Workday Reading + Ask The Edit

Belle’s Weekly Reading: Working Girl Edition

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I’m beginning to think that I should start a blog that’s just weekly reading, or write a daily reading e-mail or something.  I wind up with far more articles than I use, so I thought I would direct some of my professionally oriented content into a single post.

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1) Levo League is a great organization for young professional women.  They also have a fantastic website brimming with helpful articles on topics like When to Stop Fighting for It and 5 Things You Should Delete From Your Resume.  They also provide short mentoring videos filled with career advice.

Since we’re on the topic of resumes, my biggest pet peeve is when people include their hobbies on a resume, so it was great to see that make the cut list.  The only exception?  When the hobby is applicable to the functions of the position or the company you want to work for–you like yoga and want to work for Lululemon, for example.

2) Behold, the Nine West Margo heel–they’re super comfortable, a professional basic, come in 18 colors, and 6pm.com has them for less than $60.

3) The sluggish Japanese economy desperately needs women to get back into the workforce.  A female politician was speaking in support of programs that aid working mothers when her male colleagues began jeering her, asking where her husband and children were.  I didn’t realize that chauvinism was a key ingredient in Japanese cooking.

4) What if I told you that I found a super-chic bangle that combined gold and silver tones for maximum versatility, and had just a hint of David Yurman’s cabled-metal style?  Now, what if I told you that bangle was $15?

5) Hitha on the Go has a great post on surviving long flights spent in economy class.  10+ hours on a plane sounds like torture to me, but at least her tips make it seem bearable.

6) Satchels are my favorite handbags to carry to the office.  The best place to find stylish, inexpensive ones?  DSW.  This Audrey Brooke tote-hybrid is great.  I love this Wilshire satchel that has a great sleek shape, and the metal accents on this Soto satchel. And this Urban Expressions Rhapsody satchel looks just like the Rebecca Minkoff Cupid bag.

7) New studies show that regardless of what your boss may say about flex-time, getting to work early will help you get ahead.  It’s called morning bias, a belief that early-arrivers are more conscientious.

I learned this lesson at my last job.  It didn’t matter that I was putting in more total hours than my early-bird colleagues, because the boss was doing the early morning thing.  So if you’re on flex-time, keeping the cleaning staff company long after the boss heads home, you might want to rethink your schedule.

8) If your morning commute has you feeling less than fresh, you need three things in your desk drawer: Wipes, deodorant, and a travel-size perfume.  If your favorite fragrance doesn’t come in a rollerball, pick up a mini-atomizer instead.

9) Haven’t signed up for The Skimm yet? It’s time.  This daily blast of news is as witty as it is informative.  I Skimm while waiting for my 8:00am Torts class to start.  Why did I give up coffee, again…

10) One of my favorite brands for summertime work attire is Antonio Melani.  Why?  One word: Dresses.

Need sleeves?  This Issa knock-off is lovely.  I also like this gorgeous navy sheath with a dramatic neckline, and this versatile black and white frock.  And if you like sleeveless dresses, don’t miss this bright berry dress and this office-appropriate lace sheath (not to be missed!).  The best part?  They’re all under-$200 and have a great sale section.

11) We talk a lot about women who leave the workforce to raise children, but what about the growing group of women leaving their jobs at the peak of their careers to care for elderly parents?

12) I aspire to reach such a level of professional success that I can shop for workwear exclusively at Net-a-Porter.  Until then, I can dream.

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    43 comments

  1. Stephanie says:

    That’s funny about the early riser thing– I had the exact opposite experience at a large law firm. Didn’t matter what time you got there, or even if you were there all day, it was all about how late you stayed. Most people didn’t show up until 9 or 10am, and it was considered slackerish to leave before 7 or 8pm at the earliest. Now at an in house job, the non-lawyers seriously get in at 5am.

    June 25, 2014/Reply
    • Chelle says:

      I agree! In BigLaw, esspecially in NYC and especially in a corporate practice, being an early bird doesn’t get you any brownie points, it just makes your day that much longer. One of my mentors (a partner) specifically told me I should schedule things (workouts, appointments, etc.) in the morning because nobody’s really looking for you until around 10 but heaven help you if the cleaning staff DON’T know you personally!

      June 25, 2014/Reply
      • giggling gourmand says:

        For me though it made sense because the clients liked to send work at the end of their “normal” days.

        June 25, 2014/Reply
    • Mo says:

      Ugh, I miss East Coast hours. I used to roll in around 9:30-10, now I get dirty looks if I am one minute past 8:30 and those who are perceived as successful here are all in by 7:30. Enjoy your AM freedom!

      June 25, 2014/Reply
  2. Les says:

    Love these posts!

    June 25, 2014/Reply
  3. Chloe says:

    If you came up with a 2x/week email with great articles, I would sign up – we tend to like the same articles so it’d help me declutter my inbox tremendously! 😉 Just my 2 cents.

    June 25, 2014/Reply
  4. Adela says:

    Always love your great article / weekly reading posts – you seem to find the best stuff!! Keep them coming!

    June 25, 2014/Reply
  5. KC says:

    I interpret #4 of the Levo League article to actually recommend including a skills and interests line at the bottom. Based on my experience, I have to agree. When I was interviewing for law firm jobs, I was asked about my unusual undergraduate foreign language, my undergraduate sports team, and competing in triathlons at every single interview. Just about everyone had a “I knew someone who played that sport…” story they wanted to share and it gives you an opportunity to talk about something you know about. Many employers are looking for someone who will “fit” with their company and existing staff personality-wise, and are genuinely interested in making sure you can carry on a conversation. Giving a list of some of your interests ahead of time gets the interviewer to think about you before the interview, and also gives you control over the “can she carry on a conversation” topics.

    June 25, 2014/Reply
    • SB says:

      I second this! Every interview I’ve had that led to a great job (law internships and firm positions included) involved some sort of discussion of the (short) list of hobbies at the bottom of my resume. I found that a brief and interesting list works as a great icebreaker and breaks up the monotony for a hiring partner who is in the midst of a marathon interview day. Once or twice, this meant that I was already on good terms with a future fellow-employee; in one instance, I ended up working down the hall from my interviewer, and it was great to have a friend from day one that also enjoyed long-distance running and shared my passion for the Denver Broncos. I say as long as the list is short and doesn’t take up too much space, and you let the interviewer decide whether or not to discuss those resume items, an “Interests” section can do a lot of good.

      June 25, 2014/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I can see putting a foreign language or semester abroad experience for sure. We’ve even discussed in the past sorority and fraternity names. And I wouldn’t look sideways at someone who played a college sport because you’re proving you could go to school and handle your athletics.

      But I have had people put that they like reading, hiking, etc. I even had one woman talk about how she was the karaoke champion of her hometown. Maybe it’s interesting, maybe it leads to a conversation, but I couldn’t care less about that in the context of your job-seeking experience.

      Though I think this goes back to the interviewer and what they care about. If you get the sense from the job posting that this hiring process will be about fitting into the corporate culture (like if they put sense of humor, etc. in the skills) then maybe those are good things to put. When I hire, I care about your skills, your education, your attitude, your reputation and that’s pretty much it.

      June 25, 2014/Reply
      • Pancakes says:

        For the record, a number of top 10 MBA programs (mine included) recommend putting an interests section at the bottom of the resume. It’s minor, maybe one line. But it’s being taught, and given the competition, I can definitely understand why it might add something extra to your work experience.

        June 25, 2014/Reply
  6. Sarah says:

    Actually why did you give up coffee? Unless
    It’s personal of course. I don’t want to be nosy! Coffee has health benefits so I’m often curious why people give it up if for non-health reasons.

    June 25, 2014/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I don’t like how I’ve been reacting to it. I’ve become pretty sensitive to it.

      June 25, 2014/Reply
  7. Liza says:

    Belle, I love your weekly reading posts since they always include such interesting links. I share them widely with friends. I totally encourage you to do more of them!

    On another note, I found the Skimm to be so politically skewed to the left that I unsubscribed from it after a week(more than a year ago). I don’t want to have to turn my bullshit detector on just to get the daily headlines! Perhaps its become more balanced since I first joined?

    June 25, 2014/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I’m so used to bias in news, particularly in headlines, that I no longer care. I think part of being a good consumer of news means having your BS detector on for every news source.

      June 25, 2014/Reply
      • Liza says:

        Can’t disagree with that!

        June 25, 2014/Reply
  8. Anna says:

    My mom left her job at the height of her career, because she simply couldn’t care for my ailing grandparents and work. With both of my grandparents suffering from different forms of dementia and a bunch of other health issues, she was spending much of her time taking them to medical appointments and dealing with one crisis after the next. She eventually had to leave, because her work suffered to the point of negatively impacting her colleagues. She still did the odd consulting gig and published another children’s book, but she racked up a ton of debt, is now in bankruptcy, and when she was finally able to return to work (after my grandfather passed and my grandmother went to a great nursing facility), she did so earning half of what she earned before.

    June 25, 2014/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Thank you for sharing. As our nation ages, people in our generation need to be paying a lot more attention to creating a nursing and retirement care system that is better than what its been in the past. Because if you could trust others to care for your family, you wouldn’t need to take on these burdens, but in many places the care is so poor (except for the wealthy, and even then no guarantees) that the only people they trust are themselves.

      June 25, 2014/Reply
      • Anna says:

        Agreed. The only way my grandmother was able to go to that nursing home was because she qualified for Medicaid. A halfway decent place will run someone 10k a MONTH easy. I hope in the future, we can see a greater expansion and accessibility of adult day facilities (hate the term adult day care), home care, and caregiver support. They’re much cheaper and allow people to get quality care in their own homes. It was really hard for my mom to put my grandmother in a nursing home (even though she still visited her almost everyday), but she just couldn’t give my grandmother the care she needed at home.

        June 25, 2014/Reply
    • lg says:

      Thanks for sharing Anna. Boy, what a big commitment.

      Are there any organizations, books, blogs etc that folks know of and have found helpful about the issue of taking care of parents, or preparing for it? If there’s any chance folks are familiar with anything, I’d love to hear and learn from people’s experiences.

      My parents are in their mid-sixties now, but as an only child I know that caretaking is going to become a big part of my life at some point, and I would love to be as prepared and on top of everything as possible.

      June 25, 2014/Reply
      • Emily says:

        As far as the dementia goes – I’ve been volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Association (my grandmother has dementia). They have a ton of resources for caregivers and families. I’m sorry that it’s so specific to just this disease, but I hope it helps! https://www.alz.org/nca/in_my_community_helping.asp

        June 26, 2014/Reply
        • Emily says:

          One more thing – a lot of local governments have a Board of Aging that include resources for seniors (including day programs, etc.) and their caregivers – my mom recently attended a weekly seminar on caregiving that also included a large portion about taking care of herself, too.

          June 26, 2014/Reply
  9. D says:

    Love the Antonio Melani line you linked to. Have you ever tried their suiting?

    June 25, 2014/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I have a jacket from them, but it’s not part of a suit. I’ve found the overall quality to be quite good for the price. Similar to a Trina Turk or nicer J.Crew quality.

      June 25, 2014/Reply
  10. shessomelicious says:

    Have to disagree with part of #8. With so many scent sensitivities, perfume should not be work in the work place. After being suffocated by scent, the last company I worked for wrote it into the corporate handbook. Definitely agree on the wipes and deodorant, with the caveat that if you are working out at lunch, they aren’t going to cut it. I had an accomplished, smart, stylish, beautiful, boss who always reeked of BO in the afternoon because she just did the post workout wiped down. A quick shower and spritz of dry shampoo – that’s all it takes.

    June 25, 2014/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Working in a small office, as I always have, it’s pretty easy to know if you have a colleague whose sensitive to scent. I certainly don’t think it reaches the level of wear no perfume ever, but you should be conscientious enough to not bathe in it or wear really strong scents.

      June 25, 2014/Reply
      • Anna says:

        You’d think, but I have a coworker who bathes in it every once in a while – to the point that you can smell it down the hall. If she goes to an event after work, she’ll do at least 10 spritzes (of decent perfume, not some weak body splash or something). If it were an everyday thing, I would definitely say something. Luckily, it’s only once every two weeks or so.

        June 25, 2014/Reply
        • Brit says:

          I’m so sensitive to scents, that even at once every two weeks or so I’d have to say something.

          June 26, 2014/Reply
  11. Emily says:

    Would read that blog/newsletter/whatever – these are my favorite of your posts!!

    June 25, 2014/Reply
  12. shessomelicious says:

    Worn in the workplace. Oops.

    June 25, 2014/Reply
  13. Rachel says:

    I can highly recommend that Urban Expressions Rhapsody bag. I own it in black and get compliments on it all the time. It looks much more expensive than it really is.

    June 25, 2014/Reply
  14. Addie says:

    I job hunted in DC for 2 years. One of the most aggravating things about networking was that each person wanted to help me fine tune my resume and they all had completely different ideas on what should be included and what shouldn’t. When one woman first suggested I include my interests and volunteering I did start getting more interviews. However, when I finally got my current job, I had removed that section upon someone else’s advice.

    June 25, 2014/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I like to see volunteer experience if it’s significant. One day a year at a soup kitchen doesn’t qualify, but if you’ve been doing something consistently and with frequency, I think that’s fine. But as I mentioned above, people view the resumes of others through a “What do I want to see lens” and so we all have different things we love and hate.

      June 25, 2014/Reply
  15. Mrs Type A says:

    Your Weekly Reading posts are admittedly my favorite posts that you do! I always find several things that pique my interest.

    June 25, 2014/Reply
  16. Sarah says:

    Belle, I always love the articles you find – they are exactly what I want to be spending my time reading. If you ever did a daily reading email, I would sign up in a second!

    June 25, 2014/Reply
  17. rar says:

    I’ve had the opposite experience at a law firm. For attorneys, it does not matter how early you get in. The office opens at 8:30, but I usually get in around 9:30 or even later. I quickly realized that getting in early didn’t matter because I would be working late regardless. The only thing people really look at is if you get your work done and have good billables. Now, I tend to get a lot of errands done in the morning (working out, dry cleaning, groceries) that I can’t do at night.

    June 25, 2014/Reply
  18. Hitha | Hitha On The Go says:

    Thank you so much for including my long flight survival guide! I look forward to your weekly reading posts, and you made my day by including me. I’m in great company.

    Your ears must have been burning today – I had a meeting with MM LaFleur and we were all singing your praises and talking about how much we love Cap Hill Style.

    June 25, 2014/Reply
  19. Anon says:

    I love the extra weekly reading posts – please keep them coming! I would likely sign up for an email if you offered it.

    June 25, 2014/Reply
  20. Heather says:

    Belle, I really enjoyed this post. I have also found that Levo League has a lot of helpful advice. I’ve been following them on Pinterest for some time now and every day I find a few articles that catch my eye.

    If you were to offer the weekly readings posts in a daily email format I would definitely subscribe!

    June 25, 2014/Reply
  21. raq says:

    Love these extra weekly reading posts! I would love to hear more about law school but I am so glad you continue with the theme of the blog being work-wear. I work in “business casual” office where every department dresses very differently so I really like your takes on different environments to dress for.

    June 25, 2014/Reply
  22. Rebecca Lately says:

    I believe the early riser thing. During the summer, my office opens at 7. I feel immensely more productive during that time of day.

    And, wow, 18 colors in that shoe!

    Also, new reader here 🙂 Love this post!

    June 26, 2014/Reply
  23. CH says:

    I had to quit The Skimm because what passes for “wit” in that email started to feel really flippant when dealing with tragedies and injustices.

    June 27, 2014/Reply
  24. save. spend. splurge. says:

    A lot of traditional cultures don’t accept women as equals. It’s why I am so grateful to be living in Canada even if it isn’t perfectly 50/50.

    July 8, 2014/Reply