Workday Reading

Belle’s Weekly Reading: February 20, 2015



1) This Sunday is the 245th anniversary of the death of Christopher Seider, the first casualty of the conflict that would become the Revolutionary War.  He was either 12 or 14 at the time of his death. The inscription on his coffin was from Virgil:

“The serpent lurks in the grass. The fatal dart is thrown.  Innocence is nowhere safe.”

2) Want a really unique shoe for casual wear?  Try these silver-foil flats from Boden (also in a selection of neutrals and colors).

3) D.C. hotels are competing for lavish Indian weddings with tandoor ovens and elephant rental.  Why?  Because the average cost of an Indian wedding is $250,000.  Wow.

4) Bloomingdale’s has some wonderful pieces in their ‘new arrivals’ section.  This red lace dress from Shoshanna is stunning.  I also love this Joie cargo-jacket in a soft-grey, leopard print.  And this Elie Tahari dress with a crochet yoke?  Adorbs.

5) The Detroit man whose work ethic inspired GoFundMe users to raise $350,000 for him has discovered that more money = more problems. Hopefully he lands on his feet.

6) Have you heard about Ringly?  The chic rings vibrate to let you know if you have a new text, email, or call so you don’t have to look at your phone all the time.

7) 20 Secrets That Amazon Shoppers Should Know (like that you can share your prime membership).

8) Love Rebecca Minkoff’s bags?  The Outnet has a great selection of bags on sale.  I love this Mini Perry Tote in black or red.  This cognac Mini-MAB is a great basic.  This pine-green leather shoulder bag is a lovely weekend bag.

9) 9 Surprising Things You Never Knew About the Oscars.

10) Ann Taylor has some gorgeous belts for sale.  I am in love with this lizard-embossed belt and this leather corset belt in tan or blush.

11) British chocolate will no longer be imported to the U.S. leaving us with inferior American chocolate.  How will I get my Toffee Crisps? Amazon, you never fail me.

12) Gilt has a collaboration shop with Quirky featuring some great gadgets.  This Ohm portable speaker and charging station would make a great gift.  I’m also intrigued by this keychain that doubles as a smartphone stand.

*image found here.



  1. Liz says:

    Belle, this may be the wrong forum to post this, but I think you and your readers may be able to help me. The interview posts have been timely, I interviewed for and was offered a new job this week. I will be transitioning from the private sector (where I have been for five years) into government (more specifically a role in politics). I know you have made the move the other way (and most people I know go from govt to private practice, but apparently not me), and wondered what tips you might be able to provide for someone making this kind of move.

    February 20, 2015/Reply
    • Holly says:

      I am looking to transition from a government job to a private company, what should I be aware of? Other than a better salary!

      February 20, 2015/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Do not expect extras (easy time off, flexible scheduling, etc.), there usually isn’t anyone to cover for you, so even when you aren’t there, you’re there. Hours are longer, and can be unpredictable. In my experience, more is asked of you with the gov’t/politics than the private sector, but this depends on the office.

      It’s hard to keep up morale in politics. The reason is that you get it from three sides: Boss, public, press. Most private businesses usually only deal with the first two. There will be days you feel like you’re in a bunker taking hits. Don’t let the anger get to you, the press are vultures with short attention spans, they’ll move onto someone else eventually.

      Get ready for everyone to have an opinion about your work/line of work. The beating I take, now living outside the Beltway, from people who think they know what politics is or what Congress is has been the most shocking part of moving. Imagine being trapped at a family event with your opinionated Uncle Al all the time.

      Live on the tiny wins. When something goes right revel in it. Because this is the moment you work for during the bad times. You need to be able to preserve that good feeling somewhere in your heart so when things go dark it can warm you. It will remind you that the work can be worth it.

      Despite everything I’ve said above, working in gov’t/politics can be a great life. You just have to learn to go with flow and roll with the punches. You also need to make sure to have a post-work activity–hobby, gym, friends, etc.–to keep you from becoming that jackass whose only life is their job. Nobody likes that guy, don’t be that guy. Work/life balance is a bit of a myth, but learning to process stress and having an external interest will keep you sane.

      February 20, 2015/Reply
    • D says:


      I’m not sure what role you’ll be taking on exactly, but The Capitol Hill Playbook by Nicholas Balthazar wasn’t a bad guide for incoming staffers. I made the jump to political staffer in my early 30s, and while a couple aspects of this guide are targeted to people a full decade younger than me, I certainly underlined plenty of sections in the book. If you’re in DC, I originally picked it up at KramerBooks – it was on the wall on the right, past the cash registers. Check out the table of contents in the Look Inside feature on Amazon to see if it’d be good for you.

      The best advice I can give is to become the master of vague noncommittal sentences like “I’ll look into that,” “We’re taking time to weigh the matter,” etc. Sentences like these can make you look smart (policy weakness? not exposed!), can take the heat off you with pushy lobbyists and constituents (“How is the senator going to vote?”), and can rarely be misquoted.

      February 20, 2015/Reply
      • Belle says:

        I’m all about vague noncommittal sentences. Also, NEVER GUESS. If you don’t know, asking them to give you their perspective and telling them that you’ll “look into that” is vastly better than guessing.

        February 20, 2015/Reply
      • Liz says:

        D and Belle: Thank you both so much for the responses, I’ve tucked therse notes into each day of the first week in my planner/iCal. And of course, ! I’ll make sure to look into that! 😉

        February 22, 2015/Reply