Could You Put the Compliment on the Back of the Hand, Please?

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Published on: March 31, 2011

Okay, that was weird. I mean, awkward doesn’t cut it. But, I am still trying to understand exactly how to take the conversation I just had with The Big Un. The Big Un is one of our office’s senior partners. When I say senior, I mean

Senior.

Not only that, but he’s also the guy that hired me. Out of pure happenstance, I was in a bar having a beer with an old family friend when the friend sees The Big Un and brings him over. Friend tells Big Un that I just moved to DC and am looking for a job (completely unrelated to law, but that wasn’t mentioned.) As it turns out, Big Un also knows someone in my family and says, would you like to work for my team as our paralegal? Wow, well, let’s see. I could either go business to business, office to office, cold call to cold call selling myself and my “skills”,  or… not.  Okay, Mr. Un, you got yourself a new paralegal!

So, I’ve come to realize The Big Un is a hard guy to pin down to talk to about job direction. Or even just to talk to in general. I think in the last year and change, I’ve been able to squeeze in three talks with him. It’s not at all because he’s avoiding me, I know he likes me and hears good things about me around the office (because I’m sneaky and manipulative in making people think I’m awesome.) But because The Big Un is seriously one of the busiest people I’ve ever met. He’s in his office perhaps 10% of the week and without a cell phone to his ear 0.1% of the time. Exhibit A:

 

So, after two months of trying to see him, I finally get penciled in. In truth, the conversation was about what advice he could impart on me so that I could actually be of more use around the office and also advice on long-term goals. Well, I was amazed when we passed the ten minute marker in his office. Then even more so when I saw it had been twenty minutes. He did take a phone call, but that won’t count against his score.

We got on the subject somehow of our own team and chain of command. He said that obviously he was the top dog and he barked the orders that everyone else would then follow. The Big Un told me that he knew that most of the actions were performed by his senior associates, like Pear Bottom, however he has absolutely no clue what that first-year associate on his team does (Mr. Clean).

The Big Un:

“You see, son, when you’ve finally hit my level way up here and get to sit in my seat, it’s really hard to see all the way back down to the level of someone like him… Damn, what’s his name again? Well, if I saw him in the hall, I’d remember his name. Anyways, take what I’m saying and push it to yourself. Now, you actually work for these first-year associates, doncha, son? They are your bosses. Correct? So, logically, I shouldn’t even know you exist. But, look at us. Here we are. Sitting and talking.”

Like I said. Wow. I know he meant no harm by that, and trust me, I wasn’t harmed. I was just… shocked, maybe? That entire analogy is something I would think would come out of the mouths of Rupert Murdoch or Kenneth Lay to their stockholders. I mean, arrogance abound, I still saw that he had respect for me in the end. It’s just a weird place to be in. I think I just nodded my head after that until I could leave.

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