April Foolery

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Published on: April 1, 2011

Constantly Losing Enthusiasm

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Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: March 11, 2011
So, what’s the topic of today’s lesson… Well, I guess we should talk about proactivity in the workplace. Most of you already know all about this, but it’s probably worth restating. While being bored, investing in things that might help your coworkers (hell, even your evil bosses) is always a cool way to pass the time and helps you get noticed. As an example, a couple weeks ago, I got a new neighbor when a new partner (actually, our firm has some weird title for what he really is) moved here from out of town. He kind of reminds me of a rhino, so we’ll call him Rhinoman. Anyways, Rhinoman is very ferocious at times. When he is frazzled or when he is in a hurry. And especially when he is talking to his wife over the phone. Thank god we are not his wife.

One day, he is freaking out because, well, I really don’t know. But he is screaming at his very nice Vietnamese administrative assistant. He wants her to fill out a PDF form on her computer. But, unfortunately, her previous boss evidently did not rely that much on computers, since her skill level puts her in critical danger of operating a can opener. Once Rhinoman had decided to stop tormenting his assistant and grump back to his messy, brief-strewn cave, I ask if she needs assistance. She happily accepts and within minutes, I had prepared the PDF for printing. She pulls the form out of the feed and hands it to her boss. Over the day, I receive about twenty emails personally thanking me for helping her coming from all these assistants I barely even knew!

Other than feeling really good about this (and feeling like I’ve finally boosted my karma up just a tad,) I realized I’m “in” with the assistant circle. That’s a hard one to crack too. Whenever I used to go into the lunch room to eat the lunch I brought from home and there was a crowd of them sitting around the tables, I never felt more unwelcome. I think that’s the reason I now eat out every workday.

So, you’re probably wondering where the sarcastic twist is in here. Let’s get back to the point of proactivity. I’ve always tried to be proactive in my job(s). In my eyes, I’m helping the company grow from the inside out with my own creativity and initiative. It’s being (wait for the Harvard business blogger term) an “intra-preneur.” God do I suck. However, trying to help a K Street firm is impossible. It’s like buying the present for the person who has everything. After probably a month of considering (this is a month’s worth of unbillable hours I’m talking about,) I landed on something. Seeing that my resume reflects a kind of “Jack of All Trades” aspect, I came into my current field with absolutely no prior legal experience. Now if I know next to nothing about law, I might as well try to be more useful to my bosses. Like actually be able to do things that a normal paralegal would be able to do. Such as anything that doesn’t have to do with a…


I decided on doing a bit of CLE, which stands for Continuing Legal Education. Maybe I could get my firm to, um, sponsor me financially so I could learn from outside classes (on a conference call) and then get, **cough, cough**, ‘certified.’ That would help my practice immensely in the end… Or at least that’s what I made everyone who’s important believe. I brought it up to those in charge. The attorneys in my practice nearly fell over with approval. I guess they were really happy how much excitement I showed. I gained full approval and began my classes the next week. I’ve actually always liked learning. That’s actually not true. I hated it in grade school through high school. I don’t know my high school GPA because until recently, I didn’t know it existed and I probably scored a 1.1 on my SATs. But, come college, it completely turned around. So, that’s my story on that. Big nerd all of the sudden.

So, I get really psyched about taking these eight classes I somehow swindled my firm into and began the first class. Once I get through, though, I realize CLE really stands for Constantly Losing Enthusiasm. Through the entire class, the woman who is instructing is obviously doing this from her kitchen dinette. Her little labradoodle is continuously barking in the background, interrupting the flow of the show the entire time. At one point, she starts asking why she does not hear any questions from the audience. Now, one of the procedures of these classes is that we are put on mute so that WE don’t interrupt the flow of the show… hmmm. Anyways, the instructor begins to get more and more annoyed that we aren’t responding after each segment of her incredibly intriguing presentation of the history of law, which I believe started at Habburabi’s Code of Laws and went through each decade since. We then learn during one of her spats that she doesn’t believe anyone is listening to her because it’s all silence to her. She finally blows her lid and barks, “If you aren’t going to pay attention, I’m just going to leave this presentation!” Click.

Suddenly, another voice comes on. It’s the moderator. “[Instructor?] Umm… [Instructor?] Are you there?”

After a few minutes, the instructor comes back on and gives the excuse, “Sorry, my portable phone died.”

Uh huh. I am so glad I get to listen in on so many more of these classes.

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