Tuesday, June 20, 2006

This past week and a half has been the perfect illustration of why I'm glad the firm's not a very diverse place, even among the support staff.

The World Cup.

Americans have the right idea. We don't care. It's some people kicking a ball, it doesn't matter, it's not like it's baseball or something important like that. It's soccer. Football. Whatever they want to call it. And the handful of people here who have some tie to some other country, some country where they actually care about this silly activity, have been distracted ever since it started, sneaking into the conference rooms and turning on the TV, taking long lunches, making excuses for why they're not being the good little servants we pay them to be.

What I'd like to do is send the entire firm to wherever they're playing these games and stick them right in the goal. You want to watch the World Cup? Then watch it with your body on the line. Watch it in a position of danger, where you can actually be hit with the soccer ball and suffer some consequences. Real consequences, like our clients are suffering because the guy who delivers the mail is too distracted by the performance of his team back home in Serbia. Why are we making this so easy for everyone, by televising these games?

See, it's the once-every-four-years thing that gets to me. Because it gives people a chance to hide their obsession from the firm for a while, to pretend they don't have this secret outside passion that they're not allowed to have. No passions. We tell them that. It's on the forms. No one's allowed to care about anything other than the work we do. They know that. And they fool us, for three and a half long years. Three and a half years where they diligently come to the office, never go home, and convince us that we can rely on them. And then some people from their country start to kick a little ball around and the jig is up. They can fool us no longer. Passions. Interests. The deluxe cable package. I'm sorry, but we can't bend the rules for the World Cup, even if it's only once every four years. The World Cup has to take its place along with vacations and sleep: things you used to care about before you came to the firm, but must put out of your mind once you're here.

For everyone who talks about people kicking the ball, tries to catch a glimpse on TV, or sneaks out early, here's the payback: you watch them kick the ball, and I have the right to kick you in the head. That seems fair. And I won't necessarily exercise that right immediately. I'll wait. Until just the right time. Maybe the day you ask me for some Advil because you have a headache. Or the day your dog dies. Or the day you think I'm calling you into my office to let you know you're making partner. Nope, no promotion. Just a kick in the head. There you go. There's my plan. So go watch the World Cup, sure. Just know you'll be paying for it later. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. You never know around which corner I'm lurking, hiding in wait. Enjoy the rest of the tournament.

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