Ogres, Flounders & Manipulators

September 21, 2012

The Survivalist explores dangerous partner types – and the best ways to handle them

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If you’re going to survive as a lawyer, there are all kinds of ugly types you’re gonna have to deal with.

Of course, you could deal with them by grabbing the nearest sawn-off and blasting them away. Trouble is, shooting from the hip often results in a mistaken wasting of someone useful, like an engineer or a lap-dancer.

You’re better off dealing with them in a more ingenious way. Here are three of the most offensive partner types, and Uncle Survivalist’s tips on how to manage their sorry asses.

#1 The Ogre

The Ogre is pretty rare these days, but these bad boys still exist. I say boys, cos they’re always men.

He bills big, and has balls to match. He can reduce the secretary to tears, or call out the senior partner at the partner conference. He will ask you what the FUCK you think you’re doing when you walk into his office. He believes it’s funny to make you cancel your holiday for a deal.

The Ogre is all about power-play, but what drives him, secretly, is insecurity. Usually it’s so deeply-buried that you won’t have a snowflake’s chance in Hell of unearthing it, so don’t try. Best bet with the Ogre is to smile sweetly and do his work quickly and brilliantly every time and never moan to your mates about it.

But if he is a total bastard to you and, say, shouts at you in the canteen, push him into his office, grab him by the tie (or the scrotum) and tell him he is never to speak to you like that again. Ever. And mean it. He’ll be a pussy-cat after that.

#2 The Flounder

This partner tends to attract sympathy from those around him or her, but that sympathy soon turns to irritation.

Flounders are hugely disorganised. Their offices are piles of papers and they often miss meetings or deadlines. If you are working for a Flounder and you have an ounce of empathy, you’ll end up covering for them. Don’t be fooled into this co-dependency. Hitching your wagon to them will not help your career.

Management will usually have a reason (laziness, politics) for continuing to allow them to waste time, energy and money, so will be of little help. On the more positive side, if a Flounder gives you an unfair appraisal, you can declare war, safe in the knowledge that they’ll be unable to mount a sensible defence.

The best bet is to deal with a Flounder is to get out. Wheedle work from other partners, and shine so they poach you. The Flounder may wheedle, cajole, complain and sulk to get you back, but don’t even think about it. Run, run like the wind.

#3 The Manipulator

Manipulators come in many forms, but are always charming,  good-looking and accomplished at getting their own way.

They are also quite lazy, and enjoy getting others to do their work, gifting ‘responsibility’. Work for one and you might well find yourself working late, taking work home, collecting their dry-cleaning. All because you are ‘learning the trade’. They, however, will take most of the credit.

The Manipulator is clever enough not to appear unreasonable, but the deeper you are drawn into their web, the more the sacrifices mount. And beware, because if you do become their menial, if they go, you will go too. The Manipulator is a political animal, and political animals always miscalculate eventually.

Keeping the Manipulator in check is about self-possession. Use their ostensible wish to be reasonable against them: take your holidays, leave the office when you need to and only agree to outlandish requests if your commitment is matched by theirs. Remember, they are getting paid a LOT more than you are.

Enuff for now. Need to go clean the air-filter on the bunker. Stay frosty. TS

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