mytopleft

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Rum, Rio and vodka!

Welcome Barbados, Brazil and the Czech Republic to the honor roll of Eff You visitors. Who needs Canada with party animals like these?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The hills are alive . . .

. . . with the sound of mu-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-sic. OK, no hills, and it's not really music, no matter how many "u's" you use. (That rhymes.) Perhaps I am getting ahead of myself and should explain. Fine, I will.

The project I am on, pathetic and overtimeless as it is, has some interesting features. Even though we are at the firm, we are intentionally isolated from the firm. This actually is good. We are on a floor separate from the rest of the law firm and require no key cards to get where we need to be to work. We are unable to get to any other space the firm occupies, as we lack key cards, which means anyone at the firm who wants access to us (other than the two legal assistants who have offices on our floor and are tasked with making sure we don't steal the silver) has to come to us, as we can't go to them. Naturally, none of them want to come to us, so they don't, and we are left alone.

But I digress. The interesting part is the space we're working in. There currently are three projects in here, separated by movable dividers. The space itself is just a big room, with dividers turning it into three (unequally sized) spaces. This room has two exit doors, both of which lead to hallways that each have a set of double doors exiting to the elevators. On one of the hallways, between the door that exits our space and the double doors that lead to the elevators, is the men's bathroom and, directly across from that, some kind of locked maintenance/workspace that serves unknown building purposes. Bear with me, this becomes important.

Our workspace is ventilated in such a way as to create a fairly significant overpressure -- air flows out of our space at a pretty impressive rate. Naturally, it does this through the two exit doors. At one end, the single door leading into our space closes fine despite the overpressure, but the double doors on the hallway that exit to the elevator lobby are held slightly ajar by the outflowing air. At the other end, the double doors close fine, but this is because the single door leading into our workspace is held ajar by the outflowing air. (All of these doors have automatic return mechanisms intended to close them regardless of how thoughtless the person who just walked through them might be.)

For those of you who have stayed with this long enough, here is where things get fascinating. The workspace across from the men's restroom apparently has some sort of outlet that allows air to rush through it into a shaft or whatever. The air flows into the space around the door and whistles really loudly. If you move your hand up and down the door crack, it changes the pitch  of the whistle. You also can change the pitch and/or volume of the whistle by opening the door to our workspace, opening the double doors that lead to the elevator lobby and by opening the door to the men's restroom. All of these actions have a different effect on the pitch of the whistle. I swear, I've learned how to play "Ode to Joy" by opening doors and moving my hand over the door crack. My goal now is to figureout "Auld Lang Syne" by New Year's.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sweden is hitting it

Sweden is a solid No. 2 for this month as far as visitors go. Sure does my heart good to think about all those hot Nordic blondes trying to take their minds off the brutal winter weather by checking out my action. Sure, they have no idea what I look like, and they're probably actually just search engines looking for the word "fuck," but that's OK. Maybe hot Nordic blondes programmed those search engines. I can dream, can't I?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Actual temp conversation

Temp 1: I must say, compared to chairs I've had on other projects, this chair is pretty comfortable.

Temp 2: I would sit on a fucking stump if they would give us overtime.

Temp 3: I would stand.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Spanning the globe

Welcome, Colombia and Malaysia! Always good to learn that people in faraway lands are interested in the world of contract attorneys. Or that automatic search engines in those countries looking for websites with the word "fuck" have found me. One way or the other, welcome.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Maybe it's me

Sure, this could just be an unreasonable prejudice on my part. I really have no basis for it. But I don't think it's irrational. I really, truly don't trust a dude who has a full beard and is not engaged in a manly profession. To me, "manly profession" means something like fisherman, lumberjack, construction worker, something involving a factory or heavy machinery -- you know what I'm talking about. These are guys who don't give a damn about shaving or live out in the boonies and shaving daily is not really a big concern.

Which leads me to my prejudice. Any time I see a dude with a full beard on a project -- and by this, I mean that scraggly-ass, professor-at-motherfucking-Yale kind of beard, not the Van Dyke that everybody does now, or a Grizzly Adams or Paul Bunyan beard -- I figure I'm looking at a dude I can't trust as far as I can throw him. I don't know why this is, but it's the way I react.

Unfortunately, small as my pathetic project is (5 people) there is a dude with a scraggly-ass, professor-at-motherfucking-Yale kind of beard,  and ironically enough his nickname is The Professor. Talk about feeding your prejudices. There's another dude on a project in the same space but a different project who also has a scraggly-ass, professor-at-motherfucking-Yale kind of beard, and he tends to go to the bathroom when I do, so I hate him but don't suspect him of intentionally timing his piss trips just to see my schlong. I hate him solely because of his scraggly-ass, professor-at-motherfucking-Yale kind of beard, and write the rest off to coincidence. Doesn't mean I don't want him dead, but that's just me. Frankly, I don't think feeling this way makes me a bad person. Of course, I also don't think that not caring whether you think me feeling this way makes me a bad person is something that makes me a bad person, so I guess that kind of tells you where I'm staring from. Follow that?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Actual temp conversation

Temp 1: So, (insert name here), could you have been a floor trader at the exchange?

Temp 2: I --
Temp 3: No, he's too short. You need to be able to be seen when you're waving those pieces of paper over your head trying to trade pork bellies.
Temp 2: It's true. You have to be at least five feet tall.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Groundhog Day

I swear, I have left and come back to this project so many times I feel like Bill Murray. The difference, of course, is I will not be tapping Andie McDowell when this is all over, I will not be a piano virtuoso, I will not have had sex with every single chick in Punxsutawney, PA by the end of the project and nothing interesting will have happened to me. Other than that, it's just like the movie Groundhog Day. Everyday I wake up, I think I've moved on, and there I am again, back on the same fucking project, with Sonny and Cher singing "I Got You Babe." Jesus. And this time they made me promise not to go anywhere until the project is over. Notably lacking was a promise on their part not to leave me hanging for days on end without any word on whether any more work is coming. Hell, they wouldn't do that again, would they? Doesn't matter what they say. Remember, they're lying.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

You really can't talk about that

One of the things I have learned (yes, the hard way) in my years of temping is that almost no subject is too mundane to not piss somebody off enough to complain to the powers that be about the topic. In Temp Town, someone is "offended" byu everything. We are talking about the thinnest skinned bunch of assholes on the planet. Not all of them, obviously, but where more than two are gathered, one of those temps will be a sensitive fuck head who will complain. naturally, then, you cannot discuss politics, religion, the opposite gender or anything that could be construed in any way by the most twisted mind as sexual, or pretty much anything else on the face of the planet on which two people might hold differing opinions. This can be limiting on conversation. Obviously, our employers probably like that, and there are fringe benefits to having an excuse to not talk to temps (too many to mention, really), but I ain't no Benedictine monk or whoever the fuck it is that takes the vow of silence. Sometimes, people just want to talk a little.

Thank God for football, or else I'd never open my mouth. I was on a project once with this old witch of a woman who really wanted to get me fired and complained repeatedly about things she claimed I said. The HR person from the agency and the VP would come in, interview everyone to see if the complaints had any basis. Fortunately, after a couple incidents where everyone agreed in one case that the complained-of comments were never made, and in another case that the complained-of comments were made, but by a radio talk show host and repeated by someone else, not me, nobody paid attention to her anymore. I still call her Fab everytime I see her, even though it's not even close to her name, because I know she will never figure out it stands for Fat Ass Bitch.

But I digress. The reason I thank God for football, at least in this context, is I decided during that project that if didn't have anything to do with the NFL, I wouldn't talk about it. This gave rise to the expression, anytime somebody mentioned something the least bit risky, "That's no way to get an NFL franchise." That was usually enough to change the topic, as the other folks new that FAB would probably complain if the conversation continued, even if I didn't participate. I used to hope she dies a slow and miserable death, but I later realized, she already is. For some people, that's all life is. And misery loves company.

So come Monday, I will put in my headphones and do my best to get through this awful fucking project. And, when I simply cannot remain silent any longer, we will discuss the glory that is the NFL.

Like a bad cocktail party

The odds of there being anything good to talk about coming out of this next project are very slim indeed. This project is (before I left it) is one of the reasons my posts declined dramatically in number. It's only a 40-hour project (and they'll let you do it in four days, which is the only plus, as it cuts commuting costs by 20 percent -- and they said lawyers can't do math) so there's plenty of time to blog, but it is a small, boring group, at the firm but tucked away from everything with nothing going on. It's like trying to get interesting posts out of a quilting bee. Although, never having been to one, for all I know there's all kinds of scandal and mischief at those things. Mostly, though, you just sit, click and listen to people chew. I don't think contract attorneys ever stop eating. Probably to kill the boredom. Truthfully, it's not that everyone is always eating, it's that someone always is. So you sit there is dead silence except for the clicking and some fucker chewing on rocks, because nobody ever eats anything quiet. Sounds like the fucking Germans marching through Poland. Oddly enough, I never really thought much about the sound of chewing until I found myself in Temp Town. Thank God for headphones.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Jesus hates me

So I've been sitting home all week (since Monday, anyway) desperately trolling for a job. For most of the week, crickets. Between Thanksgiving and New Year's is the worst possible time in this business to be looking for a gig, good year or bad. Irony has raised its ugly head and bitten me on the ass. The only gig out there that I could get starting Monday was -- trumpet roll, please -- the one I bailed on. A terrible, no-overtime project that they now say will last two months and that they made me promise I would stay for the whole two months before they would offer it to me. Their position basically is we will cornhole you and make you like it. So I took it. Fuck me with a rock.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

And still no Canadians

Truthfully, I don't much care about Canada, or the Canadians. They aren't driving traffic, and I need to look at ways to bump up the numbers. Sure, sex works, but how much sex is there in the contract attorney world? I am contemplating adding non-contract-attorney content to this blog, but as I am a conservative, I realize that if I went political in any way, I would be at odds with most contract attorneys, who for reasons unknown to me are mostly liberal. Comments?

Pissing me off

I won't lie, I had notes jotted down for blog posts related to this project that now make no sense, since the project is no more. We were jammed in like sardines, moreso than usual, leading me to wonder how the fire marshal would feel about the space. Also made me wonder if I was working for Nike in Asia. But hey, that's all gone now. As Aerosmith said, the past is gone.

That was quick

So there I was, on a new project, supposed to last about 6 weeks, lots of overtime, feeling pretty good about my decision to leave that sorry-ass 40 hour project and BAM the sucker just died. Monday, midday, the associates made an announcement that prompted someone (OK, it was me) to say, "Don't bring lunch tomorrow." Turns out I was optimistic. End of the day Monday, they said "Thanks for all your help, you've been great, don't let the door slap you in the ass on the way out." Done.

Naturally, this did not fit in with my plans. Now here I am, thumb up, wondering if a project will even come up before New Year's. Probably not. This is a shitty time to need work in this industry, even in good times. We'll see. In any event, just remember, when they tell you six weeks -- they're lying.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Just like old times

So I'm on this new gig, right? I swear, I've been on this gig before. There are about 75 temps on this project, but there are another 30 or 40 temps on another project at the same agency. They're in a different room, but you seem them in the hall, break areas, yada yada yada. Anyway, between the two projects, in just a couple days I've run into about 20 people I've worked with before, even though I've never worked for this agency before. Some of them are people I've worked with repeatedly over several years. So people keep coming up to me, calling me by name and talking to me. I make small talk back. Swear to God, I haven't known a single one of their names. That doesn't bother me, really -- my policy has always been don't ask, don't tell -- but it can be a little uncomfortable when somebody remembers you and acts like they know you, and you can't remember ever meeting them. Perhaps I should pay more attention to my fellow temps. Nah.

Breaking up is hard to do

So the crappy, no-overtime gig I was on got even worse. I got back from my unspecified personal problem -- no, I didn't tell you what is was because you don't know me that well -- and there was no work. Ended up sitting home all Thanksgiving week. Put out a lot of feelers for other jobs, especially overtime gigs. Monday came, we were supposed to go in. Got in, got an email saying don't come in. Fuck me with a rock! Things were going from bad to worse. Turns out the bird in the hand wasn't even crapping in my palm anymore, it had flown away and was crapping on my head. Fortunately, when I got home, I had an email letting me know I had landed another gig, this one with major overtime. There would be an orientation Tuesday, with actual work starting Wednesday. Unfortunately, at the same time, the crappy gig finally had stuff to do starting Tuesday. Went in Tuesday, and it turned out to be a lot of stuff to do -- could go through the holidays, which is just about all you want this time of year. "Just about," though, means you also want overtime. Still none on the table.

So now the problem becomes something like this: how do you jump from the shitty gig that just got a little better but still basically sucks, to something much better, at least financially, but not piss off the agency and/or the firm the shitty gig is for. I work with that agency a lot, and can't afford to burn that bridge, and the firm put me on their "hire this guy first" list -- mostly because of my dashing good looks, I think -- so I wanted to keep both happy with me but still ditch them.

In the end, I cut the baby in half. I told the agency the truth -- a shocker, I know, as my policy is lie early, lie often. Lying is an integral part of being a temp. Agencies don't want the truth. The truth will set you free -- they'll fire you for telling it. Nonetheless, I told the agency the truth. I told the firm nothing. Odds are fair I am no longer on that firm's "hire this guy first" list. Oddly enough, the agency understood. Go figure. So anyway, I have a new gig. More on that later.

Japan, baby!

Got a couple hits from Japan despite the fact that I haven't been posting at all lately. Sure, Japan, checks in, but fucking Canada? Too busy, apparently. Hey Canada -- when's the last time a Canadian team won the Stanley Cup? Actually, for all I know it was last year, so I guess that's not much of a taunt. Still, you LaBatts-drinking tools should check this out at some point. Seriously. Maybe I'll introduce more sex.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I guess it's a perspective thing

Funny how even a shitty gig looks pretty good when you're idle. Tomorrow will be day three of "waiting for data to load" on the shitty gig that I didn't really want in the first place and now am desperate to start back up. Yeah, I'm trolling madly for something else, and maybe I'll have something for next Monday (market is not bad right now, kids), but at the moment, the bird in the hand isn't doing much except crapping in my palm.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Not gonna lie

Just using the word sex in a post increases traffic. I wonder what saying "blow job" will do?

Sex time

I took so much time off (from the blog and from work) that I need to do something to drive traffic. Thinking about posting a sex post, but I don't really have any sex stories to tell. I did work with a guy who hooked up with a woman he met at work, and actually had sex at work. I won't lie, I haven't been on any projects where getting laid at work was an option. Logistics rarely work out and, with all due apoligies, I don't usually see a lot of co-workers I would want to have sex with.

It's like I'm Nostradamus or something

Yeah, got hte email -- project isn't "over," but it isn't on for tomorrow. Rule No. 2: the more you need to get back to work, the less likely they are to have work for you.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

New territory

So, tomorrow I will be going back to a project that I have been away from for almost two weeks. Frankly, not a great project, unless things have changed. Nonetheless, we'll see what we see. Damn thing will probably be over the minute I walk in the door. That would suck.

OK, I'm back

After nearly two weeks of ugly extracurricular activity, I'm back. Basically, it's been lots of unpleasantness punctuated with downright nastiness.In any event, I've been away. I toyed with posting some blasts from the past as if they were current, but decided not to because I have always made this blog about what is going on in Temp Town and, maybe more importantly, I had really limited internet access. I know that is a foreign concept to most of you, at least in a no-internet-access-at-work-where-the-rat-bastards-cut-off-the-internet-to-keep-us-clicking sort of way, but that's the way it was. Consequently, traffic has been in the toilet. Time to amend that. Perhaps I will be able to come up with a sex post. I am told that using terms like sex in a post drive traffic. Naked women? Who knew. Kinda makes you want to say boobs. Anyway, enough search-engine teasing. At this point, I just hope the project I was on is still going after my extended leave of absence. Guess I'll find out Monday.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

And I'd like fries with that

Found myself in an unusual position today, exerting a little power over a project manager. Through no fault of my own, I got a great seat, in a corner, far from firm/associate view, pretty much isolated, at least as much as possible under the big-room circumstances under which we are operating. For whatever reason, the powers that be decided today that they wanted someone else there -- I don't even pretend to know why. Fortunately for me, the project manager asked me, out loud, in front of an entire room full of temps, if I would mind moving. My response was immediate:

Me: I don't know. This is a great seat. And you know that the only thing a temp has is his seat.

(The room laughs, but in a that's-true kind of way.)

Project manager: Well, would you be willing to move if I got you another great seat?

This meant, of course, that I would not have to simply trade with the person who would be taking my seat -- a woman I knew to have a shitty seat, right in the middle of a table full of temps. Knowing I had already won, I agreed.

And I got a great fucking seat. No one anywhere near me. Practically a corner office. Sometimes it pays to be a pain in the ass.

How 'bout that shit?

Probably as a direct result of drunk blogging on Saturday night, we passed 5,000 hits yesterday. Still no fucking Canadians, and I am getting a little belligerent about it. I've always been a good neighbor, never caused any fuss. All that is about to come to an end. Not sure what I'll do, but Canada is gonna get theirs.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Drunk blogging

I believe it's a tradition in some places, but it usually takes place during live events that the blogger is chronicling. In any event, yes, I am drinking while blogging. Aren't you surprised there aren't more typos?

Canada can suck it

We're closing in on 5,000 hits. Sure, that's lame for blogs that get gazillions of hits a month, but fuck them. 5,000 will be a big deal, and we're almost there, with NO help from Canada, thank you very much.

We're No. 2!

OK, not a great chant, because who really wants to be No. 2? And I'm not talking about Avis trying harder. Anyway, October was the second-best month ever for this blog, despite the fact that I'm a lazy sack and nothing really interesting happened. Probably the most interesting thing that happend in October was that I got accepted for the revival of the project that gave birth to this blog, and then, within hours, rejected for the same project, probably because of this blog. More about that later. Anyway, that was a good month, so keep clicking (because it's all about the clicking). 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Just shoot me

Repeat after me: they're lying. Never forget that. The long-term, 50-hour project (maybe more) that I started yesterday turned out to be two weeks, 40 hours. For perspective, for those of you who don't do this for a living, 40 hours is slow death. Even an unmarried temp in the DC area will find that a 40-hour project leaves them strapped and, eventually, simply unable to pay the bills. You'll take one of you have to, but usually when and agency says no overtime, you just say no. That's why a lot of agencies will claim a project is 40 hours with the possibility of overtime. Remember, they're lying. Bever ever forget that, no matter what they tell you. If it turns out they're not lying, great, enjoy the moment. But the only way to survive this business is to assume they're lying. Project is 4 months? Cut that in half. They're lying. Unlimited overtime? Bullshit. They're lying. Assume they're lying and avoid disappointment. On the rare occasions they are not lying, it is simply that much more enjoyable.

Why the bitter rant? For this short-term, 40 hour project, I turned down a short-term, 80-hour project that would have rolled into something else once it was over. I gambled, I lost. Sucks to be me. Fear not. Like a phoenix, I shall rise again.

Tightrope

[I started writing this post on Wednesday. It's out of date, but I'm putting it up anyway. If you don't like it, refer to the title of the blog.]
So I turn down the chance to roll over onto a new project with the same firm, same agency because I already applied for a new gig elsewhere. I was cool with staying home one day, because I was looking forward to yard work and drinking beer in my underwear, but now it looks like I will be home tomorrow, too. This, of course, raises the nagging doubt that the project won't actually start. I hate that feeling. This morning I got an email asking for conflicts forms -- something I thought was taken care of already -- and when I sent those back, I expected some kind of confirmation that the project would be starting and that I was on it. Instead, crickets. I had to send a semi-obnoxious email, suggesting that somebody might want to let me know whether I can sleep in tomorrow. Finally, somebody (not the jackhole who sent me the email asking for conflicts information and leaving a voice mail telling me to hurry up and send that shit in who was then never heard from again) let me know that the project would start Friday. At noon. My cup runneth over.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Now that was awkward

As I've mentioned, this project is coming to an end. We had cuts last weekend that let go about half the temps here, and there are more cuts going around tonight, although I don't know how many people will be gone in the morning. I just know I'm not one of them, and in the Darwinian world that is Temp Town, I don't give a shit how many people got cut as long as I am still working. Call me insensitive. I don't care. In fact, I revel in my insensitivity and suggest you refer to the title of the blog.

Anyway, I really like the agency I am working with, and don't mind the law firm we're working for. (Important footnote: working offsite as we are -- at the agency's space, not at the law firm's offices -- it is hard to tell much about whether a law firm is good to work for. Get closer, work in their office, and familiarity may breed contempt.) So I had very mixed feelings when I was offered the chance to "roll over" to another project with the same agency working for the same firm. Knowing that the end was near, I had already taken steps to find a gig for next week and beyond, and was awaiting word on whether my efforts had been successful. When the rollover offer came yesterday, I was still awaiting word. Then I found out that the rollover project would be on-site -- at the firm's offices. In the last couple years, I have developed a rule that I violate only when there is no other work available and my choices are take the gig or starve: never take a gig that involves working in the law firm's office. I'll get into why later.

Like I said, I like this agency and have no problems with this law firm. Nonetheless, I turned down the rollover offer, even though I had nothing firm for when this ends. It was a little like going on a date with someone, having tumultuous sex, they say "Hey, let's do this again tomorrow" and you say, "Actually, I'm hoping to hear from someone else about tomorrow." Not sure how that is going to float with this agency. They said "no problem," but it is important to remember what I said way back when: they're lying. I guess we'll see.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Time for goodbye food

Yeah, looks like the agency is going to bring in lunch for us tomorrow. For the uninitiated, that means don't let the door slap you in the ass on the way out. Sunday should be the end of the line. In the meantime, the project hours are now 15 hours a day. Quality is our business, baby.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I hate when that happens

The project is winding down, so naturally it's time to let people go. Yesterday, probably two-thirds of the folks on the project  got the boot. Now, because of one thing and another, it looks like -- whoops! -- we don't have enough warm bodies to finish by our deadline. The firm is scrambling to see who they can bring back for a day or two to help out, but the market is hot and anybody who is any good already found another gig. Imagine the top-notch talent we can look forward to returning. Me, I can hardly wait.

Get the balloons and noisemakers ready

Rocking along toward 5,000 hits. Should happen in November. Get ready for the party.

Netherlands surging

The Dutch have move past the Germans into second place, behind the US, as the country of origin for readers of this blog. Probably some kind of robot search, but still, I'll take it. Latvia moving up, too. Canada? Fuck Canada. Some fucking neighbors they turned out to be. If anyone out there knows a Canadian, tell them their national honor is on the line.

Friday, October 21, 2011

That time again

All too quickly, this gig is already winding down. We'll be done by Nov. 1 at the latest, and most folks on this project will probably be done Sunday. Some of them don't know it yet. Some do and are looking for new work. Nice business to be in.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hamlet had it easy

Sure, he was dealing with existential questions -- you can't get much more basic than debating whether you should continue "to be" -- but Hamlet never worked with temps.  So while Hamlet did his balancing act -- on the one hand, kill Claudius, on the other hand, can't handle the angst that accompanies deciding to kill Claudius, so maybe kill himself instead -- the results of his decision would be readily apparent. Either Claudius would be dead, or he would be. Turned out pretty much fricking everybody was dead before it was all over, but now I digress. Hamlet, for all the weighty decisions he faced, never had to deal with the forced familiarity of Temp Town.

As I've explained, I don't bother with learning temps' names, because the project will be over in a matter of days or weeks, and I will either see them again or I won't, and I don't much care which. I don't make arrangements to "stay in touch," or get together later, or whatever. We work in the same room by chance; we are not friends. Granted, there are some temps with whom I am friends and keep in touch, but they are the exception. In any event, I do not pretend to be buddies simply because we are working on the same project. I put on my headphones, ignore you, and click. I don't pretend the relationship extends beyond mere proximity.

Alas, many, many, many, MANY temps act like being in the same room makes us BFFs. They presume a familiarity that is not there, and, worse, they act on it. They will cheerfully ask questions about your personal life without concern for whether it is any of their business, or share details of their own as if you wanted to know. This leads us to the dilemma, silence or rudeness. Frankly, I am inclined to go with rudeness.

Example one: there is a woman on this project who feels compelled to ask questions about by experiences outside the workplace that, while often trivial, are none of her business. The other day, I came in later than usual (actually, much later, since she was already there, and I usually get there about an hour before her), and she promptly greeted me with questions about whether I got caught up in the Metro fuck-up of the day. Because I do not consider the reasons behind my time of arrival any of her business, I simply pretended to be deaf and ignored her questions. Unfortunately, I have done this with her before, and it doesn't work.

The failure of the silent treatment always makes the nuclear option more attractive: don't be silent, be rude. Having used the silent treatment on the first temp, the second temp who got inquisitive got nuked. I walked into our work room, leaving Nosy Temp 1 out in the hall, only to have Nosy Temp 2 say, "Good morning. Get caught up in the Red Line mess?" I'm afraid my response might have gone for a little shock and awe. I looked at her with my best dogshit-on-the-bottom-of-my-shoe expression and said, "You have no evidence it is a good morning and there actually is a lot of evidence to the contrary, but please, believe whatever you like." I sat down, put on my headphones and started clicking. I truthfully have no idea what her or anyone else's reaction was. I ignored them. While it is easy for an outsider to claim that rudeness is not appropriate in the face of what is arguably routine, mindless small talk, outsiders have not experienced the utter inanity that Temp Town small talk encompansses. You've got to nip that shit in the bud.

Sure, call me misanthropic, call me nasty, call me whatever. You can also call me "that guy in the corner who nobody talks to," which is exactly what I want. Rude 1, Silence 0. Second half action after this.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

It's almost like she wants something

This is a story about a typically passive-aggressive temp, her attempt to improve her own situation while trying to appear concerned about others, and my effort to give her a big Eff You without actually mouthing the words. All things considered, I believe I have been more successful in achieving my goals than has she.

 Is that grammatically correct, or does it just sound pretentious while not actually following any rules of grammar? And would that sentence have sounded less pretentious had I simply added "so fuck her."?
Whatevs. The project I am on is in a review space divided among several rooms, most of them not large, one of them big. I don't care about the other rooms, of course, so this is about my room. But you should have expected that by now. If not, please refer to the title of the blog.

So, the room I am in is set up for 12 people. The desks are all facing the walls, so the seats are arrayed according to the length of each wall. It's not evenly distributed for a variety of reasons, but the four walls are set up like this: the room is a rectangle, with the door at the bottom left corner. When you enter the door, hard on your left is a short wall with two stations set up. Directly in front of you is a long wall, but also with two stations. Windows, pillars and shit play into this arrangement. To your far right is a short wall with four stations, and along the wall in which the door is set, to your hard right, is the other long wall with four stations. Got it? Good. I was afraid you weren't visual-spatial.

The walls that concern us are the 4-station short wall to the right which forms an L-shape with the four-station long wall to the hard right. I am seated at the joint of the L facing the long wall on the hard right, the wall in which the door is set. To my right are three more stations, then the door. To my left is the short wall that forms the lower leg of the L, with its four stations all behind me to my left. Got it? Good. I was afraid you weren't visual-spatial and that I would have to smack the shit out of you.

The woman who sits immediately behind me/to my left, at the L-joint on the short wall, is starting to piss me off. The station to her left is not occupied, and she and her short-wall cohorts have gotten rid of that chair and spread out some, giving themselves more room. This is what temps do.

Not content with that, however, she has taken to working the room in an effort to gain even more space for herself. Yeah, she probably could use it. Just sayin'. But that's not what we're talking about.

What we are talking about is the fact that one of the four stations on my row is empty, so this old goat keeps saying things like, " Oh, you should get rid of that chair, then you'd have more room." She's already said a variation of that three times in four days, making it clear that she's not saying we could have more room, but that if only we would take advantage of that empty space and scoot down, she could have more room.

Classic temp behavior, of course. Should I kill her, or simply take comfort in not moving and knowing that she so desperately wants me to move? It's been difficlut, but so far I have pretended to have no clue what she's driving at.
 Needless to say, it has been difficult to suppress the audible "eff you" that she so richly deserves. Perhaps next time she makes the suggestion.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Relax, Francis

Gotta love a good Stripes reference. In any event, no need to start gnashing teeth and rending garments over the death of this blog. Not happening, at least not today or in the foreseeable future. There will eventually be a post about what raised the possibility, but not now.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Danger, Will Robinson!

The possibility exists that this blog will come to a precipitous end. I will not share why at this point. I'm not even sure if it's a good thing or not. So stay tuned.

You can't always get what you want

In this business, overtime is king. A 40-hour week is slow starvation, and the more overtime, the better. It's like union work without the dues and thugs. Merit doesn't matter, but if you put in the hours, you get paid. Any union pukes out there who don't like that characterization need to look around. Think you're better at your job than the guy next to you? Who fucking cares? You get paid the same, unless you work more overtime. So don't cry to me, Argentina. But I digress.

Yesterday, the firm told us that they would be expanding the hours, adding two hours a night. That's a good boost if you can take it all, since even just weekdays that's 10 hours a week extra at time and a half. This is a good thing. So, not surprisingly, Ice Queen (the old bag fucking with the thermostat) utters an excited "Yes!" Nevermind that she comes in an hour after we open. And, naturally, she left that night, not at our new closing time of  10, not at our old closing time of 8, but at 6:40. And she didn't come in at all today. For some people, the mere prospect of extra overtime is enough. They apparently don't have to actually work it to get excited about the potential for extra money. I will never understand temps.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Personal space

It's interesting how much the space in which you are working can affect how you feel about any given gig in TempTown. There are the obvious downers, such as computers too close together, bad temperature control -- although in my opinion, this includes only when it is too warm. If it's cold, put a sweater on. When it's hot -- and that's usually the problem -- you can't take your clothes off. You'll get fired. And most of you, I don't want you to take your clothes off. Nonetheless, there is always some sack of shit, usually an older woman, but always a woman, who wants to fuck with the thermostat, and trust me, they are not trying to make it cooler. The room we're in on my new project is perfectly comfortable, 11 people happy with it and one sack of shit over there fucking with the thermostat. Yes, she wants it warmer and yes, she's in this room even though on the first day one of the agency people pointed out the warmest room to sit in "if anyone tends to get cold." Did our thermostat-fucker go to that room? No. I think passing on the warm room and then jacking with the thermostat is punishable by death, but, once again, the District of Columbia's oppressive gun laws stand in the way of justice. But I digress.

No, you expect it to be crowded, you expect the temperature to be higher or lower than you would like. Veterans don't really even notice these things. And while veterans notice it, they expect some jackhole to unilaterally mess with the thermostat even if everybody else is happy with the temperature. No, I'm talking about the things that can't be changed, the things that vary from one work site to another, the things that determine whether a job is tolerable or not. The things that are the difference between a project that is OK and one where somebody is going postal.

Yeah, baby, I'm talking about radio reception, internet access and cell phone signal.

First, don't tell me to get an Ipod. If I want to listen to AM talk radio, or even FM music, that's what I want to do.  An Ipod won't change that (unless I want day-late podcasts, which I don't, so don't play the Luddite card on me, emeffer). Yes, I can bring CDs on many projects, so that would take care of music even in the absence of an Ipod, but I actually prefer news and sports radio, so radio reception is key.

Internet access should be a no-brainer. Of course I want it. Most project don't allow it. They figure (rightly) that you will spend too much time fucking off surfing and not enough time coding documents. For those of us capable of sprint and drift (code a bunch of documents quickly and correctly, then surf for a bit), lack of web access is particularly irritating, since we are paying for the sins of temps who can't balance access to the outside world with the requirements of the job.

Finally, there's cell phone signal. A stunning number of buildings in DC have crappy cell phone reception. Sometimes, though, this goes to the extreme. The project I just left was in a space where there was no cell phone reception. Text messages, voice mails, everything came through hours later. Plust you were forced to wander the neighborhood (OK, leave the building) to make an outgoing call. Serious pain in my butt.

In any event, I would hope that anyone would understand how these three things can affect your view of a project. My last project had no cell reception, very limited internet (meaning the filter sometimes didn't work and you could break free, at least briefly, into the great wide open) and no FM reception. No wonder I hated it.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Doc review bingo

Early on in this blog, I stressed for my readers that there is one thing you must always remember about agencies: they're lying. Maybe intentional, maybe just because of lack of information and the temps want some kind of answer. I don't care why. I just know that this is the first rule when dealing with agencies. Some temps apparently do not understand this and get into a state of high dudgeon (how's that shit for your vocabulary word of the day!) when it becomes apparent that they have, indeed, been lied to. This point always comes in every project; it is rare to come on the first day, and early on the first day, at that. Such is what happened on my new project.

We were told in being recruited for this project that it would last two months. That's pretty good in this business. I never believe it. Cut the time estimate in half, and you're probably in the ballpark. So at about lunchtime, one of the associates from the firm was talking to us and mentioned that they would like to wrap this up by Nov. 1, and preferably within 2 or 3 weeks. As an aside, this is a government investigation of a merger. Without getting particular, when I saw dates on certain documents, I knew that the firm would want to be pretty much done in about two weeks, as that is when a statutory deadline would arrive. Throw in a little clean-up work, you're talking three weeks, maybe as late as Nov. 1. So I was not caught by surprise by the associate's announcement.

Several temps in the room were. Even before the associate left the room, three or four of them were just going off about how they were told two months, they were lied to, they would have to reconsider taking this project, they turned down longer-term offers for this, blah blah blah blah blah. The associate, a little embarrassed, left. Then things got really good. They started spouting off about how temps have no rights, they should sue agencies for lying about projects, temps should unionize, more blah blah blah blah blah. That was when the temp down the row from me said, "You know about Doc Review Bingo?" and the four of us on the row I'm on just laughed.

Doc Review Bingo refers to topics that will come up with some dumbass temp on every project. Such as how temps have no rights, we should sue agencies for lying and temps should unionize. As soon as some moron comes forth with one of the old standards, it's as if the caller said 0-64: "Temps should unionize. Bingo!"   Days like this make me believe we deserve our fate.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sometimes, you gotta shoot the swordfish

I pulled the trigger today. Unlike previous Tuesdays, we got a mealy-mouthed horseshit answer today when one of the other folks on the project asked if we were going beyond this week. Don't know, we were told, maybe could be we'll see. So I accepted another project starting tomorrow that we hope will be more interesting, blog material-wise. Gave about 2 hours notice -- Hey, last day here, sorry, thanks for all the fish -- with no explanation. Shouldn't be a problem considering how much longer this project lasted beyond expectations. Maybe I should have lied, killed another grandmother, but the recruiting director for the agency on this project is an old friend of mine -- hell, we were roommates third year of law school -- and I knew he would know I was lying. He texted me later to ask what project I landed on. The market is on fire right now, and he knew I was bailing for something else. Seemed OK with it. Anyway, time to go on to something else. One of the guys on the project who is relatively new to this business asked if I thought it would be interesting and what I would be doing. Hello????? I'll be clicking. It's all about the clicking.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Another Tuesday?

Frankly, I grow weary of waiting for Tuesday to learn whether this project will continue for another week. No doubt tomorrow will bring yet another email letting us know that there is at least one more week's worth of work for us. I no longer care. I went ahead and made plans to move to another project. There was jsut too much work out there to pass up. All I have to do now is tell the agency and the firm. Normally, I am a big proponent of lying. Hey, my mom is dying, gotta go. No telling how many times you can kill your mom to get out of a project. Grandmothers are better, credibility-wise, as they are more likely to be dying and you have two of them. Personally, I have killed six or seven grandmothers to get out of projects. End of the day, most agencies want to be lied to; they pretend to believe you as you pretend to be telling the truth. Normally, if you say that you're leaving because this project will be dead any day regardless, most agencies will view you as disloyal and not hire you ever again -- or, at least, for a respectable mourning period. Some agencies -- damn few, mind you -- don't mind the truth. In a situation like this, where the project has been week-to-week for two months, the agency I am working with probably won't mind the truth, so that's what I'll go with. I'll let you know how that works out.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Last chance to be a trendsetter

Canada is rapidly becoming in danger of being a bandwagon-jumper instead of a trendsetter. Hong Kong has graced us with a visit, while our neighbors to the north continue to pretend this blog does not exist. Fine. And when Canada finally drops by, folks in Germany, Switzerland, Latvia, Russia, India and half a dozen other countries will say, Oh, you are so five minutes ago. I guess the Canadians are too busy trying to stuff a mouse in their beer. Yeah, the reference is dated, but it's still sweet. Take off!

Friday, September 30, 2011

They've extended the project, it must be Tuesday

When we started this project at the beginning of July, we were told it would last 2-4 weeks, or 4-6 weeks, depending on who you were. Four weeks seemed to be the concensus, though. Those four weeks passed 8 weeks ago. For the last two months, we've been getting extensions one week at a time. In an industry where it already is quite challenging to make any kind of strategic plan, since you really don't know what will happen from one month to the next, reducing that uncertainty to week to week makes it even worse. Pretty much 8 Tuesdays in a row, we've gotten an email or, sometimes, a live visit from the associate letting us know that they have work for us the next week if we are available. Nice to have work, but one-week planning sucks my butt. Fucking carnies working the county fair circuit have more predictability in their lives than we do on this project.

Want to make it worse? The market has exploded, and there are projects everywhere. Agencies are scrambling all of a sudden because there are way more projects than there are temps to staff them. Pay rates are creeping up because of the staffing shortages, and anybody who wants work can find it. I have no doubt that the Garden Gnome, the Bridge Troll and Tall Skinny Dude have all found work.  Moby and the Hobo probably have found work, too. Things are hopping. The need for warm bodies trumps incompetence, every time.

In light of all this, what to do? Having stayed long past the original time projections of the project, it is considered by many temps to be legitimate to bail. Agencies, as you might imagine, have a different view and think you should ride the Titanic down into the icy depths. Obviously, it's time to lie. Sticking with a dying project just long enough to miss other projects is not a viable business model. One of our number already has bailed. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Frankly, my mother is looking poorly.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Speaking of Jason

The project that gave birth to this blog has come back to life. Seriously, I don't have the energy right now to link to the entries about the early days of this venture, so peruse May and June archives if you are new to this. In any event, that project has come back to life. I'm not on it, mind you, but I have fond memories, in a warped, twisted sort of way.

This project is like Jason

I know I have always favored the swordfish metaphor, but this project is starting to resemble Jason or Freddie Krueger. The market is cooking, there are projects everywhere, and this project just won't die. I swear to God it is going to last just long enough for me to miss any chance at all at getting on another project.

Check that shit!

Yeah, we hit 4,000 while I wasn't looking. No Canadians, but I have a special corner of hell planned for those folks if they don't get with the program.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Seriously, Canada, you piss me off

As we close in on 4,000 hits, I have several items to note. First, I now have four followers, meaning one more and I can have a basketball team with a guy on the bench to use as a sub. Not that I know who any of these people are, but a virtual basketball team, anyway. Second, I ain't got no fucking Canadians visiting this blog. We buy your oil, the least you could do in return is visit this blog. Don't make me get out of this chair.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Eat this

OK, got a little bit of left-field action here. I was listening to the radio today while going about my work when the news referenced a story that hit about 97 buttons for me. Apparently, some magazine -- I don't know which one, maybe Gastro-pompous-jackass Monthly -- ranked the cities of U.S. based on their appeal to "foodies." First of all, I consider the term "foodie" to be one of the stupidest ever -- fucking everyone is a foodie. "Oh, I love to eat good food." No shit. With the exception of that one Olsen twin -- that chick really needs a cheeseburger -- and a couple other chicks who either won't eat or think they need to puke it back up, pretty much everybody likes to eat. Foodies will claim they are more experimental or whatever, but who cares? People eat what they like, they try new stuff and accept or reject it, whatever -- they eat because if they don't they die. Claiming to be a foodie is like claiming to be an "airie." Oooh, I love to breathe, I love trying new air, I can't wait to breathe air that other people won't breathe. Fuck you. You breathe because you have to, or you'll die. And that's why you eat. Why on earth would you voluntarily pick a label that will expose you to ridicule? Most people think "foodie" is a synonym for "pompous jackass."  So shove that "foodie" rating up your ass. Later, you can crap it out and call yourself a shitty.

But Gastro-pompous-jackass Monthly didn't stop there. They described the types of restaurants that earned each city its place onthe foodie list. DC made it for its "fabulous" vegetarian and Ethiopian restaurants. Wow. That makes this a two-parter. First of all, for those of us with a memory that reaches that far back, "Ethiopian food" is an oxymoron. I remember Live Aid and Band Aid and all that other aid shit and it was all because Ethiopians were starving to death. I assume things have improved since then. Nonetheless, I recall well that the military referred to MREs -- Meals, Ready to Eat -- as "Meals Rejected by Ethiopians." So Ethiopian cuisine starts at a deficit with me. Pile on top of that the fact that an "authentic" Ethiopian meal involves everybody shoving their hands into the communal food supply, and I'm done. I don't care how fucking good the food is, I ain't eating it. At least not with anybody else.

Which brings us to vegetarian restaurants. First of all, I don't understand the urge to argue with 2 million years of evolution that brought us to the point that we can eat anything we can lay hands on -- the only one of God's creatures who can claim that distinction. Long term, people who argue with God lose. I'm just sayin'. Unfortunately, I live (or at least work) in a city with a disproportionate share of vegetarians and, worse, vegans. Every time they order lunch for us on a project, they have to order one or two vegan lunches (dinner, whatever) and you can always spot the sucker -- he's the pasty-faced, scrawny-assed bastard in the back who looks too weak to get up and get his meal. Plus, he looks like his bones are about to snap because he has trouble finding non-animal sources of calcium.

Anyway, it would appear that Gastro-pompous-jackass Monthly thinks DC is a top-ten "foodie" city because of restaurants I would never eat at, patronized by people who call themselves "foodies" and thus are people I am more likely to drive up onto the sidewalk to remove from the gene pool than to break bread with. Kind of a let down. Maybe Damn That's a Burger Magazine will come out with a list I can use.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

No. 1 with a bullet

Somebody committed the cardinal sin of Temp Town today. I went into the kitchen, found the evidence, went back to my review area and made that statement. Of the five of us, two others are long-time temps, and both knew what I meant. Someone, with total disregard for the sensibilities, comfort or health of anyone else in the area, had re-heated a fish meal in the microwave.

This is no small offense. I have seen review spaces evacuated because of the stench of reheated fish. I have seen temps damn near come to blows over this issue. Personally, I would find it difficult to blame a person who killed a fish reheater. That's just nasty shit, and no punishment is too harsh.

Alas, despite being smacked in the face by the obiously recent fish stench, I was not able to identify the perpetrator, and so the person still walks the earth. Sometimes, there's just no damn justice.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Are we done here?

The answer is, just about. This project, long on life support, appears to be set to end on Friday. Naturally, there is nothing starting next week that any of us can find. And, of course, this project has lasted just long enough to keep us from getting on another project with the same agency that is adding people starting in the middle of this week. We're not done here, so we can't join up there. Translation: we're fucked. Not sure what to do about that. Looks like I'll be robbing liquor stores next week. Downside: it's illegal, you could go to jail, and you could get shot by an ambitious clerk. Upside: You can set your own hours, the proceeds are tax-free, and you can preclude getting shot by an ambitious clerk by shooting the sonofabitch first. Downside: robbery becomes capital murder. Bummer.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Almost a Stripes moment

One of my favorite moments in the movie Stripes -- I know you saw it, so please don't lie to me -- is when they are out in the rain and yuck and Bill Murray suggests it is a bad day for a hike as it is the cold and flu season. Coincidentally, the French-speaking commenter who is willing to make up for Canada's lameness also commented on a post in which I mentioned The Boss's lament, which applies to temps everywhere, "you don't work and you don't get paid." Maybe this ain't Darlington County, but this is Temp Town, and winter's coming, which means a whole lot of temps will be thinking about The Boss's admonition. Long story short, temps who get sick this winter will come to work anyway because they can't afford to stay home and not get paid. They will, because of our cramped work spaces, make other temps sick, who will come to work for the reasons previously stated and make other temps sick, until eventually some sick-ass temp tries to infect me and I have to get medieval on him. Seriously, I can't believe that in DC there isn't some jackhole scientist studying the common cold, the flu or some such shit who realizes that temps are the perfect laboratory. Fucking contagious diseases R us. Should start any day now. I would cheerfully accept some federal grant money to study why I don't get sick under these conditions. Mostly, I think, it is because I make it clear to any sick fuck who comes near me that I will cheerfully kill them if they come close enough to infect me. But NIH might not think that is a legitimate influence on disease vectors, so grant money might not be forthcoming.

Living in the sticks has its moments

I live pretty far outside of DC. My neighborhood is surrounded by farms and woods and stuff like that, including right past my back yard. Well, it's a cool evening and the windows are open. No shit, I just now heard what sounded like a mountain lion, twice. Probably more like a bobcat or some other smallish wild cat (a lynx? I don't know what the hell we have around here, I just know it wasn't a fox, and we're up to our asses in foxes). Pretty cool. I'm also going to wait awhile to walk the dogs. And by the way, one dog is family, two dogs is dogs.

We are THIS close, Canada!

Got my first foreign language comment, offering to log in to the blog from Canada next time he/she is in Montreal. Fortunately, the commenter also provided a translation, as my French sucks and my translation led me to believe that I should go to a Motel 6 in Montreal, smear my body with cream cheese and await the woman of my dreams. I was close. In any event, while the offer is kind, I want a goddamn Canadian. Don't you people have contract attorneys up there?

And STILL Canada abstains

Closing in on 4,000 hits (OK, it's pathetic, but it's what I've got, OK?) and still no Canadians. Latvia, Russia, Romania, all in double digits. Switzerland, Germany, India and a couple countries I can't remember, representing. Sure, it's probably spambots, but who knows? And you're telling me Canada can't even come up with a spambot? I'm developing a serious chip on my shoulder for our neighbors to the north.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I may kill this fucking project myself

Sometimes, a project just won't die. Long after it has ceased to be interesting -- scratch that, it was never interesting, let's not kid ourselves. Try this -- long after anyone was willing to continue doing this particular thing for a living, the project nonetheless refuses to die. Often, a swordfish with lots of life left is a good thing. That's great when it looks like a project might go on for months. A little security is a good thing. But when the swordfish is just a zombie, staggering from week to week, and you find out each week about Wednesday that yeah, you have a job next week, that's a serious pain in my ass. Naturally, there is a big project starting next week, same agency that is running this project and, you guessed it, this project is going to run one more week. Just long enough to keep us off the other project, which should go until the end of the year, with more overtime. Now do you see why I hate this business? Before you start in with the "do something else, then" BS, please refer to the title of the blog. If I want to bitch, I'll bitch. You just shut up and read.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Contract attorneys bore me

Not gonna lie, the project I'm on -- 5 people, at the firm, waiting for the ax to fall on this zombie swordfish -- is not good blog material. I don't know why you're here, but things are about to get different. What I find is that if I wait for my project to provide good material, I post maybe once a week. This is a disservice to my readers. If I knew who my readers were, I probably wouldn't like them -- let's face it, most of them are contract attorneys -- but they are my readers and I must give them a reason to come here, even if that reason is only to see their fellow contract attorneys abused. As an aside, I believe that most of my readers are the "good" contract attorneys, the ones who are conscientious and work hard, try to do it right, as opposed to, say the Bridge Troll. So don't be surprised if not all my posts have to do with contract attorneys. It could just be shit that occurs to me while doing contract attorney work, which technically qualifies under the "Actual Temp Thoughts" category, so if you don't like it, refer to the title of the blog.

Welcome to The Ghost!

Gained a third follower recently, screen name Obake. At first I thought it had something to do with "Wake and bake," but I realized it is Japanese for "ghost." Always good to have someone with an appreciation for Japanese culture, if not Far East culture writ large. So, welcome! Now, where are those fucking Canadians?

What's next, locusts?

A couple weeks ago, we had the earthquake. That was exciting, and actually gave me some peace and quiet, since I was the only one on the project who did not flee the building. My understanding is that buildings rarely collapse in minor earthquakes, but that windows break and people one the street are likely to be killed by falling broken glass. Plus, I had to pee. So I stayed.

Then we had Hurricane Irene. Granted, it was a candyass hurricane, and actually was at best a tropical storm, probably a tropical depression by the time it came through here, but we got one. It rained a lot.

Then, a couple days later, it rained a lot again. We got the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee, and it rained alot again. And again. And again. It rained for three days straight. I considered building an ark, but then realized I really only needed a small boat to save the animals and people I actually care about. So I abandoned plans to build an ark and decided I would steal a nice 30-foot sailboat, maybe in Annapolis, if it became necessary. Turned out to be a false alarm there, too, although I had to take some weird routes home because flooding closed a number of roads during the week.

This is not really going anywhere -- we're essentially dealing with a weatherlogue. Like when you call your grandparents and they talk about how the weather has been recently. Mine don't because they're all dead now, but they all lived well into my 30s and so I have some experience with this. I assume others' grandparents are the same. I don't care, but I assume.

In any event, my conclusion is this: no way in hell, given this appocalyptic pattern, we get through this winter without a monster snow storm. How does this relate to contract attorneys? We won't be able to get to work, and like The Boss said in "Darlington County," you don't work, you don't get paid. Can't wait.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What could go wrong?

So we're at the firm now, the sword of Damocles hanging over our heads. No worries, right? After all, it's not like they cut us off from the outside world, is it? Oh, wait. We're in a part of the building that you have to leave to get cell phone service. And we were told on day one that we could "check personal email periodically," but that "internet use can be monitored." Not that it is, mind you, just that it can be. Of course, everybody knows it "can be," but throwing that out there is just designed to inject paranoia. Combine that with the fact that internet use beyond checking email often results in "Page Cannot Be Displayed" only feeds the paranoia. So no cell phone, limited internet and the threat that just trying to go beyond checking email will be "monitored" leaves us where? Yeah, cut off from the civilized world. All in all, the only plus here is the associate from the firm stays in his office instead of sitting in an office a few feet away, so nobody really fucks with us. Weird, when you consider that he's still in the same building. But I digress.

So here we are, in an environment where we no longer really know what the rules are (sure, they can "monitor" our internet use, but do they care so long as we get our work done? Not clear. Is spending too much time in the kitchen, the bathroom, or whereever going to be a problem? Who's watching? Who cares? Not clear.) and no one knows what the consequences of breaking the unknown rules are. I hate this shit. And on top of all that, we have no idea whether Friday is the last day. So here we sit, trying desperately not to do anything to get fired when we have no idea what it is that we might do that might get us fired, and we might get fired in 48 hours anyway.

Monday, September 5, 2011

No good can come of this

The project continues, against all odds, but it has taken an ominous turn: Tuesday, we shift locations from the agency to the actual law firm. This is a bad thing. Reasonable minds may differ, but it has been my experience that, like the forward pass in football, there are only three possible outcomes, and two of them are bad. You can make it through until the project actually ends -- this is always the best you can hope for, and it truly is a neutral outcome at best. It doesn't land you another gig, it doesn't keep you working in any way. It just means you were one of the last guys fired. Realistically, this is the best outcome on any project, whether it is at the firm, the agency or whereever. And, like at the firm, you can be fired (early) because you suck. You're slow, your accuracy makes it clear you don't understand the case and possibly do not know your ass from a hole in the ground, you don't really understand English that well. Whatever. You suck, you're fired. That can happen anywhere.

Working at the firm, though, introduces a third option. You can get fired because someone more important in Temp Town (hint: everyone in Temp Town is more important than the temps) has complained about you. A secretary doesn't like you being in the former file room near their desk, A legal assistant thinks you're too loud, hellsomebody wants to prove they have more power than a temp and decides to get one fired. Doesn't matter. Once you're at the firm, it's on the table. Watch you back.

Friday, September 2, 2011

And still no Canadians

Welcome, Comrades! We have a page view from Russia! Also, the Netherlands has joined the Eff You family (not as big as the federal family, but we're trying), so bring it, Hans Brinker! Alas, still no hits from our neighbor to the north, so fuck Canada.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Time flies when you're fighting The Man

Wow, it's been a week since I posted? That was fast. Guess I've been busy or something. Probably or something. Anyway, the zombie swordfish just keeps on going. We're been told we'll be back again next week, but we'll be over at the firm's offices. No good can come of this. Someone over there will resent letting the garbagemen into the living room. It happens every time, sometimes with very unpleasant results. But that's for another time. Today, we talk about radio, current events and pop culture touchstones.

Work with me here, people. Temps spend a lot of time with headphones on. Some folks listen to talk radio, some to music radio, others to Ipods or whatever. I tend to mix it up, but usually radio of one ilk or another. That's the radio part. So I heard on the radio a couple of tidbits on the news that I found fascinating, especially in combination, all having to do with Libya. First, the rebels (are you still rebels if you've already won? Doesn't that make you The Man?) announced that they were on the verge of locating and capturing Moammar Khadafy/Ghadafy/Justfuckindaffy. At the same time, The Rebels/The Man (I am reasonably confident that the Libyan people are brushing up on the lyrics to "Won't Get Fooled Again" as we speak) extended by another week their deadline for Khadafy loyalist troops to surrender. Seemed incongruous to me, but I'm not real experienced in this whole overthrow-the-government thing. In response to the rebels announcements, Khadafy released a statement that he would never surrender and would "set Libya ablaze" rather than giving up. That's the current events part.

Enter the pop culture touchstone. Khadafy's battle-to-the-end, never-say-die response makes it clear: the dude is totally acting out "Red Dawn." Sure, he was ousted by his own people, not Cuban and Soviet paratroopers, and he's no high schooler, but he is absolute seeing himself as the Patrick Swayze character, leading his plucky band of heroes in their fight against the invaders. It's just a matter of time before we see footage of Khadafy standing on a shattered tank, one fist in the air, shouting "Wolverines!"

Thursday, August 25, 2011

It's the little things

So tomorrow -- Friday -- we get pizza. This isn't goodbye food. At this agency, that is a regular thing, not a "thanks for all your help, don't let the door slap you in the ass on the way out" kind of thing. They used to do pizza every Friday, now they do it once a month. Against all odds, this project lasted long enough for us to get pizza twice. Sort of.

I say sort of, because the pizza place is left to select the mix of pizzas (the agency only specifies the number) and last month the rat bastards didn't send a SINGLE GODDAMN MEAT PIZZA. I'm sorry, did I shout? Ten pizzas and not a single fucking slice of pepperoni. No sausage. No meatlovers. Vegan? Sure. Who the fuck eats that except the emaciated, pasty-faced fuck who got cut last week because he's too fucking weak from hunger to do a good job? Vegetarian? Yeah, we got that. Fuck the carnivores. How do you not send a pepperoni pizza? I tell you what, there better be some pepperoni tomorrow, or else. Heads. Will. Roll.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Project What's It To Ya?

All projects have names. Usually, they are forgettable. Sometimes they have something to do with the subject matter of the project, sometimes not. The agencies give the projects code names, though, to keep straight who is working on what. Sometimes the law firms like to pick the names, some law firms don't care. Sometimes the law firms want a code name that masks who is involved, sometimes not. I have been on projects called Baseball, Falcon and Pound -- names that you would never be able to take and infer the subject matter of the review. I've also been on projects, like the one I am on now, where the "code name" is simply the name of the client company. Genius.

All of this, of course, is really boring, which is why I want to be allowed to pick the code names of the projects I am on. I don't want to work on Project Blue (I did), but damn y'all! I want to work on Project Evisceration. I want to work on Project Weimeraner, Project Death From Above, Project Hefner, Project Yo Mama, Project Suck It, Bitches! The possibilities are endless. What could it hurt? Please please please let me name the next project. I promise I won't call it Project Doom.

Unless, of course, that feels right.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

God provides

If I thought it was tough mining blog material from a 10-person project, now that we're a five-person project it's practically impossible to come up with anything interesting. It's a little like not having enough fissile material to achieve critical mass for a nuclear explosion. Not that I want to compare contract attorneys to fissile material. Plutonium is much more fun to hang out with. But I digress.

Anyway, ever since the project got cut back, I've been left without material, save declaring myself pope. Granted, it's only been one day, but still. Having been recently elevated to pope, though, I of course have a direct line to God. Naturally, I asked for a little material to write about. Careful what you ask for.

I'm not claiming responsibility, and I'm not saying God did this because I asked for something to write about, but today we had an earthquake. This is not something that happens on the East Coast. I guess if you have access to news sources -- and if you don't, you probably don't have access to this blog -- you know we had a quake that hit 5.9 on the Richter scale. It's kind of candy-assed as earthquakes go, and you dont' get a lot of damage from something like that, but this is DC. We outsourced our earthquakes to California a long time ago.

So a little before 2 this afternoon, the floor started to shake. At first I thought a tank was driving by, then I realized that a) we were on the 9th floor and probably wouldn't feel a tank; b) I couldn't hear a tank, and the soundproofing of our building leaves something to be desired; and c) why the fuck would a tank be driving down L Street? The shaking continued for a good 20 seconds or more. At some point I decided this must be an earthquake, which led me to wonder whether the fastest way street level would be to take the stairs, the elevator, or wait for the building to collapse. Similar thoughts apparently went through everyone's heads, because everybody else on the project headed for the exits, as did the folks on the other projects on the floor. I started to join them when a realization hit me: I had no intention of dying while badly in need of a trip to the john. So instead of heading down the stairs with everybody else, I went to the bathroom and took care of business.

When I came out, everybody but the Japanese chicks were gone. One of the projects on the floor is a Japanese-language project, which is staffed mostly by native Japanese speakers. Most of them are either from Japan, or are Nissei, second generation with family in Japan. These folks apparently know their earthquakes and don't evacuate a building unless the poo has really hit the fan. Encouraged that they were still there, I stayed, too. I went back to my desk and resumed clicking. My confidence may have been misplaced, as I later learned that their project manager sent everybody home minutes after I decided that if the Japanese chicks could stay, so could I.

After about an hour, everybody from my project straggled back in. Building management wasn't keen on letting folks back in at first, but decided to do so anyway, since no alarms ever went off, they hadn't actually evacuated the building and, frankly, they had no damn idea how many people like me had simply not left to begin with. There was some debate among the temps about whether to hit the bricks -- building management wasn't mandating evacuation, but they were denying all responsibility for our deaths if the building collapsed. Suitably encouraged, we all stayed. Needless to say, motivation was low, and production suffered.

And for next week, we have Hurricane Irene on deck. I can't wait.

Monday, August 22, 2011

All hail Pope Raised by Wolves!

I am reminded that I said Thursday that I have a better chance of being pope than this project did of lasting past Friday. Yet here we are. I guess somebody better let Benedict know there's a new pope in town. Or, maybe, my predictive powers are not worth so very much. Too bad -- I hear the papal apartment is some pretty sweet digs.

And the dead walk (or swim, as the case may be)

The swordfish has taken on zombie status, and here I sit. The project lives, apparently, although in severely truncated form. For most of my former co-workers, apparently, the swordfish is in fact dead. No, I did not blow the associate. Thank God. In any event, I'm here. I don't really feel bad about surviving the cuts where most others did not because, after all, it means I'm still working. The fact that people I know no longer are is not my problem. Yes, this job can make you misanthropic.

Once again, this is what the swordfish is. Read it, or refer to the title of the blog.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

And the whip comes down

This swordfish is dead as of COB tomorrow. Project manager and associate just came out and made it official. If you don't know what the swordfish is, you can either look here or, if that seems like too much trouble, you may refer to the title of the blog. August, by the way, is a really shitty time to be looking for contract work.

Dissension in the ranks

As the end draws ever closer, tensions appear to be rising. Could be coincidence, of course -- could just be that many temps simply don't play well with others. Whatever the reason, little flare-up today between Sleepy and Alarm Clock (the woman who sits on the other side of Sleepy). As a courtesy, Alarm Clock has taken it upon herself to wake Sleepy whenever the associate or the project manager is in the area. Sleepy has been oddly unappreciative, as discussed previously. So Alarm Clock put something on her fingernails, polish or whatever. I never smelled it and had my headphones on, blissfully unaware of the roiling discontent about to boil to the surface. As it is, I missed the entire exchange, even though it took place about 4 feet away, and am forced to rely on eyewitness accounts.

Apparently, as Alarm Clock was putting away her polish, Sleepy mumbled something that Alarm Clock didn't catch. Something like the following exchange apparently then took place:

AC: I'm sorry, what?

S (angrily and forcefully): I said, don't do that anymore, it's making me sick!

It was downhill from there, leading to the counteraccusation that Sleepy smells like an ashtray (my words) and much harrumphing on both sides. Probably a tactical draw, but maybe a strategic loss for Sleepy. As Southern Belle remarked, "Now who's going to wake him up?"

You've lost that lovin' feeling

The associate stuck with riding herd on us day-to-day has been spending almost all day every day in the office set aside for him, door firmly shut. Not a good sign, since it means he wants to get work done without a bunch of nitwit temps (that would be us) asking questions. Realistically, nobody should have any questions 7 weeks into a review -- if you haven't got it by now, maybe you should look into a nice stockroom job at Walmart -- but hey, we're talking about contract attorneys here. Anyway, if this project lasts past tomorrow, I'm the pope.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

To wake a sleeping giant?

I have suggested that someone should bring in some firecrackers to set off behind Sleepy the next time he and Morpheus get down. Oddly enough, no one wants to get fired for setting off fireworks, so there has not been a lot of support for my position. However, there is a groundswell growing in favor of the notion of putting a video on YouTube. His sleeping isn't even the funniest part of his sleeping -- it's his reaction when somebody wakes him up. He always pops awake with an "I'm here" or "I'm working" and if challenged will deny he was sleeping. No matter how long he was out. Or how loud he was snoring. No one is suggesting he isn't here. Just that he isn't conscious.

Sex sells, baby

Sure, mock me, look down your noses at me, cluck your tongues over how I've sunk into the gutter, how I've achieved new lows in blogging, how I have sacrificed any dignity I might have had in a desperate attempt to drive traffic. Feel superior now? Fine. Just wanted to point out that today's traffic is triple yesterday's. Talk about sex, people show up. Now I gotta figure out how to work some more sex into a blog about a very unsexy business.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Should I blow the associate or not?

I knew I would find a way to inject sex into this blog. And look at me -- nice, politically correct gay sex, not that there's anything wrong with that. Jeez, I just hope it drives traffic. Anyway, it looks like this project is going to end on Friday, and I am not seeing any other projects on the immediate horizon, which means I am really desperate to keep working. Cause for hope, though, in that it appears that there might be a chance that a few people will be kept on for God knows what. It also is possible everyone will be kept on for God knows what. And, of course, it is possible that no one on this project will be working on this project past Friday. Given all that, we have three possible outcomes, one good requiring no additional input on my part, one bad regardless of additional input on my part, and one good, but requiring significant personal investment on my part. In other words, there is a 2-in-3 chance that blowing an associate in order to stay on the project will be wasted. What to do, what to do? I guess I could always rob liquor stores. Should I take cash or merchandise, though? Also, have we really established that blowing the associate will help my chances of staying on the project, if the project continues? Yeah, robbing liquor stores is looking pretty good.

Weekends really suck

I can't believe I find myself posting under that headline, but from a blog perspective, it's true. I generally don't post on weekends, and the audience for this blog, such as it is, generally does not read on weekends. I don't know if one follows the other or not. I think, for the most part, both I and my audience (both of you, thank you so much) are too busy with real life on the weekends to be bothered with this online shit. Which, I suppose, means that weekends in fact do NOT suck for people who actually enjoy real life. Wow, what a concept.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Words fail me

OK, no they don't, but if anything was going to leave me speechless, this would be a candidate. An unidentifed temp was in the men's room mid-morning today, just having a seat. Nothing unusual here. Except the pile of documents arrayed at his feet, cell phone and a pen next to them, and the sound of rustling papers and the scratching of hurried writing emanating from the stall. Dude was giving a whole new meaning to referring to the bathroom as "my office." I would give anything to be able to tell his client where that brief had been when the temp hands it over.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What do you mean there's no 7-minute rule?

We got jacked up today right at the end of the day by the project manager. This guy never gets pissed, and he was PISSED. This leads me to believe he caught some shit from the client over our various shortcomings, but he jacked us up pretty good, over two things in particular.

The first is a common sin with the advent of the smart phone and its subsequent kudzu-like spread. Many temp projects do not allow internet access, so smart phones, such as iphones, fill the gap. People are always checking their email, listening to music, watching TV, whatever, using their smart phones. I still have a dumb phone, but I have Tetris loaded on that bad boy, so I play like a fiend while coding. I like to think of it as multitasking. Neither Tetris nor coding takes up much of my brain capacity (and this would still be true were I an aardvark) so neither activity really suffers from insufficient attention. Nonetheless, the project manager, in his late-day tirade today, let us know that constant attention to our cell phones was not confidence-inspiring for the people who believe we should be paying constant attention to the documents we are supposed to be reviewing. Fair point, at least as far as the perception of the client goes. On the other hand, I ain't no aardvark. But I digress.

The second part of his tirade (this was a pretty mild tirade, by the way -- he was only a little pissed, but this guy never gets pissed, so a little pissed for him is a tirade. I do not mean to imply that he was in any way wrong. We're temps -- we'll take advantage any way we can.) involved a time-honored tradition known as th 7-minute rule. A little background: Temps usually bill their time in 15-minute increments. Obviously, a temp's actual time worked does not always fit these parameters. For instance, consider a project that allows a 10-hour maximum, requires a half-hour break for any work over 8 hours and only allows a 10.5 hour window to achieve the 10 hours, say, 8:30 am to 7 pm. Under that scenario, if you arrive at 8:35 am, you cannot work 10 hours and thus are screwed. Enter the 7-minute rule.

You are allowed to round, a wonderful mathematical concept that allows you to turn 3.5 into 4 and 8 minutes into 15. So, if you arrive at 8:35 am and stay until 7 pm, and take your mandatory 30 minute break, you can round up from 9 hours, 55 minutes to 10 hours. Basically, if you get 8 out of 15 minutes, you can round up to the full 15. I think trying to do this for every quarter-hour of the day would be a good way to get fired, but temps have been doing this with regard to the last quater-hour of the day since time immemorial. In other words, the temps will arrive at 8:30 am sharp, but leave at 6:53 pm and round up. The 7-minute rule.

Well, apparently too many people have been doing this too often on this project, because that was item number 2 in the project manager's tirade. We were informed in no uncertain terms that "There is no such thing as the 7-minute rule." My guess is, the client gave him some shit because pretty much everybody seemed to be leaving at 6:53. They apparently have this crazy notion that they are paying for a full 10 hours. Supifdat?

Anyway, my prediction is that a lot of people who have been arriving at or before 8:30 am will now arrive at 8:37 am. Math still rules, and rounding is a rule of math. Suck it, bitches.

More Troll sightings

Apparently, I spoke too soon when I said the Bridge Troll was no longer sleeping in his clothes. Someone on my project told me she saw TBT this morning and he looked pretty rumpled. Her description of the person (troll?) in question made it clear it was, in fact, TBT. I guess maybe I caught him on the first day of his clothes-changing cycle, before he had slept in his clothes. After all, even the Bridge Troll changes clothes. Doesn't he?

People just LOVE the Bridge Troll

Good day yesterday for traffic. I figure it's the Bridge Troll. Although the Canadians apparently are not yet diggin' the Troll.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Bridge Troll sighting

Walking down the hallway today, minding my own business, and there he was, big as life and twice as ugly: The Bridge Troll. For those of you not familiar with The Bridge Troll, check here. Apparently, this paragon of incompetence is on a project at this agency, though not, thank God, the same project as me. He still looks pretty Bridge-Trolly, but he does seem to have stopped sleeping in his clothes.

I hope his client doesn't have to wake him up

I've mentioned that many temps have an outside client or two so that they can convince themselves they are still practicing law. (In all fairness, some temps only temp while they build up a practice. Some.)  Sleepy apparently has at least one outside client, and he isn't here today, which led to the following exchange:

CA1: Where's Sleepy?

CA2: He's in court.

CA1: What's he charged with?

Beats me, I'm just the stenographer

A new reader and fellow temp asks, "How is it that Sleepy is still on the project?" Well, there are some questions mankind just wasn't meant to know the answers to. There may be a feeling that less bad coding occurs when temps are asleep.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Whoomp! There it is! 3,000 hits

OK, so I just dated myself. You don't like it, refer to the title of the blog. And yeah, 3,000 hits, baby. It's time to party, Italian-style. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand he slides in a sweet "Stripes" reference, dating himself once again

But I didn't ask for a wakeup call

This is actually getting kind of fun to watch.The woman who sits to the left of Sleepy (I am not next to Sleepy) woke him up today as he was lounging in the arms of Morpheus. (That's a hot shit literary reference, not a drug reference, although morphine has Morpheus as it's root, which I guess could make it a drug reference, too. If I could figure out how to get some damn sex in here with the drugs, I'd probably have 4,000 views by tomorrow.) Sleepy did not take kindly to this and woke up with a little attitude. Also still denying he was sleeping, the snoring notwithstanding. "I'm working, I'm working," he said.

Wake up call

The project manager has taken to coming by periodically and, when Sleepy is earning his nickname, waking Sleepy up. Sleepy, obviously, no longer claiming he's just resting his eyes while the document loads. If the bastards would just treat us like professionals, give us our own offices and quit looking over our shoulders constantly, this wouldn't be a problem. We could close the door and sleep in peace.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Even without the Canadians

Might hit 3,000 today. Might be tomorrow. Party time!

Like the sun rising in the east

Temp conversations, if they go on long enough, inevitably follow a single trajectory: Down. Straight to the gutter. There's probably a mathematical formula to describe the relationship between time, the number of temps conversing and at what point to conversation will head south.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Cheating? I hope not. (Of course they are)

Saw something interesting in the comments, in which a contract attorney asked:

Is this a good place to bitch about a coworker who apparently was billing 40 hours a week despite not even showing up to work?
to which I reply, brother, you have indeed found the right place. I think every project has somebody who thinks he is ahead of the game, getting paid double. Some of them actually are. Obviously, this is something difficult to confirm, but even the thought of it is enough to raise the ire of most contract attorneys. And, of course, the envy. Just a little less scrupulous, and you, too, could . . .

Anyway, most of us don't go there. Just enough do, of course, to taint the rest of us, but what's a little ethical breech among friends, right? So yeah, I got stories.

The swordfish project -- the one that spawned this blog -- ended in such a funky, jerky, still-a-little-life kind of way that it actually encouraged double billing. When they told us we were done, a number of us jumped to the project I was on next. When it became clear that Swordfish was going to keep lurching along, with day-to-day notices of whether and how much people were working, some of the people who had jumped kept working both projects. I don't know if there was double billing, but I would have a heart attack if there wasn't. The two work sites were a block apart. It would be easy to be seen around each one just enough to claim full hours on both. I would not bet that no one did that.

But that's not the kind of non-work that my commenter is bitching about, I think. The commenter is offended by the flat-out, not-there-but-billing-anyway kind of chutzpah that is both admired and despised. Admired, because money for nothing sounds good. Despised, because some of use actually have a conscience. Plus, we deeply, desperately hope that these assholes will always get caught. Alas, such is not the case.

My favorite example of this kind of non-work happened about three years ago. I was on a massive project, well over 150 contract attorneys doing first review. Then we got cut to second review, about 1/3 left, then we got cut to privilege review, leaving about 15 out of the original 150. It was a very good hours project that paid for a class trip to Germany with my son. God knows what it paid for for some folks.

After about 2 months of privilege review with about 15 people (this project went on for more than a year), the associates became a touch suspicious about some people's hours claims. We were allowed to work 12 hours a day. All 15 people left on priv review were claiming 12 hours a day. To do that required arriving at 8 am. At least 2 guys were never there before 10 am, yet managed to bill the same 12 hours a day. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

One of those guys liked to arrive at 10, spend about an hour on personal business on the phone (or, at one point in the project, doing his taxes) and then finally get to work. Given the shitty quality of his work, this might actually have been a plus from the firm's point of view.

The other guy who proved to be a fanciful biller was, apparently, a junkie. He would show up at about 11 am, pass out at his desk for a while, leave at about 2 - apparently to go see his pusher - come back at about 4, pass out until about 6, leave at 7 and bill until 8. For seven hours of presence, he would bill 12 hours.

Finally, one of the associates ran the numbers, since we were using a software that required us to log in to an online offsite system. No one was accused of cheating or lying. But the two people who were lying got canned.

Truthfully? It was the only time I've seen justice served on that particular issue. Unfortunately, it seems that the people inclined to perpetrate that kind of fraud seem to get away with it. If they aren't getting away with it, it would be a good idea to let CAs know. If you don't believe the system will deliver justice, there is no reason to abide by the rules of the system.

Friday, August 5, 2011

To sleep, perchance to dream

We've got a sleeper on our project -- a contract attorney who routinely falls asleep, sometimes for some relatively substantial periods of time. At one time or another, pretty much everybody has a brain blink, where the eyes close and you go into near sleep for a second or two. But the jolt caused by your head falling forward when your neck muscles relax always snaps you back to the land of the living. I think we've all had that happen. Well, Sleepy doesn't have that problem, apparently, possibly due to posture or physique. In any event, flopping head syndrome is not waking him up.

Now, this is a small project, and Sleepy's impromptu naps have not escaped the notice of the project manager, who came up behind Sleepy today during one of his naps and woke him up. Sleepy maintained that he was not actually asleep but merely resting his eyes while waiting for a particularly slow document to load.

I almost have to admire the huevos it takes to float an explanation like that, but it needs a little work, since it fails to answer a couple key questions. First, how does that explain the snoring? And how the hell are you supposed to know when your document loads?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Actual temp conversation

CA1 (to a third person): It wasn't bad food, except that I was eating it with a wet sponge.

CA2 (butting in, which is what temps do): Why were you eating with a wet sponge?

CA1: It wasn't a wet sponge, it was bread, but it looked and felt and tasted like one.

CA2: Why were you eating with it?

CA1: It was Ethiopian food. Have you ever had Ethiopian?

CA2: No. I thought Ethiopian cuisine was most famous for being in extremely short supply. I mean, isn't Ethiopia "Home of the Famine," not to be confused with "Home of the Whopper."?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What the fuck is wrong with the Canadians?

As we close in on 3,000 page views (yeah, it was much faster from 1,000 to 2,000, but it's summertime and this has been a boring project with fewer posts) I think it is worth noting that my internationl readership is expanding. OK, not a lot, but work with me, people!  We're only talking about a handful of views from each, but so far I have page views from Germany, India, Latvia, Romania and Switzerland. Some great countries there, but our neighbors to the north need to get it in gear. Should I mention hockey or something?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Just what we needed (and I'm not talking about old Cars songs)

As most contract attorneys in the audience know (and if you are a contract attorney and don't know, jeez, you're fucked) there is a listserv called The Posse List that posts jobs and other useful stuff for the contract attorney world. Lately, they have been commenting on a California lawsuit that actually means a lot to those of us who make our living this way. Short version: client gets investigated by government, hires a big-time worldwide law firm to defend, law firm hires e-discovery firm which hires temps to review documents. Government looks at documents, sends a bunch back and says, um, these look kind of privileged to us, are you sure you want to produce documents protected by the attorney-client privilege? E-discovery firm re-reviews, apparently, and sends the documents right back over. Yup, they're privileged, client now suing law firm for fucking up. Also suing 100 John Does, apparently contract attorneys working for the e-discovery firm.

While I am sure the firm being sued considers this horrific on any number of levels, I care only because the client apparently is suing contract attorneys, too. We don't carry malpractice insurance because, frankly, we can't afford to and most CAs assume they are covered under the hiring firm's malpractice coverage. Since we usually actually work for an agency, not the firm, I am not sure how true that assumption is, but it is a prevalent assumption. Now we have here a lawsuit that is challenging many of the assumptions that underly contract attorney work, primary among them being that it's OK to be an incompetent fuck as long as you don't get fired for being too slow. Many contract attorneys do not live by this creed, but far too many do. Have you actually been reading this blog?

In any event, now we're getting sued for being incompetent fucks. No doubt this will serve as a big boost to the reputation that contract attorneys already have. Whatevs. The Posse List is on it, though. They comment here. The interesting part, to me was a description they included in the email I got about contract attorney work, which reads:
As many of you wrote in your responses to our weekend post, the case highlights many of the ethical problems in modern, assembly-line document review. And that's what document reviews are today: performance under assembly-line conditions by temps (not always lawyers) who often work 60 or 70 hours a week, ten or twelve hours a day, at rates ranging from $12.50 to $35 an hour (for English-language reviews) who are summarily fired if they fail to meet arbitrary production quotas.
My first question, of course, is who the fuck is working for $12.50 an hour? Then I realized it's probably those assholes in Ohio who can't find any work at all (actually, it's probably non-lawyers in the Philippines, which looks funny whether you spell it correctly or not.) Other than that quibble, though, I feel like those guys just said everything I've been saying for these past few months. Am I wrong?

I suppose, given the title I chose for this entry, I should make some cheap joke about my best friend's girlfriend, but I really don't have it in me. This is, alas, just not destined to be a funny post.