I am a first-year associate at a medium-sized downtown Miami law firm. I am the affable, hard-working guy around the office that goofs around with all the secretaries and is generally making jokes. I wonder, however, if my easygoing, good-natured office persona has made me a pushover in the eyes of my fellow associates. Take this egregious display of disrespect (Keep in mind names have been changed to protect the innocent, mainly myself):
I was swamped in the office. I was working on one of my more pressing matters, which has a hearing coming up very soon. I’m in my office, and I get a page from the receptionist: “Anthony, is Michael in your office?”
Michael is a mid-level associate at my firm who’s the managing partner’s right-hand man, and I’m not exactly sure what Michael looks like, as his lips always appear to be surgically attached to the managing partner’s behind. I reply, “Ah, I see him outside the door.”
“Michael, you have the client on line 2.” He walks in my office and takes the call. I’m a little surprised. I mean, wouldn’t it be more practical to go to his own office, which is about 20 feet away and take the call? OK, fine whatever. I then get up to get a document from the printer and when I return, Michael is in my chair just chatting away with the client.
It’s not like Michael was on the phone for 2 minutes. Michael was on the phone in my office for over 20 minutes. A fucking .4, while I’m standing around my own office like a complete dip shit. I walked over to another associate and started complaining about it, and of course at that moment the managing partner busts in and tells me he needs something from me ASAP, which I can only get if I’m at my computer able to use my chair.
Of course Michael is on the phone for another .3, after which my managing partner comes to me again and re-demands of me what he asked before—only this time says something snide and condescending like “Did you think I was kidding?” I reply that Michael was using my office, which he conveniently vacated during my managing partner’s second rant, which of course made me look like a lazy sod.
So, for the record: Michael has shown such utter disdain for me he’s just used my office because whatever he was working on was more important than what I could be working on AND the managing partner thinks I’m a lazy bastard who was just standing around looking like a dip shit. I was fucking livid. I am still fucking livid about it (a week later). Who does that kind of thing?! It’s among the most inconsiderate things that anyone has ever done to me, certainly professionally.
Am I taking this thing too seriously? Is it just one of those things? I spoke to several associates at my firm, and they think I’m in my right to be upset. My thing is this: Have I done something to give the impression that I’ll take that kind of shit around the office? Or is it expected of me because I’m a first-year associate? Maybe a law firm is like prison? Maybe the first day you get in, you have to kick someone’s ass to establish your “realness.”
Either way, I got the business from this other associate, and I should make sure I don’t drop the soap in the shower.
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