{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "How many of you are the only woman at your firm/practice group? I’m at a large firm, but part of a smaller practice group (<10 associates). We have female partners, but I’m the only female associate in our group. I’ve become friends with one of the other associates. Someone recently joked that I’m his “work wife.” This really bothered me. I don’t think of our relationship as romantic at all. This is mostly just a rant, but can we please retire this term?", "post_id": "5fb3b408d79ac10021d5f374", "reply_count": 30, "vote_count": 17, "bowl_id": "5da60c126e5f0d001f32f497", "bowl_name": "Women in Law", "feed_type": "bowl" }

How many of you are the only woman at your firm/practice group? I’m at a large firm, but part of a smaller practice group (<10 associates). We have female partners, but I’m the only female associate in our group. I’ve become friends with one of the other associates. Someone recently joked that I’m his “work wife.” This really bothered me. I don’t think of our relationship as romantic at all. This is mostly just a rant, but can we please retire this term?

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I'm the only female associate in my practice group in my office but there are more female partners than male. Firm wide the associates in our practice group are about 90% male and one office only has male attorneys in our practice group. I'm fairly close with another associate in my group (we've known each other since law school, hang out outside of work, his kids babysit mine, he and my husband help each other with various projects) and we're definitely each other's "work person." But the term work wife weirds me out a bit too and I would be weirded out if he used it.

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I’m the only woman in my practice group, and one of the few women at my firm. I like my colleagues but I’d be disturbed if any of the men thought of me as their work wife. Colleague or friend is fine, but I’m already married thank you. I’m close with the other women at my firm, so if any of them called me their work wife, I wouldn’t be offended. But I think we can just be friends and call it a day. No need to get married.

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I am a woman and I used this term towards another woman at my last firm. Depends on how it was used. She was my work wife. Totally miss her.

likeuplifting

I think my husband would be upset if someone referred to me as his work wife. Not saying it's right, wrong, fair, or unfair. But he wouldn't be thrilled.

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I don’t view work wife as a romantic term. I think it is just your person at work who your closest to and can confide in about work related things. I had a “work husband” at my last job. It wasn’t romantic at all we just vented about work and when one of us was really wrapped up in something we would remind each other to eat lunch, take a walk, etc. If you aren’t comfortable with the term I would just let him know.

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I agree. It’s not a romantic thing. It’s basically your best friend at work. You might even spend more time with this person than your actual spouse. I think this is where the term came from.

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Chiming in - if you weren’t comfortable with the term you should tell him. But generally, I don’t think it’s meant to connote any kind of romantic relationship. It’s a joking term just nothing that you two are close. Speaking as a gay woman, I’ve been called the work wife of a gay man ? No romantic feelings involved. We just looked out for each other in the office. 🤷🏻‍♀️

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I am the only woman at my practice work too. Its not easy!

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I'm the only woman in my group and I am very junior too. We had a senior associate for a little but she left the firm. It's... odd, not bad, thank goodness. My group is great and they're all fathers of daughters so that helps, but it is always uncomfortable being the only woman at the table.

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I, too, hate this term. I think most people who use it do it without malice and to suggest that you're more than simply a coworker, but I think it's gross. I'm not your wife, I'm your colleague/good friend. I also have a lot of guy friends outside of work. They're my friends, not husbands 🙄 I've got one of those and he's all I need

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I was the only female associate for a loooong time. There were one or two female partners here and there, but they never lasted long. I'm super close with my colleagues, but I don't think I'd use this term out loud. I'm just not sure how they'd read it. This thread is the perfect example. Some think it's totally fine (I'm in the group) but some may take offense to it or be uncomfortable.

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It’s a bad term with really bad connotations. Just think if your spouse heard someone say it about you. Mine would flip out

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I’m the only female lawyer at my firm and this “work wife” thing has been said to be before too. It only happened once, I frankly was taken aback and confused.

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I was the only woman on my floor (business) at my first firm. But where I am now, my department (finance) has more women than men. It's refreshing.

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Indeed! Our office (a larger satellite of a midwest firm) has 6 finance attorneys, 4 of whom are women.

I wouldn’t like to be called work wife personally because I would interpret it to mean that the person expects me to do emotional labor. For people who enjoy doing emotional labor at work, I guess it’s not as much of a problem.

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OK- if we are offended by terms like “work wife,” then why aren’t women offended by the term “Esq.” when referring to a female lawyer?? “Esquire” is an anachronistic term for a [white] male who was wealthy enough to own land. The term “Attorney” is non-sexist, non-racist, and accurate. Stop using “Esq.” and have your firm stop using it, too.

Given how often wives are stuck with emotional labor and household administration work, I can see how even the title suggesting that you fulfill hat role outside of the home, for a man who is not your spouse, is something to cringe at. I don't, but I understand why some women might.

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I thought of a male colleague that way, but had the sense to never actually express it to him. I also had a small crush on him.

I’m in a similar but inverse situation. I’m one of 4-5 female junior associates in my ~25 person group. But there are no female partners in the group. I’m jealous that you have women up the chain that you can go to!

Not offended by work wife at all. He meant it as a compliment I’m sure.

Pick a different compliment

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6 people in our practice group, I'm the only female (although this is only US offices, are foreign office practice group is mostly women)

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