Smiling my way to partnership.
I’m a female lawyer on the brink of making partner at a mid-size firm. I’ve been passed up several times in favor of male colleagues who bill fewer hours and generate significantly less business. When I asked what I needed to do to get there I was told I needed to smile more, come out of my office and attend more company events and happy hours. I attend all holiday parties and major firm events but I am already working 70-plus hours a week, which leaves me little time for my family. The happy hours are every week and last for hours, and I don’t drink! I am friendly and make conversation with the partners and get lots of praise from clients. I am already burned out and it is affecting my family life and health. I’m just not sure I can give any more and the men that were promoted above me rarely attend any of these events, leave the office at 4:00, and I’m willing to bet were never told to smile more! I feel like this is a subtle form of discrimination. There is only one female partner out of 20 and these are the people voting. I’ve invested a lot in the company so it’s not that simple to just leave.
—70-Hour Work Week