A BigLaw tool sporting a Harvard tie is trying hard not to cry about just getting canned. Some associate chick who looks like Sarah Jessica Parker (when she was hot) tries to console him.
“You’ll find another job,” Striking-Distance SJP says, as the elevator takes us all down to Earth.
“Downsizing income partners,” Harvard Tie says with a stiff upper lip he practiced at some place like Phillips Exeter. “It’s not fair.”
“Baby,” I cough, barely obscuring the insult.
Striking-Distance SJP shoots a quick glare in my direction. Then looks away.
“I don’t know why we need these loser temps,” she says.
“They should just leave the law to the real lawyers,” Harvard Tie says.
“What do you call a tier-two law school graduate?” Striking-Distance SJP asks.
“Tempting,” Harvard Tie says as they both share one last workplace chuckle for old-time sake.
With a swipe of my hand, I press every button on the elevator—all twenty-two remaining floors. I couldn’t resist.
“Thought you might like to prolong your stay at a big firm,” I say to Harvard Tie as we stop at the first of many empty elevator banks.
“Asshole,” grumbles Striking-Distance SJP.
We stop and start. In silence. Giving me ample time to study the face of entitlement. This morning, I suspect Harvard Tie knew the universe revolved around him. By this afternoon, he learned the truth—everyone is expendable.
We travel down for what seems like an eternity, and I suspect that Harvard Tie is quietly saying goodbye to each floor.
“We could have you fired,” Striking-Distance SJP says as the doors open for the umpteenth time.
“He doesn’t work here, and you’re a first-year associate—you couldn’t even have me do your Shepardizing without permission,” I say. Silence.
We finally exit the elevator, and I break it down for them: “Temps don’t cost BigLaw money. BigLaw only pays temps when it’s making money.”
“Jerk,” Striking-Distance SJP says.
“The guy who owns the agency that placed me used to be an income partner here,” I say. “He got blown out during the dot-com bubble. Now, he works out of a strip mall. True story.”
“What’s his name?” Harvard Tie asks.
“Why? You want a referral?”
They stare at me blankly—carving me up with their eyes.
“Listen, I’d love to chit-chat all day, but I’ve got a ton of work to do, and I’ve only got a ten-minute break.”
I hold out my hand to Harvard Tie, but he doesn’t return the gesture.
“This economy is tough,” I say. “Even for Harvard grads. Welcome to the bungle.”