Monday, July 20, 2020


The True Tragedies

I appreciated the response to yesterday’s post.  I’ve missed you, and as I tell my associates, sometimes it takes a pandemic to get in touch with what’s really important in life.  That’s why even before all of this, we were introducing new viruses into the office every couple of years.  First, it helped us weed out the weak — always important. But second, it forced everyone to make the hard choices that it’s all too easy to kick down the road during good times.  We don’t want you lingering here for years if you’re not fully committed. We don’t want to spend the money to train you, or waste all that printer ink on your documents, if you’re just going to walk away.  But if you still come to work even when there’s a mysterious illness spreading through the hallways paralyzing your coworkers, liquifying your insides, and causing hallucinations too frightening to even describe — well, then we know you really do care about the firm, and maybe we should open the vent in your office so you can have some of the air conditioning.  Not too much, don’t want you to get too comfortable.

This is why the move to a virtual workplace is so tragic.  It doesn’t take a lot of effort for someone to drag thenselves over to the computer, and there isn’t a lot we can do to make it harder, short of sneaking into people’s homes and booby-trapping their hallways.  So the incentive to linger on our payroll longer than you might otherwise is really high. Especially when there aren’t many other jobs around.  We’re going to be stuck with the lazy ones, and it’s going to hurt.  Not financially, since we’re still billing them out at crazy rates, but in terms of morale. I don’t want to be at a firm that also employs people whose work ethics I don’t respect.  Also, people who can’t manage to put on a suit even if they’re only on Zoom.  If I see one more open collar, I swear I’m going to send out a very long and harshly-worded memo that no one will read.  It’s the least I can do.

Speaking of clothing, here’s something else that bothers me: I really don’t mind if people’s kids come into their offices while they’re working, but at least they need to be following the dress code when they do. That means suits for the boys, whatever the equivalent is for girls, and babies need a formal diaper, not one of those cheap disposable ones.  I will never understand how people let their kids spend the day in pajamas. How do you train work ethic without making them get dressed, clock in, and track their day in 6-minute increments?  Sure, take 0.2 hours to play with trucks, you’re only young once — but then you should spend at least 0.6 hours on something productive.

The other big tragedy of the pandemic is the loss of my partners-only bathroom — my wife won’t allow me to designate one at home — but I’ll have to get more into that next time.  I’m late for an 8:30pm Zoom that I could have scheduled during normal business hours, but what’s the fun of that?

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