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Weekend Open Thread
Something on your mind? Chat about it here. Pictured: Artland Midnight Rouge Goblet, available at Amazon.com for $25.78 (set of 4). Our choice for the deal of the weekend: Save 90% off w/every $25 Gift Cert. order. Use code NINETY and Pay$1 thru 9:09 9M PST at Restaurant.com.
I have an office neighbor problem. My neighbor is a older male associate in his 40’s who recently joined the firm within the year (He has jumped from firm to firm every 2-5 years). He works in an area of law different from mine. Every day, he constantly walks by and stops to talk about the minute details of his work (he bores everyone in the office with this, but he does it with me most since I’m the neighbor). The kicker is that when I politely tell him I’m too busy to talk, he will ask what I’m doing and proceed to belittle my assignments and dismiss them as “easy.” Then he’ll stop by every time he returns from the printer or what not, and says that I should be done by now. Therefore, I should listen to him talk.
I lose focus and lose my train of thought when he does this, not to mention, he’s annoying.
On an unrelated note, I don’t trust him. He was caught by a senior partner when he snooped around the senior partner’s files after hours. In addition, the other more senior associates and partners have been displeased with arrogant attitude and untimeliness with assignments. I do not want to associate myself with him.
My friends have advised that I close my office door, but that is not the best option because I’m a 3rd year associate and cannot afford to be perceived as anti-social or closed off to partners who drop by to give me work.
How do I tell this neighbor (sternly and diplomatically) that I prefer not to talk to him EVER. Did I mention that he has also said that I looked “green” from lack of sleep (whatever that means)? Argh. Please help!
Ew. I was going to suggest closing your door, too. But I understand why that wouldn’t work.
Sometimes when really talkative people have dropped by my office, I’ll look at the clock a couple of times and then say, “Well, I guess I’ll let you get back to your work now,” and then I look back down at my work and start at least pretending to read it. That’s how I often end the conversation when going to someone else’s desk, and it’s weird saying it in my own office, but people usually just see it as a conversation ender and they move along.
First of all, I like being a door-closer; it communicates that I am not up for hanging out and chit-chatting. The people I work with know that they can always come in, but I use the door to shield me from the office gossips.
Second, you just have to steel yourself and tell him to go away. If he comes by, say that you are swamped and don’t have time to chat. If he asks with what, tell him it’s too complicated to explain. If he asks again, say to him, “I’m really too busy. I’ll explain some other time.” A person with social skills won’t let it get that far, and a person without them won’t be offended if you do have to communicate it that way. Plus, it seems like he is rude, so I wouldn’t worry too much about hurting his feelings. Don’t be cruel, but don’t be friendly – polite but stern is the way to go.
NB, thank you so much. You have figured out this type of person to a T. He is one lacking social skills and subtle hints do not work. I have tried the looking-away approach by Amber, but this guy doesn’t get it. And as you said, he IS the type to continue prodding for explanations why I need to work instead of listen to him drone. He’s quite arrogant. Much appreciated for the specific example of what to say to him.
Oops, “Anonymous” here is I.
I agree with this post 100%. The only way to deal with someone with no social skills is to be absolutely frank, and eventually they will understand that you are not going to be an easy target. You can just go about your business and not worry about looking busy when he comes by– he will try to waste your time anyway, and the more you worry about where he is in the office, the more wasted time and energy you are spending on him.
Thank you, Amber. haha…I was thinking the same…that it seems weird saying “Well, I guess I’ll let you get back to your work now,” in your own office, but I can see how that would be effective. However, we’re talking about an arrogant guy who will not likely get the hint and say something like he is so good that I should not be concerned about him doing his work. Girl, subtleties won’t work with him.
If you get your assignments from the same partners you could let them know that you will be shutting your door due to “noise” and they are welcome to drop in anytime. At an old job the hallway didn’t have a heating vent so a young associate kept her door shut to keep the heat in. She just put a sign on the door that said “please come in, door is shut for heat” or something like that. So, you could be creative. Also, headphones work great, even if they are off. Take them out when you see partners or pop them in when you see the time leach. When you do speak with him and wrap up the conversation turn around and put the headphones back in even if he is still standing there. Or pick up your phone and start to dial a number. If you have a friend in the office you can tell this story to maybe he/she will let you call them when you see him coming or need him to leave so you can look and sound busy. Send him/her a text message or email to call you while he is in the office. Then you can say “I gotta take this.” Good luck!
haha. That’s a good one…asking coworkers to call when they see him at my door. I’ve tried to have staffers stop by to talk about a file with me while he’s at the door…but this guy is persistent. He will stand there for a good minute and wait. He is clearly behind on his work, so he’s just being awful by wasting my time and not doing the client’s work. Thank you for your help!
I’m “anonymous” here, too.
I would send an email to a friend with him in my office asking the friend to call. then i’d sit on the phone for as long as it took for him to leave. good luck, i am afraid to go to the bathroom b.c there is a staff member who always traps me in there, so i know how you feel!
Maybe you could try “I was just in the middle of something. I am going to have to talk to you later so I don’t lose this train of thought.”
I would suggest just moving offices. Call the office manager, disclose that you’d like to move offices, and if s/he asks why, choose whether to be honest or not. It probably isn’t a bad thing to be totally frank — they probably know this guy is a loser and you shouldn’t feel the need to protect him.
Other options: pretend to be JUST on your way out the door (to the bathroom, to lunch, wherever) when he drops by. Or, perhaps another option is to get one of those headsets that people use when they’re on conference calls a lot, and when he drops by just pretend to be on the phone. Lame ideas, I know; better to just move offices.
I had a similar situation in a previous job where I got moved into an office with an awful coworker like Bitter’s. I approached someone about moving offices due to the conflict and was turned down. My coworker retaliated against me and I was laid off shortly thereafter. I contacted our department head who had quit about a month prior to this happening and she told me she had similar issues with awful coworker. Long story short, I would be wary about approaching the office manager to move. It was clear this made me seem like I wasn’t a team player, even though most people agreed that my work was of higher quality than the awful coworker’s work.
My suggestion for now is to put in headphones or a headset when you see the coworker passing. I would avoid eye contact and try to look as busy as possible. If you can use chat services in your office and have a trusted coworker nearby, I’d ask him/her to stop by or call for rescue if the headphones don’t work. Hopefully after you do this 2-3 times he’ll get the point.
I”m so sorry to hear, Mel. It’s so unfair what happened to you. I am starting to fully believe that those with social graces suffer more than those without. sadly…
Thank you for sharing, and best of luck! I will try the headphones approach since many of you successful women suggested it. I fully appreciate your advice, everyone.
I have tried this…girl, this guy will COME BACK about an hour later and ask if I’m done yet (um, no!). ..and yes, he’ll come back again a couple hours after that! Since he’s right next door, he passes by all the time and feels free to interrupt.
I agree…move. I had an office neighbor who was really nice, but was way to involved in my office conversations. I tried a low radio etc… to create some privacy, but s/he complained the noise was distracting (yeah, from listening to my conversations!) I went to the managing partner and asked to be moved. S/he was already aware that the neighbor was a problem and okayed my move without blinking and simply said I was being moved closer to someone I was working with at the his/her request.
I have a standing deal with my secretary — if a certain legal assistant (commonly referred to by others in the office as “Time Suck”) comes to my office my secretary calls about 30 seconds into the visit. I always say I have to take the call and then physically turn my body toward the phone and answer it. There is no option to hang around at that point. Also, I use the trick of going to the printer or will just stand up and walk out to the bathroom or whatever and say “sorry I don’t have time to chat — I’m sure you’re as busy as I am these days” or something and then go.
divaliscious11, thank you for your suggestion, but moving isn’t really an option since I am sure that the move would be fodder for office gossip and possible disdain from the partners (since I’m moving offices rather than billing). Ugh.
And Marla, that was a great touch…to turn around in addition to picking up the phone, because this guy is the type that will wait around until I am finished with the call if he realizes that it’s “just my secretary” calling. He’s so full of himself.
I would probably just continue on working on whatever you’re working on and say, “Sorry, I am in the middle of something” when he drops by. And avoid eye contacts. If you can catch a glimpse of him approaching with the corner of your eyes, you can start “doing something”–my fave go to move is get on the phone. We use headsets at work, so I would sometimes even leave them on, so people can’t really tell whether I am on the phone or not.
actually, that reminds me — when i just started, my neighbor, at the time, was a very senior corporate guy who spent the whole day barking out thoughts on conference calls. I would close the door and put earplugs in and i could STILL hear him. so when the firm started doing renovations, and our whole floor was moved to another floor, i called the office manager to ask if i would still be near him. and she totally knew why i didn’t want to be near him — i didn’t even have to ask. i actually wound up with my own office while others in my class were still sharing (and far away from that guy).
I’d wear earphones or earplugs. Just put your ipod in; you don’t even have to listen to music. Then when he pops in, look up, tap your earphone and say sorry, can’t hear you, and look back down. He’ll take the hint or if not, he’ll look like a jackass talking to himself.
How about leaving your door slightly cracked open? I do this because it keeps the outside foot traffic from distracting me but I think people feel more comfortable popping their heads in (for work purposes). It’s not quite a closed door. This way you could also spot annoying neighbor approaching…and cut him off at the pass by getting on the phone.
Erin, I agree…starting tomorrow, I’m putting in headphones even if it’s without music. No amount of reasoning with him will work.
And when my ears need a break, I will use what NB, y, and others have suggested in what to say to him.
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Time to buy coats! How do you ladies deal with wearing coats over suits? Seems a difficult thing to do elegantly. Do you wear the coat over your suit jacket? If so, how does the sizing work for the coat or trench? Any brand recommendations? Any tips in general for the cold weather professional wardrobe?
Ruth, I tend to spend a decent amount on coats, but I still like to get a deal if possible, so I try Nordstrom Rack’s designer section, Saks off 5th, and Neiman Marcus Last Call. I think if you get a very finely made coat that will last and has room for your suit/sweater/etc. under it, like a classic 3/4 trench, it’s a great investment. Burberry coats are great and do tend to give a little room for sweaters underneath, but you may want to size up if it’s a fitted style. I also like Faconnable and the Ralph Lauren purple label (not Polo/Sport etc. cheap stuff).
I’ve been wanting to do a round-up of coats for over suits, also — but in all honesty the best time to buy coats is in February or March. Spend some money on them — the original price should be somewhere in the $500-$1000 realm (and you should be prepared to pay $250 or so). I’ve always read that the best kind to get is a wool/cashmere blend (softest/warmest), not an all-cashmere coat.
I buy a size up and it fits fine. I recommend wearing your suit jacket while you go coat shopping. The most important thing is to make sure you have plenty of room in the shoulders; otherwise, you won’t be able to move your arms.
I tend to buy my coats one size up if fitted to ensure enough room underneath, but honesly I haven’t had problems with fit by buying my normal size. and I agree, for fashiony coats, I won’t spend a lot, but for good dress coats, I will spend $$$. In addition to the above stores, which are great options, depending on where you are located, check to see if you have an upscale outlet mall. For example, if you are in the DC area, Leesburg Outlets has a Burberry outlet and I have a gorgeous cashmere coat that regular price was $2300 that I paid $675 for at the outlet. Beautiful knee-length coat.
When buying a coat, pay a lot of attention to the pockets. For years I went through gloves like crazy — every time I turned around I had lost another one. Got a new coat and realized I went through an entire winter on the same pair of gloves. I finally figured out that I was losing gloves because my pockets were too shallow so the gloves were falling out. (And the first coat was originally almost $1,000, some fancy brand I can’t remember, etc. — it wasn’t a poorly made coat or anything.)
Thank you, everyone, for all the great advice! It will come in handy now because I have to buy something for fall (recently moved from a place that is 90-100 most of the year), but I may wait to buy the investment coat until the sales. 50-60 degrees can sure feel a lot colder when you are in a different climate (dampness, sunshine, windchill, etc. are such huge factors). Of course, everyone has been saying this has been an unseasonably cold summer…
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I agree with the previous poster that moving offices may not be well-received. If your office was renovating, as C’s was, it would be an opportune time to request a move, but requesting one when no other moving is going on sounds like asking for trouble (i.e., being perceived as not a team player or not being able to deal with difficult personalities). I would try the half-cracked door for a while and if this moron still continued to stop by, I’d just smile and say, “Sorry but I’m really busy now; perhaps we can talk about what I’m working on some other time.”. Then, terminate eye contact and pick up your phone and start dialing your home voice mail or something. Or if you hear him coming, pick up the phone and do this.
Thanks, Mama JD.
I would rather close all opportunity for future talk with this guy. He has zero pull over me at the office and I don’t owe him anything. I hate that I’m the one that has to change and do all these tricks.
Actually, I like your simple approach. Merely smiling and saying “Sorry I’m busy now”. That is something I can do over and over again. Whereas picking up the phone the 6-8 times a day he stops by seems a bit implausible. I’m not that popular or important!
Where do I find tights and other hosiery online?
Not sure exactly what you’re looking for, but Ann Taylor, AT Loft, and JCrew all sell tights, etc (although their selections are not all that extensive). Loft is having a 2 for $20 sale on tights, and trouser socks are 3 for $15.
No nonsense sells hosiery, tights, and the like at: http://www.nononsense.com/shop.aspx
If you are looking for a wide selection of colors, I recommend Nordstrom or Target – ALWAYS online, because life’s too short to wander from store to store looking for your brand, style, size and color.
I was in Ann Taylor today – a store that I haven’t visited in ages – and I thought they had great stuff for fall. Nice colors (their color palette has been difficult at times), and enough sort of Anthropologie-edge style but still entirely work appropriate. Not a paid shill! Am interested in what you all think of their new fall lines, as well as Talbot’s (their line is much improved over their summer line).
I’m loving Talbot’s — have been consistently pleased with their suits, and the all-season wool fabric is excellent. I usually have trouble shopping for pantsuits because my hips are bigger than my waist (I think they’re supposed to be, but many clothing designers apparently disagree with me), but Talbot’s pants tend to work really well for me. Agreed that this season is way better than summer!
I just had two Ann Taylor suits self-destruct on me; the lining in both pairs of pants pretty much fell apart at the same time. This is not the first time I’ve had this problem with Ann Taylor, but it’s upsetting because those two suits were only about a year and a half old. Has anyone else had this problem with Ann Taylor? Honestly, it’s enough to make me completely unwilling to buy another suit there.
I have had that precise problem with Ann Taylor slacks. The lining just disintegrates at the seams and the slacks are not even wearable afterward. I no longer purchase their slacks.
Same here. My BF has actually forbidden me to do any more shopping at Ann Taylor, since I’ve had so many pairs of pants fall apart on me (some after less than 6 months of wear)! I am all about Talbots now, especially because there’s a Talbots clearance outlet ten minutes from my house with fantastic bargains. (Kris, I’m in your boat re: hips and waist, and I also find Talbots pants to fit me very well.)
I’m so glad this isn’t just me. The disintegrating linings in AT pants have given me a complex! Every single pair I’ve bought in the last 3 years. That’s it. I’m done with AT pants. For now. I think.
Boots. I’m obsessed. Any suggestions? I find that some boots look very trampish. I like the “borderline equestrian” boots. Thanks in advance.
I just bought these at dsw. I guess they are from last season, but I like the style. (This was the only site I found with a decent picture):
I actually have had great luck with Canadienne boots (available at Zappos and Piperlime). They aren’t cheap but they ARE waterproof (and snowproof), which is amazing if you live in a city filled with slush. They are also low-heeled, and steer away from that trampy look.
I bought these recently and absolutely love them. They’re expensive but they are super-soft and will last a lifetime.
Nordstrom also has a pair of Cole Haan riding boots that look really nice and since they have the Nike Air soles, should be very comfortable:
Seconding the love for La Canadienne. I lived in mine last winter (in Boston) and they held up wonderfully.
Thank you for the boot suggestions. I am googling now!
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