When I was a young girl, it never occurred that I shouldn’t want to be a lawyer. Being a girl didn’t make me feel any less able or likely to be successful in a career as a lawyer. While men still dominated the profession, growing up in the 1980s there were enough pop culture references to women lawyers to make it seem like a reasonable aspiration. Thank you Claire Huxtable and Christine from Night Court! In college I excelled and never considered that my gender might play a role in my success. I was a student, defined more by my affinity toward language (and procrastination), than my ability (or inability) to apply eyeliner on the shuttle bus from my dorm to class. In law school, the girls I went to school with were excelling, and were clearly represented among the top ranks of our class, whether by their grades, leadership on law review or advocacy competitions.
This article is directed towards women, but is equally applicable to anyone who is trying to grow their career:
I remember the first time I truly felt naïve. It was right before my third year of law school and I was having a conversation with two very good law school friends of mine. One of them was a few weeks pregnant. On-campus interviews were coming up and we were discussing where we were applying, where we’d love to get interviews, and, of course, what we were going to wear. It was during that conversation that my newly-pregnant friend expressed her fears about her pregnancy showing during these interviews. She was afraid, and it turns out rightfully so, that interviewers would be able to tell that she was pregnant and immediately write her off.
As I am writing this post, I marvel how simple the plan looks on paper. Just get ready, change the baby, and walk out the door. Reality is so much more complicated.