Monday, September 13, 2004

I just sent an e-mail to the IT department asking them if there's any way we can remove solitaire from the computers on the network. I'm fed up. I went to talk to an associate today, an associate who was supposed to be working on a project for me, and I know he was playing soliatire when I walked in. He's supposed to be working. I started asking him about his progress, and he continued to play solitaire. As if I couldn't tell because I wasn't facing the screen. I know what it looks like. I've guest lectured in law school classes before. I know what it looks like. I don't know what's wrong with this generation. We've given them too many toys. They can't focus on a task. They sit there facing the screen for hours. Playing solitaire. I wish I could fire everyone who plays solitaire. I think it demonstrates weakness of character. I think they think we don't know. They think we don't realize we're paying them for hours of nothing. Should ban the whole Internet. Let them find cases in the books like we did. Spending six hours in the library is character-building. Spending six hours playing solitaire is lazy, mind-numbing and insulting to the partnership who pays them.

I thought the extent of their duties was to collate paper, and staple things. Now you want the peons to think? Make up your mind.
Wait, don't you mean every computer except *yours*? You're telling us that you don't play solitaire when you're supposed to be working? Or is it that you've moved onto better games, like Word Mojo or Bookworm?
AL: It is no wonder the world is in the state it is in, with your hippie generation running things. You were doing okay until: "Let them find cases in the books like we did. Spending six hours in the library is character-building. Spending six hours playing solitaire is lazy, mind-numbing and insulting to the partnership who pays them." I agree that any associate playing solitaire is a moron. But don't revert to tired, incorrect, stupid insults to "this generation." For one thing, we'd be happy to use the books for 6 hours. But we have different standards. I find directly on-point cases decided just yesterday, and I find them in 32 seconds, weekly, for a moron partner who can't find the on button on a computer. She's a moron, and she's slow, in everything she does, and she charges $480 an hour to bill 7.0 for every .5 she really works.

"Ban the whole internet." Another stupid comment.

And how much time do you spend at work blogging? You're a mere employee in today's world too.

I doubt any of your associates are spending 6 hours at any one stretch playing solitaire. If they are, they are wasting their own time (they should read or write an article instead, in my opinion)--but if they have the time, it is because you and your partners have failed to bring in enough business.

Jeez, this post has multiple layers and I'm getting frustrated. I don't want to make this comment too long. Your comment that reading the books for 6 hours is "character-building" is insulting to all non-lawyers, not just modern associates? Doing library research in a fancy air conditioned library for 6 hours is easy. More proof your head is up in the clouds and you're out of touch, like most hippie generation midlevel, bitter partners.

Your post is full of other stupid comments. "We've given them too many toys." I'm really disappointed, actually, in this new post. It sounds like you got it from a low-level news show from 1994. You include all the cliches about "Gen X" that have since been proven false. What did you have to do with any modern technological invention? In fact, the generation about which [I gather] you complain, the late 20 somethings/early 30 somethings, are the ones who created the new technological toys! We gave ourselves the toys, not your generation. Computers, the internet, email, etc. were still in dinosour mode a mere 5 years ago, let alone 10, literally, until the Generation X generation was able to start getting into the company jobs that allowed them to make it take off.

Consider blogging. Even things like your blog did not exist just 2 years ago. And you want to "ban the whole internet"; I'm surprised, since you're obviously fairly technologically savvy.

Also, many associates do still use the books too. A good researcher uses the books and the computer resources, if the cost can be justified. Perhaps you have a bad apple associate?

Finally, I'm 100% confident that the reason you had to go to the associate's office was to say "how's it coming?" because it has been so long since you did any real work on your own, you are helpless and cannot do anything--you have no control whatsoever over it--to ensure that your client gets acceptable service or results. What you do is go to associates' offices and "hover" and say, "how's it comin'?" as they "work on projects for you," and count your lucky stars you have them to do the work. Think about it. Why did you have time to go to the associate's office? Because you didn't have anything real to do; think about it and be honest with yourself. You have little work, and what needs to be done, you can't do--all you can do is get bright young associates who still have some brain cells left to do it for you.

I know I can't reach you because you're a 40 or 50 something partner--brainwashed, numb, and tired. When was the last time you did any work--actually read something and learned something new and had to put pen to paper? What value did you add to your clients' life or business situation for the time [dollars] you charged today?
We actually had a staff person, a secretary, request that the games be taken off her computer once. I can't recall the reason why. Acting on her request, the IT contractor was called and opined that they could not be removed.
Better ban access to the fantasy football too -- I hear that one is a major time eater. Don't worry if the Induce Act proposal goes through the internet will be banned soon enough.
Assuming that you're using Windows, I can't see why the IT department had so much trouble removing it from the computer - I could remove it from my system in two minutes flat.

But then again, I'm not a computer tech working at a big firm - maybe the computer systems are wired differently.
I can relate to your frustration. I once had a co-worker, who was planning to retire soon. She played solitaire for nearly the entire last year she was with us. You would think businesses could automatically load office computers with a system that didn't include games. However, there are several online games (which the same co-worker liked to tell me about), and I believe simple game packages can also be downloaded. You may be fighting a never-ending battle...?
Anonymous 8:07 -- there's a trigger-happy guy who calls himself I_HATE_SOFTBALL on greedyassociates who sounds just like you.
LOL! this one of the funniest posts ever!
Secretaries playing solitaire can be aggravating to lawyers who are working on a deadline. Likewise, lawyers playing on the computer are aggravating to secretaries who know the lawyers have deadlines. I suppose this is ture of associates/partners also.

However, I once had a secretary who openly played solitaire, listened to the radio, and conducted a couple of side businesses from her desk. It was aggravating, but she was so efficient, I never said anything. All in all, tolerating her particular diversions made her a happier employee, and didn't distract from her work, as she was so good at it.
It should be simple for your IT department to remove the games. (I'm a software engineer; I actually deleted the games from my work computer to remove the temptation.) If you have them do it without telling anyone in advance, it might send a message that they need to cut down.
I love/hate the online backgammon at Sooner or later the work gets done, you just feel crappy wasting time beforehand.
wow, so many uptight people in the comment section.
"wow, so many uptight people in the comment section."

Maybe, maybe not.

One thing that seems to occur in law offices, and probably other offices, is that when a person is really busy, usually with a deadline that is expiring, those who are less busy draw attention. I've noted that myself. It certainly use to be the case that if I was working on something due today, it seemed like everyone else was taking the day off at the office.

However, it is also the case that secretaries that know their lawyer has a deadline, or associates who are working on a project that is due, will become reallly aggravated by partners who seem to be working on nothing in particular.

Finally, some people under high stress look for minor irritants to correct. It may seem odd, but right before major deadlines it seems to be the case that some people, whom you think would be focused on their big project, instead look for some irritating little worry to correct. That's also aggravating to the person who is getting corrected, as it usually seems pretty heavy handed and comes out of the blue.
Yeoman lawyer: I concur!

Really, AL, get over yourself. Plenty of perfectly efficient and competent people play games. Not everyone feels the need to run on high all day. Some people take breaks. It's normal. In fact, people who don't take breaks have their priorities screwed up. Besides, I seriously doubt any of your employees are doing it 6 hours a day, unless business is really slow. Firms, partners and senior associates need to stop trying to control people. For one thing, it is futile (aren't you were married?). For another, its just down right petty. In your case, it also happens to be highly hipocritical.
Is wasting time at work reading blogs better than playing solitaire?

Just wondering....
"Spending six hours playing solitaire is lazy, mind-numbing and insulting to the partnership who pays them."

Associates at big corporate firms are invariably bright, driven, type A personalities. They have been wooed to a firm by promises of prestige, training and cutting edge work. It is insulting to these people to hire them and then fail to generate enough work for them to do. Blame yourself.
Exactly to the last comment re it is the partnership's failure to deliver enough good work.

I do have to say thank you to AL for keeping this thing going; it is a fun read.
Anonymous 6:26, I know. Not him though. He's not alone in some respects.
This is a brave June post from AL I just happened across--this entire blog is fascinating:

I think I have a crush on one of the summer associates, even though she's from a second-tier school. I've been contacting her about more and more assignments recently, even though her work product is nothing special and I'm technically supposed to spread work around to as many summer associates as I can, so I get to know them all. But whenever I pass her in the hall, I feel happy inside, and can't resist thinking of her first whenever I've got some due diligence that needs to get done, or just some documents that need to be put in sequential order. I don't think she's noticed my crush -- if she has, she hasn't made it obvious to me. But I find myself noticing what she's wearing, and looking into her bright blue eyes, and imagining what she must look like in something a lot more casual than business attire. I'm angling to make sure she's on the team I'm advising in our mock transaction deal we're doing with the summers in a few weeks, and I'm trying to set up a lunch to invite her to. Plus, the chance to see her in a swimsuit may be what gets me to the beach outing. I'd never actually act on any of this, of course, but it's nice to feel these feelings. Obviously she'll be getting an offer.

# posted by Anonymous @ 9:58 AM 12 comments

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