Every now and again, attorneys email into Dear Prudence over on Slate and ask the columnist for advice. Then we here at Above the Law read that advice and offer our own, unsolicited versions. It’s fun. It’s like being a know-it-all at a beer garden when somebody mutters “I’ll have a Sam’s” when there’s Goose Island right there on tap.
Today, we have an embarrassment of riches; two attorneys have appeared in recent Dear Prudence columns. They sound entitled and confused, suspicious but trusting, fun for the whole family…
The first attorney we mentioned yesterday in Non-Sequiturs. It’s a single person bitching about how parents get to “go home early” while he or she has to stay and “do all the work.” Here’s the question:
Q. I Have a Life, Too!: I’m a junior attorney in my late 20s. I work in a busy office that prides itself on work-life balance, and many of my co-workers have young children. Often, these co-workers leave at 4:30 or 5 on the dot to pick up their kids or attend their events, leaving me to stay late (up to several hours) to finish up work that needs to be done. It’s frustrating—just because I don’t have kids doesn’t mean I don’t have a life outside of work. What’s weirder is that these co-workers often acknowledge that they’re being unfair but state that “when” I have kids I’ll get to leave early, too. Because I plan to remain child-free, at least for the foreseeable future, this is less than encouraging advice! How can I draw boundaries in this situation without seeming unreasonable? I love my job otherwise, and these people are all genuinely nice—they just seem to have a blind spot when it comes to this issue.
Click over to Slate to see Prudence’s advice.
As a new parent, I think people expect me to tell this associate to go take their single ass and jump in a lake. As Louis CK would say: you’re single, it doesn’t matter what happens to you. But I understand the feeling that somebody, somewhere is getting a special deal or an easier time than you are. It’s not a good way to spend your time — obsessing about somebody else’s work ethic instead of focusing on your own job — but I understand.
The answer, of course, is that the parents aren’t “getting” to leave early. They’re getting to set their own schedules because they are adults with kids and you are a single person in your twenties. Maybe the parents are getting up early while you are sleeping off your hangover after one of your single people orgies? Maybe they’re logging back on late at night when you are busy with your heroin and whores?
Maybe they’re doing more high-level work because their precious man-hours are indispensable while your laudable grunt work is replaceable? When they say you’ll get to leave early “when you have kids,” what they’re really saying is “you’ll get to set your own schedule when you grow up and become important, as opposed to interchangeable, to the firm.”
See, I’m not blasting this person for being barren while others breed. To each their own on that front. I’m on this person for being young and stupid and believing that the firm really cares about anybody’s “family.” People work as hard as they have to, regardless of how many people they’ve spawned.
And besides, do you know what childless people are really doing when they have “free time”? On to question two:
I am a young attorney at a solid law firm. I work very hard, have received stellar reviews, and seem to be well-liked. I’m also happily married to a beautiful woman I adore. And now I am worried about losing the love of my life, my job, or both. Despite my great marriage, I sometimes peruse Craigslist personal ads, just for kicks. Sometimes I even reply—always from an anonymous email—but it never goes any further than that. It’s just a fun fantasy for me. No hookups, no chat, nothing. I have not and would not cheat on my wife. Unfortunately, this past weekend I replied to an ad from my iPhone and I accidentally used my work email account. Although the email wasn’t explicit, it makes me look very bad. I feel absolutely awful. I pay for the phone, but the email goes through the firm’s server, which I know has monitoring software. I’m wondering whether and who I should tell about this. I’m afraid if I bring it up at work, what may have gone unnoticed will become an issue. Also, should I give my wife a head’s up, in case I lose my job? I’m worried that what I thought was a fun little secret is now going to turn into a very public nightmare.
Again, click here for Prudence’s answer. She believes that this dude is trolling Craigslist “just for fun.”
I don’t know, seems to me that if everything is so innocuous HE SHOULD BE ABLE TO TELL HIS WIFE.
If he isn’t lying, what kind of piss-poor, beta fantasy is this? “I respond to personal ads, but then run away like a frightened bunny”? Did this guy get his junior high school jollies by ringing people’s doorbells? Who does this? Maybe he doesn’t want to tell his wife because he’s afraid she’ll think he’s a giant p**sy?
In any event, I think the associate who doesn’t want real children should hook up with this guy who fantasizes about flirting. Then they can have Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf children to solve all of their imaginary problems.