Thursday, August 23, 2012

Untouchable

When you are let go (forced to resign) from a legal position in a smallish town, the folks you knew at that firm stop calling and emailing.  It is nothing personal, it is a fact that no one wants to admit.  I am now tainted.  Others in the legal world are still talking to me, in fact, a few are helping me to get back on my feet.  But those I counted among friends, not close but not just acquaintances, are not going to keep in touch.  I thought this was a possibility as I left the building.  The one that hurts the most is a partner that had been a kind of mentor did not even contact me after it happened.  That is simply cowardice on his part.  He has nothing to lose to talk to me.  Or maybe there was something I did that led to his cutting ties.  Ah well, it was not a close relationship so it is not very painful.

If you have been let go, you understand this.  If you have recently been let go, try not to worry about this aspect.  It really is not personal.  Many of the associates you worked with are afraid.  They are afraid of the reason for your departure, afraid that they to may be let go.  And they are afraid that if your departure was for personal reasons, if it were known that they were keeping in touch it may lead to partners seeing them as disloyal.  Loyalty is important to many attorneys, especially in smaller firms.  Unfortunately, loyalty can lead to blind allegiance or loyalty can be interpreted by the higher-ups to mean associates must have a "shut up and take it" attitude.

And finally, associates are simply busy.  I was there, I remember.  I barely had time to check in with my husband, much less worry about friends.  And that is the saddest part of being an attorney.  I did not worry about maintaining contact with friends, even though I did try.  But I cancelled so many meet-ups and spent so much time away that I am now having to reestablish my network.  Old friends that have been with me for decades are the easiest to repair.  Newer ones take more time and nurturing.  Now consider if this had been decades instead of 2 years.  Think about what an attorney sees when she or he retires later and looks around.  Will friends be there, will that spouse, that child remember you?  I understand better today than I did a year ago about work-life balance.  Work-life balance, sounds so cliched and hackneyed.  It's not really work-life balance, in law there is never really a balance.  But attorneys need to remember to maintain some semblance of a life outside of the law.  Because it is almost impossible to create one after dedicating decades to the law.  Friends are harder to make after age 30.  Friendships, relationships die without attention, not a violent death, but one of simple neglect coming over a long period of time of little real attention and love.

Ug, I sound like a weird hippie guru.  But all of the above is true.  Unfortunately, the ones that will suffer most are women.  I am not a typical female.  I was a tomboy, a nerd, a women's rights advocate in the 80's and consistently having more "male" tendencies than female.  Exhibit A, movies.  My husband would be content watching independent films and heading to all the film festivals around the country.  Me?  If something doesn't blow up in the first 15 minutes, I'm bored.  We compromise, one of mine for one of his.  Even so, and even though I am not as social as many I know, I also understand that I need companionship outside of my spouse.  My husband, not so much.  He has me and 2 friends, one of which he sees every 3-4 years and it is always like they have never been apart.  Me, I realized that I need friends during my first year as an associate.  I needed people around me that loved me for who I am, people I didn't feel in any kind of competition with for projects, accolades, etc. (admit it, you are in competition every day with the other associates, for the more interesting projects and for good attention).

Anyway, the point of this is that over the next couple of weeks, I am spending as much time as possible repairing any of my damaged friendships, as well as neglected family members.  I will not break one engagement, except for illness (really, who wants a friend to show up sick? but then I might be a bit of a germaphobe).  I will listen more than I speak.  I will ask, I will remember and I will try my best to be the kind of friend that person needs.  Oooo, sounds a little stalkerish :0

Will post more often, now that I have a few things cleared up.  Maybe I will even regale you with tales of renovations by a novice (we have a ton of stuff in the basement that could make this house much less 1960's and that's 1960's in not a good way).

Have a lovely day and call a friend.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

So much, so much

I no longer have my job. I am not going into the details, except it was sudden. I am not unhappy, not really. It is a job. I am grateful that I am of that attitude. I can't imagine if this had happened in science, then I believe I would have rend and worn sack cloth. But now, I am merely resigned. The good. Time to recuperate, regroup and determine where I wish to go from here. Time to get everything around the house in order. Time to think about whether I want to continue blogging here or anywhere. The bad. Our budget is blown to smithereens. We moved because of this job, we have serious debt and two households. Rent covers part of the bill in the other state, but we must continue to pay here. And then the student loans. So in toto, I basically have 3 mortgages. Furthermore, this area offers little in my specialty, which was one major reason I was afraid to take this position in the first place, though I had little choice. But I refuse to be upset about this. I refuse to allow this to worry me. There are so many people's situations that are much worse. Students that left school with no job prospects at all, also laden with student loans. And I am beginning to believe that this may be the best for me. It has forced me to truly think about what I want out of a job. And I can't go back to the kind of work required there. I did not get into this to be involved in law other than IP and I was right. I find corporate law repetitious and dull (and I know plenty of folks out there would hate patent law or pull their hair over the nonsensical complexity of copyrights). I am somewhat more interested in litigation, but do not have the personality for it. As pointed out by others, I am too clinical, wanting to find the right answer and that simply takes far too long. Here is what you shall find here, if anyone is even still checking this site. I am going to blog about the ups and downs of job hunting, including attempting to create a position (with a place that I believe would be match with my personality pretty darn well). I am going to blog about what it means to go from not worrying about finances to watching every penny that goes out the door (we are already struggling with whether to give up hulu plus and netflix, which only comes to about $16/month, but is still an expense). And I am going to blog about my journey to overcome and use my ADHD to my advantage, rather than continually trying to deny it. It's there, I take medication for it. And now, I can move past that and deal with the everyday issues that have been a constant battle. Part of blogging about ADHD will also be blogging about my health, losing weight and exercise. Turns out exercise and eating right are important parts of taking care of ADHD. So sit back and have a little helping of Schadenfreude watching a silly little lawyer attempts to win back her pride, confidence and footing in the world (though I hate to tell you, I am not really into self-pity and all that crap) ;)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

What Happened to Working For the Weekend

Oy it's Sunday. I worked yesterday (a Saturday). I will work today (Sunday). And I feel sorry for myself. JUST KIDDING!!! I have a ton of work and that's a great thing. Getting it out on time is important, to maintain the reputation of a good worker.

Although I will be an IP lawyer, I perform a number of other legal services (HA, that sounds so prostitutional). Getting through some of these is difficult because of their first time nature. I have many first times. It would be nice to have a second and third so I feel like I know something. At a first-year training, I asked a partner about when we start "knowing" something. I get to look forward to 3 years of discombobulation.

One day I hope to have a hobby.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Mother Ship

I am in a fairly small office (approx. 20 attorneys). We have a big office in a different city about 2 hours from here. So periodically I climb into my trusty old American car and head on down the road. And there I find a magical place with soda fountains and other wondrous things. People pay for my lunch as if I was a still in law school, still to be wooed. And I get to look out over the city.

I am so very glad to work in a smaller office. I am sure there are good parts of working in such a large office, but I like my office. I like knowing the people. I like being able to get work from lots of different folks doing lots of different things (okay, ask me if I still like it on days I am bouncing from things I have no clue on). And I like that we are growing but the growth won't keep us from knowing each other.

Don't think I am some Pollyanna that requires working with "family." Nah. I just like seeing people I know. I like knowing who I can go to. I like knowing what people's attitudes are. I suppose I like creating a comfort zone. And I am getting pretty comfortable so let's hope they don't toss me out any time soon.

I thought I would have a huge problem becoming vegetarian. So far, not so much. The few times I have slipped, I pretty much was starving and then only ate a little. I can't get the images of the factory farms out of my head. I don't think I will ever be able to get those images out of my head. I don't mind eating meat. Everything eats something else. But I can't be part of the torture of animals. And no flames please. This is my opinion. And if I haven't said anything about it, I happened to watch a couple of documentaries on food about 2 months ago. I made the decision to stop eating meat. I am still eating eggs (get them from a local farmer) and cheese (I pay attention to the ingredients and origin - happy cows or goats). Vegetables are pretty good.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Goals for 2011

I am going to confine my blogging here, where I don't feel constrained to always talk about weight and related shit.

1. Work is going well. I am spending a lot of time on corporate work, but am working into intellectual property. Anyone have any good tips on networking and building relationships with people? I am doing okay, but feel like I need to have a business plan for myself ("The MothaF*** Awesomeness that Is Me Business Plan). The people are still great. I haven't reached the stage where anyone throws off their mask showing the psychopath below (excuse me, I just finished reading Snakes in Suits)

2. The move has been good (except the husband is still not moved yet). I am in Alabama now. The winter...WAS...FREAKIN'...AWESOME!! Minnesota has tons of great things (well, and then there is MB, ew). But an Alabama winter is so lovely. I got snowed in with 3 inches of snow. Yes, fans, you read that right 3 f'ing inches. Heeehehehehe. So awesome. Okay, okay, the summer is the trade off. Weeks of over 100 degree weather. I love the backyard. The dog can run around out back now. No more getting geared up at 4 in the morning because the dog has the shits. Just open the back door.

3. I have a two new goals for the rest of 2011!!!! A 5K in May and a half marathon in October. Slow and steady. I can walk them if need be, but I am going to be much more active this year. Me bones es creaky and I am tired of it. Walking up stairs, if I am with someone, I will jabber about anything to cover the noise of my knees. Sounds like dice. First walk/run is tomorrow. Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. I am starting with 3 days. And 2 more days a week to get strong (well, okay, to be able to use a 5lb weight instead of a 1 lb, and throw in a few lunges and squats). And maybe some yoga for idiots since I am as flexible as a brick.

So do you folks know what a pain in the ass it is to keep up with the changes in the law. Every freakin' day I am hit with a new case I have to take into consideration. I say shenanigans...civil code people, civil code.

Peace out.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sunday, January 2, 2011

That Empty Feeling

There are days I love my job and a few days when I wonder what the hell possessed me. Last week was really slow and then I got monstrously sick (the hurling kind). So this week was a not so lovefest. About three weeks ago it was a fabulous week.

Still slow, having a hard time getting through assignments. But I came across an interesting
word - Sprezzatura. It's an Italian word that means “to hide conscious effort and appear to accomplish difficult actions with casual nonchalance." The way to make an impression at work is to adopt the attitude of sprezzatura.

How do you do this? Making it look easy means over-prepping. Over-prepping in law is keeping up with case law after hours, reading the bulletins on the Federal Register (that, my friend, takes a chunk of time), and noting the types of assignments I am getting to create a master list of what is required for the repeaters (and keeping track of the unusuals too). In sum, to learn everything possible to be able to pull what I did a few weeks ago. In discussing a client and a patent application, I mentioned a program at the PTO the others were unfamiliar with. After some digging, I put together a way for the client to be a part of this program and the client liked it. Not bad for me, the slow one :)

Off to finish a really old assignment. Gack.