Blog Week 124: Our reality versus your perception.
Sunday 6 April 23.11
While out last Thursday evening I saw our recently departed stagiaire (forever known to me as my beautiful stagiaire). He didn't see me - which turned out to be quite revealing.
He was with some friends; lawyers I would guess from the type of conversation they were having. I only heard part of it. I know that sounds bad but there was nothing I could do about that. Honest.
My beautiful stagiaire was talking about one of the partners. Apparently that partner has been trying (with some success) to break into the conference circuit to make up for an increasingly alarming lack of chargeable work. All news to me. At these conferences the partner pretends, without saying anything, to have far greater experience than is actually the case. Presumably attendees are awed but my beautiful stagiaire was pretty scathing about the whole facade - calling the partner a "blagger".
It was a relief to hear some other people then chime in with equivalent blag stories for their firms (like quotations to the media).
Probably it shouldn't, but it has changed the way I look at that partner.
Monday 7 April 23.26
Old Timer and I spoke for the first time in what seems like ages. There isn't a problem between us, just that our paths haven't crossed recently.
He was full of intrigue about Highly Paid Nobody's departure to another office. A small press release simply says HPN is switching offices. But OT told me he has seen such face-saving moves before. It enables HPN to leave without loss of face and also to work out whether he can move to another firm or should just retire now. Meanwhile the firm does not get a particular reputation for treating someone of such stature badly. Although I could never quite work out what exactly was HPN's supposed stature.
Tuesday 8 April 23.38
Just got back from watching tonight's Liverpool v. Arsenal Champions League game. I hadn't planned on going but was dragged along by my boyfriend and some friends. What a thriller. Why can't all matches be like that?
Anyway meanwhile back in the office... The publicity-seeking partner I mentioned on Sunday has been short-listed for some award. An email went round this morning. Straight afterwards Old Timer sent me a related email asking what said partner had done to receive this recognition. Others in the office have worked harder but no one outside seems to notice them.
Wednesday 9 April 23.52
I overheard part of another conversation this afternoon. That sounds terrible, like I am an eavesdropper.
The stagiaire (who has replaced my beautiful stagiaire) was having a whispered conversation with Paranoid (of all people). She stared deeply into his eyes and nodded in agreement as he expressed disappointment with various aspects of the office. Goodness knows what his expectations were or where he got them from. Maybe some US legal drama? He must have realised before he arrived that Brussels would be different. But if he feels like this now what will he be like by the end of his stage?
Thursday 10 April 22.13
A Human Resources office survey (from an outside organisation) was forwarded to my inbox. For some reason I was the designated office person expected to answer it. Of course the deadline to return it was today. So something non-important became urgent. That is the story of my office life.
The online survey asked the usual stuff about work-life balance, office atmosphere, feedback and evaluations. I get so flustered trying to answer things like that; it is all so subjective. And for some reason the survey kept asking the same questions over and over again. I wonder why?
Thankfully Mockney came by and helped me fill it in. He is pretty positive (perhaps naively so) about the office. We ended up not taking it too seriously and gave a couple of exaggerated responses and subtle jokes. I wonder if the people analysing the survey will pick up on the subtlety...