Friday, October 05, 2007


Updated, based on my latest e-mail exchange, and to correct a few of my many grammar errors:

I'm fairly tolerant of the Lawyer Ego, especially the Male Lawyer Ego (apologies in advance to any male lawyers who may stumble upon this site...clearly you are the exception). Tolerant in the sense that I'm willing to let it roll off my back, rather than try to deflate the offending Ego, but it still bugs me and the temptation is always there. But really, life is too short to waste it shooting at feathers, don't you think? Eventually, they puncture themselves. Puffing feathers and performing exotic dances may be an essential part of the mating process out in the wild, but seriously, Man can get by without it in the business world (and the dating/mating process for that matter).

One of many phone calls today involved a detailed discussion with a Male Lawyer Ego about the various ways that a business owner (our mutual client) might wish to go about selling his company to a key employee. As with most discussions about this, the issues are always do I a) get the cash out, b) minimize my taxes, and c) minimize the headaches of getting it done (i.e. with the least amount of legal documents, title transfers and risk)?

The MLE had posed a couple of solutions and asked for my input. As it turns out, he didn't really want my input on anything except two very specific questions. I was really not invited to pose any other possible solutions. But I didn't know this until I tried. To which he responded, "well, that would be pretty cute if it works." Cute. Cute?! So I responded that "yes, it is cute. It was especially cute (my use of the word "cute" was becoming excessive and pointed) when we did this just recently for a transfer between family members where it has the advantage of benefitting the entire family unit, not just the seller." But when I asked if he would like for me to model out the cute plan with actual numbers, he said he would need to first check with the other attorney on the engagement since he is not the one to "champion" it (the idea). The Male Lawyer Ego is especially protective of their ideas and quick to take credit but if someone else has an idea, they are also quick to dismiss it. This is known as the "not created here" doctrine.

I might add that when I did answer his specific questions, he shot back an email that indicated he had no idea that I was just answering him in the affirmative, giving the green light he was looking for, and instead took exception and went off on an unnecessary tangent with cites to irrelevant code sections, copying the client on his "brilliant" response. I corrected him in private, but this is what I would have been so easy to correct him in front of the client with a "reply to all" response.

So now, I'm waiting for my call back, to see if we are interested in pursuing this cute strategy.


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At 8:07 PM, October 05, 2007, Blogger Foo said...

I know the type. I keep hoping they'll go extinct, but the sad truth is that as long as they continue to make obscene amounts of money, they'll always have mating opportunities.

At 9:49 PM, October 05, 2007, Blogger Gwynne said...

Sad but true (and funny). ;-)

At 11:49 AM, October 06, 2007, Blogger beth said...


It's not just the Male Lawyer Ego's the Male Software Engineer and Male Manager Ego as well. There are a few at work who I keep expecting to tag "Little Lady" in cowboy drawl at the end of their conversations with me.

Sorry you had to deal with it too though!

At 7:45 AM, October 07, 2007, Blogger Foo said...

Gwynne, I see that you've made revisions, but I'm not entirely sure I'm able to pick out what's been revised. Oh, for a few <strike> tags and some Word-like revision highlighting.

Beth sort of stole my thunder, as I was about to make the point about this sort of behavior not being limited to lawyers. As Beth said, just get more than two engineers of any type together in a room.

But I'd like to suggest that we can't blame this sort of behavior on the male ego--not entirely. In fact, as the chips on women's shoulders resulting from real (or imagined) slights from males have gotten bigger, they do the same darned thing. I've lost count of the number of times that female "colleagues" have flirted and cheated their way past me on the career ladder. One in particular was quite adept at soliciting my ideas for solutions to her problems. I'd spend hours brainstorming and prototyping code, in the interest of helping the company, and she ultimately took full credit for the solutions as her own. I smartened up and started requiring her to e-mail our manager to request my time to consult on problems.

And it's not limited to gender. I've had black colleagues do this to me, as well, openly shooting me down in meetings and trying to make me look like an idiot. But then, I get plenty of that from fat, old white guys, too.

I guess my point is that, while inter-gender, inter-racial attitudes my exacerbate the "cute" problem, it's ultimately the need to compete and succeed, to claw and bite our way to the top that inspires people to act the ass in the attempt to further (or protect) their own interests. Which is a shame, because we could get so much more done, and done better, if we weren't so busy trying to take out the next guy (or gal) at the knees.

At 11:22 AM, October 07, 2007, Blogger Gwynne said...

Good points, Foo. A lot of time and energy wasted promoting the self instead of the team. And I'm sure it's not limited to only one gender or race or profession, but my personal experience is specifically with male lawyers (and one of my male partners who spends way too much energy trying to outdo them). In my view, it's not worth fighting. But your strategy of protecting yourself is a wise one.

Now, about those strike tags. I've tried but can't figure out how to strike through words on Blogger. Maybe you can help? :-)

At 11:44 AM, October 08, 2007, Blogger DarkoV said...

Wait a minute!
I'm really, really confused here.
I thought that when one passes one's CPA exams, one is, upon notification of passing one's CPA exams, immediately awarded with a pair of wing-tip shoes.
One of the reasons for being awarded a pair of wing-tips shoes is that they are the only shoes in existence whose tips (front part of the shoe) can be sharpened to a fine point with a larger version of a pencil sharpener. These finely sharpened points are made specifically for kicking MLE's in the shins, backside, or any other body part that gives the MLE's maximum pain and the newly minted CPA maximum pleasure.

Gwynne, has somebody been pulling the wig down over my eyes about CPA's and wing tipped shoes? Say it ain't so; I've been giving these folks wide berth as I pass them on the street, believing them to be a dangerous type.

At 5:49 PM, October 08, 2007, Blogger Gwynne said...

Darko, aside from those of us who require a wide berth for other reasons, it would appear that you are giving us far more room than we need or want.

Now, where did I put my special shoes? ;-)


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