One of The Great Man's clients misbehaved pretty badly earlier this week, and The Great Man himself has had some travelling to do, which evidently takes a greater toll on him than he would like to admit. Why is this important? Well, when The Great Man is having a bad day, that means that everyone is going to have a bad day, now that I'm supposed to be "managing" the firm's day-to-day operations, that certainly includes me. I got very little done today thanks to having to put out a particularly troublesome fire.
In addition, I find that The Great Man is apparently second-guessing every significant decision I've been making for the past two weeks. He's expressed dissatisfaction recently with:
▪ How I've permitted the bookkeeper to pay our bills -- this after she was given ambiguous instructions by The Great Man himself and did her best to comply with them;
▪ The space I've been trying to lease to move the office into -- this after I was told to get into this exact space;
▪ How I've been handling negotiations with Happy Bachelor Lawyer regarding his relationship with the firm -- this after I asked for his priorities on that subject and embodied them in the latest round of that apparently interminable negotiation;
▪ Allocating tasks to specific personnel based on my assessment of their strengths and abilities -- this after I consulted him and got his specific approval on the decision in question, in response to a concern he raised himself;
▪ Desiring to discontinue a disadvantageous relationship with an oppressive creditor -- this after admitting that the relationship was disadvantageous;
▪ Accepting or rejecting particular cases based on my assessment of the merits and potential recovery -- this after being told by him what criteria we should use to make those assessments;
▪ Giving the staff Veteran's Day off work -- this after he specifically approved my request to do so.
Dealing with all these fires today not only took far too much time away from my real work, it caused me, and several of the others, unnecessarily high levels of stress. At several points, voices were raised high enough to be heard downstairs, and tears came close to being shed, and that's no way to treat people -- particularly when there is a problem that needs to be solved, the priority should be on solving the problem, not on yelling at people for it.
I wound up not eating anything at all today until about 3:00 p.m., when Son-Of-The-Great-Man's paralegal took mercy on me and gave me a pear she had been planning on eating. I must have been a sorry sight.
Look, I never exactly asked for these management responsibilities, but having been given them nonetheless, I intend to do as good a job with them as I can. I think that I can do a good job, given the opportunity to do so. We have all the tools we need to make it happen. There are plenty of good cases there, and people who can provide the support we lawyers need to turn those good cases into good resolutions. Why any of them stay after days like today is beyond me. Why I am staying is a good question, too -- mainly it's because I see all the potential and I want to realize at least a significant fraction of it.
But I don't have a lot of confidence right now in The Great Man's commitment to letting me make the changes that need to be made to realize that goal. It's like he doesn't want to do anything more remarkable than tread water, so he sabotages even his own great successes. I already don't want to do this "management," and if there proves to be much more in the future like today, then I don't know whether I can continue "management" of this chaotic mess.