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.

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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.

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?