ZoZuidAs is opgezet door drie jonge vrouwen. Temidden van turbulente tijden zijn wij onze carrière begonnen op de Zuidas als advocates en bankier. Het is geen Londen, het is geen New York, maar de Zuidas staat voor een beetje zakelijke glamour in de polder. Wij beschrijven wat er leeft op die vierkante kilometer kantoorspeeltuin bij het WTC, want we kennen het wel en wee van de Zuidas van binnenuit. De kredietcrisis liet ook de Zuidas niet onberoerd. Na 3 maanden dalende billables en dagelijks terugkerende hyvesmarathons, hadden wij tijd en inspiratie om onze habitat wat beter te bekijken. Onze observaties plaatsen we sinds 2009 online. Geniet ervan en stuur de posts door! Onze stukken verschijnen o.a. in Glamour. Voor tips en commentaar zijn we te bereiken via zozuidas@gmail.com

zaterdag 12 maart 2011

Jimi, the lawyer

I'm not really a lawyer, i'm just a hipster lounging about in this office chair.

A colleague is about to press send on an e-mail. As usual he is at a crossroads. Does he sign off Kind regards, James, Kind regards J, or the latest incarnation he has slowly been trying to force upon his friends and colleagues: just Jimi.

Jimi is not a lawyer. He just happens to work as one. In between going to obscure record shops, hanging out at the Vegan Cafe, chanting and working on his blog, he drafts term sheets and documents lists. All those soy lattes come at a price.
When he started at the firm he was just known as James. Now Jimi, his style is Wall Street (the first movie) meets Californian Leisure wear. He either looks like a lost band member of Vampire weekend or an extra from 500 Days of Summer.
Well, hang on, isn't this the corporate look circa 1988? The thick rimmed glasses, the braces, the "weekend sailing in Cape Cod" knotted jerseys, pastel colours? In some ways it should be a recipe for success at the modern office: simultaneously being recognised by your peers as the coolest kid in the office and winning the admiration of the older generation of partners for your homage to the styles that shaped their glory days.

Last Friday Jimbob popped in for a quick drink with us office mortals, before heading off somewhere cooler with his hipster friends. He returned to the office two hours later. He claimed that he had come back because he "wasn't really feeling it". I couldn't help but wonder if he had come back because his name just wasn't on the guest list, or because the hipster police smelled a rat and were not about to let this corporate lawyer-masquerading as a hipster take the place of a journalist, photographer or documentary producer. He looked slightly awkward on his return, embarrassed even, but for the first time in months his topics of conversation were more mainstream: office politics, a deal he was working on, the football matches from earlier in the week. He drank with us, he laughed with us, and he seemed more at ease, enjoying the fact that he didn't have to dream up a new obscure band or foodstuff to talk about.

James is at a point of transition in his life. He's slowly realising how difficult it is to marry the world of corporate law to life as a career hipster. The reason? No matter how hard they try, both individually and collectively (see the specialist corporate law media industry that has grown, awarding lawyers titles like "dealmakers" and the like), corporate lawyers just aren't hip. And a skinny tie can't do anything to change that.

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