The stars aligned this morning, and I managed to make it down town thirty minutes before I had to be in the office. Thirty minutes to myself that I did not anticipate or plan. It was blissful. Since I had the time, I decided to grab a cup of expensive coffee. The line was short and I was soon waiting for my lovely coffee.
The barista making the coffee was in her grove: checking the cups, steaming milk and moving the cups along. The song playing in the store changed and she started singing. She appeared happy. I found it endearing. And then something in my head snapped: she was happy at her job. I am not. She was genuinely enjoying what she was doing at that moment. What was endearing became annoying. I became grumpy, took my coffee and trudged into the office.
A few years ago, a guy left our office for a clerkship. A month before he left, he began transitioning one of his cases to me. One day, he came into my office, closed the door and said: "I'm not sure what it is about this place, but if you stay for any length of time, it turns you into an a$$hole."
He was right. Something about the environment brings out the jerk in people. The people who survive in our office, who last more than a year, we all become a bit of a jerk. I've written about snapping at the delivery guy. I have seen a senior associate be condescending to a waitress, just because he could. I have seen support staff scream at junior associates over truly mundane matters because that member of the support staff was herself just torn up and down. Maybe it is self-defense. Whatever it is, I am not a fan. I'm not a fan of it in others, and I hate when I see my own inner-jerk come out. But most of all, I do not want my son to see that part of me. I want that part of me to go away for good. There is a time and a place to be a jerk, to bring out one's inner b, but it should not be a routine way of dealing with others, with life. And it most definately should not be evoked simply by seeing others be happy in their jobs.