Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I'm still getting over my disappointment. Yesterday was National Boss Day and no one did a thing for me. I find most holidays -- Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving -- pretty meaningless, but I thought at least I'd get a card. I went to Hallmark's web site and entered my e-mail address to make sure there wasn't an e-card waiting for me. I thought the notification might have gotten caught by my spam filter, which is set to reject any e-mails containing the words "love," "friend," "vacation," or "I need to leave early." Unfortunately, no such luck. I did, however, find a whole page devoted to National Boss Day, and it only added to my disappointment.

"National Boss Day offers employees an opportunity to recognize those in supervisory positions. Popular ways to say “thanks” include cards, a department lunch, a “goodie” break, flowers or gifts. Hallmark offers 47 Boss’s Day cards. Many express appreciation for the ways bosses manage people, respect for their handling tough workloads, and gratitude for the coaching they provide."

My slaves and underlings ought to appreciate the efforts I put in for them. The way I manage them. I manage every hour of every day for most of them. Surely that should be worth at least a "goodie" break.

"National Boss Day began in 1958 when Patricia Bays Haroski, then an employee at State Farm Insurance Company in Deerfield, Ill., registered the holiday with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Haroski wanted to designate a day to show her appreciation for her boss and others in that role. She also hoped to improve the relationship between employees and supervisors. She believed young employees often do not realize the challenges managers face."

Ms. Haroski is right. Young employees don't realize how hard it is to be in charge. I long for the days when I was just a young associate, with only the pressure to bill three thousand hours a year. I didn't have to worry about finding clients, finding recruits, keeping people motivated and happy, figuring out how to get the best out of my associates, paralegals, and the devoted support staff.

Okay, that probably went too far and ruined the joke. What kind of garbage holiday is National Boss Day? It's like Secretary's Day, Veterans Day, and Mother's Day. These aren't real holidays. These are fake occasions invented by the greeting card industry to manipulate idiots into buying cards and sending flowers. I don't understand our culture's obsession with flowers. Flowers die. Why do people want to put something on their desk that's going to die in a matter of days? If they want to watch something die, they should look deep inside themselves and notice their withering hearts and souls. Those are dead enough, why does anyone need flowers too? I went online once to buy my wife some roses. Getting flowers delivered is a ripoff. I ended up getting her a can of Raid instead. We'd been having problems with ants in the garden, and she kept forgetting to do anything about it. It was cheaper, and at least it did something useful.

If anyone had acknowledged National Boss Day to my face I would have given them some extra work to do. Anyone who has time to think about holidays like National Boss Day, New Year's Eve, or Yom Kippur clearly isn't busy enough. And anyone who expects to be able to take time out of their day to celebrate these things is crazy. Celebrations are for weddings and funerals, and maybe one birthday every four years. Everything else is excessive. Unless it's a recruiting-related celebration, in which case it's a necessary evil.

Recruiting season is rapidly coming to a close. The last few schools have their callback interviews in the next couple of weeks. I have three Harvard students flying in next week for callbacks, which is a handful fewer than usual. So I decided to add a bonus day of interviews for them and see if I can get a few more to come out. I'll be up at Harvard this Thursday night. It's a recruiting mission. I'm going to wander around campus looking for diligent students, studying quietly, perhaps checking footnotes or doing some other mindless task we know will help them fit in perfectly in our environment. I'll go up to them and slip them a business card, tell them to call me if they're interested. We'll do a quick first-round interview, and if any of them impress me, I'll hand them a voucher for a plane ticket to come down and see us next week. It's a new recruiting program. Catching them off guard. Hoping they don't realize where I'm from or what I'm doing or what I want from them. I hear the U.S. Army is recruiting in a similar way.

National Boss Day. Ha. I should have baked a cake for the chairman of the firm, to thank him for creating an atmosphere of doubt and uncertainty regarding whether I'm ever going to be named to the executive committee. I'd have filled the cake with poison. I think my secretary has some in her desk, just in case the yelling gets too loud one of these days.

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