Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tales from the Paper-Cut Trenches: The Sin of the 3 Minute Late Conference Call

Today was one of the most frustrating days I have had since being employed at a law firm. An attorney, we shall call him Robert, screamed and yelled at me in frustration. My computer issues caused a conference call to start an alarming 3 minutes late. This evidently was probable cause for an attitude.

Now, this wasn't my first time at the rodeo. It wasn't my first time being a "disappointment" and it wasn't my first time on the receiving end of the most high strung and verbal stinging group of people of the world. What made this frustrating to tears was 3 fold.

(1) It was a technical foul. Having computer issues is not my fault. I have no control over the decade old equipment on my desk. To yell orders with a frightening tone at me from your office, does not fix the issue but only causes everyone anxiety that is involved. Including the poor IT guy at my desk. I am the first one to admit and apologize when I do something inccorrectly but when it is not within my control it is the most frustrating feeling in the world.

(2) Robert is not my attorney. He is not assigned to me. He has someone else he could have asked to handle his issues. Stefany, the office bitch, is his assistant. (more about her in another post) When I went to ask Stefany to help him and I with our technical issues. She replied, literally with her nose in the air, that she did not have time to help. Maybe because she was too busy eating her morning croissant. I am always the first to volunteer to help assist other attorneys. I am the first to stay late, come in weekends, take on extra assignments and ask if someone else needs help. NO ONE IN THAT OFFICE EVER HELPS ME OR VOLUNTEERS TO HELP ME. When I ask for it, in a crunch like this, it would be nice to have some teamwork, some support. Stephany and Esther were out on Friday. Which means I had to cover for their 6 attorneys and my own on the day before a 3 day weekend after working 12 days straight. Did I complain? No. I guess I should have just eaten my croissant and ignored their absence.
(3) Robert, the frat boy from Berkley, thinks he is super cool get along with everyone guy. He also has a kid that's Nunu's age. We have hung out multiple times outside the office, had several lunches together and have even shared a few happy hours and play dates. For him to now "pull rank" and play Mr. Attorney talking down to the Secretary for filing her nails and not getting her job done is demeaning and uncalled for. If he knows me outside of work and has worked with me several months now, he should know that I am not purposefully causing his call not to happen. He should have sided with me and my technical issue, taken a deep breath and realized that shit happens sometimes and yelling at me across the office may not be the best thing for him to do. He better NEVER ask me for another play date.

This was maybe my third time crying at work. This time it was out of pure frustration and anger with nowhere to go with my emotions. I couldn't slap the shit out of Stefany and I couldn't tell Robert what a douchebag he was, so I was just stuck in the middle, floating and angry.

What made matters worse is Robert has the audacity to go to one of the partners of the firm and complain about the 3 minute call delay. Of course he doesn't matter the verbal abuse that I have already endured from him and therefore I am subjected to further abuse from the partner he chooses to "tell on me" to. I hate that this happened and I am left with no solutions. I hate that when you are a simple staff member you have no power against attorneys who are the upper level of the firm. I hate that as a woman you are chastised for being "too sensitive" and taking things "personally". I hate that when there is a human resource issue like this there is always a "next time you should do this..." speech at the end. When is should be a "next time he shouldn't be such a douche to you" speech.

I am feeling very wronged today. I am feeling very betrayed today. I am glad I have this blog to vent. I am more glad that I now will move forward and study for my LSAT in preparation of leaving this situation behind me. As an attorney, I vow to never treat my staff this way. It's attorneys like this that makes the world hate them.

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