Weekend Open Thread

Something on your mind? Chat about it here.

The Limited has started its “Red Hot” sale, with markdowns up to 70% off — and free shipping with $100 purchase. For a casual weekend look, I like this Petals Peasant Tee in “glam green” — I’d wear it with jeans, with shorts, and maybe even to the office with a pencil skirt. It was $39.90, now marked to $16.99 at The Limited. Petals Peasant Tee
(L-2)

Comments

  1. Sigggh. Why must Cole haan shoes run so small?! I was so excited to get my new pumps from the rue la la sale and they were at least a half size too tiny. And I’m an 11 so I can’t even order up.

    Done whining now.

    • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

      I feel your pain. I recently ordered a pair of the Air Lainey in red and ran into the same problem. And the wide width stops at 10! Luckily, I found a great replacement at Target (http://bit.ly/ltbesf), so you may want to check there for an acceptable substitute.

    • I feel that–I occasionally have to half size up on anything with the Nike Air because I find that it shoves your foot up a little, making the shoe essentially smaller. I’m a 10 normally, so at least they offer a 10.5, but an 11… I wish you luck!

      • Formerly Preggo Angie :

        They actually work for me b/c my feet are incredibly narrow. They are one a very few non-slingback pump I can wear without flopping off my heel. Now, if only my hips took a little bit after my feet…

    • I sized up with my first pair and I wish I hadn’t. They stretched and now this pair is a little flippy-floppy.

      Maybe try wearing them in the house with socks for a few hours each night.

    • Anonymous :

      I got mine. I sized up 1/2 size. They fit perfectly. It occurred to me how thankful I was that I already knew my size when I ordered so didn’t face the disappointment of receiving three pairs of ill-fitting shoes. Makes online shopping much easier to have this information already.

    • You could also take them to a cobbler to be stretched.

    • If you can’t return them anyway, then give this a try. Put water in a ziplock bag, put it in the toes of your shoes, then put your shoes in the freezer. As the water becomes ice it will stretch out the leather.

      Be sure the bag is secure or else you might get water damage on the leather. I have done this to many pairs of shoes with great success.

    • A Cole Haan store might be willing to stretch them at no cost. Give it a try if there’s one near you before spending $ or trying a do-it-yourself solution. (If it were me though and I couldn’t return them, I’d probably just offload them on ebay.)

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Me too. I have to get a wide width, if not both a wide width and a half size up. I did have a pair of Carmas stretched at the Cole Haan store, but the stretching cannot create additional padding and sole in the toebox area, unfortunately. So now the leather of the shoe is wider, but my toes are still smashed together in the toebox. I’ve pretty much given up on Cole Haan in favor of Kate Spade.

    • Thanks for all the ideas! I fortunately can return them which I think I’ll do. I managed to stretch out a pair of CH boots last year but I still can’t wear them except with hose type socks.

      Sf bay associate– I love Kate spade, but I seem to find CH on sale more often. I’ll keep my eyes open.

  2. PSA to the laydeez:

    Thinking of wearing a skirt to the office? Before you get dressed, hold it up. It should be longer from waist to hem than it is wide at the waistband. Is it wider than it is long? Then DON’T WEAR IT TO WORK.

    Harumph.

    • Good rule of thumb! Unless you are really short and really overweight, I suppose.

    • Anonymous :

      They are expressing themselves! Why do you judge?! Why are you hating on other women?! YOU, you’re the problem!

      /sarcasm

    • Wow, isn’t that obvious! I guess not for your co-worker.

    • OMG, but what about the hot pink sequinned bustier that I am wearing with it? They, like, match so well and I can’t possibly go home to change before heading to the club tonight!

    • Anonymous :

      Maybe she is going out with the woman in my office that is wearing a skin tight exposed zipper mini, 4 inch heels and a metallic top fastened only by a bow tied sash!

      • ha, i saw a woman in court and she had a sweater over her boobs like a bib… couldn’t figure out why until she took it down and you could see everything! her breasts were only held in her shirt by a piece of gold metal fastening her halter top up. yikes

        • Wow… maybe that was a wardrobe malfunction since she was trying to cover up. Although when I was a PD some of my clients/witnesses wore the darndest things to court…

  3. Seattle Meetup? What days of the week work? I would just love to get together for a happy hour with some fabulous Corporettes outside (Red Lion downtown balcony?) as the weather gets better.

    • …there’s a Red Lion downtown? With a balcony?

      I thought I was the ultimate happy hour connoisseur, but clearly not.

      • i believe they did/do free tacos as well…makes me miss the city (moved to Yakima for work, but love the sun here!)

      • It’s totally hidden – on the 5th floor. Huge space. They say it’s the biggest outdoor dining area in Seattle, but nobody knows about it so I thought it was a good idea to take over a corner and have a corporette hh. It’s on 5th, next to the Rock Bottom, near 5th Ave Theater.

        Btw are you running the Rock’n’Roll tomorrow?

        • I am! Just back from picking up my package. I’m having a crazy racing month (did a half last weekend, R&R tomorrow, and next weekend a 10-miler on Saturday and a 10K on 7/4). Are you going to run?

          I am all about happy hour…could do next Friday, actually…

          • Woah! That is a crazy running month. Yes, I’m running, but from watching your comments I know that my corral won’t be anywhere near yours. Best of luck to you!

    • You had suggested next Thursday or the one after, and sadly neither works for me! The week after that, maybe. Or Fridays!

    • I want to meet some Seattle Corporettes!

    • Almost-Lawyer :

      Thurs or Fri would work for me.

    • BarPrepper :

      Bar Prep rules me out. I’ll be with you in spirit!

  4. funky attny :

    Reposted from a post yesterday….

    hoping that someone can help me out.

    I am thinking of contacting a recruiter/headhunter to consider looking for a private sector job. I am a public/legal aid attorney currently. I have pretty much maxed out my experience here, and have developed a ton of trial skills, etc. I am a good people person and smart/intellectual.

    I have NO clue how to go about doing this. I have a boss who is notorious for retaliating against folks who are looking to leave. I don’t want her to find out that I am planning on leaving until I am pretty sure that I have an option/exit strategy. Suggestions on how to contact recruiters? would they be interested in me? I graduated from a small law school, with a big local presence, but not top tier, by any means.

    For reference sake, I have a ton of family law experience in a large Texas city.

    • Unless you’re in a role where your position is ending, there are almost no employers who look favorably upon employees who are looking to leave. It’s tough, but take comfort in the fact that tons of people go through this.

      Absolutely get in touch with headhunters/recruiters and do searches for opportunities on your own as well (particularly if there are specific companies/firms you’d like to work for). The headhunter should know not to say anything to your current employer or send your resume to your current employer, but it doesn’t hurt to make this clear in your discussions. You can also request that the headhunter not include your resume in any resume books and that s/he contact you about specific opportunities and get your approval before showing your resume to anyone.

      Making time to interview will be the biggest challenge.

      • Fashion Faux Pas :

        In addition to following E’s suggestions, you could ask your headhunter to send your resume without your name on them, and to only disclose if the firm is interested in interviewing you. I don’t know if that’s weird or not, but that’s what mine did and I did get interviews/offers.

        • funky attny :

          FFP, thank you for your advice as well. I will suggest that as well. My name is QUITE unique. If you google me, everything that comes up is me, and my name is quite memorable as well. I’ll likely do that.

      • funky attny :

        Thank you so much for your advice E! I really do appreciate it. And you are absolutely right. No one wants to know that someone is leaving. My boss has her quirks and a tendency to lash out on someone due to personal issues rather than job related issues, and I just fear that she’ll add this feather to her cap (despite that I am very good at what I do) and try to can me ASAP. There is no opportunity for growth where I am.

    • I just went through this and my advice is to choose one or two (max) headhunters to work for you instead of contacting a bunch of headhunters (e.g., be strategic instead of plastering your resume out there via a cadre of headhunters). If you have more than one working for you, you should have them target different types of employers. I am an attorney and was considering moving either to another in-house position or into a law firm setting. My then employer did not know I wanted to leave so I this was discussed with my headhunter in advance. I was also in a very specialized field where most people know each other, but most places will understand the importance of keeping things confidential, and importantly, they do. I hd one headhunter (that I contacted and is known in the field and geographic location that I wanted to be in) working for me, focused solely on boutique law firm opportunities. Since I was in-house, I had built up some in-house connections and felt comfortable handling those opportunities myself. If I didn’t have those connections, I would have engaged another headhunter who focused on in-house opportunities to focus only on those. As to how I found my headhunter, I asked friends or people I knew in the field that I am in and who they used as recruiters when they are looking to hire talent. The same name kept on coming up and I met with her in person for an hour to introduce myself and what I was looking for. This gave her an idea of who I am and what kind of employer would be a good fit for me. Also, use this time to discuss any “weaknesses” that your resume has and figure out how they will be addressed with future employer. Another thing is for you to tell headhunter about 1 or 2 major accomplishments that you are especially proud of that she/he can highlight to future employer during her/his introduction of you. What you are engaging is the headhunter’s contacts and personal relationships– you can apply to (on-line) postings as well as they can. You can also probably find those same public postings of employment opportunities as well as he/she can. Mine went through her contacts based on which firms that I wanted to target (that we thought would be a good fit) and called specific partners or decision makers to introduce me. Ultimately, I chose to take another in-house position that I found myself through one of my personal networking contacts, but working with my headhunter was a great experience and allowed me to make several nice law firm contacts for the future.

      • funky attny :

        JC, thank you so much for your advice and taking the time to tell me a little about your job search. I really do appreciate it. I am going to start more networking and active searching. Hopefully doing several things at once will help create the opportunities for jobs.

      • Moving On :

        Thanks for this from me too. I similarly asked for help a month or two ago and got a few replies but nothing like this.

    • Funky, some food for thought re recruiters.

      1. The company that hires you pays them. My friends and I (all big law) have debated whether this makes you more or less attractive to a firm.

      2. Be prepared for them to uninterested if you’re not an easy sell. Recruiters are in this to make a buck, and it’s easier to place top 5 law school law review with previous big firm experience than legal aid local school. So you just may not get a lot of help there.

      Don’t know if you’re still in Texas or where, but in Dallas, I really like Alexis Johnson of Noblin Newhouse. www dot nnlegalsearch dot com. Even if you’re not in Dallas, you may just call her up and ask her to refer you to someone else in your city. A lot of my peers have used Randy Block.

      Using a recruiter isn’t going to be enough to get you another job. Check with your law school to see if they have a job database (either their own or one you, as an alum, can get access to). You’re going to have to really troll Monster, CareerBuilder, all the other job sites.

      If you think you need a new job at some point, start looking now. I know a lot of Dallas attorneys for whom it took a year (in some cases years) to find a new position. It’s probably going to be very hard, but keep your chin up.

      • funky attny :

        Herbie, thank you for the candid advice.

        I will email your contacts. I think that it might be helpful anyway. I will definitely check my school’s job postings and start networking. Part of the challenge is that I am young. I know that it’s easier to meet folks who are lateral to me, but harder to meet their bosses and superiors. But if I get in with folks on my level, it may help open up an opportunity.

        I think that I am definitely a tough sell, and I am going to try to find a way to come up how to get around that. I am good at what I do and hopefully that will show in meeting me and seeing my resume.

        • Like I said, just keep your chin up. It may take awhile– could be a really, really, really long time– to find a new job because this economy sucks. But just remember that it’s out there for you somewhere. Keep at it, and you will find it.

  5. karenpadi :

    Anyone else here watch Rachel Maddow? I don’t always agree with her politics but I try to emulate her style of critical analysis without coming off as a b–.

    I think she does a very good job at two things:
    -verifying that her information is correct and presenting it without making (cheap) personal attacks–she does criticize politicians so she kind of has to make it about specific people
    -showing gratitude to her interviewees.

    • I am also a fan. I don’t have cable t.v. so I don’t get to catch her very often, but when I travel I always try to watch her show in the hotel.

      I appreciate how straightforward she is and her seamless way of objective interviewing and then offering more subjective commentary. I also appreciate how she’s always been way out [of the closet].

      I think she’s also been a breath of fresh air in the media profession, which is dominated by women who have a very conventional, very feminine look. It’s nice to see something different, even if MSNBC insists on putting her in eye makeup every night.

      • anonymous :

        I like her blazers. I heard that she’s actually on the taller side so she must be very slender. I always assumed that she was petite because she manages to look very slim in her blazers by my eyes and that is something I hope to say about myself one day (still trying to not feel like a linebacker sometimes!)

        • Ballerina Girl :

          I don’t think she’s that tall–I saw her in person once and she looked pretty average–maybe 5’8″ at the very most. She was wearing converse shoes. :)

          • Seattle Lawyer Mom :

            5’8″ is not tall??? As someone who isn’t even 5’1″, seems pretty tall to me.

      • anonymous :

        Forgot to also mention, I enjoy when she has Megan McCain on. They seem to disagree respectfully when I’ve seen them which is such a refreshing change in this day and age!

    • Anonymous :

      I enjoyed her at first, but her sing-songy, sarcastic routine got old fairly quick. I want Olbermann back!

      • Anonymous :

        He is back. I’m groded out by him now after loving him when I was younger– he’s so beautifully bright but now seems to love himself more than I ever did, and more than anything. Yuck. But, happy to report for those who love him almost as much as he does that he’s back in the exact, unevolved format on Gore’s CurrentTV. Smaller network, it’s true but he will be an even bigger fish there, which he will dig.

  6. I’m a regular poster here but I need major anonymity for this one.

    I grew up poor. Since graduating college, I’ve live an appropriate lifestyle to my time of life – student loan payments, cheap apartment, old cars, second hand ikea furniture, the works. I’m currently in law school and intend to pursue a public interest career.

    Recently, I (very unexpectedly) received a large inheritance from a distant relative. I had no idea that this person was going to leave me anything, let alone so much. The circumstances of us receiving this inheritance are such that some people would judge me for it – that it should have gone to another person, etc. Obviously I had no control over that, but it makes me uncomfortable to talk about the situation to anyone but closest friends. And even one of my closest friends gave me some attitude about it when I first told her – a reaction I was not expecting, and that was hurtful and put me off telling other people.

    I will now graduate law school completely debt free, have a large emergency fund and large down payment in savings (with some to spare), and a very large (inherited) IRA. I feel like I skipped ahead a decade or two of my life financially – I always knew I’d be in this place, but not for a long time. I intend to live within my income as I always have, but my savings goals are not nearly as urgent.

    I feel very ambivalent and uncomfortable about this situation – almost ashamed. I’m certainly happy to be comfortable, but because I’ve struggled so much to get to where I am, I hate the idea of being perceived as “privileged”. I’ve spent years leaning every trick in the book to live very frugally, knowing that I’d have to deal with law school loans on a public interest salary.

    I’m not comfortable sharing anything about my new financial situation. Among my friends and generation, it is common to talk about money – especially in public interest law, there is a lot of good-natured complaining about student loans, etc. I feel like a huge fraud in these conversations now – I don’t want to share my situation, but I don’t want to say things that are not true either. There’s only so many times you can say “Yeah, law school is crazy expensive,” and “True, rents are going up a lot…”

    Additionally, in the coming years it will become even more obvious that I am financially better off than others – I need to trade in my dying car and would like to buy a new, modest, fuel efficient one, and I will likely be buying a house significantly earlier than others. I have always wanted to travel, too, and hope I can make that happen.

    I know I should just not care what people think, but that is easier said than done… maybe it’s because I grew up poor, this all just feels very surreal. Does anyone have any advice or insight to offer? TIA.

    • My best friend in college found herself in a similar situation. Unfortunately, it has enabled her not to have a full time job, and she’s been going through life as a drifter and doesn’t manage her money at all. She worked in a professional job briefly, quit because she was unhappy with certain things and she didn’t need the job, and hasn’t had a professional job since. Now, she has tried to go back to work, but can’t get hired and can’t get into grad school because of the gaps in her resume and clear lack of work ethic.

      My suggestion would be to live your day-to-day life as if you didn’t have the money. Live on your salary, except that you can dip into your wealth to avoid debt, such as student loans and mortgages, and nicer vacations. And seriously, as soon as possible, consult with an experienced, recommended financial planner. Managing large amounts of money is not something that most of us can do well on our own, and you will be able to use the professional advice to both make your wealth grow and to wisely allocate the portions of it you choose to spend.

      As for caring about what people think, no one needs to know, although you’ll become more comfortable with it over time and once you’re more comfortable, you may find yourself wanting to purchase a few things that ordinary people can’t afford (I’m talking about a fancy gym membership or precious jewelry here, not a private jet) and there’s nothing wrong with that.

      • Oh, also? I’m a public interest lawyer and have been for almost my entire career. The reality is that many, many public interest lawyers come from money. I work with 26 year old newly minted law school grads who have a 40K salary, have no debt, own a condo and drive a new car. I’d be lying if I said I never felt a little bit jealous, but so long as they’re good at their jobs, no one cares about their backgrounds.

    • Don’t be ashamed of the inheritance. If you are ashamed, and if it causes undue stress, donate it to a charity you believe in. Otherwise, life your life in a way that makes sense to you and that comports with your values. You view yourself as a frugal, simple-living gal. Don’t change that, but don’t lie to yourself or others. When people talk about loans, you don’t have to say anything. If asked directly, you can simply say, “I took out loans but a distant relative unexpectedly passed away and generously left some money for me to pay them off.”

      I have many friends who never had to take out loans and who remained in BigLaw while I left to clerk and then work in SmallLaw. Their networth is probably 50% higher than mine (at least). Our friendship is not impacted at all because (a) they are good people who are sensitive to the fact that I/some of our other friends might not be able to spend up to their standards and (b) I am secure and feel good about where I am and the choices that I’ve made.

      I guess my advice is: if you can afford a nice place to live, be generous about inviting your public service friends over for some wine and light appetizers. That’s a great way to hang out and comfortable way to share your good fortune…and no one will be worried or mentally calculating that the night is blowing their budget. And if your friends begrudge your good fortune? They are not really friends–or aren’t confident/secure enough in their own lives to be a good friend.

    • Anonymous :

      Yes. Same story here without the law school. I just never discuss my money. The few people I told either expected me to pay for everything, give them money, co-sign loans and leases… you get the idea.

      I never mention it on dates anymore because it gets weird.

      I’m using the money in a way that honored my relative, and realizing that it’s possible to blow through the money quickly if I’m not careful.

      Enjoy your life. Don’t feel guilty or obligated. You don’t need to share details (that’s how women tend to bond with each other, sharing details, but there are other ways too). Money left over is money wasted.

      Have fun.

      • Anonymous :

        Oh, and also — watch out for sleazy financial PWM people! Learn to handle your own money!

        • Totally Anon for this one :

          I agree that you should probably skip financial advisers and do some research on your own. Read or watch Suze Orman. She had a segment on receiving a windfall a few years ago; her advice was the to put the money away for a few months and not touch it until you’ve got your head around the idea that you have it.

          congratulations on living debt-free! Your relative left you the money because s/he probably knew you’d be responsible with it. Don’t feel guilty about it

    • Take comfort in the fact that you will likely not waste any of your inheritance. Having been through living to making ends meet, you know what is and isn’t a good way to spend money. Your relative’s money will be spent well! I would just try to live the way you did before, only debt free!

    • Equity's Darling :

      I would say just remember all the tips that you learned and don’t fritter away your windfall. A lot of times it’s hard to recognize the actual value of large funds if you’re not used to it.

      I’m sorry your one friend was less than receptive, but I’m pretty surprised- if one of my friends told me about that, I’d be ecstatic for them; it’s not like this was within your control, or that you did anything morally wrong to get this money.

      Don’t feel bad, it’s beyond your control- but I’d just make sure you spend as much time learning how to manage larger amounts as you did learning how to be frugal.

    • It sounds like you’re really handling this just right, though I can understand why it feels so odd. It might help some of your weird feelings about it to divert some of the money into a cause that you really care about. I assume that it’s not enought that you could comfortably start your own foundation/charity, but why not do some research and earmark a sizable regular amount towards one or two charities that you really feel good about?

      Also, I’d avoid discussing the details with your friends at all. At most, just say that you’ve been blessed with a generous inheritance from a relative. The circumstances (as in, who else could/should have gotten it) are irrelevant.

    • Don’t talk about money with your friends. Live like you would if you didn’t have the money, and enjoy the secret security! Maybe someday you will want to stay at home with your kids, or will want to take a once-in-a-lifetime trip, or heck, even buy a Hermes Birkin, but for now, try living like your friends.

      One of my best friends clearly has some sort of slush fund. I can tell by how she is never worried about economic downturns, the kinds of cars she buys and the kinds of vacations she takes without a second thought. But day to day, she comes to work like the rest of us, she buys lunch at the same cheap places we do, and she loves a clearance sale as much as anyone. She has never mentioned her financial situation and I’ve never asked.

      We’ve been really close friends for 10 years.

    • I can’t relate, but here my thoughts:

      1. It’s nobody’s business how much money you have in the bank. Sure, you can tell people. But you don’t have to. You don’t have to lie, just don’t tell people. And, if you feel like a fraud complaining about loans/rent, just sympathize rather than contribute.
      2. Something like this makes people jealous. Jealousy makes people act weird (read, your friend).
      3. Don’t necessarily judge people for not knowing how to react if/when you first tell them. News like this can be shocking, especially when it’s unexpected.
      4. Unfortunately, some people will think that this “changes” you and judge you for it. This is hurtful, and you can’t really do anything about this.

      I guess I don’t really understand why you are so concerned with appearing to be financially “equal” to your friends. You can still maintain the same financial values that you already have, and this makes it easier for you to live out the values that you went to law school for. And, frankly, if your friends are the type of people to judge you because you’re in a better financial position… well, I wouldn’t be friends with them.

    • It sounds like you had a very thoughtful relative. This is not something you should view with shame or regret. I understand that it may make you uncomfortable now, but you should not feel badly about something that 1) you did not create; and that 2) is a great gift to you and your future family.

      I agree with others who say that you should just not bring it up. Live within your means, don’t go crazy, but enjoy what your relative has enabled you to have. If you want to, e.g., upgrade your car and someone makes a comment about how you could afford it, you can brush it off: you can say it was a great deal, that you crunched the numbers and it just made sense, that you got some help from a kind relative, make a joke about how sometimes driving a crappy car long enough lets you do that sort of thing, etc. Or, you can say nothing at all! You’ve got a really great start here as a result of this and I think you should take advantage — travel, buy a home when the time is right, put away money for your childrens’ education (when/if you have them), etc. Don’t feel guilty. We can’t control whether our family financial situation is one that benefits us or makes it harder to achieve our goals, but just as you would never judge someone for not having parents who can pay for their loans or a new apartment, you should not judge yourself for having a long lost aunt or whomever that has enabled you to pay for yours.

    • I second the idea of getting a financial advisor/planner. We received a legal settlement and having someone who can help invest and grow it is great. In addition, having them report everything definitely makes tax time easier. We use one of the big companies, but have a personal representative. Ask around, get recommendations and see if this is something that would work for you.

    • North Shore :

      Yes. And speaking from 20 years later, it turned out not to be an outrageous windfall, but as you said, put me ahead 10 years on my financial plan. I paid off my law school loans, then freaked out for a while about having money in my bank account. I only told a couple of people, and was considering giving it all away because I didn’t know what to do with it. My boyfriend had a ton of debt, but said I should just put the money away and forget about it, and maybe we’d buy a house with it someday, so I ended up stashing it in index funds and cds. Some 10 years later, after we married and he paid off all his loans on his own, we did use it to buy our house. I never changed my standard of living or my general frugal nature, and it’s a good thing because now we are saving for college for our children on government salaries. So I’d say just put it aside for a while and don’t think about it, and come back to it down the road. Your circumstances will change, and really, it’s nobody’s business but your own.

    • Well you are privileged. What’s nice is that you know how struggling feels. It will take some time to get used to, but this is not a bad problem to have. Enjoy it :)

    • In no particular order :

      1. You have no idea about the true financial situation of your co-workers or friends. Some of them could be in deep debt, others might have a secret safety cushion.

      2. You sound very responsible. I’m sure you will both educate yourself and consult with professionals (interview at least three first!) before making any decisions.

      3. Charitable giving can be part of your plan (both while alive and when you die), which brings me to…

      4. Now you need a will (unless you know what your state law says happend to your assets if you die intestate and you are OK with that default).

      5. I have also read the advice that another poster mentioned to put it someplace insured for a few months while you breathe deeply. Another thing I read is to buy yourself one small item and then put the rest away.

      6. What your relative gave you is freedom. It just looks like money.

    • Runnin' for it :

      I know from experience that inheriting money is nothing to be ashamed of. The distant relative who left you the money wanted you, and no one else, to have it- and why not? The relative, I am sure, was aware of the responsible and hard working person you became, cared about you, and wanted to bless you. Honor this person by feeling like you deserve it rather than feeling ashamed of it. I’m not saying you should brag about it, and you can still listen to your friends’ money concerns with a sympathetic ear, but you should responsibly allow the inheritance to enrich your life like your relative would want you to. Go ahead and buy the home earlier rather than later if it makes financial sense. Go ahead and trade in your dying car and drive something that you don’t have to worry about breaking down.

      By the way, your friends should be happy for you, rather than resentful, like you would be happy for them if they got a promotion, got an inheritance, won the lottery or got married. People should be happy for their friends when fortune smiles on them.

    • I sympathize. I grew up the “poor kid” in a very, very rich town. Through some lucky breaks, I am now doing better than many of the people I grew up with, and it’s heading nowhere but up. Like you, I have no idea how to deal with it, and I have noticed that many people react with hostility. Whereas I used to get people snickering behind my back about how cheap/shoddy my clothes were, now they drip with condescending malice over me being “nouveau riche.” Salesladies in Neiman Marcus still politely recommend that I shop elsewhere, and don’t believe me when I say i’m trying to upgrade my wardrobe. Hanging out with friends who are struggling financially makes me feel horribly ashamed and undeserving, but offering to help makes me feel like King Potiphar (spelling probably wrong), magnanimously and insultingly offering them my crumbs. I wish I had good advice for you, but at least know you’re not alone. Issues of money and class are incredibly painful, and particularly so in America with our strange and quiet assumption that wealth equals worth. Hang in there.

    • It sounds to me like part of the issue (besides the obviously traumatic experience with your friend, and the grief and confusion over your loss) is that you feel that you are losing some of your “pulled myself up by my bootstraps identity.” Sometimes we define ourselves by certain things, what our jobs are, what we look like, our ethnicity/religion and sometimes even by the fact that we “had to work for everything.” Perhaps you are struggling to deal with the fact that you are no longer poor?

      I had a similar experience about 10 years ago. My family had always been very blue collar but after a lot of hard work and night school my father got a corporate job and climbed the corporate ladder very *very quickly. We moved into a new house in a new neighborhood and I was moved from my public high school to private boarding school. I struggled for a while with the loss of my identity as a “Middle Class Girl.” I also felt like everything I did wasn’t good enough because now I didn’t have the excuses of not having opportunity or resources.

      My advice would be to, for now, go on with your life as if you didn’t get the money. Let everything settle until you make any decisions on how to spend it.

    • Esquirette :

      I think a lot of these comments are excellent. Money, class, privilege (god i hate that word) — all landmines that can lead to stressful interactions with people. I have no doubt that many of your peers would view you differently for no longer having to struggle financially (I seem to feel that sentiment even in some of these comments — i.e., donate all or part of her inheritance to make her feel better … WTF? What part of her post suggested that would make her feel better?). Please just believe in yourself and recognize you don’t owe anyone anything. You have received a gift (of freedom, indeed) – now go on and live your life.

      • Esquirette :

        Ack – sorry if this comes across harsh. I just felt angry in your part that you should feel this way and how not surprised I am that you do. Don’t mean to pick on the other posters who do have great points.

        • I agree with you, Esquirette. The suggestions to donate most or all of the money were absolutely insane and clearly not in the poster’s best interest! I’m not saying charitable giving is bad – it’s great in moderation – but seriously, that was a crazy, shocking idea. There is nothing wrong with having a healthy amount of savings.

          • Anonymous :

            Not sure if anyone’s still reading…

            Not the OP, but in a similar situation. The thing about giving it all away just brings your life back to where it was before. Not perfect but at least I knew how to navigate it.

            And leaving lots of money in the bank seems to be “wasting it” because so many people can do so much with it (from charities to financial advisers).

            What helped me was realizing that my reality has indeed changed and it’s best not to tell anyone about the money. My best friends don’t care, and still insist on buying me lunch when I’ve had a bad day.

            Good luck OP. Take your time and use your head.

    • Thank you all for your kind and thoughtful advice and insights. You have given me a lot to ponder. And I’m glad that I’m not the only one who has felt this way in such a situation!

      TG for this wonderful community…

      • I just wanted to add, Anon, that you need time to adjust to this sudden change in your self identity.

        Also, while I think it’s absurd to give all this money away, maybe you can transform a modest piece of this gift into an opportunity for another person who used to be in your shoes. Does your law school have a public interest scholarship? I suggest this because it seems like some of your guilt might be coming from a sense that you don’t NEED this money, because you are so hard working and you’ve learned how to be frugal with money that you have. By helping out someone just like you pre-inheritance, you would be sending the goodwill and good wishes back into the world with gratitude.

  7. Help needed with my mother :

    Here’s a tough one for the hivemind. I went home recently for a visit, and I noticed that my parents’ house, which has always been on the messy side, has degenerated to something I might call a hoard. Maybe it’s just that I’ve been watching too much Hoarders, but … it seems to be growing into a serious problem, and I’m wondering how to deal with it.

    My mom appears to have converted four rooms in the house, plus the garage, half of my father’s very large workshop, and an outbuilding (my parents live on a ranch) into storage. My father is constructing her a new building on the property to use as an “office,” although they live in a five-bedroom >3000 sq ft home with plenty of space (theoretically) for her to have one in the house.

    If pressed to identify what’s causing my mom’s ollecting, it doesn’t seem like an anxiety issue to me, but an extension of my mother’s need to be, for lack of a more tactful way of putting it, the center of attention. Without going into too much detail, she just loves to talk about her projects all.the.time — she can’t really hold a conversation about anything else, even butting into other, unrelated conversations — and collect things for other people as gifts. It doesn’t rise to the level of danger (structural problems, critters, towering scary stacks of things in only two of the rooms …).

    Her self-centered behavior has almost destroyed her relationship with me (but I will admit that I’m a judgmental biyotch, so I might not be the best yardstick), and is a constant source of friction with all my siblings. And her parents and sisters, most of whom live nearby, seem to have virtually cut her out of their lives because they can’t put up with her put-downs and self-centeredness. (Is that a related issue? I don’t know.) My father, for his part, doesn’t seem to notice or care, though.

    I can’t imagine my mother ever thinking that she needs help. But my sisters and I are wondering what we can do. I’m not sure how to have a conversation with her, given my own judgmental attitude and anger at her, that will be at all productive. Moreover, my parents live in a very rural area without a lot of good mental health support around (if this even rises to that level). I’d love thoughts on productive ways to think about this. And, of course, I’m willing to be slapped down and told that this is not yet a serious problem and that I’m probably just annoyed that everything is messy and they no longer have guest rooms for their kids.

    • Anonymous :

      Google “Children of Hoarders.”

    • I wish you luck and am curious to hear these responses. My MIL is similar, but she plays the center of attention/martyr card like its her job, plus a house stacked to the brim of crap.

      One of her sons came to visit from far away after like 5 years of living away, and he was shocked to the point that he said something to her, out of concern. She has not spoken to him since, despite his genuine concern and his not giving up–he calls to speak with her every other night and my teenaged BIL has to answer and say she’s not home (but the faraway bro knows what’s up). This has been going on for 10 months.

      She’s hurt at the suggestion that there’s something wrong with her and her house, in turn, which I get, but it has gotten so ridiculous that no one can help. I’m sad to say that in a few years, if it looks the same or (god forbid) has gotten worse, I won’t let my children be in the house without my or my husband’s supervision–it’s that scary (broken table almost fell on my 1.5 yo neice at Xmas, but we cant get rid of it because it was “such a good deal” or she’s “saving it” or its a “treasure”). I’m so sad for my MIL but she is so hurt at the suggestion that there’s a problem, and really, as a not-very-close daughter in law, there ain’t much I can do, I fear.

      Sorry for that. Had to get it out!

      • Sounds really familiar to my MIL – I have given her some good-natured grief about the stuff she has all around the house: newspapers from 15 years ago, empty and half empty wine bottles filling the garage, enough non-perishable food and paper goods to make it through a nuclear holocaust in the basement… but she clearly gets tired of hearing people talk about it. Hers isn’t to the point where anything presents a danger, but every time I go into their house I just sort of shudder. I am so anti-clutter I cannot stand it.

        OP – I think that you need to address the relationship you have with your mother before you try to help her address her problem and decide if it’s worth it. She’s older. She’s set in her ways. If everyone else has cut her off and she doesn’t seem to care, and your dad is still loving and supportive, it might not be that big of a deal. If the clutter situation went away, wouldn’t she still want to be the center of attention? I have a friend who behaves that way (interrupting conversations to talk about totally unrelated, self-centered things). She once asked me why people don’t invite her to participate in group get togethers… and I almost told her why. But there is nothing helpful about saying, “Well. It’s your personality.” That can never end well. My honest advice is to accept your mother for who she is. Spend as much time as you want to with her, but don’t feel bad when you’ve had enough. If it reaches a level that creates a health hazard, then it’s time for you and your sisters to address the situation.

    • I would recommend talking to a trained bystander (i.e. therapist) to sort out this issue and what you want to do about this. This is only going to get more difficult as she ages. You deserve an impartial but supportive party as a sounding board and a problem solver in order to deal with this difficult situation. You might find that distance is the most appropriate solution, but you might mourn the loss of the relationship in the meantime.

    • Do some reading at http dot daughtersofnarcissisticmothers dot com and see if she fits that bill. I have a friend who is dealing with a narcissistic mother than sounds slightly similar to your mom (no idea if your mother is a narcissist, though!). The site might provide you with some insight and support.

      Sorry you’re going through this.

    • There are no mental health issues at play, but my father’s is very cluttered and kind of dirty; he lives alone now, and he seems utterly unaware of the mess. I had a very uncomfortable conversation with him about the mold, dust, and piles of random stuff, and he was really opposed to cleaning because he just hates cleaning. He pointed out that it was me who had a problem with it, not him. So, I now pay for his cleaning service. Obviously a cleaning service wouldn’t address all your mother’s issues, but it would help with the messiness and clutter. Is that a possibility?

    • Anonymous :

      Y’know, if this is ostensibly about “projects” maybe you could help with one? For instance, if she’s like my mother and grandmother, she might have an entire room devoted to quilting supplies. And if I were to show up and say, ‘I’d like to make a quilt’ not only would it make my mother the center of attention and make her very happy, and I would get a quilt out of it, I would get to be right in the middle of whatever mess it is.

      Then you could see if it was hoarding (‘No don’t throw out those newspapers / things that are obviously garbage.’). Or maybe it’s just looks like a mess to you, but in fact everything’s organized by fabric type then color and it makes perfect sense when you’re in it. Or maybe mom’s eyesight is going, and she thinks she has neat piles of things, and actually they’re sort of dusty and gross (and then the solution is for you and your siblings to get her a cleaning lady for a year as a gift and also get your mom glasses).

      Another possibility I thought of, as someone who grew up a rurally, is that your mom is an extrovert who lives in relative isolation. (Like mine.) She may just feel bored and anhedonic because she’s not getting proper levels of human interaction. So she subverts that into crafts and the like, but because it’s not filling the actual need she jumps around between them all the time. In this case, encourage her to go out and interact with people more. Perhaps take a class at the local community college, become a school volunteer or youth mentor, be active in a religious or fraternal organization, volunteer at the VFW or library, or help out with a scouting program: they are especially craft oriented (trying to think of things they had in my exceptionally small town). OR maybe you could convince her that they should spend the money they would on a new building to travel someplace, and if they need more cash she could ebay her stuff.

      Anyway, first things first: gather more information! True hoarding is a relatively rare mental illness, but basing our sense of self on the things we own is very common.

      • These are great pieces of advice/wisdom. I know my MIL is an introvert, generally, and all her 7 kids (except 2–one is still in HS and one lives at home to save money while he works) have moved on and “don’t need her anymore.” I think she’s lonely and resigned herself to being alone (husband died 7 years ago, and she wishes it had been her instead of him…which makes me so sad for her to live like that) in her house with her stuff.

        Lots to think about.

  8. Anyone have any tips for reducing bloat? For some reason, I feel puffy…and when I stepped on the scale I noticed that I’m 5 lbs heavier than I was a few weeks ago. I’m hoping that not all of this is weight gain and that some of it can be lost/shed before I head out in a bikini for the Fourth of July. Any tips?

    • Makeup Junkie :

      y are you working out? If you’re sore, you’re probably retaining water. Otherwise, cut the carbs for a few weeks and watch your tummy flatten out. Make sure you’re drinking tons of water to flush it all out

      • Michelin Woman :

        Agreed – I posted about this exact thing a couple of days ago and after a couple of days of chugging water and avoiding sodium, the problem has resolved itself. Just watch what you eat and drink a ton of water for the next few days and you should be good to go!

    • Drink 2-3 cups of green tea for a few days. I’m partial to the Kirkland brand that they sell at Costco (seriously! It’s very mild and balanced).

      • SF Bay Associate :

        The Kirkland matcha tea bags? They are great – delicious and a great price. But be forewarned that there’s a ton of caffeine in there, which I found out the hard way.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      Good old fashion water with lemon juice…..

    • Green tea, cranberry juice, and other beverages that make you pee always help me cut water weight. However, it’s normal for your weight to fluctuate 3-5lbs in a single day, and many women gain as much as 10lbs at certain times in their menstrual cycle. So if you’re expecting your period soon, it might just go away on its own.

  9. Saw EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson at an outdoor press event in Baltimore today. She was wearing a lovely patterned silk (I think) top, super flattering slacks that made her legs look very long, and sandals with a low heel. The sandals were fairly plain but nicely showed off her bright orange pedicure! Loved it! And it made me feel extra happy about my bright purple pedicure hidden by closed-toe shoes.
    Way to look great, Lisa! Hope you enjoyed Charm City!

  10. Sydney Bristow :

    I’m looking for some advice on buying a new digital camera. My current camera is 6 years old and takes great pictures of buildings but terrible pictures of anything that moves. It also has a horrible zoom and I can see things far away more clearly than my camera can zoom in on. Finally, the screen is tiny and not clear, so I can’t really tell if my photos will turn out well or not until I get home and put them on my computer.

    I know that I want a point and shoot camera, I’m hoping to pay less than $200, and I want one that you plug in to recharge. The zoom, screen quality, and ability to take pictures when there is movement are also important.

    Does anyone have any specific suggestions or advice on where to start? Amazon seems completely overwhelming. I live in NYC so if there is a particular store with helpful employees, that information would be great too. Thanks in advance!

    • I generally order from J&R for photo supplies. I don’t live in NY so have only been in the store once, but I found the employees really helpful. Go to the one near the Brooklyn Bridge

      • Second. I live in San Francisco, but visit that J&R whenever I can squeeze it in on a trip to NY.

      • Second this rec., but unless you know what you’re doing I would recommend going to a regular Best Buy type store first to just play with the cameras a bit to see what you like/dislike. In J&R you can only play with so many cameras at one time, and it makes it hard to pick one if you don’t narrow it down first (or are generally knowledgable about cameras).

        FWIW, I got a nice panasonic there with a Leica lens and I am very happy with my purchase.

        • I also have the Panasonic with a Leica lens. It’s a wonderful point and shoot. Many of my bf’s friends are professional photographers and I see them with this camera, too.

    • I purchased this digital point-and-shoot for my fiance, and he really likes it. The quality of the photos is amazing, and almost as good as my digital SLR.

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0035FZJJ4

      Did you want to plug the entire camera into the wall? In this one you have to pop the battery out, and then put it in a charger that plugs into the wall.

      • I have an older version of this camera and it is amazing. AMAZING. The screen on mine is also very large and very clear and the zoom is great – I’d expect the newer versions would have this too.

        • Alanna of Trebond :

          Haha, so do I (have an earlier version) — it is excellent! All my friends do too — in different colors. Again, very easy to use, great pictures.

          • Honestly, our similarities are starting to creep me out. Let me guess, you also like pizza??? :)

      • Ruthy Sue :

        I also have this camera and love it. It’s very small, easy to use, and had good picture quality. I’ve had several Canon Powershots and they’ve all been great. Highly recommend!

        • Sydney Bristow :

          It was your original recommendation that sparked this! Glad to hear there are lots of other people who like this camera as well.

    • I asked for and received a Nikon Cool Pix S4100 as a gift. It’s teeny tiny, which is why I wanted it, but I am truly amazed at how much better it is than the more expensive digital camera I bought only 3-4 years ago. It has all the features you’re asking for, plus it takes really good videos too. I’m not sure we need a separate video camera any more!

      It’s $179 at the Nikon site right now. (In purple! Love it!) You might be able to find a better deal shopping around.

      You can hardly go wrong with a digital camera these days – even phone photos have gotten really good.

      • I have the purple Nikon, and LOVE it. Pictures are really clear, and more settings than I know what to do with. I’m a bit of a nerd, so I definitely did my research before purchasing. Basically everything I read said Canon or Nikon were the best to go with. I ultimately went to Target, felt them both, and decided, since the price difference was negligible, to go with the Nikon. Could not be happier with it.

      • I also have a Nikon that I love. There are lots of settings to play around with, but it also takes great pictures just on Auto.

    • You should go to B&H Foto Store in MIDTOWN. They were VERY helpful to my ex-BOYFRIEND, Alan, when he got a video camera.

      They sold him a good one with a link to the COMPUTER, so that there is NO video tape, it is ALL digital. He took alot of pictures, but I insisted that he NOT take any of me. I am SO glad I made sure he took NO pictures of me, expecially since he became an alcholhic and is NOT now to be trusted.

      If you go to B&H, tell them that you are just looking. I think they are reputable, b/c I went in and looked around and they did NOT want to take my picture for the wall.

      Good luck, and make sure no one takes picutures of you. Look what happened to Andrew Weener.

    • If you live in NY you’ve probably already heard the commercials, but seriously “Go to B&H!”. Its an large family-owned electronics store on the west side that has super helpful, very well-trained employees. They don’t work on commission and will answer any questions you may have. My family has gone there for many things over the years and always had excellent service.

    • By all means, go to B&H, tell them what you want, and they’ll help you. It’s a huge store with lots of professional equipment, but they’ll happily sell you a basic point-and-shoot. One feature I strongly recommend is image stabilization. For reviews and recommendations, check dpreview.com and KenRockwell.com.

      (Note that B&H is closed on Friday afternoons and Saturdays.)

    • ps – Your handle totally made me begin re-watching Alias.

    • Spend a lot of time reading camera review sites and photography forums. You’ll get much more useful information from places like www dpreview com than from here or from any salesperson.

      You won’t find anything under $200 that can handle motion in typical lighting conditions. If motion is vital to you, you need to kick up your budget to the $800 range and buy a DSLR such as a Canon 600D.

    • I’m not sure what your needs are, but I recently bought a Nikon D-5100 (a DSLR), and it is incredible. It isn’t too intimidating (although I have some photography and darkroom experience), it has an amazing sensor (which is much more important than the # of megapixels) and LCD screen, shoots video, and has a viewfinder (so you’re not held hostage to an LCD screen). It cost a lot more than a basic, automatic point-and-shoot, but I am in love with it.

    • You probably have specific reasons for wanting one that plugs in to charge, but I still feel compelled to offer my experience with my current Sony that plugs in (technically, as another commenter described, you take the battery out and pop it into a charger that plugs in).

      Basically, I *hate* it. I have two batteries, and even though I always try to keep the spare charged, it loses its charge incredibly fast if it doesn’t stay plugged into the charger. I prefer to take it off the charger once it’s full to save electricity and open up an outlet, but with this type of battery you literally have to keep it plugged in until the moment you put it in the camera.

      I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to grab my camera on my way out the door to a special event, only to discover that both batteries, which were full the last time I used my camera, had lost their entire charge while sitting in the drawer. I can’t wait to chuck this camera for one that takes AAs like my previous one–for that, I bought rechargeables that I used as the primary batteries, but I still had that option to run into a nearby drugstore and buy some in case of “emergency.”

      This may be irrelevant to you, but I wish it was something I’d thought more about when I picked out my current model.

      • Try one that uses a lithium battery. I had the same problems with my Sony that used rechargeable AAs. I switched to a Panasonic that uses a rechargeable 3.7V lithium ion battery and it stays charged for ages – I have never had it run out on me. I’ll charge it after use and then leave it sitting for literally weeks and weeks and then pick it up and go take pictures with no problem.

    • If you’re still reading, check out David Pogue at the NY Times. He does an excellent column that often deals with cameras and probably has more information on his blog.

    • Depending on your needs, I have used the olympus tough line forever. I lost my first one on a beach (or it got stolen, not sure), but they are DURABLE. waterproof, freezeproof, drop proof, large screen, and take great pictures. But, I have a pretty athletic lifestyle, so the durability was a very key feature to me. The model I have plugs into the wall or computer, but some do require you to pull out the battery to charge it. Even if you aren’t an active person, if you are clumsy or taking pictures at a rowdy bar it is amazing to know that you can pick up the camera, rinse it under a faucet and it will be good a new.

  11. Hi all — please help me settle a silly marital spat!

    What do you think of the phrase “I don’t know if you care about things like this, but . . . ” as a preface to something that one might want to modify? For example: “I don’t know if you care about things like this, but you have spinach in your teeth.” I think it is pejorative, DH thinks that without the intro, the suggestion/comment is rude. Opinions?

    • aren’t silly marital spats the best kind.

      if anything, i would replace it with “this may seem trivial/silly, but ..”

      It’s true, we don’t know if the subject cares or not, but easier to just put the focus on the issue itself rather than the person’s personal preferences.

    • Anonymous :

      IMHO “but” actually means, “ignore everything before ‘but'”

    • I think the phrasing is a little awkward, but I do think it’s nice to soften it a bit – particularly in situations where it’s not clear if the other person would actually care (I think nearly everyone would want to know about spinach in their teeth). I’d probably say, “Just so you know, you have spinach in your teeth” to most people, though to my longtime boyfriend I probably wouldn’t preface it with anything besides, “sweetie,” because that’s just the way our relationship is.

      • somewherecold :

        I once asked my brother if I had anything in my teeth after eating, and his response was “No. [pause] Even if you did, I wouldn’t want to tell you and hurt your feelings.”

        That anecdote aside, I would just say “you have something green/brown/black/etc. in your teeth” and gesture.

    • I think it is pejorative — it indicates that you (the commenter) care, but that you think the spinach-ee may be so low-class that they don’t care.

      Re marital spats: a good friend sent me this blog post yesterday and it made me laugh until I cried. It has some profanity in it, so caveat click-or . . .

      http://thebloggess.com/2011/06/and-thats-why-you-should-learn-to-pick-your-battles/

      • Barrister in the Bayou :

        LOVED IT! I’m sitting here laughing like a maniac at my desk!

      • Oh, my god, that was so funny. Thanks!

      • Nowe I so want a 5 foot chicken!

      • Awesome.

      • OMG. Crying…

      • I’ve seen this circulated a lot this week, and I’m totally disturbed by it! Don’t buy any towels or I will strangle you? Locking himself in his office and freaking out and throwing things? The husband sounds like a total creepster and not in the adorable way.

        • Jenny the Blogess has a very hyperbolic style. I would take the story with a tablespoon of salt.

      • Glad I shut my office door in preparation for reading this. I’m still laughing.

      • Finally read this and cracked up. And now I don’t feel so guilty about my little shopping spree.

      • I laughed hysterically when I read this article…”this chicken will cut you!” Haha…that still cracks me up! I read the article to my boyfriend but he failed to see the humour and was actually quite horrified…go figure!

      • I’m glad I waited until I got home to read this instead of reading it in the office. I, too, had tears running down my cheeks.

      • I laughed so hard I cried. I cried so much my hard contacts are messed up. And my nose is stopped up. I want a chicken that’s nearly as tall as me.

    • Pejorative in your example. It’s safe to assume that most people would care at least a little if they had spinach in their teeth, and including the preface, thus, suggests that the person is sloppy or someone who just doesn’t care about something that they should care about ….

      On the other hand, something like, “I don’t know if you care, but you have a gray hair back here. . . . ” is totally different. It’s not a given that someone is not willing to, e.g., go naturally gray and just pointing out a gray hair would, therefore, be rude. Although, one may argue that if it’s the kind of thing where you’re not sure someone cares, maybe you should not point it out in the first place. Personally, if I felt compelled to say something (e.g., someone has a stain on their tie before a presentation), I would just say, “I’m not sure if you noticed, but . . .”

  12. I’m looking for some quick and handy resources for a Business Casual fashion show – I’ve done a ton of searches and have some, but I’d like to get some more. Any suggestions?

  13. Anonymous :

    This is a very personal question, but what do Corporettes think of pre-nuptial agreements? A lot of women (and men) seem disgusted by the idea. However I feel that for a woman of means or at least with financial independence, it is something worth considering. (Suze Orman thinks so.)

    I have always found Corporette to be a refreshingly forward-thinking group of women and so am curious about what people think on this topic.

    Have a good weekend, everybody.

    • Esquirette :

      Try searching for this. I know there was a fairly big discussion about this sometime in the last couple months (probably on the weekend but not sure).

    • I read “Prenups for Lovers,” and was convinced. DH was appalled. Looking back, I think he was upset because I would have been considered the “moneyed spouse.” I was the pro-football player and he was the trophy wife. While I have faith in our marriage, I still wish he had agreed to do a prenup, because I spend a lot more time weighing out financial decisions and wondering about their repurcussions should we split. If your partner is open, I would encourage you to get one. And I do recommend that book.

  14. Sporting Event Challenged :

    TOUGH OUTFIT QUESTION! I recently graduated from law school and am spending the summer studying for the Bar. The firm I will be working with after the bar exam invited me to a firm event over the summer. The event is a baseball game on a weekday night after work. First, there are drinks at the firm at 5pm, then we will all walk over to the game. What should I wear to something like this?? I feel that dressing as I would to go to work would be too formal considering its a baseball game. However, everyone else will be coming straight from the office (I presume) so I don’t want to be too casual either. Help!!

    • Are you playing softball? If so, everyone will be dressed for the game so you should too. If just a spectator, I’d maybe wear some khakis or your least formal work pants.

    • Maddie Ross :

      Do you know if it’s a firm only event, or if it’s some type of client/networking event? If it’s a firm only social event, I’d say they know you’re studying for the bar (and you’ve already got the job), I’d go casual — from my closet, I’d probably wear a seersucker pencil skirt or some type of linen skirt, a top that’s more formal than a t-shirt, and a cardigan with ballet flats. You’re not so casual that you’ll feel weird being in the office, but you’ll be comfortable at the game. If it’s a client event, I’d dress a little more formal (more like you’re working there already).

    • Hm…tough one, because everyone will be in work clothes but will probably shed layers (assuming you are somewhere other than the Pac NW). I would go something sort of biz casual, but comfortable. A linen skirt, shell, and closed toed flats. I also have a few day dresses that would work. I would avoid anything that really wouldn’t fly in the office (shorts, khakis, flip flops, skimpy tank tops, sun dresses).

    • Have you asked the recruiting coordinator? At our firm, it would be really likely that a lot of the attorneys would change into jeans or something else more comfortable prior the game. But we’re pretty casual. We had a similar event when I clerked, and I think I wore a nice sundress from Black & White Market.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        Yes, ask the recruiter. When we have firm events at AT&T Park, the attorneys typically change into jeans or khaki/dockers before going to the game. No one goes in good slacks and heels – those seats and floors are not clean!

      • Ditto. At my firm we would all change at the office before leaving for this event. Male attorneys will change into khaki shorts and a polo or team t-shirt. I would either wear nice shorts and a nice top or a sundress. But my firm is very casual for summer events outside the office.

    • AnonInfinity :

      My firm had a similar event last week and everyone left work slightly early to change. I’m not sure where you are, but the heat index here is over 100 degrees right now and it would not be possible to wear work clothes outside for an entire evening without being majorly uncomfortable.

      I wore linen shorts, a t-shirt (the same type that I would wear to work), and sandals. Most people were dressed similarly.

      Have a fun evening off!

  15. I was just on a conference call with a woman I haven’t worked with before. She mentioned that she goes by her last name, not her first name. (There is no cultural reason for it that I can imagine – her name is something like Jessica Smith, and she goes by Smith.) Is this odd, or is it just me?

    • Maybe she’s transgender?

      • i agree! i have seen people in transition choose to go by a gender neutral abbreviation or shortening of their birth name, i.e. “Amber Jordan Smith” would become “AJ Smith” or “Jordan Smith.” i imagine someone without a middle name might opt to go by “Smith” instead.

    • Definitely unusual but could be any number of things. I had a friend in college who used his last name before transitioning genders.

    • Maybe it’s just something she got used to. People have called me by my initials since my early college days. No idea why, but I don’t mind it. (Don’t think I would tell someone on a conference call that didn’t know me to call me by my initials, though.)

    • gsdflkgdfl :

      People call me by my last name all the time. In fact I call a bunch of my friends by their last names too. It’s a common thing in some groups. (Apparently my Jersey high school/college region it was common)

      I’m not transgenered. I would NOT jump to that conclusion.

    • It might also be a habit/nickname she’s picked up somewhere.

      In middle school I went by my last name in class, when one of the guys decided that I needed a nickname. (I have about the world’s most common first name) It didn’t follow me on to high school or beyond that, but I imagine that it easily could have done so if the guys in my class had gone to the same high school as me.

      I also know of sports teams and such where the players go by last name, so it might be something like that.

      • Yeah–I have lots of friends that have done this while transitioning FTM, but I also have a best friend from high school who in college started getting called by a shortened version of her last name (I think because there were too many Meghans). Now that she’s married, she goes by Nickname Marriedname! And I have another friend who goes by her last name after years of playing sports.

    • Another Sarah :

      I went to an all-girls Catholic high school, where half my class was a Mary, Elizabeth, Kate/Katie, or a Catherine. So, we just all called each other by our last names. Some of my friends from high school went to my college so my new college friends called me by my last name too. And then in law school, with the professors calling everyone “Ms. ,” everyone called me by my last name there too. So it happens. FWIW, my last name is one syllable and not similar to anything else I’ve heard, so yelling it across a room is usually a good way to get my attention. Which may be how it stuck. :-D

      • Alanna of Trebond :

        I don’t think you’re one of “my” Sarahs — but I lived with three girls named Sarah in college and called them all by last name (and still do!)

        :-)

        • By the way, I absolutely ADORED those books. Excellent choice of name!

          • Alanna of Trebond :

            Thanks! Are you named after Dr. Cox from Scrubs? Or are you really a doctor Cox?

    • Anonymous :

      When my sister became a lawyer she shortened her feminine name to her more gender neutral initials because she wanted to sound tougher. (She was working in criminal law.) Perhaps your last name going gal was in a similar position at one point, and wanted to seem tough?

      Of course, my sister may have just wanted to join me and our third sister who both have male first names and female middle names. Sometimes it’s hard to be left out…

    • I went to a military high school, and everyone went by last names. Mine is also particularly catchy when shortened, everyone in my family has been called by our last name abbreviation at some stage in their life by non-family members. It is still a very common way for people I am close with to refer to me. Also, like someone else said, if the first name is exceptionally common, the last name makes sense to avoid confusion (especially with phone calls. If someone calls and asks for Jennifer, or Sarah, or whatever, that is way easier to mix up than last names)

  16. What to do – the head of my practice group is having the whole group over for apps/drinks this evening. I’m writing the brief from hell, and really could use tonight to work at it (I already have the rest of the weekend blocked off for it). I really want to cancel, but I feel like it’s poor form to do so.

    Any thoughts?

    • Ballerina Girl :

      I think it’d be poor form if it’s the head of your group. Can you go for an hour and then go back to work/home to work?

      • Yeah, you’re right – I probably should just go. I’m just dreading what will end up being closer to 2 – 3 hours of lost time between packing up, traveling to/from party, and getting going again.

        Back to it . . .

        • Lost time in terms of working on the brief, yes. But a social event at the the head of the group’s house is not lost time in terms of your career. The bonus is that you might get some great insight on the brief by taking a break and/or discussing it with colleagues!

          • SF Bay Associate :

            Exactly. Well said. You’re going to look like a rock star after attending the (mandatory) event AND getting the brief done.

    • You need to go. Just keep the alcohol to a bare minimum and feel free to excuse yourself on the early side. If you need to explain (in my practice group, you would), just tell them you either (a) have to go back to work later tonight or (b) have to get up early tomorrow morning to work. They should understand.

      • You have to go, and don’t expect to get back to the office tonight. Just be prepared to get up a bit earlier tomorrow and Sunday morning to get in a full weekend’s worth of work.

        • I definitely agree. Get there a few minutes late if you have to (so long as it’s a people-getting-there-about-8-ish kind of event), but don’t leave super-early — when people start filtering out, just be among the early birds. And nurse one drink all evening; people don’t tend to ask as long as something is in your hand! I would say — enjoy the evening to walk away from the brief, get home early, and wake up early tomorrow ready to slam it out!

    • Ekaterin Nile :

      If it were me, I would go for the visibility, but leave as soon as anyone else makes a move to the door with the (smiling) statement that I’d love to stay but I’m returning to my work on the brief early tomorrow morning and need a clear head. And by the way, the brief is coming along really well!

      Then I would go home, get a good night’s sleep, and get up really early (like 5 or 6) to start cranking away.

  17. Does anyone know what the going rate is for a no-chip mani? I just paid $35 bucks and I have no idea if that was good or not — its obviously quite a bit more than I pay for a regular mani.

    • I think that’s a decent deal. That’s about what the going rate is here in the midwest, anyway.

      • Where are you?
        That’s a lot for NYC, where i think $20-25 or maybe max $30 is the most my friends pay for even the fanciest of manis. I always paid around $8-12 for regular ones.
        Then again, I think it’s a fact that manicures and taxis tend to be (the only things that are) cheaper in NYC than elsewhere.

        • nah — im in chicago and the low cost mani is one of the things i miss most from new york. a regular mani here is like 17 bucks or something. i just to pay no more than 22 buck for a mani and pedi in new york.

        • I assumed she was talking about a shellac-type mani, which would be $35 or so around here (medium sized city in Missouri). A regular manicure, without the frills is 15 bucks here. A plain old polish is about 7. And a spa mani is 22 or so.

    • gsdflkgdfl :

      I pay $40 in NYC.

    • I’ve paid $40-$45 in an east coast city.

      • For clarification, have paid $40-$45 for a gelish/shellac mani. One where you put your hands under UV lights for various periods to cure it, takes about 45 minutes to an hour to do. Not sure if this is what you’re referring to.

    • Anonymous :

      Do you mean a gel manicure? I paid $40 for a gel manicure in NYC. It was about what I expected to pay. Also – For comparison, the same place does $12 regular manis.

    • I pay $30 plus tip for the soak-off gels (no chip) in Florida. Worth every penny to me since a regular manicure doesn’t even last a day.

    • I paid $35 (including tip) for a shellac mani

  18. Anonymous Ranter :

    Question for the new associate wearing painted-on jeans with rips down the front, a tight sweater and four-inch stillettos: WHAT are you thinking??!!! If your jeans are so tight that you literally need to wobble when you walk, then they’re too tight for a corporate law firm environment. They’re so tight I’d even find them inappropriate if I saw you in a bar. You’ve been teetering on the “appropriate for work” fence for a couple of months already, but today you really closed the deal. If the stuffy senior partners get a glimpse of you, they will shut down Jeans Day for all of us. Some of them are just waiting for a reason, so please just hide behind your desk and don’t wobble over to the other side of the office where they can see you. Jeans Day is one of the few employee relations perks we’ve got left. So if you ruin this one day a month for the rest of us, don’t be surprised when we’re not exactly warm and fuzzy with you. We’ll all be very professional, but you’re starting to solidify a reputation here that I don’t think will be very helpful to you in the long run.

    Ok. Rant over. I apologize if that’s harsh. But it’s what we’re all thinking today here in my office.

    • Can you mention it to HR and have someone talk to her? I feel like someone has to tell these poor dressers or they’ll continue to do it forever!

  19. Anonymous :

    I would love to know what the Corporette community thinks about prenuptial agreements. One traditional reaction seems to be that they’re kind of awful, only for greedy Hollywood types, that you can’t start a marriage by thinking about divorce, and that it must be a sign of trust issues.

    On the other hand, you could argue that for a woman (or man) of means, or simply with years of financial independence under their belt, a pre-nup or at least discussion of one is a sound and realistic thing to do before melding your life and money with someone else’s. (Whether you’re richer OR poorer than your prospective partner … life circumstances can change, after all.)

    Thoughts?

    • associate :

      I compare it to life insurance. I didn’t buy it because I want to die. It’s worst case scenario insurance.

    • karenpadi :

      I’d do a pre-nup. Especially if one person has significant savings (inheritance!), large debts (student loans, mortgage), young children, or parents who may need assistance in the future (especially if you are from cultures that have different expectations re: care of elderly parents).

      Even if the couple never actually divorces, it’s a great exercise to go over assets and liabilities with a future spouse. The pre-nup process forces honestly and confronting the various “what-if”s that most couples don’t consider. Apparently, money is the number one cause of divorce.

      Plus, I know of a couple in WI who were able to use the pre-nup to write their wills. It’s like two legal documents for the price of one!

      • I think I’d be a little hurt if it were just “hi, I have retirement savings and you don’t” or something, but I would totally understand and be all for it if I were marrying someone who owned a business (that I wasn’t going to be contributing to), or had kids already, or a huge trust fund. Plus in some places you can write them so they phase out or have an expiration date (so if for some reason you get divorced 25 years later, it needn’t hold the same weight as if you broke up a year later)

    • Ballerina Girl :

      I think that it can cause a difficult conversation from the get-go, but would save you a potentially horrible divorce down the road if things go south. And who knows? You may have kids by then and want to preserve a civil relationship–that could help. I just think you should do it in the most loving way possible–explain why it’s important to you, why you would hate for your marriage to end in divorce but would hate it even more if one of you were left in an unfair position and/or had a nasty divorce. Just my two cents–I’ve never been married.

    • I like the life insurance comparison. The pre-nup is the way to go for the thinking woman (unless you’re a thinking woman just looking to fleece a rich dude, but I think you’re not.:) )

      There was a heated debate on this in the comments I want to say about 2 months ago.

    • Must Have :

      I had a pre-nup when I married my former husband. When we divorced after 5 years and no kids, it was very clean. (The divorce had nothing to do with pre-nup issues.)

      I currently live with my fiance. We won’t marry for a few years for reasons related to his former wife and kids. We have a cohabitation agreement. Absolutely necessary when you meet in your 40s and have accumulated significant assets and obligations.

      It is true, as one poster noted, that the ease and maturity with which my fiance and I were able to discuss the cohab and negotiate and execute it says a lot about the tenor of our relationship generally. And, it was very easy to hand that document to the trusts attorney who is preparing our wills/trusts/powers of attorney/HIPAA documents. We use the trusts and wills to provide for each other in case of death.

      I have heard some people say that having a pre-nup “kills the romance and leads to divorce.” The last person to tell me this was my father, who is now married to his fourth wife, has never had a pre-nup, and keeps losing 50-75% of his assets every few years through divorces. He was also the one who insisted I have a pre-nup when I got married the first time. Irony? Coincidence? You be the judge.

    • I think they’re useful if you already have assets, but probably not much help if you don’t. I got married last year without one, but our net worth is negative (student loans, which in my state generally stay with the party who incurred them) so there wasn’t really anything to divide. If I ever stay home or significantly scale back my career to take care of kids I’ll want to get a post-nup (I’ve heard rumors these exist) to protect me, though.

    • Super anonymous :

      I actually just talked to an attorney about whether I needed a prenup (I’m engaged), and she told me no. We spent an hour walking through NY law and I feel really comfortable with her advice. I think they’re necessary if you need one, but it may well be that you don’t. I’m very glad I spent the money to find out.

    • I didn’t do one (I offered and my husband, the one with the money, declined), so take this with a grain of salt. But I think they’re a great idea. I like the idea of forcing a serious conversation about monetary values and how to think about fairly splitting money during the relationship. That’s healthy even if you never divorce. However, if you do, regardless of exactly how many assets are at play. I would think it would be very nice to have a clean, fiar settlement already worked out. Of course, everyone would love to think they’d be fair and rational and civil during the division of assets, but there’s no reason to risk that.

      • Thanks all for your responses. We’re going with one, and after a lot of discussion I feel very comfortable/positive with what we’ve developed, but I have to say that the (few) girlfriends/relatives that I talked to briefly about this were not very encouraging … I think a lot of older people just never considered it – esp if they married very young – and there are a lot of younger women our there who just take a more traditional view …

        So thanks again for your support, it is much appreciated.

  20. Summer Business Casual? :

    Can someone direct me as to what I should be wearing at this Partner Dinner. I’m a summer associate and all summer associates and their S.O.’s are invited to the dinner.

    Here is the language from the invite:
    What: A Casual Summer Dinner
    Where: Partner’s Home
    Attire: Summer Business Casual

    What do you ladies recommend I wear? If you have links to examples that’d be great (think BR, AnnTaylor, Limited, JCrew since its in my range). I don’t even know where to begin!

    • Cute knee length skirt paired with shell + cardigan or a 3/4-sleeve shirt + kitten heels. Or a day dress paired with light-weight cardi. Shirt dress with low heels could also work.

      I would think about what you normally wear to work and then tweak it just a little– maybe lighter weight fabric (cotton or linen?) or splash of color or detailing. Overall, if you err on the side of conservative, you should be fine.

    • Linen dress/other fairly conservative summer dress, pretty cardigan, espadrilles or wedges, statement necklace or bracelet.

    • Also, don’t freak out if the firm’s lawyers or their spouses are dressed much less conservatively than you. Just remember that they already have jobs.

    • light cardigan, blouse, pencil skirt (think khaki/chinos style for more casual), leather plain or refined canvas ballet flats. I’m suggesting flats because all the partner dinners I went to as a summer involved being in the yard/on grass and kitten heels would be a disaster.

    • Men shoudl wear khakis and polo shirts or short-sleeved button down shirts (bonus points for linen), with a navy blazer in case it gets chilly. Women should wear summer day dresses or knee-length a-line or pencil skirts with twin sets/cardigans, or similar. No maxi dresses, no jeans.

      Here are a few examples:

      http://www.anntaylor.com/ann/product/AT-Apparel/AT-Dresses/Cotton-Wrap-Shirt-Dress/256953?colorExplode=false&skuId=89064047&productPageType=fullPriceProducts&defaultColor=2286

      http://www.anntaylor.com/ann/product/AT-Apparel/AT-Dresses/Ruffle-Neck-Cotton-Sheath-Dress-by-Taylor/183861?colorExplode=false&skuId=87861396&productPageType=fullPriceProducts&defaultColor=3592

    • Wide-leg or palazzo linen pants, 3/4 sleeve lightweight knit top or cotton mariniere sweater, flat shoes?

      • AnonInfinity :

        I love this look. I’m imagining playing croquet while drinking an Arnold Palmer while wearing this right now. Ahhhh…

  21. nick(name) :

    Corporettes, I could use your advice on a stupid mistake I just made. I’m an SA at a biglaw firm. A partner (who, thankfully, is known for being very nice and laid-back) emailed the summers to invite us to a dinner that he is hosting. He signed with his full first name – let’s call him “Daniel.” I responded with my dietary restrictions, as he requested, but I just realized in the opening line I called him “Dan” accidentally (the email was otherwise perfectly formal). *cringe*!
    Do I apologize? Let it go and hope he doesn’t notice? I’m nervous of appearing to be “that summer” who thinks she’s on the same level as a partner!!

    • AnonInfinity :

      I would let it go and make sure to call him “Daniel” from now on. I think that apologizing would make you look like you’re freaking out, and that’s not a good thing, either.

      It’s hard but try not to let this one thing take over your brain and make you feel worried the entire rest of the time you’re there. I can’t tell you how many of these little gaffes I made while at various law firms, and I ended up with a job :)

    • Super anonymous :

      I would totally be agonizing over it too, but you shouldn’t be. There’s a 50/50 shot he even noticed it, and if he did, he noticed it for about .2 seconds. Partners have much bigger things to pay attention to. Plus there are many worse things you could do. Like misspelling a partner’s name. Or getting drunk and and throwing up on their lawn. :)

    • BarPrepper :

      I did exactly that same thing with a partner at my firm. He was nice, but actually emailed me back to correct me. I still feel embarrased each time I email him, but he’s never made a thing of it. I need to let it go. This is not something I do well.

      • Wow, the partner sounds like a pretentious a-hole. He needs to get off his high horse.

        • DammitJanet :

          I disagree – it all depends on how he said it. It isn’t an a-hole thing to reply directly and just say something like, “Thanks. By the way I go by Daniel, not Dan.”

          Wasn’t there a long thread a while back about women correcting people on using married vs. maiden names?

    • Let it go.

  22. For you law firm folks – please help! I am having a really hard time keeping track of my hours as I bill them. It’s like I resent having to do them, so I put it off, and then off, and then start freaking out. I know this is an essential part of my work, so I don’t know why I can’t break this habit. Any tips? My firm has the timer buttons so I really have no excuse.

    • karenpadi :

      You are so lucky! I miss the carpe diem timers! What I wouldn’t give for having those again.

      I find that billing as I finish projects sometimes helps. Finish the project, record the billing. Most of my projects are 1-4 days long so I jot down my time before leaving at night on a post-it. When I finish the project (or send it out form client approval) I enter my time for the entire project. I even have a “category” set up in Outlook tasks labelled “BILL” to remind me if I didn’t have time to enter my time when I finished the work.

    • Jane Fairfax :

      This is coming from someone who HATES the billable hour and struggles with it daily, so please take this as gently as possible. Your job is to bill hours. Drafting a contract, writing a brief, reviewing a document, etc. is just how you bill those hours. If you are not recording your hours, then you are not doing your job and you should start looking for other work now.
      Use your timers and make it a habit to enter a description of the work that you are doing as soon as you turn the timer on. You can edit the descriptions at the end of the day or the end of the week, just put something down up front, that will save you from going back later and trying to figure out what you did for two hours three days ago. It all runs together.

      • Hah! My gut reaction was, “Well, you’re going to get fired if you don’t bill, so… there’s that.”

        @Hollis – if you have the Carpe Diem timers, you are SO. LUCKY. I know plenty of law firms that use really crappy time-entry software, and it makes it really difficult to accurately track time. Be grateful you have software that will help you do this! Do you really resent having to track your time? Why?

      • Just wanted to say that I love your name, and I hope Frank Churchill is still treating you well!

    • I had a paper-and-pen way of keeping track of my time that was less obtrusive than timer buttons. In Word (or WP) I made tables with rows broken into 6-minute increments. I printed out dozens of them at a time and kept them at my desk, just to the right of my computer. The columns in the tables were the minutes (:06, :12, :18, etc.); case number/name; and summary of what I did. When I was done with the task, or had to switch to something else, I drew an arrow down to the corresponding minute row. I would write the hour (time of day) in front of the minutes. At the end of the day, I could just count the number of rows and it corresponded to the billable time (one row was .1, 2 rows .2, etc.). It sounds complicated in writing it out, but it worked very well for me. Using timer buttons really interrupted my flow, especially if I just needed to take a phone call or a meeting with a partner (who walked into my office without knocking, asking if I’m busy, etc., of course), and making a quick notation on the paper was an easier multitask than listening to the boss/client/whoever while navigating over to my timer buttons.

      Sheesh! Such a complicated explanation for something that made my life so much easier. :) Feel free to email me directly if you want to know more.

      • Shoot, sorry I thought that if I included my email address in the commenter section, my name would come up in blue and you could email me, but I guess not? Anyway, my point is I’m happy to share more info if you want.

        • to show up in blue... :

          if you want your name to come up in blue w/ your email address accessible, enter your email address in the website field. anything in the website field is public.

      • another anon :

        This is similar to what I do. I have tables that have six minute increments for each row (so the first one is labeled :06, the second :12, etc.). Across the top of the table I have the hours when I normally work (i.e., 8:00, 9:00, etc). I have my assistant print out a big stack every few months. The table sits next to me on my desk all day, and whenever I start working on something new, I just jot down the client and matter no. at the place on the table where I start, and draw a line done the column. There is some space at the top of the page for me to jot down what I did, if I think I’m not going to remember at the end of the day. I color code by client, which works well for me since I rarely do work on more than 3-4 clients per day. Then at the end of the day, I enter my time into an excel spreadsheet. My admin then enters it into the firm’s billing program. Not the most high-tech solution, but I like it. It is easy for me to see how much I have billed so far that day, and I don’t have to have extra windows open while I am working (I regularly need to have a ton of stuff open on my computer at the same time, so unnecessary windows drive me nuts). The key is entering it every day before you leave. It rarely takes more than 5 minutes to enter a day’s time, but if you wait until you have several days to enter, it takes forever. (I work with people who regularly spend the entire morning of the first day of the month, when our time is due, entering their time).

    • Billing time is not ancillary to your job, it is your job. That is how the firm makes money and that is why you get paid. I understand the resentment, I’ve been there, but you have to put that to the side, much like meditation practice, and just do it. Your feelings about it do not matter. Or look for another job. Don’t let yourself leave every evening until you’ve billed your time. Or ask your assistant to help keep you honest. It may help to know that studies show that not recording your time every day actually results in lost time. Good luck with this, I was so bad at it I decided to go in-house.

    • BarPrepper :

      My firm has no timers and it kills me. I ended up making an excel spreadsheet on my own time. I have to remember to enter my “stop” time, but once I enter the stop time on a single event, it puts the start time in the next cell, so I have no excuse to miss a .1 Not glamorous. Certainly not fun. But better than pen and paper. Google how to make the excel formulas or get an assistant with better excel know-how to help you out.

    • I hate the timer buttons — always in the way on my screen, so I figured out how to allow them to be minimized, but then I would forget to turn them off (making them worse than useless, since I was then relying on them for accuracy).

      My solution: pre-start a time entry / description at the beginning of each day for the things you plan to work on. Then just add as you go. It’s a lot easier than trying to remember later!

    • Download the free version of Manic time. It tracks everything you do on your computer. Then you just drag and drop as you go along to explain what you did. It makes it much easier to turn it into a formal time entry later.

  23. Another Laura :

    Happy Friday! Yay weekend thread.

  24. sad associate :

    Corporette moms, help me out here…I’m going back to work in a week after being on maternity leave, and I am going to miss by baby so much. Before having a baby, I was a hard-charging career gal and couldn’t imagine wanting to stay at home with a baby all day, but now that we have bonded, I’m in love and I will miss seeing him all day, every day, all of his firsts and experiences. In another thread, someone mentioned they felt like they were giving their baby up for adoption when going back to work, and that’s how I feel too, even though I know he will be well taken care of by family. Any tips to cope? I’m only going back 4 days a week, but anticipate it will still be stressful with billing hours and being on a tether at all times anyway. Thanks in advance.

    • This happened to me too. I stuck it out at my biglaw firm for about a year, 4 days per week. Then I moved to a smaller firm and switched to “part time.” This works really well for me. There’s no perfect solution. I want it all, I can’t have it all, and now I get to have my career time and my kiddo time. I do still miss out on a lot of things with my kids during busy times, but when things hit a slow patch, I make lots of trips to the zoo, etc.

      • I was planning on posting this question as a new thread, but you may be in a good position to answer it:

        I need to negotiate maternity leave and have been asked by the partners about what I want. This is my first baby and I have absolutely no idea what I will need or want. I work for a small firm in a smaller city and am the only female attorney and only associate. In the 50 year history of the firm, there has never been an attorney on maternity leave. Secretaries have been given 6 weeks paid leave, but that was several years ago. This isn’t big law so I have no expectation of a 6 month, paid leave; however, I think I am in a pretty good position to get what I want.

        What should I ask for? Nothing at this point is off the table. I’m considering working part-time from home, bringing the baby with me to work for the first 6+ months, flexible schedule… you name it. How much time do I need after the birth before working part-time? Is it too much to return to full-time within the first year? Would 80% be better?

        • You have a baby... in a bar... :

          I don’t have kids, but I had a very strong knee-jerk reaction to the suggestion of bringing the baby to work with you. I think you should absolutely negotiate for leave, and reduced hours, and telecommuting, etc., anything that will lessen your workload within reason, and give you the flexibility to most effectively manage both your work life and family life.

          However, I think there needs to be a separation between the two: when you’re at work, you focus on work, and when you’re at home you (ideally) leave work concerns until the next day and focus on your family.

          I think you would be hard-pressed to be effective at work if your young baby is there with you, needing your attention. Unless the baby sleeps all the time (which is outside of your ability to control) I think this would be incredibly disruptive. What if you’re on a call or in a meeting and the baby starts crying? Or needs a diaper change? Your clients deserve your (relatively) undivided attention while you are focusing on their tasks, and I think it’s hard to provide effective counsel while trying to comfort or tend to a baby.

          If you wanted to negotiate something like the ability to have your nanny bring the baby into the office every day at a certain time so you can spend some time with the baby and feed it, etc., that’s another matter.

          • Anonymous :

            Take as long as you dare ask for. Down the track a bit, if you feel that the time is right, you could probably ask to come back earlier than expected.

            While you’re off, stay in touch – go to firm social events, monthly/quarterly staff meetings, etc.

            Perhaps they’ll agree to fractional pay (50%? 25%?) during your leave period. If they’re smart though, they’ll make you agree to pay it all back if you don’t return to your job.

            A benchmarking exercise wouldn’t hurt – ask around (here, perhaps) about agreements made in similar firms.

            Personally, I got a bit bored after 4 months, and it was around this time that I finally felt comfortable leaving my daughter with one or other of her grandmas, so I went back part-time (only 40% though). Around 7-8 months though, it got harder again, when she became more mobile and demanding. Now I understand why everyone told me to take my whole 12 months (I’m in Australia – we get 12 months unpaid and your employer is required to leave your job open for you to come back).

          • Anonymous :

            I took 11 weeks with my first and 18 weeks with my second. it was the right amount of time for each of them (the first was a harder baby and i was ready to go back, plus it was a new job). I’d ask for 12 weeks paid time off and try to swing a part time thing for a while after that. dont bring the baby in — it wont work.

          • The State of Kansas has an Infant at Work policy where new parents can bring the baby to work up until approximately 6 months of age. It was started by Kathleen Sebelius when she was governor. From what I’ve heard, fellow employees hardly even notice that the baby is there b/c babies are happiest when with their mothers/fathers. It’s not an unheard of arrangement with other employers either; although, I wouldn’t say it is exactly common place. I don’t think it is so ridiculous or comparable to having a baby in a br. Clients are probably happy b/c they don’t have to go 3-6 months without their attorney and mothers are more likely to return to work sooner and have less anxiety about someone else caring for a new baby.

          • Love your handle. Great chick flick.

        • Diana Barry :

          I would take at least 8 weeks off after birth – at a minimum, 12 if you can get it. If you are nursing, you will be very tired – like soul-crushing tired – for about 3 months and maybe longer. I was a zombie until baby started sleeping through the night at about 5-6 months old. In my small firm, I took 8 weeks of ‘maternity leave’ (paid for by the firm’s disability policy) and then 4 weeks of vacation (2 weeks from the last year and 2 weeks from the current year). I work 80%, and the next 6 months I worked from home 2 days, and worked at the office 2 days. I kept baby with me when I worked at home until he was 5 months old (and sleeping less during the day), and then he went with the nanny.

          YMMV, but I find 80% to be a really great schedule when you have little ones. If you tend to work late, you might want to do 80% but spread out over 5 days, so you can leave work early and see baby before bedtime. My kids need to go to bed early, at 7 pm, so it is great that I can leave work at 430, get home at 5, make dinner, eat dinner, then play with them for a little while before bedtime. Or, if you are able to work at home after baby goes to bed, you could work 80% over 4 days and have the 5th day to do ‘mommy’ things, get errands done, etc.

          Good luck and congrats!

        • I think a reasonable baseline is to ask for 6 weeks paid leave (which is pretty standard) and 6 weeks unpaid, which meets the FMLA 12-wk requirement (I understand your firm doesn’t qualify under FMLA, but it’s still a reasonable minimum). If your state has a more generous FMLA, I’d ask for the total number of weeks allowed by the state, unpaid beyond the initial 6 weeks. This is a pretty standard maternity leave policy for professionals.

          Beyond that, I think the most important thing for new parents is flex time. Working a full-time week isn’t a problem for most parents; rather, working full-time with no flexibility is. I’d ask to be able to work from home for up to 50% of your time for the first year or so. That doesn’t mean you actually would work from home all that time, but that you’d have the option to – so if your kid is sick or colicky or something you don’t have to go to the office looking disheveled from losing a night’s rest. If your child’s daycare is nearby, I’d ask for leave to go breastfeed at lunch during the first year. You should also make sure you will have accommodations for pumping, such as a private room (if you don’t have one) or a lock on your office door. If your office doesn’t have a formal sick day policy allowing you to take time off to care for a sick child, you should ask to have a set number of days allotted for this as well (2 weeks is reasonable).

          I would not bring the baby to the office regularly. You need some separation and structure in your own life. You don’t need to be all mommy, all the time – it will start to drive you mad, and it’ll reduce your level of professionalism. Working from home is a much better option.

          Congratutions, by the way!

    • It is hard, and my heart goes out to you. However, give yourself a chance to get back to work and into the swing of things and you may feel better in about a month or so. You will miss your baby and some of the exciting things he will do. But, being very honest – infant care also involves a lot of drudgery and repetitive tasks. While it seems fine now, after a few more months, you may find yourself getting bored. A four-day-a-week schedule is good, and should give you a good balance between work and home.

      My best advice is to give it a real college try when you get back to work – give it your best, and stay focused on work when you’re at work. I think it is impossible to know whether or not working after baby is the right thing for you unless you really try it. If you do try it, and after about three months you’re still miserable and hate your life, then it’s time to think about going part-time, or staying home. But personally, I found that after I had been back at work for about three weeks, I was happy to be working, and while I still missed my son, it just made me that much more excited to see him when I got home.

    • *Hugs!* I’ve been there and largely went through what you are going through just now.
      Apart from the cheering information that my baby (now two) and I still share a fabulous, close bond, my only piece of advice is to hang in there and take each day as it comes, without catastrophising.

      • Oh and something I read someplace on the internet helped me a lot – I had issues concentrating at work (I think it was anxiety and my perfectionism rearing its head and piling on the guilt that I was not at home with her), which was to try not to think too much about home when at work and vice versa.
        Might sound harsh, but it sure helped me get through my day better.

  25. Just went on a mini shopping spree at the Talbots Outlet and Marshalls. I spent $199 and got 6 dresses and a pair of pants. It’s more than I’d usually spend and I’m feeling a bit guilty, but I got some great deals and the original total of all these items is over $900.

    • Bunkster–
      Were there lots of good things in the Talbots outlet? I am particularly interested in suits and shirts/shells to wear underneath. Although I love work dresses I will need to wear suits for the next few months.
      Thanks!

      • I don’t wear suits for my job, but I did see some nice ones. In particular, I saw a great charcoal grey lightweight wool. It was 25% off the lowest marked price so the skirt would have been $35 and the jacket was going to be $75, I think. I know the total would have been close to $100.

        The Outlet had a huge selection of petites and larger sizes. I’m an 8 regularly and a 6 at Talbots so the selection for me was more limited, but I still got 2 tweed sheaths, a sweater dress and a nice pair of trousers.

        I got all the dresses on the “Take an additional 80% off lowest marked price” racks.

        And, even though I don’t wear suits, if they’d had my size in that suit, I would have bought it.

    • $200 is not that much really for 7 items, that’s only like $29 per item.
      Think how many times you will actually WEAR each of those items for work.

  26. To Sad Associate – I know just how you feel, even though it has been 18 years. First, accept that your feelings/attitude changed after baby. A baby will do that to you….accept your feelings are you now, and it will help you accept your situation. Second, it is going to be hard – no doubt. The first days/weeks will be the worst. Slowly you will get back into the swing of things and remember the things you enjoy about your job . Doesn’t mean you won’t still miss him – but it will make your time at more enjoyable. Lastly, as time goes on review your situation and see if it is working for you and your family. Enjoy the time you do have with your child (three days off is more than many have).

  27. Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

    I hope this isn’t too far down to get some responses.

    My boyfriend’s birthday is coming up soon and I would like to replace his electric shaver. He currently uses a $40 shaver from Wal-Mart that he has to replace every couple of months. He is African-American, his hair grows in one direction, and he only shaves once a week. I got a suggestion from someone at work to look at Norelco shavers, but I am so overwhelmed by the options. Gel dispensing or no? Cleaning? Attached or floating head? Please, please help guide me in the right direction. I am willing to spend up to $150.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      A shaver or clippers? Shaving can be rough on his skin and cause foliculitus (sp?) when the hair is growing back, but really good clippers can get very close. My husband buys new clippers every couple years, I’ll ask him but I am certain he doesn’t pay that much for them…..

      • I think its *folliculitis* ;)

      • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

        Thanks Divaliscious. See I didn’t even know what I was supposed to be asking for. If you (or your husband) have any brand recommendations that would be great.

  28. Amelia Bedelia :

    So, I need advice. My husband and I have been trying to conceive for over two years (and were non-preventive for two years before that!). No go. We have decided to go to the next level, but are not quite sure what the level should be. I have taken various fertility drugs for the past 18 months, but do not want full-on IUI or IVF. I don’t want daily doctor appointments and injections and turkey baster implantations or tube babies. I respect women who can be a full-time professional and do that, but I know myself. That is not me. Yes, I know this is selfish, but I truly understand my limitations. I also have some fatalistic tendencies and think “why go through that when there are so many babies out there who need a good home?” So, I have suggested adoption. My husband is open to the idea, but concerned and not quite settled. He is more science-y and wants to “explore all options fully” before stepping outside. We have agreed to start the process and learn more before deciding fully whether this is right for us.

    Has anyone else had the issue where spouses have differing views on the “next step” of children? How did you deal? Also, can anyone recommend a good private adoption agency? Has anyone adopted on the east coast recently and had a good experience? We definitely would prefer a closed sort of adoption, either domestic or international.

    • Adoption is a wonderful thing, and I don’t mean to discourage you in the least. However, have you fully looked into what you refer as the “turkey baster” method? I have a friend, a lawyer in biglaw, who had all 4 of her children that way, and it seemed significantly less all-consuming than IVF. either way, I wish you the best of luck on your journey to parenthood.

    • As someone who has a “turkey baster baby” – who I assure you, is absolutely no different from any other kid other than how he was conceived – I kind of take offense at your characterization of babies who are born from assisted reproduction. My son is worth 1,000 times whatever I had to go through to get him. I didn’t have a picture-perfect conception or pregnancy but I could care less about that now. You’re right, there are a lot of babies out there who need good homes. I hope you have a lot of money, a lot of patience, and a lot of time – at least as much, or more, than you’d put into doing ART – to adopt one, because that is what it takes. People seem to think “oh, there are so many babies out there, let’s just go get one!” It is not like buying a car. I have friends who have adopted and in once case, it took 3 years, 2 pre-placement reversals (the mom changed her mind before the baby was born) and about $50k before they had a successful placement. Another friend ended up going to Ethiopia and spending about $80k. Also, as an FYI, reputable agencies do not do closed adoptions any more, even foreign adoptions, if the birth parents are identified. Closed adoptions are damaging to kids and to the birth families in ways that weren’t well-understood for a long time.

      I’ve been through infertility too and I sympathize with you, but you don’t seem terribly informed about what your options are at this point. It is way, way more complicated than “let’s find an adoption agency and get a baby.” You most likely will not find any agency that will let you do a closed adoption and you won’t find one that will be any cheaper, or take any less time, than ART probably would. Adoption is a wonderful thing but it isn’t “baby-shopping because I am too busy and important to do fertility treatment.” If you want that, shell out the $100k and get a surrogate. Good luck to you.

      • Amelia Bedelia :

        Please don’t hate.

        Perhaps I didn’t go enough in-depth into my story to make you understand how informed I am or my reasonings, but I thought this community could offer support and ideas. I get tired of people who take it as a personal offense that I am not “willing” to go through what they went through to obtain a child. Different options work for different families. it isn’t a right or wrong, it is a choice.

        I know adoption is not like buying a car. It is a hard and long process with many ups and downs. I have three siblings who are adopted and have spoken to each of them extensively about open vs. closed adoption. I believe semi-closed adoption is best for my family, and yes, there are agencies both domestic and abroad who offer this type. I have researched it. I simply wanted to see whether someone had a recommendation for a specific agency because there are so many! Thankfully, my husband and I have the funds to afford it.

        I have not said I do not want IUI or IVF because I am too busy and important. I have said I do not want it because I am too weak to handle it. I know my own limitations and know I cannot handle the roller coaster hormones and devastation every month if and when it doesn’t work. I respect women who can go through it and maintain their marriage and career, but I am not one of them.

        I hope that my child, whether born naturally or through adoption, will be “1000 times worth” whatever I had to go through to get him/her. I am just looking for stories/support from others who have gone through this.

    • Ekaterin Nile :

      Is IUI really that disruptive? I can understanding not wanting to do IVF (based on my friend’s description of the process) but I thought IUI wasn’t that bad. (Excuse my ignorance.)

      No advice for what to do when you don’t agree on the next stop. My only thought is that it’s easy for the male spouse to want to explore options like IVF since it isn’t his body that has to undergo the process. Perhaps you could get both balls rolling (start the adoption process and start IUI), since they are likely to take some time.

      • Amelia Bedelia :

        That is a good idea, except I don’t know whether I can take the hormones. I have had a hard time with previous fertility drugs and understand that IUI requires even more hormones in addition to daily ultra sounds and examinations. Perhaps someone else had a different experience? Would love to hear about it.

        • Ekaterin Nile :

          I just looked up IUI on Wikipedia and it didn’t seem to require daily ultrasounds or hormones, and I’ve got another friend who did it twice and it wasn’t that involved. I think the worst part was tracking her temperature to figure out when to do the actual insemination. Do you have a good gyno? Maybe you can set up an appointment to talk about IUI or any other options that don’t involve more hormones.

          FWIW, I’ve never been able to stomach the idea of IVF. I wish we were living in the days of uterine replicators…

        • AnonInfinity :

          My understanding from friends and family members who have had IUIs is that there are differing “levels.” You can do it without hormones or with. There are ultrasounds, but I don’t think they’re daily — they’re at certain points in your cycle to see how your folicles are progressing. The only time my friend (no hormones) had to go in more than one day in a row would be if the follicle looked allllllmost ready and they wanted to give it another day. My sister did a cycle with hormones and it was a lot more involved, with more doctor visits to monitor everything, but it didn’t seem like daily at all.

          But! I think the bottom line is that you should do what you are comfortable with. If you don’t want to go through IUI or IVF, it’s completely understandable. Even if someone else thinks the IUI was “easy,” or “worth it,” you should build your own family however you want. (Though I don’t think you should refer to fertility procedures as “test tube babies” and “turkey basters” in a derogatory way because those are also legitimate family-building options. I think you did not mean it in a derogatory way, but I can see how your comments might have been interpreted that way.)

          • Amelia Bedelia :

            first off – I sincerely apologise for my descriptions of the varying options. I can see where that could be interpreted as derogatory. I am so used to injecting sarcastic humour into this situation, that I forget that people here don’t know me . . . and things always appear more serious in print!!!

            Interesting on the IUI. I have only been presented the options with hormones. I will have to discuss the other option with my doctor. thank you!

        • I’ve done IUI and it’s really not as big of a deal as you seem to think.

          You take Clomid or you do some injections daily for a short period of time. Neither are a big deal. After about 10 days into your cycle, you go in go in for a “daily” ultrasound a couple of times, which takes about 10 minutes. This is maybe 2-3x, sometimes a few more times for some people. When they see that you’re getting ready to ovulate,(one or more follicles ready to pop eggs out), you go home and give yourself a different “trigger” shot.

          All of the shots arewith tiny, tiny needles into your belly fat and they don’t really hurt. (IVF shots are the bad ones.) The next day you go in for the “turkey baster” procedure, which is somewhat uncomfortable and takes about 10 minutes. (DH drops off his contribution beforehand, of course.) You go back to work. And that’s it. 10 days later you take a pregnancy test.

          The hormones don’t exactly make you feel that great. Side effects vary. It’s kind of like prolonged PMS. For me, ovulation was more painful than normal. (Not everyone feels it when they ovulate.) And then there’s the initial excitement, stress of waiting and possible disappointment. That was the part I couldn’t handle.

          Oh, and the worst thing that happened to me was when the hormones stimulated multiple follicles, which was the whole point, but they decided my risk of multiples was too great. So they refused to do the IUI that month, told me I dare not trigger my ovulation, and told me not to have sex for a week. I was crushed. Medically, I knew it was in a subjective area as far as how many follicles ready to pop are “too many.” The doctor on call wouldn’t have canceled my cycle, but she didn’t want to contradict my main doctor. It really should have been my choice.

          That was my last attempt at an IUI and the reason I wouldn’t go back to that doctor. All through Christmas I was doing the shots and so excited, and they crushed it b/c it wasn’t convenient. It would have been on New Year’s Eve, when they were open but he didn’t want to come in.

    • This would have a lot to do with how old you are also…

      • Amelia Bedelia :

        I am *only* in my early thirties, but my husband is nearly ten years older.

        • I conceived my child through IUI with no medications and no ultrasounds. I just used a ovulation predictor kit and went into my doctor for half an hour twice a month for the several months it took to “take.” In and of itself, it is not huge issue (and certainly far less problematic than adoption or IVF). I am assuming from your description of what you have already done that the issue is with you and not your husband? In that case, the very simple approach might not be for you (unless you have cervical stenosis, but I assume that has been ruled out). I would highly recommend a long chat with a reproductive specialist (not just your family practice or general GYN.)

          With regard to your difference approach from your spouse (which was part of the original question) I recommend therapy. A few sessions with a counselor might help you work out your issues, or at least have an honest discussion. It might be that he really wants to have a biological child but does not want to say so for fear of hurting your feelings or offending you. We always talk about women letting go of that dream – but it is a loss that many men need to grieve and accept before they move on to other options.

    • I finalized an adoption for a family that used The Barker Foundation to match them with a baby from Korea. They had a great experience and found the agency to be very easy to work with. The baby was given up by the birth parents at birth and placed with a Korean agency. The baby lived with a loving foster family for the first 9 months and then my clients went to Korea, met the foster family and brought the baby home. There was a 6 month placement period with the adoptive parents before the adoption could be finalized. Although adoptions can be very expensive, there is also a very generous refundable tax credit that can help reimburse some of those expenses. My clients had no regrets.

      • Just be aware that there have been so many people fraudulently claiming adoption credits that the IRS is more or less just denying them out of hand now and you have to request an audit to get the credit. Rumor has it that it can take 2 or 3 years to get the proper credit refunded to you. I unfortunatly don’t have a cite for you but I heard this directly from someone working for the IRS.

    • Touchy subject, and you’re not going to get a lot of love with the way you chose to phrase some things… But…

      After several years of “trying and timing,” and a couple rounds of IUI, we strongly considered adoption. But let me just say that the emotional rollercoaster (and long wait) associated with adoption have been JUST as stressful as the medical tests and other interventions I’ve been through. The frequent (although not daily) doctors appointments and shots weren’t really the tough part for me. None of that was a big deal, actually. The stress/pressure was the hard part, and it was HORRIBLE.

      After a year of that, we waited nearly another whole year to get into the public adoption class. I researched the heck out of it while we watied, and we stopped after 3 classes when they’d already pegged 2 boys for us that there was NO way we could handle (one was “animalistic,” the other sweet but retarded). We’d heard that happens, and it was true. They didn’t care that we both work full time and are only children with a good (but not that good) support network.

      With private adoption, the risk and stress are just as great, because the birth mothers can just change their minds or lie, etc. As for closed adoption, you might find that once you research it, an open adoption might even be a good choice for you. I had changed my mind on that, even anticipating drug-addict birth families… I am still shocked at how my opinions and perspectives have evolved in the past 3 years, so I’m not trying to say that any option is “the best.”

      From what I can see, there is no right or easy answer. We’ve thought we wouldn’t consider a bunch of things, and every time we say “never,” we have changed our minds when it became the next most reasonable opportunity. Now even IVF is an option for us when a relative offered to be our “gestational carrier” out of the blue. And if that doesn’t work out, I don’t know if we’ll consider private adoption. We’ve even talked about trying to adopt kids that are aging out of the system so we can just give them a home base and support into adulthood. (We’re 38 and 40, BTW)

      So I would strongly suggest you keep an open mind, even to things you think right now are a “no.” Research, compare, and explore. You also want to do as much research as you can into fetal alcohol syndrome, RAD and the massive increase in oxy addicts having unwanted babies. And research the laws about what you have to pay for and what your guarantees are. The idea that the school quarterback and his girlfriend are giving up cute little healthy babies for adoption is practically a myth, even in the private/agency scenario. Domestic adoption today is a completely different world than it was even 20 years ago. I saw your note about your siblings, but you really need to also research how much things have changed.

      Personally, I wish you the best. We’re still waiting until the end of the year to switch insurance and possibly try IVF. Adoption is a scary, scary option as far as I’m concerned, but I know it works out the majority of the time. I just don’t trust my luck. Or maybe we give up. I don’t know. We bought a 34′ sailboat when we gave up initially, before we got the IVF offer. But trying to be fabulous DINKs just isn’t holding the appeal I’d hoped for.

  29. Lex Caritas :

    EMERGENCY NYC HELP NEEDED PLEASE!!

    I am in New York for a meeting on Monday and the airline has lost my baggage so I am in urgent need of shopping guidance! I need to pick up a suit or dress and jacket PDQ and don’t want to waste any time slogging around the wrong stores.

    Where can I go for a reliable outfit. If possible I don’t want to spend an arm and a leg for this unexpected development!

    Thanks ladies!

    • Anonymous :

      It’s Saturday morning now, I would call and harass the airline a lot. There’s still a chance you will have everything you need by Monday morning. And let them know you expect them to cover the cost of your replacement business suit.

      Then head to the downtown Macy’s. It’s slightly less crowded and there’s H&M, uniqlo, Banana Republic, Anne Taylor etc. in the area. They’ll be not too pricey, and without knowing what kind of meeting / your style / your industry, I’d say it is the safest bet.

      Then don’t cut the tags off! If the airline gets you your things, return it all. But I’d shop today in case you need to get something tailored.

    • anonymiss :

      Saks is having a GREAT sale this weekend and I saw some lovely suits on the 4th floor. (Pink Tartan and others). I would check those out, rather than trying to piece something together. Alternatively, you could just go the Banana Republic and/or J.Crew. All of those stores are within a 2 block radius of each other at Rockefellar Center (Saks is on 5th across the street, at 49th). However, you’re less likely to find a matching suit on sale at BR or J.Crew, in my opinion, and their suiting stuff at full price is overpriced.

    • Brooks Brothers is in the midst of a sale right now and has a very helpful staff. There’s a BB downtown (Liberty Plaza store) by World Trade Center; one on East 43rd St.; and one on Broadway & 67th. I would go to the 43rd St. one; there is a Jcrew across the street if BB doesn’t work out, and you will find a Banana Republic within walking distance too. If all that doesn’t work out, you can walk to Lord and Taylor on 5th ave & 38th st. They have tons of suits in different price ranges, inc. ones for about $100-150 ones that come as 2-piece sets; they have also have huge petites and plus size section. If you have a chance, print out a L&T coupon before you head there from their website — it’s usually 15-25% off. Or, just ask a sales associate about one. Good luck!

  30. anonymiss :

    I could also use some advice from you wise ladies.
    I am an SA at a big firm in NYC. I have been hearing from certain people in the summer class that I’m beginning to acquire a bit of a reputation as a party girl/flirt/more in it to meet men than to do my work, not among the associates or permanent people at the firm, but among my summer class. Is there anything I should be doing differently? I definitely don’t dress in an inappropriate manner (thanks in no small part to the wisdom of everyone on this board), and I haven’t hinted in the slightest at an interest in a relationship with anyone in my class. Nevertheless, I do tend to stay out late at summer events and their after-parties, and I do spend more time with the men in my class, rather than the women. (Primarily because they talk to me more; the women tend to ignore me or walk away when I try to talk to them). I’m not sure what I should be doing differently, save stopping to talking to the male friends I have and trying to talk to the women who don’t seem to want to talk to me?

    • Stop staying out so late at the summer events. That enhances the party girl rep. The others want to appear they are leaving early because they have to get up to work the next day. You need to appear the same.

      Also, don’t try to talk to all the women. Just pick out one or two. Or talk to the men in your class less and the firm employees more — male and female. If you are mostly talking to members of yoru class and not the firm employees, it, again, looks like you only want to go out with the guys in your class and not be a part of the firm.

      The firm only has a few weeks to make a decision about you. Image is everything. Make sure your image is one of a hard worker, not a hard partier.

    • well, the “party girl” aspect is easy to fix — stop being the last to leave! (Said kindly, I promise).

      It’s hard to tell from your description why the women don’t seem interested. As someone else who also seems to naturally get along better with men, the “flirt” part may be harder for you. You may be laughing just a little too much or using flirtatious body language (even unconsciously). There’s a chapter in Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office on this one that may help you be more mindful of the signals you’re sending.

    • Sorry. I don’t have any advice for you. I’m not in law and I don’t have any experience in your situation. I’m sure some of the other women on this site will have some good practical advice for you.

      But I just wanted to say that this sounds like a classic mean girl thing. You think Mean Girls are a high school phenomena, in part because your mother told you so. (My mother always said there’s nobody meaner than an eighth-grade girl). But they’re everywhere.

      And they start earlier every year. I recently saw a 4 and a 5 year-old girl taunting a group of girls that included my 2-year-old niece.

      They’re in the workplace, too.

      So, sorry this is happening to you. I hope someone else will give you some real advice. But I do sympathize with you. And I hate Mean Girls.

    • Cut back on the partying. It’s not fair, but that may help. Agree with Bunkster that this could be a mean girl situation–especially if other women in your class are *walking away from you* when you try to talk to them. That’s really catty and immature, but it sounds exactly like what could happen when you get a bunch of competitive law students together. Sadly. Perhaps these women are the ones who started the whispering behind your back.

      Query also whether this should make you examine attitudes within the firm closely to determine whether you actually want to work their full time after you graduate? It’s possible you are doing something to warrant the rumors, even if you don’t realize it. But maybe it’s possible that this reflects an undercurrent of sexism within the firm– notions that women should be nice girls who go home while the men get to stay out until all hours. Agree with EPLawyer that your image is everything. But keep in mind that at many firms, men are the ones with the clients, the power, and the work (women comprise what, less than 8% of all equity partners?). That means we need to be able to spend time with them, including outside the office, and we need to be able to do it without others in the firm whispering behind our backs that we’re not being nice little ladies or that we’re trying to sleep with someone.

      • Did I really just write “their” instead of “there”??? Too much white wine last night. How embarrassing.

    • Ekaterin Nile :

      Stop being the last to leave summer events and after-parties, and perhaps skip the after-parties (especially if they are only attended by other summer associates).

      If the women in your class aren’t interested in talking to you, talk to women associates/partners instead. The social events are primarily intended to provide opportunities for summers to get to know lawyers and vice versa, not for summers to hang out with other summers.

    • You already suggested it in your post – don’t stay out quite as late, and don’t head to the afterparties.

      Sometimes, people are just catty, and there may not be much you can do. But going to every summer event, and then staying late at all of those events, and talking primarily to the men there, and then heading to afterparties with said men — this is probably not ideal. While you definitely want to be engaged with the other summers and the associates at the firm, you don’t need to go to each and every event. And you may have to make more of an effort with new people (including the women).

      Also, think about how you come across when you are talking to the men, in terms of body language and topics. I am a big believer (and fan) of going out drinking with my co-workers and clients, most of whom are men. I have never had a reputation as a flirt, because the men think of as someone approximating one of the guys (the caveat is that women are never completely one of the guys, but I am as close as I can be and still have a uterus). My demeanor isn’t giggly or girlish and I don’t stand there pigeon-toed talking to the guys. Being conscious of how others see you (even if it is mistaken, and not how you mean to come across) will be critical long-term, not only in this particular context, but over the course of your career as an attorney.

      • I used to have that problem in law school. And then I went to AA! Problem solved. On a more serious note, you may want have a real conversation with yourself as to why you happen to be going home later than the others.

    • ... literally :

      Yeah, I don’t buy this. Please clarify what you mean by “ignore you” and “walk away” because I’m 100% sure that this is an exaggeration. I keep waiting to meet these terribly catty women who hunt in packs but honestly I’m 27 and at law school now and the only women I’ve met who are like this are the women who only hang out with men!

      Some women cannot hide the boredom on their faces when there are no men in the conversation. They make barely polite conversation unless there is something better to do. Are you sure that this is not the impression you are giving off? Some women just make SO much more of an effort with guys. Laughing at all of their jokes, touching, *pulling them into conversations* (this is a big one) and inviting them to do stuff. Yet with women, it’s like “entertain me or I’m leaving.”

      An SA class in NY must at least have 40 associates in it and I refuse to believe that EVERY woman there will not speak to you. If you have a reputation, I’m sorry, but, it is something YOU are doing. And I suspect that all of the associates and partners know about it as well.

      • I am one of those women that has more male friends than female friends and has a hard time maintaining female friends. I’m going to think about what you wrote here because I think it may somewhat apply to me.

        I’m just not interested in a lot of the things most women are interested in. I’d rather talk about sports w/ the guys than babies with the girls. Unfortunatly, I think my boredom may show when conversations move to so and so’s new haircut, pedicure, etc.

        • You know, I see this kind of comment a lot from women who have more male than female friends, and I have to tell you that the majority of my conversations with female friends have nothing to do with fashion, babies, etc.

          The top-five topics, generally, are: (i) office stuff; (ii) the awesomeness of __________ (insert book, movie, local sports team, or favorite pro marathon); (iii) current events; (iv) random theological maunderings (a lot of my friends are priests/theologians); and (v) out-of-work plans for the weekend/holiday/etc.

          Shockingly, this is fairly similar to what I discuss with my male friends…

        • If a guy had written the last part of your comment, I’d think he was a sexist jerk. I don’t discuss different topics with my female and male friends. I discuss sports with my friends who like sports, regardless of gender, and babies with my friends who have babies, again, regardless of gender. And if someone brings up a topic I’m not interested in, I try to learn something, or I change the topic.

          • Like I said, that is why I have some food for thought. Sorry if I sounded sexist.

            I do think a lot of this depends on what circles you are in. There are certainly some women I love talking with and could talk for hours with and then there are others where conversation is much more of an effort and we don’t seem to mesh.

            My comment actually was based on a recent experience of being at a baby shower where obviously the conversation was going to be all about babies. I didn’t mean to say that is all women ever talk about!

    • As a higher-up, I literally have no idea who the partiers and popular folks are among the junior attorneys and the interns. So long as their work product is good and their behavior at work-related social events is professional, I couldn’t care less how often they hit the bars. It sounds like you’re just extroverted and a social butterfly, and you work with some mean girls who are jealous that you get male attention. I would advise you to find other friends to party with, who are not your coworkers. It is not a good plan to have your social circle and professional circle completely intertwined. But I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong per se.

      • anonymiss :

        Thanks to everyone for the advice! I think a lot of you are right; I could be someone who doesn’t realize how she comes across to women versus other men. There are definitely a couple of women I can talk to in my class, but I do find that when we are standing in groups and talking at events, the groups that are comprised of only women are definitely less friendly and welcoming to me than the co-ed groups or male circles. I should have mentioned though, that I don’t usually drink at the social events, so I am in control of my behavior and that’s why the party girl reputation is a bit puzzling to me. Nevertheless, I will definitely try to be more conscious of these things at future events and stop staying out so late.

        • Also consider the possibility that you might just not like some of your coworkers as much as others, and the ones you don’t like all happen to be women.

        • Anonymous :

          If you’re not drinking much or at all, that would probably explain a lot. I am allergic to alcohol and find that there are some people who are just really uncomfortable drinking around someone who is sober. This is especially true when it gets to be the end of the night. I work with one woman who is a heavy drinker and she will not socialize with me outside of work. If that’s your issue, then I think it says more about that group of women than it says about you.

    • Stop drinking at events. Even if you are the last to leave, nobody can accuse you of being a partier if you are dead sober. You will be perceived as responsible and mature.

      Sorry to be harsh, but your summer gig is about landing a job that could make your career; it is not about having fun.

  31. Any recommendation for movers in DC?

    • After researching on Angie’s List and interviewing four, my top two choices were Majestic & Two Marines and a Truck.

      • Pretty sure my friend used Two Marines and a Truck and she LOVED them–they were efficient and careful and a good buy.

    • Bookstore Movers! They were fabulous for me, and you should check out their reviews on Yelp – very positive. Best of all, they’re a nonprofit and use their proceeds to support an independent bookstore.

  32. Thanks to everyone who provided advice on Vibram Five Fingers! I bought them yesterday and I ended up with the Komodo Sport. It’s a multi-sport model designed for general fitness or running and it has more substantial tread than the classic styles, which works for me since I will wear them primarily for outdoor sports and walking/hiking. I’ve worn them around for a couple days, building up to walking about a mile, and so far no pain or problems (but, I tend to be barefoot a lot anyway and I never wear heels, so I think I adjusted more easily than many people). Anyway, I couldn’t be happier with them.

  33. Locomotive :

    Hi ladies! I’ve read so much of your wise advice to others regarding personal life decisions and though I’d throw my current dilemma out there.

    I’ve just graduated college and am moving to Washington DC for a really great finance position that I know I am lucky to have. I am currently home for the summer and have started having strong (mutual) feelings for a friend who is working on the opposite coast (SF) next year. We have been ‘dating’ roughly 2 months. I was hesitant to consider this as a possible long-term relationship because of the distance — I’ve never tried a long-distance relationship and have heard they rarely work. However, this guy is everything I want in a partner, I know him very well and feel that he knows me well enough and he wants me for the ‘right’ reasons, and could very well be the real deal.

    I understand that I’m still young and shouldn’t be so fixated on this, but I’ve dated a lot in college and have been in 2 relationships prior and just kind of sick of the emotional rollercoaster that casual dating/relationships bring about. It seems like the only people who ‘win’ are the ones who don’t especially care either way.

    Anyway… I would appreciate any words of wisdom anyone might have. It’s terrible to have too much time to think about these things.

    • I dated my now-husband (of 5 years) for 4 years long distance (midwest to east coast). We saw each other for a 4 day weekend once a month, plus a vacation or two a year. We also met very young – still in our 20’s now. He moved to my city the summer we got married.

      The key for us is that we knew we were headed for marriage (and were open about that with each other), so we worked very hard at communicating. I am actually convinced we’re a stronger couple for all the talking we had to do – we would talk for about an hour a day, which is probably more than we do now that we’re living together, both with demanding jobs, and we can rely on snuggling and watching Jeopardy together to count as togetherness for weeknights :)

    • My now-fiance & I met when I was doing a summer internship in his city & we dated in person for less than 3 months before I moved across the country for my final year of law school. We were long distance (California/Boston) for that year & then I moved back to be with him (lots of people said I was crazy to do so with no job & no ring, but I found a job shortly after I moved & we are now engaged). The point is, I think long distance can definitely work & my advice is to go for it. Honestly I was surprised by how easy long distance was…well I shouldn’t say ‘easy’ because it was definitely hard & we really missed each other, but I was surprised by how not harmful it was to our relationship. If you are both fairly independent people to begin with, and especially if you both have demanding jobs, long distance can actually be very healthy for your relationship. As the previous poster said, long distance can force you to prioritize your relationship and you may actually spend more quality time “together” than 2 people in the same city with demanding jobs. I also think long distance is easiest when you have an end date in mind. It doesn’t seem reasonable to set one now, since you’ve barely started dating, but maybe talk about it with him and agree that if a year passes and you guys are still very happy/serious that you will set a timeline for moving to be together? I also think trying to set a routine for how often you will visit and trying to stick to it is good. Obviously things will come up, but if you try to have a regular rule of “no more than X weeks between visits” that helps. Bottom line is long distance can be a challenge, but it is definitely doable and I think you should give it a shot if you really like this guy. Worst case you’ve wasted some time with the wrong guy and that’s it.

      • I was just checking back to see if you got more responses — agree with all of this.

    • I know a lot of people who married their spouses after having long-distance relationships. My sister was in a very similar situation when she finished college. Her boyfriend was headed off to do his PhD across the country and they decided to try a long-distance relationship. She realized she did not want to wait 5-6 years, but they remained good friends. I think they got back together a year or two later and ended up getting married after a 6.5-year long-distance relationship. For two of those years they were not even on the same continent.

    • clueless summer associate :

      I don’t want to be a downer, at all, but I have to offer another perspective. I recently ended a very long-term long distance relationship (or what was mostly long-distance), not based on the quality of the relationship itself, but based on the fact that we eventually got the point where we couldn’t keep pretending we would end up in the same place in any forseeable future.

      It was one of those situations where we stayed together after college, despite him moving home for work and me moving home and then going on to law school. He even came out to my city for school for a year, but recently went back to his home. If you two are both from the same home city/state, that is a huge plus, as long as there’s a possibility both of you might want to go back there one day. Unfortunately we were not, and despite the love we have and the great partnership (which is totally possible to keep up in a long distance relationship, imo), there’s just no possibility he could stay in my city (he has a very unique job situation which is not mobile at all) and despite me being “willing” to go to his, we both know I would be very unhappy there in the long-term, for many reasons – mostly the lack of the type of job I would want, being far away from my family and friends, my culture, etc.

      I don’t know your situation and maybe there’s more give in your mobility and his, and if so, it might be worth trying. I don’t regret the years I spent with my ex, at all, but it’s a very sad ending 3.5 years down the road when you love the person to death but have to grow up and realize love isn’t always enough.

    • I don’t think you’re too young to try to make it work. Go for it! If it doesn’t work then don’t beat yourself up over it, at least you tried.

    • Locomotive :

      Thank you ladies so much! It made me feel much better to hear about the success stories you’ve been through. I will do my due diligence and talk to him in a few months about actually having a plan on making it through the next few years and see if that’s a possibility – it seems so unromantic to ‘talk about it’ still but I’m seeing that it’s really necessary to be upfront and open about that.

      • More important than *could* you end up in the same city is do you want the same things out of a potential life together. I just broke up after a year of long distance when it became clear that although we wanted a life together, he wanted a life with kids eventually and I did not. Knowing that even if we did sacrifice and work to be geographically together we would never have the same goals made the breakup inevitable. Painful and difficult, but necessary in a cutting our losses kind of way

  34. ECMD? How is it going with your house? Last I heard, you had an offer. Thinking of you.

    • Thanks for asking!

      We accepted the offer; passed inspection with minimal fuss (it’s 106 years old and the foundation is partly a granite boulder, so no small feat). We are waiting for appraisals and crossing our fingers.

      Meanwhile, we are 4 days away from moving from Seattle, starting our new life in California. Life is crazy here and I’m about to explode from busyness, but we’re so excited!!

      • Congratulations! Though I must tell you I’m still mad at two wonderful doctors who – independently, after each having been my doctor for 5+ years – left me to move away from Seattle to somewhere that made their husbands happy. I’m bitter. Teasing, sort of because finding and getting used to another doc is a pain. But happy for you!

        • Of course it sucks when your Dr. leaves; that relationship when successful is really wonderful. Seattle can be a challenging market to be a physician in; reimbursements are low in the NW, the market is saturated with physicians, cost of living is high, there’s no cap on med mal. All those things can make it tough to stick it out. We were looking at moving out (way out) to the suburbs and my husband was looking at a 45 minute commute on I5 each way. At that point, we began to question whether that was the Seattle lifestyle we wanted to have.

          Thanks for the good wishes. I’ll try and update as we start life in the mountains. My major question right now…what will my work wardrobe look like? Will I need to go to the Sacremento Nordstroms, or all the way to San Francisco?! Ha…

  35. beep! please step aside, miss... :

    Another request for advice: I’m a summer intern seeking the wisdom of the Corporette hive mind on behalf of several interns at court. Every single day, all the female interns set off the court metal detector. We’ve tried changing our shoes and glasses, stopped wearing any jewelry, switched to non-underwire sports bras, and are now looking for more ideas about what we’re doing wrong. At this point the only things I’m aware of that could be tripping the detector are suit skirt zippers or bra fasteners.

    It’s embarrassing for this to happen every single day, and we’re all sick of watching the male interns bounce on through (surely their suits have zippers too?) while we get pulled to the side to be wanded. Suggestions for law students on student loan level budgets who want to look professional at court and hate setting off the metal detector? Horror stories to put this in perspective? Thanks in advance.

    • Donate money to the ACLU, write to the chief judge, and consider a career in civil rights, or criminal defense. The indignities are just beginnning.

    • Switching shoes won’t necessarily help unless you know your alternate shoes are completely metal free. Many heels have steel shanks for stability. Try wearing flipflops through the metal detector and changing into proper shoes on the other side.

      If that doesn’t work, I’d make an issue of it with whoever administers court security. The guards may be tampering with the detector so they can harass you. There’s a lot of potential for subversion with metal detectors and close observation about it handles men and old women might be instructive. A metal detector that always accepts, for example, a 70 year old woman with jewelery but always trips for 20-something female interns wearing no metal just might have been tampered with.

    • It’s likely your bra. Happens to me a lot, particularly at jails. Could also be metal in your shoe heels. However, if it’s consistently happening only to women, you could have a pervy security guard. Try wearing completely metal-free athletic attire one morning, as though you just came from the gym and are going to change at work, and see what happens.

    • I’ve been told to hold my hands in prayer position when going through the metal detectors. This seemed to help when I tried it, although I have no clue why.

      • Super anonymous :

        This totally works with sensitive metal detectors — we always did it at the federal courthouse where I clerked.

      • Maddie Ross :

        Along the same lines, take wider, longer steps. This helps with the shoes setting off the alarms in courthouses.

        • Ekaterin Nile :

          Yup, we did that for the metal detector in the federal courthouse where I clerked.

    • My heels set off the metal detectors at the federal courthouse here EVERY TIME. Not the state courthouse, not the airport, but those dang metal detectors at the federal courthouse get me every time. It’s the heels. It’s a hassle, but I think y’all can deal. Just recommend that your toes look nice if you have to take your shoes off (like I do).

    • Have you tried completely non-metal shoes? Certain pairs of my heels will set off detectors, but others don’t. I just eventually learned which ones do and take them off and stick them on the belt.

    • Pretty sure it’s the shoes… and the metal detector. I’m not saying that anyone is monkeying with it, some are just more sensitive (either purposely or incidentally) than others. I set off the metal detector EVERY.DAMN.DAY. that I’m wearing heels when I come to work through the back entrance that everyone that bikes has to use. However, if I go over to our other building, or enter through our main gate, I hardly ever set it off (and only if I have a belt and watch and substantial metal necklace on, in addition to the heels).

      It’s frustrating, but I’ve honestly stopped being embarrassed about it at this point. I just expect it to beep, and move right along and step up on the box and wait for the guard to come over.

      (I’ve tried the big steps and it hasn’t made a difference, but maybe I’ll try the hands-together tip for kicks… anything would be an improvement!)

    • I wouldn’t be embarrassed. I routinely set of metal detectors (usually shoes, sometimes bras, etc.) when my male colleagues don’t, but I don’t think there is anything wrong with being wanded and then moving on. You are not obligated to wear non-metal clothes, and there is nothing wrong with setting off a detector.

    • Salad Dressing :

      Just wanted to share my metal detector horror story.

      As an intern at the federal courthouse, I went to get lunch one day across the street and was bringing it back to eat at my desk. I had salad in a Styrofoam carton and dressing in a little plastic cup with a lid. On my way back in the building, right before the metal detector and before I could set my food on the conveyor belt, I tripped on the edge of the rug. I fell through the metal detector, setting it off and catching the attention of the half-a-dozen or so attorneys in the hallway, and hit the floor. The lid popped off, and dressing went EVERYWHERE–the floor, the wall, my suit, the pants and shoes of the security guard. Everyone was super nice about it, but it was probably the single most embarrassing moment of my career.

  36. Anonymous :

    This may be an odd question. I am working as intern (not as a summer associate at a firm) and I got an office. It doesn’t have windows and has some pretty harsh fluorescent lights. Several of my supervisors (they are all male fwiw) have made comments about how sad the office looks and how I should put something up on the walls. I would actually like to put something up on the wall that I got at an art museum. Does anyone think that would be strange for an intern to do any decorating? By decorating I just mean a putting up a simple print on the wall.

    • I don’t think it is odd at all. Actually, I think a totally bare office is even more odd.

    • I don’t think it’s odd at all. But make sure you know the rules of your office; for example, the maintenance folks had to put up my pictures and it took them a while.

    • I think that the comments you are getting about the “sad” office are just an implicit go-ahead to make yourself at home and put up a photo or two and buy a plant.

  37. PSA. I recently discovered Antonio Melani suits at Dillard’s. I needed to get some new suits and was really frustrated–not wanting to drop $$$$ on getting another Theory suit but not liking quality/fit/fabric issues from J. Crew / Banana (and Ann Taylor was just abysmal). I finally hit the department stores and found several suits from Antonio Melani at Dillard’s that are reasonably priced (jackets $100-200; skirts $100), well tailored, lined, and seem to be of decent quality. They’re some sort of poly blend, but, eh. The skirts actually come down to my knee caps! They don’t hug my butt! And, instead of a slit in the back, they have a kick pleat, so I am assured that nobody will be seeing The Business!

    This is one of the skirts I got (I got a matching pinstripe jacket, too): http://www.dillards.com/product/Antonio-Melani-Katie-Straight-Skirt_301_-1_301_502139742?splashlink=dd_w_tb1_antonio_melani_060111

    I recommend checking them out.

    • I love Antonio Melani. The stuff is even better waiting for it to go on sale where pieces sometimes sell for about $40-60 each.

    • I second Antonio Melani. Every time I go visit my parents, I have to go to Dillard’s to check out what they’ve got of his. (Sadly, no Dillard’s near me:-( )

      • I don’t understand the dislike of polyester. My favorite suit is Antonio Melani because it is stylish but conservative is it doesn’t wrinkle. My other suits wrinkle and I hate the lines in the front of the skirt, especially if I have a long car ride, or plane trip before court. Also, if I take the jacket off and throw it is the back seat, I don’t want the jacket to be a mess.

        • I think it’s not so much the material in and of itself, but more the look that polyester cam sometimes have. I feel that not all polyester suiting fabrics are created equal, and some just end up looking cheap, feeling stiff, not draping well, having an odd texture, etc. So I think a lot of times, people like wool suiting just because it doesn’t necessarily have those same negative qualities that polyester can have. But obviously the right quality polyester fabric can be extremely useful, as you suggested, because it doesn’t wrinkle.

  38. springtime :

    To everyone who helped convince me I’m crazy for thinking I should opt for a less “flashy” graduation/birthday gift: thank you so much for your advice!

    One ring in particular caught my eye but it was high on the price range so I felt guilty. The jeweler offered to change the main stone to make it cheaper to alleviate my guilt, but my parents told me: if you love it, get it. So I got it. I can’t stop staring at it while I work!

    I am so happy with my ring and you guys are right- if someone wants to judge me by my ring, then I don’t care. It’s not overly flashy, just very timeless and beautiful. People have noticed it already (mostly good- “what a pretty ring!” and some looks of “intrigue” which I happily ignored) and I’ve avoided the temptation to downplay it! It’s beautiful, I could afford it, I’m studying my BUTT off for two bar exams (and submitting a paper for publication) and if looking at it makes me happy, then it was a great choice.

    To the person who posted about being worried about her massive inheritance: I don’t have experience with this but I think it is ridiculous to worry about what other people think- you got blessed with something amazing, and it’s no one’s business. If their jealous, that’s their problem. Plus, you sound amazingly responsible and want to put all of the money to good use! (i.e., loan payments, downpayment on a property, etc.). If I was your friend, I would be REALLY happy for you!

    • Thanks! I’m glad you got your ring, too, I was rooting for your to get it :)

  39. For those corporettes who have transitioned out of biglaw, when and why did you do so? How did you know when it was the right time and how much financial security did you have (i.e., a spouse that supported you, an equal salary outside of biglaw, substantial savings, etc.)?

    I have an opportunity to leave my current firm (not well known in my practice area) to go to another firm that is at the top of my practice area or leave law altogether and run a small business that is on the brink of bankruptcy (the passive owners are looking for new management, so I would have a lot of control over the venture, but it’s very risky and only pays $40k in nyc). DH is a biglaw attorney so we would still have his salary. We have savings (approx. $150k) and no student loans. This is kind of one of those blink and you’ll miss it opportunities, but it’s a huge switch that I wasn’t really thinking of making for a few more years.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    • Always anon for the personal ones... :

      I left after ~4.5 years. I had honestly been looking on and off for about two, because I knew I didn’t want to do big law long term, but I also didn’t really know what I wanted to do, let alone if I wanted to be an attorney.

      My situation is totally different… single, not a whole bunch in savings (maybe $40k?), and I’m still paying off student loans (which I’m really kicking myself for now; PSA to anyone starting biglaw, just suck it up and make paying the loans off a priority! yes, the interest rates are low compared to other debt, etc., and yes, I can still afford my loans even with the huge pay cut I took, but I salivate over the idea of the mental and financial freedom of being loan-free).

      My job offer kind of came out of the blue — I had applied over a year ago, got short-listed but ultimately didn’t get the job, and pretty much forgot about it. Fast-forward a year, and I got an email (which was delivered to my spam folder, which for some reason I happened to check that day), and a month later I moved overseas and have been relishing the new work environment and challenges and freedom from all the b.s. about big law, and the billable hour.

      My job isn’t perfect — I don’t know that any job is. But making the move was absolutely the right decision for me, and given what you’ve said, I for one would encourage you to take the leap with this venture.

    • I also left biglaw as a fifth year, also single with some savings (enough to put 20% down on a condo in my new city, but not nearly as much as you) and loans to pay off (though not much, and I almost never think about it, so not having paid them off doesn’t bother me). I left to go to my dream job, and in doing so moved across the country and took a 70% paycut. It was absolutely worth it.

      I guess the things I would consider if I were you would be :

      (1) does either of the new potential jobs feel like a dream job, or at least a substantially better job, but for the paycut;

      (2) will the experience give you the ability to transition later on if the new job doesn’t pan out as you hope; and

      (3) how does your husband feel about you leaving biglaw to chase your dreams?

      The last one would be the critical one to me — I can understand if he would have a hard time staying in biglaw to allow you to try something new, if he doesn’t love what he is doing. Otherwise, it seems that, financially, you are well suited to making the change, and you haven’t given a reason why you think you should hold off. Go for it.

  40. anonymouse :

    I don’t know how many gay corporetters there are out there but New York State has legalized gay marriage – finally!

    • I’m neither gay nor in New York but I’m happy about it, too.

    • DammitJanet :

      Agreed!

    • I am not gay but agree there should be EQUAL rights for EVERYBODY. So this is a GOOD law.

      I think Governer Coumo was VERY good NOT to make this a POLITICAL issue. It is a SOCIAL issue, and I think it is GOOD.

      I have a coworker who is gay, and he is VERY happy this law is now passed. He is going to have a PARTY at his house to celebrate, and even the manageing partner is going to bring his family!

    • LinLondon :

      The Senator for my district is one of the Republicans who voted in favor. I’m currently registered in PA (where I went to college), but I think I’m going to register back home just to vote for him (I live abroad, I’m not a vote fraudster or anything…). So grateful for everyone who had the courage and perseverance to get that bill through!

    • I’m so, so happy about this, too! It’s amazing how much progress we’ve made.

      • Lex Caritas :

        I live abroad but am a NYC native – I will be marrying my partner as soon as this is available. Now all we need is federal immigration rights to go with it.

        The NY times article about the process of the Republicans turning gave me goosebumps.

        Hurray!

  41. Turtle Wexler :

    I need help! I took a pair of pants from a BR suit in today to get hemmed – the first pair I’ve ever needed shortened – and I had no idea what length they should be! I’ve heard that they should cover the heel of your shoe, but I plan on wearing these pants with my highest (4″) heels and that rule leaves a lot of space between my hem and the ground. I tend to like my jeans long and dragging, but I know that doesn’t work for dress pants … I just don’t know what does. Thoughts? Is there a hard-and-fast rule? How long is too long?

    • Sandy McSouthers :

      Best. Book. EVER!!!

      I would bring to the tailor’s and wear the 4″ heels you want to wear the pants with and see what the tailor recommends/how it looks pinned.

      • Turtle Wexler :

        Why hello Mr. Westing :-)

        I took the pants in to a random tailor a friend recommended. She took my lead and pinned where I sort of randomly decided it looked good, but then I got to thinking about whether I should call tomorrow and tell them to hold off/do it differently. The tailor, while nice, didn’t seem to have any particularized knowledge on the subject. Maybe that should be a red flag…?

        • If you will be wearing the pants with 4″ heels, they should look wrong and way too long when you’re barefoot. I like my dress pants to brush the top of my shoe (over the ball of my foot) — any longer and my foot disappears, any shorter and the pants flap around when walking and “feel” too short.

    • Julian R. Eastman :

      Sorry I’m late to the game ;-)

      No seriously, I JUST reread this book yesterday because I remembered loving it as a kid. Great Corporette minds think alike?

    • Barney Northrup (usually known as Bunkster) :

      I posted about re-reading a childhood favorite a couple of weeks ago. It was The Westing Game. Now I’m reading it to my nieces.

      The 6-year-old is keeping a notebook with all the clues. And all the other adults in my family (mom, sister, brother-in-law, etc) are listening, too. Apparently, I’m the only one in my family who ever read it.

      • Julian R. Eastman (lostintranslation) :

        You were probably the one who reminded me of it then. Thanks! Maybe it’s the nerd/engineer in me, but this book was way cooler than more contemporary young fiction (Twilight?!).

        I think I’m the only one in my family who read it too. But my my brother is a humanities prodigy so he was probably reading Anna Karenina or the Fountainhead at that time, even though he’s 4 yrs younger… :-)

        • The Westing Game is one of my all-time favorite books! I still remember my 6th grade teacher practically coercing me to read it… I don’t know why I was resistant, but when I finally picked it up, I couldn’t put it down! I can’t wait until my pseudo-nieces and nephews (i.e., children of friends) are old enough to read… they’re getting all manner of wonderful books as presents from me and they’re going to like it!

      • OMG, I am the only one in I know in real life who has ever read (and loved) this book. I can’t believe it.

    • Anonymous :

      My tailor always pins my pants so they hit the middle of the heels i’m wearing.

    • Check out the topic “perfect pants length” on youlookfab.com.

      Angie recommends pants hems no farther than 1/2″ from the floor. That means if you hem your pants for 4″ heels, you wear 4″ heels every time you wear those pants.

      Since I read her posts, I have observed other women’s pants lengths walking around, and have become convinced she is right. Pants that are the proper length for the shoes being worn look more fluid and flattering than pants that stop abruptly two inches above the ground.

  42. Ok, I do have bigger problems than this one, but I’m hoping for some empathy or ideas. My DH wears a suit to work daily and looks handsome and professional. However, when he’s not working, he wears casual clothes which I can only think to describe as fitting the “teenage-gangsta” look. He wears Ed Hardy t-shirts and ripped jeans. First of all, he looks like a thug wannabe, and secondly, those Ed Hardy tees aren’t even in style anymore!!! I have told him he is outdated but he doesn’t believe me. Frankly, I am embarrassed when I run into professional acquaintances, or even friends, when I’m with my husband dressed like that. FYI, he is in his mid-30s. Any suggestions?

    • If you’re going somewhere the clothing is actually inappropriate for — the theater, a nice restaurant, a work-related social event — I think it’s fine to tell him that he’s dressed too casually. Otherwise, you need to let it go. You’ve mentioned your opinion to him, but what he wears is ultimately his decision. And it’s a lot more annoying to be the person who tries to control every aspect of their partner than the person who wears unfashionable clothing.

    • Does your H like to shop? If he does and he’s buying those sorts of outfits because he likes them, then I don’t know that you can do much about it. But, if he’s only wearing that stuff because he has it already, he doesn’t want to go shopping, and he knows it was “cool” at one point, that’s a better problem to have. I shop for my H. He hates to go and would wear some really atrocious things if I didn’t just replace items periodically. You might try to purchase him a few things and tell him that the outfit caught your eye and you think he’d look great in it?

      • Yeah, he does like to shop, but lately it’s been for work clothes. His “gangsta” clothes are all very old. I suspect they are very comfortable and he is probably trying to hold on to his youth. I just think they are simply ugly though. I do encourage him to buy nicer clothes and compliment him on it but then he’ll continue to pull out those old clothes to wear.

        • Hmm…perhaps it’s time for some coordinated washing of new pink/red clothes with his old t-shirts? (Just kidding…sort of).

          But I think I agree with ST, if he dresses appropriately for work and when you go to events, there is not a whole lot you can do about the casual clothes. Half of my fiance’s shirts have holes in them…

        • Be careful what you wish for. Judging from my husband’s friends, the new casual look is “unwashed hipster,” complete with scraggly un-groomed beard. Thankfully my husband’s casual look is still 1950s Weekend Dad.

  43. I’m thinking about upgrading to a smartphone. I’ve used Blackberries for work in the past, but my current job has no requirement to be connected around the clock. So this would be a strictly personal phone (as in, I’m paying), with work-related stuff kept to the bare minimum.

    I would like to stick with T-Mobile, so that makes the iPhone less of an option unless I buy an unlocked one and cut down a SIM card. Doable, but an expensive hassle. Plus, I recently bought an iPod Touch, and I rarely use it because it’s too big for working out (I stick with my nano) and too small for surfing the web for extended periods (stick with my laptop). Plus, I find touch screen typing to be incredibly tedious. But an iPhone! Everyone has one! I want too! Though wouldn’t I feel silly for buying one now when the next gen is supposed to come out in a few months?

    I’m leaning toward a Blackberry Bold. I like the physical keyboard, the international capabilities (GSM and relatively inexpensive roaming charges on T-Mobile if I don’t pop in a local SIM card), the ability to connect to any T-Mobile hotspot for free (useful for many hotels and airports, which would allow me to get the cheapest data plan). But I’m not crazy about the small screen, and I don’t know too many people who use Blackberries if they’re not required for work. Everyone has an iPhone! (Or a Droid.)

    I’m hesitant to lock myself into a two-year contract, but I’m not impressed with the smartphones available on pay-as-you-go plans.

    Any thoughts?

    • You should probably repost this on a thread tomorrow for more responses, but here are my thoughts…

      I know a handful of people who use blackberries when not required for work because they like having a physical keyboard. I’ve got an LG touchscreen phone running android platform, which I got solely because it was the cheapest smartphone option, and it’s fine, but the lack of a physical keyboard does annoy me sometimes (though it does have this awesome swipe-to-text feature where you sort of trace the word on the keyboard rather than lifting your finger to hit each key). I honestly don’t think there’s that much difference between iphones and android-powered phones, except maybe for some higher-end features that I personally would never use (I also am really not a fan of Apple because, with some exceptions, I don’t think their products are actually any better, and sometimes worse; they just have good marketing). I think it depends on what you want a smartphone for. In my case, I really just wanted email/web browsing, so I just went with the cheapest option. If you want to watch videos or stream music, you should probably get something better.

      Oh, also, on feeling silly buying something now when the next generation is coming out in a few months–don’t. The next generation will always be coming out in a few months. Whatever you buy, it won’t be the newest thing for long. That’s just how technology works.

      • oh, and I’m on Verizon (which is great as far as coverage, in my experience), so I can’t help with strictly T-Mobile options. Also, I think T-Mobile was recently purchased by or is in the process of being purchased by AT&T. I don’t know what that will mean for their service/networks, but you might want to look into it before you lock yourself into a long contract if you don’t like AT&T.

    • My husband bought a blackberry for his personal phone and sorely regretted it. Web services are just not good, and there are almost no good apps for the blackberry. When his phone was stolen 2 weeks ago he was almost gleeful. He did a lot of research because he wanted an iPhone but our service also blocks a lot of features. So he ended up with an Android phone that is basically an iPhone copycat. It has a lot of features, it’s cheaper and less restricted than an iPhone, and it has a ton of memory.

      The fake keyboard does take some getting used to, though. I don’t have one, but many of my friends have iPhones and I am amazed watching them tap away, quite rapidly!