Thursday, August 25, 2005

I'm quickly checking some billing reports before sending them down to a fourth-year associate to put together to send to the client. This client is not going to be happy, but that's what he gets for making it a habit of calling with problems at six at night instead of nine in the morning. No one admits it, but an hour worked at three in the morning is significantly shorter than an hour worked at noon. It's impossible not to take it out on a client when you know he's the reason you're in the office instead of home alphabetizing your DVD collection, or whatever else associates do nowadays after the firm has rid them of all the hobbies they had before they came to work here. At three in the morning, you work for twenty minutes and it's impossible to resist the temptation to put a full hour on the time sheet. It's impossible to resist the urge to bill the client for the ten minutes you spend checking e-mail, the five minutes checking your stock portfolio, the fifteen minutes checking out what you can buy with your frequent flier miles, and the six minutes reading the Victoria's Secret catalog online, since it's the closest thing to porn that isn't going to get flagged if anyone ever looks through your Internet history. Not that anyone's really taking the trouble to do that, but you want to be careful just in case.

Anonymous Wife dragged me to see March of the Penguins last night, since I was home unusually early. I thought it would be another dreadful movie pitched right at Anonymous Wife's minimal IQ level, but I found it quite inspiring. Associates could learn a lot from the penguins. Marching back and forth to and from the ocean, a long and arduous march in the cold on which many of them perish, yet none complain. They just do it. No whining, no trying to sneak out of the pack and find a shortcut, no escaping, no giving up. They just walk because that's what they're supposed to do. That's all we're asking the associates to do. Don't make it more complicated than it needs to be. Just march. March to the library. March to the document room. March to the printers. All together, mindlessly following the herd. That's all we need. Bodies, not brains. March. The penguins don't expect to be mentally challenged. The penguins don't expect individual attention. The penguins don't expect praise for their jobs. They just do what they have to do. Maybe I'll find a useful when it comes out on DVD and add it to the summer associate presentation next year. Not the part where the little penguins are born, because childbirth is the last thing we want them thinking about. But the marching. Good movie. Good life lessons.

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