Wednesday’s TPS Report: Big Boss Polka Dot Blouse

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.  Today’s guest post is from Capitol Hill Style.

Nanette Lepore Big Boss Polka Dot BlouseI love end-of-season sales, so I was thrilled to find this delicate, Swiss-dot blouse from Nanette Lepore ($149, Nanette Lepore Big Boss Polka Dot Blouse) on the Bergdorf’s sale site.

For the remainder of August, I’ll wear it with a navy pencil skirt, a coral necklace and flesh-toned pumps. And when the weather turns chilly, I’ll wear it under v-neck cardigans to add a bit of texture at the neckline.

Be advised, Nanette does run a bit small. I typically wear a size 4, but I bought the six and splurged on $25 in tailoring to make sure the fit was just right.

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected] with “TPS” in the subject line.


  1. Hmm, I like the fabric/print a lot. I’m sort of on the fence about the sleeves- love them in the picture but not sure if they would be weird in real life. I dislike the bow (and hope that trend ends Soon).

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Agreed. Love the swiss dot, love the neckline, but the sleeves could be a little weird in real life. Or… maybe I should ignore my inner urge towards boring clothing and embrace some flair :).

      • Also re the sleeves, I don’t see how you could layer this under a cardigan as suggested. All that fabric looks like it would bunch prohibitively. To me, this looks like a summer-only shirt, and so at that price I’d need to be VERY sure about it.

        • I didn’t like this blouse initially but looking at it more and more as everyone refers to the sleeves, I think this would look superb underneath a vest made of suiting material, leather/suede or pretty much any other fabric. A nice, structured vest with a low-cut neckline with some awesome-for-your-body-type dark wash jeans and high heels? Awesome.

        • I think you might be able to if you’re careful (maybe kind of fold them over and hold them in place while you put the cardi on?), but it would be a pain. However, if you couldn’t put any extra layer over it, it would rule it out completely for me for professional wear. Even in the summer I’m just too likely to find myself in an overly cold office.

        • That was my question as well. How could this be worn under a cardigan?

  2. I really like this and your styling suggestions. Great pick! This is the type of thing that you don’t normally come across.

    • I agree. I like the sleeves as well — very bold.

      • I agree but I do think very bold is not for work. I would wear this blouse with a velvet mini to go to dinner in a sort of romantic restaurant.

        • Anonymous :

          Rock it! Swiss dot is traditionally a casual daytime sumemertime country fabric, with point d’esprit being the racy nighttime lace version, but I love that we can mix and match and be inspired and go in our own directions now. Winter velvet with summer dot lace in the evening? Why not?

          We are lucky that way now. Likewise with hemlines, jeans styles, etc… we are liberated from having to wear what someone tells us just because…

  3. MaggieLizer :

    I’m considering the Kenneth Jay Lane red necklace that’s shown below the blouse picture on the BG website. I really like black, white, and red (I’m in love with red shoes) and I’ve been keeping an eye out for quality red jewelry. What do you ladies think? Could I still wear it through winter (it’s coral)?

    • MaggieLizer :

      I didn’t want to get stuck in moderation, but here’s the link:

      • SO pretty. I’ve been looking for a good red necklace, too. About to doubly break my shopping ban.

    • Love it! And I think you could definitely wear it through winter — looks like it would combine nicely with grays/blacks and with browns. Not sure what your budget is, but you might be able to find something comparable for less on Etsy.

      • SAlit-a-gator :

        Very pretty necklace. I think you can definitely wear it year round. I second Etsy. You may be able to find something similar for less.

    • I have a red coral necklace I wear all the time in the winter with a black turtleneck and black/cream houndstooth blazer.

  4. Anonymous :

    I love this blouse! For me this is one of the bow neck ones that doesn’t say “hey, come look at my boobs”

  5. Sorry for the early threadjack. I am in the process of going through my whole wardrobe and have realized how many Banana cardigans I have purchased that all very quickly looked worn out. I am willing to spend more $ on knits that will actually last. Canada finally has their first Jcrew and so I am going to check it out- what are your experiences with Jcrew cardigans? Any other suggestions as to where to shop? (Preferably brick-and-mortar stores available in Canada). TIA!

    • DC Kolchitongi :

      Oh, I have unfortunately had the same experience with JCrew cardigans — they wear out much too fast for the amount you pay for them (in my opinion). You really can’t count on them lasting more than a single season. The ones that I bought last summer have now deteriorated to the point where I pretty much can’t wear them to work. So I too would love to hear where else you can get sturdy knits!

      Also, I’ve had terrible experiences with JCrew’s button-down shirts — they shrink right up at the dry cleaners (and I trust my dry cleaner, it’s not him). Which is so sad, because I LOVE the cut/fit/patterns! Anyone know where else I can get similar shirts that will actually last?

      • Canadian: I have the same cautionary note on J. Crew sweaters. I’ve been very disappointed in recent years, not only by pilling but also with holes! I love their styles but have sworn off, especially since they’re expensive.

        DC: I’m actually very happy with my J. Crew button-up shirts, and I own basically every color they’ve made! And a few striped ones! I have never dry-cleaned mine, so perhaps that’s your issue. I machine wash them on cold and then hang dry them and iron before wearing. I’ve had to re-sew the buttons on one or two of them, but otherwise no quality issues.

        • I find the JCrew cardigans wear out even faster than Banana’s. JCrew’s last 1 year while Banana’s might last 3. I like the wool blend Halogen cardigans from Nordstrom, they really last

      • This is so fascinating to me! I have multiple J. Crew sweaters and cardigans that I’ve been wearing for years without problems. I wonder what the difference is?

    • I’ve had bad luck with Banana and JCrew, but slightly better with random brands I’ve found at TJ Maxx. They look just as good, and I don’t get “quite” so irritated when they only last a season or two.

    • Same thing happens with JCrew cardigans including the expensive cashmere ones. I have bought better cashmere at Kohl’s to be honest. It’s cheetah…but it is better quality.

    • I’ve stopped buying expensive cardigans for this reason. At this point, I just buy cheap ones from Old Navy and assume they’re not going to last more than a season, or wait until Talbots or Banana Republic put their’s on sale. None of them seem to last any more.

      • Makeup Junkie :

        Me too. I have a stash of cardigans from Old Navy and Target, all bought on sale for less than $15 each, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised how long the Merona cardigans have lasted (I’m on Year Three for a couple of them).

        • Same here. Then again, I’m always shocked to hear people talk about clothes “wearing out.” I’m not sure I could point to anything I own that I’ve worn out.

    • I have been washing all of my wool/cashmere sweaters and cardigans (after putting it off all summer) and have found that the cashmere ones I had from Lands End/LE Canvas had hardly any pilling, vs. the the BR ones that had gotten a comprable amount of wear during the winter. So, that might be another option to consider.

      • Seconded. I have Lands End cardigans from when I was in college (approx. 5 years ago) that still look new. I’ve also had luck with the Merona cardigans at Target.

    • I’ve actually had good luck with H and M cardigans, you have to be picky about which ones you buys b/c they vary greatly in quality, but I’ve bought a few that lasted for years. I’ve also done well with Ann Taylor Loft cardigans

    • I actually think my J.Crew Jackies are holding up fairly well, but I wash them with plenty of TLC (buttoned and turned inside out on cold, air dry). I’m still wearing several of them that I bought when they were first introduced in 2004 – no fading or pilling – but of course their quality hasn’t been as great in recent years.

    • I’ve completely stopped buying BR and J Crew cashmere (except for a frilly yellow one last winter/spring that was too cheerful to pass up – and immediately started pilling). I’ve had good luck with Autumn Cashmere and Hayden (usually find these at a discount through – they’ve lasted me years already, no signs of wear.

    • You may want to check out Boden, even though they’re not brick-and-mortar. I have a couple of their cardigans and have been very pleased with the quality. I’ve also had good luck with Garnet Hill knits but their sizing can be kind of crazy and, again, not brick-and-mortar.

      • Corporate Tool :

        As a side plug for Boden, they are also running free shipping/free returns right now.

      • How crazy is the Garnet Hill sizing? I’ve been considering their printed merino cardigans and also the cashmere v-neck with the small ruffle down the placket.

        • boden-ite :

          Boden is also running a buy 3 at full price, get one for $1. Have gotten two of their new dotty cardis…combined with the spring’s brushstroke that look like houndstooth, can’t wait for autumn.

          Has anyone had any luck asking a tailor to shorten a “boyfriend” cardi into a standard length? I wonder if the ribbing could be cut and moved higher. Last year i needed cardis and gave in to the longer length and they don’t work on my hourglass … finally am admitting this to myself. Thoughts?

        • Anonymous :

          I find they generally–but not always–run really large. I’m a size large in most tops and find that I’m a medium or even a small there. Definitely read through the comments on individual items and see what people say about fit before you buy.

    • For nice cardigans, you really can’t beat Brora. Not brick-and-mortar in Canada, and you have to order online from the UK. But I adore them with a fiery passion and don’t even bother buying anything else anymore. I like their Classic Cardigan, but my favourite is really the Classic Cropped Cardigan, which I find sits nicely on my waist and looks great with pencil skirts and work trousers (though the Cropped has 3/4 sleeves, which I know some people don’t like). I highly recommend checking them out. Just remember that UK sizing is different – I am a Canadian size 4/6 and buy my Brora cardigans in UK size 10.

      FWIW, I’m in BC and wear these year-round except on the hottest days of summer.

      • I’d never heard of Brora until your post, but I’m investigating now and I love what I’m seeing except the prices! Do you know if they ever have online sales?

      • Equity's Darling :

        Are they warm enough for Calgary winters + office air conditioning?

      • They do have sales at the end of every season – if you sign up for their e-mail list, you’ll get notice of the sales. The cardigans are part of their standard line so are always there – they just change the colours on offer every season. Honestly, the quality is amazing, and I wear mine all.the.time. I only wash them once in a while since I don’t normally wear them right next to the skin – just hand wash with Woolite and dry flat, and they will last forever. Once you get one, you will never look back. I agree that the prices are high, especially when you factor in the exchange rate, but I try to budget for one new one (at least) per year.

        ED – I try to avoid Calgary winters (there’s a good reason I live in BC) but I would imagine they would be fine – they are cashmere and quite warm. I also bought a chunky Shetland cardigan from Brora last winter (not for work wear) and it was so warm that I wore it outside most of the winter with no coat.

    • another anon :

      I find Brooks Bros. ones tend to hold up very well. I have a navy one that I have worn the heck out of over the past 4-5 years and it still looks great. They do tend to be more conservative than BR or J. Crew though.

      And my boden ones have held up well too–haven’t had most of them for more than 2-3 years ago, since that’s when I discovered Boden.

      The Lands End ones do hold up well also, but I find them to be pretty boxy and unflattering.

      • Second for Brooks Brothers. They have some nice cashmere cardigans in the sale section now.

    • I have been very happy over the last three years or so with Bloomingdale’s own brand of cashmere cardigans. They are far more substantial cashmere than BR or JC, and have not pilled significantly (even the ones I’ve had the longest). They’re not as fitted as JC, but not nearly as boxy as Lands End.

      I’m also of the opinion that L.L. Bean has excellent quality — I just can’t buy anything long-sleeve from them (sweaters or shirts) because the sleeves are always too short! Love their button-front 3/4-sleeve shirts, though. I have them in every color and wish they would introduce a few more colors.

    • Valleygirl :

      Best luck for me has been Target, which ships to Canada I think.

      Also, Old Navy.

    • Sorry, I know I already posted, but just had another thought – have you looked into Holts’ house brand? They have lovely cashmere which I think includes cardigans. It might be worth checking out.

      • Agree — Holts has nice cashmere this year (finally!).
        Just bought a J.Crew cashmere at the new store but I may return it.
        Lands End is still my go-to.

  6. anon for this :

    I love the blouse. but not the reason for my post.

    I wouldnt normally post somehting like this, but i just need to get it out. My mom is dying, slowly and painfully, and unfortunatly, halfway across the country from me. she was recently hospitalized again and its not clear for how long. i have two small children, a loving husband, and work in big law. im crazy busy at work, and i cant figure out how to hold it all together. all i want to do is cry all day. a couple of people at work know my mom is sick, but not the people im working with right now. how do other people deal in times like this?

    • I’m so sorry to hear that it’s so difficult for your mom. I have no advice but please take it easy on yourself. Maybe you could try to shift some of the work to your colleagues or even telecommute? If you could work remotely, go spend the time with your mom. ::hugs::

    • DC Kolchitongi :

      No advice but I am so sorry to hear that :( sending hugs to you and your mom….

    • There is no easy answer, but know that you are not alone and it’s really hard to take care of aging parents at the same time as young children at the same time as having a crazy busy job. You have to decide if it’s possible or not with your job, but you will not regret taking a couple of days to go see her in person. It will make your life even crazier, but it may really help your mental state. There’s just something about being there physically. And if there is anything in your household you can outsource now, do it.

      • Agreed. Just take time and go home for a few days or a week. People at work will understand.

    • Hugs! I’m sorry I don’t have any advice–I was still in high school when my dad passed away so I didn’t have to juggle my own kids and job–but losing a parent is not easy. Just as hard is watching the parent suffer from a long illness. I’m so sorry you are going through this and hopefully others will have advice on how to juggle work, but I just wanted to send positive thoughts your way. Can you at least take breaks to go outside and get some fresh air during the day? Bonus if you can make it to a park to be around nature. It is a little thing but I find that nature generally helps calm me, even if it is temporary.

      Ru already said it, but be kind to yourself. This is hard stuff.

    • I think people don’t deal well for the most part — accept that you are not going to do this perfectly, that it is going to be ugly and messy and painful.

      I would strongly suggest you take a minute to yourself (however you can) and figure out what are your priorities until your mother dies. Is it spending more time with her? Dealing with the ridiculous logistics of her interface with health care? Finishing a big deal at work? Maintaining a semblance of normalcy for your children? You are not going to be able to do it all. You should pick a couple and figure out how to minimize the damage to the rest.

      I don’t know your office culture, but I think it may be time to bring your staff or superiors into your situation. Things are not going to get better, and you may be surprised by the compassion that is offered to you. I would also explicitly tell your spouse you need extra support. My husband is wonderful but sometimes I feel as though I need to knock him upside the head to help out when I’m overwhelmed.

      Finally, let everything else go. Buy takeout. Get a housecleaner. Call your friends. You are struggling, and you deserve support. Don’t be a superwoman, ask for it. Most people rise to the occasion, in ways we are often unprepared for.

      My thoughts are with you and your family.

      • This is good advice. OP, I’m so sorry that you’re going through this. I’ve never been in your shoes, but I do think that you should tell the people that you’re working with. Like EC MD said, you might be surprised by how compassionate and accommodating people are.

        Plus, let your friends help you. If one of my friends were going through something like this, I would want to help her in any way possible – whether it’s being on the phone, bringing her dinner or babysitting her kids when she needs a break.

    • Runnin' for it :

      Go to your Mom. You don’t get a second chance to be with someone at the end. Life and death are more important than the work you are doing at your biglaw job. Let your husband step in and take care of your kids.

      I say this as someone who made the mistake of not dropping what I was doing and going to my father’s bedside when he was dying. I wanted to finish my college finals and he died before I left to come home. He was in a coma, so he wouldn’t have known I was even there, but I still regret it now over ten years later. Don’t make this mistake.

    • I am so sorry to hear this. I second EC MD’s suggestion that it may be time to let your superior’s know your situation. Big Law can be a tough environment, but most people would sympathize with your situation. Maybe it would be possible for you to take some time off to be with her. Best wishes.

    • I am so sorry for your sad news. I agree with others that if you can be there physically with your mom, even just for a few short days, you should do it … and rely on the support of others to make everything else click along as best as possible in your brief absence. Tell your superiors and colleagues so they may be able to cover for you or at least help you arrange a remote working schedule. Call friends and neighbors for help with the kids and home duties. Ask your husband to step up. And be prepared to let things slide, too; there is simply no way to hold it together perfectly during times like this.

      When this is over, you will not regret having called in the favors and having made the effort to be with your mother.

      PS, something like MealtrainDOTcom may be useful … my neighborhood used it recently and found it very effective.

    • My heart goes out to you.

      My father died across the country while I was working, but I did not have a husband or children at the time and the death was sudden. I could never decide whether it was better or worse that it was so sudden.

      At any rate, I fully agree with EC MD that you should not try to be superwoman right now and should ask for whatever help you can get. Just telling someone this is really hard on you will probably make you feel a little better, and people really do want to help.

      I also know of a handful of people who have taken leaves of absence (for 1-3 months, I believe) from work to go be with and take care of a dying parent, is that possible? I know it could be difficult when you also have to take care of your children, those I know who have done that were childless.

      Lastly, I have just started to read a book called A Bittersweet Season by Jane Gross, which is about a woman’s experience taking care of her elderly mother. I am not that far into the book, but as the only child of a single 70-year old mother who is currently in relatively good health but will likely deteriorate at some point, I have found the beginning very therapeutic to read, just to know that other people go through this and everyone struggles with it and it’s hard and ugly but in the end we’ll be okay.

      I’m sorry you have to go through all of this, it sounds like you are doing an admirable job of holding it together far better than many would.

    • My deepest sympathy goes out to you. I lost both my parents a few years ago after long illnesses and I know the particular kind of pain this brings. As for dealing with it, I would say, as long as you are still breathing, you are “dealing” the best you can.

      I agree with all the other posters who tell you to make things as easy as possible for yourself by ordering takeout, hiring cleaners, whatever. Also, do try to make time to go see your mom. People you work with have been through this and they should understand.

      My thoughts are with you.

    • So sorry about what you’re facing. I lost a parent when I was young. You should figure out your firm’s policies w/r family leave and feel no shame in taking advantage of it. It is not a sign of weakness to not work when going through what you are going through.

    • If you decide that you want to spend some time with your mom, you might be entitled to FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) leave. I don’t know the specifics, but if you are in the US and your firm is big enough (which it should be if you’re BigLaw), then you are entitled to a certain amount of paid time off to care for family members.

      This doesn’t solve the professional development issues of “if I don’t do this brief or take that deposition, will the partner on the case torpedo my partnership advancement” and the like. But if you get past those issues and into the nuts and bolts, ask HR about FMLA.

      Good luck.

      • And so anon :

        Good comment, especially the second paragraph.

        This would be a difficult position for anyone to be in, but especially a working mother of young kids.

      • Agreed, but just FYI–FMLA is typically unpaid, although benefits such as health insurance are continued with the employer paying its portion.

    • Hi Anon — my mom just died a few weeks ago, in similar circumstances to yours. EC MD’s comments are right on the money.

      One other suggestion: let your opposing counsel know. I was so surprised as to the amount of support I received from them — people have been there, and they know just how crappy it is.

      Let people help you. You really need their support right now and afterwards. Don’t be shy about asking.

    • I recently moved half way across the country (and gave up a beloved Big Law job), as my husband had been offered a job that we could not refuse as an attending physician. I started at a new Big Law firm and started studying for the bar in the new state.

      In the mean time, it became clear that my father had metastatic cancer. My mother had died from cancer when I was quite young, and I am the oldest (as well as the most emotionally stable). My dad decided to move in with us, as I was studying for the bar, starting a new job, etc.

      It has been extremely difficult. We have had several very close calls where I thought he might die within days. He has been in and out of the hospital, and as of Friday, we are starting home hospice care. I had no other choice but to share my issues with the various partners I have been working with since I started, which is obviously less than ideal.

      Big Law certainly is not always warm and fuzzy. I had a partner ask me the other day how much time I planned to take off after my father passed away, as they need me to work on an extremely large and important project for an important client. Still, I think my decision to share has probably helped me, as I am not operating at my normal level of excellence.

      I can only hope that my superiors give me some grace- even though they have known me for a very short time and do not know much about my work ethic. I encourage you to do the same. Honestly, if the people you are working are so cold hearted as to not understand issues such as dying and grief, you may want to re-evaluate your working situation. I say this as a person that is firmly committed to having a long and successful career.

    • This is the time to take family leave under the federal law which is available in big law. Go to your Mom, be there even if you can’t help. Take the children with you if that works better than leaving them with their father. It will be a good experience for the kids as well as for you. That’s what FMLA is all about.

    • I’m so sorry this is terrible.

      Can you connect to a local chapter of a national disease org? They often times can help you and your family deal with changing care issues. Depending on what (please don’t feel like you need to provide this), your local area agency on aging may also be helpful to connecting you and your mom to services which can help manage her care a bit better which can help reduce stresses. Also, I would encourage you to connect to a support group or work with a therapist to help you cope, even if it’s just once or twice, so you can find some tools that will work best for you and your family. And try to take care of yourself in other ways (eating, exercising, sleep) – you’re not doing anyone any good if you run yourself ragged.

    • I am so sorry you are having to deal with this. It happens to everyone at some point, and there is never a good time. Everyone has given great advice already, but I wanted to chime in that I think it’s a really good idea for you to let your supervisors at work know what’s going on. I’m in Biglaw too, and though it’s a tough, hard-working environment, it is also team-oriented. It is just not humanly possible for you to be completely focused on work right now, and your supervisors should step in to ease the workload and let you take some time if you want it (also, you are most likely entitled to it – talk to your HR department about FMLA, which could ease any billable hours dilemma). Everyone has family. Your supervisors/teammates may have gone through the same thing and even if not, if they’re human they should be understanding and supportive. If not, then why make yourself miserable and not meet your own life priorities for that kind of a work culture?

      Just this year, I’ve lost several grandparents and I was really touched (and a little surprised) at how considerate my supervisors and team members were. They really stepped up to the plate to let me have some time with my family, and keep telling me not to worry about hours (which aren’t a problem really, but it’s a nice thing to say). If they really really need you, they can reach you on your cell or you can log in for a couple of hours remotely. But if you want to head out to be with your mom, go!

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Take time off and be with your mom now. If you need to, take less leave after her passing. Nothing that seems important now at work will seem that important in 3 years. Take FMLA and if you get some adverse action from your employer (they fire you) sue the pants off them. I just want to point out though that FMLA is not paid. You can use all your accrued leave but then you go into time without pay but your job and benefits are protected.

      There are other jobs out there. This is your only chance to be with your mom. Do it.

    • Sending love and good thoughts to you and your family. It’s such a tough position to be in. I think you have gotten some very good advice from others here, so I won’t add to that except to say I hope you can go be with your mom for a visit or a longer stay.

      • anon for this (OP) :

        Thank you all for the kind words and advice. I broke down in the middle of a meeting and, as a result, told the partners I was working with. It did make me feel better and i have been much less on the verge of tears since then. Im going to go out to see her as well. i know thats the right choice. who knew a bunch of anon strangers could make someone feel so much better. thank you all so much.

        • Little Lurker :

          this community has got me through some really rough times, and they don’t even know it. :)


    • Divaliscious11 :

      Hugs to you. I’d go to my family, taking my kids and my laptop/blackberry…… I’d set up a designated call, and periodic bb review, and I’d be gone on the next plane flying…… NOTHING I do can not be done by someone else or managed electronically (not a trial attorney, but I don’t think a judge would penalize your client on this).

    • Family First :

      I am so sorry about your mother. As other posters have already offered excellent advice, I will only add this thought: ten, twenty years from now, you won’t regret spending as much time as possible with your mother, but you will likely regret *not* spending time with her. There is always another job; you only have one mother.

    • Ditto what everyone else has said. One thing to add – when you divulge to people from whom you’d like a little understanding, don’t sugarcoat. There was someone in my office who had a “sick relative” and he spent a lot of time flying back and forth between our city and the far-away city of the relative. The relative turned out to be his dad, who died about eight weeks after this all started. I don’t think people were nearly as understanding while it was going on as they would have been if he’d said his dad was dying (and I’ll admit I unfortunately didn’t really step up to fill in/make his life as easy as possible as I would have if I’d known a bit more about the situation).

  7. Maybe a little too much frou-frou in one top. It looks like something Jennifer Love Hewitt wore on the Ghost Whisperer.

  8. Weird Office :

    Has anyone had this weird experience. Yesterday I was asked to lunch, asked where, and was told I couldn’t ask. I politely declined, but this seems to be happening more often with this particular individual unless a place is already preselected.

    This just seems like a very strange reaction to me. I don’t really want to spend money or ingest a lot of calories going to a restaurant I don’t really like. We have some people who go to lunch everyday, but I tend to be a more sporadic attendee who goes 1-3 times a week. It’s no bother to me if the selection is not of interest.

    • That is super weird. It sounds like he’s being controlling and jerky. The only thing I can think is maybe he’s decided that you’re in it for the restaurant and not the company and is trying to passive aggressively attack you about that (not that that justifies his behavior).

    • I don’t understand – he/she/they had already selected a place and you asked and they wouldn’t tell you? Is this just a work lunch type of situation or a date? I’m confused.

    • Maybe the person specifically wants to spend time with you socially? If it was a one-on-one thing, that might be the case. If someone were to ask me on a date, I would consider it rude to ask them specifically where they intended to take me. But if I did (out of curiosity after accepting the invitation), their refusal could be interpreted romantically, i.e., it’s a surprise, or controlling.

      If a co-worker wants to go to lunch, I’d typically say “Sure, where?” If it was really a place I disliked, I’d say so and suggest an alternative. If they really wanted to go to that specific place, I’d take a rain check. I can’t imagine why a co-worker would want to keep it a big secret unless they were thinking in dating terms?

    • This is silly. If you are letting HIM pay for the place, then stop. And besides, who would go out with a weird guy like this unless you were attracted to him.

      Something is missing here. It does not add up. I think there is something fishy going on.

    • The only way I could see this as OK, would be if this is a planned, “special” event of some sort, probably sponsored by the company, and they simply want to gauge attendee numbers without worrying about everyone’s choice of venue.

      It sounds like this is not the case, plus you already go to lunch with these people (it sounds like) a few times a week, so … chalk it up to strange behavior and forget about it.

    • Weird Office :

      This is a very casual group lunch and people have their own methods of inviting. Some people try to find a place everyone wants to visit, others will pick a place first and then see who wants to go, and then there’s this one coworker who expects me to agree without knowing the destination. She’s always been somewhat annoyed when I ask, but now it’s moved onto “don’t even ask.” It’s not like we have a wealth of offerings within close driving distance, so we go through the list biweekly. There’s only one place on the rotation that I will not visit, which makes the situation even weirder.

      • That’s really bizarre. Does she do this with anyone else? If you two are generally friendly, perhaps she wants you to agree beforehand as some sort of weird demonstration that you want to eat lunch with her (as opposed to only agreeing to eat lunch with her if you like the place). Like a weird popularity test.

      • Or you could say “Sure, I’d love to as long as we’re not going to X restaurant” .

      • Honestly s/he sounds like a jerk. You probably don’t want to have lunch with him/her no matter where you’re going. Count your blessings.

        • Weird Office :

          Unfortunately she is charge of workflow and tends to go to lunch with the same person 90% of the time. You are right that I don’t particularly enjoy eating lunch with the pair of them, as they tend to be very catty/gossipy. I’ve made some comments about not liking the gossip and I think that’s probably when they decided to cut me out of the loop. Usually they will just run off alone or decline invites from the rest of the group, so I’d say this is only an issue about once a month.

    • anon in ny :

      At first, I thought this might be some weird variation on the “Dîner en Blanc,” a special picnic event the location of which is not disclosed until the last minute.

      Nope. The situation you’ve described is ridiculous. Tell this person to call you only after a restaurant has been selected.

      • Don’t tell them anything, just decline any future invites as casually as possible and avoid like the nutty plague s/he clearly is.

  9. SAlit-a-gator :

    PSA – Ann Taylor Loft has great basic knit tops to wear under suits on sale for $20. They have cap sleeves and a crew neck. I bought two yesterday and they look great. They are a great wardrobe staple and the sale price is pretty fantastic. I won’t post a link less I get stuck in moderation.

    • Runnin' for it :

      Thanks. Are these on sale from their summer stock or are they new fall items? Did you find them online or in the store?

      • SAlit-a-gator :

        I found them in the store. Not sure if they’re summer or fall items. I searched a little on the website an couldn’t find them (didn’t look too long since I have a deadline).

  10. anon in ny :

    I don’t like the sleeves. The bow is nice. I tried to get more info on the lining (the sheerness could be a problem), but the site was taking forever to load. Probably my wifi connection.

    So, with the tailoring, it was a $175 blouse, perhaps more, with tax.

  11. anon in ny :

    I don’t like the sleeves. The bow is nice. I tried to get more info on the lining (the sheerness could be a problem), but the site was taking forever to load. Probably my wifi connection.

    So, with the tailoring, it was a $175 blouse, perhaps more with tax.

  12. Considering Evaluation :

    Threadjack: I was really fascinated by the discussion of adult ADHD we were having a few threads back and I was wondering if more Corporettes would comment on it. I read the links and symptoms people posted and it all very much resonated with me – the lack of will power, the hyperfocusing, easily distracted from “boring” tasks, etc. Did you bring this up with your primary care doctor? Seek out a therapist? Any recs for NYC/LI? I’m really interested in reading your perspectives. TIA!

    • I went to a therapist because I do not have access to ADD medication in my country. It’s been a few months and I see no progress.
      I am on the hunt now for a neuro-psychiatrist (I have yet to find one in my city sigh).
      If you find what is the right medicine specialty to address ADD please share so that I can also directly contact a practitioner.

      • Anon for This :


        There are many medications that are ADD specific. However, if those are not available in your country you may want to look into Wellbutrin which is sometimes prescribed for anxiety/depression. My doctor mentioned that it can also be used to treat ADD.

        Typical ADD meds are stimulants like Ritalin and Addarall. I take a new one, Vyvanse because it is less likely to upset my pre-existing digestive disorder or cause me anxiety which I am prone to situationally.

      • boden-ite :

        Houda, there are several different chemical preparations used for ADHD and everyone responds differently. Physicians often start with the one they use the most and then go from there. If your general physician is of no help or knowledge, consider a psychiatrist. I know it is unusual, but they are in the business of knowing the brain chemistry and such medications.

        You may want to read books by Russell Barkley and/or Charles (?) Hallowell. Good, research based work. There also were a few articles in past years in “Scientific American” magazine. There is a national ADHD association (ADDA) which may or may not have an international branch.

        There are many groups which are now training/certifying “life coaches” or “professional organizers” which specialize in behavioral and environmental management of ADHD. It works well for those folks who are disorganized, forgetful, etc. yet cannot really address the inattention or impulsivity characteristics. Research shows working with a coach/therapist is good, and often better when accompanied by medications.

        @Considering Evaluation – consider looking for referrals through the ADDA organization. There is no “one test” for ADD/ADHD as the chemical involved (usually dopamine) does not get into the bloodstream. It is often an historical perspective and ruling-out anxiety, depression, and other situatuional factors. There are checklists which are well normed for adults and I actually use a computerized continuous performance test as well – not for a firm diagnosis but for baseline data.

        Best wishes – sometimes it’s hard to find the right professional. Once you have that, it’s an easier route.

        Many individuals will work with a physician who is simultaneously treating their children for ADHD. That may work for medications, but likely not so well for therapy. Hard to say.

      • Thank you. Great advice indeed. I believed the only medication was either Ritalin or Adderal.
        I have started seeing a therapist who is helping me set priorities one at a time but I never thought of discussing medications with him.
        Thank you for this. I will give it a try.

    • Totally Anon for this one :

      Everything about that discussion hit home for me, but I don’t even know where to start seeking treatment. How would I approach this with a doctor?

      • Anon this time, too :

        I’m sorta wondering — is there anyone for whom the discussion about ADD / ADHD symptoms didn’t hit home? Not to at all belittle anyone’s actual problems or diagnosis, but in this day and age, aren’t we all suffering to some extent with these problems?

        • Anon for This :

          I think the big difference is the symptoms are you ALL the time and it is causing an impact on your life. Your job performance is suffering, your home life is suffering and you are aware of it and you try to change it but you can’t. You know you have a problem and all the best intentions in the world don’t work. You keep going back to old habits. You don’t want to fail but you find yourself on the path to failure. The key is to recognize when your quirky ADD tendancies begin to take over your life and then you need to get help.

          Kind of like how a few nights binge drinking in college isn’t in and of itself a problem but when you say you won’t do it again but just can’t help yourself to one more drink or one more time… well … maybe its time for help.

        • Didn’t hit home with me at all.

    • Anon for This :

      I was the OP on that thread. I originally mentioned it to a therapist I was seeing for situational anxiety. She didn’t really deal with it much. Once I felt it was really effecting my work I mentioned it to my primary at a check up. She thought it sounded like I had it and she sent me to a behavioral health outpatient clinic for further evaluation. I was initially screened over the phone by an intake nurse. She then picked a mental health nurse practioner that specializes in adult ADD and set me up with him. He looked over the extensive intake form the nurse did over the phone and a bunch of forms I filled out before I went in. He asked me some more questions while I was there. I brought a journal of all the things bothering me and why I thought I had it. I barely got to open it before he told me he had way more than enough information to diagnose me.

      I have been on the med since last Saturday and am loving it. I see him again shortly to do any dose adjustments. Right now I have minimal side effects, just dry mouth. It feels like it starts to wear off around three. I find myself daydreaming more and just generally feeling sluggish then. I can still concentrate on my work though way better than unmedicated even after 3. I did have some difficulty sleeping the first couple nights I was on it. For that reason I might resist a dose increase unless he thinks it is very necessary.

      Ive noticed lots of changes already. I am less frustrated and more patient with stupid little things — like tangled headphone wires. I am much less interested in wasting hours online. I find myself picking up more around my house and doing things now rather than always later. I also feel much more alert in the morning than I did in the past though that could be because I have started to excericise in the mornings too.

      Please excuse all my typos – I am in a bit of a rush but wanted to respond.

      • Dental spouse :

        Do be aware the dry mouth can lead to dental problems. Be very careful with hygiene (floss!). You may want to try Biotene products.

  13. Out of my budget but I do like this choice and the styling suggestion. I would want to see this in person if I was in the market for it due to the sheerness issues (as anon mentioned above)

  14. Barrister in the Bayou :

    Totally off topic but… I wanted to thank the ladies who commented about bunion surgery yesterday. I don’t think its something that I’ll have to do in the immediate future, but I think it was good for me to hear some real-life experiences. My feet are a disaster in progress… At some point I’ll probably have to get the bunion surgery, I may need to get the outer bunions done as well as well, I may need to get surgery on at least one pinky toe and I have some weird tendonitis in another toe. Oh, and I also have flat feet! I feel like Murphy’s Law is always in effect when it comes to my feet. Part of me just wants to get it all done and move on, but the other part realizes that the surgery will not be a simple fix; so I have a few things to think about.

    • I didn’t see this yesterday, but I had surgery on both feet. First foot was a year ago, the second foot was about 9 months ago. I can definitely wear more shoes, more comfortably now–though it has just made me notice my flat feet issues more than before (not made worse, just what I focus on now). I lost feeling in part of my big toe from the surgery but it doesn’t hurt and is uncommon, from what I’ve heard. Great experience so far–glad I did it. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to wearing heels on a regular basis b/c 1) I just don’t want to screw my feet up again, and 2) I just think it’s less comfortable. But I can wear them to a wedding now without wanting to die!

    • Little Lurker :

      This is totally unrelated, but I’ve been meaning to tell you for a while that I love your name. Also NOLA — been twice for conferences/volunteer trips, and am hoping to go back for myself sometime soon.

  15. I wanted to check in with you to see if you had heard of this deal. My coworker told me yesterday that Banana Republic is having some sort of secret deal that you must ask for at the counter. He said that the deal is 50% off up to five full price items. It seems to good to be true. He says that he purchased a trench coat and few other items with the deal. Have any of you done or heard of this?

    • There’s a 30% friends and family sale that ends today, I believe, but haven’t heard of this one, I want this if true. Is there a code?

      • FYI, found this at another forum:

        I work for Banana on the weekends. FYI

        The 50% is not valid online. Photocopies are also not valid. One time use for the card (card must be given to cashier, each card has its own code)

        Discount cards are valid 8/22-8/24

        The cards was given to employees to pass out to friends and family

    • My coworker & I used it today! We were actually asking about the 30% off online friends and family deal to see if we could use it in store, and they were nice enough to give us the coupons. Definitely worth breaking my shopping ban for!

  16. Diana Barry :

    I just got a new fall bag (brown, textured satchel) from Cole Haan thru Rue La La. Woohoo! :)

    • Nice! I finally broke down and got a Cole Haan down coat, after the discussion on here the other day about how much warmer they are. It’s not the prettiest, but come January I won’t care. They had some good stuff on there today!

    • Formerly Preggo Angie :

      Picture please! :)

    • Runnin for it :

      I just bought a Cole Haan leather jacket. I bought the same one at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale for $450 plus tax. Rue la la has it for $300. Nordstrom refused to price match over the phone because I bought it in store and they said I would have to bring the jacket into the store and they “usually” do not price match after 14 days from the purchase. So I bought the jacket from Rue la la and will return the one I bought at Nordstrom (it still has the tags on it as it is still too hot to wear it). It makes no sense that store will not price match but will accept a return of the item.

  17. Anon for this one :

    Question for the hive mind:

    Has anyone ever ordered from the Rosetta stone outlet webpage? I would really like to learn spanish and I saw a link to it online. I’ve never heard of it so I am a little nervous about ordering since I don’t know if its counterfeit. Anyone have any experience? The website for reference is rosetta(dash)outlet(dot)com


    • Before you purchase, see if your local library offers Rosetta Stone. Many do, and it’s the web-based version, so basically you log in from home with your library card and have full access!

  18. Threadjack.

    Ladies, I could use some advice and I am not even sure where to start. I think that my extreme unhappiness with my job is now interfering with my ability to behave professionally. I am very upset (at both myself and the situation) over an exchange that I just had with my boss this morning.

    I work at a very small firm. Due to a certain chain of events, we have a young lawyer less than a year out of law school second-chairing a small proceeding (something akin to a trial, but not as involved). I do not get along with this person. Our best and most experienced staff member recently quit, and he informed me that it was in no small part because he could not stand to deal with this person any longer. Other staff members have also complained to me about this person. And, in fact, the partner (my boss) has complained about this person purposely ignoring his explicit instructions regarding legal arguments to be included in briefs, apparently deeming themselves more to have better judgment than the partner. When I have been instructed to work with this person and have experienced the same difficulty as my boss (I am this person’s senior by several years), my boss has told me to “quit politicking” and to “play nice.” (The latter, in my opinion is EXTREMELY patronizing and sends me up the wall). This is extremely upsetting to me, because, yes, I suppose it could be read that way, but I cannot help myself and I am also hurt that my boss is so quick to dismiss what I am saying when I have managed to work with everyone else we have had at the firm in the past several years.

    Which leads to this morning. My boss called barking at me over my cell phone while I was still getting dressed. He is upset because the second-chair did not get the research done that he wanted for today in court and he was in a full blown panic telling me I better do something about it NOW! (By the way, I am not working on this matter and am kept out of the loop, except, apparently, in emergencies). I tried to calm him down by reminding him that two days prior, during a three-way conversation between himself, the second-chair, and myself, I told him the answer to his question and I had emailed him the same. However, it didn’t come out that nicely because I was pretty angry. I was angry because during the phone call two days prior, everything that I said was met with second-chair brushing it off and saying “yeah, yeah, I HAVE all that.” So this morning what I told my boss was more along the lines of “YES, you already have it in your email. This is what I was telling you about when [second chair] kept sighing and telling me that [s/he] already HAS all that.” To which I was immediately bawled out for “politicking.”

    I thought about it, and I admit that it was probably not professional of me at all to mention second chair. But I am so profoundly unhappy about this situation that I can’t seem to control myself sometimes. After the conversation, I thought about putting in a resignation letter, because I don’t like how I am behaving. (I am already in the process of looking for a new position, but so far nothing has panned out.)

    Does anyone have any tips for controlling my temper? Is it a lost cause and do I just need to leave before I do something really horrid? I am afraid of doing the latter, but I am so miserable that I wonder if it might just be the better thing to do. Thanks in advance for any advice anyone has.

    • My friend, I wish I did have some advice. But I walked out of a shareholder meeting last night because I couldn’t control my anger.


      Here are some internet hugs; I’ve got nothing else right now.

    • Honestly, I don’t think you did anything bad. Would a man resign because he lost his temper?

      Try to ignore the second chair as much as you can, and keep sending emails to your boss to document the answers you’re giving him. I really don’t know why he is accusing you of “politicking” when you are just giving him the answers that he wants!!!

      Hope you find someplace better soon!

    • Sorry to hear all this is going on – it sounds awful.

      Not what you asked, but it sounds like what Second Chair really needs is some good training. I know you are in a small firm, but is there any formal training/mentoring set up for Second Chair?

      I don’t know what your relationship is like with the partner, but is it possible for you to just sit down with him and honestly tell him how Second Chair is affecting you? It sounds to me like your boss is already aware of Second Chair’s deficiencies and may be a bit worried about the situation himself since he isn’t getting the support he needs. He may himself be wondering how to resolve the situation. Can you take the high road and offer to mentor Second Chair, or is there another, more senior associate at the firm who can do so?

      The only other tip I can offer is that before you respond to anything involving Second Chair, take a moment to remember how things were for you when you were a new lawyer. It is pretty tough and Second Chair himself is probably feeling pretty stressed, though he won’t admit it. Just take a few breaths before you respond, and try to play the role of the Helpful Senior Associate rather than letting him get to you.

      Best of luck.

    • This is what I do when my teeth clench, my hands knot up into fists and I can feel the flames coming out of my ears:

      1) Modulate my voice. It tends to get higher and louder when I’m mad. Being an angry woman with a high-pitched loud voice generally doesn’t help my cause.

      2) Speak slooowly. I’m a very fast talker to begin with, but making special efforts to speak very deliberately helps me catch my breath, articulate clearly (hard to do when you’re angry!) and most importantly, it makes people listen to what I’m saying.

      3) Use small words and short sentences that are designed to deflect emotion and buy myself some time. “I’m sorry you feel that way, but I think we can resolve this.” “I see your point, but I don’t agree. Why don’t we set up some time to discuss offline.” etc

      4) Most importantly, resist the temptation to “win” by scoring some rhetorical point against whoever you’re talking to. In my experience, there is no “winning” in these kinds of situations, except by showing that you’re mature enough to handle conflict with grace and resolve things professionally – usually by waiting until emotions are calmer and cooler heads can prevail.

      (Because even if, in the heat of debate, you “win” the argument, it’s usually at the cost of looking like – however briefly – an angry and potentially spiteful person that can’t take criticism or can’t handle conflict gracefully. So even if it nearly kills you inside to smile and concede, or suggest continuing the conversation at another time, I think you should do it.)

    • I’m so sorry you are dealing with this. I can sort of relate. I haven’t always handled these situations perfectly, myself, but am working on it. A few things help. Take a walk, get an indulgent coffee drink when you get really upset. It’s better to be out of the office for a bit than be there and do or say something you will regret.
      DO NOT QUIT! It’s a tough market and it is always easier to get a job when you have a job. You can endure this a little longer until you find something new. And, if you are a little evil like me, try to make second chair’s mistakes kn0wn to the partners as often as possible in sneaky ways (i.e., cc partner on response to second chair asking “clarifying” questions that just show he/she didn’t do the work). If second chair is as incompetent as it sounds, hopefully it won’t be long before the powers that be realize what everyone else thinks is so obvious. Good luck.

    • Former 3L :

      Dude, eff that noise. Yes, perhaps, in an ideal world, you would have made it through the conversation without mentioning 2C (which would have kept your boss from acting like a pill and accusing you of “politicking”–Jesus, that would be the reason to leave for me, right there). But what you said…not so bad. Let it lie. And the next time you have cause (as you did here!) to call out 2C’s crap performance in front of the boss and he accuses you of politicking, I would (now, very politely) explain that you’re not. You’re just very frustrated with X and the situation does not seem to be improving. (And if your boss insists on stereotyping you as “catty politicker,” well, as I said. THERE’s your real problem.)

      • This. And I would add to it that it sounds like your boss is making you accountable for 2C’s performance without keeping you in the loop and giving you the authority to address 2C’s bad performance. I have been in almost this exact same situation and got the same “just get along” pep-talk from the partner. I didn’t accept it. I said either you give me the authority to act as 2C’s report or you’ll need to manage his poor performance–and, to be honest, I’d prefer the latter because up until now I haven’t really received any support from you when I’ve tried to address his poor performance. He took me up on the second option and then had to deal with all of the problems I had been dealing with-in my situation, the “2C” didn’t last much longer at the firm…

        • I think this is brilliant. The partner in the OP’s case is trying to have it both ways, and if there is a way that you (OP) could calmly point out that the partner’s position is inconsistent (holding you responsible for 2C’s failings even though you’re not even on that case and you are not 2C’s manager), I think you should do that.

        • We have a similar situation here, but unfortunately the department head refuses to fire anyone unless she elects to adopt a 5-hour work week. Any performance issues that pop up have to be addressed by the other members of the department and when someone brings a problem employee up in conversation, he will just tell the complainer they are taking things too personally and need to calm down!

          At this point I would not quit, but I do recommend ramping up the job search to find something a little less frustrating!

    • If you’re already looking for another job (as I am, in a somewhat similar situation), my advice is to completely shut down when things get hot. In other words, go completely silent during the tirade, make your face blank, then provide a very neutral answer. Do not complain about the second chair. Ever. To anyone. Say nothing. When he (or the boss) starts to engage with you, stay calm. Say to yourself “It doesn’t matter.” Kill them with steely calm professionalism. Don’t waste any energy on it. Focus that energy on your job search. Do not quit without a new gig – you are the only loser in that scenario.

      As for controlling your temper, I refer to what I do as “channeling quiet rage.” Then I try to remove myself physically for at least a few minutes. Just the other day when someone was screaming at me on the phone for absolutely no good reason, I just held the phone away from my ear and then said calmly, “What exactly would you like me to do?”

      You may also say, when appropriate, “That is second chair’s responsibility, but I would be happy to assist you with XYZ.” Or, “I’m sorry, that’s not my area, I’m not aware of the answer to that, you’ll have to ask second chair.” But honestly, it’s better to just not fight it. You obviously can’t win. So leave on your own terms.

    • Seriously, it’ s not “politicking” to object when the partner tries to lay 2c’s deficiencies on your doorstep. Every situation is different, but a couple of times I’ve lost my temper at a really unfair situation at work, and let my boss know why the situation was unfair, and the boss in both situations responded well. But, I didn’t yell or cry, just spoke very emphatically as to why the situation was unfair, and in both cases, the boss was acting on incorrect information. I’m perfectly willing to take responsibility for my failures, just not other people’s failures.

  19. Laptop bag threadjack.

    What do you think of this laptop bag?

    Now that I got a car, I feel safer carrying my laptop in a dedicated bag instead of stuffing it with the rest of my belongings in my big Longchamps le Pliage.
    If I have a separate laptop bag then I will be able to have smaller satchels for everyday use.
    What do you think of that model?

    • Valleygirl :

      It’s cute… but my 2 cents – I’ve had luck with a thin-ish sleeve to protect my laptop that fits into various totes. I have a really good coach plain black leather tote that’s held up for years and I can stick my laptop in the sleeve and fit it in the bag, zipped up with no problem – or the bag can just be a bag when needed… and the laptop in sleeve can go in my backpack or carryon for trips, etc.

  20. As if the earthquake wasn’t enough of for your natural disaster quotient for the week, it looks like they’re still predicting hurricane irene to go straight up the eastern seaboard. Don’t forget to buy your bottled water, people, and hope it changes course. (I thought the whole point of moving to New York wasn’t I didn’t have to deal with natural disasters-so much for that!)

    signed, someone who’s very inland southern hometown once severely flooded due to remnants of a tropical depression and had no running water for a month.

  21. Anonymous :

    Hello — 3L here preparing for an OCI interview. I feel sort of silly asking this question, knowing how unlikely it is for me to get a job from OCI. I’m wondering what an appropriate answer is when the interviewer asks me what about the firm interests me. From the firm website it looks like a great place for women to work. They appear to actively try to hire women and I think I would be more comfortable in that kind of office environment. Is it a bad idea to say that this is one of the reasons I am interesting in working for this firm, especially in light of my interviewer being male?

    • Not at all. Say that you can tell through the firm’s excellent work-life balance policies that they value their lawyers and look out for their well-being. Often those policies apply equally to men and women.

    • Absolutely not. Firms–especially senior men who may not be sensitive to the issue–*need* to hear that candidates care about this.

      They don’t always get the message when it comes from their women colleagues, but they listen a little more carefully if it’s coming from clients, new grads, etc.

    • I wouldn’t say women, but “diversity” – eg you are interested in working for a firm that is more diverse and this firm appears to be doing XYZ diversity initiatives. Make sense?

    • Anon for This :

      Maybe phrase it as valuing gender equality in the workplace?

    • I think this could serve as a good transitional interest – first talking about how your career interests align with the firm’s (desired area of practice, etc), and while many firms offer that practice area (if applicable), one thing that stood out to you from the website is that they are actively trying to recruit women… then you can switch to question mode: how doe the interviewer think the firm is trying to accomplish that?

    • Actually, I think a lot of big firms tout these types of policies on their recruiting websites, and in truth, they do not really care about work/life balance and/or recruiting and retaining women. In less you know that the firm really practices this in actuality, I would not overly focus on it during your interview.

      I would maybe say something about how the type of work or a certain department looks particularly interesting or that you have heard that the firm is a really good place for associates to practice law. Then, I might mention something about after reviewing their website you were particularly pleased to see that the firm is making an effort to attract promising women lawyers.

      • I second this. I’ve heard stories about interviewees being soft these days because they ask/talk about work/life balance. I think I’m in the minority here, but I would steer clear of that. Diversity is fine, but people will read “good for women” as “good for women who want to work part time.” It’s b.s. but I think that’s a reality at a lot of firms. FYI, at my old firm, “part time” meant 9-5 instead of 9-10. I would talk about the firm’s reputation for collegiality, their strong ___ practice group, etc.

      • Thirded. This may come across as nasty, but even working in my current, work/life balance-friendly small firm, if a student made a comment like that in an interview I would probably be completely flabbergasted, and not in a good way. What I care about as an interviewer is whether the student will be a good fit for the firm, has a good attitude, and will work hard. If you talk about how the firm seems to be a good place for women, it makes you look a little flaky, *unless* you can say it in the context of something more substantive, like, “I was looking at your website which mentions policies A, B and C. I think these policies show you really care about your employees because X. I really like this approach.” This sort of thing shows you have done your research, thought about the firm, and gives us more information about whether or not you would be a good fit.

        • Anonymous :

          Thanks for this. I think I will steer clear of mentioning it.

          For what its worth, I didn’t mean anything about the work/life balance. I was just thinking the environment would be better. Some fields in the sciences seem to really attract men who truly think women cannot be as intelligent as them. It would be great to have female colleagues.

          Of course I realize that having a higher percentage of women at the firm doesn’t mean that these women get treated with any more respect from men or that boneheads won’t work there. I was just excited about their commitment to hiring women in the patent law field.

          • Ballerina Girl :

            It’s not fair that it means that — in fact, it’s really sexist and messed up. But it’s how people interpret it and you don’t want to risk it.

          • Esquirette :

            As you’ve outed yourself as a fellow patent geek, I’ll chime in. I agree generally with Hmmm, Batgirl and Nonny. It’s a fine line — I would not discuss work-life balance or just make a general statement about feeling “more comfortable” at the firm because they appear to focus on recruiting women (*retaining* is actually more important). I suggest being pretty specific in answering this kind of question.

            I think that your response should:
            (1) first/predominantly focus on your well-articulated interest in the work the firm/practice group does (and that your interviewers likely do, and that you could do if they hire you) and how it aligns with the type of practice you’d like to have, and
            (2) then you could say how you are impressed by the number of experienced/established women who work at the firm as, in your technical field, you have observed that advancement/retention of women could be limited/challenging, and you are excited about the opportunity of working with a group of people/organization (not just the women!) that seem(s) to focus on skill and commitment. I wouldn’t go much beyond this (i.e., DON’T discuss sexist behavior you’ve experienced/observed).

            Also, interviewers expect that research on the firm is done by the people they interview so, if this stood out to you as a characteristic of this firm as compared to other firms that you researched, say so (e.g., as I was researching various firms with practice groups I am interested in, your firm stood out to me for the number of . . . . (see above)). It can be a lead in to your point, illustrate your interest in the firm (by highlighting the amount of attention you paid to details about it), and stroke some firm ego.

            Also, consider your audience. If you’re interviewing with patent peeps, you might be interviewed by people who came out of your technical field as well. While such women would likely know/appreciate what you are getting at, men wouldn’t necessarily. I’m guessing you’re an engineer — so this goes double. If you are interviewing with non-patent peeps, they may not know what you referring to but the way I suggested phrasing things would still come across positively.

            Things to think about. I’m not sure whether I would discuss it. I’d likely play in by ear to see how I thought the inverwiers might take it. Being prepared is good though. Good luck!!

    • The Worst Corporette Ever :

      I once made an inocuous comment in an interview (with three female attorneys) along the lines of, “This seems like an excellent place for women attorneys to advance!” or something equally bland. Senior partner looks at me with a furrowed brow and says, “Yes, you can work part-time when you get pregnant.” It was terribly awkward.

    • Anonymous :

      OP Here.

      Thanks for your responses! The website does not really lead me to believe that there is a great work/life balance, just that they hire diverse attorneys. It’s a patent boutique firm, which is why I was so excited that there are actually some women working there.

  22. Divaliscious11 :

    Don’t quit, but document and CYA. Keep every brush off and blow off. Memo to file the exit interview you had with the recently departed staff. When the opportunity arises, and it will, lay it out for the partner, with your proof. You aren’t politicking, you are standing up for yourself, as you are being held responsible for the work product of someone over whom you have no control. Copy partner on all directives to the Lil jerk. Hang in there. I am in similar position with some, although em is not a jerk, just has conflicts with person responsible for em. I’d also do some managing up with regard to bosses expectations of you. Are you the Senior Associate for this partner? Own this problem for him/her, just document the attempts. Hang in there…..

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