QI’m a second year associate at a mid-size Manhattan firm. I’m not concerned about the work part of the job. I get plenty of it and, surprisingly, most of it is interesting. But whenever I’m out with my colleagues I look around and notice how many of them are dweebs. All they do is talk about work. Most of that talk is about what a partner did or did not do, or what so-and-so wore the other day. Any sense of humor is wasted on how many typos someone found in a memorandum of law. Har har. I’m thinking of just not hanging out anymore after work with these guys but wondering what harm it would do in the long run.
ALet’s see. Hang out with the Erkels or put your nose to the grind and churn the work out? You’ve hoisted a false choice on yourself. It’s neither. Buck up, hang out with the Molly Ringwalds from time to time and also get your work done. Besides, if your dweeby “friends” haven’t already noticed (and I’m sure they have), you probably aren’t the most engaged person at happy hour anyway.
Ask yourself this: who DO you want to hang out with? The brainiacs? The ultra fitness marathoners? The semi-professional scrapbookers? If you’re looking to hang with the rock stars, there are no law firm associate rock stars, just associates who think they dress like rock stars. Like any institution, law firms are no different than high school detention in the “Breakfast Club.” Your challenge is to be comfortable within that crowd. Get drunk at happy hour with the somewhat unhinged but deeply misunderstood John Bender? Play in the law firm softball league with the Jock, otherwise known as Emilio? Try to keep up with fashionista and Ivy League grad Claire Standish? Or giggle in the corner with Brian, talking about Allison’s misapplication of 11th Amendment law? It’s all there, even down to the law firm’s managing partner, principal Richard Vernon, telling you and others not to “mess with the horns.”
Just hang. At the end of the day you’ll all be getting high out back and talking about how your father never really understood you. That’s what we all do.