Friday, April 29, 2011

TFGIFF

man sometimes after a long...or short day...i don't even know which seat i should take...


but fuck dude, it's friday, thank fucking god its fucking friday. i can have my cake and eat it too....


FUN FUN FUN FUN FUN FUN FUN

we are all lawysers after all. if i can get away with a dilbert thas cause for clebration


or sometimes i just do this with my buddies too. this was us on the first friday when we were filming amovie called anchorman. i'm on the far right giddy as a schoolgril

anyway, whethere' its friday, whether in ur down time, off time, up time, whatever fucking time. lifes too short to let work make it shorter, may as well let some other poison thats funner fuck it up. i nver forget my destress.  im so destrssed right no w its great.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Organize Your Outlook

FYI. this is going to be a pretty tepid post (read: kind of boring unless or even if you use outlook), but i think it's been pretty key for me to being efficient. dont worry will have some more outrageously offensive and obscene shit ltr.

I think one of the key things to recapturing my time and generally being more efficient is becoming familiar with some of the basic tech i use daily, like outlook, and taking advantage of the little thngs that -here's the key- a lot of ppl dont know it can do.  Just think of what ideally you'd like to do, and then figure out if there is a way to do it - google or the microsoft help function are useful tools. For example, the first time i had to send something out, i didn't want it to go out right away for some reason or another, and i didn't want to just save a draft and have to remember to do it later, but then i figured out from just fiddling around that you could delay your messages being sent (ive mentioned this before i thnk).  So here are a few things i do that i've found really helpful in staying organized, efficient and generally better at controlling my time:
  • Delayed sending: like i said, you can set this up through your message options. Depending on your outlook version, you can just click on the options tab and there should be a button for it. The applications are endless and i've alluded to a few previously, e.g., making sure you don't elicit a response before you actually want to elicit one, getting people's attention at the right time, making people think you're 'working' at times when you are not, e-mail 'bombing' someone for shits n giggles

  • Redirect replies: usually i don't need this, but there's also an option to direct a reply to someone else. pretty helpful if you ever want to send something out right before vacation or are just covering for someone. great way basically to automatically delegate to another.

  • Calendar: delegate this completely to your secretary or assistant - you can give them access to your outlook calendar and have them add things for you or adjust items.  everytime u want to remember to do something, bc u carry around ur bb all the time anyway u loser, its like ur reminder box. just call or email ur assistant and have them put it in. add relevant details like con call #'s, attachments, etc. so you don't have to dig those out again. and for specific meetings or calls, invite participants so they know about it too. i wd also strongly suggest knowing how to do all these things urself. its so surprising how many seniors dont know a lot of basic things and rely completely on secretaries or other people to do this stuff/figure it out. like i've said before, it doesn't always make sense to delegate to someone something you can do much more efficiently. a calendar a secretary can do just fine. but if u cant wait to do something, like set up a conference call or set up a meeting invite for a bunch of people, u dont want to look like an idiot, and its really easy. there's a fucking "invite attendees" button on the damn thing. (i'd also suggest you turn off the option that asks people to accept if you have a shit load of peopel to invite). so in addition to getting things done fast, if u can do stuff urself and faster sometimes, ull 'impress' ppl too...how silly

  • Contacts: ever have to send an email to someone but don't have their email in your blackberry and you're not at your desk so can't sort through your archived mail to find the address? make sure you regularly add all people you may need to send emails to to your contacts in outlook, which will sync it to your bb, so you can access it anywhere. Your secretary is great for this too.
  • Folders: this is so basic, but so many ppl don't do this til it's too late....i saw a first-year once, had one folder for each project. and then the inbox. if u get like 300 emails a day when a deal is hot, how the fuck r u gonna find shit. u can sort by name, search whatever but if u have thousands of emails, its a bit unwieldly.  if u r doing cap mkts, i usu have folders for closing, opinions, comfort, pa, dd, OM, (don/indenture), etc.  for ma deals, varies, but usually something for dd, each txn doc, disclosure schedules, etc.

  • Rules: when i'm on deals with a group email (like big cap mkts deals) that gets a lot of email traffic, i'll set up rules so that when emails come in, they are automatically assigned a category name and color, and are sorted if desired into a particular folder. There are a lot of possibilities with the rules, so you can probably do a lot of different things. generally i like to have cap mkts emails (90% of which i try to ignore) (and any group deal emails too actually) land in my inbox, with a copy sent to the parent root folder ans assigned a category.  So if the project name is "monkey", then when i get a project monkey email, it will come in, and a copy will go to the Monkey folder, and i'll keep one in my inbox. If i can tell it's not related to me or something i don't really need to read or care to read (or generally just something that doesn't need my attention right away) i delete the copy in my inbox, but have automatically retained the copy in the root folder so i can look at it if i need to. If it is relevant to me, but I don't want to deal with it now, i'll either leave it in there, or add it to my list and sort it into the appropriate Monkey subfolder (e.g., "opinions"). Keeps my inbox so light n airy i feel like i'm doing whipits every time a whack a mole a fucktarded email.

  • Colors: you can have emails with certain criteria show up in a different color. I have emails that come in that are only directed to me come up in blue - so it's an automatic "flag" item so i know which emails are probably expecting a response from me and those that may not. it's an auto-prioritizer. Tools -> Organize -> using colors.  Play around with the other options too. Here's an example of what mine looks like (note this is my whole inbox - bc of auto-sorting, clearance of spam items, i have a relatively clean list of items that i need to address):

  • Drafts: saving drafts are quite helpful when you know you have to send something out at some point, but you don't know when. You can write up the email, attach whatever docs, and then save it in your drafts folder and it's ready to go. What many don't know is that you can also attach these drafts to emails, and then the recipient can ALSO send out that email as if it were from them. That way, if anyone ever asks you to draft an email, or if you ask someone to draft an email for you, you basically delegate the entire task to them.  Once you receive the draft email as an attachment, you need to drag it to your drafts folder and then open it from there before it's sendable.

  • Blacklining: sometimes i want to make some comments directly in an email in text rather than send a huge document, especially if there's only a few lines of text that are relevant. rather than run a whole blackline or write up email comments that are imprecise, you can directly create a 'blackline' in outlook by directly formatting the text. i.e., you can change the font color to blue and underline text you want to indicate that should be added, and make text red and strikethrough for text you want deleted. hot keys expedite the process greatly - ctrl + u for underline, and ctrl + d to access the formatting pop-up (you can do strikethrough, double-strike through, small caps...emboss...)

  • Html/plain text: ever get an email where you can't do any bullets, formatting etc? you just need to switch to html editing bc it's in plain text mode. Under the options tab again. seems simple but i know a lot of people that just don't get why they can't paste the damn table in the fucking email...
  • Attachments: did u kno u can attach things but just dragging them into a message? helpful when u already have an email and just wanna attach some docs just drag em in.  Also, lez say u gotta send out 8 attachments and u want em in a specific order, when u attach them all at once through the message option, theyll probably come out in some random order. but, if u redrag the files into the message, it recopies the attachment at the end of the list, so u can reorgzniate it like that. or, someitmes ill just add em to a blacnk message, and then drag em into my actual message in the desired order. rather than attaching one at a time which is lame.

  • Hot keys: sometimes just make things faster - ctrl + n for new message/contact/event, alt + r for reply, alt + l  for reply all, alt + w for forward, alt + s for send/save, alt + F4 to quit. look up ur most commonly used ones. this probably saves me about an hour a year and a worse case of carpal tunnel syndrome (from avoiding the mouse). Hot keys in other programs are good too (like "c" for compose a message on ur blackberry, "t" to go tot he top, "b" to the bottom, and a bunch in word - like if u ever wanted to insert an auto x-ref to a section but with the word "Section"? simple, just - alt + i, n, r, select section, click ok, right-click on reference, t, "\t", right-click, u...but i can talk about these later or u can figure it out urself). sersiously these save time. pdf, word, outlook. a lot of senirso have seen me work on docs and go thr u emails etc and they r fucking blown away by how fast i can do this sht, befor they even have a chance to see whats on screen i know wats gonna come up and its out/done whatever. flabfuckingtastic.

  • Alerts: i have the alerts come up for new msgs, so i can whack a mole, as u kno
  • Getting someone's attention: ever have to write an email to a partner who just doesn't fucking respond cuz they live on a golf course and have eight hundred million thousand emails everytime they look at their bb? best trick i've foudn is write their name (sometimes repeatedly) in the subject line - and then simply summarize the entire message in one line at the top cuz theyll see that in the preview. works like a charm.
  • Style: my outlook is all black it's badass. like shaft. but not as badass. u can change the stetings if u click on the little window icon and then go to the stling option. they have three optinos i think - blue, olive green and black. why the fuck they picked those three colors i have no idea. this may depend on what version of outlook u have tho.
ok thas it for now. cheerio and gluck

    Friday, April 22, 2011

    Live a Little

    The other day i saw one of my banker buddies walkin back with his coworkers to theiroffice, which is near mine.  He was carrying his lunch - a bag of mouth-watering burger king.


    which, by the way, shld not be confused with whataburger, which my uncle in his quasifucked up accent/drawl calls "waterburger":


    but anyway, i says to him, "healthy lunch, prick". i call all my banker friends pricks just so they don't forget. and then he goes, in his typical hifalutin tone, "dude, LIVE A LITTLE!"....

    i'm not really a health freak, and i was more or less joking when i said that to him, much like when i say much of anything to anyone, but his retort was no joke...i think he was fucking serious.  which at first struck me as ridiculously, flabbergastingly, flubberfuckingly, odd. but then i thought, for a lot of people in our industry, "financial investors", professionals, corporate monkeys....we have so little time and so much stress and ire, our "live a little" often is relegated to shit like eating an occasional burger, going on a 'hike', eating indian food, taking the bus instead of a car, walking down street x instead of street y, jacking off with ur left hand, whatever. and  for risk-averse lawyers, who are too shitless scared to do anything wrong lest they be fired (really is someone going to fire you if you forget to insert commas in the right places in that prospectus or check that all the defined terms fit together correctly), i think this issue is just compounded. i would say to them, "live a lot more".  it's about priorities. i've seen people cancel dinner plans, postpone vacations, have their "family time" at the office or just basically do nothing different because they just cannot fathom leaving their little desks or their little headsets or fucking blakberries.  this job can give u a lot of flexibility, but so many ppl dont work it. just fuckin work it already. we're not office monkeys that need to stay at our desks 9-5 otw we will really get fired; we get paid a butload of cash to be around most of the time and pretend we create value for people that don't really care. so basically...my advice: if it's nice out, go grab some beer an oysters by the pier, have a drink outside or play some tennis - fuck work; if ur tired, go home and sleep, fuck work; if u wanna go away for a weekend and are afraid that maybe you have to do some work...fuck the work; if it's 4/20 and u feel like celebrating, light it up and fuck work; if it's late at night and ur stuck at the office for some reason and ur too lazy to go the bathroom, pee in ur trash can, live a little.

    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    My Boss is a Bitch 2

    Ok. Admittedly, my last post on dealing with difficult superiors was not that helpful.  It's tough to deal with people that seem to just enjoy punishing you like you're ass is on the other side of a medieval battering ram.

    I think i've found a few ways that suit me though that really ameliorate or defuse situations that really can otherwise suck donkey ballz.
    1. Make friends: this i think is the single biggest thing that has eased my relationships with seniors. if your senior is actually in your demographic, has a similar background or generally someone that is actually you think would be a potential friend, except for the fact that you work together, this is your in.  there are a few people i had to work for who, even though were 5-10 years older than me, were still in my 'generation' so to speak, and not from a completely different culture or country or on crack or socially fucktarded (unfortunately, the sheer number of these dingnuts makes doing this quite difficult).  previously i wd just dodge these like the plague or just get pissed off when their work styles become overbearing, but then i just tried being friendly - talking to them about things other than work.  holy fuck.  ppl like it when u listen to them whine about shit.  who knew.  the thing is, when u think someone cares, u naturally are nicer to them because if u were to act shitty towards someone that is being nice to you and trying hard, well, it makes u feel like shit. and most people...okay most normal people, like not feeling like shit better than feeling like shit. by befriending your senior colleagues you are seizing this shit by the balls.  and on another level, u never know, getting someone to open up to you,you might just discover another monkey u can conspire with. by now, i've completely figured out everyone in my office and fit them into certain categories: (1) friendly - good to work with (2) fellow monkey - good to "work" with (3) bitch - keep the fuck away.
    2. Avoid: what i did for a long time was just avoid certain people. Literally, not walk by their office, turn around when i saw them, avoid forced interactions like 'weekly meetings' or shit like that. it really works - out of sight, out of mind. occasionally, when there was no central staffing mechanism, people may just come up to you to ask for your help - unless it's a partner, it usually means it's just something minor, so i just made up something - like i was too busy with other deals, or have an upcoming vacation, my dog got gingivitis or something.  it will save you heartache. when there are people that make u just think...why hasn't someone punched you yet?...this is the best u can do. and it works. remember when u were young and there was alwasy that one fucking annoying kid that no one liked cuz he always followed u around or talked to u at awkward times and shit, and what did u do? ignore him? bam.
    3. Aim to be average: in fact, i think this is a pretty good mantra for your entire attitude towards work - any job - unless you really love it. there's no reason you should really be dedicating your sanity and good years to something you dislike or only mildly like.  if you are working for someone that you just can't get along with - their personality or working style - just completely do a par job - the bare minimum.  only do exactly what they ask, nothing more. send things back as late as possible without jeopardizing any real deadlines. push back on little things. you'll make it so unpalatable to work with you, that they'll next time think twice about asking for you.  Anyway, i'll have a whole post about this later.
    4. Aim to be excellent: okay so this is the opposite of the above. i think this applies in a few situations though. for example, one time i had to work with someone that i didn't really like - not because he was difficult to work with or a dick - very nice - but his working style was very old school - everything paper, lots of manual scanning, untrusting of technology, remote working, etc. i was on a deal with him - just me and him, and i had most of the responsibility for executing the deal. on a previous deal, i had helped out a lot using all of my efficiency techniques to streamline execution, do things remotely, and generally make things simpler and better. so on this deal, because he had seen how well i was able to take care of things on the last deal, he just let me go and didn't interfere with how i did things. i think this worked in this case because i wasn't changing his personality, just his working style. ever been asked to set up physical closing folders for a deal, print shit out, and put them, when on one actually is going to come by and ever fucking looka t it again? what fucking waste of time fore u, paralegals, everyone! WHY?! i'd create more value taking a shit than making closing folders. as soon as u get things in via email just save them in what's called a 'folder' on a 'computer' its just like the real thing but takes less time and is smarter. anyway, the more u do a cometent job, the more people will TRUST u and let u do ur own thing. effectively u become a "boss" urself sooner. then, just remember to pay it forward and maybe ull get someone who does good shit for u.
       
    5. Short-circuit: go above and beyond your senior.  unless you are in a tiny office with one or two senior people, there will be plenty of possible people you could work with, all in different areas. My office only does cap markets and M&A, but there are some people in both groups i don't like and some that i do. If i were ever to get stuck with one, i could easily go to someone in the other group and ask for some work and perhaps i could get restaffed.  you could also 'express an interest' in doing something you know someone does. for example if i got stuck on a debt deal with someone i could not stand, i tell the partner that i really wanted to do a registered deal and there's a good chance i'd get restaffed.  in a similar vein, you could also go above your bitchy boss and to their bosses or colleagues and express your concerns.  if the person is in fact difficult to work with (and you are reasonably normal), chances are that person has left a wake of shit behind them that the partners and others can smell from a mile away too, and you'll maybe be able to get out of the deal or (in one case) get the other person kicked off or out. this actually happened to one dude i worked with .
    6. Discuss: you can always try talking to the person point blank about what it is you don't like. confrontation is not always bad; they may not even know that there are certain things that bug you so you can try discussing it. or if they just dont jive with ur style, just tell what u wanna do and do it. what r they really gonna do? like i know one dude - some bitch tried to get him going on another deal full throttle right after he'd been up all night closing some shit, and he told the bitch pooint blank - im going home for three days. talk to me after. and he did. and she did. it was fine.
    7. Stay Calm: lastly, if you ever get into a real fight or blow your lid when dealing with the person, don't get into a fight, make smart comments or retort emotionally or even academically. If they are really senior, chances are they will be smarter and whether they suck or not can out-wit you. If you've never talked to them about their working style, then they have no reason to know why you'd be angry, and it'll just reflect really poorly on you. If you need help de-stressing - smoke a bowl.

    Sunday, April 17, 2011

    Playing Hooky III

    ok so i was out hiking with one of my banker friends (i have a bunch) - altho he vehemently insists he is a "financial investor".....  tomatoes tomatoes. we were chatting and came up with some other decent trix he and his buddies used to use when trying to fool ppl into thinking u r still around. the "cheap wallet": get a cheap wallet, stuff a few random notes and old id cards or something in there and leave it in plain view on ur desk. careful u don't work with kleptos u might lose ur shit. the "extra keys": leave some random keys u have on ur desk. u CANT be gone without ur keys.  the "bb": leave ur bb on ur desk.  one time i did this by accident, and not only did ppl still think was around, but i didnt have to fucking check my blackberry all night. i dont have a home phone either so no one could fucking reach me it was awesome. (what happens when people ask why u ddin't respond to emails or calls? - "oh shit sorry i thought i lost my bb last night! turns out i [dropped it in the shitter]" or whatever. make sure to turn off ur alarm or ringer if u leave it tho u dont wanna draw too much attention to urself if it starts ringin in the middle of the night or goes off early in the morning.

    for maximum effect, if u have a night secretary u r on decent terms with, best would be to email her late at night like at around 11pm or something and just tell her to go to ur office and take ur wallet/keys/etc what u accidentally left behind and put it in ur desk or whatever for u cuz u dont want people to steal it.

    this is probably not as effective as the fedex cuz it only really works if people come by ur office looking for u, rather than in a bank where they have open seating and people will always see whether u r there or not. but every lil bit counts

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Played Tennis Today

    Got some hooky today.  haha not that kind get ur mind outta the gutter, son.  so yesterday, i had a late meeting with clients, and then after the meeting i had to revise our transaction documents based on the meeting, so i was in the office kinda late - close to midnight.  and the next day i knew that the people i was working with were going out of town on a business trip, it was a beautiful day, so i just decided to play hooky and called up my friend who works at a startup to go play tennis.  officially though, i was "working from home". not like anyone was looking for me anyway, and i knew this.  got up at 11 , made some eggs, did some work on my laptop, took a call from my bb, watched some tv, then played tennis in the afternoon while the sun was out, worked on my personalstuff ...etc. fucking gorgeous fantastic day. some more work came in at night but just half assed from home while i watched optimus prime seriously fuck up bonecrusher. i ended up billing 8 hours today but i swear i cldnt feel a single pineapple in my anus. sweet.

    Sunday, April 10, 2011

    Business Travel

    i've had to fly around a lot for this job.  i know there are a lot that fly even more than me, but i am still shocked at some of the stuff ppl do or don't do, or dont have the ballz to do, but just makes sense?  for example, occasionally, i have to catch the morning flight out for a meeting in the day.  ill get picked up, go to the airport, go through security, get on the plane, sit on the plane, etc.  how long do u think all that shit takes?  unless ur on a 45 minute flight (and even if u r), it'll be quite a while before u r face to face with clients or whatever.  so if ur getting up at 6am, why the fuck would you put in your full suit, jacket tie and everything?  depending on the length of the flight, im ridin in sweats and a tshirt (or maybe my suit pants) and a tshirt. something comfy.  will crash on the plane with my bomb eye mask and wake up refreshed. change in the bathroom and then laugh at all the foolish bankers in their equally crinkled suits.

    of course all this depends on circumstances.  so if you just have a day trip, it may not make so much sense to wear ur birthday suit.  will keep shirt and tie in my bag and put it on after - coat hung up in plane closet.  one pair of shoes.  if ur gone for a few days, long flight, definitely dress down a lot.  if i'm going on a longer flight, and so am leaving in the afternoon for a meeting the next day, there is no fucking reason to travel in work clothes. generally i dont even dress that formally for work, but before i leave, i'll just change in my office, in the airport lounge or something.  i remember one time i was going to a meeting somewhere where it was drippingly hot and humid, and the plane was replete with fucking corporate monkey types for this deal. meeting was the next morning, and we were all on the afternoon flight.  i distinctly remember when we all got off the plane, i took a look around at all the twats lined up on the curb waiting for cars-- a partner in his khakis with a pressed buton down oxford tucked in with 'loafers', bankers in full suits, associates in disheveled dress shirts and swamp ass, random dicks in tweed jackets and corn cob pipes.... it was like a parade of douches and turd sandwiches....

    but i was no twat. i was sportin short thai pants and sandals and a cut off tshirt...and while the comfort i enjoyed in the 30 minute wait in some backwater airport and hour long drive to the hotel was excellent, the satisfaction i got from seeing others secretly burning with envy was priceless.  i know wat u all r thinking: how can you dress so casually in front of your superiors or clients and not feel...[embarrassed/lowly/unprofessional]?  well, sir, there's ur fucking answer, what the fuck goes into that square bracket in that question? it doesn't even make sense to me. who the FUCK CARES. what are they going to do, fire you cuz u had more sense them then to anticipate weather and comfort or whatever? first of all, anyone who is at or around your level, whether a banker or lawyer or client's client or whatever is not gonna care at all. your senior people may thumb their noses at you but they secretly also would like to do what you do - they "cant" because they've become so brainwashed by all the fecal fumes they've been inhaling over the past ten years that they believe they need to do this. most of the time, the ultimate clients are most casual of all. (this all varies from place to place though, especially geographically, like California is going to be a lot more chill than New York, then there's the midwest, the south, London, Spain, Asia - but whatever the place, i think you should just be comfortable.)  the last thing anyone should worry about is what other people think about you. what really matters is ur...um...legal ability. haha. but seriously, if u can execute a deal well and respond to clients and shit no one cares how u dress, they won't say shit to u and will respect ur style. seriously. then they may even follow ur example.

    now when i travel, there are a few other tips i have, some of which r pretty obvious and some may depend on circumstances:
    • Flying: u can miles for flying, tax free. use it to the max. stay on one carrier and ride up those perks. im at a level now where i get lots of complimentary upgrades, lounge access, last minute guaranteed seats, etc.  even the bursar comes out and greets me by name when i'm on a flight. i don't even fucking know what a bursar is. i know one partner he had to fly from europe to china, but he took flights with two stopovers just so he could stay on one carrier.  we have a lot of flexiblity in booking our own flights so take advantage. so while this gig lasts, ill max out all the perks. when u fly business, stock up on all the face wash and moisturizer crap they have in the lounge/busines class bathrooms. load up on fruits, water and snacks in the lounge before ur flight. save cash by eating meals there. depending on the airline's policies, u can maximize ur chances of getting complimentary upgrades if you (a) choose flights that are peak travel times and (b) check in first.  for the former - on business travel days, it may be tough cuz there probably isn't a first class and if there is, the uber uber elite will get it because it will be full of monkey douches filling up the ranks, but u never know. for personal flights tho, if ur flying economy definitely pick the fullest flights (ask ur firm travel agent) then ur chances of getting bumped up r super high (or if ur flying business, same thing). for the second part, if u lok on ur boarding pass there's a number - sometimes it's called a booking number or something - but it tells you when u checked in basically. if a class is overbooked, and there are people of the same elite status as you, the person who checked in first gets the banana. so always check in as soonas you can online - on ur bb or thru ur secretary or whatever.  Eye cover - mentioned above, when i go on flights where i'll want to sleep, get a decent eye cover it really helps. i got some fucking crazy one that's tempurpedic or something and it covers all those pesky gaps where light comes in. awesome. Headphones - sometimes nice to cancel out all the noise. like the bose qc series for that.  u can afford a ll this shit trust me. also, if u ever have to fly out somewhere and need to be there friday afternoon, and it's a decent town, why rush coming back? take the weekend there and uve got a free trip. u may need to pay ur own hotel bill but whatever u can afford it.

    • Hotels: basically same as the flights - max em out. why not. one of my banker friends who is a real point whore told me about this one trick he does for starwood points - u go by stays or by nights, and he always uses stays because u can rack em up faster.  whenever he travels to a place where he knows he'll need to stay for two nights, he'll have it booked just for one, and check out the first day, and then check back in again after his meeting the second day, so he gets two stays. OR, for a one day gig, hell just go out the night before and make some excuse liek the meeting is too early to go the day of or something and the meeting will end too late to come back so gets that extra stay.  Even for hotels that dont have formal rewards, they know. i know a colleague who stays exclusively at the mandarin. they dont have points but now everytime he stays he gets free shit. chocolates, cakes, jams, flowers, bathrobes, scarves, random shit. random nice shit. nice.

    • Eating: when u r on a trip, sky's the limit on expenses baby. i got another post on expensing alone coming up, but needless to say, if ur traveling, go for broke dude. if ur doing a 300M cap mkts deal, ur $100 meal is not gonna raise any eyebrows. big fancy meals, wine, beers, smokes, dancing midgets, monkey phonics, he-she whores, whatever floats ur boat dude. i remember one partner told me back in the day when he was young they wd have these offsite pritner sessions and the whole thing was a junkit for people to get strippers and cocaine. seriously. apparently bankers still do that shit anyway so whatevs.

    Sunday, April 3, 2011

    Escaping Work I

    sometimes I feel like solid snake, sneaking around the office, hiding in the shadows, evading the evil-incarnate that is plainly, more and more work, at every turn. When i'm not busy or just mildly busy, this gig can get pretty chill and very much worth it, that is until you get hammered, pounded or flubberfucked yet again (i made up that last one, but it just sounds kinda right). however, if you can successfully make urself appear busier than u really are, you'll always be either a) not busy at all for longer than a normal chump would be or b) at most, mildly busy.  if i really were snake (and goddamn how cool would that be), i imagine this whole process of evasion as kind of me blending in my camo or better yet just hiding in a cardboard box as partners, emails and phone calls just parade by none the wiser.  (if you don't know who snake is...um...google.) So here are some of the things to get my solid snake on (some of these items are / will be explained in more detail in separate posts i think and will supplement more later):
    • billables - as i said before, when you are being efficient, you will capture all the hours you put in at the office, and you will have time in everyday, whether or not narratives are written. you won't underestimate your billables and will have a lot of time to show for yourself. during mildly busy or busy times, this will show that you're busy - assuming partners or staffers see your time (a lot will eyeball ur time when they need to staff urgently). if you're not busy (and don't really have timers running), i delay entering time. this then casts doubt as to your capacity - you could just be so fucking busy you don't have time to put in time, which most people do. i also pad it with lots of non-billable but productive things, like business development stuff, training, or other things that could look like they are legitimately busy things that demand your time. i also overestimate on these things, and am pretty generous when i'm billing to c/m's that we'll never get paid on, c/m's that we have a fee cap for, 'multi-tasking', generally. i dont feel unscrupulous mostly because a lot of time gets written off by partners and ive seen how the whole billing process works largely for my deals - in cap mkts, we negotiate a fee up front, and billables are just to support that estimate, which usually doesn't change (except i remember once i was on correspondence where the partner asked for our billables and they were under our estimate, and then we went back to the client and changed our estimate...to a higher figure...yowza).

    • staffing - this is tricky. depending on how staffing works at your shop, there may be different nuances to do this. one way it's done is through an intranet system whereby you submit your expected hours for the current and upcoming weeks. best thing to do here is fill it with active and barely active-matters, so it just looks like you have a lot on your plate that could boil over at any time. the staffing person probably is far removed from all this and may not be a lawyer so probably doesn't know what certain things entail.  in smaller offices, there may just be a mass e-mail that goes out from one partner asking for what you're working on and a forecast of future work. to delay the impending work as much as possible, delay your responses to these solicitations as much as possible, and describe what you are doing for each thing as grandiosely as you can, and put in potential big-ticket activities that may or may not come true (e.g., 'the deal may launch as early as next week' - even if it's unrealistically aggressive, or 'they want to sign this week' - which could be true but there is no way it would happen). don't write too much though, it will look like fluff and ull get flubberfucked. sometimes u get asked for approximate hours or 'percentages' or some other metric. always make sure urs add up to (a) a ridiculous number of hours (like 30 hours in a day when u r really busy, or like 15 hours when u r not busy), or (b) over 100 percent.  these people are not stupid though, so don't be ludicrous in what you write; but they are busy, so you can use that to your advantage.

    • email - timing is everything. email isn't like a phone call or a letter, you can completely control when the message is delivered, and this is important. let's say you are soliciting comments on something, do you want to send it out on 9AM on Friday, so that you can possibly get something back by 5PM...flubberfucking ur weekend in fact or just by mindfucking u the whole time while you think about it until monday, or do you want to send it out at 9PM - or even better, 4AM - so it looks like you were actually working hard and not just being a dick?  You don't even need to be in the office or on your bb at 9PM or 4AM, just have outlook send it later (check out the message options for 'delay delivery').  the point is you can tailor it to how and when you want other people to respond and start working on the tasks you are asking for, explicitly or implicitly.  When i was looking for jobs, i used to have my cover emails and resumes sent at 8:55AM on a weekday local time, so that it would be at the top of someone's email inbox when they got in to work or whatever. (have a canned excuse ready if something sends out after something else happens that obviates are makes ridiculous ur email....it's happened to me doh.)

    • phone - screen ur calls. get ur secretary to pick up all ur calls and tell them ur busy and will call them back. then email them back at 6pm. if u r not comfortable doing that or that's not kosher at ur shop, turn off ur ringer (i do that sometimes) and u won't have to consciously ignore calls, ull just do it automatically haha (on avaya phones, just hit volume down button til it goes off).  OR, if u don't like that either, here's one other thing i've done: put ur headphone or whatever on, dial ur office line from your cell phone, dump them on mute, and ur line will be engaged. bam. (alternatively, you could dial into a dead conference call line. double bam.)

    • do things quickly, but don't tell anyone - conventional wisdom is that the faster you get things done, the faster you get more stuff handed to you. if you are in a subordinate position, this can be a complete killjoy. i remember being very eager when i first started working to get stuff out the door asap, only to be flubberfucked by the speed at which some people would just dish more monkey shit off to you. two things i did to stop the vicious cycle were: (1) use the email tricks above to ship off things at the latest possible time, and (2) do a completely lackluster job. the first will buy you time til the next wave, and the second will stop the waves altogether. at some point you can also try just being frank with your superior, and hand in your work and at the same time say that you are going to be doing x, y and z until a, b and c so don't have any more time to help out for a while. superiors are generally ignorant to your personal situation because they'll be so entrenched in the one deal because they have so much responsibility that they don't even give it a second thought as to what you are doing. i know a colleague who, after he closed a deal was immediately approached with one of those 'so you are free now that you closed a deal huh? i'd like you to help me with this other deal starting right away...' and just flat out said to the bitch, "bitch, shut the fuck up." haha jk, he really said, "yes, but if you say one more word about staffing me i will literally diarrhea in ur mouth." okay, really, he said something like, "actually, yes, but i have been so exhausted by this deal that i must take a break for a short while; i'm taking two days off, and can help you starting monday." (it was wednesday.) He also rebuffed a partner trying to fuck up his vacation after not taking holiday in 12 months.  very good role model that one.  most of the time, lawyers tend to be passive aggressive about shit, so when you are flat out blunt in saying this stuff, there's shit they can do. relatively speaking, i think this dude has some respectable cajones compared to the industry standard monkey. (on concerns re doing lackluster jobs, u can see my post - which will come later - about not being so focused on being fucking perfect, we're not nazis, or even german (or i'm not) for fucks sake, and we're not going ot canned that easily.)

    • bb - if you've harmonized your bb and PC email per one of my other posts, you can work remotely from your bb, whether you're at home, shopping or whatever and make it seem like you are slaving away in the office, whether in the middle of the day or night. this is just nice icing on the cake. on the flipside, when you notice that your seniors are writing email from their bb's because they haven't really harmonized, then you should take that as a cue for you to skidaddle too.

    • posture - even if you are goofing off at your desk, when there are potential staffers or partners lurking, i will always be intently looking at my screen. once, on a cat 1 day when i was in the office in the middle of the day watching a movie online, and partners were walking around, i had a typing test window open, typing furiously away whenever they walked by. i increased my typing accuracy to 99% at 100 wpm and made it look like i was fucking swamped at the same time, AND got to watch some movie about some kid that kicked ass or something...it was called kickass. The partners or staffers may not necessarily be looking for anyone or you in particular, but people have a tendency to notice these things, and whether consciously or subcounsciously, they'll have a mental impression of you laboring away. Also important: set up your computer screens so people cannot see easily what you are looking at (either from a front view or at night from the reflection off ur window). that's a no-brainer. when people do come in to talk to you and undoubtedly ask, "hey do you have a minute?" say, "hold on ooonne minute, really need to get this thing out..." finish your typing test, then sigh, then say, "what."

    • time your arrivals/departures - if you're not busy and you're coming in to the office to do some things, chances are you won't want to be in early, or leave late. time your late arrival so that it's not obvious you are coming in late - maybe just returning from getting a coffee (nice to have your lights already on and not be carrying a bag or anything), and your departure so that you leave before everyone else, maybe when people are going out for an afternoon coffee. i knew a guy once who used to come in at lunch time everyday, and when there were group lunch  meetings he'd just throw his bag in the lobby closet and go right to the meeting. remember, the less people can get a hold of you, the less opportunity they have to give you something to do. thas why when not busy i try just not to be in the office at all - or in my office (i've hidden in record rooms, libraries, bathrooms, whatever for temporary respites sometimes.)

    • avoid, evade, dodge - avoid eye contact with staffers, in the hallways, from ur desk, in the bathroom or otherwise. if you see them walking one way and you are walking the same way, make like you forgot something and turn around. it's not that they'll be looking for you, but maybe they'll see you and think of something. see a partner coincidentally on the street, on a weekend, or something else? put ur phone to ur ear and start talking. start coughing uncontrollably.  pretend to be someone else. find a dumpster and jump inside it (chances r he won't follow). contort ur face so its unrecognizable. awkward social interaction - i.e., between two people who may not normally be friendly - breeds forced interaction - i.e., small talk - and when the only thing you have in common is work, guess where the person's mind will wander. one time, we were on a firm retreat - completely relaxed, no work-related things; i was in the airline lounge getting a drink and a partner was standing there getting a drink. i, retardedly, said hi to him, and he greeted me back. fine. awkward pause. then, he goes, 'oh hey by the way, i've got this new deal coming up, maybe you want to work on it?...' what. the. flubberfuck.

    • push back - this is probably the most important and culmination of the above set up factors. when people come a-knockin' on your door, if you are legitimately doing something at least, you can play off the deals you are working on to keep them at bay. paralegals do it to me all the time, i hate it. associates tend to be too easy-going and give non-committal responses to staffing requests, like 'i have x and y to do....' and the staffer will just say, 'okay when x and y are done you work for me'. etc. but if you were to say something like 'No. i'm too busy to give meaningful attention to your product and my other projects will suffer' then it becomes more work for the staffer to continue to pursue you then to find someone else, unless they specifically need you. (see above anecdote about my buddy with balls.) this works well too in conjunction with stuff like, doing a lackluster job. and u can really pit ur work against each other - works well when ur staffed on like 6 deals, because no one else knows what the fuck ur doing or working on, and chances are peopel will be too self absorbed or busy to think too much about ur stuff anyway. sometimes, because of this, you can also get seniors to push back on more senior people for you too - they just don't realize you don't want to do something. asking never hurt, so try it. this is harder to justify if you really have nothing to do, unfortunately. if u REALLY don't want to get on a deal or work with someone there are some extreme things u cd do, of course. i saw one guy get out of ALL of his work when he was hospitalized...i think for working too hard. sneaky! seriously, though, that's just too much. u want to be the exact opposite of that. i hope
    Anyway, this is just a few of the things you can do to keep the dogs at bay for a while; there are a ton more that will get to in later posts, later. The longer u can escape work the better though is the take away. Think of doing all these things as ur real 'job', putting in hours at perfecting ur evasion techniques will pay off literally in increasing ur banana chunk / hour rate, by lowering ur actual "job"'s hours.