Archive | March, 2010

How to Fail in Business Without Even Trying

31 Mar

My bosses have a golden lottery ticket in their hands and instead of cashing it in for millions (hell, even thousands), they casually decide to wipe their butts with it instead.  I do NOT get it.   You start a business that is now in it’s fourth year, we have no profit and yet you still do absolutely no marketing, no budget analysis, no consistent billing, no anything…you just sit around and talk about how awesome you are and far better lawyers than anyone in the city.   I came to work here hoping it’d be a success….yes, I actually believed in the product.   Too bad there was not a money-back guarantee.  

I was so full of hope and promise as the newly-appointed office administrator, but it has since been beaten out of me.  Bad Bosses love to bring up the subject of “projects” but they never materialize.  Am I a Disgruntled Know It All Manager?  Heavens no….but, I can state with all certainty that you have to seek clients to grow business, get your name out there to develop name recognition, that some rules are there for a reason in order to prevent total chaos, and one actually needs to send out bills to get paid.  Getting paid is what keeps us in business.  It’s a pretty tried and true business model.  Maybe I should just hand them $100 bills to flush down the toilet on a daily basis.

Is this just a hobby for them, something to do to feel good about themselves and pass the time because Bad Bosses are independently wealthy or have spouses with big-wig jobs?   For me, it was an investment.   Sadly, not a good one.   I can suggest improvements, money-saving procedures or anything that would help get us out of this flat-lining business until I am hoarse and sick of hearing my own voice.  Instead, I am doomed to suffer the same fate as the mythological character, Cassandra.   Granted the gift of seeing the future, yet no one ever believed her predictions.  It was said about Cassandra –  “She evokes the same awe, horror and pity as do schizophrenics, who often combine deep, true insight with utter helplessness, and who retreat into madness.”  Yep, I’m retreating.

Tomorrow – Brainless Coworkers

You Want to Put What WHERE?

30 Mar

Explain to me how one can be in office space the size of Rhode Island…and, yet, Bad Boss still wants to put his damn files in my drawers? I occupy a very small portion of our 10,000 square feet office. I don’t ask for much! I came in the other day and Bad Boss had moved all the stuff out of the two filing cabinets behind me and put his files in there! Yes, I realize he is the boss, but really? Now I have a new partner telling me he is going to move my filing cabinet so he can put his filing cabinet there. It is the oddest power struggle I’ve ever seen…besides the window space battle. There is plenty of other space in the office!  Do they not want to walk more than 10 feet? Is this some lawyer/staff version of marking your territory and pissing on a tree?

I should have remembered, because he did that to me at the last law firm we were in together as well, but I must have blocked that memory. Isn’t it funny how you tend to remember the good things about a boss if you’ve ever followed him to a new position in a new firm? “Oh, that Bad Boss is really a Good Boss when you clear away the fluff!” “He is just very intense.” “He means well…” – well, guess what folks?  He is the same person that used to bug the living hell out of you when you worked for him previously! Don’t romanticize it! Nothing like getting to the new position and after a couple of weeks (when the honeymoon is over) having a dim wattage lightbulb go off in your head that says “Oh yeah, he IS a royal pain in the ass. What was I thinking??!”   I’ve got to go move some files….

Tomorrow – How to Fail in Business Without Even Trying

Lawyer Pissing Contests

29 Mar

Gosh, that sounds unpleasant, doesn’t it?   I’m talking figuratively, of course.  Lawyers running around the office beating their chests and demanding respect.   Let me tell you, it IS unpleasant…downright nauseating.  In my old law firm there was once a big turmoil between two partners on my floor.   Unfortunately, I was acting floor manager that day, so I was lucky enough to have to deal with it.   Hmmm…what were they fighting over?  Stealing of the credit for a new big deal?   One telling the other that he didn’t go to Harvard or an ivy league college, so therefore he was a lesser human being with limited brain function?   No.  One partner was unbelievably upset because he felt the other partner had approximately 1 more foot of window space than he did.  Yep, that’s right.   One effing more foot of window space – who gives a rat’s ass?  These are fellows making $800,000 to $1.6 million annually and they are upset about another office possibly having more window space.   Most staff wonder if they have enough money for lunch for the week.  Kind of puts things in perspective, huh?  

Other common pissing contest categories – who went to what college (you are nothing if you didn’t graduate in the top 2% of your class from a nationally recognized law school or university), who knows whom (name-dropping and who can drop the biggest) , new deals (who has what and who actually reeled it in), who has the nicest watch, who drives the most expensive car, who has a nanny and a housekeeper, and the list goes on.

Sirs, in the scheme of things, you have gotten so drunk with power and your self-perceived importance, that you can’t even see that these things DO NOT MATTER in life.   What matters is if you are a good human being, kind, considerate of the folks that make a gajillion less than you that work their asses off every day to help you….we don’t care about your window space.   Actually, we just think you must be really unhappy or have a small wee wee.  

Tomorrow – You Want to Put What WHERE??

What Do You Mean You Want a Day Off?!

28 Mar

Why is it that when I ask for a day off, Bad Boss seems to think I am speaking Arabic?   “You want what?”  Yes, I know it is hard to comprehend, but I’m actually not an android programmed for your mere existence…to always be here, to stay one step ahead of you, to read your mind, to anticipate your every need, and to never fail you.   I am merely human.  Sometimes I have a life and therefore would like to take a day off for something you are not aware of – rest and relaxation, a/k/a enjoyment.  One time I asked a Bad Boss off for one mere day (it had been several months since my last day off) and he said “no” before I could finish my sentence – PARDON??   He told me I could not have the day off unless I could get our giant law firm to personally guarantee that they’d put a fill-in at my desk solely to answer his phone in case it rang.  I was so furious I went back to my desk and fought back tears.  Now, of course, I am more jaded and would not hesitate to begin plotting my revenge on his soul and how to ruin his law practice. Luckily for me and as predicted, he did that all on his own later.  The only people that even called that bastard were his father and whatever dates he hooked after trolling a dating service all day while at work.  

Bosses, give your hard working employees a day off sometimes.  I don’t mean the usual employees that take every day off they can possibly cram into a year without hesistation and then some…I mean the ones that really are there for you day in and day out over the years.  Don’t question them about why they need it off, don’t groan, don’t do loud sighs, don’t be a pouty baby about it the rest of the day – again, you are shouting to the world just what an ass you are.  Just give them a quick smile, say “no problem” and tell them to have a great day.  You’d be amazed at the work productivity and loyalty you’d get in return. 

Tomorrow – “Lawyer Pissing Contests”

Bad Male Office Habits

27 Mar

I work with a lot of male lawyers and always have – they have some distinct habits, all of them unpleasant.   So I don’t sound totally bitchy, I will say this is not all men….just more than the majority.

1) Taking the front desk newspaper to the bathroom to read while pooing.   Sirs, UCK.  Do you think we don’t notice when you come by the reception desk, give us a hearty hello, pick  up the newspaper and then walk to the bathroom in plain view, come back in 20 minutes clearly pleased with yourselves (with folded newspaper in hand) and then put it BACK ON THE RECEPTION DESK?!   We don’t want to see it, touch it, (God help us…catch a whiff of it), think about it – we want it no where near us!   Could you try to be a little more subtle?

2) Dishes in sink.  Ok, I’m not sure if you noticed, but we are a small law firm and do not have our own housekeeping department to come behind you and clean up your mess.   It is demeaning.  We really hate it when you put a half-eaten plate of food by or in the sink…do you think elves come and clean it off or do you think the plate mysteriously cleans itself?  It doesn’t, rocket scientist.

3) Leave empty soda 12-packs in fridge.   I don’t know about you, but I have personally realized that if you don’t put shit in the fridge, it won’t be there for you to drink later.  The entire supply of sodas and waters is about 5 feet from your head by the fridge…if you drink the last soda (you can take notes if needed here), throw out the empty carton (that’d be the one with nothing in it) and put in a new one.  Please contact me if you need instructions on how to open said 12-pack.

4) Walk down the hallway farting.  Yes, we hear you and it is disgusting as hell.  Stop it.

I’ll close with four today…it is the weekend after all.   I just find it continually amazing that these guys cannot, will not, do anything for themselves – anything.   If you work in an office, sirs, just once in a while try to heed one of the above-referenced suggestions and you will be a rock star to the staff.   If not, we’ll just continue to think you are an inconsiderate bastard and talk about what an inconsiderate bastard you are behind your back.

Tomorrow  – “What Do You Mean You Want a Day Off?”

Get Out of My Bathroom!

26 Mar

Bathroom interlopers – we’ve all seen them…hell, we’ve all probably been them at one point or another in our professional careers.  (Side note: For the lack of a better term in my mind at the moment that is not merely saying “shit”…I’m going to use the word “poo” here several times. )   I’m talking about people that sneak onto my floor in my office building and go poo in my restroom!!   HELLO!   Our firm is the sole resident on a floor in an office building in a series of buildings – there are 5 women here.   I know who is supposed to be in the ladies room and who does not belong.  Frankly, I went years without pooing at my work place because I was too horrified to do so, but now…sometimes..well, I can only take so much of such pressure.  I’ve got other things to deal with and people in my face all day long, I just want 2 minutes of solitude.  I’m not going to clench and run from floor to floor.  If I’m crowning…well, I’ve got very limited time!  I’ve paid my dues!  Let me poo in peace if , God forbid, I have to go at work!   The last thing I need is coming face to face with some strange woman and the look of shame that is exchanged between us.   However, this is MY poo floor!  Not yours!   We pay our lease…go crap on your own fricking floor!

Also, to you bathroom cell phone users out there – don’t come in my bathroom and use your damn cell phone.  There is a little couch in our bathroom…and I mean little.  It is not like the sitting rooms you see in a Macy’s restroom.   Sometimes there are women in there when I race in and they are happily talking away on their cell phones – jesus, people.   What the hell?   This building has a huge lobby, a beautiful outside area – get your ass out there on the phone!  If I have to poo, I grumble obscenities and turn around and leave…I’m sure they hear me.   I have been working on a series of signs I want to put up in there.  “If This Isn’t Your Floor, Get The Fu** Out!”  “Pooing for 24th Floor Residents Only” “Do Not Use Your GD Phone In Here or I’ll Take It, Wipe With It and Flush You Both”   – I’m dying to do it.

For those of you that can poo with your head held high, whenever, wherever and however – I salute you.   

Tomorrow – “Bad Male Office Habits”

[I will keep posting on weekends…I enjoy this so much and I sincerely appreciate that it is making some of you have a moment of laughter!  God knows, we need to laugh more!]

5 Ways to Annoy Your Controlling/Conservative Boss

25 Mar

Actually, Bad Boss is annoyed by nearly everything and he switches it up on me at any given time.   One thing that may delight him one day can take a nasty turn and annoy him the next.   I try to make it a game.  One can never overtly try to get on his nerves or the Tasmanian Devil may be released and let me tell you, folks…it ain’t pretty.   I compare it to walking a tightrope…if you’re careful, you will get across and be cheered by the crowd…if you make a slip, you plummet to a painful death. 

Here are some common trends that I have found are usually effective in getting on his nerves in a very subtle way:

1) Openly talk with other lawyers in the office about how great they are doing with their business/hours (within earshot of Bad Boss)   – extra points if you can bring up a former lawyer you both used to work with and how their business is flourishing.

2) Make noise – be careful here – must be crafty.   Ice clinking in your glass at your desk, shuffling papers loudly, pen clicking…you get the idea.  Once Bad Boss came out of his office to tell me the ice in my glass was clinking too much when I was drinking – no  kidding.  I just figured it was one of those days when he couldn’t think of anything better to get on to me about.

3) Use two different size fonts when working on revision documents – just one word perhaps and I’m only talking 12 pt. to 11 pt. or use different spacing criteria between paragraphs.

4) Rearrange things here and there in the office.   Put the 3 hole punch just out of reach, move the electric stapler to another outlet….that type thing.   Unless you have “asked” him if you “can” do such things…it’ll bug him, I promise.

5) Mention Whoopi Goldberg or Nancy Pelosi in a conversation with anyone in the office within hearing range of Bad Boss.

That’s it for today…try a few of these things for your own delight.

Tomorrow – “Get Out of My Bathroom!!”

To Hell with the Earth, I’ve Got a Law Firm to Run!

24 Mar

My boss hates recycling.   Let me rephrase that…my boss despises recycling.   He has expressly forbidden me to do any recycling of anything in our office.  Being that I feel responsible for killing future children and that my actions may cause our sun to die, I do it anyway.   One of the other lawyers sees me sneak out recycling bags late in the evening, but so far has not ratted me out.   I’m sure he will blackmail me with it one day. 

We drink canned sodas and bottled waters in our offices.  Everyone seems to want their own flavor of everything.   Bad Boss drinks as many 20 oz. bottles of water as he can swill a day and then happily leaves a trail of water bottles around the office like bait just daring me to collect them.  I’ve finally learned to try to wait him out and then I sneak them out of the trash.  Sometimes I take a look at myself and think “My God, I’m actually having to SNEAK recycling out of the trash!   What the hell?!”   If I’m not quick enough on my feet to outsmart him, he also likes to throw away our recycled paper before I can put it in the shredding bin.   It’s not like I make it hard to recycle!   I keep it neat and clean…it could be done with one release of his hand!  He tolerates a few blue recycle bins around the office, but he will not put things in there and he’s told me NOT to empty them.  

I’m also one of those “crazies” that returns the HP toner cartridges from our printers to HP for recycling.  Hell, they are paying the shipping, why shouldn’t I?  I get pictures in my head of landfills overflowing with the things!   Bad Boss saw my very tidy stash hidden under my desk recently and told me…TOLD ME to “throw them in the trash and they’ll go to the landfill…it won’t matter”.   Ok, folks…he has 4 young fricking kids!  I tried that argument about preserving the earth for his spawn, but he laughed me off and said that the ozone problems and the filling up of our landfills was merely a myth.   You know, I’d forgotten he was also a geothermal scientist!   Silly me! 

I wonder if I could actually get fired for recycling?   I’d hang my head in shame at the unemployment office and they’d ask me “Why did you leave your last job?” and I’d have to say “I recycled.”  

Coming Tomorrow – “How to Annoy Your Controlling Boss”

Things You May Not Have Realized (Open Letter to Lawyers Everywhere)

23 Mar

1) My sole work existence is actually to work for you – to make your life easier.  It is what you hired me to do and what I’m damn good at, so don’t treat me like a pain in your ass when I have a suggestion or need to ask you a question.  It will backfire on you eventually.

2) The folks that work for you are human beings.  Ok, try to grasp this…I’ll type slowly…they have LIVES, they have responsibilities just like you…fiscally, physically and emotionally and they are trying to meet those responsibilities with 1/8th of the salary you make…so don’t go out of your way to be an asshole.  It’s hard enough as it is. 

3) Sadly for most staff, lawyers love to hear themselves talk, but never really do anything…about anything.   We all know it, so save your breath.  You are using up my oxygen.

4) I don’t like you nearly as much as when I took this job.  I’ve tried really, really hard….but you’ve taken countless opportunities to blow it. 

5) If you break any of the rules above…it will most certainly result in a sick day for me because it’s the only thing you’ve left me that I can use to invest in myself and my well-being.

On a positive note…I am very thankful to be employed in this current economy…but even conscientious humans have their limit.   We should be so happy we are here together as a team….but I seem to be the only one that thinks so!

Tomorrow – “To Hell with the Earth, We’ve Got a Law Firm to Run!”

Healthcare Reform and Conservative Republican Lawyers Do Not Mix

22 Mar

Ahhhhh….while many folks are celebrating historic healthcare reform in the U.S., my bosses are downright grumpy as hell about it.    I work with very conservative Republican white men, who regularly like to discuss how awful everyone else is.  Lesson 1 – lawyers are cheap, cheap, cheap.  They cannot bear the thought of other people being helped out and it pisses them off to no end.  Lesson 2 – although most lawyers do not like to share their money, they DO like to share their crappy moods and make others around them just as miserable.    Friday, my main boss, was a complete terd ALL day (of which he usually needs no encouragement).   At the end of the day, he says “I’m sorry I’m so grumpy, but this healthcare shit going on in the U.S. really pisses me off.”   Great – I’m in for a fantastic, delightful week.