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By: Jamie Collins

You wanna know what I had planned for today’s post? Absolutely nothing. But much like a runaway freight train headed down the rails bound for Crazy Town, my work life has, yet again, unfailingly provided me with a glimmer (did I say a glimmer, it really was a whole lot more like a thud) of inspiration. Let’s make that four loud thuds, to be precise.

Here’s a fun visual image from my corner of the legal world. (Please remove the look of shock from your face and step away from the screen slowly.)

As some of you may know from a recent conversation I started in our Social Club on LinkedIn, the fearless Founder’s manual filing may have fallen a wee bit behind. (Oh my – How ever did this happen in the land of esquire saving and deadline diffusing?) Do NOT answer that question.

On Thursday of this week, I finally get all gung ho and decide to move the blessed filing down to my office, so I can no longer continue to ignore it and pretend that it does not exist. It was a very effective method, I must say, as evidenced by the large piles of papers now contained within my office. (I’m sure you’ve tried this technique yourself a time or twelve.) Filing? What filing? I have no idea what you’re talking about.

So I have these four incredibly LARGE stacks of papyrus a/k/a my flipping filing, sitting in front of my desk next to the alphabet-slotted-sorter-thingy. (Yes, that is a technical term.) It has taken every ounce of sanity I possess to carry these dreaded stacks down to the paralegal promise land, so I decide to resume my seated position behind the large wooden helm because it appears I may need to ignore those piles a wee bit longer in the name of personal sanity, just prior to channeling my raging endurance of paper shuffling fury and bringing it forth into the world.

Right about then, my boss walks into my office to ask a random case-related question. He observes the large stacks of white paper sitting in front of my desk and asks, “Whoa – is that filing?!” Now, at the time he is asking me this, he is chuckling, increasingly more heartily as the final words depart his mouth. After I confirm, “Yes, it is [indeed] filing”…he begins to laugh even harder. One could probably best describe it as a “guffaw.” At which point I may or may not have told him it’s not funny and to immediately remove himself from my office. I may or may not have been joking at the time I said it. I may or may not have immediately went from zero to “I will kill people” with the utterance of those four evil little words. (We’ll leave that to your imagination.)

About 2 minutes later, a friendly coworker of mine walks past my doorway and peers in, stating, “Dang, is that your filing?!” This question is followed by a short burst of a giggle, along with a look of “glad it’s not me” sympathy. This clearly triggers “fight or flight” syndrome, at which point she decides to continue walking briskly down that corridor, so as to avoid me chasing her or hurling an object off my desk in her general direction. (Score one for the smart paralegal. I am not she. I am the one with the piles of manual filing sitting behind the wooden helm, half-crazy, pondering the chasing of people.)

About twenty minutes later, another attorney in the office walks past my doorway and stops. He is clearly taken aback. As am I. He stares down, his gaze finally meeting the stacks of papers on my carpet: “Whewwwwwwww. Is that filing?” This is accompanied by a look of absolute disbelief. At this point, I issue a verbal notification that I am going to have to immediately pull my door shut or I may end up hurting a passerby. The next person to walk by my office and react in a similar fashion gets it. (Please cue the Dark Cloud a/k/a Keeper of the Misery now; the timing couldn’t be more perfect. Death is upon us.)

The filing has officially arrived at the intended destination, but we have now moved into the paralegal phase of a project commonly known as “avoidance.”  This is where one tries to find every imaginable reason known to man (or woman…or any other person, anyone at all, who may possibly have a reason…any ole reason will do) why I should not immediately begin to sort this filing. Do we have a deadline? Is that a fly in my window; I must kill it now. I’m thirsty; I should go get a drink of water. Is there anything to watch on television at 2:18 p.m.? Do you need help with anything over there? I think the copy machine needs paper. Is that the phone ringing? Is that another fly in my window??? This is where I attempt to find something else (anything else at all) that I could possibly do besides anything associated with ascending this soul-sucking mountain of papyrus now sitting in my office. Whatcha got? Is that a fly in your window??? I’ll run right over to get it.

I seriously think I may have a paper allergy. So many papers. This can’t be good. The room is spinning.

Then the realization hits me – until I move these papers back out of my office and into their redwell homes, they are permanent residents. This makes Jamie, the “Type A Office Keeper” who likes everything to be in its tidy place, incredibly unhappy. It throws off her mojo. So I realize I must, indeed, begin.

Welcome to my world, people – the place where I reign as the Queen of the Papyrus and keeper of the written word. It’s grand. Look, shuffle, sort, look, shuffle, sort [resume sad face] look, shuffle, sort, look, shuffle, sort. What’s that? I can’t hear you over all of this paper shuffling, as I bask beneath the glow of these florescent light bulbs, while attempting to avoid a grade 3 paper cut in the midst of this fun project I’ve so cleverly attempted to avoid. The time to do it? Now. The finish line? Nowhere in sight. I’d better start climbing.

And just so we’re clear – the next commentator to walk by my office and wield the courage to stop is a dead man walking.

I am hoping you find things suitable, and far less papered in your corner of the legal woods on this fine Friday. I shall write again soon after ascending this paper mountain, running out the door full speed, promptly changing into a pair of sweat pants, and giddily watching the new season of House of Cards this evening, while bandaging the fresh wounds etched upon my weary soul.

The filing shall be done, on earth, as it is in paralegal heaven.

The Queen of Papyrus


Hey TPSers – What’s the worst project of all time for you? The free therapy hotline is officially open for business! Hit that comment button and tell us about it.