The Bizzle

"Saving your ass since 1999"

Not drowning, but waving two fingers

One of my team left on Friday to go to a job abroad (well, in Lancashire, which amounts to the same thing in these parts). My new trainee doesn’t start until May, so for the time being I’m two heads short from a team of six. 

Naturally my internal clients have all been very accommodating about this, postponing non-urgent work and allowing longer lead times for the stuff that absolutely has to be done. AS IF. 

No, it’s all business as usual as far as my colleagues in other areas are concerned. And that’s fine – the company doesn’t run for my benefit, and my team still has to deliver a service. 

I confess, however, that I’m not totally on board with the idea of making it harder to do that. It’s really very exciting to have a shiny new project to share compliance best practice across the business, but wouldn’t it have been polite to check whether we could actually resource it before committing to the milestones? 

And is it strictly necessary to renew a contract now if it doesn’t expire until the middle of next year? To my dear colleague in sales who is intensely relaxed about spending £30k on outsourcing that work: well, of course you are, because it’s not coming out of your budget. 

Ah well, this is all in the game for the in house lawyer. We all want to be included in the big stuff, and then we complain about resource and deadlines when we are. Time to man up, Bizzle. 

It would be nice if we could all get a sense of perspective on the small stuff, though. For example, your “urgent” phone message looks a lot less urgent if you’ve gone home for the day (at 2.30!) when I phone you back. 

And emails that say “As you are currently unavailable, please could you give an update on this matter before I leave the office at 1pm”? Here’s an update for you: I’M UNAVAILABLE. 

It’s not personal, although you wouldn’t know that from the mortal offence that some people take when you can’t deal with their issue RIGHT NOW. Yes, I am spending three hours on this client call just to spite you, and yes, my decision to do your work next week instead of today is clear proof of my fundamental dishonesty and incompetence. 

This is the deal, folks: in my current circumstance “urgent” means a matter of life and death, or at the very least a matter of several million pounds. What it doesn’t mean is, “I’m going home in a few minutes and I’d like to cross this off my to do list”. 

It’s not going to change, of course. Every task is important to the person who’s responsible for it, and the ability to see how your work fits into other people’s priorities is probably the rarest virtue in business. 

So if anyone needs me, I’m at the corner desk trying to finish a multi-million pound client contract while somebody shouts at me about their stalled paperclip purchase.   

Full steam ahead!

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4 responses to “Not drowning, but waving two fingers

  1. Steven Mather February 3, 2011 at 10:00 am

    Poor old bizzle…. No one cares about lawyers do they? But some lawyers do have some feelings you know…

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Not drowning, but waving two fingers « The Bizzle -- Topsy.com

  3. Pingback: Wait until they forget; or the art of prioritisation « The Bizzle

  4. Pingback: Just me and the elves: a lawyer’s weekend « The Bizzle

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