Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Apologies for six days without a post. I was on a bit of a business trip. I may talk about it soon, but not today.

No, today I want to talk about my bookshelves, and how while I was away from the office, someone borrowed something, and put it back in the wrong place.

See, I keep my books organized the way everyone should: by price. It's the way I like to sort everything I own. The food in the refrigerator, the clothes in my closet, the cars in the garage, and the dishes in the dishwasher. Well, that's how I tell the maid to arrange the dishes in the dishwasher. I don't actually touch the dishwasher. Last time I tried to do dishes, I caused a flood of soap suds to come out the bottom.

So the books were on my shelf when I left, carefully arranged from my $650 Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory to the hardly-relevant $5 pocket constitution. (I keep my rare-book collection at home.) But I returned to the office yesterday, and my $82 Bankruptcy Code was just to the left of the $106 Text on the law of debtors and creditors. Instead of just to the right. So someone borrowed one of the two books, and put it back incorrectly.

Associates don't have any respect for the personal property of partners. They think that just because we go into their offices and steal their things means they can do the same to us. They can't. We run the firm. Their offices belong to us. If I need a tie, I can take an associate's tie. Off his door, out of his closet, or off his neck. If an associate needs even a paper clip, there are proper procedures. And those procedures don't involve sneaking into my office and taking one. Because I'll notice. And I'll find him. And he'll pay for it. Literally, he will pay the firm the cost of the paper clip. It will come out of his paycheck. With the appropriate interest. Compounded daily. And a 5% service fee on top of that.

There are requisition forms. If an associate needed the latest version of the bankruptcy code and didn't have one, he could file a form and have it within a week. If the assignment is more urgent than that, we have a library. I think we still have a library. I haven't been inside it in years, but I believe the plan to convert it into a partners-only exercise facility was voted down. So we have a library. My office is not a library. It's not a library, and it's not a lobby either. No one should be coming in and sitting down. If you're early for a meeting, sit somewhere else. Not in my office. Not anywhere I can see you. My office also isn't a storage facility, although the maintenance staff seems to think it is. I found a spare light bulb in my closet. My office is not to be used for storing spare light bulbs. We have facilities for that.

I'll be watching the tape from the closed-circuit camera this evening and figuring out who stole the book from my office while I was gone. I knew it was a good thing when we put hidden cameras all over the firm to monitor associate behavior. This will be just like the time I caught the associate leaving at 6:30. She didn't realize she was being watched. They're always being watched. Always.

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