Getting so close to my last day…just two days to go now. Slowly but surely I’ve been packing up my stuff; the things I brought here in 2007, the things I’ve acquired since then. My beloved solar operated waving Queen, magic wand and all. I started plowing through old emails and my life with the firm has been flashing before my eyes. How could I have forgotten the time the kitchen flooded, or that holiday season when I approved every single secretary’s leave request and then all the attorneys came in to work, or the day I brought down the entire phone system trying to “fix” the programming?
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that someone like me should not be learning the phone software by trying different things and seeing what happens. I was offered programming training but that stuff is for sissies who can’t take a little pressure when it all comes crashing down.
The fact is, I was a large firm snob before I worked at my current firm. I remember coming in for my first interview and hesitating at the door wondering what kind of fly-by-night operation they were running here because I’d never heard of them. They didn’t even have branding or a logo for crying out loud. I just prayed that I would not see advertisements for them on late night TV; Lawyers R Us. I was laughing with my boss the other day telling her that at that moment I almost turned around and went straight back out the door, but so glad I came in and discovered this great law firm. She said that the minute I left her office she started calling the other partners and telling them she found someone great. And you know, she was so right on that.
Prior to joining a small firm, I shared a perception with my mega-firm colleagues that our counterparts in small firms had it easy. I mean what the hell do you do all day with only 30 attorneys? Well, quite a bit as it turns out. Just about everything, in fact. I looked around for quite some time trying to find the marketing department, recruiting department, IT department, but they just didn’t exist. I was it. Of course when I got to know other small firm administrators they said that with such huge staffs they didn’t know what the hell large firm administrators did all day. I explained that somehow, no matter what size the firm or the staff, we’re all working our tails off.
A couple of years ago a partner brought me an RFP and asked that I give it to whoever handles proposals. I said no problem; I’ll drop it off in the marketing department. My partner said “great!” and wandered off down the hallway.
I went in the other direction, asking everyone to point me in the direction of the marketing department. People here are pretty used to me wandering down the hallway babbling to myself, so they humored me and then rolled their eyes when they thought I wasn’t looking. I eventually wound my way back to my office, where I proceeded to ask myself if I was the marketing department. I am not a sane person who should be left to her own devices, but I sure do have a lot of fun.
I have a small framed drawing of happy pink pigs with big sparkly wings. It’s kind of my totem—here’s who I am, be prepared for a little silliness. A few firms ago I hung my pigs in an inconspicuous corner as I settled in to the new job. A partner came by and asked what, and why. I laughed and explained that sometimes when I think about my job it’s sort of as absurd as flying pigs and hee hee ha ha…but I was the only one laughing. He made me take it down, and I knew it wasn’t the firm for me. I never even bothered unpacking my desktop claw machine with the little dollar store parachute soldiers.
My current firm has always taken me exactly as I am; flying pigs, Halloween decorations, candy, toys and everything else. For that I will always be grateful. I don’t know what my next adventure will be like, but I’m having a lot of fun watching my own highlight reel as I move forward.