THE STANKOWSKI REPORT #18: Succumbing to the Temptation
By Stan Stankowski
In the end, parts of it are oh, so sexy.
Not sexy in the way you want. Not sexy like a spy or a real military hero or someone else slightly dark and yet triumphant. Not like that at all.
Still, it has its appeal. Those words: “Good work, you billed more than any other associate this month.”
I rail against it, and so does everyone else, but in reality you have to watch it. You have to watch it like a cobra watches a mongoose because deep down, when you are sitting there, with a 98% realization rate and a whole shitload of hours, literally weeks above your goal, well…..it feels nice.
And then comes the temptation.
It felt soooo good that one time. Praise from all of your superiors at once. Normally, you are pleased if they are not telling you how terribly you have screwed up.
The instinct then tells you, “The goal isn’t good enough.” Why? “The goal doesn’t get congratulations and drinks on Friday. The goal is ordinary.” That’s right, it is.
And none of us wants to be ordinary. In the least. We all have to be a bit neurotic or power hungry or depraved or something to get where we are at this point. And then we are not happy when we are not praised, because that is what we are used to.
But there is a way to get it.
Beat the hell out of that billable hour requirement. Devote everything to it. Make it happen. That’s how you get satisfaction in this job.
It is very sexy. It is a powerful thing. And you aren’t even really rewarded for it. Or will you be? Bonuses? Partnership? The envy of my peers?
Probably not. On any of those. No matter what. That is a truth that you can see all around you. People who used to beat the goal, who used to be ahead of it all, and now they are leaving, not because they want to, but because they have to.
But they aren’t you, are they. No. Not in the least. Not close.
Yes, they are.
But maybe not. And you will never know unless you beat the goal and beat it badly every month. Because that is what validates all of this.
But you know better, you aren’t buying into all of this, with the fancy cars and meals and sweat and frustration.
Still, it is sexy. Even if the only one who knows how sexy it is, is you.
It is very hard to resist. Be careful. There are plenty of people, losers in their thirties telling you how dangerous that particular temptation is. How it doesn’t lead to anything, how it is little comfort in a few years…..
Still, right then….
About the Author: Stan Stankowski is the pseudonym of a first-year associate working in a litigation firm somewhere in the South. For more details, read his introductory post, as well as Evan Schaeffer's introduction. The collected Stankowski Reports are here.