Weekly News Update

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New York Magazine tackles the “how tow wear black and navy” question.
Searching for Style has some nice thoughts on business casual.
The WSJ tells you how to redo your to-do list to actually get more done.  Working Mother magazine has advice for all working women from 10 executive moms.
Ask a Manager ponders how to handle condescension from older male coworkers.  Something that probably won’t help: signing work emails “xo,” a new trend according to The Atlantic.
Great on the Job has some great networking advice.
– At year-end, I thought I’d give a few links to a few of the “top charities” lists circulating:  here’s the list from Real Simple, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Forbes. Readers, which are your favorites?
SparkPeople has a nice list of the Top 100 Workout Songs of 2012.

Did we miss anything? Add ’em here, or send them to [email protected] Thank you!


  1. Need a little advice. One of my siblings was recently hospitalized. We’re not exactly sure what is/was wrong yet, but the suspicion is mental health issues that have magnified with age. We still don’t know.

    The sibling, who lived out of the country, moved back to my hometown to undergo more testing, some outpatient treatment, and be in a “very supportive environment” (the rest of my immediate family lives in or around my hometown. I live elsewhere.). SIbling cannot have alochol, is on meds that make him/her act a little atypical. But nobody has told the extended family what happened. As far as the extended fam. knows, the sibling is back in town for “an extended CHristmas visit” and is looking at moving back home.

    I’m close with the sibling, and we’re figuring a lot of this out together. But my sibling (and my parents) have made it clear they don’t want to share what happened/what might be wrong/what is wrong yet with family because everything is still in flux. How do I help my sibling through this very weird time? Anticipated awkwardness includes: “what aren’t you drinking?” “what are you doing in town?” “how long are you staying?” “what happened to your job in [other country]?”

    Any ideas?

    • Taking a break/ exploring other possibilities can be a good cover story follwoed by a swift change in topic. People will likely assume sibling was a victim of the economy and just not ask too many questions. Especially if several members of the family are around and in on the game, you shouldn’t have too hard of a time creating a diversion. I wish your family the best.

    • style advice needed... :

      It’s a little unclear if you are worrying about how ?you can ask those questions, or if you are worrying about how to answer if others ask? Time to simply be supportive to your sibling. Health issues aren’t ?weird. They are part of life and it is best if you don’t make your sibling feel any more “weird” or stressed then they already might already feel.

      It appears to me that you may not be very close with your sibling, or there may be family dynamics issues. Then I encourage you to give your sibling some space, and just be supportive. Does it really matter what the diagnosis is at this point?

      “It is good to see you, and have you home…. If there is anything you need, I am here…. I am thinking about you….”

      With regard to the questions… There are simple answers that can be given to all that are not too revealing. Moving back home and looking for options, taking a break while moving back to US, spending time with family, holidays, “I’m not sure yet…” are all answers that many of us give in life. Not all of us are on the fast track at all times.

      The biggest favor you can give your sibling is to stay out of details, and just be loving and supportive.

      • No no, it’s not how *I* can engage with the sib. I engaged plenty when my family and I flew out of the country on 3 hours notice because there were all kinds of health problems that came crashing down. We’ve always had a very close relationship, and that’s exactly why I’m starting to preemptively think of the stuff that will become a stresser over the holidays.

        My question is how best to help the sib deal with non-immediate family asking questions about why/how long/for what s/he is in town. “exploring opportunities” or implied economic situations aren’t really a good story; s/he is at the end of a phD program which s/he has now taken leave from to return to the states. We managed to tell my grandmother that the sib “got some extra time off” for now and are going to hope she doesn’t ask too many questions–but that won’t work for everyone.

        • saacnmama :

          Most PhD programs I know of end with dissertation writing and then there’s always a period of applying for stuff and waiting forever to get replies–fellowships, temp positions, permanent positions, grants, whatever. They all take months to get back to you. If sib is either prepping for exams or is officially writing, that sounds to me like ideal cover. You don’t have to give specifics, just tell stories about what other people did at the end of their PhD.

          How sweet of you to be concerned about your sib in this way!

          I understand that this is a pretty advanced crisis, but sib might want to look into dissertation support groups, available online and at most universities. It is generally a stressful time for a lot of people, as much a psychological stress test as an academic exercise.

          Good luck!

  2. saacnmama :

    I’d think you could totally brush those off. Sib is in town for an extended Christmas visit, is taking a break, reconsidering, really missed family and x feature of the area, is really enjoying the time with fam and friends, etc. Not drinking=part of taking a break. Might occasionally want to throw in a comment about something nice in the other place, but then return to praising local setting.
    We came crashing back from Europe when some awful things happened with my son. To this day, it amazes me that my family’s friends are convinced that it was just a happy time for us to return home–no clue of how awful that time was for us.
    People really don’t want to know reality if it isn’t pretty.

    • That’s what my mother seems to think will happen. Sib and I are coming up with back up plans, just in case. We have decided to deflect with humor and truly preposterous reasons that will clue the ask-er to shut up about it and enjoy the fruitcake. DH has suggested “having some health issues, don’t know much else but glad to have them back in the neighborhood!” We used that to explain to his parents why we had to cancel on them to book it overseas.

      I guess I just anticipate that everybody is as much of a busybody as me :)

  3. style advice needed... :

    Some favorite charities this year…

    Planned Parenthood
    Partners in Health

  4. Thanks for the shout out! And also, you inspired me when I was planning my 6 weeks maternity leave (which I am now on.) I did mini-interviews instead of guest posts, but it has worked out really nicely and I am getting some rest with my new daughter.

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