Friday, February 3, 2012

Are you smarter than Siri?

Apparently, one of my junior monkeys is not. I think he is retarded. Not like Jimmy retarded in that he's just crippled with a funny lisp, or even Timmy retarded in that he's just plain hilarious, but like "I'd-rather-have-an-actual-monkey-to-work-with" retarded.

So for anyone who has devoutly followed all of my musings on this blog, you may note that i have previously advocated the use of various nefarious tactics to escape work and about how to not be so focused on being perfect. Well, yes, one sure way to get people to back off of you is to do a shitty job. If you are really shitty all the way around though, not a great thing. So like the legendary sex panther, for 75-80% of the time, aim to be devastatingly amazing, 100% of the time.  In other words, on average, you'll want to do a decent enough job so that more people than not think you are the bee's knees, or at least ankles, or just toes if you're aiming just barely enough to not get fired, which is probably good enough (and if you get all people to like you outside of your work, then your even better off, because really, who wants to say bad things about their chums).  And if there are people you don't like working with, you can game it towards them - that works the best. But don't be fucking stupid about it. If you are in a small department, or if staffing is lean, and let's say you are a junior and end up staffed on 2 or 3 deals that are 80% of your workload all with the same senior, you can't do a shit job all the time with that dude, even if you can't stand him.

So with all that in mind, let's analyze more deeply. Not all lacklusters are made the same.  You've got:

  • the "i'm too fucking lazy to do this shit" lackluster;
  • the "i'm so fucking crushed right now i can't tell if that's my dick or a turd i didn't finish pinching off" lackluster;
  • the "i'm so smart your comments don't even make sense" lackluster; and, of course, 
  • the "i'm just a dumbass that doesn't get it" lackluster. 
Now, of those  four types, which one do you think is the one you do NOT want to be? Right, the one where you get your senior thinking that it would rather have Siri working for him than you. My preference is to be in category 3, or 2 if you can justify it. 1 is kind of like 3, but doesn't build your rep as much. So how do you go about distinguishing these types?

I mean the typical workflow for a CML will be something like this:

  • senior determines what items need to be done
  • senior delegates items to junior
  • junior prepares drafts/acts on items, sends to senior for review on comment
  • senior responds 
So for 1, what happens is, the senior will in his comments point out a bunch of things - x, y, z - but it will be apparent that the junior knew what he was doing, but he just didn't take the time to do everything to completion. e.g., let's say you need to add a type of provision, say anti-dilution provisions to the terms of some preferred stock, but instead of going through and doing everything, you just put in brackets [insert anti-dilution terms] or something like that. Or, instead of customizing inane things like party names or looking up jurisdictions, you just bracket everything. You know what to do, but you just didn't bother doing it. Fine, as a senior, i can live with that, and i'd shy away from the same dude because he's lazy, but wouldn't say he's incapable or dumb.

For 2, you just have (whether justifiable or not) a lot of deals and/or billables going, and just turn in something and say - "this is far as i got - really gotta work on something else," or something to that effect. Fine, understand, i'll bite the bullet. Can't make any real conclusions unless I find out he was faking, but if he was and I don't find out, or only find out wayyy later, mad props yo!!

For 3, I like this because it makes the senior feel like you were actually thinking and maybe even impress them and maybe even show them the mental bird sort of. Basically, after the senior comes to you and says "why didn't you do x, y, z blah blah, you stupid twit", you have a response ready that shows you thought about x, y and z, and made a conscious decision not do to that or to do something alternatively because of some other concern that is important or that you think is important. shows initiative, thoughtfulness, and most of all, that you're more instrumental than the fine instrument known as Siri. The real upshot to all of this, notwithstanding all my other posts about half-assing shit, is that if you prove yourself enough to people that matter, you'll probably get enough responsibility early on enough to let you dictate your own schedule and only then be at the behest of clients rather than seniors (which can be a pain as well, that's for another discussion), and it never ends of course which is why at some point you need to just fuck off but, that's for yet another discussion. Of course, if your a smart guy or gal, and there are several of you out there i know, i don't think it will really be that difficult to do a decent job on most tasks anyway, which is why it should be pretty easy to fall into cat 1 or 3. 

For 4, if the junior responds to the senior's comments by just saying, "ok" or "will do" or nothing at all, generally fine - par for the course. But if the comments indicate that the draft was really shit, that the junior didn't put any thought into it, wasn't getting the whole point of things, didn't ask any questions, and, to boot, doesn't even follow instructions/comments properly, seriously, what the flagofuck. That's when i start to think, how does this dude even tie his shoelaces in the morning without poking out his eye. 

Anyway, so the take-away i think from all this is two fold: (1) for junior monkeys, get an iphone 4S and test yourself to make sure you are at least fucking smarter than Siri - you don't need to do literally do a great job every time, a mediocre job can cut it as long as it shows that you could have done a great job (and i personally prefer the mix of some bang-up jobs, and a few lacklusters, and we can talk about the benefits of bangups later), and (2) for senior monkeys, find yourself a good junior and ask for him over and over. 

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