A senior associate screamed at me at work today. I'm devastated.

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homestyle28
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Re: A senior associate screamed at me at work today. I'm devastated.

Postby homestyle28 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 5:39 pm

I'm a 4th year in Chicago big law, have never witnessed a yelling. I've screwed things up and people have told me directly that I screwed something up. They just expected me to fix it, didn't yell at me. Did a trial as a 2nd year. No one yelled.

I've heard stories about a few partners yelling, but it seems to be pretty rare/isolated here.

kykiske
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Re: A senior associate screamed at me at work today. I'm devastated.

Postby kykiske » Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:53 pm

I've experienced many of the same situations outlined in this thread.

Yelling, berating, and even outright (not just passive aggressive) comments that I am incompetent/stupid/poor writer, etc. (no longer experiencing any of this, thankfully). I am actually somewhat surprised at how frequent these stories manifest themselves (not just in this thread, but in general).

The other posters commented on this, but for whatever reason, the legal field in particular attracts toxic and abusive personalities. Could be the high stress levels. Could be that some lawyers believe that they are truly "gifted" and have some divine authority to abuse others, particularly subordinates. Who knows. And regardless, such behavior is simply unacceptable.

I've also never really liked the phrase, "don't take it personally." It may even excuse toxic behavior. For instance, if I were to say, "Your draft is horseshit. The writing is poor, and the legal analysis makes no sense. We are paying you six figures for a reason." And then, immediately after that, I say, "Oh, don't take it personally." In what world would a rational person not take those comments personally?

Here are my two cents on how to deal with this situation. Do not rinse and repeat the interaction in your mind. Try your best to move on with your day. The more you dwell on it, the more you will likely become saddened or frustrated. If what happened was isolated, then try to forgive and forget.

But if the behavior is part of a pattern, then you've got a bigger issue. If you're comfortable, try talking to the senior associate. Frame it as, "Listen, I am doing my best to do as I am told. And I am trying to produce high quality work for you and the team. But it's hard for me to do so when you're screaming at me. And I do not appreciate being yelled and screamed at in the workplace. I always strive to treat everyone with respect, and respect should go both ways."

If you're not comfortable with that direct approach, then consider going to your firm's HR department.

cavalier1138
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Re: A senior associate screamed at me at work today. I'm devastated.

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 8:56 pm

kykiske wrote:I've also never really liked the phrase, "don't take it personally." It may even excuse toxic behavior. For instance, if I were to say, "Your draft is horseshit. The writing is poor, and the legal analysis makes no sense. We are paying you six figures for a reason." And then, immediately after that, I say, "Oh, don't take it personally." In what world would a rational person not take those comments personally?


Unless one of the posters in this thread is the senior associate who yelled at the OP, then that's not the strongest argument. The point was that sometimes you're going to have assholes as supervisors. You can work around it in a number of ways, but there's no reason to assume that the senior associate in this thread has a personal vendetta against the OP. That doesn't excuse the behavior, but maybe it's helpful to get a bit of perspective on the larger situation.

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sublime
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Re: A senior associate screamed at me at work today. I'm devastated.

Postby sublime » Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:15 pm

And I said something similar, but my point is that although it's difficult, the more you can separate your person from your work, the better. Even it situations that don't involve yelling.

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LaLiLuLeLo
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Re: A senior associate screamed at me at work today. I'm devastated.

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:29 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
kykiske wrote:I've also never really liked the phrase, "don't take it personally." It may even excuse toxic behavior. For instance, if I were to say, "Your draft is horseshit. The writing is poor, and the legal analysis makes no sense. We are paying you six figures for a reason." And then, immediately after that, I say, "Oh, don't take it personally." In what world would a rational person not take those comments personally?


Unless one of the posters in this thread is the senior associate who yelled at the OP, then that's not the strongest argument. The point was that sometimes you're going to have assholes as supervisors. You can work around it in a number of ways, but there's no reason to assume that the senior associate in this thread has a personal vendetta against the OP. That doesn't excuse the behavior, but maybe it's helpful to get a bit of perspective on the larger situation.


"Don't take it personally" doesn't mean that there's no personal vendetta or that it's fine because they treat everyone like this. If someone told me "this is garbage, can you even think?", for example, I would take it personally because it's a *personal* insult directed to my intelligence.

That being said, I wouldn't take general yelling personally, but if there are insults mixed in (and let's be honest, there always are insults, usually centered around one's cognitive ability) I would absolutely take it personally. Because it is personal.

kykiske
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Re: A senior associate screamed at me at work today. I'm devastated.

Postby kykiske » Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:38 pm

LaLiLuLeLo wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:
kykiske wrote:I've also never really liked the phrase, "don't take it personally." It may even excuse toxic behavior. For instance, if I were to say, "Your draft is horseshit. The writing is poor, and the legal analysis makes no sense. We are paying you six figures for a reason." And then, immediately after that, I say, "Oh, don't take it personally." In what world would a rational person not take those comments personally?


Unless one of the posters in this thread is the senior associate who yelled at the OP, then that's not the strongest argument. The point was that sometimes you're going to have assholes as supervisors. You can work around it in a number of ways, but there's no reason to assume that the senior associate in this thread has a personal vendetta against the OP. That doesn't excuse the behavior, but maybe it's helpful to get a bit of perspective on the larger situation.


"Don't take it personally" doesn't mean that there's no personal vendetta or that it's fine because they treat everyone like this. If someone told me "this is garbage, can you even think?", for example, I would take it personally because it's a *personal* insult directed to my intelligence.

That being said, I wouldn't take general yelling personally, but if there are insults mixed in (and let's be honest, there always are insults, usually centered around one's cognitive ability) I would absolutely take it personally. Because it is personal.


What LaLiLuLeLo said is more in line with my point. My hypothetical was not limited to just the "senior associate," but more generally. As in, some lawyers may use the phrase "don't take it personally" to justify otherwise very insulting and abusive behavior.

Also, I do not agree that one needs to have a "personal vendetta" to personally attack someone. Personal attacks come in many forms. Some more bluntly, such as "you're an incompetent idiot who should have never passed the bar." Some, more subtle, such as, "you know, a good lawyer would have spotted this issue sooner." Either way, those comments are directed towards the person's intelligence, which is highly personal in nature. One need not actively dislike someone to say something highly offensive.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: A senior associate screamed at me at work today. I'm devastated.

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:00 pm

I think there is a huge difference between a screamer saying to the screamee “don’t take it personally” and advice from a third party that the screamee not take it personally. Of course it’s an asshole move to scream at someone and then say “don’t take it personally.” I think the point that people who are saying “don’t take it personally” in this thread are trying to make is that frequently people who are screamed at feel like the screaming is about them being bad at their job, and it’s not - it’s about the screamer being bad at *their* job, and it’s about the screamer’s personality problems and stress level and handling that all badly. That doesn’t mean it’s not a personally miserable experience, because of course it is. But the screamee could be a potted fern and get the same treatment.

cavalier1138
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Re: A senior associate screamed at me at work today. I'm devastated.

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:18 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:But the screamee could be a potted fern and get the same treatment.


And Mythbusters proved that it's good for the potted fern. So I'm seeing a way to spruce up the office and solve the OP's problem in one go...

joanneofarc
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Re: A senior associate screamed at me at work today. I'm devastated.

Postby joanneofarc » Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:28 pm

homestyle28 wrote:I'm a 4th year in Chicago big law, have never witnessed a yelling. I've screwed things up and people have told me directly that I screwed something up. They just expected me to fix it, didn't yell at me. Did a trial as a 2nd year. No one yelled.

I've heard stories about a few partners yelling, but it seems to be pretty rare/isolated here.


I'm in NY BigLaw FWIW.

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Re: A senior associate screamed at me at work today. I'm devastated.

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:39 pm

kykiske wrote:I've experienced many of the same situations outlined in this thread.

Yelling, berating, and even outright (not just passive aggressive) comments that I am incompetent/stupid/poor writer, etc. (no longer experiencing any of this, thankfully). I am actually somewhat surprised at how frequent these stories manifest themselves (not just in this thread, but in general).

The other posters commented on this, but for whatever reason, the legal field in particular attracts toxic and abusive personalities. Could be the high stress levels. Could be that some lawyers believe that they are truly "gifted" and have some divine authority to abuse others, particularly subordinates. Who knows. And regardless, such behavior is simply unacceptable.

I've also never really liked the phrase, "don't take it personally." It may even excuse toxic behavior. For instance, if I were to say, "Your draft is horseshit. The writing is poor, and the legal analysis makes no sense. We are paying you six figures for a reason." And then, immediately after that, I say, "Oh, don't take it personally." In what world would a rational person not take those comments personally?

Here are my two cents on how to deal with this situation. Do not rinse and repeat the interaction in your mind. Try your best to move on with your day. The more you dwell on it, the more you will likely become saddened or frustrated. If what happened was isolated, then try to forgive and forget.

But if the behavior is part of a pattern, then you've got a bigger issue. If you're comfortable, try talking to the senior associate. Frame it as, "Listen, I am doing my best to do as I am told. And I am trying to produce high quality work for you and the team. But it's hard for me to do so when you're screaming at me. And I do not appreciate being yelled and screamed at in the workplace. I always strive to treat everyone with respect, and respect should go both ways."

If you're not comfortable with that direct approach, then consider going to your firm's HR department.


Biglaw in general is just an extremely high stress environment, and stress causes people to act in all sorts of crazy ways. Biglaw firms also do not care about or make an effort to weed out people who take their stress out on others.

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Re: A senior associate screamed at me at work today. I'm devastated.

Postby lawhopeful100 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:03 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think there is a huge difference between a screamer saying to the screamee “don’t take it personally” and advice from a third party that the screamee not take it personally. Of course it’s an asshole move to scream at someone and then say “don’t take it personally.” I think the point that people who are saying “don’t take it personally” in this thread are trying to make is that frequently people who are screamed at feel like the screaming is about them being bad at their job, and it’s not - it’s about the screamer being bad at *their* job, and it’s about the screamer’s personality problems and stress level and handling that all badly. That doesn’t mean it’s not a personally miserable experience, because of course it is. But the screamee could be a potted fern and get the same treatment.

This ^. By don’t take it personally, I mean the problem likely lies with the person doing the screaming and it’s not the fault / deserved by the person getting screamed at. I also think that advice helps you stay emotionally balanced, I try not to let anything that happens at work get me too down. As long as the check clears every two weeks things are alright (although as others have said, if you have a repeat toxic personality that’s probably when you try to seek out other options.)

EliotAlderson
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Re: A senior associate screamed at me at work today. I'm devastated.

Postby EliotAlderson » Tue Nov 21, 2017 4:32 am

I’ve worked in the hospitality industry (who hasn’t), in MBBconsulting and now Big Law. There are pricks everywhere. Friends in tech and finance have had screamers, those who demean work, etc. Not saying it’s right. But a little fortitude can go a long way

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Re: A senior associate screamed at me at work today. I'm devastated.

Postby jimmythecatdied6 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:03 am

EliotAlderson wrote:I’ve worked in the hospitality industry (who hasn’t), in MBBconsulting and now Big Law. There are pricks everywhere. Friends in tech and finance have had screamers, those who demean work, etc. Not saying it’s right. But a little fortitude can go a long way


agreed. i like to think the bipolar chef from my restaurant days prepared me well.

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Re: A senior associate screamed at me at work today. I'm devastated.

Postby encore1101 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:01 am

jimmythecatdied6 wrote:
EliotAlderson wrote:I’ve worked in the hospitality industry (who hasn’t), in MBBconsulting and now Big Law. There are pricks everywhere. Friends in tech and finance have had screamers, those who demean work, etc. Not saying it’s right. But a little fortitude can go a long way


agreed. i like to think the bipolar chef from my restaurant days prepared me well.


I was in the Marines, where screaming was just the default way of speaking to subordinates. You eventually got so used to it that it becomes like speaking to your mother on the telephone "uh huh.. yeah.. okay.. right.. okay.. yeah.. right.."

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homestyle28
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Re: A senior associate screamed at me at work today. I'm devastated.

Postby homestyle28 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:46 am

joanneofarc wrote:
homestyle28 wrote:I'm a 4th year in Chicago big law, have never witnessed a yelling. I've screwed things up and people have told me directly that I screwed something up. They just expected me to fix it, didn't yell at me. Did a trial as a 2nd year. No one yelled.

I've heard stories about a few partners yelling, but it seems to be pretty rare/isolated here.


I'm in NY BigLaw FWIW.


NY is just objectively worse for this kind of shit. I recommend moving.

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Danger Zone
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Re: A senior associate screamed at me at work today. I'm devastated.

Postby Danger Zone » Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:00 am

encore1101 wrote:
jimmythecatdied6 wrote:
EliotAlderson wrote:I’ve worked in the hospitality industry (who hasn’t), in MBBconsulting and now Big Law. There are pricks everywhere. Friends in tech and finance have had screamers, those who demean work, etc. Not saying it’s right. But a little fortitude can go a long way


agreed. i like to think the bipolar chef from my restaurant days prepared me well.


I was in the Marines, where screaming was just the default way of speaking to subordinates. You eventually got so used to it that it becomes like speaking to your mother on the telephone "uh huh.. yeah.. okay.. right.. okay.. yeah.. right.."

I finally got to that zen-like stage at my law firm, but then the screamer partner accused me of "not caring enough." So you're really fucked either way if you work under an abusive partner.

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encore1101
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Re: A senior associate screamed at me at work today. I'm devastated.

Postby encore1101 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:26 am

Danger Zone wrote:
encore1101 wrote:
jimmythecatdied6 wrote:
EliotAlderson wrote:I’ve worked in the hospitality industry (who hasn’t), in MBBconsulting and now Big Law. There are pricks everywhere. Friends in tech and finance have had screamers, those who demean work, etc. Not saying it’s right. But a little fortitude can go a long way


agreed. i like to think the bipolar chef from my restaurant days prepared me well.


I was in the Marines, where screaming was just the default way of speaking to subordinates. You eventually got so used to it that it becomes like speaking to your mother on the telephone "uh huh.. yeah.. okay.. right.. okay.. yeah.. right.."

I finally got to that zen-like stage at my law firm, but then the screamer partner accused me of "not caring enough." So you're really fucked either way if you work under an abusive partner.



lol

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Re: A senior associate screamed at me at work today. I'm devastated.

Postby lolwat » Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:10 pm

joanneofarc wrote:
homestyle28 wrote:I'm a 4th year in Chicago big law, have never witnessed a yelling. I've screwed things up and people have told me directly that I screwed something up. They just expected me to fix it, didn't yell at me. Did a trial as a 2nd year. No one yelled.

I've heard stories about a few partners yelling, but it seems to be pretty rare/isolated here.


I'm in NY BigLaw FWIW.


Get out here to SoCal

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Re: A senior associate screamed at me at work today. I'm devastated.

Postby dotbun » Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:25 pm

This entire thread is my daily life as an in-house attorney working for a terrible, short-tempered company owner. Constant blow ups over dumb things, acting like a child having a temper tantrum, and then apologizing for it the next day. I swear sometimes I think the veins in his forehead are going to explode during the scream sessions. Since the legal department also acts as the company's HR department, I have employees in my office crying over his behavior at least once a month. It's totally unacceptable.

I've been at the company for 2 years and I'm in the process of finding a new job. The blow ups happen at least once a week (sometimes daily if there is a big deal going on) and it's not good for anyone's stress levels. Although I've heard that these things happen at all companies, I'm going to cross my fingers that my next job won't be as bad. We didn't become attorneys to be cussed out and yelled at.

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Danger Zone
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Re: A senior associate screamed at me at work today. I'm devastated.

Postby Danger Zone » Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:07 pm

dotbun wrote:Although I've heard that these things happen at all companies

They don't

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Re: A senior associate screamed at me at work today. I'm devastated.

Postby ookoshi » Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:44 pm

LaLiLuLeLo wrote:"Don't take it personally" doesn't mean that there's no personal vendetta


Actually, coming from a third party, that's exactly what it means. That's almost always the intent of the speaker, and it's also how most people interpret that statement in that context.

or that it's fine because they treat everyone like this.


No one here has suggested "it's fine" because they treat everyone like this. Look, I can't help it if you keep choosing to interpret the statement in a way that allows you to be outraged, but no one here is saying that "it's fine," so I'm not sure who or what your outrage is directed at.

If someone told me "this is garbage, can you even think?", for example, I would take it personally because it's a *personal* insult directed to my intelligence.

That being said, I wouldn't take general yelling personally, but if there are insults mixed in (and let's be honest, there always are insults, usually centered around one's cognitive ability) I would absolutely take it personally. Because it is personal.


Again, when you're being yelled at, *why* you're being yelled at frames the scope of the problem and what the best strategy is to address it. The content of the yelling matters too, but that's not the point people are trying to make with the "it's not personal" comment.

At the end of the day, I understand that, from your point of view, that comment "comes off as sounding like" people are minimizing it *to you.* But if no one means it that way, why do you choose to keep interpreting it that way? It seems like at some point, interpreting it in a different way than what the speaker intends just creates an excuse to criticize the comment.

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LaLiLuLeLo
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Re: A senior associate screamed at me at work today. I'm devastated.

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Tue Nov 21, 2017 3:10 pm

ookoshi wrote:
LaLiLuLeLo wrote:"Don't take it personally" doesn't mean that there's no personal vendetta


Actually, coming from a third party, that's exactly what it means. That's almost always the intent of the speaker, and it's also how most people interpret that statement in that context.

or that it's fine because they treat everyone like this.


No one here has suggested "it's fine" because they treat everyone like this. Look, I can't help it if you keep choosing to interpret the statement in a way that allows you to be outraged, but no one here is saying that "it's fine," so I'm not sure who or what your outrage is directed at.

If someone told me "this is garbage, can you even think?", for example, I would take it personally because it's a *personal* insult directed to my intelligence.

That being said, I wouldn't take general yelling personally, but if there are insults mixed in (and let's be honest, there always are insults, usually centered around one's cognitive ability) I would absolutely take it personally. Because it is personal.


Again, when you're being yelled at, *why* you're being yelled at frames the scope of the problem and what the best strategy is to address it. The content of the yelling matters too, but that's not the point people are trying to make with the "it's not personal" comment.

At the end of the day, I understand that, from your point of view, that comment "comes off as sounding like" people are minimizing it *to you.* But if no one means it that way, why do you choose to keep interpreting it that way? It seems like at some point, interpreting it in a different way than what the speaker intends just creates an excuse to criticize the comment.


Honestly, I don't care enough to muster up a response. I'm already on vacation. You win buddy.

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trebekismyhero
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Re: A senior associate screamed at me at work today. I'm devastated.

Postby trebekismyhero » Tue Nov 21, 2017 4:17 pm

homestyle28 wrote:
joanneofarc wrote:
homestyle28 wrote:I'm a 4th year in Chicago big law, have never witnessed a yelling. I've screwed things up and people have told me directly that I screwed something up. They just expected me to fix it, didn't yell at me. Did a trial as a 2nd year. No one yelled.

I've heard stories about a few partners yelling, but it seems to be pretty rare/isolated here.


I'm in NY BigLaw FWIW.


NY is just objectively worse for this kind of shit. I recommend moving.


I don't know if moving is the right move, but yeah NY appears to be way worse. Similar to you, Chicago big law associate, never been yelled at, (other than an all caps email from a partner) and I have never seen or heard anyone get yelled at. I haven't heard stories from any of my friends in Chicago or SF about being yelled at, but have heard stories from classmates and friends that are in NY big law.

Anonymous User
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Re: A senior associate screamed at me at work today. I'm devastated.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:32 pm

SF here and same. Never been yelled at or heard of it happening. Closest thing we have to a screamer is a literally half-deaf dude whose normal volume is oblivious yelling.

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Ohiobumpkin
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Re: A senior associate screamed at me at work today. I'm devastated.

Postby Ohiobumpkin » Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:43 pm

LaLiLuLeLo wrote:
ookoshi wrote:
LaLiLuLeLo wrote:"Don't take it personally" doesn't mean that there's no personal vendetta


Actually, coming from a third party, that's exactly what it means. That's almost always the intent of the speaker, and it's also how most people interpret that statement in that context.

or that it's fine because they treat everyone like this.


No one here has suggested "it's fine" because they treat everyone like this. Look, I can't help it if you keep choosing to interpret the statement in a way that allows you to be outraged, but no one here is saying that "it's fine," so I'm not sure who or what your outrage is directed at.

If someone told me "this is garbage, can you even think?", for example, I would take it personally because it's a *personal* insult directed to my intelligence.

That being said, I wouldn't take general yelling personally, but if there are insults mixed in (and let's be honest, there always are insults, usually centered around one's cognitive ability) I would absolutely take it personally. Because it is personal.


Again, when you're being yelled at, *why* you're being yelled at frames the scope of the problem and what the best strategy is to address it. The content of the yelling matters too, but that's not the point people are trying to make with the "it's not personal" comment.

At the end of the day, I understand that, from your point of view, that comment "comes off as sounding like" people are minimizing it *to you.* But if no one means it that way, why do you choose to keep interpreting it that way? It seems like at some point, interpreting it in a different way than what the speaker intends just creates an excuse to criticize the comment.


Honestly, I don't care enough to muster up a response. I'm already on vacation. You win buddy.


Wish opposing counsel responded this way, just once.




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