Saturday, August 9, 2014

Are Male Secretaries Treated Differently?

There are quite a few male legal secretaries in the workforce.  I don't know the exact numbers.  And, in large cities, like San Francisco, the numbers are increasing.  It's a new day and there is no longer the expectation that every secretary will be a woman.

With that said, I still find there's often disparity in treatment in the expectations of male secretaries versus the expectations of work product and behavior for female secretaries.

It has been my experience that attorneys, male attorneys in particular, relate to male secretaries in a more, how can I say it, "respectful" manner.  They're not as quick to resort to a loud tone of voice and they're less likely to expect them to do tasks such as getting lunch or coffee.  (By the way, I have no problem with getting lunch or coffee, or whatever it is that my attorneys need.)  Their time is billable and mine is not.

However, I do become increasingly frustrated when I see male secretaries surfing the internet for endless amounts of time (never bothering to hide that they're not busy) and attorneys who turn a "blind eye."  And, in fact, stop to "chat" with my male colleagues while they're surfing.

It's as if the male attorneys see the male secretaries more as "peers" than "staff."

I don't think it's my imagination.  I think the "good old boys" network is alive and well and still lurking in law firms.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.