110 hour week

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 28, 2015 10:28 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:As much as I used to think I knew more than my parents, im slowly realizing how right they were. My dad used to tell me that, if theres one lesson to remember, its that life begins when you walk through the door of your home at the end of the day, and that work is and will always be a means to an end. Its tough to always stay true to that, but I think its an endlessly important lesson.

Sounds like a path to misery. Even if you have a 40-hour a week job, you're still spending the majority of your waking hours getting ready to work, commuting to and from work, and working. If you think of work as nothing more than a means to an end that you suffer through so that you can enjoy "life," you're giving up the majority of your life.

I think the happiest people find joy in their work—whether that work is teaching, engineering, practicing law, practicing medicine, whatever. If you hate your job, you're basically fucking up your life. Those four or five hours you get after you walk through the door of your home won't save you.


I think you are misunderstanding. My dad never meant that you shouldn't enjoy and love your job and find great joy in it. Nor did he mean that you should resent and hate your job as something that keeps you away from your "life". He meant that, regardless of what happens in that place you call work, love it or hate it, family comes first and is the most important thing. What he meant is that one should never lose perspective. In other words, even if you absolutely love every minute of your job (as my dad in fact did), it should never take precedence over family or become the primary source of your joy and satisfaction.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 28, 2015 10:34 pm

itbdvorm wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
itbdvorm wrote:In short - you want to coast, fine, coast. Collect your check and run as fast as you can. Leave at 5 PM, while your colleagues and senior associates and partners are working until midnight. Enjoy your weekend while everyone else is huddled in a conference room. And then 15 years from now, when those same colleagues and senior associates are significantly more successful than you are - IN EVERY RESPECT, not just financially, because these are the people who will get the great in-house / public interest / government jobs - wonder why.


See, this is a total strawman here. No one said coasting, no one said leaving at 5, no one said checking out. And this is precisely the issue I'm talking about. The mere suggestion of not working until midnight every night somehow becomes dichotomous with the guy who bails at 5 PM. The thought of someone taking some personal time for themselves and their families is somehow misconstrued into checking out and coasting.

Whereas the initial suggestion was simply not grinding it to the bone. What I initially suggested is not staying until midnight unless absolutely necessary (i.e. not just looking for a reason to be there late). Doing your work well, but drawing some boundaries for the sake of sanity. Still going above and beyond hours requirements, without grinding it out the way that the shameless strivers do. If you want to equate that to running out at 5, coasting, and not being there while others are, then think what you want. Its that skewed and incorrect mindset that directly feeds into the inability to create balance in the biglaw environment. In other words, the skewed perspective of a select few makes the workplace unmanageable for the whole.


Sadly, it's not that much of a strawman.

The issue we see - very often - is people showing up with an attitude of "I am going to work the hours requirement and no more." But that's not what this job is. Everyone considering big law knows, or should know, that the job is HORRIBLE at times. I frankly have zero problem with people who finish a deal, or a case, and want some me time to recover (that's totally understandable). But the issue comes with one of the following two scenarios:

Scenario 1: Huge deal comes in. Junior is staffed on huge deal. Insane deadlines are demanded for huge deal. Junior says "I have dinner plans, I am taking off and being unavailable for 3 hours."

Scenario 2: Everyone is busy. Junior is working towards a reasonable pace for the year. New deal comes in. Junior says "no, I'm too busy."

The problem is - Junior is employed by an enterprise that is paying Junior to sacrifice his/her free time. That's the point. Pain comes in and needs to be distributed relatively fairly. By saying "no, I'm not doing that" the rest of the team suffers more, and Junior both becomes resented and falls behind in skill level.

You need to carve out time for yourself sometimes. But know when to say when.


Scenario 1 I am with you on. If I am on a big case with a short-staffed team and tight deadlines, I work whatever crazy hours are necessary to get the work done. I wouldn't just say "sorry I need to peace out". In biglaw, things unexpectedly balloon up at times, and I get that one should be ready for those instances.

Scenario 2 is much more iffy. If I'm pretty busy, more than hitting my hours, and each day is largely full with tasks, then it is entirely within my discretion if I don't want onto another project (i.e. there is no shame if I'd prefer to just keep my 2,200 hour pace, and not put myself on the fast track to 2,600 hours).

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kalvano
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby kalvano » Sat Mar 28, 2015 11:55 pm

I like practicing law and my job keeps me super busy. I even like my most of my clients. That being said, I will never ever ever regret being home in time to read to my son before bed as opposed to being at work.

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los blancos
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby los blancos » Sun Mar 29, 2015 12:57 am

Cogburn87 wrote:
itbdvorm wrote:In short - you want to coast, fine, coast. Collect your check and run as fast as you can. Leave at 5 PM, while your colleagues and senior associates and partners are working until midnight. Enjoy your weekend while everyone else is huddled in a conference room. And then 15 years from now, when those same colleagues and senior associates are significantly more successful than you are - IN EVERY RESPECT, not just financially, because these are the people who will get the great in-house / public interest / government jobs - wonder why.


(striver trash)


that poast was like basically everything wrong with our work culture in a fucking nutshell.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 29, 2015 1:09 am

BarbellDreams wrote:Every friend that I have who took a "lifestlye" midsize firm for 90-100K starting is infinitely happier than every friend I have who is in biglaw. I actually know 2 people in biglaw who have a calendar on their wall where the x out each work day while counting down to 2 years of experience so they can leave. Its difficult to find out what the hours are like at a midsize firm without talking to some attorneys there, but I would aim for a firm like that over biglaw all day everyday.



Yeah the bolded is a major caveat. Like it's really not fun going to a regional firm after being given the distinct impression that you'll be ok billing 1700 and you'll get the chance to do a lot of substantive work, take depos &c... and 6 months later you hate your life because you've been told you're supposed to bill 1900 of largely doc review for 60% of the pay your biglaw friends are making.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby wildhaggis » Sun Mar 29, 2015 1:43 am

Anonymous User wrote:
wildhaggis wrote:OK, just read through the entire thread and, while this issue may have been put to rest, I have to comment on it.

I read through several posts debating whether 100+ hours is "expected" in biglaw or not, and some dude pushing all the blame for such hours on OP because his V10 told him that average billables were less than 2100 during a record year. "That's only 45- to 55- hour weeks!" "2800 hours is barely 48 60-hour weeks!"

This is complete fucking bullshit.

Even if 100+ hours is not expected, and even if 2000 is a typical billing average, this has nothing to do with how those hours were spent and paints nothing resembling an accurate picture of what a 2000-hour, 2500-hour, or even 1900-hour year may look like. That KidStuddi suggests a 2800-hour year is "barely" 48 60-hour weeks ("Look, you even have a bunch of time for vacation!"), or that a 2100-hour year is consistently working 45-55 hours a week, makes me genuinely question whether he is flame or not.

Let's take a look at why this is the case. I'll use an example that is illustrative of how biglaw corp works: I just finish up a pretty busy 200-hour month. I'm lagging a bit on my hours because last month was slow, but I'm confident I can catch up. I come in to work and the other matters I'm staffed on are pencils down or in some kind of a lull. I do some small post-closing things and ask around for work. No one has anything at the moment, so I work on this or that until 6pm, not having much to do. I've billed about 2.5 hours. I tool around a bit and decide to leave early at 7pm. Partner A sends me an e-mail at 8:30pm saying he needs some such fucking thing ASAP. I work for 4 hours, send it to him. He sends back comments. Why the fuck is he still awake. I take another hour to work in his comments, send it back to him. It's now after 2am, and I've billed approximately 7.5 hours that day.

I come in the next day, tired, still not much to do. I ask around for work again... Nothing. Partner A gets back to me on the document from the night before at 5:30pm. He spoke to the client and needs me to turn a bunch of changes. I work until 10:30pm, send it to him, go home because I'm pissed. I've billed 5 hours that day. It is now Wednesday and I'm on pace for a 30-hour week, maybe. If it keeps up, I'm on pace for a 120-hour month, or so. The truth is I don't feel like I just worked a 7.5- or 5-hour day. I feel like I just worked two 16-hour days, and I'm exhausted. My time not working those days was spent trying to get work, or twiddling my thumbs wondering why I wasn't getting work, or whether I'm too slow. Anxiety at my ability to catch up on my hours begins to creep in as my satisfaction of a completed 200-hour month fades away. I realize it's going to be one of "those" months, where I bill 130-140 hours, which makes me look slow, but really I billed hours all over the board, barely got sleep, and checked my phone every 2 minutes.

Fast-forward to next month. I did, in fact, only bill about 130 hours. But, hey, several new M&A deals are on their way down the pipeline, and they all have massive data rooms and maybe one is a contribution so that means double the fucking drafting, so no worries about hours anymore, right? It's about to be a 250-hour month. But didn't you just have a 140-hour month? You surely used the slowdown to catch up on sleep and chill, right?

I mean, shit, isn't 140 hours, like, only 6 hours per day anyway?


If you leave at 10:30 and that makes a 16 hour day you are going in to the office too early which is contributing to your exhaustion, no reason if don't have work to get in before 9:30.


Didn't think I'd have to explain this, but so be it. It was an example. My intention was to illustrate a representative anecdote of what a "slow month" in biglaw looked like for me, mostly to show why I think it's misleading to say slow months balance out busy months, or why I think it's misleading to say a 2100-hour year is comprised of consistent 45-hour work weeks with a week or two vacation. This is a completely foolish assessment of the billable hour's impact on someone's life. Biglaw (corp specifically) just doesn't lend itself to a simple scheduling explanation, slow and fast months alike.

So, sure, if you want to call me to task on my numbers, allow me to correct. If it helps my account make more sense to you, substitute in the following: "The truth is I don't feel like I just worked a 7.5- or 5-hour day. I feel like I just worked a 16-hour day and a 12-hour day, and I'm exhausted." If you think, "Oh, a 12-hour day isn't so bad," just know the unfortunate truth is that, in the above example, the more likely outcome is Partner A e-mailing you at 11pm with more comments once you arrive at home, prepared to crack open a beer and watch TV with your hand in your fucking pants for the rest of the night.

If it's important to know, the reality is that I would arrive at work earlier than 10am because I was a go-to associate for a senior who liked to get in early, get shit done, and go home as soon as they could. I actually think the whole "biglaw doesn't start until 10-11am" is some weird flame anyway. In any case, this person's schedule certainly had no effect on my concurrent obligations to respond to other people who aren't early-risers. That's what fucks you: you have a hundred bosses, they all have different schedules, they all don't care what your schedule is, and they all need you to get their shit done yesterday.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby BarbellDreams » Sun Mar 29, 2015 10:07 am

For people defending the biglaw lifestyle and saying that choosing lesser paying jobs over biglaw is "shortsighted" you just have to understand that its all about priorities. What do you prioritize in this age of your life, while being fully aware that you can't buy these years back, and can't reverse what the stress does to your body?

The money is awesome, and biglaw on your resume will certainly set up your career for hopefully good exit options down the road. A person working at Reed Smith for 3 years is going to have infinitely better exit options than someone working at a rural DAs office or some Johnson & Smith unknown 7 attorney firm. That person will also likely make millions more than the ADA or the small firm lawyer over their lifetime, will drive a nicer car, wear nicer suits, buy nicers seats at sporting events, have a nicer house, take nicer vacations, etc.. You will also likely not see your wife very much, not see your kids grow up (or maybe miss their first word or first steps), spend more time in the office than literally anywhere else, grow a ton of gray hair from the stress, knock years off your life expectancy due to a combination of stress and lack of sleep, likely gain weight, likely screw your health up with a bunch of fast food/ unhealthy food, lose some friends due to simply never being around or always cancelling plans, have constant shakiness in your marriage due to not being around and cancelling plans leaving your spouse to feel like she/he is not in a relationship but alone (maybe divorce, maybe not), etc etc etc.

Now, what matters more to you? Pick a priority and roll with it. There is no right or wrong answer.

I have a friend who is a partner an a V100 in California and has been there since he graduated from law school 21 years ago. He and his wife drive Bentleys, he has an insane house in LA and he literally told me "I don't know where else to put the money cause we maxed out just about every account we have, the kids college funds are maxed, we have 6 figures in emergency funds, the house and cars are paid off and we could both probably retire today and be just fine." (Hint: Pay my student loans off with your money dammit, THATS where the money should go! :)). After spending 10 minutes with him and his family I never in a million years want his life. His kids cling on to their mom and barely talk to him and the relationship he has with his wife is as cold as I have ever seen. You can pay me 7 figures and I don't want that life, its not worth it to me, I will take a high 5 figure salary and get to actually spend time with my kids. There are plenty of people that would make the tradeoff though, because they care about the career and the money and the lifestyle and the cars and the vacations and the houses much much more than the family, relationships, health and personal interests.

Thats really it. I don't get why there is this argument about shortsightedness, one being better than the other, etc.. They aren't better or worse, they are just different. If I was single I would probably give biglaw a shot for a year or two if I had that option. I would deal with the stress and shortened life expectancy for 2 years to set myself up well enough, pay the loans off and get good exit options. With that said, A.) I'd never in a million years stay there once the loans are paid off and B.) I'm married, so no thanks, I want to spend time with my wife and, you know, actually have kids who don't hate me.

The "golden handcuffs" are a really interesting thing though.Its one thing to say it, but its another to literally cut your salary, voluntarily, from 160K to 70K for a better lifestyle and more free time. Certain people just wont be able to do it I think, other people may do it and then panic and regret it, idk. One of my friends who does the "I am x-ing out the calendar days on my wall until 2 years so I can leave" is a girl who really likes to shop, buy $400 shoes and fly out to Italy twice a year for a week. I legitimately don't think she is gonna be able to mentally flip to a much lower paying job because she won't be able to give up the lifestyle.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Desert Fox » Sun Mar 29, 2015 11:57 am

Seniors don't really know how busy you are. So the guy saying turning down work when you on track but not "busy" is probably just thinking poorly of anyone who turns him down ever.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby los blancos » Sun Mar 29, 2015 12:10 pm

BarbellDreams wrote:Now, what matters more to you? Pick a priority and roll with it. There is no right or wrong answer.


I don't know if there's a 'right' or 'wrong' answer, but there are shitty and not-shitty priorities.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 29, 2015 12:10 pm

Desert Fox wrote:Seniors don't really know how busy you are. So the guy saying turning down work when you on track but not "busy" is probably just thinking poorly of anyone who turns him down ever.


At my firm we can pretty much see anyone else's time sheets - is that not the way it is elsewhere?

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Desert Fox » Sun Mar 29, 2015 12:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:Seniors don't really know how busy you are. So the guy saying turning down work when you on track but not "busy" is probably just thinking poorly of anyone who turns him down ever.


At my firm we can pretty much see anyone else's time sheets - is that not the way it is elsewhere?


Partners can at my firm, seniors can't.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 29, 2015 12:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:Seniors don't really know how busy you are. So the guy saying turning down work when you on track but not "busy" is probably just thinking poorly of anyone who turns him down ever.


At my firm we can pretty much see anyone else's time sheets - is that not the way it is elsewhere?


I sure as hell can't see the time sheets of others. The partners on my cases can see my timesheets, but not other associates (and likely not partners for whom I'm not working).

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los blancos
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby los blancos » Sun Mar 29, 2015 12:23 pm

FWIW I'm all for the "do your time and get out" approach to this shit (assuming you're not one of those lucky fools that have better options like DOJ Honors), but one thing I think people don't quite realize is that the stress/agonizing/anxiety/anger literally causes permanent damage to your brain cells. The utter sadness that results from being put in these positions isn't because you're weak or somehow defective, it's your body telling you to cut that shit out.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby BarbellDreams » Sun Mar 29, 2015 2:12 pm

los blancos wrote:
BarbellDreams wrote:Now, what matters more to you? Pick a priority and roll with it. There is no right or wrong answer.


I don't know if there's a 'right' or 'wrong' answer, but there are shitty and not-shitty priorities.


Oh I'm with you, and think those that took midlaw for 100K with a hard 1800 hour requirement and average 50-55 hour work weeks hit the winner-winner-chicken-dinner lottery. I'm just saying I get it if you want models and bottles and couldn't care less about marriage, seeing kids grow up or friends. I don't agree with it, but I get it.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 29, 2015 2:43 pm

Bit confused about something here I am hoping to get clarity on: I very much understand how unpredictability makes BigLaw miserable. Working 6 hours a day doesn't sound so bad, but if you have to twiddle your thumbs in the office until 7 pm in order to get 6 hours of work, that sucks.

So, in the likely event that most work doesn't flow in until the afternoon/evening, why not just show up at noon? In other words, why not cut down on the time wasting by not being in the office? Do firms require attorneys to show up at X hour each day?

911 crisis actor
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby 911 crisis actor » Sun Mar 29, 2015 2:52 pm

No that's fine. Just let the partner and senior associates on the deal know that you won't roll in til noon at the earliest

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Desert Fox
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Desert Fox » Sun Mar 29, 2015 2:53 pm

911 crisis actor wrote:No that's fine. Just let the partner and senior associates on the deal know that you won't roll in til noon at the earliest


tbf, you can sorta get away with this in a lot of situations. A lot of trans people in NYC aren't rolling in til 11.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 29, 2015 2:59 pm

911 crisis actor wrote:No that's fine. Just let the partner and senior associates on the deal know that you won't roll in til noon at the earliest


Americans are a bit socialized to expect te 9-5 schedule, but lawyers clearly don't abide by that schedule. What I am saying is: if you know you're going to sit and do nothing for a few hours each day, why not just show up later? What would a firm care as long as you're getting your work done and billing hours?

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Cogburn87 » Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
911 crisis actor wrote:No that's fine. Just let the partner and senior associates on the deal know that you won't roll in til noon at the earliest


Americans are a bit socialized to expect te 9-5 schedule, but lawyers clearly don't abide by that schedule. What I am saying is: if you know you're going to sit and do nothing for a few hours each day, why not just show up later? What would a firm care as long as you're getting your work done and billing hours?


Because you aren't in this situation.

A lot partners will think that if you're currently being paid to do nothing the least you could do is be immediately available during normal business hours.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby wildhaggis » Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
911 crisis actor wrote:No that's fine. Just let the partner and senior associates on the deal know that you won't roll in til noon at the earliest


Americans are a bit socialized to expect te 9-5 schedule, but lawyers clearly don't abide by that schedule. What I am saying is: if you know you're going to sit and do nothing for a few hours each day, why not just show up later? What would a firm care as long as you're getting your work done and billing hours?


Because you don't actually know that you're going to sit and do nothing for a few hours on any given day. Or, if you do know, you have no idea when those hours of nothing will fall. Sometimes I'd get in at 9am, work my ass off until 3pm, sit and do nothing until 7pm while some conference call was in progress, try my best to sneak out and then get roped back in once everyone was off the call and ready to work.

Sure, show up at noon everyday if you're truly that confident that the deal you're on won't fire up until the afternoon, but be prepared to be blindsided when you get an e-mail from some other partner or senior at 10am asking you to "Pls swing by ASAP." I'm sure they'll understand that you didn't feel like coming in until noon because you figured you'd just sit around all morning anyway.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby smallfirmassociate » Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
911 crisis actor wrote:No that's fine. Just let the partner and senior associates on the deal know that you won't roll in til noon at the earliest


Americans are a bit socialized to expect te 9-5 schedule, but lawyers clearly don't abide by that schedule. What I am saying is: if you know you're going to sit and do nothing for a few hours each day, why not just show up later? What would a firm care as long as you're getting your work done and billing hours?


Because some partners hand out work in the morning or otherwise expect associates to be available.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby BarbellDreams » Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:13 pm

Because inevitably the second day you decide to do this you're going to get a nasty email stating that they were looking for you cause something came up at 9 am and where the hell are you and why is your office empty.

In general people can roll in a little later but I would be very hesitant to just start coming in at noon even if I didn't have anything burning on my calendar.

Also, lol at whoever said 6 hours of work a day doesn't sound bad a few posts ago. You need to go work in gov for 6 hours.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Desert Fox » Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:14 pm

I've succesfully gotten away with showing up at 11-12 for months now. They don't care that much and you get more credit for staying late. Every partner is different though. My team is cross country so we tend to work on pacific time anway.

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los blancos
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby los blancos » Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
911 crisis actor wrote:No that's fine. Just let the partner and senior associates on the deal know that you won't roll in til noon at the earliest


Americans are a bit socialized to expect te 9-5 schedule, but lawyers clearly don't abide by that schedule. What I am saying is: if you know you're going to sit and do nothing for a few hours each day, why not just show up later? What would a firm care as long as you're getting your work done and billing hours?


Because all it takes to get you in hot water is one asshole boomer partner not finding you in your office and choosing to complain to your practice leader instead of typing a fucking three word e-mail.

tl;dr - boomers suck and still believe in face time

FWIW this is another reason why small, specialized practice areas are CR.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Internetdan » Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:54 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
911 crisis actor wrote:No that's fine. Just let the partner and senior associates on the deal know that you won't roll in til noon at the earliest


tbf, you can sorta get away with this in a lot of situations. A lot of trans people in NYC aren't rolling in til 11.


I know a lot of trans people in NYC strolling at all hours of the day. Most of them work til 5 or 6 am by the port authority bus terminal and call themselves "candi"




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