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Workwear sales of note for 3.31.23:
- Ann Taylor – 30% off full-price tops and sweaters; up to 40% off all sale styles
- Athleta – All sale up to 60% off
- Banana Republic Factory – 50% off everything; extra 15% off purchase
- Boden – Up to 50% off; 20% off sale & new-season styles
- Brooks Brothers – Friends & Family Event: 30% off almost everything
- Express – All women’s jeans $49 + styles from $20
- Everlane – Up to 30% off spring essentials
- J.Crew – 40% off your purchase; swim from $24.50
- J.Crew Factory – 40% off entire site & storewide, plus extra 20% off orders $125+ with code
- Loft – $29 everyday shirts
- Sephora – Up to 50% off select beauty
- Talbots – Buy one get one 50% off! Free shipping on $150+
Some of our latest posts here at Corporette…
And some of our latest threadjacks here at Corporette (reader questions and commentary) — see more here!
- What are your favorite parts of a typical day?
- At what point in your life (age, income level, whatever) were you able to take an annual vacation?
- What shoes can I keep at the office to go for mid-day walks (that go with everything)?
- How do you release stress or trauma that’s stored in the body?
- What are the best “networking for women events” you’ve ever been to?
- I feel like we’re burning through any savings we acquire…
- I hate my job and make 30% of what DH makes – should I quit?
- What do you keep in your office?
If it’s any help, I remember seeing a blurb in Lucky a couple of years ago describing Pippa as French Connection’s workwear line.
At first I read the designer as Pippa Middleton and was thinking “wow, she’s really working it!”
SF Bay Associate
Me too. I’m embarrassingly intrigued by the Duchess’s and Pippa’s wardrobes. They seem to have such great taste, nothing too flashy or revealing, but rarely boring and never frumpy, and always well-fitted to their figures.
A novel I read once had a quote to the effect of “Wealth doesn’t always go along with taste, but when it does, the results are impressive.” The Duchess of Cambridge and her sister sure exemplify that – I’m jealous of them.
I know, me too. They’re gorgeous, and dress the way I want to dress. I’m slightly obsessed.
Me, three! They are elegant and tasteful … not something you see too often.
Sorry but I have to disagree – Kate Middleton is everywhere as a ‘fashion icon’ but I cannot see how. Take, for example, her outfit to the Derby Day. Beautiful hat and beautiful skirt but matched with a jacket that was about 20 years too old for her and made her look frumpy. Perhaps we just see more pictures of her here in London, but most of the time I can’t help but think ‘what are you WEARING?!’.
I sort of agree. It’s not that I don’t think she looks lovely. I just don’t see the whole “fashion icon” thing.
I think she is a pretty girl with a nice figure who manages to dress tastefully and appropriately for her position and for most occasions. For instance I loved that her wedding dress had sleeves, but I also think it obviously should have had sleeves, given that she was marrying a prince in Westminster Abbey. Is it such a tremendous accomplishment that she manages to look better than Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice (Fergie’s kids) or that she has enough sense not to dress like she’s Posh Spice?
I don’t know, at least in the U.S. we’ve been pretty damned starved for young women who dress tastefully and appropriately these days. She may be graded on a curve, but there are so many attractive, wealthy young women dragging the curve down that apparently it really is kind of hard for some people to look tasteful and appropriate.
I agree. She has a lovely figure and dresses well, but way too conservatively for her age. She isn’t even 30 yet and could do with lightening up her look a fair bit. I like that she is a fan of the High Street shops, but somehow she seems to have interpreted that as matronly dressing. One exception – the gorgeous Jenny Packham gown she wore a few days ago. A great improvement.
I disagree – I don’t think she looks too conservative for her age/matronly. I would take her entire wardrobe if she’d like to send it to me!
I think society is just so accustomed to seeing plunging necklines and high hemlines everywhere that it makes a well fitting, knee skimming sheath with her bust covered up look shockingly demure in contrast.
Just to clarify, though – I’m not talking about plunging necklines or thigh-high skirts. I love demure and classy, and I aim for it in my own dressing. Audrey Hepburn all the way. But I feel that Kate takes it just a little too far – it’s like someone at the Palace has told her to be watchful of her image, and she has gone *way* overboard. For instance, have you noticed all the jackets that she has been wearing with necklines all the way to her chin? It is completely unnecessary. She doesn’t look *bad*, it is just a shame that she seems to feel so restricted in that manner. I’d love to see her in some happier colours, too.
Might one of our British ‘ettes tell us a little about Reiss? I had never heard of it before reports about KM’s white dress in the Mario Testino photo (yes, I will admit it, I am also embarassingly intrigued by KM and the coverage of her fashion choices). But Reiss — what is it?
It’s in the US as well. Prices expensive but not unreasonably so. In NY, they have a store on West Bdway in Soho, and I feel like I have seen them elsewhere here, too.
I’ve always thought that she looked lovely, (didn’t see the Derby Day pics), but I’m sort of annoyed that famous women are almost always getting labeled as “fashion icons” of some sort. (Michelle Obama is probably a better example- it seems like people are always trying to make her into some sort of an icon, even though, although I think that she is very pretty, raves about her fashion almost always seem really stretched to me.) Why can’t women just be people!?
Firstly, I would like to say that I am not snooty or snobby – just proud of my achievements.
Does anyone who comes from an elite educational background (e.g. the Ivies/Oxbridge etc.) sometimes feel that they have to hide their background at work? I am a recent graduate and find myself having to hide my background a bit because I get negative vibes if I ever mention it. I also notice a tendancy for people, where I work at any rate, to equate a degree from Anytown University with a Harvard degree. I also feel that I have to dumb down and sometimes act a bit clueless because if I demonstrate the full-scope of my intelligence it looks like I’m being a show-off (e.g. in meetings I somtimes sit silent even if I know the answer for fear of looking liek a know-it-all.)
I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m a snob – I’m not…I just feel crap because I have to hide an important part of who I am and it makes my otherwise very pleasant workplace, rather miserable for me sometimes.
Where do you work that your coworkers (with the exception of the people who hired you) care where you went to school?
Your disclaimer is weak. You in fact are snooty in that you believe you ARE superior to your coworkers due to your educational background and your superior intelligence that you have to hide in meetings. Don’t be ridiculous. If you’re smart then be smart! If you went to Harvard, don’t hide it. Why are you worried so much about how others perceive that? Besides, just because someone went to such and such school is not a guarantee of intelligence. I’m sure you work with people way more experienced than you that may be adding more value that didn’t go to an Ivy!
this. and your education from harvard or wherever isnt necessarily better than someone elses from anytown. your attitude, however, is probably whats causing the reaction you are receiving.
Agreed. Saying you’re not snooty isn’t enough to cover up that you are snooty. What’s wrong with equating a Harvard degree with an Anytown University degree? Most truly intelligent people I know who went to elite schools (me, my husband, at least 100 other people I know) don’t see anything wrong with that.
Of course, I also realize I may as well save my breath because the original poster is undoubtedly reading this type of response thinking we’re just saying these things because we’re jealous or could just never possibly understand her level of intelligence. I know the type.
As someone who worked at Yale, I can testify that, while an Ivy education means many things, it does not, necessarily, mean that you’re smarter than graduates of University X. Yes, there may be a wider range of intelligence and ability at University X than at Yale, but put the best student at Yale next to the best student at X, and you’re not going to be able to tell the difference.
I agree. I know a lot of very smart people who went to decent schools, rather than Ivy League, because of financial situations or needing to be close to family.
I’m confused about this as well – I get asked all the time by attorneys that aren’t from my office where I went to school, but it never comes up at work.
As for dealing with looking like a know-it-all, just give your answer in a humble way, instead of in a know-it-all way. Are you in a position in your office where it would be appropriate for you to speak up at meetings? Personally, I’m still in a position where I listen most of the time and give answers if asked, or give my opinions in one-on-one conversations, post-meeting, to avoid looking self-important.
Anon for This
I graduated from an Ivy and went to work in the fashion industry after I graduated (late 80s). I learned early to tell people I went to school in “state” (and not the name of my school) because a few of the women I started with (who knew where I went to school because it was listed at orientation) viciously gossiped about my pedigree, basically angry that someone with my kind of degree, who could “get any other job,” chose to take a job in an industry that already didn’t have enough openings for all the fashion-type degree holders from schools like FIT, Parsons, etc… Of course, the fashion industry is full of notoriously catty people.
Anon for This
Continued from above –
On the other hand, after working for 20+ years, I have to say that more often than not, it is a good idea to listen rather than talk when you are a junior employee, no matter where you went to school. When I started working, all my “I know that” answers were, in retrospect, more pedestrian than insightful, and I am glad now that I kept my mouth shut for the most part. There was a thread a few weeks back about a junior lawyer who was perceived as being inane and clueless (by opposing counsel) because she chatted about her knowledge of a subject while blocking the exit after a meeting. I think this happens a lot to junior employees b/c of their lack of experience.
I think it is the rare, socially talented individual who is able to impress higher-ups with their just-out-of-school intelligence.
Anon for This
To be fair, this particular devise wasn’t as widely used 20 years ago, or perhaps more accurately, pre-internet and pre-modern TV, it wasn’t a well-known strategy. I’ve never had anyone ask me the follow up question, and I know a few people still think I went to the state school.
I don’t do this anymore because in my 40s, nobody cares where I went to school anymore.
Anon for This
This is reply to @Anon below : )
I would caution against this a bit. I had a good friend who went to Yale and whenever she would say “Oh, I went to school in New Haven” (or another friend who went to Harvard saying he went to school in Boston), there was usually a follow-up question of “oh, where?” that left her/him looking even worse. You need to get down pat a normal tone of voice when you do say where you went.
In my experience, I went to a well-respected undergrad and a top law school–if anything, it honestly made me realize that lots of people who went to Harvard/Yale/etc for undergrad, while smart, were not necessarily any smarter than people I met who went to lesser-ranked schools. So you may be encountering a bit of that (the original poster, that is).
As for sounding smart at meetings–it may be more about your rank than it is about your intelligence/pedigree. If you’re junior, you should share your perspective, but only when appropriate. I don’t care if you were top of your class at Harvard–if you’re the intern and you’re among senior staff, bite your tongue unless others your rank in the company are speaking up.
by the way, telling people you went to school in Conn or Mass is a dead giveaway and i think it sounds even more obnoxious than just saying where you went
Totally agree with this! I live in DC and used to work in BigLaw, where you can’t walk 5 feet without bumping into someone who went to an Ivy League school. If I had a nickel for every conversation I had with someone who went to school in “New Haven,” well — I’d be able to afford some of the fashions featured in Monday’s splurge reports! Get over yourselves, people. You went to school at Yale. Say it in a non-obnoxious way and move on. As people have already said, your performance now, not where you went to school, is what matters.
This! Seriously. If you tell me you went to school in New Haven instead of just saying Yale or Cambridge instead of Harvard, it makes me want to kick you.
How often do you _need_ to mention youralma mater now that you’ve been hired and presumably introduced to everyone in the office?
This. I had a former colleague who was referred to as “H-Bomb” because said colleague managed to reference Harvard in every.single.conversation. Don’t be that colleague!
As a recent college graduate, it’s natural to be proud of your academic accomplishments, but remember that it’s your performance in the work place that advances you from here on out. Your educational pedigree will become less about who you are as person/how you value yourself and more about what it taught you that makes you a good employee. (The capacity to think/analyze/lead).
Biases about pedigree have always existed, even though American pretend to not have strict class distinctions. Those who went to less well known schools may appear to be defensive about or feel (rightly or wrongly) that you judge them for it. It’s a human dynamic that you will have to learn to navigate in the workplace. Flip it on its head for a second and imagine how a State School U grad feels in a heavily Ivy populated environment (like banking/Wall St/Etc).
FWIW PBK and elite small research university in Baltimore grad. You figure it out. When I say I went to school in Baltimore, people rarely do, and it doesn’t bother me.
Popping in to say I’m a fellow Baltimore-area grad. Although my big reaction to when I tell people where I went to school is “Oh! you must be a doctor/why aren’t you a doctor?”
But I flaunt the name much more than you do. Not in an obnoxious way, but if someone asks, I’ll tell them. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that!
found a peanut
“I also notice a tendancy for people, where I work at any rate, to equate a degree from Anytown University with a Harvard degree.”
Nice. So you want to hide the fact that you went to Harvard, but you also want to make sure everyone realizes that the school you went to is better than their school.
I went to an Ivy and work at a place where most people don’t have the same academic pedigree. It does come up because people do talk about college, and people will ask you where you went. So if you’re asked directly just tell them. If you say “In Boston” people will just think you’re weird and avoiding a direct question.
As for people having the audacity to think that their State U education is equal to your ivy-covered one, why does that bother you? If that’s the only thing you’re hanging your hat on, you need to work on getting other hat racks. Let people think what they want to think. People will either be impressed or they won’t be, and lecturing them on the merits of a Harvard education is not going to make you any friends. People who think that their Ivy education entitles them to better things often end up pretty bitter.
Just want to compliment your turn of phrase: “If that’s the only thing you’re hanging your hat on, you need to work on getting other hat racks.” I’m going to use that from now on!
This. Loved it!
I do equate a degree from Anytown University with a Harvard degree. It’s not where you go to school but what you make of the opportunities you are offered in school. You’d be surpised at the opportunities available for motivated, top students at “Anytown University” if they go after them.
And you also might be surprised–though you shouldn’t be–at all the students and alums of elite schools who don’t make the most of the opportunity and do mediocre work throughout their careers. Sometimes they’re very successful anyway, but for the wrong reasons. I don’t think that’s anything to be proud of.
I will say that this sentence in particular came across abrasively. Makes me want to go out and buy a sweatshirt emblazoned “ANYTOWN.”
I’d buy one! (start a Corporette line?? ;)
Right on–exactly. I know people who were very motivated and smart who went to Anytown University b/c they didn’t have their parents paying for private school/tutors, didn’t have the money to go to other schools, or had other reasons for staying closer to home or exploring a new city. I have seen lots of smart people graduate from Anytown University and lots of not-so-impressive folks who went to better-recognized schools. It’s what you make of it.
I’ll second this as a graduate of Anytown. I WAS accepted to Johns Hopkins (not an Ivy–but an impressive school nonetheless for my major) and–based on my ACT and GPA–could have easily gotten in to at least one Ivy. So I know I’m not less intelligent than an “Ivy”. I also know that I am not the only one who has made this decision.
I just had scholarships to Anytown and was fortunate to be able to do undergrad without taking any loans.
This. Offered the choice of a full ride at Very Good University and massive loans at Ivy, I took Very Good University, and have never been sorry. Not having undergrad debt has made a huge difference in my life.
You are “better” than someone and there are people “better” than you so there’s no point in acting superior. Believing otherwise is just a shame. This applies to anything. Education, intelligence, looks, success, humor, etc. etc.
I graduated from a very middle-of-the-road lawschool. Not many people out of the state even know about it. I work in a highly sought after field. One where alums from Ivy league schools literally offer to work for minimum wage and one where people plan their entire lives to break into. I am so proud that “despite” my Anytown U degree, I was given a shot and you know what? I run circles around the folks that only hang their hat on their only hat rack (love it too, found a peanut). I work hard, I learn, I’m smart and I work well with my clients and THAT’s what it means to being a great lawyer. With that said, there many lawyers in this industry (some of whom are from “Ivies”) that can run circles around me not because they spent 4 years learning from amazingly intelligent profs but because they work hard and prove themselves.
Loopy, I wish you well and I hope that you open your mind enough to realize that even though you have learned so much through your formal education, you have SO much to learn about the world and about life.
I got accepted to MIT for engineering. I went to state school cause I got a full ride. Same with got accepted to Yale for my MS but went to smaller private school because I got a full ride plus 40K a year work stipend. After a JD with loans, it’s great to know I got 2 degrees for free vs. the 100K+ loans I would have had if I did choose the “Ivy.”
Personally, I think my choice to go to a lower ranked school makes me the “smarter” person in the long run. :)
I did not attend an Ivy for undergrad or grad school, but I have a lot of lifelong friends and respected colleagues who did. It’s not an issue for them or for me; never has been.
Whatever industry you’re in, there’s not reason you should EVER “dumb down” as a professional. If you find yourself doing that, you need to assess your situation honestly, or perhaps assess yourself.
It may not be the substance of what you’re trying to communicate, but the way you’re communicating it?
What I’m feeling from your post is that you *do* feel superior to people who went to Anytown University. The reality is that there are many incredibly intelligent people who end up at Anytown U who perform much better in the workplace than many of their elite university counterparts. If you’re a junior employee, you need to be able to take direction from senior employees without respect to where they went to school.
I agree with others, its hard to tell from your post why this would come up frequently. For example, where other people might say “I took at sociology class in school” do you say “I took a sociology class at Harvard”? If so, that is kind of obnoxious.
My advice would be not to stress where you went to school, but don’t lie about it either. So, when its a direct question, no need to hide the ball and say “I went to school in Boston” but there is no need to bring it up at all unless asked.
As to the other part of your question — never, ever feel the need to hide how smart you are. You should be proud of your accomplishments. Dumbing yourself down will only make you look insecure. But remember, there are lots of whip smart people who when to Anytown U for a variety of reasons, financial, familial, etc. Don’t discount them.
I suspect that as you gain more confidence in your role and others start to appreciate how competent you are, this will great on you less. After all, as other have said above, its what you do with your degree, not the name at the top that matters over time.
Ugh, that should be “grate on you” in the last paragraph.
Hee hee! that made me laugh!
Several partners at Biglaw firms have remarked to me over the years that associates with Harvard/Yale/etc. degrees simply don’t measure up to many associates from Anytown University.
Maybe the people where you work aren’t equating degrees, but rather equating people. Put more bluntly, maybe they’ve just noticed that your fancy background hasn’t made you any *more* competent than your less pretigious colleagues.
Oh, and I have an “elite educational background” too.
I think the main fallacy in your post is that your alma mater is “an important part of who [you are]” in the workplace. It may have helped you land the job, but it is basically irrelevant going forward – the only thing that is relevant now is your workplace performance. Your pride in your academic achievements should be subsumed to developing pride in new workplace achievements. Perhaps your dilemma will be resolved by handling your college time for what it is — a stepping stone that took you to the same place as all your other colleagues.
And, FWIW, I went to a very competitive undergrad and an Ivy League law school.
Andrew “Andy” Bernard from The Office! :) You know, he went to Cornell. Love love love that sweet, sad character, but he is not good at his job and the endearing thing about him is how pathetic he is.
If you are of drinking age, your education should be a weapon in your arsenal– because of the education you received, not the name attached. Use what you learned to be amazing at your job. Don’t want for people to be impressed by the amazing place you learned it. And for heaven’s sake, don’t be amazed yourself.
Not to pile on, but I think you are confusing your academic resume with your position in the company. As a junior employee, it’s appropriate to stay quiet in meetings even when you “know the answer.” I put that in quotes, because there have been times in my life that I have thought “I knew the answer” but it turned out that a) my knowledge was more superficial than I realized b) it was not appropriate for me to speak up in the context. Now if a question is thrown out to a group like “does anyone here know the population of Namibia?” and you, in fact do and no one else does, then by all means don’t hide it. It’s just that the nuance and political art of the meeting may not be clear to you and that point, and conferring privately with people may be a better way of showing respect and value.
My mother volunteers at a high school, helping guide girls who are first in their families to go to college, through the complex college application process. I have learned a ton about what opportunity and access I was given as I listen to her and the struggles of these girls. Sometimes, getting these girls to get to a state university a couple of hours away from home is like getting me to the moon — nearly impossible. These are smart, hard working talented young women who were not dealt the same cards that many of us were dealt. I acknowledge that I am making some assumptions about your background, and I apologize if I’m incorrect. But if these girls end up working alongside you someday, with their “anytown” USA college degree, you are underestimating their drive and intelligence to think they are less.
Additionally, I trained at a surgical residency with a national reputation (not that that means much to you or anyone else) and many of my fellow residents are graduates of Anytown college or even, gasp Anytown Medical School. I would literally trust them with my life.
“I also notice a tendancy for people, where I work at any rate, to equate a degree from Anytown University with a Harvard degree.”
Please explain how this isn’t the very definition of snooty or snobby.
Also, I don’t have a chip–I went to Princeton, and I think your assumption that an Ivy is better than Anytown is extremely snooty/snobby.
Alanna of Trebond (formerly 2L NYC)
Not adding anything to the conversation — but saying that I am a Princeton alum as well and I am always glad to meet another alum! (currently listening to reunions fireworks songs…)
Stanford (as an example) is considered a top school and yet many of the teachers also teach at the local community colleges. Does that mean that those students are less than those at Standford even though they have the same teachers? Personally, I think it’s smart to not spend hundreds of thousands on an undergrad degree but that’s neither here nor there. ;)
So the people you work with have anytown degrees, and you have a Harvard degree, and you now both have the same job, but you want people to know that its not the same. Guess what? You both ended up the same place. (I went to a good but not great undergrad and a t-5 law school. Meeting classmates for the first time I got a lot of looks when I said where I went to undergrad and then “oh I went to Yale College.” yeah I’ve heard of it, but looks like we are both in the same place now so..)
Where I work now I am the only person with a law degree from an elite school, almost everyone else has a state school or lower ranked degree. My first day it came up, I got a few comments like “oh what a great school” and it HAS NEVER COME UP AGAIN. Unless its normal conversation like someone tells me their daughter/son/niece is interested in the school or the area. If you are getting negative vibes seriously think about how you are presenting it. You do not have to dumb it down, I’m sure one of the reasons you were hired is because of your intelligence. But the big give away in how you view yourself is the sentence that people equate an anytown degree with a harvard degree. You view yourself as different and superior. You’ve arrived at the same place as your colleagues with different degrees. Now show what you can do with that intelligence by being a good worker instead of resting on name dropping your college. You are lucky to have a pleasant workplace and you really shouldn’t let this make you miserable.
Ok, a slightly different take on Loopy’s position, as I have been that (clueless) person. If only I had had you thoughtful ladies to enlighten me back in the day…
It may be that Loopy is working in a position that doesn’t take full advantage of her degree – maybe she’s temping, or working in retail, or in a factory, or landscaping (yep, done them all). In such situations, mentioning an ‘elite’ background is a sure route to social exclusion. In my experience, the knowledge and skills required in these areas were different than the ones taught in college – therefore, I thought I had to ‘dumb down’ my remarks, but what I really had to do was learn this new area that calls on different sorts of intelligence from the ones taught at elite colleges. If this is you, Loopy, try to approach the scenario as an anthropologist, using all those analytical skills you learned in college to suss out what is important and valued in your new environment.
this is a really thoughtful and appropriate response — i think it probably says what others are rightly saying, but takes a “heres how to fix the problem” approach
Thank you for your perspective, Jr. Prof. I am in fact essentially a temp but have been presented with the option of a full-time job. I like the people I work with but my above concern is the key issue I face at the moment.
For those who are sat here telling me to stop acting hoity toity, let me give you some perspective. Firstly, I guess I should have elaborated further earlier but did not want to give away too much personal information on a public forum. When I said ‘Anytown’ U, I was not talking about a US state school. I do not consider someone from U Mich or UVA or one of the UCs to be stupid. I am talking about the difference between a Harvard equivalent degree (I have a UG and a Master’s from such schools) and someone from a local university in a frankly, a bit of a tin-pot country in the Mid East where the degrees are barely accredited by foreign bodies).
So yes, I think it’s fair to say i am probably smarter and would like to be treated as the brighter individual. I do an EXTREMELY good job and my work produces results (i.e. even as a temp I work end-to-end on market surveys/BI reports which our clients pay for.) And yet I feel I am seen as being good as tin-pot university graduate. In fact i almost feel that my UG and Master’s have neglible value to my managers and that they would value me just as much even if I had studied at tin-pot U.
I think part of a problem is a lack of education/understanding. I have felt a lot of animosity whilst interviewing for graduate jobs in my current country because when the bulk of people are from local tin-pot U, why would they want to take on a grad who has the calibre to eventually out-shine them? I’ve had people say this to my face.
Obviously, sometimes I don’t get the above reaction. I am interviewing for a job at the moment with an American firm where I am valued exactly because I am bright/have talent not available in the local market. But it’s a struggle.
Anyway, I guess I should have posted this earlier but this will add more perspective to my situation.
I have to ask – if you are in the Middle East and feeling like you are not being appreciated to your full potential, could this be a cultural thing, rather than anything to do with your degree?
I think part of it is – not least because I am a woman.
But I also think people have different attitudes to education here. I grew up in a family environment where a good education was seen as your path to success and something to be praised. However, a lot of the people I know/work with act as though one is showing off if one suggests pride in academic accomplishments, whereas were I to say ‘oh I party every weekend at the Ritz’ (which a lot of my colleagues do) – that would be just fine and not considered showing off. (I consider that showing off, myself)
“U Mich or UVA or one of the UCs to be stupid”
How generous of you. The rest of us are all knuckle-draggers, I guess.
Would you like me to name every state university in the United States? It’s called giving an example…
@ Loopy, you have examples of tip top state schools that are often equated with (or even regarded as better than) Ivies. It significantly limited your acknowledgement that state school grads aren’t stupid.
C’mon. I’m starting to wonder if this is a troll.
I think the cultural dimension adds a whole different gloss to this story and is probably impacting things to some extent. But at least part of the problem is this: “In fact i almost feel that my UG and Master’s have neglible value to my managers and that they would value me just as much even if I had studied at tin-pot U.”
I think what a lot of new grads don’t realize (understandably so, when college/grad school admissions are so focused on rankings and names) is that the name of your school DOES have negligble value to your employer. Your degree acts as a signalling device, particularly when you don’t have a lot of work experience yet — if you went to Harvard, you’ve probably got a baseline of intelligence/work ethic. That doesn’t mean that people who went to Anytown University don’t, but it’s maybe not necessarily true that they do.
Once you have the job, though? No one cares where you went to school because they now have a much, much more helpful metric on which to evaluate you: the work that you do for them. They’re no longer trying to guess your potential, because now they have some concrete data about your abilities. If you’re being valued at the same level as your colleagues, it probably means that your work is on the same level as theirs. If you are being given more responsibility than they are, then it probably means your work is better than theirs. But the likelihood that your degree is factoring into things is virtually zero.
Right this was what I was trying to say above. You have the ivy degree, but you are working at the same place as the anytown. Now that you are in, you are equal and it has to be the work that sets you apart. In the Olympics, your qualifying time might have been the fastest, but once you get to the Olympics, you are equal with everyone else that qualified and you must outrace them there.
I think the class distinctions are even larger when someone goes abroad to university. The reality of the matter is that most people can’t afford to go to university abroad. My guess is that in your country, there are a lot of bright and talented people who don’t have the opportunity to go to North America or Europe to study, and that isn’t something management should be holding against applicants who may have only had the option of the local university.
Fundamentally, you seem to be confusing credentials and talent. They aren’t supposed to value you based on where you got your degrees. They’re supposed to value you based on your performance. You don’t get to be “treated as a brighter individual” based on a piece of paper that’s affixed to your office wall.
In addition, having lived and worked abroad for a substantial period of time, I think it’s strange that you think that having gone to an elite college means that you’re *smarter * than those who didn’t have the financial background, family status, etc. that would have enabled them to do so. I lived in a country with a pretty crappy national university, but only the wealthiest and most elite students left to study abroad. In fact, only the upper middle class even had the ability to get into National U. Many, who couldn’t afford the fees or who lacked the background to understand the application processes, ended up at even-less-good universities.
I interviewed and hired graduates of all three (elite/foreign universities, National U, and the secondary universities). You’re not nearly as much more valuable as you think.
As a fellow Ivy grad, I had sympathy for you and didn’t think you were being snooty until you followed up with this post…but now you have explicitly identified feeling superior based on school name, which I think is really unacceptable for many of the reasons the other commenters mentioned.
I do have to say that I often have the uncomfortable “Oh, you went THERE, you must be so smart” experience when someone asks where I went to school, and I state the name of the school in the most normal tone possible. I do my best to avoid any conversations about schools, but it sometimes happens. I often wish that people would just not make such comments, because no matter what I say, I will feel awkward. Wouldn’t it be nicer to just say, “oh, cool” or “oh, nice” instead of making me feel bad? That’s my reaction, whenever the tables are reversed, regardless of the school, and I wish everyone would exercise the same courtesy.
“I am talking about the difference between a Harvard equivalent degree (I have a UG and a Master’s from such schools) and someone from a local university in a frankly, a bit of a tin-pot country in the Mid East where the degrees are barely accredited by foreign bodies). So yes, I think it’s fair to say i am probably smarter and would like to be treated as the brighter individual.”
Nope, you are absolutely wrong. The fact that you went to Harvard and the person sitting next to you went to the local university, no matter how tin-pot, does not make you either smarter or brighter. All it means is that you got into and through Harvard. “Smart” and “bright” are not the same as “well-educated” and “privileged.” One of my grandmothers has a PhD from a prestigious university; the other had no college degree at all until a few years ago. They are equally smart and equally bright. They had access to different levels of education for reasons of means and location. If they were both put in a workplace together, they would do an equally good job. I would look down on any manager who treated one of them as more valuable just because she went to a better university.
I agree with everyone else here that once you are in your first job, the quality of your work – AND your ability to work with the people around you – are the only things that matter. Your educational background, particularly the name of the place you went, is absolutely meaningless in a work setting, unless it gives you access to networks that the company wants to exploit. (Note: network access doesn’t make you smart or bright either. Just privileged.) Your UG and Master’s degrees SHOULD have negligible value to your managers, because they are absolutely meaningless in a work environment. The fact that you don’t seem to understand that makes me question whether the issues you are facing are actually related to your degree, as opposed to your attitude about the people around you, who do not come from the same privilege that you come from.
And, for the record, I have both UG and Masters degrees from Ivy equivalents.
I don’t know where you’re based but please don’t negate a non US degree. I live in Asia and many Americans think the world stops at their borders. They’re the kind that’s never well rated where they work due to ignorance about non US things incl education. Equally there are many who are eager to learn about the rest of the world and are welcomed with open arms.
Ps: I was educated at a top non US MBA school….:)
ouch sorry – no idea why my comment posted thrice!
I don’t know where you’re based but please don’t negate a non US degree. I live in Asia and many Americans think the world stops at their borders. They’re the kind that’s never well rated where they work due to ignorance about non US things incl education. Equally there are many who are eager to learn about the rest of the world and are welcomed with open arms.
Ps: I was educated at a top non US MBA school….:)
I don’t know where you’re based but please don’t negate a non US degree. I live in Asia and many Americans think the world stops at their borders. They’re the kind that’s never well rated where they work due to ignorance about non US things incl education. Equally there are many who are eager to learn about the rest of the world and are welcomed with open arms.
Ps: I was educated at a top non US MBA school….
OK, I think everyone is piling on too hard.
Loopy – I see two separate issues here. The first is that some people you work with seem resentful that you went to an elite school. The fact is that many people perceive that graduates of elite schools were legacy admits or are rich. So, it’s a possibility that people perceive you that way and resent you. It is also a (more likely) possibility that you talk about your university too much. It is common for recent grads to begin every sentence with a story about college, because all of their experience from the past four years came from college. If you’re beginning every sentence with a story about, say, Princeton, you’re going to be perceived as a snob. Also, I agree with the posters who say you are acting like a snob – your Ivy degree does not mean that you are smarter or more competent than someone who did not attend an Ivy. Many of the hardest-working, brightest, most determined people in America attend lower-cost schools because they don’t have the resources or social capital to know how to get into an Ivy, or they take scholarships at lower-ranked schools rather than attending an Ivy.
Your second issue is that you perceive yourself as being smarter than your superiors. Maybe that’s true. I have met a lot of idiots in high-ranking positions during the course of my career. However, I’ve also met a lot of recent grads who act too big for their britches. Regardless of the situation here, your superiors are your superiors, they know more about the company than you do, and you need to defer to them. If you truly think they’re all idiots, then look for a new job, and if your coworkers at your next job all seem like idiots too then I’d say the problem is you, not them.
Thanks for your comments Eponine.
I would like to point out that I do not mention where I study every ten seconds. In fact I rarely mention it at all. Sometimes it comes up in casual conversation e.g. “oh, there’s a great restaurant i loved to go to which was near me when I was at X school.” It’s more like being in a meeting and the grads/juniors get asked a question and even though I know the answer/the answer is pretty easy, I have to keep mum and let the other grads struggle through an answer lest I look like a know-it-all.
Then you need to find a place where you can be challenged and you don’t have to hide who you are. If you feel like you are smarter than those around you and cannot rise to your potential, you need to move on. If you are working with people who are intimidated by the fact that you went to a school that is generally thought of as prestigious, then you need to move on. If you find yourself surrounded by dbags who only talk about how they party at such and such place and with so and so and that’s thought of as “successful” in the organization, you need to move on. You get the picture. Use your impressive resume and move on to something that you believe suits you. Just don’t forget to prove yourself and not let your degree speak for you.
Exactly this. If you’re working an area/ firm that doesn’t allow you to be challenged and grow, move on!
I’m chagrined to say that I did just that for 5 years after college (worked at low skill jobs that didn’t take full advantage of my skills and abilities) because I was feeling insecure and confused. After some wandering around, I spent the next decade in graduate school. Now, I’d give *anything* to get those 5 post-college years back. Don’t stay stuck, or in a dead-end job. If you have to dumb down, or don’t feel like work/ your colleagues challenge you, MOVE ON!
I understand you feel that your prestigious school is brought up too frequently. However, based on even this example though, you may mentioning your school when there is no reasonable need to do so. Why do you need to mention X school, why not say “there’s a great restaurant I frequented when I lived [back in the States] or [near where I went to undergrad/grad school]”. I think you need to separate out the various parts of what you perceive to the be the problem and take appropriate steps to address each. From what you’ve said, here is what I see to be the distinct problems:
1. You are frustrated that people appear to resent where you attended school.
2. You are not given the opportunities to develop you want/think you deserve.
3. Your co-workers are given the opportunities to develop that you want/think you deserve.
These are separate and distinct problems.
I never feel like I have to hide my background, because it rarely comes up. When it does, I don’t feel embarrassed by it, or looked down upon. Furthermore, I wouldn’t scoff at someone equating my degree with a degree from anytown usa, because I think the value of an education comes more from what the student puts in than the location of the school, barring a few extreme exceptions. You sound like a elitist, I hate to say it and I don’t mean it to be accusatory or mean. There is no reason to hold back, unless of course you think you are better than everyone else and that they would be threatened by your superiority if you let the full force of your intelligence shine. And that sounds elitist and snobby to me. My recommendation would be to try to examine why you have this chip on your shoulder, and work at removing it so it doesn’t hurt you in the workplace.
I kind of understand what you’re saying. I don’t have an elite educational background, but I took advantage of some opportunities where I got some pretty impressive resume lines and stories. It wouldn’t come up at work (usually because I never really mentioned it unless it was relevant) but a few people in my extended family bring it up at family functions with derision.
That said, if I may gently ask how do you know the full extent of your intelligence? From your post I’m not sure if you’re around my age (mid-20s) or older. But if you’re around my age, I think it’s fair to say you haven’t realized the full scope of your intelligence yet. I know I haven’t, since there are problems in the world I don’t yet know how to solve (like multi-variable calculus). You don’t stop learning once you have a diploma, regardless of where it’s from, and so how would you know if you knew the answers in the first place? :-)
Sometimes it is appropriate to equate a Harvard degree with an Anytown U degree. At my firm, I’ve seen sh$t work come out of the Harvard law grads and amazing things out of the State U grads. So I certainly wouldn’t hire a lawyer based soley on where she went to school.
You must have gone to Duke. They include this delusion of grandeur in the tuition.
Yikes! Why such hostility?
Anon for this
You guys are all way nicer than I am I guess. As a lowly graduate of anytown U, the first thing that I noticed in this post was not the tone, but the spelling. . . .
“I also notice a tendancy for people, where I work at any rate, to equate a degree from Anytown University with a Harvard degree”
…not to mention the punctuation. Perhaps she didn’t want to intimidate us with the “full-scope” of her writing skills.
This slu ds like the let down that comes with discoveri g that attending a higher ranked school doesn’t make you inherently better at your job, smarter, thought of more highly etc…. Welcome to the real world….
I like the dress except for the exposed zipper in the back. I really wish that trend would go away.
found a peanut
I like this trend. Esp how it’s done here, where the zipper doesn’t go down to your butt, which in my opinion is too suggestive for the office.
Agreed. I like that the zipper goes to the waist and then there is a defined waist in the seams. This way works for an exposed zipper. The ones that just keep going down, down, down are not office appropriate IMO.
I also find the zipper to be unfortunate. I’ve gotten really excited about dresses like this until I see the back. I don’t wany anything sparkly or shiny unless it’s some face-framing jewelry or something.
Agreed. Just looking at the picture Kat used, I would’ve seriously considered ordering this dress. The exposed zipper was enough to strike that thought down, and when I zoomed in to examine it further I could see that it’s also a little too snug on the model’s backside for my taste (if it’s snug on the trim model, it would be busting at the seams on me).
I am so tired of the exposed zipper trend. I can’t tell you how many shirts and dresses I would have purchased if they had not had exposed zippers. Since I am a recent grad, I am trying to build my wardrobe around classic pieces, and it frustrates me to no end to constantly encounter exposed zippers. IMO, it cheapens the look of the item. I don’t want trendy, cheap looking clothing. I suppose if I had the money to spend on trendy items, and I had already built up my wardrobe, I would feel differently. If other people like the trend, great. I just wish it weren’t on so many otherwise beautiful pieces of clothing. Okay, rant over. :-)
I wonder if if is easier to produce clothing with exposed zippers and that’s why they’re everywhere.
In general, no, because it means (1) you have to buy a higher quality zipper and (2) you have to finish it cleaner.
Zippers are kind of b**** to put in. Its lots of inside out and backward thinking, and then finishing work to make it look neat from the outside.
On the line, the pieces come to you with the zipper pre-set, your machine is pre-set and you run it up one side, then the other. And because the zipper is hidden, you don’t have to worry about the zipper binding puckering. Invisible zippers (dresses and skirts) are more difficult to put in because the body fabric has to be flush with the coils and kiss each other, but they are also cheaper. With the exposed zippers, I believe you need a far better quality zipper in terms of binding and coil – material costs tend to outweigh labor costs about 2:1. And labor wise, you have to stitch at the edge of the binding, and cleanly finish top and bottom (which you do not have to do with inside zippers). It is also exactly the kind of thing that a quality control inspector will nix a garment on (whereas many a QC person I’ve worked with will not look at the inside of a garment).
Counter-intuitive, I know, but I still think that on the whole, the exposed zipper will price out higher.
Exposed zippers are too sexy for work clothes.
I probably should have explained. I live and work in the part of the world where having say a Harvard or a Yale degree is almost unheard of. I work with the local office of a smaller international consultancy firm and the quality of staff varies from good to pretty s*** (local hires).
It’s not so much that it ‘matters’ but that I feel negativity if I ever act intelligent and I feel I have to cater to the lowest common denominator. Case in point, new hire of a local graduate who has not studied overseas; quality-wise the individual is pretty poor; I have about six months more experience than him within the business and degrees from top-schools – we get treated pretty equally in terms of responsibility (not that the individual actualizes that much of that responsibility given his/her quality); I have to sit and listen to my superiors praise said individual for managing to fulfill tasks I could have completed when I was in high school.
Time to job hunt?
I’m not sure how your example demonstrates anything. You’re both entry-level people and the bar is low. You probably don’t mean to, but you’re coming across as snobby rather than simply smart, which could be why you’re getting the reactions you are.
Honestly? Work hard, work better, and quit “dumbing down” like you say you are. Maybe if you demonstrated your full intelligence you would be rewarded with more responsibility than your peers.
Maybe I’m reading this wrong, but it sounds like you’re upset that this low life from a state-level school gets praise for completing his tasks, tasks which you think you could have done better, or at least as well, in high school? Are you not getting praise? And you seem to resent that you are treated equally with this person in terms of responsibility, despite your superior education? It really sounds like more of an attitude problem on your side, but I could be wrong. Maybe this individual is capable of doing good work, despite his crappy education, and perhaps you should just concentrate on doing a good job with regard to your assigned tasks.
And maybe this local person was hired because of a family connection and their competency did not matter then or now… alas, this happens all too often in certain parts of the world. In any case, there is nothing you can do besides doing the best job you can, with the best attitude you can muster.
Looking for a new job, where your pedigree is appreciated, is also an option, of course.
SF Bay Associate
You seem to be substituting your judgment for that of your superiors. They hired both of you for a reason, even if it is not immediately apparent to you what that reason might be. And so what you have six months more experience? Speaking as someone is currently training first year law associates who have just reached about six months of experience, six months is nothing.
As for “not studied overseas”, that really struck a nerve for me. I went to a state U and didn’t study overseas – why? As much as I would have liked to have gone to a “fancier” school or study abroad, and as much as I would have qualified, my parents couldn’t afford to send me far away to an Ivy, nor could they afford to send me overseas. They could barely afford my tuition at state U. Your privilege is showing, Loopy.
Stop worrying about qualifications and resumes. Do your very best work every day and the accolades you think you deserve should follow soon after.
Felt the same way re: studying overseas. I went to a prestigious private university for college and a top 14 law school and now work for very well-known international law firm. I can honestly say that not once have I judged someone’s ability at work based on whether they studied abroad.
My advice? Treat your college degree and experience as the stepping stone that helped get your current job. And then forget about it. What you learn in college (even at Ivies) is vastly different from what you actually need to know to do a good job working. Yes, you should be proud of your accomplishments and your degree – to a point. It seems like a little introspection is called for.
Consultant in NoVA
I took the overseas comment as she is a non-U.S. citizen who came to the U.S. to get her education and then went back to her home country where most people stay to go to college. (She also mentioned she “lives and works in a part of the world…”) I’m just stating that I took that part of her post differently.
Reading her follow-up above, I see that’s how she meant it. That makes more sense.
found a peanut
“I have to sit and listen to my superiors praise said individual for managing to fulfill tasks I could have completed when I was in high school.”
Yeah, most entry-level work is pretty basic. I’m pretty sure my husband, who works in a big law firm, was at his firm late last night collating documents (and maybe even employing a stapler sometimes). I’m also pretty sure that he could have accomplished that task in high school. And that he was thanked the next day for staying late and completing the task.
There has to be something else going on w/r/t this individual that you are not picking up on. Unless your bosses are also idiots, there is no reason they would hire someone who was poor quality and then praise him when he managed to accomplish simple, basic tasks. I don’t know what that something else is, but my hunch is that it’s your attitude.
Ditto “most entry-level work is pretty basic.” As a junior associate, a lot of what I do is work that a reasonably conscientious high schooler could do equally well. It’s frustrating sometimes to know that I’ve spent so many years and so much money obtaining an education and a great job to be doing… doc review. Or priv logs. You graduate school, guns blazing, ready to be a Lawyer and a Grown Up and you end up doing work you could’ve done before accumulating massive amounts of debt and wasting your 20s with your nose in a book and editing articles for law journals no one will ever read. You think, “that $180k I spent on law school sure could’ve bought a lot of fabulous vacations and beach-side margaritas, and I would be just as prepared to practice law if I had been doing that for the last three years as I am now!” OK rant over, I swear.
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re working in, you get pretty simple work when you’re new. Just take the time to learn the ropes and observe your superiors. There’s a lot that you can’t learn in school, no matter how great your education was.
Maybe because he’s a he, and the poster is a she? Maybe her issue is sexism . . . really can’t tell because of the lack of specificity. Is she being offered the same work as the praised male? If not, why not. If so, and she does a great job, is she not being acknowledged?
In any event, I’m a litigator where the jury doesn’t give a damn where you come from. In litigation, it’s all about performance. Oh, and winning.
Perhaps you should ask yourself what about your job performance isn’t earning you praise, and stop being bitter that someone who didn’t, heaven forbid, have the opportunity for an Ivy League education or study abroad is having success in his job.
College is important. Congratulations on getting into an elite school and on being able to take advantage of a study abroad program. I’m sure your education and opportunities helped you get this job, but maybe you should consider that despite the lack of study abroad, and despite the local education, there were opportunities your co-worker was able to take advantage of as well that got him his job. Now you’re on equal footing, and you need to stop acting like you’re superior because of where you went to school.
Is this for real
I cannot believe your comments/perspective is real
“and I feel I have to cater to the lowest common denominator” – you are your own worst enemy.
Time to get over yourself.
The fact that you went to Harvard & studied overseas affects nobody at work. Either your work speaks for itself or it doesn’t.
Hi Loopy, I echo the comments of others that you should just focus on doing your very best work and not worry about where you or anyone else went to school. And I also would ask you to consider whether you are in fact being snobby about your educational background. I went to an Ivy undergrad and was a supreme snob about it, even if I pretended that I wasn’t. I thought that I was waaaaay brighter than someone from a state school simply of where I went for undergrad. I then later went to an Anytown U law school and was humbled by how many smart people I met there.
Do you think that you’re smarter than someone from Anytown U simply because you went to an Ivy? If the answer is yes, then yes, you are being a snob.
Taking away the educational background for a minute, I have been in work places where I felt that my colleagues were not as smart/driven/ambitious as I was. I didn’t dumb myself down for anyone, I just focused on doing good work and then being very humble/understated when my achievements were pointed out by my boss. Just keep doing good work and try to show some humility, and you’ll be successful.
Past is prologue.
No one cares about your past achievements until they might be useful to them. You can’t make them care except negatively. Earn credit for your work now. Know that you can’t earn praise, though– you get it or you don’t, fair or not. There are no rest-able laurels in adult life– luck can come and go, and some people do seem unjustly lucky, but the only thing to do is be proactive and hard-working, forward-thinking and forward-looking. Where you all went to school is part of your archived juvinalia now. Onward and upward. This is part of your continuing education, little sister.
I suggest you stop worrying about the praise your colleagues are receiving and focus on what you can control–your own performance.
You might want to consider whether the negativity you perceive is based on envy or dislike of intelligence, as you seem to suggest, or based on your tone and demeanor when “act[ing] intelligent.” It’s clear you think your Ivy degree is worth more than a State U degree, which (whether true or not) is an attitude unlikely to garner respect or even collegiality in an environment made up of what you perceive as inferior local hires. To the extent you believe you’re entitled to additional respect in the workplace based on your alma mater and study abroad experience, you’re wrong. I suspect your colleagues have picked up on both beliefs and are acting accordingly rather than punishing you for your intelligence.
If you plan to continue working in your current office, you’ll probably be more successful if you stop hoping for additional respect/praise based on your historical accomplishments and focus on what you can accomplish for your employer. You don’t need to hide your past accomplishments, but you need to hide the fact that you think they make you a better employee than your State U colleagues.
Oh come on, most of the time studying abroad is code for drinking in a foreign country with fellow americans. Why do you care whether he gets praise or not? Focus on your own work. Maybe degrees from Harvard and Yale are unheard of because when they get a grad from there the grad is wondering why people aren’t bowing when they grace the meeting with their presence.
Okay. I went to an Ivy League, too. No one else at my firm, at least in my own department, did, but it really has no relevance in the workplace. Am I smarter overall than most of my co-workers? Probably, but they all have their own strengths and expertise. If I need network access or security, I’ll go to them.
Plus, everyone at every level has to do some scut work. I’m mid-level. I’ve been conducting training sessions all week in another state. But I still had to print out all the training materials, ship them and schlep them to each office. These days there just aren’t enough admins, etc to go around.
So I have to agree with earlier posters, just focus on your own job and take your pleasure in your awesome education outside the office. You’re always going to have to work with people who didn’t go to the same schools, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t competent and good at what they do.
My head almost exploded when I read this follow-up. Is Loopy a brilliant troll, or does someone actually believe this stuff?
In addition to her assumption that studying overseas is required for quality education, why has nobody picked up on the “quality of staff varies from good to pretty s*** (local hires)”? Love the assumption that anyone local must be incompetent. This is beyond hilarious. Also, query whether someone who actually went to Harvard would hyphenate “top schools”?
Loopy, if you are not in fact a troll, you obviously feel entitled to particular job assignments and a certain amount of regard from your colleagues given your educational background. That’s not the way it works. You prove yourself to your coworkers by doing high caliber work and showing a good attitude. Educational pedigree does not a competent worker bee make (case in point: I’ve worked with a handful of law students from Yale, Harvard, and Columbia, and while they’ve all been high on themselves and their backgrounds, they turned out low quality work product).
Focus on turning out the highest quality work product. That includes rolling up your sleeves to do tasks you may consider beneath you. I went to one of the best law schools in the country. But if need be, in order to get the job done right and on time, I will make copies and stuff envelopes. I know for a fact that my supervising partners appreciate my willingness to pitch in and make sure we do whatever is necessary to service our clients. It really irks me when I hear young lawyers talk about how they “didn’t go to law school to do [x].” You went to law school to become a lawyer who serves your clients. Sometimes serving your clients isn’t glamorous.
Show enthusiasm for everything you are asked to do. Remember that we are in the worst economy since the Great Depression. If you are coming fresh out of undergrad, this probably doesn’t mean a lot to you because you have been living in College Fantasy Land for four years. (Did you work to put yourself through school? If no, then your train from CFL has arrived in the Real World. Welcome.) You haven’t yet had to worry about whether you’re going to get laid off and how you’ll make ends meet, if your company is going to fold and how you’ll find a job in a market where supply far exceeds demand, whether your friends/family/coworkers will be laid off and how they will make ends meet, etc. You may not have had your salary frozen or cut, gone without raises, or been asked to do more work with less. There are probably 100 graduates from Anytown U that would gratefully take your job, enthusiastically fulfill your responsibilities in a quality manner, and not worry about the fact that your oh-so-pedestrian co-worker is getting praised (btw, you never explained why you believe he is “quality-wise . . . pretty poor” — I’d be interested to know). They also wouldn’t spend so much of their time lamenting how dumbed down they must make themselves in order to be palatable to their coworkers. Keep your head down, do good work, and stop worrying so much about your Harvard “problem.”
If you feel so self-conscious about your educational background in your lowly corner of the world, get a job somewhere else so you can be surrounded by other Ivy Leaguers.
I think the OP might not have articulated her concerns well, but I disagree with the other posters jumping to the conclusion that she’s probably no better than her coworkers or supervisors and that her perceptions are entirely due to an attitude problem. Most of you seem to have had a fair amount of career success, and likely work at organizations where pedigree is irrelevant because your colleagues are by and large intelligent and competent. The OP, however, does not seem to work in this type of environment. The tactlessness of appealing to her coworkers’ educational backgrounds to convey her point notwithstanding , it sounds like she works with some people who are unqualified, not very bright, anti-intellectual, or resentful of people who attended elite schools. I’ve been in this situation, and I think a lot of people currently in their twenties are as well because of the crappy job market. It can be really uncomfortable if you are in a more junior position and feel more competent than the level of work you are given. Frankly, I resented it and am much happier now that I’ve gone to law school and am around more like-minded people. So I think it’s legitimate to seek advice when you don’t feel like you fit in with your coworkers in this regard.
That said, OP, I agree with other posters that you should be careful of how you present yourself, and you should probably just look for another job. Or maybe move? It sounds like you are unhappy with your location because you feel like it’s too provincial or something). Anyway, if you believe you are smarter than everyone else in your office, it probably shows. Even if it’s true, your coworkers (and especially your superiors) surely don’t appreciate the condescension and you’ll make the situation worse. My advice would actually be to try to blend in as well as possible short of lying about your background until you find a job that is a better fit. If other people in your office didn’t go to an Ivy, have fancy internships, etc., don’t bring it up unless specifically asked, and ignore it or laugh it off if someone asks and then reacts negatively to your answer. If other people don’t have academic interests outside of work, don’t talk about yours. If you think your boss and coworkers are morons, act like their ideas are brilliant, and if they praise you for completing a task that a smart 6-year-old could do just smile and nod. I guess what I’m saying is that you should just suck it up and dumb yourself down (while obviously doing good work) until you find something better, even if you feel like a phony. I didn’t do this and wish that I had.
This is probably the kindest and soundest comment in this really horrible thread. You pretty much summed up EXACTLY what I think Loopy is feeling and what she was trying to say ALL ALONG that she is frustrated with. I think Loopy is trying to say that she is frustrated with the fact that she is in a job situation where the environment is exactly like you describe and she has to act in the way you advise. I believe Loopy wishes her situation were different.
She is frustrated that people treat her differently, despite her trying to fit in, do the best work possible, and be herself as best she can in an environment that suggests that it resents the type of person she is- that is, intellectual, capable, driven, and anxious to apply those skills/blessings/qualities to an office that appreciates them. Loopy is frustrated she is in a place where this is not the case.
For all those of you who think education couldn’t POSSIBLY matter, as the above commenter said, you must be lucky. I can’t even count the number of times that my boss has made a snyde or demeaning comment about me because of my education. For example, he will ask me a question, I will answer matter of factly/with the information he wants, and sometimes I will get the response, ‘Well hurmph, I guess that’s what YALE does to you, I guess it just makes you know more than the rest of us” even though all I did was answer his question in as objective, neutral, and matter a fact a way as possible. A similarly frustrating example. I was at a training event where about 300 people were present. The head speaker was talking about good and bad ways of presenting yourself in the office. The speaker told an anecdote of being a new team of people being introduced to the office. The anecdote involved everybody from the new team introducing themselves/telling a bit about themselves. Speaker then brought up the example we were supposed to evaluate: should the youngest member on the new team, who is a recent Harvard MBA grad and Yale undergrad, say that as part of his experience when introducing himself to the group?
The advice given was no. As somebody in the office with this Ivy league education and also fairly junior in starting out, I was appalled. Why would everybody else on the team be allowed to say THEIR accomplishments (ex, worked on 1 million dollar procurement/was an Army LtCol/whatever else), but I was barred from saying mine? As a young person, I don’t have too many other accomplishments and so to have to hide the one or two cool/good things I’ve done as a result of my hard work is an incredible insult (should I say the best thing I’ve ever done with my life is input data into a spreadsheet at Internship X instead?), and it’s horrible to be in an environment where apparently you are told that you are bad for even mentioning (IN AN INTRODUCTORY SETTING NO LESS) something that you did, something that is relevant, and something happens to be an important accomplishment. To be fair, I guess I’m not surprised, if most people have attitudes like on this thread.
I think THIS is where the frustration lies, that some people are working in environments where their talents, hard work, and experiences are not really appreciated. As the advice above suggests, it can also be very frustrating to try to be somebody who you are not (especially when you’re having to hide presumably good traits like being bright and capable).
I think the reason it matters so much in Loopy’s case is that she is not in the United States. If she’s working in a place where people value a college education period, my guess is that it’s not as easy to go to university as it is in the United States. In some countries, it’s really only the very best and brightest who get to continue their education at all. It just seems like Loopy’s making assumptions based on the quality of education her country provides. If there aren’t any comparable institutions to what we have here, I’m sure that the best and the brightest just make do with what they have available to them.
“I live and work in the part of the world where having say a Harvard or a Yale degree is almost unheard of..”
If that’s the case, has it occurred to you that this might be the reason why the Harvard/Yale degree doesn’t matter in this part of the world? Perhaps what matters is an understanding of the local context? Even if you spent all your four years in undergrad plus two years of grad school studying about this tin-pot country, you will still have way less understanding of the local context compared to your colleague who went to school in that country. The fact that you call this country “tin-pot” is a dead giveaway of your cultural insensitivity. News flash – Harvard may be the top school in the US but that doesn’t mean it is the top school in the world or for every sector. Your first post was actually not that snooty but your subsequent ones just show a glaring lack of professional maturity and multicultural understanding. Grow up lady
Not all things are rosy
Calling things like they are isn’t culturally insensitive. Sometimes it just is what it is. You probably have not lived in the area of the world that Loopy is talking about, so how can you make a call as to whether her assertions are insensitive or not?
There are a lot of bad things that happen in a lot of other places in the world (think blatant corruption, bribery, social injustice, grave oppression, you name it) and calling things for what they are/expressing that the environment is not a “western” one per se is NOT lacking multicultural understanding. It’s just telling things how they are.
Maybe you should be a little less reletivist, drop the whole ‘noble savage’ concept, and perhaps admit yourself that you don’t know everything about the not that great things that go on in other parts of the world where you probably haven’t lived. At least Loopy has lived there period dot and has the experience to even have an informed opinion- you probably haven’t and thus have even less insight into her country’s situation than she does.
I grew up in a country that has exactly all the things you would describe – blatant corruption, bribery, social injustice, grave oppression – so yeah I do know a bit about other parts of the world and can give an informed opinion. And I also know that in those countries, what is often prized is not GPA but the ability to navigate exactly those situations. Perhaps that’s what Loopy’s colleague brings to the table which his managers appreciate. Loopy isn’t just unhappy with her job but goes on to criticize her colleagues, her bosses, her company’s culture, the country’s education system and the country itself. Shouldn’t she quit and find a different job instead of whining about every single thing in her environment which is clearly not working for her?
Presumably you both got hired at the same level because you’re both equally impressive/competent? The local hire could bring the benefit of local experience that you lack. Honestly I’ve seen so many people equate non-US with ‘not good’ in the last 10 years!
Why do you think that a local hire (wherever you are) should study overseas to match you?
Not all things are rosy
I think a large part of what is being missed here is that in Loopy’s county, local hire does not necessarily equal qualified from a merit based standpoint. In a lot of countries, people get hired into jobs because of family connections, bribery/coersion, a lack of laws governing fair hiring practices- things that are unheard of in the “west.” Having lived and worked abroad in developing countries myself, I know this to be true. Just because somebody was hired does not mean they have been hired “fairly” as we think of it from our very lucky American/western perspective.
I think this is part of Loopy’s frustration. She is in an office where her talents and experiences are not valued. She must deal with people who are treated differently or better than her, not because they are more qualified or even equally as qualified, but because they were hired through the more illicit means of hiring that often go on. She feels frustrated that her Ivy degrees don’t bring value, but being the son/daughter of the rich family that paid the firm off to take the person is valued. Not saying that MUST be what’s going on here, but everybody is looking at this through a very narrow lense and refusing to believe that different sorts of office politics and cultures could be at play here.
AND, on top of that, not every office everywhere (western or not) is going to be friendly to all types of experiences. I think it’s a perfectly valid complaint to say that an office does not value the experiences you bring to the table, and I think it’s valid to be frustrated with that. For Loopy, that’s her Ivy background (especially since she is young) and she perceives that experience is not being valued. Certainly we can all agree that is frustrating, especially when coupled with different issues associated with being in a non-western office space.
So basically anyone whose family cannot afford to send their children to an overseas school is automatically less qualified than the people who are lucky enough to come from privileged families? People get hired into jobs in the US via family connections too- I’ve certainly seen that at my employer and can agree that some of those people aren’t as qualified while others do the job quite well even though they might not have appeared as qualified on paper as other candidates. That’s just the reality of many employers around the world.
Thus far we haven’t seen Loopy indicate that this other hire was a family friend with woefully lacking qualifications. He went to a local school like most of the people at her employer. He’s getting praise for basic tasks, which is also the norm when someone starts a job and an employer wants to recognize and appreciate a new employee. When I do boring/mundane tasks, sometimes I get praised for it. That’s good management.
Just buckle down and do the best job you can do, and don’t compare yourself to your coworkers. You can do a good job without acting like a “know it all.” It’s all in your attitude. Don’t act like you feel superior to your coworkers (and don’t dwell on feeling that way either – it will come through). Don’t go around casually mentioning where you got your degree. If someone asks you directly where you went to school just smile and answer directly and move on with the conversation. I have a fancy degree too, and, you know, you just don’t need to go around telling people about it unless they directly ask you. This is what will cause people to think you’re a snob, not the fact that you do good work. If your work really is superior to your coworkers’ your employer will notice and you will receive the promotions and recognition you want.
It sounds like your employers are doing a good job with your “poor-quality” coworker. Not everyone can be a superstar in all areas, but managers who point out, praise and encourage their employees’ successes and find ways to productively work around weaknesses and emphasize strengths will have happier, more productive employees.
I need an idea for a Father’s Day gift for my dad, who is 66. He is not into sports, but he likes classical music, travel, wine, and food. Any ideas for something you can buy that has quick shipping? Thanks!
What’s your budget?
Maybe up to $300. By the way, the reason I need to ship him something is that he lives in another state (Southern Calif) so I won’t be seeing him for awhile. He returned the beige sweater I bought him last time so no beige sweaters. Thanks for any suggestions at all.
Nice wine glasses could be a good gift. I just saw these on neimanmarcus.com They’re marked down to $42 for 4 and are offering free rush shipping. Depending on your budget, you can get him a combination of white and red or just one set. http://www.neimanmarcus.com/store/catalog/prod.jhtml?itemId=prod121540133&eItemId=prod121540133&searchType=SALE&parentId=cat980731&icid=&rte=%252Fcommon%252Fstore%252Fcatalog%252Ftemplates%252FET1.jhtml%253FNo%253D20%2526Ns%253DMAX_RETAIL_PRICE%2526N%253D4294967008%2526st%253Ds
This! I was also going to recommend you check out Neiman Marcus b/c of their current free rush shipping offer!
gift certificate to great local restaurant?
wine club membership?
My SO’s father was thrilled this past holiday season when he received a wine of the month type gift, and I am sure he would have been equally thrilled with cheese or sausage or whatever also being sent to him on a monthly basis. Every month, he brings up whatever new thing he has received.
Gift certificate to a really great restaurant near him?
How about a wine club? I tried the Winestyles wine club in Chicago and was pleasantly surpriesed. They had a range of differently priced options. I basically went to the store every month to pick up my bottle.
What about tickets to a concert you think he would like? Or a “gift certificate” to have dinner with you at his favourite restaurant next time you go to visit him?
Great ideas everyone! Since I already bought him some wine glasses in a previous year, I took AIMS’ advice and bought him a 6 months wine club (2 bottles sent to his house for the next 6 months). I’m sure he won’t be returning this gift. Thanks for the suggestions everyone.
A little late for this then, but my parents once gave my husband a “cheese of the month” gift from Univ. of Wisconsin’s Babcock Hall, and he loved it. I think this is the link: http://www.babcockhalldairystore.wisc.edu/items.asp?cat_id=107
I did not go to U. Wisconsin, but can safely say that Babcock Hall cheese is like the Harvard of cheese studies, so you know you’ll be getting a cheese to match your intellect.
“you know you’ll be getting a cheese to match your intellect”
HA! Thanks for this :)
this is laugh out funny. love it.
No, this is awesome – my dad loves cheddar cheese. I’ll get that for the next gift-giving occasion. Thanks a lot.
My dad likes pictures. I usually give him a custom calendar from Shutterfly.com with family photos. In my experience dads don’t care at all how much you spend – they want something thoughtful.
OR the brand spankin’ new new touch screen e-ink B&N Nook.
Not the color one, the one that has an e-ink screen (not backlit, reads like a paper book) like the old Nook and Kindle but is completely touch screen. Awesome.
Ditto this. I got my dad a Kindle for Father’s Day a few years ago and it sparked a Kindle craze in my family… now I have one, my mom, my grandma, my grandpa, etc….
grapevine tour (i think it’s gograp.com) – shuttled tour of several so cal wineries plus a lunch.
Is there a symphony orchestra in residence where he lives? You could gift him a subscription to the upcoming fall season.
S in Chicago
Can you negotiate sick and/or vacation days? I will be discussing a formal offer late this afternoon and wondering if that’s acceptable to negotiate?
I’m currently with an employer that has a very generous sick day, vacation day, and floating holiday benefits design and have been here quite some time so am accuring a high level. The new employer combines sick and vacation (which I find horrid by the way) and there are very few days. The employer also has strictly set work hours, so I’m worried I’m going to need to eat in to most of them just to make time for yearly dentist visit, eye appointment, any doctor or vet appointments, etc. I’m doing invisalign right now which doesn’t help–you have ortho visits about every 45 days or so and although he has early morning hours, it won’t be early enough for me to make it downtown by 9 a.m.
Certainly bring up your current benefits and see if they can match or come close.
Yes, but what you’ll get will depend on the employer. Given how rigid the offer company’s rules are, you will have to be strategic. For example, you probably won’t be able to do much about the strict work hours – to give you any leeway there would be too obvious to other employees. But you can probably ask for additional vacation days, though you may have to be willing to accept conditions on those extra days (for example, you might not be able to get them until you’ve been there 6 months – 1 year).
My experience however is that with these punch-card types of companies, they’re more willing to give $ rather than mess with their work days.
Yes you can. It never hurts to ask. It’s an even better option if they aren’t meeting your salary requirements.
You should try it, but if you do remember that sometimes corporate culture can make using those benefits that you negotiated for more difficult. Even though you negotiated for late arrival, let’s say, if everyone is looking down on you for doing it you may stop, and then that benefit is for naught. You may just want more money, or rather than negotiating late or early arrivals/departures, just get more days period. That may be less noticeable.
S in Chicago
Thanks for the advice everyone. Sadly, any deviation from work hours isn’t even up for negotation. (Current company has flex hours and even a 2-day a week work-at-home program you can apply for–their eyes pretty much bugged out when I mentioned it during interviewing,) Even a half-hour deviation from normal arrival is not accepted.
Honestly, I don’t even know if I will accept the offer but am just trying to negotiate as best I can. I wish I could get the culture of where I am but the level of advancement at the new employer. I’m a hard worker and honestly rarely even take the vacation or sick I’m due, but I also don’t want to give up too much.
This is just so stressful. I’m also in the middle of negotiating with the current employer on what it will take for me to stay. (Different job title they offered is pretty much lateral, and I am waiting to see the financials associated tomorrow. Not getting my hopes up.)
S – just a thought, but I’ve stayed at my much more flexible company in lieu of taking other more prestigious jobs simply because of their generous approach to vacation/sick time. The salary might be lower than what I can get elsewhere but a corporate culture that allowed me time off to care for a sick parent, attend a grandparent’s funeral out of state and help tie up loose ends, and work from home with a small child made it worth it to me. Just my .2.
Just wanted to second Anne-on’s thoughts. I left a completely inflexible job (as in, one minute late was not acceptable and you didn’t leave early, ever) for one that’s still relatively inflexible (set start time, but leaving a few hours early on a given day can be negotiated, and there’s a little bit of opportunity to work from home). Even that change has been nice.
If this is a fantastic opportunity, go for it, but I really wouldn’t underestimate the impact of a rigid schedule if you’re coming from a different environment.
Not sure where you’re at with your personal life, but if you plan to have kids, or will have elder-care issues to deal with any time soon, or even just like to travel, an inflexible employer makes things really, really hard. Life happens, and it sucks to have to take all your vacation days to deal with it. Generally inflexibility on things like PTO and scheduling (to the point that they won’t allow you to time-shift your day 30 minutes) means inflexibility about a lot of things, and also a “you must sacrifice yourself to the company” ethos. Unless they offer you a LOT more money – I mean like a sick, ridiculous amount more – I would pass, myself. Some hassles are just not worth it.
I second the comments here – I am at work right now at 8:30 and have been here for 2 hours, so that I can leave at 10, relieve my husband from sick baby duty so he can go to work, and then will work from home while baby sleeps and again for a few hours this evening.
That kind of flexibility is worth its weight in gold.
My husband has recently moved from a company with separate sick and vacation to one with an ETO policy where it’s all combined. I agree with you that it’s a very bad way to manage benefits. Among other issues, ETO encourages people to come to work sick so that they can maximize their vacation days.
So my husband was at the 3 weeks vacation level + unlimited sick at his old company and the new company was offering him 3 weeks ETO, saying it was equivalent. not! He was able to negotiate for 1 additional week of ETO, but we are living it now, and it is definitely not the same. Also, almost no one at his company negotiated their ETO so now my husband earns more ETO than his boss, which his (very petty) boss feels compelled to point out again and again.
You should certainly try. This may be one of those things that your immediate manager may agree to and will respect while you work for him/her. If it’s not documented or formally acknowledged in some way, if you get a new boss, you may lose these “special privileges.” I wish I had done this when I started because I went down from 4 weeks vacation to 3 weeks vacation. I could use that extra week…
Just a shopping PSA:
1. You can get 40% off any 2 full price BR items today with code LZK6PTZWXDZM
2. For anyone planning to buy a tie for the dad in their lives, Brooks Brothers has 30% off all ties today.
Another PSA: Talbots just put a bunch of stuff on sale, so if you’ve been stalking anything waiting for it to go on sale, go check. I picked up a silk tank I’ve been waiting on, plus a few pants and skirts. Let’s hope they fit.
Hi ladies, can anyone recommend a legal recruiting firm that places lawyers in the Boston area, preferably in Big/Mid Law?
I worked with Mary Rosenfeld at Mestel. mrosenfeld at mestel dot com
She was great. Got me three interviews w/ biglaw, three offers, one of which I took.
Jane Sender. Also, I have heard good things about Major, Lindsey and Africa, but didn’t work with them.
Thank you for the recs! I contacted Mestel and Major. Sender does not recruit associates, it seems, only partners.
Threadjack: regular poster, anon for this here. I need some advice, and know this is the best place to go for it.
About six weeks ago, I was laid off. I got severance and unemployment and have savings and a supportive spouse, so there’s not a critical financial situation involved. I actually have found a new job, but it’s related to a contract my new employer is in the process of finalizing and I can’t start work until the middle or end of August. So I have the rest of the summer off.
I am sure that sounds great and I know that actually, it is great. However, I am finding out I am not good at not working. I have a son, who we signed into an expensive, non-refundable day camp before I got laid off. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to have the money go to waste and have him stay home with me (which I honestly think would drive us both crazy anyway) instead of going to day camp. I have cleaned out our house and had a yard sale. I’ve planted a garden and done our landscaping cleanup for the summer. I go to lunch once a week with friends and I have a couple of professional-development activities planned in the next few weeks. Other than that, time is weighing heavy on my hands. I have been working since I was 15 and in fact, the only substantial time I’ve ever had off was when I had my son and took maternity leave, which was not exactly like a vacation. I have no idea what to do with myself and I feel myself getting more and more depressed. It’s starting to affect my marriage, as my husband keeps telling me to “relax and enjoy my time off.” But I’m not enjoying it. I am sure to those here who are working 12-hour days, three months off sounds great, but I am really struggling with it. I also feel a lot of guilt because severance and unemployment still doesn’t come close to what I was making in my job, and we’re having to make some financial sacrifices this summer as a result. I feel like maybe I should try to find a job that starts sooner, so I can get out of the house and make some money, but everyone keeps telling me that’s ridiculous – the new job is with a great company, and is in my area of expertise, and it’s not that simple to just “find something else” that would be as good as this new job is. I have thought about volunteering, but 8 weeks is really not enough time to start somewhere and volunteer for awhile and then have to leave to start my new job.
I would love to hear from other folks who have gone through temporary unemployment, and hear how you dealt with it. My biggest problem seems to be structuring my days and filling my time without the structure and activity of a job. I also feel cut off from the working world, and I miss the socialization and camaraderie of working in an office. Basically, I am bored and lonely and also feel bad for bitching about something a lot of people would kill for, but there it is. Any advice appreciated.
Can you volunteer with legal aid or some such place? Spend your time helping others who might need your expertise. I apologize, I am not up on the ways you may or may not be able to volunteer.
I’ll caveat this suggestion w/ the fact that I understand (1) your son is already in a camp that you can’t get a refund on and (2) that money is a concern, and my suggestion basically ignores both of these issues. But I would still suggest you travel w/ your son abroad, maybe missing just the back-half of camp, so that you don’t have to forfeit the whole cost.
I did this w/ my daughters after I was laid-off and had a whole summer of nothing to do. It was costly, but now that I’m employed and money is coming in again, I realize that it may be a long time before I have the luxury of being abroad for 3 weeks with my kids again (between limited vacation days and the fact that the kids have school) and that savings can be rebuilt. They still talk about the trip frequently, and it was a wonderful bonding and mind-broadening experience for them. When they ask me when we’ll do it again, I admit getting a bit teary when I have to tell them that it won’t be anytime soon.
Traveling with the kiddo is a great idea…I actually have been meaning for some time to take my son to visit a good friend of mine and her family a couple of states over. It would be a long drive but I think it would be worth it. Losing a couple of weeks of camp wouldn’t break us financially or anything.
A project might help – for instance, perhaps hiking a long local trail in sections? Or learning to cook a specific type of cuisine? Studying a foreign language for X hours per day?
I have always wanted to teach myself to sew, and have a SAHM friend who has volunteered to help me learn. :)
A couple of ideas:
– any skills you have been wanting to learn that you can teach yourself over the summer, or a program of reading that you think will help you in your new job? Treat it like your job – schedule your day around learning these things.
– have you checked your local community center or college to see whether there are any summer courses you could take? Again, if you have classes to attend and homework to do, it might help you feel more productive and would give you an opportunity to interact with other people.
– as Tracey suggests, volunteering is a great idea and would help you feel like you are doing something useful.
ive been there. i started working out and cooking. But the biggest thing for me was just accepting the time for what it was and realizing that it wasnt going to last. That let me enjoy the time instead of wishing i was doing something else and by the time work started, i wished i had more time off.
As for the working out, i took a class i was interested in at the gym and often went on a walk too. I picked a new thing to try to cook every day and (this was before the kids, so you might have to modify) but also tried to have a new cocktail for my husband when he got home each day (kida played the old-school wife thing for a while, but b/c it was short-lived and I knew it, I actually had tons of fun!)
By the time i started work, I was in fantastic shape and had learned how to cook a bunch of new stuff.
When I went through a period of downtime a year or so ago (I was still working, but just much less busy than usual), I took 8 weeks of tennis lessons through my local rec center. It was really inexpensive ($80 for 8 1.5 hour classes) and gave me a new challenge and some weekly social interaction. I had a blast and would love to do it again.
Also, a lot of volunteer organizations are really happy with any help they can get. I would suggest calling organizations you’re interested in working with and explaining that you can make an 8 week commitment to help them X hours a week and see if they could use your services. You may be pleasantly surprised at their response. :)
Maybe you could foster an animal? It’s kitten season, and many rescue groups look for places where kittens can grow and be socialized until they find an adoptive home. Kittens are usually adopted in a few months, so this would be an ideal commitment with your time frame.
I unfortunately have way too much experience with time on my hands. The good news for you is that it has an end date. I think a routine/schedule would help you settle in to the next three months. Every night- map out your following day. Tell yourself you will exercise at 10am, read a new book from 11-12pm, try a new recipe for dinner in the afternoon. Try to think back to things that interested you but that you had no time for when you were working. New hobbies, skills, projects? Maybe volunteer? I bet your need for socializing could be filled in many volunteer situations.
I always feel self-conscious when I spend time with my working friends who know I’m unemployed. The best way for me to combat this is to keep learning/doing new things in my free time that I can talk about when I see them.
You sound incredibly productive! Kudos!
I would second (third?) the idea to volunteer, whether in a professional capacity or just somewhere where help is really needed like a soup kitchen or a library. I also think you may not be too late to sign up for some summer classes. Is there something you have always wanted to learn how to do? Maybe you could train for a marathon? Travel — if you can afford it — also sounds nice, and you probably won’t get to do it much after you start work. Whatever you pick, I am sure you will have a great summer — it sounds like you are someone who is not just going to sit and watch the days waste away!
I’ve been in your shoes before and I totally understand feeling depressed and identity-less. Here are some of my suggestions:
– Go and meet up with friends for coffee, lunch, etc.
– Go shopping and revamp your wardrobe (so much easier to try on things when you don’t have a child with you)
– Get a haircut, see the dentist, catch-up on other health/grooming issues while you have time.
– Do that annoying errand your mom/dad/sibling asked you to do.
– Catch-up on continuing education or whatever stuff you need to advance in your field.
– Take golf/tennis/dance lessons or whatever it is that helps you relax.
– Get a Kindle and read some books that you don’t have time to read – extra points if you can find a lounge chair near water to do this.
DON’T (from my experience):
– Spend your days sitting on your butt, surfing the Internet (negative points if this is at a donut shop).
– Complain to friends that you’re bored – no one will envy your free time, especially since you already have a job lined up.
– Think about how much you used to make. I made twice what I made before I was laid off but guess what? In this economy, I’m just lucky to have a job. Good luck!
“Negative points if this is at a donut shop.”
This is (1) hilarious and (2) can be added to just about any warning you might give anyone about anything. Much as I like a donut now and then.
Oh, yeah, that’s me right now… OK, hint taken!
Do you have a good exercise/gym routine? That’s a great time frame to really work on something physical: get a personal trainer, train for a mini-marathon or something else that will push your boundaries and require more training time than you would normally have. Personally, when I have extra downtime, it helps to do something that results in visible progress…it really makes me feel like I am still achieving something worthwhile, even if that achievement has nothing to do with career goals.
Can you afford a vacation? Because that would be awesome. Otherwise, just work out more, and do some volunteer work.
girl in the stix
Let this be an early wake-up call for what will happen when you retire. Develop some activities, hobbies or interests outside your work or you will be miserable in the future. My mother, now 76, constantly complains about having “nothing to do” and wants to be entertained all the time. Invest in learning about your other talents/skills, and strive to have activities that you look forward to beyond your work hours. And make it about you–not son, not husband. Children leave home, and unfortunately, wives tend to live longer than their husbands. Good luck!
Second this point – but I would think even earlier, like when your kids go away to college.
I second all the suggestions above, and here are a few more –
Take a class in something creative, like photography. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t “good” at it – picking up a new skill will stretch your mind and make you more creative in other areas of your life as well, including work. Plus, taking better photos (of your son!) is a very useful skill.
Consider writing an article to submit for publication in a professional journal.
If you have distant relatives that you never get around to seeing, take a short trip to visit them. This is a good time to reconnect with third cousins and elderly aunts.
Do you have years and years of photos, especially baby photos of your son, old family photos of you and husband as kids? Get them scanned in (if they aren’t already) and put in albums. If there are any very old family photos, maybe put together a small online gallery for the extended family to enjoy.
Organize your filing cabinets. Update your address book and make a master list of birthdays/anniversaries/etc. “Clean” your computer(s).
Along this line, if you don’t have your financial affairs all lined up, this might be a great time to do so. Rebalance your retirement portfolios, visit a T&E lawyer to get your will etc… in place.
You might add a Financial Tune Up day to your list of activities, too: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/04/your-money/household-budgeting/04money.html
Catch up on scrapbooking your son’s life. Shutterfly, whatever. As a working mom, I am sooo far behind.
Thanks for the great suggestions, everyone, and for not just telling me to stop whining :)
I am on an exercise program, running 5 days a week. My husband has suggested I train for a triathlon or 10K and I may do that. I know there have been some threads on Corporette about training for long-distance runs, so I’ll look those up.
I have been doing the “try new recipes”thing and as I mention above, I have always wanted to learn to sew – I actually even have a sewing machine I was given as a gift that has never been used. I will start making some plans to start on that.
We can’t foster animals as my son is allergic, but we do have a Humane Society near our house that I might be able to help out at.
Catching up on dental appts is a good idea, I need a new TMJ mouthpiece made and I have been putting it off even though it will be 100% covered by insurance and an FSA.
girl in the stix – I like your point about retirement. This episode has really made me think about retirement also. I realize that between pursuing education, working, and having a kid, I have failed to develop any hobbies for myself (other than running) which could be good uses of my time. I also realize that although I used to be a really independent single person, I have gotten way too dependent on the idea that I have to have my husband/child with me when I go to do something. Eventually, I will have to find things to do, and most likely do them by myself. I see my mom doing this now – she has retired and although my dad is still alive, he is in poor health and not able to be very active. I had considered myself a well-rounded person but now I realize I need some kinds of activities that I can do outside of work and family.
And I do have a very unorganized file cabinet, and a pile of old photos that need to be put in albums – thanks for the reminder!
All these suggestions are definitely going to help me keep busy. I really appreciate them. Thanks so much. :)
Best of luck. My first career was as a high school math teacher and I only made it through mid-June of my first summer before finding another job and different career. I understand how boring and isolating it can be not to be working when you are used to it.
That said, I’m so envious! :) I hope you can manage to enjoy it. And you are so lucky it’s in the summer and not the winter, you know?
If I had three months off I think I’d do a major house project, like paint all the interior walls. I find housepainting to be very meditative. I have a collection of soundtracks from Broadway musicals and I love to listen to those while I’m painting. It’s almost as good as watching the musical. I can do this with opera CDs too, but only if my husband isn’t around, as the soprano voices drive him nuts.
Community college classes in something interesting.
You definitely have my sympathy. I was out of a job, indefinitely, for almost 6 months. Worse: it was in the winter, so I really had no desire to leave the apartment. While signing up for an athletic event to get yourself working out and setting up temporary goals and projects are great, they really didn’t work for me when I started to get legitimately depressed. I am a people person, and kept digging myself into a deeper and deeper hole but not getting out.
With that in mind, I strongly recommend finding an activity you HAVE to show up to. If you want to work out, set a date with a personal trainer or friend that you can’t back out on. If you want to volunteer, pick a place that asks volunteers to fill out a schedule so you have to go.
Hopefully you wont’ run into these problems, but making a solid commitment to someone other than yourself will definitely help prevent them! Good luck.
Here’s what I’d do if I had a chunk of free time:
— renovate my wardrobe – perhaps with a consultant/ Nordstrom personal shoppers always recommended here
— train in massage therapy or yoga instruction, or some other ‘alternative’ and relaxing practice
— review/ update/ organize finances
— check out my friends’ book lists on GoodReads and get ‘up to date’ on my fun reading
— clean the garage
— visit my parents
— plan home renovations
— plan (or take) an overseas trip
— get to know my neighbors better
— entertain more
— build a website or start a blog about a personal passion
— schedule regular lunches/ walks/ happy hour drinks with working friends
— spend a weekend at a spa
— read A Suitable Boy (1000 pages, and I’ve never finished it…)
— learn a craft, like jewelry making or pottery
— volunteer with The Nature Conservancy, or another land restoration organization
Good point on the parents. I never get to talk to them as frequently as I’d like (or they would like).
Take up something that challenges you. Learn a language, skill, new game – whatever.
Set up a schedule…say 7-8am gym, 10-12: new thing, after lunch : meet / network with X/sightseeing in your city/town, whatever rocks your boat!
Congrats on finding a new job so quickly! If I were in your shoes, I’d take the opportunity to find a local language class and brush up on my Spanish (or take an intro class in a language I’ve always wanted to learn). Many towns offer very inexpensive classes through their recreation departments, and they’re not limited to language – I took a six-week class once that taught me how to make stained glass crafts.
You have a great opportunity to take some time for professional development, but don’t neglect personal development either.
Sorry, this was supposed to be a reply to Anonymous – not sure why it didn’t post as one.
Can we have a poll? What are your favorite iphone/Droid/smartphone apps? I’ll start. I have an iphone but I’m pretty sure many of these are available on the other platforms as well: I love Pandora, ShopShop shopping list; google books, google voice search, google places (like Yelp), Gas Buddy (finds cheapest nearest gas stations), mapquest turn-by-turn directions, netflix, Remote (use your iphone as a remote control to play music from itunes on your computer), SoundHound (like Shazam), Kayak (find cheap flights, hotels, car rentals), iHandy Level, some unit converter I don’t know the name of, the Weather Channel, and MapQuest turn-by-turn gps. All of those apps are free. And (confession) I love fruit ninja (99 cents).
I’m always looking for handy new ways to use my phone and would love to hear all of your suggestions. TIA!
meme, you’ve gotta try Words with Friends (scrabble) – it’s addicting and I love it.
Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler
Second the Words with Friend suggestion; it’s the only way I can keep up with some of my friends now that we don’t have class everyday.
Also, Googles (let’s you take a picture of something and search in Google automatically); Pomodroido (a Pomdero technique timer); Google Reader; Scrabble Helper (for those times when I need a little assit in Words with Friends); the Weather Channel; and Urban Spoon.
And for those in Denver: AnyStop: Denver RTD (more accurate than the RTD website).
I love Tiny Wings. So cute, great graphics.
On the more practical side, the kindle app has actually improved my kindle experience, I use yelp and urbanspoon to find restaurants when I find myself in random, not-my-neighborhood places during mealtime, and sleep cycle is fun (it charts my, well, sleep cycle, theoretically waking me up at an optimal point of my sleep cycle).
Wait, you mean the kindle app has improved your non-iphone kindle experience? I’m curious.
Yes. Because your iphone kindle app can sync to the last page read on your regular kindle. So let’s say I’ve been reading a book on my kindle, read up to page 100. Then I run to buy groceries (have my iphone with me, but not my kindle). If I get stuck on a long line, not only can I get any of my kindle books on my iphone, but I can sync the book I’m reading on the iphone to the page that I left off on the regular kindle. And then vice versa. Does this make sense?
There are also times (on the T during packed rush hour, for example) when I find that holding a kindle is too much work, but reading from my iphone is acceptable.
Ooh thanks! I’ll have to figure that out.
Ooh! Ok. Iphone here. All below is free. The only app I’ve ever paid for is Tetris.
— Flashlight (helped me find my umbrella at a dark bar last night)
— UrbanSpoon & UrbanDaddy (both free, both help find good places to eat)
— NYC Way (NYC application that has everything from subway maps to the nearest restroom to how to decipher mysterious parking signs . . . )
— White Noise (like a Sharper Image sound machine for your phone)
— Scramble (free word game, seriously addictive)
— the Economist (lets you download 5-6 free articles per issue or buy the issue if so inclined)
— How to Cook Everything (I have the free version, upgrade is $5 — may be worth it, but I haven’t done it yet)
— NPR (lets you access all programs you missed as podcasts)
— Bump (makes sharing photos/songs with fellow iphone users super quick and easy)
— YouTube (b/c my office blocks this on my work computer & sometimes you just have to see a kitten ride on a turtle during your lunch break).
Second iHandy Level. Also C25K (I am learning to run), and AppBox Lite, especially for the tip calculator (I am atrocious at calculating tips).
But I think I need to check out Words With Friends. :-)
Good idea! I JUST got an iphone recently, so I don’t have long-term exposure to any of these – but I’ve been asking around, doing a little research and adding apps feverishly, and so far these are my favorites (in addition to some of those on your list):
living earth (weather, time, current global cloud cover; it’s just pretty, I wake up to it); myfitnesspal (recommended on a prev thread here – so far it’s a great food/activity tracker); ShoppingList (exactly what it sounds like – to-do lists, grocery lists, etc); hipstamatic (funky camera app, makes your photos look vintage); Dragon dictation (love this one, it is really pretty accurate, and when you’re finished dictating you just hit a button to email or message it to someone); mint.com (keep up with all spending, all bank account balances, monthly budget; synchs with the online site); TED (awesome time-killer – seems like most of the presentations are available); opentable (great for last-minute reservations); Flashlight (uses the flash’s light rather than lighting up the screen like Torch, way brighter); Aroundme (finder for gas, coffee, restaurants, etc); taximagic (uses your location automatically); for travel, Flighttrack and FlightBoard; Converter (converts measurements) and DaysFrom (tells you how many days from X date, handy for work) seem handy though I haven’t used them much yet. David Pogue recommends RedLaser, which I’ve installed but haven’t used yet – UPC code scanner/price searcher. Favorite time-killer games are ADoodleFly and TextTwist. Will have to try fruit ninja. :-)
And, of course: Find iPhone. Which I have had to use 3 times already to find my iphone in my own house.
Also – just a vent – recently picked up the iPhone and iPad, partically convinced that it was time to do so bc of HBOgo, the new free streaming service for all HBO content. Only to find that only some cable providers have a deal with HBO to permit the free service to be provided to subscribers – not including my cable provider. grrr.
One quick note about OpenTable — I stopped using it because a lot of times, it would show a reservation unavailable or not available for a time I wanted, and yet when I called the restaurant I always got it without a problem. So, if it doesn’t give you what you want, be sure to call anyway.
Restaurants only release a poriton of their reservations to OpenTable. Actually, most restaurants don’t reserve all their tables either and leave some for walk-ins.
Second yelp. I’m terrible at planning ahead (in my free time at least) and I frequently find myself wandering around shops or the city or out to drinks with friends and then – oh look! it’s meal time! and we have no clue where we are or what’s around here! Yelp app to the rescue. It will show you what restaurants, bars, etc. are nearest to your location, reviews and hours of operation, and walking directions. I’m not very tech savvy but I’m always using this app.
Weight Watchers! I’ve lost 13 lbs since I started in March. It’s the first time in my life I’ve actively tried to lose weight and it has been SOOO not hard. The iPhone app is saving my butt because I have the phone on me all the time so it’s easy to track points, look stuff up, find recipes, etc.
It drives me nuts that WW doesn’t have an android app (not that I’ve checked recently), only the calculator app. My team leader recently told me about WW Scan Calc, which is super awesome – you scan the bar code of your food and it tells you the Points Plus value. No entering nutrition value. Love it.
Oh, I forgot to mention cut the rope. Another cute little game with good graphics.
Just got my dream in-house job offer! Now I’m sitting here, hopping up and down in excitement, waiting to get the formal offer so I can give my two weeks’ notice! The delay is killing me and I’m going to be totally unproductive today, but…no more billable hours! No more partners!
Congrats! I left my firm two months ago to go to a non-profit and I’ve never been happier. You’ll be amazed at how much better your life can be without billable hours and partners!
congratulations!! how exciting!
Does anyone have a recommendation for a carrying case/wristlet for my phone? I have a Droid X and I think it’s about the same size as an iphone (maybe a smidge bigger but lighter.) Something like this, maybe: http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/case-mate-kayla-wristlet-smartphone-case/3163579?origin=related-3163579-0-0-2
I use this one b/c it also has an outward facing ID card slot on the other side.
The slot is just big enough for an iphone/droid, but only if you don’t use one of those phone protectors on your phone.
I have a few coach wristlets that are perfect for carrying my iphone, my id, a credit card or two and a lipstick and keys. If I need something larger, it doubles as a sort of wallet and I can throw it in by briefcase, diaper bag or backpack. I get complimented on them ALL the time.