Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Office -- From the Episode "The Initiation"

Dwight Schrute: Just think, that temp agency could have sent you anywhere!

Ryan Howard: I think about that all the time.
On the TV sitcom "The Office" the character Ryan Howard was sent by his temp agency to work at the Dunder-Mifflin Paper Company in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
In early March 1988 my temp agency sent me to work at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld.  They could have sent me anywhere, but they sent me to Akin Gump.  And the rest is history.

There is an element of the uncanny in my being assigned to work at Akin Gump by my temporary agency in March 1988.

In 1983, five years earlier, I took a course at The American University Law School taught by the late Seymour J. Rubin, a nationally-prominent figure in the field of international law.  The course concerned codes of conduct for multinational corporations.  Professor Rubin served on a United Nations commission that was in the process of formulating such codes.

I wrote a paper for Professor Rubin on the Soviet Union's posture at the United Nations concerning the formulation of codes of conduct for multinational corporations.

Professor Rubin appended the following typewritten note to my paper:

Mr. Freedman

I found your piece to be first class.  I am of course rather intimately aware of the views of Soviet representatives and scholars, such as Shchetinin, who has been a co-member of the UN Commission with me for many years, but I had really never taken the time to read his views as published.  It was very stimulating to read them, against the background which you give very well, of the development of Soviet industry, the background of fear of excessive foreign direct involvement, etc.

You also write very well.

S.J. Rubin

[handwritten:] Grade A

Incidentally, Professor Rubin had been a student of Felix Frankfurter's at Harvard law school in the 1930s.

The irony is that in 1991, while I was employed at Akin Gump, Bob Strauss, the firm's founder, was named by President George H.W. Bush to be the U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union -- the last American to serve in that post.  The Soviet Union dissolved in December 1991 and was succeeded by the Russian Federation .

Yes, that temporary agency could have sent me anywhere.  What do you have to say say about that, B.J. Novak?

(Do you think our friends talked to B.J. Novak?  I'm sure they did!  But then, I suffer from paranoid schizophrenia.)

1 comment:

Gary Freedman said...

B.J. Novak's friend and Harvard classmate is the comedian Dan Mintz. Dan Mintz is one of my Myspace friends. We chat on occasion.