Q) I am finishing up my first year as an associate at a mid-sized firm. I clerked with this firm during my 2L summer and throughout my 3rd year, and they offered me an associate position. During my clerkship, a new associate started at the firm who was one year ahead of me (he had just taken the bar and I was starting my 3rd year). For my own amusement, I will hereinafter refer to this ass clown as “Douche bag Associate.” He was always very nice to me. However, it seemed like the minute I passed the bar and became an associate (as opposed to a bottom-of-the-barrel law clerk), he started treating me as his “competition.” I know it may sound egotistical, but it genuinely seems like this guy has spent the last year trying to undermine me and assert his superiority (of one year) over me.
I first noticed it just after I took the bar, and Douche bag Associate asked me how I got this job. I told him I worked for a colleague of the founding partner in my home city the previous year, and he replied, “Well, I bet it didn’t hurt that you are cute.” Despite the fact that this jackass only got the job because his mom taught the managing partner’s children at an upscale private school (not to mention they are members of the same synagogue), he had to assure me that I did not land my job because of any work ethic or qualifications I possessed, but rather because of my looks. Since that day, I have been very cautious of Douche bag Associate, who quickly traded in his mom’s old 2000 Toyota Camry for a BMW 3 series. He then bought a condo in one of the ritzier parts of the city and proposed to his girlfriend of 4 months (because living together before marriage is “sin,” but living together while engaged is ok), and began strutting around the office with an unearned sense of arrogance like his life was right on track (akin to some sappy Julia Roberts movie that he decided was the proper “path” in life).
Douche bag Associate continued his plight to find ways to compete with me. For example, incessant comments about how my attire was unprofessional and how women could get away with not wearing a suit at work every day (well, his “suit” consisted of some wrinkled piece of shit from TJ Maxx, no undershirt like some kind of uncle rico, and a shirt with a button-down collar (never any collar stays)). Whenever he was ready to leave work, he would nag me to make sure that I left at the same time (thus, not billing more than him), frequently telling me that I “had permission to leave for the day.” Who the F*** asked him? Most recently, I became worried about my job at the firm. Our office is designated into “teams,” but since I clerked at the firm and was used to working for all of the attorneys, I am not on any one team. At a meeting with the managing partner’s team (of which Douche bag Associate is a member), the partner told me to make sure I am asking for work from all teams because his team didn’t have enough work to keep me busy. That naturally scared me, especially in light of the economy (and the fact that my friend who just graduated from a TT school in the top 10 of her class got a job at the PD’s office making $30k without benefits). I mentioned something about it to Douche bag Associate in an attempt to create some kind of rapport with him. He casually mentioned that I should be worried because I am the “least valuable” to the firm (never mind that his ass gets chewed out on speaker phone by the managing partner once a day for rookie mistakes, despite his “high level of expertise”), and that if anyone was going to get fired, it would be me. He was “just being honest,” of course. What a dick. Who says that to a scared first-year associate?
This guy—The Douche bag Associate, who goes secretly interviewing with other firms within our (small) practice field, secures himself an offer of $3,000 more per year with no benefits, values himself so much that he thinks this grand offer is some kind of “leverage,” and takes it to the managing partner. I’m sure he thought the managing partner valued his work so much that he would immediately cave and match this $3,000 demand; however, the partner found him so worthless that he laughed him out of the office (who’s the “least valuable” now, bitch?)
Needless to say, Douche bag Associate is still here plaguing my presence every day and constantly attempting to make me feel inferior to him. I have resigned myself to just ignoring the jackass, but he has everyone in the office fooled with his car salesman grin and cheesy one-liners. I have never dealt with this breed of former law dork associate, and am not sure how to strategically deal with him (join the competition or take the high road?) So…my question…how do I get this guy off my back so I can avoid this daily awkwardness without sinking to his level and making the whole office think I’m some kind of raging bitch?
A) The answer is simple: Ignore him. You think about this guy way too much. The more you worry about him, the more power you give him. Pretend he doesn’t exist and get on with your life.