Saturday, June 17, 2006

I received an e-mail yesterday from an anonymous employee at a law firm in a major city. He forwarded the text of an e-mail everyone at his firm received:

"I am sending this email on behalf of [Partner]. He would like to know if you all think he is "stupid" with respect to your Internet use. You all know about our Internet policy. - You should only be using the Internet before or after work and during lunch.

However many of you choose to ignore our policy and go on the Internet during business hours. When you see [Partner], you either minimize the Internet or switch to another program which [Partner] sees.

If this use of the Internet doesn't stop, you will be denied any Internet access even for Fed Ex etc."

Clearly someone is overreacting. I see no reason why the employees of this firm should be upset about this policy. Obviously the Internet only causes distraction and provides no value in a corporate law firm setting. It breeds lazy associates, who, despite how much more quickly they can find cases and statutes in the library, instead they sit in their office and waste time doing legal research on the Internet, as if that's really more efficient and they're not just too fat to get out of their chairs.

It used to be extremely efficient to get back to my office and have 14 phone messages to listen to, and a random pile of notes and papers on my chair to sort through, as opposed to "e-mail," which is just an excuse for people to forward garbage, like that note from the partner at the firm about the uselessness of the Internet.

My associates miss talking to me on the phone. E-mail and the Internet have made it too easy to go through the day without yelling. It's made it too easy for associates to ask questions. Too easy for people to order food on the company tab. Too easy for people to arrange "vacations" they're never going to take. Too easy to check movie listings for showtimes they're never going to get out of the office in time for. Too easy to make restaurant reservations they're never going to keep. Too easy to keep in touch with friends they don't have time to see. Too easy to focus on outside interests, like following the news, or checking the weather. No one should have outside interests. And no one should have access to the outside world at all.

I'm thinking we should follow the lead of this cutting edge firm that sent the e-mail I was forwarded. We should ban the Internet entirely. Take a bold step into the 18th century. I'm proposing it at the next partnership meeting. I can't remember when the meeting is, but I know there's an e-mail somewhere I can check. Thank goodness for e-mail. I mean, we should ban it. Yes, definitely.

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