Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Canadians hate sex!

I think this conclusion is inescapable in light of the facts. Lots of international search engines looking for the word "fuck" have hit upon this blog. I do not kid myself that there are people in Moldova, or Sweden, or Indonesia, or Switzerland who are hanging on my every word. They are hanging on one word: Fuck. The fact that I do not yet have a single visitor from Canada leads me to one conclusion: Canadians clearly do not care about anything involving the word "fuck" and therefore clearly hate sex. I predict that, if no Canadians visit this blog, Canada will completely depopulate within a single generation. And they'll deserve it.

Dog bites man!

You will, no doubt, be shocked to learn that actually putting up blog posts drives blog readership. I was, admittedly, kind of lax for a while there, and readership was down. Well, back up. I'll try to make it worth your while. I also promise to use the word "fuck" often enough to keep those international search engines coming back. How else do you explain Indonesia dropping by?

New gig, no joy

Man, we are looking at a seriously deficient group of temps on my new project. They added three of us to an existing project that consists of an existing privilege team and a new (us) QC team. I decline to comment on the two guys added along with me (actually, I might comment later -- these guys have potential), and I can't comment on the folks who were already here because they don't talk to us. Maybe they will later. Not sure I care. This could be a solid two weeks of listening to sports talk radio and music. Worse things could happen.

Monday, February 27, 2012

She's swallowing a lot of aggression

The woman who was sitting next to me on my last project apparently had some serious aggression issues. I may have mentioned that it was not clear whether she used to be a man, and I may have mentioned that when she asked questions during orientation sessions she could be heard three states away and sounded like a drill instructor. But I do not believe I mentioned that she chewed gum like she was really fucking mad at the gum. I mean, there was a lot of anger there. If you chewed your food with your mouth that wide open, people would shun you and your mother would disown you. She chomped on gum so that it sounded like the Germans marching through Poland. When you're in close quarters with people, these things, however petty in real life, matter. Not sorry, from this particular perspective, to see this project end.

They weren't lying

True to their word, we wrapped up the gig last night. No muss, no fuss, don't let the screen door slap you in the ass on the way out. Sat home today, but found a gig starting tomorrow, so I am temporarily not in panic mode. Only a two-week thing, though, so we'll see what we see.

Off topic

After toying with the idea of including political commentary in this blog (since the temp world was being recalcitrant in providing me with copy) I decided not to go there. After all, at least in DC, most temps are liberals, and it wouldn't make sense to alienate a majority of my primary readership. On the other hand, I recently had a comment that made me reconsider. My commenter stated that he "may not trust government but I trust powerful private interests that run things when government steps aside even less."

My first thought was, Wow. My second thought was, this is what is wrong with liberal thinking. Please follow through. What can corporations do to you if you don't work for them? Damn little, except charge what the market will bear for their services. What can government do to you? Take all you own and call it a tax? Make you buy what they say is essential to the national well-being and call it a mandate? (Fortunately, this remains subject to judicial review for consitutionality.) Jail you for violating laws never passed by the national legislature that make no sense and no one was aware of ? (EPA, kids, just for one example.) How many corporations have SWAT teams the way the Department of Education does? (Don't take my word for it, do your homework. What am I, your mother?) The power to coerce action is unique to the government. And you fear corporations more? Really?

Friday, February 24, 2012

No Sister Sledge songs here

Seriously, I can't believe you missed the reference to "We Are Family." Whatevs.

In any event, the project I am on is direct hire, meaning we have been hired directly by the firm, with no agency involved. This has its pluses and minuses. On the one hand, we make more money, since the firm pays a higher rate since they don't have to pay an agency, too. On the downside, we are onsite at the firm, and there is no agency to serve as a buffer between Us and Them. The potential for abuse (and by abuse, I mean abuse of the contract attorneys) is considerable.

The folks at this firm are pretty decent overall, but the belief that contract attorneys are the garbagemen of the legal world dies hard, and clearly lives here. Mixed in with the announcements about substantive matters related to the case are much more numerous announcements about  what we need to not do so as to not disrupt the firm. "Disrupt" apparently means "remind the firm of our existence."

Yesterday was an excellent case in point. In a series of announcements, we were informed that we were not allowed to take phone calls (on cell or otherwise) in the conference room adjacent to our review space (the only private place to take a call), nor were we allowed to enter that room at all. Further, we were to stop taking sodas from the conference room (something I'm pretty sure only happened when we were in there for training, or on weekends when lunch was set up in there and we were encouraged to take sodas). Finally, we were to take our "private phone calls in the community room." Yes, that is an oxymoron, but the only place to take private phone calls is in public, apparently. Final insult: the community room (basically a kitchen with a large seating area with tables and such, kind of a lunch room) belongs to a community to which we, apparently do not belong, as two Fridays in a row now we have been told to stay out of the "community" room (the only place to get, for example, water) while it is used for the firm's weekly breakfast reception. Some communities are more equal than others, I guess.

Nothing egregious here, really. Just goes to show how even with the (fairly) good firms, second-class status (or third, or fourth) is rigidly enforced. Beats the (unemployed) alternative, I guess.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I guess they were telling the truth for once

Normally, rule number one is, they're lying. That axiom may have taken a serious hit on this project. After the second day, the staff attorneys handed out little slips of paper with your name and a number on it. They then posted a list, ranking the contract attorneys by total number of documents reviewed per day, but also including their rate of documents reviewed per hour, apparently to be fair to people who did not work the maximum number of hours. Each contract attorney was identified by the number on the slip of paper they gave us, so no one else would know how bad you suck.

As soon as they posted the list, they told us, "Don't worry, it's just something that we do, it doesn't really matter." To contract attorneys, this translates as "be in the top half or get fired." Well, as Gomer Pyle used to say, "Surprise, surprise, surprise!" It would appear that they meant it: the list meant nothing. So it would appear, anyway: the people at the bottom of the list are a lot less productive than the people at the top, yet they are still with us. I would have figured any firm posting those numbers would fire some of the bottom feeders pour encourage les autres. Color me wrong.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Seriously, Moldova?

I don't even know where the fuck Moldova is, but we seem to have a visitor from that country, if that really is your name. (For the uninformed, that is how you begin the questioning of every witness: So, Mr. Jones, if that really is your name. Great to throw their credibility into doubt. Works every time. Can't believe more people don't use it.)

Monday, February 20, 2012

I guess this makes me a bad person, but I don't care

No, really, I don't. Anybody who has been reading this blog for any amount of time (and I mean both of you) knows that a) I am, if not a bad person, not a good person; and b) I seriously don't give a shit. So there's that.

That does not, however, mean that I don't have standards. I always try to do a good job, for instance, and people who don't piss me off. Consequently, I am not liking the person sitting next to me. I have no idea what the quality of her work is like, but I know her production must suck because if she's even at her desk, she is either working on her personal notebook computer or she has her head down on her folded arms, sleeping. I guess she's coding some documents -- at least enough to keep her from getting fired -- but I have a hard time believing she's got a real grasp on the case (and in fact she's asked a couple questions that she thought sounded thoughtful that made it clear she is wandering around in left field). This leaves us with two possibilities. This person is not trying to do a good job, or she can't. Which is worse? Unfortunately, this means she fits in reasonably well in Temp Town.

Amazing how they find the time

So there they are, doing that whole revolution thing, and yet somebody in Egypt found the time to visit this blog. Sure, it probably was a search engine looking for the word "fuck" and not some idealist hoping to change the world, but still and all, gotta love it. Plus, we got somebody from Moldova, too. Egypt and Moldova on the same day, and yet, Canada still refuses to chime it. Fuck the Canucks, we got Moldova, even if we can't find it on a map.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The fuck is wrong with Canada, anyway?

As of today, the entire nation of Canada, in solidarity, has refused to view this blog. Fucking Indonesia, halfway around the world, has checked in. Our neighbors to the north remain silent. However, deserving of condemnation as Canada may be, that is not the point of this post. In an earlier post, I wondered whether going beyond the contract attorney world into politics would help attract Canadians, but worried that as a conservative I might lose a chunk of the mostly liberal contract attorney audience. A commenter agreed that most contract attorneys are liberals, but suggested that most attorneys generally are, as well. With that, I disagree.

While I used to work as an associate at a couple of the biggest firms in DC, both populated heavily with liberal graduates of top 25 law schools, I did not fit in either category. I went to a second-tier law school in the hinterlands, where most people who go to law school actually go to law school. Most of my classmates were conservatives. Those who were not mostly gravitated toward plaintiff's bar tort law after graduation ( we call these people "ambulance chasers"). I have no evidence but I believe this to be a representative profile: a majority of attorneys are conservative, but the vocal minority (the ambulance chasers that you see on TV and billboards, as well as the plaintiffs' lawyers who dominate the ABA) are liberal. I'm sure there are exceptions, but I think the parallels are pretty clear. If I decide to go into the conservative/liberal divide deeper, then I'll address this further. If not, this has to raise the question, what the fuck does this have to do with Canada not viewing this blog?

Commentable comments

A commenter has asked how this blog caused me to not be selected for a particular project. Here's the explanation: The project for which I was accepted and then, within hours, rejected, was a revival of the project on which I was working when I started this blog. It was a highly entertaining project, and many of the posts did not reflect particuliarly well upon the agency staffing the project. I actually got an email from the agency that hinted they knew I was the blogger. Of course, I denied it, as Lenny Bruce once advised that you should deny everything, even if they have pictures.  On the one hand, they seem to have accepted my denial. On the other hand, I haven't worked for that agency since then. And on the third hand (what kind of freak show is this?) they are the only agency that has given any indication they even are aware the blog exists, much less suspect my identity. So, in response to my anonymous commenter, I say this: No agency likes to have it's dirty laundry aired, and the best way to prevent that from happening is to keep people who will do the airing from seeing their dirty laundry.

We so damn international

Got me some Egypt, Thailand and Indonesia on the vistors' list. Welcome guys, even if you are robot search engines looking for the word "fuck." I'm always happy to put it out there.

Wall-to-wall bullshit

I am on what is known as a wall-to-wall project: the hours are high, seven days a week. At first they were very cagey about letting us know how long this would last, but they finally relented and told us it would end in another week (making it a two-week project). Anytime they don't want to answer the "how long?" question, you're in trouble. Also, let's face it: if you have a project with a high pay rate and high hours (and this one has both), you know it can't last long, because God hates contract attorneys.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

There's one on every project

I haven't been on every project, but I'm going to guess that every project has a shred box. This is the box where you put pieces of paper that have on them things you have written or that the law firm has printed that are confidential. It's not a big deal. Very common. The idea is to maintain confidentiality. I think most folks understand that.

Not everybody, though. My new project has a shred box. It's where you're supposed to put copies of documents, notes, etc. that are confidential and need to be shredded as opposed to going into the regular trash.  Only a genuine dipstick would put run of the mill garbage in the shred box.

Naturally, in that shred box are two McDonald's bags stuffed with the detritus of visits to that venerated fast-food establishment. Ah, contract attorneys.

I've been one poor correspondent

OK, so it was a lame reference to an old America song that most of you are too you to remember. Sue me. In any event, I jumped from the shitty-assed project I was on, giving up the 40 hours a week with some duration for 80 hours a week with a suspect timeline. These folks have been very cagey about how long this will last. On the other hand, we have a great rate, great hours. That's how you know it won't last.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Why yes, it is snowing like an SOB. Why do you ask?

No prediction of this, apparently, but it is snowing like a big dog right now. Not sure for how long or how much, but it's good to finally see some winter.

Lord, how have I offended thee?

So I've been looking for an escape from this project pretty much since the day I got on. Unfortunately, it's a project I already escaped once (and how'd that work out for you?), so getting back on when there was nothing else meant I practically had to give a security deposit. That was long enough ago that I can now get my security deposit back, but I'm having trouble finding another suitable apartment, so to speak. The market is a little thin at the moment.

So last week I got two tidbits of news. First, this project isn't dying anytime soon. Maybe a month or so. Another month of no overtime will kill me, but not as bad as a month of unemployment. The other tidbit was about a project with some overtime that was projected to last for three months or more. Hallelujah! Or however the hell you spell that. Sounded like salvation to me. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand . . .

the project is at the same firm I'm working at now. Different agency, same firm. No way will the firm let me jump from an unfinished project to a new project in the same room. Bitter irony: we're being forced to move from our space to another, much smaller space so that the project I can't join will have room for all their people. I feel like Abraham -- can't I just kill a son and make things right? Anyway, still stuck in no-overtime-land. Maybe I could sacrifice a goat.