Posts Tagged ‘employment’

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Happiness and Headaches

February 1, 2012

Happiness

  • I’ve accepted the offer from the new job.  Man, does it feel good to know that I have landed without a gap in employment.  Hooray!
  • The new job agreed to my starting AFTER February vacation week, so I don’t have to be in stress-mode while Mouse is home from school and her friends are all away. Lemon will be traveling with her crew team, and we are not traveling without her.  We thought about it last February, when it was freaking cold out we didn’t yet know that I’d have this transition forced upon me.  But since today – February 1 – it was 60 degrees outside – we aren’t feeling too bummed about the change in plans.
  • The old job owes me 3 weeks’ vacation pay.  I didn’t know that until yesterday.  That will be a nice chunk o’ change. I am seriously considering a late-June re-do of last year’s vacation.  The house itself is very affordable, we will drive rather than fly, and we will all be happy with cooking in the house.  It could be great. It could be perfect.  Just what we need.
  • I’m home a lot. I don’t have much work left, and most of what I do have can be done at home.
  • When I’m home, I get to hang out with my kids.  And I like them.  And I have fun with them.  I love how much they make me laugh, I love how much they find what room I’m in, and hang out with me.  I love that Lemon came home today and laughed from the door way, yelling (to me), “Honey, I’m hooo-ooooome!” And that she then met me at her sister’s basketball game, and we went out for a sushi “snack” afterwards, chatting all the while.  Where are the nasty teen years?? (Don’t answer that.)
  • Mouse had a doctor’s appointment (annual physical) yesterday.  I picked her up early, we went and grabbed some burritos, and then went to talk about how damned healthy, tall, athletic and smart she is.
  • My girls are really enjoying each other lately. I may enjoy that more than them enjoying me.
  • Tomorrow is mine and David’s 5th wedding anniversary.  When we went away for our birthdays this year, we realized that it was also our 10 year “dating” anniversary.  He got a haircut today, and he looks super-cute.  Also, he probably noticed today at the basketball game that I raided his sock drawer, but he didn’t complain.  He’s a great guy.

 

Headaches

  • I had a 3 day headache.  For real.  Like, my head hurt.  An Advil fixed it, but I had to complain, because it just fits here so well.
  • While I had posted previously that the Ex “was less resistant” to the idea of kicking things back to the level they should have been at all along, I was being overly optimistic. We are going back and forth with proposals.  He’s dragged the sharing of travel costs and tax deductions into our discussion, and he pisses me off.  Then he throws in his usual condescending asinine comments (i.e., “I am very sympathetic to the financial and professional difficulties you face at the moment . . . “), and I want to rip his face off.  For reals.  I still think we can reach an agreement, but dealing with his bullshit in the meantime drives me bonkers.
    • I wanted to retort that while I am facing a paycut, it was something I always knew was coming, AND!  Another thing!!  This is not a “professional difficulty,” at all!  This is a very logical and typical move at this stage of my career, and is resulting in increased experience!  You dummy!  Instead, I ignored his blah-blah, and responded only about the issues at hand.  So, ha!  You cannot rattle me!  [except that, really, he did.  because he’s a jerk.]
  • Also, the Ex just canceled the girls’ summer visit again.  So now David and I will both be working, and I think that the girls will be home.  Without much to do.  Last year, with me making gobs of money, we filled the time with crazy-costly camps (no, really — the girls were in camp with the grand-daughter of the owner of the Patriots, and with the daughter of the owner of Newbury Comics … we paid dearly).  This year, Lemon will likely be looking for someone to pay HER, and Mouse will be, uh . . . .
  • Just after I came to terms with my reduced salary, I called the H.R. person at the New Job to find out about health insurance details.  They were bad.  Very bad.  I almost cried.  I didn’t know what to do – I was totally unprepared for the costs.  I know I’ve been spoiled and spoiled and spoiled, but this was a blow.  I have since spoken with some people that tell me that while the number was double what I pay currently, on a salary that’s half of what I currently have, it’s “normal” and “fair.”  Fortunately, they told me that AFTER I decided to negotiate this point with New Firm.  So, this maybe should be up there in “happiness,” because it looks like there will be movement on the issue.

So, thanks for reading!

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Pre-Acceptance Freak Out

January 28, 2012

Friday was a busier day than I anticipated. I thought I’d have my 10 am informational interview, and then a restful day at home, maybe with a phone call or two.

But my 10 am “informational” interview felt more like a real interview, and then I checked in with a friend who works at that firm for a while.  He ended up being close with one of the associates at the offer firm, so he put us in touch to chat.

I went home, spoke to this associate for an hour, and then called next week’s firm to see if I could move things up, and then had real work to do, and then decided to engage in negotiations with the ex to get child support up to snuff. Then I freaked out, a la paycheck calculator.

Here are some of the results:

  • Associate at offer firm gave a very nice and candid view of the firm. I ended up even more excited to work there. It was good.
  • Next week’s interview can’t be moved up: the firm is in talks with a senior person to come in as a partner. They were thinking if he does come in, they’d bring me in as a junior person to support him. But timing can’t be rushed, and the area isn’t my first choice (and isn’t – really – what my resume indicates I would do, so …. ????). I’m keeping the Thursday lunch on the Calendar for the sake of the “longer view.” it’s not going to be an option for me right now.
  • The Ex was less resistant than I anticipated. I’d done a good job for the past year or so in prepping him for the reality that I would not be at big firm forever, and therefore wouldn’t be able to continue to discount child support forever. I think we can avoid court.
  • But the paycheck calculator was mean to me. 

This will not be easy. I’m nowhere near having to make huge changes, like moving out of my house or selling my car, but the series of little changes are going to hurt. 


A friend joked today, “you won’t be able to run out and get the newest iPhone and iPad anymore!” not that I’d need a new iPad. Mine is great. But if the iPhone 5 comes out ….  


No, seriously. The clothes budget will be an issue, the food budget will be affected. Things like $200 athletic fees for sports will start to hurt. 


We like Calistoga Springs sparkling water, the orange flavor. David tends to buy a case of it now and again, bc it’s cheaper by the case. I was having a glass last night, and wondered “can we keep buying this?” I asked him how much it was, and he really didn’t know. “do you think we will have to look at things that closely?” he asked.  Yes. Yes, I do.


I may need to have Lemon quit her voice lessons.


And the  there’s my other hold out – Third to house and car – the housecleaners. A $200/month expense that I just can’t imagine giving up. I’d rather cancel cable. Having a lower income doesn’t mean I have a lesser job. (Odd as that may be, but the reality when you start out in BigLaw). I don’t have any more time to scrub and polish. The housecleaners don’t tidy – they keep up with the floors, the bathrooms, the dust bunnies under the radiators. And they force us (because all of our personalities require force) to keep up with our personal messes on a twice-monthly basis, so the dust and grime underneath the clutter can be addressed.


Before we had them, I was a sad lady. A mad lady. Weekends were unhappy times because I was resentful that I spent the week working and then the weekend cleaning. So maybe I’d sit on the couch and pout, instead of cleaning, and things were yucky. Then we’d plan to have friends over, and I’d have no choice but to tackle the weeks’ (or months’) worth of grime, and I’d go on a rampage. Cleaning and bitching would go hand-in-hand. I would, essentially, turn into my mother. And like the generations before them, my kids and husband would hide in corners somewhere or leave the house. 


I can’t think of anything other than these housecleaners that has increased the quality of my life to this degree.  Maybe my iPhone. Maybe – but it may have detracted, really, because of the, well, distraction.


So I will tenaciously hold on.


And we will tighten the belts and see how it feels.


And David is still on the job market. It was easier for me because the legal market here is picking up, but other markets are still slow.  I also am currently employed, and he, in contrast, has been managing the home for the past 5-6 years. He got a masters in that time, too, but even that is somewhat in the past. And in the time that he’s been looking, he kinda caught pneumonia – so, things have been slower.


Once he’s settled, I think we will be even closer to ok. 


And so – there I am. Freaking out, but still optimistic. Could be worse, right?


I could have to move … And I do not.

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Job Search Diaries, III

January 26, 2012

The third installment in my chronicling of looking for a new job.  Here is the first, and the second.

Two interviews in one day is hard.  I wasn’t wrong that a 4 p.m. interview would be very, very hard.

I also had a decent amount of work to do today, for my current job.

Tough day.

Anyway, as predicted, the 11:30 interview was meh.  I met with a partner from another big firm, who referred to the environment as “a pressure cooker” on multiple occasions.  Frying pan —-> frier, not my idea of an intelligent move.  I liked her, and the work itself doesn’t sound horrible, really (nice qualifier), but – well – meh.

Then at 4, polar opposite.  Minimum billable hours: 1600.  Huh?  Is that even full time?  A 30 hour work week (assuming no vacation).

But it was also in the ‘burbs, and requires a daily drive, and is super-tiny, and doesn’t really have a copy machine. Most importantly – it doesn’t seem to have opportunities for growth/promotion.  I don’t know – I can live without a copy machine, but the vibe didn’t feel right to me.  I know a few people who have interviewed there in the past and in this current round, and they “really liked it.”  I wonder if we were in the same place?

So now we have the Trial Firm, The Pressure Cooker, and The Burb-Firm.

What’s next is an informational interview with a very well-respected medium sized firm, and then an initial partner interview with another smaller firm.

But then, the huge News Flash:

I got an offer today!!! 

From the trial firm.

I am a happy camper about this.

First of all, I am excited about this firm.  I keep soliciting opinions from others, to make sure my  impressions aren’t off the wall,  and they all are coming back positive.

Second of all – I’m not gonna be unemployed!!  Even though friends and even my career-dude have been pretty consistent with “there’s no shame in applying for unemployment . . . ” I didn’t want to do that.  My rent is $2500. Unemployment is $653/week in Mass.  Okay – I can cover the rent with that (I didn’t think I could – but just now googled it for the first time) – but I can’t buy FOOD!!!  (Okay, so David just pointed out that I could get food stamps, maybe — HOORAY!) BUT — there is no aid that covers car payments, or student loans (well, except for deferments). But WE’D STILL BE SCREWED!!

So a job offer is very welcome.

The fact that this one comes with a major (i.e. 50%) pay cut, well, doesn’t detract.

I’ve been working at one of these crazy-paying law firms for 5 years.  I’ve made a lot of money, but I haven’t done enough with it. We have some savings, but we should have more.  If I continued with this salary, would I have more savings?  Maybe not.  Probably not.  Despite the stupidity of that answer.

I’ve always known that the big (ridiculous) salary wasn’t forever. Not-forever is now.   That’s fine.  We can do this.  My resulting salary is a good one. It goes up even more every year.  There are bonuses, decent benefits.

Things will be fine.

[College?  What is this word, college?  i do not understand.  Is this a word from my language?  Please.  Leave me alone. I need a fucking job.]

 

 

 

 

 

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Job Search Diaries, II

January 25, 2012

Much activity since my last post!  The good kind (for the most part).

By the end of last week, I had 5 interviews lined up for this week and next.

The first one was Monday – and I knew it was going to be relatively intense, with 5 attorneys, and pretty high standards. The job was at a medium sized firm that focuses on trial work.  I bought a new suit, I reviewed a booklet from my career dude with “30 tough interview questions,” and studied the firm’s website.  I worked hard on coming up with my story about why I was leaving my current firm (you know, short of saying “I got fired,” but yet being honest that I was shown the door . . . ).

And the interview went great. I left there feeling really good about the way it went.  I liked the firm, the location is easy-peasy, commute-wise, and — I can still interview!!!  I was on a high over it all day long.  I knew that an offer was not guaranteed, but just knowing that it went well made me happy.  It made me think I can sell myself, and that I will, eventually, be sold.  (Hopefully to the highest bidder.)   I also really wanted an offer.

That evening, I signed onto facebook and saw that an old colleague of mine was posting about the fact that she had  2 job offers and had to choose RIGHT NOW.  I reached out and told her I’d been looking around and have done some research into firms, and did she want to chat about it?  So we did, and . . . she got an offer from the firm I’d interviewed with that morning.

As it turned out, she was in another conference room across the hall at the same time as me. She had an offer in hand, and knew she had to respond to that offer ASAP, and so the firm scrambled and gave her an offer.

I was bummed. I know it would be silly to think I’d get an offer from my very first job interview, but I did like them, and I think they liked me, so it was a little sad.  At the same time, I told myself, I wasn’t sure that they only had one opening.  My colleague had heard through her grapevine that another associate gave notice while we were each in our respective conference rooms, and so it could very well be that we’d both be getting offers.

I gave my colleague all the information I had about the firm (all positive), from partners at our firm and from people I know outside the firm.  I knew less about the firm she had her other offer from, but we talked about what she did know.

She wrote me yesterday morning — she declined the offer and went with the other firm.

At noon, I got a call from a partner I work with.  She had been called for a reference.  At 4, I got an email from a senior associate I worked with.  She had been called for a reference.  I then wrote to another partner I work with and told him, “they’re making phone calls – please check your voice mail?” He wrote back “They called!  I’ll call back in the morning.”  (I will remind him.)

Today, I have 2 interviews.  One at 11:30, and one at 4 p.m.  I also have a meeting at work at 10, but the 11:30 interview is in my current building.  I may come home right after the first interview, because I don’t know how else to keep my energy up for a 4 p.m. interview.  This one is another appealing firm, which is not in the city, proper.  It’s in the quasi-urban town next to ours, and I’d need to drive to work.  That would be weird.

The 11:30 is less appealing.  It’s for a position at another big firm in a specialized area, and I’m not sure I want to specialize in that area (although I do have a lot of experience in it).  I just don’t have the best feeling about it.  But I will give it my all, nonetheless.  The firm that’s been calling my references – as well as every other firm I’m talking to – is going to come with a huge paycut.  Huge.  This other big firm will come with a small pay cut. We are hoping huge pay cuts will be mitigated by David finding a job, but that hasn’t happened yet. So I don’t want to shut the door on something that could be easier for our budget.

Friday is another medium sized firm, and next THURSDAY, is yet another.  I’m afraid next Thursday is too far away, if the Monday firm makes me an offer.  I’m hoping I can call the Thursday firm and move things up.

So, there’s the update!

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Job Search Diaries

January 18, 2012

January has already been a huge roller coaster on the job-search front.  With the return to school for the girls and “work” for me (in quotes because I’m not really working – but I am showing up at the office to clean out my drawers and use the printer for resumes), I knew the pressure was on to find a freakin’ job.

Prior to January 1, I had many (good) reasons to put the search off.

  1. My severance package creates a situation where it behooves me, financially, to stay at my current firm for the entire “transition period” (i.e., 3 months) – searching in November to start a job in March is a little awkward, at best.
  2. I produced Mouse’s school play, and it was a great way to throw myself into a productive endeavor and not feel like shit about myself for getting laid off.
  3. The holidays.  Not only did they give me something positive to focus on, but they tend to get in the way of most hiring cycles.

Despite these reasons, I did keep checking job postings, and threw my resume at a few opportunities (a “few” means 5 or  6) throughout December.  But never heard a peep.

But come January 1, I had nothing.  No play. No holidays.  Nothing to talk me into putting this off.

I (potentially naively) expected to wake up on January 3, the first true “business day” of the year, and see the world smattered with job opportunities. And to be dripping with responses from the December submissions.

Instead, I woke up on January 3 and saw – nothing.

That whole week, postings were light and my phone was silent.  I was kinda bummed.  And I started to feel some actual anxiety about whether I can pull this off – whether I can manage to get a new position before this one ends.  A gap in employment will not be easy for us.  Not at all.

Then the following week, postings picked way up.  I reached out to some people I know and had some nibbles.  I sent resumes to various places. I felt good! about things!

But some of my networking emails went unanswered (the minority of them, but still).  The resumes I sent received no response. By the end of the week, I felt – bleh.

But then I had a meeting with my career-dude (firm-provided career consultant), and he made me feel better, because he’s smooth like that.  Then I made some phone calls inside the firm to people I work with and sent an email to a friend outside the firm (a fellow parent who is also a lawyer who graduated from my law school, but a decade before me), and the responses I got were overwhelming.  Not just “oh, why don’t you call so-and-so?”  But rather “I am going to call so-and-so for you!  They are looking for people, and you are perfect!”  And then – they did call their so-and-sos.

I was kind of blown away by their generosity and proactive response.  My career dude has been pushing me all along to be up front with people in my community and at my firm about my situation, for this very reason.  “People want to help you!” he said.  But I was still shy.  I forced myself, though, after our last meeting to reach out a bit more.

I stayed optimistic all weekend.  Which is nice for a long weekend.  And then the last of my networking people who hadn’t responded DID respond (with apologies for the delay).  And yesterday, the postings were again voluminous, and I sent my resumes to the s0-and-sos.  Within 2 hours of sending my resume to one of the so-and-sos, I got a response setting up a meeting.  Then I sent out 4 more resumes to the day’s postings.  And I woke up this a.m. with another interview request.

So.  Hooray!  Two interviews!  Of course, they may just be the warm-ups.  I haven’t interviewed since 2006.  5 1/2 years ago.

But I think I can do it . . . .

 

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Day-by-Day

November 22, 2011

I feel like I am still on a rollercoaster, emotionally, but the dips and hills are not so crazy-wild as they were before I received my lay-off news.  I’ll feel fine one minute and happy to distract myself by immersing myself into the play that I’m producing, and then the next moment, I’ll feel inexplicably sad. Things that make me sad:

  • The HR person who’s supposed to be holding my hand through next steps knowing ZERO answers to very reasonable and foreseeable questions;
  • going to court with a long-time pro bono client, knowing that I won’t be around for the next review date;
  • wondering when we will next be able to travel.

But for the next several days, I’m going to be home and enjoying the holiday.  Monday will start the huge push toward the job search, but first – Thanksgiving.

The girls are going to the Middle of the Country this year.  WD and I thought about taking a trip at the same time, but our time was too short and prices were too high.  The girls leave on Thanksgiving morning, at some ungodly hour, so we won’t even drive to see my parents.  Instead, we made reservations.

Last year was the first year that we had a really nice meal out on Thanksgiving. Only, we weren’t at home.  The menu wasn’t so different from this year’s.  WD had the turkey, and I went with the lamb, thinking I was being adventurous.

Instead, I missed having turkey.

So guess what I plan to eat this year?  Yep.  Turkey.  It’s gonna be delicious!

Other than the meal out, WD and I have no plans for our long-long weekend.  I will probably spruce up the resume a bit more, and maybe do some job searching.  I may prompt him to do the same.  I’m sure we will watch movies.  I would like to watch The Shining again – haven’t in a long time.  I’ve been on a horror movie kick since we saw Rosemary’s Baby with Lemon recently.  That movie was outstanding.  Then came American Horror Story, and my old appetite for creepy is rejuvinated.  But it is creepy that I like – not slasher.  And there’s less out there that fits my requirements, as opposed to sheer “scary guy waiting behind the door with a big knife” crap.  The psychological aspects of my kind of creepy must be well-developed.  I want some intelligence in my creep.

I also plan to exercise a good bit over the long weekend.  Some running, some strength.  Would like to firm up a bit before I start the interview circuit.  Although I have a lunch with a partner at a firm on Monday, and I’m not sure there’s much I can do about the lack of firmness before Monday.

 

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My Baby’s First Job

August 18, 2011

Last night, I went out with a friend after work.  I came out of the restaurant to a slew of text messages from both Lemon and WD (I’m sure if Mouse had her phone with her at camp, she’d be on that list).  WD was confused as to my whereabouts, because while he knew I was out, and he knew we’d agreed that we could eat late and that I didn’t need to rush, he didn’t quite expect me to be out until 8:30 or so.  We ended up with a 9 p.m. dinner.

Lemon’s texts were a barrage of questions.

Earlier in the day, I had received an email from a friend asking about Lemon’s availability to help out with a summer camp next week.  I told Lemon about it and said, “you should email her.” Lemon’s response consisted of the following texts:

1.  What does she need me to do??!

2.  What are the hours??

3.  How much will I get paid?

4.  Hello?  Mom??!  Where are you?

5.  MOM???!!!!

My hackles were raised, and I was feeling irritable that god forbid I am not on top of the texts the moment I get them. And I snippily responded, “I told you that YOU should email her, and YOU should ask these questions.  I’m not your agent.”

Then I thought about it (as my selfish irritation faded), and I realized – she’s never done this before.  She doesn’t know how.  While there is probably some unit in some class somewhere in high school that will talk about the basics of employment and functioning in the business world, it doesn’t come until later.

So I retraced my steps, apologized for snapping, and offered to walk through the process with her.  She said, “oh, would you, please?”  I told her that some questions are appropriate at the outset, but that she should wait for the employer to raise money first.  I drafted an email for her that essentially read like a cover letter.  “I heard you’re hiring … What an exciting opportunity … here’s my experience and my skill set … I’m available to discuss at your convenience.”

I think it was a pretty good email.  I sent it to her and she tweaked it so it was more like her (and less like me), and sent it off.  They are meeting on Sunday.

In the end, I think she did learn something through the experience (something in addition to “my mother can be such a bitch!”).

And, also, she may make some serious $$.  She’s saving for her very own digital slr camera, and this could give her a decent start.