This is a humorous and sarcastic blog written by a paralegal in a mid-sized law firm in a mid-tier market. The goal is to share some of the pitfalls and foibles encountered in my own day-to-day experiences. Feel free to contact me at aparalegalslife@gmail.com with comments. Complaints, not so much :)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mixing Personal and Professional

My standard policy is to never mix my personal and professional lives.  Keeping the two apart from each other makes for a less complicated life.  If work doesn't intrude on my social life, then that means I can more easily leave the stress of work behind when I walk out the door.  But it isn't always easy.

Recently, the sudden death of a close friend came during a period of intense stress and a heavy load at work.  The stress of dealing with my friend's death, coupled with the stress of my job, became too much to bear. 

The straw that broke me was a disagreement with Most Annoying Partner Ever.  MAPE gave me an assignment with no deadline, but asked me to keep him in the loop about how I was progressing.  I sent an e-mail to him to say that there was too much work in my other cases with immediately pending deadlines to get his non-deadline project done until at least the following week.  MAPE then contacts my immediate boss, Ineffectual Manager, and lies through his teeth, saying that there is a deadline (when both me and MAPE clearly knew there was not) and I was to be removed from all other work to do his bidding.

When I was informed of this, I snapped.  Usually I just suck it up and find a way to juggle everything.  But with all the personal and professional stressors hitting me, it was like being trapped in a corner and getting poked with sharp sticks.  The only thing you can do is lash out. 

I called MAPE out as a liar, told the IM that the project is completely unimportant and could easily be done by any of the dozen other paras, whereas the deadlines I was working on were all in cases that only I am familiar with.  It was basic common sense to assign the easy project to someone else rather than have me waste hours filling in someone else on how to deal with all my other work.  Inevitably, because IM consistently caves to the partners' whims no matter how stupid and illogical rather than stand up for the staff, this argument escalates to the Managing Partner.  MP is well aware of MAPE's habit of being overly demanding on stupid crap and completely disregarding the proper distribution of workload.  MP makes the decision to tell MAPE that I am now completely off-limits to MAPE's work due to my remaining caseload, and instructs IM to tell MAPE. 

Ever since, IM has been glaring daggers at me for going over IM's head and winning.  I'm certain it will come back to haunt me later, likely at bonus and annual review time.  I won, but it was a fight that I should never have picked in the first place. 

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