House of Cards

My suspicions were correct: my boss is cheating on his wife. At the risk of turning my blog into a BigLaw drama, I present to you an account of how his shenanigans were confirmed.*

*Yes, I wrote that last phrase in the passive voice to distance myself from the somewhat distasteful gathering of proof.

Last week, BigLawBoss left the office on Tuesday morning for a 48-hour trip to a nearby Texas city for undisclosed family reasons. I’ve worked for the man for ten years. This is (at least) the second time in the past three months he’s traveled to this city to see family, despite the fact he has no family in this city. And despite the fact we’ve got piles of work and looming deadlines in a large new matter we recently landed. Our administrative assistant, who has worked for him for thirty years, has come to me expressing her confusion about his recent trips to visit family in a city where he has no family. She’s found it difficult to get her head around the idea that a man she’d respected and looked up to for thirty years might be cheating on his wife. So up until last week, she had dismissed the idea as an impossibility.

When BigLawBoss slipped out of the office on Tuesday, assistant came to me again expressing concern. Her reticence for acknowledging the obvious had slipped away.

“OK, I’m no longer in denial. Let’s check his phone log.”

The outgoing log revealed dozens of calls to a number in the city in which he suddenly has family. One of the calls was an hour and fifty-three minutes long. The incoming-call log revealed the same, but this log showed a (female) name along with the number. So of course I googled the name. According to LinkedIn, the woman with whom BigLawBoss has been spending lots of time on the phone went to his alma mater and was involved in the same athletics program he was, at the same time he was. Facebook revealed that she went to the athletics reunion he’d gone to several months ago, following which all his suspicious behavior began. (See, I told you he ran into an old flame at the reunion, thus embarking on a sordid affair.) And what do you know: she posted a photograph of the two of them together at the reunion. Assistant, no longer able to avoid the harsh reality that her boss was behaving like a hormonal teenager, decided to have a closer look at his mobile bill. Which of course revealed page after page of the fool’s late-night and early-morning texts with his new lover.

While BigLawBoss spent the week in his girlfriend’s vagina, I spent the week trying to get the new case in shape, managing junior lawyers and staff, and supervising the drafting of a brief in another matter. From time to time, I sent emails to him, which received no comment or reply. He slipped into the office Thursday afternoon long enough to grab his work bag, saying nary a word to me. Friday, a firm holiday, he began bombarding me with email as he played catch-up. I responded to none of them until early Saturday morning, at which time I replied with the bare minimum.

Here is a summary of my thoughts:

  • I’m disgusted with BigLawBoss. While he’s a pain-in-the-ass micro-manager, I have never questioned his character. Now, I’m questioning everything.
  • His working hours have flipped. He spends working hours in his girlfriend’s vagina (or on the phone with her vagina), and evenings and weekends working. My working hours have not and will not flip to accommodate him (and his forays into his girlfriend’s vagina).
  • His antics are a distraction for all of us and are affecting productivity. But I’m torn. I like not having him up my ass all the time. Better that he’s up his girlfriend’s vagina, no?
  • If his wife wants to know what he’s up to, she’ll easily find him out. She’s on the same cell phone plan and gets the bills, which she submits to assistant for expense reimbursement. I worry about the disruption that will ensue when she throws him out. And then I fantasize that he’ll transfer to the office in girlfriend’s city and I’ll be free to do my job without being subjected to his physical presence.
  • I’m enjoying the lessening of the micromanaging, and taking up the slack in his managerial role. I’m finding it preferable to manage associates and contract lawyers while doing less of the actual grunt work. Which, at this point in my career, I should have been doing anyway.
  • I’ve got only two more years (or less, if my early-retirement plan goes perfectly). I can endure this for two more years.
  • Perhaps his guilt, and improved demeanor, will inspire him to go to bat for me come bonus time, which he has not done in the past.
  • I’m jealous that he’s working little, enjoying a new romance, and having fun, while I’m slogging away at this tedious boring job that I hate so much. And he’s earning nearly triple what I am.

shakeI don’t get the impression this is a fly-by-night romance. I expect he’s in it for the long haul, and may ultimately leave his wife for this woman. Unless it all comes crumbling down and his wife throws him out first. So what I’m grappling with is how to play this. How to make the most of it for the two years (or less) I have left at BigLaw. We’ve got an entirely new dynamic here, and there has to be some way for it to enure to my benefit. Or maybe I’ve just been watching too much House of Cards.


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