My Dog Ate My Homework and Other Best Excuses

J0178845 Honest to Pete.  You read about this stuff, you hear about this stuff. Books are written about this stuff.  But you don't believe it until it happens to you.

Our business is growing faster than I can blink.  That's a good thing.  The not so good thing is that I am overwhelmed with work.  Between the Organization of Legal Professionals (OLP) getting stronger and stronger and becoming an authority in higher continuing legal education and eDiscovery certification exams and KNOW Magazine and Estrin Education, Inc., I now only have Sunday mornings open from 3:00 – 6:00 a.m.  Catch me then if you want to chitchat.

So, I put an ad out on LinkedIn and various other places to get a virtual assistant to help out.  That seemed to be the ticket.  The work we do is primarily over the Internet.  Someone with knowledge of the legal field (paralegal preferred), who could give quick turnarounds, take the initiative, was smart…well, you know the scene.  Of course I want all that.  No one puts out an ad saying, "Lackluster and lazy, please apply here."

I received several excellent responses.  I weeded them out by experience, how their cover e-mail was worded (it's a reflection on whether they can write); and whether they understood  the assignment.  I narrowed it down to some good choices and set up several phone interviews.  Ok – I'm ready to go here.  Bring 'em on down……we're going to choose the best of the best.

On Tuesday of last week, there I am.  My desk cleaned off (as though someone were coming into my office instead of interviewing them on the phone).  My calendar cleared to take  half hour teleconferences each candidate and my door closed so there are no interruptions.  I'm ready and waiting for Susan.  Tick tock.  Tick tock.  Oh, she must be a little late.  Hmmm….tick tock, tick tock, tick tock. Finally, after a lot of tick tocks, I realize – a no show.  Big disappointment and waste of time for me.

The next day I received the following e-mail: 

Hi Chere: 

I must apologize profusely for missing our telephone call last evening! 

During our move from Kansas City to Charlotte, one of my dining room chair legs suffered a massive injury – one that required sugery [sic] by a professional!  The "Master" was supposed to come by and pick up the chair yesterday between 6:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., but never showed up.  I was so upset that I completely forgot to telephone you.

 Would you be willing to reschedule a convenient time?

 Kindest regards,


You all are going to have to comment.  I am just plum out of words.

3 Replies to “My Dog Ate My Homework and Other Best Excuses”

  1. Life happens. It’s unavoidable. I recently interviewed for my dream job and had a car accident two blocks from my destination. How lame do you think I sounded when I called and advised I was running about 30 minutes late due to a traffic accident.

    BTW – The dog did, on several occasions, did eat the home work.


  2. Ok, she gets a point for apologizing, but seriously, this situation does not surprise me at all. I see more lackluster and lazy than I see above-and-beyond and dedicated. Is it inexperience? Is it stupidity? Is it unprofessional? Is it selfish entitlement? I just can’t figure it out.
    (Here’s the real question, Chere, did you ever fill the job?)

  3. She probably is honest-but-

    and those “buts” will kill the relationship….BTDT, Cheri. You want to give her a chance, feel guilty if you don’t, but-let’s face facts here-in your spot-you can’t afford somebody who is so mesmerized by a broken chair leg that she forgets a job interview appointment. I mean-REALLY, Cherie. Let’s get real here. In the greater scheme of things, which one should be more important? I would think the potential for making the money to REPLACE the faulty chair! Not the broken chair leg!

    Plus-that was an obviously hurried email-and one that she apparently did not take the time to proof. Do you want someone who would do that to your clients? NO-absolutely not. If she’d do it to you, she most certainly would do it to someone else.

    Thing to do here-thank your lucky stars and move on. You were saved. It happens.

    Dogs do eat homework, but cats dance on computer keyboards. End result is pretty much the same.

    Ellen Wright (who happens to be one of your students in e-discovery 101A!)

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