I had a great evening tonight at the MALDEF Latino State of the Union in New York City. Why New York? I don’t know, but either way, I was excited to attend and excited they were here in NYC. I worked at MALDEF in 2010 and I really enjoyed being a part of their team. Anyway- I digress… I ran into a former co-worker who is now an attorney somewhere else. We were talking about her position and how she was doing so far. I was glad to hear that she is loving her job, but she also brought up a really great point about Latinas in the legal profession workforce.
It was a reminder that Latinas, I think women in general, must have a dual persona at work. It’s like a Mrs. Jekyll/Mrs. Hyde persona where you are nice and kind and giddy and fun, then there’s the part where you don’t take shit from anyone who is talking shit about you. This also reminded me of the 1L at Columbia who informed that a female attorney at a law firm told this female 1L that she better be ready to use her good looks because they were going to come in handy when she applies to jobs. WHA? QUE? WHY?
Ridiculous, yes, but this is so true and it happens in every profession, not just the legal profession. So, I told my coworker that she needed to “Do no harm, but take no shit!” She agreed and stated that she would use that as her mantra. This is probably one of my favorite sayings because it reminds you to stay humble and kind, but to not be a pushover. Fight back. “No te dejes!” It’s something that I take with me when I walk into intimidating meetings or events and I believe it works well.