeans, and those pun t-shirts that always have palm trees and/or alcohol references on them. Also facial fillers and more extreme cosmetic surgery such as butt implants. All associated with LA! (I’m getting really into this question.)

    • Pretty Primadonna :

      Miami. Herve Leger dresses.

  11. Is there such a thing as a pair of tights that aren’t uncomfortably tight? I am petite (5’2″, around 115 lb) and I prefer to wear dresses to work, and in the winter I wear tights with the dresses. I can’t for the life of me find a pair of tights that don’t start hurting my stomach after a few hours. I walk to and from the bus stop so I do need something to cover my legs in the winter.

    • Anonymous :

      I size WAY up on tights compared to the sizing chart on the back. That’s the only way they’re comfortable for me.

    • Anonymous :

      Size up. I also find that control top/compression tights aren’t comfortable for all day wear (or maybe I am wearing the wrong size/brand).

    • Yep, size up and avoid control top like the plague. I discovered I liked tights so much more when I started buying sheer-to-waist.

    • Cheap tights. Frequently the $5-$10 tights (think Target) don’t have a control top or any “slimming” properties, and so aren’t nearly as tight in the stomach area.
      I buy 3 or 4 pairs each year and just plan on them all being worn out by March.

    • Laura Bowman :

      Get the high waist ones-the top goes all the way up to right under your bra so it won’t press onto your stomach. Another idea, wear a tight top underneath your dress and tuck it into your tights.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      If you just need them for commuting, what about leg warmers or leggings?

    • Anonymous :

      Commando tights. So comfy. Some have noted that they don’t stay up over time, but have not had that problem. Also they wear like iron–which they should given the price–but well worth it for the comfort factor .

    • Not OP, but similar problem. I’ve tried sizing up (most recently with a pair from Hue) and I end up with puddles of fabric around my ankles. What am I doing wrong?

      • Canuck anon :

        Hike them all the way up, then fold the waist over at your natural waistline.

        I’m a small according to the size charts.I buy the medium or large size (depends on brand) and do the above. No pinching at the waist and they stay up as well as if I’d bought my “real” size.

    • We are similar sizes – size up! I find my height and weight, it is usually in the “A” circle, then I buy “B”. It just gets uncomfortable wearing tights for 15 hours a day. I prefer control top, but I am smallest at my waist, so if your shape is different you may want to nix the control top. But the sizing up helps a lot.

    • I’ve given up. I’m a lot taller than you, and getting a pair that fits right is a money-losing battle. About four hours is my limit for tights; after that, I just want to rip them off and hurl them into a corner. My stomach doesn’t mind tights nearly as much as my thighs do.

    • Anonymous :

      I cut the waist band out of my tights. I’m thin, I size up to Q, and the waist is still tight. Just make sure to leave a thin strip of waistband so that the tights don’t unravel.

    • It may seem counter-intuitive, but I much prefer control top tights to sheer to waist for comfort reasons. Control top tights use the whole panty-to-upper-leg area to hold the tights up, while non-control top tights have only the waistband to fight gravity. For me, at least, it’s more comfortable to have some squeeze distributed over a larger area than lots of squeeze at my waist. (Or no squeeze, and having my tights fall down!)

      As far as sizing up, most tights have a lot of overlap in their size ranges. I make sure that my height and weight are in the low-to-mid portion of the range. So if I were at the top of one size, and the bottom of the next, I’d do the larger of the two.

  12. I made a long post that disappeared, but in summary, I’m a 3rd year employer side associate (not litigation – just general employment advice similar to in-house counsel). I don’t like law firm life and, based on my exposure, want to jump to HR. Any advice about certifications I’d need to make my resume more attractive. I’m totally comfortable with starting at a lower level, pay cut, etc.

  13. Anonymous :

    Biglaw attorneys or alums – how do I handle (as an associate entering my 3rd year) out of the blue, ASAP requests for work on the weekends? I made travel plans this weekend which included being without my laptop from about 2:30-9 on Saturday (driving to visit a friend). Around 3 I got an email from a senior associate basically telling me to do something right then (as in “Today, please do xyz”). It was not a small amount of work/quick task. I have no problem with weekend work/long hours but am I wrong to thing this deserved at least some kind of heads up? I debated turning back to get my laptop but instead decided to say I was out of pocket and would start that evening. I ended up working from 9-1:30am (which sucked). How would you have handled this? Pushed back more? Dropped everything?

    • Anonymous :

      This is what they pay you for.

      • Anonymous :


        Went about as well as can be expected. You still got to enjoy your Saturday and got the work done without having to stay up that late.

      • +++1 – I hate to break it to you, but what you get paid – you can’t think of it as a salary. It’s an option on your time.

        BUT, like others have said below, there may have been no heads up given to the senior associate either. I think you got the best end of the deal. I just always try to say something to the effect of, “I got your email, when do you need this by”

    • Anon Sr. Assoc :

      Why don’t you have a hotspot or a phone with a hotspot? Why weren’t you on a plane or train or in a car where someone else was driving you? Being in a care where you are driving for 7ish hours means you are still trying to live a cheap college student / law school student life. First of all, you need to change that and adjust to your current life. You would not have been up all night if you could have banged this out in the train/car/plane. In short, you weren’t prepared / aren’t prepared for the demands of your job if you can’t manage your weekend trips / job better. Many BigLaw firms will let you check out a hotspot – see if your firm has something like this.

      I think you are too junior to push back much. That said, one important detail is whether the Sr. Associate cc’d a partner and how much authority that Sr. Associate has. Also whether this Sr. Associate takes the time to train you and invest in you too. If they are dumping on you, that’s different than if the whole team is getting dumped on by a client and that means you too.

      • there are places in the US with no options for trains or planes, or at least none that save you time. I’m specifically thinking of the drives to our family ranch in Texas.

        • Yeah, the idea that a 7 hour drive must mean you’re “cheaping out” on a plane ticket is super strange. There are many, many places in the US only easily accessed by a 7 hour drive. Many of them are gorgeous places well worth going to, including a huge number of very famous national and state parks.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        “Why weren’t you on a plane or train or in a car where someone else was driving you? Being in a care where you are driving for 7ish hours means you are still trying to live a cheap college student / law school student life.”

        You have seriously got to be kidding with this. People take trips where they are disconnected. Even associates.

        • Anonymous :

          the whole post is out to lunch. being up to 1:30am is referred to as “all night”. Like 4am is ‘all night’ but 1:30am on a Satuday? NBD.

        • Triangle Pose :

          Nope, not everywhere. When I was a 2nd year in Big Law, not enough associates responded to a partner’s weekend emergency (no heads up) email and the week after, when everything was settled, the practice group head sent us all an email that said unless we are in rehab (and only then because it’s required by ABA rules), we are not allowed to take vacation or go ANYWHERE that was completely out of pocket – there is internet and wifi hotspots on every boat and resort, he did not care and we had to chose one that did.

          I’m so glad I left.

          • Yeesh. I would never expect my associates to tell me about their weekend unavailability unless we had reason to expect that something was going to come in over the weekend. And if my associate was unavailable, I’d do the work myself. I mean, ultimately, the buck stops with me…

      • This is probably the right answer, and also a reason I don’t want to make a career in Biglaw. :-/

      • Um, I am a partner in biglaw and I drive myself on trips fairly often. As do all of my colleagues, including those who make in the seven figures annually.

        If I thought someone who worked with me – say, a senior associate I supervised – was telling a junior that she hadn’t ‘adjusted to her current lifestyle” and “wasn’t prepared for the demands of her job” because said junior failed to fly on a weekend trip so as to be able to respond to unexpected same-day emergencies, someone would be getting a stern talking to. And it wouldn’t be the junior associate.

      • My read was that OP wasn’t in the car for 7-ish hours, but that the round-trip + visit to her friend was 6.5 hours. If it was 4.5 hours of work, her choices were to either cancel/delay the visit altogether or work when she got home and was reunited with her laptop. The problem wouldn’t have been solved with a mobile hotspot.

        But I agree, she’s too junior to push back. That’s especially true if Senior has a lot of authority, or if the whole team is getting dumped on because of factors outside their control. Sh*t happens, and this is what they pay you for.

        I also agree that a hot spot and keeping your laptop with you is a good idea. During my second year, I was at a friend’s house on a Friday night when I received an email from opposing counsel telling me that some documents I sent didn’t go through. (That firm had an unbelievably low limit on file sizes, as I learned.) I had left my laptop at home and had to drive through an ice storm to resend the documents. It wasn’t a disaster by any means, but it would have been a 5-minute fix if I’d had my laptop with me and could use my phone as a hot spot. I started keeping my laptop with me after that.

        • Anonymous :

          Is this seriously expected in Biglaw? Driving through an ice storm just to email a file? What if you had had an accident? What if you car broke down?

          • Not at my firm. At my firm you’d email the rest of the team and whomever was closest to a computer would log in and send the documents. You might hop on the phone with whomever was taking care of it to make sure they grabbed the right documents. But it wouldn’t be a “go home and resend these” situation…even if there wasn’t an ice storm.

          • I’m the [email protected]:47. I was the only associate on the file, so the “team” was me and an equity partner who had no tolerance for mistakes or perceived mistakes. (It wasn’t a big case, which meant it was actually good experience for me overall.) And the ice storm wasn’t a bad one, if you know how to drive in bad weather. It had shut down the airport, but DH and I were at a friend’s house with a plan to have a couple of drinks and drive home later.

          • Triangle Pose :

            cbackson – what if it’s signature pages or something like that? In that case only you as the junior have them, they are not saved to desksite or anything so you really have to go and re-send them from your computer.

          • I have a reply in moderation. In short, I was the only one on the team besides the senior partner (small case, good experience). If I recall correctly, the documents were discovery responses that were due that day or production that had been promised that day. I wasn’t told I had to resend, just made the judgment call that I’d rather get them to opposing counsel by midnight than explain to the judge why I hadn’t. The greater point was, having my laptop would’ve been nice, and it would have saved me an hour of driving round-trip.

            And regarding the ice storm, I drove back to our friends’ house after I spent 5 minutes emailing the documents, so clearly I didn’t think the conditions were that bad. (I believe we spent the night after that.) I don’t actually remember that well–it was 5 years ago.

          • @Triangle Pose: unless we’re talking physical paper, it should always be on desksite for exactly this reason. But I guess sometimes you learn that by having a situation like this one, you know? 10 years into practice, I don’t keep *anything* on my laptop – everything (including my own notes from conference calls and stuff like that) is on desksite.

            But I also don’t have a lot of tolerance for partners who are such d*cks that an associate can’t email them in a situation like the one above. If I’m hanging out at home watching TV or whatever, there is no reason to ruin an associate’s night when I can easily log in.

    • I probably would have done what you did–keep my plans, assuming they were important to me, and sacrifice sleep to get it done by the time the Senior or Partner actually needed it (i.e., when they arrived at the office Sunday morning). It’s nice to get a heads up and a polite request (even if it’s not really optional), but it doesn’t always happen. And, yeah, it’s unreasonable to expect someone to start something at 3 pm Saturday and finish it by Sunday morning, with no heads’ up at all, but unfortunately that’s frequently the expectation.

    • I think that you are wrong to expect more of a heads up, b/c it’s very possible that senior associate did not have a heads up, partner did not have a heads up etc. If you were going to be totally out of pocket for 7 hours, I also might have told someone in advance. For example if I have a wedding or I’m going to be traveling, I always let the partner know “Hey Jim, FYI I’ll be traveling this weekend but I’ll have my phone/laptop with me” that way they know that I may not be able to immediately respond. It does suck that you had to stay up late but that’s just what the job is sometimes.

      • Anonymous :

        If this is the first time in 3 years (!) this ever happened, it was reasonable to not tell anyone about your plans. Frankly, by 3rd year and depending on the power of the senior associate I would have told them straight up I’m driving X hours and can start on this Sunday and asked what the deadline was. Is it rare across the whole office to have weekend projects like that? Because if so, that really does change the expectations.

      • Triangle Pose :

        +1. BigLaw alum here and this is exactly right.

      • +1. But sometimes, you get an out-of-the-blue email from a senior associate or partner you rarely work for and didn’t think you needed to tell.

    • Anonymous :

      This stuff gets a bit easier as you get more senior – really. I think it depends on where the case is it. If it was a random — never work for these people but they got an emergency request and got an assigning partner to assign me this weekend — no problem saying ‘sorry in a car for 7 hrs and no laptop.’ Bc you truly could not have expected that. But if you’re in a case where dispositive briefing is due next week or you’re in between weeks of depos right now — then yeah you should ALWAYS expect that something could pop up and have a laptop ready and if you don’t, then you have to do what you did — work from 9 pm to 1 am after you arrive.

    • Anonymous :

      In this situation I would have asked if you could get it to them late that night and if they said yes, done what you did and worked until 1 am. If they said no I would have turned around and done it ASAP, especially if you hadn’t given prior notice of your unavailability. Yes, this what they pay you the big bucks for. At my firm you’re really not supposed to be unavailable for more than 2-3 hours at a time without letting people know in advance and it’s generally supposed to be a pretty rare thing (e.g., one weekend per month or less).

      • Anonymous :

        This is a serious, non judgmental question. I am genuinely curious. How do you travel or spend a day doing errands or have a social life?

        • Rainbow Hair :

          It’s very difficult to do those things. You’re supposed to pay someone to run your errands. You’re not really supposed to travel, or at least you’re supposed to gladly change your plans. I was instructed to chew out a para who was incommunicado because she was *in the hospital* with heat stroke on a Saturday. My now-husband bought me tickets to a great concert for my birthday, and until about an hour before, it looked like I was going to have to bail. Etc. etc. etc.

          • Canadian lawyer :

            I let my partners know if I have weekend plans that mean I will be gone all day or weekend, and always carry a laptop. I also don’t make big plans before a deadline (transactional practice, so closings usually are somewhat foreseeable). But it can happen that the partner has no advance warning either; we recently received a request on friday midday for Monday morning and I had to drop everything and spend the whole weekend on it. I guess it’s part of the life? In my firm, associates are pretty good at helping each other out in times of need, so there’s that.

        • “Unavailable” here means that you truly can’t drop what you’re doing to work if needed. This type of biglaw considers hanging out with your friends or family and running errands to be “available” because you are expected to be on alert for emails and willing to immediately stop what you’re doing to work if asked.

        • Errands – would have my laptop with me (locked in the car)
          Travel – would have my laptop with me (checking in morning/evening)
          Social life – suffered greatly during this period, because eventually I got tired of cancelling plans and stopped making them other than for Saturday nights

        • Anonymous :

          My errands were never far from home and usually didn’t take hours on end. If I got an urgent request I would just head home and do it. As far as a social life, like I said being offline for 2-3 hours was fine, so I had no problem meeting friends for dinner or a movie without worrying about work. When I went to a longer party at someone’s house I would check email and leave early if necessary (it happened a few times but not all the time). It honestly wasn’t that big a deal. The hardest thing for me was the stigma against taking vacations (officially I had 3 weeks vacation per year but if I used more than 1, I got criticized and called lazy) but that’s kind of a separate issue.

        • Anonymous :

          Never worked anywhere as extreme as 4:06’s firm — but generally it is fine to be unavailable as long as you will become available in the next 2-3 hrs. So how do you run errands or have a social life? You run errands and check your phone a few times — if it looks like something is brewing during errand #2, you check again during errand #3 — if it has died down, great; if not, you skip errands 4-5 and go home and say — yeah I’m here and logging in. Social life — same thing — you go, keep an eye on email and bail if something comes up so typically you at least get to hang out some before leaving. How often in your life on weekends are you TOTALLY unavailable for the whole day? I’d say a few times a yr for a vacation/wedding out of town etc. And even 4:06 says that it’s ok at her firm 1x/month — I’d venture to guess most people don’t even need it 1x/month — they need that unavailability a few times/yr.

        • Triangle Pose :

          Travel – you bring your laptop. If you are on a true vacation for a week, you check your email twice a day and should not need to respond because you handed most of it off to someone else on the team. If it’s a weekend, you need to be available if something comes up. Generally you let people know if you’re at a wedding or skiing weekend or something and don’t check your phone.

          Errands – you go knowing something may pop up. Errands also don’t take 3 hours of total unavailability.

          Yes it sucks, Yes it’s what they pay you 180k right out of school for, yes I am glad I left.

    • Anonymous :

      I would have reacted in the same way as you did, and as a mid/senior associate, I would expect juniors to react in the same way you did. However, if this is someone you are working with regularly, you probably should have let them know ahead of time, unless this was truly, truly out of the blue.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      Senior associate here. I don’t think there is anything wrong with the way you handled it, but I would have pushed back more unless in my judgment it was something that really needed done and there was no one else to do it.

      As a senior associate, I cannot fathom sending an email like that. I can’t think of a time I had to unexpectedly assign work to a junior associate on a weekend. But if I was trying to get help, I’d first ask if the junior associate was available to help, not just be like “do this now.” And I’d consider a pre-planned weekend trip to be a good excuse to say no in the vast majority of circumstances.

      On the vacation comment at the end-I do wonder if that is reflective of a systemic problem at your firm. You can only really take one week a year-really?? How can you work long hours and take such minimal vacation without burning out? It doesn’t make sense unless you are at a sweatshop firm.

      • Former biglaw kid and I will confirm the vacation issue. And at that, taking a full week (as in all 5 days) was also looked down upon until your 3rd or 4th year and had good work to prove yourself. Sure we got 15 days (wink wink), but every year I only took 5 or 6, usually around a weekend or holiday, and was checking in or just working remotely and billing ‘only’ 4 hours that day.

        The only time you could actually take real vacation was for honeymoons and it better not be more than two weeks. It was h3ll. These firms do exist and mine was a very, very, very well known one. I do sense it was an office/practice group issue, though. I cancelled many (extended weekend) vacations and just stopped planning them. I’ve written about this before, but after being in the emergency room for appendicitis and immediately notifying work to get someone else from the team to write a motion due in two days and then … no one did and I had to write it the next day, I started looking for a new job.

        OP- you handled it well. In the future, travel with your laptop and give your colleagues a heads’ up if you are going to be out of commission and you have something the next week. I also got into the habit of emailing myself documents that might come up or having them on a flash drive of them… also worked for situations like working from home because of extreme weather when the office is closed but the work doesn’t stop or being delayed at the airport, etc. :-/ Having a hotspot is great, but sometimes there are other issues logging in, so having it all offline in the form of a flash drive or printed cases was helpful too.

        This is why I left but it was constant for me. If this isn’t recurring for you, maybe it’s more manageable.

    • Yeah you shouldn’t be out of pocket for a 7-hour stretch on a regular weekend. If you want to be unavailable for that long, then take some actual vacation time for that trip. You might still have to work but people will be more understanding of long-ish periods of unavailability if you’re actually on vacation.

      • Anonymous :

        So you’re saying use vacation time on your weekend and you still might not be guaranteed a day without interruptions? What a ridiculous mindset to live in.

        • … not what I said at all? Take a vacation. Like a week. A four day weekend if you really don’t want to spend a whole week doing whatever you’re driving 7 hours to do. Set your out of office to say you’re on vacation from [date] to [date] and will return on [date].

  14. Anonymous :

    I’ve been miserable at my job and job hunting with no luck so far. Sigh. It’s really discouraging. I feel trapped at work because I don’t want to be here but I can’t afford to quit.

    • Anonymous :

      Been there, big hugs. In case it gives you hope, I LOVE my new job, even 2 years later – still waiting for the honeymoon to end. I have never been so happy at work since I was a summer camp counselor in college (I’m almost 41). There is hope!

  15. Anon for this :

    My adult (23yo) son suffers from depression. He’s struggled with depression and anxiety since he was a kid. We tried various treatment plans, medications, therapists, etc. in the past, but he does not want to use any of those. He doesn’t deny he has it, just doesn’t want to use any of those options. He just reached out that he’s been struggling the past few weeks, and I’m going to call him tonight. Any advice on what to say? I know I can’t fix things for him, and I don’t want to just hand out patronizing platitudes (you’ve got this honey!). In addition to listening to him, what can I do and say? (He lives about 2.5 hours away)

    • Anonymous :

      Well, it sounds like he needs a reality check. What exactly is he doing to feel better? If he won’t try any kind of treatment, he’s going to feel bad (and keep getting worse) indefinitely. He can’t do nothing and complain about being depressed.

    • Definitely be supportive and encouraging, but also accept that he has to do this for himself. He’s an adult and you can’t just take him to the doctor like you could when he was a kid. He does have to want to help himself.

    • Anonymous :

      Ask him what he needs from you.

    • I think you can also say the phrase that others use here–Depression Lies. You think you are OK but you are not. You have a medical condition. Respect it and treat it. You cannot “wish” depression away. So tell him that you are really proud he’s recognized that he’s not in a good place, but you want to help him _do_ something, emphasis on the _do_. Ask him what he needs you to do, and what he plans to do. And listen.

      Give him permission to do what he needs–move back home, change jobs, etc.

  16. Open Mosque Day :

    The wonderful Lana del Raygun suggested that I come back and report on this.

    One of the local mosques held an Open Mosque Day on Saturday. There were a lot of young ladies (HS or college) who greeted us and took us on a tour. We started with a table of literature and Qurans, which we took, and a young man who spoke about the contributions of Muslims to science. Then there were a few ladies who had their art on display – beautiful landscapes with subliminal or obvious Arabic verses which they shared with us. Then there was a tour of the facility.

    They also had people that would write your name in Arabic, as well as henna artists.

    Then there was a lovely lunch, where we sat at small tables, and a Muslim person tried to sit at each table and welcomed questions.

    After lunch we went to the worship room, and they had some college students recite verses, words from the Imam, and a speaker. This gentleman is a PhD and comparative religions expert and very funny as well, and he had slides and discussed how Christianity and Islam worship the same God, and the tenets of Islam faith. Then there was Q&A – one guy did ask about violence but I didn’t sense he was a Trumpite or anything.

    It was a wonderful day and I would highly recommend. I wish I could be BFFs with some of the women I met. Shout out to EPIC if you are reading!

    • Two Cents :

      This sounds amazing! I would love to attend a day like this.

    • BabyAssociate :

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience, this sounds like such a great event!

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      That sounds like a ton of fun, and very interesting. Thanks for the update! I’m going to see if the mosque or the Islamic Cultural Center near me does anything like this.

  17. Follow-up on the “Jew us down” incident:

    (Facts, for those who missed it: I was trying to negotiate down a subrogation claim from a client/family member’s auto insurance company against a personal injury settlement from the other driver’s insurer. The company through a supervisor in subrogation had pulled its offer to reduce the claim, modestly, after the passing of an arbitrary deadline that we didn’t know about. I contacted the employee I had been dealing with to ask her help in going to bat for us with her supervisor and get the offered reduction back on the table; she said she would try but that the company keeps its premiums low by not reducing such claims and they get tired of plaintiffs “trying to Jew us down.” I was so startled at the time that I didn’t say anything in response to this comment, which was in the last seconds of a call in which I was seeking her help, in a situation where I had little leverage to begin with.)

    My client and I discussed it and agreed he would make the complaint, which he did in an e-mail to the company’s CEO. Two days later, without comment, the employee I’d been dealing with sent a to-whom-it-may concern letter that the insurer would reinstate the offer it had made to accept the modest reduction of its claim. Then, the client received a letter from a regional vice president apologizing for the incident, stating that “our associate indicates she was not aware of the connotation of the term she used,” that she had been “counseled” and that she “regrets the offense her choice of words created.” That letter also noted the reduction in the subrogation claim. I got a call today from someone else in the company to follow up to me directly, also apologizing and saying that the “appropriate conversation has been held.”

    So, a minor victory. It’s not clear whether the reduction in the claim would have come about without the complaint, but probably not.

    • Senior Attorney :

      That’s great! Thanks for the update!

    • Triangle Pose :

      Thanks for the update, I am glad it sounds like they took it seriously.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Thanks for the update. I am so glad that you and your client did something about the situation.

    • Anonymous :

      yay! and good for you for following up on it so that it was address. Great to hear when companies deal with things well.

    • Anonymous :

      This seems like the appropriate approach and the appropriate result.

    • Good for you on this response, and I’m pleased the company took it seriously.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      Good for you, and for the company! (I recently discovered that a surprising number of people don’t realize this expression is offensive … because they’ve never seen it written and they think it’s “chew us down.” Imagine how horrified you’d be when someone explained it!)

  18. What are your favorite cookie recipes? I’m procrastinating at work by daydreaming about my annual Christmas Cookies & Cocoa party. I have a spice cookie (the Krusteaz mix, yall, for real – people went nuts over them last year) and a chocolate-toffee cookie I love, but I’m looking for new players this year.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Honestly, I really love those simple butter cookies in various shapes from that Cuisinart cookie gun, dotted with sprinkles and sometimes chopped maraschino cherries as the star on the top of the tree shaped ones. I used to make those with my mom around the holidays. Maybe not the most exciting cookie, but definitely nostalgic!

      • Spritz cookies? I love making those!

        • I love eating spritz cookies, hate making them. I have bought about a half dozen cookie presses over the years and they’re all various kinds of garbage. /rant

    • Google Sunset Donna’s Molasses Cookies. They are outstanding and holiday-ish. They were originally published in Sunset Magazine but have proliferated all over the interwebs.

    • Anonymous :

      Given your spice cookie recipe, it sounds like you’re open to “cheat” cookie recipes. I have an unbelievably easy recipe that without fail every single time I make it I get asked for the recipe. Get a box of any cake mix (I particularly like doing with this lemon), add one stick of butter, one package of cream cheese, 1 egg, and some vanilla. Mix. Bake on 375 for about 7-9 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Easy, delicious.

    • Anonymous :

      The Neiman Marcus cookie recipe is my holiday favorite– makes a massive batch and is a real crowd pleaser.

    • I love Ina Garten’s Ultimate Ginger Cookie and Serious Eats’ “Best Chocolate Chip Cookies” recipe. For the Serious Eats one, I found the long description of his various experiements intimidating, but the recipe itself is not that hard. It does call for you to make the dough in advance, but that’s not hard if you’re planning to make them for a party or other special occasion.

    • Anonymous :

      German Vanillekipferl are the taste of Christmas to me.

    • I make almond macaroons that are a big hit every year. They’re basically just blanched almonds or almond paste, sugar, and egg whites with a splash of amaretto, but they taste so good! You can also dip them in chocolate if you’re feeling very fancy.

    • Excel Geek :

      These are easy and a huge hit. Cut in half when you serve them, after completely cooled

    • Aunt Jamesina :

      My absolute favorite is the Triple Ginger Cookie recipe from Epicurious. So, so good.

    • Horse Girl :

      Classic sugar cookies (NY Times Cooking has a good one), and Joy of Baking’s Chocolate Crinkle Cookies!

  19. Thisperson1 :

    My kids always loved Minty-Melt-Aways. Crush peppermints, stir into white chocolate, drop onto cookie sheets and then chill in fridge. Then half dip them in milk chocolate or colored white chocolate. …of course, they probably liked them because they got to beat on a bag of peppermints with a rolling pin…

  20. cactus killer :

    A friend of a friend emailed me today to share a job posting at her company that she thought I might be interested in. I’m grateful that she thought of me, since I’m looking for a change, but this particular job is too junior. She doesn’t know me well, so I’m sure she doesn’t realize that.

    What’s the right response if I’d like her to think of me again in the future, but for more senior jobs? (This is a large company like Facebook / Google / Amazon, so it’s likely there will be other jobs.) I don’t want to sound like I don’t appreciate her help in the first place. Should I just say thanks for passing this along?

    • I think you can definitely be both gracious and let her know what you might be looking for. You don’t need to say what she sent is too junior; you can say you are looking for something more senior (or better yet, use the title instead of what you’d be looking for.

      “Dear Ms. X, Thank you so much for thinking of me! I am really interested in working at Y Company, but I ‘m ideally targeting Z-level positions in ABC department. if anything like that comes up, I would love it if you could let me know. “

    • You’re waaay overthinking. Just say, “Thanks for passing along!”

    • I think you can say something along the lines of, “Thanks for thinking of me! I wish that job had been open a couple years ago – would have fit me perfectly. Currently, I’m looking for [xyz]; I really appreciate you keeping me in mind. Thanks again!”

    • Are you sure it’s too junior? Sometimes you have to take a step back title wise at a larger organization, and they get a lot of applicants so having more experience than the role advertises for may mean you have a shot. If it’s a company you’re interested in, you have a connection there now, I’d apply and ask your friend the best way to get your resume in.

  21. Anonymous :

    Dear friend of a friend,

    Thanks so much for thinking of me and for passing this posting along. While I’m not interested in the [Position] at this time, I’d certainly be interested if you learn of opportunities to apply for [Senior Position] in the future. Thanks again for thinking of me.

    All the best,
    cactus killer

    • Anonymous :

      obviously meant to be a reply to the post above!

    • Anonymous :

      I wouldn’t say “not interested.” I’d go with the response above saying you’re looking for X seniority/level position. Not interested is fine — but it is a turn off to people who think they’re being helpful — and next time they may not even bother bc you weren’t interested last time; better to say — yes, I am interested, but this isn’t the right seniority; people tend to understand that more.

  22. Baconpancakes :

    If you were putting together a modern witchy-mood soundtrack what would you put on it? I’m feeling a little spooky, a little attitude, a little girl power.

    My seed song is Halsey’s Control.

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