Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Off Their Rockers

I just finished interviewing at another law firm today, and the question foremost in my mind is: Why are female partners such awkward, socially challenged freaks? I just don't understand it. Most of the women going into the law firms start out relatively normal as associates, but then something evil and mysterious occurs in the years leading up to their promotion to partner.

Or, maybe it's not the process of working in a huge law firm and doing everything that you need to do in order to make partner. Maybe it's self-selection, and the only women deranged enough to want to make partner at a huge law firm started off with one or two (possibly invisible) screws loose well before they even entered the law firms?

I don't have a screw loose. I'm relatively sane. Hence, I want to get out of here as quickly as possible. Some women (and a lot of men, who obviously have equally loose screws), however, want to stay at a place like my firm, sacrifice the next 10 to 12 years of their lives, and miss out on their family, children, and friends, in the hopes of making partner and earning a gazillion dollars a year. I like money, but money can only enhance your life; it can't replace actually having one.

The woman I met today was nice, but she looked pale, unhealthy, slightly overweight and she had intense difficulties looking me in the eye. Her gaze kept skittering across the room and over the top of my head, in between nervous fluttering of her eyelids. I tried to be extra sweet to put her at ease. I felt bad for her. She's a thousand times better than DL. There's really no comparison. I mean, she was human and she smiled. But I get the sense that she, like DL, has sacrificed most of her life for her job, and that it hasn't brought her anything close to the level of health and happiness that I want in my own life.

More women than men that I know want balance in their lives, and I think that's one of the major reasons you find less of us in the higher echelons of the firms. Women want lives. They want to exercise, have brunch with their girlfriends on Sundays, and make time for their relationships. I think it's only the most crazy among us who choose to forego having lives in favor of the quest to make partner.

4 comments:

starshine said...

"I like money, but money can only enhance your life; it can't replace actually having one."

That is so true. You are wise to know that and blessed to have that figured out at this early stage of the game!

"But I get the sense that she, like DL, has sacrificed most of her life for her job, and that it hasn't brought her anything close to the level of health and happiness that I want in my own life."

Again, awesome realization. I think it's great to be able to stand back and see a person/situation for exactly what it is, and what price that kind of success comes at.

"...and I think that's one of the major reasons you find less of us in the higher echelons of the firms."

I hear about people regretting not spending time with their family and loved ones as much as they would have liked. And almost never hear about people regretting that they sacrificed family relationships to make more money.

I am so enjoying reading as you experience this journey.

Anonymous said...

Boy thats some tough insight there girl and it sounds like you are really challenging yourself and putting a lot of thought into the kind of life you want to encourage in your future.

Watching a talk show yesterday and one of the tpics was aout meeting these intense actors who had been able to work with men in Hlllywood...it was actually Rupert Everet talking about his book recently published. It sounds like an amazing memoir of his times with starting out...and he has a chapter on the women he has loved and been amazed at in Hollywood, including Bianca Jaggar and Madonna, how he fell for them right away (as friends because he is gay) but that they had this prescence because they had to be able to go to work...and realize that all the men were like vultures regarding women...and the womn could NOT BE HAD, and had to HAVE the men instead....

I wonder if there is some way to translate that feel into a law firm...where you know what they want from you, they want your ALL...and yet can you do the work while also maintaining a huge amount of energy for your self. It is good to work hard, yes, I believe that...

But somehow it has to be balanced as you say...

Fortunately you are young enough that you still have time to work like a freak for now...and maybe the life you are looking for is your own small firm with a few tight clients? You wouldn't make as much money as the big firms and partners...but if you had a loyal client base...you could live very well and leave the office in the afternoon...

I see all good things in you future and I love coming here to catch up on your adventures!

Cheers
Candy

http://gnosticminx.blogspot.com/2007/01/roads-dreams-snow.html

Gypsy said...

I think it's no coincidence that many men who are able and want to dedicate the drive and time it takes to succeed in these kinds of arenas more than likely have women at home who take care of everything else. Women often don't have that luxury.

InterstellarLass said...

I used to think I wanted a 'career'. Now I just want a good life/work balance and a decent salary. I don't want to work more than 40 hours per week (ok, willing to work up to 10% extra, but that's pretty normal), or be stuck in some airport while missing my kids' soccer/basketball games and band concerts. Not worth it to me.