So as I mentioned in the About section, I work in a high-rise in the manufactured business district called Century City, and this day job pays me a ridiculous amount of money to basically answer phones and move emails around (yay graduate degree!). I know. I am so fortunate. Early in my career I struggled with this career choice because the word “secretary” is in my job title, and I come from an accomplished family of doctors, engineers, PhDs, and financial analysts/traders. I’ll put it this way, my brother had to explain his job to me twice, and I still didn’t really get it. (He used to sell derivatives…exactly.) But I have come to realize a deep gratitude for my job. My job has given me a significant amount of financial freedom, and since it doesn’t take up too much head space or time, I can pursue my extracurricular interests, which as you can see are v. important to me. In fact, one of them is the main subject of this blog. In addition, I enjoy the people I work with. I work for four attorneys — one of them for 23 years this August — and they are the best. Like I’ve never come into the office with a knot in my stomach knowing I was going to be stressed out by them because they’re jerks or have tempers. That is invaluable.
Now while I have been totally blessed by my work situation, my bosses have been saddled with a chronically tardy and indolent assistant. It’s a mystery to me too. Anyway, below are some snippets from my work life.
So the Chief Administrative Officer just came to my cubicle…As I was busy editing my photo for Instagram…and was dressed like this.
She said thanks for all you do and handed me this coupon for a free latte.
I told her thanks, but I don’t do anything. (I mean, I tried, OK.)
And then she said yes you do and gave me a hug.
None of this makes any sense.
A client’s recent comment about me has stuck for a bit. I answer my main boss’s phone, and because he will sometimes put his phone on speaker, I can hear the conversation at my desk. Anyway, this particular client said that I made him feel important every time he called; this isn’t the first time that a client or even opposing counsel has commented on my phone demeanor. Afterwards my Boss came out and said that what I do is not a small thing, and I know that it’s an asset to his practice because it comes up in my annual review. Well, the comment struck me as yet another reminder that what I had long ago pre-determined would make me a valuable employee — actions much more grandiose and Extra — and what has actually been true are quite different. Turns out that just showing up with an attitude of being useful and allowing God to work through you — however that looks like — is a lot of it. I mean, who knew that just paying attention to people would bring such value to a man who deals in sophisticated and complex business transactions? …This must be why my boss is mostly unbothered by my (ahem) flexible work schedule and loose interpretation of the “business casual” dress code. Ha.
I had my annual review yesterday, and this time of year always brings to mind my first review that I had with Boss when I had only been working for him for four months. Before I took on his desk I knew that people – even other partners – found him to be intimidating, but I did not find him to be. I was also warned that he was somewhat exacting and had high expectations, so when I received my written review I expected to be graded strictly, and though it made me wince, I was able to stomach a few Bs, knowing we had only been working together for a brief time. But when I saw that he had given me a B in a category that had nothing to do with my job, I was totally annoyed; I’m not in the business of accepting indiscriminate Bs! So I went into his office and asked him why he gave me a B in this category, and he replied that he couldn’t give me an A because I didn’t do that type of work for him. I didn’t blink and said “Well, then it should be ‘N/A’.” There was a pause…and then he said I was right, and he changed it.
I think we both learned a little something about each other that day. And here we are 21+ years later.
I know people thought it was odd that I would sometimes go through my entire work day at a fancy Century City law firm still wearing my running clothes, but I had def. asked Boss if it was OK, and he clearly said “I don’t care.” So one of the parts of my job that I am frequently noted for is my client interaction skills. (I know — But I can be very charming if I want to be. Ha.) And over the years when our clients call I will often end up chatting with them for several minutes about…running. So yesterday Boss’s biggest client had someone drop out of their Ragnar Relay team, and the Senior VP asked me if I wanted to be part of their team. I have been wanting to do this race for years but could never figure out who I could get to sign up with me for this craziness!
So next month the firm will be paying me to take a day off of work to go running. And hopefully I help out Boss by representing him well.
Running for the win.
It’s official — I now work at the bougiest law firm. An attorney asked me where the closest shredder was, and I literally said “Go past the kombucha bar, it’s on your left.”