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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Endless Tilt

I'm on life tilt. Perma-tilt.

For anyone who doesn't regularly read the drivel that makes up this blog, I'm in the law business. Have been for more than ten years. Ten freaking years.

I joked recently (in chat, I think) that I could never blog my workday because Blogger would not allow me to use an accurate number of F-bombs. I think, just because I can, that I'm going to do so anyway. This is really a composite of the week, but it's depressingly close to what any given day is like.

Let the whining commence.

6:45 a.m. Alarm goes off. I've been sound asleep for about 3 hours. God bless stress and insomnia. At least I finished two more books yesterday.

6:46 Stumble across the room and give the clock a hearty whack in hopes of triggering the snooze. It works. Lapse back into coma.

6:55 See 6:46

7:04 See 6:46

7:13 See 6:46. Alarm clock is miraculously not broken.

7:22 Drag self out of bed, commence morning routine.

7:30 Scrounge around for breakfast. Too tired and too late to fry eggs. Settle, with some resignation, for store brand Cheerios and milk.

7:32 Eat breakfast, catch up on reading of blogs and news sites.

8:00 Office opens. Ignore clock and finish reading.

8:37 Drag self into office. I'm such a good example for the staff.

8:38 Drop first f-bomb of the day, followed by several more.

8:39 Close office door to ensure full containment of audible f-bombs.

8:45 Start wishing that I drank coffee, or a least had a caffeinated beverage of some sort.

8:46 First phone call of the day. Trustee wants to know why my client hasn't done something. Call client. Get response that is a barely better articulated version of "duhhhhh, I dunno."

9:00 Telephone call with another client. Client has idiotic problem with ex-wife. Advise client how to solve problem. Listen to lengthy rant about that evil bitch. Struggle to stay awake.

9:15 Still listening to client rant. Wonder why I don't have a computer with Party Poker in my office for calls like this.

9:18 Call ends. Mark down 0.3 hours of billable time that I may or may not ever get paid for.

9:20 Telephone call with asshole lawyer from another town. Listen to incredibly unreasonable demands. Twiddle thumbs, which is hard to do while holding the phone. Politely reject demands and say 'thanks for calling'.

9:30 Draft meaningless motion. Pray that receptionist/secretary can spell the four and five letter words correctly. Decide that prayer alone won't be enough.

9:46 Stop in the middle of drafting said motion to take phone call from client. Client has heard from a friend of a friend that the law relevant to his case is "X". Advise client that, no, the law relevant to his case is in fact "Not X". Client dubious, says he's going to check with his neighbor's cousin who watches a lot of Court TV.

9:50 Hang up phone, drop extra loud f-bomb, resume work on motion.

9:51 Stop work on motion for another phone call. Never mind, it's a sales call. Bastard lied to get past the receptionist. Hang up on him and tell the staff to hold the damned calls.

10:00 Finish dictating motion and give tape to bored receptionist, who no longer bothers to minimize "eBay" when I walk up.

10:05 Consider what to work on next. Find myself paralyzed by indecision and loathing. Read tax newsletter instead. The IRS continues to lose in its effort to collect the telephone tax on cents-per-minute plans. Good. This has absolutely no relevance to any of my clients.

10:25 Phonus interruptus. Someone looking for free legal advice. Answer quick question (it's always a 'quick question'), give out number for Legal Aid. Consider breaking phone. Decide that I'd need to destroy every phone in a three block radius in order to achieve productivity.

10:30 Legitimate phone call. Existing client has a new project. It's a shit project, but it's work and the client pays. Accept project. Hang up. Drop emphatic f-bomb at prospect of having to do project.

10:45 It's really loud in the office and I'm having a hard time concentrating. Blood sugar is dropping. I consider the idea of fleeing the country. Australia sounds nice.

10:50 Decide to work on something relatively interesting. Pull out tax file and work on return. Find myself jealous of the client's large refund.

11:55 Observe that the phone has been quiet for an hour but my desk is a mess. You can't win 'em all.

11:56 Decide that the f-bomb is overused. Unleash stream of alternative profanity.

12:30 p.m. Read letter from clerk in county Register of Deeds office. Deed rejected, the dates don't match. Draft responsive letter saying (politely but in essence) that if you'd actually read the mf-ing thing, you'd see that the dates do match and perfectly, and just do your job and record the damned thing.

12:35 Read letter from a receptionist-cum-law clerk at the Friend of the Court rejecting divorce judgment. Claims that a required clause was omitted. Draft response pointing out exactly where the required clause is, was and always will be and (politely) request that s/he do their damned job and approve the stupid thing.

12:36 Ponder the question of why I spent three years and umpteen thousand dollars going to law school when I could have just walked in off the street after high school, gotten myself hired by the Friend of the Court and I'd have way more "expertise".

12:39 Blood pressure is now approximately 900/600. I think. It's hard to tell through the curtain of rage-induced dots blurring my vision.

12:45 Lunch time. What's it going to be today? Looks like hot dogs. Hope I have ketchup. That's still a vegetable, isn't it?

1:30 Drive back to office. Ponder what to do tonight. Decide that I'll probably be too tired to do anything more strenuous than checkraise some online douchebags.

2:00 Pretrial conference. Opposing counsel is a smug, pompous ass. He will not yield an inch to move things toward settlement. We both know exactly how the case is going to turn out, but apparently feels the need to churn a few fees first. Set case for trial. Feel sorry for the judge.

2:45 Return to office. Consider job options in Anarctica.

2:46 Discover six new phone messages. Four people who want status reports, one non-client who wants me to do something for them and one request for representation from someone with a crummy case and who can't afford to pay a lawyer. Gold.

2:47 Ignore phone messages and consider the merits of the Tibetan monastic lifestyle. Decide that ritual flogging would be better than this.

2:50 Open today's mail. Assorted legal documents, a $50 check on an account with a sizeable balance, the usual demand letter or two from other asshole attorneys. In other words, junk mail.

2:54 Try to decide if being caned would be better than this. Caning wins. Easily.

2:55 Dictate meaningless cover letters forwarding legal documents and asking clients to do things in response. Know that requests will be ignored. F-bomb. Take break to individually curse each of America's 197-odd accredited law schools.

3:10 Place phone call to egomaniacal opposing counsel on a case with a rapidly approaching hearing date. Get voice mail. Again.

3:11 Debate when the last time was that I didn't get voice mail. Curse the invention of voice mail.

3:12 Curse the invention of the telephone.

3:13 Curse the practice of law (in general).

3:15 Review memo regarding new Friend of the Court procedures. Track down annoying new required forms. Three times the work for little or no obvious benefit. Hooray! Bureaucrats rule!

3:16 General cursing of the Friend of the Court and State Court Administrative Office.

3:20 Unscheduled drop-in appointment with client who feels the need to tell me in person the latest evil thing her ex-husband has done. Listen patiently and get rid of her by citing next appointment.

3:30 Conference with potential client who is just shopping around. Map out strategy. Discuss costs. Determine that we're much less expensive than the big firm, big city attorney she's also consulted with. Know that it won't matter.

4:00 F-bomb. Five new phone messages. Three status report requests, one more from a client who's called three times already today. One from the creditor of a client who wants information I'm not giving out. Multiple F-bombs. I want to kill.

4:42 Finish returning phone calls. Final obscenity count: 27. I hate people.

4:45 Dictate pointless followup correspondence. Wonder if secretary/receptionist will manage to spell names correctly. Decide that the opening line would be at least -190 for at least one typo. I'd still take those odds.

5:00 Office closes, staff leaves, answering machine goes on.

5:15 Enthusiasm level, already low, continues to drop. Billable hour total pathetic. Shuffle papers and ponder whether panhandling might be a better career. Decide it's probably +EV.

5:38 Think about dinner. Should I keep the no fruit, no vegetable streak alive?

5:45 Place a few more calls to people who send all their calls to voice mail.

6:00 Give up and go home.

I'm ready for a change, and circumstances could dictate sometime this year that I make one.

The question is, doing what, and doing it where?

That remains to be seen. I simply don't know. Maybe I'll create a fake resume and see if I can't get a job in Gibraltar working for Party Gaming. Maybe I'll move to Las Vegas and live in a cardboard box. Perhaps Southern California or pushing golf packages at Pinehurst. Or maybe I'll just stay here and wallow in this particular mud puddle.

Life tilt.

Maybe I need to engage in some primal scream therapy. Back later.


Pokerwolf said...

I worked as an admin assistant for a DC law firm, so I know your pain from the other side of the fence. Ugh.

Check out Opinionistas. She's a former NY lawyer who quit her job. The blog is quite the spectacular read if you start from the beginning.

Garthmeister J. said...

BTW - Australia is nice. When people aske me what the hell I'm doing in the US, I usually reply "I can always go home."

FatBaldGuy said...

Wow, you make my life as a mid-level tech drone in the IS department of a company that has been sold three times since I joined it 6 years ago seem like not as bad a thing as I thought it was before I read your post. Thanks.

Human Head said...

This post was depressing and fantastic. Not that I'm wishing for your continued abject misery or anything...just wanted to let you know since you're already there you're doing a nice job with it.

Viva la F-bomb!

Drizztdj said...

At least you talk to people, I stare at a ledger all day.

And when people do call, explaining the same thing five different ways STILL doesn't get the message across.

I'd drop some f-bombs but that's against company policy.