Blog Week 78: Smells like mean spirit.

Sunday 20 May 23.12

Back this evening to more dreary weather. Still feeling the glow from a warmer climate. So what awaits me in the office?

Monday 21 May 23.03

Shakespeare (as I mentioned last week) is currently heavily involved in a particularly intense matter. I was in the kitchen this afternoon when he and Bill came in. Shakespeare was (quite loudly) detailing his frustration with the other party's lawyers.

Basically they are a team of three: an associate, a partner and a Highly-Paid Nobody (I'll explain Shakespeare's definition of that term another time). They are not often involved in this type of work. Shakespeare suspects they believe this matter is their opportunity to shine in front of their client and, importantly, ours. But as their role is limited to mainly commenting from the sidelines, "shining" has taken the form of trying to make our side look bad.

It started with some minor stuff at the start. For example their partner brought a couple of irrelevant typos to the attention of all parties at one meeting. In that instance it was not the fact something so petty was said, but the way it was said. This partner is clearly not the most cunning because one of the typos had originated from his side. Nobody else really commented, but it just left an uneasy feeling in the air that something odd was going on.

More recently this partner has been upping the ante. This morning he was bringing up some definition issues which did not make sense to anyone else: their client, our client, our lawyers. It was if he thought he could show we were not doing a proper job. All the business people immediately rubbished his comments.

Shakespeare has a suspicion this partner's behaviour is ingrained and is only going to get worse. It is like he wants to keep needling away at our people.

Tuesday 22 May 23.34

It is a small world. Turns out Too Kool knows the associate who is part of this team currently frustrating Shakespeare and co. They both studied together a few years ago.

Too Kool said when she knew the associate he was a pleasant, if slightly intense person. She wondered if he had changed much. After all being in such a mean working environment must have had some effect.

It got me thinking about how where anyone first starts working has an effect over their professional career. Office conventions, expectations, the particular experience all impact on that subsequent career.

Recently Old Timer hinted - in that way he does - that something like this happened with Hairy. But how often can anyone choose where they start? Because usually there is no choice. Like her, you lose your legal "virginity" (so to speak) and move on.

Thursday 24 May 23.51

Are you following the current series of the Apprentice (on BBC)? Mockney and I were talking about it this morning. One of the applicants is a real "love-to-hate" type - having made repeated nasty comments about other applicants behind their backs. Such as wishing death upon them! Mockney thinks it's all posturing; for a media career after the Apprentice. I am not so sure. Her anger/craziness looks genuine to me.

Anyway Monday is another public holiday so I have taken tomorrow as holiday. Hurrah! I had to explain this month's public holidays to a visiting US partner this afternoon. She asked - a little meanly - how things here get done this time of year.

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