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By: Ms. Austen (Guest Blogger)

I came across this post about a week ago on “Ms. Austen’s Cubicle,” (a paralegal blog) and have been chuckling over it ever since. In fact, so much so that I felt inclined to seek permission to share it with all of you! Thankfully, Ms. Austen is one super cool, anonymous blogger, so she is here today to share with us “a tale from her clueless past.” Chances are, you’ve either had something like this happen to you…or you will. It happens. In these types of situations, all you can do is breathe a big, deep, self-indulgent sigh (one of internal, heartfelt pity in your own clueless honor) and smile, as you begin to unofficially introduce yourself to those around you as “Hello, my name is clueless…”

We hope you enjoy this post as much as we did! A special thank you to Ms. Austen for sharing it with The Paralegal Society.

Reprinted with permission from Ms. Austen’s Cubicle: ww.msaustenscubicle.com

I overheard a snippet of instruction from an attorney yesterday that brought to mind a funny story from my past that I wanted to share with you this morning. The next time you make a mistake at work (because no matter how good you are at what you do, you are still a human being, and that is just the way we roll from time to time), perhaps you will remember this story and not be quite so hard on yourself, since whatever error you commit, you will likely not be as clueless as I was.

In my earliest days of working in the paper mines when I was just a pup and had no formal education in the legal field, I was at a firm doing overflow legal secretarial work. One of the seasoned insurance defense litigation attorneys was having to use me as a replacement while his regular legal secretary was out on maternity leave. He was not happy about this. Neither was I, and nearly made myself sick every day stressing about whether I was doing things the way he wanted.

One morning Mr. Seasoned Attorney (hereinafter referred to as “Parsley”) walked up to my desk and started rattling off instructions about subpoenas he needed prepared.  “I need you to prepare subpoenas for Smith vs. Jones to be ready by this afternoon.”  Then he proceeded to rattle off a list of names of people for whom subpoenas needed to be prepared, and tramped back down the hall to his office.

I located the Smith vs. Jones file, searched and found a subpoena form, and got to work. Searching the file, I was able to locate the information I needed for all of the people on the subpoena list except for one. I searched the entire file and the computer file. Then I searched every document and letter in the computer file, to no avail. The lunch hour was approaching and I still could not locate any information at all about this last person on the list. I started to sweat, wondering if I could muster up the courage to approach Parsley and admit my failure.

Parsley chose that moment to return to my desk asking if I had the subpoenas ready for his review. Gathering up my courage, I handed him the subpoenas I had prepared and said, “Here are all of them except one. I have started on the last one, but I just can’t find an address for this person and I am not sure I am spelling his name right, since I can find nothing about him in the file.” I hand him the uncompleted subpoena, “I’m sorry, but I just can’t find anything on Duke Steecum.”

Parsley frowned, saying, “Duke Steecum? I didn’t say we needed any subpoena for a Duke . . .” There was a slight pause, and then old Parsley busts out with a loud belly laugh.” I didn’t say to subpoena Duke Steecum, I said we needed a Subpoena Duces Tecum for Bob Brown at First Bank.” Parlsey managed to tell me this while laughing harder and harder. When he was finally able to compose himself, he patted me on the back and proceeded to explain to me quite thoroughly what a Subpoena Duces Tecum was, said that I should be able to find a separate form for one on the computer, and headed back to his office.

Funny, he was nicer to me after that, but from that day forward he persisted in referring to me only as “Duke.”

Wishing you a relaxing weekend,
Ms. Austen

(For those of you who aren’t already familiar with Ms. Austen’s blog, she typically signs each blog post with her anyonymous blogger name, Ms. Austen, followed by a prisoner number. Ha ha. Funny, isn’t it??? From referring to her job as “the paper mill” or “paper mine,”  tales regarding her co-workers, the office, and her rather fruitless attempts at online dating, I’m totally reading it!)

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Duke….I just can’t quit laughing internally. Too funny. 

Do you have a similar tale from “your clueless past” that you’re willing to share with us? If so, hit that comment button and tell us all about it! I’ve laughed over this post for 6 straight days now. Another good story or two and I might just make it a few weeks or a month fueled on internal laughter alone.

Happy High Heel Friday (and TGIF to you hardworking male paralegals)! Carpe de weekend.

Seriously. Carpe de heck out of it! We’ll see you next week.