All through law school, law students live in this fantasy world that is half-nightmare, half-dream. You know the one. It’s the one where you pull 80-hour weeks for six years running until the gods descend from Mount Olympus and bestow a partnership on you. We’re all pretty sure that we can tough out those 80-hour weeks, and not only because at the end is a GIANT FUCKING PILE OF MONEY. No, we’re all pretty sure because we secretly love the idea of working late into the night with our shirtsleeves rolled up and our tie artfully undone (if we are tie-wearing sorts) and our hair mussed just enough to show that we are working really really hard and that our brains are really really big.
But what if you don’t actually want to work 80-hour weeks because you are into cool things like “eating food that actually requires utensils” and “sleeping” and “not having my spouse leave me because I work all the time” but you are also pretty much counting on that giant fucking pile of partner money a few years out? Setting aside the obvious point that this is all a thought exercise because all the good jobs are gone gone gone, if you are less of a nose-to-the-grindstone sort than your compatriots but still want to climb the partnership ladder, just pretend you’re actually working 80 hours per week.
At one global consulting firm […] [s]ome workers, however — 31 percent of the men and 11 percent of the women — managed to pass as workaholics by working a more moderate schedule without making a formal demand.
These workers found clients who were local, reducing the need to travel. When they left work to spend time with children or a spouse, they didn’t call attention to it. They did some telecommuting while concealing information about their whereabouts. They relied on colleagues and collaboration to avoid overwork. The performance reviews of people in this group were as strong as colleagues who put in more face time.
So basically just lie about where you are and foist more work off on your co-workers! Genius! And lest you think it doesn’t pay off handsomely, you are so very wrong.
One man who passed was Lloyd (a pseudonym), a Senior Manager […] He described to me how, by using local clients, telecommuting, and controlling information about his whereabouts, he found ways to work and travel less, without being found out. He told me: “I skied five days last week. I took calls in the morning and in the evening but I was able to be there for my son when he needed me to be, and I was able to ski five days in a row.” He clarified that these were work days, not vacation days: “No, no one knows where I am.” […] Despite his deviance from the ideal worker expectation, however, senior colleagues viewed him as a star; indeed, one Partner described him to me as a “rising star,” who worked “much harder than” he himself did.
You read that right. The partner at this global consulting firm (yes, yes, we know that a consulting firm is not a law firm, but both are characterized by the same sorts of bullshit hierarchy and fetishization of overwork) actually thought Mr. “I skied five days last week” was the actual hard worker. So what’s to stop you from figuring out a way to make that weird dude at the end of the hall who doesn’t even have a family cover for you while you take sailing lessons? Nothing at all, champ. Nothing at all.