Monday, December 21, 2009
Dealing with a nasty goy at a document review project.
I've found it quite difficult to separate who is Zoe Strickman and who is the underlying author. Who should blog about what? Who should take a stand against certain issues, and who should stand silent letting his avatar speak out to the world.
I'm content with the way things are going. My few months of absence was because I was on a document review in NYC, and I couldn't really speak about things and people while they were happening. The project paid $35/hr which was good for me and my family despite the many hours I had to work to benefit the most from the project. I worked crazy hours -- I was on the subway each morning at 6:30am, and I didn't arrive home most evenings until 8:30pm. My wife was happy about the money coming in, but my main focus was to pay back the credit card bills that mounted up since our move just a few months ago.
To be quite frank, the merger due diligence project had too many attorneys and we were bunched up in a room that was too small for what we were doing. I was shoulder-to-shoulder day and night with people I would rather have had nothing to do with. One was a career document reviewer -- an old man who worried about everything under the sun. I usually don't mind disturbed people, but this one really bugged me and got under my skin because he compensated for his weaknesses by complaining to our managers about other people.
Generally, I worked quite fast and diligent. I hyperfocused for around an hour or so, and then I took a ten minute break to clear my mind, and then I went back to focused work for another hour or so. During my breaks, I usually opened up a browser, read the news -- anything to not think of the documents that were tiring my eyes and exhausting my brain. During mandatory lunch breaks, I usually didn't go out. I ate my lunch in front of the computer and surfed the web -- we weren't allowed to bill that time so nobody cared. However, this old SOB kept looking over my shoulder and yelling at me that it is unethical to browse the web on work time, even when I was on my lunch break. He took breaks too, just different kinds of breaks -- he walked around, took long bathroom breaks, took long lunch breaks, checked his Blackberry every few minutes, and made phone calls. When he wasn't doing that, he was slowly clicking away at the screen taking multiple minutes for each page he was reviewing. He didn't seem to care whether a document was a non-relevant document which we were supposed to code and move on, or whether the document was source code for a piece of software which we were supposed to mark as such and move on -- he sat there and read each page as if he was reading a newspaper. In the same time I reviewed 100 documents, he reviewed maybe 20, and he had the NERVE to complain to the manager that I was spending too much time browsing. Then when the manager didn't do anything, he yelled at me that he was going to call the disciplinary board and have me disbarred before I'm even admitted. I told him to go ahead.
We kept statistics of our work, and our quality control reviewers every so often asked us questions and made comments about our work. I had a miscatagorization here and there -- this is normal -- but the QC reviewers said my work was highly accurate and my pace was very impressive. That didn't stop this a*hole from bothering me each day though.
Every day I dreaded showing up to work because this guy would play the martyr, saying how he couldn't ethically see how I justified the work I did, and how I was stealing from the company. I was so upset that at one point, I told him to shut the hell up and mind his own business. He felt that as an attorney, he had the duty to also mind mine too. Occasionally when I would speak to the managers of the project, they acknowledged that he was complaining about me, but they told me not to worry, and that I was doing good work. That didn't stop me from being bothered. This guy made me so mad I had a difficult time keeping a smile on my face during the day. I was so twisted up inside and angry that there were many times I just couldn't think and I was sure this anger wasn't good for my health. I was joking around with my wife this morning that I was sure he took around a month or so off of my life, and I hoped that the review and the money was worth it.
What got me angered is that other attorneys came and left the project, many of whom sat near us and did personal work most of the day. But did he say anything to them about their personal browsing habits? NO! They clicked away watching YouTube videos (and in one case one girl was watching a movie on her iPod in front of everyone with headphones), and he said nothing! It was only me that this piece of garbage kept hammering away at with his nasty comments. I dare not say it had anything to do with me being Jewish, but believe me, the thought crossed my mind.
Anyway, THANK G-D the project ended just a week ago. I started Barbri this week in the city. I still take the train every morning, but I must say that it is a relief that I hope to never see this a*hole again. He made the environment so tense, so stressful, and so unpleasant that I thought many times of just quitting and finding another position.