It’s funny to watch the dynamic between coworkers on opposite sides of the table during a negotiation. If you met these people at a social event, would colleagues be huddled together making snickering asides and taking a generally confrontational tone toward each other, or would they be trying to bond over the canapés?
I have a different perspective today than usual. Somehow, the cardinal rule of face-to-face negotiations has been broken and I find myself seated smack dab in the middle of the customer’s team at the opposite end of the room from my own. This leaves me alone to face all questioning solo, and to sit quietly to overhear their whispers.
There’s not much more to say about it than that, other than that if you are a lawyer you would be taken aback by the subpar level of lawyering going on in this room, and I don’t mean my own. Santa’s not going to bring me any presents for saying something so nasty, but since of course there is no Santa I’m not going to lose too much of my precious four hours of interrupted sleep per night on that.
In other news, I have been working frantically to be able to get out of the office for the next two weeks. I’m not sure why it’s always so that the week before a vacation is especially awful, but at least I will have our nice, relaxing flight to North Carolina on Saturday to cap off the fun. Just three seats filled with four people: two rigid and mortified adults and two squirmy, bellowing, and likely pooping children. I’m prepared to cast aside any self-satisfied, TV-free parenting for the day (or even more so than other days) in favor of hours and hours of Elmo DVDs, if it will help to keep things calm. That and one opiate-like pacifier and hopefully our only concern will be keeping Alex entertained. Which I can’t even imagine – what the hell are we going to do other than let him stand on our laps and bounce forcefully up and down? For three hours. I can’t imagine he’s going to snuggle in and snooze. I have been living in terror of this day for months now.
But work: this year we were asked essentially to write our own evaluations; to provide what we think are our strengths and weaknesses, etc. I loathe that kind of exercise because (1) I don’t love to brag about myself (no, really), and (2) especially when I don’t really buy what I am saying. All that normally makes for a pretty weak self-evaluation, but for some reason I decided it would be a good idea this year to follow up my short, sweet self-endorsement with the suggestion that the time was nigh for a promotion. My boss told me a few months ago it would likely be a couple of years until I was considered for the next level of bureaucracy in this middle-management hell, but I figured, what man would sit around and take that as God’s law? So I decided to more forcefully request a seat at a new table of drones. After all, there is no partnership in a legal department; just that same corporate jockeying for the brass ring of the meaningless vice-presidency playing out in shitty office spaces across this great land. If you’re going to bother to go in-house, you might as well play the same pointless game as everybody else. If anything, it’s almost like your average unpleasantly ambitious lawyer’s wet dream – “sure, you were promoted to partner, but that was only the once. I’ve been promoted TWICE.” Of course, then you start talking $$ and you realize that two promotions doesn’t get you much more in the end than cold, wet sheets.