Ah, one of the secrets of the fraternity is finally out! For decades now, women lawyers have been trying to crack the male code and break into the exclusive boys' club at work. You know, the one where men always seem to get the plum assignments, the client credit, the power and the glory.
All this time we thought it was the testosterone, coupled with all that cultural stuff (football, golf, and stupid, action-packed movies) that made the male order so impenetrable.
Well, girlfriends, we are so off-track. It turns that those strong male bonds just didn't develop organically. They also get a big boost from boot camp--extreme boot camp. The kind where male lawyers get naked (literally).
From California (where else?) comes news that a lawyer was fired when he refused to participate in one of those man-to-man bonding events. Reports the ABA Journal blog:
A personal injury lawyer has sued [Bisnar/Chase of Newport Beach] at which he formerly worked, contending that his pay was at first cut and then eliminated after he refused pressure to attend a "New Warrior Training Adventure" outdoor weekend retreat.
Plaintiff Steven Eggleston alleges that potential activities there, which he found objectionable, included being encouraged to sit around naked in a circle with other men and discuss their feelings while passing around a wooden phallus, reports the Daily Journal.
Eggleston is suing the firm, the two name partners, and "unidentified John Does" for breach of contract, sexual harassment, and retaliation, reports the ABA Journal. The firm calls the case "outrageous" and says the retreat (run by the nonprofit ManKind Project) "wasn't a job requirement." (By the way, the two name partners look perfectly nice and Orange Countyish on the firm's Web site.)
Job requirement or not, I wondered if the women were included in this bonding opportunity. (The firm declined to tell me whether its women lawyers were invited.) My hunch is no, because the ManKind Project is clearly directed at men. Its Web site promises that participants will "experience a level of energy, a quality of masculinity . . . and a connection to life's mystery that we can't explain."
How life-transforming. Bummer that there's no female equivalent to that kind of intense bonding. Those women mentoring events, work/life balance discussion groups, and occasional shoe-shopping excursions are lame and tame compared to getting naked in front of your boss and colleagues.
Now that we know what makes men so successful, are we ready to take bonding to the next level?
Do you have topics you'd like to discuss or tips to share? Email The Careerist's chief blogger Vivia Chen at VChen@alm.com.
Art: Marcantonio Raimondi