Monday, June 18, 2007

Time Flies

Wow. I just realized it had been over a week since I posted anything. I hate when that happens!

I wish I could say that it was because I was having a great time, but that's not the case. Work interferes in ways that I can't always control or predict, and it felt like I was doing very well to just read what was going on in other people's lives.

We had a practice group meeting Wednesday – the attorneys were asked to stay after, because Managing Partner had a bone to pick with everyone about their time. One of the others had something to say as well.

Apparently, the firm has written off a total of $300K+ this year, compared to $60K as of about the same time. Plus, the amount of time billed is 1000 hours less for the same time period from last year. Which is a bad thing. That amounts to about $450K down from the same time period last year, and they can’t afford to do that. Nobody can.

Since those of us who aren’t billing attorneys don’t have any information about what gets written down, it was a surprise to us, but supposedly the one guy was going to sit down with each of us and talk about it. I haven’t seen/heard from him all week, so I’m just keeping my head down.

The fun part was, Managing Partner sniped at me in front of the whole group because I had only billed 110 hours last month. I told him that I had gone to one of the guys who has been complaining that he's overloaded 2 or 3 weeks ago to ask for work and I never heard back. Short of parking my behind on his desk, I didn't have any other options.

Apparently, other attorneys in the room were stung for me – one guy called another attorney after the meeting, because she wasn’t there, and he said that Managing Partner had done that but that I’d refuted his charge well. One of my other friends said I looked like I was still upset by it, but that it was good that I was “soldiering on.”

I didn’t want to say anything to them about it, but as far as I was concerned, Managing Partner’s comment only made him look bad himself. I don’t know what he thought he would accomplish by doing that – if he thought I would get emotional in front of everyone or get in his face or make excuses or whatever, he underestimated me greatly.

For some reason, I keep thinking about that story about the bird who fell out of the tree into the snow in the dead of winter. The bird was almost frozen to death when a bull pooped on it. The poop warmed the bird up, and he began to sing. A passing cat heard the singing, dug the bird out of the poop and ate it. Moral: Not everyone who puts you in shit is your enemy; not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend; and, when you’re in deep shit, for heaven’s sake, don’t sing!

I’ve gotten good reports from other people – the one friend has been so cool about giving me good feedback, and another guy was over the moon about that appeal brief and the job I did on a motion hearing (without any complaining, thank you very much). This other partner, too, is good about telling me when I do a good job.

The thing is, I think that with some people, the fact that I don’t mix with others can send a message that I’m not as good as they are. I’m just not that type of person – I keep my mouth shut and I do my work. I’ve had people bigger and more powerful than the Managing Partner yell at me in front of more people, and it just doesn’t rattle me. I’ve gone nose to nose with my dad and my oldest brother – these guys are pipsqueaks compared to either one of them.

I still remember that one New Year’s Eve that my parents went out and my oldest brother and I were home. My parents had 2 boxer puppies at the time, and my brother started squirting the dogs while they were locked up in their cage. He refused to stop until/unless I listened to something he wanted me to listen to. We ended up fighting, and even though I ended up with muscle strain and PTSD afterwards, I didn’t give up. You can say whatever you want about the intelligence of that, but not many people will take on a soldier – let alone a Marine – over something like that. (The good news was, while he was dealing with me, he wasn’t tormenting the dogs).

Anyway, that’s why I say, I’ve dealt with bigger and more powerful bullies than him.

The funny thing was, I was walking my dog at lunchtime, and all I could think of was that song from the 1940s – “Ven der Fuehrer says, "Ve iss der master race," Ve HEIL! [phlebth!] HEIL! [phlebth!] Right in der Fuehrer's face! Not to luff der Fuehrer iss a great disgrace, So Ve HEIL! [phlebth!] HEIL! [phlebth!] Right in der Fuehrer's face!” Not something I want to spread around the office, but still highly amusing and destressifying.

So, now you're caught up. :)

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