Friday, February 29

Don't go into the light!

Here are a few words you NEVER want to see on your work schedule: MANDATORY - Competition Law Program, 2:00 - 4:00 (after lunch on a Friday). Ugh!

Everyone had to go to this 2 hour ordeal and listen to some of ( as I affectionately call them) "the biggest, meanest lawyers money can buy". My boss and I were in a meeting right before this meeting so we showed up 5 minutes late. The only free seats were in the front row. Bummer. Not only would I have to really stay awake, I'd actually have to appear engaged. I had a good lunch so I was reasonably alert. Almost immediately I began leaning over to my boss and whispering "You better get a lawyer for that project." She started to get sort of rattled within an hour. It was mean but helped keep me awake. I also entertained myself by hearing Ethel Merman in my head singing "Everything's Coming Up Roses" (because of next week).

"Dry" does not begin to describe the pace and subject matter of this meeting. It...was...torturous. You know you're in trouble when you walk in and, up on a screen, even the company logo is in black and white. I can't remember the last time I sat through a black and white Powerpoint presentation. I didn't even know you could do that! At one point, I actually thought 'this is as close to death as I ever want to get'. Then I thought 'Don't go into the light! Don't go into the light!'. Then I thought 'If a gunman walked into this room and started shooting, nobody would mind.' It was THAT BAD.

I later heard how other people got through it. One woman sat in the back and plucked her eyebrows. She later claimed that if the speaker hadn't stopped she would "have walked out of there looking like a real chola". A designer sketched a remarkably detailed drawing of the audio/video console at the front of the room. I mean this thing was a work of art. Somebody else claimed to have been "crushing hard" on the 60ish year old speaker because he was so smart. There were reports of heads dropping from sleep, quick desperate glances as people realized they may have been doing something illegal and subtle, quality time was had with Blackberries all while I sat up front looking completely into it.

About 1% of my job is spent in training on how not to get sued or, more importantly, how not to get my company sued. This wouldn't be so bad but the deadlines for special training comes about twice a year. At those time I have to spend anywhere from 4 - 10 hours in online training. It feels like a ton of time. This week we had to finish up more training. They use the word "compliance" so as I walked through the office this week there were notes on cubicles pleading "Quiet please, I'm becoming compliant". The sexual harassment training has long been my favorite because it features a highly improbable, and therefore amusing, scenario with really bad actors saying ludicrous things to each other. This training season brought a new favorite theme: workplace violence. How exciting! It does not yet have an accompanying video but I'm sure somebody is working on one and I can't wait! It asks things like "What should you do if a co-worker shows you a gun?" Umm, burst into tears?

Today, in yet another meeting, I asked a male co-worker if he was yet "complied". I told him how fond I was of the sexual harassment training but it had been eclipsed buy the arrival of workplace violence. He said he would like to agree except:

"Have you noticed that the woman in the sexual harassment video has erect nipples?"
Lucy: Shut up!
Co-worker: I SWEAR!
Lucy: Shut UP!
CW: I'm just saying it keeps my attention.
Lucy: You can't say that to me!
CW: (coquettishly placing two fingers to his pursed lips) Oops!
Lucy: Well,what do the ladies get?
CW: Maybe you just need to be paying more attention.

Dammit. Now I'll have to wait another year to check for myself.

Our lawyers would have simultaneous heart attacks if they knew how we all spoke to each other.

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