Sunday, January 29, 2006

Lockdown

Periodically, when you have 100 weary, strung-out temps forced to review documents for 11-12 hours per day and only 2-3 supervisors to oversee the whole dysfunctional operation, the project goes into something known as "lock-down" mode. In "lock-down" mode, woe to those who dare go to kitchen to grab a cup of coffee or even take an extended bathroom break. In "lock-down" mode all bets are off, it's every woman/man for him/herself.

It just happens that last Friday at 5p.m., the project unexpectedly shifted into "lock-down" mode. The perpetrator of this sudden shift was Anita, the project manager.

Anita, with her six foot male sidekick, begins to troll up and down the aisles. A thin, pale, middle aged man in the center of the room is clueless about what is about to hit him. Apparently, unaware of the sudden "lock-down," this eye-strained individual, exhausted from nine straight hours of document coding, thought he could get away with a surreptitious game of mine-sweeper. He is in for the public scolding of a lifetime.

Like a tiger on the hunt, Anita closes in and pounces on her helpless prey.

"How dare you!"

A hundred people gather around to watch the impending slaughter. As if she were scolding an out of line school child, she tersely admonishes:

"You can't play a game. How did you get that game?"

"Brian {the tech guy}, I thought I made it clear to you that you were supposed to take everything off the systems of 'those' people."

The man, red as a tomato, and understandly mortified beyond belief, remains shaken like a leaf. The next day the man's possessions were packed away and his seat sat empty.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's awesome.

I wonder what they do when they catch you blogging about it?

Damn Nazis.

I bet the tech. guy's office was packed away as well.

Anonymous said...

That's awesome.

I wonder what they do when they catch you blogging about it?

Damn Nazis.

I bet the tech. guy's office was packed away as well.

anony said...

What kind of clients are paying for temp attys to code docs and complete doc reviews. I can see something like that lasting a week maybe but no more. Temps are hugely profitable for that kind of assignment. Why don't the temps get together and cut out the middleman - instant pay raise of 35% or more sounds like and the bozo agencies that contribute nothing get what they are worth.

Anonymous said...

the only reason the middle man exists is so that the firm does not have to pay worker's comp. and unemployment insurance. That's it.

Irrespective of what the contracts between parties say, it is clear who controls the work, hours, equipment, software, and so on. Thus, a lawsuit directly against the firm could suceed in many states. Just look at what Preston Gates and Ellis did when faced with a direct suit by temporary attorneys for not paying overtime - they settled before a complaint was filed. They didn't want that complaint filed, ever.

Anonymous said...

how bloggerriffic... looking for a book deal like Opinionista/Melissa Laffsky? This is a great piece of shit/fiction... depending on your perspective.

Anonymous said...

anonymous above clearly has a job at a firm or is still in law school. They don't tell you about tempworld in law school. You find out about it after the fact, when you have no job and rent is due. As one who who is sitting at a picnic table coding docs right now, I'm here to tell you this is real.

Anonymous said...

talk is cheap - why don't yo organize an action....lawsuit, union, reputable artice to expose all?

Anonymous said...

"What kind of clients are paying for temp attys to code docs and complete doc reviews. I can see something like that lasting a week maybe but no more. Temps are hugely profitable for that kind of assignment. Why don't the temps get together and cut out the middleman - instant pay raise of 35% or more sounds like and the bozo agencies that contribute nothing get what they are worth."

Woah, there is the naive and the naive.

Anonymous said...

They sound pretty quick to execute on that project! .. The capman

Anonymous said...

What happens if you need to leave for a doctor's appointment, or to fulfill CLE classes, or to attend a swearing-in ceremony (I was just admitted), or if you have an interview for a permanent position somewhere? Are you allowed to leave for 2-3 hours and make up the missed hours another day???? I am really asking for future reference so I know not to accept any long term projects like yours. Any advice on this issue would help.

Anonymous said...

I was fired once for going to an interview. However, at prior temporary porjects, they didn't care (they understood). You never know.

Anonymous said...

keep up the good work. you are telling the truth about this and other projects.

Anonymous said...

what does the irs do about this - the arrangement violates the control test [law firms are sleazy for doing this illegal crap] - the journalist should hammer

Anonymous said...

that's a good point, actually

Anonymous said...

LETS GET THIS ARTICLE PUBLISHED!!

Anonymous said...

This is blog is dead on for some of the real shitty temp jobs out there (I've heard the P.W.R horror stories too). However, there are other firms that are much more humane..$35/hour + overtime and the building isn't in some old subway level warehourse. Get in good with your agency!

NOTE: I would advise all of you not in the top half at a top 25 law school (hello fordham, cardozo,nyls) to drop out and save your $$$

Anonymous said...

This is scary. I know someone with a highly contagious disease who could not take time off for fear of being fired. The whole floor could have been wiped out with the illness. If a a dozen temps get really, really sick or die they may slack up with some of the strict attendance rules.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Tom the Temp. Great blog. Keep up the good work. We needed this blog.

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Re: 12:11 am post of anonymous:

Though the law firms do not pay workers compensation, the temp agencies do. Question to you all: Have you ever filed a workers compensation with a temp agency? Have you heard of others? How receptive were the temp agencies with legitimate workers compensation claims? When you think about, lots of contract attorneys find their hands and wrists aching because of the constant clicking of the mouse and may have some form of carpal tunnel syndrome. Did any temp agencies "retaliate" by not calling people for future projects?