Friday, March 02, 2007

My Firm Is The Matrix

There are many times, during the past 29 months, one day, six hours, and 8 minutes, when I've compared my firm, in my mind, to the Matrix and wondered when I was going to finally choose to unplug myself. The biggest difference between my firm and the Matrix is that in the Matrix everyone who's plugged-in imagines that they are in a happy, pleasant, worthwhile place, whereas I never felt that way at my firm. I've always been more like Keanu was just after unplugging himself - aware that I was in a hell in which all of the appearances of pleasantry were artificial creations designed to keep me chained and immobilized in mind and body.

Not that I was completely aware of how hellish everything was from the beginning. I, too, had to go through a gradual process of awakening. And, after awakening, I had to go through another process to get me to the point where I was ready to unplug myself completely.

Now, I'm there. My mind's clear and I'm ready to unplug my body, but I can't yet. I'm waiting for my conflicts check for my new firm to clear, and there's no certainty as to how long that will take. It could take a few days, or it could take a couple of weeks. It's totally unpredictable. And until my conflicts check clears - confirming that my offer at my new firm is official - I can't give my two weeks notice, let alone plan my trips to Utah and India. I mean, technically I could, but it wouldn't be a smart move to tell my firm goodbye without having some assurance that I definitely had a job at my new firm.

So, where does that leave me? Floating around in the water, looking at everyone else still plugged into the Matrix - as if they were alien lifeforms from a strange planet, feeling elated that I'm no longer one of them, but frustrated that I have to continue to walk among them. I even have to continue taking assignments, and worse yet, I have to act like I care!

Take yesterday morning. The assigning partner called me up and told me that I had been placed on a new case and that I should call Partner T. When I spoke with Partner T, I was quick to say that I had a project I needed to work on through the end of Friday and asked if that was a problem (My point was that I would not be free to work on Partner T's project until Monday, after the weekend). He said it wasn't a problem. He then gave me a number of things to read, including 10-Ks, offering memoranda, and other financial materials on a number of companies - incredibly long, boring, dry materials - told me to review it, and then said that we would meet Monday morning so that I could tell him what I had found out.

Um, hello? Monday? Morning? Sitting in front of Partner T, it was obvious to me that the only way that I would be ready to talk about the materials on Monday was if I read them over the weekend. It was equally obvious that that fact was also obvious to Partner T, and that saying "I have plans this weekend," was going to get me nowhere. You see, Partner T is used to dealing with associates who say "yes" all the time, who assume that they are going to work on the weekends, who don't stand up for themselves when partners treat them like crap, who act in accordance with how my firm wants associates to act.

If I had said to Partner T that I couldn't work on his project because I had plans on the weekend, I'm quite sure that he would have looked at me liked I had two heads. No one says such things in the Matrix. What he doesn't understand is that he is the strange one, not me. I can't wait to get out of here!


Starshine said...

So are you going to spend your whole weekend reading?

I can't wait for you to get out of there, either!

Buttercup said...

I'm going to spend some time reading on Sunday, sufficient to discuss it on Monday, BUT I'm not going to let it blow my whole weekend. I want to end things on a positive note.

Sparky Duck said...

god damn blue pill, or is the red pill? or the bunny? oh wait thats Jefferson Airplane. Though these conflict checks make no sense to me, nor should they I think, you will escape!

Buttercup said...

Sparky - The conflicts check ensures that there is not a conflict between a lawyer (and cases that lawyer has worked on previously) and the cases handled by the new lawyers firm. It's largely and administrative formality because if there is a conflict usually what happens is that the firm places a Chinese Wall between the incoming lawyer and the case from which the lawyer is conflicted.

InterstellarLass said...

I'm allergic to working on the weekend. Makes my head spin and pea soup shoots from my nostrils.

Buttercup said...

Lass, Maybe I should have spit pea soup at him when he told me - in not so many words - to work on the weekend? Perhaps he would have seen how reprehensible that was. :)

Gypsy said...

Ugh. Won't it be nice to be out of there? I'm counting down with you.