Thursday’s TPS Report: Sheer Chiffon Blouse with Silk Trim

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

Rachel Zoe Sheer Chiffon BLouse with Silk TrimHappy Thursday!  I’ve noticed this chiffon and silk blouse a few times now at Last Call, and I always think man, what a lovely basic.  It is sheer, so I’d either wear it with a white camisole for work, or I think it would be the perfect thing to layer beneath sheath dresses, sweaters or sweater vests.  It was $250, but is now marked to $89 at Last CallRachel Zoe Sheer Chiffon Blouse with Silk Trim

(It’s described as a “winter white” on the product page, but I think of this plus-size silk option as being MUCH more of a winter white.  Here’s another silky plus-size blouse.)

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]



  1. I am seriously contemplating refinancing my law school student loans and have read many of the threads here on the topic. It seems that the only downsides I’ve seen here and in other research are no forbearance and no forgiveness, which I would never qualify for. Are there downsides I’m missing? I feel a bit nervous about a refi because the best rates are at relatively unknown or new lenders. I would love to hear any recent stories, good or bad, about anyone’s experience with any of the student loan refinance companies. (If it helps to know, my goal would be to refi several large loans to 10-year, lower-interest loans and make larger payments to pay them off sooner than I would have if I kept the loans as they are now.)

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      I refinanced about half of my loans a couple of years ago with SoFi and recently (like recently enough that I haven’t made a payment on it yet) refinanced that loan again with Darien Rowayton Bank because they gave me an interest rate that was about 1.5% less than SoFi. The only downsides I’ve found are the ones you noted, no forbearance and no forgiveness, which is why I only refinanced half the loans. DRB is a little less user-friendly than SoFi-for example, in order to get the rate reduction for autodebit, you have to use a bank account with them, but they automatically set it up for you and set it up so it autotransfers the payment amount from an outside bank. Check back in about two weeks and ask me if this actually works as seamlessly as it should.

    • The only other downsides I could see would be if the new lenders had a convoluted process for making extra payments or an extremely user-unfriendly online payment system. For instance, one of my friends that is a doctor was going around in circles with her loan servicer – she qualified for a small percentage rate decrease (like 0.5% or 0.25%) if she was signed up to have her regular payments autodebited, but if she tried to make an extra principal payment either online or with a check it would un-enroll her in autodebit and then she’d get a late fee the next month, or instead of applying the extra payment to principal they would put it against the next month’s payment or some other kind of rigmarole. I think in the end she decided to stop messing around with the extra percentage rate decrease and just snail mail them a check every month and then put it in her calendar to check whether it had been applied properly and call them when/if it hadn’t.

      However, this is a possible problem even if you don’t change lenders – my student loan payment processer/system has changed about 5 times over the past 10 years, and each time it seems to have gotten more user un-friendly and less convenient, and the same has happened for both my husband and BIL’s loans.

      • I would also add that if the lowest rates are at no-name companies you’ve never heard of, they could very well be teaser rates that no human actually qualifies for, so I wouldn’t count on those rates perfectly panning out. Again, no experience with this in student loans, but I’ve seen that to be the case in mortgage interest rates.

    • I am really risk averse. No forbearance (or deferment) would be a huge negative for me. I you have a giant emergency fund (or parents/relatives that could help if you were temporarily laid off), I’d do at least a portion of my loans this way. But I know from personal experience that when you are unemployed, having any cash out on a regular basis is super-stressful, and it’s nice to know you can put things on pause, if you are in a real pinch, without hurting your credit.

    • I refinanced and am a big fan of my new servicer and lender. If you click my name, I wrote a blog post about the experience.

      Part of why I went with SoFi is that they do offer emergency forbearance. They also have a specific program for people who lose their job for no fault of their own. They have their own career services basically to help you find a new job. My SoFi loans are serviced by TruStudent which allows extra online payments to principal.

      As far as downsides, the only big one I thought of was what if Congress decides to do some big student loan forgiveness or refinance program that some congresspeople have requested. Private loans likely wouldn’t qualify. However, I personally don’t foresee a mass “student loan bailout” ever happening.

      For me, my most concerning loans were private anyway so I didn’t have much to lose by refinancing those.

      ETA: here is one more link on hardship and SoFi

      • Anonattorney :

        I don’t see a mass student loan bailout either. I think if they do anything, it will be targeted at people in specific income brackets, or students who attended for-profit colleges or community colleges with low employment rates after graduation.

    • Weird, you had a lot more replies a few minutes ago and I had wrote you one that is now gone. I’ll sum it up. Click my name for my student loan refi story. SoFi does offer forbearance and job hunt assistance should you need it. The only big down side I imagined was if Congress decided to do some mass student loan bail out that was on federal loans only. I’d be shocked if that ever happened. Plus it likely wouldn’t have helped me with the portion of my loans that were private anyway.

      • My original comment took a long time to post, so hopefully the other replies will be up later. If so, I look forward to reading them. I also have wondered: What if I refi and then the government bails out federal student loans at even lower rates afterward? But I also think the odds of that happening are so low that it is basically a fantasy.

    • I refinanced mine last year with SoFi and then last month with Common Bond. Here’s my experience:

      When I did them with SoFi, the lowest advertised rate was 2.91% and I was given 3.91% with a credit score around 790. It was a 10-year variable rate and the last two months had bumped up .01% each month so was now at 3.93%–this was not a huge increase, but the annoying thing about it was that each time they adjust the rate, they calculate a new payment schedule. Because I had been paying extra, this meant my minimum required payments to pay off the loan on the same 10 year schedule were now lower, and they started taking a smaller automatic payment. To keep my automatic payment the same like I wanted to do, I would’ve had to mail in the auto-debit enrollment form adjusting the “extra” I wanted taken out, every. single. time. this happened (they have fax, but no e-option for enrolling or making changes). I opted instead to just make manual payments online for the overage which was not a massive ordeal in the grand scheme of things but was a little annoying after having the convenience of automatic payments for so long. This, and the fact that I was getting “you’re preapproved for 1.92%!” postcards from SoFi while they were simultaneously raising my rate prompted me to look at other options.

      I looked at DRB and Common Bond and felt a little better with the setup of Common Bond, with one of the reasons being that they didn’t require me to set up an account to get the autodebit discount like DRB did. I also had read some negative experiences on DRB’s underwriting formulas that made it very difficult for people to get the lowest rates. So, I applied with Common Bond and the app was incredibly easy. I got the lowest advertised rate of 1.92% for a 5 year variable with no co-signer and having only been at my current firm for about 1 year (for reference, my credit score is now a bit over 800 so that may have been what pushed me into the lowest rate category). They’ve disbursed my loan and my autopayments are set up so everything looks good so far. My only complaints are that I’ve had to create 4 different logins–one for Common Bond’s application s!te, one for Cology (the s!te where you’ll review and sign the loan docs), another for ECMC (the servicer’s portal), and ANOTHER for the online payment portal that ECMC uses if you want to make manual payments (you do set up autodebit through the Common Bond page so that was easy). I use a password manager so it’s not like I have to keep track of these accounts in my head but it is annoying having to remember what I can do on what s!te and constantly getting kicked to a new login screen to do a certain action.

      So that’s my essay-form experience. Here are some other brief comparison points:

      –SoFi will erase the loans if you die. DRB and CB do not. This may be important to you if you have unprotected assets in your estate that you’d rather not go to paying off the loans.

      –SoFi uses TruStudent as its servicer, which is linkable to Mint. CB uses ECMC, which is not (I’ve submitted a request for support and I see online that others have too, but no idea if we’re at the critical mass where Mint cares). I don’t know what DRB uses.

      –I believe both are currently using a referral system where they pay $200 to the person who refers you and nothing to you. It is very easy to refer yourself and keep the $200.

      Happy to answer any other questions you have! Post them here or post an anon e-mail if you prefer.

      • Your first two bullet points are really important. For number 3, they changed their system and you can’t sell refer anymore. When you do refer people, both parties get $100. For the first several months after you refi, if you refer people you get $300 and the person signing up gets $100. My blog post has my link but there are tons of them out there on various finance blogs.

        • Agree on those first two being important, particularly #1. If this is OP’s first refi, and she’s able to get the lowest rate from all of the servicers, I would pick SoFi hands down because of #1.

          In my case, I was already with SoFi and it wasn’t possible to refi my existing loan with them down to their lower rate, so it was a question of whether those benefits were worth the ~$4500 in interest they would cost me by keeping the higher rate. I’m a Mint-lover but definitely not for that much, and there isn’t enough in my estate for #1 to be a major factor for me (I’m SINK and my significant assets are of a nature that would pass to my parents directly outside of my estate).

  2. My administrative assistant (government) has gotten a promotion to a more budget/business position. I’d like to get her something to both mark the achievement and as a thank you. She will still be in the same division so I’ll still be working with her everyday. My budget is pretty tight, I’d like for it to be under 50. Is flowers the way to go? I was hoping for something a little more substantial but she is not big into my go to gifts for this (card holder, etc) but the group will prob go in together for flowers for admin assistant day. tia

    • I think this is one of those situations where what the gift actually is matters way less than the fact you thought to individually do something nice for her. I’ve always remembered people so fondly who have done things like that for me, regardless of what the gift is. Personally, I love flowers so I’d go for that but it doesn’t really matter.

    • Does the promotion come with an office or does she already have a personal space that’s more than a cube? What about something to hang on the wall like framed artwork or a nice wall clock?

      Are you allowed to gift actual physical “things” in government? Could you take her out for a nice lunch to celebrate the promotion?

      Honestly, a nice card with a handwritten note about how she’s awesome, you appreciate everything she’s done, congrats on the promotion and you know she’ll do great might be as good or better than a “thing”. I have a couple of cards on my bulletin board like that from when I left a job that I keep around because they are pretty to look at, and I can pull them down and read them in a “somebody thinks I’m awesome” ego boost if I’m having an otherwise crappy day.

      • Thanks I might do that and a card. I can give a physical thing because I’m “gifting down” (vs present to my boss). She really is just the best and I’d love to give her a 200 gift card or something but since that is not in the budget I think I will do a small flower arrangement and a card. it will be more of a cube situation but I might check out the desk accessories at things remembered to see if I get inspired.

      • How about a really nice card and a congratulatory statement necklace she can add to her officewear collection?

    • I’d do a gift that she would use in her new position, like a padfolio to bring to meetings.

  3. My children have only (until now) really known their day care friends (other friends they see on weekends, some of whom also have both parents working). Now that my oldest is in school, she is hearing how everyone else is staying home next week for spring break. But she isn’t (and she sincerely thought that she would). Had to have a long teary convo re how mommy works.

    [Christmas break she went to an all-day program for the days b/w Christmas and NY when I had to work, but was home for about 4-5 days straight after that; so it was less of a big deal, especially since the weather was to horrid to do much.]

    I see that this is now an issue (for us, not just for her). What sort of working family are we going to be? It’s not like we’re hourly workers and can’t afford time off. It’s more that BigLaw is just a brutal schedule (and I never took off any time when I was single, so 1 week in the summer and some at Christmas and some for spring break is just seeming like a lot to pull off for anyone). BigLaw may start having a sell-by date or we come to some other workaround (we take them out of school when we can take off work and maybe do more long weekends; maybe we get a PT nanny).

    Anyone else been there?

    • Maddie Ross :

      I’m not there yet (so ask me again in a few years), but most of the people I work with just end up taking spring break or fall break as their actual vacation. If that doesn’t work for you, could you have a grandparent stay for a few days?

      • +1, and if grandparents aren’t a possibility, I’m just wondering if there’s some other way you can make the week feel special. Kids like celebrations, holidays, themes, right?. One of my very favorite memories as a kid was that once a year, my dad would leave work early, pick me up from school, take me to dinner and then do Christmas shopping – just us. I can remember doing this as young as 5 yo. I know it still affects your work hours but maybe you could manage something like this? Obviously, not Christmas shopping, but some kind of special parent date in the early evening.

      • This is what we do. We have grandparents come and take the kiddo to the beach, museums, etc. We also did a family trip (Friday night-Sunday night) the middle weekend of spring break. (Which I missed half of, because big law schedules suck, but it was a good idea in theory.). For other breaks when grandparents weren’t available, I’ve used my firm’s backup care instead of sending the kiddo to camp, and that has worked ok because he gets to spend more time at home with his toys and to play with neighborhood friends.

        • I wish this were an option. I had my children late (got married late) and work in a city that I moved to just for work (as did my husband, so no nearby family), so not only are no grandparents local, but if they were, we’d probably be looking after them, too (more my MIL, who is in her 80s and is becoming more frail; mine are only slightly younger).

          Really rethinking my life choices right now. Some ships have sailed, so to speak, but I am rethinking of what has just been the default in our lives.

          • Leave of absence :

            I empathize. We don’t have local family either, but request that our parents plan visits during school breaks. I understand the age issue though.

            Earlier this week I had a conversation with my kid who was upset that he goes to aftercare instead of getting picked up at 2:30, and after explaining that I work and some of his friends’ parents don’t, he told me he wants to stay home with me. That’s not an option for many reasons (including that I like my job), but I still felt like I was doing it wrong. It doesn’t help that I haven’t seen him since Sunday (yay, big law) and will be out of town most of next week too.

    • Caveat: while I used to be Biglaw and am now raising a child, I have not combined the two.

      With that in mind, I do not think that taking them out of school for vacations — making their education bend to your work schedule — is a good solution. If you’ve been at the firm since before they were born, you need to start taking some vacation time. You’ve earned it.

      Also, it sounds like you have a partner. Great. You can stagger who is home for what holidays. So, maybe you each take 2 days at spring break, and the kids play at a friend’s the third day.

      Finally, what is your daughter upset about missing? Was it a few unscheduled days, maybe staying in her pjs and having pancakes for lunch, sleeping in? If neither parent can take time off, hire a babysitter for a few days so your daughter can enjoy whatever she’s been hoping for. If she’s missing parent time, though, you really need to figure out a way to take at least one day off.

    • Not in BigLaw, but we both work full time stressful jobs that aren’t easy to take vacations. We are going thru the same thing this week. When school is closed my daughter goes to daycare with the baby… I was totally blindsided when daycare announced yesterday they were going to be closed on Friday – they were open good friday last year. Anyway, I earn an extra vacation week at work starting in 2016 and I plan to mentally set aside that to coincide with school breaks so I can stay home when they are off. We also have a part time nanny who is pretty flexible, so she is coming for us friday and can do a lot of the 1/2 day pickups when school closes and afterschool care is closed.

    • Diana Barry :

      Not biglaw, but my kids are 2/3 in school and get school vacations, which we never take – we save our vacations for the summer and a few days around Xmas. (I get 4 weeks but never take it all!) So far we have had the nanny take them to museums and to one of the indoor water parks, so that it feels like a special week.

      I was just talking about this with my DH recently – he is self-employed and so could take much more vacation, but I am stuck as long as I am working for the man. Blech!

    • Not in big law, either, but definitely been there.

      Things got way better when I made a really great stay-at-home mom friend a few years ago. On snow days, holidays, school weeks off where I have to work I pay her to watch my girls. The girls mostly play with her daughter, who is their age, and love it. It is like a vacation with a friend, which is pretty cool so they look forward to it. My friend helped me network with some other stay-at-home moms, so now I have my girls going to camps with their kids in the summer. I drop them off in the morning and they take them to camp with their kids for me. In return, I’ll take their kids on a Saturday and do a playdate at my house to make it an even swap.

      We still have to do daycare, especially in the summer. The camps help with a break, and so do grandparents, but the sadness of ‘why don’t I get a break’ is always hard.

    • My oldest has a friend from daycare that she no longer sees much because they go to different schools. School breaks now mean time with this friend. I will talk to her mom before breaks to make sure the friend will be there and plan accordingly. If her friend isn’t there, she still has to go, but I plan a day or two that week off and try to do something special. As she gets older I plan on sending her to the Y which has field trips and “older kids” to keep things interesting. But for now she’ll keep going to her old daycare (out of convenience- her younger sister still goes full time).

    • I know exactly what you’re going through. When my daughter started school, she discovered that about 75% of the kids in her class had stay-home moms. She became insanely envious of kids who got to ride the bus home after school, spend school breaks and the summer at home with mommy, have a dog, etc. etc. At one point she declared that when she grew up, she was going to become a stay-home mom. Having a working mom is supposed to set a great example for girls, but for my daughter I was only an example of what she didn’t want to be.

      To make things worse, there is very limited availability of after-school day care in our area, and what is available is of very poor quality. My husband was not on board with hiring a nanny but wanted her out of her after-school program even more than I did, so I ended up having to negotiate a part-time work-from-home schedule so I can pick her up at school, shuttle her to sports practices, and make sure she does her homework. Working from home is difficult, stressful, and not helpful to my career. My daughter is constantly complaining that I don’t pay attention to her because I am working. All of my vacation time is eaten up covering school breaks. Summer is even worse than the school year, because all of the day camps are in less-than-convenient locations with odd hours. It is just a never-ending slog, and I can never hope to be fully successful as a mom, wife, or professional.

      • Woah. Are you doing ok?

        You should look at this situation, again. There has to be a better way. Nanny? Daycare? Friend? Sports?

      • Well not if you’re going to let your husband call all the shots! It might be find to revisit hiring a nanny and going back to full time. Or time for him to go part time.

      • For what it’s worth, I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong. As noted below, I think that maybe your daughter needs to learn that all families are different and you won’t always have the same life as your friends. I also believe very firmly that it is important for kids to learn that they are precious and important to their parents, but they are not the only thing in their parents lives. I developed a sense of my mother as a person and a professional – not just a mom – much, much earlier than my friends did. Children do not require an adult that is dedicated full-time to their care, feeding, and entertainment to live healthy lives. I don’t know you, but it sounds like the way things are working now is making you really unhealthy, and for what it’s worth, I want you to have the validation that just because your daughter is upset and jealous of her friends doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong.

        • Big second to cbackson. You’re doing a great job balancing a difficult situation. Hopefully, this is a phase and your DD will grow out of it. One day, she’ll understand that you’re a supermom.

          • Yes! You are supermom. I’m a child of a supermom, too! I went to a school that was about 98% stay-at-home-moms. My mom worked. I went to daycare before school in the mornings, after school (always the last to be picked up), summers, etc. I was jealous of the other kids, but now I’m so glad I had a role model like my mom. My mom planned her work vacations around our spring breaks. She also would trade off with the other moms, where if they watched me when daycare was closed (snow days) or drove me to after-school activities, she would watch their kids/my friends on weekends.

            You know what’s ironic, though? My sister stays at home and picks her kids up promptly at the end of the day. Her oldest said to her recently, “mommy, why don’t I get to stay in the late room [daycare]?” Goes to show the grass is always greener on the other side!

        • Big third. I am going through a similar thing but we try to point out to our kids that everyone’s family does it differently.

      • I hated my mom for working so much growing up. Now I love her for it. I wish I could take back all the negative things I said about her working “all. the. time” but she now knows how much I appreciate the example she set for me.

        • I don’t want this to come across as “anti-working mom” but I can see being proud of your mother either way (working outside the home or in it)…not sure I think working “all. the. time.” is a great example for either parent to set either. I just hate being a workaholic is so celebrated in our culture (which isn’t to say your mother actually was, it just read that way a bit).

          • working “all.the.time” was working a full time job… but seemed like “all.the.time” to me at that age.

          • also wanted to add that my post wasn’t about celebrating and being proud of working moms alone. I had wished I had a stay at home mom and did not understand why she had to work, but after maturing learned to respect her decisions and be proud of the choices and priorities she set for herself and her family.

        • The all.the.time part, if true, might not be ideal. But to add another perspective, I wonder sometimes if I might be a bit more successful if my mother had done more professionally with her amazing mind and great (advanced degree) education. I think I missed out on some useful modeling. I think there is no perfect balance, and that what looks perfect at one time may not look so perfect at another.

          • working “all.the.time” was quoted as because it was my perspective growing up. I am proud of my mom for choosing to find a way to balance motherhood and a career. She was a great example for me… it wasn’t always easy but she made both a priority for her and she found a way.

        • Wildkitten :
      • “My husband was not on board with hiring a nanny but wanted her out of her after-school program even more than I did, so I ended up having to negotiate a part-time work-from-home schedule”

        Whoa. Time to revisit this issue and solve it with a nanny for your own sake. Not cool on your husband’s part.

      • Coach Laura :

        Anonymom- I just had to reply to this. My kids (girl and boy) were the same way when they were young: 75% of the moms were stay-at-home. Even though their best friends had two working parents and a nanny didn’t stop the comments of “No one else’s mom has to work.” My kids even had their grandfather as a nanny and never had to go to after school care but boy did they complain about having to go to camps in the summer and not getting to sleep in on vacation days, stay in their pjs and have pancakes. Plus I would hear “I’m never going to work when I have kids.”

        Now that they’re in their 20s, they agree that they were too young to understand that I had to work and they both admire me for the extras I put into their childhoods. Ideas include going out to breakfast and at least taking one day off during the spring break week and getting home early once or twice. And I always took my full four weeks of vacation plus holidays.

        I think it’s great that you’ve modified your schedule. You are a good role model for your daughter – you just won’t see the results for another 20 years.

        • Wow, thanks to all for the replies to my reply! To clarify, I work from the office in the morning and from home in the afternoon, so I didn’t have to give up full-time work. I am just exhausted and overwhelmed.I do think that the situation is currently not healthy for me, but the light at the end of the tunnel is that starting next fall my daughter’s sports practices will be longer and more frequent, making working from home in the afternoons much easier.

          I am really glad to hear from all those who had working moms growing up. It is good to know that someday my daughter will understand!

          • I have been there as well! I hate the feeling of being an “inadequate lawyer and inadequate mom.” Last month, after I had finished a trial with a pro per, and then a seven-day federal jury trial, my seven–year old son declared, “Why are you going into the office on a Sunday, Mom? First the crazy man, then the trial, and now you are going to write a brief?!” I had nothing to say back except, “I’m sorry, it will get better soon.”

          • Glad to hear you are ok with it and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

            One thing to consider – is there another mom that might trade off hauling kids to sports? Even if the other moms are SAHMs, they might prefer to take 2 kids to gymnastics on Mondays and then have you take 2 kids on Tuesdays so they can stay at home with the younger kids or have some time to themselves at home. Might be something worth pursuing at sports practice – and that way if you have something come up you have another parent to help you out.

            Alternately, a high school age or community college student might be willing and able to act as chauffeur for your daughter, and not need to be paid as much as a regular nanny since they could still read or do homework while your daughter is at practice.

      • I can totally relate to all these comments. My children never had any idea that there was such a thing as summer vacation, since they were in daycare until they got to kindergarten.

        For us, a game changer was hiring an afterschool nanny, usually a college senior or junior who stays for the school year. Then the kids get to go home after school and be in our house, even if I am not there. Once I had two in afterschool care, the expense balanced out.

        When we have had spring break or winter break at home, I have each child write down three things they want to do that week. Could be a trip to the library, the (indoor) pool, somewhere they want to go to dinner. Then we post the list on the fridge and find a way to get them done, even if it’s over the weekend. That way the break feels special, even if they aren’t going somewhere.

        In my son’s first grade class, the teacher put up a map of the US and had everyone mark where they’d been for spring break…. that was a low for me!

        • la vie en bleu :

          Ugh, that is a bad activity.
          In my mom’s 1st grade class 90% of them would have to mark their parents’ janitorial job where they spent the week hanging out waiting for their parents to be done working. ;oP

      • Anonymama :

        Hang in there! Hire a nanny (er, call it a babysitter if it makes your husband feel better). And know that the kids with stay at home moms are complaining that they don’t get to go to after-care with their friends or go to summer camps.

    • I was raised by two working parents, and other than the rare occasion when my brother and I had the same spring break and my parents were able to sync up their vacations, I never just got to hang out at home for spring break. I went to day camp, had sitters, and my parents might each take a day off during that week if they could swing it. I promise that I survived thoroughly unscarred and with an awesome relationship with my parents :-)

      Honestly, it’s important for your daughter to learn that families are different. I was the only kid in my neighborhood with a working mom (until the divorces hit around 5-6th grade and my friends’ mothers had to go back to work), and sure, I was jealous sometimes that my friends got full parental attention during holidays. But I also had tons of experiences, because I was out of the home more, that my friends with SAHMs didn’t have, and I was far, far more independent than they were from a very early age. I know that when your daughter is crying it’s easy to feel like you’re doing it wrong, but you’re not. It’s not that different than being sad because your friends get to go to amusement parks during the summer while your family only takes educational vacations (the story of my childhood) – it’s part of learning that not every family is the same and you don’t always get everything you want.

      • +1

        I was also a day care kid/after care kid because both my parents worked. I didn’t love it (mostly cause I was so shy it was hard for me to make friends), but my parents explained to me consistently and firmly and lovingly that they both worked. I never ever resented my mom for working and always respected her work ethic, and this did not harm my relationship with my parents in any way. Not saying that any of the moms here are doing this, but they simply didn’t indulge the 7 year old’s whims about how the family should be run. You’re not doing anything wrong or harming your child by working hard.

        For breaks, can you find a camp with an activity she loves? Horse camp? Sailing camp? Sleep away camp when she gets older? That was the highlight of my whole year as a kid. That might make it seem like more of a treat/vacation.

      • +2. I’m not a parent but this sounds very difficult. I couldn’t agree more with cbackson’s 2nd paragraph. we don’t always get what we want, and that’s a useful lesson to learn young, AND that it doesn’t mean that our parents don’t love us. I would also try pointing out all the ways you show your love for her.

      • Hildegarde :

        I had a similar experience to cbackson. My mom always worked full time (and has always earned more money than my dad). When I was little I would sometimes get jealous that I couldn’t sleep in and hang out at home on breaks, since we didn’t have any relatives nearby so I always went to camp or some kind of program. However, my parents always calmly explained that they both worked, and that’s just how it was. It may have helped that a number of my friends also had mothers who worked full-time, often at challenging jobs, so it seemed normal to me that some mothers worked and some did not.

        Now that I’m an adult, I really appreciate my mom’s career. She does not have a personality that would have been happy staying at home (though she’s a great mom), and she has been very successful. Her success has been a model for me, and it has allowed my dad to make some risky career moves he would not have been able to make if he need a steady income, which have now paid off for him.

        So, please do not be too hard on yourself! Kids whine about having to eat their vegetables, but parents make them because it’s good for them and they get over it. She will get over this, too. And if your husband is so set against getting a nanny, why doesn’t he rearrange his career?

      • +1

        Both of my parents worked and you know what, now I respect my mother SO much for having a difficult job and balancing work and family. I may have felt resentful as a kid but it was such a good example to grow up with a mom who had a busy career.

        Also I spent a lot of time with a nanny/day care/grandparents/camps and I think it probably helped my sense of independence. It truly takes a village.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I’m going to be the voice of dissent here. If you take the entire week of spring and fall and winter off to match your kids’ schedules to let them laze around in pjs, you’ll have zero time off for summer or actual family vacations. I grew up with a single parent with rigid vacation days. Your kids can suck it up. Mommy and Daddy work. They go to day care, spend time with grandparents/family friends, or have a babysitter. They won’t have terrible childhoods because they have to get up and get dressed during spring break. Your kids will probably never thank you for it, but they’ll internalize the importance of working, self-sufficiency, and independence.

      • Anonymama :

        Who are you dissenting from? Pretty much everyone agreed that the kids’ll be fine, maybe try to schedule family vacation at same time as school breaks, or just take one day or morning off to spend with kids.

    • Are any of her daycare friends going to be at daycare next week? Especially good if there is a kid that isn’t in her class now or that went to a different school. Can you call the daycare and ask if there is anything special planned for spring break for the school age kids? For instance, our daycare treats it like a “camp” and they do some extra fun activities like taking the kids on walking field trips to the library and go bowling.

      At a minimum, can you take one of the days as a half day and plan to pick her up at lunchtime to have a special mommy-daughter day? Giving her something to look forward to for a day of spring break would be good.

      For a reversal, my son has to stay home with daddy next week for spring break, and he is mad that there isn’t school so he doesn’t get to hang out with his friends or that we won’t pay to send him to spring break camp at daycare.

      This is also a good time to repeat the “all families are different, all families have different priorities” conversation, because it will come up when one of her friends goes to Disney World, another has a piano and takes lesson, another has a SAHM and another gets an iPhone at age 6, another has 2 mommies, another lives with grandma and grandpa, etc etc

    • Several of my office’s partners are working out of different offices in the east coast this week for spring break. The family gets a vacation in a new city, the partners get hours in and network with another office, and the kids have a good vacation to talk about with their friends at school next week.

    • I don’t have kids so take my advice with a grain of salt. I think kids always want the opposite of what they have. It is kind of like those with straight hair wishing their hair was curly and vice versa. I think you are feeling guilty for something that is just natural. My husband’s family moved overseas for work when he was in middle school. He hated that he moved every 5 years and never had a home town. But he had these amazing experiences traveling to places most of us could never imagine. He complained about his lack of hometown. I complained about all the things my family couldn’t buy me when I was a spoiled kid. My parents reminded me that my mom worked part time so she could do a bunch of things for me and that meant I had to sacrifice stuff and that we would do trips to the shore while other families did trips to Disney. At that age I said I wanted stuff and my mom should get a job. Kids are mean. Young kids don’t understand the benefits of what they have. They just see what they don’t have. You would be getting guilted no matter what you do. Your kid will be fine no matter what you do.

      Now that I’m an adult I really think it is so important for all adults to have a means of supporting themselves. Far fewer women suffer the toxic relationships of the past because they have the option of divorcing and supporting themselves and their kids. Your income is an insurance policy to yourself and your daughter. She will understand that some day.

    • Must be in the air–my four-year-old has recently started announcing that she “just wants to be a mommy” when she grows up. While I explained to her that mommys can be mommys AND do lots of other things, a small part of me was a bit crushed by this comment. I know objectively that working FT is the best option for our family for so many reasons, but still.

      We’re right there with you–kids are booked in activities/camps 5 days a week and on most school breaks and summer. We try to take off some time around the holidays, if not a full week, and this year we did the kids’ winter break as a family vacation. We try to take at least one, and usually two, weeks of vacation in the summer. The benefits to not vacationing on the school schedule appear to be better prices/availability, primarily, but once kids hit a certain age (probably around 2nd grade), I think we’re just going to have to suck it up and stick to school breaks for our trips. My kids do whine about this occasionally, but then tend to have a blast at the camps they attend. Hard to complain about seeing the circus, or going to an indoor amusement park, or whatever. My eldest campaigned hard for a day off entirely from activities and this semester he gets to come straight home from school on Fridays; this seems to help a lot. We have a PT nanny to help us with all the pickups, dropoffs, etc., so schedule depends more on her than me or my husband.

      Finally, I’ll add that one of the main reasons that I am committed to working FT is that my mom did not–she worked when we were young, became a SAHM between kids 2 and 3, and then went back to work (and still works FT+ today). We were admittedly spoiled by her sacrifice but I knew it wasn’t the best thing for her–she was an amazing, awesome, 120% SAHM but then and now, the rest of us in the family realize that it would have been better for her (and by extension our) mental health and happiness if she’d kept working and we went to afterschool care. If you like being that SAHM, that’s great, but I think the trouble starts when parents are not happy with what they’re doing (working, working too much, or staying at home).

    • la vie en bleu :

      I don’t know if this helps but I was the opposite of a lot of you. My mom did in-home daycare in our house for my whole elementary-high school years, because she was a teacher but also wanted to be home with us. And I kind of hated it for years because I was jealous of my friends who got to go home to empty houses and play Super Mario or who got to go to after care and play with friends because that all looked super fun. And I had to go home and leave all my friends and just be with my mom who made sure I was doing my homework and other boring things. So, part of this I think might just be a ‘grass is greener’ thing that kids go through where they are jealous of their friends no matter what. I’m sure you are all being awesome moms and your kids will still love you the most ;-)

    • Anonskimomski :

      I had my 2 kids later (38 and 40) after being married 10 years so the school schedule was an eye opener for me. It was annoying to have to plan my time off and vacations around that schedule after so many years of not having to even think about that.

      In any case, I have accepted it, and now I almost exclusively take my vacations and time off during school breaks. It works out fine. And, some of my neighbors who are FT working parents with kids in after school care/camps at break bring their kids to my house for a day or afternoon to play during this time, if we are just hanging around the house and not on vacation (obviously). I don’t find that to be a burden on me if I am home anyway and just getting stuff done around the house, because the kids are at ages they can play together and not really need me. So, maybe something like that would help cover some of the days.

    • First caveat: I am not in biglaw and not a mom. However, I’ve been practicing law over 30 years and will say if you feel your personal life is suffering due to your non-stop job, plus job stress, take control and either change jobs or significantly change how you address your current job. I work in a small firm which is extremely successful, but totally took advantage of me when I was the single, non-parenting youngest attorney, continuing through some very stressful years of 10-12 hours a day, 7 days a week for years at a stretch. Without outing myself, this included a long stretch of litigation against me and my firm by an adverse party. Those are years I will never get back and in hindsight, the stress and lack of a personal life were not worth the financial and career benefits.
      I don’t mean to sound bitter, just realistic. The firm will not appreciate your sacrifices. Look out for yourself and your family.
      Finally, not to say that there is nothing whatsoever wrong about a child not having a mom who can take off at every school vacation or at the drop of a hat for every school event. In my opinion, this generation caters to children to such an extent that they think they are the center of the universe, and this is really not good for them, their careers, or their future employers :) A decent balance is what you need. Good luck, my heart goes out to you.

    • I wanted to go to after school care because that’s where all the “cool” kids were, but my mom worked part time and it wasn’t in the budget so I biked home and watched My So Called Life. Then, when we moved further out from where our schools were I had the option of taking the bus home or practicing my violin or playing hours of minesweeper at my dad’s (or making pocket money but doing library research for him) or waiting for either parent to be done so we could go home. I don’t recall ever complaining to my parents about these arrangements because I think it was understood that we as a family needed both of their jobs to make ends meet.

  4. Gail the Goldfish :

    I need some help planning a vacation. My schedule unexpectedly freed up in May, so I want to go somewhere for a week. BF is starting a clerkship in the Fall, so we figure this is the last chance for a while that we’re going to get a week to go somewhere. The problem is I have no idea where I want to go. Preferably we want somewhere where we can do a combo of doing nothing/relaxing and activities/siteseeing. I need something easy to plan, since it’s kind of last minute. We’re in North Carolina and don’t want to do anything close by (so no Charleston, Savannah, etc) on the theory that if we’re taking a week, we should go somewhere we can’t go over a long weekend. And not Florida because I spend way too much time there for work. I haven’t really decided on a budget, but probably under $2,000/person, which looks like it isn’t enough to get us to Europe with airfares being what they are. (I have a friend in Scotland I thought about going to visit, but the kayak explore feature tells me it would be cheaper to fly to Beijing than Edinburgh, which makes no sense to me). I’ve pondered the possibility of a trip to somewhere on the west coast or the Caribbean. We’ve been to Vieques and are considering going back there, but I also feel like we should try new places. So, suggestions for locations, or tips for finding cheap airfare to far away destinations? (And whoever it was who went to Vieques recently, where did you stay and do you recommend it?)

    • Fellow skinny pear :

      Bermuda is a quick and easy flight from NC

    • Alaska? Anchorage and the southern coast should be pretty temperate, and you could drive up to Denali park for the day.

      National Parks out west (Arizona, Utah, Colorado)? Yellowstone Park? May would be early enough to beat the summer vacation rush.

      • Yes, totally visit the national parks out west. I traveled out there last year (from RDU, I might add) in March and it was – hands down – the best time of year to go. You beat the summer rush to the parks and get them to yourself. The weather was great, too! And considering that it takes so much time to visit the national parks, I’d vote +10000000000 on this idea.

        Our trip involved flying into Vegas and then straight into Utah for Zion, Bryce, and Capitol Reef via Hwy 12 (which is magnificent). We hit the Grand Canyon before flying back home out of Phoenix. It took us 4 days, but it should really take a week or more if you want to spend serious time at each park. It would be right on budget for you, too.

        • I’m partial to Montana/Wyoming, hence the Yellowstone suggestion. You could do parts of Glacier, but the Going to the Sun road likely won’t be open all the way through, and IMO it is one of the highlights of that park.

          • Likewise I went to Yellowstone in early June several years ago; froze my butt off and some of the roads were still closed due to snow. :)

          • The Yellowstone area didn’t get much snow this year, but I’d be really surprised if it were open enough in May to make it worth the trip.

      • lucy stone :

        Cruise to Alaska with before/after trip on your own to either Denali or Homer. Take me with you!

    • Miss Behaved :

      I stayed at the Trade Winds Guesthouse. It was cheap and nice and has a great restaurant – seriously fabulous food. It worked for me because I wasn’t planning on staying in the room much. It’s right on the Malecon in Esperanza.

    • How about Montreal? Very foreign feeling for being so close.

    • An all-inclusive in the Caribbean could work for you. Some places like Costa Rica are big on outdoor activities. If you want a more urban trip, Argentina may be an option. It’s a long flight but the peso is really down right now so costs would be really low once there.

    • My son is going to Iceland in May-flights were $300 ish from Boston-it looks so cool that I want to go (but not cool to bring your mom on vacation :(

    • Turks and Caicos is nice. I went in May of last year and we got a deal on a hotel room because it’s off-season.

      Another option would be Belize – you could do Ambergris Caye if you’re into snorkeling and diving, or stay on the mainland for mountains/Mayan Ruins. My husband and I went during spring break during law school, and I think we spent around 3k for a week in Ambergris.

      Another idea is Costa Rica – another spring break during law school vacation. I think we were able to spend less than 3k total on flights/hotels/activities, while spending time in both Arenal and Monteverde.

      If you’re into hiking and outdoorsy stuff, I can’t recommend enough some of the national parks – Yellowstone and Grand Teton in Wyoming, and Arches and Canyonlands around Moab, UT are all amazing.

      • +1 to Belize. My husband is from there, so the one time I was there we were just in the village he was born in, but everything was gorgeous. Can’t wait to go back and vacation on the Cayes.

    • A PR Chick :

      Dominican Republic! Amazing all-inclusive options in Punta Cana. Beautiful place.

    • Anonymous :

      Turkey. I got airfaire in May for $706 a person from Texas, but if you are willing to do buget hotels or hostels with individual rooms (very very common to have private rooms with their own bathrooms in Turkey), the it would be doable. They have some of the best beaches on the Mediterranean.

      • Anonymous :

        Sorry I didn’t see you meant $2000 a person. Turkey has some of the best ruins and beachs in the Mediterranean and is more than affordable at $2000/person. Whatever you would pay stateside for food and hotels, just cut it in about half and that is what it costs there. Possibly less than half now that the dollar is a little stronger.

      • +1 to this :

        I second the Turkey suggestion. I took a trip to Turkey a few years ago and it is one of my favorite places I have ever been. Amazing.

    • I will keep plugging the US Virgin Islands! So beautiful and relaxing.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Thanks, everyone! I’ll take a look at some options. (Re suggestions for Belize and Turkey–I suggested those, but BF is reluctant because I’ve already been and he thinks we should go somewhere new to both of us–but he hasn’t been and I’m happy to repeat either! So we’ll see)

  5. Intl Moves :

    This summer I’ll be moving internationally for work (year-long contract). For those of you who have done the same, any advice on a) how to prepare and b) how to settle into my new environment? I’m planning Dr. appts now, and have given thought to how to keep in touch with friends and family while away (skype, etc). TIA!

    • I’ve moved for grad school rather than work but some hopefully helpful hints:
      a) Pack enough so you don’t need to run out and buy undies but not too much that you are overloaded / overwhelmed as your storage might be quite minimal. You may have this covered with an apartment provided but I never think about the fact that I’ll probably need a towel when I first arrive somewhere.
      b) Try to find some normalcy in the upheaval. If you have a yoga class / favourite café / cooking / Sunday brunch routine, try to figure out a way to bring that with you.
      c) Invest in friendships both at home and where you are at that moment. My MOH / BFF is someone who I lived with for a year in grad school. We haven’t lived in the same city since 2007 but still remain close.

      Are you moving to an English speaking country? I’ve lived in countries where I didn’t speak the language well / at all so I was surprised that I felt culture shock when I moved to the UK. Because I wasn’t gearing up to operate in a new language, I don’t think I quite mentally prepared for the transition.

    • If you take prescriptions, talk to your doctor about how to handle that (will they be available where you are? will you have to buy a year’s worth and take them with you? etc). I know someone that is mailing hormonal birth control to a friend with a job in the Middle East every 3 months because it is almost impossible for her to get it in the area she is living in – but I imagine the same would apply even to other drugs depending on their status in whatever your new country’s FDA equivalent is.

      Is this a normal thing in your company? Can you talk to someone else who taken a similar 1 year assignment? Is anyone else from your company going as well, so maybe you can get to know them now?

      Also, if you don’t know the other language, look for a tutorial now on toiletry names. I had a great story from a friend who tried to buy toothpaste in Japan and when he got to his apartment discovered he’d actually bought a tube of hemorrhoid cream.

      • Also, whether your medicine is legal in the company you are going to. I take adderall and I hear even with a prescription it is illegal in Japan so I would want to switch to another and make sure the switch was successful long before the move.

    • Some random stuff that’s taken up much more time than expected every time I’ve done a cross-border move

      : Tax and superannuation/ retirement stuff, if you don’t have the support of a big HR set-up. If I were American, I’d definitely check in with my tax agent/ accountant before heading out, in order to be on top of what paperwork I might need later. As it is, I have retirement accounts in a couple of different countries at this point – they were mandatory when I went on the local payroll in these countries, my employer and I duly made contributions, and it has been very hard to get the (thankfully not terribly large) sums back once I left the country.

      : Storage of stuff from your current residence and all it entails (deciding what to store, packing, checking out moving and storage options, down to hiring a large vehicle for the day in event you decide to do it yourself)

      : Voltage differences, if you are American and taking appliances with you to Europe or Asia (chances are you’ll need a converter to step down local power).

    • On settling in, your school’s alumni network can be a good resource for picking up some social contacts beyond your new colleagues. My husband is years out of college, but an active alumni of his US schools, and we typically get a few young folks passing through every year (usually give them a dinner in our home and tips on regional travel).

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      We moved from the US to the UK last August. We will be here for 2 years-3 years. One thing I have found helpful is to simply answer “a couple of years” to people when they ask how long we will be here. I find that people often don’t want to extend friendships to people they will only know for a short short time, so by saying a couple of years they hear that as more so they are willing to reach out more.

      Reading books by Robin Pascoe such as A Broad Abroad. or checking out her website:

      Will your work be moving you? I have a ton of advice for prepping for the move such a list that includes things like taking your bike to a bike store to be taken apart and cleaned and put in a box so it doesn’t sit on half empty tires for a year, getting all the batteries out of things going into storage etc. So if that would be helpful let me know.

      I found Meet Ups website a really good way to meet people or taking classes (sewing, knitting, cooking etc). Also joining a congregation (in our case finding a synagogue) was a really nice way to find people to celebrate holidays with.

      Hope this helps!

      • Thanks LLY! My CO isn’t moving me, I’m moving for a different opportunity. Hopefully selling most things and moving lightly too.

        • LondonLeisureYear :

          Sounds like a plan! Look into if the country you are moving to has apartments that are furnished. For example in London I would say 50% of the flats come furnished so its super easy to not have to think about furniture. Don’t bring any small appliances or things that plug in. Every country has its version of craigslist…its gumtree here in London so you can get stuff cheap if you need to. Especially if you are moving to a place that has a lot of people moving for short term. I would sell most stuff, put what you really love into storage, and bring whatever you can fit in suitcases. If you love a certain type of lotion, shampoo etc I would stock up on that in your luggage. Even if you can get it in other countries, its often much more expensive.

          Something to research – see how your internet accounts will transfer- amazon prime, netflix etc. Some you have to get separate accounts if you move countries, some work in either place etc. It just depends.

          • Anon for this :

            London leisure year– do you have an email I could contact you at? In a similar situation and would love to pick your brain a little offline. Thanks!

          • LondonLeisureYear :

            Sure! sadie.struss @ (without the spaces)

  6. Billable Hour :

    A couple days ago there was a post on Ask A Manager where a guy wrote in and talked about how he hated working. All kind of work. Period. And there were lots of interesting discussions in the comment section, including ones on how people work.

    And it got me to start thinking in a really eye-opening way– the way I work best, which is a burst of intensely focused work for a couple of hours followed by a bunch of down time, rinse and repeat two to three times during the day work day– that seems incompatible with the billable hour system. It causes me a huge amount of frustration. The billable hour system seems to be designed for people who can work consistently and methodically all day long.

    Should I look for a job that does not have billable hours? Is there anyone out there who works like I do that has been able to work a billable hour job and make it work?

    • No advice but I’m in the same boat. I long for the day where my job is only to get my work done and not bill a specific amount.

    • Yay! TPS Thursday! I LOVE TPS Thursday and silk bloouses like this one! Great Pick, Kat!

      In addtion to silk blouses, has anyone in the HIVE bought the jegging’s that are advertised on Cable? Madeline came in wearing them and she looked great, but I do NOT know whether they would HOLD UP if you are actually a little to tubby in the tuchus, like I am relative to the rest of my body. Madeline is generaly big all over so when she came in lookeing great in these Genie Slim Jeggings, I got to thinkeing that mabye there are others in the hive with large tuchuses but otherwise svelte like me that have tried these.

      They are ONLEY $19.99 + shipping and you get 3 pair’s so I am goeing to get them but it would be great if others can chime in with their experiences. I do NOT recall if Kat has a tuchus, but she can sureeley chime in with her comments or mabye an alternate pair that would work for us gals with larger tuchuses who are otherwise svelte.

      As for the OP, there is NOTHING worse then billing, and haveing to come up with hours to bill, but since it is the way of the world for us lawyers, we have to learn to live with it. I bill evenly every week, even if I do no work, so that the cleint’s learn to expect it. When I realy work to much, I do NOT overbill b/c I do not underbill in other weeks. That is how I got 600 hours every week last year, and 625 hours a week this year, spread across mabye 15 cleint’s. YAY!!!!!

    • I work like this too. I’m an engineer, not a lawyer, and responsible for my own time, so it works out great for me. That makes me wonder if you’d be happier working in a corporate environment, like I do? I can’t speak specifically to a corporate lawyer’s work patterns, of course… but I bet someone here can.

    • winteranon :

      I don’t know why that pattern would be incompatible with billable hours, as long as you can get enough work bursts in a day to bill enough hours. But it could be difficult to make it work with an office culture that requires a lot of face time. Basically, you’ll have to put in the face time (a bunch of it unproductive “down time”) and then continue working in your bursts during “off” hours to get your billable time in.

      Obviously it won’t work to just work half the time you’re in the office, then be done for the day at the normal “quitting time” for your office.

    • I have the same working style as you, and I work to billable hours targets. I just have to be in the office longer to bill the same as someone who diligiently bills from the moment they arrive at 8 until the moment they leave at 5:30. I take breaks during the day to run errands or book a personal appoint or meet a friend for coffee, so it feels fair to me that I leave at 7:30 rather tahn 5:30.

    • I prefer to work like this but am also in BigLaw. This is what I do to cope to the extent possible: Use the 2-3 hour burst for the hard work for me, which is typically writing for me because it is what requires the most thought. Use the time in between the bursts that I would really prefer to be doing nothing to do that for 5-15 minutes followed by whatever is left of the hour on something less brain intensive for me, i.e. doc review if there is some, reading, responding to emails etc. I also use the downtime to do the non-billable stuff that has to get done such as time entry, admin, etc., amd to talk to people socially at the firm.

      Of course the system falls apart when I only have “hard work” to do and then I’m just miserable and end up working 16 hour days to give myself breaks and get the work done. Also the harder the work, the more breaks I need.

      • “The harder I work, the more breaks I need.” Thank you for writing this. I am the same way. The more intense my work situation, the longer I need to decompress on my break. I was starting to feel like a failure for operating this way and it is great to see that other people do too.

    • I was going to echo the others and say that I think billable hours are very well suited to this personality. It’s much better that you can bill when you feel the burst rather than being forced to be in your seat from 9-5.

    • For those who don’t get how it’s incompatible with the billable hour system–it’s this:

      You’re getting the same amount of work done in your 2 hour high-powered burst as the slow-steady worker does in 4 hours, but you can’t bill for 4 hours just because that’s what it takes someone else. The billable model doesn’t reward working faster, and you end up doing twice the quantity of work and putting in twice the mental energy just to meet your hours.

      A better job for people like this is one that only requires output and allows for flexibility in when that output occurs. Unfortunately, I don’t know of something that’s widely available (ie, I’m not counting tech startups that require specialized skills that very few founders have) and pays what firms do.

      • Uh, I call BS on this. I am a person who works this way – in chunks of hyper focus time with breaks between. But ain’t no way that means I get twice as much done in half as much time as the person who regularly sits for a 9 hour stretch and works straight through (and I can do an all-day hyper focus of I have serious time pressure forcing me to, but this is not at all my style). I am quick and efficient, but the hyper focus doesn’t get you double speed. A lot of the efficiency comes from experience.

    • SoCalAtty :

      That’s exactly how I work. I’m here pretty early in the morning, and I work in intense bursts where I get what seems like a whole day’s work done in about 4 hours. That’s my morning, usually. Then I grab lunch, read something not-work, and then return emails / organize files in the afternoon. That wouldn’t work well with billable hours, and, in fact, I was pretty miserable when I was working that way.

      I’m in-house now, and this seems to fit better with the way I work. Now if only our corporate structure would settle down so things are fun again!

  7. In the Pink :

    Calgary? Vancouver? Quebec?

    West Virginia has some nice “mountain resort hotels.” Surprisingly so and near Pittsburgh side of PA.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      I assume that’s replying to me. BF is from WV and has other family in Pittsburgh, so we’re ruled that out as “too close to family so we might have to stop by.” But Canada’s an idea.

    • Also in Academia :

      Again with the West Virginia surprise (kidding, kidding). It’s lovely, go visit.

  8. White Noise :

    I realized I was sleeping somewhat better with my humidifier all winter and now that the season for that has passed I’m missing the sound. Does anyone have a recommendation for a white noise machine? I just need to block out general apartment sounds (neighbors tvs, etc.)

    • Sydney Bristow :

      We just use a fan and point it away from us or directly up towards the ceiling. You just need to avoid the ones that are advertised as being super quiet its a super cheap solution.

    • I use the Sleep Pillow app. I’m a big fan if you keep your phone charging by your bed.

    • Diana Barry :

      I keep my humidifier on year-round and just use the FAN part in the summertime (disconnect it from the water tank etc.). It may shorten the life of the humidifier but I find it easier to just have one appliance to do everything.

    • Noise Machine Rec :

      This. Just purchased this 2 weeks ago. DH & I love it. Excellent alternative to using a fan, which we’ve done for years.

      • The Dohm is awesome. Total workhorse. That’s what I always see in therapists’ offices. I used mine nightly for 4 years and replaced it with the same when it burned out.

    • I got the Sound Oasis S-650-01 Sleep Sound Therapy System for my birthday about 6 months ago. I’d moved into a new apartment that’s on a busy street, and had hardwood floors (meaning that I would hear my upstairs neighbors in their bedroom . . . ick!).

      I really like this machine. It has good volume control and a lot of sounds, so I can make it loud if I need it.

      Beyond blocking out the noise, I’ve found that it has helped me sleep much better. I use the same sound each night (right now I’m into “stream” or “creek” or something), and maybe it’s Pavlov, but I get to sleep faster. If I wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble falling asleep, putting the sound machine on helps.

      I’m sure a lot of the noise machines will do this. I’d done a bit of research on the machines before I picked, and there are differences on technology (like if you want to connect a phone or something), and then differences on the number and types of noise. I wanted one that had a range of noises, including white noise. I didn’t care about tech. I still use a dumb phone!


    • Wildkitten :

      I use this one – it’s $17 and you can adjust the volume. It works perfectly.

    • PinkKeyboard :

      We have a Vornado fan and it makes a lovely amount of noise.

    • I have one of these and I don’t recommend it. Really, it’s fine, but the sounds have a short loop (like 2 seconds?) so I can get distracted by that. Also, the lights are really bright (one would think a company would have thought of that)!

      I’m usually a fan girl, but I needed something more to cover up sounds. I use the ocean waves sound but will be looking for a new sound machine soon.

    • I use this one and DON’T recommend it

      The lights are too bright (I’ve put stuff over them) and the sounds are repeated on a very short loop which can be distracting. I still use the ocean wave sound, but that’s the only one that works for me to sleep.

    • la vie en bleu :

      I keep an air filter running by my bed all year. It gives me white noise and the added benefit of trapping dust and allergens (it’s by the window where lots of pollution and pollen comes in). I have the small one by Holmes that only needs one filter. I do have to spend money on the filters throughout the year but I think it is worth it for me so far.

  9. Anyone else having comment loading issues? When I refresh on the main page, I see 20 comments – when I click into the post, there’s only one (Anon at 9:47).

    • Yup. Same issue. I kept refreshing and then all the posts showed up.

    • I’ve been having this issue for the past 3 days

    • Yep. Since Monday I think, and it’s not specific to browers or computers – it’s any time/anywhere I access the s!te.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      That and my iPhone is doing the forced to reload the page thing it was doing over a month ago. Super annoying and only happens on this s1te.

  10. Kat, can I suggest the morning posts go up earlier, please?

    • I would love this. 10 seems so late.

    • Why?

    • If you need something to read first thing – AskAManager always goes up pretty early.

    • 2nd this!

    • I would be a fan of this too.

      It seems to me that since everything has shifted later, with the afternoon post later too, the afternoon post discussion has shortened/deteriorated some. I admit that I am less likely to go back and even look for an afternoon post these days for this reason.

      • winteranon :

        +1. I would like to read the first post in the morning before I really get started working, then check back at lunch.

      • +2. The afternoon posts tend to be a lot less lively now that they go up later.

        • Completely agreed.

        • Yes. The afternooon posts are not as active. I think the direct discussion posts should be up at the same time as the afternoon one. Otherwise, you read the few comments on the directed post and wait around some 2 hrs for the later one.

        • Meg Murry :

          Yes, I would like it if the morning posts went up earlier, but I understand if that doesn’t work for Kat’s schedule. But the afternoon posts haven’t been going up until 4 or later recently, and that’s annoying – and I don’t think the directed posts are getting any more comments because of it.

          But hey, this place is free to me, so I’m not going to complain, just voice a preference.

      • Wildkitten :


    • How would that work for the folks on the West Coast?

      • You get the afternoon post. In my time zone, I only get the morning one.

        • Thank you for reading, guys! The morning post usually goes up between 9-10, as it has for years, and the afternoon post is up between 2-3, also for years (midday one as close to 12-1 as I can). Sounds like some of the new stuff we’re trying with page caching might be affecting user experience though – this week should have been like clockwork. I’ll check with my tech guy.

  11. I have a bit of an embarrassing problem- I went for a run yesterday, and my running bra chafed under my bust. My regular bra today is just making the chafed area so itchy, and irritating it.

    Does anyone else have this problem? Or a solution?

    • I have the problem, my solution is more on the prevention side – I use deodorant under the girls before a run and that helps keep chafing from happening. After, harder problem and I don’t have a great solution beyond wearing my most comfy bras.

    • AnonInfinity :

      Body Glide! I’ve had chafing in the same area, and Body Glide is a life saver.

    • winteranon :

      I get this on long runs. To avoid it, I use Body Glide (buy at running store or on Amazon), and wear my sports bras inside out (on mine, the offending seam kind of sticks out on the inside).

      For relief, I moisturize, use Vaseline, and cover areas with big bandaids, depending how bad it is.

    • Maybe a few Band-aids?

    • If chafing is embarrassing, then I completely humiliated.
      This seems more like a Fact of Life. Two solutions – either keep the area really, really dry – use powder, tape the skin before you put the bra on top, or really really wet, like petroleum jelly or a product that is made for chafing (check out a running store).
      Or change your bra size!

    • Clementine :

      It’s pretty rotten and I get it more often than I’d like to. I’ll echo a lot of what these ladies have sent.

      Prevention: Body Glide/Vaseline/Seamless Sports Bras. Also make sure that your band isn’t too big or stretched out.

      Healing: What works for me is to slather on coconut oil and put a big piece of nonstick gauze over it then tape in place. I try and let it air out at night and also make sure that my undergarment choices rub there as little as possible. For me, this means wearing a bra with a band on the smaller side so that it doesn’t move/rub.

    • Gold Bond powder! I use it to combat thigh-chafing when I exercise in the summer and it’s wonderful! It also soothes after the fact.

  12. Clerkship for transactional associate? :

    I just started in biglaw, after an unsuccessful clerkship interview season. I’ve been thinking about trying for one again – but I’m unsure if it would derail my career. I’m not interested in switching to litigation, but I do want the experience of working for a judge. Is it a bad idea to apply again – should I just move on with my career? Or could it be a good way to transition to another firm when I’m ready?

    Obviously there is also the issue that you can’t apply for a clerkship that starts in a few months – I would have to plan for at least 1-2 years out. But that seems doable in general. I’m more concerned that it will look very strange on my resume and would not lead to a successful transition to another firm doing corporate work.

    • This sounds a little like you just have a fear of missing out by not doing a clerkship. I have a hard time seeing how it would be helpful at all to a transactional practice if that’s what you do and like doing. I’d just move on from the idea and focus on getting experience in your practice. Clerking can be great for a litigation practice, but even there ex-clerks don’t really end up with more options than working in firms or the courts.

      • Agreed – a clerkship will basically do nothing for you if you’re in a transactional practice, and the opportunity cost of taking a year off the clerk (if you’re not transitioning to litigation) will be very high. Is it just the prestige that you’re interested in? Most of the Biglaw and specialty firms will only be “impressed” if you clerk for a federal appellate court, SCOTUS, or a state supreme court. Which obviously makes those jobs in higher demand and you might get side-eye from a judge when he/she sees that you’re in a transactional practice now and don’t intend to litigate.

        Honestly, if I was interviewing someone for transactional work and they left their firm after a few years to clerk – just because – and then wanted to come back and do transactional work at a different firm, I wouldn’t see that as a positive. Maybe not a negative, but certainly not a plus.

        • Clerkship for transactional associate? :

          Yes, I would only leave for federal appellate. But I think you guys are right – it’s FOMO (probably in combination with – I almost had a year of doing that and it would have been this year – better than being a first year associate!).

          Thanks for the reality check.

    • I had a friend who worked for two years in a transactional practice, clerked for a USDC judge for a year, and became a litigator. He was interested in both a geographical and practice area switch, so it worked out well for him. He also switched firms. Not sure how it would look given that you don’t want to litigate, however.

      • Anon in NYC :

        I know the OP mentioned FOMO above, which I don’t think is a good reason to do a clerkship, but something that you could consider is a clerkship with a bankruptcy judge. Bankruptcy (at least in my firm) is a practice group that sort of floats between the corporate and litigation practices, so it wouldn’t be that strange to do something like that if your interests lie in that area.

    • former clerk :

      I’ll also add that I watched a former transactional associate flounder an a federal clerkship. He was eventually let go because he didn’t have the litigation background the judge felt necessary. Not saying that you’ll have that issue, but a lot of judges who take clerks who have practiced for a few years will probably be looking for the advantage of litigation experience.

  13. Watches and their impressions :

    Hive, what salary range would you need to have in order to feel comfortable buying a $6k watch? Would age/title/seniority affect your answer? My coworker keeps discussing the fact that another coworker in the same salary range as us recently bought a Cartier watch and how rich she must be. We’re all senior associates (mid-late 20s) making around $80k. We’re in a major Northeast city FWIW. I just feel that we all spend our money on different things and that this isn’t that big of a deal.

    • What other people spend their money one is usually not a big deal.
      As the teachers at preschool told my son, worry about yourself.

    • I would not buy a 6K watch, but that’s a personal value judgment.

      I’d notice if one of my coworkers was wearing one, would probably think “Pretty. Cartier.” and then go back to thinking about whatever I was thinking about before.

      • This. Or at least the not buying the watch part. I don’t know enough about watches to know how much anyone’s watch costs. Your coworker should follow the above preschool rule.

    • It’s only a problem if she also has a Birkin!

      Kidding, I think we all just spend our money differently, and all have different family circumstances. I make twice that, and I have been considering a Cartier, but I plan to save for it for a year or so, and I don’t have kids or a spouse.

      Maybe she’s married to someone who just takes care of her, and her money is “play” money. Or maybe she’s wanted a cartier watch since she was 18, and saved up for it. Or ..or…or..or. Basically, your coworkers shouldn’t focus so much on others.

    • Everyone spends their money differently! I bought a stainless Cartier Tank a few years ago, $4,000 plus, and I love it. But I don’t drive a pricey car…I have a fully paid for Toyota…but I work with people who spend $500-$600 a month on a leased car so they can drive a BMW or Acura. To me, that’s money down n the drain. I also live in a smaller house than I could afford, but it’s just my husband and I, so it’s fine for us! I like to save for my retirement, pay all my bills in full every month. I like nice clothes and jewelry and I like to go out to eat. So to each his own.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Nice! Slight TJ – anyone know of any Tank-style stainless watches with a single diamond instead of all the way around the face? My mother has a Cartier with the one diamond, but apparently they don’t make them that way any more. 12 diamonds seems a bit much for me, and a little less functional/a lot more expensive than I’d like, but I do think I’d like one bit of bling on it.

        • Clementine :

          Could you buy an older model? Maybe not quite vintage but certainly ‘pre-loved’?

    • You do you–but obviously people get judgy for all sorts of things so if you’re worried about that, I would just keep in mind that it’d be no fun to buy it and then be too shy to wear it!

    • To answer your question, I make around 300k/year and it would never occur to me to spend that much on a watch. My watch cost around $60 on sale.

      *If* I ever noticed the Cartier watch, I wouldn’t judge until that person made a comment about “finances being tight” or “needing a raise” or “not being able to afford X” or something.

      • One of my employees used to complain every day about not making enough money. At one point, the company even gave him a hardship “gift” to help him get through a rough patch. And he still complained. every. day. and continually asked for more money. Then about 6 months later he turned around and bought a Rolex for himself. I no longer feel bad for him.

  14. Asideralis :

    My dog has a neurological issue which has caused fear-based aggression and it’s reached the point that all involved feel that it is no longer manageable. I’ll be euthanizing him this weekend and I feel so awful. He’s 3.5 years old, and I have tried so many things to help him and manage his condition, but I feel like a failure. My vet, vet behaviorist, and trainer all agree that this was likely to happen and not my fault. I’ve been in rescue and rehab for abused and abandoned dogs for over 15 years, and this is the only situation that I’ve ever felt out of my depth.

    I’ve never had a dog like him before and I will miss him so much. When he’s not crazy, he is the sweetest, most loving dog I have ever had. I kept hoping and wishing that the right medicine combination would ‘fix’ him. Do you ladies have any recommendations for ways to remember / memorialize pets? I ordered a pawprint ornament, and would like to use his ashes in a plant. But I’d love some support.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      No further memorializing ideas, but I did want to say it sounds like you’ve done everything possible for this dog, and it sounds like you’re making the right decision for him.

    • I don’t have any great suggestions, but big hugs for you. You are making the right choice, but that doesn’t make it any easier. Maybe blowing up a big picture of him (or you and him)?

      This is tough but you are making the RIGHT decision for him, too. He isn’t happy when he is feeling fear or aggression either. You have given him a wonderful few years and most people would have probably given up earlier.

      Much love to you!

      • Asideralis :

        Thank you, we decided to do a photo-shoot the morning of. We’re blowing up a picture of him and our other dog from a hiking trip. They’re in a field of flowers and they look so happy.

    • I’m so sorry. This is really hard, and it sounds like you’ve given him a wonderful life during your time together.

      If his aggression doesn’t prevent being close to him, maybe have someone take some photographs of you together? A steak dinner and a day of his favorite activities?

      • Asideralis :

        Thank you. We did a family photo-shoot and my husband and I took a photo holding him like we did when we first got him. It was a great way to show that even with his issues, he left us the way he came into our lives: full of love. We spent all day cuddling and playing with him before his death. And he got a burger with lots of cheese!

    • I’m so sorry you’re going through this. You’ve given your dog a loving home and more happy time than he would have had if you did not rescue and attempt to rehab him.

      I know it sounds cold, but when you have a dog with fear-based aggression, it’s like walking around with a ticking time bomb. I speak from experience – we’ve gone through something very similar and had to ultimately put one of our dogs to sleep after he turned his aggression on us. It is much better to focus on the happy memories your dog has given you, and be happy that you’ve made the right decision (especially when professionals agree) before something terrible happened.

      • SoCalAtty :

        Agree! I have no experience with dogs, but this happened with one of our rescue horses once. There was just…nothing we could do, and he was eventually going to get someone killed. We did all of those suggestions – saved some of his tail and did lots of photos. I love the paw print ornament idea.

        Big hugs! Sometimes there is just nothing else you can do.

        • Asideralis :

          Thank you so much. It means a lot to know that others have experienced this. the paw print ornament is hanging in our living room above his favorite plant. My husband will paint it when he comes back in May.

      • Asideralis :

        Thank you so much, it means a lot to me to know that others have experienced similar situations.

    • You’ve given him the best possible chances. Just like humans, some dogs have mental health issues that make them dangerous. As horrible as this is, you’d feel much worse if the dog seriously harmed someone. You’ve given the pup many happy years that it wouldn’t otherwise have had.

      • Asideralis :

        Thank you, it means a lot to me how much support I’ve been given from the hive.

    • Wildkitten :

      That sounds really hard. You can always make a donation to a shelter in his name, or buy a brick for a dog park. I’ve seen people put a big bucket of tennis balls at a dog park as a memorial to a dog who passed (and who loved tennis balls). I appreciate the people who installed dog water fountain memorials but I assume that costs as much as a Cartier watch.

      • Asideralis :

        We’ll be making a donation to the local shelter in his name on what would have been his 4th birthday.

        Thank you so much for your support. My husband is planning on making a knife with his picture engraved, and I plan on having a ring made with his paw print on the inside.

    • I had a rescue cat like this. It’s crazy to think that a cat could have a violent/aggressive nature, but he absolutely menaced my husband and even would turn on me from time to time. We tried so many things, but the only time he was calm and reasonable around my husband was when he was so doped up on cat valium that he could barely stand. It was extremely upsetting to admit that there was nothing more we could do. I am so so sorry you are going through this, but I commend you for doing this before someone is seriously injured.

      • Asideralis :

        I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for your empathy. It’s so hard coming to this point, especially when the common thought in rescue is that any problem is due to training.

    • mashedpotato :

      You have a right to grieve for your dog but you’re doing the kind and smart thing. Sadly, everyone agrees that no amount of time and effort will help this dog get better, and an aggressive animal can do a lot of damage. A family friend has facial scars from a childhood dog attack. I wish that dog’s owners had euthanized him at the first sign of aggression.

      • Asideralis :

        Unfortunately, the first sign of aggression is very difficult to notice. It’s something that doesn’t immediately appear and is insidious in its growth. And the current state of mind in many rescue and rehab centers is that it’s due to lack of training, and more training is the answer. There’s a lot of blame on the owners in these situations. If I had not had this experience myself, I, too, would believe that any dog could be saved with the right environment. It’s so hard. You don’t want to believe that your pet is really that dangerous. You see the good, and the problems seem to melt away at that moment.

        My dog was an amazing, kind, wonderful dog. He loved so much. But he was terrified, and couldn’t get out of panic mode once he was there. And everything scared him. Fear-based aggression is a terrible thing to deal with. He was so normal in the right situations, and we tried so hard to set him up for success.

        No one wants to admit to failures, so I understand why people are slow to reach this point. I still wonder if I had just tried another medicine, would he have gotten better? Maybe more training? I play the what-if game and the blame game with myself. I’m haunted by this loss. But, I think I did make the right decision, even though it was the most painful one.

    • Coach Laura :

      I agree that the dog was blessed to have you and some happy times. I have a small urn (3 inches high) that I keep in my bookcase at work – it’s pewter and has paw-prints on it – and holds a small portion of my dog’s ashes. It makes me smile and think of good memories. Google small paw-print keepsake urn.

      • Asideralis :

        We’re getting his ashes back in an urn. I’m happy to pay the extra expense of a private cremation. Thank you, I’m glad to know it helps.

    • This is heartbreaking! But better that you give him an awesome end, then give him up and have him go through more trauma, only to eventually be euthanized.

      My plea – please be with him when it happens!! As hard as it may be on you, being there with him giving him comfort, is a wonderful gift to give him – rather than leaving him alone in an unknown environment with an unknown individual. Also, if you have the means, give him a great last meal – steak or something else doggie-decadent!

      • Asideralis :

        I was planning on being there with him when he’s euthanized. In fact, my husband is flying from California just for this weekend to be there with him as well. (I currently live in DC.) My siblings and mum will be there because he’s such a sweet dog when he’s calm and everyone loves him.

        I was planning on giving him a nice burger and popcorn. His favorite treats.

        • la vie en bleu :

          Awww, poor pup. And poor you. Really he is just so lucky that he had you, an amazing person who put so much time and energy into giving him as many good days as possible. I know it’s just hard no matter what, but I’m sending you lots of hugs.

        • Can you get a vet to come to your house? Could make it a little easier to keep in calm. And I am so sorry. Sounds like you both were lucky to have had the time together that you had.

          • Asideralis :

            Thank you so much! Unfortunately, my normal vet was out of town this weekend, so we went to the local Animal Hospital who was fully informed of the situation.

    • so very sorry. I was preggo with my second son when we had to put down my very favorite dog. He was husband’s dog before I met them, but he instantly took to me as his person. He had epilepsy, and either through a combination of age/seizures/medications/injury or whatever, he finally wore down so much that he was ataxic a lot, and the quality of his life had declined.

      I still feel guilty that I wasn’t there when we put him down, but I would have been even more of a total wreck than I was. I miss that dog so much.

      • Asideralis :

        I’m so sorry for your loss! Losing a pet is so similar to losing a family member for some of us. I know that it’s hard to let go.

        Thank you for your empathy.

    • S in Chicago :

      I’m so, so sorry this is happening. It’s never easy and I can’t even imagine how heartbreaking that has to be at such a young age. A few ideas:
      * I found someone on etsy who will make necklaces out of their pawprints. I haven’t done it yet, but it’s on my to-do list. I believe they can work with nose prints, too. Here it is:
      * Get some nice photos done (ideally someone who works with pet portraits) as best as his condition, time, and money will allow. I can’t tell you how much comfort I’ve gotten from some of the portraits that were done before I lost my best bud. They are among my most treasured possessions.
      * Shoot as much video as you can. It may be too painful to watch for awhile, but you’ll be glad one day you have it. I also made a list of some of my favorite memories together–I pull this list out when I watch the videos and it’s a good reminder that he had a life with happiness. (If you think you might feel guilty with euthanizing, it also might not hurt to make a list of some of those reasons, too. My best bud went through a horrible cancer battle. I try to keep some of that in mind, too, as it gives me comfort to know that I helped keep him from having to bear too much more pain. In your instance, if the behaviorist isn’t seeing help for his fear, you should take comfort in knowing that he’s not enjoying being upset all the time either. A reminder of how tough it is for him right now may help down the road if you’re struggling with “Could I have done X differently” “What if I had just tried Y?” If a veterinary behaviorist isn’t seeing an intervention, you need to believe that. The specialty isn’t very common. The fact you’re referencing says a lot to me just with that about how hard you’ve been trying.)
      * Make his last days as special as you can with what you can in whatever ways are most soothing, whether it’s favorite food, belly rubs, etc.

      • +1000 to the pet portraits idea. I recently did this for my dog, who we just found out has a tumor in one of her lungs. She is still spry and happy, but I think they were worth every penny for when my best buddy will no longer be around. Some photographers who specialize in pet photography will do reduced prices and do a very quick turnaround for dogs with medical conditions.

        So sorry you’re going through this! Dogs are so special. It sounds like you have done everything you could, and for that you should be proud.

      • Asideralis :

        Thank you so much. This means so much to me. We did a family photoshoot, I shot a lot of video, I’m currently writing a letter to him, and I think that a list of reasons regarding guilt is a great idea. His last day with us was as special as we could make it. He died in my (and my husband’s) arms.

        I’ll be getting some jewelry to remind me of him. I wore my claddagh ring in with him, so that I have a ring right now to remind me and since the claddagh represents love, I thought that was fitting. Thank you for the etsy link.

        It means a lot to me how accepting the hive has been.

    • I also volunteer with a wonderful shelter that tries so hard to rehabilitate any dog. We have multiple highly regarded trainers that donate their time and take these dogs in to make them stars. But inevitably, we have 3-5 dogs per year that fail completely. We have a system in place where a certain number of people have to certify that they are a danger to society and then they are euthanized. Even the very best dog trainers recognize that there are some that just won’t make it. You have done this dog a great service by giving him a chance and you are doing the rest of the world a great service by recognizing when living in society is beyond this dog’s limitations. You wouldn’t let him suffer from painful cancer, right? This is another type of suffering and you are doing the absolute right thing. I wish you comfort this weekend.

      • Asideralis :

        Thank you so much! The animal rehab world is such a large part of my life, and it was so hard to admit ‘defeat’. I really appreciate your insight.

    • My heart hurts for you. Putting a dog down no matter the reason is just so hard. He was clearly lucky to have someone like you in his life that tried to help him against all odds. I hope that you can look back on your decision and not feel guilty and just know that it is the right thing to do.

      There’s a rainbow bridge website/poem about people who’ve lost pets and it makes me cry every time I go to that site. I would check that out.

    • I’m so sorry. Sometimes the best/right choice isn’t easy.
      I think that a sun-catcher or stained glass piece would be a beautiful way to memorialize a pet. Something like this

    • I had to put my much-loved collie down last summer due to inoperable cancer. My heart goes out to you.

      +1000 to the suggestion to have some pictures taken. I realized that I had a ton of pics of my dog, but none of us together. My DBF came over and took some great shots of the two of us. DBF’s son bought me a great frame for it, and I now keep it in my home office.

      I’m still undecided about what to do with the ashes. They’re in a little wooden box in my living room for now. I had thoughts of burying them in the backyard and putting a little bench and garden over the spot but I’m wavering.

      • Asideralis :

        Thank you and I am so sorry for your loss.

        I did end up doing a photoshoot. We (my husband and I) help him between us as we did the first day we brought him home. It makes me happy to know that he left us feeling as loved (if not more) as he was when we joined us.

    • Frozen Peach :

      Huge hugs.

      It sounds like you have a great vet who you like, but when we’ve had to put pets down in my family, we have either asked our usual vet to come to our house, or hired a service that specializes in in-home pet euthanasia. It makes a huge difference to everyone, including your beloved pet but also your family and friends, to be at home in familiar surroundings. Let me know if you’re interested and I can find the name of the national org that refers to vets who will come to your house. They do the paw print as part of their services, and could not have been more kind, wonderful, or compassionate.

      • Asideralis :

        Thank you. I wish my vet could have made a home visit. Unfortunately, she was sick this weekend. We ended up putting him on ace and taking him to the local animal hospital. It was easier on him than I expected. The techs were kind and knowledgeable and the vet was very caring.

  15. I applied for 2 jobs (academic administration) at a university I would love to work for. I applied through their online job system, and typically I’ll email the supervisor of the position directly. In this case, the supervisor’s email is nowhere to be found, so I asked a colleague if they knew anyone who might have it. He called the school directly and asked for it, and the assistant that answered the phone gave him a hard time about why he needed it. So, I’ve been hesitant to email her directly as its clear she is not keen on people emailing her. I’m thinking about doing it anyway. I recently hired someone in part because they were so persistent in following up with me. I don’t want this opportunity to get away, but I’m worried she’ll be mad.

    I think I should just do it. Any opinions to the contrary?

    • If she wanted people emailing her about the jobs, her email would be easier to find. The stonewalling from the assistant should make it clear the supervisor doesn’t want an email. She’s not you. Don’t do it.

      • +1. The assistant was probably instructed not to give out her email address, and that’s in addition to her having made it impossible to look up. She doesn’t want to be emailed and will probably count it against you if you do it against all these signals.

    • I swear should be required co-reading for this blog.

      Don’t email her.

      • la vie en bleu :


        Don’t email her. You don’t know her or have some other networked connection to her, this is an unsolicited email. She is making it clear she doesn’t want those.

      • Yeesh, I do read Ask A Manager. I’m trying to find a balance between not being passive and overstepping.

        This person is in a very public position where they may get tons of emails from students/parents whatever, so I figured she may not share the information publicly for those reasons, not because she does not want to hear from qualified candidates for a job the school has posted.

        • la vie en bleu :

          We didn’t mean any thing mean by it.

          AAM specifically says not to follow up with unsolicited emails or phone calls. You are just bothering them they don’t know who you are yet. She *has* heard from you as a qualified candidate, you submitted your application.

          The way to not be passive and wait is to work your network. Find someone in your network who actually knows her well, or someone else in the organization. And ask them to put in a good word for you. Check LinkedIn to see if you have a connection you don’t realize. That is what AAM says to do.

    • Wildkitten :

      Can you find another connection who actually knows the supervisor?

      • I’ve gone that route too, but she’s not on LinkedIn, and my people are not hooked in to her world. I have a sort of remote connection to someone inside who said they would give her a heads up, but she does not know me well, and I sense is somewhat removed from this particular supervisor.

        • la vie en bleu :

          Then you have done all that you can do. By flooding her with emails or phone calls you are risking p1ssing her off, because she has a job to do other than fielding contact from people she does not know.

          Now you focus on you, work on your interview questions, practice your interview answers. Find another job to apply for. You have done all you can on this one. If they feel you are qualified, you will get a call.

          Good luck, I hope you get it!

  16. Red Red Wine :

    Ladies – please give me your recos for your favorite drugstore eyeliner and eyebrow pencil? Drugstore brands only please. I meant to bring my normal ones to work but accidentally left them at home and I’m regretting it. Thanks.

    • I actually really just like the NYC and Wet&Wild. Both do the trick very well. I don’t like the “waterproof” from NYC because, for some reason, it’s a pencil, but is really soft & goopy. Also really like all ELF products, though haven’t tried eyeliner/brow specifically.

    • (Former) Clueless Summer :

      Maybelline stiletto eyeliner – it’s liquid, but is my absolute favourite of any (and I usually buy non-drugstore makeup).

    • If you’re lining the waterline, the Physicians Formula eyeliners that include the black one are really good. Set of 3 pencils. The other two aren’t as good.

    • Rimmel ScandalEyes Kohl pencils

    • I use an Almay eyeliner that is a twisty pencil. My mascara is Cover Girl something in a blue tube, with a curved brush.

      Sorry so vague :) but that is how I find them in the drugstore, so should work for you.

    • I buy almost all my makeup from department stores, but I love the Revlon Colorstay Liquid eyeliner — I know I love it because I keep rebuying it for years now!

  17. Anyone know a good place for lovely unmentionables and night-wear that doesn’t break the bank? Looking for something more sweet & lovely & beautiful rather than s3xy/boudoir. Pretty little things.

    • Wildkitten :

      Cap Hill Style had a post about this on Valentine’s Day – might be worth a look.

    • Gap body sometimes has some cute nightgowns. And I’ve actually seen some cute ones at target lately too.

    • Miss Behaved :

      Cup of Jo always recommends Eberjey:|f60127361,60129891,8000859&type=category&defaultsize3=&size=&width=&color=&price=&stores=&instoreavailability=false&lastfilter=filtercategory_1&sizeFinderId=2&resultsmode=&segmentId=0&page=1&partial=1&pagesize=100&contextualsortcategoryid=0&shopperSegment=1-0-2|4M2:RS&cm_ven=Linkshare&cm_cat=partner&cm_pla=15&cm_ite=1

  18. Wildkitten :

    PSA – up to 30% off at Lo & Sons. The pearl is down to $175.

    • Thanks! Just bought it…I was just thinking this morning that I was going to buy it the next time it went on sale.

    • On that note, does anyone have the Catalina?

      • Anonymous :

        I have it – its a great bag for more casual weekend trips and is candidly HUGE. I use it when i’m doing long weekends with friends and have taken it on planes as my carry on with no issue.

  19. How much guidance do you expect to give a brand new hire who’s right out of school? I generally like to find work when there isn’t any coming my way, and I always make sure to do everything myself that I possibly can/can find out how to do. But I just don’t feel like I know what I’m supposed to be doing, and when I ask for clarification on specific things, I don’t seem to get it. Is this normal?

    • I think this will depend a lot on your industry and your workplace and exactly what kind of things you’re trying to clarify.

      When you ask for clarification, are you told “figure it out yourself” or are you given an explanation you just don’t understand?

      • anonymous :

        I’m usually given non-answers, or something like “yeah we’ll get back to you, we don’t know yet” Or I’ll try to clarify actionable items and someone will indicate that there aren’t any yet.

  20. Leave of absence :

    I am suffering from major depression right now and am seriously considering a leave of absence from work. I am concerned about how to request a leave of absence in a way that will not harm my future prospects. Any suggestions? If it matters, I am a big law mid level.

    • Mental health is health. You are suffering from a health problem and you want to take a leave of absence while it is being treated. I don’t know if FMLA paperwork requires disclosure of the actual illness but if it does, that doesn’t prevent you from insisting that the public statement is just “health issue.”

      • FMLA doesn’t *require* a disclosure of the actual diagnosis, but it generally requires a description of the frequency of care (or duration, if it’s a solid leave) and the limitation on work ability. There is a section on the employee form that your care provider completes, including medical facts about the issue–no diagnosis is required, but it is listed as an option for what to put there. If you don’t want your employer knowing what’s up, speak with your care provider before they complete the form and make that clear. They can be amorphous and still meet the information requirements. Usually the HR person can guess what the issue is, but they don’t care–health is health, mental or physical or otherwise–they just want to make sure they have the appropriate documentation to back it up.

    • Hugs to you! It takes a lot of courage to recognize that you need help. I was in your place about two years ago, although in a different industry. While I don’t know how standard my leave-taking was, it sounds pretty normal from a large business standpoint, so I’ll give you the nitty gritty.

      I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and depression (I was a huge mess- throwing up before work, sleeping maybe 2-3 hours a night for weeks on end, and unable to focus. It hit a point where I didn’t want to live any more that I knew I couldn’t continue working). I went to my GP, had an overnight stay in the hospital, immediately got a referral to a psychiatrist and a therapist, and she wrote up a note calling for eight weeks off, then later tacked on the extra four when my psych stated I needed more time. I called my HR at work and told them I needed to enact my FMLA leave. They asked for minimal details, although my doctor did have to send them her note with general details about my diagnosis and my condition. HR checked in with me by phone (maybe twice over the 12 weeks?) to see that I was informed of my rights to benefits and I was later asked if I was on track to return when my leave was up.

      Your health info is protected, so they can’t disclose anything to others in your office, although at least one person in HR will be aware of your diagnosis.

      When I returned, I framed it as a “medical leave” and simply told coworkers I had a health issue that has since resolved, although I’m sure a few suspected, and I have given a few people I’m personal friends with at work very general details- I do think being open about mental health helps destigmatize the issue, but obviously you don’t want to torpedo your reputation.

      Best wishes to you! Let me know if you would like any more details.

      • Moonstone :

        Thanks for contributing all the detail here. It’s encouraging.

      • Leave of absence :

        Thanks for sharing your story. I know of others who have taken mental health-based LOA but none of them have come back for long afterwards. I am terrified at the harm my reputation would suffer (and my practice group is very small and open so it would seem odd if I were not up-front about my diagnosis). It seems like there are no good options.

        • Yeah, unfortunately this isn’t a perfect world. I remember almost wishing I had a physical health problem, because then I could be open about it and people would express sympathy, not fear. And coming back wouldn’t be as likely to lead to questions of whether I could “handle” my job. There is no perfect answer here, but I know that my career (and my personal life, which is really far more important) would have taken a much harder hit in the long run had I done nothing. I can say that I’m in a much better place, and getting the help I needed has led to me getting out of my old industry and pursuing a new career path. I’ve had to take a step down in pay and adjust my expectations, but I finally feel successful and (mostly) happy about what I do.

          You’re worth it.

        • And to your point about working in a small practice group: I have found that people have been extremely respectful of any boundaries I’ve set up about sharing my issues. If they asked, I generally responded with something like “it’s difficult for me to talk about right now and I don’t wish to share, but I’m getting the help I need and am on the road to recovery. Thank you for your understanding”. I understand if that’s not always possible, but I never had anybody push back against that sort of response.

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t really have any advice other than maybe to start by telling a trusted partner (if you have one), because they can help shepherd you through the process and probably tell you who you should talk to next, but I want to echo all the comments that mental health is health and good for you for taking care of yourself!

    • If one of the associates that I supervise took a LOA for this reason, I would really respect him/her for being able to recognize the need to get help for a mental health issue. It’s so easy to be in denial, it’s so easy not to get good advice, and there’s so much stigma – it would only say good things to me. I don’t know if you’ve had performance issues at work, but if you have and that’s part of why you’ve realized that you need help, I would be really happy to see that you were getting help, because I hate seeing people struggle at work. In short, I’d be entirely supportive and so would everyone that I work with, and we’re not at all known as a warm and fuzzy crew. You might be surprised to realize how close to home this issue is for a lot of lawyers.