Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Memo to Moms: Don't Take My Work Away

It's finally happened. For the first time, I have been personally affected by bias against the childfree in the workplace. But not in the way you might think.

Usually, the childfree complain that they get stuck with all the work, because moms and dads are trotting out early to go to their kids' soccer games, missing work when their kids get sick, or getting off weekend duty scot-free. However, in this case, my colleague and I are actually having work taken away from us.

Let me explain. I am, as I've posted before, a lawyer. I specialize in trademark law, but my firm as a whole does mostly patent litigation. Patent litigations are very intense and require long hours over many months and years of work.

Trademark work, while not necessarily easier, is more contained. It's easier to regulate one's hours, and easier to customize for a person who wants to, say, work only part-time, or be assured of going home at 5 pm.

That's not why I do this work; I do it because I love it, and so does the one other associate here who specializes in trademark. But you see where this is going, right? Certain mommies on the patent side have now looked over at what we have and decided that they want it.

So a huge new trademark client just came in for us. Of course I can't reveal the name of the client, but it's an extremely well known brand whose work we will now be handling. This work should have been split between me and my other trademark colleague.

But instead, while I'll get a small chunk of it, the lion's share of this work is going to a mommy on the patent side who wants off of her litigations. She's a patent litigator, and came to the firm as one. But that work doesn't fit a family lifestyle. So she's taking ours. As I said, I'll get a small chunk. My colleague will be left out in the cold completely.

Unfair? You bet. I'm hopping mad. But this is the way it works in childfree life.

2 comments: said...

I would take this as an opportunity to think about something to ask for that is unique to your needs. Perhaps you don't take many sick days and so you would like to have your unused days cashed out at the end of the year or a bigger bonus. It is nice that your partners are flexible with their employees, and maybe you can use that to your advantage.

Claire said...

Hi! Just ran across your blog.

That's a reversal, but it sucks both ways! I've never had work taken away (although I doubt I'd complain so long as I still had a job - but that's me), but I sure have had it heaped on because of someone else's choice....