The Workday Reading: June 24, 2016

Jun 24, 2016


Since graduation, I’ve been struggling.  Free time was supposed to be the cure for what ailed, but it has been more of a curse than a blessing–self-doubt, depression, a lack of motivation.  I’ve discovered that I need more stability, accountability, and structure.  I’m just one of those people who needs to be busy in order to do my best work.


1) Many UK citizens who voted to leave the EU are regretting their decision. Because when you convince people their votes don’t matter, they have no problem casting an angry protest ballot, until there are consequences. (Slate)

2) Don’t miss the $28 dress from Forever21 that InStyle writers are obsessed with.

3) Slack is a wonderful tool for business.  Just don’t forget that what you say on you Slack chats isn’t always private, and the consequences of exposure can be dire. (Slate)

4) The source for casual tops is Madewell.  This button-back short-sleeve top is a great basic.  I also like their eyelet tailored tee and this swingy tank top with subtle embroidery.

5) Why Disney-princess culture may be bad for girls. (CBS)

6) TOMS just released their Election Collection so you can show your political party pride.

7) In 2014, Maxim hired a female editor-in-chief to bring the ‘lad mag’ into the 21st century.  Here’s what happened. (Jezebel)

8) Looking for sleepwear that’s functional and also a bit sexy?  This chiffon cami and short set from Flora Nikrooz and this cotton one from Eberjey are lovely.  Cotton and lace chemises are also up to the task.

9) Why Lacroix sparkling water–the drink of 90s housewives–is suddenly trending. (Vox)

10) This short sleeve cotton dress is the perfect swimsuit cover-up.  I’m also digging this scallop-edged banned bikini, and this printed one piece with underwire for lift.

11) The Great Trump Tax Mysteries: What secrets are lurking in the candidate’s taxes? (Vanity Fair)

12) Banana Republic has followed J.Crew’s lead and is partnering with other brands for exclusive collections.  This August clutch and Eugenia Kim sunhat are both sublime, but oh my, the prices.

*image found here.

Workday Reading

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  1. Christina Brunk says:

    Hi Belle,
    Your words resonate with me! I ache for free time then can’t take advantage of it because I am not motivated. I have learned that I need some amount of “pressure” to keep me somewhat focused…but that too much pressure exhausts me.
    Good luck in finding that balance!

  2. Sara says:

    I know this is easier said than done, but use those “negative” feelings to motivate you. I took a gap year in between high school and college and a lot of people in my life, myself included, doubted that I would go back. But feeling depressed and in self-doubt and anxious led me to want to try. It turned out to be the best choice I ever made. I went to a college I never would have applied to right out of high school where I did better academically and socially than I did in high school. I used that momentum to move to DC and build a life here. Try to take this time to just be still and present and not think about the future or how you might be “screwing it up.” You might end up surprising yourself beyond your wildest dreams. 🙂

  3. Jenn S. says:

    I just don’t get the hype on the Forever21 dress. Perhaps it is partially because the model is so thin to not do the dress justice, but I can’t get excited about it.

    The article on Disney Princess culture is interesting. Although I can see how it would contribute to a ‘negative’ impact, I think by itself it isn’t as bad as it is made out to be. You also have to consider the nature of things reinforced in their homes and communities.

    I had no idea LaCroix was cool these days. I’ve been drinking it (and similar products) religiously for about a year now; no one in my office (except my boss, I discovered last week) does, and none of my friends or family do. It’s been a huge help when it comes to eliminating sweet beverages, though!

    • Hill Denizen says:

      I’d like to see it on someone fuller figured. It kind of looks like a sack on that model, and like that, I don’t get the appeal.

      • Jenn S. says:

        Right – without getting into criticism of the fashion industry and their choices, it just seems like they aren’t advertising that dress well. It looks terribly unflattering on the model. For those of us who are awful at picturing something from nothing, sack-chic gets passed over quickly.

        • Hill Denizen says:

          Yeah, it’s not a knock on the industry. I mean, I get that in most cases runway clothes aren’t meant to be worn by a typical consumer, it’s more art, but when they’re trying to sell me something, they should be making the garment look as good as possible.

  4. Monica says:

    I feel you, I am one of those people who needs the light structure of goals and tasks to keep me moving. I hope you find something that isn’t what you were doing then, and not what you’re doing now, that feels right and makes sense for you.

  5. Alli says:

    My situation is different than yours, but I can relate. I’ve been through some job transitions and life events that have led to periods of extended free time. Friends and family encouraged me to “enjoy” it and “make the most of it,” but I was too depressed and low to find any happiness in it. I felt as anxious and stressed as when I was working 12 hour days; at least when I was working, I felt like I was working *toward* something.

    (Related: Self-doubt in small doses can be a healthy way to evaluate your priorities–what do you want to change, do you have the control to change it, and if not, how can you manage it?)

    I find that I perform best when I have a purpose and some structure to my day. Developing some sort of routine was key for me to keep me moving. It’s like inertia: an object in motion tends to stay in motion until it encounters an obstacle. If the obstacle is free time, find something to fill it, even if it’s just “something” at this point.

    This wasn’t meant to be advice, it’s just to say that you’re not alone in feeling this way. It’s not uncommon, you will be ok, and you’ll be more prepared the next time you find yourself with lots of free time.

  6. Meghan says:

    Hang in there! I know what you are going through. When me and my husband moved to DC, I was unemployed for 6 months. Everyone kept telling me to go do all of the DC things I wanted to do, but I had such a fight with depression, paranoia and guilt that I couldn’t bring myself to leave the house.

    Stay above it! Being aware of it is a good thing, however tortuous it can be. Don’t let the pressure build, move at your own pace and take care of yourself. It’s easier said than done, I know, but it will come to you.

  7. Meg says:

    I took the summer off from school, am only working part time, and feel the exact same way. I’m getting far less done, sleeping more, have no energy or motivation. I need to be busy to feel valuable and keep myself motivated. It won’t last forever, though! And as I’ve been told, I will look back on this little break and miss it, so we should just enjoy this small respite, even if its sometimes difficult.

  8. Hill Denizen says:

    I’ve never made a similar kind of change, but I find I sometimes need to give myself sometime to do absolutely nothing and get bored out of my mind to motivate me to do more. If I maintain a lower level of activity but still activity nonetheless, I never get fully clear my brain, and I find that even the few things I’m doing, I don’t do well.

  9. Shanna says:

    That happened to me after I left law school, too! Hang in there! I took a part-time job at my school’s law library and it was the perfect amount of structure with plenty of free-time and people contact. I highly recommend it.

  10. Jennifer Henderson says:

    Sometimes you need a little time after a strenuous period (or years) of stress to veg out. Be kind to yourself. Try to think about what you would say to a friend (maybe even a relative) who has been through the stress and constant activity you’ve been under.

  11. Susie says:

    You are a very brave, vulnerable woman, I so admire you and your ability to share where you are today. I am a 53 year old professional who is considered a high performer, team player and all that other stuff, but once you remove the career what’s left? I know exactly where you are and have experienced the diabiliating struggle while not working. Whether I was unemployed, out for an extended period to recover, I feel straight into a funk, and some were a bit harder than others. But at the end of the journey I have learned I need STRUCTURE. I need to get up and “act as if” I have somewhere to go and something to do. I am grateful I also have a 12 step program that has taught me when I feel this way to get off my ass and go help someone. I’ve also heard and read “when you are going through hell……….Keep going, you will get to the other side. Best, Susie

  12. ss says:

    I own two of those button-backed Madewell tops and I’m obsessed. I adore how you can unbutton the back for an unexpected look.

    Also, I know you’re changing up the blog, but these Workday Reading posts have truly become my favorite. I hope this content stays!

    Best of luck with your post-graduation struggles. Getting into new routines are hard, especially when you’re already feeling challenged by what I’m sure is exhaustion.

  13. Kelsey says:

    Last year I moved from KC to NYC, leaving behind a good career. I spent my first 6 mos in NYC looking for a job. The things you’re feeling now, are what I was feeling then. I totally get it. As a long time follower, I have no doubt you will work your way back into the sunshine.

    What helped me (and if you’re not in the mood, please ignore) was forcing myself to go for a walk, when I really wanted to binge watch emotion-invoking TV. The hardest part was making myself take that first step out my front door, then it was all downhill from there.

  14. M says:

    It’s reassuring to see I’m not the only one in this boat of under-motivation and general sluggishness during the post-grad school job search! Best of luck, Belle and everyone else.

  15. Valerie says:

    Thank you for sharing that very honest insight. I know exactly how you feel: it seems like there’s a very delicate (and often easily disrupted) medium ground between being busy to the point of exhaustion and having so little structure/so much free time that your mind starts wearing on your self-esteem and motivation. My anxiety has always been worse when I have unstructured and often lonely blocks of time that still require independent work (studying for a big exam, job-hunting, writing a long thesis/dissertation, etc.); I’m definitely there now right along with you.

    Anyhow, I’m sure we’ll all get that structure back soon. In the meantime, looking forward to all your posts and thoughts!

  16. Para says:

    I am the same exact way if I have time off. Soon you will have structure and feel better.

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