Blog Week 14: Order and chaos, chaos and order.
Sunday 26 February 17.29
No blog entry on Thursday - was too exhausted.
Returned to the office feeling delicate and was immediately volunteered by Pierre to assist on an urgent merger filing. These filings sometimes are quite voluminous. Once the main document is made, 100 copies then also have to be made. Ok I exaggerate - but only a little bit.
Upon my arrival, I saw the preparations were not as bad as I had expected; they were worse. One associate seemed like he(!) was about to cry.
The sheer volume of copies had already caused the bulk photocopier to breakdown. It was now fixed, but was making a strange groaning sound. At some point some drafts and some final copies had been mixed up and now had to be sorted out. Plus some annex front pages had disappeared and no one could now easily tell which copies belonged to which annexes.
But the confusion over the paper copies was not the biggest problem: it was the ongoing lack of organisation.
Basically 2 senior lawyers were fighting over who was in charge. The more senior one thought she should be in charge - but for some reason was not - and the less senior one's decisions were being constantly undermined.
So copies were made, discarded, more copies made, filed and then discarded. The whole process was so tedious: waiting for Tweedledum and Tweedledee to stop arguing and start agreeing.
Brilliant, another secretary and I worked through Thursday and then volunteered to help get the job finished. It was clear the lawyers would be lost without us. We stayed till the early hours of Friday. At least we got dinner, a lot of overtime and were told we could come back on Friday afternoon.
But on Friday afternoon I kept asking myself there must be a better way to spend my working life? Probably best not to think about it too much.
Monday 27 February 21.17
"Out of chaos comes order".
That was what Shakespeare told me as I got a coffee this morning.
Well the chaos I can see - it is all around me - I just wish the order would hurry up and arrive.
As soon as I had arrived Mockney quietly broke the news that he had heard that Friday's merger filing had turned out to be a real mess. Unexpectedly, the Commission had already got in contact to say the filing was so bad it was unacceptable and must be refiled. There was this unnerving silence around the office, like the 'calm before the storm'.
Thankfully with Bill back in the office, Pierre had to find someone else to help Tweedledum and Tweedledee resolve that particular situation.
In the afternoon I planned Bill's next trip to South America - with the assistance of the dumbest travel agent in Brussels.
It would have been so much easier if I had made the bookings myself through the Internet.
Instead I had to negotiate with this idiot who, of course, managed to mess everything up. Luckily she had to leave early and so I dealt with her colleague and between us we sorted everything out.
From chaos to order. But when does it swing back to chaos again?
Tuesday 28 February 22.38
Just finished watching tonight's episodes of "The Apprentice" on BBC 2 tonight followed by "De Topmanager" on VT4. There are so many reality tv programmes on at the moment, but I like these business ones. Nothing like real business of course. There is so much disorganisation it makes me glad I work where I do.
Throw a bunch of egotists together who have little in common except blind ambition, do not really like each other and are trying to do each other down and what is the result? A law firm! No I am joking; certainly not a law office in Brussels. Visiting lawyers come to the office and always comment about how down-to-earth and friendly the office atmosphere is. Same with my last firm. Really makes me wonder what law offices are like in New York, London and Paris.
Wednesday 1 March 20.56
Bill needed some old documents back from the archive. Normally Brilliant would do it; but as he was still(!) helping on the messed-up merger filing, I had to go.
The archive boxes I wanted were totally messed up and it took me a couple of hours to find what I needed. Of course I had to sort everything out first. All the time I kept thinking about Shakespeare's "Out of chaos comes order" statement.
Is that what I am, the "order" amidst the chaos? I should not think about that statement too much as my head starts to spin.
Thursday 2 March 19.35
At lunchtime, Bill dropped his Blackberry down the toilet. Life without a Blackberry for a lawyer is like ... a teenager without their mobile phone - full of isolation and despair.
Bill looked really lost and disorientated - like he was missing a limb or something. He was then pushing Mockney for an urgent Blackberry replacement.
Mockney gave Bill an upgraded model pretty quickly. Bill was so happy joked that he should throw his Blackberry down the toilet more often.
Today's blog entry shows - nothing much happened today.