It’s been a full week now since I left legal administration, but old habits die hard, and I found myself engaging in a little shop talk at dinner with friends tonight. One of my friends was summarizing her latest firm projects, which through sheer coincidence all involved the men’s room.
Several people were quick to report a recurring issue in one of the men’s rooms…a puddle. My friend, the consummate professional, responded with “Ooooh. Yuck.” Normally she would be inclined to let the men wallow in their own filth, but this rest room happens to be in the conference center where it is frequented by clients. And, as she wisely pointed out, she didn’t want the men tracking their dirty sticky shoes across her nice clean carpet.
She considered sending an email to all the men in her firm, but that’s just a recipe for disaster. She thought about hanging signs over the urinals, but then clients would be in their fancy lawyer’s office reading placards that said “Please aim carefully; no dribblers tolerated.” Nope, that wouldn’t work either. So she did what any administrator would do; set a trap. She has eyes and ears everywhere, and sooner or later they will be able to identify The Dribbler. She’s not sure exactly what she’ll do when she finds him, but trust me, she will find him.
Trash v. Urinal
The men in my friend’s office also have a misunderstanding about the function of trash cans as opposed to urinals; which is presumably why the urinals are frequently clogged with candy wrappers. So there is a male creature roaming around her office who multitasks by combining snacks with restroom breaks. Umm, appetizing. I guess the biggest concern though is if he knows that the urinal is not just a place to hold trash; if heaven forbid he looks at the trash can and decides that’s where he should pee? Yikes.
This bathroom was on a different floor, so up went the signs “Please do not put trash in the urinals.” So far the signs have met with limited success. I suggest that she might want to be clearer and label the urinals and the trash can, as well as specify the appropriate use of each. I’m waiting to hear how that works out for her.
The Bathroom v. The Library
Each morning the receptionist places The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal on the table in reception, presumably for the enjoyment of clients and other visitors. Unfortunately, a certain partner has decided to grab one or both of the papers on his way to the men’s room, where he either leaves it on the counter or worse, places it back on the coffee table after it has been, well, sullied.
At least with this one she knew the culprit, so it called for the kind of one-on-one conversations that administrators just love. She patiently explained that if he wanted his very own subscription, which would give him the freedom to use the paper each day as he saw fit, the firm would be happy to order the paper and charge it to his personal account. My friend assured him that one of the office staff would lovingly deliver the paper to his desk each and every morning, and then he should just keep it. Seriously, no one else wanted to see the thing. He continues to waver and has not committed to any final decision.
Administrator v. Caretaker
Hard to believe, but my friend actually has responsibilities beyond that of bathroom monitor. Running the office and all like that, as is her job as an administrator. She would love to focus on her management duties, but she’s too busy being a caretaker, hunting down dribblers and paper thieves and all the rest. She checked her job description and figures this all falls under “other duties as assigned.”
Another friend at the table, a retired teacher, points out how much less work it was to keep kids in line. Apparently they knew better than to pull stunts like this. Then, in as compassionate a way as possible, we both giggle uncontrollably and say “it must suck to be you!” That’s just the kind of friends we are.