September 21, 2006

Sarah Klem – Legal Assistant, Friend, Diplomat.

Posted in Happy Hour, Lessons Learned at 7:27 pm by devilwearsbrooksbrothers

Once, back when having multiple key rings for just one key was cool, I had one that read “Diplomacy:  the ability to tell a person to go to hell so that they look forward to making the trip.” 

 

At the time, I couldn’t say for sure I even knew what this meant.  I just liked the idea of telling people to go to hell.  And as I grew older, I certainly didn’t grow more diplomatic.  I was raised in a family that didn’t really mince words.

 

One day, after piano lessons I was crying and told my father that I thought I was awful.  A typical Dad would have taken the child into his arms, smoothed the child’s hair and told her that she was being silly; that she was a terrific piano player. 

My father took me into his arms, smoothed my hair and told me I was a great piano player for a five-year-old. 

I was seven, and he knew that.

Unfortunately for my boss, he doesn’t get to be so blunt when dealing with attorneys, assistants and  even partners.  He has to smooth over, misdirect, coddle and yes sometimes lie to get things done and make people happy.  Watching him over the past few years has made me better at handling sticky situations both in and out of the office. 

For instance, we were out at a bar, K2, L, Lauren and I, watching the Eagles blow it all against Eli and his boys when a gentleman approached and asked if he could join us. 

Before I go any further, I have to say, I give the Suitor major kudos for approaching four girls at a bar. I don’t know many guys that would be so brave. But he did, grabbed a barstool and started talking to K2 and L. 

When the Suitor got up to use the restroom, K2 and L filled Lauren and I in on what was going on; it seems the Suitor was well on his way to asking K2 out.  K2 used this time to inform us that she was not interested and that she needed our help.  L and Lauren looked at me.

As a side note, a lot of guys blame “the friends” for interfering when they are trying to make a play for some girl.  Wise up boys. If her friends keep butting in and pulling her away into other conversations, it is because she asked them to. 

But back to my point, Suitor returned and Lauren pretended she really needed to talk to L. L and I switched seats and I prepared an embargo on communication with K2.

I immediately engaged K2 and her Suitor in a conversation guaranteed to bore the crap out of him – fashion.  He turned his attention back to the game and K2 thanked me with her eyes.

For the rest of the fourth quarter, every time the Suitor turned to talk to K2, I started another group conversation.  We discussed schools, jobs, travel plans, how we all knew each other, which Manning brother was hotter, anything and everything to keep him from pulling K2 into a private conversation. 

Now, somewhere between the Giants scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter and them scoring a touchdown in overtime, the Suitor got it in his head that I was interested in him.  I saw it happen and was weighing my possible exit strategies just as he was preparing his pitch.  “Well since your friend isn’t interested, maybe I can get your number?”

We were shaking hands.  I blinked a couple of times and bit my lip.

Here I was almost feeling bad for this guy and then he drops that line. 

I smiled a tight smile and told him that just how cold in hell it would be before that happened.

I may have mastered the art of diplomacy but I am still my father’s daughter.

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5 Comments »

  1. HughE2030 said,

    WOW a boss that minces words and coddle, a rare treat in the legal field and one that makes his employees like him that much better.

  2. Captain Commoner said,

    I’m assuming you didn’t drop that answer on the Suitor right after the Manning-to-Burress TD. If he was in any way a bona fide Eagles fan, getting shot down like that in the temporal vicinity of the Birds’ loss probably would’ve been enough to push him over the edge and cause him to punch your lights out.

  3. Well, considering he spent more time pontificating on whether or not the Mannings were the Kennedys of the NFL than actually watching the fourth quarter, I think it is fair to say this guy did not bleed Midnight Green.

  4. Captain Commoner said,

    Hah. Well in that case, he deserves both everything you said to him and everything you’ve said about him.

  5. Anthony said,

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