Weekend Open Thread

Something on your mind? Chat about it here.

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  1. Anonymous :

    Apologies if this was discussed earlier.

    So I finally got around to watching Sen. Harris’ questioning of Jeff Sessions. I thought she did a great job–was professional, polite, etc. So imagine my horror when I find that a Trumpster called her “hysterical” and THAT was the phrase that was now being used to describe her conduct.

    How can we convince the mainstream media to stop reporting this kind of sexism, even if they think it real news?

    Equally horrifying was Sessions refusing to treat her properly. He deflected her questions but promptly answered the SAME ONES when posed by a male senator. Dear Lord, when will this stop? In the Senate, of all places!

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I love Harris, and I hate the treatment she gets. It’s so unfair. No solutions, but I sure do agree with you.

      • This is not going to be a popular opinion, but Senator Harris was interrupting the witnesses and not letting them talk. (I hate the word hysterical, and it should not have been used on her. I just think when we talk about interrupting, we can’t blame everything on men v. women.)

    • Anonymous :

      And yet how many of us female lawyers haven’t had that happen? Not saying I’m up to KH’s level – I think she’s amazing. Yet I had a tough depo a few months ago where the deponent just feel like he didn’t need to answer, so I was pinning him down on issue after issue and making the questions as short and direct as possible — did you review this policy; is it a written policy; when did you review it; for how long etc. I walk out of there and a (male) director from my agency who had gone along (one of my bosses) goes — well I guess you were the bad cop in there. I’m one of those people who never even notices male/female workplace stuff and my first thought was — you would NEVER have said that if I was a dude. Then it would’ve been — you really nailed him, awesome!!

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Ugh yes. I am always torn between finding a way to cater to expectations to get done what needs doing, or stubbornly doing it the way I want to, gendered expectations be damned.

      • IANAL but I hear this version a lot. I’m a “bad cop” quite often, but men counterparts are just doing really well at their job. I’m sure it’s because I’m not as fluffy and smiley as most women are, but it’s funny how it feels like a bit of a diss rather than a compliment.

      • I’ve been told I am too direct or too blunt or get comments like “well, you really tell it like it is” and I can’t imagine any of the male senior associates getting similar comments. It is beyond frustrating.

        • Anonymous :

          Yep. For 2+ yrs my reviews have said “she’s all business” — as if that’s a bad thing?? I had a long stretch of time as a senior associate, where I was dealing with an economics expert on a case; I became the go-to as the guy was writing the report quantifying our side’s economic argument for litigation – in part bc I’m a lawyer that can do numbers. The guy liked working with me — bc he didn’t have to talk me thru 2+2 — and often asked that I be in certain meetings. The (incredibly insecure) junior partner hated this but obliged bc trial was looming and pre trial wasn’t the time to be picking fights. He couldn’t find anything to pick on me for — so one day he goes off on me re calling the guy to schedule a meeting and tells me when I call “I need to be nicer” and that I’m too blunt (bc why? did he think I’d call and said — I need an f—- mtg, get your @ to NYC!?). Like he would EVER have behaved that way with a male litigator handling his entire quant case. Then it would’ve been — this dude is a great litigator AND great a finance, OMG I’m supporting him for partnership. But with me — he had to tell me to “be nice.” And like the posters above I am a polite but not smiley, flirty female . . . .

    • I signed a petition today (from Color of Change, maybe), calling out other senators for interrupting Harris. I added my own comment that as a woman lawyer I see this all the time but expect better of the Senate. (Well, I don’t really expect that.)

      In a hearing this week, three times I had to insist on the record that opposing counsel let me finish a sentence and not interrupt. (I am mid-50s and in practice for more than 25 years, he’s roughly the same.) Then, when we were in a sidebar discussion in the hall he did it two more times. I finally whirled on him and said, “You are behaving incredibly rudely to me and I will not tolerate being interrupted any more.” This guy is known for being an a**hole but he apologized and said it was unintentional and he didn’t mean to be rude. I responded, “It doesn’t matter to me if it’s intentional or if you just can’t help yourself, but it needs to stop.” It was extremely satisfying.

      But this gets tiring . . .

      • Internalizing this script for predictable future use. Thank you!

      • Shopaholic :

        Good for you!

        One of the senior lawyers I work with interrupts me constantly in internal meetings and I started interrupting back, saying “if I can just finish what I was saying” or something along those lines and I noticed after a few months of doing this, he’s actually been interrupting me less, or he’ll do it and then catch himself and apologize and let me finish.

      • Yup. Happened all the time as a litigator in biglaw (a judge shushed opposing counsel once for talking over me at every chance) and continues today in-house. I employ “May I finish?” about 3x a week and it stops them in their tracks and they fall all over themselves apologizing for interrupting. I hate it but I do relish that with three words I can call them out on their chauvinism and they are so embarrassed. Guess what, you were a s3xist before I called you out, so I don’t say anything when they apologize; I just wait for them to stop and continue my sentence.

        A few times when the “May I finish?” does’t do the trick, I’m more blunt: “if you keep talking over me, there’s no point in me being on this call because you can’t possibly hear what I’m saying. [Pause for them to be uncomfortable.] As I was saying…”

        • “May I finish?” is exactly the tactic I developed when opposing counsel interrupted me. Very effective in court. Of course, I had to interrupt in order to ask it.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Oh god the interrupting! It brings back memories from when I was still litigating. I worked for a bunch of old men and I was taking this ’emergency’ call from them, on a Saturday afternoon, and they would. not. let. me. talk! I’m the lawyer! Who you apparently desperately needed to talk to! Why won’t you listen while I answer your question!?!?

        When one of them called me “honey” I hung up and took myself off the case.

      • Min Donner :

        I was cross-examining a witness once, and opposing counsel kept objecting to every question, to the point that he was standing up and objecting when all I had said was “When” or “What”. Very few (if any) were legitimate objections, so it was a cycle of “objection”, “overruled”, and I finally couldn’t take it anymore, so when I heard him start to push his chair back to stand up and object again I just stopped talking mid sentence. He kind of hung there half-seated, and everyone in the courtroom started looking around. After about 30 seconds the judge finally said “Ms. Donner?”, and I said “I am just waiting for Mr. X to object so I can continue” and the whole courtroom started laughing. The judge had to stifle a smile and said “let’s proceed.” Mr. X was more sparing with his objections after that.

      • I agree with the OP. As a fellow litigeator who is NOT doeing political litigtion’s when I do a depo, I am often confronted with hostile MEN who think that me, as a WOMAN, should NOT be askeing about personal things, when in fact they are VERY relevant to whether the person is actueally UNABEL to work. I ask are they abel to climb a ladder (most are, and we have caught them at it); are they able to dance (moveing their hips) (which they often are, just like twerking), b/c they often claim they have difficulty in movement b/c of their “injury”. By the time I get to court, I read back their depo’s to the court, includieng the surly remark’s of their MALE COUNSEL, and the judge gets VERY mad at the claimant and COUNSEL for being prejudiced against ME b/c of me being a WOMAN. THAT is why I often win the case — they have NOT proven their case, the judge says b/c it is THEY that have the burden of proof, as well as the burden of persueasion, when they are uncoperative in depos. FOOEY on them!

        For now, that kind of behavior is insulting to me as a WOMAN, even tho it has caused me to win SOOOO many cases, which made me a partner, and will enabel me to get a 3BR 3BATH apartement on the Upper West Side with a wraparound balcony for dad. Dad says THAT is the sliver lining for me, being a WOMAN, in this male denominated society! YAY!!!

    • Here’s the link to the Kamala Harris petition


    • I also like “May I finish?” Love your comments, Nutella.

      I posted a link to the Kamala Harris petition but it’s stuck in moderation.

      Not long ago I started out my day being condescended to by a mechanic from the garage where I take my car. He was asked to shuttle me to my office – the counter guy who knows me and who usually does it was out – and I started to give him the quickest route through our downtown one-way streets to my building’s back door. He interrupted me with a chuckling, “I’ll tell you what, I’m going to make your day – I’m going to let you tell a man what to do!” I told him, “yeah, thanks, but that’s basically what I do for a living.”

      • Baconpancakes :

        I really hope you called the garage to tell his manager how wildly unprofessional he was.

      • Anonymous :

        Speaking of cars, years ago when in my 20s I found myself on the side of the interstate with a car issue. A good samaritan came by to check on me which was much appreciated, until he started to mansplain that he was confident the problem was the timing belt. I thanked him for his thoughts but repeatedly told him it was most definitely not the timing belt.

        He continued to peer in a manly way under the hood commenting on the damn belt, until I pointed out that my car had a rotary engine and thus no timing belt. It was a satisfying moment.

    • Anon for this judge :

      I kid you not, this happens to me all the time when I am on the bench. The other day a lawyer I’d never even seen before tried to tell me “how it’s usually done” in MY court. I actually said “thank you for mansplaining that to me, but that is not in fact how we do it in this court.” Grrr.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        Someone I know just posted a very timely link from Time on this very subject…

        Supreme Court ‘Manterruption’

        Northwestern law professor Tonja Jacobi and student Dylan Schweers used transcripts to analyze the Supreme Court’s oral arguments from 2004 to 2015 and created a data set of all the interruptions by Justices or advocates. Here are some of their findings, as reported in the online journal Aeon:

        Average percentage of female Justices on the Court bench over the 12 years studied

        Percentage of interruptions that happened to female Justices

        Percentage of interruptions made by female Justices

        Factor by which female Justices were more likely to be interrupted than male Justices from 2011 to 2015

      • Un-believable. Except not.

        But how satisfying to have a gavel at hand when you’re dealing with a mansplainer.

      • Another anonymous judge :

        You are so right – this happens ALL THE TIME. And sadly, I am interrupted just as much or more by a certain type of younger male lawyer as it does from more senior ones. Apparently the times they are not a-changing very much…

        In Canada we do not have gavels. But I wear the silk and I do still get the last word – which can be a comforting thought at times.

        • Another anonymous judge :

          And yet again I miss having an edit function…

        • I think this is actually a fairly typical pattern. The more secure someone is in their own role and status in life, the more they are happy to afford others respect. It’s the young, insecure, unproven who think they are elevating themselves by demeaning others. I write about the military sometimes as part of my job, and I’ve never received anything but interest, encouragement, and respect from officers, marines, veterans, etc. It’s the guy who’s been enlisted six months and the punk who knows everything because his brother is in Iraq who are the snotty know-everything interrupters.

          • Another anonymous judge :

            Well, you are right, of course, but these same counsel do not behave this way in the courtrooms of my male colleagues. Nor do most of their female colleagues behave this way in either place. I guess I am just sometimes sad that it goes to show that even relatively young men’s attitudes towards women have not changed.

    • So I saw her as a prosecutor or bad cop in a bad-cop-good-cop scenario. She was totally bad ass and dominated. I have lots of problems with Sessions but I think he responded as respectfully as any person would with that kind of grilling. So what if he answered the good cop questions – it’s totally bc she roughed him up to begin with!!

      She’s totally awesome and bad ass! She’s up there with Sally Yates as my latest lady-lawyer crushes.

      Anyone who says she was hysterical is a sore looser grasping at straws.

      • Deeply Annoyed :

        I don’t have any obligation to society to be “nice” just because I’m female. I’m entitled to be just as direct as a man would be and to be treated with the same respect. The advantage on this thred perpetuates sexist B.S. that a man would never hear, about catching more flies with honey than vinegar. I’ve never heard a man coached to smile, or ask “nicely” for what they need.

    • I have to admit that I am an interrupter. It is a terrible habit that I have when I get excited. When I catch myself doing it, I apologize and say go ahead. No idea why I do this except I guess I am afraid of not being heard. And, yes, I have interrupted judges. I have to literally bite my lips sometimes.

    • I thought the worst part of that exchange was the smirk on Sessions’ face. So belittling.

    • Suzanne Stanton :

      I was recently given a great card, a New Yorker cartoon of a Board meeting “What an excellent suggestion Miss Triggs. Perhaps one of the men here would like to make it.”

  2. I’ve been reading a lot recently about the health at every size movement. I struggle with loving my body, and I realize that mentally, just accepting who I am now and focusing on health would be better for me, but, at the same time, clearly being overweight is unhealthy.

    I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on “health at every size”.

    • I’m going to say one thing and then leave this thread because I know how it’s going to go. But I don’t see why clearly being overweight is unhealthy. The statistics don’t bear that out – there are some health problems people who are overweight are more at risk of, but they don’t have higher mortality rates. And if you’re eating healthy, exercising, and your numbers are good . . . you’re healthy. Which includes plenty of overweight people.

    • Baconpancakes :

      First off, I want to say everyone’s body is their own business, and it is not anyone’s job to pass judgement on anyone else, or offer helpful tips, or question whether someone with excess weight realizes how important their health is. I am SO sick of people fat-shaming under a guise of “concern for their health,” and I will refuse to even engage in conversations about it most of the time. It’s not a productive conversation. I wish it would just stop.

      And accepting yourself is absolutely important, because there is literally no positive in disliking yourself. Feeling uncomfortable in your own body doesn’t help anyone. But you CAN accept yourself, focus on health first, and still want to lose weight. It’s just where you put your energy, where your drive is focused. The internal narrative is important. Yes, I am joining a gym this week (new job perks! Yay!) partly because I want to be able to work out and lose weight. But my internal driving motivation is because I want to lift weights and get strong, which helps me slouch less, helps my back hurt less, helps me hike faster and higher and not feel miserable by the end of the hike. (And because I want to be like Wonder Woman, duh.)

      But from an abstract medical perspective, “health at every size” is just not true. I, a non-smoking, hiking, lots-of-protein-and-home-cooked-veggies person, might be healthier at a heavier weight than someone who eats junk, smokes, and doesn’t work out but has the “right” BMI, but I am actively trying to lose weight because my body simply isn’t designed to carry around this much weight, and it’s starting to show. There are so many almost inevitable health problems associated with excess weight, particularly joint issues, which snowball into difficulty walking, thus exacerbating the weight issue and resulting in poor cardiovascular health. My knees are deteriorating my faster than they should. My feet hurt a lot, and I have recurring plantar fasciitus. My aunt has been overweight most of her adult life, and has been hospitalized repeatedly, now cannot walk, and has ruined her feet to the point where she breaks a bone in them once a month. And now, after half-heartedly yo-yo dieting all her life, her metabolism is so out of whack she can’t lose weight to (literally) save her life. She’s in a senior living center where her calories are super restricted, and she can’t lose more than 5 lbs.

      Younger people with excess weight can easily be just as healthy as young people without it. But once you get older, the body just gets worn down, and the older you get, the harder it is to lose weight.

      • I disagree with you. I think the key is how much weight *your * body should be carrying. Not everyone who carries “extra” weight is unhealthy at any age and the fact that you’re not happy at a given weight doesn’t mean someone else isn’t fine at that weight. And plenty of thin people have those problems not related to weight – my always thin mom had arthritis in her knee for totally non-weight related reasons. Some things just happen for no reason.

        And yeah, your aunt can’t lose weight because we don’t have a way for people to lose weight permanently short of surgery. Which kind of illustrates the flaw in your whole argument. You should lose weight. But you shouldn’t yo yo diet. Because it will be impossible to lose weight. So lose weight while you’re young. Yeah, good luck with that.

      • BaconPancakes is right. Why is it that WOMEN must always loose weight, but men are allowed to have big bellies and tuchuses? It is men that dictate the rules for women, and they do NOT even play by those same rules. FOOEY!

        I struggle every day to stay a size 0 while men eat and eat and eat (and drink and drink and drink), then JUDGE me and my tuchus as unacceptable for them as they burp and scratch their own tuchuses. FOOEY on them! I am so tired of this.

        On Tuesday, a guy I know from my office building I talk to wanted to see my apartement b/c I am thinking of selling it. So as soon as he get’s into my apartment, the first thing he does is pull has pants down. I did NOT even say / do anything that should have made him think I would do that. Unbeleiveable! But that is the way men are. When I asked him what he was doing, he said he found me VERY attaractive, and that therefore I should be happy, and we should therefore BOTH do what makes us happy together? ” I told him to leave. But what is all of that about? S-XISM! BUT even Sheketovits never would have done this! TRIPEL FOOEY!

    • I’ve struggled with my weight and body image much of my life. In my early 20’s, I got to a “normal” weight, but only did so through some pretty disordered eating and behaviors which was the opposite of healthy and loving myself. A decade + later, my weight is back up, but I’m comfortable in my own skin. Weight is just one part of the equation for total health. My bloodwork, blood pressure, etc are solidly in the healthy range. I try to focus on what I can control better- eating well, sleeping enough, reducing stress, exercising/saying active. The end goal is of that is to live an enjoyable life and be a good role model for my child. Yes, I realize that there is correlation (and some causation) between weight and diseases that show up in middle age and later. I look at my genetic history too and my family, many of whom tend towards pudge, doesn’t have a lot of the chronic conditions (T2 Diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease, etc). So for right now, I’m focused on these other metrics of “healthy” lifestyle and their protective effect.

      • Yes, after struggling with disordered eating, which is still not gone from my head entirely, I realized the choice was between being thin and sane. I’ll take sane, thank you very much. That is healthier for me.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m going to decline to type out my thoughts on this right now as somebody who has lost 70# and has maybe 20-30 to go, but, this is a loaded question for a lot of people.

      This American Life had an episode on this though — #589, Tell Me I’m Fat, which I think is a good starting point for conversation and consideration.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      A few questions/thoughts for the OP:

      Do you consider health a moral imperative? Like, do you think it’s important that people who are not you strive for health? If yes, why?

      Concerns about “health” of fat people seem, often, to just be disguised aesthetic complaints. Folks probably don’t want to admit “I don’t like seeing a person of a particular size” because that’s not a socially acceptable stance, so they purport to be worried about the person’s health.

      One important thing about HAES, I think, is to encourage people, particularly medical professionals, to stop using size as shorthand for health. You could be large and unhealthy, or large and healthy, small and unhealthy, small and healthy. So maybe people should stop looking at the size and just look at the health. IF health is your business.

      • The “aesthetic” point is a really good one. I think I had gotten this far thinking about sexism (as in, look dude, women don’t exist for your viewing pleasure, so stop complaining/ making fun if you see someone whose appearance displeases you) but I had never thought of it as applying in a more general way. I think it’s true that many people are irrationally disturbed or annoyed by the presence of those whose looks or body type are unappealing to them.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          Oh yes, for sure! Like, you don’t want to have s*x with me, that’s cool! But that’s not a reason that I should conform my body to what you find s*xually attractive! (Because guess what?! People with my body type get laid by people who *are* attracted to us! Of course!)

    • Anonymous :

      I married into a family with a lot of morbid obesity, so I’m mindful of what my children overhear and what they may be hard-wired by their genes to struggle with.

      I think it’s a helpful attitude. Often, the mindset seems to be that you throw in the towel and all is lost if you’re not thin and not likely to become thin. This is bad thinking — like if you might die when you’re 30, why not try heroin? Why not smoke? It’s like you’re not worth saving or taking care of.

      I think the takeaway is that you need to take care of yourself NOW and that self-care isn’t just a task for the thin. Gyms aren’t just for thin people. Eating well isn’t just for thin people. The beautiful outdoors and beaches aren’t just for thin people. Don’t abuse your body. It needs to last your whole life.

    • I’m a doc and someone who has had a life-long struggle with weight. (318# at my highest, lost 151# with Weight Watchers, have gained about 80# back between stress/fertility issues/a strong affinity for cheese. :) ) I still struggle with body image issues, though I am perfectly healthy but technically obese. I’m not currently dieting because I’m pregnant.

      Even after achieving massive weight loss, loving my body did not come with no longer being overweight. Even after losing all the weight and getting back into a size I hadn’t been in since sixth grade, I managed to simultaneously feel ashamed for ever being that large in the first place *and* still invented things to be critical of (loose skin, losing weight from my bust/butt instead of my hips, etc). I was happy I was no longer pre-diabetic and off blood pressure medications, but I still didn’t feel confident or truly loved myself. I was healthy, but I didn’t *feel* healthy – if that makes sense. My sense of well being has improved by practicing what I consider “extreme self care”: mindful breathing, time to myself, eating seasonally, being in nature, saying no, saying yes to dessert (occasionally. :) ). Being nice when I find myself critical of myself. Hard to do – I’m no master of it, but I see no other good option, so I’ll keep trying.

      I guess what I’m trying to say is that — no matter who you are, what your size, etc — physical health is one thing, emotional/mental/spiritual health is another. You need all of it working in synchrony to truly be and feel healthy. I think it is impactful to start with physical health. As a doc, it’s an easier and more comfortable conversation to have objective findings (i.e. your blood sugar is this, your waist measures 37″, etc) and set initial goals from there. I think it’s also important to have progress you can track right away to keep yourself motivated. For example, it’s easier to measure your progress if you put all the money you save by not buying cigarettes in a jar, and by seeing how loose your jeans are when you drop a pants size. Confidence comes with seeing results. Gains in emotional and mental health feel more abstract and can be harder to quantify.

      When I am in a good place, I view my struggles with weight and eating as opportunities to be kind, experiment, try something new. This mindshift has helped me be generally nicer and more accepting of everyone in my life — patients included. Perhaps begin by defining what healthy means to you and view the journey as a chance to be kind and play :)

      • JuniorMinion :

        This is really excellent and eloquent. I struggle with body image and try to always look at my choices through the lens of health and future mobility and avoiding osteoporosis as much as possible and I really really like the way you put this.

      • Another anonymous judge :

        I don’t have anything to add to this except to say that I will bet you are a wonderful physician. Your patients are lucky to have you.

        • Seriously. I don’t have the emotional energy to engage with this topic right now, but thank you for your post. Your patients are lucky to have you.

    • “clearly being overweight is unhealthy”

      Is it? Weight is just one of many metrics by which to measure health.

      • It really is, though. With all the same metrics, it is healthier to be thinner. Sure, there are exceptions, but it’s like saying, some smokers eat organic food and some non-smokers eat crap, so smoking is not per se unhealthy. But with all of the same metrics, it is clearly healthier not to smoke.

        • Anonymous :

          If we could take all the emotion and body-image and attractiveness and thin-privilege and fat-shaming and everything else out of this question … and just look at a question: Is it healthier for a body to carry extra weight or not carry it? Then, yes, healthier not to carry it.

          But that’s a different question from, “Who’s healthier, overweight people or thin people?” Because a whole lot of factors go into determining overall healthfulness.

          • I have a lengthy post that’s currently in moderation here, but I will re-summarize in response to this post:

            Physical, emotional, and mental health are distinct yet interconnected. You can’t truly be healthy if all three aren’t in synch.

          • “Physical, emotional, and mental health are distinct yet interconnected. You can’t truly be healthy if all three aren’t in synch.”

            This is the kind of BS that overweight people get really, really tired of. You’re prejudiced against fat people and you’re disguising it with some kind of hippy-dippy nonsense about body-mind health. Quit insulting everyone’s intelligence.

          • I think you illustrate my point perfectly. Thank you.

          • AnonyMouse :

            @Anon at 5:59 pm – I don’t think that’s what Stati was saying. I believe she was saying you cannot use the word “health” as a proxy for just physical health, especially just someone’s size – emotional and mental health are also important. And you cannot tell if someone is healthy emotionally or mentally by looking at them (not that you can tell if they are physically either) — I think her point is inclusive and a more nuanced look at health vs just appearance.

            Also she is a doctor per above, and I’m glad a Dr has that viewpoint. :)

        • Anonymous :

          Yes, a 100% healthy person would not be overweight. But to take an individual and say, “THIS person would be healthier if they were thinner” doesn’t work.

          For some people who have medical conditions, being thinner would involve quitting the medications that caused the weight gain (I was surprised when I learned how many medications can cause weight gain or even type 2 diabetes).

          Some people with endocrine and metabolic issues are strictly capable of staying thin or losing weight, but only if they are up for a stressful, exhausting struggle that will leave them with little energy for anything else. So they choose to have energy and a more productive, fulfilling life.

          Being both healthy and trim isn’t always an option.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I think health at any size is a really important movement to remind people of all sizes that the goal is health not weight. I’m skinny and in horrible shape. I hardly every work out. I went on a hike last weekend that is supposed to be easy and I was straight up wheezing at the end. I was passed by many people much larger than I am, people that would likely be called overweight, who clearly had better cardiovascular health and strength than me. If the goal is to be thin people like me would think they don’t need to work out. Goals can come in many forms. Running a 5k without stopping is very different from aiming to be a size x. At the same time, I am aware that thin people are considered more attractive by some in society and that being attractive has some benefits in this society so I am not going to begrudge someone that wants to be thinner for attractiveness purposes. It’s great for me to think it’s not necessary but that is not a choice for me to make.

      • Anonymous :


        I’m pretty thin due to the genetic lottery and still need to actively work on my health. I hide behind my size and coast. My shoulders are hunched over from working 10-12 hours a day in front of a screen and they HURT. I don’t see my family or loved ones enough. I’m just drowning in work. I miss how the sunshine feels on my skin.

        At least I don’t smoke and my blood pressure is normal (so I will coast some more).

        But, yeah, I hide behind my size. Larger people show their size, which I feel we equate to showing their shortcomings.

        If my daughter is a size 4 or 14 or 24, I want her to have a good life while she is whatever size she is and realize that she doesn’t have to postpone having a good life with good choices b/c she’s not skinny enough to deserve better. Her skinny yet out of shape momma will fight you on that.

    • Anonymous :

      Well you can be mentally healthy at almost every size. Physical health is debatable, but yes, it is healthiest not to be overweight and it does kind of seem like HAES is a denial-based coping mechanism for some people. I think you have the right idea – accept yourself for who you are and focus on being healthy. Sometimes that is hard to do, but you don’t have a time machine and you can’t be anyone else but who you are right now. Agonizing about your body is a waste of time. All you can do is weigh the costs and benefits of how you are living and figure out what fits your needs at the moment.

      I feel like people usually go overboard in both directions – scientifically being overweight or obese long term is not good for you, but you don’t need to freak out about it and you don’t need to love everything about your body and imagine yourself as perfect. There’s a lot of gray area. Don’t feel like you need to conform to a particular way of thinking or feel a particular emotion about your weight. I look at it in an abstract form – people are animals. If I had a dog that was overeating and refusing to go for walks, I would think something is wrong with it and take it to the vet. So, I try to eat healthy and get some exercise because as a human being it’s important for my mental and physical health.

      Of course I do think some of the same thoughts about my body that everyone else does from time to time, but I don’t let it take over my life. They’re normal thoughts and they pass. It’s super frustrating to read a book about someone who wastes their life agonizing about things instead of going out and living life, so I try not to be that person.

      • Denial based coping mechanism is an incredibly snotty thing to say and not in accordance with the actual evidence either. Maybe educate yourself before you start condescending to people.

        • Not 3:21 anon :

          Interesting! Can you point me to the counter-evidence?

        • Anonymous :

          I’m not saying that being healthy and overweight means you’re in denial, but some people involved with HAES (a specific movement) are in deep, deep denial. If you are not familiar with it/the book, I can see how you might not understand what I mean. There’s a fair amount of internet drama around the community.

          • Not 3:21 anon :

            There’s a book?

          • Anonymous :

            Yep, and websites, social media groups, etc. I think the community is kind of toxic, even though the core message of body acceptance is not.

    • Anonymous :

      I struggle with this all the time.

      I eat a whole foods plant-based diet, run 20 miles a week, and have exceptional blood work numbers but STILL have a solid extra 30-40 lbs that won’t stay away, so I can attest that one can be both overweight and extremely healthy. In my case, miscellaneous hormonal/endocrinological stuff means it’s virtually impossible for me to get and stay slender.

      I’m constantly working to remind myself to feel beautiful even with the extra weight. It’s not going anywhere anytime soon. I weirdly find it easier to feel beautiful when I’m baring a little more skin–in a bathing suit, in a short dress–almost like the “daring” of it is kind of hot. Maybe more of an overt embracing of the bigger you will feel liberating, as opposed to just kind of learning to live with it?

      Anyway, no real advice–just know you’re not alone!

      • And my back has so much premature degeneration that my MD has told me to stop running now if I want to walk at 70. I’m thin, and really need to be to reduce the strain on my (flimsy) spine disks. Arguably, though, you’re in better health than I am.

        And please remember, you, and any woman, can be beautiful. I really think it has 10x more to do with grooming than weight.

      • JuniorMinion :

        I’m not trying to start a fire – but y’all should look into pilates / strength training / low impact HIIT – it has helped a lot with my back issues as well as major muscle group strength / mobility. It can also help with fat loss vs. steady state cardio.

    • Soapbox/rant warning: I HATE the whole “fat acceptance” movement. Understand I am not talking about accepting that the American standard of beauty is artificial and unattainable for most people. I am not talking about being 10 or 20 pounds above your “ideal” weight. I am not talking about being a size 12 (especially is you are over 40) instead of a size 2. I am talking about being medically, morbidly obese.

      I hate it because I am currently watching my father (a man in his 60’s), who I love very much, sleep 12 hours a day, be unable to work, and be hardly able to walk because a lifetime of obesity has caught up with him. I hate it because he has serious back and hip problems, diabetes and fatty liver disease that are the direct consequences of a lifetime weight problem. I hate it because he is suffering and there is nothing that can be done at this point.

      Human DNA has not changed enough over the past 30 years to account for the dramatic rise in obesity. It is a direct result of lifestyle and lifestyle can be changed. If you are actually medically obese (and again I am not talking about weighing more than you would like or not being able to fit into the clothes you wore 10 years ago), talk to your doctor. Go get help. You should absolutely 100% love yourself – but love yourself enough to take care of yourself and not make your family members watch you die by inches.

      Father’s Day is the day after tomorrow and I am genuinely afraid this might be the last one with my Dad. Twenty years ago, he was one of your “fat but fit” people. He could walk forever; he was stronger than men who weighed 100 pounds less. That did not prevent what is happening to him now. And it could have been avoided if he had taken his doctor’s advice and dealt with his seriously screwed up relationship with food.

      Again – let me emphasize. Obesity is not a moral or character flaw. People who are seriously overweight should absolutely value themselves, their lives, their bodies. But they also need to realize that sooner or later that extra 100 pounds is going to have real consequences and by the time they appear it might be too late.

      And now I am getting off my soapbox and going to go call my Dad.

      • And my uncle, who was a thin marathon runner, now needs a double knee replacement he can’t get because he has genetically-linked heart disease.

        Your anecdata isn’t very compelling. Heart-tugging, but useless as any kind of evidence. If you want to have a real conversation about this, present some facts instead of stories about your dad.

        • Sure:





          And while we are at it, the impact of obesity on fertility: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4456969/

          There is really no doubt that obesity impacts both mortality and mobidity (the latter more than the former). Can people who run marathons have joint problems as a result? Sure. But your uncle’s knee problems are not likely to kill him or leave him blind or disabled.

          • And while we are at it:


        • Anonymous :

          If you’re looking for research on obesity, there are lots of studies. Here is a good place to start – all the sources are cited if you wish to read them: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-consequences/health-effects/ . It’s not really something that is up for debate scientifically – it is pretty well established. I don’t think the OP really meant her thread to turn into this, though. I’m sorry your uncle’s genetic health problems prevent him from getting surgery. Maybe that goes to show that living your life fully is important no matter what your health situation, because you don’t know what unexpected disaster may strike.

        • Anonymous :

          Unless one has a pre-existing/genetic condition causing otherwise, RUNNING IS NOT BAD FOR ONE’S KNEES.

          I hate hearing this so much. Sorry to yell, above, but this is so, so, so, so incorrect. (And the opposite might be true.)

      • But it is not that easy to change. Our food has changed and so has our environment. We have processed foods with toxic chemicals easily available while good food is not available to everyone.

    • Sore feet :

      I’m going to add my comment without reading most of the others here because I know this is touchy with a lot of people. I entirely agree with the concept that no one should shame anyone for their size. I’m tired of people confusing that with saying that it’s ok to be overweight. They are not the same thing.

      This is something everyone has to deal with on your own. But I can tell you that I work in a field almost entirely with retirees, and NONE of the clients I have above that are 90+ are overweight. Not one. FWIW, accepting yourself for who you are as a flawed human being and acknowledging that being overweight is unhealthy are NOT mutually exclusive. You can be kind and understanding to yourself while attempting to reach weight loss or fitness goals – in fact it actually helps. Coming from someone who has an overweight family background and has worked very hard to keep from heading down the same path. And achieving fitness goals are usually a better way to approach it – if you can run that 5k but you’re still overweight, you’ve still something great for your health. By the way, not being able to get up from a seated position on the ground WITHOUT using your hands is associated with a much higher death rate. Weight loss is really really hard, but adding functional fitness is good for anyone.

      • Anonymous :

        “NONE of the clients I have above that are 90+ are overweight”

        AWESOME. Because my great-grandmother lived to be 97 and by the end, she had regressed in her memory to the point where she did not recognize anyone, she had no control over her bladder or bowels, she was bedridden, and almost everyone she had ever known was dead, including three of her four children.

        Not all of us are so terrified of death that we are looking to live forever. My grandpa died at 82 of a massive heart attack. He was never sick a day; had the heart attack while he had gone out to feed the horses. It was a good death. Losing your memory, lying in your own filth in a nursing home waiting to die? That’s not such a good death. For most of us it’s about quality, not length of life.

        • Sore feet :

          Wow. That’s what you got from this? Way to miss the point of most of what I said, not to mention taking one individual example and extrapolating it to an entire population. It was just anecdotal evidence that whether people like it or not, lower weight IS positively correlated to longevity. Half of my post talked about functional fitness which IS about aging well. Also way to make assumptions with no evidence. Of the people I am specifically referring to, none of them are in nursing homes. A couple live in assisted living but are still relatively active, and some are actually still living independently. One even drives to meet me and walks up the stairs better than some 60 year olds I work with. You took personal offense to this and only you can answer as to why, but your experience with your grandmother is not everyone’s. Some people do have hard ends of life but that can happen at 70 too. Being overweight and/or not being physically fit is more likely to lead to a hard death in a nursing home. Heck, your grandpa probably proves my point if he was out caring for horses until the day he died.

      • Yeah my mentally alert 94 year old grandma who still lives indepedently in her own home would beg to differ. She’s been overweight her whole life. Anecdata will never win this sort of thing.

        • Anonymous :

          +1. Only mine’s 93. And probably overweight by today’s standard, but just a good stout German women of her time.

    • So, ya know, whether an overweight or obese person accepts herself at her current weight is not dependent on whether you do. Why do thin people feel they have the right and/or obligation to weigh in on someone else’s body? Yeah, yeah, you say you’re paying the healthcare costs. That’s largely not true, or not significant, compared to paying for the healthcare costs of people who smoke, people who have cancer, people who abuse drugs.

      This is the last frontier of “it’s OK to discriminate against this group” because we are SO SO concerned for their health and we are all amateur scientists in our spare time. I call BS on this whole thing.

      How about we don’t?? How about we S T F U about other people’s bodies. Mind your own business.

      • HAES is a specific movement and most folks on here are not familiar.

        HAES advocates that folks learn their hunger signals and relearn what truely fuels their body. Many adults have lost touch with hunger signals and noticing how their bodies respond to food. Dieting teaches people to ignore their bodies signals and generally causes weight gain in the long run.

        HAES endorses accepting and honoring the body where ever this is, but does not advocate ignoring health issues or only eating certain types of food. It wants to bring the focus away from weight as the only marker of health. If someone has diabetes or high blood pressure, treat that. If some had joint degeneration, treat that. The fact is very few people sustain weight loss through dieting and most end up heavier in the long run. Promoting weight loss when the medical community has no long term methods that work is irresponsible.

        Personally I’m always saddened (and these responses are typical) when the idea of not hating ones body for being overweight is seen as so offensive.

      • No, obesity is costing more than smokers now.

    • After reading this blog, here’s who posts here:
      – Women who feel empty and incomplete because they don’t have a man/partner, despite claiming deep adherence to feminism in other posts
      -People who are obviously neurotic, abrasive or needy AF and still whine about why they can’t get dates (or why no one likes them and they have no friends)
      – Women who hate their parents, siblings, spouses and friends
      – Functional alcoholics
      – Not-so-functional alcoholics
      – People who cheat on their partners
      – People who lie, cheat and backstab to get ahead at work
      – Moms who leave their kids in daycare or with a nanny 12+ hours a day
      – People who spend $3k on handbags on credit or file bankruptcy and then later, in other threads, lie about how great their finances are when it’s convenient
      How the h e l l do you b I t c hes think you have the right to judge anyone for being overweight, or feel superior to others just because you’re thin? Y’all’s lives are a straight-up MESS. I’ve read the posts about how messed up people’s lives are here. It ain’t pretty.
      So what this comes down to, for most of you, is that you think that being fit or thin makes up for all the other terrible things you do and the terrible people you are on the inside. It doesn’t. You’re ugly and your lives are ugly, regardless of what you look like on the outside.
      I’m sorry that the girl who was doing the S T F U Corporette Tumblr quit, because this thread is just chock-full of responses that could go on that blog.

    • So, my mom had a friend/neighbor who was just over five foot tall and around 300 lbs who would comment on my mom’s smoking out of concern for her weight. As much as people comment on weight out of concern for health, way more people think it is okay to shame smokers. I literally never met any smoker (myself included even though I quit ten years ago) who did not know smoking is not healthy.

  3. Ladies, is it okay for a team to take a loooong list of complaints to someone above the manager’s manager if the (new) manager’s manager pollutes the entire org’s working culture?
    Teams in multiple locations that report into the same big boss have all simultaneously started hating their jobs but since these were pretty unicorn (fun, challenging, flexible) jobs before the big boss was hired, people want to try and get it fixed rather than just quit.
    FWIW, big boss was hired about less than 6 months ago from a firm known for aggressive cult-like culture that embraced rudeness

    • Have you taken it to the manager? Or the manager’s manager (the person you have all these problems with)?

      • Manager, yes.
        The manager’s manager- no.. When anyone disagrees with him, his strategy in meetings has been to attack and ignore, so not a ton of faith

        • What did manager say you should do?

          • He kinda brushed things off, said everything was awesome and that people were just not working well together.
            i.e took no responsibility

    • Is new boss from Uber?

      Have you tried going to HR and asking for strategies to deal with this from them? Assuming your org is big enough to have a useful HR department.

    • Anonymous :

      So this is a last ditch effort to improve your job before quitting? Because I see little upside to your plan. The chances of this being well received are slim to none.

    • Anonymous :

      I’d say narrow the list to categories of complaints or the top 5 most egregious. And make sure you are focused on objectively awful stuff, and eliminate any thing with a whiff of BEC. Otherwise you risk diluting your message.

    • I’d suggest taking this exact question to Ask A Manager. I feel like she usually has good advice for these kinds of situations.

  4. Interviewing :

    what do you tell your boss when you’re going on an interview? I generally use a vague “appointment” but am wondering if there is something better I can say when the interview crops up on short notice?

    • Call in sick… :)

    • Anonymous :

      Sick, or repair/cable person rescheduled last minute kind of thing.

    • I used Emergency dental appointment (I said that I had to get a new retainer for my last appointment because my boss was the type to ask specifics).

    • “Last minute specialist appointment” worked for me. I had an interview in the early Fall last year that ran over 2+ hours than it was scheudled to (…their lack of organization, and they didn’t tell me it was taking place in two separate locations. Seriously.), and I had to discretely text my admin that my specialist had an emergency and I was stuck waiting. Felt awful to lie that specifically.

    • Anonymous :

      IMO this falls under the “don’t explain and don’t complain” approach. I’m not going to lie if I don’t need to. Saying you have an appointment is a truthful and complete explanation.

  5. I have these exact shoes in this exact color! They are amazing! I walked for HOURS while in Europe on vacation and they held up wonderfully. The only issue I had was some mild rubbing on the ball of my foot the first time I wore them, but nothing since. I like that they can pass for either day or night shoes depending on what you wear them with. Highly recommend!

    • Do they have any arch support?

      • Yes, they do! I looked high and low this spring for comfortable silver sandals with a heel of one to two inches with no thong strap, zipper, or other embellishments.

        +1 to BB’s recommendation.

  6. I need a script... :

    I need phrasing to kindly but firmly let my daughters’ dance teacher know that we won’t be returning to her studio in the fall. The girls have loved their classes, but I am unhappy with the expectations, studio culture, and quality of instruction. Since none of these things are likely to change, we need to go elsewhere. Unfortunately, she will be quite surprised and disappointed to lose my girls, and there’s a good chance that we will run into her around our small town in the future. She is a very kind and well-meaning lady, and I appreciate her efforts even though I can’t handle bringing my girls back to her studio. How can I gracefully dissociate? If I’m vague about our reasons for leaving, I’m afraid she’ll try to convince us to return…but if I’m honest with her, I’ll likely hurt her feelings, and she doesn’t deserve that. Anyone have a script for a great thanks-but-no-thanks note?

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I think that you can just say, “I’m sorry, it’s not going to work for our family next year” with a smile. Repeat ad nauseam.
      “Yes, they really enjoyed their time at your study, but it’s just not going to work for our family next year.”
      “Oh that sounds like a delightful program, but it’s just not going to work for our family next year.”
      “I appreciate that offer, but it’s just not going to work for our family next year.”

      • Rainbow Hair :

        In your note, can you talk up the things the girls really liked? I don’t know how old they are, but I’ve started asking my kid, “what did you like about your visit with Friend?” and then she’ll say “I liked playing in her yard with shovels and rocks” so I will write, “Kiddo says that she really liked playing in your yard with shovels and rocks.” … ha that’s more example than you need, but I basically try to get the kid’s input in there directly.

    • Do you need to say anything at all? If you don’t sign them up for a class, isn’t the message pretty clear that you’re not coming back? If you don’t plan on letting her know the real reasons why you’re not returning, I’m not sure what good a note would do. If you run into her around town, be polite and friendly and leave it at that.

      • Anonymous :

        This. It’s a business transaction. You don’t sign up and you don’t owe an explanation to anyone about it. If she hunts you down, you can simply say, we wanted to try a different approach. We are thankful for our time and experience with you.

        • I need a script... :

          Thanks. I replied to a similar comment downthread. I guess I’m struggling to see it as a business transaction because I just sort of feel for this woman personally. She is so sweet-natured, and yet just…totally incompetent (and ignorant of that incompetence). I hope that makes sense.

    • Can you say you’re “taking a break” if it comes up? I think vague responses is the way to go.
      If it ever came up with the teacher (which seems unlikely to me but who knows?), something like, “we really enjoyed our time at your studio, and now we’re trying something different.”

    • Are you done with dance, or are you going to another studio? (And I wouldn’t write a note, I’d only say this if asked in person.)

      For done with dance: “The girls have enjoyed the classes, but are excited to try other activities next year. Thanks for all you’ve done for them!”

      For going somewhere else: “While the girls have enjoyed the classes, we’re going to try a less/more strenuous program. They’re eager to see what’s required at the next step/ we’d like to honor their request to step back. Thanks for all you’ve done for them!”

      • I need a script... :

        Thanks for the ideas. It would be easier if they were done with dance, but unfortunately, they’ve really loved the experience because they only see a fun activity and a sweet lady who loves them to pieces, not all the problems that their father and I see. We’ll be going elsewhere. (And explaining that to the girls themselves is perhaps a bigger can of worms than this one, but this is probably not the right forum to raise that issue on.)

        • It sounds like there are no adverse impacts on your kids and that they love the class and the lady, so what’s the problem? How do you know you don’t have kids that benefit from this teachers style?

          Not trying to be a jerk about stuff I know nothing about, but I had overbearing / overprotective parents, so I’m relating to the kids not getting a say in this.

          • I need a script... :

            Thanks for chiming in. I do take your point. I don’t want to be an overbearing parent, and since I suspect it probably is my natural tendency, I’ll have to be watchful of that as my kids get more involved in activities. Right now, though, they’re only 4, so I’m OK with limiting their input to the basic question of “I’d like you to be involved in a physical activity; would you rather take dance or martial arts?” (I know I didn’t state their age in my original post–perhaps I should have.)

    • Anonymous :

      Just don’t re-enroll and say nothing. If they ask, say you decided to try another studio.

      • This. It doesn’t have to be hard.

        • I need a script... :

          Hm, my other reply upthread got lost. Anyway, yes, I’m sure I am making it too hard. But this is a lady who really wears her heart on her sleeve and seems to think of her studio as her family. (Single and childless, been teaching in the community long enough that she’s teaching former students’ daughters now, etc.) So it feels harder than just a simple business transaction, although perhaps you’re right that it shouldn’t.

          • That’s on her, though, not you. I know these things get really tangled up in smaller communities, but at the end of the day, she’s running a business. One that doesn’t work for you, or your family, and you’re well within your rights to take your business elsewhere.

          • Anonymous :

            It does, but I feel like sometimes you’re conditioned by society to feel like this kind of stuff should be hard. It’s emotional labor that you think you’re expected to do, but you don’t really have to do it.

    • Former private music teacher here. It’s not just a “business transaction”–there’s an emotional relationship there, which in fact parents often expect, and it’s incredibly rude, hurtful, and takes advantage of people who have put emotional labor into your children to just ghost as many posters here are describing. While I was teaching, I had a couple different students, with whom I had worked for years, just not sign up with no comment in this manner and it was not a good feeling. Frankly, it also made me less interested in investing emotionally in my continuing students, which I don’t think was a good outcome, and part of the reason why I decided to leave this line of work.

      So, I think OP is right to want to say *something.* It’s a totally legitimate decision to leave this particular program, but good for OP for wanting to do it with grace. I would just say something along the lines of what Faye suggested. OP can thank the teacher for her help and say something about how another studio might be a better fit at this time.

      Also, I wouldn’t necessarily be reluctant to share your real reasons for leaving (albeit gently). Teachers often find that helpful. I was a pretty intense teacher, which is what a certain group of students is looking for and needs, but it wasn’t the right fit for students looking for something more relaxed. Hearing feedback like “We liked you, but your program is too demanding” actually helped to confirm that I was achieving what I had set out to do, for example. And constructive criticism was helpful too.

      • Anonymous :

        What great insight. I’m not a teacher but I agree that OP isn’t being unreasonable to be concerned. She knows the dance teacher was invested in her girls and she recognizes that, especially in a small community, it wouldn’t be acceptable to simply not sign up again with no comment. I would thank the teacher and say your daughters love dance because of her but you’ve decided to enroll them in a more rigorous program.

      • I need a script... :

        Thank you so much for adding your very helpful perspective! One detail that I didn’t include in my original post, but which does work in my favor, is that we’ve only completed one semester at this studio. It’s the ideal time to make a courteous break.

        Thank you as well for your commitment to your students during your years as a music teacher. My childhood music teachers were central figures in my life. I’m so sorry that some of your students and their families didn’t treat you well.

  7. Help me up my veggie game. I need to be eating more vegetables. I also work very long days in biglaw. I am not in terrible shape here — green smoothies a few days a week, pepper and celery slices for snacks a few days a week, and a Sweetgreen addiction. When I eat at home, I eat a lot more servings of vegetables, and I just don’t eat at home often enough. What are other good veggie snacks or easy veggies to deal with in the office?

    • Baconpancakes :

      Birdseye steamfresh veggie bags. I love those, either lightly flavored or just plain and then add stuff to it.

    • Sugar snap peas. I buy the packaged kind at Trader Joe’s and they’re great to have on hand for snacking.

    • Edamame for snacking in the office

    • Anonymous :

      I like Sweet Earth microwave meals for when I’m too busy to eat. Target has them in the freezer section and so do some Whole Foods.

    • For a while, I would blanch snap peas and green beans and put them in quart-sized ziplocs to bring to work for the week. Then, at lunch, I would make a plate of chicken sausage (heated in the microwave), snap peas, green beans, grape tomatoes, and carrots, maybe with a little hummus. It got to be too much to do on a Sunday afternoon when I had Sunday evening rehearsals, but I might go back to that. A colleague did something similar but with a sandwich made on sandwich thin, plus veggies and a dollop of hummus on the side.

    • My lunch is a box that I throw a bunch of small items to much on throughout the day. Things that work well in my healthy box that are veg…

      baby carrots
      cherry tomatoes

      Then I throw in some proteins with fat…. hunk of cheese, hard boiled egg, almonds+pistachios, edamame. And if I’m lucky, I have a handfull of blueberries.

      It’s not really a salad, as I don’t bother with lettuce and everything is in little piles.

      Sometimes I might have a tub of hummus that I eat with carrot sticks.

      I try to have the equivalent of two servings of veg with dinner every night. One veg is green (spinach/other greens/broccoli/peas or green beans) and one is more starchy (beets/squash/corn/sweet potato) or I have more tomatoes or a salad. I often have a fruit for breakfast or a snack during the day or in the evening.

      The trick is just having these in your house at all times so they are easy to grab.

    • Snap peas and baby carrots (with or without dips) for snacks.

      TJ frozen veggies (I like their roasted eggplant and squash, corn, mixed peppers–but the grilled asparagus wasn’t great).

      Costco frozen veggies (butternut squash, green beans, and broccoli). A quick bleu cheese sauce (equal amounts bleu cheese and creme fraiche melted together with a bit of minced garlic) makes any veggie side better.

    • Roasted vegetables are delicious. You can usually get peppers already cut. Throw in mushrooms and zucchini and YUM.

  8. My husband has been asked to take power of attorney of his parents’ largest investment account. It is a brokerage account with a large bank/brokerage. His mother and father are joint account holders of all of their accounts. And his mother has been increasingly concerned with how forgetful her spouse, my husband’s father, has become of late. The medical tests and inquiries have begun.

    What should be on our checklist? I’m thinking of hiring a T&E lawyer because I’m concerned about the following:

    Brokerage wanting to make us use a Power of Attorney (POA) form of theirs that might contain provisions that aren’t beneficial to clients (my in-laws)

    My husband’s siblings (who treat their parents with either negligence or contempt) might interfere or allege that my husband is trying to disinherit them.

    POA being rejected by the brokerage if there’s a change of staff there.

    Father in law might not be able to grant POA in his current mental state. He’s increasingly forgetful. But has moments (hours at a stretch), when his memory functions well.

    I’m sure I haven’t thought of all the pitfalls. Hoping for a few more pointers.

    Many thanks in advance!

    • You may want to look into hiring an elder law attorney instead. They can help you sort through all of these issues and can also do a POA.

      • Thanks. Anybody have an elder law attorney they would recommend who is licensed to practice in NJ (my in-laws live in Southeastern NJ)

        • Anonymous :

          This is not elder law, but my ILs used Senior Planning Services to deal with Medicaid and nursing homes for GMIL in central NJ. I’m not clear on whether they have elder care attorneys on staff, but I think they do a free consultation (and may be able to provide a referral).

          Do you have an employee assistance program that could give you a list of names?

          • Re: employee assistance program – yes, and I’ll give it a shot. I admit, I’ve never used it and it didn’t occur to me to try there. Thanks everyone who’s replied– this is all helpful and I really appreciate your insights & advice!

    • Anonymous :

      If you are worried about the siblings, definitely get a lawyer involved and document, document, document.

  9. Young and Bad with Money :

    I desperately need help with my finances and learning how to create a budget. This isn’t something that I feel comfortable discussing with friends and family. How do you ladies create a budget, especially when you are in debt? Has anyone sought a professional with financial experience? A little about me and my situation – I have been working at my current post grad, full-time position for 2 years now. I have been in my first apartment alone for about 1.5 years (previously lived with roommates). I’m carrying around about $4k of credit card debit on one card for various expenses throughout college (books, sometimes rent, etc) and have somehow managed to get up to $6k on another card in the past year or so, which began by purchasing furniture and many other starter items for my first apartment. However, now it has become a situation where I am putting all of my monthly bills on my credit card. I feel that I earn a decent income for my age and I’m completely embarrassed that my entire paycheck goes towards my credit card debt. I knew better than to let this happen, but here I am. I have started taking steps to eliminate monthly costs such as cutting cable, keeping an older car that is paid off, etc. How important do you think it is to have a savings vs. paying off debt as quickly as possible and how have you created a budget?

    • Budget Help :

      Write out all of your monthly expenses and figure out how much you have left over. If none or barely any, cut your expenses. Pick an amount to go towards credit card repayment each month. Pay the fee to do a balance transfer to get X months no-interest, pay down the debt, and in the meantime, don’t put any additional bills on your credit card. I would prioritize this over savings, aside from retirement + having a small cushion to cover an emergency.

      • Anon in NYC :

        I agree. Figure out exactly what you need to pay every single month and see what is left over. I also agree with transferring and consolidating all of your debt onto one credit card with 0% interest; take the number of months that you have at 0% interest, divide the balance by that number of months, and try to pay that amount on a monthly basis (you might not be able to do that and as that introductory rate expires you might need to do this process again). But the important thing is to not build up more debt on your remaining credit cards.

        I think that you need to have enough savings to cover an emergency. But I don’t think you need to be in a place where you have 6 months of expenses saved.

        • Anon in NYC :

          Also, just wanted to send some hugs. I was in a similar position post-undergrad. It happens.

    • I strongly encourage you to pay off your credit cards before you start saving. The interest rate on credit cards will likely dwarf the returns on savings. (E.g., if you save $100 and get 5% return you have $105, but your $100 credit card bill will now be $110 so you would have been better off paying of the bill.)

      • Anonymous :

        Nope. She will lose out on years of compound interest that will work for her to grow her retirement savings, and if she doesn’t have a cushion of savings, one emergency will send her into more debt. Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey used to talk about this – it doesn’t work to have no debt but also no savings.

    • 1) If your debt is credit card debt, the interest is huge, and paying it off will take priority over saving.

      2) Every credit card I have ever had has had a feature on its website that allows you to download your card activity into a spreadsheet (usually a .csv, which can be opened in excel). I recommend downloading your history for the past few months and going through and categorizing it in order to figure out where you are spending money. Groceries, utility bills, eating, out, shopping, entertainment, etc. Take a hard look at your categories and cut the fat. Do you eat lunch out every day? Start bringing it, etc.

      3) https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2017/05/19/2016-spending/ Mr. Money Mustache can be a bit … extreme, and he belittles people who spend more than he does on basically anything or drive a car, ever. Ignore his attitude. I share the link to that specific post so that you can compare how you’re spending your money to how he is spending to get a sense of how someone who is living frugally does it. I don’t share it to say that you should embrace all of his philosophies on every point, but if you’re trying to learn how to spend wisely and save he can be a good resource for how to think about where you can cut the fat.

    • Good for you for taking the first steps here. You can get out of this! I think it is essential and non-negotiable to have some savings. Otherwise, you risk putting yourself at the mercy of your credit card if something unexpected happens. Pay off your highest interest rate cards first, then the others. I was never the type that could use Excel or whatever to make / keep a budget. Here’s what I did: I stopped using my credit cards completely. I used cash/check/debit to pay for everything for a month and save receipts. Before I started the month, I wrote down what I thought I would spend and on what. Then at the end of the month, I compared notes. I was pretty off. I read the book “Prince Charming Isn’t Coming” and that helped me get my act together.

    • Anonymous :

      Find a card that will give you 0% on balance transfers for at least a year. Transfer your balances and put yourself on a payment plan/set up autopay to pay it off within the year (or whatever) period. Cancel that card as soon as you pay it off.

      Cancel your second card. I find that having even 2 cards makes it much easier to rack up a lot of debt. A $1k balance on each card looks less scary than a $2k balance on one card. Unless there’s a reason you really need that second card, cancel it. Fwiw, I only got a second card to avoid a foreign exchange penalty and I only use that card for international travel/purchases.

      Others may disagree with this point, but use the credit card for emergencies only, all recurring charges should come out of checking. Credit card companies lure you in with points and whatever, but you’re experiencing the natural consequence of that – it’s really easy to get sidetracked for a month or two and all of a sudden you have this huge balance. Better to forego the perks than to let your debt get out of hand.

    • This is what has worked for me: I totaled my necessary expenses for the month (groceries, gas, car payment, rent, utilities, cell phone, internet, gym membership, certain percentage to savings, fortunately I didn’t have debt, etc), subtracted that from my take home pay, and whatever was left was my discretionary spending for eating out, new clothes, home decor, traveling, etc. That left over amount was the amount I allowed myself to put on my credit card each month. For me, that was easier/more effective than saying I have x to spend on clothes, y to spend in entertainment, etc. It was just all one big pot and each category might vary from month to month.

      I think it is wise to have a rainy day fund, as Stati mentioned, so you don’t have to rely on credit cards if something were to happen.

    • Anonymous :

      Go to YouTube and search for Gail Vaz-Oxlade, then watch her programs. She’s basically a super-practical finances coach who tackles a lot of debt and budgeting challenges with a variety of couples and individuals. You’ll learn a lot about the basics by watching her coach other people through straightening out their finances.

    • Step 1 is figuring out where your money is going. Write down every cent you spend and for now cut out all of your discretionary spending and throw that money at the credit cards. If you’re putting all of your monthly bills on a credit card, your debt is going to keep growing. Until you can make it through a few months without getting into further debt, I would not worry about saving. Good luck!

    • Anonymous :

      You are $10k in debt, 6K of that from the past year alone.


      Sorry, I know that was really strong, but part of tackling this and making a fresh start is by facing the fact that you can’t afford the lifestyle you’ve been living. But that’s OK. You can go into Big Time Cut-Back Project Mode to tackle this debt, and then ease up and have all the money that was going to credit card interest available to save and spend again.

      And {{{ hugs}}}. You can do this. You can hit reset on your finances, and come out the other end much wiser and in much better shape. Good for you for catching it now while it’s doable and not letting it go for another 10 years!

    • I’m a broken record but You Need a Budget is SO helpful for visualizing money. it lets you track income, expenses, and debt, and set budget categories that the app then lets you see in real time whenever you make a purchase. The Mr. Money Moustache blog and forums are also useful if you want a kick in the pants and some creative strategies to save money (the forums tend to be less adversarial than the blog IMO). Good for you for acknowledging that this is a problem, and taking steps to solve it. You CAN do this.

      • anon a mouse :

        Yes! The big takeaway that I got from YNAB is it really helped me plan for those big but infrequent expenses. I’m talking car repair, car insurance renewal, annual subscriptions, holiday gifts. Those were the things that I kept forgetting about, and not budgeting for — and they were wrecking my budget without my even realizing it.

        The interface takes some getting used to, but it totally transformed the way I look at money.

        You can do this! But not without some pain. $6K in the past year means you were overspending your budget by $500/month. It’s going to sting, but you’re going to have to cut a lot more than that to get yourself out of debt. We are here to cheer you on!

        • Anonymous :

          Another +1 for YNAB. It’s a tracking system, but also a philosophy – they’ll help you figure out how to budget (watch the videos!) as well as providing a tool. Do you need this in order to budget? No. But it’s helpful if you don’t know what you’re doing. First month is free!

          • Agree on YNAB. I like that YNAB also helps you set up budgeting goals for paying down debt. So if you can say you want to pay that $10k down by so and so date and it will give you a monthly budgeting amount.

            If you want to try YNAB, I got my first three months free from an affiliate link on a Lauren Conrad blog post – https://laurenconrad.com/blog/2016/02/go-for-it-5-budgeting-hacks-for-busy-girls/

            Try it and if it works for you, that’s awesome! If not, it’s three months that you tried without having to spend money on it! You can do this!

          • Anonymous :

            +1 more. I have an acquaintance on Facebook who seriously sings the praises of YNAB. And I respect her opinion greatly considering the thoughtfulness she exhibits in all of her other (frequent) posts about her family and trying to live frugally. She apparently did a lot of research on various ways to budget, has been experimenting with multiple tools over many years, and has finally settled on YNAB and loves it. My husband is a CPA and manages our bills/budget without much trouble or need for me to worry, so I haven’t made the suggestion to him, but if I had any reason to think we weren’t hitting our targets okay on our own, I wouldn’t hesitate to try it based on her recommendation.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Something I haven’t seen recommended above is getting some professional help. Someone I am close to was able to get free financial counseling and help consolidating and paying off his debts — I believe he used a program from the City of New York. On the off chance that’s where you live, here’s a link: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/dca/consumers/get-free-financial-counseling.page

      I’ll follow with a page that might be even more on point. Hoping not to get moderated.

      • Rainbow Hair :


        They offer “Credit Crisis Counseling.”

    • I really like the CFPB tools for budgeting. https://www.consumerfinance.gov/educational-resources/your-money-your-goals/toolkit/

      But basically you need to track everything you spend, identify your financial goals, and figure out how to get there. I’d cut spending and pay down debt.

      Frugalwoods might have some reader budgets similar to yours if you search. I think she typically has good advice.

    • It sounds like you spend a ton of money furnishing your apartment. Hopefully that’s all water under the bridge at this point and you won’t continue spending at the same rate. Something that may serve you well in the future is the idea that you don’t have to do everything at once. I’m frugal and have been reading personal finance books and some blogs for fun for a decade. Because of that, it took me about 5 years to fully furnish my first house. I did it gradually, as I could afford it, and as I found furniture I liked at reasonable prices. You don’t have to buy full rooms of furniture and fully stock your kitchen with expensive gadgets, pots, pans, knives, the whole nine yards all at once.

      Another thing to consider is whether or not you (at the beginning of your adult life) are expecting a standard of living equivalent to the one your parents have now after working for decades. Like, if your parents buy their sheets at brooklinen, don’t automatically buy your sheets there. Get them from target or tj maxx.

      Last thing– little things add up. There have been months with no major purchases where we have a $2,000 credit card bill and I’m just sitting there thinking “where in the heck did it all go???” A $35 amazon order there, a $60 target order there, a stop at the grocery store for a “few extra things” for $42, a $30 happy hour…. it just adds up and adds up. I completely agree with everyone above that you need to track where its going. It is very eye opening.

      • Great advice! Also don’t live the life you think you should be able to afford at your salary. Lifestyle creep is real. Use your credit cards for true emergencies until you pay them off. No one has died because they didn’t have a sofa, much less a perfectly decorated apartment. Make do or do without until you have your budget balanced.

      • All of this. We’ve been using cc for literally everything to get points for some big trips. We have have have to pay them weekly because those little purchases add up fast and can get away from you before you know it if you’re not constantly on top of them. Actually, looking at our spending weekly has really helped me see how things we thought were “no big deal” (weekly pub dinners, buying a top or shoes here and there, subscription boxes) were costing us way more than we thought over the course of a month. So in other words, track your spending weekly, not monthly.

    • Young and Bad with Money :

      Wow, I was not expecting such an outpouring of support and tips! Thank you all so much! I am spending the evening researching all of the above advice and I feel much more directed and on the right track.

      • I’m a fan of Personal Capital for a quick way to analyze expenses. Link your accounts and start analyzing your spending right away.

        Also, since you’ve spent a lot in the last month, can anything be returned? Clothes, furnishings, etc?

      • I’m late to the party, but I highly reccomendation ‘I will teach you how to be rich (err or something like that)’ by ramit Sethi. Get the hard copy not the eversion as you’ll want to flip around easily. He has weekly to do lists and it’s perfect for someone who is just starting out on their financial journey. 7 years ago my husband and I had just graduated law school with about 300k in debt- I set up his auto save/pay system and paid off our debt and saved about 300k more. Super reccomend.

    • If you’re looking to go the professional help route, I’m a financial planner and would suggest checking out XY Planning network to find a fee-only planner who work with younger clients on these types of issues.

    • Try www.clarifi.org, a HUD approved consumer credit couseling service. Help people come up with a budget and tackle consumer debts.

  10. Anonymous :

    I feel a little silly asking this question… at what stage of a cold/sinus infection can I safely wear makeup again, esp. eye and lip? I haven’t been wearing anything but concealer and powder for fear of contamination. I’m on antibiotics now but still feeling under the weather. Am I safe to start looking like myself again?

  11. grilled cheese :

    Could someone point me to the now-famous work-from-home thread from a couple of weeks ago? I missed it originally and have seen a few references. Thanks!

    • I’m so disappointed. I thought you were posting a delicious grilled cheese recipe. ;-)

    • Anonymous :

      What famous work from home thread? What’s it about – just generally working from home??

      • Was it the one about working from home in advance of having a baby? Or doing laundry?

      • Country Biscuits :

        I think the one where the OP accused WfH people of just doing laundry, going to yoga, cooking a roast, etc. and not really working.

        • Yesssss. That was a few weeks back I think but no solid recollection.

        • I just love how that judgmental poster was AT WORK POSTING ON HERE while complaining about everyone else not working.

      • Here you go: http://corporette.com/multi-huggie-earrings/#comment-3671622

      • Link stuck in moderation, but I found it by searching for “pot roast” (lol) and clicking on the search result that features “multi huggie earrings.”

  12. Bride to Be (to Be) :

    Future fiancee and I have started looking at rings but I’m just as lost as he is. Any tips for engagement ring shopping as a couple where neither of you know what you’re doing? And any tips or anecdata on the rings themselves?

    • Meg March :

      I would just go to a jeweler and try on a bunch of rings to see what you like. You may find that you like a style you weren’t expecting, or that a style you liked on a computer screen looks off on your hand. Try them both plain and with different wedding bands, if you intend to wear a band. My husband and I were both lost too, but when we actually went to try rings on, I found that I kept trying on one ring over and over– so that’s the one I ended up with. I already knew that I wanted a silver tone metal, and ended up with platinum because of its hardness and because I love the patina that develops, and we were using a family diamond, so that was also one fewer choice. If you don’t already have a center stone (provided that is what you’re envisioning), the jeweler will probably steer you hard towards a diamond, and can place different size diamonds in the rings you try on, so you can see how it looks with a .75/1/1.5/2 karot diamond. You may also want to look at alternative stones, either colored (ruby, sapphire, etc) or white (moissanite is popular).

      • Yes, Meg March gives great advice. Just like clothes and shoes, you have to try them on. It’s ok to not have a budget on the first visit, just get an idea of what you like and don’t like (everything from metals, styles, shapes, colors, etc.) and ring size. Do you have any particular considerations (i.e. Are you clumsy and maybe want something less delicate? Do you have to wear lab gloves – if so, do you care about how a ring affects that? Do you plan to wear it everyday and if so, care to project a certain image?) After you figure out a few characteristics you like, figure out a budget. This varies by couple, so choose whatever you are comfortable with. If you have a jeweler’s district in your town or a nearby one (or even are visiting like NYC), that is where I would go to buy the ring when you are ready as they often supply the stones to the Tiffany, Cartier and the like but with a much bigger discount as a wholesale purchase. In the meantime before you are trying them on, there is a lot to explore online and may open you up to something you had never even considered or seen before (if you want a different ring).

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        Definitely just go try a bunch on until you figure out what style you like. I found things looked very different in person than online.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Contrary to the advice here, I’d start by playing around on pinterest for a bit before hopping into a store. [My source for this is the fact that I find that fun to do even though there are no rings in my future.] There are SO many kinds of things, and you might want to know “I want something simple and classic” or “I want something that looks art deco” or “I want something that looks like plants!!!” or whatever so you end up in the kind of store that has the stuff you want.

      I got my fakegagement ring from Etsy – emailed the link to my now-husband and told him to buy it for me for my birthday. And once we decided to get married, I used it for that.

    • The approach SO and I took was to go to Tiffany to start just to see a bunch of things in a low-pressure environment. We had zero intention of buying a ring there. We also went to a Brilliant Earth showroom while on vacation in a city that has one. Once we basically knew what we wanted, we worked with a local jeweler that uses only conflict-free diamonds to custom design exactly what we wanted (still cheaper than Tiffany!).

      Brilliant Earth’s web site and blue nile both have a lot of good diamond info to look at before you start.

      Good luck! It’s overwhelming at first but will become much easier once you’ve tried some styles on.

      • Also look at Rare Carat. It’s a search engine for center stones but they also have a tone of informational pages. We ended up going to a local jeweler for the ring itself but used Rare Carat for information about styles we liked and ultimately the center stone.

      • Anonymous :

        Brilliant Earth is under some criticism right now re: the sourcing of their diamonds. Unclear if it’s true or not – but some allege they may be citing some diamonds as Canadian sourced (and charging the related premium) when other sources (blue Nike, the dealers themselves) do not have that type of source documentation . like I said – unclear if it’s true but buyer beware

    • Veronica Mars :

      I love jewelry shopping. A few thoughts– consider going secondhand or vintage for your ring. Jewels by Grace and Love Affair Diamonds are two of my favorites. These diamonds are ethical, beautiful and more affordable than new ones. They also have tons of personality. The other option is to consider a moissanite stone. Moissanite is gorgeous and 1/10th the price of a diamond (a 1ct round moissanite is about $600, a 1ct diamond about $6k). Don’t believe the posts about them being green, etc. Those were old, original stones. They’ve come a looooong way. It may be worth it for you to buy a moissanite and see if you like it, because it can save serious money. Joseph Schubach jewelers (based in Arizona, there are 2) have a 30-day return policy and are very established moissanite sellers (Moissaniteco also has a great selection, but they have a restocking fee and have slightly worse quality control). Finally, for inspiration, I love Erika Winters and Victor Canera. But they may be out of your budget if you want a diamond as well (their settings range in price because they’re hand-forged, and will be at least double a CAD/machine made setting of a similar type).

      • +1 to Moissanite. I actually have a couple of wedding rings – my real one, which has ended up feeling too formal and fancy for every day (it’s emeralds, diamonds and platinum) so I had a plainer, more wearable moissanite one made for every day. I love both of my rings, and never thought I’d want something more simple when I was originally picking out a ring.

    • Please make one of your stops at a jeweler with a good selection of vintage/estate rings. There are some real gems out there (no pun intended) and that prevents you creating a market for yet another diamond.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        Or a vintage diamond in a new setting. That’s what I did–I really wanted an old european cut diamond, but found a new (vintage inspired) setting I loved. If you do decide to go that route, we actually found my diamond through an appraiser rather than a jewelry store, so that’s a source you may not think of.

      • Senior Attorney :

        +1 to this.

        My ring has a diamond that was taken from a turn-of-the-20th-century necklace and it’s beautiful without the ethical baggage associated with a new diamond. I had it in my mind that antique diamonds weren’t as sparkly as modern cuts but that’s not true at all — mine sparkles up a storm!

    • Check out the Pricescope board; there are multiple good threads on this subject there.

  13. Meanie Pants :

    I have received comments before that I can be “mean” when dealing with customer service people and others in a business/customer setting. Obviously I don’t intend to come across as “mean” and yes, I am very conscious of my tone, but part of me also thinks this perception is a function of gendered expectations. Nothing I am saying is actually mean or personal, I never raise my voice or curse, I say good morning and please and thank you, etc. I’m just direct and don’t pad my discussion with lots of smiles and softening phrases like “maybe I have this wrong” or “if you don’t mind” kind of stuff.

    This is so subjective and obviously it’s impossible to fully describe things like tone, but I’m starting to think people just don’t expect a woman to be assertive and direct. It’s getting super old to hear– even as a backhanded compliment from friends!– that I am “mean,” “scary,” and should be the one to take care of all of my friends’ and family’s customer service interactions. It’s not mean to be assertive about your expectations and ask for what you want.

    To what extent have you all faced this, if at all? Do you purposely soften your communication style to come across as “nice”?

    • Keep on as you are. Don’t let the sheep make you change your style from correct (but not warm) to servile (which is the expectation in America for women’s communication style).

      The more people who conform to the servile style, the more it’s an expectation.

      • I also believe that the “sweeteners” in conversation are meant for my loved ones and not for a stranger or business acquaintance. I feel like being overly warm/sweet/friendly to those who I’m not actually close to cheapens the sentiment and is insincere. I think treating customer service people like normal humans deserving of basic respect and civility is sufficient.

        • I’m curious what you mean by “sweeteners?” Are we talking about “thank you” or “thanks, sweetie pie?”

          • Anonymous :

            The OP said above that, by “sweeteners,” she means using a fake-sweet tone or saying things like “this may be wrong, but…” She clearly states she is polite, and this includes “thank you,” “please,” and so on.

            Um,m jumping in because I am just like the OP, and had the same concerns previously. Not any more!

      • Meanie Pants :

        Literally, I once had a boss tell me in a formal performance review that I was exceeding my benchmarks but I’m “not really a warm person” and I should work on that. :-|

        • Anonymous :

          I got a similar comment one time about my communication being too “efficient” and that I needed to add “more niceties” into my communications with people. I specifically asked, is there a problem with my tone or what I’m saying to people? “Oh no, you just tend to get right to the point with people, especially when we’re on deadline, and it would be nice for you to banter with people a little.”

    • I get this too. All the time.

      I am also a physician, and most of my customer service experiences lately have been with insurance companies/billing offices etc… assisting family members. I also notice that I get worse attitudes when I am talking to women customer service than men.

      Yes, I have learned I need to back down more. Even though I think I am being reasonable, I am more successful in being nice/thank you very much/can you help meeeee…..? Drives me crazy, honestly. I also have learned I need to ask early on to “speak to your supervisor” when it is clear that the person is not clearly competent. The risk of this is that they might hang up on you.

      Add to this the large hold times on customer service calls these days, and this turns into the most miserable times of day for me.

      • Anonymous :

        I really hope you’re getting this only from insurance reps and not your patients. I 100% believe that women shouldn’t have to soften their tone compared to men etc. But you better believe in that little exam room, I expect both men and women MDs to be kind and with all else being equal (skills; experience etc.) — the MD who is warmer gets repeat business — don’t care if it’s a man or woman.

        • Oh, no – just from customer service.

          I am very warm with my patients and if anything, sometimes they are too comfortable with me and call me by my first name. Sometimes they don’t even realize they are doing it. I don’t mind actually, and several of my older generation patients call me Dr Mimi. And I kinda love it from them.

        • I don’t care if the doctor is kind. I care much more that she is a straight shooter. Much more. In fact, I think some doctors need to be a little less kind and a little more willing to tell me what changes I need to make.

          • Anonymous :

            That’s you and that’s great. But there is a segment of the population that is fairly nervous going to the doctor or talking truthfully about whatever’s going on etc. And I think drs need to be conscious of that population too — it’s a people profession and the good ones can read people. They can tell that some people want to state their symptoms and get in and out, while others are more reluctant and some sense of kindness helps them open up. No one is saying they have to act like your BFF or anything.

          • Yeah, anon – I’m pleased to have patients like you. It makes my job very easy. But you are not the norm. Most people cannot handle a straight shooter when it comes with their health care.

            And then sometimes, there are people that need a slap, and can handle it. That’s why I love taking care of the Veteran’s at our VA hospital.

          • +1 straight shot, science, facts, and MRIs. We’ll get along fine. When I had my brain surgery, the dr. who drew pictures with his pen made me cry, but the dr. who showed me my MRI next to a normal one, said here is how the surgery works, the pros/cons, and why I recommend this path under your conditions, and we need to operate today or you’re going to die, i was totally cool and calm with. He was great. So, just one more on the not normal side.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I’ve gotten a lot of “intimidating” and “assertive,” which I don’t mind, but never “mean.” I think this is because I am careful to always be polite and nice, but not apologetic or unassuming. There’s nothing wrong with smiling or making small talk – that’s just polite. Apologizing unnecessarily or softening questions too much or asking permission instead of asserting a necessity, however, does make you look weak (I think). So I understand your reluctance to be lumped in with women who ask if their direct reports wouldn’t mind getting the revisions in on time if it’s not too much trouble, but if you’re bothered by being called mean, you might soften your presentation a bit. Particularly since customer service is a hard job to begin with, and I’m personally nicer to customer service reps than is necessary in order to make up for the jerks who do yell and curse at them.

    • Yes, the perception of meanness is gendered, but also… yes being assertive and direct to a customer service person is seen as mean even when a man does it. It’s just more tolerated from a man so no one says anything.

      I learned a lot from observing a male ex who was great with customer service people. He would smile, be chatty, empathetic, and try to relate to the other person – “I know this isn’t your fault” “You must be frustrated too” “I appreciate anything you can do.” I don’t think he ever said “sorry” or “if you don’t mind” or anything that borders on self-depricating, but he still managed to come across as “nice”. He definitely got better results out of people than I do. People would go above and beyond for him because he treated everyone like a friend. People generally just do the bare minimum for me.

      • Country Biscuits :

        This is my DH – and he wonders why I like him to handle all of our calls with repair guys, utilities, etc.!

      • Late to this, but my DH used to work in customer service. He’s incredibly nice when dealing with customer service employees, and he understands how their systems (both technical and bureaucratic) work. He’s the designated “talk to customer service” person in our family, and more often than not, he gets something for free, even if he doesn’t ask for it. Someone has even said to him, “You’re the nicest person I’ve talked to all day. I’m going to issue you a $30 credit.” It’s a skill. I can jump in and play bad cop if necessary, but that’s very occasional.

        • Anonymous :

          Yep! My DH has a similar background and gets things done that I can’t although I’m much more assertive and direct. He’s very nice and understanding but he also has a long list of scripts that makes it clear he’s not going away until he gets what he wants. It’s so entertaining to listen to him make a phone call to a service provider.

      • Agreed. Sometimes its just about the best way to get things done effectively! My SO seems to get anything he wants out of customer service agents and he is always patient, unhurried, kind, interested in their point of view, appreciative of their assistance.

        Like many things we do, I’m more interested in results than in my own personal preferences in talking to CSAs- if a bit of kindness and empathy helps the outcomes, even if I would prefer a straightforward, business-like communication style, I’m gonna go with what works.

    • I think interactions with CS reps are 100% different than interactions with colleagues, bosses, pushy jerks in general, first dates, whomever. People in these roles are often poorly paid and daily interact with people who are rude, condescending, and disrespectful to them. Given these are often pink collar jobs, I think showing these workers an extra dash of respect is far more feminist than refusing to soften a tone because why should you. When someone greets you, greet them. Say please, say thank you. Make eye contact. Smile. If you’re approaching them with a problem, as them for their help rather than demanding it. I’ll add that this approach tends to get you excellent service in return.

      • Meanie Pants :

        I agree with all of this and I really do try to do these things. I think it was clear in my OP that I say please and thank you and am always, always respectful. I’m not a big smiler in my daily life anyway so yeah perhaps I am not doing that. But I’m just… not excessively warm and friendly? Maybe I need to make more of an effort to force a smile. Maybe it’s my face (I’m not being sarcastic, I know I have RBF).

    • Anonymous :

      I’d pull back from the gendered thing just a bit and look at your overall attitude toward people. There was a time when I got a similar type response from friends, and I didn’t know what I was doing to cause it. I wasn’t rude, ever. But I now know, looking back, that I didn’t go out of my way to like people very much. Kindness wasn’t a big concern. People were there to get jobs done, not to relate with. I liked sarcasm and “winning” verbally. So, overall, I just didn’t have much time for the niceties of relationship. And therefore, when I was dealing with service people, I came across as way more abrupt than I had any idea I was doing. Now, I try to remember: They’re people, having a good or bad day just like me, and I can be a person with them, too.

      • Meanie Pants :

        I have considered all of those things recently and have softened up my approach somewhat for that reason (which is part of why I was particularly miffed to hear a friend describe me as mean today). And I fully recognize you catch more flies with honey. But frankly, I still feel like, you ARE there to do a job. I am a customer. I’m here to get a service and pay you and go on with my day. I will definitely be polite and would never be sarcastic, but I don’t go out of my way to be warm or relate to people. It’s not even something I don’t do on purpose, it just wouldn’t occur to me because I want to take care of whatever needs to be taken care of and then move on.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          I would encourage you to examine the way you talk about customer service workers, and what it might reveal about how you think of them. I think you’re unintentionally lumping the *person* in with the *thing* you are purchasing. You’re getting a coffee or your groceries, but that person facilitating your transaction is 100% your equal, and should be treated and always thought of as such.

          Say you’re a lawyer — would you want a client to say of you, “Meanie Pants is there to do a job. I am a client. I’m here to get legal services and pay her and go on with my day, but it wouldn’t even occur to me to relate to her or be warm”?

        • Is there any chance that this is regional? In my city, I believe it was polite to treat people as professionals first and not to expect them to put effort into a mini-relationship with every transaction. The social niceties that I’ve learned are expected in the southeast would be regarded with suspicion and impatience where I’m from–like somebody wants special treatment or is going to sell you something or they just think they’re all that. I still prefer the culture I’m from, but I’ve learned to put effort into creating an actively pleasant or friendly interaction where it’s expected.

      • I agree with this. One of my male coworkers isn’t mean to support staff, but he’s typically very direct (focus on what he needs). I think the rest of us (male and female) get better responses because we take time to acknowledge the person and say please and thank you. No soft pedaling, no apologizing for making a request, just additional civility.

    • My whole family loves to sic me on customer service/billing agents at hospitals/the cable company etc. because I get results. They think I’m mean.

      I mean, whatever. I’m not mean. I have never insulted someone. I often say something along the lines of, “look, I know this isn’t your fault, but that doesn’t make any sense/doesn’t work for me/isn’t consistent with what happened. How can we fix this?” That’s bending over backward to not be mean.

      I am just to the point and direct and will not agree to whatever half-assed or non-solution they offer at first. Politely. Sometimes it is just a matter of staying on the line or continuing to stand at the window. NONE of these things would be considered mean if a man were doing them.

      Keep on keeping on.

    • Anonymous :

      I have one coworker who complains about this. She is an absolute nightmare to customer service people. Please I beg you please consider that you really are being rude. I

      • I thought of one very specific person when I read this post. She always says please and thank you but shes still rude as can be. She will often try to push other customers through the line and continually comment on how busy she is and it’s constantly rushed and all about her “me me me” as I like to think about her. I even noticed the last time I interacted with this woman she was unmarried and I wondered if she acts like this on dates too. I’m sure this lady justifies behavior as being assertive but it isn’t

  14. I accidentally checked the box to be notified about follow up comments and I’m getting an email every 30 seconds. The unsubscribe link leads to a 404 page. Please tell me how to fix this. It’s awful.

  15. caterpillar :

    So I recently quit my job and am due to start another job next week. I really like this new job, and it seems like a good fit. However, about a month ago I applied for my DREAM job and then gave up hope because I never heard back. OF COURSE, today, after I’ve already accepted employment at another place, I hear back from my dream job and they want me to come in for an interview. I’m so frustrated!

    • Anonymous :

      OMG go interview. When could they schedule an interview? Are you taking any time off btwn jobs? If not could you do it early morning/late evening?

    • http://www.askamanager.org/2013/01/stop-thinking-youre-applying-for-your-dream-job.html

      • caterpillar :

        Alright, alright.

        I know it might not actually be my dream job, but still. I guess that’s easier than saying, “It’s a significant step up from my current job, in pay and level, and in my field I want to go into.”

        I think I’m going to stick with the job I’m supposed to start next Monday, but it’s still frustrating that this is how things happen.

        • JuniorMinion :

          You should go interview and see what its all about. I know I would take heat for this in the askamanager community as I am a bit of a “job hopper” – but everyone at both of my last two jobs got laid off while I had successfully managed to move on due to hopping as the rounds of layoffs intensified.

          I would go but with the mindset of you wouldn’t consider reneging unless its truly much better.

          • You should interview. See it through. You might not get an offer, and you will not be left wondering “what if.”

            I would tell the Dream job not that you already accepted but that you need to make a decision in a short timeframe (week?), and can they work with that?

    • At least two people I know well have accepted a job and then backed out when a significantly better offer came along. (This leads me to believe there must be many more out there who have done this, because it’s not really something you advertise.) They felt like schmucks, but they both said, this is my life, and the company I had committed to is just a company that will find a replacement. One of them happened to be my husband. He felt sick to his stomach about him, but it was the right choice and I would have been super mad at him if he let his honor sense or feeling like a schmuck get in the way of what was ultimately best for him and for our family. Is there any way you could push back your start date a bit and let the other company know you have serious time pressure?

  16. Interview Dress :

    For the poster on this morning’s thread looking for a non-suit to wear to an interview, I recently wore this dress from Brooks Brothers and got the job. I’m in law but at a tech company. It was a little boring by itself, so I skinny belt and it really made it pop! It’s also incredibly comfortable and you could easily make it more interesting with some jewelry or a blazer.


  17. Anonymous :

    Do you keep in contact with a partner who you believe was fired? I had a couple of matters with a partner in a distant office. The partner abruptly left the firm. He didn’t send out a goodbye email or even tell me he was leaving. Rumor has it he was forced out, possibly for ethical reasons. Usually when anyone leaves the firm, I’ll send them a note when they get to their new office and try to keep in touch. I’m not sure if that’s appropriate in a situation like this.

    • Anonymous :

      Assuming you’re an associate (and not a fellow partner), send it. What’s to lose. If he’s at the point mentally where he just can’t interact with anyone from that firm ever, he won’t. But at my firm there were definitely partners who were pushed out (monetarily – not for ethics reasons) and while they were 100% bitter about it, they NEVER took it out on associates and have been happy to keep in touch with associates who keep in touch with them, act as mentors, talk about different career options – since 1 of them landed in house and another at a boutique firm which is doing really well undercutting the business of our old firm (which rightfully gives him good satisfaction. You obviously don’t know where your partner is at but I firmly believe in keeping up a network – and if you reach out, he may be receiving of it.

      • My view, developed over many years of law practice, is that it never hurts to be nice, unless you know of a reason not to be.

  18. Beach read suggestions? I usually like historical fiction or fantasy the best…but my weirdly specific request is that I am looking for some LONG books or series, since I read super fast and won’t be able to download anything while I’m gone, so I’m open on genre. Outlander is basically the dream, but I already read the whole series. Thanks in advance!

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      If you like fantasy, have you read Brandon Sanderson’s stuff? It’s all fantastic, but if you want long, his Stormlight books are the longest (only the first two are done). My favorite’s his original Mistborn trilogy. He’s also super prolific, so if you get hooked, don’t worry, he’ll have a new book out soon.

      Also, Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

    • A Discovery of Witches! It’s a trilogy, and each book is long. It kinda reminds me of Outlander with more overt magic.

    • Anonymous :

      Have you read A Song of Ice and Fire yet? They took me forever to read, and I’m a fast reader.

    • Anonymous :

      Connie Willis; Bellwether is my favorite but it only took me about an hour, but her time travel books are long. It’s a loosely connected series: Doomsday Book is medieval, To Say Nothing of The Dog is Victorian, Blackout and All Clear (which are basically a single book in two volumes, there is no resolution at the end of Blackout) are set in WWII.

      And the things you’ve probably already read: Discworld, the sequels to Ender’s Game (which are much more philosophical the the 1st book, although still typical Orson Scott Card), etc. And 1+ to Marion Zimmer Bradley, although if you really want to go down a prolific rabbit hole you could try her Darkover books.

      • I’ll check out Willis, thanks! Read the rest. I have a reading problem 😂

        • Not that long, but if you liked Discworld, Ender’s Game, etc., also check out Mary Doria Russell (if you haven’t gotten to her yet!).

    • Rainbow Hair :

      What about the Oryx and Crake trilogy? It’s fantasy/sci-fi-ish, and pretty long.

    • I raced through the Kelley Armstrong Women of the Otherworld series. So easy to read and feminist! Highly recommended.

    • Anonymous :

      Crazy Rich Asians and sequels. World without End. Fall of Giants and it’s sequels.

    • Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati. Jamie and Claire even make a cameo. I’ve only read the first, but it’s basically Outlander, but based in colonial America.

      Anne McCaffrey?
      Mercedes Lackey – lots of series, like to play off of fairy tale/legends for a couple of them. Kerowyn’s Song is my favorite of the Heralds of Valdemar and the one I’m most likely to re-read.

      • Oh, but no time travel. So not exactly like Outlander, but has the same volume of text :)

      • Anonymous :

        I also liked the Into the Wilderness series, especially the first book (Into the Wilderness) and the one set in New Orleans.

    • The 6? Books in the Ky Vatta books by Elizabeth Moon. Space travel, interstellar politics, kickass heroine who’s good at cracking skulls and unapologetic about liking it.

    • Devon Monk has a lot of fantasy-romance serial novels, too. Some of it is urban fantasy, like the Delaney Reed books set in Ordinary, OR (where the gods go vacationing but have to give up their powers while they’re there!)

    • For historical fiction, I really enjoyed The History of the Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig (she was a history graduate student before she was lawyer before she is an author).

    • Robin Hobbs’ series starting with The Farseer Trilogy (followed by four more related series) is one of the longest and best fantasy reads I’ve ever experienced. Can’t recommend highly enough, if you’re a fantasy lover!

  19. Toms shoes are too wide for my narrow heels. Does anyone have recommendations for a Toms-style shoe for narrow feet?

  20. Sore feet :

    Any recommendations for shoes that are dressy enough for a “dressy casual” wedding but will not aggravate my plantar faciitis with lots of walking and/or dancing?? Bonus points if they are not leather.

    • I’m not sure these satisfy the not leather requirement, but I think Vionic has some shoes that might work for dressy/casual but still have awesome support.

  21. Paging Grey :

    to Grey, thanks for the links to the color analysis in this morning’s thread. I like that there are photos of people with that coloring in the third link. It helps a lot (though I’m still not 100% certain!)

    • I’m glad you liked it!

      • paging Gray :

        I’m pretty sure I’m a soft summer. That model’s skin tone is most like mine and I find the soft summer colors are the ones I gravitate toward. My hair is darker and warmer but I just really don’t feel good in warm colors like camel and rust and goldenrod.

        • I think I’m a soft summer too. I’m a bit thrown off by my hair though, it becomes a bit yellow in the sun in the summer and if I tan my skin looks yellow. The rest of the year I’m similar to that soft summer model. Color analysis is confusing!

          • paging Gray :

            My daughter is a cool toned redhead. Apparently that’s impossible. But she and I have the same pinky pale skin tone and gray blue eyes. I don’t think she’s an Autumn by any stretch of the imagination. So, yeah. Confusing.

  22. Amelia Bedelia :

    at what office is it actually possible to wear the green suit pictured in the friday news recaps? This is a serious question. Where does someone work who has seen anything remotely like this? Do real people wear these clothes?

    • Haha I have pants that color and they make a rare appearance in my academic administration role…but they are cray pants.

    • Yes, like this


    • Baconpancakes :

      My boss wore a magenta skirt suit on Wednesday. Not exactly the same, but yeah, people wear cray suits.

    • If I liked that suit (but I do not), I could wear it to the office. I work in marketing FWIW and I am not shy to wear (bright) colors. As a matter of fact, I look far better in colors than in a black/grey/navy/white/cream.

  23. Has anyone ever used a dietician or nutritionist or anything of that nature? SO and I are looking to improve our diets for better overall health (not weight loss). However, we are both extremely busy and don’t have the time or energy to reinvent the wheel. I’ve read Eat to Live, SO refuses to read anything diet related. Would love to try to outsource!

    • I’m not sure what you’re looking for a dietician to do? They can look at your current diet and give you healthy swaps, advise what to cut out entirely and what to add, but ultimately you have to take their recommendations and implement them yourself. Do you just want a list of good and bad to make grocery shopping easier? Meal plans? A dietician can do that, but the hard work of actually following it is all on you.

    • Some of those meal service delivery things can be tailored to healthy eating goals. If you happen to be in the LA area I know an amazing lady (not a dietician, though) who has a healthy meal prep business.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      You didn’t mention it, but my dietician told me to stay far away from Whole 30, FYI. She said it removes a lot of perfectly okay stuff and that it’s not sustainable or necessary.

      • I didn’t think Whole30 was exactly supposed to be sustainable: it’s very similar to a medical elimination diet designed to identify things that are perfectly okay in general but which may not be okay for everyone. People also say it helps them adjust their palettes and expectations, so that when they go back to eating normally, desserts taste too sweet for more than a few bites, and vegetables are more appealing, etc. I know people who successfully use it to get back on track after eating junk over holidays or while traveling.

        I’m also not sure why it couldn’t be sustainable for someone who was careful to eat enough liver, leafy greens, etc. to make up for the nutrients they aren’t getting from grains, legumes, and fortified foods. Unless she means that it’s too socially/psychologically restrictive, which I think falls into “know yourself” territory.

        • *palate, even. This is my favorite part (i.e., the golden lining) of elimination diets; it’s fascinating to me how my taste can change so I don’t even like the food that used to tempt me.

      • I would never do w30 for more than 30 days but it actually helped me determine that I can’t tolerate dairy and wheat. I just felt generally bad before the 30 days and felt great toward the end of the 30 days. I added back corn and legumes and non-gluten grains no problem.

        But then a sandwich on wheat bread ruined my whole day and night. Then the same thing with dairy a few days later. I repeated the experiment a week later with the same results.

        I do not think it a a lifestyle diet at all but if I don’t have to feel miserable I’m fine with skipping sandwiches and cheese forever.

    • Wildkitten :

      Yup. I went to a nutritionist. I was (and am) trying to lose weight but she was super helpful about looking at what I was eating and figuring out small changes I could make to make it healthier.

    • My friend is an RD/NP and her practice does exactly what you’re looking for! Check out Nutshell Nutrition: www.nutshellnutrition.com

  24. Can I wear these shoes in the summer for a night out with the girls? Are these cute? I bought them but so far have only worn them with skinny jeans.


  25. To Attend or Not To Attend :

    Okay, I have very mixed feelings and would appreciate any guidance or suggestions you have. My husband’s niece is having her bat mitvah at a Northern New Jersey night club this fall. I really don’t want to go. The family, and the father in particular (my husband’s brother) has always been very arrogant and exclusionary towards me. I was once sitting in a circle with him and 2 family friends when he asked the guy who did a 5k Spartan race what the tough mudder was like. I was the only one who had run one (several actually) and when I interjected that I had run a few (as an offer to share what it was like) they kept talking like I wasn’t there and had not said that. I don’t know if it is my gender, my blue collar background (they’re 1%), my failure (in their eyes) to have children, the fact that I aggressively pursued a career, my personality, or a combination of all those things. I’ve tried nice, thoughtful, deferential, competent, quiet. It doesn’t matter. Two years ago they planned the mom’s b-day party in the middle of the work week when I couldn’t go because I just started a new job and had no vacation time to travel for a 2-day party. No one acknowledged the unfortunate circumstances. When I apologized to the mom about not being to go, her response was that’s okay, it’s all about what works for the grandchildren. Ooof. The best was her xmas/Hanukkah gift this year from her children was a large framed group photo of the guests from the b-day party, which were all her living friends and family except me. Ugh. I really don’t want to go to this bat mitvah and be the gum on the bottom of their shoe. Can I skip it and how?

    • If husband cares, discuss it with him and figure out how to make it work if necessary. If husband doesn’t care, you can absolutely not go.

      Step 1: Go to your calendar on your phone.
      Step 2: go to the date of the event.
      Step 3: schedule an all day marathon of a tv show you like.
      Step 4: email with regrets, explain that you wish you could be there but have a previous commitment that’s already on your calendar and you’re unable, wish her the best, and then send a gift off her registry.
      Step 5: enjoy your tv binge or wait a week, delete it off your calendar, and forget to let them know that your schedule freed up after all.

    • From what you are presenting here you seem like you are a bit self important and over reacting. Talk to your husband. this seems petty.

    • Idk what the problem is. One time you interrupted a conversation to talk about yourself and they weren’t interested? They planned a party that worked for the most important people and didn’t guilt you for not going?

      If your husband would like you to go, go.

    • I don’t think you’ll smooth things over by leaning out. I would go and keep reaching out, and making a point to engage them in conversation. These seem like one-off situations, but perhaps they’re sensing some hostility/discomfort from you. Catch more flies with honey, eh? Good luck!

    • No comment on the bat mitzvah, but some guys really hate acknowledging that women might know more about athletics than they do. I had a remarkably similar conversation about a Tough Mudder where the guy told me literally 5 times in 3 minutes that the hardest part of it was running the 10 miles, despite the fact that I kept repeating that I had been running competitively since I was 14 and had in fact run 12 miles the morning of our conversation. But what could I possibly know about running 10 miles?

    • These stories don’t really make your in-laws sound like awful people, but I have a little more sympathy. I have certainly skipped out on events with my in-laws partly because it’s clear that I’m not really family so long as I don’t have children. So I want to offer this line of thought: You don’t want to go, and you clearly won’t be missed, so don’t go, right? If people already don’t like you, what do you have to lose here? It sounds like the feelings are mutual anyway?

      On the other hand, I wouldn’t miss an event on the level of a wedding or a funeral for this reason. So if it’s important that you attend out of respect for the occasion, set your own goals for what you hope to achieve or get out of attending (whether that’s supporting your husband; being impeccably polite and gracious without really engaging; connecting with someone present that you don’t have an issue with–whatever is in your control to accomplish). But holding onto resentment over how you are treated will make the experience miserable for you, for sure.

  26. I get that this is all painful for you, but none of it sounds like a good reason to miss a child’s bat mitzvah. Maybe there is more background about them criticizing you for not reproducing, but the fact that a daughter in law cannot make a MIL birthday party should not be a reason to reschedule — this truly is an event where hanging out with the grands is the (only) upside. As for the rest of it, your BIL is a dick, but you shouldn’t boycott a kid’s milestone unless your husband is completely on board with your reasons for skipping.

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