Design

The #1 Thing Not to Say in a Job Interview, and More Reader Questions

Museum Babes

We’ve featured 13 reader questions in the past, and we’d love to do it again. This week, we’re tackling everyday shoes and what to never say during a job interview (and please share your thoughts)…

Q. I’m trying to watch less TV, so I’m looking for a great book that I can get lost in. Any ideas? — Sofía
A. Now and forevermore, whenever I’m asked for a book recommendation, I will give the same answer: Exit West. IT IS BEAUTIFUL AND BREATHTAKING. Mohsin Hamid tells the story of a young couple in a country on the brink of civil war, and they must decide what to do next. And the lines really sneak up on you. You’re reading a paragraph, minding your own business, and boom — it brings you to your knees. (I’d love to hear other people’s recommendations, too.)

Q. I love seeing cool women wearing sneakers, but everything I try on looks like I’m heading on a jog. What are good everyday sneakers? — Michelle
A. You’ve come to the right place! Sneakers are the unofficial uniform at the Cup of Jo office, and I love all the different styles. I wear Nikes. Stella wears these Fryes. Caroline wears gold old black Chucks. If you’d like a fun pop of color, these Tretorns and these Adidas are both great. Styling tip: Sneakers always pair well with jeans, but consider also trying them with a favorite dress (like this).

Q. I’m quitting my job because I didn’t like my boss, and now I’m searching for a new one. How should I explain that in interviews? — Michaela
A. Great question, and I’m so curious to hear other readers’ thoughts. I’ve interviewed 150+ candidates in my career, and, generally, my advice would be to not slam your last job (even if it was The All-Time Worst). By knocking your past employer, role or company, you may end up looking unprofessional, and the interviewer might secretly wonder what you might have done to contribute to a negative situation. Basically, it’s bad vibes. If you need to give a reason why you’re leaving a job, see if one of these feels authetnic: you feel like you learned all you could there and are looking for new challenges; you like the new company so much, you jumped at the chance to interview; or you are looking to take a step forward in your career and tackle different projects. Good luck!

Q. I’m working up the courage to invite my current crush over for a movie. What movies would you recommend for a date night? — Ashlee
A. Would you be into something scary? I love a good date-night thriller, and apparently, they can actually cheer you up. “After a scary experience, people feel less anxious, less frustrated and happier,” says sociologist and fear researcher Margee Kerr. One classic is The Shining. When Alex and I watched it years ago, I was so freaked out, I looked in all our closets and under our bed. If you’re in the mood for something lighter, a fun date-night choice could be a comedy special, like Hasan Minaj, Tig Notaro or Ali Wong. Let us know how it goes. xoxo

Thoughts? Do you have any other recommendations? Are there questions you’re mulling over these days? We’d love to hear…

P.S. More reader questions, and a weird thing about relationships.

(Photo of Ines Ybarra/Clara Rosager, via Museum Babes.)

  1. Tracy says...

    I’m not sure if it’s already been covered (a quick search on the site didn’t pull any results), but I’d love to learn how to tactfully and fairly discuss politics with family who do not share your views. I feel like the battle lines have been drawn in my family (I am the black sheep liberal) and I just don’t know how to fairly stand my ground against what I deem ugly or misinformed points of view. I’d love your thoughts.

  2. Courtney says...

    The career advice has been so helpful, as I’m in the middle of interviewing for a new job! Thank you.

    Also, BOOK RECCS! Yay! I love when the comments fill up with recommendations. Adding Ann Patchett and Kate Morton to my TBR after seeing all the comments!

    I read as much as possible and these are the best books I’ve read lately:

    –The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
    –Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr
    –84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
    –Devotions by Mary Oliver
    –Beartown by Fredrik Backman
    –Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
    –The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
    –We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
    –Miller’s Valley by Anna Quindlen
    –Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
    –My Life in France by Julia Child
    –Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino

    So many books to recommend, I could go on and on!!

  3. Rachel says...

    To the person who left their last job because they didn’t like their boss – I’d recommend asking your potential new boss to describe their management style. This may give you some valuable insight. Best of luck!!

  4. I was a major bookworm as a kid, and then I discovered television and didn’t read books for like 5 years. I think that what got me back into reading was letting go of the idea that I had to read something cool or grown-up. Once I gave myself permission to read young adult books I loved in childhood, or trashy romance novels, or whatever I wanted, I started actually wanting to read! I think especially if you’re trying to get into reading as a replacement for tv, it’s important not to try to be a kind of reader that you’re not.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i love that, zoe!!

    • Christy says...

      Zoe, yes! Permission to read *whatever* you want and not feel bad about it or that it’s a waste of time. Similarly, it took me years before I realized that I could PUT DOWN a book that I wasn’t enjoying. I don’t have to finish every book I start. How freeing.

    • Maria says...

      I love tv shows and I’m not a big reader. To push me into reading, I decided to read the book first before watching a tv series or a movie it was based on. It worked for ‘ Big little lies’ and ‘The handmaid’s tale’, for example. It is also nice to compare the book to the tv adaptation. :)

  5. Maggie says...

    Would you consider doing a post about tackling job interviews? My last one went terribly…didn’t get the job. I may have a big one coming up and I could use all the help I can get. Areas I’m interested in: self-confidence, professional demeanor, how to make your intern/entry level experience look good enough to qualify for bigger projects and more responsibility, finding the right balance of positive thinking and being realistic.

    • Laurel says...

      The last time I interviewed was for my current job and, due to many circumstances, I really had to land it. I worked with an interview coach and it was the best money I could’ve spent! She helped me articulate specific responses rather than giving vague replies. She also helped me learn to read the situation. It ended up being a bit more casual than I anticipated so I had to adjust my tone a bit. I also ended up leading the conversation more, but luckily she’d helped me hone in on questions to ask that would invite conversation. I did get the job (it’s my current one). If I ever decide to find another job, she will be my first call. Good luck!

  6. Danielle says...

    Everything beautiful began after, by Simon Vaan Booy is incredible. The title is what grabbed me, but the story is captivating! I hope someone reads this post and decides to read it.

    • Branna says...

      Danielle – I just purchased it and the one recommended in the post. The amazon review references The History of Love by Nicole Krauss which is my very favorite book of all time. Thank you for the suggestion, I cannot wait!

    • Branna, History of Love is that’s my favorite book too!

      Danielle, I’m downloading Everything Beautiful Began After now!

      Thank you!

  7. Sue Harris says...

    The Shining was my first date with my husband to be. I am not generally a scary movie person, but it was fun. My best friend from grade school set us up on a blind date, and we lived happily ever after. : )

  8. I love a scary flick or comedy special for a first date but please – do not watch Ali Wong’s most recent work on this initial hangout! I’ve given birth twice and even after all that, watching it with my husband was a (hilarious) cringefest! If graphic birthing details are a shared interest, this will be a great Date #1 choice…otherwise, keep scrolling! xx

    • jessica says...

      Ha! Totally agree. My husband and I, who have two kids, thought the Ali Wong specials were hilarious. But it is not an early relationship pick!!

  9. ONE WORD: SUPERGA

  10. beks says...

    I recently went to a David Sedaris reading and he gushed about
    Homesick for Another World: Stories by Ottessa Moshfegh

    Its in my Amazon cart, pretty sure David wouldn’t steer us wrong :)

    • Sarah says...

      Ditto!! (To going to a David Sedaris reading recently, and loving that book – ha!) Truly one of my favorite short story collections – so weird and well-written. Hope you enjoy!

  11. A great book is such an awesome way to avoid TV! Here are my picks without knowing much about your particular reading taste:
    1) Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – this one will totally surprise you, it’s much more than chick lit
    2) The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne – my favorite book of the past few years
    3) An American Marriage by Tayari Jones – literary and addresses some current issues, but in a totally organic and entertaining way. One of my favorites of this year.
    4) The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer – great characters, another of my favorites of this year!
    Enjoy and hope the book helps distract you from the TV!

  12. Rue says...

    On sneakers: I have narrow feet, and I swear by Keds (both the classic lace-ups and the slip-ons that follow the same silhouette as the classics), and Saucony low-profile sneakers (so, not actual running shoes). My Sauconys are the “bullet”, and “jazz” is also good. I get all my non-running sneakers at DSW, because I find shoe sizing frustrating inconsistent within that pesky half-size window.

    https://www.dsw.com/en/us/product/keds-crashback-wool-slip-on-sneaker—womens/395341?activeColor=020

    https://www.dsw.com/en/us/product/saucony-bullet-sneaker—womens/414062?activeColor=500

  13. Nora says...

    I once quit a job because the management was horrible. I did not even trust them to be my reference. One day I was at an interview, and the interviewer (+boss of the establishment) asked if he could call the references from my last job. Reluctantly I said, “I guess, if you have to. But in all honesty we did not end on good terms, so I doubt they’ll give me a good reference”. It probably wasn’t the best thing to say, but I didn’t know what else to say either.

    Ten minutes after I left the interview, the interviewer called me and said, “Number one, I understand why you didn’t want me to call them. Number two, such horrible people. Number three, when can you start?”

  14. Emily says...

    The best two books I’ve read recently (even over the past several years!): The Idiot by Elif Batuman and Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. I highly recommend both. In terms of a date night movie – the most memorable movie date I ever had was in high school, when the cool older jazz drummer invited me over to watch the Royal Tenenbaums (this was before Wes Anderson was big like he is now, and my date worked at an indie movie store). dreamy!

  15. maia says...

    Anne, what an inspiring and encouraging comment! I hope that you feel better now and wish you the most healthy workplaces possible in your present and future!

    Thank you to the wonderful ladies who wrote here about their experiences and who shared their advices!

  16. Lee says...

    I like “Before Sunrise” with Julie Delpy for a date night movie! I think their conversations in the film make for great conversation starters on the couch, and then there are two more follow films to binge watch if the night is going well, or you need another date night in excuse!

    • Sarah says...

      Loooved Pachinko! I would describe it the same way the post describes Exit West – I gasped out loud many times!

  17. Emily says...

    My favorite book in the world that I recommend to everyone is called Station Eleven. It’s an incredible novel. Truly a must read.

    I also have recently loved Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones and Sing Unburied Sing. Other recent favorites have been When the English Fall, My Absolute Darling, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things (though there is a lot of controversy around this book) and Tin Man.

    • Jessica says...

      station eleven is my all-time favourite as well, but I struggle to come up with a short summary of the book when I recommend it to others! how would you describe it?

    • lauren says...

      MINE TOO! Station Eleven is the most stunning book. I like to describe the book by telling people about Kirsten’s tattoo on her arm. The rest they can discover themselves.

  18. Liz says...

    I remember having a first date and seeing Across the Universe (in the theater! I think that ages me). It has just the right amount of romance, comedy and great music. Plus we had a ton to talk about afterwards! Ended up dating for two years.

  19. A good clean comedy special for a date is Judd Apatow’s special. It’s super funny and full of that classic Apatow style, but so clean and like, family friendly.

  20. Books! My all time favorite book is The History of Love.

    Some recent great “literary fiction” reads are All the ugly and Wonderful Things and both Celeste Ng’s books, plus I’ve recently started reading Jesmyn Ward, and highly recommend her books. Someone else recommended Beautiful Ruins and I second that!!

    For fun mystery thriller (fiction) books, I’ve really enjoyed Jane Harper’s Detective Falk books (there are two now, they take place in Australia), Fierce Kingdom, Do Not Become Alarmed, The Good Daughter, and The Broken Girls. Megan Miranda books are also good ‘beach read’ type mysteries/thrillers. For mystery-light, I would recommend everything by Lianne Moriarty (of Big Little Lies fame)– there’s usually some central mystery, but with less of a gritty crime feel, almost a chick-lit + family drama feel to her books.

    And one of my favorite reads of last year is pretty weird but I can’t not recommend it: My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix. It’s a little bit horror with tons of 80s references and a lot of teen drama, and is just really fun, if you’re into that sort of thing!

    • Amy Carter says...

      Yes to these recommendations! I read All the Ugly and Wonderful Things in 24 hours (downtime at work, in bed, at breakfast…). And Liane Moriarty is always a solid decision. I have never regretted picking up one of hers.

      I also read The Great Alone this year and was captivated. Highly recommend it.

    • Emily says...

      Loved All the Ugly and Wonderful Things. Also loved Salvage the Bones and Sing Unburied Sing. My Absolute Darling was also very good and I think you’d like it.

    • Amy, I recommend All the Ugly and Wonderful Things to everyone, even though I feel a little weird about it, but it just stuck with me and the characters were so good. I’ll def check out that rec, thanks!

      Emily, My Absolute Darling has been in my library ebook holds queue for ages, and I think it’ll finally be available in a few weeks, can’t wait! And I just finished Salvage the Bones… wow (waiting for Sing, Unburied, Sing in my library queue).

  21. Allison says...

    +1 to tretorns. i found them on Amazon for a little less than other retailers and wear them almost everyday. i bought the classic white w/ green detail and the mesh version in “millennial pink” (i feel less like an elementary school kid when i clarify that i’m wearing a shade of pink that is named after my own age). both look great with sundresses!

    for date night – i highly recommend cooking a blue apron/hello fresh meal together and watching game shows. it creates some laid back/friendly competition and all the trivia questions are great conversation starters.

  22. Sharon says...

    Regarding the question on looking for a new job because of your bad boss…. There has to be something else that isn’t working with your current role. Perhaps you are looking for a more diverse team to help you cultivate your own industry experience. Or you don’t feel challenged within the current role… Find something else, and say that.

    I would say, if your current job is your dream job except for the fact that you have a horrible boss, is there any way your boss will leave? Or get better? I often find workplaces are great opportunities to figure out how to get along with people I would never choose to associate with. It’s good character building!
    All that being said, I left a firm because the culture (ie my boss but also senior management) was threatening, border line unethical and just downright miserable, so I get it. Make sure it’s the whole company and not just one bad apple. In the situation I just mentioned, I referenced the culture didn’t align with my values and long term career goals. Luckily for me, my prior employer had a well known reputation for being cut throat a-holes, so I didn’t have to elaborate for interviewers to catch on. ;-)

  23. Totally agreed that bashing your former employer is a horrible idea! I think I heard on the podcast “Happier with Gretchen Rubin” that there’s a weird phenomenon associated with this concept. Research shows that when a person shares negative thoughts or opinions about someone else, the listener actually ends up associating the SPEAKER with those traits, rather than the subject. So if you say something like, “My former boss was extremely disorganized and unprofessional,” the interviewer would actually associate those traits with YOU. This is such a powerful reminder to me of why I hate gossip and try my best to avoid engaging in it. I always have so much respect for people who refuse to gossip or bash others. I didn’t know why until I learned about this phenomenon!

  24. Carrie says...

    It’s a couple years old but I absolutely loved (!!) America’s First Daughter. It’s historical fiction based on the hundreds of letters Thomas Jefferson wrote throughout his life. The book is about his daughter, Patsy. Just an incredible saga she lived. Fascinating. I was hungry for more books about being a woman/wife after I had finished and never got any good suggestions.

  25. annie says...

    the first movie i ever watched with my wonderful life partner was wayne’s world and ever since i’ve thought it was a genius move.

  26. Moo says...

    I loved Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime. It made me laugh and cry. He’s had one amazing journey! And now it’s being made into a movie, can’t wait to see it.

  27. Nan Amste says...

    You should absolutely not slander your former employers, but be honest! You are not leaving because you need a challenge. You are leaving because cultural fit and emotional intelligence is important. A job interview is your opportunity to interview them as well. Do sell yourself short.

    A dear friend quit their job because the environment was toxic. When she was interviewing she gave the reason: I need a challenge,blah, Blah. One interviewer called her out. She was honest: she loved the work, but the culture was toxic. She got hired. She has been with this firm for 8 years. You owe it to yourself to be authentic.

  28. Emmie says...

    Ali Wong for a first date-night movie? That has to be (hands down) the worst advice I have ever read. Can’t imagine most single men want to watch a woman joke about pregnancy for an hour. (Although I loved it).

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha maybe you’re right! so instead go for hasan minaj — his comedy special is so hilarious, smart and even moving.

    • Liz says...

      Second this. Ali Wong is wonderful and hilarious but I blushed while watching it with my husband of twelve years…who saw me give birth twice. Not first date material!

    • Justine says...

      Agreed! I really don’t get the Ali Wong hype, though as a soon-to-be-mom-of-two I appreciate the perspective she’s putting forward. Would sooner recommend John Mulaney’s netflix specials, especially the latest one. If you dig Ali Wong, check out the movie Obvious Child with the wonderful Jenny Slate. The Hasan Minaj special was awesome – he killed it at the end.

    • Justine says...

      Agreed! I do not get the Ali Wong hype. I was blushing watching it *alone*. I don’t think I’m a prude… I just don’t find her funny. The Hasan Minaj special was awesome – what an ending!

  29. Leigh says...

    I was laid off from a job I absolutely hated where the culture was toxic and my boss was horrendous (and was a C-level at a large company). Now I am interviewing again and here’s what I said (that the recruiter seemed to like): “I learned a lot from the experience but felt that my options to grow in that culture were limited. I also learned how important the recruiting process is and that I should have asked more questions of the team I would be working with. I think they would have given me a somewhat honest perspective that would have helped me know the job wasn’t a fit for me.” It validated the work of the recruiting team and was not directly negative about the firm. Also, I provided someone from that company I had a good working relationship with as a reference so the recruiter could get more information if they were concerned.

  30. Julia says...

    Ali Wong on a first date! I’m dying thinking about how that would play out!!!!

    • Yes, the comedy ones sound terrifying to me because of the content! I’d be mortified sitting next to someone!

  31. Samantha says...

    I’ve been working in Human Resources for five years now, and I gotta say leaving a job without having a new one, never looks good, no matter the reason. Even if you’re financially stable enough to handle it. It makes you look unstable. I’d recommend that you say something like, you wanted to dedicate yourself to a personal project that you felt demanded your full attention, and now you feel like you can go back to working full time and work on your project on your free time, you don’t have to give too many details.

    • Nam Aster says...

      Samantha – people get laid off, which is a perfectly good reason why someone does not have a job. B-School 101 – Lay-offs are not a failure of the individual. It is a failure of management! When people tell me they took time off to pursue a personal project…that is a red flag. Will they quit this job to pursue another personal project? Can’t they multi-task? Wow, will they flake? Either you were fired or asked to leave when you say: “I took time to pursue a personal project. ” We have all seen the C-suite emails were this or that person is stepping down to spend more time with family or purse a personal project. It is code: they got fired! I have also been in panel interviews were a candidate was bullied into answering why she left her former employer without a job. -Her response shut him up: ” my mom had stage IV breast cancer and I knew our time was limited. I don’t like to discuss my personal life and I had the financial ability to take the time I needed to spend time with my mother, get back to a place of mental health, and quietly get about dealing with being an orphan.” She declined the offer!

  32. Kate says...

    One of the best books I’ve ever read – State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

    I feel like Chef would be a good first date movie. So charming and sweet and not too sexy or awkward. Something for everyone. Or maybe something like All the Presidents Men. Such a great film and plus young Robert Redford is always easy on the eyes.

    Would you guys consider doing a post for end-of-year teacher gifts? Last year I did Swell water bottles which I was happy with. Stumped this year. Would love some smart CoJ ideas that are useful, stylish, but don’t break the bank. I also feel like there must be lots of readers who would chime in with good ideas. Gift cards are always a winner too, but sometimes I like to supplement or do something a bit more gift-y and personal.

    • Madeline D says...

      I LOVE Ann Patchett! I read that they are making Bel Canto into a movie and swooned.

    • Cora says...

      Chef would be a great first date movie!

    • Joaquina says...

      Hi Kate!
      I’m a school-based speech pathologist and I can tell you school staff
      get bombarded with coffee mugs or household items (water bottles included)! At least here in CA we often have to spend our own money for supplies so although it’s not as personalized, gift cards are highly treasured :)

    • Nancy says...

      My go-to teacher gift was always a gift card to a local independent book store and a small potted plant or flowers from the garden. The teacher could use the gift card to choose something for themselves or books for the classroom. (I think most of them chose something that they were looking forward to reading over the summer break.)

    • Susan says...

      Hi-
      I am a former teacher and getting a gift card to a cool store is the best! We have a local store that has a bit of everything-candles, books, jewelry, home decor, art supplies, etc, Gift cards from this shop, with a hand written note, have been so appreciated.

  33. Allie says...

    The Emerald Mile by Kevin Fedarko! It is hands down the most thrilling non-fiction book I’ve ever read – the tale of the fastest trip down the Grand Canyon, only wrapped into a larger story of conservation, dam building, the history of the canyon, the lives of the river guides, etc. etc.

    • Sarah says...

      I also loved this! Was a little surprised to to see it recommended here but I wholeheartedly second it! I always think that the highest compliment to an author is they created a world I don’t want to leave. Since it’s non-fiction he didn’t exactly ‘create’ the world of the book, but I didn’t want to leave it nonetheless. :)

  34. Arielle says...

    A tasty treat of a book is Jessi Klein’s “You’ll Grow Out of It.” It’s not just funny, it’s also tender, and authentic. A perfect blend as we make way into Summer!

    • Joaquina says...

      I really enjoyed that book! Also Megan Amram’s “Science…For Her!”
      Amram is a gem; she is a comedy writer for television and on Twitter.

  35. Twyla says...

    I’m not generally a huge reader of non-fiction – but I have to wholeheartedly suggest Endurance by Alfred Lansing. It was recommended to me by someone online (very enthusiastically), so I picked it up one day, and HOLY GUAC it was one of the most exciting books I’ve ever read! Its a historical narrative of Ernest Shacketon’s voyage to Antarctica. Long story short – they get stuck for about a year between two ice floes, the ship sinks, then they spend months hopping from ice floe to ice floe – trying to keep their crew, and sled dogs, alive. The ending is incredible. I’ve also heard that TOM HARDY (!!) will be playing Shackleton in an upcoming film version.
    Make sure, though, that you get the one written by Alfred Lansing (there are multiple books with the same title), as he had direct access to the diaries of the survivors – so it’s totally factual. Buy it. You won’t regret it. Also a great gift for any men in your life (who are readers, that is)!

  36. Molly says...

    I love Ashley’s posts – is she still on the COJ team?

  37. Lisa says...

    On the job interview question – I went through that a couple of years ago. I left my job largely because the team head (and her deputy, who was her best friend), we’re awful to work with and bred conflict in the team. I dealt with my issues with them with HR, and in interviews I just said I felt like there wasn’t really room to grow (I was the most junior member of the team, so I made sense). I made sure to be VERY careful not to slag them off as it’s a small, gossipy industry (though their reputation for about pretty swiftly) and to just not comment on what went down. A few years later, someone else in my old team interviewed for a role at my new employer and my boss asked if I was ok working with him (he’d heard about what had happened). I said fine, no problem, and now 5 years later we’re still working together and get on so well (it helps that’s he’s one of the nicest people in the world).

  38. Irina says...

    Re: what to tell a prospective employer about why you’re quitting your current job, I think it’s really important to be honest. Otherwise, you may end up in a situation that’s just as bad for you as the one you’re trying to leave. If you’re quitting because you don’t like your boss, you don’t have to blame it specifically on the boss or go on and on about it in the interview, but I think it’s important to figure out what it is that you don’t like about him/her and then find a way to explain that, in a professional way, to your potential employer.

    Was your boss rude or condescending? You can say, “It is very important for me to work in an environment where everyone treats everyone else with respect, and unfortunately this was missing in my last job. However, so far I am getting the sense that things are different at your company. Would you say that’s accurate?”

    Was your boss piling too much work on you and you felt like you could not say no? You can say, “I am a hard worker, and at the same time I believe in setting realistic expectations for employees and encouraging a healthy work-life balance. Being able to allocate enough time for life outside of work means that an employee can focus solely on work when they are on the job, and do their very best. I am hoping that this position will allow me to do that.”

    By doing this, you might miss out on a few opportunities, but you will help ensure that the job that you do get hired for is truly a good fit.

    • I love this response. Coming from the other side, I always thought bashing a former boss/employee was in poor form. This is such a good way to make a case for what you want in a new workplace.

      Oddly enough, I think this works for dating, too!

    • Sharon says...

      This is so spot on! I also agree with the other commenter, great for dating! So often, we work SO hard to be liked/desired we forget to consider if we like the man/job. The perfect job is perfect because it matches with your goals, not someone else’s idea of success.

    • Heather says...

      I definitely agree with you here! As someone who routinely interviews candidates, I specifically ask what the candidate did and did NOT like about their previous position, and honesty- in an appropriate, professional way- goes a long way! I’m not only concerned with people’s education/experience/work ethic, but also their personality, as they should be of mine and my team’s. Your responses are spot on!

    • Nam Aster says...

      Irina was a wonderful response.

  39. Julia says...

    If you haven’t seen it, Tell No One might be a great date movie. It’s a French thriller from the mid 2000s that is incredibly suspenseful and a bit romantic as well. One of my all time favorite movies.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oooh that sounds so good! alex and i saw the lives of others on our first date, and it was so suspenseful. love that feeling :)

    • Justine Radulovic says...

      Yes! great movie!

  40. Sarah says...

    Read Chanel Bonfire! Amazing story. definitely for fans of Elaine Dundy.

  41. Diana says...

    That’s so good to hear! I’m having a similar “conflict of values” with my company and I’ve hesitated to take anything to HR for fear of total fallout that will haunt my future job search.

    Sending you love.

  42. Amber says...

    As I’ve been perusing the comments for book recommendations I see that many people are nervous they won’t like Exit West. Remember you can always request the book from your local library! I finally got a membership a few years ago and I don’t know how I skipped out on something so obvious for so long. Most library systems let you request any book, older titles as well as the newest tomes to hit the bestseller list so you can ‘try before you buy’ so to speak and loose the guilt if you can’t get through the first few chapters. While I still buy off of Amazon (my life goal is to have a library like Belle in Beauty and the Beast) I’ve saved about $3,000 in the last few years by checking out books. My library helpfully tracks the total every time I checkout and now I’m a bit obsessed with seeing that number grow.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “My library helpfully tracks the total every time I checkout and now I’m a bit obsessed with seeing that number grow.” = that is awesome, amber. we do this for kids books (to see which books the boys really want to read over and over).

    • MK says...

      Most libraries have eBook libraries now too! Even if you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the app for free for your phone or tablet – having books on my phone really helps cut down my social media scrolling time. You can put multiple books on hold and set it to auto checkout so that when they become available they’re automatically yours, and it prevents the problem of accumulating overdue fees if you’re bad about returning books (the bane of my existence).

    • Jessica says...

      I totally recommend the Libby app for audiobooks and ebooks from your library system.

    • yes to ebooks from the library! I live in Rwanda and still check out ebooks from my library in the States :)

  43. Kate says...

    Such interesting questions and answers! As for books, my new favorite book is “Call Me By Your Name” by André Aciman, which I devoured after watching the movie. So, so wonderful! My favorite all-time classic which I keep recommending is Anna Karenina.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      stella listened to the CMBYN audibook and adored it — armie hammer reads it!

    • Katie says...

      YES to Anna Karenina! I loved how these fictional characters written by a person from another country in another era felt so real and true and flawed. One of the very best, although I have a hard time actually getting anyone to read it.

      The other great (fun) book that I can’t get anyone to read is Lonesome Dove.

    • Brittany says...

      So, I haven’t read CMBYN (or seen the movie) yet, but I got to know André at an artist residency two years ago. After going to a residency, I like to read a book by each of the people I met. I read his memoir, Out of Egypt, and absolutely loved it. http://www.powells.com/book/-9780312426552

  44. Amanda says...

    Love the idea of a comedy special to watch on a first date! It serves a dual purpose, too–letting you know if your date has the same sense of humor as you! Very important to me!
    Also, you should probably watch Ali Wong’s FIRST Netflix special on a first date. Her second is pretty graphic and real about child birth (though absolutely hilarious) and if your date is a dude he will most likely never recover unless he’s a doctor and sees that kind of stuff all day :)

    • Kaye says...

      Totally agree….the second one, towards the end is pretty graphic and might make a first date a bit uncomfortable. (but I totally cracked up so it’s a must watch…maybe with gal pals!)

  45. Jenn says...

    my all-time #1 book recommendation is The Goldfinch. for being nearly 800 pages, it’s not a particularly dense read, and it’s a page-turner. Donna Tartt is a beautiful (not to mention Pulitzer-winning, for this book) writer, and she really allows the reader to get into the head of the narrator. it certainly has heavy moments and i did have to take a months-long break from the subject content after Chris Cornell died one year ago, but i’m so happy i eventually finished it. can’t recommend highly enough <3

    • YES! I recently finished this and was utterly consumed by it for weeks. Her debut novel, The Secret History is also so, so good.

    • Kristin says...

      I too love that book and I too was devastated by Chris Cornell’s death. He was such a great.

  46. Hannah says...

    I recently invested in a pair of Greats and I LOVE them! Such comfortable shoes that go with everything – dresses, pants, shorts. I’m already scoping out my second pair…

    http://www.greats.com

  47. Book recommendations: I just finished The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin and loved it. Also good: Her Body and Other Parties if you’re into feminist genre-bending (also helps to be an SVU fan); Call Me By Your Name (the book is just as good as the movie); We Were Witches; any of Sloane Crosley’s books of funny essays.

    As far as Sneakers go, I’m a Keds girl, and I just got this Keds x kate spade collaboration pair and I LOVE them (they have other colors/styles too). They’re super comfortable and covered in glitter that doesn’t come off! And they came with an extra pair of ribbon shoelaces! I’m super in love. https://www.katespade.com/products/keds-x-kate-spade-new-york-glitter-sneakers/WF49738-1.html

  48. Amanda G says...

    For the past decade or so, I’ve had a hard time enjoying a lot of fiction books (I don’t even understand myself!) but I’ve come to really love non-fiction! Maybe it’s just a sign that I need to go back to school…

    HOWEVER, I am forever in love with Kate Morton’s books. Has anyone else read them? She is such a sneaky author, always leading you one way before a final mind-blowing twist, her character development is fantastic and her plot structure, generally switching between a couple different story/timelines , keeps you on your toes. I had to pry myself away from the Lake House last night at bedtime. I’ve loved all her other books, especially The House at Riverton and The Secret Keeper, and can’t wait to read her newest, The Clockmaker’s Daughter.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      kate morton’s books sounds so compelling, amanda!!

    • Heather says...

      I discovered her books in an airport bookstore. I was browsing around in the novels section, and the woman who worked in the bookstore picked one up and said, somewhat wistfully, that she was jealous of me for being able to read all of Kate Morton’s books for the first time. She was pretty confident that I was absolutely going to read them all, and she was right. I am now jealous of all of you who haven’t read Kate Morton’s novels yet.

    • B says...

      Hooray! Another Kate Morton fan!! I absolutely love her writing – i too, am envious of anyone about to read her for the first time!

    • B says...

      Hooray! Another Kate Morton fan!! I LOVE her writing, she’s one of my very very favourite authors (along with Liane Moriarty)… I too, am envious of anyone who gets to read her for the first time!

  49. Cara says...

    Fun answers! I’d like to weigh in on the question about quitting the job because she doesn’t like her boss. I’m in HR for a large consulting firm (interview and hire a LOT of people) and here is one way I’d suggest spinning it that is a respectable answer:
    “Due to some recent changes in leadership’s vision for the company and it’s future, I’ve decided that now is a great time to poke my head up after my many years here and look for my next challenge and opportunity to contribute to a new company, in the same way I have here”.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i love that, cara!

    • ARC says...

      Thank you, that is great advice. I am currently “poking my head up”, and the reason is that my company’s leadership for my future job responsibilities does not sync up wtih mine, at all. It’s a great company, but I have to love what I do.

  50. I’ve found that the lessons you learn from a terrible job situation can bring in a lot of clarity that help you articulate what you do want to a prospective employer. I once had an amazing interview with a company I really liked, following quitting a really terrible job situation, and I think a huge part of why the interview went so well and I got the job was because I was very clear on what was important to me. I would suggest considering everything you definitely don’t want (which your experience with your previous job/employer taught you), and spinning that into very clear values of what you do want, such as a collaborative work environment where everyone is heard and empowered to be proactive, where mistakes are treated as learning opportunities, etc. The interviewers will be able to match the values of their company with yours and see the fit (and if for some reason they’re not interested, you know your own values weren’t the right fit for the company and you’ve saved yourself a lot of trouble by not getting hired).

    • Madeline D says...

      I totally agree with this. It made me VERY clear with my prospective employers about what I was looking for, and I think that ultimately landed me in the job that I have now (which I really like).

  51. Sonja says...

    Books: Exit West – Huge thank you to COJ for that recommendation. I read it in one day and it’s stayed with me. It’s so simple yet so complex and compelling. It’s truly amazing.

    Interview questions: I am a recruiter by trade and hear a lot of great and terrible answers. Agreed with many above – never slam your past company or boss BUT it’s important to be honest and authentic. Focus on the positives and what you’re looking for – we want to ensure people are running to us rather than away from something.

    Never, ever say you’re bored in your current job. There is always work to be done and many hiring managers will report that someone came across as lazy if they claim to have been bored. You can say you want to be challenged, you want to grow, you’re looking for a mentor, etc.

    • Renee says...

      Sonja – sorry for cold reachout but I’d love to chat with you more because I’m now afraid of the changing that’s coming in my life. I’m moving to follow my husband, but I also don’t know where to start because last job search was REALLY DIFFICULT and this new city we’re heading to is quite different in labor profile from where I’m now. I’m overjoyed for moving but really terrified. Any chance I could buy you a hypothetical coffee for 15 min of your time?

    • Sonja says...

      Hi Renee, I’d be happy to help! You can email me at lionsandlarks@gmail.com. Cheers!

  52. Sarah C. says...

    Interview questions: Take it from someone who accidentally went from one toxic workplace to another and then eventually found her perfect (for now, of course) job. A job interview is a two way street. Not only are you being interviewed but you need to be interviewing your potential employer. Ask clarifying questions like what their work is (how hands on or off they are as a supervisor), how do they handle a mistake from an employee, what separates a good employee from a GREAT employee. Ask enough and you’ll get a sense of the person you’ll be working for.

    Also, if you’ve been in a toxic environment, please document and report it or at least put it out on anonymous review sites like Glassdoor. Help someone else avoid a toxic workplace and make their decision an easier one to make!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “ask what separates a good employee from a GREAT employee” = i LOVE when people ask this question. it shows they want to go above and beyond. always makes me happy to hear.

  53. Nina says...

    Date night movie: ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ – it’s quite odd, but cool, funny, (mildly) scary, and romantic. For funny and romantic, not at all scary, try ‘Arthur’ (the original with Dudley Moore and Liza Minnelli, definitely NOT the remake). Non-romantic but scary and hilarious: ‘Housebound’ (New Zealand comedy horror).

    Books: you can’t beat the classics. I recently listened to the audiobook of ‘The Mill On The Floss’ by George Eliot, and I loved it. The characters are great and I had no idea of the plot beforehand, so it all took me thoroughly by surprise.

    Interviews: we once had a lodger who told us how horrible her previous landlord had been, and then it turned out that she was actually a complete nightmare to live with. I now assume the other landlord was as reasonable as me!! So definitely don’t say anything about the old boss.

    • Mary says...

      Thanks for the recommendations. I listened to ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ by Thomas Hardy a few years ago no knowing anything about it. Jamie Parker’s narration brought it to life.

  54. andrea says...

    I loved Exit West too – so much so that I went out and read all of his other books right after. Mohsin Hamid is an INCREDIBLE writer. Not so much a question but a request for COJ; Could you guys do a post on people having babies again after many, many years. My neighbour has twin 16 yr olds and is now expecting a new baby this fall. This is blowing my mind! I don’t want to seem judgemental or nosy but I am fascinated…people really go back to babyland after so much time? The early years were so tough for me and now that my kids are 7 and 9, I can’t fathom going back to that stage but…people do. On purpose, a new relationship, a surprise? I would LOVE to hear their perspectives.

    • Christina says...

      One thing to keep in mind with large gaps between children is the potential for secondary infertility. It may not have been a choice to wait that long between children for that family. Hopefully it was a choice for that family though!

  55. Devorah says...

    I have a similar job interview-related question. I am looking for a job that is either part-time, required fewer hours, or closer to my house, so I can spend more time with my baby. (Currently working full time with a long commute and it’s just too much!) How do I explain that in an interview when they ask why I’m interested in this job, without making it seem like my heart is not in it and I would really rather be home? Thanks!

  56. Taylor says...

    Per the interview question. I just came out of the same situation. I was honest in my interview at my new employer about the lack of ability to grow because of the way my former manager ran his organization and held me back. I also did not agree with some of the decisions that were made by my manager. I voiced those feelings with my ideas on how I would have handled versus complaining about how much he was a terrible leader. Focus on leaving the pettiness and anger at home with a nice glass of wine. Bring the issues to the interview with solutions!

    And also remember GO FOR THE JOB, even if you think you aren’t qualified. I was very honest with my hiring manager saying “I am not going to sit here and tell you I know every single, technical detail for this role. If success in this role is someone with 10 years of experience that can rattle off every law and regulation, I’m not the person. But I have 100% confidence in my ability to excel in this job given the appropriate resources.” I left thinking I may have shot myself in the foot, turns out that answer sealed the deal for me because I was honest and confident. Hope that helps!

    Love these types of posts and conversations in the comments! Thanks COJ!

    Also, Book Recommendation: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (And while I have not listened myself, I have heard AMAZING feedback on the Audiobook version because of the man who reads it! I’ll be listening soon.)

    • Reb says...

      I just finished the audiobook of A Gentleman in Moscow and absolutely LOVED it. I was actually having a hard time with the hardback and had a long road trip coming up so I downloaded it from audible and the narration made all the difference for me. I went from feeling mildly charmed by the book to it being an absolutely delightful audio book.

    • Maggie says...

      Thank you for the GO FOR THE JOB comment. I just applied for a job I feel both qualified for and woefully unexperienced in. My goal is to get an interview. I will use it as a networking opportunity– get my name, face, and resume out there. I work in a niche field and I think everyone in this state who does what I do should know who I am. Will I get this job? The answer is always no unless I try.

  57. Olivia says...

    Books: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi and All the Names They Used for God by Anjali Sachdeva are the two that I most recently zipped right through. Highly recommend. I learned about Kalanithi’s book through COJ and just….finished it on the train one morning with tears rolling and strangers looking at me with concern. Sachdeva’s book has numerous short stories – each different and super thought provoking – a good conversation piece. Regarding shoes, I love my “leather street shoe” in black from Everlane. Super comfortable and goes with everything. Also, I am a sucker for a pointy toe. Lastly, I was an EA for a notoriously difficult man in the city. After I left that job and was interviewing, the interviewer would, seeing my old boss’ name on my resume, ask me, “Wow, you worked for X? How was THAT?”. That was tricky. I usually smiled and said something to the effect of “yes, he was a difficult man to work for, as I’ve learned many brilliant CEOs can be, but I am ultimately grateful that I had the opportunity to learn from him and experience him,” which was and is the truth. After sticking it out working for X for a year and a half, I truly feel prepared to work for anyone. I also have plenty of material to write a memoir of my own :) Cheers, y’all!

  58. Anya says...

    Book recommendation: I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell. It’s a memoir in which each of the seventeen chapters is an essay about one of the author’s close brushes with death. Some are big scaries (an encounter on a remote path with a likely murderer), others are small (leaning down to make sure a dog didn’t run into traffic and coming dangerously close to a passing truck). I started reading it for work (I’m in publishing) and didn’t expect to like it. I thought it would be melodramatic and dark and depressing, but it turned out to be the opposite and I couldn’t put it down. I’ve been recommending it to everyone, and anyone who has read it on my recommendation has felt the same way.

    • PatR says...

      I loved this one, too, Anya. I read the memoir while traveling and that sense of dislocation that comes with planes and trains heightened my reaction. The stories have stuck with me. Like you, Ive been recommending it, and a friend is taking it on a trip today.

  59. Allison says...

    Michaela—I, er, left a job last year after being “asked to resign” and worried about the same thing! It turned out that the best approach was definitely what Joanna said—but you can also take that “bad fit” euphemism and turn it into a positive. So when I’m asked about why I left that gig, I say it wasn’t a good fit, and then explain how everything that would be a good fit for me is inherently part of the job I’m interviewing for. (I’m now a full-time consultant/freelancer, so I do interviews a lot!)

    Instead of talking around the issue and leaving folks potentially wondering what might’ve really happened, I can quasi-clarify it—without badmouthing or even focusing on the former employer—and spin it to be about why I want *this* position, rather than a re-litigation of why I didn’t want *that* one. No one ever asks another question about the “ex”—and they always want to know more about what I can do for them!

  60. sissy cross says...

    2017 was full of SO many excellent books. Exit West certainly made it to my list of favorites, but sadly I blasted through it too quickly and before I knew it it was over. A few others that totally grabbed my attention and consumed much of my free time were:

    1. Celine- Peter Heller
    2. The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley- Hannah Tinti
    3. News of The World- Paulette Jiles

    Additionally, most recently I started reading Celeste Headlee’s book on how to have conversations that matter, titled We Need To Talk, and I have been completely enthralled.

    love to the Cup of Jo family for being my #1 site I check DAILY <3

    • Barbara says...

      We Need to Talk is a fantastic book! I’m a much better listener after reading it.

  61. Amber says...

    So fun! Keep posts like this coming. I live for question-and-answer, especially when it breaks the wall between Reader and Esteemed Blogess Whom We Love and Admire So So So Deeply.

    :) xo

  62. Ella says...

    Almost finished with The Signature of All Things and it is beautiful and engrossing.. I have almost missed my subway stop so many times because I can’t put it down! It is so so different than anything else by Elizabeth Gilbert and totally worth the long read!

    • Julie says...

      I read this one for book club and no one liked it!!! I had mixed feelings but the book club discussion on it was amazing and two years later we still talk about it. So if you need a good discussion book, I second this recommendation.

    • RB says...

      Julie – our book club was the same!! It was the most divisive book we’ve read by FAR. People loved it or hated it. Years later, we can only refer to it as “that book. you know. the one,” because if we bring up the title we get into a heated argument. LOL!! I would have liked it a lot more if the author had broken it up and had different chapters from different characters’ POVs. I didn’t love the narrator and got bored of her quickly – and the secondary characters were so much more interesting!

  63. Heidi says...

    I think I might be the only person who didn’t enjoy Exit West.
    But, I love a great pair of Vans Old Skools. High top or low, you can’t go wrong.

    • Jo says...

      I got stuck 75 pages and it’s still on my nightstand. But, this post is inspiring me to keep going!

    • Joaquina says...

      I was just going to recommend old skool Vans. I’ve worn them for 20+ years now so for me they’re always a fashion staple. They pair well with long or short dresses.

  64. My last boss was the worst worst worst worst. Besides being unsupportive and just bad at leading, he was also a work-a-holic who expected everyone else to be the same. He chastised us for putting in anything less than 10 hour days every day, forbid us from going to the doctor during “work time” (when you work 9-7 there’s no other time to go?) and got annoyed with employees for requesting to use vacation days or staying home sick (“when I was your age I went 3 years without taking a single day off!”) He made my blood boil and was a big reason for the insane turnover rate at my last company. It was hard not to bring him up in my next interview when they asked why I left, but I refrained because I knew it would be hard for me to stop ranting once I started. I learned to save the rants about my bad boss for my friends (and strangers on the internet) and keep my interviews mild and professional, as hard as it was!

    • Anna says...

      Mary Kate,
      Glad you left! He sounds like the actual worst!

  65. Taylor says...

    Just finished reading Everything Here Is Beautiful and absolutely loved it. Highly recommend.

    For sneakers, I love Supergas and have recently been looking at a pair from the brand Veja.

  66. lacey says...

    Happy to have some new titles to explore, I have not been reading lately and want to get back into it.

    A book that really stayed with me from a few years ago – The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.

    • Cynthia says...

      Yes! I liked the Language of Flowers, too. I’d recommend it.

    • Cynthia says...

      Yes! I’d recommend The Language of Flowers, too!

    • dana says...

      Yes! Totally agree, such a good book!

      Also– check out Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran. Another book you’ll wish wouldn’t end.

    • Heather says...

      x3! I read this book when I was on mat leave with my first baby, and basically cried non-stop throughout the entire book. Ahhh hormones. At the end of the book is a glossary of the meanings given to different flowers, including the linden, which at that time was blossoming up and down my street. I loved all of the meanings for this tree – conjugal love, justice, truth, dependability – and ended up using Linden as my second baby’s middle name. This book has a special place in my heart!

  67. joana says...

    hi! one of the best books i’ve read in the last year was “a thousand splendid suns”, by khaled hosseini. actually, it’s one of the best books i’ve read period.
    it’sjust incredibly raw and sweet and hard and it gives you a human and close perspective on the war in afghanistan, which we basically know through media. it’s definitely a must-read.

    • Kimberley says...

      Agreed, Joana! Must have read it nearly a decade ago and still think about it!

  68. MCK says...

    I am a huge fan of Exit West! For those of you who are saying, “Same!” like me, you might enjoy Home Fire and Burnt Shadows, both by Kamila Shamsie, as well as Partitions by Amit Majmudar.

    Also, following the interview discussion. I have one tomorrow and while I am not too excited about the job description, I am looking forward to making a move. My current boss is a homophobic, abusive, mysoginistic douche bag.

    Love this blog and all the comments! :)

    • C says...

      Thanks for the recommendations! Those look great!

  69. Sarah says...

    Exit West was one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. Another favorite is The Idiot by Elif Batuman (just came out on paperback too). It’s very genuine and truly funny and warm. I probably got the idea from Cup of Jo originally!

  70. Just wanted to chime in to say that I appreciate the articles that don’t immediately relate to me. As a person with an office job, I”m hoping to have a variety of different careers in my life. I’m almost 40, and hoping to have a job in the creative field some day, so I enjoy reading non-office job tips and practices. I’ll take all the tips I can get for future me.

    COJ has such a diverse audience. I’m a long-time reader so know that you do a wonderful job of making your readers feel “heard” and appreciated. Kudos to the COJ team, per usual.

    [If this is a duplicate comment, please delete; I had trouble commenting today.]

  71. Megan says...

    Yes to Converse (though I am partial to the slip on ones–Shorelines–they are great for travel and for us bigfoots–make your feet look SMALL!)

    Ok and books. I am one of those people who almost always has to read before bed so I plow through them. I am partial to nonfiction but who doesn’t love fiction!? A few faves from the last few years (that haven’t been mentioned. . .so many good ones already!) Life after Life by Kate Atkinson, Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie, books by Ariel Levy (nonfiction), books by Paula McLain (historical fiction from the perspectives of two of Hemingway’s wives among others), anything by Elizabeth Strout, always Ian McEwan (Sweet Tooth and On Chesil Beach especially–the latter will be a movie with Saoirse Ronan soon), Curtis Sittenfeld (ALL though my top faves will always be Prep and American Wife), and for the BEST beach reads EVERRRRRRR: The Crazy Rich Asians series.

    • Helen Ng says...

      We’re basically twins on both the shoes and books front!

      The Paris Wife by Paula McLain was so, so good! Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout is my favorite but all of her books are wonderful and The Crazy Rich Asians series are definitely the best beach reads.

      I’m about to start Commonwealth. Ann Patchett is my favorite author so I don’t know why it has taken this long to read her book but I’m excited!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “for us bigfoots–make your feet look SMALL!” = haha thank you, megan!

  72. Julie says...

    Feiyue shoes are technically for martial arts, but I think they are some of the cutest sneaker options: light, fitted to the foot, and cheaper than Converses.

    • Lauren E. says...

      My favorites! I have never gotten so many compliments on shoes as I’ve had on Feiyues.

    • Alice says...

      Best shoe ever. I’ve been wearing them for 11 years and always always go back to them whenever I stray. So comfortable and light. They have fun colour ways if you want something different, but the straight up white or black are the best in my opinion.

  73. Tonya says...

    Books: A tale for the time being, Ruth Ozeki, and The Nix, Nathan Hill are two recent favorites.

    Also, I just bought all birds sneaker after learning about them here, and I love them.

    • A Tale for the Time Being is wonderful! A real page-turner and deeply profound. One of those great books that stays with you. Also, really enjoyed Exit West. Saw the author speak at City Arts & Lectures here in SF and he was so witty, funny and thoughtful it made me want to go read his other books as well!

  74. Julia says...

    re: sneakers–the cole haan zerogrand wingtip oxfords are my favorite for feeling fancy and comfortable at the same time. i wore them all over paris and felt great!

    • Mel says...

      Yes! And also the Grand Pro in white. So fun and go with everything. I walked ALL over Spain in them. Love

  75. Kathy says...

    For sneaker options – superga or bucketfeet! Superga are more basic/plain with tie and slip on options. Bucketfeet are slip ons, and they have a ton a fun prints! Both are very comfortable.

  76. Sarah says...

    Another book that is great for easing back in to reading and can be read in small bites (it’s written in 52 “micro memoirs”) is ‘Heating and Cooling’, by Beth Ann Fennelly. Her writing is SO fresh, starkly funny and true. (I believe you’ve recommended another work of hers, ‘Great with Child’). I dare you to put it down!
    Also loved ‘Exit West’!

  77. Two books I really fell into hard –that a lot of people overlooked the last couple of years — BEAUTIFUL RUINS, by Jess Walter and THE EXPATRIATES, by Janice Lee.

    • Alexandra says...

      Beautiful Ruins is my go-to novel to hand out to friends. It’s phenomenal.

      I also loved THE TSAR OF LOVE AND TECHNO: STORIES by Anthony Marra.

    • YES to Beautiful Ruins. I think about that book all the time. The most similar type of book I’ve read is The Rocks by Peter Nichols (and even the covers look similar).

  78. Ranwin says...

    When it comes to a date night movie it can be wise to check what kind of movies your date is into. I would also suggest that you don’t pick one of your favorite movies, as you might be disappointed if he doesn’t love it as well. (Unless it’s clear that you have similar taste). When my husband and I started dating it soon became clear that we have very different taste in some areas. We like a lot of the same movies, but I’m super into geeky stuff like superhero movies, Star Wars, Harry Potter etc., while my husband prefers more artsy movies (I like classic cinema as well, but I also love a good action movie). At the time I remember thinking “Can I really be with someone who doesn’t understand the genius of Buffy, doesn’t read fantasy novels and falls asleep to Harry Potter?” Long story short we’ve now been happily married for almost 8 years and I laugh at myself for thinking that our different preferences in popular culture was so important.

  79. Cherie says...

    All leather sneakers if you want to avoid the ‘going jogging’ look! I have Puma Basket Platforms in Black, Adidas Stan Smiths and Adidas Originals Superstars. They look great with everything!

  80. Underground Railroad – amazing book.

  81. Jackie says...

    I find myself wondering about influencers’ stance on ethical consumerism. I wouldn’t be asking CoJ in particular if I didn’t feel you guys to be genuinely invested in issues like equality, sustainability and energy consumption. Obviously support of “ethical” brands like Madewell is important but how often do you buy clothing, new decor or eat meat, how do you manage to avoid plastic, reduce trash, save scraps or repairing textiles, etc.? Don’t take me wrong, I don’t mean to criticize people for anything they do or don’t do, but I’m curious about the thought process behind their everyday choices. There’s no getting around things like one’s general shopping, traveling and eating habits and I struggle to find the right balance between what I believe to be a responsible way to live and my desire to have all the pretty things I see online (maybe it’s because of my ADD but I can be quite an impulsive buyer)!

    • Joaquina says...

      Thank you for bringing up the importance of considering ethical consumption and consumerism. Even a brand like Madewell falls into this discussion. Their t-shirts are pretty flimsy thus inciting the cycle of buying more and more…
      Fast fashion has such detrimental effects on the environment and small businesses.

  82. Alice says...

    BOOKS. I could give endless book recommendations (and basically do in the podcast my friend Jenny and I host- The Bookcast Club!). One of the best books I’ve read this year is Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson. It’s SO clever and beautifully written. I’d also always recommend Birdsong (Sebastian Faulks). In terms of non-fiction, Dolly Alderton’s Everything I Know About Love is PHENOMENAL and a must read for every woman in my opinion! I’m also currently reading We Need To Talk About Kevin, which is tough and topical at the moment. Oof.

    • K says...

      If you liked Life After Life, you have to read A God in Ruins. It’s also about the Todd family, but focuses on Teddy. A different narrative structure, but such a beautiful and thought-provoking book. I have recommended it to everyone I can!

    • Alice says...

      K- I actually read A God In Ruins before I read Life After Life!! I loved it, but think that I would have liked it less if I’d read LAL before AGIR, as LAL is so incredibly clever that it has ruined so many other books for me now, haha! They’re both great though, Kate Atkinson is so talented!

  83. Sarah Johnson says...

    I have question! Do you guys cover grey hairs growing in? Or embrace them? Why? Why not? I’d love to find a good review of at home products for doing so? Any recommendations?

    • Robin says...

      I second the grey hair question! I have tons coming in and I’m not planning to dye my hair, since it’s expensive and takes a lot of time, and because I think that women dying their hair sets an unrealistic beauty standard for other women. I’m curious to hear other opinions on that.

    • AJ says...

      I try to stretch out my colorist appointments (because my greys grow in so quickly – gah) so in between I use the Bumble & Bumble color stick:
      I love it and it lasts a few days if you don’t wash your hair often.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, i want to know this answer, too! maybe we’ll try some out at CoJ??? i have soooooo many greyes these days :)

    • Maggie says...

      I’m 34 and my grey starts to show between colorings every 8 weeks, so I cover mine. For years I used Bumble and bumble Brownish hair powder or the Bumble and bumble color stick. I like both products, but they are a little pricey and I was going through them too fast. I recently tried L’Oreal’s Magic Root Cover Up from Target or Ulta and I think it works like a charm and is so much cheaper.

    • Ell says...

      Oh my! I started going grey in high school (just lucky, I guess) and after the birth of my first child four years ago I stopped dying my hair for good. I get a LOT of comments on how great my skin is for my age because people just assume I’m older than still being in my 30s with a full head of grey hair! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  84. Veronika says...

    I also agree with the job interview advice. Even if you did all good and your former boss was an @sshole you cannot really communite it on a job interview which would turn the situation in your favour. I was in the same shoes before, I focused on the other positive aspects of wanting to change jobs: new carrier path, more challenge, ..etc seeking for a job where I can imagine myself in the longterm (employers like candidates who want to get engaged longterm with a company)

  85. Veronika says...

    Date night movies: big NO to anything which has sex scene – so aaaakward :-) I also vote for scary movies, like ghost stories or crime thrillers. It’s always justified to move closer to your crush when you get scared ;-)

  86. C says...

    On a recent business trip to Asia I read ‘The briefcase’ a beautiful and melancolic love story by Hiromi Kawakami and ‘Pachinko’ a family saga by Min Jin Lee. Highly recommending both!

  87. Keri says...

    Shoes: Under Armour Breathe Lace Training Shoe – I have these in purple and Love them. And you can’t go wrong with black Chucks.

    Books; The Goldfinch, The Night Circus, anything by Gillian Flynn, I’ll be Gone in the Night, A House in the Sky, The Book of Negroes,

  88. I have been dying to find the perfect book, which I’ve described to friends as Game of Thrones with consensual sex. Any suggestions??

  89. I need to wear orthotics so I have a few pairs of cool Van hightops with awesome patterns.

  90. Anne says...

    I just left a job at a company because I filed a sexual harassment case against a Supervisor and had to leave because of how it escalated.

    I’ve been dealing with retaliation from reporting the harassment for the past few years, and I’ve suffered emotionally, mentally and physically from the fallout. I pretty much only hung on because my co-workers were like family.

    I had a potential new job interview lined up and I was really anxious because I didn’t want to re-hash bad memories and trauma from my experience with former bosses, but I also didn’t want to lie to the person interviewing me. I had no idea how to approach questions about my former job. Before I went into the interview, I took a few minutes to remind myself how far I had come and how strong I had been through the experience; how much speaking up demonstrated value not only to myself but to my former co-workers and the company itself. I cared so deeply about being honest and maintaining integrity that I never gave up and that’s why I was there interviewing for a new job in the first place. Leaving a place that doesn’t share your values is NOT a weakness- it takes such strength and self-compassion to walk away when things just aren’t working.

    I didn’t have to share the details in my interview (honesty doesn’t mean you have to bad-mouth a former boss or employer); but I did say that I had dedicated 3 years within that company trying to cultivate a healthy and compassionate workplace culture, and when I recognized that the actions and decisions from management did not share those same values, I realized it was time to move on and search for a company that does value open communication, feedback, honesty, and growth. I said that I value myself and that’s why I decided to walk away in search of a place that shares my same values. I felt like the interviewer really “heard” me without my having to divulge any negative details. Instead I changed my perspective, and focused on qualities I found important to my career and it’s growth, and how I saw them in the company I was applying for. I ended up getting offered the job on the spot!

    Honesty is so powerful even though it can feel intimidating sometimes. I wish you luck in your interview!

    • Christina says...

      Anne, CONGRATULATIONS on your new job! I am so happy to hear this story had a happy ending. You are incredibly strong for sticking to your convictions and standing up for yourself in a terrible situation. Cheers to you.

  91. Melissa says...

    While there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to talk about why you left your last job, my advice, as someone who works in HR and has done a serious amount of recruiting during my career, is to be prepared to give a professional, but honest response. An experienced interviewer is going to see right through a safe reply ie: “I’m seeking out new challenges,” etc. If that’s a true statement, then by all means… But if its not, you’re likely missing out on an opportunity to gauge whether the position you’re interviewing for is really a good fit. Outright bashing of your previous company/manager/position is never a good idea, but being able to professionally highlight what didn’t work for you in your last role is beneficial in so many ways…. A good interviewer, and a good manager in particular, should be interested in understanding what you’ll need from them in order to feel successful/challenged/fulfilled if you join their team. In most instances these needs will be (at least partially) informed by what’s lacking in your current/previous role. If a potential employer doesn’t take the time to understand what you’re looking for in your work or work environment, and they don’t provide you with a realistic snapshot of what you can expect based on those wants/needs, you’re very much risking walking into an equally miserable employment situation. Think of interviewing as a two way street, and keep in mind that an appropriate amount of candor can go along way in helping you and your potential employer make good decisions.

  92. Jenny says...

    I chose Exit West for my book club, and no one else liked it! I was so surprised, I loved it.

  93. Mina says...

    Book recommendation: Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue, great page turner, mesmerising!

    Sneakers: My all time favorite brand is Lacoste, had so many pairs over the years and will surely have many more.

  94. J says...

    I’m in recruiting and HR and wholeheartedly agree with Lauren’s comment below. There is a difference between complaining/griping and an authentic explanation of why a prior workplace was toxic and didn’t allow for a productive or healthy work environment. When discussed with insight and honesty, it will not come across as badmouthing the previous company. You can still make the conversation about YOU and your career goals.

  95. Jessica says...

    Stella–between allbirds and frye which do you prefer? I’m pondering my summer sneaker and will be traveling. I like the look of frye better but your allbirds review was so glowing for travel.

    As for books
    -Americanah, Chimamanda Ngoze Adichie so fun and easy to read but also a profound look at race/feminism
    -Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi–story of two women born to the same woman in Ghana at the time of the slave trade and their divergent paths. So good!
    -LaRose or The Round House, Louise Erdrich–such compelling stories and so well written

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      stella is actually traveling right now (in berlin with friends!) but i *think* i can answer the question: she wears frye sneakers for work and lunches etc bc they’re a little dressier (if sneakers can be dressy!:) and allbirds for traveling (i’ve spotted her wearing them in berlin on her instastories!:)

      joannaxoxo

  96. Kelsy says...

    Ferris Bueller was my go to movie for dates early on. It’s a feel good classic that almost everyone has seen so you don’t have to pay that much attention plus the parade scene is just so much fun!

  97. Question for you about the sneaker life: do you all wear little socks with your sneakers or not? I just bought a pair of wonder Allbirds and they told me not to wear socks, but I do find they rub a little on the heel. I think every sneaker would. Does everyone have a secret, magical sock that doesn’t show or do I just have sensitive feet?

    • Jess says...

      After many fails, I’ve found Sheec SoleHugger Active No-Show Socks (Amazon) to be great for wearing with low profiles sneakers. I was between sizes and sized up. Just make sure you don’t put them in the dryer, I accidentally did once and I think it melted the grippy part and they started slipping down.

    • Liz says...

      Bombas no show socks are great

  98. I’m currently an HR Manager and have been in HR or some sort of recruiting role almost my entire professional career. Each company is a little different, each interviewer is a little different, and definitely the position you’re applying to can change the circumstance or need to disclose that you left because of your boss – but in my experience, I’d actually rather hear it was because of your boss! I don’t mean spend 10 minutes trashing him/her, the environment, or anything like that (that’s probably the quickest way to get shown the door!); you can professionally say that you were having trouble working with management, and then I’d like to hear why (differences in values, opinions on the growth or direction of the company clashing, undervaluing what you had to offer, etc). Additionally, it is very rare that difficulties with a boss is the ONLY reason you’ve finally made the decision to leave; really analyze what other reasons and circumstances you’re finding yourself in to push yourself to make the leap to leave, and that will often provide a very heartfelt, real answer that I’d love to hear. Your boss is likely the tipping point/last straw, but there are other professional directions you’re likely seeking as well. (And Michaela, good luck in your job search! I’m sorry you had a crummy boss!)

  99. Katie says...

    I coincidentally just started Exit West this week and am loving it so far.

    It may take just a little to get into, but I loved the book A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. It’s heart-wrenching, hopeful, and unique.

  100. Sarah says...

    Sneakers & Exit West. No wonder I love this blog. Thank you!! ?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      all the heart emojis <3

  101. Seona says...

    Sneakers – Superga! Casual, but not sneakery!

    • Yup! I just bought a pair and I wanna wear them everyday!

    • Regina says...

      I own three pairs of Supergas and wear them constantly!

  102. Laura says...

    I love it when the comment section here turns to book recs. I just open a new tab to my library site and starting adding requests. Thanks for all the new adds to my list!

  103. Jacquelyn says...

    Re: quitting job due to disdainful boss. I am coming off of several months of interviewing after leaving my last position in no small part because of the wild mood swings my boss had – he would go from verbally abusing a person, slamming his fists on his desk, to doling out these cloying appraisals of you and your work in a matter of seconds. To me, the key was understanding what it was that his abusive behavior was preventing me from accomplishing – for me, that was moving into a (higher level) position focused more on specific tasks that I enjoyed. Another boss’ bad behavior might incite competition or hosility amongst coworkers, so people are unable to troubleshoot openly or collaborate in a team environment, which might be what you really crave. During interviews, I then just phrased my desire to transition as wanting to move on to a position where I could focus on honing those skills I valued, while leaving my old boss out of the conversation – and eventually, behind altogether.

    • Rachel says...

      Love this!

    • Mollie says...

      This is the most perfect advice for how to explain this situation!

    • My last boss was the worst worst worst worst. Besides being unsupportive and just bad at leading, he was also a work-a-holic who expected everyone else to be the same. He chastised us for putting in anything less than 10 hour days, forbid us from going to the doctor during “work time” (when you work 9-7 there’s no other time to go?) and got annoyed with employees for requesting to use vacation days (“when I was young I went 3 years without taking a single day off!”) He made my blood boil and was a big reason for the insane turnover rate at my last company. It was hard not to bring him up in my next interview when they asked why I left, but I refrained because I knew it would be hard for me to stop ranting once I started. I learned to save the rants about my bad boss for my friends (and strangers on the internet) and keep my interviews mild and professional, as hard as it was!

  104. Melody says...

    Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels! They kept me off of the tv for two months!

    • J says...

      Yes yes yes yes YES! I’m almost done with the 4th and final book and I’m already grieving my life without them in it. I may just reread all over again.
      (Please no spoilers!)

  105. mackenzie says...

    Hey CoJ team!! Speaking of job interviews, I would LOVE to hear your take on thank-you notes after interviews. I always find them so corny and stiff sounding! Would love advice…

    • Lilly says...

      Hi! I always send a thank-you note in the mail usually the same day as the interview or the next day (to make sure they get it ASAP).

      I always thank them for the opportunity, mention something specific that we spoke about in the interview (sometimes something personal, like congratulating the interviewer who mentioned she was pregnant) and say that I’m looking forward to hearing from them soon. It doesn’t have to be drawn out, it’s mostly just the thought!

      It has worked for me each and every time and they always mention how much they appreciated the handwritten letter (I also design and draw the card so that helps too!).

    • kmw says...

      I’ve interviewed people for a few different positions and I definitely appreciate a thank you note. Even just a quick email to express your interest in the position again and thank your interviewers for taking the time to meet with you goes a long way. I always make note of the people who sent a thank you.

    • AJ says...

      My entire career started because of a thank you note I sent after an interview – and it was just for a work-study job in college. My boss said he was debating between me and another candidate and picked me because I sent a thank you note.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes!! when i’m interviewing candidates, i love getting a thank-you note in the mail. it sets people apart. some people also send a quick thank-you email on the day of the interview AND a mailed thank-you card, which is above-and-beyond, but shows that they’re really interested in the position and ready to do what it takes.

    • Hannah says...

      I was interviewing for a director position at 23 (I was 10 years younger than anyone else-eek!) halfway across the nation in Boston. I flew in to interview and met ~20 people I’d be working with. I wasn’t sure who to even send a thank you note to, so I ordered cupcakes for everyone and sent it to the main office.

      They hired me 2 days after, specifically mentioning that the cupcakes were “a good touch”.

  106. MB says...

    I vote against the comedy special! I have recently realized that although I love situational comedy most stand-up leaves me dry. A lot of comedians are over-the-top obnoxious when they do sets and sitting through an 80 minutes of that or of bad sex jokes can kill a date. I think a smart or funny documentary is the way to go–the King of Kong? Something like that…it’s well-made and will give you something to talk about. Just stay away from a war documentary or those serious ones.

    • L says...

      Hasan Minaj and Tig might work as a date night (John Mulaney, too), but Ali Wong’s comedy is pretty raunchy for a first date. Humor is so subjective, too; I’d hesitate to test that out with someone I don’t know well.

  107. Rachel says...

    Just here to say – YES EXIT WEST. I don’t pass on physical books very often, but I’ve already loaned my copy out to 3 people who have all obsessed over it.

  108. Andrea says...

    It’s funny, I’ve only ever been involved in education (first teaching, now as a school-based speech-language pathologist), and I’ve always noticed that when blogs (not just CoJ) talk about anything to do with careers/interviews it’s always assumed (in the language that is used) that their readers work in office-type settings. There are a lot of careers out there besides office jobs; I’d love for CoJ to tweak some of their content so that more readers can relate.
    Also, I realize that interview situation could easily come up in all kinds of careers so this is not directed at this post in particular, just CoJ (and other blogs!) content in general.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      this is so good to hear, andrea! we have heard a lot of feedback saying we focus too much on jobs outside of office jobs (teaching, science, artists, etc.) so we’ve been trying to do more office jobs. so it’s nice to hear that people want those other types of features, too! we’ll keep doing both :)

    • M says...

      I love all the creative careers you feature on CoJ!! I agree with Andrea that a lot of career advice in the media seems to skew toward corporate America/office jobs, but one of the reasons why I love CoJ so much is because you feature so many interesting women doing things they are passionate about. I find your content regarding career to be really refreshing.

    • I have an office job now, but who knows if I won’t in the future. I’m hoping to have many different careers throughout my life. So I love learning about non-office-type tips, too. I’ll take any tips I can get for future me!

      When you have such a diverse audience it’s tough to relate to all. Keep up the great work!

  109. Elaine says...

    Exit West. Yes. Brilliant.

  110. kash says...

    I love Superga sneakers as good non-workout sneaks! Both princess diana and kate middleton wore them, so you know they are classics ;)

    • Liz says...

      Love superga’s. Have them in white, black, navy and burgundy. They look really cute with everything. I recently purchased a pair of M Gemi leather sneakers. They are so comfortable and look fabulous. Also bought a pair of those ridiculously overpriced Common Projects. Not very comfortable and the sizing/fit is a bit strange as they don’t offer half sizes.

  111. Jeri says...

    Best at-home date movies are forever and always Back to the Future and/or Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Classics. You’ve most likely seen them so you don’t need to pause when you start making out. ;-)

    • Erin says...

      LOL!

    • Luna says...

      My Husband and I still love those films, and now our son’s do too.

  112. Victoria Haynes says...

    Recently fell in love with the books of Barbara Trapido – so strange and funny but then with unexpected moments of breathtaking tragedy and back to lightness again. I’ve never read anything like it. Just finished The Traveling Hornplayer, which is kind of a sequel to Brother of the More Famous Jack.
    For date night movies, I want to say Warrior. My husband and I just watched it fort he umpteenth time. It looks like a fight movie but it’s really a family drama. He’ll cry, you’ll cheer for the fights, you’ll both look good.

  113. Heather says...

    For my first date with my husband (15 years ago!) I invited him over to watch Best in Show. He was not the first guy I’d invited over to watch that movie, but he was the first one to laugh at all of the right places. Obviously we hooked up afterwards. It makes me laugh now to think how long I took the expression “Netflix and chill” literally instead of a euphemism for fooling around, when I was clearly an early adopter of that ole bait and switch.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, i love that, heather.

    • Natalie says...

      Love this! The ultimate date screener. We shall call it the “Christoper Guest Test.”

    • MB says...

      I tested my husband with his movie too and I’m happy to say he passed!

    • kate k says...

      I did not know until just this second that it was a euphemism. #old. :(

    • jo says...

      In Colorado, “Netflix and Chill” means getting high and binge watching TV…

  114. Anna says...

    Watch Charade! Another thrilled option and Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn are amazing.

    • C-Ann says...

      Recently saw Charade for the first time. Great flick!! Soundtrack fantastic too.

    • Sarah says...

      Ahhh I love this movie!! “How do you shave in there?” ☺

    • Meredith says...

      I watched NXNW on the first date with my worst boyfriend. Worked too well!

    • sasha says...

      Oh I love that movie so much, what a great suggestion

  115. Heather says...

    I asked my husband out on our first date (15 years ago!); I invited him to my apartment to watch Best in Show. He was not the first guy I’d invited over to watch that particular movie, but he was the first one who laughed at all of the right places, and the only one who got to hook up afterwards. It makes me laugh now how long it took me to figure out that inviting someone over to “Netflix and chill” was not literally about couch + movie and was instead a euphemism for hooking up, since clearly I was an early adopter of exactly this bait and switch.

    • Christina says...

      BEST IN SHOW! Heather, you sly dog! I love it. Such a good movie. Similarly good / funny is Butter, such a cute, campy movie. Jen Garner in it is TO DIE FOR.

  116. This is going to sound like a weird date night movie rec, but hear me out–I really loved Paddington 2. It’s not just a kid’s movie! It’s funny and sweet and beautiful to look at and full of heart. I watched it with a friend one night and right afterwards she said, “So…we’re going to watch that again, right?” Personally, it’s going in my mental dating checklist: if a guy I’m dating isn’t into it, it’s going to be a dealbreaker for me!

    • Totally agree! The Paddington movies blew me away. So sweet and beautiful truly funny. Hugh Grant in Paddington 2 is everything you didn’t know you needed. Role of a lifetime.

    • Completely agree! Paddington 2 blew me away. Entirely beautiful and sweet and funny. Hugh Grant is everything you didn’t know you needed. Hilarious!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, the boys and i finished Paddington 2 last night and were so elated by how good it was. really loved it. he’s just the sweetest bear :)

    • Heather says...

      Paddington 2 is a kids movie that had every adult in my family cheesing and crying. It is SO good.

    • Fay says...

      I SOBBED at Paddington 2. In the cinema. With my husband and 3yo son just looking at me. Just the sweetest film. I can’t wait to watch it again.

    • Luna says...

      Haha. Ditto from our whole family. Hubby and I loved how Hugh Grant took to the role!

  117. Rachel says...

    I have been recommending Educated by Tara Westover to EVERYONE in my life. Incredible read and so inspiring and empowering to follow her journey of coming into her own. I could NOT put it down.

    • Diana Willard says...

      I second this recommendation!

    • Nora B says...

      Yes! As a practicing latter-day saint (mormon), I loved reading her story. So, so fascinating and felt empowered by her drive and ambition. Thumbs up.

    • Maria says...

      Yes! I was so shocked by this book. It is gripping, I could not put it down.

    • Amy says...

      Agreed! I just finished EDUCATED and am recommending it to everyone I know. So beautifully written!!

      I am also listening to CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS on audible and the narrator is just fantastic. I highly recommend!

    • Sarah says...

      I am also recommending this book to everyone! I am adding a heads up that if you have an abuse history, it may bring back some triggering memories. I loved her honesty and her reflective, strong narrative voice.

  118. Leslie says...

    Blackout! So good.

  119. Gigi says...

    I’d like to play devil’s advocate with the interview question! I was in this exact position last fall, where I quit a job cold turkey without another opportunity lined up because I had the All Time Worst Boss Ever. I’m pretty sure he was a psychopath, and he brought me to my rock bottom in terms of self-confidence and professional growth despite being in a great place before starting the job. When I started applying to jobs, I was in a tricky place of being out of work and needing to explain why I was only at my previous company six months. Rather than BS-ing it, I told the truth in my interviews! I said that I was growing more and more aware of serious red flags with the management style and I wasn’t seeing a bright future with the company that would enable me to grow. Instead of raising eyebrows, most of my interviewers responded with a surprising amount of compassion. I think everyone can relate to having a terrible boss at least once in their life!

    The story has a happy ending too, because I found an incredible new job just one month later. :)

    • Lauren Yamaoka says...

      As a former recruiter I agree with this… it’s super easy to sniff out a BS answer and it makes me trust the candidate less. Tell the truth professionally rather than give some canned “I want to grow answer”. As a recruiter a truthful would also help me make sure I pair the candidate up with a great nurturing possible boss (especially if there are multiple openings). The best candidates I’ve hired had very honest conversations with me about things like having been fired or truthful salary discussions. Hiring is about trust!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      gigi, i love the way you phrased your answer. i’ve interviewed people in the past who would complain about their bosses (or companies etc) and it came off as their having skewed expectations or bad attitudes (which i do still think it was). but the way you wrote about it was so honest and smart and sympathetic. clearly, it depends so much on what the situation was, and how you portray it. thank you so much for your note.

    • Bianca says...

      Hi Gigi, I’ve been there too and I’m sure my boss was a psychopath. Not fun at all. I also am honest when asked about reasons why, stating it clearly and simply, not in a I want to just gossip about this for half an hour. I think a good Recruiter or interviewer can tell the difference pretty quickly between a genuine person who has had a terrible experience or a difficult whingey person. So happy you got a new job! I also left my work with nothing lined up… I jumped off a cliff and did a total career change and started my own little business ?

  120. Dana says...

    For sneakers, I wear black chucks but also love love love my inkkas!!! And they have an awesome business model – plant a tree for every pair and have fair trade practices. The designs are so cute and unique. I have a pair of joggers but love the other styles too. https://inkkas.com

    • SM says...

      Oh, they look so good. Could not resist buying a pair of joggers!

    • Heather says...

      Gasp! So cute! Why didn’t I know about this three weeks ago when I settled for a sorta-boring color of slip-on vans for the summer??

  121. Maryann says...

    I watched the Ali Wong special two days ago and I am still laughing out loud at it. I almost peed my pants.

    • Emily says...

      It was so, so funny. But would be horrible for a first date!

  122. Emily L says...

    When I was in college, a job interview/resume specialist came to speak to our class. She said if you’re asked your greatest weakness not to say “I’m a perfectionist” because a hard interviewer will say, “Really? How has that been detrimental to you?”, and you won’t have a good answer (plus, it’s EVERYONE’S pat answer). Instead, have an answer ready that is something you can easily segue into how you’re improving, such as saying your not always the greatest listener, BUT you’re working on slowing down and really paying attention when people speak.

    I think it’s great advice, and I always cringe now when someone tells me they told an interviewer they were a perfectionist!

  123. Betsy says...

    Oh, also, books: *ANYTHING* by Mary Roach. Bonk (sex), Gulp (digestion), Stiff (cadavers), Grunt (military science), Packing for Mars. I have never been more entertained by science. I regularly laugh out loud in public while reading her stuff.

  124. Liz says...

    A little life!!! Crushes me and cannot stop reading.

    • Lisa says...

      I read it last year and could not put it down. So heartbreakingly beautiful. When I finally finished I felt different, like the book changed how I see the world.

    • that book made me ugly cry!

    • I second this recommendation. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara is a memorable book. I became so engrossed in it that I would wake up in the middle of the night, and instead of trying to go back to sleep I would get up and read several chapters of this book.

  125. Lizzie says...

    Another good comedy special for a first date: John Mulaney’s most recent one on Netflix, Kid Gorgeous. The humor is perfectly balanced between sharp and goofy, with nothing to make the mood awkward (Ali and Tig, on the other hand, could make it weird fast). If you’re in your 30s and childless, as he is, his observations about that age bracket might be good bonding material.

    • MissEm says...

      Ali Wong is great, but would be suuuuuuper awkward on a first date.

    • ally says...

      omg i was thinking the same thing about Tig and Ali Wong! I DEFINITELY wouldn’t feel comfortable watching their specials with someone I didn’t know well (though I do love both of their comedy styles a lot)

    • Erin says...

      Eddie Izzard’s old comedy specials would be good date-night material. Hilarious and not awkward. (“Cake or death? CAKE!”)

  126. Julie says...

    Love good book recommendations and I LOVE sharing sooo here are a few of my fav books to recommend: Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover. I just read it this weekend, in less than 24 hours. It’s amazing. Well deserved NYT best seller, I’m still thinking about it. All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai…I don’t usually like sci-fi and I could NOT put it down. I always call this one my “different” rec. Want an older classic? The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. Want something more focused on social justice and applicable to the current political climate…Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice by Dr. Willie Parker, he is a lovely writer, I read it last fall and think about it often…want a knock your socks off first novel from a kickass writer? This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America by Morgan Jerkins…also if you’re trying to watch less TV, get on goodreads and set a reading challenge. It’s so fun and keeps me motivated to read v. watch TV!

    • Erin D LaDue says...

      Saving your recommendations Julie

    • Brooke says...

      Yes to the Poisonwood Bible! Barbara Kingsolver is such a gifted writer!

  127. Betsy says...

    Date night movie rec: throwback movies. I watched the Princess Bride with a dude I liked and he could quote through the whole movie with me; it was one of the most attractive things I’ve ever seen.

  128. Julie says...

    Re: sneakers, I’ve had great luck with the Rifle Co. x Keds collaboration. Insanely comfy and fun enough that they don’t look sporty.

  129. The Paris Wife. A great historical novel about Hadley Richardson, Hemingway’s first wife.

    • Allison M says...

      I loved that book! I would also recommend Euphoria by Lily King, made me want to go back to school and become an anthropologist. And I love my simple cole haan white sneaks, they are my platonic ideal white sneakers and very comfortable.

  130. Julie says...

    I have a question… What’s the story with Caroline? Is she back permanently? I love reading her posts and am so glad she’s back. I don’t see her profile on your “About” page but just noticed the casual reference to her sneakers around the office. What’s her story?!?

    • Colleen says...

      Yes please, same question here

    • A. says...

      She is covering for Lexi who is on maternity leave .

  131. A. says...

    How to keep your motivation to work out flying high?
    As a perpetually tired, full time working mom of a toddler I really struggle with this one.

    • China says...

      Have reasonable expectations of yourself! And find something you really love to do so it feels like time to yourself, not a chore. Regularly working out once a week will have a great impact on your health, and someday when you have more time, you can so easily build from there. And remember, carrying a toddler around definitely counts as exercise!

    • Laura says...

      It’s tough…I’m in the same boat. First I’d say find some time you can reasonably allocate to exercise, I go to the gym at lunch time but this isn’t possible for everyone. If you really don’t have any time to spare, which happens a lot, then find something you can involve the kids in…like a bike ride with a trailer or even just running around or kicking a ball with them (my kids love this).
      Secondly, I agree, be reasonable in your expectations…sometimes my back is so sore from carrying kids around that there’s no way a run is going to feel good so I stick to lower impact stuff.
      When I work out I try to find a podcast that I look forward to listening to so that when I don’t feel like doing it I think “Well I get to listen to that podcast!” and I remind myself “I always feel better after a work out.” and that usually gets me going…and when it’s not enough, I just don’t do it and try not to beat myself up about it.

    • K says...

      Oh my gosh, I’ve been trying to figure this out for the last 2 years! I used to wake up before work, exercise, then start my day. It’s probably the thing I miss most about my pre-child life. The consistency of that workout schedule because, ultimately, working out helps me mentally and physically. I recently joined classpass because I found a yoga, bootcamp, and spinning class near-ish to me that I liked. Paying for classpass has helped keep me accountable to finding times to go each week so I’m not wasting the money. The true game changer was when I discussed this issue with another Mom from my daughter’s daycare and she asked if I wanted to block off Wednesday evenings to go to a class together. It’s now our workout night and it’s on our family calendars so no excuses. I still only end up working out 2-3 times a week, and I’d love to get back to morning workouts, but, as someone told me recently, this is the season of life you are in and it will change. So, I’m trying to embrace that sentiment and not be so hard on myself. #easiersaidthandone

    • Alice says...

      My youngest just turned two in February and at almost exactly the same time I got back my fitness routine, but I changed what and when. I used to do classes, now I run three times a week, do yoga or a dvd at home three or four times a week, and take, maybe, one class a week. I just get going whenever I see an opportunity! I work from home so I add an hour into working early or late, when the kids are sleeping, to allow for a run during childcare time. I love being in the outside world, it helps me reconnect with who I am and where I am. But honestly, pre 2 it just wasn’t happening. Especially classes. Timed events are impossible!! Good luck finding your groove.

  132. Books: I know it’s everywhere right now, but I just started An American Marriage two days ago and it’s SO good. Like, from the first page. It’s definitely helped me watch less TV the past couple days. And the author, Tayari Jones, was on the Death, Sex, and Money podcast last week and gave the most delightfully refreshing interview.

    Also finished Kate Bowler’s “Everything Happens for a Reason” last week and loved it.

  133. T says...

    If I can’t usually get into sci-fi will I still like Exit West?

    • Annie says...

      Yes! I actually did a double-take on your question, because it wouldn’t have occurred to me to call it sci-fi, though I can understand that labeling! I don’t want to give away too much, but it is not what I would consider “traditional” sci-fi.

      I so hope you enjoy it!

  134. Katie says...

    I have worked as an assistant at a recruiting firm for the last four years. Every day I overhear the recruiters coaching people on how to interview and what to say as their “why” they are open to a new opportunity. If you’ve recently left a job because of a bad boss, I would probably say something along the lines of, “It became clear over time that the company and I did not share the same culture. I’m really focused on finding a new opportunity that is better aligned with…” and then discuss what appeals to you about the atmosphere or position you are applying to.

  135. E. says...

    How timely, I had a job interview today – same company, new dept, moving bc it’s a good career move, even my boss supported it. Ironically, HER boss was on the hiring committee. It was…awkward.

    • Meg Lec says...

      I also had an interview today! Fingers crossed for both of us ??

  136. Mouse says...

    Book: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. It’s like a weird combination of A Little Princess, Eloise at the Plaza and a long Russian novel. You will get lost.

    • Ainsley says...

      This is the best description of A Gentleman in Moscow! (Now I want to find someone else to recommend it to, just to describe it this way.)

    • Yes! This is in my top 2 favourite books at present. So beautifully written and so much fun.

    • Megan says...

      Seconded!! Loved this one. I also just read Circe by Madeline Miller and was obsessed.

    • S.H. says...

      Also: All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Right up there with A Gentleman in Moscow!

    • Lori H says...

      A great way to describe one of my favorite books!

    • Agree, agree about Gentleman in Moscow. Loved it. But Kate Atkinson’s A God in Ruins is possibly the best book I’ve ever read. And I read a lot:)

    • Lauren says...

      Agree! Circe is amazing. I thought about it constantly when I wasn’t reading it.

      I also recommend Station Eleven, anything by Malcolm Gladwell (who is best with audiobooks – that voice!) and Goodbye, Vitamin.

    • Lindsay says...

      Such an amazing description of a fantastic book! It was a slow burn for me, but by the end I was completey in love with it. I was so sad to have to let it go.