Monday, March 08, 2010

Passively being aggressive

I don’t act out in public. At least not too often.

Yet, I find certain parts of my job more and more frustrating. Usually, this has to deal with the people that I come in contact with on a daily basis. Other times it has to do with my own stupidity. As a result, I have to find ways to let out my displeasure in ways that don’t end up with me a) losing my law license, b) in jail or c) both.

Thus, I have adopted petty subtle ways to ensure that my mental health stays in a good working order:

What you do: You refer to yourself as Mr. this or Ms. that.
Example: “My name is Mr. Smith and I am with XYZ doctor’s office”
Why I have a problem with this: I’ve gone through seven years of higher education, I’ve past a bar exam and have a job as a lawyer. I don’t feel that I deserve any special treatment just because of this, I want people to use my first name. I only use Mister or Miss to someone that deserves respect (or happens to be a friends parent).
My response: I address you by your first name. If you’re a real peach, I’ll add extra emphasis or go to a nickname. [You’re name is Daphne? Ok, Daffy…]

What you do: You demand to talk to my partner because as the associate, I “can’t help you.”
Example: Me “I think I can help you” You “I only want to talk to the partner, I don’t think you can help me…”
Why I have a problem with this: These people tend to be idiots. They believe that the more impressive the title, the news that they are getting will be better. This is not how it works at my firm. I work in lockstep with my partner only I get tasked dealing with the clients
My response: I put you on hold for several minutes and then inform you either a) my partner is in a meeting or b) I have no idea how to transfer your call because they don’t teach that IN LAW SCHOOL. [I must have missed that day in BarBri though…]

What you do: Channel assholedom in motion practice.
Example: I spend twenty minutes on the phone with a particular attorney discussing the upcoming discovery events that we both have to meet. No where in this conversation does he mention that he has filed a Motion to Compel which I receive seconds after hanging up with this particular lawyer.
Why I have a problem with this: Seriously? You have to ask?
My response: Sarcasm + Thesaurus = Wordplay. [That then are removed when my partner reviews my proposed reply brief] “Defense’s counsel’s sophomoric machinations that Plaintiff’s counsel has somehow violated the applicable discovery rules is an argument that at best is equal part laughable, part ludicrous that is served shaken, not stirred, in a frilly glass with an umbrella.”

It’s either this or I end up punching someone in the throat. And no one wins in that scenario.