Re: While I'm Staring Into My Own Navel, A Side Point On "Choice"

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So, after recognizing that

[women] are less likely than men to be recruited to run for office. They are less likely than men to have the freedom to reconcile work and family obligations with a political career. They are less likely than men to think they are 'qualified' to run for office,

the authors still conclude that "women's underrepresentation 'is not because of discrimination against women candidates"?


Posted by: Grumps | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 8:25 AM
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It only counts as sexism if people say 'I won't vote for that bitch' to this writer.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 8:35 AM
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the authors still conclude that "women's underrepresentation 'is not because of discrimination against women candidates"?

Yeah, because their retarded theory of what's happening can't acknowledge institutions, culture or other bits of social structure, so as long as some Bad Person isn't sitting there saying, out loud, "I am not giving you this opportunity because you are a woman" then there is no question of discrimination and it's all choice and self-selection. Like Mc/Ardle the other week writing about the sexism and discrimination she encountered when she was a consultant, but then saying she left that career not because of that shit, but because she just didn't care about it as much as the guys did. Which, as a proximate cause, I'm sure is an accurate story. But the idea that over time one's preferences and choices might be shaped by, and actively reconcile themselves to, facts about one's circumstances never seems to enter into popular discussions of this stuff.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 8:38 AM
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pwn3d by cala, as usual.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 8:38 AM
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I assume this thread is more open to random speculation and generalizations than the last.

I have managed to never deal with big companies or jobs that have clearly defined career paths and hierarchies in the way that Law or Academia have -- and I'm glad of that. At the same time I am temperamentally disinclined towards maximizing my work/career advancement, and I occasionally regret that.

Like many, I assume, of the unfoggedetariat, I sometimes look at myself and think, "I'm smart, productive, responsible, and not an asshole you would think I should be able to accomplish more than I have." There are other times I think, "I am so neurotic and quirky and trapped by my own personality that, really, I'm doing pretty well for myself."

I think it's useful to have both perspectives, and I have taken two lessons from that. The first is that I value my own strengths but, when I look around, I have to admit that there are many people who are no smarter or more competent than I who nevertheless have personality traits that make them obviously better suited for the work that me. I occasionally envy those traits but, more often, on recognizing that, I decide again that I would rather be me than them.

Secondly, I have come to the conclusion that everyone has their own negative traits and that every hierarchy is determined not only by which positive traits it rewards but which negative traits it will accept and that is a huge part of what maintains cultural/class/gender barriers.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 8:42 AM
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||

I just got a Nigerian financial offer only the guy was claiming to be from a Lloyd's group in London, even though the e-mail address ended with peru.com

Greetings,
Following the recent announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown that all funds in accounts that have been dormant for over 15years be transferred to the Treasury i send this mail to you.
There is a dormant account in my office,without owner and beneficiaries. as Group Executive Director, Insurance and Investments LloydsTSB Group Plc. It will be in my interest to transfer this fund worth 20,000,000 million British pounds in an account offshore. If you can be a collaborator/partner to this please indicate interest immediately for us to proceed.

He doesn't even know which politicians have which jobs now.

|>


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 8:44 AM
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3 makes the good point that people shape their expectations to what they see as likely to happen to them. A number of my friends have dropped out of careers at this point because they've married well enough be comfortable and balancing having a career and a family leads to a situation where they'll be miserable and not making enough money in their career to justify the extra misery. It could be that they all just love babies that much, and I hope it is, but I'm really skeptical.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 8:51 AM
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Next Thursday is a milestone for me - thirty years with GlobalCorp in a field where one is supposed to work five to seven years and then move on.

This is only my personal advice so please discard it if you want but for what it's worth - Never, ever get emotionally involved in your work and for God's sake NEVER get emotionally involved with a corporation.

This will be difficult to do because so much of our culture pushes us to be passionate about our work and to LOVE doing it and in the short run you might even be rewarded for doing that but don't get seduced.

For the same reason you should never have a love affair at work you should never have a love affair with work. When it turns bad it will be VERY bad.

I sympathize with the victims of discrimination who end up leaving their jobs but for me when similar things have happened I've had to suck it up and stay. With a smile on my face. At home I lift weights and have a heavy punching bag. That is how I have made thirty years.

My acting skills have come in handy, and I view my job as a role I play and not as ME. Otherwise I'd be a pitiful emotional wreck - chained to an abusive 'partner' which has no feelings towards me and which has its own agenda which only now and then aligns with mine.

That's my input - take it or leave it. Your job will gladly take all that you give and will give back the minimum it can as long as you let it. As long as you keep your eyes and ears open and your mouth shut and your feelings under control you can make it with your sanity (mostly) intact. Of course I'm "crazed" so don't take my word for anything.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 9:01 AM
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8:Epictitus for our time.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 9:05 AM
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people shape their expectations to what they see as likely to happen to them

This is more or less the core of Bourdieu's account of stratification: The structural features of your position in social space will "engender aspirations and practices objectively compatible with those objective requirements, [so] the most improbable practices are excluded, either totally without examination, as unthinkable, or at the cost of the double negation which inclines agents to make a virtue of necessity, that is, to refuse what is anyway refused and to love the inevitable."

People like Jon Elster dislike the overall vision ("an inverted sociodicy where all is for the worst in the worst of all possible worlds"), but there's no denying that sour grapes is a very powerful psychological force, and what makes the grapes sour are forces external to your psychology.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 9:07 AM
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Of course I'm "crazed"

No you're not. You work to live, rather than living to work. If you add up all the jobs in the world that are intrinsically rewarding, rather than allowing you to get a nice warm feeling of "a job well done", I doubt if it come to 10%. And somebody has to do the other 90%. With an imbalance like that, the outcome has to be due to luck as much as judgement.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 9:09 AM
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Never, ever get emotionally involved in your work and for God's sake NEVER get emotionally involved with a corporation.

I express this as "Your boss cannot be your friend, and he might not even be human". A good boss has to be good at seeming human -- even very good -- but he cannot actually be human. Except in the Fallen Nature of Man / "Who Knows What Lurks in the Hearts of Men?" sense.

Or "she", "The Fallen Nature of Woman", etc. -- laydeez.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 9:09 AM
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Us people up in Wobegon have a rational attitude toward work life. Not sure about Chopper, but I feel confident that I can speak for Frowner and Minneapolitan.

Oddly, non-Unfoggetarian Minnesotans have about the best work ethic in the country.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 9:13 AM
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Lizardbreath,

Speaking about your specific experience with bigLaw (tm) this is what I have seen.

The hierarchical system of competition is set up so that for every 'winner' there are many 'losers.' One can go crazy trying to figure out what 'they' want. Even if they could articulate what they want and you could be exactly that thing you would still most likely 'lose' because there are not enough winner slots.

And don't even get me started on executives. That is a VERY exclusive club that is nearly impossible to get in but once you do get in you are set for life and can do no wrong. Sometimes I think that the CEOs and corporate executives of our time server the same societal function as the Greek Gods.

And Englishman - thanks for the "not-crazed" sentiment but I was called that shortly after returning here and by golly I'm going to EMBRACE that title. I think I'll add it to my signature! From now on I am Tripp the Crazed!


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed! | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 9:20 AM
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14: Tripp, I don't know that I think that you're crazed, but we did kind of scratch our heads back when you dropped unfogged but were leaving comments at Kevin Drum's place.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 9:29 AM
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To some extent, the longer one stays in an institutional world, and the longer one practices within it as one wishes, the more that other people adapt to your practice and decide that yes, it is what they wanted. That's *if* the way you do business is basically functional and is basically authentic to your own personality. But you have to get over the period where people are trying to get you to conform to their prior mapping of what they want the "normal" person to be, and that's really difficult. Difficult not just because other people put structural obstacles in your way, but also because they constantly, with varying degrees of intentionality, work to make you insecure and apologetic about your own choices. I think that last dynamic hits professional women far harder because there's massive reinforcement of that message of insecurity and self-doubt in every single civic, cultural and economic institution we possess.


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 9:37 AM
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I only lurk here (and that rarely) but, LB, you should go back to your earlier employer (not the latest) and buy the appropriate person lunch and just flat ask what the deal was. You'll be better off.


Posted by: JDC | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 9:39 AM
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17 - I can't imagine an attorney telling another attorney they supervised what they did wrong as a junior associate, especially where, as here, I think it came down to (what I believe are) intangibles. Plus, the legal community is full of excellent attorneys who found happiness at their second or third firm, so it's not like there's any particular stigma to switching firms, one, and secondly, the legal community is small enough that I don't see what the supervising attorney's incentive is to be that frank. (This of course doesn't apply if you're good friends with that attorney, in which case, a few drinks and you'll know all.)


Posted by: Moira | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 9:47 AM
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Moira--Wouldn't they risk liability if they're too candid?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 9:49 AM
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LB, you should go back to your earlier employer (not the latest) and buy the appropriate person lunch and just flat ask what the deal was. You'll be better off.

This sounds pretty awful to me, on multiple levels.

Move on, live well, and don't look back.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 9:51 AM
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My apologies, LB, for the "choice" comment yesterday. I thought you'd been lukewarm about the work from the beginning.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 9:53 AM
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you should never have a love affair with work.

Words of wisdom that I cannot follow. I don't need to be drenched in warm fuzzies but I have to feel at least neutral towards my employers. Working at Huge Telco was no problem as long as they were managed with benign incompetence. I left as soon as malicious behaviors (internal and external) were made plain, in part to salve my conscience and in part because I felt let down.

To some degree I think that this really very wise advice is hard to follow because organizations are not people but are made up of people and have no voices or motivations other than the people that constitute them. In my own career I've found that the relationship I have with "the company" is the relationship I have with my manager or their manager or someone else up the chain and is confused with the relationship I have with the company. When the relationship with one sours I don't always perceive it as the right one.

None of this is a commentary on LB's career or experience at BigLaw or elsewhere as I don't feel I know enough about that to have any opinion and I do enjoy and appreciate LB's opinions on this (in part because my own career is characterized by quick advancement and high praise followed by work relationships that sour when someone changes the company's focus or behavior in a way that is directly at odds with the work at which I've been successful and I'm starting to wonder if the problem isn't the companies' failures of attention spans but my own inflexibility over time).


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 9:54 AM
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I don't think it would be all that helpful, because the problem wasn't with LB's lawyering, but with 'initiative' and 'drive'. What kind of helpful advice would one expect to result from this?

It would be a bit too much like asking an ex boyfriend with whom it just didn't work out why you broke up for my tastes.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 9:55 AM
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21: too late, warmonger. She hates you now.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 9:56 AM
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2,3: This really seems to be the heart of the ongoing battle for hearts and minds. People get all defensive about suggestions of sexism because they perceive it as necessarily meaning someone made a conscious choice to harm a woman because she is a woman. The entire focus is on whose "fault" it is when women don't succeed and so, for fear of being perceived as "at fault" everyone is too afraid to try to fix anything.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 9:56 AM
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BTW, I can't find it but the recent Esquire has a fun bit by Chuck Klosterman about the Brits rounding up really tall men and asking them to try out Sports Good for Really Tall Men, like rowing - so they can fill out their Olympic teams. The whole point was that people select their jobs (or sports) based on criteria that have little or nothing to do with whether they'd actually be naturally GOOD at it. (I thought of it because I'd started out doing litigation, but I'm much better suited to tech licensing - but making the switch was difficult at a big firm.) Anyone's searching skills better? It's a fun bit.


Posted by: Moira | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 9:56 AM
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She hates you now.

This only makes me stronger.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 9:59 AM
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I just wandered by a colleague's office and saw that she had a little inspirational quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson taped to her wall:

"To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one's self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived - this is to have succeeded."

In part thanks to unfogged, I'm doing all right on the "laugh often" and "win the respect of intelligent persons" metrics, and my personal life has helped me post a respectable score on the "affection of children" and "garden patch" metrics. On the rest of the report card, I would probably be found wanting.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:04 AM
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26: Eh, I'd say the really irrelevant criterion that seems to determine the top rowers in the UK is probably whether they went to a public school or not. I know a lot of the first and second team rowers for Cambridge were former Etonians.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:05 AM
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I can help you endure the betrayal of false friends, KR. If we play it right, you can also give of yourself in the process.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:06 AM
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"All I want is to enter my house justified."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:06 AM
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The affection of children is way too easy. Candy!


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:08 AM
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The Emerson mind lost its inspirational power somewhere between Ralph and me.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:09 AM
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I love where Nietzsche (who much admired RW Emerson) says that Emerson would have been a great philosopher, if only he'd had the proper training.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:11 AM
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15,

14: Tripp, I don't know that I think that you're crazed,

The title came a few weeks ago when I harshly let slip what the future holds for us.

Awhile ago I was having a bad case of disillusionment and mostly dropped out to do some research and eventually took a sabbatical to plant some trees in Kenya and to "make a difference (tm)."

I've seen some bad things and have to be careful who I share those with.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed! | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:11 AM
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35: Oh, I know. But even before you went to Kenya we did feel kind of dissed that you were wading into the comments section at the Washington Monthly after having abandoned us. I mean, it's one thing to decide that you need to take a break to get some work done or to have a life, but to leave us for those people!


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:13 AM
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Emerson was, among other things, a pop Kantian. I think that it's agreed that the Transcendentalists butchered Kant.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:15 AM
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28: Gosh, there sure is something about old Ralph that gets up my nose.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:16 AM
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28: you've been sounding a little pessimistic lately, KR. Hope everything's OK.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:16 AM
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28: I have a garden patch and been betrayed by false friends! Seriously, I will have to tape that to my wall, too, because by that metric, I am doing pretty well indeed.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:16 AM
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25: I know a veterinarian, a professor of pathology, who did encounter this sort of sexism sometime in the late 60's early 70's. Her father was a veterinarian and had always encouraged her. So, after she got her vet degree from Cornell, she went on to do graduate work--in Georgia, I think. One day one of the professors, backed her up against the wall and said, "What are you doing here, taking up a space that could go to a deserving man?"


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:18 AM
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In part thanks to unfogged, I'm doing all right on the ... "win the respect of intelligent persons" metrics

Oh my. The blog really has jumped the shark, hasn't it?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:20 AM
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29: A lot of the top rowers in the UK are Americans who went to Harvard or Yale.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:20 AM
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In Oregon veterinary medicine was unbelievably sexist until not too long ago. The daughter of a friend was told by her HS counselor that women couldn't do the job because they weren't strong enough to handle horses and cattle. (As if men can handle horses and cattle with brute strength). It turned out that the HS counselor was just repeating what the Dean of the OSU vet school thought. This was 25 years ago, but I don't think that it changed until considerably later, if yet.

OSU forestry is pretty bad, too, a logging company front organization.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:22 AM
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It's not clear to me why "initiative" and "drive" or whatever else shouldn't be counted as part of "lawyering". LB says her shortcomings weren't "mostly with the lawyering", but look: those qualities that were commented negatively on in her reviews are *part of lawyering*. That has nothing to do with sexism (whether sexism had anything to do with LB's unfortunate experience in biglaw is another question on which I have no opinion).


Posted by: anon | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:28 AM
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44: UC Davis's vet school is like 90 % women. Veterinarians don't make as much money as people doctors (except the ones treating Kentucky Derby horses), and tehy have to be just as smart--if not smarter--so it tends to get a lot of bleeding heart types, mostly women.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:30 AM
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you can't look at my career path and validly use it as a data point to show that women aren't BigLaw partners because they'd rather work in some lower-pressure environment.

well, you can't look at any one person's story as telling you about "women". But still, LB, from all appearances you HATED your old job and you LOVE your new one. Can you say you'd truly rather be in some version of your old job where you were more upwardly mobile and a potential partner?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:31 AM
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To some degree I think that this really very wise advice is hard to follow because organizations are not people but are made up of people and have no voices or motivations other than the people that constitute them. In my own career I've found that the relationship I have with "the company" is the relationship I have with my manager or their manager or someone else up the chain and is confused with the relationship I have with the company. When the relationship with one sours I don't always perceive it as the right one.

Robust,

Exactly! The corporation is most definitely NOT your manager or any other person.

When times are good the 'corporation' can feel like some ideal warm loving caring nurturing awesome validating faithful Mother or Father or partner or whatever little need your twisted little psyche has but this is an illusion! This is not much different than falling in love over the internet with what is essentially your own fantasy of an ideal girl (or guy) or whatever.

The corporation may even promise things (in big print) that will be taken away by the small print.

My advice is to love people, love God, love pets but never ever love a fantasy because you will get burned real bad.

Just about the time I had my epiphany was the time I could NOT afford to quit so there was a tough period of adjustment.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed! | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:32 AM
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That has nothing to do with sexism

I'm not sure we have enough information to draw a conclusion one way or another on this point without knowing exactly what LB's supervisors meant by "initiative" and "drive" and how they went about assessing it.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:32 AM
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To add to what PGD says, and this doesn't I think have to do with sexism so much, now that you have only one client you don't have to worry about time sheets!


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:35 AM
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This is not much different than falling in love over the internet with what is essentially your own fantasy of an ideal girl (or guy) or whatever.

Sigh. I've fallen "in love" with many people over the internet, many of you in fact, but Cala's right that online interactions aren't quite real.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:37 AM
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I had five years of misery when the organization I was aorking for restructures. I was a "loyal worker" with site-specific skills which didn't transfer anywhere, so I was stuck there.

I actually go 2 or 3 promotions amounting to 33% of my original pay, as people above me quit or were laid off and their jobs were dumped on me. But during a restructuring there are no friends, and I git shafted several times.

Sometimes the guy who makes the job bearable is dumped while you're still there. That's a very bad sign.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:38 AM
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I know a lot of the first and second team rowers for Cambridge were former Eton Olympians

fixed.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:38 AM
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My advice is to love people, love God, love pets but never ever love a fantasy because you will get burned real bad.

Some people can make loving the fantasy work. Their drive, self-discipline, ego are strong enough that they can use career to become powerful in a way that really does fulfill them. I've met such people. They tend not to comment on blogs too much, although there are exceptions to that.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:38 AM
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The corporation may even promise things (in big print) that will be taken away by the small print.

Tripp, do you have any advice for pretending that you buy into the big print stuff so that you'll look like a team player while keeping good records and covering your ass so that the fine print won't get you without completely selling your soul?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:38 AM
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It's not clear to me why "initiative" and "drive" or whatever else shouldn't be counted as part of "lawyering".

Because they're not; they're part of being a lawyer on the partner track at one BigLaw firm.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:39 AM
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53: Totally true. Or they're future olympians. Either way, the boaties were fucking frightening people.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:49 AM
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Cala's right that online interactions aren't quite real.

I actually think that online interaction can be extremely revealing along some dimensions of who a person "really" is. It's just that the dimensions it leaves out are pretty essential to how you interact in person.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:54 AM
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56 I can't agree with. I don't know what these words meant in the mouths of people at LB'sLastPlace, but I know what they mean to me, and (a) the clients want to see them and (b) I do too. Say I have two junior colleagues. One dutifully executes whatever assignments I give. The other takes the assignment, and comes back with game changing suggestions. That make sense.


Posted by: NĂ¡pi | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 10:58 AM
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59: Yeah. I've sat in on a panel to give advice to new associates this week, and I think maybe one of the hardest things to learn is that you (mostly) aren't going to offend a partner by coming up with an idea or spotting a flaw s/he missed.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 11:06 AM
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I'm not sure we have enough information to draw a conclusion one way or another on this point without knowing exactly what LB's supervisors meant by "initiative" and "drive" and how they went about assessing it.

I recall a conversation with a youngish hot-shot academic -- not some old boy -- where I asked him why there were so few elite women in his field. He thought about it for a bit and launched into this line about how, while the women he'd known in grad school (including his students) were really smart, they just seemed to lack that certain something, that extra drive, or initiative, or insight or, he finally said, the "factor X" that really picked out a top-flight person. He was, of course, thinking of Factor Y. But this is not something that would ever have occurred to him, as he thought of himself as a highly rational, honest and decent person, unburdened by outmoded prejudices. And in many ways he was, which is the point.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 11:07 AM
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I love where Nietzsche (who much admired RW Emerson) says that Emerson would have been a great philosopher, if only he'd had the proper training.

I hadn't heard that one. Proper training would have completely trashed Emerson's genius.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 11:08 AM
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For the record, I didn't count LB among the self-selecting ones. Self-selection doesn't take 8 years.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 11:08 AM
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62: Both of them!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 11:09 AM
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On the elected women issue, I think the only thing that can be gleaned from the referenced study (without having read it, of course) is that the electorate is less sexist (about voting for women) than might have been supposed.

The fact that practically every other country has more women in office also suggests this - even in patriarchal and "backwards" societies, voters are reasonably comfortable with women representatives.

This is probably a pro-democracy observation.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 11:13 AM
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36

Oh, I know. But even before you went to Kenya we did feel kind of dissed that you were wading into the comments section at the Washington Monthly after having abandoned us. I mean, it's one thing to decide that you need to take a break to get some work done or to have a life, but to leave us for those people!

BostonianGirl,

I know. I'm sorry. Sometimes I'm a jerk. Sometimes I'm impatient. And most all the time I'm pretty full of myself. I think maybe I was starting to like you all a little too much. I'm not exactly sure.


Posted by: Tripp the crazed! | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 11:14 AM
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BostonianGirl,

Tripp, do you have any advice for pretending that you buy into the big print stuff so that you'll look like a team player while keeping good records and covering your ass so that the fine print won't get you without completely selling your soul?

When preparing for my "you want your pension?" lawsuit I was asked for copies of all the "promises" my employer had made for me - descriptions of my alleged pension, that kind of thing. Much of that I had tossed. So keep that stuff.

If you mean the 'how to fake it' question the first step is to understand that it is NOT selling your soul or even immoral to 'fake' it. An employment contract is not the same thing as an emotional relationship with another person, so get that out of your head.

Once you 'get' that then it is a question of acting. Never take a job where you must do something you feel is immoral because acting in that case really is selling your soul to the devil.

OK - acting. I advise "outside in" acting - that is the opposite of method acting. Here are some real easy things to try.

Whenever walking at work clench your fists. It makes you look urgent. Smile at work. The mere act may make you feel happier and people will either like you more or fear what you have on your mind.

Pretend you are playing the part of the employee. Dress the part. When you get home change out of your costume and toss aside the role until the next morning. Take a moment to get into character before entering your workplace.

Find someone you really dislike at work and befriend them by acting. It is excellent practice and if you mess up you already dislike the person so who cares?

Practice different roles when shopping.

That's about it really. Mostly it is about attitude and deciding that it is an OK thing to do. After that it is just doing it.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed! | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 12:06 PM
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Tripp the Crazed at work, the transcript:

http://snltranscripts.jt.org/85/85dthespian.phtml


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 12:18 PM
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61: The philosophy job market blog has been such an unpleasant eye-opener in that regard. The number of back-on-the-veldt explanations in comments of why there are more men in the field boggled the mind.

Ah, well, fuck 'em.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 12:35 PM
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Analytic philosophers are, among other things, cave men.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 12:43 PM
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Some of us are cave women.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 12:44 PM
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From what you said, employed analytic philosophers are largely cave men.

Without trolley car thinking, you cannot outwit the antelope.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 12:47 PM
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Are there any caves on the veldt? I thought it was savannah. Tellingly, the caves are in Europe.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 12:52 PM
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I thought that philosophers were supposed to be the most rigorous critical, probing thinkers around. (Duck.)


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 12:54 PM
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A cousin who was a colonel in the Marines before retiring used to say: "It's OK to love the Corps. But the Corps is not going to love you back." And that's a pretty good philosophy for dealing with any workplace.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 12:54 PM
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74: One can be rigorous and critical and still have one's head up one's butt. On the veldt, this was considered a sign of wisdom.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 12:56 PM
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Probing, penetrating, and seminal.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 12:57 PM
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Or as my dissertation director always relished saying, or rather relished saying that he always likes to say, "Get your love at home."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 12:58 PM
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Us people up in Wobegon have a rational attitude toward work life. Not sure about Chopper

Eh, depends on the week. I try for work/life balance, but I'm in a place where I've got some pretty amazing opportunities, and not busting hump seems like a poor decision. But I guarantee I don't work as hard as a BigLaw sucker or a Big 4 consultant.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 1:59 PM
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||

Yeah me, in 65 minutes I leave this office for the last time! I'm not a lawyer but I did learn what constructive discharge was first hand. The fact that I have been "discharged" into a markedly better job makes me less bitter.

Hell, it is all I can do to not skip, dance, and sing my way out of here. I don't want to be too smug in the presence of my fellow inmates who will remain in this asylum.

|>


Posted by: ukko | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 2:14 PM
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62: that point about Emerson and Nietzsche was one of the things that was most helpful to me in understanding his work. That and his love of Goethe and Mozart. If you think about Nietzsche as somebody who wanted to be one of those happy geniuses, that gets you out of that ridiculous temptation to see him as a goth/punk born before his time.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 2:20 PM
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PGD, check your yahoo mail.


Posted by: Pessimist | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 2:23 PM
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We really need to have a job-grumbling meetup in Mpls. Me, Ukko, Frowner, Minneapolitan, Tripp, and B, with BF and Chopper as guest observers.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 2:34 PM
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81: I don't know why that point about Emerson and Nietzsche would be helpful. But people misread Nietzsche grievously all the time, sure.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 2:43 PM
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83 - that sounds good to me. I know for sure I'll be at Hamline on June 28 for the Star of the North Games.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed! | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 2:48 PM
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I'll start talking to people.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 3:50 PM
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"They are less likely than men to have the freedom to reconcile work and family obligations with a political career."

In defense of Ms. Marcus, it's fair to ask women to question how their personal decisions, aggregated together, retard women's progress in politics and other areas. I heard Dahlia Lithwick give a talk recently where she spoke about the need to marry a feminist -- a real one, who thinks your career and accomplishments are as important as his, and who doesn't default into the assumption that you'll be the primary child-rearer and domestic worker. (She has two small children and is married to a relatively unknown artist. When the first one was still very young, I saw her at an event where her husband was minding the baby while she spoke.)

Of course, sometimes one inconveniently doesn't fall in love with a feminist, or the feminist one does fall in love with has problems that make him a bad marriage partner. But it is an instance where one makes a choice -- in Western culture especially -- and one can end up screwing oneself over with that choice. Those who call on ambitious women to "marry down" (i.e. marry someone whose career is less demanding than your own) aren't completely nuts, even if their terminology is annoying. I suppose another route is to marry someone a decade older who already has made most of his success in his field and will be able to support your pursuits (e.g. Denis Thatcher, although someone may have dropped the ball on raising his and Margaret's offspring).


Posted by: PG | Link to this comment | 05-30-08 6:04 PM
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I realize this is an incredibly late hit, but it's been bothering me...

Re: initiative and drive

59:
Say I have two junior colleagues. One dutifully executes whatever assignments I give. The other takes the assignment, and comes back with game changing suggestions. That make sense.

This is correct. But these behaviors are not immutable characteristics of a person's personality or intellect or character. They're all about social context and social support. Someone who feels like he understands the firm, and who feels like someone at the firm values him and has his back, is much more likely to take these kinds of risks. Someone who feels like she's doing something wrong but no one will tell her what? No. In that situation, most people start to burn intellectual energy second-guessing themselves and doubting their own judgment. That isn't conductive to initiative-taking.

In other words, criteria like "taking initiative" or "project ownership" aren't covers for biased evaluation--they're the results of differential treatment. So this just gets us back to the importance of mentoring and management. Which gets us back to issues of "fit" and all the various -isms.

I've been at a firm that was a bad fit, one where I got no feedback or mentoring, and as a consequence ended up feeling like a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. One of the most painful things about the experience was losing my "drive" and "initiative," things that I had been lauded for in previous positions, and have been lauded for since.


Posted by: BriefestDelurk | Link to this comment | 05-31-08 11:15 AM
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Those who call on ambitious women to "marry down" (i.e. marry someone whose career is less demanding than your own) aren't completely nuts, even if their terminology is annoying.

Sort of. Without rehashing the entire Hirshman debate, it's bad advice unless one can assume success in one's career. I get the basic idea: marry someone whose career is low-key enough that they can be the primary homemaker.

But to suggest that as practical life advice just seems to me completely bewildering. Because even if the husband ends up perfectly supportive in his art career and stay-at-home-dadness, the woman is still going to face institutional sexism which might stymie her success. So instead of her making partner or uberdoctor or whatever, she middles out and because she married down, doesn't have the resources to try to strike out on her own. Going for less financial security rather than more strikes me as absolutely nuts.

Plus, you'd be surprised at how often 'not ambitious career' is completely compatible with 'still thinks he should be the man and thus the breadwinner.'

Better, methinks, to marry someone who can take care of himself and more importantly isn't a dick. (This advice goes for both sexes, of course. It isn't the 1950s. Two incomes is normal.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-31-08 11:45 AM
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A friend of mine said it this way: "Someone has to be the wife." I don't think that a two-husband family is viable unless they make enough to hire a full-time third person.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-31-08 11:49 AM
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Sure, and you know what would suck worse than giving up your career to be a homemaker when your husband was making a lot of money? Giving up your career to be a homemaker when you were the more qualified one.

It's not like the only pressure on women to drop out is just financial.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-31-08 11:59 AM
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88: Nicely said, Brief. As a biased evaluator of my own work, I can't say that's what happened to me, but I've seen it happen to other people.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-31-08 12:08 PM
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Yes, obviously a woman who marries a man whose career is less pressured but who nonetheless expects her to stay home is worse off than a woman who marries a man who makes more money and has the same attitude. Hence my reference to a "real feminist" -- a man who doesn't just mouth the words of gender equality but who will do the domestic work and childrearing necessary to make that equality reality.

The woman who marries the stay-at-home feminist still will face the institutionalized sexism of her workplace, but she won't have made it more difficult for herself by being unable to meet their demands because she is the primary domestic worker as well. She won't be unable to leave home for days at a time to campaign for political office. Sure, maybe she'll fail to make the big money, but she'll probably make enough for the family to get by on.

As for hiring a third person, I think that makes sense for cooking and cleaning, but I don't really see the point of having children in a home unless the people who live there are going to do most of the raising of them. Maybe I just attach more emotional significance to the specific domestic work of childrearing than others do. (And hey, maybe someone else thinks there's significance to cleaning one's own home or cooking one's own home that makes those tasks inappropriate to reassign to non-family.)


Posted by: PG | Link to this comment | 05-31-08 3:48 PM
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Having not read the thread, I am moved to say that I, personally, am increasingly thinking that the lines between "I feel this way because, as a woman, I have learned subliminally that I am not welcome," "I feel this way because, as a woman, I might have a belief in life/work balance independent of social pressures," and "I feel this way because of the personality I have" are not terribly clear.

And that I am also increasingly thinking that the point might be less to figure out which of those is "more" important than to recognize that women are people, that a lot of non-women people share the desire for work/life balance, and that the real problem is that we've defined these issues as "women's problems" rather than "workplace problems."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-31-08 4:50 PM
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Dead thread, but B's point in 94 is exactly right. One problem I always have with this topic is that A) I believe women really are less committed to stressful rat race materialism than men are, B) it's possible there's some biological connection in that, C) regardless of any biological connection, women are quite correct and rational to question our societal overcommittment to work and materialism, which has reached unnatural and oppressive levels.

The frame that women are can't handle pressure because they don't want to sacrifice half their lives working 80 hours a week to become a law partner accepts the most extreme kind of macho competitiveness and materialism as normative. But you know, maybe women just have a good point and lots of men would love to follow them but feel they can't (just repeating B's point here, I think).

This has to do with a point I often make about pop feminism getting hijacked by market imperatives (driving women into the workforce along exactly the male corporate/career model that is most convenient for business), rather than questioning those imperatives for everyone (men and women both).


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06- 2-08 9:08 AM
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