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11/20/17

EB1 Self-Petition Specialist: Shut Up.

Towards the end of the day, Tyler who is suddenly my new supervisor after only four months on the job versus my 15 months, asked if he could "borrow" me for 10 minutes. I got the impression that we were going to work on a task together for which he needed my help. But when he finally called me, he led me into Setareh's office. He had papers in his hands and a serious look so I began to understand.

He was assuming his first task as an official supervisor of me and he had something important to tell me. He sat down across from me and began fussing with the papers in his hand. At the same time, he began talking in an overly cautious, round-about, even clumsy way.

"It has come to my attention. No. There is a little bit of discontent in the office because of a communication you sent Harry."

Harry is the middle-aged white salesperson who spends his weekends yelling at the top of his lungs while UFC athletes beat their brains out. Recently, he retained an IT professional named Anhirud under the High Salary category. However, Harry classified Anhirud under the wrong professional category. If Harry had classified Anhirud accurately, the Petitioner would not have qualified for the High Salary category. Since the professional designation that Harry had assigned to Anhirud was related to the correct one I moved forward with the argument. However, I sent him an email telling him to be careful.

After we finished talking about Harry, Tyler began his second maneuver.

This next intervention had to do with a conversation that was had this Saturday between Dick, Tyler, Delmira, and myself.

This last Saturday, us four went in to work. At noon, Dick arrived with lunch. We had tacos, bowls, and burritos from Chipotle. Towards the end of his meal, Dick began speaking, the way he does whenever he has an audience of his employees in front of him. His favorite subject of conversation is the firm, to be specific, his plans for the firm.

Right now Dick is really in love with Fred, the in-house software developer. Fred is costing Dick an arm and a leg now, but Fred's current work is going to pay off in spades for Dick in the future. Fred is, of course, automating everything in the office that Dick can afford to pay him to do. In addition to Fred, Dick has also hired a sales hired gun. This hired gun is in charge of creating, and closing, a pipeline of corporate accounts. I could see dollar signs form on Dick's retina as he announced this.

Once Dick finished telling Tyler and Delmira about all of his wonderful plans he said something that changed everything.

Dick said, "I am working to get to a place where I can treat my employees better." Read: I want to make enough money so that I can pay my employees a little above the price of peanuts for what they do and are capable of.

Until that moment, I wasn't part of the conversation. I had chosen to eat later and my eyes were on the computer screen trying to do work over Dick's voice. Even without me, however, the conversation was actually a dialogue because Tyler and Delmira were a captive audience. They said nothing to Dick as if they had no thoughts at all. Holding their burritos in their hands near their mouths. they just nodded with each of Dick's points. They could not have been better behaved.

I interrupted Dick and said, "I can see why you would want to wait until you reach a certain goal before increasing your employees' wages but it's also perfectly feasible to raise their wages immediately. See, the reason why employees underperform often is a feeling of lack of investment in the company. But if you pay them a wage they can do something with that not only improves their morale but I think it makes them more invested in the business."

Tyler and Delmira said nothing. They pretended like everything was normal, like I had not just told the boss, to his face, raise our wages now. They just sat straight in their seats and pretended to be nonchalant about the developments.

Following my comments, Dick justified his position and so I came back at him with this: "Dick, the crux of what you're saying sounds a lot like the person who says, 'I want to help my neighbor but I can't afford to right now. However, once I attain all that I wish for, then I'll give back because then I'll be able to afford it.' And when does that day come? Never!"

Dick argued that the comparison was not fair and I challenged him to tell me how it was different. He didn't do it.

Running out of munitions to justify under-paying us in the present he resorted to an old card of his: the tortured boss argument.

"I would raise wages," he said, "but," and here gets really self-righteous, "I have a RESPONSIBILITY to my workers to not go bankrupt. Because if the business goes down then I can't support all of these families that I am responsible for. Sometimes I really wish I didn't have this responsibility. "

To which I argued, "Your employees have urgent responsibilities too. They have medical bills, they need to put enough quality food on the table, they need to buy Christmas presents. So you're not the only one with responsibilities." f

Dick, however, is not the humble type nor one to shut up. He is, after all, a lawyer. So he continued and I extracted myself from the conversation again and re-focused on my screen. I don't know what he ended with and I don't care.

So now, back in Setareh's office, this is Tyler's second order of business. And his message is, basically: Shut. Up. But not in the way a buddy tells you to shut up because he's genuinely  concerned for your well being. That would have been fine. Tyler told me in the "You will not do this," sort of way.

Tyler and I had an interesting end to our conversation. When I walked out of Setareh's office I gave him my entire back and when I left the office for the day I wished everyone a nice evening with an enclosed message that said, "Except you, Tyler."

I'm on thin ice. It doesn't feel good but I wager that it feels worst to be a willing slave. 

11/10/17

EB1 Case Load Worker: Madhup's Story

Yesterday in the morning I dedicated myself to preparing, as much as possible, Madhup Khanna's case for shipping.

Madhup is hospitalist physician who works at a hospital in Texas. He is applying under four categories: Judging, Scholarly Articles, Leading or Critical Role, and High Salary. Madhup was trained in India and practiced there as well as the Caribbean. He's well into middle-age, married, and childless.

His judging categories consist of peer reviewing medical articles. His Scholarly Articles consists of four published articles in Physician's Weekly, his Leading or Critical Role consists of being a special hospitalist physician. His High Salary consists of annual wages of nearly half a million dollars. He more than doubles what the 90th percentile of his peers earn.

So how does Madhup's case stand up? Before I get into the weeds--as Dick likes to say--I should point out that, as a rule of thumb, the firm doesn't usually take on physicians. The thinking is that America already has too many physicians and it's next to impossible to argue extraordinariness for one. So why was Madhup retained? The rationale is that Madhup is a unique kind of physician. He's a hospitalist, that is, a physician who works exclusively in hospitals. That doesn't make any sense to me but it's the reasoning that Britney happened on when she green-lighted the retainer.

In my mind, Madhup's case doesn't stand up that well. Let's go category by category.

As a "judge," he peer reviewed several articles in the online journals Frontiers and Plos One. Okay, everything good here.

In Scholarly Articles, Madhup has published four articles in Physician's Weekly, a weekly professional journal. The most glaring weakness in this category is that all four articles are published in the same magazine and they were all published within the last six months. Well, if Madhup is "extraordinary" then why doesn't he publish in a wider variety of journals? Then the fact that he only recently began publishing makes it look -- to the astute observer -- like he published articles to qualify for the EB1 green card, not because he's actually a dedicated scholar. Then the articles themselves are not extensive or in-depth. The longest is two pages and remains pretty shallow in general. Nevertheless, strictly speaking, he satisfies the category because Physician's Weekly is a legitimate professional journal.

Madhup's biggest problem is within Leading or Critical Roles. The minimum threshold is at least two instances of having played a leading or critical role for a distinguished organization. While the argument has two iterations, one for each alleged role, the careful immigration officer will realize that the idea that he has played two leading or critical roles for his organization is only a fiction. So why are we forging ahead? Because he has two well-written letters to support his claims and there is language in the letters that can be used to try to hoodwink the officer into thinking two distinct roles exist. How did this happen? I share a part of the blame because the problem got past me initially. Another part of the blame rests on Akhiljeet who green-lighted the argument. Finally, the last part of the blame rests on Dick for fostering a climate of dishonesty in the office when it comes to retaining clients. For the sake of bringing in clients into the firm the intake workers gloss or overlook glaring deficiencies in each person's case. I surmise that 10 percent of our cases should never have been retained. They simply should have been turned away.

At a $500K annual salary, Madhup easily satisfies this category.

Here's my prediction: We will succeed in hoodwinking the immigration officer and we'll get Madhup an approval. Despite the LCR argument's flaw, it is well-written and has compelling evidence that, at the very least, Madhup is a special kind of hospitalist.

Here's the next closest probability: Immigration will reject Madhup's Leading and Critical Roles but approve the remaining three categories--which is what he needs. However, Madhup will ultimately be declined on the basis of final merits. The officer will not be convinced that Madhup is at the top of his field and that he's "extraordinary."

I hope to send his case out in the middle of next week. I will keep you posted. 

11/8/17

EB1 Green Card Case Worker: 42

Only two days before Akhiljeet, the only attorney in the office (Dick "works" from home), leaves the firm for greener pastures. So last minute preparations are taking place.

Today, I got my revised case load. Now I have 42 clients.

42 clients with whom I am expected to maintain regular communication, talk on the phone with when they request it, and collect and curate evidence for three different legal arguments in the span of a 40-hour work week. That's basically one hour of attention per week. In other words, no time at all.

I'm going to make a confession. I haven't answered any emails in two days because I have been busy finishing responses to Requests for Further Evidence for two clients and wrapping up a case for another client. I hope that I can be more available by tomorrow afternoon, when I should be finished with these matters. In the meantime, the rest of the clients are going to need to continue talking to the hand.

I'm not going to make myself neurotic over an excessive case load just because Dick wants to save on labor by employing the least number of employees possible!

I'm not going to feel guilty over not being able to attend to all Dick's client's needs because I have too many to deal with and because Dick is too greedy to pay a robust staff instead of a skeletal one!

I'm not even going to try to "do everything" and "multitask" just to hide the fact that our current workload is unreasonable and excessive. Clients are going to notice and if the truth of the matter needs to come out then so be it! I'm not going to make myself crazy just to manicure Dick's stinginess and valuation of profit over client.

No. Fuck that!

I'm going to work at a brisk but reasonable pace. I'm going to do each task well so that I don't need to repeat it later. The clients that get my time will get quality time. I will do one thing at a time. I will tell the clients the truth when they ask why their case is not moving along: because I'm working on other cases at the moment. Period.

You want more attention, sooner? Take it to Dick. I can't help you.

Some help is coming. Tomorrow, interviews begin to hire one person. Then another person will be hired after Thanksgiving. It's going to be interesting observing how that goes, how they adapt, how soon they catch on to the madness.

I shall faithfully report on that ye faithful reader!

Tyler called me into the conference room this afternoon. It's interesting to be supervised by a fellow with 9 months less experience than me. I don't hold it against Tyler. He's just following directions too. I think he's going to be good at managing. I don't envy his position, though. The more you climb the corporate ladder the more the bitch you are of The Man, in this case, Dick. I hope Tyler rebels.

Absame and I talked for about thirty minutes today about politics. Our subject of conversation was whether politicians should be held accountable for their actions. For example, should George W. Bush--instead of being rehabilitated with help from liberals like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama--be prosecuted for crimes against humanity for invading a sovereign country on the pretense of a lie.

Absame's answer was no, that humans are not perfect and that we need to forgive. She added that the George W. Bush's of the world will pay on Judgement Day.

Someone, please shoot me.




11/7/17

EB1 Green Card Case Manager: Politics and Practice Managers

Back when Hillary Clinton published her apologia What Happened, Tyler and I had a brief conversation about it.

He bought her story. I did not.

So now that Donna Brazile's book Hacks, which establishes that the 2016 Democratic Presidential Primary was rigged in favor of Hillary, has been published I asked Tyler if he was planning on reading it.

Tyler said no, that he was waiting for Joe Biden's book to be released. Tyler has a soft spot for Biden because he lost a son. I wonder if Tyler feels a similar spirit of empathy for the millions of common people in the US, and abroad, who have been fucked by policies that Biden has voted for or espoused.  For example, Biden was the principal Senate author of the 1994 Violent Crimes Control Act which exploded the American prison population, affecting mainly communities of poor people of color. On the international front, Biden voted in favor of the invasion of Iraq, a preemptive act of war based on the lie that Saddam Hussein aided Al-Qaida, and a war which destroyed ancient Babylon as a unified nation, caused perhaps millions of innocent deaths and, certainly, millions of refugees.

So yeah? How do you feel for those people?

After announcing his expectation for Biden's book, Tyler expressed paternalistic displeasure at the release date of Hacks. This release date being today, which is an election day. Tyler contended that releasing Hacks today created disunity among liberals and that this was the kind of thing that caused Democrats to lose elections.

As we conversed, Delmira listened in her usual quiet-AF fashion, choosing to stay safe on the neutral side. Absame--who is a trained lawyer--was much more participatory.

I tore Tyler a new asshole on his contention that Democrats lose because people like Donna Brazile release their books--critical of the Democrats--on the wrong day.

"Democrats don't lose elections over the books of black women," I told him, "Democrats lose elections because they don't stand for justice. They stand for themselves. This is why four bills that Bill Clinton advocated for and signed are the scourge of people today: NAFTA, the 1994 Violent Crimes Act, the Financial Modernization Act, and the Telecommunications Act that deregulated the telecomm industry..."

Tyler exited the conversation before I was done. I don't blame him.



At lunchtime he joined me in the building lobby where I have my lunch everyday. He took the chair adjacent to me.

The first words to come out of his mouth were, "I'm not sure how much I'm going to like Setareh coming back to the office."

Setareh is the Practice Manager who is supposed to be on maternity leave but which both boredom and a misplaced sense of duty are compelling her to interrupt and forego. The main job of the Practice Manager is to make sure that the money flows into the firm. Now that Tyler has been promoted but Setareh is not back full-time yet it's going to fall on him--for the most part---for the money to flow.

This is how the Law Offices of Dick C. Baxter makes money on EB1 applications. To retain the firm to build an EB1 case, it costs a total of $8000. For that $8K, we will curate a body of evidence and write four arguments. These four arguments are based on the three categories that best fit the client's profile and a final merits argument. Upon retainer, half the total, or $4000, is due. The second (of 3) installments is for $2000 and is due once the second argument is completed. When the last argument is completed a third, and final, installment of $2000 is due.

The "Intake" (sales) team sells the retainer and draws $4000 from the client on the first day. Intake hands off the case to the case workers (people like me) and we start working towards the completion of two arguments -- to set off the second payment. But if initially the client has evidence for one category and not two, we are discouraged from writing any arguments because they will not trigger any payment. You can't charge the client for writing only one argument. So the focus, day-to-day, is on identifying the cases that can fulfill evidence for two arguments.

The Practice Manger's job, in its most basic terms, is to nag case workers to hurry up and write arguments, hurry up and procure evidence, so the office can draw those payments. Even though the Practice Manager earns a fixed wage and earns no commission on sales or drawdowns, she still tortures herself over dearths of finished arguments and payments.

All of this is now Tyler's job.

Tyler got a whiff of Setareh's neurosis over drawing payments when she came into the office for a couple of hours today.


Did I accomplish any actual work today?

Yes, I did.

I sent off Aarav Khatri's response to immigration's Request for Further Evidence. Khatri is a software architect who applied under the Judging, Scholarly Articles, and Leading or Critical Roles categories. He works for a major consultancy in the Northwest. On his first filing, Immigration approved Judging and Scholarly Articles but Requested Further Evidence for Leading or Critical Roles. It took about four weeks to prepare his response but it's finished and filed now. Aarav and I have become friends during the process. I'm honored to be his friend. 

11/6/17

EB1 Green Card Case Worker: "Can we pray?"

It's Monday. I went dancing last night. Therefore, I have a temporary shield from the hatred that I have for this place called work.

Dick is on vacation somewhere in the Caribbean. It is Akhiljeet's last week. It's Tyler's first week in a supervisory-like position.

There's a tenuous but humid feeling of anxiety with Akhiljeet leaving. She's the attorney with two years of experience in the firm. Leisha is taking over some responsibilities and she's experienced. However, Tyler is very much taking on a lot of Akhiljeet's administrative roles. He barely has three months of experience.

Still early in the morning Polly came into our office and asked if anyone took issue with her saying a prayer with us. Polly does this kind of thing. It was me, Tyler, Absame, and Delmira in the office. No one objected so Polly, who looked tearful, started.

He asked God to not let us feel overwhelmed and for his love to "overtake" us so that we may do the work.

The reason why she did this is because of an email Dick sent to us in the morning where he described everybody's new roles in preparation for Akhiljeet's departure. I suppose Polly knows were in for a rollercoaster ride with a skeleton staff and a rhinoceros of a case load.


11/5/17

EB1 Green Card Case Worker: Friday Happy Hour

Friday after work we went to a brewery for Happy Hour, except that the establishment doesn't serve one.

In any case, this was Tyler and I's brainchild. Earlier in the week, after Tyler had figured out a place to attend, I sent out an office-wide invitation. Naturally, I did not invite Dick.

On Thursday, Mahrooz came into our office and said, "Why do you guys have to have your happy hour this Friday? Why couldn't you have done it next Friday, when it's casual Friday? That way we are all dressed casual instead of these dressy clothes we're wearing today?"

For a moment I thought Mahrooz might change her way. But Tyler just listened to her bellow and when she was finally finished he put her in her place.

"We're going to have our happy hour this Friday. If you want to have one next Friday then you organize it yourself," responded Tyler.

Mahrooz had no comeback except to say, "Ooh! Touchy!"

Friday finally came around and I wasn't a happy camper. I was just barely keeping up with my caseload and I was feeling inimical towards my co-workers on account of their general goody two-shoe behavior. I really didn't know if I wanted to socialize with these people outside of work.

So in the late afternoon when Tyler made the first roll call to see who was going to the happy hour, I said I wasn't going. Absame, who was sitting next to me, turned towards me flabbergasted and asked why.

My answer was not elaborate. "I've had a change of heart," I answered and left it at that.

A while later Tyler made a second roll call and nobody other than Tyler, Absame, and Delmira were going. No one from any other department was coming along. There were good reasons. Juliette had left home sick. Mahrooz, after having her wisdom teeth pulled out the week before, was still in pain. Evie had a child to look after. Akhiljeet had a husband to go home to.

The party seemed to me a bit pathetic in its size so I changed my mind again and decided to go after all.

I didn't regret it. The beer was good and we had laughs. 

11/3/17

EB1 Green Card Case Manager: An Environment of Sycophancy

It was Leisha's three-year anniversary and Dick's birthday today. Evie baked upside down pineapple and  some-other-kind cakes for the occasion.

Yesterday, Evie came into the EB1 office to announce that today was Dick's birthday. She announced that today there would be a birthday card going around for him and she asked what we thought of all of us pitching in to buy tickets for Dick and Enid to go see The Nutcracker.

What the fuck! Not only do we never do this for ourselves--buy each other ballet tickets on our own birthdays--but why do Dick and Enid, the owners of the firm who take the lion's share of profits at our expense need to be bought fucking tickets to the ballet?

It's something that only Evie, being a consummate hypocrite and sycophant, could come up with. Unfortunately, plenty--if not all--of other people in the office follow her lead: Leisha, Mahrooz, Absame, and so forth.

So after Evie made her announcement, she waited for an answer from all of us. It was myself, Absame, Tyler, and Delmira sitting in the office. No one said anything so Evie said, "He does employ us?"

Angie said something similar to me a couple of weekends ago at Akhiljeet's sangeet--a Sikh wedding-related ceremony. All of us, except for Dick and Enid themselves, were at a table. Suddenly, Evie said, "It's such a shame that Dick is not here. We could take photographs."

I disagreed with her so, sarcastically, I agreed with her.

To her credit, she caught on to the sarcasm and gave me a straight look. She said, "Hey, careful. He pays you. "

He pays me so I have to like him? He employs me so I have to pay for him and Enid to go see The Nutcracker--a show I can't afford to pay myself with the subpar wages he pays me?

Fuck that!

I don't know how happy Evie is at her job now but only a month ago she was fuming and talked a lot about leaving. Dick was piling work on her, offending and patronizing her in emails, and demoting her. Evie complained to her husband PK who insisted that she quit.

"The only reason I don't quit is because I love everyone here," she said to me one morning that we were alone in the office. When she said "everyone here" she wasn't including Dick.

So I don't understand how she can be so graven with him now, why she thinks she owes him anything.

I don't understand why, when there are such glaring inequalities and abuses--mostly in the form of wage deprivation--we have to be friends and we have to be cloying with our bosses.

I will respect them. I don't need to kiss their asses. 

11/2/17

EB1 Green Card Case Worker: Akhiljeet is Leaving

Yesterday morning, Akhiljeet, the 28 year-old attorney that has been working for Dick C. Baxter for nearly two years, asked my team into the conference room.

Once we were all settled in she said, "I love you guys but I am leaving. I have been offered a job with a big immigration firm. My last day here will be next Friday. I didn't plan it this way. My new employer insisted that I start right away."

I hate to see Akhiljeet leave. She's joyful, bright, and as the only other attorney in the office, a great help. I wish her the best. She just married and the better pay that her new employer will surely offer her will surely come in handy.

Now the big question is: How is this going to affect us? What new arrangement is Dick going to try to impose on us to keep the firm going?

How much more work and what kind of new work is Dick going to try to impose on us in an arbitrary manner?


Today, Dick came into the office in the afternoon and called Tyler, Leisha, Akhiljeet, and Evie into the conference room. They went to discuss how things are going to work from now on. As Travis went to the conference room to join the meeting, I couldn't help but wonder why he was being called instead of me. After all, I have ten months more experience than he does. I wondered, Does Dick hold Travis in higher esteem?

Or, does Chris feel hopeless about making me do anything I don't want to do?

Time will tell.


7/27/17

EB1 Green Card Case Manager: A Date with Mahrooz

Late last night Mahrooz texted me:

"Hey Tomas do u want
to go out to lunch
tomorrow?"

To which I replied:

"Hi Mahrooz. I'd love too."

Frankly, I was surprised at the invitation. Mahrooz has been aloof with me at times.

In the morning, when Mahrooz arrived to work a few minutes after me she came to my desk to finalize our plans. She was wearing a floral printed dress. I looked forward to our lunch the entire morning.

At noon on the dot I went to her desk.

"I'm ready when you are."

"Okay. Lemme clock out," she replied.

As you may remember, Mahrooz is Afghan. Born there. She speaks with an endearing accent and occasional odd syntax. I like listening to her.



"Me too," I said to her.

She chuckled because since I had come to her office to tell her I was ready she assumed that I had already clocked out.

Our cars were parked next to each other in the lot and she asked me what car I'd like to go in. I didn't hesitate to say mine.

"Ooh, you like to be in control. Don't you?"

I capitalized and replied, "Yes, and that goes for the bedroom as well."

To which she giggled like a 16 year-old.

It's summer so I blasted the A/C as soon as we were in the car. We took off and got held up at the first traffic light where I decided not to rush on an amber light.

"It's okay," she said to me, "we'll catch the next green light."

When we had just left the office I congratulated her on getting promoted to full-time work.

"It's good for you, right?" I said to her.

She affirmed and proceeded to tell me how her other boss at the Veggie Grill where she works doesn't want to let her go and so she's currently working 14 hour days. She leaves the office at 5 and reports to the restaurant at 5:30, leaving at midnight.

Internally, I hoped she would stop that to make some time for herself but also to provide opportunity for us to socialize more often. On the other hand, I also admired her scrappy work ethic.

Once we were settled in on the Chipotle patio, with a burrito for me and a veggie bowl for her, we began chatting in earnest.

Mahrooz is competing for another job: Internship Coordinator at National University, a salaried position. The hiring process last six weeks so she told me she wouldn't be leaving Dick's office for a minute yet. She also expressed some concern over how Dick would take her leaving.

I helped her get control of that situation by asking her, "Who cares how he will feel?"

To which she laughed. When Mahrooz laughs her face becomes oval and her eyes become slits like she was suffering but instead she is in stitches. She laughs with true joy.

I made her laugh like that a second time when I told her why I was still working with Dick.

"I'm going to unionize the office," I said.

She laughed at the gall of it all.

Once she was done laughing, she asked me if the job was worth the trouble.

"If I succeed in unionizing the office we can get some real things: a living wage, vacation time, health insurance, and maybe even a pension. It would be a different job, a job worth committing too."

She got it but not completely. She still thought it was better to just move to another job.

"The problem is not this office or Dick. The problem is capitalism. Wherever we go we're going to be exploited."

She didn't understand this.

So I explained.

"Say you get a job where you make four times what you make here. Well, that just means that your new boss makes four times what Dick makes. Your still being exploited because you're boss is still getting the lion's share of the profits. You're just a more expensive slave but a slave nonetheless."

To which she said, "So you want to go back to communism?"

"Go back? America has never been communist."

We talked about the old USSR, Cuba, and Venezuela.

We talked about how America has always meddled in other people's democracies and destroyed them.

Once the food was gone she asked me, a bit coquettish, so are you ready for some Jamba Juice.

To which I replied in the affirmative and she bought me a small Matcha Tea. I had bought the food.

It was a nice date. 

7/8/17


John Henry DaysJohn Henry Days by Colson Whitehead
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow. What a great book.

Whitehead takes a folk tale -- that of black steel driver John Henry -- and brings it to a life that spans the beginning of the age of the railroad to the 1990's. It's not because John Henry lived that long. Actually, Henry died quite young since winning a steel-driving contest with a machine cost him his life. Whitehead does it by bringing to light the life of various characters whose lives intersect somehow with the folk hero.

There is J. Sutter, the hack who is sent on a junket to cover the inauguration of the "John Henry Days" in the Midwest town that has laid claim to being the birthplace of John Henry. There is Pamela, the daughter of a man who spent his life collecting John Henry memorabilia and ran a museum dedicated to the railroad worker out of his apartment which no one ever visited. There is the stamp collector whose crowning jewel is a stamp of John Henry and who, inexplicably, begins shooting his gun at a John Henry Days event and is shot down by police. There is, of course, John Henry himself toiling on the West-ward railroad alongside many other poor men of that era.

The novel is not written linearly or chronologically. We don't start at the beginning of John Henry's life and end at the closing of John Henry Days. Instead, in each chapter, Whitehead narrates a different slice of the American tale of John Henry from the perspective of a different character. While at times this device can be slightly disorienting it also keeps the novel alive -- saving it from a plodding linear narration.

I am edified by the reading of this novel. I had never heard of John Henry. Now his name, story, and legend are meaningful to me. His life is American and modern history. He represents the generations who died to bring humanity the railroad. His death -- in competition with a steam machine to drive steel -- is a sacrifice to "progress."

Whitehead's writing style is mesmerizing and entirely original. His descriptions seems to defy the laws of narrative gravity.

By the end of the novel J. Sutter has gotten his story but it's not one that he was expecting. It's not the fluff that, as a regular junketeer, he's hired to write. He's found something much more meaningful and he must choose between which story he will bring to the light and what life he will live from then on.


View all my reviews


7/3/17

EB1 Green Card Case Manager / Produce or Perish

I've pasted Dick's latest email verbatim so the audience may see what an ass he is and also so we can all laugh at his poor grammar. 

From: “Dick / Law Offices of Dick C. Baxter” dick@baxteresq.com
Sent: Monday, July 3, 2017 8:01 AM
To: EB1 Writing Staff
Cc: "Setareh" setareh@baxteresq.com
Subject: Dick to EB1 Writing Team - July a New Month

Hi Team,

Yes, losing Britney was an awful blow to the the entire firm and it has taken us a few weeks to find our bearings. However, in order for this firm to thrive we, individually have to be extremely mindful of our own productivity. The entire EB1 backend team made $24,260 in June. To put that in perspective Evie, made almost that amount by herself in June. Whatever the reasons for the EB1 backend team overall poor performance in June and I'm not laying blame here, I want to put it behind us and draw a line but moving forward I really have to consider whether we have the right people or systems in place to make the EB1 backend team successful. July will be your month to shine.

So here is what I need from each of you.

1. You need to deliver at least 12 arguments per month. That's just three per week. I don't mind if you spend Monday thru Thursday just working up evidence and then on Friday just writing as much as you can, as long as you can get to three by the end of each week, that's all that matters. 
Leisha - your quota will be pro-rated due to you working on the AOS Training Manual this week. 

2. I've discussed with Akhiljeet that your (Tanís and Leisha) goal should be to work up six arguments per week, and then draft at least three arguments per week so you've never stuck without arguments to write. 

3. Delmira Roble will be starting on July 10th. Delmira's role will be as a ghost writer. What that means is, that Akhiljeet will devote time every day working up evidence for cases that Delmira will write for her. Delmira, will also be available to provide writing support to Leisha and Tanís, if Akhiljeet cannot keep her busy all of the time.

Delmira will not be known to the clients at all, she will be a ghost. Here is the rationale. Writing arguments is far easier than working up the evidence. To work up evidence you have to deal with the clients, chase in the evidence, review the evidence, go back to the client for more and better evidence until you have everything you need. The writing part is certainly the fun part and the easiest part.

What I'm finding is that when I had experienced staff working evidence and experienced staff writing arguments, the client's got mad because the person they spoke to the most was the evidence (Discovery) specialist and if that person was inexperienced it simply frustrated the client. When the Discovery Specialist has the responsibility of Discovery and Writing the case (Trial), everything gets muddled and progresses very slowly indeed - too slow for the firm to thrive. 

I need Akhiljeet to use her brain power to work up evidence as outlined above and to ensure that Tanís and Leisha do the same. 

Minimum Productivity Requirements

Tanís - I need 12 completed arguments written by you by the end of July. 

Leisha - I need 12 completed arguments written by you by the end of July. (pro-rated)

Akhiljeet - I need you to feed Delmira at the very least 1 argument per day that she must complete every day. Ideally, I'll be expecting Delmira once, dialed in, to write one argument in the AM and one argument in the PM.

If anyone cannot manage 12 arguments per month, then I'm not going to be able to keep them in that position as to do so would be bad for the firm. I'll need to figure something out.

So do what ever you can and need to do hit the above minimum numbers. If you feel for any reason you cannot hit those numbers first talk to Akhiljeet, then Akhiljeet will talk to Setareh, and if neither of them can get you there then I'll talk to all of you.

The bottom line is that in order for this firm to thrive, there must be an absolute minimum level of productivity that must be delivered in order to justify that person in that position.

At present I'm working almost all of my waking hours in order to fill in here, and fill in there. I'm constantly exhausted and it's not from having fun. I cannot sustain this. So, in July, I'm going to be looking to see who can really deliver consistently what they need to.

Support 

1. I'm expecting Bully Sullivan to be releasing new features to the IPC  this week to help us work more efficiently. 
2. I'm interviewing two additional part-time programmers to work on the IPC to add more features to help both Intake and Backends. I hope to get one or two of them started July 10th also.

Failure is Not an Option 

The law firm has come a long way over the years. It's not been a straight line up, it's zig-zagged for sure, but the trend has always been up. Sure, people have come and gone, but still the firm has grown. Why? because I have an obligation to every employee who shows up to work and produces to make sure we're all provided for, we all have a very secure job, so we can have a life outside of the job. I cannot fail in this regard. However,  to do so the majority of the staff must be able to hit their numbers otherwise try as I might we will fail overall and I'm not going to let that happen.  
I'm sure by the end of this month, we'll all have a lot to celebrate because I have every confidence that July will be a great month for all of us.

Cheers,
Dick C. Baxter, LL.M., ESQ

Attorney at Law

EB1 Green Card Case Manager / Optional Overtime

Dick is feeling the heat of not having Britney around. The work is oozing out of the range of our capabilities within an eight-hour work day.

Dick's answer is overtime and he expects -- though he would be hard-pressed to admit this to himself -- his employees to work extra hours when he asks.

He asked Leisha and Akhiljeet both of whom rebuffed him. Akhiljeet has wedding-planning activities scheduled on the weekends and Leisha wants to spend time with her daughter.

When Leisha says no to Dick he says to her, "But Vanessa is on vacation!" Dick is suggesting that because Vanessa is off school for the summer Leisha no longer needs the weekends to spend time with her since the little girl is home the entire week. Never mind that Leisha is at work until 5 PM every day. However, Dick is only privy to his self-serving logic.

Later in the day Dick comes into the office and after he leaves Leisha wonders if I noticed that they didn't talk to each other. Evidently, Dick is upset with Leisha because she refused to work overtime that weekend.

Leisha explains to me, "Dick doesn't understand that I am a single mother. I have no one to help me. When I work on Saturday I don't have a spouse to leave Vanessa with. I need to hire a babysitter and I lose time with my daughter. Dick sacrificed his family as he built up his business but he could afford to because [his wife] Enid was at home taking care of his children. I can't do that."

The subject of Britney -- who Leisha visited at home a few days after she left -- comes up.

"I talked to Britney. She told me that she left because she wasn't going to give up her marriage for the firm. That's what Dick has done. Britney told me. Dick and Enid are still together but they're just going through the motions."

Dick attempted to manipulate Akhiljeet into working overtime as well.

According to her, after declining overtime, Dick said to her, "You know? Most attorneys work overtime," suggesting that -- for Dick's convenience -- Akhiljeet should do like "most attorneys."

Akhiljeet's response to this was, "Yes, most attorneys work overtime but they make much more money."

Dick responded, "Most attorneys are paid salaries and they're expected to work overtime."

Akhiljeet finished him off by answering, "I don't have a salary here. I don't even have benefits." 

EB1 Case Manager / New Hire

June 14

Management has been interviewing candidates for Case Managers, referred to as "Writers" at this firm.

One candidate shone on paper. Her name is Delmira Robles. She's no more than two years out of college. She presented a slick résumé and cover letter but she didn't interview as well.

Setareh and Akhiljeet didn't like her youth -- the fact that she said she wasn't sure what she wanted yet in life.

Dick, along with Setareh, interviewed her too. Setareh says she was suddenly nervous so Dick didn't like her at all.

Nonetheless, the firm is so desperate for another case manager to deal with the well over 100 cases -- and counting -- that she has been offered the position.

She's starting on July 10th.

6/14/17

The Law Offices of Dick C. Baxter: Quantity Over Quality

Britney is gone for good.

Evidently she's moving to Arkansas with her husband to be a housewife. We all think it's a bad idea.


With Britney gone though there's a lot of slack that needs to be picked up. She left a big hole and she gave no warning of leaving.

That slack has fallen on Akhiljeet and Evie. Akhiljeet is the new EB1 Department Manager and Evie the new Intake (Sales) Manager.

Suddenly, Akhiljeet is starting work at 7 AM and leaving after 5 PM and Evie has gone from working 30 hours to well over 40. Yesterday she stayed in the office until 7PM and today she was still there when I left. The work that has been dumped on them is overwhelming.

They both gripe about their situations and at the same time follow all orders without wavering. They both complain to each other but not to Dick.

Evie supervises Harry and Irene who don't respect or listen to her. For the salespeople there's much more to the job than working. They must write reports, they must keep records on their leads, and so forth. And Harry and Irene refuse to do these other things. Evie and them butt heads about it.

I told Irene today, "Get Setareh and Dick's support. Tell them what's going on and have them tell those two who is boss."

Evie nodded.

A little later in the same conversation Evie got teary about not spending more time with her husband and small son because she has to work.

"Adam is a wonderful little boy. He's only going to be that wonderful little boy for a brief moment, then it's gone forever," she said before shedding tears.

Then she added, "Nathan is going to deploy in two months. What if he gets killed? I would feel so guilty that I could have spent so much time with him before he left. Instead, I'm spending that time here."

I said, "Give only as much as you receive. It's not like Dick is paying us a living wage. Well, he's not paying me one."

"Oh, me either. Who here is?" she asked.

I added, "I have pressure too, to write more and more arguments. And now with your team selling more and more cases I'm going to have four times as much work. But I'm not even going to try to complete all of it. I will work at a reasonable pace and finish what I can. The work that isn't done, the cases that are delayed or neglected? Those will be Dick's responsibility. He's the one selling all of these cases."

Akhiljeet, who in addition to carrying out supervising duties also writes EB1 case arguments, talked about the struggles she's experiencing with the case of an actor. His case is very weak.

In response, Evie said, 'I wasn't comfortable with retaining that case! I told Setareh but with Dick pushing her to make $100,000 in monthly sales, she brushed me off and said, "Ah, they'll get the evidence later"'

6/9/17

Anniversaries

Today we celebrated Setareh's fourth anniversary and Desma's twelfth.

Desma is Dick's daughter and she has worked for the family company since she graduated from high school.

"We used to work out of a 1,200 square feet house in Valencia. Dick and I used to work out of an office the size of Britney's and Desma used to work under the stairs," said Enid, Dick's wife, nostalgically.

Then they mythologized Setareh.

"Imagine moving to Tehran without knowing a word of Farsi. Then you get there and go to school, learn Farsi on the side, and then get a job at an all-Farsi-speaking law office and within four months you become manager. Well, that's what Setareh did but in reverse!" said Dick.

As Enid and Dick told these stories, we all sat or stood around a coffee table topped with plates of food. There were wraps, a salad, croissant sandwiches, and quinoa. The quinoa was specifically for me.

Three weeks ago, when Akhiljeet, Leisha, and I came to work on a Saturday morning, Dick announced that as soon as Costco opened he'd bring us food. Certain that he would forget that I'm a vegan I texted him about it and after some deliberation between my co-workers and I we decided to ask Dick to look for quinoa at Costco. So when he arrived with food later in the morning, there was something I could actually eat.

Today, when he first arrived in the office, he stopped by our office. I saw him approaching from a reflection on a window and I resolved to keep my eyes on the computer. I'm still angry at him and I try not to look at him.

However, once he was in the office, he called my name. He was getting my attention to announce that he had brought quinoa for the anniversary meal. I felt grateful.

"Thanks Dick," I said.

I felt better about us after that. However, I was already feeling better in general because even earlier in the morning Setareh took me aside and told me that I would be receiving my bonus anyway. Setareh, apparently, had advocated for me.

I'm glad that I'll be receiving my bonus. I appreciate Dick making sure that I can participate in the group meals that are had at the office. However, at $16 per hour, with scant benefits, I am still being underpaid. And after what happened, I don't think that there will be a bonus to be eligible for.

I still have an issue with Dick.

As we ate, I avoided making eye contact with Dick or socializing with him. At one point he sat on the same couch that I was on but then quickly moved away.

Dick and I still have beef for his underpaying me but also for all the things said recently, including his threat to fire me disguised as a "company warning."

6/8/17

Dick's Lieutenant Quits

I arrived at the office at 8 AM on the dot. As usual, Britney was already in her office and she was on the phone and I was the  second person to arrive in the office. I put my lunch away, greeted Britney as I walked past her office, and went to my desk to sign in.

Britney spends a lot of time on the phone because Dick relies so much on her. However, Britney also spends a lot of time on the phone with her husband with whom she has a troubled marriage. I've seen her storm out of the office after talking with him, cry on the phone, yell at him on the phone, and leave the office to continue a conversation with him.

Soon after I sat down and clocked in, Juliette and Poli came in, and right behind them, Akhiljeet, who usually arrives no earlier than a quarter after because she lives forty minutes away from the office. She sat down and signed into her computer. In the meantime, Britney continued on the phone. Her voice penetrated clearly--if you paid attention--through the wall into Akhiljeet and I's office.

I was not listening. Akhiljeet was.

Then there was silence.

I paid no mind until fifteen minutes later when Evie came in and announced, "It looks like we're going to sail without Britney this morning," in her thick Australian accident. Right behind her came Poli, who was dressed in a navy blue dress with white stripes and an open white sweater.

Poli said, "I want to pray for Britney."

Then she looked around and added, "I know not everyone here is a Christian but for those that are comfortable, please join me."

Everyone was agreeable and so we sat in the office and listened to Poli's prayer. In her prayer, Poli asked for Britney's safety and Dick's understanding.

I thought her request for Dick's understanding was rather funny because I couldn't imagine Dick not understanding. Not because he's a compassionate, empathetic man but because he would have no choice but to understand. Britney is nothing less than his lieutenant. If push came to shove, Britney could run the firm.

Later I heard Akhiljeet say that Britney had announced, "I'm done," as she stormed out of her office.

As I mentioned in "The Cast," Britney is the firm's senior most employee. She has nearly six years of experience, can do every job from selling a case to preparing the label to ship it to USCIS to everything in between, and is like the office's oracle. When I'm stuck on a case I can  go to her and get an answer. No one other than Dick--who is seldom in the office--has her level of expertise. The firm is hobbled without her.



6/5/17

The Law Offices of Dick C. Baxter - The Cast


Tanis - Myself. I am an EB1 Visa Case Manager and Argument Writer. Right now I have nearly 30 cases. I am not an attorney. Prior to working here I drove for Uber and prior to that I was an editor at a marketing agency. 

Dick- The boss. He's a European of African descent by way of the Caribbean. He's bald and overweight and is much less funny than he thinks he is. He has a low voice. He insists on his staff dressing professionally everyday but shows up with slacks and a long-sleeve shirt untucked most of the time. When he does show up in a suit his shoes don't match. He comes into the office once a week for a couple of hours at the most. He's a slave to his business. He purports to love his employees, calling them his "peeps," but doesn't put his money where his mouth is. 

Setareh- Dick's lead manager. Officially the Practice Manager. She's Iranian. Has big brown eyes, is in her mid-thirties, and has pale skin. Setareh is Dick's eyes and ears. She blindly obeys Dick and does his dirty work. She has a law degree but has not passed the Bar and shows no indications at this point of doing so. 

Britney- The most senior employee. Has been with the firm at least five years. She has done every job available at the firm except for Administrative Assistant. She's an expert in immigration law but is not an attorney. She has a bachelor's degree. She's a tall, big, white woman about the same age as Setareh, with commanding blue eyes. She's generally emotionally cool. Our relationship is uneasy. She appreciates my work but not my assertiveness when I challenge Dick. 

Evie- An Australian white lady. Relatively new employee. Just took over Britney's old position, Intake Manager. "Intake Manager" or "Specialist" is a euphemism for "Salesperson." So Evie is now in charge of the sales department. She's very talkative, brings the office donut holes every other weekend, and flips you off if you say something anti-Evie. 

Harold-A white salesperson. Big guy in his mid-thirties. Relatively new at the job. Deep voice. Successful salesperson. He has taught himself law and only needs to pass the bar now. He's a fan of MMA. Works part-time. 

Irene-The third salesperson. Like Harold, she works part-time. She speaks loudly and will say things like "Did you listen to anything I just said?" to her leads. Irene looks to be in her mid-forties. She's a blonde and is skinny like a twig. She began working at the same time as Harold. 

Poli-African-American administrative assistant and main receptionist. She's a devout Christian and singer. Has been treated poorly by Setareh, Britney, and others. She answers "Yes, sir" and "Yes, mam" to all requests, including those from me. Terrified to lose her job. Early fifties. My best friend and confidante at the firm. 

Juliette--an administrative assistant, hails from the East Coast, very pleasant to be around, humble, also a devout Christian. She schedules appointments for Sales. She goes through one pack of gum daily. White but only in skin color, not in spirit. Mid-thirties.

Leisha--Green card specialist recently promoted to Case Manager and Argument Writer. So she's a close colleague. Fourth generation Chicana who bleaches her hair and is a single mom. She's thirty and bitches and complains a lot. Nearly the whole day. 

Akhiljeet-Case Manager and Argument Writer. Bone fide attorney. Sikh. Been with the firm a little over one year. Talks a lot about leaving. Favorite adjective for Dick's policies: "stupid!" Quiet, kind, gracious, 26 years young.

Daphne- Twenty-something, married, former military, 5'2", part-time administrative assistant since April of this year. 

Mahrooz-recent college grad, tallest person at the firm at 5'10", assertive, intelligent administrative assistant. Also at the firm since April of this year. 




6/4/17

The Law Offices of Dick C. Baxter - Immigration Law / EB1 Visa

The names of the innocent (and not so innocent) have been protected.

Call me Tanis. I am a paralegal at the above-referenced law firm. I've been so since August of 2016. Prior to that date I had never worked in law. I thought I had applied for a writing job. Instead, this position is much more than that, including being a case manager.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is nonfiction. However, for my own protection, as well as for the protection of the law firm that I will discuss, I have changed all of the names--including that of the law firm and my own.

The purposes of these blog posts are to document a sliver of what work in America is like, to demonstrate to EB1 Green Card applicants how one law firm handling their cases works, to exact a degree of revenge on my boss and my managers for the injustice they practice on me and my co-workers, and to lampoon whoever needs to be.

What is the EB1 Visa?

The EB1 Visa is the Visa for foreign nationals with an extraordinary ability and sustained national or international acclaim. In addition to persons with extraordinary ability the visa is also available to outstanding professors or researchers or high-level executives.

At the Law Offices of Dick C. Baxter we specialize in building cases for EB1 Visa applicants of extraordinary ability only. In my time working at the firm I have never built a case for an outstanding professor, researcher, or high level executive. The EB1 Visa for individuals of extraordinary ability with sustained national or international acclaim is a self-petition. In other words, you don't need an employer to sponsor you.



To qualify for the EB1 Visa the applicant must either prove that she has won a major international award like the Nobel, the Pulitzer, an Oscar, or a Grammy or prove herself in three of ten other categories: Lesser International or National Award, Invited Membership, Published Materials, Judging, Innovation, Scholarly Articles, Exhibitions and Showcases, Leading or Critical Roles, High Salary, or Commercial Success in the Arts.




The Boss's Response: Email Chain




From: Dick
Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2017 9:04 AM
To: Tanis
Cc:
Subject
You do not get to lecture me about what is an acceptable argument, so calm down. 
If I say I'm not happy about an argument or that an argument needs further investigation, you do not get to disagree, you're not the boss I am - it's that simple.  
So like I said, I need you to sit with Britney, who is extremely experienced and she will go through this argument with you, step by step. 
I have to say - your tone towards me is worrisome. It may be that you do not mean to come over as offensive as you do, but believe me when I tell you, you are very thin ice, you are way out of line here. 
All I need you to do is follow my lead in all things, so that you can learn how to be good at this job. If this is too much, then maybe you need to find alternative employment. 
Please take this email as an official employment warning. 
 
Cheers,
Dick
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tanis
Sent: Tuesday, May 30, 2017 3:49 PM
To: Dick
Cc:
Subject: Awards Argument / Sourcing Photographs


Hello Dick, 


I have always been aware of the challenges of Matheus's Awards argument. This is why I took my time to make sure I had all the tools necessary to link Matheus to the awards. So I respectfully disagree with your assessment of the argument. I believe that two factors act as a strong foundation for the validity of our argument.


First is the definition of the role of a copywriter. I clearly establish, from the beginning, that in a creative operation such as Matheus works in, the Copywriter is the originator of all ideas and the rest of the work revolves around this idea. Therefore, the Copywriter is critical to an award won for a television commercial. Second, I get two executives to go on the record about the central importance of Matheus's labor towards winning the awards. I think their words really speak for themselves. 


In the case of Hristos's argument for his Project of the Year award the evidence was much weaker. As with Matheus, Hristos's award did not have his name on it. The strongest evidence we produced to link him to the award was the testimony of two of his colleagues. Matheus' letters come from established industry executives (much more persuasive testimonies than co-workers'). Second, when Hristos' witnesses do link Matheus to the award their statements are tepid as contrasted with Matheus' witnesses' statements which are unequivocal. 


In light of Hristos' case I don't understand the skepticism about  Matheus' argument. Perhaps the wording and presentation of the argument should be tinkered with but I think the argument itself is sound and as good as it gets considering the circumstances. 



Lastly, please clarify which photographs in the Matheus argument need links. Except for the photographs of the awards themselves (which don't come from links but directly from Matheus) and that of the Fox logo, the rest of the photographs in the argument are all properly sourced--as usual. So I don't see where I'm failing to source when necessary. 


 
Best, 


Tanis Lobo, B.A. 

EB1 Specialist




From: "Dick / Law Offices of Dick C. Baxter"
Sent: Tuesday, May 30, 2017 12:31 PM
To: tanis@baxteresq.com
Cc: "Leisha" "Akhiljeet"
Subject: Dick to EB1 Writing Team - Citing Links to Evidence Used in Cases


Hi Tanis, 


I'm currently reviewing Matheus Sousa. This is a tough one. When a person's name is not on the award itself it's very difficult (not impossible) to tie the client sufficiently to the award. From reviewing the argument as is, I'd need to spend an entire morning or afternoon trying to convey the message you're trying to convey here. Before I invest that amount of time. I've asked Britney to go over this argument with you one on one to make sure this argument is indeed viable. 


Message to Team


1. When drafting arguments always be sure to put links to pictures you use for evidence. Tanis, I notice you no longer doing that from the arguments I've been reviewing. 


2. If you have any doubts about an argument because it's not straight forward in some way, before you invest hours into it, please set up a sit down with Britney to go over your strategy so that she can make sure the strategy is viable. 


BTW - Evie, is taking over Intake from Britney, so that Britney can now spend more helping staff individually with issues like this. 


So Tanis, I've now referred this argument to Britney as outlined above. 


 
Cheers,


Dick C. Baxter, LL.M., ESQ

Attorney at Law












5/30/17

May 30, 2017: Beginning of the End

Let me tell you about last week.

But then I have to tell you from the beginning.

1. Until recently, I had been thinking a lot about asking for a raise.

2. About a month ago, my Practice Manager beat me to the punch by asking for a raise on my behalf.

3. The Boss came back with a $1 raise to $16 per hour from $15 per hour.

4. About a week later I asked the Boss to have a word with me and I told him that his $1 raise was a slap in the face and I deserved more. We talked about it, like civil people, and after an hour he said, "Let's continue this talk next week." It was Friday afternoon.

5. The following week, instead of returning to the office like a man and picking up the conversation with me, he had his Practice Manager present me an "incentive program." If I wanted to make $17.50 per hour, I had to write 14 arguments per month.

6. Last week, with four working days in the month, I had thirteen arguments and was starting on my fourteenth.

7. To avoid ponying up the bonus I would easily earn, the Boss made up new Bullshit Rules, and had his Practice Manager present them to me.

8. I pointed out the obvious, the PM got defensive, and we yelled at each other.

9. The Boss got wind of it and admonished me--by e-mail.

10. In much more civil language, I told him he was full of it.

11. That same day, I returned to the PM and apologized if I had raised my voice, pointing out that this disagreement was between the Boss and me and too bad she had got caught in the middle of it.

12. The next day, a Friday, I told my co-workers about it and they supported me, advising me to claim  my bonus when we turned in time sheets.

13. Today

The Boss came in to the office--a rare occurrence--to meet with a client. I became tense. After what happened, I can't pretend to be cool with him anymore. He peeked into our office to introduce us to the client and I kept my focus on the clients, refusing to look at him.

Later, he came to say good-bye and my co-workers responded by I kept my back to him.

Later, I opened my inbox to find an email, from the Boss, arguing that a recent argument of mine was untenable. I pointed out why  it wasn't, including reminding him of a similar argument we had sent out a month before which had a weaker argument than the one in question.

I wonder what the Boss will respond?