I’ll never forget one of the first jobs I ever had as a litigation paralegal. I worked for a boutique litigation firm and I was an admitted money-maker and all around superstar employee, yet I made an hourly wage and still sort of got treated as though I were working at Taco Bell instead of doing substantive legal work. Nevertheless, things were generally good until the day after Thanksgiving rolled around.
My predecessor tried to warn me, but it was something I had to experience myself. The first two years on the job, this guy would make me come in the day after Thanksgiving as if we were going to work a full day on the job. Problem was, when it would start getting close to lunch time, he would want to go home himself. He would say: “Well…if there’s nothing pressing that you’ve got to get out today, I think it’d be okay if you knocked off a little early.”
It really was hysterical. For two years I said, “Okay, thank you. See you Monday.” The third year, after I had demonstrated my profitability MANY times over, I stood up for myself and asked him: “You’re going to pay me for the rest of the day, right?” You would have thought I had punched him in the face! He literally could not compute that I had propounded this question to him. He stuttered awkwardly as I looked him dead in the eye (completely unwilling to drop eye contact, talk first, or even blink) and waited through the uncomfortable (but only to him) silence.
“Yes, of course,” he finally managed to say.
By the time I had exited his office and returned to my desk, he had made a full recovery. He said: “But let’s not make a habit of it.”
A few months later, I finally found myself a better paying job and was out of there!