Thursday’s Workwear Report: Wool Dress with Pockets

Our daily workwear reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

We’re featuring this dress in purple but do note that it come in a basic black as well as a heather flannel. It looks like a great basic for the office if you need one, and it’s lined and made from a wool/poly blend — with a concealed back zip. It’s nice (and unusual) to see J.Crew offering sizes up to 20, although the petite size range goes from 00-12. It was $128 but J.Crew Factory has it for just $64. Wool Dress with Pockets

Here’s a plus-size option.

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  1. heatherskib :

    I have the heather grey in this and wear it often. I always get complimented on it.

    • Shopaholic :

      I love the color of this! How does it fit through the stomach/hips?

      • heatherskib :

        Pretty good actually. I’m hippy, and have gained a pooch since my spay. it’s awesome to have pockets, too.

    • I have this dress in black, cobalt and heather grey. It wear the dresses frequently and think they look nice. I have a small chest, so it’s a bit big there. It’s perfect for my hips and camouflages my 2 baby belly pretty well. The fabric doesn’t have much stretch. I think it looks really nice and it’s one of my wardrobe staples.

    • Rebecca in Dallas :

      I have it in cobalt, it’s a great dress!

  2. Anonymous :

    I want to get out and move to a new state. Been in Florida for the last 15 years or so. Can you all recommend any places for a young 20 something?

    • Anonymous :

      I moved to DC a few years ago and love it!

      • Seconded, as long as you’re on board woth the cost of living. DC has a lot to offer twentysomethings and DINK-thirtysomethings.

    • Progressive? Seattle or Portland. Or Minnesota.

    • Give us a little more info – what field do you work in? What are your hobbies? Do you think you’d like the big city or something smaller? Is cost of living a huge concern?

      • Anonymous :

        Good questions.

        Cost of living is a big concern. I work in accounting. Preferably a big city. I love the outdoors though!

        • Charlotte!

          • Anonymous :

            I have to second this. Low cost of living, a very, very, very CLEAN city, and tons of outdoor activities just 15 minutes away. I moved from the northeast and my husband from Los Angles and we couldn’t be happier.

          • I have to second this. Low cost of living, a very, very, very CLEAN city, and tons of outdoor activities just 15 minutes away. I moved from the northeast and my husband from Los Angles and we couldn’t be happier.

        • JuniorMinion :

          I live in Houston – which is great from a career opportunity vs cost of living perspective and the weather (other than July and August) is pretty mild and nice here. All the big accounting firms have a presence. In terms of outdoors there is definitely stuff outside (think sports leagues / tennis) but it is not as outdoor focused as the Pac NW and there aren’t the hiking / skiing opportunities if that is your jam. Also when you say big city, Houston is definitely a “global city” (largely due to the fact that almost all energy companies are headquartered here or have most of their people here) – I think we are projected to overtake Chicago by 2025.

          Austin is super outdoorsy (and awesome from a food / nightlife perspective to boot!), but I don’t know a ton of people who don’t work for a tech startup who have found really solid jobs there – on average most of the people I know who live in Austin have taken a career downgrade in order to be in Austin.

          • Was going to suggest Austin too. There are quite a few giant corporations there and you can likely get a job in their accounting departments if you’re find going in-house.

          • Austin is on the pricier side though, if that’s a consideration. And I would disagree about the super outdoorsy comment. There are a few trails but in my opinion, no more than other big cities, and they are really crowded, as are most things in the city.

          • JuniorMinion :

            A friend of mine who lived there for ~10 years said one of the things she disliked about Austin was that a lot of the social life is based around club sports / doing outdoor things – so if thats what OP means by “be outdoors” she might like it?

            I have found some of the hill country trails to be spectacular and not crazy crowded and ~20-30 minutes outside Austin (like denver with skiing). But yes, if you are talking about Lady Bird / Zilker park and the like its basically Texas’ version of Central park….

          • I live in Houston, and agree with Anon at 10:59. I love the outdoors but live in Houston for the COL and my stable, cushy job. I went to school in Austin and go there fairly regularly to rock climb (Because it’s the closest outdoor climbing I have access to, not because it’s good. It’s not.) and I think I have a good sense of the city. I wouldn’t move there.

            For that COL, you can move to places that are WAY more outdoorsy like Denver, or Salt Lake City (and SLC would be cheaper). Austin has some very mediocre rock climbing and a couple of pretty running trails, and that’s about it. It is reasonably bike friendly if you live close enough to things to bike to them, but if you don’t the car traffic is some of the worst in the country.

        • anon a mouse :

          Seattle. A family member is an outdoors-loving accountant there and he raves about so many aspects of his life.

        • LCOL still city and awesome :

          Columbus, OH!

      • Shenandoah :

        That’s easy… Richmond!

        Relatively low cost of living, very outdoorsy, awesome food scene, tons of breweries, plenty of fellow young professionals, and it’s sort of the perfect size city with several distinct, charming neighborhoods.

        • I agree with all of those things about Richmond but I found it fairly insular. I moved there at 26, recently married, and had a really hard time making friends. I think if you’re willing to do River City Social Club (aka beer and kickball) you’ll be good, but that wasn’t my scene.

          I personally think downtown Raleigh is pretty cool with young professionals right now, Charlotte, Phoenix or Denver as well.

        • Hopefully OP isn’t diverse in any way — diversity is “accepted” in the sense that you’ll find surface level friends, but it still really is an old school type of city that doesn’t know what to do with you unless you’re white or AA. It is overall pretty insular and small. There may be some Big 4 offices there, but they’ll be small offices and I guarantee you you’ll be seen as the odd one out if you didn’t go to VCU, Richmond, or UVa. As for all the “charming” neighborhoods – I agree the homes/apartments in the fan are gorgeous but there is a fair amount of crime. Wouldn’t be my choice – go to a real city – if you want a southern city Raleigh or Charlotte would be my starting points; both have a LOT more transplants which makes it easier to make friends etc.

    • Denver!

      • My 24-year old cousin is moving there soon, so I think it might be just right for someone that age – especially if you’re outdoorsy. (I’m seriously confused by the weather there, though, and have no idea if it would be a bit of a shock to a lifelong Floridian).

        • I think there’s almost nowhere else with better weather, assuming you actually want 4 real seasons. In the summer it gets hot, but not unbearable like the south (because there is no humidity). In the winter you get snow, but almost every day is still clear and sunny, so it’s never nearly as miserable as, say, the NE during winter. Fall is amazing. The only season that isn’t fantastic is spring, but it’s really only one month of more rain than normal (and the rest of the year it almost never rains).

          • Well, now *I* want to move to Denver! ;)

          • And the mountains right next to you… swoon. As you can tell, I’m a little upset that I’m now back in NY instead of CO :)

          • JuniorMinion :

            Denver is my pipe dream town. Unfortunately my job situation disagrees with this.

      • +1 to Denver! My SO and I are planning to move there later this year, currently in DC. Long-distance job search sucks but it will be worth it.

    • Denver or San Antonio if you don’t want snow

    • Nashvillian :


      • Oh yes, or of course Nashville. It’s where I went to college and my #1 dream city one day.

        • Another Nashvillian here – yes, Nashville is a great place to live. Lots of folks here who aren’t from here, which makes it easy to move here, make friends, and fit in. COL is higher than it used to be, particularly housing costs. Nightlife is great. Laid back vibe. Lacking in public transit but we’re aware of it and trying to improve.

    • Chicago! Chicago is the best! Low housing costs considering the big-city living, awesome arts and music scene, good food, young people doing cool stuff, you don’t need a car (really!)… it’s so great.

      • Grew up in Chicago +1 a million! I’m 26 and am actively trying to move back after going to school in the South and working in Atlanta for a few years.

      • Agree- Chicago is awesome! My best friend is from Chicago and lives in NYC and is so angry about the cost of everything. In Chicago, you can have in-unit laundry, parking, a doorman, a balcony, an extra bedroom, all at a lower cost but with a comparable salary as in NYC, LA, SF, and DC — as well as arts scene (everything from symphony to live bands to stand up comedy), awesome museums, architecture, shopping, plenty of hobbies/sports/activities to do, incredible food, neighborhoods, sports to cheer on, city life, close suburbs with a short commute in, easy airport access to everywhere, the lake, renowned high schools, universities, and hospitals, variety in jobs and industries (you can be a barista or a banker and have a great life in Chicago as it is the hub of the midwest), etc. Chicago summers are also just electric and the winters are about the same as NYC– although if you’re from Florida, it is a shock. Fall is beautiful. I think the people are ‘city sophisticated’ while also being midwestern nice. So they will mercifully look away if you cry on the subway (oh public trans! you can have a car but don’t need one), but if you sneeze on the sidewalk a stranger will say “bless you.” Nearly every Chicagoan I know moves back or is trying to move back.

    • You could alway’s come to NYC. We have people from EVERYWHERE here, so you wont feel loneley if you leave your freind’s behind. You should know that Florida is alot warmer then NYC, so you would have to wear winter clotheing here and pay more for heating bills. But it is NYC, and there is no city like NYC, (at least in MY opinion). Even Dad likes NYC better then DC, where all of his goverment freinds are. We also have good restrunts here. We do NOT have some things that FLORIDA has, like alligators and big trucks made for riding thru the mud. So it is your choice., but at least you are already MARRIED, so that is a good thing, b/c the men here do NOT want to marry, just have s-x. FOOEY!

  3. Not sure how tall this model is but I have the factory version and it is longer on me, skimming knee. I’m 5-6″ I don’t think factory one has pockets but I could be misremembering or this could be an update. Check before ordering, though, if pockets matter to you

    • Anonymous :

      Is there a non-factory version of this dress? I don’t think the post makes it clear that JCrew and JCrew Mercantile (Factory) are two different lines. I like the heather grey better, I don’t love this color for work – it reads very Easter Sunday at church to me.

      • I’ll add that the statement “it was $128” isn’t accurate based on how J. Crew Factory advertises its prices. It says “valued at,” but never actually sold for $128. This manner of pricing at many outlet stores is the subject of litigation, since consumers allege (I think reasonably) that it’s misleading when clothing was never manufactured to sell in the store’s main line and was never actually priced at the quoted “value” price. Link to follow.

      • Anonymous :

        This is the Factory version of the Emmaleigh dress for regular J. Crew. I have a version of this that is 5 or so years old in superfine cotton. Luxe feel, wrinkles easily, functional pockets. Fits an inch above the knee on 5’6″.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m 6’0 and this dress is almost indecently short on me. I really wish I hadn’t bought it on final sale…

    • heatherskib :

      I’m 5’8″ longer legs than torso. It’s knee length on me and does have pockets.

    • I’m 5’9″. It’s knee length on me and longer than the J Crew (non factory) interview dress I also have. It has pockets but I am afraid to open them!

      • Odd! I am 5’6 and the factory version is too short on me. Past fingertips but when I sit down, it’s party time.

  4. Anonymous :

    Looks like the model needs to size up – the dress looks way too tight on her.

    • Agreed, it looks awkward on her.

    • I feel like all the JCrew factory stuff is too tight on the bottom, like right around the hips where it looks too tight on her.

    • Marshmallow :

      I have it in two colors and, indeed, needed to size up. But they look great and I appreciate the pockets.

      Also– I can’t believe nobody has mentioned it yet, but the light gray and black dresses are part of the Factory suiting sets. I wear them with the matching suit jackets frequently.

    • Definitely much too small. I also find the factory versions of J.Crew clothing to be shorter.

  5. Anonymous :

    Suggestions for a non-Zika beach-y vacation from DC? I know this has been discussed before, but Bermuda and Florida panhandle are out. We are going to Naples, FL in September and would like a beachy vacation before then. Is there any place in the US (including Florida, other than Miami and Naples) where we can nice beaches, calm clear water and beautiful pools & resorts? Basically, as close to the Carribean experience as possible? I am pregnant and we have a toddler and we are planning to go in June/July. We were considering the Florida Keys, but I hear that there are no beaches in Key West?

    • Anonymous :

      Cooca Beach, Clearwater, Sarasota Beach – all voted pretty good. Sarasota and Clearwater have much calmer waves and are on the cleaner side. Cocoa Beach is for surfers.

      • No calm or clear water in Cocoa Beach. I would look at the west coast of Florida. St. Pete, Siesta Key, Clearwater

        • pugsnbourbon :

          Correct, I love Cocoa Beach dearly but you’re not going to be able to see your feet like you can on the Gulf coast.

    • Anonymous :

      I meant Naples is out, not the Florida panhandle. Thanks.

    • Anonymous :

      If you’re thinking of July, what about Canada? No zika, short flight to Toronto or Ottawa and then rent a cottage or stay at a hotel/resort in cottage country? A few larger lakes have sandy beaches. It’s Canada’s 150th birthday this year so lots of events/activities happening. You would need to go mid July for it to be hot enough.

      • +1 Ottawa. It’s incredibly beautiful and the beaches are so lovely, plus almost all the provincial parks have beaches and cabins too.

      • Senior Attorney :

        And Quebec is awesome! Quebec City is like going to France without the long plane ride!

    • Anonymous :

      Why no Panhandle? Destin has really nice beaches.
      There are beaches in the Keys, but overall not as n ice as Miami and the Gulf Coast and if Miami is out because of Zika, I’m not sure you’d want to go further south.

      • Agree. Rosemary Beach, Alys Beach and Seaside are fabulous and kid/family friendly. Great restaurants and beautiful beaches.

    • Friends who live in Texas love Orange Beach, Alabama with their little kids.

    • Hilton Head

      • Is Hilton Head “calm, clear water” a la the Caribbean? I’ve been to Kiawah lots of times and while the beach is huge and gorgeous, it’s not calm and clear water.

        • There’s nowhere in the US that’s really like the Caribbean except parts of Florida, and even that is not exactly the same.

        • Yeah, no, it’s not the same. You’re not going to get the exact feel of the Caribbean outside of the Caribbean, so you have to prioritize what about it you liked. If it’s the big sandy beaches and warmth, you definitely want to be in the south. But if it’s the calm, clear water, look more at lakes further north.

    • I am so f**king sick of this question.

    • Don’t go to a Florida gulf (west coast) beach at the height of the summer, the gulf gets really hot and the water can be unsafe for swimming due to plankton blooms. Beaches on the Atlantic have more waves (not clear water) and the water is colder.

  6. Nose piercing? Yes! :

    I had posted a couple of weeks ago about how I’ve wanted a nostril piercing for a long time, but was concerned about how my office would receive it. I appreciated all the advice and wanted to tell you that I did it and I *love* it. And after three days, exactly one person at work has said anything about it. HA! It’s been a good reminder that I obsess about myself way more than anyone else does.

    • BabyAssociate :

      Good for you for going for it, I’m sure it looks great!

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Yes! I have been spending way too much time checking my bun, making sure no sneaky purples or reds are peeking out, but I am pretty sure no one cares. Hurrah for doing the things we wanted to do!

    • Calibrachoa :

      People can be really unobservant about these things. Just last week I had someone comment on a tattoo I have literally had as long as I know them in a “oh when did you get that I hadn’t noticed that before” despite the tattoo being blatantly obvious when I am not wearing sleeves…

      • Had this exact same experience recently. I have been working here for almost 3 years, and usually wear skirts, so my ankle tattoo is visible almost every day. My boss _just_ noticed it and commented on it like 2 weeks ago.

        Good for you OP!

    • I didn’t see your prior post so I’m not sure how formal your office is, but please be aware that just because no one says anything to you doesn’t mean it won’t impact your career progression in subtle ways. I’ve seen this happen in the context of leaving someone with non-traditional piercings, tattoos, unconventional style out of interactions with senior execs and clients. I used to have a nostril piercing and removed it because of concern about perception by my company’s older, more traditional management. Just wanted to give you the other side.

      • Nose piercing? Yes! :

        I appreciate that, and considered that before getting the piercing. I have been in-house for a year after 10 years in BigLaw; I didn’t do it before because I didn’t feel comfortable having a piercing in front of clients, court, etc. FWIW, I also spoke to HR before doing it. To the one person in my group who has asked about it, I emphasized the ethnic angle (I’m S Asian).

        I don’t know if the piercing will negatively impact my standing here; it might, but I’m of the mind that if it does, then this wouldn’t be a place I’d want to stick around for. (Easier said, now that I’m more established in my career). I should add: Although I am S Asian, I’d be put off if a piercing like this one were viewed negatively in someone of a different ethnicity.

  7. Anonymous :

    How do you handle dinner checks at girls’ night out, or as frequently in my group of friends, birthday dinners? I’m very careful with money since taking a paycut to go in house last year, and I’m finding that every time I attend one of these, people order at least twice as much as I do and then try to divide the check equally among the attendees. I’ll frequently have one drink, share an app, and get a small entree, while others each get 2-3 drinks, app, salad/soup, entree, dessert and coffee. I don’t want the solution to be skipping entirely, but I also hate to have the awkward discussion every time that I’d like a separate check. Thoughts on how to handle this gracefully?

    • Honestly I just deal with it. Sure I’m not in biglaw anymore, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t splurge at all; and for me — I’m not going out enough for it to really make a dent in my budget — it’s more like once every 2-3 months.

      • +1 – this is just the cost of admission for this kind of event. Think of it as an entertainment fee, cut back when you eat alone or elsewhere, or just skip it if it’s a budget strain you don’t want to make.

    • Bring cash and chip in your portion, then have everyone else split the remaining balance.

      • Yeah, that would be annoying.

        Honestly – you just deal with it. If you know this is going to happen, maybe go less frequently, but indulge like the rest of the group? That’s what I would do.

        • Why? Those who are not OK paying a higher price for someone else’s meal can put in cash, those who are can split the rest. What’s really annoying (esp for the server) is writing down different amounts to put on each card or asking the server to split the bill into individual portions.

      • I think this is the only way to tactfully solve this. I expect groups of early-to-mid 20-somethings to ask for separate checks/meticulously split up the bill. Not people older than that.

        • Disagree. You shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s meal and drinks, no matter how much you make/how old you are. Maybe talk to the friend that organized it and let her know you’d like your own check?

          • But it’s extremely annoying for the server. That’s why I think you should be prepared with cash to pay for your own portion.

          • But the cash could be used for a tip, which is not annoying to the server.

    • I learned through a previous thread here a while back that many of the restaurants in Big Cities don’t allow checks split by seat and it blew my mind. Where I’m from, every seat is given their own bill for their own order in nearly every restaurant. None of this awkward split-the-whole-total nonsense.

      • Same here. I don’t understand these discussions at all. Every restaurant I’ve ever been to just keys in each order separately, then combines it or separates it as needed. It’s literally as simple as just hitting a different button and grabbing a few more of those little check holder things.

        • Anonymous :

          I’ve never been a server, but I doubt it is literally that simple. If you’ve got a table of 6, the server has to print out 6 receipts (let’s assume this part is simple and it’s just a matter of hitting a print button once and not individually for each check, but I don’t know) and put them in separate folios, and then check to make sure they’re handing the right one to the right person. Arguably, this isn’t much different than bringing the right dish to each person at the table, so ok, easy enough.

          But then you’ve got 6 cards you have to swipe. And then 6 signed receipts you have to close out at the end of your shift. I have no idea how many people a server has over the course of a shift, but let’s say over the entire shift, they have 50 tables of 6. If the table pays together, that’s 50 cards to run and 50 receipts to close out at the end of the night. If everyone pays separately, that number becomes 300. I think it’s difficult to argue it doesn’t add a meaningful amount of time to their job (either during their shift when they’re trying to attend to tables, or at midnight after close) to have to run 300 charges vs. 50.

          I’m not saying this as some horrible guilt trip for anyone who asks for a split check. There are valid reasons to split sometimes. But it seems like a massive pain for servers if it were to become the norm to have to split every single check just because, even where the amounts among people are pretty close and you’re all friends (the resistance below to “subsidizing” $1 toward’s a friends meal is bizarre to me…if you really think it will never even out, why are you friends with this person?)

          • I have been a server, and there are a few more steps that you mention, but they are far from onerous. It’s a lot more trouble to ask the server for extra salad dressing or to refill drinks or some other normal part of the job.

            The last place I worked had a system that automatically created a “check” for each seat – and you have to put the order in by seat anyway (so it goes to the right person). So, at the end, you just tell the system which checks go together – very simple. The computer does all of the work as far as running and closing out the checks, so that’s not really much extra, either. In other words, yes, there’s a little more work, but it’s a tiny portion of the things that constitute hard work for a server. I assume that it’s different if there’s no POS system, but very few places don’t have those these days.

            50 tables of 6 would be a VERY busy night!

    • We always split the check evenly – it’s never been an issue. That said, my friends are not jerks and if one of us orders something way more expensive than the others, we proactively offer up the additional portion or get someone’s full meal the next time. In my group, it all ends up evening out over time.

    • We always figure out our own portion. If it is a birthday dinner then we each pitch in for the person we are celebrating. If it is a place where we all ordered roughly the same price then we just split it evenly. If I don’t want to split evenly, then I take the check and figure out my portion so everyone knows that is what to expect. We are all really close though and understand budget concerns.

    • I take control of the scenario by asking the waiter to bring separate checks.

      • +1

        It has been my experience that waiters don’t balk at doing this for even large parties (10+) IF you ask them to do it in advance. Ask for a separate check when you place your order and it shouldn’t be a big deal. Splitting it up at the end is what pisses them off and leads to confusion.

      • +2 Definitely ask for separate cheques. In the event that the restaurant has a policy against separate cheques, yes, you just have to suck it up.

      • Nudibranch :


    • Yeah I just gave up doing this because I noticed that the ones that kept going were the ones that would order alllllllll the food and drinks and the ones who ate a typical amount (a drink, maybe share an appetizer or a large entree so you could try some things) also got fed up and stopped going. It would be like 12 appetizers for 8 people in addition to multiple extra entrees “for the table” that half the table never even saw. Suddenly I was paying $150 just for me to eat a nice-ish Italian restaurant when all I had eaten was a soda, 3 slices of pizza, and a bruschetta. It drove me crazy, but I wasn’t the only one and it was largely abandoned by the group. All this is to say, sorry. Your only choices are to decide you’re not going to care or it drives you crazy and I was not able to just let it go.

      • This is exactly it! Also, $100+ bottles of wine “for the table” without telling anyone how much it cost and then pouring some for everyone, so you feel obligated to chip in.

    • Honestly if a friend who was an in house attorney (I’m assuming) asked for separate checks – I’d wonder what the heck the issue was. Sure you took a pay cut, but I’m fairly sure you make more than 95% of Americans. Is it THAT big of a deal if dinner costs you an extra $10? (And no – I am not the one who is typically ordering a ton of stuff and making my friends pay, in fact I don’t even drink so I am never the one running up the tab for others.)

      • It’s more like an extra $40, not $10. To me, that’s real money, even if I still make more than most Americans do.

      • I agree, if you were saying your friends were all Big Law and dragging you to fancy places and you were teaching preschool and living paycheck to paycheck, that’s one thing. But this is one of those things that a close circle of friends can either discuss, or you can stop going. Before you pick the place, express any budget concerns (“I’m down with XYZ Fancyplace but I’m watching my budget and may only grab an app”) and certainly before you order, you should ask (or remind) the that you’ll be getting a separate check, “is it cool if I get a separate check tonight?” For birthday dinners specifically, I’d really advocate that you simply split it. If you really cannot get behind that, bring cash for yourself and your portion of the birthday gal’s (and round up.)

        Typically, for non birthday dinners if someone didn’t order much, we tell them not to worry about the tip.

    • I don’t think it’s about how much you make or can afford – you shouldn’t be paying for other people’s stuff. I either ask for a separate check or just do the math to figure out how much I owe and put in the cash. I did this when I was in college and broke, when I was in Big Law making $200k and now that I’ve left legal practice and am in a quasi-legal position making about $60k. I don’t worry about it if I have dinner with a friend and she orders $22 worth of stuff and I order $19 worth of stuff, but if the difference is significant, you better believe I am only covering what I ordered. None of my friends have ever seemed fazed by this.

      • This is exactly where I come down on this. First of all, yes I can afford to pay $75 for dinner, but no, I don’t want to. I live frugally by choice because I have plans to try to retire early. I understand that these are my choices and that that sometimes means I turn down dinner invitations if the chosen restaurant is outside my price range.

        BUT. Equally, people who choose to order expensive drinks, appetizers, entrees, and desserts when they go out are also responsible for their own financial choices. If I only ordered one dish at $20 and no drinks, but everyone else ordered $75 worth of food and drinks, why should I subsidize them? I’m their friend, not their banker.

      • Especially with venmo and easy ways to transfer money, I completely agree.

    • I see how you feel but I agree that you this is the price of admission. Order more food and drink for yourself and enjoy. There was one girl in my social group who always did this years ago and years later this is the one thing that people remember about her.

      If you were unemployed or between jobs that’s very different. But even with a paycut clearly you are making good money as an in house attorney. I would let this go. I would also suggest doing more brunches or lunches rather than dinners — people drink less/don’t drink and overall bill is cheaper.

    • The only way I know to handle it is to chip in cash. Sometimes if it’s easier, leave a little before the check comes and chip in that way.

      Frankly I think it’s insane that people think putting down cash to cover your share is rude, but not that it’s rude to expect someone else to cover part of your drinks/dessert.

      Signed, still burned from the dinner I went to where a friend ordered a $150 seafood tower “for the table” of 8 of us when I’m allergic to shellfish, and still expected it to be split 8 ways. Not interested in paying $19 for food I didn’t eat, no matter how much money I make.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I found this annoying too. It was also one particular friend (M) whose friends I wasn’t close to — it was always that group. It was easy enough to decline most things, and just hang out with M one-on-one or with ‘my’ friends, but once a year I knew I would have to spend $$$ on a dumb dinner at a see-and-be-seen place to spend time with women I didn’t like (they were very “omg it’s real life s*x in the city!”), because it was M’s birthday. But boy did I hate that scene.

      My solution: move across the country?

      Though I will say, with my true friends, it matters far less because we see one another with some regularity, so “I’ll get you this time, you’ll get me next time” pans out.

    • Marshmallow :

      I took a huge pay cut this year and I still just deal with it. I decline invitations every once in a while to make up the difference, and if I can get a hand in choosing the restaurant, I try to choose somewhere less expensive. But it isn’t worth putting a damper on everyone’s indulgent mood over a fairly small amount of money.

      • THIS. I just don’t feel comfortable coming across as if I can’t afford something – when reality is it’s $40 extra that I CAN afford and I just don’t want to spend it; I don’t want people thinking I can’t afford it. So if I REALLY don’t want to spend, I decline. If I’m ok with it – spend it without making a fuss.

        • Why don’t you want them thinking you can’t afford it? Exactly what negative thing does it say about you if you can’t afford something?

          I realize the desire to not look poor is an extremely common one, but I think we should as a society push back against the idea that looking poor is bad. Money does not correlate with individual worth. Not wanting to look like you can’t afford something is not a good reason to spend money.

          • Sorry but I’ve worked hard to get to where I am and I do NOT want people thinking $50 here or there is too much for me. YMMV.

          • Anonymama :

            This is really interesting to me, because some of my most parsimonious friends were ones who definitely could afford it (trust funds etc), so I wonder if always having lots of money can make you less likely to feel bad about being “cheap” or money conscious?

          • +1, Torin. The idea that we think “not being able to afford” something is a character flaw, or something to be avoided, is kind of ridiculous to me.

            People make different amounts of money. Some people make a lot of money but have different spending and saving priorities.

            I grew up in a household that made well more than most of my peer group’s. I was often told we couldn’t afford things, not because we didn’t have the money in the bank, but because our priorities were different. How is this a bad thing?

            DH and I make a combined $240K in a MCOL area. We have also worked really hard to get where we are. We have no kids, but do have a mortgage and hefty student loans. We routinely talk about things we “can’t afford” (going out to eat often, expensive clothes, cocktail hours, fancy cars) because we have savings and debt servicing goals.

            I don’t want to be friends with people who would judge me for “not being able to afford” things like this.

            But then, YMMV, Anon.

          • I guess my mileage does vary. I have also worked hard to get where I am. I just have different priorities. $50 here or there is hundreds and then thousands of dollars over time not accumulating interest in my retirement account, and to me that _is_ too much. I don’t judge people with different priorities, and I don’t expect to be judged for mine. If a “friend” were to, well, that person isn’t really a very good friend.

    • I don’t go if I can’t afford it. And if I do go I order at the same level as anyone else.

    • Birthday dinners I happily split – that is the cost of attendance for me at those events. I expect to pick up an even share of the birthday person’s dinner as well.

      Friends’ dinners people are pretty good about splitting up, or one person will cover the check and venmo later. If I can’t afford it, I don’t go or meet them at the bar for a drink beforehand.

    • Man, I feel for the folks living where split checks aren’t a thing. It’s very customary, where I am, for the waiter to ask a group if they prefer separate checks.

      I agree with those who have said that this is annoying and unfair. I also agree with the people who have said making a big deal out of it makes you look cheap and not-fun. Nothing kills the groove of a great lunch or night out like someone sitting there with her phone calculator, splitting the bill down to the last penny. There was a woman like this in a group of ladies I went out with, and we eventually just stopped inviting her to go out with us. (I should say that beyond just being cheap she would get rude with the wait staff about the check; after the second time she embarrassed us we quit calling her.)

      I think going out less or suggesting cheaper places are both viable options, as is bringing cash (including 5s and 1s) to pay your portion. I never have a problem with people saying “sorry, I only have cash.” I usually just then take their cash and put the whole check on my card (it’s all rewards-points for me, anyway). I don’t think being “that lady” and insisting that the cashier only put $45.21 AND NOT A PENNY MORE! on your card is a great way to win friends and influence people. My opinion, of course.

    • We split it evenly if it’s close. If one person orders slightly less, then we still split but that person does not tip. We only parse it out if it’s a huge difference.

    • The solution here is to quietly mention to the server (at the beginning of the evening) that you’d like to be on your own separate check. Then make sure you don’t have any of the communal wine/appetizers.

    • To the people who say request split checks – I don’t know where you live, but I’m in the DC area and a lot of restaurants refuse (or don’t like…) to split checks with parties larger than either 4-6 people. This causes a lot of hassle for birthday dinners, so within my friend groups we’ve mutually agreed that for large birthday dinners, we’ll all split the check. Generally one person will pay the entire bill and everyone else will use venmo/paypal/cash to pay back the person who put it all on their credit card.

      For other group dinners, someone will usually volunteer to do the bill breakdown and once each of us has determined how much we should pay individually (so no one gets overcharged when they only ordered an appetizer), we pay the main payer back via venmo/paypal/cash.

      FWIW we’re late 20s-early 30s.

      • one more thing – we work in hugely varying industries (from highly paid finance or engineering to not so well paid science/nonprofit/govt) so maybe that’s why no one really minds if someone says they’re watching their budget)

    • If the difference is within a few dollars, my friends and I split evenly. If it’s more than we’ll split according to what people ordered. I don’t get the whole price of admission thing or not wanting to look poor that’s being discussed on this thread. I wouldn’t judge a friend for not wanting to partially cover my night out regardless of how much money he or she makes. It’s not my money, so why do I feel entitled to it? If i’m out with someone who isn’t part of my regular circle of friends, I’ll take charge of the situation when the check comes.

    • Don’t go out to eat with people who have significantly different spending/dining habits than you, honestly. One side will never understand the other and there will always be resentment. Or, if you do, eat beforehand/afterwards and tell them you can’t eat with them (pick one of a million excuses) but you’ll join them for drinks. It feels a lot less weird asking for a separate check right off the bat in that situation, or just throwing down the cash for your drinks & tip at the end.

      In the circle we usually eat out with, none of us are big spenders and are happy to share apps and desserts within reason, so we always split the bill evenly and there’s never a fuss. When we go out with new people, it kind of sours the meal when they turn out to be calculators. We don’t argue and just divide the bill how they wish, but we generally avoid eating out with them in the future.

      I agree with some of the above comments that paying the extra $ here and there is the price of admission for holding a social in a restaurant.

    • Jitterbug :

      Two options:

      1) Consider the extra money the “price you pay” for a fun night out with friends. You’re helping to treat them to food and drinks, and they in turn are fun to be around. Assuming, of course, you are having fun.

      2) Get your own check while everyone else splits the rest. This could mean explaining to the server and/or group that you’re trying to stick to a budget, or it could mean asking the server away from the table and paying at the register, or it could mean making up an excuse to leave early, which usually allows you to pay separately.

  8. I’m struggling and could really use the solid advice from the Hive. After a year and a half, my relationship has hit a snag. I no longer trust my partner. It’s complicated to explain but I’ll say there hasn’t been cheating. But there has been attempts/the desire to (think being caught on a dating app). He’s indicated that he seeks out flirting with strangers when he’s bored. It has nothing to do with a physical need (not that emotional is excusable). We’re trying to worth through this. At my urging, he’s thinking about therapy. I told him we can’t go any further until the issue is addressed (it’s been a pattern in all his relationships apparently).

    Here’s my question: how do I start to rebuild trust? I know it’s mainly on him but if he truly works on himself, how do I move past the trauma? I know there are married couples/long-term relationship ladies out there that have rebuilt their relationships. I’d love to know how you did it.

    • housecounsel :

      Why do you want to work through this? He has shown you who he is. Believe him. I don’t remember who said that but it is someone wise.

      • Maya Angelou.

        And, agreed.

      • FWIW I’ve noticed that men do not like to break up. They treat you badly so you will break up with them. I’m so sorry this must be very painful but move on. A wonderful man is out there waiting for you but you won’t find him if you are with this dude.

      • Senior Attorney :

        This this thisity this this.

        It’s been a pattern in ALL his relationships.

        This is who he is.

        Please do not volunteer for this. There are lovely men out there who don’t do things like this.

        Your other choice is to decide this is the price of admission to the relationship and accept that he flirts when he’s bored.

        Fixing him is almost certainly not an option and I think (with all love, really!) you’d be foolish to try.

    • Anonymous :

      “He’s indicated that he seeks out flirting with strangers when he’s bored.” Unless he sees this as a significant problem and is willing to work diligently (e.g. via therapy) to change it, I’m not sure how you can move forward. If you’ve been together a year and a half, there should be no reason for him to be on any dating sites or apps at all. Like he should delete his accounts.

      I’m going to presume (because you haven’t mentioned them) – there are no kids, job issues, housing problems, or aging parents requiring care that either of you are having to deal with right now. If this is how he acts when he’s ‘bored’ how will he act when you are facing real stress and you do not have the time to immediately address his emotional or physical needs?

      • +1. This is the phase that is supposed to be easy. If he can’t even maintain his commitment to you now, the prospects are grim for the long haul. I’m sorry.

        • Co-sign. I’ve been with my husband 20 years and that is deal-breaker behavior. He’s “bored” a year and a half in? What happens in 5, 10 or 20 years? I sometimes think people here are quick to jump to the “dump him” advice, but not in this case. I’m sorry to say this, and I hope I don’t hurt your feelings because this is not about you. But you’re probably just not what he’s looking for. He’s either using you as a placeholder until he meets someone he thinks is better, or he’s one of those guys who is never going to really be able to commit to anyone. Either way, you deserve better! Cut him loose so you can meet someone who will have more respect for you.

    • Can’t help here. In my experience, trust and respect are two things you can’t get back in a relationship. I can’t confirm that’s universal, but it has certainly been the case for me. I can forgive a lot, but if I can’t trust you or if I lose respect for you, relationship doesn’t recover. In my teens and early twenties I stayed in relationships for far too long hoping that these sort of things would get better with time – didn’t. Later in life I got better at getting out sooner and not wasting my (and their) time.

    • I’m sorry. This sounds like the type of person who will never be worthy of your trust. Who wants to go through a relationship being constantly concerned that your partner will cheat on you?

      • Plus, I would be even more concerned that his need to cheat is emotional, rather than physical.

        • Not the OP, but that is a great point that I never would have considered, and explains something about a past partner of mine. Thanks.

    • Anonymous :

      Break up. You’ve been together for a year and a half. You don’t trust him because he isn’t trustworthy. Quit wasting your time.

    • Girl get out before you waste any more time

    • You don’t. Not with this person.

    • First off, this is not something I could deal with personally. BUT I am casual friends with a couple and when the man is out without his gf, he will sometimes buy drinks for other women, chat them up, etc. He is a very chatty person with everyone (men or women) so the only real undeniable distinction between chatting and flirting is that he will buy women drinks, often for 2 or 3 girls who are out together. I find it bizarre and would absolutely be pissed if my husband pulled that. But… he never acts on it, and doesn’t even seem to want to. It’s like he’s testing the waters just because he wants the validation of knowing “he’s still got it.” Which is in a very different league than actual cheating to me and says to me that he should be in therapy, but not that he is untrustworthy.

      • Really? From my understanding she has made it clear this bothers her and he is still continuing this behavior. Also, actively going on apps is different than going out and being flirty – both are sketchy in my opinion but the former is more malicious/intentional.

        While I think therapy is important for his sake in getting help (especially if he has done this in other relationships it sounds like there are deeper things going on) I think OP needs to cut ties because it seems like shes doing all the work when it needs to be the other way around…(i.e. her being the one to try to get him in therapy and her worrying about rebuilding trust – HE needs to be doing that)

        • I agree that the app thing is worse and, as I said, I wouldn’t put up with it in either form. But I was giving this example of somewhat analogous behavior by someone I don’t view as malicious as an example of the difference between full-on cheating and other sketchball behavior because OP said she wants to work on the relationship.

          • The way I view it is that its simply bad/malicious because OP has said it bothers her and he still does it. Kind of like what ‘tribble’ below says, it sounds like he wants to be monogamish and OP does not, therefore its wrong and by the terms theyve set in their relationship (perhaps only in her view, I dont know if theyve actually discussed this or theyre acting on assumptions) it is as close to cheating as one could get without pulling the trigger.

            I think the only reason your friend example isnt malicious is because by the terms set by your friend and his gf, this is acceptable behavior (regardless of if its the norm/most of us on here wouldnt be ok with it).

    • 1. Don’t think that because people overcome trust issues in a marriage/basically-married-LTR you should be doing the same in your 1.5 year relationship. The dealbreaker calculus is a lot different once you’ve thoroughly entangled your life with another person. If your married friends are telling you to give him another chance because they would for their husbands – and I have no idea if they are but just in case – seriously stop talking to them about your relationship. A year and a half is nothing to sneeze at but you’re in that relatively-easy-to-extract-yourself stage where you shouldn’t be trying to cope with fundamental compatibility issues for the sake of the family unit.

      2. Along that note, I am not a monogamish person but on behalf of those who are, I find the kneejerk therapy reaction to be… misguided. He does not need to be fixed. There is nothing wrong with needing something that looks more monogamish than traditional monogamy. What’s wrong is staying in a relationship that doesn’t satisfy both partners’ needs. If he needs the thrill of the chase to be happy and you need traditional monogamy to be happy, then the two of you are not compatible.

      • Agree – I think the issue here is his dishonesty in expressing his needs, not the fact that they have incompatible needs. But I also wouldn’t trust someone like this in a monogamish relationship since he is clearly not honest, not with himself or with his partner, about what behavior is realistic or desirable to him. It sounds like they are incompatible both around monogamy (since he has done this in every relationship) and also around trustworthiness/communication/self awareness – the first is an issue even if they are communicating well, but the second part would be a problem for anyone regardless of their needs and desires.

      • #2 hit me in the gut. Thank you so much. Truly. Thank you.

      • “The dealbreaker calculus is a lot different once you’ve thoroughly entangled your life with another person.”

        This, a million times. All the single ladies! Do not put up with shenanigans like this for one second from guys you are just dating. I can say from observation bad habits like this just get worse as time goes on. I have a totally different opinion on what I will and won’t work through with my husband because it would involve the splitting of substantial financial assets, possible ongoing obligations of support and asset sharing, and shared custody of our children. If I was just dating someone and he pulled something like this? BOY BYE. Ignoring gigantic saving red flags like the OP is describing is how people get trapped in bad marriages or end up losing everything -including their self-respect – in a divorce.

      • I think 2 is a very good point. I’m Team Monogamy, but in my social experience, the people I know who are polyamorous actually tend to have the best relationship ethics, because honest and mutual consent to the precise level of exclusivity are fundamental to the way they operate. One of the longest-standing couples I know is not monogamous, but they are 100% faithful to their mutual agreement about how their relationship works (something that has changed over time).

        TL; DR – it’s fine if he needs something different, but he needs to pursue that in a relationship with someone who feels the same way.

    • DTMFA

  9. Anonymous :

    I had a falling out situation with a friend about two months ago that resulted in him disappearing/not talking to me. I just saw yesterday that this person blocked me on some social media (places I was seeing their content as recently as this weekend.) I never interacted with their posts, but it still stung to realize that. I just went ahead and removed him from any places we were still connected because it was obviously no longer benefiting me in any way to still be able to check his content, but man…. it does just feel crappy.

    It’s been a busy couple weeks at work, I have jet lag, there is some family stress going on, I’ve given up booze for the month because I was using it to cope with the stress, and it just felt like being kicked when I was down, even though I know I should also be “over it.” I’d like for the week to be over and/or to have three mimosas delivered to me by puppies.

    All aboard the struggle bus, I will be driving it today.

    • Anonymous :

      Front seat passenger here. Woke up late, broke a set of my glasses, spilled coffee on myself, was 10 minutes late to work. And! Though I packed my gym bag last night? Forgot to take it, so I guess I’m not making my yoga class immediately following work.

      I hope the rest of your week is less emotionally draining. Friend struggles are The Worst.

      • It’s okay, we can stop and get more coffee on the way.

        I am leaving the office a little early today to get my hair done, then meeting a friend to cook dinner together after. As long as nothing goes wrong, this should be fun! If something goes wrong, I might scream/burst in to tears on Metro.

        • That sounds like a wonderful evening. I’m living for tomorrow, when my new couch comes. And Saturday, when I have a morning hair appointment, and then plans to sit on the aforementioned couch and watch TV all afternoon.

        • Okay, I had to go get coffee because in addition to all the sh*t downthread, I left my afternoon coffee on the kitchen counter this morning. I don’t know if the guy taking my order screwed up, or was being nice to me since I had to wait a while…but dear server at Dunkin, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for the complimentary upgrade from a small to a medium.

    • With you on the bus. Did not get good news from the vet about my pup. Going to the veterinary oncologist next week.

      • So sorry :( I was thinking about you last night. Hugs.

      • Big internet stranger hugs.

        My pup also got similar news re: a mammary tumor she had removed last week. We got her when she was six (10 years old now), and she hadn’t been spayed, which is a risk factor for such tumors.

        So, PSA: owners of puppies, please spay your dogs. It does more than just prevent pregnancy.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Oh no, Emeralds I hope things end up ok. Hugs.

      • Oh no! I was hoping for something different.

      • Anon in NYC :

        I’m so sorry.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Oh giant hugs to you.

      • Marshmallow :

        Oh, no! Internet pup hugs.

      • driving the struggle bus :

        I’m so sorry. My family pup passed last year and I still get sad when I think about it. Sending good vibes your way!!

      • Thanks yall. The diagnosis seems unambiguous based on ultrasound and her symptoms, and I doubt that the oncologist will say anything different, but I need to hear it from a second source. The most aggressive treatment possible (major surgery + chemo) only buys dogs with her diagnosis another 2-3 months, and whether or not she gets treatment she could die suddenly at any point if one of her tumors ruptures and she bleeds out. I can’t handle the thought of something happening while I’m at work, and coming home to a corpse that died alone and in pain. So unless the oncologist says my vet was blind and doesn’t know how to read an ultrasound, which is unlikely, I’ll be putting her to sleep next week and focusing on making sure she lives her best life between now and then.

        • So so many hugs. :(

        • So sorry to hear that! I’ll be thinking of you.

        • Emeralds, I am so sorry.

          When our dog got cancer, we are also given an option (strongly not recommended by the vet) to give her chemo and see if she could hang on awhile longer. It was clear that option was for us, not for her. Her cancer was incurable and she was already in pain. It was so, so hard to lose her but I am so glad we did not try futile things and drag it out. Seeing her in pain for one day – her last day – was so hard. I would not have wanted to do that to her, to keep her in pain longer than absolutely necessary, for no good reason. Because there was no hope. So please know, if there are no good options for treatment, letting your girl go is absolutely the best thing and the most loving thing you can do for her.

          Big, big, big hugs to you.

          • 2 more things:
            – We lost both of our dogs within 18 months of each other. We were with both of them when they passed. As hard as it was, knowing we were there with them, holding their heads, was far better than having them die alone. Because I felt like, at least we could do that much for them.
            – Our dog with cancer was put down at the vet. Our other dog, who was 16 and had his kidneys quit on him, was put down at home. The home option has good and bad elements to it, but I’ve decided from now on, all our pets will be put down at home when the time comes. We had a great, amazingly compassionate vet come to the house and it was just more peaceful and easier to deal with than the vet situation. If that is an option in your area, you might consider it.

        • Oh, no. I’m so sorry to hear that.

        • Sending you sympathy and hugs. And FWIW, I think you will be doing the right thing. When our most beloved of all our dogs got cancer, many years ago, we treated her aggressively with surgery and chemo, even though she was about 12, and it was very hard on her; we regret it. And our last dog became very ill unexpectedly, went from chasing squirrels in the afternoon to being unable to walk by the middle of the night. He had multiple masses, almost certainly cancer, and one was putting pressure on his spine and apparently was about to rupture. We – well, the dog sitter and I, since ex-H and our son were both out of town – had to euthanize him the next morning, by which time he was in terrible pain. You do not want that to happen.

          And I agree that if your vet will come to the house to perform the euthanasia that is by far the best; we have done that for most of our dogs and cats and it greatly lessened their distress.

          • Cosign this. Emeralds I am so sorry to hear this.

            I had a similar experience to Jules with a beloved family cat — my mother opted to treat aggressively and the cat’s quality of life worsened significantly and it was very hard to watch. The treatment bought him another month of life at significantly reduced quality before she ultimately decided to euthanize. You’ll be doing the right thing if you skip the aggressive treatment, even though it’s hard.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I’m sick and my husband has quarantined me in the bedroom so I don’t get him and the baby sick (totally justified, and he’s taking good care of me, but it still sucks) and my boss keeps telling me “oh no, don’t [whatever], rest” and I am borrrred and I am stressing about all the things I’m not getting done, and won’t get done this weekend, blah. blah. blah.

    • Anon for this... for now :

      I got news today that the HR manager who behaved inappropriately is bringing formal disciplinary action against me and Have responded by filing a formal complaint so things are stressful.

      I will be in the back seat showing chocolate in my face and going “nope”

    • Found out that we may be losing our foster son who has been with us 2 years to someone who has spent 3 hours total with him. I will smack the next person who suggests that adoption is easy.

  10. Exfoliating Cleanser :

    Does anyone have recommendations for an exfoliating cleanser with AHA that they love?

    • Anonymous :

      Try an AHA that is not part of a cleanser. It needs to stay on your skin instead of being washed down the drain.

    • Anonymous :

      +1 to trying an AHA in liquid form, but I understand the want for something “scrubby”, and I like the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Scrub for that.

    • Scrubby things are just not good for your skin. You skin is really quite delicate. AHAs need to stay on your skin for at least 20 minutes to work. Alpha Skin Care and Paula’s Choice make really affordable AHA products.

      • Anonymous :

        Things like the dreaded St. Ives Apricot Scrub absolutely are bad, but all the research I’ve seen only comments on these types (with large irregularly shaped fruit pit pieces for exfoliation).

        • Well, the plastic microbeads are bad for the environment, so I’d put those out. And then what else is there, besides a washcloth or Clarisonic?

          • Chemical exfoliants, rather than physical (for anonymous at 10:35)

          • There are tons of alternatives in the physical category – salts, sugars, crushed nuts/seeds (crushed to a fine powder, not the kernals in the St. Ive’s scrub), oatmeal, jojoba beads. I am 100% in the chemical-exfoliants-are-awesome camp, but it’s a hard switch for people who are used to physical scrubs, so choosing a gentle one to transition is helpful!

          • KateMiddletown :

            I just bought one of those konjac sponges from TJ Maxx for $3. It’s supposedly biodegradeable, but I haven’t tried it yet as I’m on the retinol train right now.

          • Anonymous :

            Oh, I’m firmly in the chemical exfoliant camp myself. But I don’t think salts and sugars are really that great either for the skin either, nor is anything crushed. Obviously not as outrageously bad as the apricot scrub, but still potentially harmful because all of those things still have a sharp edge, even if much smaller, which still puts you at risk for micro-tears.

          • Anonymous :

            But again, size/shape of the particle seems to be a big part of the good/bad. It’s soooo highly debated. I moreso wanted to respond that alternatives do exist to microbeads and apricot pits (the question at 10:3).

            I recommend the following subreddit if you really want to go down the rabbit hole –

          • Anonymous :

            Sugar is much gentler than other things, it quite literally melts on wet skin. Of course this is in face specific products, not your generic sugar body scrub.

          • Nudibranch :

            Baking soda works well too.

          • Anonymous :

            The PH of baking soda can actually really mess up the acid mantle of your skin. And unfortunately it’s used in a ton of drugstore products for exfoliation, and touted as an at home method. That’s one I would try with caution.

  11. Anonymous :

    How does J Crew’s size 18 and 20 compare to, say, Talbots, LL Bean, or Lands End?

    I have an hourglass figure, and I’m in between straight and plus sizes (18/20 v. 18W/20W). Sometimes I can wear an 18 or 20 straight size, other times its too tight in the arms or hips. I was unaware J Crew had larger straight sizes.

    • I am normally a 20W, and I bought some stuff from JCrew factory in a 20. Anything knit–like a t-shirt or sweatshirt or sweater–is totally fine. I tried a dress, and it fit fine but was really short so went back. I tried a skirt, and it was too tight in the hips. I haven’t tried any non-knit with sleeves, because my arms tend to be disproportionately large, and I don’t anticipate that working.

    • Anonymous :

      Definitely, J Crew Factory/Mercantile has 18 and 20 in straight sizes, but the regular J Crew brand does not. No idea why that’s the case.
      In general from my experience, J Crew Factory is friendlier toward women with a curvy/hourglass/pear-shaped body type than regular J Crew.

    • I am a 16 or 18 at Ann Taylor, and I’m an 18 at J Crew Factory (haven’t tried any regular J Crew size 18s, but I wish they offered more items in the larger sizes…). I love the wool pencil skirts, I have 3 of them. I can do XL sweaters/knits at J Crew Factory too.

  12. Can’t help here. In my experience, trust and respect are two things you can’t get back in a relationship. I can’t confirm that’s universal, but it has certainly been the case for me. I can forgive a lot, but if I can’t trust you or if I lose respect for you, relationship doesn’t recover. In my teens and early twenties I stayed in relationships for far too long hoping that these sort of things would get better with time – didn’t. Later in life I got better at getting out sooner and not wasting my (and their) time.

  13. Work Conundrum :

    So, thanks to Tech Comm Geek’s suggestion, I checked out Ask A Manager for suggestions on how to handle my former boss that is basically treating me like I still work for him and is micromanaging my team. The other issue is that my current boss will not tell former boss that I don’t still work for him.

    It sounds like really the only thing for me to do is address it head on with him. I’m going to ask him to back off, so I can really deep dive into the process and learn what is going on. I plan on letting him know that I’ll still keep him close to the process, and I’m going to over-report on things to him until he gets comfortable that I have learned the process.

    Since my actual boss won’t support me in letting former boss know I don’t report to him, I’m going to treat as if I do report to him but try to get him to stay out of the day-to-day details. Let’s see if this works…

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      Good luck! I found Ask A Manager through here and it is a real resource for me.

    • PrettyPrimadonna :

      I recall your question from the other day, but not all the details. Remind me again why you can’t tell former boss you no longer work for him?

      • Work Conundrum :

        Because my current boss (who is also his boss) won’t tell him and wants me to “dotted line” report to him.

  14. My students were asked to write a briefing note for a government official. One of them has started it with “Dear Sir…” So we’re assuming all policymakers are men? Apparently my job for today is countering everyday s*xism!

    • Anonymous :

      ugh. I would be so tempted to dock that student’s grade for that.

      • Tempting. Sitting here grading papers and raging a bit. Why do they hate the alphabet (ref lists are in random order)?? Why do they try and fool me with word counts?

      • Please don’t dock him. That’s terrible. Much more valuable for the student to point out that many high level government officials are women.

        • Can’t she do both?

        • Constant Reader :

          Agree with AB — do both. What’s the goal of the assignment? To write an effective letter to a government official? If so, then he’s already made an ineffective and ignorant choice that will damage his cause if it goes to an official that happens to be a woman, because she’ll be rolling her eyes before she even gets to the text of the letter. And if the defense is “well, I was thinking of a specific official” then use the name and title.

          • Marshmallow :

            Yes. She’s not docking him for personal justice reasons, she’s docking him because “Dear Sir” is not an appropriate way to address a letter when you aren’t sure of the recipient’s gender. That’s an actual substantive mistake.

        • How is that terrible? She’s not talking about failing him. Plus, he’ll never make that mistake again if he loses points for it.

          • Assuming good intentions and including a gentle reminder but also figure my job is to prepare students for “real world” so would like to avoid them offending a prospective employer with a similar issue.

          • Wow. If she does this, I sure hope he docks her on student evals.

          • Senior Attorney :

            How is it not just plain flat out a mistake to address a government official about whom one knows nothing but his or her title as “Dear Sir?” It’s just wrong and depending on the grading rubric I can’t imagine how it’s inappropriate to subtract a point for that.

    • It’s a constant job! If it makes you feel better though – I work in government and literally everyone I report to through my ministry chain of command, other than my direct manager, is a woman (including my Minister and her Chief of Staff). It’s sort of fantastic – and even better it is just seen as completely normal and appropriate and not even commented on.

      • My civilian agency chain of command, up to the secretary level, is also all women and I am proud to be here and serve alongside them.

    • What were they supposed to do, not address it to anyone? What did the other students do? Chalk this up to an innocent mistake.

      • housecounsel :

        Dear Sir or Madam? Dear Representative? Dear Senator? I don’t know that I’d dock the student’s grade, but this is an opportunity to take the student aside and teach a valuable lesson.

        • Fair enough. Maybe he had a specific person in mind? I tend to air on the side of giving the benefit of the doubt in most cases, but I understand making it into a brief teaching opp.

          • Yeah, not something I’d penalise for on marks but the examples and guidance said not to address to a person. Just included a gentle note “for the future”, it’s a good opportunity to challenge some assumptions.

        • +1 It’s just laziness/ignorance to not add “or Madam”

    • Maybe get a grip? They’re teen boys – or younger – they assume influential people are men. They have to be shown/taught otherwise not be raged on bc you’re on some feminist power trip.

      • + 1000. I can’t believe people are telling you to dock this kid for an innocent assumption. Point it out and move on.

        • “Innocent assumptions,” as you put them, lead to many problems down the road.

          If you look above, however, you will see that Cb isn’t going to dock him — she wrote a note and did, in fact, move on. But it’s worth addressing, and was not, as she also points out, following the instructions of the prompt (do not address a specific person).

      • This.

      • Ehh…they are 19 / 20, studying social sciences and should probably know better. I wouldn’t hold it against the student (and it is anonymous so I have no idea who wrote it) but it’s important to call these things out kindly but firmly.

        • Cb, I don’t know why so many people are getting worked up over this. I think your response sounds entirely appropriate, measured, proportionate, and, you know, educational. I hope you’re taking none of the grousing about teaching evals personally.

          • Yeah for freaking real. As a student affairs professional and occasional instructor, this is exactly the kind of thing those numbskulls (said with love) need to learn in college, before they get into the real world where incorrectly addressing something like this has actual consequences.

      • Senior Attorney :

        WHAT? WHAT???

        Why on earth are we tiptoeing around this and worrying about hurting the students feelers? It’s just a mistake! Take off a point and move on!

        • I agree. I’m not sure how high-stakes these grades are, but when I was in school, we got docked points for all kinds of mistakes–factual mistakes, spelling mistakes, mathematical mistakes. I highly doubt any of my teachers sat around wondering if my misspelling was intentional and therefore shouldn’t cost me points. Making mistakes, having them pointed out, and losing points for them is how you learn to be more careful.

          • Yeah, a bit surprised but some good perspectives and it distracted me a bit from grading hell (50 of these to do in theee days).

            We talk a lot here about how these assumptions play out in the workplace (male coworkers calling women girls / assuming the woman is the assistant) and I think it is important as an educator to talk to students about these things – both to help them think critically about their assumptions and prepare them to behave appropriately in a professional environment.

    • Was this student intending to write this hypothetical briefing to the real-life male who holds the government position currently?

      As is the mantra around here, assume good intentions.

      • Good intentions assumed but just looked it up and org is headed by a woman! A gentle correction is noted in the feedback form and a reminder about sweeping statements and challenging our assumptions will be given in class… “No, Africa is not one country…” “Not all policymakers are male!”

        • ponte python's flying circus :

          Ha, there you go. Lesson: it will probably not sit well with your letter recipient if you get the salutation wrong. And then sneak it in – not all policymakers are male. If you’re in the UK this is *quite* visible – I mean, Theresa May!

    • Correct the person. I’ve received corporate memos and emails addressed to “Gentlemen” and it makes me super ragey.

    • heatherskib :

      I was actually docked in Middle school for addressing a sample business letter “Dear Sir or Madam.” I was told it was improper business technique. As an adult, I tend to default to “Dear First name Last Name” or “Position title last name.” Having a husband with a common female name and the rise of unisex names has made me disregard the old approach.

    • Coach Laura :

      Cb- I thought your students were over 18 not middle school. If adults I’d dock them. Under 18 I’d gently suggest. I teach graduate students in business and get things like “businessmen do xyz” and I do doc one percentage point -not much but come on. You have a female professor and half the class are business people who are women – join the 21st century.

    • are the state reps (senators/congresspeople) male?

    • At least you’re there to try to educate him. Good luck!

  15. Anonymous :

    Curious for the renters on here – I have relatively new tenants who have already shown themselves to be a little high maintenance. I just got an email asking for a whole house bug extermination because they’ve seen a few silverfish this week. They also want me to seal any holes in the basement.

    I want to treat real problems but they seem to have a lot of issues and it’s clouding my judgment. This is an older house in a bit of a wooded area so bugs aren’t uncommon. Their housekeeping is not great, especially in the basement – lots of boxes and piles of stuff. From a quick search on silverfish, many people say they saw a couple, made housekeeping changes and didn’t see them again.

    When would you all call your landlord to do what could be expensive treatments of this kind? My thinking is one treatment and a bunch of admonishments to keep the basement clean, get rid of boxes, run the humidier at all times, and run the bathroom fan after showers.

    • What does the lease say about pest control and allocation of responsibility?

    • Are regular pest control preventative treatments not a normal thing where you live? It seems like that would be part of basic house maintenance provided by the landlord (or tenant if required by the lease). Sealing up holes in the house and maintaining adequate insulation, caulking, and waterproofing also seems like good home maintenance. Now, if they are asking you to come change a lightbulb that they can reach with a step stool, I’d probably tell them to handle it themselves.

      • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

        Yeah, this. Are you doing any preventative treatment? I live in a warm climate with a substantial number of bugs, with roaches, giant flies, and silverfish being the most common insect vermin. I don’t know how often our building is sprayed on the exterior, but I think at least every few months. I have been lucky so far to not need to spray on the inside (which tells me the exterior spraying etc. is working, since I have seen roaches etc. in my neighborhood skittering around at night).

        There is also a difference between seeing a silverfish now and then, and seeing a good many of them. I would ask your tenants how many they have seen in a given amount of time. And then discuss that with an exterminator. Seeing a few in a week seems like more than they should be seeing, but I am not a professional.

    • Yeah, silverfish don’t really qualify as an infestation. They exist everywhere. I would document the piles of stuff (poor housekeeping) and then tell them that the exterminator cannot treat the house until it is cleaned up. Also, older houses in woods make poor storage facilities and if they want to preserve their belongings they will need to rent a climate-controlled storage unit.

      Having said that, I might also say that the yearly inspection is scheduled shortly and you will raise the issue with them. Having a yearly inspection isn’t a bad idea and it takes the burden off you.

      Signed, Someone who Grew Up in an Old House in the Woods

      • It would never even occur to me to call my landlord for a couple of silverfish. Houses (especially old houses in the woods!) just…have bugs occasionally.

    • Anonymous :

      One more comment – prior tenant lived there for 7 years and never called with this as an issue.

    • housecounsel :

      Pretty sure I’d flip out if I saw silverfish I’d ask for the same.

      • housecounsel :

        Ugh I can’t figure out how to correct my grammar. But I feel like you are being a bit cavalier. Bugs are a huge deal and if I were renting, I would make the same demands.

    • My apartment building offers extermination for anyone who needs it, monthly. I would probably expect (or at least hope for) the same in a house rental.

      • Monthly? Holy mackerel. I don’t think that’s typical in my area. Wouldn’t be able to make any money. I have several rentals over a period of 15 years and have done treatments once or twice on request.

        • I’m a renter (apartment) and it seems like we can get extermination on demand, but would probably get side-eyed if we asked for it more than every couple of months. I don’t think monthly is necessary.

          Then again I do think there’s a difference between apartments and houses – I would expect to be able to get an exterminator more frequently in an apartment than in a house.

        • I don’t think anyone actually uses it monthly… that would seem excessive. You sign up for it that month if you feel that you need it. I realize my post made it seem that I expect monthly extermination… I do not.

        • In the buildings I’ve lived in (corporate-owned larger complexes), the exterior was sprayed weekly. A resident could request the inside of their unit be sprayed but I think there was an extra charge–it wasn’t a lot, maybe $10, but enough of a deterrent to keep the average person from overdoing it because “why not.” We also paid something like $2 per month on our complex water bill to cover the cost of the external treatments.

          I rent in a townhouse that is a former apartment complex but units are individually owned. The HOA dues cover external treatments, and my lease provides that I would pay for interior treatments if desired.

          In every place I’ve lived here (TX), I’ve found the occasional small dead bug on or near windowsills that I just vacuum up, and even some golfball size roaches. The roaches still freak me out, but it’s Texas and roaches happen. I haven’t requested any interior treatment, though I admit having a small dog that licks his paws constantly is a big deterrent for me having someone come in and spray toxic chemicals on all the surfaces.

      • Ime apartment buildings need to do this a lot more frequently than SFHs. Most apartment complexes I’ve lived in had an exterminator spray the exterior every month and if you needed him to spray inside your unit you could ask. Now I own my townhouse and I have a service spray the exterior quarterly.

      • I lived in one of those giant buildings in DC that have hundreds of units and they had an exterminator come weekly for units that needed it.

      • PrettyPrimadonna :

        When I lived in an apartment complex, we had montly exterminator visits as well.

    • Oh god, I’m sorry – this is my roommate.

      Personally I would not call for silverfish (presumably a house centipede?) or limited numbers of roaches, but I’ve learned from living with this person that some people really cannot tolerate the thought of there being any bugs/mice in their space ever. I think your thinking is fine, but would agree with sealing the house is a good idea and would prevent future problems.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        Both are gross, but silverfish and house centipedes are different – silverfish tend to be a little smaller, are grayish-silver, small, and extremely fast. To me the look like a fossil come to life.

        House centipedes are horrifying monsters.

        • pugsnbourbon :

          Good lord I can’t write today!

        • I know they’re different, but (at least in my area) bugs that get called “silverfish” usually end up being house centipedes. I didn’t learn until I took an entomology class in high school.

          • And I knew I should not have googled house centipede…this is why I live in the NE and not Texas anymore. Too many bugs.

          • Sorry, Ann, but I’m in NY and have house centipedes! We Ortho spray the outside of our house every few months and it’s gotten muuuuch better. But they are horrifying.

            I found out our new house had them when standing in our unfurnished living room, holding my week-old baby, and seeing three on the wall in the middle of the day. I hate them so much. …On the bright side, they eat spiders.

          • Anonymous :

            October’s right – I grew up in DC and now live in NY and there have always been house centipedes. There are plenty of (mostly non-deadly) creepy crawlies in the NE.

        • New Tampanian :


          • Marshmallow :

            THE DEVIL’S PET. Exactly this.

            Someone who once had an infested dorm room and the college wouldn’t fix it.

    • Anon in NYC :

      How long have they been tenants? If it’s a fairly new relationship, I would probably follow what you said (exterminator plus instructions on how to minimize the amount of silverfish going forward). Mostly because you want the relationship to continue to move forward on good terms for the duration of their lease. My answer might be different if they’d been renting for a while because presumably the silverfish were not a pre-existing issue.

      I’ve always rented. I have mostly rented in high-rise buildings from a management company so there was regular pest control and I have never had a problem with roaches, ants, etc. A few years ago I moved to a much smaller building. My apartment windows now open up to the roof of the stores below my building (so I could walk out of my window onto a solid surface, rather than a fire escape).

      Since moving into this apartment, I have had two incidents with pests. The first was a cockroach in my apartment and 1 outside in the hallway; we notified the landlord just as an FYI and they said that if we saw more that we should let them know. If it had been more frequent or multiple cockroaches I probably would have expected them to do something about it. The second was an infestation of ants from outside that were coming through our window (ugh, I still shudder to think about finding ants in a container of breadcrumbs). We notified the landlord again. Their suggestion was to buy a bunch of ant traps (which they reimbursed us for), give it a little while, and if the problem persisted they would handle it. I believe that once we identified the source of the ants (an ant hill on the roof right under our window) that they actually handled getting rid of the source. Both times I felt like they handled the issues appropriately.

      • They’ve been there about 5 months now. Prior tenant was 7 years.

        • Anon in NYC :

          I wonder if they’ve ever rented in a more wooded location before. I think that changing seasons, a wooded area, and poor housekeeping sounds like a recipe for pests. FWIW, I would still hire an exterminator but also ask the exterminator to assess whether the tenants are contributing to the problem with the boxes/piles. This way you can communicate those findings to your tenants rather than just telling them that they’re bad housekeepers. As I mentioned, prior to my current apartment I’d never had a problem with pests and I didn’t change anything about my housekeeping from those apartments to my current one, so I wouldn’t have appreciated my landlord telling me that I was messy without some authority to back them up.

          Also, if this is not already spelled out in the lease agreement that you have, consider amending the lease to address pest control (or at least documenting it in email), like under what circumstances you’ll provide pest control versus what would be their financial responsibility. Personally, I wouldn’t expect my landlord to provide an exterminator for, like, 5 silverfish, but if it was an infestation I would feel differently. I might choose to hire an exterminator for the 5 silverfish, but that would be my choice/financial burden.

          I know that your previous tenant didn’t have these problems, but I do feel like a landlord should bear the burden of some amount of preventative maintenance.

    • “My thinking is one treatment and a bunch of admonishments to keep the basement clean, get rid of boxes, run the humidier at all times, and run the bathroom fan after showers.”

      That’s a lot of preventative steps to expect your renters to take. It’s one thing to expect them not to live like slobs, but asking them not to keep boxes around and run the humidifier and bathroom fans constantly seems a bit crazy. Silverfish don’t gross me out nearly as much as roaches, but I still think as the landlord you are obligated to do basic pest control and unless your tenants are doing something unreasonable that is clearly attracting bugs (like regularly leaving unsealed food out), this is a landlord problem, not a tenant problem and you need to do some pest control.

      • JuniorMinion :

        I think it depends on geography. I am in Houston, and we get serious bugs. Anything soft(er) (think boxes, packing material, stacks of newspapers, clothing) left on the floor attracts palmetto bugs. I live in a newish house where we spray for bugs on the recommended timeline and don’t leave any food out (even closed food like bananas!) and have our trash in an enclosed place, and we still find a few hardy souls survive our protocol.

        There are other quirks (nothing ever dries, if your wash doesn’t go immediately from washer to dryer it starts to mildew quickly) but depending on where OP is I could see running the fans as important.

        • We’re in DC area

          • JuniorMinion :

            Ah sorry – I’ve never lived there. I’ll just be down here fighting off the FLYING ROACHES (!!)

          • anon a mouse :

            Also DC area, we do quarterly pest treatments for our tenant. Anything beyond that is at the tenant’s expense.

          • I have an apartment in the DC area, high-rise. I get bugs occasionally (maybe notice one once a week?). Whatever. I grab a paper towel and flush them. It’s not a big deal. The building will spray when I ask. There is a restaurant downstairs which I assume does not help. (neither does the cat, sadly…. not earning his keep!)

            I’ve had a problem with mice in the past at a different building and THAT did freak me out.

      • She didn’t suggest running the bathroom fan constantly. It’s standard house maintenance to run the fan or open a window after showers/baths to address dampness.

        In my location it’s common in a basement apartment to run a dehumidifier all summer as things can get damp and attract bugs otherwise. Totally location dependent – we had friends from a drier area visit and they were totally confused by the concept of running the dehumidifier to make a place drier.

    • This sounds like a job for a giant lizard.

      • Thanks all. Good idea about letting the pest mgmt. company tell them to clean things up. Fortunately, I shouldn’t need to plug holes as silverfish don’t come in from the outside. So one treatment and hopefully that fixes it!

    • Silverfish are gross and what about boxes is going to attract pests? They are not high-maintenance, you are not high-maintenance enough.

      • Silverfish apparently eat box material. And again, 7 years prior, no service calls for pests.

        • I get that your last tenant never bothered you about this but rather than assuming it was never a problem/never happened for your last tenant I think you should instead assume that they just didn’t care/didn’t tell you.

      • Silverfish LOVE paper and paper products, and damp spaces. Heaven is a basement with pulp boxes and paper.

        • This. I grew up in Florida and now live in New Orleans. The only way to keep silverfish out in garages (no basements in these areas) is to store items in plastic containers, not cardboard boxes.

  16. After 2 years of not being able to contribute to investments (index funds) we’re finally in a place to start up again. I know you’re not supposed care about day-to-day price increases/decreases, but the market is so high right now that I’m hesitant to buy. Should I wait for it to decrease a bit, or just go ahead and buy today?

    • I’d say it depends on your time horizon, whether this is one chunk of money or the start of regular contributions, and what your alternatives are.

      For example, if this is one big contribution and you’d want to use it in a few years, I’d probably stay out. If this is the start back up of regular contributions you don’t need for 10 years and it would just sit in a savings account, I’d start investing (but for me, the biggest hurdle is just setting it up in the first place which is why I’d do it now rather than wait to time the market – which no one can really do – but then get busy and forget about it).

      • Thanks. These are regular monthly contributions; however, since it will be different amounts each month they will not be set automatically. Earmarked for retirement, so 25+ years out. I will just go ahead and buy!

  17. Out-of-line admin :

    My team’s admin seems to be confused about her role. Her job is to handle travel arrangements and expense vouchers, schedule meetings, create spreadsheets and other materials with clear guidance from the professional staff, coordinate requests with other departments, and answer one and only one specific type of inquiry from external stakeholders during designated periods of time. She is constantly neglecting these aspects of her role and instead is trying to do my job. For reference, I am a senior member of the professional staff with two advanced degrees and over a decade of experience; she does not have a college degree and is not qualified to do any of the tasks she’s trying to do. I have repeatedly brought this up with our team lead, who refuses to acknowledge that it’s a problem. Our department head agrees that it’s a problem, says he will address it with the team lead, and then chickens out and tells me and the rest of the team that it’s our responsibility to get the team lead to do something about it. The admin’s failure to do her own job and attempts to hijack my job, including inappropriate communication with clients, is undermining the integrity of our projects and our team’s credibility with clients. What would you do?

    • Out-of-line admin :

      Forgot to mention that I have addressed specific incidents with the admin directly, but that doesn’t seem to help.

    • Can you remove her responsibility re: contacting clients/external stakeholders? That would seem to take care of the main issue.

      • Out-of-line admin :

        Clients contact her with complex questions and she replies herself instead of forwarding them to one of the professional staff. The limited external contact that we do want her to have is unrelated to these inquiries, so taking that away wouldn’t prevent the problem contact.

        • Out-of-line admin :

          … and the team lead insists on bringing her to meetings where she gets exposure to clients, when the rest of us have asked him not to.

    • IMO your problem is the team lead, and the dept head who keeps punting this to you (and your peers). Until they get on board that she’s causing problems, and agree to do something about it, you’re not going to see any improvement. Since it doesn’t seem like that’s happening anytime soon, I’d be very direct with her about what you do and don’t want her to do on your behalf.

    • Frozen Peach :

      How long have she and the team lead been having garden parties?

      Sorry, feeling snarky today….

  18. Not Legal Counsel :

    I would like insight into how to work to change a policy within a Corporation – namely parental leave. My company (Fortune 500, Aerospace and Defense) does not offer fully paid maternity leave, and it has really bothered me since I started working here. When I have brought my frustration up to my local HR department on multiple occasions, they’ve told me to contact Corporate or call the ethics hotline. It seems to me there has to be a better way. I want push for fully paid parental leave within my company in a professional and effective manner. Should I just take our local HR’s advice and call the Ethics hotline? If so, how often? Once? Once a month? Once a week? Should I start writing letters to our Corporate offices – Ethics officer and CEO, like I would a member of Congress? Thank you in advance, hive!

    • My gut reaction was, HA, good luck with that, which is of course not at all helpful for your cause. The last numbers I saw on this were from 2016 and show that only 12% of employees in the US are offered paid maternity leave. If I was on the business side, I would want you to show me the numbers. Show me how offering paid maternity leave affects my bottom line (in a good way). Absent the ability to do that, I would guess your efforts will (unfortunately) be in vain.

      Do you have someone in HR that you trust to tell you if this is an issue that has been raised before? And if so, why it was denied?

      I wish you the best of luck!

    • You are not a constituent to whom your employer owes a response like an elected official. Consistent with the advice you received, I’d call the ethics hotline to make a plug for it — once. Then keep your ears open for opportunities to get involved in any task force/ women’s initiatives, etc. where you could present your policy suggestion. But if benefits aren’t in your job description, the company really doesn’t have to listen to you, and will probably be annoyed if you go overboard.

    • At my employer (state government) this conversation was initiated by the unions and eventually made its way into most of the labor contracts. It helped that it was framed as Parental (rather than Maternity) leave to allow dads, adoptive parents, same-sex spouses, and those who become parents through surrogacy equal access to time to bond with a new child.

      If a labor union isn’t available, I would start by writing letters to central HR. If they’re smart and recognize that (1) labor markets are tightening, and (2) other large employers are adding this benefit to their docket, your letters and the letters of any others at your company you can recruit to assist in this effort might be compelling.

    • I would absolutely focus on the business case angle – attracting and retaining top women workers. Top talent often means top schools which can be pricey and student loan payments are no joke when women are faced with having to take 3-4 months unpaid leave.

      I think Lean In had solidly researched info about how companies with more women perform better and that maternity leave policies attract and retain top talent.

      I’d focus on asking for a leave policy of FMLA paid and up to 3 additional months part or fulltime leave unpaid.

    • lucy stone :

      HR is probably fighting this because they don’t want to administer it – sad but maybe true. I’d talk to your supervisor about it. I’d also consider talking to a recruiter in HR and ask if they find that it’s hard to attract candidates since you lack this.

      • I’ll bite to this — it’s not the administration usually but, it’s perceived as a business cost that they don’t want to (and currently don’t have to) pay. Why would you give people money if you don’t have to (either legally or to be competitive for talent). Note: I don’t agree with this, but it happens.

        • Delta Dawn :

          At my employer, it would cost 20% of my salary to hire and train my replacement– it would only cost 10% to provide six weeks of parental leave. Do some research on what the costs would be. It may be less expensive than people think. Also, they’ve already budgeted to pay employees their full salary, so it’s not that they would have to come up with MORE money to pay them while on parental leave. They’ve already budgeted it.

          • Playing devil’s advocate, it may be budgeted but the view likely is that they aren’t receiving the return on their investment (your work product) during that period and/or they might have to hire temporary help.

    • Are you at a level in the organization where your opinion matters? If not, you’re going to need to find someone far higher on the food chain to advocate for this.

      FWIW, in my company, benefits changes are usually made as a result of broad based and consistent feedback on multiple years worth of company wide employee engagement/satisfaction surveys.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        I agree with this. At my employer there is a high ranking woman (to whom the HR department reports) who would be the person I would approach if I were going to advocate for paid parental leave.

    • Sort of hijacking this thread, but what do we think about Ivanka’s maternity leave plan? It doesn’t seem that different than what we already have– tax exemptions for childcare (don’t we already have this?) and 6 weeks of “protected” maternity leave. What does this even mean? I assume it means unpaid leave. So the only difference would be that people that were previously ineligible for FMLA would now have protection?

      • Not exactly :

        That’s not exactly right, because the Trump maternity leave plan would be paid, and they say it would be paid from money recovered from insurance fraud. I am not sure exactly what that means but know that the discussion is it would be paid leave. A problem with it is that it would only be maternity, not parental (to include dads).

    • Honestly? You can’t. I used to work at such a company (possibly the same leading company?) and there is nothing you can do. They want to focus on cost savings, like how you’ve been getting increasingly worse health insurance. You could maybe talk to the corporate women’s group and ask them for ideas, but it’ll go nowhere.

      • Please don’t accept the defeatist attitude posted at 11:20. You really can make a difference with this. I have done it within my organization and you can too. They do want to focus on cost savings, but see if you can find out how their retention is suffering or how many young parents move to other companies because of the lack of parental leave. Retention is a real metric that companies care about. Do other competing organizations offer it? In my industry, they do, and that affects what my employer is willing to do to retain talent. Do some research on what other comparable employers offer (if you’re an accounting firm, what is offered at major accounting firms? Above The Law did a study on parental leave, informal, and of the 60 responding law firms, ALL 60 offer at least eight paid weeks of parental leave, and the majority offered more than 12. Find comparable data for your industry).

    • I work for a Fortune 500 Aerospace and Defense company, and we get paid maternal leave and dads also get a week of paternal leave. Make the business case that your company is not keeping up with the industry standard, and that they could be losing a lot of talent to other companies as a result. I’d send one letter each to HR, Corporate, and the Ethics office. Ask your coworkers who also might be concerned about leave to contact them as well. Ask a corporate women’s group if they have pursued this issue. Also ask your manager if he/she has any ideas.

  19. Morning Redo Please :

    Overdrew my bank account. By five hundred dollars. Stupid mistake (super stupid). But I’m super irritated at myself.

    I set up an automatic transfer to happen on the 30th of each month to take money from my savings and put it back into checking; half my rent is deposited each paycheck into savings.

    There’s no 30th of the month in February.

    It’s already been a long morning. I also woke up an hour late. I’m about to cry.

    • I’m sorry. Is there a very high penalty? If it’s not more than $30 or so, I would just accept it, forgive yourself, and move on. Some people overdraft on their accounts constantly, and it’s really not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things. If it’s a higher fee, it can’t hurt to call your bank and explain the situation. It’s not unlikely that they would refund the overdraft fee, esp if this is the first time it’s happened.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Yes, particularly if you’ve been a customer for a long time. I had this happen once (student loans came in later than expected) and my bank refunded it right away. I just had to ask directly for them to refund it.

        • +1 worked at a bank and if it was a one-off (sometimes even a two or three off) we would refund it with no questions asked.

      • Absolutely call or drop by and ask your bank to refund. If it’s your first overdraft fee and you’ve been there a little while, they’ll probably give it back. And cut yourself a little slack, you’re doing your best and everyone is allowed to make mistakes.

      • Anon in NYC :

        Yes! I had a few things happen with bills not being paid during a particularly hectic time in my life. I called the various providers and they waived the fees.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      Arrrgghhhhh! Much sympathy and virtual coffee.

    • KateMiddletown :

      Call your bank! I’ve done this sort of stupid stuff before (and I work in Finance.) My checking account company is super forgiving when I ask them to remove overdraft fees. Ally Bank FTW

      • +1. TD bank has laughed at me (in a friendly way) before but then refunded my overdraft and talked me out of my tree.

    • If this is the first time you’ve over drafted in awhile, call your bank. They’ll almost certainly refund it back to you.

    • Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. I agree with COtoNY, see if the bank can do something about it if it’s a larger fee. Treat yourself to something tonight, even if it’s just taking a bath or making dessert.

      (Sort of related, I’m always a little irritated that February rent is the same as any other month, even though you’re getting three fewer days than on the 31-day months. But if you want to start a lease a week early you get a prorated fee!)

    • Don’t beat yourself up and definitely try to get a refund of the penalty. But it’s also worth exploring accounts with overdraft protection. My bank automatically transfers from my savings to checking when the checking balance gets low.

      • Morning Redo Please :

        There is a possibility this happened. I haven’t had a chance to look into it yet- got the mint notification as I was bolting out of my house twenty minutes late and stuck in a meeting now.

    • I’ve worked at a bank as a teller. If this is your first overdraft in a long time and you’ve been a customer at your bank for awhile, they’ll probably refund the fee as a courtesy. I’ve also once been on the customer side of it and had the fee refunded.

  20. Anyone have experience with a fellow associate trying to “bring them down”? Not sure if intentional, but colleague will make all sorts of comments that sound backhanded. I generally think we have a good relationship, but inevitably I’ll be wearing something I thought was really cute (you know, within bus. prof. realm) and feeling great about myself and she’ll make a comment about what I’m wearing that’s supposed to sound like a compliment, but comes across as more like a quizzical observation. It’s hard to explain, but basically she’s kind of rude about it and it’s starting to sting more. I’m a generally very self-assured human, so I don’t want to continue going from “I look amazing today” to :( from a silly comment.

    • P.S. I also never say anything at all (good or bad) when she wears questionable color combinations or wears something inappropriate, so I don’t believe it’s anything I’m doing that’s causing this. I’m just starting to feel policed.

    • This type of behavior is so annoying/manipulative to me. Are her comments related only to your clothing/appearance? If so, I think it’s perfectly reasonable for you to say “You seem to comment on my appearance frequently- I would appreciate if you would stop.” Especially since this is a peer.

    • Delta Dawn :

      Can you smile and make a puzzled face and ask her, “So, is that a compliment?” Might make her feel awkward enough to stop.

    • I don’t play this game. I’d smile huge and thank her for the compliment, adding in how kind it is of her to notice. If she’s back-handedly bringing you down, she’ll stop because it’s not working. If she’s just an awkward weirdo, you’re letting her know no offense is taken.

    • Jitterbug :

      I think I know what you mean! At my old job, one of my colleagues complimented my red sheath dress, but then told me her daughter (who was 4) had one just like it! I’ve gotten comments like “gee, that color sure is bright” or “your outfits are so artistic,” or even just “that dress is cute . . .” and I never know if these comments are meant to be positive, or if they’re mean to get me to re-think my work clothing. “Cute,” “artistic,” and “bright” rarely read as professional, y’know?

      I try to let it go, though. I’d trust my manager to tell me if my clothing was problematic, and if I had doubts I might seek out the opinion of a female colleague I trusted, but it’s just someone I work with, any problem they have with my attire is just that – their problem.

  21. Missing Richard Simmons :

    Do any of you listen to this podcast? I just got into it and while i find it super interesting, there are moments where I find it…exploitative? Like I think most of the people being interviewed deeply care about him and hope he’s ok but that episode when they showed up at his house to see if he’d answer, while recording, then an ad playing a few minutes later just seemed…wrong? What do you guys think?

    • I just looked this up and this makes me so sad. Is he being controlled by his housekeeper? This is extremely unsettling. I would have to imagine the police would have checked in on him?????

    • AnonInfinity :

      I listen to lots of podcasts and thought this looked interesting, but ultimately decided to pass for the same reasons you mention. I even started feeling a little icky near the end of season 1 of Serial after I learned that the victim’s family were not on board, and this feels even worse to me. We don’t know what’s happening with Richard Simmons, but one reasonable explanation is that he has chosen to step out of public life, and it feels really uncomfortable to not respect that choice, especially in a way that benefits the producers of the podcast.

    • I may have missed the part that you refer to, but I love the podcast! I love Richard Simmons and hope someone can reach him soon.

  22. I have an assistant who cries. Since she joined, it’s been once or twice a week and it’s often in reaction to relatively minor stressors, like the printer not working properly. I try to maintain professional distance, so it’s unclear to me whether there’s something happening in her personal life or if the stress of her responsibilities gets to her. I also cry easily, so I’m sensitive to that. Any advice for a tactful way to address the crying?

    • Veronica Mars :

      I’d say nothing. Bringing attention to it will likely make her more embarrassed and make it worse.

    • Is this one of her first jobs? Maybe she needs coaching on not letting things bother her/detachment from work/it doesn’t look good to cry at the office and you need to walk away. If she is a direct report, I think it is fair to bring her into your office and ask what’s going on and offer advice.

    • If it happens during a conversation, excuse yourself to get a drink of water or run to the bathroom. It’ll give her a minute to pull herself back together.

    • I am an admin, and used to get emotional over small things when I was younger. I eventually took a one day Fred Pryor Managing Emotions Under Pressure seminar that really, really helped. They have them all over the country, findable on google.

    • I chose to ignore it when my admin would actually ask for more responsibility, I’d train her on a task, and she excuse herself and go cry in her car (which was parked like right outside the office). I later learned she was just horribly depressed but I pretty much just acted like it didn’t happen. I wasn’t being mean or rude. I was just like this is how you prepare a this document and this is where you file it.

      If it’s disruptive, you might have to do something. To interrupt crying, clear your throat. It interrupts the signals to the brain (that’s why old men are always clearing their throats at funerals).

  23. Not a fellow associate, but someone in my social circle does this. She and I used to be close, not so much any more.

    She says things such as “Are those new boots?”, “Wow, those pants!”, “Did you make this yourself?”, “Are those the same glasses you wore last week?”. She Will.Not.Give.A.Compliment.To.Save.Her.Life. It is awkward because you don’t really say “thank you” when someone issues a flat comment and then seems to fit it into conversation as if it was a compliment.

    I would put this in the camp of her words reflecting more about her and less about you.

  24. What do you do if your boss ‘discoverers’ some skills you have? In my case its photo editing and data analysis. Neither of those are my job but since boss has discovered I have these skills I get asked to do stuff ALL THE TIME. Can I just start paying dumb? Say I don’t know how to use Photoshop? I have my own job to do and I wasn’t hired for this

    • Is it keeping you from doing your assigned tasks? If not, then you’re probably stuck with it. If so, then say “OK, I can do this photo editing task. But doing so means I’ll have to drop or delay something else, so can we talk about priorities and how to handle this?”

    • “how should i prioritize this among my other tasks?”

      • In every other position this has been something I have negotiated as extra salary. Are employers entitled to any skills you have? What if they search my thesis and find I have other skills? I don’t want to do this stuff, I took this low paying job exactly because my “extra skills” weren’t on the table.

        • yeah, probably. I mean, you could say ” I don’t want to do [photoshop project], I’d rather [other task you were previously assigned.” But in every job description I’ve ever written or had, there is an “other duties as assigned.” it’s up to your boss which duties to assign, within reason. if you can’t photoshop and do your other tasks, talk to your boss about which takes priority.

          re: add’l salary- doubtful, with exceptions. Are you in marketing and were hired for lead gen / cold cals and they found out you can do photoshop too? This might be a time to talk to your boss about your future and how you’d like to grow (into sales, not higher up in marketing). Are you a strategy person and your boss is asking you to do some photoshop/graphic design on the powerpoint decks? Ask about prioritization and make sure you are excelling at the strategy point. Photoshop is a value-add to your overall package, not reason for extra money. Just don’t let it stop you from doing your day job unless your boss tells you it’s more important than your day job.

          • just as an example, i’m a closet excel guru. I always have been. I have pitched in and done some reformatting along the way in my career- for peers and bosses alike– but never became The Excel Person to Whom All Projects Go for Formatting because I have better things to do. Like run a department.

          • I am also an excel guru and am hiding it as best I can.

          • I am pretty tech/IT savvy (I’m younger than most of my office so I think I am just better at troubleshooting on my own because I grew up with different technologies than they did) — I absolutely hide it/play dumb unless stakes are high. Like one time my coworker called IT because her computer dock wouldn’t work and they couldn’t send somebody until 8 hours later – but it was an issue I have with mine all the time so I just helped her fix it.

            But I’m not in IT, I don’t have a degree in IT, and being able to do basic troubleshooting would just pull me away from my actual job so I just don’t mention it, ever.

          • I think that’s a bit different. The equivalent here would be your boss finding out you are IT savvy and asking you to, say, upgrade everyone’s software next week. You’d say “doing that would impact my ability to get the TPS reports I’m working on done. What takes priority?”

            Randomly helping people that ask with photoshop isn’t the same as doing a project where that skill is useful at the request of your boss.

  25. Anon Engineer :

    Advice for wording a thank you note to my boss for a recent promotion? I’ve found some scripts online, but most seem to phrase it as “thanks for your leadership and guidance”, etc. I don’t particularly respect my boss’s leadership and he hasn’t done much in guiding my career development, so I don’t want to lie. But I do want to thank him for going to bat for me with the department, since I know he met resistance from a couple people. Suggestions? Thanks!

    • “Thank you for your support with the department. I really appreciate your efforts on my behalf and am looking forward to the opportunity to grow in this new role.”

      • Tech Comm Geek :

        I like this response, ohc. Fortunately, you do have something you do appreciate – highlight that and just don’t mention the other issues.

  26. political thread :

    So what are the chances that we will be rid of Sessions thanks to these new revelations? I was pleasantly surprised that Flynn got ousted–dare I hope for a repeat?

    • Yeah, it was weird to me how quickly the Flynn thing happened. It seemed like one minute it was just the Dems that were concerned, as usual, and then all of a sudden he was resigning. I’m not optimistic about a repeat though because I think Flynn had way more issues with mainstream Congressional Republicans than Sessions does. I think Sessions has a lot of support among Rs in Congress.

      • political thread :

        Good point–I think there’s a “one of our own” mentality for the Congressional Republicans, whereas Flynn was maybe seen as more of an outsider. There was a profile of Flynn in the NYer recently in which he came across as pretty unhinged and unpopular.

        Still, here’s hoping. I’m gobsmacked by the fact that Sessions lied to Congress and doesn’t seem to think that’s a problem.

    • I get the sense Trump is pissed that this Sessions news is taking the focus away from his joint session speech. You know he doesn’t like to share the spotlight.

  27. I work in HR and I had a young woman in my office yesterday talking about this exact same thing. I listened to her and told her I would pass on the information but I felt so terrible as I am a) not really in a position organizationally to influence this, and b) this is America and yes, it’s sucky for all of us. I think pushing for parental leave (not just maternity) could be popular with a broader crowd, and comparing to true peer groups (like 12% overall, but if you’re in consulting or law or something, trends might be different.)

  28. Baconpancakes :

    This is pretty dumb, but following up on a conversation/argument last night, I got agitated this morning, and texted my boyfriend to ask if he was actually planning on marrying me, and his response was “Lol, you are so romantic. Yes, I am planning on marrying you.” We’ve danced around the conversation and talked about what-ifs but it’s never been explicitly said before, and it makes me really happy.

  29. Curling iron recommendation :

    I have a cheap conair curling iron, and I’m looking to upgrade to something that won’t fry my hair and will give me some volume. I have naturally fine, flat, shoulder-length hair that doesn’t hold curls well. I’d love to find a curling iron (not a straightener) that will give me loose waves. Do you have a curling iron brand that you swear by?

    • Anonymous :

      Sounds like my hair exactly – lately I’ve been using my regular rotation of ‘product’ along with velcros. Drying 90% and then putting in the velcros, and drying again with a diffuser attachment. Most days it holds a little curl but even if not, I have a little more volume. Maybe this would at least give your hair a break from frying.

      • Anonymous :

        Can you recommend which velcros you use?

        • Anonymous :

          Just ones I found at Ulta; medium and large ones. And roll them vertically versus horizontally, and twist the hair a bit as you pull out the roller.

      • Tech Comm Geek :

        I use this too – if necessary, I use a diffuser to move the drying along. I try to leave the rollers in for as long as possible. I’ve also had very good luck with the L’Oreal Paris Elnett hairspray – it’s very good at giving me hold without weighing my hair down or being crunchy.

    • BeenThatGuy :

      I invested in a Tyme iron last year. I love it. I had to watch a few YouTube videos to get the hang of it, but eventually I got it right. The curls last all day and my hair has lots of volume.

    • I bought an Amika changeable iron and really like it–a bunch of different options so I can use a giant barrel if I’m too lazy to blow-dry or a medium one for waves, smaller still for curls.

    • I like the Hot Tools brand – black handle with the gold barrel.

  30. DCA to CLT :

    If I’m going from DC to Charlotte for a long weekend, is my best bet to….? Fly? Drive? Train?

    6 hours (and that’s presuming tolerable traffic) is right at the edge of how long I will drive. The train is inconveniently timed. But the flight just seems so expensive for what it is (even going from alternate airports like BWI or having the flexibility to fly back Monday). Any ideas/best bets?

    • Jake, from State Farm :

      I previously lived in Raleigh and would drive. As a Charlottean, I fly to DC.

    • I have made the DC to Raleigh drive maybe 12 times. It’s about 5 hrs and does feel long. Charlotte is another 2ish hours south. It feels really really long so I would say it depends on how often you make long drives.

  31. I'm accounting on you! :


    Anyone have any experience with Nude Barre stockings? I am 39 and have a large skin graft on my leg in addition to some noticeable scarring from vein surgeries. My legs are my favorite body part and I keep them in shape. I love love love wearing skirts! I have prescribed compression stockings in “nude” that I wear and they do come across looking like ballet tights at times (or the Hooters girl type, depending on what you’re familiar with). The black ones are too shiny for day wear but I do have an awesome black opaque pair also. Second question is, when I have to wear the dancer looking compression stockings, should I not? Are micro-fine fishnets ever appropriate for white collar career wear?

    I am a freelance accounting consultant, not in a strict professional dress environment, and usually am far overdressed compared to the variety of the clients I serve in a day. Most are typical Pacific Northwest unbuttoned and casual style, if not in jeans, tees, and boots (even the executive ladies, go on rock that smart girls! :)). I wear tailored dresses or constructed suits. I always wear heels, that is is just me and I am comfortable in my style. But what I am not comfortable with is bare legs and bored with tights. I want to be able to go from meeting a very casual client to being presentable for lunch networking among my colleagues and senior executives in the more conservative fields.

    Your thoughts so very much appreciated!

    • Hi I live in the Northwest too (up in Vancouver) and am familiar with the casual look and style. I am also a consultant and have small and large clients in the HR area. I’ve haven’t tried Nude Barre but I’ve worn micro-fishnets in both nude and black for years and have had nothing but positive feedback on them. I’ve had other women ask me where I got them so they could get some. FWIW I also enjoy wearing dresses and heels or boots, though I’m in the minority these days.

      • I'm accounting on you! :

        Thanks Wendy!! I was hoping someone knew just what I was talking about :) Move these legs forward!

        • You’re very welcome – give them a try and see if they work for you. You’ll also find that they wear much longer than regular hose and tights.

  32. Jitterbug :

    I posted about Soak a few days ago and wanted to follow up:

    – I did find that giving the armpit region of a garment a good scrub, followed by an extra long soak in a little extra product, did seem to help in getting out more of the pit stink. Whether it’s completely freshened those pits I’m still not sure. Am I still smelling the subtle ghost of pit stink past? I can’t tell if there’s still some stink there or if my mind is playing tricks on me because I’m suddenly worried about it.

    Although I did switch to a stronger, hopefully more effective deodorant as well.

    Oh, and that thick dress that held onto deodorant residue? Apparently that can go in the machine. I’ve been needlessly scrubbing it by hand for years!

    • I'm accounting on you! :

      Try a toothbrush scrubbing with white bar soap like Ivory. Works miracles on stains, too. I use it occasionally on even more delicate fabrics and they still look great. Specifically great for armpit funk and stains.

      • Jitterbug :

        Oh, cool tip, I’ll try that! Any specific kind of toothbrush I should use, or is a cheap, generic one okay?

        PS: love the punny name!

        • Tech Comm Geek :

          I do this too – I use a cheap toothbrush, but made sure to get one labeled “soft.”

          Also, for smells/funk, I have the best luck with cheap vodka in a mister. Spray thoroughly and let it dry. Works wonders on stubborn smells – even in upholstery.

        • I'm accounting on you! :

          Thanks! I’m totally polar in my personal life to my profession, maybe like a peanut M&M: smooth shell on the outside but nutty in the middle. Yes, any old toothbrush will do. I use a Sonicare–now you know what to do with all those expensive electric toothbrush heads that are still good for something, just not lip service. PS-I use those old toothbrush heads of mine to clean my jewelry too, never seen my precious gems shine so brightly. Be sure you mark the old ones in permanent ink clearly with an “X”. Let’s not discuss that story of mine today…

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