Saturday, December 27, 2008

It's Hard Being a Douchebag

[Image: danwade.com]

Earlier this month, attending my very last law firm holiday party, I almost had a heart attack. Well, maybe that’s a bit over-dramatic. Let’s just say that for about 5 minutes I saw my life flash before my eyes.

I was having a conversation with my mentor and some other colleagues when a partner who had flown in from an office out West joined the conversation. The topic, as it has been for the past several months, was the extensive layoffs in the legal industry. Here’s a non-verbatim summary:

Partner: “Yeah, the shit is definitely hitting the fan. Who knows how many people will actually make partner this cycle.”

Lawyer 1: “Who knows how many of us will still be here next year,” he said half-joking.

Partner: “That’s absolutely right; we probably won’t need any of you come next year,” he said with some seriousness.

[Everyone laughs nervously]

Partner: “The way I see it, many lawyers are going to have to burn their law degrees for heat this winter. Like that guy from Harvard.”

[Everyone laughs more nervously. I start to hyperventilate silently]

Mentor: “Oh yeah, I heard about that. But, hey, Jack actually went to Harvard. Maybe he can get the fire going,” he says with a wink [he does, after all, know I am leaving in a couple of months].

Jack: “No way. I would NEVER be that much of a douchebag,” I say with a laugh.

[Everyone laughs]

I wait three or four minutes before excusing myself to get the biggest shot of whisky I can find.

30 comments:

Jerry Critter said...

HEY! If you are a douchebag, I want to be one too!

Laurie said...

OMG! Heart attack!!! lol.

Laurie in NH

Kevin said...

that's the kind of thing that only happens in movies! That must have been so cool, but scary at the same time. By the way, your story and advice have been a huge help getting myself through my senior year of high school. you are the man, keep it up.

Sharon J said...

I don't even know what a douchebag is :(

Anonymous said...

If they read this blog, won't they now know it's you? or maybe they do already and they were just trying to see your reaction...

Jay Bee said...

I LOVE IT! It's like having a really juicy secret and not being able to tell anyone about it. I would have wanted to scream: "It's me!!!"

So will you finally tell your firm at some point?

I still get my ABA weekly briefs by email (even though I don't practice law anymore) and I feel bad for all of the big law firm associates who are being laid off. I doubt any of them ever thought this would happen to them.

JayBeeGirl

SailingSimplicity said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Too funny! Live your dream, Jack! Just live it!

Kristina

Jill said...

Great story. One of the benefits of being an anonymous Internet personality. :-)

Jack said...

Jerry,

Glad to have the company.

Laurie,

Tell me about it

Kevin,

No worries Kevin. Are you interested in law?

Jack said...

Sharon,

Maybe you are better off. :)

Anonymous,

I hope not. The exchange is definitely not verbatim and it certainly didn't happen exactly as described. But no worries; the whole diploma burning thing has been talked about enough since it happened that a conversation about it is pretty ubiquitous.

Jay,

Well, main mission is not to embarrass them for the next couple of months. Probably coming out of the blogging closet at some point anyway. And yes, the layoffs are horrible. The whole industry is suffering and it is just getting started.

Jack said...

Kristina,

Thanks! :)

Jill,

I'm wondering if you have ever felt like it would have been better to have maintained your anonymity on your blog. I know it's different, because your blog and your profession intersect, but just curious.

Ms Hen said...

Good Luck with all your future plans............ :)..and keep us updated on all your adventures...2 more months.. :)

BettyAnn

PleaseRecycle said...

I think it would have been way too hard for me NOT to give myself away in that situation!! You have great self-discipline.

Also, I loved your Christmas story; love within a family, despite all the complex relationships, is so simple and so sweet. Glad that you revealed your mother's tender side (and your own).

carrot quinn said...

Dude! That is fucking amazing! I always try to avoid talking about the second dimension, when I'm in the third. It gives me the shivers, like I'm fucking with the time-space continuum or something. It must be extra weird for you, because much of your blog is about work!

LiLu said...

Oh, stellar! I don't know if I would have been able to hold it in.

SUCKAAAAAS!!!

Kerry said...

Jack, if living your dream makes you a douchebag... dude, everyone should be one!!

Jack said...

Ms Hen,

Damn right. Just two more months.

PleaseRecycle,

Thanks. I actually called her right after I wrote that xmas post.

Carrot,

Tell me about it. But I have a feeling you wouldn't have given a shit from the start. :)

carrot quinn said...

Jack- au contraire! (or however you spell that.) When I first started my blog in June, it was all about work, and then my MANAGER found it, and then I quit, and then I had to go back and delete all the work stuff because I felt embarrassed! But I was majorly shit-talking my boss. Like, calling her a stupid crazy person. Which is not really nice to do on a blog. Especially a blog that's not even anonymous. So, at least you're not shit-talking your coworkers. Sometimes I find blogs like that, and I wonder what happens...

Lynne said...

What a great story!

Buck16 said...

I just discovered your blog and got caught up with your plan and just wanted you to know that you're my hero.

I love my wife and my kid with all my being, but I so want to take them to an island and live our lives fishing for our meals and surfing and travelling and seeing the world.

Can't do that workin' for the man, who doesn't give a shit about us anyway.

Congrats and good luck.

Anonymous said...

Jack,

Nice idea. Good luck with it. However, did you consider the alternative strategy of continuing to work, making the big money, and then giving most of it away? This approach would actually require more self-sacrifice. You'd continue to suffer in your job, but you'd have much more to give to others. Otherwise, pulling out now seems more likely to serve as a benefit to you (no more crummy job) than as a source of transformation in others.

Buck16 said...

So Anonymous (if that is your real name), are you telling me he should be miserable doing something he hates, so he can donate money to others? That's ridiculous.

Why not be happy and give your time and energy and soul to things you believe in instead of just writing cheques and hating your life?

How is that benefiting anybody?

Dave said...

I just found your blog, it looks like it will be an entertaining (and informative) read. Cheers to restructuring your life!

Jack said...

Carrot,

Ouch! That must have been super awkward. No, never considered talking badly about anyone on the blog per se. I love my firm and the people who work here. Besides, that's not really the point of the blog in the first place. Do you still talk to her?

Lynne,

Thanks!

Buck 16,

I can tell we would be good friends. Never say never. Always a way out. Or maybe the answer is to bring that island closer to your current job. :)

Jack said...

Anonymous,

Sorry, but I don't think I could ever get THAT radical. In some ways, this process I am going through is absolutely selfish. I am leaving my job, paying off my debts and getting rid of all of my stuff for ME. Along the way, I want others to benefit as well. But the job thing is definitely something I want to shed as part of the process.

Buck 16,

I tend to agree with that. An alternative (which is essentially what I am going to do) is to work for a nonprofit and give away my labor for almost nothing for a worthy cause.

Dave,

Thanks man.

nicola said...

totally late catching up on your blog, but this made me LMAO! you realize, if they know about you from reading your blog the first time, they are going to read this, too!

Jack said...

Nicola,

No worries. The story was actually generic enough that I don't think it would be suspicious.

Jonna (aka mom) said...

The pressure. Unreal. I got a sense of a big it is.

Jack said...

@Jonna,

Yeah, tell me about it.