Thursday, June 29, 2006

I told them not to do it. I told them that a prestigious law firm has no business playing with modern technology and trying to put together a series of podcasts to help with the recruiting process. Did we not learn our lesson after watching the bizarre video testimonials on the Kirkland & Ellis website? Law firms have no business playing with multimedia. The web site is bad enough.

The consequences are never good when technology gets into the wrong hands. Some things are better left like they were in the old days. Like Star Jones, who Anonymous Wife is in love with, and she's been crying all week since she learned that Star would no longer be on The View, one of Anonymous Wife's fourteen favorite daytime television programs that she makes sure never to miss. Everyone liked Star Jones when she was four hundred pounds. But we create these new stomach surgeries that let fat people disguise themselves as normal, and suddenly she weighs fifty-seven pounds and everyone hates her. I came home late last night to find Anonymous Wife replaying on TiVo over and over again Barbara Walters explaining to the audience how Star betrayed us all, and the world will never be the same again. It's all because of technology. Fat Star would never have betrayed Barbara Walters. But stomach reduction technology created a monster. A thin, unemployed monster.

I sent an e-mail out to my associates telling them they should brace themselves for the possibility that their holiday weekend plans may have to be cancelled. There's no urgent business going on with any of my clients right now, and I don't expect there will be, but I don't want anyone to get too comfortable. So, on a whim, I figured I would warn them that something might come up. Get them to freak out a little bit, cause a little bit of discord at home. It's never a bad thing. They'll work extra hard tomorrow, and then maybe I'll only pick two or three of them who have to stay redoing a memo that's already been done, instead of the entire team.

I told the associates they should warn the summers they've been working with too, and tell them we may need some of them to stay over the holiday. With that I'm just trying to set up a good cop / bad cop kind of situation. Let the associates tell them they may need to work, and then I can surprise them tomorrow afternoon with an e-mail saying that the associates were right, and we ought to be making them stay, but out of the goodness of my heart, and the firm's, we're going to give them the weekend off. It's all about managing expectations. Under normal circumstances, it's no surprise that summers don't have to be here twenty-four hours a day, and they won't be terribly excited when they get to go home, because they expect it. But if you make them think they might have to be here, and then you tell them they're free to go? Huge rewards. This is how we suck them in. Make them feel like we're on their side. We're fighting for 'em. We're trying our hardest to make their summers as amazing as they can be. I'm waiting for the perfect moment to tell them we're going to let them walk on the partners-only colored tiles on the floor, and watch their reaction. It's been terrific to see them sidestep through the halls all summer. And, again, if they were allowed to walk on the entire floor from day one, it wouldn't be a big deal. They'd expect it. But we changed the baseline, and now everything is a bonus. Sometimes I love my job.

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