Of all the things about this firm that make me writhe with discomfort and despair, perhaps the most notable is the Women’s Initiative. I can say with great conviction that I would rather trade places with a paralegal, and spend my days doing whatever the hell it is paralegals do, than join that miserable group. I avoid all things Women’s Initiative-related with an intensity I haven’t exhibited since obsessing over whether I failed the bar. (I didn’t.) The only thing I actually even know about these depressing hags is what I glean from their meeting-agenda emails, which I delete immediately after a cursory, scornful glance.
The most blatantly absurd thing about the Women’s Initiative—aside from the fact that at least four of its members are not even immediately recognizable as female—is their collective failure to realize that spending their bi-weekly lunch hour doing something proactive might better redress their endless gripe of “not being given marketing opportunities with the same frequency as males.” Last time I checked, the men they perceive as practically bathing in marketing opportunities don’t waste a few hours each month on something as inane as brainstorming about what they’d do if they actually took a client out to lunch.
I might be interested if they could teach me how to get clients. (Though if they had any clients, I imagine they wouldn’t have all this time to sit around complaining. Which I guess is the whole point.) But at the very least, their meetings should be used to do things that would actually help themselves, such as: (i) taking golf lessons; (ii) having their hair properly cut & styled; (iii) staging a mass wardrobe intervention with Stacy, Clinton and Tim Gunn (yes, the abysmal state of female partner fashion would, in fact, require television’s most celebrated fashion gurus to reach across the aisle and join forces); and (iv) remedial lessons in the norms of social interaction.
Instead, my vexation lies with the nature of the events the Women’s Initiative actually chooses to stage. The very existence of the group implies that women are a minority within a male-dominated environment. So maybe social events that highlight just how male we aren’t—spa day and holiday tea, to name a few—are perhaps the teeniest bit counterproductive to our push for equal treatment in the eyes of the firm and its clients.
I’m certainly not trying to imply that male partners aren’t just as dim-witted (they are, just about different things), but they at least seem to understand that events involving clients and prospects should focus on highlighting what great lawyers they are—and at least be fun. Golf outings and wine tastings come to mind as events that meet those criteria. Because I’d bet my left breast that no bank president wants to sip Yuletide cider in front of the fireplace with seven wannabe-rainmaker Janet Reno clones.
If I survive in this hellhole long enough to make partner, my first initiative will be to abolish the Women’s Initiative.
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