Wednesday, July 24, 2013

It's the Relationship, Stupid—What a Fictional Law Firm Can Teach Us about Authenticity in the Workplace

One of my favorite shows, Suits, has returned for a third season.

For those not in the know, this drama centers on the happenings at a hard-edged, upscale New York law firm. What makes the firm upscale? The offices are modern and expensive, and all the employees are sleek and good looking with the best hair and accessories. And I mean all the employees, including the support staff. And the men.

The two principal characters are Harvey, a veteran lawyer and partner in the firm, and Mike, a young, idealistic associate with a troubled past who actually doesn’t have a law degree—or any degree—but who more than makes up for that with his photographic memory and general all-around smarts. Harvey knows that Mike doesn’t have a degree, and he’s been covering for Mike because he’s just that good and because they share a special mentor/mentee relationship.

Well, they did until the very end of last season, when all heck broke loose with this one betraying that one and this going behind that one’s back, and I’m here to tell you, by the season’s end hardly anyone in the firm was speaking to anyone else in the firm.

And so this season opened with everyone confronting every other one and saying stuff like “You hurt me” or “I’m sorry. How long will it take for you to forgive me?” and “This is NOT what loyalty looks like,” or “Let’s start over,” and you get the picture.

People are being honest here. People aren't afraid to show a little vulnerability. A little humanity.

As a result, some relationships are on the mend but others not so much, and my point in all this is—

How refreshing. What audacity!

People, this is a take-no-prisoners-we-are-winners-that’s-who-we-are law firm, but these characters aren’t dumb. They know what’s important in life and in work, and that would be relationships

Because we’re all human with our human feelings, and that’s a fact the workplace can't change. (Try, try, try, as it might.)

So, I applaud all the well-dressed, perfectly groomed, perfectly scripted characters of Suits, because they know how to get down, dirty, and messy in the quest for those authentic relationships that we hear so much about but can rarely find to emulate, especially at work.

What about you? What are you doing to “keep it real” at the office?

1 comment:

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