Weekend Open Thread

Basketweave TeeSomething on your mind? Chat about it here.

Ooh — love this deep V t-shirt from Anthropologie. Love the shawl effect at the neckline, the basketweave, the very relaxed peplum feel to it — gorgeous. It’s available in lots of colors but limited sizes — was $48, now $29.95. Basketweave Tee




  1. Anon for this :

    Oooh, pretty color. Would look nice on some figures – unfortunately not mine.

    • I wish this was a dress. I can never get these kind of tops to look good but am always drawn to them

      • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

        Agree. These tops always hit me at the widest point of my hips and turn me from a skinny slightly pear-ish shape to a giant diamond-shape, ugh.

        • My problem is that the small cap sleeve gives me linebacker shoulder when I am actually have fairly narrow shoulders. I have the same dress with cap sleeves and 3/4 sleeves and the 3/4 sleeve dress looks soooo much better.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I always like these styles but once I buy them I never wear it because they make me look pregnant. I’m not sure why I can’t seem to figure that out when I grab it off the rack or try it on in the first place!

    • Me neither. Right now my dad says THIS kind of shirt can accentueate my tuchus, but I disagreed with him. I completed my work at the soup kitchen, but Roberta and I signed up to work here one weekend day next month. Myrna said she would do it also. YAY! I like it when we are all here together!

      Now, I am HOME and can relax for the full weekend b/c I do NOT have court until TUESDAY and the manageing partner had a runner bring my BRIEF’s into court to file TODAY so the judge can have them MONDAY.

      THIS is a great gig, Myrna says. The manageing partner doeing all my work while I hang out at the soup kitchen. I told the director here that my sanwich today was also slippery, and they said it could be b/c of the referegieration probelem. FOOEY. I do NOT like slippery turkey roll, or for that MATTER any kind of turkey roll, even if they have RUSIAN DRESSING, which they did NOT. FOOEY! I will have to go back to the deli off Broadway with Roberta. YUMMY TURKEY and DOCTOR BROWN SODA!!!!! SUPER YUM!!!!!

      I think I gained 6 pound’s this week, but I will work it off at the gym over the next few weeks. I keep getting message’s from David, but I am DONE with him. WHO needs a guy who ONLEY calls you when he wants something, my mom says. I will not be ANYONE’s hand servant. FOOEY. My dad says he knows a guy at his club who’s son is an engineer. Mabye he can help me decide if I should become an MBA. I think I will have to talk to the manageing partner about this b/c I think I can manage the firm soon! Yay!!!!!

  2. Deodorant-jack. I know some ladies have talked here before about using department store (rather than drugstore) deodorant brands — does this help with yellowing problems on white or light colored clothes? For those who use natural deodorants, is putting up with the extra sweating worth it for fewer stains? I just changed over my summer/winter clothes last weekend, and I’m sad about the number of white tops I own that look gross after just a season or two.

    • I have use milk of magnesia as deodorant for about four years and really like it (antipersperants and my arm pits don’t get along so well). I don’t have any problems with my white tops staining (and I sweat more than any female should ever admit to—blaming defective genetics).

      I recently tried Trader Joes’ unscented deoderant with cotton for a few days and liked it a lot. And then I forgot the container in a hotel room(and TJs hasn’t opened where I live so I can’t replace it). I didn’t wear any white garments so I can’t comment on whether it would stain.

    • Never used department store deodorant (I didn’t even know it existed!). But just yesterday I read this blog/article linking regular deodorant + shaving with b. cancer (the chemicals seep in throught nicks in the skin). Lots of commenters suggest coconut oil instead – it is antimicrobial so kills the bacteria that smells. Not sure if it is the bacteria that causes the yellowing, though.

      Anyway – not totally on point, but I thought I’d let y’all consider this. http://blog.greensmoothiegirl.com/2012/02/08/anti-perspirants-and-shaving-do-they-cause-breast-cancer-too/

      • If you’re more comfortable using a non-aluminum based deodorant, by all means, please do so.

        However, that blog post describing a non-peer reviewed paper that appears to be merely finding a correlation (not sure, since she doesn’t link to the paper), from which the blogger than extrapolates a causation and goes on to disparage peer-reviewed journals.

        Furthermore, the numerous studies have shown that there is no link between aluminum and breast cancer (http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/AP-Deo).

        Of course, peer-reviewed studies can discounted if one believes that there is a conspiracy between scientists, journals, and the medical-industrial complex.

        • RANI! Thank you for that refreshing reminder that all we find on the interwebs is not true! The inability to evaluate information is a major pet peeve of mine.

        • Thanks Rani, it’s dispiriting to see mere facts discounted so lightly in this forum..

    • Here is a good article explaining why the stains happen and how to avoid them: http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/men/sweating-odor/antiperspirant-stain-clothes.htm

    • Sorry, I should clarify — I’m currently using a solid anti-perspirant (Dove), and considering either a department store anti-perspirant (if it’s actually any better for staining) or switching to a deodorant. I’m just worried about how much of a sweaty mess I’d be if using a deodorant. My office is at the top of a pretty steep hill, and so sweat is pretty much unavoidable in my daily life!

    • health care anon :

      Botox injections can help stop perspiration. Might be something to look into.

  3. It looks more empire waist than peplum

    • i was thinking the same thing, but i thought maybe i just didn’t know the correct definition of peplum ;o)

  4. OMG — did you see the news on Petreus?!

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Yep, wow! http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/david-petraeus-resigns-as-cia-director/2012/11/09/636d204e-2aa8-11e2-bab2-eda299503684_story.html

      • SF Bay Associate :

        Looks like during the investigation of an unrelated matter, the FBI uncovered Petraeus’ affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell. She’s married with two kids.


        “The biographer for resigning CIA Director David Petraeus is under FBI investigation for improperly trying to access his email and possibly gaining access to classified information, law enforcement officials told NBC News on Friday.

        Paula Broadwell is the author of Petraeus’ biography, “All In.” She had extensive access to Petraeus in Afghanistan and has given numerous television interviews speaking about him. ”


        • I know I’m awful, but the title of the book has a whole new implication now, iykwim.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I really, really do not understand. Was he being blackmailed and decided to not to take it anymore? Was the scandal about to break and he decided to get ahead of it? Did his wife require him to publicly resign in penance before she’d take him back?

      I am totally hungry for more details.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        My guess is that there was an issue of potential blackmail. The bloody Director of the CIA cannot be blackmail-able – it’s a serious national security risk.

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          that was my first thought, but on the other hand, if everyone knows about it (which, guess they do now), you can’t really be blackmailed with it… Intriguing.

      • TO Lawyer :

        Agreed! Something seems off to me about resigning because he had an affair. This story should get interesting…

      • I know that affairs can be an issue for someone with access to sensitive information (i.e., it’s great blackmail fodder). It could also be that it was someone he works with and, since he couldn’t exactly ask her to quit, he had to quit himself to get away from her (which I’d imagine his wife would require if he wants to save the marriage). Also, I think Petreus has a strong sense of himself as an upright guy (based on what I’ve read/heard about him) and maybe he wanted to be the one person in Washington who actually stepped up and handled this like a gentleman.

      • Turtle Wexler :

        My first thought was that it has something to do with the identity of his partner in the affair. An affair with the housewife down the street could be problematic but maybe not enough to resign over; an affair with a foreigner, another government official, possibly a government contractor, etc would probably compromise his security clearance enough to make it impossible for him to do his job. Who really knows at this point, though.

      • Meg Murry :

        I find it interesting that he waited to resign until today – I wonder if he made the call to wait until after the election, or if he actually resigned in the past but was asked to wait to “officially” resign until today. Hmmmm, now I want details too …

        • Left Coaster :

          I’m also curious about the timing. The election is the most obvious reason. Another factor might be — and I know this because I read way too many blogs — the fact that his daughter got married just a few weeks ago. In any event, I’m dying to hear more.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        PS – this story could totally be on the show Scandal. I’m just saying. Life imitating art imitating life…

      • Generally, affairs are a Very Bad Thing for someone with a security clearance, because of the possibility of blackmail. Now that it’s public (which prevents blackmail), he’s dealing with the emotional and personal fallout, which I would expect would make it hard to be focused on running the agency.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Not only that, but as far as I know it’s against military law to commit adultery. You can be court-martialed just for that. http://usmilitary.about.com/od/justicelawlegislation/f/faqadultery.htm

          • Didn’t he resign from the military when he took the CIA post though? He wasn’t still a general, just still called that, as a courtesy, right?

            And at the prev. poster who said that he resigned to be a gentleman–that ship sailed when he started the affair, in my book. Kinda late, right?

        • My two cents: he was probably forced to resign because he lost his Security Clearance once the affair was uncovered. The fact that his paramour had attempted to or gained access to his email is a VERY Bad Thing for the head of the CIA.

          FWIW, I am an investigator for those who require clearance, and this kind of behavior at that level of government will cost a person his job. Resignation was the best way to have him bow out with grace, but he could have taken the option of losing clearance and being fired.

    • Sometimes I think Very Successful Men should just be presumed to be having affairs until proven otherwise.

      • Depressingly, I was thinking the same thing. It seems de rigueur for VSMs and politicians generally. :(

        • Sydney Bristow :

          I think it is sadly more common for people in general than we would like to believe.

          • anon in-house :

            This. Joe Blow’s affair won’t make it onto cover of NYT. But it happens sooner or later to more than half of people in relationships, I imagine. They don’t have to be hot, rich or successful either.

      • Anon former intern :

        I once applied to work as an intern in the office of the President of the Red Cross. Was rejected and bummed. About a year later, found out that particular president resigned because he had an an affair with a younger staff member during the time I would have been an intern there (had I gotten the position). Flet glad about that rejection…..

    • DC Association :

      I am not sure we’ll ever find out the real deal. I agree with one poster that perhaps he is just being a stand-up guy, but honestly I think there is probably more to it than that. I was reading some comments on the CNN site where I read the article, and people theorize that it’s about Benghazi. Who knows?

      Anyway, he spoke at a meeting my organization held and i was in awe of him. Just a very honorable guy. And even honorable guys make mistakes.

      it’s all very surprising.

      • More on Petraeus :

        Here is more info on Petraeus.

    • I just heard on NPR that the FBI discovered hundreds (thousands? They didn’t know.) of emails between him and the woman. When they found them was not disclosed. They had been investigating other security leaks when they found the emails.

      • This is crazy. The head of the CIA didn’t think someone may be able to read his emails?

        • Lady Enginerd :

          Exactly! Isn’t that sort of his job?

        • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

          I file this under “Delusions of Invisibility.”

          Petraeus now gets neatly wedged between Henry Blodget (with all those emails trashing companies that he’d published “Buy” opinions on), and Anthony Weiner (with all those emailed photos of himself).

          Also filed under this are many people who pick their noses in their cars thinking that somehow, nobody can see them.

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      He obviously resigned so he could go become President of Princeton University, the best job in the world.


      Also, I am strongly against affairs, but the woman he had an affair with is really impressive.

      • really, I dont find her that impressive. i find her wife much more impressive

  5. Not loving this pick. The combination of shawl collar plus basketweave band just looks messy to me.

    • I agree. This screams soccer mom trying to wear a fancy top but still be casual to me (and onnon-office days I’m basically a soccer mom trying to spruce up my schlubby casual non-work wardrobe). I’m not sure why. I think there’s too much going on an te weird waistline is made to unsuccessfully hi a tummy pooch.

    • eastbaybanker :

      At least on my screen, it’s a cheapy shade of blue. If it was in a jewel tone and in a jersey that draped better it could be a winner. This same shirt made by Splendid in jade would be a winner.

  6. Kat, can you fix the time stamp this year? Thanks!

    • Why is the timestamp even relevant?

      • Anonymous :

        Did you forget your happy pill this morning?

        • Did I? No. I’m just genuinely trying to figure out why the timestamp being an hour off is A.Big.Deal.

      • Shrug – the time stamp isn’t relevant, except to know relative order of commenting. Many people here aren’t even in the same time zone, so it’s not going to reflect the actual time of comment, except to say which came first. It’s all wibbly wobbly timey whimy stuff.

    • whiskey tango foxtrot

  7. I finally got an Origami dress from JCrew, but I’m a little perplexed as to what kind of jacket to wear with the asymmetrical neckline. I know this has probably been discussed before. I got it in the orange/red and don’t know what color jacket to wear either. I have a ton of tops in this color, but it seems different with a dress.

    • Ugh, I just posted about this a couple of days ago. The suggestions were a collarless jacket or a crewneck cardigan, but honestly and I’ve tried them both and neither work. It’s a gorgeous dress but very hard to style. Please share anything you come up with!

    • I have this dress and have yet to find a sweater or jacket that looks good with it. That being said, I literally get compliments on the dress every single time I wear it. But I think it is a warm weather only dress (when you can wear it with no sweater or jacket).

      • But I find the fabric to be too heavy for warm weather (at least, DC style warm weather).

      • anon in-house :

        Can you do a tissue thin (or regular weight) cardigan with a lowered or scoopneck neckline so it goes below the neck? Gray, black, white, tan, any neutral I imagine would work.

        • Would a longer v neck boyfriend cardigan work? Alternatively, can you wear it with a tissue thin turtle neck under the dress?

    • I got this question on my blog and posted the same suggestions that TBK mentioned, but have to admit that I think this dress is just really hard to style for work. Its beautiful, but the asymmetrical neckline is just a bit of a problem if you want to wear something over it.

      I feel like its one of those dresses that suggests that whomever gives style advice at the design shops for the companies that makes “business casual” apparel doesn’t (or hasen’t in awhile) worked in a business casual environment.

      • I wear the dress by itself in a business casual environment and feel completely appropriate.

        • Ah…I guess my problem with sleeveless numbers is just that I’m (a) too cold to wear them alone in my office and (b) that I don’t like sleeveless in the office on its own. So I only like things that can have something over it.

          But…I think its really pretty and totally appropriate (sorry if I suggested otherwise).

  8. Super anon for this :

    I apologize that this is not a light, fun topic for the weekend thread, but I’m freaking out a little and could use some advice. My sister is dating a guy who is bad news in general, which I wish was the only problem but it isn’t anymore, and the boyfriend’s 12-year old son has moved in with them. This happened because the 12-year old boy I appropriately touched his younger stepsister. I’m not sure exactly how old the stepsister is, but I think she is around 4 or 5 years old. The mother and the father of the girl no longer allow the son to live with them out of fear for the girl, which I understand. The boy was evaluated by a counselor to determine whether he is a threat to the girl and the counselor determined that it was an isolated incident, there is no risk to the girl, and that he is too naive about sex to be a major concern.

    I’m concerned about it though. I don’t know much about kids, but I thought that 12-year olds had a pretty good understanding of sex and the knowledge of what is right or wrong on the subject. So I guess my question is, am I right? Is there reason to be more than a little concerned about this? The boy has a number of other issues including failing classes and threatening to kill himself, so he is going to keep seeing the counselor for that.

    My sister just keeps getting more intertwined with this guy. He’s been a jerk to her from the beginning of their relationship, is rude to me and the rest of my family, takes no responsibility for himself (meaning he went to jail a few times for selling stolen merchandise that he claims wasn’t stolen), and has been unemployed and mooching off friends and now my sister for years. Most of my faly has expressed their concern about him at least once. I’ve tried to stay out of it because she feels alienated and I want her to have someone to talk to about everything, though I did express concern once near the beginning of their relationship. I just don’t know what to do. I was concerned before and now that she is living with and apparently parenting a “troubled kid” (as she puts it) I feel like I should say or do something but I don’t know what. I know that none of us can make her change her mind about the guy, but it feels wrong for me not to say anything.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I would say there is a very likely (and very awful) possibility that a twelve year old boy acting out sexually with a very young sibling, is processing an experience of sexual abuse of his own. I hope the counselor is aware of and looking out for that possibility?

      As to what to tell your sister — I don’t know. That’s a tough one. I think your partner having a troubled kid is not in and of itself necessarily a reason to leave a relationship – but it sounds like the relationship is bad on other levels as well. I think you should try to be there to her and try to gently express your concern, but that’s really the most you can do.

      • Super anon for this :

        I had not even considered that. I do not know if the counselor is looking out for that or not, but I hope he or she is.

        • anon in-house :

          Any reason why you can’t call her? I know she can;t divulge info, but perhaps you point out your concerns for her to keep a watchful eye on…

          • anon in-house :

            Or rather, have your sister call the therapist. If she cares and is parenting this child, she should be involved in his progress/therapy to whatever extent is allowable.

    • What would you say? She knows how you feel. She knows how your family feels. If you’re worried about her, I think the only thing you can do is back off so that she knows she can come to you without you judging her or her boyfriend. (I’m not sure what the boy has to do with it. Are you worried he might hurt your sister? Since he’s 12, I’m assuming your sister is still bigger/stronger than he is. Also, he sounds like a kid who’s really hurting. Not sure his dad’s place is better for him than his mom’s, but clearly things weren’t good for him in that household. Not to jump to conclusions, but is there a chance his stepfather was molesting him?)

      • Super anon for this :

        Honestly, I don’t know what I would say. I’ve been the one for her to come to without feeling judgment for a couple of years now. I really try my best to make sure that she feels comfortable talking to me and try to make her boyfriend feel comfortable when we are around the family because he knows that people don’t like him. I probably should just continue in that role for now.

        I’m worried about the boy both because he is an added tie between my sister and the boyfriend now that she is also in a parenting role now and if she does want to break up with him that she may have very deep feelings for the boy and that would cause her extra stress and concern about whether to break up because of the impact on the boy. I realize that this may be completely inaccurate, but I’m scared that this is a sign that the boy is headed down the path of becoming a criminal and possibly a sexual predator. I know that is a major jump to make, but that is why I asked what 12-year olds understand about sex. Because I know that kids do things like that. I always just thought it happened at a much earlier age. I am also scared that the by might try to hurt my sister, who is actually very thin and not very strong physically or emotionally. I’m just scared in general and my mind is swirling with all these awful scenarios.

        • I wonder if it might help you to talk to a therapist. First, the therapist could provide you with better information about how to relate to your sister in the way that’s most helpful to her. Second, the therapist could help you with your (completely understandable) feelings of fear and frustration with this situation.

        • M-C (no need for anonymity..) :

          A 12 year old may be a bit hazy about sex, but they really aren’t confused about rape, which is most likely what happened. Bullying and violence are quite clear, alas at the younger sister’s age already.

          I agree that it’s quite possible the 12 year old has been sexually abused, but he’s also old enough that he could be adding the sexual part in himself, from things he’s come across otherwise like school friends or net porn. He may “just” have witnessed general abuse. And to the people who’re concerned about the stepfather, if I were the OP I’d be most concerned about it being the father instead. Although many women getting out of an abusive relationship are also targeted by abusers, and so the first wife may be having a series, identifying one doesn’t exempt the second. In any case, this mother kicking him out seems to indicate the problem isn’t as likely the stepfather, otherwise it’s likely she’d be too downtrodden to take that step.

          Many abusers are themselves the children of abusers. No all, mercifully, many decide to be very careful not to pass that on instead. But a child very often learns about abuse at home, which is not good news for your sister. And isn’t inconsistent with other things you’re saying about her boyfriend, unfortunately.

          For you OP I’d recommend “why does he do that” by Lundy Bancroft, a truly excellent book. You may want to read that yourself first, to clarify your mind about what may be going on, and help you talk to your sister and provide help in a most constructive way. And then eventually to pass it on to your sister directly if she shows signs of asking herself questions.

          But meanwhile you could perhaps give her something that seems more overtly child-oriented like LB’s “when dad hurts mom”. Put it as a concern that the boy may have been abused himself first, and that he may need help identifying that and recovering, couching it in terms of potential problems from the stepfather so as not to be threatening. If you’re lucky, in reading this she may begin to recognize unhealthy things that could be happening to her..

    • Not making a comment on your situation either way, but the school head at my son’s middle school said earlier this year that for middle school boys, there is a wide gap in maturity levels — something like an eight year spread, so any given twelve year old could have the maturity of an eight year old all the way up to a sixteen year old. I don’t know if it’s that wide, but I do see a huge difference in maturity levels among the boys in my son’s grade.

      • This. I was an assistant scoutmaster to 10-12 y.o. kids for a few years, and they could do or say things that, had adult said or done them, would have been quite sexual. But judging by their behaviour, to them it was simply innocent play. I wouldn´t expect a twelve-year-old to even be able to recognise an act as “sexual”, let alone be mindful of boundaries. (Sheez, most eighteen-year-olds aren´t!) As the counsellor said, he is most likey genuinely clueless about the whole thing.

    • might be helpful to suggest to her that they get a second opinion on the son. Another therapist can confirm or contradict the first one. And maybe the trio needs counseling. She could suggest it to BF and son as a way for them to transition to living together, thought it might also serve to help the son and BF in otherways.

    • Anon for this :

      Just putting this out there – 4-5 years old is where kids play doctor, talk about marrying adults or tall people in their life. There is a very real chance that is really is not worth branding the kid for the rest of his life. Giving him appropriate supervision, certainly.

      I dismissed a sitter because my then-5 year old knew proper terms for male and female anatomy (her system is we-don’t-talk-about-that), and because he and her almost 5 year old daughter were in the bathroom and were in the process of taking their pants off. What frosted it for me was when she tried to play it as him making “a move” on her kid, and she shamed my kiddo horribly. I filed a complaint related to her childcare license and she reports being much happier working with her husband’s lawncare business. Absolutely no history of sexual abuse.

      Be careful with your assumptions and what you do with them.

      On the flip side, my youngest is now five, said he knows who he is going to marry – his step sister (19) who is away at college. He adds, he will kiss her, even though kissing girls is really gross. 19 year old thinks this is weird, but was OKish when it was pointed out as “a stage”.

  9. DC Lawyer :

    After a respectable six-year stretch in BigLaw, I am ready to try something new. Long story short, I believe I need to transition practice areas in order to find the type of work I want. Specifically, I’m interested in doing either immigration law or trusts and estates work. I’m hoping to take some time over the next few years to make this transition — CLE classes, conferences, treatise-reading — and then look for a new job. Do any of you wonderful women work in solo practice or a small firm setting in either of these areas? I have a few questions:

    1) I am confident in my ability to learn, and learn well, either area of law — but what do potential clients or employers want to see to make them comfortable that I’ve done my homework and that I’m capable in this new area of law? FWIW, I have excellent educational credentials, and I’ll be coming off of a short SAHM stint (during which I will be doing this “re-branding” work).

    2) What is the general balance of time spent drumming up business versus doing actual client work?

    3) Am I correct in thinking that these areas of law provide relatively good prospects for a predictable work schedule and/or a part-time work schedule?

    If you’re willing to talk (email) offline, please let me know.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      No advice because I don’t practice in either of those areas and I’m not a solo or with a small firm, but I wanted to suggest checking out the ABA’s listserve called Solosez. It’s a lot of emails and you might want to use a totally new and separate email account for it, but there is a lot of good advice on it and many of the people seem to do immigration or T&E work.

      • Belle et Rebelle :

        I am a solo (though not in either of those practice areas) and I second the recommendation for Solosez. I have been on there since before I left my last firm to launch my own practice, and it really is an amazing resource. Totally agree with Sydney that you’d want a separate email account for it when/if you join – I like gmail because you can mute the threads that don’t interest you.

        Just from talking to people, my impression is that T&E makes for a relatively sane work schedule in terms of predictability – not a lot of T&E emergencies. I can’t speak to how it is in immigration, but wouldn’t be surprised if it depended on what kinds of clients you were working with (i.e., would you be working on visas for companies that want to hire non-US workers with special knowledge/skills or a different group?).

        Not sure if this is something that transcends practice areas, but in my experience, if you are starting a solo practice from scratch, you can expect a pretty high ratio of time spent marketing to time spent doing client work, but this seems to be different for different people.

        The other recommendation I would make is to find a mentor in your new practice area. I do not doubt your ability to teach yourself a new area of law, but a good mentor can be really helpful with substantive issues, and they could also be a source of overflow work if they are busy.

        I’d be happy to talk with you offline if you like.

        • OMG, you solo ladies are my HEROINES! I would love to talk with you about your practice, if you would indulge me. I think I am ready to make the move…

        • DC Lawyer :

          Thanks for the advice. Would love to talk offline if you are still interested. Sorry for the late reply — family in town this weekend makes it hard to read blogs. My email is corpor e t t e .margaret at gmail dot com.

    • What about doing pro bono work or stepping up your pro bono game in either/both of those areas?

      • Second the pro bono idea.

      • DC Lawyer :

        Have been thinking about this, but the problem is how one does pro bono work without a job that covers your malpractice insurance, court costs, etc. ? If anyone has ideas on this, I’d love to hear them. I’ll be leaving my job shortly and doing this re-training while SAHM for a short period. Or thus is the current plan.

        • My state has a volunteer lawyer project (pro bono) through the bar that pairs up lawyers who will do a pro bono case with needy clients, who are strictly screened. The Volunteer Lawyer project carries malpractice insurance that covers the volunteer lawyer, and the client is required to pay court costs if they cannot get approved to file as a pauper. I would imagine there is something similar in DC that would cover you. Good luck.

    • I did Biglaw T&E for 3.5 years — but have never worked at a small or solo firm. The hours are definitely more predictable than some practice areas, but I still did my fair share of 12+ hour days. There are lots of small or mid-sized firms with big T&E practices though, so I’m sure the hours there would probably be more reasonable (though I can’t vouch for it).

      No advice about how to best transition into the field. All the associates at my firm either started out in T&E, or got an (NYU) LLM before switching practice areas. But getting a job at a smaller firm maybe easier than a biglaw firm. Good luck!!

      • DC Lawyer :

        Thanks for this info. The LLM/Certificate programs at NYU and Georgetown are definitely on the table. Very helpful to hear that this seems to be the default track for those switching fields.

    • Diana Barry :

      I can talk to you about it. I do T+E in a smallish firm and am also PT (80%). You can email me at dianabarry r e t t e at gmail.

      I have reasonable hours – 9-5 or so – and also work from home for 1-2 days a week.

    • One thing to keep in mind about T&E is that December will always be a very busy month for you. Just something to keep in mind if you celebrate holidays and travel to see family.

  10. SF Bay Associate :

    Justice Sotomayor explained to Abby Cadabby that “Princess” is not a career, but lawyer, teacher, engineer, scientist, and doctor are careers. Sesame Street is the best!


  11. OK, first world problem.

    Do you know whether flattering colors are the same for clothes and make up ?

    I have a closet full of grey, blue and the like, but realized that these same colors in makeup make me look grey and tired. I need earthy tones apparently.

    • Back in the day, people used to have their colors done (my mom used the book “Color Me Beautiful”). The theory was that each person was a “season” and each season had its own palette that would look good on you. Part of it was not just the color but the undertone. If gray and blue look good on you, that would probably mean you have a “cool” undertone. There are earthy colors that are nontheless in the “cool” palette. Those might work for you. I think you can still find quizzes, etc. on your “season” online and examples of different season palettes. Not sure people use this much anymore, but I’m a pretty clear winter and I find it helpful to think of those colors when picking clothes and make-up.

      • Yes, I’m supposed to be a winter too (very dark hair, very pale skin). However, I wear blue, grey, black and white because I like those colors … I do get the “you look tired!” from time to time, but I am very very pale in a mediterranean country, so usually chalk it up to that.

        Now I wonder wether I’m just plain wrong in my color choices (not sure I’d change them though ! ). The make up part don’t bother me, I don’t like to wear much anyway.

        • Belle et Rebelle :

          What happens if you wear some of the other colors from the winter palette (some jewel tones like purple, cool pinks, etc)? If those work on you, too, I’d think you really are a winter, but if not, you might try experimenting with colors from the other seasons to see if they work better.

          Color Me Beautiful – I hadn’t thought of the book in years, but my mom was totally into it and even had a booklet of fabric swatches with her colors in her purse at all times for a while. I still think in terms of whether a piece is in one of my colors when I shop!

    • MacKaylaLane :

      I don’t think so because when I wear my favorite clothes colors on my face, I look like I got beat up. Also, I can wear red lips, but not red clothing.

    • Yes, colors that are good for you in makeup are also good for you in clothes.
      Sometimes color decisions have little to do with what looks good on you :-). I wear a lot of black because of where I live, if I was in Florida no doubt I could look better. But the cultural trumps the personal for me, at least some of the time. However, I do try to keep my greys warm (quite a difficult proposition in the US, which is very give to cool greys). And some warmer colors close to the face can mitigate the “artistic” cast one can take from wearing the wrong colors.
      If you’re getting “tired” comments when you’re not, and you can see for yourself that the colors you wear look bad for you in makeup, I’d definitely advise some professional consultation..

  12. Here is an abstract question for Friday afternoon:

    How do you decide how much to spend on something?

    I have spent the vast majority of my life teetering on the brink of financial ruin. When I needed something, if I could afford it, I would get the nicest I could afford. Now I am in a different financial position where I can afford to get nicer things, but I think the “nicest you can afford” strategy is neither necessary or financially sound. So how do you decide when to splurge and how much to splurge?

    Example: my old knee-high black boots are not in good shape. The stacked heel is chipped and the elastic panels are all stretched out with broken elastic threads poking out. These are casual boots, not office or dressy boots. Should I (a) continue to wear them since they are technically still wearable; (b) replace them with something comparable, around $100; (c) replace them with something better, around $200-$300; (d) replace them with something top-of-the-line? These boots are something I wear a lot, but I can certainly live without new ones or really, really expensive ones. In fact, I have congac boots that I can wear instead with many things. How do you go about making these decisions? How would your answer change if it’s for an item you don’t wear all the time, like a special occasion dress?

    • My thoughts on this have morphed over the years. I used to spend a lot of time shopping so I could not spend a lot of money. Now I have less time and more defined taste so I tend to spend more. I no longer have the time or energy to shop sales and have come to realize that I can’t wait until off-season for things to go on sale.

      I would definitely replace them. It sounds like they no longer look good. Although they’re not work wear, you still want to look nice and pulled together. As for what you replace them with, I think you might want to look for something a little nicer. $100 for boots isn’t all that much. Think about cost per use. If they are something that you wear pretty often and enjoy during your off-time, I’d say the $200-$300 range would be fine. I tend to go more expensive for work shoes and clothes so maybe that’s why it seems plenty to me.

      At any rate, enjoy shopping for new boots! And you *need* black boots, right?

      • For your particular situation, I’d consider an upgrade because you wear them all the time. But I’d also make sure an upgrade was also a real upgrade because of durability, not just so you can spend more money on something you already had.
        If you didn’t wear them all the time, I’d say look at the cost per wearing, and basically wait for sales, spend less on the next ones :-). The best you can afford is only worthwhile if you use it all the time..

    • If they no longer look good, replace them or see if a cobbler can make them look better. My thoughts on how much to spend on things have changed as I’ve become more able to spend money and as I’ve learned to recognize quality. Cost does not necessarily reflect the quality of an item as many items are overpriced because of the label that’s attached to them. That being said, I still don’t pay full price for anything. Also consider how tough you are on things. For example, I destroy flats quickly so can’t justify spending a lot of money on them.

    • Here’s my breakdown of your choices:

      (a) Demote the current pair to be the “cr*ppy weather” pair that I pull on if I’m going out on a rainy winter night. Reason: I can afford to purchase a pair, at some price point, that will be attractive and in good condition, I got my money’s worth out of the first pair, and using them this way helps preserve New Pair.

      (b) and (c) depends on how satisfied I’ve been with the quality just worn out. My usual approach here is to wait for the mid-range style to go on sale (or a friends & family for the brands that just never make it there), so that I can upgrade in quality while keeping a reasonable price.

      (d) I have only done once so far, replacing my original basic black work pumps (which were around $100 but showed wear very quickly) with Ferragamos as my first bonus gift-to-self. While I could technically afford to do so more often, I found I’ve reached my current mental limit as to the price I’m willing to pay for some things — once bags start bumping elbows with my mortgage payment, it sort of feels ridiculous to me even if savings do permit.

    • LadyEnginerd :

      Cost per wear. I’d ballpark past cost per wear for certain classes of garments (everyday trousers vs shoes vs blouse) and then start tracking it (apps make this easy). Once you have the data in front of you, I think it will be more obvious at what price point you feel comfortable that you’d be getting your money’s worth out of something. To your specific example, I’d probably feel best if I saved up for new boots this winter (maybe making it a game and putting money in a jar every time I wore the old boots) and bought (b) level boots on sale in the spring. I also am a nerd who loves spreadsheets.

      With special occasion wear, your cost per wear is going to be very high, so you want to do what you can to bring that down. That’s why buying a neutral dress (ideally on clearance) and buying new accessories if you need it to look different is so often recommended.

      • I am also a nerd who loves spreadsheets, and now I want to track the cost-per-wear of things I know I will need to replace soon. :)

        For the OP- I just “invested” in c-level brown boots that I intend to wear constantly when not at work or a formal event throughout the rest of the fall and winter. I have a higher spending threshold for shoes than I do for most other clothing because I strongly, strongly believe that if my feet aren’t comfortable and/or I’m self-conscious about my shoes for any reason, the rest of my attitude and appearance suffers. I don’t have a lot of shoes, but I love all the ones I have.

        • Lady Enginerd :

          I use Stylebook on my iPhone, but any spreadsheet will do. Unsurprisingly, it tells me that the expensive sensible shoes I leave under my desk at work are much much better buys than the sparkly party shoes I just keep impulse buying at DSW. Oops :)

    • Keep in mind that my approach to shopping is heavily influenced by years of being poor in grad school/underpaid as a postdoc, but I try to spend as little as possible while not spending money on things that are more or less disposable. First, I’d probably take the boots to a cobbler and see if they can be repaired for less than the cost of new ones. If I had to buy new ones, I’d choose to spend slightly more money ($200-300) to get something that I like and will last a while rather than spending $100 for something pleather or cheap quality that will have to be replaced again (the time and hassle and waste of replacing stuff really annoys me). Something more than $300 would be out of range for me, but even if I had the income I doubt that I would spend it unless it was absolutely something that couldn’t be obtained at a lower price (ie, if I had a fit issue that made a semi-custom boot a necessity). Luxury goods don’t give me nearly the same happiness that having a substantial savings fund does.

    • With the boot, as with other things in the I-wear-them-ALL-the-time-but-they-don’t-need-to-be-fancy category, I would also suggest repairing as an option. A trip to the cobbler (or the tailor) for a good cleaning and repairing of the minor damages will cost WAY under $50. I then eventually start saving up for the expensive replacement, or start a passive search, i.e. when I’m out shopping for something else I’ll do a quick round through the shoe department, especially the sales, and if I fall in love with a reasonably priced alternative and I can afford it that month, I’ll pounce. I typically have about 3 things on my radar I know I will need to replace soon, and I can just as easily put things I don’t use often but still need to have around and in working order ( like special occasion dresses or ski gear) on the short list and go through the same sale hunting/saving up for procedure.
      As for how much to spulrge or spend, I feel much more comfortable spulrging after I’ve gotten full use out of and repaired multiple times to keep in good shape, because the item has proven to be something worth buying better quality. For example, I don’t spend a ton of money on sweaters, because they inevitably shrink/pill/stain/etc and are hard to repair. But black boots, my nice warm wool winter coat, and the one pair of jeans I own are all very high quality because they are durable or can be repaired.

    • Thank you very much for all your responses! You have all given me something to think about. And you just inspired me to order these! http://www.zappos.com/lauren-ralph-lauren-calvina-black-vanchetta

      It was kind of painful because I just spent a bunch of money on something else that’s not strictly necessary today, but, assuming they fit, I think I will get a lot of use out of them.

      • LadyEnginerd :

        Pretty! That looks like the perfect compromise and I’m sure you’ll get a ton of use out of them.

      • Arg, I just saw the reviews that say the shaft circumference measurement is wrong on Zappos, and I found another site that lists them as being 14 inches. No good for my fatted calves. Back to the drawing board!

        • FWIW, I recently bought some Etienne Aigner boots on Piperlime that are making me and my fatted calves quite happy. They are the Chip Wide Shaft – and just went on sale.

          • As someone who can NEVER find boots to fit around her legs, the phrase “fatted calves” made me very, very happy.

    • I would never consider getting top of the line anything unlessit was truly a timeless thing that I knew I could have and love forever. To me, splurging on shoes to me is never worth it because they wear out and get damaged.

    • Something I would recommend is setting up a general clothing budget for yourself. Decide what % of your income you want to spend on clothes, figure out how many of each item you buy per year, decide which items you want to spend more money on (for instance, shoes you’ll wear a lot, suits) and which can be cheaper (tops, casual clothes). Then, whenever you’re making a particular purchase, you can know how it fits into your budget. For instance, if your shoe budget for the year is $500, then decide if the purchase is important enough to spend half or a third of your budget. This will also cut down on feeling guilty about purchases, because you’ll know you’re staying within your budget, so you’ll feel good about buying the boots.

  13. Meg Murry :

    Ugh. Need to vent. Just sat through a long meeting with a perky “bright young thing” who believes she is the best thing to ever happen to my company. This is her first job out of college and while she seems pretty smart and like a hard worker, she is definitely green. Hoping I wasn’t quite that obnoxious when I was young and freshly employed, but I suspect I was a little bit – so universe, here is your apology. I was arrogant and annoying and I’m sorry. Please forgive me, and try to help me not to RAWR too much at the perky young employees. Thank you.

    • Don’t worry, she will get beaten down by the system soon enough, just like we all do. :)

      • Meg Murry :

        I know this is also partly because I wish I had been her – I went through some really horrible companies before I landed at this one, so I’m envious of the fact that she landed here at her first job without having to “pay her dues” at any of the horrible places I’ve worked. So I’m willing to admit I’m a little jealous, and our personalities are pretty different in some ways (and maybe too much the same in others) – I doubt we would be friends if we were the same age. But the tiny mean part of me really hopes she hits a roadbump at some point (like when/if she has kids) to make her a little more human and a little less perky-superwoman. But then it just makes me mad at myself for wishing ill will on others, because grown-up me knows that won’t solve anything. Ugh. TGIF, at least.

    • Your post is why my bog-standard response to any Q about what I wish I had known when I was starting out is ‘listen more, talk less’. Most of us start out young, green, under-informed and arrogant – if we are lucky, we grow out of it without annoying the people around us too much.

    • Ahhh, the young whippersnapper! I work with a bunch of them.

      Presuming you are interested and have the time, is there any chance you can mentor her?

  14. Make Up Rookie :

    Yay open thread:
    I know pretty much nothing about make up (grew up with guys, need something welded? I’m your gal, need your nails done? Expect me to grab a hammer not getting which nails you meant). Anyway, recently I got promoted into a position where professional appearance is much more important (seeing clients now, previously I was more in the background) so I started using make up… most basic things are well covered in blogs but one question I couldn’t answer was:

    How much make up do you carry to work?
    Is it just mascara and lipstick, do you bring powder? I used to have a coworker who had foundation and everything in her purse and like clockwork every two hours she would run to the bathroom and touch up. That’s seems exhausting and time consuming (and my make up seems to stay put pretty well).
    Do you maybe have an extra set in your desk and don’t really carry anything in your purse?

    Thanks in advance and I apologize if this makes the “stupid questions of the week” list.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      At conferences, or something where I will generally be interacting with people all day, I generally throw lipstick, mascara, eyeliner and concealer in the bag (this is basically all I wear on “major makeup” days so I can’t tell you if that’s too little). I tend to take a look at it to see if it needs a touchup every time I go to the bathroom – definitely not every hour or two hours. Usually the only things that ever really do are concealer under my eyes (which tends to rub off) and lipstick.

      On minor makeup days, I basically just put it on (it being concealer and maybe mascara) and go. I don’t bring any of it to work.

    • I agree with you about your co-worker. Yikes!

      I keep power for shine, concealer for dark circles and surprise zits, and about 5,000 lipsticks and lip balms in my desk drawer. I really only ever use the lip products. Then again, I have spent years perfecting my all-day, absolutely budge-proof makeup routine, so that helps a lot.

      • At some point in the near future, please share your wisdom with we worn-off-make-up masses :).

        • LadyEnginerd :

          Yes indeed. I too want to know the secrets of the budge-proof makeup. Though if secret #1 is “don’t touch your face” I’ve failed at that one for years :)

        • Well, with the caveat that what works for me might not work for everyone, here is my everyday routine:

          – tinted moisturizer/BB cream with a little power or power foundation on top if I’m looking a shiny
          – Tarte Amazonian Clay blush
          – Sephora waterproof eyebrow pencil
          – Sephora waterproof eyeshow stick pencil thing, sometimes
          – L’oreal Lineur Intense liquid eyeliner or Sephora waterproof eyeliner pencil
          -Maybelline Full n Soft mascara, waterproof
          – MAC Longwear lipcolor with some kind of balm on top

          The only thing I reapply is lips and a lot of days I just use balm and reapply throughout the day. On days when I’m really tired I just do BB cream, eyebrow pencil, mascara, and lip balm. Looking at my face right now, the only thing that’s faded is the blush a little. I am very happy with my current routine, except when it comes time to take it off at night. :)

    • I only keep lipstick and chapstick in my purse. I keep mascara and a neutral eyeshadow in my desk drawer for when I go to the gym during the day.

    • NO, you do not need to go re-do your entire face of makeup every two hours. Unless you want to. You should probably carry whatever lip product you’re wearing because it will wear off during the day. I don’t bother to touch up makeup after lunch, but if you care enough to do that, then probably bring your eye makeup and maybe blush as well. I would probably only do this if I were going out after work. You may also want powder and/or spot concealer for any skin issues that crop up throughout the day. Also, wearing primer (I use Urban Decay Primer Potion) really reduces my need to re-do eye makeup later in the day.

    • I keep a powder compact, chapstick and a few lipsticks at work. Mostly just use the chapstick, sometimes the powder if I’m having a crazy/shiny day. I also have a small pouch where I keep my latest almost-used-up eyeshadow and blush when I am done with them at home — I use these to touch up only for major meetings in late afternoon or dinner events. Yeah, technically they’re probably a year past “you’ll give yourself an eye infection” but I’ve never had an issue.

      • I do this. I think I also have mascara since occasionally I have an issue with my contact lenses and need to reapply at work.

        IMO having a good haircut, and color if you want color, means you can have more minimal makeup if you wish.

      • This is a great idea. I think I’ll be pulling together an “almost gone” makeup kit for the office this weekend. AND it’s a great place to hide my duplicate brushes (does anyone else actually throw those away when they upgrade).

    • I have a little bag in my purse with all my lipstick (I only own three plus two glosses and one chapstick), concealer, and blotting paper (I find powder just sits on top of oiliness instead of absorbing it). I have very dark hair and lashes, though, and so have never felt the need to touch up mascara (I’m guessing lighter haired ladies might feel differently).

      • The paper toilette seat covers found in most restrooms make awesome blotting paper. Just an FYI.

    • I take lipstick for a touch-up after eating, and that’s it. I go for more or less bomb-proof mascara so I don’t have to worry about it throughout the day, and if my eyeliner/eyeshadow/blush fades throughout the day, too bad. I agree that your co-worker’s routine sounds really exhausting!

    • Blotting paper (powder makes me all wrinkly), concealer and lipstick du jour. Mascara don’t wear off and I don’t see myself reapplying foundation during the day.

    • I wear makeup to work. I reapply lipstick and that’s about it. I have a kit of most of my basics at work so that I can reapply if I’m going out after work. But to be honest, I have a pretty budge-proof makeup routine too, so I almost never see a need to touch up before going out.

      Almost all of my makeup is Trish McEvoy. It stays put like nobody’s business, but washes off with regular cleanser. It’s magic as far as I’m concerned.

    • Make Up Rookie :

      Until today I didn’t even know there is such a thing as blotting paper for skin… i guess dry skin has it’s advantages.

    • For an alternative perspective, I’m someone who has been seeing clients for nearly 2 decades, with pretty much no make-up except for a bit of coloured lip balm. It works fine for me – I have east asian colouring so my eyes and brows are visible without help, I often have very long work days and like being able to put my head under cold running water to freshen up before an evening appointment, I travel a lot and skipping make-up simplifies everything including packing. It helped that the most senior lady in my first job was a middle-aged Englishwoman who thought putting stuff on her face was a strange thing to do (‘but why?’) and it certainly did nothing to diminish her effectiveness or authority.

      • Thanks for that :-). I admit that as a blonde with dark eyebrows/lashes I’ve probably been over-privileged in the no-makeup camp. But I’ve certainly found that not putting stuff on my face helps keep my mind on the real work. And I have enough trouble with matching socks early in the morning without adding a whole new domain to potentially flunk at..

    • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

      My Burt’s Bees lip balm and lipstick, plus my concealer stick in case I have a pimple I want to cover up.

  15. Does anyone else get unreasonably uncomfortable and stressed when you overhear conflict? The attorney in a neighboring office nearly always conducts tense phone calls with opposing counsel on speakerphone with the door open. I don’t mind engaging in tense arguments with other people myself, but for some reason I just cannot handle it happening to other people around me. It’s also super distracting, much more so than just normal, non-hostile conversations.

    Any suggestions? I’m guessing this is something I’ll just have to buck up and get used to (super junior). Hopefully eventually when I’ve got some more time under my belt I won’t be in the tiny office next to this guy, and I can feel comfortable shutting my door when it happens.

    • LeChouette :

      my neighbor has really tense fights with his wife on speakerphone with the door open. it’s the worst.

      I wear headphones for part of the day and just plop them on when he gets angry. Other than that, I have no tips.

      • Yikes. Marital disputes would be way worse than professional ones. You have my sympathy.

    • Do you find any humor in these conversations you’re involuntarily overhearing? Maybe I’m just a cackling demon, but when I used to share a thin wall with MANAGEING PARTNER I was often quite amused by the cattiness and posturing I heard when he talked to opposing counsel or deponents. (He was always using speakerphone with the door open, of course). If it had been about issues I cared about, like someone’s health or a true wrong, I couldn’t be amused at all. But most of the time it was just millions of dollars/face-saving for respective clients. Try to save your empathy and emotion for situations that deserve it–life has plenty of those.

    • MacKaylaLane :

      This. My wall neighbor has started cursing and yelling into the phone lately and I find that it makes ME anxious.

      Is it just me, or do guys get super angry about stupid things?

    • Yes, I do. It’s why I left litigation. :) I don’t have any advice but I did want to offer commiseration on getting anxious because of other people’s hostile encounters.

    • Any hope you could close -your- door when this happens? I agree as a very junior person you probably shouldn’t go close his :-). But yes, it’s common for guys to mistreat people on the phone, I think they think it’s a good way to terrorize you without doing it directly. Take whatever steps you need to try and stay removed, whether closing your door and/or adding earphones (with new-age sounds of birds or beach :-)?).

  16. You guysssss….

    I have to go pick a wedding dress tomorrow. Like, for reals, I’ve tried on enough different examples in various places with various parties, and now I just need to make a Decision, as the clock, it is a-ticking. But I feel like I’ve been thinking about it for too long, and there are too many options, and there are competing considerations, and various constituencies have to be mollified (yes, I know I’m wearing the dress, but in a perfect world, I’d like to find a way to make my choice without being needlessly “It’s MY DAY” about it). But the hardest, hardest thing about it is I just Don’t Know What I Want. I never had a picture in my head about what I was supposed to look like as a bride, and I like lots of dresses for very different reasons……

    For those of you with experience, how did you decide? Especially if you didn’t have one of those teary sorts of moments, what pushed you over the edge into deciding to buy one versus the other? Anything you wish you had thought about when making that purchase, if you were doing it over again?

    • Maddie Ross :

      For me it was a combo of cost and “feeling,” although cost put me over the edge. I was a poor student when I got married and I felt horrible about the idea of my parents shelling out enough money to house me in my apartment and feed me for several months on a dress. So I found something that was similar enough to what I thought I wanted, seemed like it would fit the bill for the wedding I had in mind and location I was planning, and was off the rack (plus an additional discount!). Were I doing it again, I think I would be less cost conscious and a little more picky about what I really wanted. To this day, I look at my wedding pictures and think “if only I had been a little less cheap…” While you should by no means blow your budget on your dress and you should definitely know your limit coming in and stick to it, I guess I’m saying this is probably not the moment to cheap out. I don’t think there was a single dress that would have made me teary out there, but I think there were some that would have made me happier. And it pains me that I now own shoes (and not even like Loubs or something) that cost three times what my dress did.

    • I recently bought a wedding dress but haven’t worn it yet. For me, it was most important to feel like the dress is very flattering and comfortable enough to wear all day. I actually found the flattering part easier to assess when looking at pictures of the dress rather than trying on a sample that is far from my normal size. But of course looking in person is important to see the quality of the dress. Anyway, I chose the cheapest of the flattering. I also have an out of budget dream dress that I am still hoping to find 90% off!

      • SF Bay Associate :

        Have you considered buying your out of budget dress used? Worked for me!

        • Yes I stalk all the preowned sites I can find! I actually have 2 dream dresses and I’ve only seen them about 30% off which is still out of budget. If anyone out there is considering selling a Jenny Packham Willow or Reem Acra Olivia, let me know!

    • SF Bay Associate :

      I didn’t have a teary moment. I had no dress in mind since I was a little girl. I selected my my dress by remembering what works on my figure when it comes to regular clothes, what my best features are, and what features are not so great. The wedding dress was no different. So, I wanted a sweetheart neckline (v-necks are flattering for my small chest), a natural waist (dropped waist, Empire waist are terrible on me), and a slight A-line skirt that accommodated my pear hips. No poofy. No bling. No organza or tulle. No beading. No pickups. Not my style. I wanted simple, elegant, classic, comfortable, just like my usual attempts at style. I found a dress that had those things. I liked it. It was flattering and comfortable enough to wear for hours. Done. When I get around to it, I’m going to list it for resale on Preowned Wedding Dresses dot com.

      As for advice, I found I was able to focus much more clearly on what was right for ME by detoxing from Pinterest and wedding media like the Knot and Martha Stewart and magazines and various friends and relations who had their own ideas about what a bride should look like. There were many beautiful dresses, but I know my body and my style, and many of those beautiful dresses would either be unflattering or just not my style. Great for someone else, not for me.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        I just remembered another criteria – can I use the restroom without assistance? I’ve been a bridesmaid helping a bride use the loo one too many times.

    • I would pick the dress that you feel comfortable and beautiful in…one that you will not worry about having to “fit into” or will be adjusting all wedding day. I would also advise something classic and that feels like a dressed up version of you. For me it was about a dress that was comfortable, that was within a reasonable price range and that fit the venue and season. My dress was lovely and we had a beautiful wedding; but honestly, the marriage part is a lot better. All brides are beautiful on their wedding day. I’m sure whatever you pick will be lovely.

    • Kontraktor :

      I needed a lot of coverage due to religious reasons, so that was the biggest driver in choosing. There are very few options out there for sleeved dresses with coverage. So, I pretty much started there. I knew generally I wanted to spend as little as possible, but generally under $1000. So, I called bridal salons and told them my specs, and I made appointments if they said they had dresses in that price range with sleeves or sleeve options. Usually since there were so few, I would try all the options the store had and decide I didn’t like all of them. Finally I was at one salon, and I tried on a dress that actually had a bolero that really was more like a whole top/sleeve piece (vs. looking like a jacket) that just came off as a whole top piece. So, I loved that top piece thing but the dress itself it went with was plus/minus. So, I just told the consultant to pull some dresses she thought would go with the top piece, and I found one that was nice enough and cheap enough and looked really good with the top piece (they blended better together than the piece and the original dress). So… that’s how I chose. It was particularly utilitarian.

      I am not really sure how I would have chosen had I not had such specific requirements… probably based on budget and my general style/wedding aesthetic (ie, I wouldn’t have chosen a ball gown for a beach wedding).

    • Diana Barry :

      I only went to try things on for one day, so YMMV. I first went to a bridal salon – and the saleslady kept bringing me things that were too blingy or too tulle-y or too princessy. Then I went to a sample sale place, so the dress you tried on was the one you would get. I tried on about 25 dresses there, which was AWESOME for figuring out what I wanted. So a bunch of them were too white, a bunch too poofy, etc.

      After all this trying on, I found 2 that I really liked (incidentally both the same color, oyster). I ended up picking the one that was most unusual – it had asymmetrical roses scattered all over and had a really heavy, quilted skirt, very narrow mermaid shape, and was dull satin. (This was after we went and got some lunch, so I could think about it for a bit.)

      I didn’t have to please anyone – of course I wanted to make sure my mom liked it, but she was very good about not being pushy. DH was very concerned that it be white (the different shades of white are lost on men!) and so I tried it on for him so that he could see that it indeed looked white.

      • Diana Barry :

        Oh, and the most important thing was how it looked/how I felt in it. My parents paid for it so I didn’t have to worry about cost, but the new dresses I looked at were 4K and I didn’t like them. The one I got was 1800 (retail was 8K!).

    • One thing that I really wish I had taken into consideration was how much time I spent in the dress and how much walking around/dancing/etc. I did that day/night. I had a huuuuuuge train that took a small army to bustle and in hindsight I wish I had gone with something lighter that just had a simple bustle. So I guess my advice is think light! Be comfortable!

    • I didn’t have a teary moment when I found “the dress” but I was really not into wedding planning at all. I knew that I didn’t want to spend too much (under $1000) and that I preferred something that wasn’t strapless, that was fitted through the waist, and that wasn’t so ridiculously huge that I wouldn’t be able to do things on my own (for the very practical dress I ended up choosing I still needed help going to the bathroom, however). I did try on dresses that didn’t fit that criteria just to make sure I wasn’t missing out on something unexpected.
      I tried on dresses 3 times. The first time was at J. Crew with my husband but I didn’t find anything I loved. The second and third time were with a friend (my only close friend where I live currently), and we went to one of the sample dress boutiques, and then to David’s Bridal. I ended up choosing my dress from Vera Wang’s line for David’s bridal (which is lovely by the way, I highly recommend her line there). There were only 3 that I liked and felt very pretty wearing. One was too wintry looking (I had an outdoor ceremony in the summer), one was crazy (if you know the Vera Wang dress that is strapless, tight, and ruched down through the hips, and then ends in swirls of chiffon that kind of looks like T.P., that’s the one), and one that was beautiful, classy, but not boring l (v-neck, mermaid shape, embroidery on sheer overlay). I debated between the crazy one and the more elegant one and chose the latter because I felt more comfortable in it, felt it was more suitable for my wedding, and knew that I would NOT look back on my photos in ten years regretting my choice. I was very happy with my choice, and all of my friends and family raved about the dress.
      I think the key is to choose something you feel beautiful and comfortable wearing. Don’t choose something you feel meh about, but don’t expect to have that “OHMYGOD THIS IS THE ONE” sort of feeling either, if that’s not your personality. Do think about how it will photograph. Don’t cheap out, but don’t think that you need to spend thousands of dollars either if that’s not in your budget. My dress cost $650 (on sale, was originally $800 I think) but looked and felt amazing. My seamstress was even saying what good quality it was (I had to have it taken in a couple sizes on top and 1 size on bottom) and jokingly complaining about how many layers she would need to hem.
      Good luck finding your dress!

    • e_pontellier :

      I loved my dress, but it ended up coming in 2 sizes smaller than it should have. I just felt so normal in it — I didn’t feel like a crazy person or like a princess; it was just comfortable. Somewhat simple, I think we paid $800, and I considered adding a jeweled “belt” but since they were all like $200-$400++, I didn’t bother. I definitely thought about it for a week or two before pulling the trigger, but I’m so glad I did. I actually found it at another store for double the price and then went back to the first store to buy it. I totally agree with everyone who recommends thinking about comfort. You will be wearing it for a long time. I actually couldn’t stay in my dress because it was so small; I had to change out of it soon after our first dance (and I didn’t have a backup dress). So I would definitely recommend trying to find a c*cktail type white dress just in case (maybe Rent the Runway?). Good luck!!

    • Research, Not Law :

      I felt the exact same way. I finally just picked one that I liked. I genuinely liked the dress (and still do in pics), but there wasn’t a big moment or attachment. I’m okay with that. I have no regrets because there still is no perfect dress that I wish I could have worn.

      I wanted a classic dress that it wouldn’t look too trendy in pictures. I wish that I had thought to have the seamstress convert the neckline to a sweetheart. It was the one thing that I didn’t like about my dress, but it never occurred to me to ask.

      • This is what I did as well. I thought my dress was beautiful, but it was an off the rack David’s Bridal number. I didn’t bother preserving it, and if I could find someone/somewhere to sell it, I probably would. I shopped two days, tried on ~30 dresses, and picked one. To the OP: it only has to be a big deal if you make it so. To me, the day was about a party with my husband and our closest friends and family – the rest was just window dressing.

    • Thank you, everyone–the sanity on this site is so refreshing. I should probably learn to stay away from the wedding-centered forums out there, as they are clearly a parallel universe of crazy. Fingers crossed for a successful shopping outcome today!

    • I had seen a J.Crew one I thought was nice, and then found it on craigslist in my size. Done and done. It’s a pretty and very simple dress, which I liked. Was it absolutely the most flattering dress I could have found? No. Did it matter at all? No.

  17. Ha! First introduction to UK drinking with work colleagues culture. I came from a work hard play hard nonprofit but this rivaled anything that I had ever seen, especially within the context of a casual night out. 3 drinks and no dinner wasn’t my brightest idea but I was by far the steadiest person there.

  18. Anyone working on self improvement projects? I’ve been floating a couple of ideas around and thought committing to them in an anonymous yet public manner may help me be more successful. So here goes.

    1) I’m too addicted/habituated to my smart phone (ironic that I’m typing this on my phone) I’m committing to no smart phone/computer while home in the evening before my son goes to bed. I’m going to have to put my computer/phone upstairs to do minimize temptation

    2) organization. I’m recommitting to keeping an endless to do list. To make this more fun I’m going to order some supplies but I need to do a better job keeping track of the endless tasks that I need to complete outside of work. I need to do a better job communicating with nanny and family on schedules etc.

    Okay. Anyone else?

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Interesting. I’ve been realizing lately how much I’m on my computer starting almost immediately when I get home from work. It’s just become something I do automatically and do even while I’m doing something else like watching tv or eating dinner sometimes. I was thinking about starting a one-hour no computer, ipad, cell phone hour when I get home from work and then building up the time.

      I also just started reading the Fire Starter Sessions, so that is the mental self-improvement side of things that I’m working on. I’m so inspired by the book, but I’m finding it difficult to answer the questions that she poses. I’m starting to realize that this is a common issue for me. It’s hard for me to think about what I really deep down want or what sets me apart from other people. An example is my LinkedIn summary section. I haven’t been able to write it. I’m just completely stuck when it comes to describing myself. So that is something I need to work on.

    • I love both of your ideas, actually. I find myself sneaking a peek at my phone when I’m playing with my daughter, and there’s absolutely no reason for it. I have recently found the smart rules (Android). For any time of day I can set it so I only get sound when my husband calls (not sure about texts) but everything else is silent. I use it at night but it could be used any time of day, I suppose. AND I am also quite disorganized and really need to work on it. Paperwork gets the best of me. I would love to know what your fun organizational supplies are!

    • I was inspired by another commenter’s post (mamabear maybe ?) about doing language lessons while commuting, downloaded a bunch of podcasts, felt really good about self-improvement and then promptly ignored them. But now I’ve just spent some very enjoyable time in France where my small bit of school French seemed to be pretty handy, so am re-starting the podcasts. Think I’m going to have to get a live teacher to make real progress though.

    • Research, Not Law :

      I’m trying to cut back my internet usage. I don’t have a smartphone, so it’s not an issue when I’m with my kids, but it is every other moment of the day, especially at work and bedtime. Your post is a good reminder for me to log off!

    • 1) Continuously un-*f*king my habitat. Basically doing things at the end of the day that make my next day much easier. Carrying that forward, doing those things at the weekend that make my week much easier. Hanging up clothes, preparing coffee at night to brew the next morning, having a gym bag in my car at all times, making lunch the night before.

      2) I am trying to disconnect from my phone and being more present, particularly at work. The only messages I’ll respond to are those from SO, all the others can wait.

      3) I carry a notebook with me that I use for work. Now as I think of things I need to do, I immediately write them down. I refer back to it at the end of the day and do the little tasks I wrote down. This has been immensely helpful in my productivity, particularly doing those tasks that aren’t recurring (mail a bday card, order a present, pay property tax). The best part is, those tasks take maybe 10 minutes total to do and I’m not stressing about the fact that I haven’t done all the things yet, I let them pile up, and then I get overwhelmed at the end of the week.

      • e_pontellier :

        eek, your #3 sounds so helpful! How do you keep the notebook with you all the time? Is it very small? I’ve tried doing that but end up forgetting the notebook.

        • I just started doing it by habit. It is a small notebook and I use it for meetings, but every day I start a new page and write down things as they pop into my mind; I don’t force myself to stop what I’m doing to complete the new task, I jot it down for later. Occasionally I will use my phone if I’ve forgotten my notebook, but I always try to keep it in my purse. I used to carry a big portfolio, but that was too cumbersome and in meetings my notes tend to only be action items, so it’s much easier to keep a small notebook. It relieves a lot of stress because I’m not stressing to remember to do something, it’s written down and at the end of the day I’ll do it. And, by the end of the day, probably half the things are done because the act of writing it down has made me remember to do it.

          Also, I realized that it’s not wimpy or a crutch or OCD; it’s a process that allows me to focus on the task I’m doing, bin unrelated tasks for later and address them all at once at the end of the day. It has really helped my productivity and it’s an uncomplicated system. I also feel a huge boost because I’m getting things done and I rarely forget to do things anymore. The most important part is that I have to take the time at the end of the day to look at the list; anything I don’t feel like doing because it will take too long or I can’t do (after hours) becomes a priority item for the next day. I hope this helps – it’s so much easier to do a few things a day than let things slip through the cracks and then have a laundry list of items to do once a week (half of which are probably overdue).

          • e_pontellier :

            Very helpful!! Thank you for a full explanation. I’ll have to try it out!

    • I would definitely recommend electronic-less times every day, especially at home. If you need to set a specific time where you’ll check the phone so you’re sure there’s no real fire, do it. You know, just once at 8pm, something like that..
      I’ve been working hard on organization, as I was feeling totally overwhelmed. Going the GTD route, as that seems the most useable (and it is, after about a month..). I signed up on rememberthemilk which was very easy, is mostly free, and communicates with my phone as well. Presto, total order! Well, almost :-). You can even get some colleagues into it eventually and setup some group actions.

  19. I’ve got a maternity leave question: Background is that I work for a really small firm with no policy in place (pretty sure I’m the first time the issue has come up); I’m the only associate; my earnings now are based on a very small “base salary,” a basically equal “guaranteed bonus,” and “bonus” above that based on what I earn the firm. My base is supposed to cover work I do that is not billable to me, for example, helping a partner on a contingency or flat fee case.

    I plan to take about eight weeks off, and I’ve said that I will be available for most of that time for emails, some drafting and research, that sort of thing. (My husband will be home, too, so baby care’s not entirely on me here.) They’re fine with that, but the question came up about how to handle compensation for that time period. (I have short term disability, BTW, but it’s pretty crappy.)

    I know that a lot of firms allow significant pay for no work during maternity leave, but I don’t think that that would be reasonable for this firm. The best suggestion that I can come up with is that I could turn in hours during that time period and get some sort of hourly pay. But I’m not really sure what else I could ask for, and I’m not sure how that hourly pay should work (take my base weekly salary and divide it by 40? Something else?) I certainly don’t want to shortchange myself, and money’s going to be tight during this time, but I’m just not sure what I should ask for. Ideas?

    • First, you need to find out what the short term disability policy is – some policies specifically say that you can not work AT ALL while receiving payment for STD. Most maternity STD is 6 weeks without complications, 8 weeks for a c-section.

      • Oh, I’ve looked into it and am fine to work a little (I used to work in STD, so I’m very familiar). It’s crappy, though – I’m only insured for a tiny portion of my actual regular earnings, so it’s pretty negligible. I need to know what to actually seek from my employer, though.

    • Lyssa, this is a very hard question. From their perspective, the firm may worry about you coming back at all and taking advantage of any paid time off. But, if they want to keep you and you are valuable to them, then I think you should at least consider asking for a portion of your leave to be paid (like 20 percent of salary so that it is not incredibly significant). If they say no, at least you raised the issue.

      Be careful about asking for the hourly rate. You may end up doing some things that aren’t “creditable” and resenting the time away from your baby. If you do go the hourly rate, I would ask for a premium (take your salary and divide by 35 hours per week, rather than 40, for example). That gives you a cushion for dealing with your server crashing, your printer or scanner not working, all the things that usually happen without fail when you work from home.

      Maybe the most important questions to ask yourself are (1) what would I need to not feel taken advantage of if I do some work over maternity leave and (2) will my firm pay that amount. If you can’t harmonize (1) and (2), then you may just want to dodge the compensation question and be available for emergencies only.

    • I would suggest that your hours count toward your “bonus” and that you remain eligible for your full “guaranteed bonus”, but you forego your “salary.” That seems fair to everyone.

  20. I have a code for the Sephora VIB 20% off….first person to email me at PlanB60601 AT yahoo can have it!

    • I, too, have a Sephora VIB coupon that I can share with one person to use online. Email me at leead02 at yahoo dot com and I’ll send to you.

    • Gave my code away!

  21. Anon for this :

    Boden PSA – Unlimited use code – 15% off, free shipping and free returns until 11/30 with code BHG1 (Better Homes & Gardens).

  22. Equity's Darling :

    I have a 50% off 5 items in store/35% off online at Banana Republic, if anyone wants it, email “cdn[this site] at the google mail service”, and I’ll forward you the code/email. :)

    I’m not sure if it’s only good in Canada- the fine print isn’t really clear.

  23. Need advice on a work relationship issue. I’m a senior associate at a biglaw firm and work with a junior associate who is driving me OUT OF MY MIND. She does a decent job on things, but look — she’s several years junior — her work needs polish, so I give her comments. I go out of my way to be gentle in the comments, but I’m also a bit direct, I guess: I don’t “think” she should “consider” conforming the citations to Bluebook or adding parallel cites. I send her an e-mail that says, “Please add parallel cites and conform to Bluebook.”

    The problem is that she constantly calls to “confront” me about some perceived attack on her, complaining that she can’t continue working with me if I don’t learn to treat her “with more respect.” Wtf? I literally have NO IDEA what she’s talking about. I have apologized for any offense caused and told he that I never intended for any of my comments to read as criticism or a personal attack — I just wanted her to add the parallel cites. I also have told her (repeatedly) that I appreciate the good work she is doing, but she can’t expect to receive no comments — it would be nice if we all did things perfectly all the time, but it’s not real life. I ask her (every time she calls to complain about how I treat her) to give me specific examples, so I can try to avoid miscommunications in the future. She identifies things like my one sentence email that says, quote, “Please add parallel cites and conform the citations to Bluebook.”

    I don’t want to terrorize this poor girl. She’s not the best jr associate I work with, but she’s certainly good. And even if she weren’t, I think it’s important to maintain good working relationships with anyone I can. But I honestly have NO IDEA what I could do differently to avoid setting her off. Sometimes I think the problem is nothing more than that I’m a woman with a fairly deep voice and I don’t dot my Is with hearts (so to speak). I’m just not bubbly. But I’m generally nice, and I’ve never experienced this kind of problem with a male jr associate.

    The constant confrontations are really setting me on edge. I want to be able to just get to work, without the fear that anything I say is going to generate some ridiculous call about our feelings. It’s like bring in a bad relationship with a guy who’s too emotionally needy — except I could just dump the guy. Not so with the jr on my team.

    What to do?

    • I would take her out to lunch and open the topic. Let her say her piece, nod, use reflective listening (“So it sounds like you feel x…”) and be patient. Then tell her gently but clearly that she needs to cultivate the skill of distinguishing between criticism of her person (which you are not doing) and corrections to her work (which it is your job to provide.) And then let that be your mantra with her. “This is not a criticism of your person; it is corrections to your work, which I need to have you address in your next draft.” Or whatever feels comfortable to you.

    • e_pontellier :

      Maybe add a “Thanks for your work” sentence before “Please add parallel cites.” A little thanks goes a really long way (especially when it’s documented), at least to me. I was a paralegal at a small firm for a while before law school, and it was frustrating to never hear “thanks” from someone. Most attorneys were really good about thanking me once in a while, and honestly, that’s all it took. I know we’re not going to have rainbows and hearts and unicorns every day, but saying thanks helped soften any perceived criticism and made me better at remembering parallel cites next time (or whatever they needed). Maybe you’re already doing this, and if so, my apologies.

      As far as Lucy’s suggestion to take her out to lunch, maybe just coffee. If she’s really offended by your tone, a one-on-one lunch might be far too stressful/upsetting for her. But of course, that’s IMHO.

    • SpaceMountain :

      If she can’t handle edits on her work, she should go solo. I spend a lot of time editing other people’s work, and would be furious if I had to deal with this kind of push-back. It’s just part of the job. If your firm has a style manual, make sure she knows about it, but I say just keep doing your job and let her come to the realization that working as a junior associate in a firm means her work is going to be edited. It does not sound to me like you are doing anything wrong.

      • OP here – Thanks for the responses. As far as being more appreciative, i get that and really do try. I say thanks in basically every email I send. And I’ve told this woman multiple times that I think she generally does a nice job on things and that if I ever do have a very serious problem with her (and am, as she suggests, very upset or disappointed), she won’t have to guess about it, because I will tell her, in exactly those words and explain why. I actually have been told (once, by a man) that i thank people TOO much. I just feel like I’m beating my head against the wall, bc I don’t have the emotional energy to coddle her to the extent she apparently needs, but I hate being constantly attacked for just doing my job.

        Maybe sticking to the mantra really is the best thing. SpaceMountain, thanks for commiserating. Maybe I just needed to vent a little. I haven’t been able to workout recently, which leaves me a little more prone to emotional swings than usual, and it was really hard not to lose my cool with her during the last go round. I really was seething inside. (didn’t help that she unloaded her latest during the middle of a very busy day for me, so, in addition to wasting my emotional energy, I felt like she was wasting my already short supply of time.)

        • SpaceMountain :

          Also, good for you in making her do her own changes. It’s too easy to just fix the cites yourself, but much better for junior attorneys to have to fix their own mistakes after you point them out. Focus on the work, and perhaps if she has a different person she reports to as a mentor, suggest that person have a talk with her about accepting criticism on her work product.

        • I don’t have any real advice, except to say I have the same problem with some of the women staff in my office. I’ve discovered three items in the past few weeks that have not made it to my calendar or tickler system (Yikes!!) and sent an email on Thursday evening to the receptionist, who calendars and tickles from mail and ecf notices, and my assistant advising of the latest I just discovered and asking what is happening and to please get together and figure out how to prevent its happening in the future. When I came in on Friday am, the receptionst virtually hysterically verbally assaulted me about it, denying she received the ecf filing. (Investigation revealed that she did).

          I do not believe she would have had this response to a male attorney.

          I had to ask a male attorney the previous week if organizing the numerous briefs/motions/affidavits done in response to daubert type motions/summary judgment motions which his secretary had thrown in one big folder and then he had shuffled around was secretarial or lawyer work.
          I think it made him think about it, but his repsonse was –you know all this so well.

          Personally, I would either have had my assistant organize the file (tab and index) but this lawyer does not like it done that way, or if it had been my trial coming up in two days, I would have organized it the way I wanted it.

          Anyway, am I getting overly sensitive about being the only woman attorney (been there and the only one for well over 25 years) there, but whatever the cause, I am definitely getting less and less tolerant of this kind of thing. I clearly am treated differently with respect to the secretaries–they would never b**tch like that to one of the men.

          The office manager buzzed me late yesterday talking about the recycling we have just started and how she is not putting papers from trash out for recycling as it has client info on it. Well, I have all my trash with client info on it shredded, but that’s me. I am so sick of dealing with this woman and her constant balking at any change. I just told her to deal with one of the male attorneys about it, that it was not my issue.

          Bottom line, I am treated differently–more challenges– by the male attorneys and the female staff. I’ve really about had it.

          Any suggestions??

          • I prefer to work with women. They appreciate my mentorship- the men seem to hate answering to a woman.

          • I can’t help you with the male associates, unfortunately that’s something where you have to tread lightly as you know (but do tread all the same, eh?). However being berated by the female staff is totally unacceptable. You’re a lawyer, you know what to do: document, document :-)! I’d start by sending a written reprimand to the office manager about her mishandling of the ecf filing, and cc’ing her manager(s). Separating, and discussing both her failure on the filing, and her unacceptable verbal assault about it. If she’s only harrassing you, and not the male attorneys at all, you may have some problem getting rid of her. But if she’s missing filings you need to document that, nobody wants that, and you never know who else she might be yelling at as well, that could just be what tips it eventually. In any case if she works in a lawyer’s office she should realize that written reprimands mean something, and she may amend her ways if you don’t take it lying down. Don’t let the female staff abuse you, really, that’s heinous, you need feel no female solidarity if they’re acting like this.

        • Ok, I did not mean to make my response “all about me.” My outlook is changing as I get more and more disgusted with the differences in how women are treated in the business world.

          My advice: it may be better to tell her to suck it up and get over it. And while you are at it, ask her if she would be making the same sort of complaints to a male supervisor. I think women are expected to be buddies, confidants, and everything else, too, and respect may be lost if you cater too much to this newbie’s feelings.

          • Reading my previous emails, I realize I may sound like a complete b**tch. I’ve been practicing law over 25 years with a great firm, all male attorneys, in a very small town in the deep south. I realize what a great position I have, but it would take a book to explain how difficult it can be to deal with this situation at times. I won’t say more for fear of outing myself, not that any of the other (all male, remember) attorneys read this blog :)

    • Does she want a couple atta-girls? Like “good job on section x, please add parallel cites and conform to the citations ….” Or even just “thank you for the draft, please add …”
      I agree with Lucy, sitting down with her and saying “your work is good but it’s my job to make it better, if I have a major problem with your work, I’ll let you know, otherwise keep it up”
      Also, it might be good to let her know that you make/made correction to all your juniors’ work, not just hers, so you aren’t singling her out, and she should expect most everything she writes to go through multiple revisions (if that’s how it works – I know that’s how it works in my business).

    • SF Bay Associate :

      I instantly had, and continue to have, a different response than the other ladies here. I think you’re doing absolutely nothing wrong – “Please conform to bluebook and add parallel cites” is totally fine. You even said please. Honestly, she shouldn’t need to be told to conform to bluebook EVER, as that is actually something that they teach in law school, unlike most of the job. You don’t need to do anything differently. Junior associate needs to grow the #($& up and get the @#^* over herself. I do not think you should take her out to lunch. That would only encourage her epic case of special snowflake syndrome. E_p is absolutely right that staff need to be handled more delicately. I always use the sandwich method with staff. They signed up for a very different job than the associates. You should do and need to do nothing to accommodate it. Stop apologizing to her. You’re only encouraging her terrible behavior every time you have yet another chat where she, a junior associate, berates you, her supervising senior associate, for giving her feedback on things she needs to improve upon. My jaw is seriously on the floor. I’m impressed you haven’t stopped working with her entirely.

      I also wonder if she’s pushing back on her male senior associate supervisors the same way. Or partners? Calling you to challenge your feedback?! I bet not. She probably knows that wouldn’t go well but you’ve established a pattern of rewarding her for these absurd and completely inappropriate calls by trying to stroke her ego a little. It would be very interesting to see what the other attorneys who supervise her say. I suggest you go talk to them, open-ended question style, and see if they are having the same problem.

      Does your firm have assigned mentors? This is exactly the sort of thing they are for. Go talk to that person, presumably a senior associate or junior partner, and tell them what’s going on. This is a Career Limiting Move on her part, and she keeps doing it over and over again. Her mentor should straighten her out right and fast, or she is not going to be able to cut it at your firm.

      • Agree with SF Bay Associate. I also wondered whether her responses to constructive criticism (appropriately delivered, it seems) from other attorneys in your firm was the same, or whether it was just you.

        • Lady Enginerd :

          Not a lawyer, but I agree that you should float the topic of this woman with other people who assign her work and give her feedback. A minute or two should give you all the nonverbal cues you need to know to see if she has alienated them or whether you’re the only one who has issues with her and you should tread more lightly. Either way, I’d then write out (to organize your thoughts) how she has acted inappropriately/been hostile to feedback and meet with (1) her mentor and (2) your own mentor or someone whose management style you respect. By asking for help managing people and following thru with any advice you receive, you cya and show your commitment to effectively managing divas/herding cats. I suspect your mentor will tell you you’re not doing anything wrong, in which case you can carry on guilt-free and feel more empowered to cut her off at the knees when she has a diva moment.

        • Totally agree with SF Bay Associate. I’d bet money this girl would never, ever bring up anything like this with a male associate..

      • Co-signed entirely. I spent a minute trying to think of something to add, but… no.

      • e_pontellier :

        Wow, yes, such good points. I feel sheepish about adding my experience as a paralegal above – attorneys definitely signed up for a different job than I did (making less than a quarter of what they made…).

      • EmpLawyer :

        Completely agree. I’d have talked about the issue the first time, been annoyed but ignored it the second time, and stopped working with her the third. She’s on her way to the exit unless she figures it out. (And I wish all the senior associates I worked with back then had been as polite as you seem to be about fixing my newbie errors.)

      • Word.

      • I agree. You shouldn’t (a) need to tell someone to conform to bluebook, and (b) get any pushback on either points. It’s helpful. There are a ton of unemployed law grads who would be HAPPY to have that job, so she might want to watch herself.

        It’s one of those things that ppl remember, I think (one secretary is always like, “why the hell are you doing this way?”; and my response is: “because that’s what the statute requires” because she had never been a secretary to someone in my department but very good as a secretary in the department of every other attorney she helped. when it came time for reviews, I totally remembered that kind of time-wasting push back)

        When my midlevel associate told me on my first memo assignment, “oh, btw, not that you would know this, but at the firm, we do parallel citations for NY cases, so you’re going to need to go back to add them to the NY cases.”

        I said: “Oh, thanks for telling me, nobody ever mentioned it before.”

        Her: “Yeah, it’s this unwritten rule, but that’s the way it’s done”

        I thought: ok, it’s stupid not to tell ppl before they write the memo, but thank goodness she told me!

      • Agree with all of this. Also, I don’t know how big your practice group is, but do you have to deal with this woman? She is threatening you (doesn’t know if she can continue to work with you, as if it is some great prize for you), but I can’t imagine she has any leverage. As a midlevel and senior associate, I began choosing which associates I could deal with. I have dealt with associates like this (male and female), and eventually stopped giving them more assignments. I would begin thinking about it, rather than worry about helping this new attorney forge her path.

      • Anonymous :

        Agree that there is no need for you to apologize where she is being so unprofessional. I am a biglaw junior associate and cannot imagine confronting a senior associate like this, even with the few people I have worked with who are legitimately pretty awful. I dislike the biglaw environment enough that I will probably not last very long in it (at least I recognize this?), but we all know that it is what it is and sometimes we need to suck it up if someone gets angry at us for no reason, throws us under the bus, etc.

        In your case, you aren’t doing anything disrespectful (as she claims), so I don’t know why she would risk her reputation by “confronting” you like this. It sounds like you’re just sending corrections on her work, which is an odd thing to be defensive about as a junior associate. How can someone be in her first few years of a job (any job) and not realize that she is less skilled than those with more experience? Honestly, it makes my day if someone even includes a “thanks” or “good work on this” along with corrections on work. I certainly don’t expect it (people are busy and their job is not to make me feel warm and fuzzy), and I’d much rather have someone tell me what needs to be fixed and let me do it than fix it herself and leave me clueless about my errors. This is not because I am a particularly good associate. I think this is how most people who care at all about their career development react. (And when someone really is being unnecessarily rude, I think most people are smart enough to keep the frustrations out of workplace discussions, and maybe recognize that other people are under pressure too.)

        I suppose these are all things you already know. I just reiterate them because, from your comment about not wanting to terrorize her, it sounded like you felt that you might need to further respond to her complaints. From the perspective of a fairly thin-skinned junior associate, no, she is being completely inappropriate in projecting her insecurities on you. Also, she “can’t continue working with you”? What does that even mean? Does she know that her job security requires her seniors to be willing to work with her? In case she does not know what she’s doing, I agree that it would be very nice of you (if you are so inclined) to give her mentor/someone a heads up to speak to her about this. I had a mid-level associate talk to me about a potential CLM and am very appreciative that she did so rather than let me stay in the dark while someone else was annoyed with me. This woman sounds like she might not be responsive to that talking either, though, so ymmv. Otherwise, I hope there is a way you can avoid working with her, because you should not have to put up with this nonsense.

      • Without first hand knowledge, it’s hard to say what’s really going on here, but from my days in big law, I would advise not getting too caught up in the “junior” “senior” proper roles mentality that is really pervasive. It’s really the difference between being a freshman in high school & a senior in the scope of your legal career and I found the “senior” associates that really loved that role, and ended up leaving firms eventually (because most do) had a harder time networking later, especially with the “junior” people that they focused on making sure did things right like parallel citing and not talking back to them. I would suggest just stepping back and viewing this “junior” person as a colleague who you need to work things out with as an equal. In the long run, you may make a valuable contact and not land on someone’s list of “she was horrifying to work for”.

        • Ummm, Darby. I respectfully disagree. The fact that the senior associate is aggrieved by being challenged means that she does not relish “rubbing in” her seniority, but rather that she doesn’t like her judgement questioned.

          It sounds like jr associate _does not understand_ that her work goes upward for editing. Regardless of how collegial OP should/should not be, Senior Associate’s neck is on the line for the quality of work that comes from her case team. Therefore, she has to ask jr associate to correct any errors.

          I’ve worked at law firms for a while, and I rarely take criticism personally, and even if I did, I wouldn’t go running to sr associate to call him or her out on it. You want to mark up my draft–no problem–I’ll run the changes and we’ll get it out the door.

          Working on a team isn’t a battle where you keep score or try to get an A+. We just want to do the best work for the client efficiently.

          • That could very well be the case here, and if so, I agree with you. I was making a larger point that a lot of big law associates get very caught up in their relative seniority and damage long term relationships and to just “gut check” on that point.

  24. Need advice on a work relationship issue. I’m a senior associate at a biglaw firm and work with a junior associate who is driving me OUT OF MY MIND. She does a decent job on things, but look — she’s several years junior — her work needs polish, so I give her comments. I go out of my way to be gentle in the comments, but I’m also a bit direct, I guess: I don’t “think” she should “consider” conforming the citations to Bluebook or adding parallel cites. I send her an e-mail that says, “Please add parallel cites and conform to Bluebook.”

    The problem is that she constantly calls to “confront” me about some perceived attack on her, complaining that she can’t continue working with me if I don’t learn to treat her “with more respect.” Wtf? I literally have NO IDEA what she’s talking about. I have apologized for any offense caused and told he that I never intended for any of my comments to read as criticism or a personal attack — I just wanted her to add the parallel cites. I also have told her (repeatedly) that I appreciate the good work she is doing, but she can’t expect to receive no comments — it would be nice if we all did things perfectly all the time, but it’s not real life. I ask her (every time she calls to complain about how I treat her) to give me specific examples, so I can try to avoid miscommunications in the future. She identifies things like my one sentence email that says, quote, “Please add parallel cites and conform the citations to Bluebook.”

    I don’t want to terrorize this poor girl. She’s not the best jr associate I work with, but she’s certainly good. And even if she weren’t, I think it’s important to maintain good working relationships with anyone I can. But I honestly have NO IDEA what I could do differently to avoid setting her off. Sometimes I think the problem is nothing more than that I’m a woman with a fairly deep voice and I don’t dot my Is with hearts (so to speak). I’m just not bubbly. But I’m generally nice, and I’ve never experienced this kind of problem with a male jr associate.

    The constant confrontations are really setting me on edge. I want to be able to just get to work, without the fear that anything I say is going to generate some ridiculous call about our feelings. It’s like bring in a bad relationship with a guy who’s too emotionally needy — except I could just dump the guy. Not so with the jr on my team.

    What to do?

    • Ugh. I wish I had some advice for you. That sounds awful. Sounds like she has a misplaced idea of what “demanding respect” and “setting boundaries” means and instead has gone right into obnoxious entitlement territory. Can you find out if anyone else is having these problems with her? Did she give you an example of how she thinks you should have asked for the cites? Also, it’s not 2005 — if she “can’t work with you anymore” what will she do? Go get another job? Good luck with that. You’re more valuable to your firm than she is. Ultimately I think she’s headed for a not pleasant wake-up call. I’m sorry you have to deal with this.

    • Does she work in a different office? Why does she call rather than coming to see you personally? That seems totally weird.

      I think that this is actually a situation where an in-person assertion of authority might be helpful: call her into your office, tell her firmly that this kind of response is hindering her ability to grow as an attorney and is giving her a bad reputation in the office, and then dismiss her. I’m not usually that autocratic, but sometimes people do actually need a firm, unemotional smackdown.

  25. Anon for this one :

    I just started at a law firm a month ago. Have several big and time consuming projects with a junior partner who is also my assigned mentor, so I see a lot of him, and will be getting a lot of my early reviews from him. Here’s my problem: somehow I have developed a massive heart wrenching crush on him. I’m not worried about something inappropriate happening — I would not jeopardize my marriage or his over a crush and while I can tell he enjoys my company I don’t think there’s anything more there. My question is more along the lines of: how do I make this go away? It’s driving me nuts to have him in my mind all the time at the office… And out of the office. I figure it will go away on its own soon enough, and that part of it is due to the newness of this whole firm thing. I just want it to go away do it will stop being a distraction and so I can focus on impressing him with my awesome work!


    • also anon for this :

      Been there. I love Carolyn Hax, but the coworker crush issue is one where I don’t agree with her. Whenever people write in with a situation like yours, she tells them to picture the crush-ee flossing his or her teeth, burping, cleaning up after the dog, etc. to break down the fantasy picture. If this kind of thing works for you, great. You did say that you think this will go away on its own, so maybe this will do it. But if it doesn’t, as it didn’t for me:

      –No aura of secrecy. Mention working with this guy when you talk to your husband so that it doesn’t acquire any exciting, forbidden fruit associations in your mind.
      –Likewise mention your husband around the partner, never anything negative either. Obviously you’re not going on and on about DH at work, but again I think this can help keep clear in your mind who has your heart. “My plans for the weekend? Oh, H has a softball game and then we’re going out to…” etc.
      –Keep emails and texts with the partner free of flirting. I’m not just saying this for in case they’re ever shared–I think this kind of back and forth can fan the flame.
      –Check yourself in interactions with him: would I act the same way with another partner? How about another female partner?
      –Remember why you married the guy you married and that meeting other attractive people is inevitable. Be kind to yourself and know it will pass. I know you’re not worried about cheating, and I never did either, but it can be hard. Just ride it out.

      • Moonstone :

        Excellent, thoughtful advice. I think this falls into the “fake-it-til-you-make-it” category. Just tone down yourresponse to him about 10 percent and in a while that level will feel natural. And, if you are me, never ever go for a drink with him.

      • Good advice, but I don’t think you should be texting him at all. Texting is something you do with friends, not bosses. Keep your interactions with him limited to business hours at work, and when you have to interact with him outside of work do it via email or via phone if something urgently needs to be discussed. If he’s your mentor you will probably need to spend some one-on-one time with him outside of the office, but I would keep it as professional and non-“date-ish” as possible, e.g. business lunches, not after work drinks or dinner.

  26. Anon on the West Coast :

    First-time poster here with a question I’ve been wanting to ask. I work in a small office and have heard that a few of the women in the office throw, um, “sex toy” parties and invite other women in the office. I haven’t been to one of these types of parties, but they sound kind of like those Tupperware parties people used to have years ago, except not for Tupperware.

    When I first heard about this, I was actually shocked. Why would you want be buying things like this with co-workers around? Do you really want them knowing such intimate information about you?Recently I was invited to one, but politely declined (without saying why–that I would be totally uncomfortable).

    Has anyone heard of this happening after hours among co-workers, or is this more common than I think it is?

    • Um, no.

    • Lady Enginerd :

      I’ve heard of it before.. At a planned parenthood. Thought it was weird even then. At a normal workplace where s*xual health isn’t part of the job? ABSOLUTELY no. No no no.

      • Anon on the West Coast :

        Thanks…Glad I’m not the only one who finds this bizarre!

    • mintberrycrunch :

      When I taught high school, I knew co-workers who got together for one of these. I also declined the invite… I mean, it’s weird enough in a normal workplace… but when they are your co-workers AND your job involves kids? No.

    • An INTERN (!!) threw one of these at my sister in law’s office. She passed out the invitations to all of the ladies in little bags covered with pink feathers (at the office of course). Wow/ew.

  27. My hubby and I have been making and using Colorado PitStik. It works great, smells wonderful and won the Healthier Alternative Trustworthy Brands Seal of Approval from TheSoftLanding.com!! A little goes a long way and one tin lasts up to 2 months depending on your use. Made with 5 natural ingredients and NO aluminum or parabens, you can even customize the scent with your favorite perfume or cologne. And it’s a great deal on Etsy @ $7.95/tin *to your door*!!!

    • Yes, but how do you feel about the shirt? Do you feel it’s a true peplum or an empire waist? What about the color? Is it a cheap blue or do you like it?

      Kris, we really need to know how you feel.

  28. How does one go about quitting a job where you know that your boss(es) will be reaallllly upset and surprised? I don’t anticipate them getting angry but they will definitely try to get me to stay by bringing in the guilt factor. At this point, staying is not an option but I do feel bad for springing this on them completely out of the blue. I hadn’t wanted to ‘leave before I left’ so to speak, so my work has been up to my normal standard and I haven’t hinted through any comments that I won’t be staying.

    I guess I am just so nervous because I have never really quit anything before. I plan on giving more than the standard 2 weeks since I do have quite a bit of responsibility here and I know they will appreciate me wrapping up my current caseload to the best that I can.

    I will not be going to a competitor so it is unlikely that they will tell me to pack up right then and there. I know that I will be treated kind of like a pariah until my very last day (this is usually what happens when someone leaves our firm) and I am nervous about that too since I genuinely like almost everyone that I work with.

    Any tips to calm me down?

    • e_pontellier :

      I did this. I wouldn’t plan on working more than 2 weeks once you give notice – they might not let you. It’s not worth freaking out about; no one actually expects you to work at one company for your whole life anymore. Congratulations on finding a new job!

  29. Fast question, thought I must say I like this Tshirt! Wonder if the lighter colors like the yellow would be too sheer. I rent an overpriced apt in an overpriced city. Said apt bldg is in high demand and hard to get into. I am slated to move to a smaller unit at the end of the year, but after I arranged to do this, I lost my job. What is the hive’s sense as to whether I will have any issues if I find a job in another town and need to move there before I start my new lease? I don’t want to say anything now and wind up homeless in case things take longer than I expect, but I am really trying to move closer to family and get out of here. Has anyone done anything like this before?

    • Does your lease say anything about unemployment of the primary wage earner?

    • Does your lease on your existing apartment convert to month-to-moth at the end of your lease term? Maybe it’s better to stay in your existing apartment instead of signing a new lease right now.

      • They already rented my current apt ! I had the most desirable floorplan and when I said I needed something smaller & cheaper, my apt was gone in a hurry. I will read the lease over again and see. I cannot imagine they can hold me to anything when the apt is likely to re-rent (probably for more $$) before I even am supposed to start the new lease… Being an optimist! :)