Kiefer and the Virgin

Two quickie updates:

1) Today I went through old insurance policies and came across Kiefer Sutherland’s auto insurance policy from 1990. My brush with fame.  I now know his driving record from 1990. WOW. 

2) I was offered a summer law clerk position in the Virgin Islands. A trial run of sorts so that all involved can decide if it’s a good fit (all meaning me, the firm and the island). I need to get more details, but I’m thinking this could be good news- my way out of a career full of dusty cardboard boxes. It’s not an offer for a forever job yet, but it’s a start. A dust-free start.

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So The Horror Stories Are True…

I have started my life as a document reviewer. Wow. Wow. Wow. 

It really is as horrible as everyone makes it out to be. But way worse. Way way worse. And why? For many reasons really, but mainly because it’s a paper document review-a paper document review with the bulk of the papers dating back to the 70s and 80s. And old documents= old dust. We really do wear gloves and face masks to deal with the massive amounts of dust accompanying these old documents. It’s a very glamorous job. So glamorous in fact that someone even came across a dead, petrified bird in a box on Friday. A fairly typical job hazard for new attorneys, yes? 

Also, the people on the job make me feel even better about the situation. Remember that old Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer claymation movie? If so, do you remember the Island of Misfits from the movie? I work on that island–although it’s not a tropical island locale, it’s a large room in a boring ol’ office building chock full of misfits. Which at least provides for some entertainment. But at the same time it makes me question how I am perceived through others’ eyes…am I too a major social misfit? Probably. Thankfully, I’m assigned a seat by some normalish people so we can be snarky and bitter while we “work” (i.e. go through old dusty papers for 8 hours). 

But, all in all, I am a LOT happier. So, even though it is horrible work and much worse than I ever expected it to be, I am enjoying my life a whole lot more now than I was a few months ago. I  much prefer crappy document review work to working for a jerk who makes life miserable for everyone. A no drama work place means that I can come home and completely forget about the day. A career it is not, but it is not a bad stop-over…as long as I don’t develop black lung from the dust.

Where is the Instruction Manual?

I wish life came with an instruction manual. Things would be SO much easier. 

Now, that I’m comfortably unemployed I have plenty of time to think about things…a lot of time. I have no idea what I’m going to do when my lease is up at the end of August. I’m not sure if I’ll stay in my new city and take a gamble that the economy will turn around and I’ll be able to find a decent legal job eventually, or if I should move back to the state where I went to law school, or if I should move back to the state where I grew up. I have absolutely no idea what to do. 

If I stay in the city, I could just keep squeaking by financially, unable to afford to go out and meet new people-and spend a year lonely and poor. This fear is heightened by the fact that my sister, E, is interviewing for an awesome job opportunity abroad. I could find myself totally alone in this city, which would be horrible if I find myself down and out again like I was this past winter. Having my sister around really helped me stay sane when I was super bummed and stressed out with life. 

On the other hand, I hate giving up on things. I told myself when I moved to the city that I’d give it at least 3 years to see if  I could make the city home.  I know that I haven’t been able to give my life here a fair shot this past year because all sorts of  factors have been working against my ability to really enjoy my life in this new city. But who is to say that if I stay around another year things would get better? They could feasibly get worse. The economy isn’t really projected to make a turn around for another year at least. I know I won’t be able to really enjoy living here until I can find a job that would support me financially-otherwise there is too much stress that goes along with trying to pay the bills. I’m not sure another year would be worth it if things don’t actually start to turn around for the better. 

I could look to move back to the state where I went to law school. I have friends from law school in the area and it would be great to live close to friends again. Plus, the state is cheaper than where I’m living now. The only problem is that the economy there isn’t really that much better. Many of my friends from law school are in less than ideal situations with their jobs and I’d face the same uphill struggle with finding a job there as I do here. I could just find myself unemployed again, but in a different location. 

One thing that I never thought I’d consider but that I’m seriously considering is moving back to my home state. My home state has the worst economy in the country right now. So that’s definitely a negative. Also, most young people move out of the state when they graduate college. So if I ever want to settle down and get married, I’d probably have to marry some really old guy for his money-simply because there are not very many young people in the state anymore. However, I do have family and friends still in the state. I could possibly hang my own shingle and start my own practice. Also, living there is really affordable. I could maybe even live in a house-which I would love love love. I’m absolutely sick of hearing noisy neighbors when I’m trying to go to sleep.

My concern is that I’m not really sure what my motivation is to move back. I’m not sure if I’m enticed to move back because I’m just tired of everything being so difficult and it’s my way of curling up into a ball and giving up, or if I’m enticed because it offers a possibility of positive change.  I’m not sure if I’d be motivated to move back because of fear or because it really would offer me the best chance of having a happy, content life. Who knows.

Thankfully, I still have a few months to play around with this next step.  

I think that part of the reason a lot of law students are having trouble adjusting to life after school is that so many of us are Type A personalities and are big planners. When the economy tanked, it put a roadblock in our way that we hadn’t planned for. We went to school, we studied hard, we  interned, we took part in activities, not because they were fun, but because they would help us land a job after school (I mean, who actually enjoys cite-checking for journals).  The next step was supposed to be getting a job where we could start to get solid work experience and build our resume. The next step was NOT unemployment, temping at inane jobs, being forced to start our own practices, or giving up on law all together. Now so many of us are scrambling-trying desperately to figure out what we’re supposed to do, how we’re supposed to survive this recession, how we’re supposed to use an expensive degree that promised so much but has so far delivered so little. We’re all looking for an instruction manual to tell us “what now”. I think the difficulty comes from realizing that there is no instruction manual.  No one really knows what we should do. It’s all a gamble. Hopefully, I decide to play the right cards.

No Open Containers Allowed.

After a great weekend spent out of state connecting and co-miserating with law school friends, I made my way back to the city in time for a meeting with a temp staffing agency. I have another position lined up that should start at the end of the month but I’m going to try to line up something else before that position starts. 

Why won’t I just sit on my keester and wait for this new position to start? Well, where do I start….

1) I’m going to get paid only $1 more per hour over the salary at my last position (i.e. I basically got promoted to head fry chef at McDonalds).

2) It sounds like document review hell. The dress code is jeans and t-shirts and they warn people that they may want to reconsider if they have allergies to dust because we will be dealing with very dusty boxes (p.s. I have allergies to dust). 

3)The letter with information about the job states that we have a mandatory hour lunch but we will not be provided with refrigeration for our lunches. So, I’m expected to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for two-three months straight? 

4)The letter with information about the job also states that no open containers are allowed at work. We can bring soda and water only in closed containers. Is this position so horrible that only drunk attorneys are expected to take it? 

So, basically, this job has some major red flags. But I’m taking it until something better comes along-because in this economy, shouldn’t I just be happy to have a future paycheck lined up? 

At least I have a few weeks to enjoy refrigerated lunches.

Are you kidding me?

So my “boss” is ridiculous. He asked me to make a call and get some things taken care of with the IRS. I called and the woman refused to talk to me because I don’t have a power of attorney form filed for our client. I wasn’t able to get the information for him.  This apparently is “not helpful”. So “not helpful” that this sentiment has to be repeated 6 times. So I repeated that she couldn’t give me the information without a power of attorney. The whole concept is pretty clear if you ask me. And it pretty much has NOTHING to do with me. Besides the fact that I’m the poor sap that got stuck on hold for 45 minutes.

Anyhow, my boss ended the conversation by skulking away saying “I’m glad I left this office on a positive note.” Oh really? I don’t care how I leave this office. Because I am the 7th person to be in my position in a one year time span. I almost quadrupled everyone else’s timespan that they were able to put up with your freakin’ attitude. And yeah, you’re not a talented lawyer. You have no social skills. F you. I can’t wait to leave. Positive note or not.

PS. No one wants to hear your conversations with your wife on speaker phone. Nor any of your other calls. But especially those with your wife. It’s uncomfortable because it’s really clear that she can’t stand you either.

Excuse Me, Sir. You Should Be Shot.

Some attorneys should be taken out of their cozy offices and put in front of a firing range. Some of the younger generation of esquires, those who actually think it is pretentious to use that term as part of a signature, should be handed pellet guns and told to shoot away. I know a couple of attorneys who should be front and center at the firing range and I know a couple of new attorneys who should be given plenty of ammo for their pellet guns.

For example, my sister, E, is working for an organization comprised of many public interest attorneys. None of them should be shot, they do good work with little recognition (round of applause for them). One of the young attorneys who worked for the organization was wooed away from the org. to work for a small private practice just a few months ago. She left her first permanent position that she was able to find after law school with the promise of a new career at a small practice. However, just a few months later the attorney at her firm lets her go. He gives absolutely no reason. Apparently, he is a bit of a crazy ass. At least she’ll get unemployment insurance.

After hearing this, and dealing with my own crazy experience as a new attorney, I think this may be an epidemic. I think there may be more than a fair share of seasoned attorneys out there with mad crazy social disorders. These attorneys give a bad name to the legal profession. They either make new attorneys who could be AMAZING want to leave the legal profession or give up , or they let new attorneys go without any constructive criticism or feedback as to why they are suddenly a part of the climbing unemployment rate. And yes, amazingness is what I and many other unemployed or underemployed new attorneys have to offer-but socially deviant attorneys are not utilizing our amazingness properly. Shame on them.

These are the attorneys that deserve to be put in front of a firing range. I think they probably tend to work solo, sign off on everything with an esquire after their name, and have many, many articles of clothing with their initials embroidered on somewhere. Beware. I think they may be lurking behind many help wanted ads. They should know that no one wants to work for a crazy ass. If you are one of these attorneys please don’t hire anyone to work for you. Seriously, we’d rather keep looking. However, if you don’t heed to this warning and you do hire some unsuspecting soul and treat them poorly, we’ll see you at the firing range.

**In no way does this post endorse the actual shooting or hurting of seasoned attorneys. I would just like them to feel the same soul-sucking experience they put others through, but since they don’t actually have souls, besides physical pain I’m at a loss for how to retaliate. Any ideas?

Am I a part of some weird Darwinian experiment?

Lately, I’ve been wondering if some sort of evil Darwinian process has been weeding me out of the legal profession. Only the strong survive. Well, I haven’t been feeling so strong lately. In fact, lately I’ve been feeling like the legal profession has decided to chew me up and spit me out. I have been applying to jobs for over a year and a half. I am tired of looking, but what else can I do? I’m getting really worried that I’ll never find the job that I’ve been waiting for. I need to figure out what makes me seem so undesirable as a new associate and fix it asap. Or else….well, I don’t know what I’ll do….I don’t really have a Plan B. 

Almost four years ago, I was excited about starting law school. Now, one year out, I feel as though I’m in the same place I was before I went to law school, but with a whole heck of a lot more debt. I’ve spent the last few months working in the worst possible environment. My boss has been unbearable. The work: oh, how about a long, contentious divorce trial between two really wealthy, spoiled adults. The substance of my job: I’ve spent many days lugging boxes to and fro, filing papers, and doing projects that inevitably are not going to be used for anything. In short, really unfulfilling work that probably could be done by someone who just scraped by and got their GED. Instead, I’ve spent over $100,000 on my education and years of studying to get to this spot smack dab at the bottom of the totem pole. Thankfully, as I noted before, I’ve finally worked up the nerve to put in my two weeks notice. Unfortunately, I’m not leaving this position in the way I had envisioned. I envisioned leaving with a job offer in hand, with the knowledge that a steady paycheck, health insurance and a 401K were just days away. Instead, I’m leaving with the hope and prayer that I’m able to land another super fulfilling temp position. Dare I say that I’m even hoping to find a document review project? Blech. 

The annoying thing is that I really tried to find a solid legal job. I even lowered my standards so much that I interviewed for a position where I’d be doing asbestos defense. I had to lie to the interviewer to tell him that no, I wouldn’t find it hard to do depositions of plaintiffs who are on their death beds due to asbestosis. I’m sure I winced with that lie. It’s both a blessing and a curse that I didn’t get that job. Sure, it would have been a solid paycheck-but that kind of work sounds really awful. The sad thing is that I really wanted that position. Never mind all of the public interest work cluttering up my resume. Apparently, I’m at the point where I’m willing to  help companies screw over the little man. The economy and the lack of a job offer has made me evil. Or desperate. So far the legal profession has shown me that the Darwinian model for the legal profession is: only those without a soul survive.

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