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Let's Find Happy Again

 I start my new job tomorrow. And, seriously, I am a bit freaked out.

It's one thing to go through a job change. Another to undergo a career change. And a big one. 

I am not against lawyering. I enjoy it for the most part. I take pride in being part of a group that really does do a lot for a lot of people every where. Sure, there are those who really are not looking out for the people who need it. There are those attorneys out there who really do fill out the very real stereotype that so many people have of attorneys. And sadly, this is very very common.

However, there is such great nobility in the practice also. And I love that about the law. There is this whole knight in shining armor thing that really makes you feel good about yourself when you do help people. When you get those thank yous that matter so much. You feel accomplished. You feel like you have helped push justice in the right direction and all is well with the world. Sheath the sword, the job is done.

And for me, I will always love that image.  I will always love the idea that law can be something so wonderful. Something so powerful and magical and noble. And I am grateful that I know people who do just that. Who continue to work to better the lives of others through the use of the legal system. I am grateful to know those people who protect the victims that need protecting. I am grateful. I am grateful because it means that there isn't so much a problem with the whole lawyer thing--just with some aspects of the job. The job, not the institution. and, for me, that job was just not right.

I am sure that the career is not wrong. I am sure of that. But, I need the change. Unfortunately, the ugly side of the law is very real. I love the job I had when I had it. However, love for the law will not always give you the strength to endure the troubles of the job. And, the thing is, this place, this place was making me hate the law. I didn't see justice anymore. I saw shortcuts to results driven by greed. I saw the "do anything" attitude that meant moving that moral compass somewhere else. I saw the cold practice of mechanical lawyering where papers and medical documents suffocated the names of clients. It was a number game. It was "how are you making me money". It was frigid and stress inducing. And, God, it was killing me.

So, aside from that, I held on. But the straw that broke this camel's back was the structure of the job itself. I understand that there are sacrifices that have to be made as a lawyer. I do understand that there is a surrender of time. There is a pressure laden daily list of taks to do and accomplish. I get that. I understand the deadlines. The money factor. The billing. The brief writing. The court rules. The court dates. The early morning mediations. The client intakes. The client gripes. The client's never ending phone conversations of nothing. I get all of that. And I can take that with the best of them. I think back and remember sitting on the floor of a fedex at close to 4 in the morning, pages of my trial binder strewn across a number of copiers, and me just sitting there eating potato chips out of a bag that I grabbed off the counter shelf.  Sitting there, I looked out the window. It was cold out. And I was so tired. But this was the life I wanted, so I did it. I was okay with all of that. What I was not okay with was the lack of respect. I worked for a firm that, for me, just did not respect those things I so freely gave up.

And really, I think there are people out there who may never really understand my take on all of this. Who think that somehow I had it easy. That the job was comfortable because I could roll into the firm at 10. Maybe it would have been more bearable had I been in at 7AM? The problem with that is that I would still be out at 8 with the same amount of crap on my desk and bearing down on my self.

Respect in general. Appreciation. Why was I giving so much of me for so little back? The consensus was because I had to. I was trapped. I was a prisoner and the firm knew it. And it made me resent every single day a little more every day. Criticisms ran plenty while benefits were non existent and hours were yanked from my feet. Pay increases were turned into pay cuts. And then, the stress just climbed while the firm moved forward basically say, "So what are you going to do about it?"

And for so long, I felt beaten down. Law briefs shoved into my face while I literally experienced an out of body experience in my realization that I would sit at that desk while the firm openly took advantage of me. Openly beat me down. Openly used me. Openly pushed me and shoved me into a corner and spat in my face...

The worst disrespect comes in the form of insincere gratitude. And I had my fill.

I am so thankful that I am getting this change to escape. The reload. To refresh. To find me again. The creative. The happy. The guy who gets excited for blueberry bagels and coffee in the morning. I need to be happy in my job again. And I am so nervous about this drastic change. But what I do know is this: Where I was, what I was going through was making me so unhappy. And, just the thought there is a light at the end, there is hope of something better, well, that alone has unearthed a smile in my life to think about my future in my job.

It's just that expectations can be scary in their uncertainty. But, you know what? I'll take it. Let's find happy again, eh?

Let's find happy.

Tags:

Hello again. 

Time away only makes the heart grow fonder, right? Sure. Let's go with that. 

So, currently, I am still chugging away at my initial job. Which, I suppose, in this economy, is a good thing. However, you know what? That excuse, "the economy" is so over used. I mean, yeah, I understand that the situation out there is not in the best shape possible, but it should never be used as a reason not to try.

And trust me. Complacency kills. I has for me. After realizing that, and I mean, really realizing that, I decided to try again to find a place where I might actually have the ability to "grow". I applied a lot of places. And thankfully, I finally got an interview. 

It's like spending all this time trying to find the land when you are surrounded by ocean and you finally glimpse something off in the horizon. It's the hope of it all, really. And, thank God I at leas have that. Should keep me floating for a while longer not matter the outcome.

And, with that, I am back to work. Back to drafting briefs and checking off "to-dos" here. And, yes, getting ready to FRIDAY.

Breaking the Moral Compass

So this morning I covered a pretrial for one of the other attorneys here. Nothing big. Landlord-Tenant issue.

After looking through the the scraps of paper stuffed in a manilla folder that was the case file, I figured that I could cut these renters a break. It seems like we (the landlord client) wanted something like 1,000 bucks for an outstanding water bill. However, it looks like the tenant might have actually let the landlord know that there was an issue with the plumbing causing a water leak. 

Whatever. 

In the end, I though that maybe offering to just not return the security deposit and washing our hands of the whole thing would be the best outcome. So, I let the renters know I'd try to sell that to my client, but set the case for a bench trial--just in case. 

Back in the office, I let the paralegal to the lawyer whose case I was covering know about what my offer to settle would be. She just looked at me with a half smiling grin.  I told her I thought that was the best outcome for everyone.

Still smiling, she looks at me and says, "Oh, that's because you have morals still. He'll never agree to that. He'll want to gut the other side for everything they have even if he's wrong."

Fantastic. Maybe I need to kill a puppy to get that killer instinct?

When deps exlpode

 So, I spent some time explaining to the client not to explode. Spent time telling him to just answer the questions.

10 minutes in I was in the hallway with him literally pleading with him not to fuck up his case by treating opposing counsel like he had just slept with his wife.

2 hours later. There was calmness. 

Last 15 minutes of the dep, it was like someone flipped the wrong switch and despite my best efforts, the man verbally exploded. (Sigh)

Yeah, it was pretty much: PALMS to FACE.

Back on the Saddle! For now.

 I fell asleep.


That’s the only reason I can really guess why I have not update this thing in over…oh, 5 months, give or take. I guess, I really just didn’t feel all that talkative. Then again, I dabbled in some twitter action, but even that seems to have hit a bit of a lull. (There are only so many times you can tweet “I am alive. And hungry.”)

At the new location. Same firm. Better office. Same benefits (which are none). I do know I need to get out of this place, if only to move up (ever so slightly) in the real world of work. It’s not that I do not have enough work, I have plenty, thank you. It’s just that an office and lax dress code do not pay the bills. Or the student loans.

So where to go? When to look? The answers: Anywhere. And, now. It’s just that in the middle of life moving about, the whole looking around thing just gets pushed back…

In general, life has been chippy. I am very happy with life. As I usually am. She has treated me well. And, here’s hoping there is more of that in the future. And who am I say no if she wants to bestow even more good fortune my way? Bring. It. On.

The Wolverine are 2-0 and it seems like the 2008 season was all a bad dream. I’ll be in Ann Arbor this weekend for the Eastern game. Pretty sure we can win that one—but seeing as college football can be a bit crazy, I’ll still be hesitantly optimistic.

Hesitantly optimistic. A friend used that term with me recently (or something similar) when describing his relationship with a new girl he is seeing and it struck me…just not sure how I was struck by it. I mean , it’s a great pairing of words. A great juxtaposition of opposites. To be hesitant, naturally, implies some amount of fear or trepidation. Something pulling you back. Some uncertainty. Something telling you, “Hey, jerkface, don’t go all in on this one!” While optimistic seems to counter that with saying, “Hope for the best! It’ll be fine! I swear this is love!” What a crazy pairing. Reminds me of the lyrics to song, a Del Amitri song at that:

“When you’re driving with the brakes on

When you’re swimming with your boots on,

It’s hard to say you love someone

And it’s hard to say you don’t…”

I suppose at the end of the day, even if you are swimming with your boots on, at least you are swimming. And if whatever it is, is right, you don’t mind the soggy boots, and hell, they’ll come off with no problem. And hell, they are only soggy boots.

And, if whatever it is, isn’t right. Well dammit. At least you can get your ass out of the pool and out the door without having to worry about stopping to tie your shoes.

You’ll still look funny though. And feel funny. But hey, you’ll be long gone, and, yes, eventually dry and ready to dive right back in in no time.

Monday? Check.

I mean, seriously.  4:40PM? That's when the partner decides to come in and bark out orders??  4:40PM?

Yep, this is for sure a Monday.

Two Things I Could Do Without At Work

1) The old fella who is our paralegal has a habit of walking into my office while I am on the phone and proceeds to just stand there. Clearly noting that I am on the phone.  He chooses to just stand there. Slightly passed the doorway, in my office, while I am on the phone.  Does he even attempt to sit while I talk? Nope. He just stands there. Looms there. It is eerie. And besides weird, it just creeps me out.

2) Attitude from the front desk girl.  I mean, seriously. I spend most of the day already hearing you rant on with whoever is on the other side of the phone (who rarely ever is a client).  Having her take her bad day experience out on me by giving me attitude and poor service is plain unacceptable.  (Yes, I know I sound like a arrogant SOB, but honestly, if you had to deal with her on a mix of her bad days and your bad days--you'd understand)

You're Welcome

All I can say about this website is that you are all very welcome.

Not anything bad for those work folks out there, so don't worry about clicking on over. It's a pretty good place to go when you think that you are having a bad day...

Just not this bad.

Worth it?

Got email from boss.  Read email from boss. Want nothing more than to reply with words that could only lead to my immediate firing.  But damn it all if it wouldn't be worth it.  

Whoops! (At least I didn't do it)

Today was the Court of Appeals. Another attorney in the firm screwed up the filing date and therefore, we lost our right to oral argument. Senior attorney decided to go anyway and try to get an argument in anyway. 

The judges call the case.  Senior attorney goes up, makes a joke, and in less than 1 minute returns back.  Needless to say, the judges could care less about entertaining questions when they don't have to.  Senior attorney however, was not so happy.

He was fuming. He was sputtering out scary words about the deficient attorney.  Words like "malpractice".

In the end, his fury was spent on everyone, including little ol' me.  Naturally, I just sat there, "listened", and nodded my head.  And although his bad mood spread through the firm like a raw chicken in a microwave (trust me, never do that), he eventually just left after barking out impossible orders.  Orders that I am pretty sure I have no idea (or desire for that matter) to do.

Heavy is the head, I suppose. I just went for the free lunch.