Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Time To Fight

I want to yell.  I want to scream.  I am so very angry.  This just isn't fair.  Instead, I sit here calmly, waiting for the next chapter of my life, this drama, my career to unfold. 
I knowingly chose to return to work part-time.  I was and am fully aware of how part-time attorneys are viewed in my office: we are less than others, we are not committed to the work, we are no longer team-players.  I know the attitude.  I know the views.  But those attitudes, those views?  They are wrong.  My commitment does not wane because my desk is now adorned with pictures of a beautiful son, and I choose to spend Fridays at home with him.  My commitment and willingness to work is not less because it is easier to breastfeed an actual living, breathing baby than to hook myself up to a machine. 
But because I became pregnant, took the maternity leave offered and am now utilizing the Firm's part-time policy, I am less of an attorney.
The liason from the home office called me yesterday.  She had already spoken to the Partner in my office.  She spoke with trepedation in her voice.  She asked whether I was ready to return to the office on the fourth day, perhaps I was ready to come back full-time?  No, I am not.  According to the partner, my return on the fourth day was not up for discussion, but it was "fine" for me to stay part-time for a little longer.  His statement, his attitude, his belief is not in accord with Firm policy.  He will not follow Firm policy.  According to him, I already "agreed" to return.  No.  I did not.  I will not. 
And now I am faced with this:  Do I fight?  Do I try and stand up?  Do I say:  "The Firm has a policy.  The policy is designed to help attract and retain women and mothers.  You will follow the policy."  Do I yell: "I am not less because I am a mother.  I am not less because I 'only' work 40 hours per week."  
I know that if I stand, if I fight, I am burning bridges. 
And that pisses me off.  I should not have to fight for what the Firm has already agreed to, what the Firm acknowledges is good policy.  I should not have to defend that women are not less because we are mothers. 
I refuse to stand on the sidelines any longer.  I refuse to allow the powers-that-be in my office to continue to hold their antiquated views over every woman's head, an ever-present and silent threat to our careers.
Maybe I will burn this bridge.  I do not want to.  I want to be treated fairly.  I want to be judged by the quality of my work and not my anatomy. 
I will fight.  It is time for me to move on anyway.  And if I do not fight, who will?

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