The Workday Reading: March 23, 2016

Mar 23, 2016



1) One weird trick for keeping female employees from quitting. (The Cut)

2) Looking for a medium-size tote?  This pocket, reversible tote from Street Level is perfect for weekends or as a second work bag.

3) How to financially prepare yourself for graduate school.  Also, how to do your own taxes or hire a professional to do them for you. (Every Girl; Digg)

4) I need skirts.  This Halogen mesh-knit skirt in navy has a really cool texture.  This CeCe tweed skirt in pink-purple is the definition of spring.  I’m also feeling this frayed, white-denim skirt for casual Friday.  (Check it out, it’s cool.)

5) This one piece of information is essential to buying comfortable high heels online. (Glamour)

6) Need dresses for not-quite-casual Mondays?  Boden’s Aurelia Ottoman dress is great.  This Tahari Bi-Stretch dress has a hint of Alicia Florrick to it.  Plus-size?  Try this Sejour short sleeve dress.

7) As women take over a male-dominated field, the overall salary drops.  Super.  (The New York Times)

8) Summer’s coming, which means we must prepare for the coming AC-Winter.  Brr.  Don’t forget the heating pad for your chair and the cozy, neutral cardigan.  Or if you prefer, this cool wrap scarf.

9) The complete guide to creating a productive workspace.  I love multi-level document organizers for keeping things straight. (Quartz)

10) Nothing says working profession like looking exhausted.  The TonyMoly Banana Sleeping Pack is still the only product that covers the look of dead tired.

11) 8 Jobs You Didn’t Know Existed. (Marie Claire)

Eye Candy) This gorgeous Pomellato ring looks like the surface of the moon.  Such a unique style.  And this Bon Levy rose gold and diamond crossover ring has such a wonderful mix of textures.

*image found here

Workday Reading

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  1. ab says:

    The grad school link really hit home, as I’ll be moving from solid full-time employment to full-time grad student this fall. Would love to hear any other reader suggestions on how to manage the cost and loan burdens of grad school — I’ll be taking on substantial loans regardless of my lifestyle choices, so I tend to get a little frustrated when the best suggestions listed on a lot of tip sheets only offer “live like a student” as a suggestion for managing the financial burden of going back to school. Not to be dismissive of the difference that a few hundred bucks a month can make (I know firsthand that it does!), but when I’m already preparing myself to take on $75,000 in loans for a two year program, adding an additional $3000 to my budget (or loan burden) to live in a decent apartment doesn’t seem too unreasonable :-/ I’m not counting on it, but would love to hear if anyone has developed a brilliant plan to maintain a decent lifestyle while attending grad school in an expensive city without going into a deep abyss of debt!

    • J says:

      Mentally prepare to give up your current lifestyle. Grad school is meant to be spent locked away in a library under florescent lighting. If you are willing to invest that much into a graduate program then you really should be doing everything you can to get the most out of it. That means making sure all of your energy goes into making sure you are the most prepared, most marketable candidate so you are able to get that dream job you’re going to grad school to get. For me, that meant no cable (netflix was enough), no vacations, no fancy beauty treatments, as I felt my time was better spent studying and working towards my goals. Now that I’ve got a job I feel I’ve earned those rewards because I’m able to pay cash for those type things.

      That’s not to say you can’t have fun on a budget but that extra $100 a month sacrifice in the short term means that you’ll have MORE than $100 a month in the future that won’t be eaten up be student loan payments. I remember someone using the example of how a $12 hamburger now doesn’t seem so unreasonable, but would you really pay $18 for the hamburger later? Even cutting your rent back by living outside of the more expensive areas could save you thousands in the long run.

      Another suggestion is to get a part time job in your field. I also had a friend that would sell things on Etsy when school wasn’t so intense. For us, law school was not so time consuming in the first part of the semester so that was something she could pick up as she was able.

    • M says:

      I really loved this article and it is great advice. I am about to graduate from a MBA program that I attended part time. I have a lot of classmates that never seemed to understand this concept… really weighing the ROI and your loan payments post graduation should be a HUGE consideration of school. Also, I wouldn’t assume that you are going to get a huge raise just for your education. Be conservative and assume the lower salary rates post graduation to see how much you can really afford to take out.

      Some examples of “living like a student” that I practiced: Live with roommates, instead of living by myself. Paid money into a savings account (or loan) to simulate life after graduation paying off loans. Brought my lunch to work instead of eating out everyday. Small things can really add up!

    • Anna says:

      I have no experience with grad school but did have to take a pay cut the same year my significant other moved across the country (necessitating $400+ flights I wouldn’t have otherwise purchased) and I moved on my own. Like going on a diet and keeping a food log, it really helps to track all of your spending so you can see where your money is going (apps like LearnVest and Mint are helpful). You’d be surprised at the little things you can cut that don’t adversely impact your lifestyle but amount to hundreds or thousands of dollars over the course of a year. I no longer get semi-monthly bikini waxes, rarely clothes shop, and only treat myself to one or two mani-pedis a year. I make almost all my food at home (after shopping grocery store sales) and got the cheapest cable package (tv makes me happy). You have to prioritize and figure out what’s a luxury and what’s really important to you. Thoroughly research and analyze every financial decision – no impulse buys! Do you need to spend an extra $3000 for a decent apartment or can you live a little further away or live with a roommate in a place with a decent amount of privacy? Maybe it’s better for you to be on your own, but be creative with how you use a small space. I pretty much live in a shoebox (I swore I wouldn’t live on my own until I could afford a one bedroom, but DC rents were getting higher and my sanity was wearing thin), but I have a great, usable kitchen, found functional furniture pieces, decorated with bright colors, make my bed everyday and keep things orderly, and now my 390 sq ft shoebox is my sanctuary. You can have small luxuries every once in a while, but be honest with yourself about what you actually need to function and be genuinely happy.

    • Belle says:

      I think a decent, comfortable apartment is worth it depending on who you are. You can save money elsewhere–cell phone, utilities, groceries, etc. The one thing I recommend, as someone who just paid for school (60% scholarship, 15% loans, 25% out of pocket, all living expenses out of savings/blog earnings), is to always BE LOOKING FOR SCHOLARSHIPS. There are so many writing competitions, small scholarships, etc. that very few ppl apply for. I just won a significant scholarship from a national competition that only 16 ppl applied for. It’s insane how few people think about applying for support after they start school.

    • Erin says:

      Having experienced 6 years of grad school, I find that it’s hard to give advice because any advice is extremely location-specific. I went to grad school in arguably the most expensive area in the country. Interestingly, in my post-grad job I live in one of the cheapest areas of the country! If you live in a cheaper area, you will find it *much* easier to get by.

      From my experience, I wish I had found cheaper housing outside of my university area–housing prices went down precipitously outside of student housing, and I wish I had lived a little bit further out and saved a considerable amount of money. Actually housing generally gets better and more affordable outside of traditionally student areas!

      Outside of your basic advice (cook for yourself; save a least a little of every paycheck; take public transit when possible; learn to love consignment stores in wealthy areas); balance your necessary hustle (tutoring, babysitting, whatever) with getting your work done; get through grad school AS QUICKLY as you can. That will save the most money of all.

    • KJ says:

      I went to law school in my 30s, and it was definitely a challenge to balance “living like a student” with the lifestyle I was accustomed to by that age. I’d advise taking a hard look at your spending to see where you are shelling out the most cash, and figure out how to cut back in those areas. For me, it was things like going out with friends, my beauty-product habit, etc. I adjusted by doing a lot more entertaining at home and splurging on a nice dinner/drinks occasionally. I also figured out which products were must-haves (and stocked up whenever Sephora had a sale) and which I was OK switching out for something less expensive. I talked to my hairdresser and modified my cut/color so I could go in less frequently. I also cancelled my gym membership and my monthly pass to my beloved barre studio and used the school’s facilities and classes (although I’d advise finding a time to go when it is not overrun with undergrads).

      Changing careers (from a work-from-home consultant to a law firm) required a significant wardrobe change for me, so I kept an eagle eye on sales and picked up work appropriate pieces whenever I found a bargain. That way I wasn’t stuck scrambling (and over-spending) at the last minute when something (interviews, networking events, internships, etc.) came up.

      These things might seem silly to some, but I’m of the opinion that indulging occasionally and within reason can keep you sane during school. You’ll be working really, really hard, and the stress can wear on you. Sometimes an indulgent little pick-me-up (whatever that is for you) is what you need to remind yourself that there is light – and a life! – at the end of the grad school tunnel.

    • Sof says:

      I’m finishing my grad program in May (!) and have been working full-time while doing so. Here’s what I’ve done to keep my balance sheet in the black:

      First off, my major expenses were monthly recurring expenses (e.g. rent, bills), so that was a good place to start. I have no TV, I pay no cable bill, and I don’t have a smartphone (yes, I am a luddite, but I only pay ~$25/month for my phone bill). I figure for a 2-year stint, Netflix will suffice.

      Also, I forego the car, which means I’m not paying monthly parking, insurance, gas, & maintenance. In DC where you’re paying $100+ for your parking spot, that really adds up. Instead, I take metro everywhere and walk when I can (because even metro adds up). This means opting for more comfy than stylish shoes on occasion if you know it’ll save a few dollars.

      Cooking at home saves a bunch of money, and so does packing a lunch. I’m a firm believer in both.

      And the splurge I kept? GOOD BEER. Beer is too important for me to skimp on. I am a spartan for everything else, but it’ll be a cold day in hell before I spend my hard earned cash on a crappy beer.

  2. Monica says:

    Love #1! Maybe I’m greedy but I also want that flexibility. Yes, to allow me to pick up my toddler from daycare on time, or handle my kid getting sick, or having doctors appointments, but also for my own sick days, doctor appointments and in general LIFE. When I’m at work I do my job exceptionally well, I work hard. I don’t need to log 80 hours a week to do that, and I feel like we should all be spending less time at work IF we are doing the job that we’re being paid to do.

  3. Allison says:

    1, 2, 5 and 9 are all great reads. Reading about the pitch of a high-heeled shoe makes complete sense, though I’ve never really considered that before.

    Somewhat related to #6: When, for the love of all that is holy, will designers stop making “work” dresses that are bi-stretch, stretch, ponte, etc.? This material is rarely flattering on anyone who isn’t extremely toned *and* doesn’t have a booty, and it’s been the predominant dress (and skirt) material for the last several years. If you want to wear a body-con dress anywhere other than the office, go for it. In most professional settings, however, it’s entirely inappropriate and usually unflattering.


    • Belle says:

      I’m okay with ponte and bi-stretch, but it’s got to be heavy. No thin fabric, please. Because I have a serious case of secretary spread, I will often wear a light shaper with ponte dresses.

    • Anna says:

      I have several ponte dresses that aren’t body-con. You have to be sure to get ones that are a thick fabric and go for a sheath style. I find it much more flattering and less prone to wrinkling than wool or crepe. All of my dresses are fairly structured and professional and they were a godsend when I put on a few pounds.

    • Valerie says:

      My most-worn professional dresses are ponte or a cotton/spandex blend fabric. As Belle and others mentioned, the fabric has to be thick, matte (i.e., not the shiny Herve Leger bandage dress material). Sizing makes a lot of difference, too: I know that i need to size up in certain styles that cling to areas I don’t want to emphasize at work.

  4. Valerie says:

    Re: 9- is there a separate link for the multi-level document organizer? The current link goes to the home decorators collection website. Thanks!

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