Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Working Hard But Not Working Long

Still catching up, as you can see. You'll have to bear with me because I'm going to talk about today first without having covered the rest of my weekend. And there will be no pictures either. Wordy wordy wordy McWorderson.

I don't think I've ever had so much continuous work. Ever. At the firms, I'd work very long hours, but there would be plenty of time during the day to putter around -- we'd play jokes on each other, take coffee breaks, and chat a lot.

Not so at the new gig.

This is not to say I haven't made lovely new friends. I have! (Yay!) But, when I'm not lunching, I generally find myself working like an industrious little beaver building a giant dam -- always scurrying about, doing lots of heavy lifting, yet never seeming to make any significant progress. Just when I think I'm almost done with the dam, I'm realize I have to add more sticks.

This is seriously like the biggest dam of all time.

Part of the problem is a lot of time-consuming meetings. These take away from precious actual dam-building work time. It's funny working at a big company instead of a firm. At the firm, all life is legal. You're all that there is. It's law all day, all the time. Laaw laaaaw law laaw law law. (Please sing this to the theme song for The Smurfs.) At a company, you're just a small part of a much larger picture.

I was amused this morning when we went around the table and introduced ourselves at the beginning of a seemingly interminable two-hour meeting. It went something like this:

"Joe Schmoe, Billing."
"Jill Schmill, Accounts Receivable."
"Jack Schmack, Collections."
"Jane Schmane, Fake Rhyming Name Generation."
"WeezerMonkey, Legal."

It's interesting to be in an environment in which not everybody has the same skills. And it's certainly a new feeling to be the "expert" on all things legal when mingling with other non-legal employees at our company.

Yesterday, during one of these time-consuming meetings, one guy started calling me The Hammer. We are all collaborating on a very large project, and, if things don't go well, I will be the one responsible for suing everybody who isn't in compliance. The guy said, "Yeah, so when all those bad people don't pay, we'll just send them to The Hammer." And it stuck. Now everybody in that meeting is calling me The Hammer.

In contrast, last week, a random secretary popped her head into my office and asked me if I was old enough to be an attorney. I took it as a compliment.

But back to the working hard topic. I'm working hard. It's almost taxing to work so consistently. Maybe I just wasn't a very good employee before. The head of my department (hereinafter, "Shark" -- for his fierce legal abilities, not for his fierce management style) has a lot of faith in me and my abilities, which is simultaneously motivating and terrifying. Pops seems to be pleased with my performance thus far, too. Shark mentioned today that Pops raved about me during a recent telephone call. Woohoo!

Oddly, I don't feel too much pressure. There is so much to do every day, but many things are not terribly time-sensitive, but things are starting to pile a bit. When new things pop up, the old things sort of get pushed back. Nevertheless, I still go home at about 5:30 now (as opposed to right at 5:00 in December), even with an hour or so for lunch.

It's a much shorter work day, but it's jam-packed. Dense. Heavy.

Company life is like a small rich piece of cheesecake -- compact yet satisfying. Firm life is like multiple enormous airy sponge cakes -- voluminous, not very tasty, and pretty pointless.

Tomorrow is my first appearance before a regulatory commission. I'm told it's not too different from court. In fact, it should be...a piece of cake.

You knew that was coming. It was quite the heavy-handed setup.


  1. YAY! It is fun to be the Hammer!! BAllin Axehammer represent!! No seriously, I like to slam my fist on the table and shout it's HAMMERTIME.

  2. Good luck this morning! Schmooch up to Her Majesty and you should be fine!

  3. ballin beat me to it. oh well, i'll say it anyway.

    it's hammertime!

  4. i'm diggin' the new nickname ;)

  5. that nickname is so perfect. ;)

  6. You sound busy - your days make me tired reading about them!

  7. At my last job we had meetings all day. Some people would just demand the floor for the first 15 minutes and then leave. With a name like the Hammer, I think you could pull that off.

  8. I feel you on the dense thing. Where does all this work come from?

    You should wear this to your next meeting. :) http://www.cafepress.com/wickedmonkeez.37100830

  9. "The Hammer" needs to be followed by dramatic music [insert here] DUUUUNN DUNNNN DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNNNNN!!!!!!!

  10. Dahaha! I love Ballin's comment.

  11. there's nothing i can possibly say here that's even close to ballin's comment.


  12. Hahahahaha you know the next time I see you, I'm so gonna be yellin' "it's hammertime!" :)

  13. Nobody puts Hammer in the corner...oh wait, that's Baby.

    Nothing like the nickname Hammer who wears Kate Spade slingbacks :)

  14. This post made me very depressed. Allow me to clarify:

    "Firm life is like multiple enormous airy sponge cakes -- voluminous, not very tasty, and pretty pointless."

  15. I LOVE the nickname "The Hammer." Awesome.


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