01 October 2007

Engraved Rocks

Every year, Working Mother magazine publishes a list of their decreed 100 best companies for women to work at. I actually have a subscription to Working Mother – a freebie from somewhere or another, because lord knows it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on, and paying for it would be adding insult to injury. The issue with that list arrived recently, and I skimmed through it in horrified fascination – I’m a working mother, and I can’t imagine working for any of those soulless corporations with such nebulous “benefits” as knitting classes.

Last week, Toddled Dredge pointed me towards Deep Muck Big Rake where Becky posted some incisive analysis around that Working Mother list – and pointing out that many of the recipients are also advertisers in the magazine. Were they advertisers first, or coerced into advertising in order to receive the award? Or guilted into advertising because they received the award?

I work for small non-profit that happens to be a small-time client of one of the big law firms that ended up on that 100 Best list. This morning, I arrived in the office to find a small heavy box that had arrived in the mail. Inside was a card from said law firm, patting themselves on the back for "Breaking Barriers One Rock at a Time”, along with an engraved ROCK. I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry.

Am I - a woman, a client - supposed to think better of them because of their appearance on that list? Am I supposed to want to hire them more often? Am I supposed to want to go and work for them? Actually, wasting $6.20 on Priority Mail postage to send an engraved rock (value unknown) and printed card makes me more than a little irritated. I’d rather pay less in legal fees than support such nonsense.

And now, what do I do with the rock?

Edited to add a photo of the rock - the other side has the name and logo of the law firm:

19 comments:

niobe said...

Uh, shatter the glass ceiling?

Is the "breaking barriers" thing engraved on it or does it have some other message?

mayberry said...

Actually, I can answer your question about the advertisers. Sort of. I used to work at the magazine and once (thank god only once; other years I just helped) I ran that whole project. At least during my tenure, the list was kept far far away from the ad sales staff. They wanted it desperately but we did not give it up. So the advertisers were quite often those who had APPLIED to be on the list, but the list was derived without influence from the ad sales team.

Suz said...

People living in glass houses probably shouldn't send stones, is what I'm thinking.

To think that benefits to women can be defined by such things as knitting classes (why not weight lifting?) rather than flexibility and opportunity is kind of silly.

Janet said...

Throw the rock through their big corporate window?

When I worked for a big software company, our management so desperately wanted to be on a similar list to what you describe (for Canada, or perhaps just our region, I forget which). At any rate, because I did a lot of writing in the marketing department, I was put in charge of preparing our submission. As I wrote phrases like: "Clusters of comfortable chairs are placed all around the building encouraging impromptu social breaks," all I could think of was how one of the managers seemed to be scrutinizing the comings and goings of all the pregnant employees to make sure we weren't taking extra time for frivolous events like prenatal appointments.

I still hang my head in shame.

Eva said...

Wow, that rock, that whole thing, that list, their stupid ideas of helping out working mothers, is classic dumb corporate America stuff. Maybe they can try giving more paid leave and greater flexibility and then send you a gift certificate for legal services.

Isis said...

Ugh.

Well, as They Might Be Giants would say, everybody wants a rock to wind a piece of string around.

(But then they also say that everybody wants prosthetic foreheads on their real heads....)

Furrow said...

Dang it! Niobe said what I was gonna say.

Can you send it back COD?

I'm happy today because I was able to get someone to do my training session because I was having cervical zaps and leaking urine (SO unprofessional). I certainly don't pull things like that every day, but I get enough pregnancy sympathy here to be content enough. One of the perks of working in a female dominated field.

pinknest said...

oh. my. god. i can't believe this atrocious rock.

Aliki2006 said...

That rock is really something. I like all the suggestions about what to do with it, particularly the one to return it promptly stamped C.O.D.

Mad Hatter said...

They sent you a rock? Just like Charlie Brown gets in his Hallowe'en bag? Now that's one of the silliest things I've ever heard of. Sometimes this world just feels like a never-ending piece of absurdist theatre.

Omaha Mama said...

Hmmmm...

You've made me think...

Don't do that!

Overwhelmed! said...

I had an issue of Working Women magazine given to me once and I was not impressed. I wouldn't pay for a subscription either!

I'd say, use the rock as a door stopper! :)

BipolarLawyerCook said...

so obroxious.

katiez said...

I defintely go with throwing the rock... And I've never been fond of corporations who pat themselves on their well-padded backs....

Aurelia said...

Hmmm, chain the rock to your ankle the next time you meet with them? You know, just like the traditional ball and chain?

Lawyer Mama said...

Dude, I'd find a new law firm. 2 reasons: first, they spent money to have that done and second, the rock is wrong. I have that issue of WM magazine and it was the FIFTY best law firms for women. FIFTY!

No attention to detail. That's a bad sign in a firm. (-;

BTW, I nearly choked when I read the law firms on the list. Nearly all of them are what we refer to as "churn and burns." They churn billable hours and burn out their lawyers.

WorksForMom said...

Chuck. the. rock. Right through the glass ceiling. Or put it up on eBay for free. :)

thailandchani said...

The whole thing sounds silly to me.. but then.. I expect nothing less from corporations. In general, their appeal is always to the LCD.

Peace,

~Chani
http://thailandgal.blogspot.com

Veronica Mitchell said...

Ooh. Definitely ebay with a scathing description and a link to this post.