How to avoid work on vacation when working with nightmare associate

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How to avoid work on vacation when working with nightmare associate

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:30 pm

I'm a first year in a biglaw general corporate group at a satellite office. I'll be taking off for a little over a week to go on vacation with my family. Normally, people are pretty respectful of vacation time with the glaring exception of a thoroughbred dick senior associate. I've been warned by several others that this miserable bag of shit seems to deliberately and maliciously go out of his way to ruin vacations by dumping work on you while you're gone and making it seem urgent when it's not. This guy has a reputation and has been a big contributing factor in several juniors leaving. Big surprise. Unfortunately, I'm on a few deals with him.

Now, I'm trying to think of ways to avoid working while I'm on vacation. I'm not spending several thousand dollars to sit in my hotel room and work (has happened to others). What should I do? I'm thinking about being generally unresponsive and saying I'm not by a computer. If it matters, I don't really give a shit about him or my "reputation" because I'm only trying to make it 3ish years and his credibility with the partnership is shit anyway.

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Re: How to avoid work on vacation when working with nightmare associate

Postby elendinel » Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:44 pm

If you don't care about reputation, maybe send a quick email to everyone you're working with right now telling them you'll be out [dates] and will have spotty access to emails and work product. And then proceed to check emails to the extent you want to, but everyone's at least on notice in writing that you're going to be hard to reach/should not be relied on for emergency projects for that week. Then hold firm about leaving for said vacation.

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Re: How to avoid work on vacation when working with nightmare associate

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:52 pm

elendinel wrote:If you don't care about reputation, maybe send a quick email to everyone you're working with right now telling them you'll be out [dates] and will have spotty access to emails and work product. And then proceed to check emails to the extent you want to, but everyone's at least on notice in writing that you're going to be hard to reach/should not be relied on for emergency projects for that week. Then hold firm about leaving for said vacation.


Yeah, I've communicated the vacation to people. I figured the way to play it was to set firm boundaries with Señor Anus.

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MKC

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Re: How to avoid work on vacation when working with nightmare associate

Postby MKC » Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:54 pm

I'd be tempted to tell this guy I'm going camping for a week in the backcountry, and there's not even cell service, let alone internet.
Last edited by MKC on Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How to avoid work on vacation when working with nightmare associate

Postby Devlin » Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:56 pm

elendinel wrote:If you don't care about reputation, maybe send a quick email to everyone you're working with right now telling them you'll be out [dates] and will have spotty access to emails and work product. And then proceed to check emails to the extent you want to, but everyone's at least on notice in writing that you're going to be hard to reach/should not be relied on for emergency projects for that week. Then hold firm about leaving for said vacation.

This. I would also never divulge where exactly I was going. I would only state things like "limited access to computer" or "no WIFI." I always made it seem like I was camping or something.

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Re: How to avoid work on vacation when working with nightmare associate

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 28, 2017 4:03 pm

Great ideas re: not divulging. He's been casually asking where I'm going and I keep dodging.

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Re: How to avoid work on vacation when working with nightmare associate

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 28, 2017 4:20 pm

Honestly, any person that gives you work on vacation is a POS. Just tell him you are going on a cruise or camping or something and extremely limited access to internet.

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Re: How to avoid work on vacation when working with nightmare associate

Postby kalvano » Tue Feb 28, 2017 4:45 pm

"I'll be out of town with very limited access to email and phones. I'm happy to jump on this as soon as I get back. If it can't wait, then please send on to xxxx."

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Re: How to avoid work on vacation when working with nightmare associate

Postby RaceJudicata » Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:01 pm

Cruise is a fantastic explanation. Those things really do have terrible internet access... everywhere else, even caribbean, mexico, etc, have gotten quite a bit better. .. regardless, shitty for the senior to seemingly go out of his away to add work. Seems like a lovely person.

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Re: How to avoid work on vacation when working with nightmare associate

Postby Genius » Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:41 pm

Why do firms tolerate senor anus? I never understood why someone w bad rep for being a shitty human being last in workplaces unless they were rainmaker potnas.

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Re: How to avoid work on vacation when working with nightmare associate

Postby patentlitigatrix » Tue Feb 28, 2017 6:51 pm

elendinel wrote:If you don't care about reputation, maybe send a quick email to everyone you're working with right now telling them you'll be out [dates] and will have spotty access to emails and work product. And then proceed to check emails to the extent you want to, but everyone's at least on notice in writing that you're going to be hard to reach/should not be relied on for emergency projects for that week. Then hold firm about leaving for said vacation.


This, except I don't think this does anything to ruin your reputation. If anything, it makes you seem like a responsible adult who manages different aspects of their life. I like more junior associates who protect their personal time because it shows they are normal people. Also make sure any work that would need to get done while you are out has been transitioned to someone else.

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Re: How to avoid work on vacation when working with nightmare associate

Postby heythatslife » Tue Feb 28, 2017 7:59 pm

Genius wrote:Why do firms tolerate senor anus? I never understood why someone w bad rep for being a shitty human being last in workplaces unless they were rainmaker potnas.

Because they're probably good at billing hours and squeezing work out of juniors even if by making them miserable. Also, your reputation with juniors =/= reputation with partners.

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Re: How to avoid work on vacation when working with nightmare associate

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:01 pm

heythatslife wrote:
Genius wrote:Why do firms tolerate senor anus? I never understood why someone w bad rep for being a shitty human being last in workplaces unless they were rainmaker potnas.

Because they're probably good at billing hours and squeezing work out of juniors even if by making them miserable. Also, your reputation with juniors =/= reputation with partners.


FWIW the partners are aware that he's an assbag and tell the juniors to come to them if he's being too much. He's been "talked to" before. He even has a reputation for being terrible substantively as well, but unfortunately seniors are hard to replace and this office is small enough that they don't really fire people unless you just do zero work.

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Re: How to avoid work on vacation when working with nightmare associate

Postby sublime » Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:09 pm

I'm also just a first year but shitty/no internet seems the way to go imo.

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Re: How to avoid work on vacation when working with nightmare associate

Postby Genius » Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:15 pm

sublime wrote:I'm also just a first year but shitty/no internet seems the way to go imo.


Wtf... i thought u were a midlevel at least.

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Re: How to avoid work on vacation when working with nightmare associate

Postby 2014 » Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:17 pm

Do you not have coverage? Would think outside of faking less connectivity than you will have (which i totally agree you should do(but be mindful of social media if you do so)) that the best solution here is to have someone lined up to cover you with the implicit understanding that you will pay it forward down the road. If your firm doesn't do this by default you would be relying on good will but i suspect you could find a taker if you put yourself out there. As a first or second year you are almost wholly replaceable if you take ~30 minutes to give someone a download.

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Re: How to avoid work on vacation when working with nightmare associate

Postby elendinel » Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:18 pm

patentlitigatrix wrote:
elendinel wrote:If you don't care about reputation, maybe send a quick email to everyone you're working with right now telling them you'll be out [dates] and will have spotty access to emails and work product. And then proceed to check emails to the extent you want to, but everyone's at least on notice in writing that you're going to be hard to reach/should not be relied on for emergency projects for that week. Then hold firm about leaving for said vacation.


This, except I don't think this does anything to ruin your reputation. If anything, it makes you seem like a responsible adult who manages different aspects of their life. I like more junior associates who protect their personal time because it shows they are normal people. Also make sure any work that would need to get done while you are out has been transitioned to someone else.


It can definitely rub some people the wrong way.

I think there should be nothing wrong with saying you're on vacation and not checking a single email or having to make up "spotty internet" excuses, personally, but I have run into people who feel otherwise. If you were gunning for partner I would do it with caution, but if not, literally no reason to give people the illusion that you will be free to work on random deals while you're out.

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Re: How to avoid work on vacation when working with nightmare associate

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:39 pm

elendinel wrote:
patentlitigatrix wrote:
elendinel wrote:If you don't care about reputation, maybe send a quick email to everyone you're working with right now telling them you'll be out [dates] and will have spotty access to emails and work product. And then proceed to check emails to the extent you want to, but everyone's at least on notice in writing that you're going to be hard to reach/should not be relied on for emergency projects for that week. Then hold firm about leaving for said vacation.


This, except I don't think this does anything to ruin your reputation. If anything, it makes you seem like a responsible adult who manages different aspects of their life. I like more junior associates who protect their personal time because it shows they are normal people. Also make sure any work that would need to get done while you are out has been transitioned to someone else.


It can definitely rub some people the wrong way.

I think there should be nothing wrong with saying you're on vacation and not checking a single email or having to make up "spotty internet" excuses, personally, but I have run into people who feel otherwise. If you were gunning for partner I would do it with caution, but if not, literally no reason to give people the illusion that you will be free to work on random deals while you're out.


I worked in a corporate group at a top NYC firm and literally had partners email me on vacation to stop responding to emails since I was on vacation. Anyone who is rubbed the wrong way by someone taking earned vacation time off and turning their phone off for a week or two to reset is a complete asshole and probably insane.

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Re: How to avoid work on vacation when working with nightmare associate

Postby elendinel » Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
elendinel wrote:
patentlitigatrix wrote:
elendinel wrote:If you don't care about reputation, maybe send a quick email to everyone you're working with right now telling them you'll be out [dates] and will have spotty access to emails and work product. And then proceed to check emails to the extent you want to, but everyone's at least on notice in writing that you're going to be hard to reach/should not be relied on for emergency projects for that week. Then hold firm about leaving for said vacation.


This, except I don't think this does anything to ruin your reputation. If anything, it makes you seem like a responsible adult who manages different aspects of their life. I like more junior associates who protect their personal time because it shows they are normal people. Also make sure any work that would need to get done while you are out has been transitioned to someone else.


It can definitely rub some people the wrong way.

I think there should be nothing wrong with saying you're on vacation and not checking a single email or having to make up "spotty internet" excuses, personally, but I have run into people who feel otherwise. If you were gunning for partner I would do it with caution, but if not, literally no reason to give people the illusion that you will be free to work on random deals while you're out.


I worked in a corporate group at a top NYC firm and literally had partners email me on vacation to stop responding to emails since I was on vacation. Anyone who is rubbed the wrong way by someone taking earned vacation time off and turning their phone off for a week or two to reset is a complete asshole and probably insane.


I mean, again, it varies. I can see your anecdote and note several times when I sent out an email much like what I suggested above, and certain partners would still have a hissy fit because I wasn't on my BB looking up cost estimates or other stupid stuff for them in the half hour/hour they wanted it, that they could have gotten themselves instead of asking me to do it on my vacation.

And yeah they're insane, but they exist, and if I cared about partner they'd have the power to prevent that from happening. So again, if partnership is a concern, be aware these people exist; but since it's not for OP, there's no reason not to say (s)he'll be MIA most of the time.

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Re: How to avoid work on vacation when working with nightmare associate

Postby Lacepiece23 » Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:23 pm

2014 wrote:Do you not have coverage? Would think outside of faking less connectivity than you will have (which i totally agree you should do(but be mindful of social media if you do so)) that the best solution here is to have someone lined up to cover you with the implicit understanding that you will pay it forward down the road. If your firm doesn't do this by default you would be relying on good will but i suspect you could find a taker if you put yourself out there. As a first or second year you are almost wholly replaceable if you take ~30 minutes to give someone a download.


Coverage can be hard in smaller/lower leveraged offices. I know that on a lot of my matters the client throws a fit if we add a different associate to the bill. That's a consideration. Also, if your work is less doc review/due diligence, sometimes you're harder to replace. This is not at all to be construed with me saying that a junior associate shouldn't be able to be replaced on a matter.

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Re: How to avoid work on vacation when working with nightmare associate

Postby BarbellDreams » Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:40 pm

I've literally made up where I was going just so I could add in "will have very limited and spotty internet access". I work that into conversations sometimes preparing for a vacation. Then, if I get urgent emails, I may do a basic 15 min thing on them and then reply and put in there that I won't have service for "x" amount of days/hours. Going on a safari, rainforest, whatever.

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Re: How to avoid work on vacation when working with nightmare associate

Postby webcammie » Wed Mar 01, 2017 3:45 am

I'm a senior associate at a top law firm too and I agree about emailing to tell your group that you'll be on vacation and will have limited access to email. Make sure to remind them the day before as well. I've taken two weeks vacation and didn't work at all during that time when I was a junior and no one cared.

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Re: How to avoid work on vacation when working with nightmare associate

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Wed Mar 01, 2017 9:42 am

Also, never, ever offer to make yourself available if needed. If you tell people you're going on vacation, sometimes they'll just look at you expectantly or say things like, "well, we'll try to cover for you but things may be busy...." Just say, "ok, thanks!" If they NEED you to work, they'll make damn sure you know. If you offer, they'll make you work even if it isn't necessary.

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Re: How to avoid work on vacation when working with nightmare associate

Postby elendinel » Wed Mar 01, 2017 2:41 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:Also, never, ever offer to make yourself available if needed. If you tell people you're going on vacation, sometimes they'll just look at you expectantly or say things like, "well, we'll try to cover for you but things may be busy...." Just say, "ok, thanks!" If they NEED you to work, they'll make damn sure you know. If you offer, they'll make you work even if it isn't necessary.



Agreed. "I am available if needed" will be interpreted as "Free whenever I want you to do something." It also means they'll shit on you if you do decide not to be available in the hour they want you to do something for them, because you "said you'd make yourself available if I needed anything," whereas they have no one to blame but themselves if they don't read your email to see you'll be MIA.



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