Thursday, September 16, 2004

I just had dinner out with Anonymous Wife and then came back to the office to finish something up. I'd normally do the work from home, but it involves some files that are too big for me to want to take them home, and I was in the middle of it here so all of the papers are organized around my desk, and this shouldn't take too long anyway. The office is relatively empty, for 10:00 at night. About eight months ago, the nighttime cleaning staff switched its route and started coming by my office an hour later than they used to. I had internalized the cleaning staff coming to mean that I was here late, and haven't been able to adjust. Late doesn't begin now until an hour after it used to. I was thinking I'm probably not the only one who gauges his time here against the cleaning staff. If we could get them to start their shift two hours later than they do now, I wonder if people would stay later just on reflex: the cleaning staff hasn't come yet, so it's not time to leave. Similarly, if we were to change the time they can order dinner in and get it paid for by the firm to 10:00, would more people hold out and stay? Right now people wait the extra half-hour to get to 8:00 (and a free meal) a decent amount of the time. Less than they used to. If they're still working at 7:30, sometimes they'll stick around. So if we moved that time two hours later, maybe we get more work out of them. (Of course, I realize we could also just chain them to the desk.)

The associates aren't stupid - they will realize what you're doing. Noone is going to stay an extra 2 hours just for free chinese delivery. And if they feel slighted, they may start looking to lateral. The ones who will leave are likely to be some of your better performers. Making the atmosphere worse mid-stream is much worse than not having ever had the perk in the first place.
When the cleaning staff arrived at my old firm it meant that it was close to food ordering time. There was also one guy one the cleaning staff. When his girlfriend came, that's when I knew it was time to go home. You only want to walk in on the cleaning staff having sex in the conference room once.
Hey, I used to synchronize my clocks with the cleaning staff, too. When I was doing my undergraduate, the cleaning staff would come out of the woodworks at about 3am in the computing science building. That's when I knew it was definitely time to give up.
poster #1:
Yeah, probably. Or definitely if Poster #1 thought AL actually intends to set up the 'extra two hour dinner' plan. However, just as AL speculated . . . with the herd mentality that rules in those places . . it would almost be fun (cruel, but fun in a perverse kind of way) to try it just to see what would happen.

So you all think AL lives real close to his office or are you catching on that this is BS.
Its possible that Anonymous Wife met him in the city for dinner at a place near his office. Anyway, AL may be fictional, as the header to the blog says, or may not be, but I haven't seen him write about anything that is so outlandish as to convince me that it is purely the invention of someone's imagination.
Ha ha! From my padded leather chair here at Biglaw (with wrist irons and leg shackles conveniently built into all associate furniture), I often wonder if AL is posting from some cushy partner office down the hall from me. This blog frequently hits *very* close to home, which makes me wonder: Are all big firms exactly the same?
Yes. They are all the same; although some are worse than others. I don't know why anyone would want to work for a shitcan like a biglaw firm. Poor suckers.
Um, no. After spending almost nine years among two different east coast large firms, I have seen the light.

I too guage whether I am staying too late when the cleaning crew comes by. I like it after hours when the phone stops ringing off the hook and I can get more than 2 minutes worth of focused uninterrupted thought into whatever motion, trial preparation or research I may be working on. Its humerous to consider, but I do think moving the free dinner back two hours would probably allow associates to work later. Having a family, however, has definitely curbed this pleasure and I generally leave work when the cleaning crew arrives.

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