Everyone at my firm is calling me “cupcake.” It’s been this way for the past two weeks. And before you jump to conclusions about my appearance, I want to be clear—I’M A MAN.
We’re not a big law firm. We’re 20 lawyers in a smallish city with a close-knit legal community. Word travels fast. Nicknames stick in a place like this.
Two weeks ago, we had a birthday party for one of our paralegals. But instead of the usual cake, the secretary who handles these events bought some of those giant, expensive bakery cupcakes.
We all gathered around to sing happy birthday, and when I got a look at the dessert, I overreacted after a long day by saying something like: “Ooh, cupcakes.”
Our managing partner, who is normally a pretty decent guy, said something like “Have at it, Cupcakes.” Everyone looked at me and busted up. I didn’t think it was that funny, but if everyone is laughing, you either laugh with them or they laugh at you. And I didn’t want to be the humorless guy in the office.
I thought all would be forgotten, but I was wrong. They’ve put “cupcake” on my door or started addressing memos to “cupcake” YET, but at least once a day, someone uses the nickname and anyone who’s around thinks that person is hilarious.
The worst was when another associate called me “Mr. Cupcake” before a deposition—in front of opposing counsel. The other lawyer didn’t act like he heard it, but it was weird, and it knocked me off my game a little.
Afterward, I pulled the guy aside and told him to act like a professional. He apologized. But back at the office, all of the partners were still calling me cupcake. Telling them to stop is sort of fruitless because it all started with the boss.
The managing partner came to my office at the end of the day. I was in the process of bringing it p when he told me I could be lead counsel on a small trial case I really wanted. Then I was so excited that I thought the nickname didn’t matter anymore, but as of the next day, it still did.
I wish I could send some Michael Scott email about professionalism to the whole office.
It’s humiliating. If I even hear it out of a support staff member’s mouth, I’ll go postal.
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