The Saddest Example of Unprofessional Behaviour I've Yet Seen

They say that how a person behaves towards those under them on an organization’s totem pole shows who they really are …

Here’s the set up: I’m a junior lawyer at a very large firm. In its infinite mercy, the firm offers free drinks to all and sundy (or at least, so I assumed) on Friday after work. I work on the lowest floor of the firm, where the IP folks dwell; the drinks are organized by one of the administrative assistants (in the olden days, “secretaries”) who on her own initiative collects the drinks from the servery on the top floor and brings 'em down. Next to the servery on the top floor there is a much larger “open bar” for the business and corporate law folks.

Well, every Friday on our floor pretty well everyone - lawyers, administrative assistants, IT staff, everyone - drinks together, with never a problem or concern.

Last Friday, though, more people than usual attended, and the drinks ran out. So the assistant who organizes the drinks went up to the bar next to the servery to grab a bottle. She came back down rather startled. Apparently, there was a senior partner up there who basically told her she could not take a bottle down.

We all assumed he, for some odd reason, had decided that all drinks on that floor had to be drunk on that floor. So we all trooped up to the top floor for a drink.

Well, it turns out this guy (the only senior partner present) was simply angry that administrative assistants and suchlike were drinking at all. According to him, the bar was only for lawyers. He sent a junior to tell the lot of us to leave (he did not know I was a lawyer as well - we’d never really interacted).

Now, this is obviously not the firm’s policy - it is simply something he came up with all on his lonesome. We did leave, not wishing for a confrontation with this guy, who obviously had a few too many already. But everyone was extremely pissed off, particularly the poor lady who organized the drink cart for my floor, at this insulting behaviour. My own assistant was practically breathing fire. What kind of asshole would refuse to drink with the staff?

Doe your employer have a valid LICENSE to serve alcoholic beverages? Has anyone been hrt in an alcohol related accident while driving home?
Frankly, for a law firm, this strikes me a unprofessional at best, dangerously illegal at worst.
Does your firm provide “designated drivers” to drive people home from these events?
Does your state have a “social host” law in effect? Gravely troubling!

The firm has been serving drinks to its employees at firm functions since forever. So do all the other firms in this city. Seems to be simply part of the corporate culture.

I have no idea as to the answers to any of your questions, other than to note that there are no “firm” designated drivers. The vast majority of people do not, however, drive, since the firm is right downtown, and parking is prohibitively expensive.

My gf is in advertising. They have Friday Happy Hour for everyone, complete with kegerator.

What a jerk. You know, if you piss off the AAs and secretarial, you *will * pay. You may not think they are important but they are crucial.

Yeah that is pretty shitty, worse part is he couldn’t be man enough to do it himself but had to send a junior person over. Must suck to work with this guy, you should go out one night with the junior person and get the lowdown!

Frankly I find folks like this usually end up worse overall. Treating Admin and IT people poorly ever serves you well in the long run. My AA and IT people LOVE me. IT especially. We had a series of meetings a couple of years ago with the CEO, sort of a open forum. And IT had just rolled out a new process that they spent several months getting input from staff, etc. So this one dick there tells the CEO that IT is forcing this crap down our throat, etc. After the meeting I wrote an email to the CEO outlining the reality of what IT really did. I am high enough in the organization that I know the CEO on a personal level so it isn’t unusual for him to get an email from me.

The CEO wrote me back and copied the head of IT in–thanking me for setting the record straight, etc. Since then, anything I want from IT, it is there. My computer isn’t working right–hey a new laptop appears on my desk :slight_smile: The guy who did all the complaining? Well let’s just say he doesn’t work there anymore and it wasn’t pretty what happened to him. You don’t piss off certain people, lesson 1 in any corporate environment.

So he will get his one day I am sure. People never forget getting treated like shit…NEVER.

btw–we have our version of this too. Beer Fridays. It is fairly common I think among most firms, although I do know for awhile there was some phasing out of it, but it is pretty much back in full force in most of the architectural and engineering firms that I know of.

Eh - I see it as typical “have vs have-not” behavior of upper leadership. If one has a perk, one must make sure the lower levels do not have the same perk, lest the perk lose its value. How he handled the situation is really immaterial to him. He want his binky and NO ONE ELSE GETS HIS BINKY!

Likely, he will have a conversation about this with his big-bewigged brethren, they will talk him down off the ledge with non-committal promises, and some symbolic change to the practice will result. Folks at your level will have to twist sideways to do what you used to do, and you will likely not get “seconds” if you run out in the future. A clever assistant will eventually find a solution. And everyone will know not to poke the bear in the future.

I find this interesting as well. I worked in high-rise shared with a large local law firm that specializing in DUI (representing the victims). Many a time on a late friday night I’d end of in an elevator with their best and brightest, who could barely walk straight and smelled so strongly of booze that you would swear if you lit a match in the elevator it would explode. They would all get off the elevator and head straigh to the parking garage.

Besides the issue of a company serving alcohol, your basic question about people acting like assholes in business isn’t uncommon at all. I’ve worked for several companies (none of them law firms) and find it interesting that some senior exec suddenly gets a bug up his ass and decides to abitrarily change longstanding company policy because HE thinks its incorrect, even when he’s the one who supported the very same policy in the past. And they don’t do it innocuously, as a correction of past assumptions, but adamantly to make sure the stupid peons understand their egregious trespass.

You’ve heard the story about the CEO who decided to check on his troops and “fired” one lazy guy just standing in the hallway, with a severance pay of $600, who turned out to be a pizza delivery guy.

This just about killed me. And it’s totally apt.

I know, it made me laugh, too.

As far as I know you don’t need a license to serve alcohol. You need a license to CHARGE for alcohol. I worked in a hotel and we didn’t have a liquor license. So what we did is made the drinks free to anyone who wanted one. Of course we didn’t tell anyone that. But if anyone walked in off the street (unlikely as this was a resort) we would serve them a drink, provided they were of age of course. So that’s how we got around that.

Business are often like that. I worked in a hotel where managers could walk in and out the front door. But everyone else had to leave out the back entrances and go through security and get their bags checked.

I have worked in places where they had “executive washrooms” while the line employees had to use the awful disgusting washrooms downstairs.

I’ve worked a places where managers got free parking and the line employees paid for parking.

And the list goes on. It’s not a snub, really so much as a perk of of the position.

Take it how you want to

In most cases, you’d be right. But that particular jerk is a partner so he probably won’t pay in the slightest.

As for companies providing drinks, it’s just one of the many potential liabilities that they have. But they all do it. How else would so many people permanently destroy their reputations at company holiday parties? :smiley:

Yeah, I know. As the resident sober person I am always amazed at the kinds of things people do in front of their bosses. :slight_smile:

It’s a snub in this case, because it is expressly not a perk confined to the professionals. Only this guy out of the whole crowd thought it was. Everyone else was just embarrased.

First thing Monday the gossip squad started up and the other partners who heard about it apparently agreed he’s a complete asshole. I can’t imagine that being thought a complete asshole by many of your partners is doing him much good.

Someday you’ll have a higher position and will be able to make policy. Try and remember your outrage over this event. It’ll make you a much better boss years from now.

Dear Og. You have reminded me of my aunt’s chihuahua, which was named Binky. That dog, and its predecessor Chicky, terrorized our entire family. I don’t know what my aunt did to those dogs, but if it’s possible for a dog to be an asshole, these dogs were.

Oh yes. My uncle had a dog - a poodle - that literally had to be chained up in the backyard if people came over. If you looked at it it would bark its head off and get so furious its eyes would literally glow red. It was scary.

He had another dog which was allowed into the house but if it fell asleep on you you couldn’t move unless you gave it a laddoo (sweetmeat) and basically bribe it to go away.

When I went there my poor cousin slept on the couch and he said in the middle of the night the dog crawled into his bed and slept with him all night. :eek: He said he didn’t dare to move.

Both dogs bit everyone in the house but my uncle, whom they loved. Scary, scary dogs.

Not to hijack this thread, but I’m now remembering the very first office Christmas party I ever attended (circa 1997). My supervisor got drunk and said the stupidest thing ever to the senior manager of our whole department. Luckily, I was standing immediately behind him, but conversing with a different group.

Willy (shouting across the room): “Hey Kathy!”
Kathy (shouting back with a smile): “Yes Willy!?”
Willy (still shouting): “Pimps up! Hoes down!”
Everybody else: :eek:
Kathy: :confused: “What was that ???”
Willy: “You heard me! Pimps up, hoes down!, but I’m just playin’”
Kathy: :mad: (but no words)
Willy (still smiling): “Yeah, you know what I’m saying!”

She didn’t say anything back. That must have been one tough weekend for poor Willy.

The following Monday morning he was terminated.

As a long term temp (about 15 years), I have two comments on this; the first is that I don’t take assignments in legal firms, period. The second is that some people are just that way. Come Christmas time, I’ve had supervisors at contracts who bent over backwards to make sure that I was included in the festivities, and others who seemed to go out of their way to make sure I was excluded. If I was thinking about taking a permanent job with a company, I wouldn’t even consider working at a company that excluded temps at Christmastime - it shows me what they’re really like.