Introducing: the First Annual National Girlfriends' Networking Day!
I’m hosting an anti-cat-fight, support your sisters, sponsorship and mentorship campaign this week so I was pleased to see an announcement for the first annual (so optimistic!) National Girlfriends’ Networking Day.
Here’s what I’ve learned in 30+ years in the legal market, 25 of them in litigation firms of all sizes and reputations and eight of them facilitating the resolution of litigated disputes.
The women in your firm may mentor you (teach you the ropes) but not sponsor you (put their skin in your game).
Or the women in your firm may do nothing for you.
Or, worse, the women in your firm may sabotage you.
Men will too so don’t think this is about women hating other women.
This is about the accumulation of wealth and power and no gender owns avarice.
It may seem at first as if the men are more friendly and helpful to you than the women.
That’s often true.
The men like you because you tend to work 22% longer and 10% faster than your male colleagues do before you feel that you’ve earned your yearly salary. That means you’re diligently doing your male mentor’s work for him and don’t expect enough compensation for it.
You’re not a threat.
You don’t ask for raises or negotiate bonuses.
Sure, you get a raise every year, but you don’t ask for more even though you’re making somewhere between 20 and 30% less than your male colleagues of the same year or the same book of business or the same talent, skill, dedication and hard work (billable hours).
When I was at the annual gala for the 100+ year old Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles (WLALA) recently, the Mayor said from the podium that he loved his women lawyers because “they never asked for a raise!”
The nearly 300 attendees dropped their jaws pretty much at once.
Those helpful, loyal men?
Don’t count on them when you ask for compensation that’s the same as theirs.
When you begin to be a threat, they’re not nearly as loyal as they’ve been while you were turning out dynamite work for them at 2 in the morning.