Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

Cookie Monsters

with 17 comments

Total Black: $190.55
Total Red: $226,588.60

Apparently temp attorney feathers got ruffled today when a few non-agency attorneys took some of our cookies.  Ah temp attorneys.  And the world they make me live in.

It’s been a while since I had good material to write about involving contract attorneys.  I’ve just been steadily plugging away at my work.  Sure I could have mentioned the guy who walked around barefoot at the space.  Well, until someone spoke to the temporary attorney staffing agency—via an anonymous note no less—claiming it was unhygienic for the rest of us.  Really?  ‘Cause I don’t eat off the floor.  Not that I support barefootedness in professional settings, mind you, but as temp attorney idiosyncrasies go that one’s fairly innocuous.  And there was also Mountain Man who, alas on a day I wasn’t here, threatened to smash another temp attorney’s head in and suggested they finish their conversation outside.  Really?  This from a man over fifty?  A fellow temp’s chatter got him that angry?  Someone forgot to take his pill.  But today’s little brouhaha took the cake, as it were, for me.

The temporary attorney staffing agency I work for occasionally buys treats for its attorneys.  A nice gesture.  Today we got cookies.  A few boxes of different varieties of cookies.  I was in the kitchen area when they were brought in.  And before the boxes could be opened, this deluge of temps rushed in to grab a cookie—or three.  One very overweight attorney grabbed a few cookies, stacked them like a burger holding them between thumb and finger,  and then bit into his cookie sandwich.  Another temp bitched that the cookies were late.  Within seconds roughly half were gone.  And after a few minutes, damn near crumbs remained.

It dumbfounded me.

Are people really that desperate for something free?  Or for something provided by someone else for them?  It’s a fairly simply way to keep your troops happy: buy them something—ice cream, cookies, cupcakes, pizza, etc.  And sure, it’s nice to be treated, to have your employer take notice and say thanks.  Even if it is by way of a free cookie.  But the voracity and the rush for those damn cookies today stupefied me.  But that’s not all.

Later in the day I heard that one temp attorney was incensed because a few non-agency attorneys took some of “our” cookies.  The nerve!  How dare they eat our cookies?  And this given that temp attorneys, especially when required to work within a law firm’s actual space, i.e., not at an off-site location, inevitably get blamed for “missing” food or reduced supplies.  If the sodas in the fridge are gone, blame the temps.  If the leftovers in the kitchen have been gobbled up, blame the temps.  Whether they ate the food or not, temp attorneys get blamed.  Given that backdrop, I was taken aback when I heard that one of the temp attorneys was upset because a non-agency attorneys ate some of our cookies.  I expected better from a fellow temp.

Ah the things we invent to get upset about.  There’s still two cookies left too.  Back to my documents.  Total black and total red are pretty much at a standstill until pay comes through tomorrow.

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

March 24, 2010 at 21:17

17 Responses

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  1. It’s probably just that all of those attorneys hoarding the cookies were thinking about the time value of money and that if they could get 300 free calories how much that would save them when looking at the pennies saved compounded monthly over the next fifteen years.


    March 24, 2010 at 21:29

  2. Yyyyyyeeaaaahhhhh……..

    Normally I let people just slide on whatever they surmise. But here, man, gotta say I think you’re off on that assessment. They’re just greedy, glutinous, socially-inadequate. A cookie is fine. Two—ok. I took two. But three or more. And a mad rush? So what if you miss out? They’re not that good actually.

    If you haven’t gauged from prior posts, animal- or heard-like behavior by humans just boggles my mind.

    Laid-off Lawyer

    March 24, 2010 at 21:48

  3. This is a great post – very funny!! Temps are VERY VERY VERY weird. You remind me of when I first started temping. Like you I was shocked that these people behaved the way they did and ran for “doggie-treats” like a pack of starving schoolkids. Yes, and they also got angry if anyone else took some. VERY VERY weird. You’d think they had been sitting in a trailer starving – and not law school graduates. I am glad someone else is as shocked as I often am – because working with them I feel abnormal one in that I don’t do that or like it. Most other temps seem fine in it. Welcome to the bizarro world of Templand –


    March 24, 2010 at 22:32

  4. When I was working for the government, in an unnamed agency that does audits (guess!), we never had a staff meeting unless there was food involved. I never could figure that one out. Of course, the meeting facilitator paid for treats out of his/her pocket, but I never understood why people could not congregate for 30 minutes or so without food. The same behaviors described in the above post were obvious at the meetings too – people got very territorial about their treats. Leftover food was left out for the non-attendees. Talk about stampedes!


    March 24, 2010 at 22:51

  5. By the way regarding earlier posts about your spending habits and being thrifty, you have a point in that you can’t eat bread and water and be totally miserable. First, don’t listen to every nut job out there. Second, I am all for the keeping ones soul alive – going out, meeting new peopple, socializing, occasionals bars, movies, dinners etc. After all to be successful in life one has to be somewhat buoyant and alive, mix and mingle, see things, experiment, have an opinion and personality etc etc – and that does take a little bit of money. So I understand some of your spending habits – as long as you don’t take them to the extreme. I do believe that if you love your life and are having a relative amount of fun you will be more motivated to work hard to keep it that way. But if you are totally miserable and sitting at home in your torn underwear counting pennies all the time you could stop giving a fuck. Who is going to be successful living on bread and water and hiding under a bed all day? Again, there is a happy MEDIUM. Focus and narrow down some absolute essentials that keep your soul ticking [don’t overdo it]– and cut out the rest. We all have I WANTs but don’t NEED. I achieved this Nirvana soon after I found myself starving and unable to eat for days because I spent my money on frivolous shit in this economy. That straightened out my priorities pretty fast. So spend, have fun and coffee – just keep one eye on all of it. There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who blow their money on the finer things in life and then have no game plan to get more or even keep what they have and those that blow their money on the finer things in life but are constantly developing game plans to get more and more and more.


    March 24, 2010 at 22:54

  6. I agree with Ladybug. Greeeeat post – I love reading about the weirdos in templand. Social misfits is right. Especially the cookie burger guy….yikes…you’d think attorneys would show a little pride and dignity.

    Price Michael III

    March 24, 2010 at 23:07

  7. I was on a large project (receiving party / defense review) once that was staffed in roughly equal portions by two temp agencies. There were constant battles over THEY ATE OUR BAGELS and THEY TOOK OUR SANDWICHES. One would come on Friday mornings and bring breakfast! One would come on Friday afternoons and bring lunch! Etc. Some time into the project, one of the agencies asked its folks to stop telling the other agencies folks when the goodies were to be served. Which, of course, got around fast.

    The same project included TempGirl A throwing cake (stolen) in TempGirl B’s face over dating / sleeping with TempBoy C, during Noisy Confrontation. All hail, drama!


    March 24, 2010 at 23:28

  8. Ghetto, ghetto,ghetto. Where are they getting these people from ??? Tom the Temp just posted a story of a male temp attorney hitting a female co-worker. What the hell is going on???

    Prince Michael III

    March 24, 2010 at 23:42

  9. Good advice. Every time someone suggests cutting back an item, you throw a fit – ‘what am I supposed to do, starve/be homeless/live on bread and water/live like a monk’ etc. You seem to thrive on extremes, and your unwillingness or inability to see the middle ground is preventing you from reaching your goal. Track your spending so you can see how much you’re really spending on what you think are little things, but aren’t little in the aggregate. Then give yourself weekly or monthly goals. Ex: due to tracking my spending, I know I spent an average of $400 a month on food, so my goal is to limit myself to $250 this month. You can still buy occasional meals out and coffee, but if you stick to your goal, you’ll save $150 a month and possibly realize you can even cut back to $200 a month. But doing this required you to get a handle on your spending. What you completely disregard as little expenses turn into big monthlly expenses, and to make progress, you need to face that reality.


    March 25, 2010 at 08:52

  10. No, not a fit. Nor drama queen as suggested in another comment. But when one of y’all comes back with a suggestion that I not spend any money, for example—and without caveats or reservations—then I’ll respond in kind in the opposite direction to emphasize how ludicrous a given recommendation is. I can’t eat sushi because I’m $200K in debt? What? How about when I’m down to $190K or $160K? What level must I reduce my debt to before I regain the right to buy sushi for lunch?

    When a commenter tries to pull the discussion all the way to one side, I’ll give it a push back just to highlight how myopic he or she is being.

    Laid-off Lawyer

    March 25, 2010 at 09:27

  11. Sushi is at the 100k debt level.
    Right now you’re entitled to *consults chart* Dennys every two months or Applebee’s every three months.

    I’d go with Dennys (breakfast all day).


    March 25, 2010 at 12:38

  12. Dude. There is no Denny’s in Manhattan. And the only Applebee’s anywhere near me is an expensive tourist trap in the middle of Times Square. (I used to order from there when I was at the firm; this yummy pasta dish that clients (or the firm) would pay for; almost $20 for one dish. Don’t believe me, click here.)

    So explain how I’m allowed to spend $20 on a pasts bowl, but not $2 for a coffee. Perfect example of how y’all just don’t get NYC life (and costs). I can get sushi lunch special for about $8.00.

    But thanks for the ballpark debt range to aim for.

    Laid-off Lawyer

    March 25, 2010 at 12:51

  13. “What level must I reduce my debt to before I regain the right to buy sushi for lunch?”

    The level where you don’t feel compelled to author a blog about your situation.

    You blogged. We gave some advisements. Its your choice whether or not to learn from our teachings. I formerly lived in a basement when I was a young(er) lawyer. The rent was $290 a month. My officemates lived in $2000+ apartments. You do the math.

    Looking back, the only difference between me and them is the money I saved (oh and like 1 out of 35 of them made partner — the rest got bounced (earlier than me), downsized or married up). Good luck to you. Sincerely.

    the dude abides

    March 25, 2010 at 13:47

  14. Umm. I’m a troll. Don’t feed me. It will encourage more snarky comments.


    March 25, 2010 at 16:22

  15. It was just a joke…



    March 25, 2010 at 17:20

  16. The temp law world seems really weird. I have 4 temps working in my department at work… we treat them like normal employees– they attend all meetings and events and eventually we hire the good ones when positions open up… the law firm hiring model is just plain weird– why hire inexperienced grads when you can hire mid career people at cheaper rates?


    March 25, 2010 at 19:32

  17. You’re right. On both points. Law firm model doesn’t make sense. And neither does the temp world. Temporary workers—non-legal ones like those staffed by Manpower and such—typically send an employee to a job. They don’t get thirty secretaries together in an off-site location and put them to work for one company. So, bringing a few hired-hands on via contract attorney work makes sense; if they work out, and there’s room, hire them. But a lot of mid-career people don’t want to start off at first-year associate pay grades. Slight catch-22 there. Well . . . until now, as I’m sure most will take any good-paying job.

    Laid-off Lawyer

    March 25, 2010 at 19:43

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