Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

SEC lawyer, 55, battling cancer until death worked from home until the end

https://www.wsj.com/articles/sec-la wyer-scott-friestad-bedri showalter04/22/18
Earnest question: do other developed countries fetishize exc williamdrayton04/22/18
Japan does. But countries like that are few and far between. thirdtierlaw04/22/18
Korea, too. therewillbeblood04/22/18
I don't. Dude is a chump. isthisit04/22/18
It's the Wall Street Journal. What do you expect? bostonlawyer.204/22/18
No clue. I'm baffled by it. I remember there was a guy who walkingparadox04/23/18
With health insurance attached to employment, why are you al supercalifragilisti04/23/18
Probably. I had a terminal coworker who worked from home as downwardslope04/23/18
I've been non-legal for a while now and I can't shake the na williamdrayton04/22/18
I lived in DC when Spurrier came on as coach of the Redskins kramer71604/22/18
Yeah, I've never understood that. Coaches who sleep in the walkingparadox04/23/18
If this guy was a true believer in the mission, and felt tha superttthero04/22/18
I was always told that work doesn't give you anything back. jdslug04/22/18
he had urotherial cancer. cancer of the prick. he needed to whiteguyinchina04/22/18
The office manager at my firm worked with lung cancer up unt fettywap04/22/18
may her absolutely awful soul rest in piece whiteguyinchina04/23/18
And then you have to go through the obligatory thoughts and tedandlisa12304/23/18
Some grade A mooching righ there... Would private practic triplesix04/23/18
Reminds of the story about the guy who was dying and instead dandydan04/23/18
I'll offer this as someone who's actually dealt with cancer lilgub04/23/18
Keep in mind that the dying attorney was described as bedrid cacrimdefense04/23/18
At former jobs my supervisors and colleagues encouraged staf ibrslave04/23/18

showalter (Apr 22, 2018 - 7:29 am)

https://www.wsj.com/articles/sec-lawyer-scott-friestad-bedridden-with-cancer-kept-working-until-his-final-days-1524234600

Why do we glorify this stuff?

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williamdrayton (Apr 22, 2018 - 8:00 am)

Earnest question: do other developed countries fetishize excessive work hours the way we do in the US? In some white collar professions it's seems to be a badge of honor to say "I worked 75 hours last week", which means you are somehow "better" than the person who works only 40. I remember 20+ years ago hearing the derisive term "banker's hours" to describe an allegedly lazy worker (this was during an era when retail banks were only open M-F 9AM-3PM).

Of course in legal private practice, compensation and promotion are directly tied to billable hours. But this mindset of fetishizing hours worked seems to pervade the entire white collar sector, beyond those relying on billable hours. This WSJ article is an example. There are no billable hours at the SEC.

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thirdtierlaw (Apr 22, 2018 - 9:28 am)

Japan does. But countries like that are few and far between. This guy was clearly a workaholic.

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therewillbeblood (Apr 22, 2018 - 2:26 pm)

Korea, too.

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isthisit (Apr 22, 2018 - 10:59 am)

I don't. Dude is a chump.

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bostonlawyer.2 (Apr 22, 2018 - 6:08 pm)

It's the Wall Street Journal. What do you expect?

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walkingparadox (Apr 23, 2018 - 12:53 pm)

No clue. I'm baffled by it. I remember there was a guy who would brag about never calling out sick in 13 years. He had come to work sick within that time, but he thought infecting his coworkers was somehow more important than staying home.

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supercalifragilisti (Apr 23, 2018 - 4:35 pm)

With health insurance attached to employment, why are you all reading so much more into this?

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downwardslope (Apr 23, 2018 - 4:43 pm)

Probably. I had a terminal coworker who worked from home as long as he could. I think he qualified for Medicare a couple of months before he passed away, but management let him continue to work as much as he could to keep the insurance. I know at his funeral the pastor also said he was reading a lot... he still had use of his mind, even if his body wasn’t working well.

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williamdrayton (Apr 22, 2018 - 12:06 pm)

I've been non-legal for a while now and I can't shake the nagging feeling that I'm not . working enough. And this is in a workplace where anything over 45-50 hours seems unthinkable. On a couple occasions, it was 5:15pm and a VIP lady looked at me quizically and politely said GTFO. I was also politely chastised for being online one night at 7pm (I had to plead that I was only online to help a pup with homework). It's been a real paradigm shift and a big adjustment.

Whenever these conversations come up I always think about Ball Coach Steve Spurrier. Apparently he had a reputation for actually respecting his work/life balance, a big no-no in major college/pro football. The sports media act like puppy-dogs when they hear that a coach spends 100 hours a week prepping for games.

Some reporter commented to Steve that Jim Haslett and some other mediocre coaches are so dedicated, they sleep in the office. Steve responded, "that doesn't seem to help much." And Steve was spot-on: there was little correlation between sleeping in the office and championships.

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kramer716 (Apr 22, 2018 - 2:23 pm)

I lived in DC when Spurrier came on as coach of the Redskins, and he made that same point in his opening press conference. Spurrier was a great college coach, but he was awful in the pros. Spurrier needed to spend more nights on the couch in his office, but the man didn't want to adapt. I cannot blame him though; he could pull off the same act at Florida or South Carolina and be okay because he could recruit. NFL forces you to win via X's and O's and that wasn't Spurrier's forte.

As for this guy, I can understand his choice to work up until the end. I wouldn't do it, but I can see why he did. At my job on Guam, we had this investigator who was in the department for 40 years. She had something like three strokes and four heart attacks. She would routinely go from Guam to the Philippines or the US mainland for medical treatment and be gone for weeks at a time. I think she was 68 when I left, but she looked 90. Anyway, she would always come back to work, and I asked her if she would retire a few times, and she said no because as soon as she retires, she will probably die. She needed to work. It wouldn't surprise me to hear if she did retire that she died a month or two afterwards. She needed the office.

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walkingparadox (Apr 23, 2018 - 12:55 pm)

Yeah, I've never understood that. Coaches who sleep in the office, brag about 5am-midnight work. I wonder how actually productive they are. I know when I am not thinking as sharply as before and need to step out for 15 minutes to clear my head.

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superttthero (Apr 22, 2018 - 12:50 pm)

If this guy was a true believer in the mission, and felt that without his input some bad people were going to get away with it, it could be less about "work" and more about justice or whatever.

You wouldn't say we are glorify "work" if an artist painted on his deathbed or if a theoretical physicist, close to a breakthrough, was in his deathbed looking at equations. We would comment on their love to create or passion for numbers.

I don't disagree with the general point of your post, we do fetishize long hours as if it's a good thing. (Note - Paywall, did not read more than was allowed by the WSJ).

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jdslug (Apr 22, 2018 - 3:32 pm)

I was always told that work doesn't give you anything back. And that on your deathbed you never say I wish I had worked more.

I guess that only applies for a religious person. For the Godless person the test, I assume, is whether it made you feel good.

Lawyers are generally the most Godless people.

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whiteguyinchina (Apr 22, 2018 - 10:58 pm)

he had urotherial cancer. cancer of the prick. he needed to keep his mind occupied with other things than his suffering and imminent death. its perfectly understandable.

the WSJ take on it is an outsider journalist's perception of it. surely he didn't keep working cause he needed that extra buck.

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fettywap (Apr 22, 2018 - 11:32 pm)

The office manager at my firm worked with lung cancer up until the day before she went to the hospital to die. Absolutely awful woman. It was no wonder she had nothing better to do with her life.

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whiteguyinchina (Apr 23, 2018 - 5:40 am)

may her absolutely awful soul rest in piece

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tedandlisa123 (Apr 23, 2018 - 6:56 am)

And then you have to go through the obligatory thoughts and prayers and how she was a wonderful woman motions.

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triplesix (Apr 23, 2018 - 8:26 am)

Some grade A mooching righ there...

Would private practice let him "practice"?

We just don't know and there is no way to to tell.

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dandydan (Apr 23, 2018 - 9:00 am)

Reminds of the story about the guy who was dying and instead of being with family, he spent time with his tv watching all things Steelers. He made sure to have the Bradshaw jersey with him when he kicked the bucket. "I know that my heart will stop working in a few minute, still, I need to determine whether non-mutual issue preclusion applies."

"No medications until I read about res ipsa..."

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lilgub (Apr 23, 2018 - 1:02 pm)

I'll offer this as someone who's actually dealt with cancer - sometimes, being at work offers a sense of normalcy and achievement that is necessary as one battles cancer. Often times, you crave what is regular instead of dealing with everything as life or death.

I get it.

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cacrimdefense (Apr 23, 2018 - 1:03 pm)

Keep in mind that the dying attorney was described as bedridden. What the hell else was he supposed to do? Lie there and make a mental list of the places to which he never traveled, but had hoped to see and enjoy before he died? Agonize about the things he said to his ex-wife during that late night argument on Xmas Eve in '96, the week before he was served with divorce papers? Run a Google search for his gf from his junior year at Bucknell, the one to whom he's convinced he should have proposed?

Not everyone gets to exit like John Wayne's character in The Shootist. Wagon rides across scenic venues w/ Lauren Bacall by your side, and clocking out in a blaze of glory are opportunities not available to everyone in their final days.

Maybe work is what gave this dude a sense of purpose or satisfaction in life.

Who knows? Rest in peace, counselor.

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ibrslave (Apr 23, 2018 - 1:15 pm)

At former jobs my supervisors and colleagues encouraged staff to stay home when sick or even when having symptoms. It was a rational policy that kept everyone on the same page. At current job, staff are put on a pedestal and lauded for working through sickness, calling in to meetings while out sick, etc. People show up to work contagious and miserable. People actually say he or she is just so committed to their work, even if they are lazy and incompetent to begin with. It is a sham from what I can tell.

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