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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Guess 30 minutes was too long

Remember the crew of about 8 people that was working a related project in the space next to us who got 30 minutes notice that their project was over? Well, three of them got called back Tuesday this past week to work yet another related project. And yesterday, with no advance warning at all, they were told "You're done." Now there's a record that will never be broken. Can't give less warning than none. Alas, in this business, it will be matched again and again, I'm sure.

Monday, January 23, 2012

This is not encouraging

I have held off writing a post about this because it makes me nervous. Combined with the fiasco at Thanksgiving, when they told us day by day whether we were working (and dragged it out for more than a week -- No work today!),  this convinces me that we are working for one of the firms that institutionally views contract attorneys as completely fungible goods, to be disposed of at will. While we are all that, many firms -- I won't say most, although it might be -- try to show a little more consideration than this.

There was a group of contract attorneys in the space next to us working on a related matter. Small group, about eight people (which, of course, is bigger than our group), working on apparently the same matter for a different client. They also were using a different review platform. Whereas our project is using a review platform that allows us to see how much total work is left to be done, the other group did not have that luxury on their platform. Basically, they would be given another batrch of documents upon completing their last batch, with no idea how many batches were left.

So, on last Wednesday, right after the MLK holiday, they were given about 30 minutes notice that the project was over. Considering that firms know how many documents there are, and how fast they are being reviewed, it is child's play to determine when the project will be over. Many firms will give a heads up about a week from the end. Other firms, fearing that people will jump to other projects if they know a project is ending soon, keep silent.
This firm, apparently, keeps silent. Those folks had no idea they were about to be unemployed. Sure, some people will jump before the end of a project, but most try to line something up to start once the current project ends. It doesn't pay to burn bridges. Of course, that is a lesson firms should learn, too, as contract attorneys will avoid firms that don't afford them the opportunity to ensure continuous employment. It doesn't make me feel real good to know we're working for a "fuck them" firm. Although it certainly makes me feel better about my "fuck them" attitude toward this firm. Karma, I guess.

Ain't workin' today, again

Not because I didn't feel like it (even though I didn't) but because it was icy out this morning, and so I rolled over and went back to sleep. If you can only get 40 hours, and they'll let you get it in four days, who cares which four days it is? So I slept until noon. And liked it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Almost missed it

I've obviously been busy away from the blog, as I almost missed the fact that we posted our 6,000th visitor on Friday. Notice how I am now using the royal "we" when referring to this blog. I plan to get really pretentious and full of myself at 7,000. And even with 6,000 hits, I still am forced to admit that Canda avoids us. Well, suck it, Canada.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Eggs over easy, hold the existential angst

Jesus, folks at work today were getting deep. Or what passes for deep among contract attorneys, anyway. Apparently, while I was away from my desk, a conversation started that wentin what I considered a strange direction. When I returned to my seat, there was some kind of discussion going on about doing what we do because of a lack of options. For whatever reason, I felt compelled to join in, naturally in a fashion guaranteed to make friends and influence people.

Me: Look, we have options, we just don't see them because we're stupid.

(Long silence.)

Temp 1: Actually, I hate to say this, but he's right. I can't believe that happened.

Me: It happens all the time, but you guys don't know it because you're stupid.

Naturally, I include myself in the "stupid" category, since if I were not stupid, I would have figured out something else to do by now.

Fringe benefits?

Massive boredom brings with it the responsibility for what you find. Nonetheless, I refuse to be held responsible for this, even if I found it. Watch at your peril.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Actual temp conversation

C1: He never says anything about his interests. He's a total closed book. For all we know, he could be an ax murderer.

C2: Come on. On a project this size, what are the odds of two ax murderers?

Are you sure you want to know?

Every project is different. Small projects, people generally talk to each other, big projects maybe not as much. This is why, of course, I hate small projects (like this one). On a big project, if you don't know the person or people next to you (depending upon whether you were smart enough and quick enough to get an end-of-the-row seat) it is OK to put your headphones on and never speak to your neighbor. On small projects, like the five-person heap of crap I'm on now, people generally talk to each other, at least some. Most folks assume (wrongly, I think) that they will "get to know" the other people on the project.

I think three of the five people on my project buy into this assumption. They seem to exchange a lot of personal information, and chat a lot. Usually, I have my headphones on and ignore them. Yes, I am an anti-social SOB. Problem?

However, there is one guy on this project who makes me look like a social goddamn butterfly. He never speaks unless spoken to, and then keeps it monosyllabic and short. Dude is my hero.  Today, however, I learned that not everyone values reticence.

The lone woman on the project, call her C1, thinks the silent dude, call him C2, is a "closed book" and apparently wants to know more about him. She went on for a bit about how we have no idea what his interests are, what he likes or does not like, things like that. This got me to thinking.

First, she obviously thinks that the rest of us on the project, call us C3, C4 and C5, have been more sharing. I think that probably is true about C3 and C4, and, to a lesser extent, about me. But the more I thought about what I have shared, the more I decided she was taking to much for granted.

Who's to say that the personae we are sharing actually reflect who we are? Does she know that I am actually telling her about myself, or am I telling her about a persona I wish I were, or used to be, or aspire to be, or have no interest in being but have created for the purposes of entertainment? Nothing I say is subject to verification. Much of it is not accurate, as I have little interest in sharing my actual life with people I barely know (or don't know at all). Personally, I think this is what makes reality television appealing. It isn't actually reality, but the show folks are putting on is much more interesting than their real selves. I think C2 is doing the best job of avoiding this trap by simply sharing nothing. Hats off, C2.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ain't workin' today

Didn't go in today because, frankly, I didn't feel like it. Next Monday is a holiday, which means I would have had a 4-day weekend coming up were I to finish my 40 hours by Thursday. Decided I didn't really care about a 4-day weekend. Upside? I will probably be all alone on Friday, or at least for most of it. Works for me.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Oh, Jesus, not the French!

We appear to have had a visit from the French, or at least someone at a computer in France. Got to admit, not a big fan of the French, although I hear France is nice. In any event, welcome to France. Also the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Thank God for beer

So there I was last night, after work, all my other tasks and chores done, and I finally sat down to post something on the blog. I put up something about visitors from countries new to the blog (even though they probably are search engines looking for the word "fuck") and was writing another post about the different approaches  folks on this project are taking to getting their 40 hours. Boiled down, there are three approaches spread among the five of us: sprint to get to 40 as fast as possible, steady pace to finish at the same time every day and finish in four days, and work bizarre hours and manage to get 40 hours in five days. Or fall short, whatever. In any event, as as I read the post, I realized it was boring as anything ever. Paint drying. Grass growing. What evs.

And then, God stepped in. I fell asleep in front of the computer for about a half hour (did I mention I was drinking beer?). When I woke up, I was unable to post what I had written. Clearly, this was a good thing. I simply deleted the long-winded, twisted and uninteresting post I had written. Thank you, God. Proof that God gave us beer for a reason.

Friday, January 6, 2012

We so damn international

The French and the Dutch have chimed in. Not sure why, but welcome! Still no Canadians. Perhaps I should use words like oral sex or sex and Molson's, or LaBatts, or something like that to pique the interest of Canadian search engines. Come to think of it, no hits from Mexico, either. Perhaps I should say chupa mi penga or something like that to speed the process along.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Actual temp conversation

Temp 1: I don't want to do this anymore.

Temp 2: Are you saying you don't find your work to be important, satisfying and meaningful?

Temp 1: Our work is so important we haven't heard from the people we work for since before Christmas. One of them is going to wander down here and say, Oh, you're still here? We were supposed to let you go weeks ago. I knew I forgot something.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Do they want us to quit?

I think the answer to this question is no, but with a qualifier: they don't want us to quit, but they don't care if we're happy. The "they" in this case is the law firm and/or the client of the law firm. We are in a no-overtime zone, which in this business is slow starvation. Even if you're getting a good hourly rate, no overtime means you have to pick and choose which bills get paid each month. Maybe if you're single in a cheap-ass apartment you can survive, but what you save in rent under those circumstances you make up for in extra ammunition. In any event, no overtime is not a desired situation, and that's where we are, hence my unhappiness.

Naturally, law firms will find a way to make it worse. On Thursday before New Year's -- in other words, with only one day left in the week -- the firm where we're working let us know that we might be shut down early on Friday (12/30). Or maybe not. They couldn't decide. But the timing was such that if you had not loaded up on hours early in the week, you would not even be able to get your 40. Needless to say, only one person had loaded up. It requires long hours to do so, and long hours feel like too much sacrifice if there is no overtime payoff at the end of them. Ten hours a day sounds like plenty under those circumstances. Well think again, putz.

So when did they finally .let us know whether we had to go home without hitting a 40-hour week? If you had 2 hours before they sent us home" in the betting pool, you win.

Traffic and shit

So, December, while not an all-time low for traffic, was slow (November was slower). Not coincidentally, my posts in both months were less numerous. Apologies. The combination of struggling for survival and sboring-ass gigs led to not much to say. I regret that my life has not beeen interesting. However, I feel like I can drive a little traffic by saying something like hot Russian naked chicks, or maybe hot Russian mail-order brides. Just sayin'.