Dog days – getting your arse in gear
Looking out of the window, it would appear that Sirius has failed, big-time. I’m there with the dull lack of progress though. The office feels sluggish, like that dead time, between Christmas and New Year, when the phone doesn’t ring off the hook and you can clear up all your e-mails by 10 AM and you wish you’d actually taken those days off after all because every one else has and why should you have to come in whilst everyone else is still stuffing their face with leftovers and watching TV and why did you offer to do it anyway. You’re wearing your “martyr face” by now.
Dead Days. Transactions are stuck and past their sell-by date and you find yourself looking at the same bits of paper over and over without having the will to actually pull the file together and make it happen . The clients are away and give you the odd cattle-prod email but no-one’s really interested. You’re trying to steer the ship whilst the captain is on the deck getting a suntan. What you need, is a deadline. A real one. Astonishing though it may seem, even lawyers get to a point where they just can’t face opening a file or writing that letter.
And there’s all the admin we promised we would do. That generally consists of taking that pile which has been on your desk for 6 weeks/months/years (you know who you are) and just binning it except for that one quite interesting article we might just need but that we know, deep down, we will never find again.
- “I know exactly what’s in it” -yeah, right.
We all know those lawyers who just GET ON WITH IT. I used to work with someone who used to get in a pile of papers and just start it straightaway, for God’s sake. He used to get his 2H pencil (for it was always 2H) and get stuck in, in his very neat handwriting.
- All sharpened to exactly the same point.
This was the man who forbade the use of large staples on faxes (they needed to be from the small stapler, obviously), and got his secretary to measure his hole punches. Every evening, it looked like he’d left the firm. He raised office minimalism to a new height. I had office envy. I once spilled a coffee over one of his files. I thought he was going to die. Or that he might kill me.
If I get a new set of papers I have to
1 have a quick scan at what’s missing. I generally tut at this point.
2 Re-arrange the folders into an order that I like, because obviously it as rare as hens’ teeth to get a pretty package . I tut a bit more at how long it takes.
3 Complain to the client about the state the papers were in. By this time the tuts are flowing thick and fast, albeit in my head
4 Have a think about how to approach the task and to whom I will delegate
the boring bits the less complex aspects of the transactions (they will tut).
5 Have a cup of tea.
And, no, I don’t charge for all that. Before you ask.
It is at this point I need to channel my former (clearly OCD) partner, get out my 2H pencil and just get on with it. I will, will, but the sales are still on in Marylebone High Street and there are things I really really need.