Nick's Journal
2008-05-31 20:36:15 (UTC)

Force Majeure

I seem to have been striking out with employment recently.
First I work for a guy who hardly ever shows up, drinks at
work, and doesn't pay his employees until they hunt him down
at his office and threaten to break his kneecaps.
now i realize i just started this job, but the
overwhelmingly bad vibes i've gotten have just really left
me disheartened. i've worked for just about every type of
entity now. small law firms, mega-law firms, small
companies (family owned), sole proprietorships, and a

the corporation. it takes a lot of getting used to. you
see, i love the substantive work i do. and to be honest
with you i am thoroughly starting to enjoy explaining legal
issues to people with absolutely no legal background
(although that took some getting used to). the thing is,
i'm actually pleasantly surprised with how well people pick
up legal problems. at the same time, i'm also amazed by how
people look at legal issues as optional.
for example. i reviewed a marketing guy's advertisement
promotion for some discount we were having. i marked up his
work and sent it back to him adding a lot of that fine print
shit that noone ever reads, "can't be combined with other
offers, discounts, can't be redeemed for cash, etc."
well i check in with him the day it's going to print to see
if he has any questions and he writes to me that he,
"decided" to just go with the language that he orginally had.
i was completely dumbfounded. i don't know what part of my
e-mail in any way suggested that my language was optional.
and before you say that i'm being nit-picky let me tell you
about a bbb complaint i worked on this week.
this lady didn't read that the promotion had ended 9 days
before she placed her order. the promo was something like
get a free gift if you purchase $50 worth of our shit. well
she did so, didn't read the huge sign saying that the
promotion ended 9 days ago and checked out.
of course there was a big hullabaloo when she patiently
awaited her gift upon completing her order.
now in my opinion that sort of shit shouldn't be addressed
to the bbb. the bbb should handle purely fraudulent issues
or other dire circumstances, but this was just a case of a
pissed customer.
people just don't pay attention, feel stupid, then start
instigating. christ.

on to what i don't like about my job. there are three things:
1) my boss i bipolar. now if i hadn't worked with women
for the past 4 years in various professions i would say that
the whole stereotype of women being too emotional to hold
upper management would seem to fit right on the money.
fortunately i've had the chance to work with extremely
intelligent, completely rational and just all around awesome
women who were excellent lawyers and bosses to me.
this woman however. bipolar.
i went in one morning and she was shitting candy and pissing
"oh're so great, this is so great. you're doing
a wonderful job. just let me know if you have any questions."
that afternoon:
"what? oh...what is this? what is THIS? no, no, no, this
is all wrong. christ. look, you shouldn't come in here
with this if you haven't put in any effort."
the irony? what i brought in that afternoon was the same
thing i brought in that morning, with only the changes she
ahd suggested.
so i spoke with some of the people who had been working
there a while and tacitly dropped hints that our boss was a
"yeah, she has serious issues. go in after she's eaten.
what ever you do...NEVER go in between 12 and 1."
good to know.

2) the former coworkers are straight assholes. i say former
because they are slowly leaving. but god damn. one was
really cool, but of course she was the first to leave. the
other two guys are straight assholes. the one guy is
actually staying on. when i asked him for some help on the
california sales tax provisions he said,
"i'm not going to baby you, figure it out yourself."
oh i'm sorry. of course, the complex california sales tax
code is common knowledge. it just seems like it would be
more efficient to have someone who has worked on this shit
for a year help me, rather than read the entire fucking code.
but the other dude is an off the hook asshole. he raises
the bar with every breath he takes.
the first day i went to shake his hand and introduce myself.
he looked at my hand like it was covered in feces,
"don't take this personally, but i'm leaving in about two
weeks anyways, so i'm not gonna even bother to get to know you."
now. i've met a lot of people in my life. and after having
met this asshole i can safely say that the majority of
people aren't truly assholes. they can be rude, crude, and
just downright annoying, but this guy was a true asshole.
like the other day one of the new guys asked him, "where's
the conference room that our meeting will be in?" because
the corporation is a fucking rat maze, to which this asshole
"here's a thought. how about you read the map of our place.
or, if that's too hard for you, just follow me."
the guy who asked him was dumbfounded and at that point i
was about to put this fucker in an armbar.
but he topped it all off on his (thankfully) last day.
see everyone has a "going away" luncheon. well not this
guy. he has a "select-few" select luncheon. this is what
he seriously did:
he got up. stretched. so the rest of us new guys kind of
got up to put on our stuff. then he said, "yo, you ready to
get the others for my lunch?" to the other guy who had been
there a while (and who got on my case about the sales tax).
at this point the rest of us were kind of perplexed. others?
and then they just left. that was it.
so when he passed by we were about to join them when he
seriously said,
"i just want to keep this private guys."

3) procedure. i love the work. i hate the procedure.
corporations are steeped in beaucratic bullshit. for
example. my work goes through three levels of review to my
bipolar boss. the initial review - consists of me bringing
my initial comments and her tearing it apart. the
intermediary review - her reviewing my revision and that i
properly incorporated hers. the final review - this is when
the person for whom i did the revisions incorporates them,
creates a final product then sends it BACK to us, i look at
it again, and then my boss looks at it.
the first time i got through the initial review. you see.
every place i've ever worked for has prided itself over
efficiency. three levels of review strike me as
inefficient. so the first time she gave me her comments, i
incorporated them, created a final draft and sent it off.
well she blew up. man she was mad. and what really made me
angry about it all wasn't even the inefficiency, but the
fact that i was never told that there were three levels of
review! the fuck am i supposed to know
about that? it's not intuitive.
at first i thought it was just for new guys, but it's a
company-wide policy. what i hate about that is that it
shows no confidence in your employees. i want to work for
someone who feels that they don't have to look over my
shoulder every god-damned time i write something down.
so then the second part that i fucked up on procedure-wise
was that i "skipped" someone in the approval process. one
lady on the 12th floor has to approve a certain contract,
but it's not really essential, i don't even know how to
explain it. it's just retarded.
anyhow, i sent off a final draft and apparently she got wind
of my jumping her authority.
so she took the time to come to my floor (a huge task for
anyone in this corporation apparently) and let me have it.
"look, i just don't want you usurping my authority. i have
a place in this corporation and i'm sick and tired of this
legal department acting like i don't!"
when i told her that i had no idea that she was an essential
component, which, upon reflection could have been worded
better, she hit the roof.
i swear to god, her eyes rolled back into her head like the
undertaker and she started tearing up the shag carpet.

i love corporations.