Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Theory of the firm

I have always been into prestige. I say this by means of confession because I know that for all my shit-talking about people who waste their lives toiling away at big firms, it's probably pretty clear that at least 35% of my sniping comes from jealousy. I'm not so intellectually dishonest that I can't admit that the big-name firm has always appealed to me, even if only because I have had to explain pretty much every school I've ever gone to and it would just be so convenient to drop the "Skadden" bomb. No "it's a mid-size firm" or "it's a yadda-yadda boutique"; no no, people just know what you are talking about.

I love verbal efficiency. Walking around with my boyfriend while he was renting an apartment confirmed all my suspicions: he just dropped the bomb of his place of employment and brokers immediately smiled and said, "Oh, you'll be no problem." How do they know? For all they know, he ritually burns frogs in his apartment and smears their charred carcasses all over the fresh paint job and/or has a full-fledged whorehouse running out of the apartment. Maybe he listens to house music at obscene decibels and has driven each and every neighbor he's ever had to suicide. Maybe his face is in post offices nationwide as a landlord killer! But no, "Oh, you'll be no problem." Maybe it's because the firm name assures them that whatever his freakish personal habits might be, he doesn't have time to pursue them anymore. Either way, it was amazing how quickly he was approved everywhere and it led me to contemplate what would happen if I had to rent an apartment. Let's just say that on the strength of my current resume, I'd be submitting my parents' tax returns.

So yes, I love prestige. But based on a few recent experiences, plus a re-prioritization or two, I think I want to go government. I think that firms suck. I think that I want a predictable work schedule, no billing requirements, and people who aren't under pressure. Even more than that, I don't want to make money for assholes who bill me out at about twice what they pay me and still treat me like the dirt under their fingernails: unwelcome, unappetizing, and not worth an iota of respect. I am completely sick of the egos, the bullshit, and the patronizing attitudes. Is it possible to reconcile my love of private practice perks, such as free coffee, mail rooms, and secretaries, for an easier, more predictable, and above all, more honest life?

At this point, unbelievably, I think it might be!

Besides, my boyfriend can always sign the lease for me.

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