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A colleague’s marriage problems are affecting his work. What can I do?

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Each week, Dr Kirstin Ferguson tackles questions on the workplace, career and leadership in her advice column “Got a minute?” This week, supporting a colleague struggling with personal issues, being asked to undergo a 360-degree review, and dealing with being sacked from a contract role.

Illustration by Dionne Gain.Credit:

I think a guy I work with is having problems in his marriage and it is impacting his work. He seems to forget things, is late to meetings and just seems a bit down. He isn’t someone who likes to talk about his personal life, but he did say, just once, that things were not great at home. I would like to be able to support him but don’t know how. What can I do?

You are obviously an empathetic colleague to have noticed what is going on for him and I am sure he would be grateful to know you care. However, there is also a fine line between offering a coworker support and being a nosy parker.

I don’t know how close your relationship with your colleague is but if there is a high level of mutual trust and respect, you might just want to open the door by saying something like, “There is so much going on for everyone at the moment. I just wanted to check how you are travelling and is there anything I can do to support you?” That is a very open question without any judgement on what you have noticed. If he doesn’t offer much back or simply says all is fine, I think you need to respect that and be reassured that he knows you are there if he wants to reach out.

My boss wants me to do a 360-degree review (a process that involves getting feedback from managers, coworkers and direct reports) for my own development. But I’m really suspicious and think it is just something they want to do so they can move me out of the business. Do I have to agree to doing one? And if I agree, how can I be sure the results won’t cause me to lose my job?

Hear me out since there is a bit to deal with in your question. First up, a 360-degree review is a really valuable tool that will help you in your own professional development and will offer you a lot of insight into how others perceive you. I’m a real fan of these reviews and actually use them a lot in my executive coaching work.

But – and it is a massive “but” – they can only be used well when there is already a foundation of trust and a level of psychological safety in your organisation. The fact you have fears that your boss will use the results to have you exit the business tells me that the trust is not there and so the entire reason for doing a 360-degree review is undermined.

My advice is that before you tell your boss you don’t want to do it, try to talk with them (or someone at work you trust) about your broader concerns. I think you need to deal with that first and once you are reassured that the review is purely intended to help you develop, then you might want to think about whether you give it a go and learn from the insights it might bring.

An aged care facility recently sacked me after I gave eight years of loyal service. I’m a health professional, and I consulted on a contract basis. I recently increased my fees for only the second time ever and was notified shortly after that my service had been cancelled. I was fired over email. Despite numerous attempts to speak to management, no one has had the decency to return my calls or emails. I’m bitterly disappointed and I can’t shake it off. Should I let it go or keep trying to get an answer?

Let it go. You deserve so much better. What an appalling response from any employer, let alone from within an industry where we know there are chronic staff shortages. Contractors are entitled to increase their rates and should not be penalised for doing so. The fact that the organisation has not even had the decency to respond to your attempts to speak with them reflects only on them and their poor culture. I only hope that you are now able to find a role with a new employer who values you and what you bring to them. I would also plan on making sure that an annual review of your rates is built into any new contract you arrange so that this does not happen again.

Send your questions about work, careers and leadership to [email protected] Your name and any identifying information will not be used. Letters may be edited.

Dr Kirstin Ferguson is an award-winning leader, author, executive coach and public speaker; she is the former deputy chair of the ABC. You can connect with Kirstin at kirstinferguson.com or on Twitter @kirstinferguson and LinkedIn @kirstinferguson.

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Fashion’s fallen for the horsey set’s classic coat

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How to dress like a grown up with Shane Watson: Fashion’s fallen for the horsey set’s classic coat

  • Shane Watson shares advice for embracing this season’s quilted coats trend 
  • Suggests coats below the knee or longer, and avoiding popper fastenings
  • UK-based fashion expert takes inspiration from Jordana Brewster

The question I’ve been wrestling with (wrestling might be a bit strong), is where do I stand on quilted coats and jackets?

For a start, my parents’ generation wore quilted vests to stave off the draughts in their very-much-not-insulated houses.

I look at quilted coats and think of wellies and dog whistles, sheep wrangling and horse feed, and struggle to see them as any more stylish than an oilskin and sou’wester.

On the other hand, all you have to do is nip in to your local M&S, Zara or John Lewis to realise that quilted coats and jackets are as fashionable as biker boots a decade ago — and at the start of that trend I remember being less than convinced.

Shane Watson shares advice for embracing this season’s quilted coats trend at any occasion. Pictured: Jordana Brewster

Too heavy, I thought. Too utilitarian. Too ugly. Yet within months biker boots had become glamorous, youth imbuing and generally all-round desirable.

Which is a long-winded way of saying I’m well aware the fashions we don’t get instantly, are often the ones that prove most enduring — especially when they have a lot going for them, practically.

Not long ago you could easily buy a parka or padded jacket that was not even shower proof; but these quilted cover ups are 100 per cent weatherproof. There’s nothing frivolous about this fashion.

So, the next question is, does a quilted coat serve a different purpose from your parka/duvet/padded coat? The quick answer to that is yes. I think so. It’s thinner, it’s lighter, you can wear it with a bag strap slung across it. It’s like the difference between a light padded gilet and a dryrobe, those coats wild swimmers love.

And, last but not least, there’s a noticeable difference between a quilted jacket Jeremy Clarkson might wear on his farm and the one you’ll be wearing if you take the bait. Which — having tried on a few — I can see that you might.

Apart from being so light that the coat you walked into the shop wearing by contrast feels like concrete, the quilted coat or jacket can look quite nippy. It has that wholesome country-casuals-meets-Europrincess vibe; it’s built for a British winter but, is also neat and a bit bourgeois dressy, like a velvet ribbon-tied ponytail.

It’s all about how you wear it (with a polo neck peeking out one end and a midi hem and boots, the other); the colour (sage green or khaki if it’s a coat; green or navy if it’s a jacket . . . don’t be tempted by bright colours); and length. If it’s a coat it should finish just on or below the knee so it looks leaner and can’t be mistaken for a padded anorak.

QUILTED COATS : RULES 

  • Go quilted not padded
  • Keep coats below the knee or longer
  • Try khaki or navy
  • Avoid popper fastenings

The gold-standard jacket is Barbour’s fake-fur-lined version (£169, barbour.com). Boden does a cute jacket in khaki or navy with a fat, faux- fur detachable collar (£150, boden.co.uk) which is all to the good, as this quilted jacket’s appeal is its simplicity. Cos has an ultra-plain reversible jacket in navy (£99, cosstores.com) which would also work well under a coat.

However, as we get into winter, a coat, with a hood, will be more useful.

Zara has a good one with an adjustable hem, parka style (£59.99, zara.com) and a straighter version, also hooded (£79.99, zara.com). Cos has a long-line quilted coat in khaki (£135, cosstores.com). Marks & Spencer has something similar in hunter green but belted (£79, marksandspencer.com) so, for the slimmer customer then; I can’t see quilting and belts working for most.

Massimo Dutti has a wide range of quilted coats including one in high-shine glossy green (£169, massimodutti.com) with a detachable hood.

Honestly, you can walk into any shop on the High Street and find an entire quilting section with lots of choice and you can’t go far wrong — though beware bulky cuts (this coat shouldn’t pile on pounds) and unnecessary details, like breast pockets.

Will it change your life? No, but if you’re bored stiff of that padded coat and your parka has seen better days, this is where you should be looking. And the quilties are starting to look more on the money than other weatherproof coats. They’re definitely growing on me.

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Kate Middleton Made 1 Eco-Friendly Move With Her Outfit at the Earthshot Prize

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Prince William recently launched the inaugural Earthshot Prize, a huge initiative to combat climate change. Of course, Kate Middleton was right there alongside him to show support. Because of the theme of the event, Kate donned an outfit that showed off her eco-friendly mindset.

Kate Middleton supported Prince William at the Earthshot Prize

On October 17, 2021, William launched the first-ever Earthshot Prize ceremony. It highlighted many innovations around the world that are playing their parts in helping the environment. The award ceremony included a total of 15 finalists and five winners in various categories.

Kate was there to support William in his groundbreaking project. The Duchess of Cambridge was one of the award presenters for the event. She handed out the prize for the Protect and Restore Nature category to the country of Costa Rica for its efforts in restoring rainforests.

“Nature is vital to us all. A thriving natural world regulates our climate, nurtures our physical and mental health, and helps feed our families,” Kate said in her speech.

Other stars at the Earthshot Prize include Emma Watson, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, and Emma Thompson. The Prize will also become an annual event and be hosted by other countries in the future.

Kate Middleton made an eco-friendly move with her outfit

True to its message, the Earthshot Prize tried to be as eco-friendly as possible. Participants were encouraged to join via video calls instead of flying into London. Musical performances were also powered by 60 cyclists.

Kate, whose fashion always garners a lot of attention, made sure her outfit reflected the message of Earthshot as well. She re-wore an Alexander McQueen gown that she donned to the 2011 BAFTA. According to Marie Claire, in re-wearing an outfit, Kate seems to be sending a message about overconsumption. This is, indeed, a big problem in the fashion industry and one that is contributing to environmental degradation. 

Other participants also tried to be eco-friendly with their fashion statements. For example, according to E! News, Emma Watson wore a top made from 10 wedding dresses.

Kate Middleton has re-wears clothes many times

Kate is no stranger to recycled outfits. Ever since she joined the royal family in 2011, she has re-worn clothes many times.

In fact, Kate specifically re-wears items when she attends weddings. Kate attracts a lot of attention everywhere she goes, and this seems to be a way for her to shift some attention to the bride and groom at hand.

When she attended Prince Harry’s 2018 wedding to Meghan Markle, Kate donned a cream Alexander McQueen coat dress that she already wore three years earlier at her daughter’s christening. Similarly, at the wedding of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank a few months later, Kate wore a pink Alexander McQueen dress that was similar to something she wore at Trooping the Colour in 2017.

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‘RHOSLC’ recap: Mary Cosby ‘would change’ husband to fit her needs

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More On:

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‘RHOSLC’ star Mary Cosby tells castmate Jennie Nguyen to ‘shut up’

‘RHOSLC’ Lisa Barlow addresses Mary Cosby’s ‘crazy’ cult allegations 

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Whitney Rose blasts Mary Cosby’s ‘crazy’ and ‘baseless’ Twitter accusations

Will her prayer be answered?

In Sunday night’s episode of “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” Mary Cosby revealed that she would transform her husband, Bishop Robert Cosby Sr., into an entirely different human being if she could. 

“I could be wrong for this but I would change Robert Sr.,” the Bravo star, 48, said in a confessional. “I would just, like, change him, the whole person, to what I want in him that I don’t get.” 

Mary added that her decades-long marriage to Robert Sr. has been “exhausting.” 

“You want him to say, ‘[I’m] sorry,’ you want him to be passionate, you want him to just be alive,” she elaborated, listing the qualities she feels her spouse is devoid of. “And then you have Robert Sr.”

Mary inherited her late grandmother Rosemary “Mama” Redmon Cosby’s Faith Temple Pentecostal Church and multimillion-dollar estate after the elder preacher’s 1997 death. Mary later married her step-grandfather and Mama’s husband, Robert Sr. (The two are not blood-related.)

Mary has previously expressed that she did not want to enter into the unconventional marriage, but eventually conceded to the arrangement as to honor her late grandmother’s wishes. 

While taking a break from a tennis game with castmate Meredith Marks in this week’s installment of “RHOSLC,” the religious leader opened up more about her home life with Robert Sr.

“I remember when I got my own bedroom — because you know Robert Sr. and I don’t share a bedroom. We don’t sleep in the same room,” Mary told the jewelry designer. “And he’s like, ‘This is your room.’ And I’m like, ‘What do you mean, my room?’”

She continued, “At first I was like, ‘OK, this is weird. OK, you’re going in there? OK, good night.’ But then, I don’t know what I’d do without my own room. I think there’s dynamics to relationships that work.”

Mary also explained to Marks, 49, that she is dreading the day her and Robert Sr.’s 18-year-old son, Robert Jr., moves out of the family’s palatial Utah home. 

“If Robert Jr. leaves my house, then it’ll just be Robert Sr. and I all the time. I just find that strange. I want to live Italian-style where they live at home until they get married,” she said. “My son is part of our life and a part of our marriage and a part of us for the last 18 years.”

Mary — who, in addition to worrying about her husband, is embroiled in rumors that she’s running a “cult” — went on to say that she is in no way looking forward to rediscovering who Robert Sr. is once their nest is empty. 

“Our whole marriage is based on this kid, so it’s almost like I have to relearn this man,” she told the camera. “From knowing what I know now, I don’t want to get to know him and I just see, like, a disaster.”

“The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo. 

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