Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Poppin' Fresh? Not Exactly . . . (Part One)

Way back in the dark ages, I worked at a large law firm in Phoenix doing litigation. One of the senior associates there was a fellow named... well, let’s just call him B, ok? (Because his name started with “B” and because “Bastard” also starts with “B” and so it just sort of "matches.")

B was ... well ... round. Not fat, exactly. But he had a round belly. A round face. The overall effect was just sort of ... round. And he was sort of pasty white, too. And he liked to wear white shirts. He did not believe you could be a lawyer and wear a blue or yellow or striped shirt. It had to be starched white. He always took off his tie and jacket in the office. So the overall effect was a little like Poppin’ Fresh (you know, that sweet giggly Pillsbury Doughboy character that stands for all things good and delicious?)... All he needed was the chef’s hat.

But his demeanor was not smiley and chuckley like Poppin’ Fresh. In fact, B was about as opposite of Poppin’ Fresh as a person could get, personality-wise.

Every firm has one like him. The junior associates are terrified of him because he likes to yell at them randomly and assign impossible tasks at 4:00 p.m. to be handed in to him “by tomorrow morning.” The senior associates admit he’s a jerk, but they don’t have to work for him so they ignore it. The partners all think he’s brilliant (thanks to the fantastic work provided to him on short notice by the junior associates), so he is immune to any complaints the junior associates might have about him.

The junior associates develop coping mechanisms. They warn each other when he’s on a rampage so that they can all go hide in various conference rooms and dark recesses of the library, hoping not to be his next victim. They help each other with research when necessary, so everyone can meet his impossible deadlines. They listen to each other rant about how awful he is, and they laugh together about how stupid he can be.

And then they cry alone in their offices at 3 a.m. when all the other associates - heck, the entire huge firm full of lawyers, legal assistants, paralegals, and even the housekeeping and plant-watering staff - have all gone home, and the impossible project remains unfinished and it has become clear that not only will the associate not get any sleep, but also will be lucky to finish the project by 5 p.m. the next day, forget the morning deadline....

(to be continued - but right now I have to do some actual work - now don't get sarcastic on me, yes I do actually work sometimes)


SkylersDad said...

I was always the one who argued when assigned impossible tasks. Maybe that is why my career has been such a crappy one?

Dave said...

Now ya got me re-thinking my love for nice white shirts!

Gwen said...

I've been lucky in my legal career and never had to work directly for or with a PDB (Pillsbury Dough Boy) but I've seen them in action and it is truly soul-sucking. Can't wait to see how this ends.

Mulled Vine said...

I look forward to Part Deux. I am of course hoping he gets squashed or at least humiliated like a little bug in some freak act of God, but then this aint the movies. :)

Gaston Studio said...

I wanted to be a lawyer when I grew up... kinda glad I didn't do it after reading this!