Posts Tagged ‘work’

h1

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.

Advertisements
h1

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.]

 

 

 

 

 

h1

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!

h1

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 . . . .

 

h1

Predictable Failure

November 8, 2011

When I started this “blog post a day all month” business with a back-dated post, we all knew it was destined to fail, right?

Cute little 2-day experiment, though.

So, I had a mixed weekend.  I spent considerable chunks wallowing in self pity and confusion thinking about the job situation, but spent other chunks being social and productive.  We saw a play, we went out with friends, I watched Mouse play soccer.

Mouse woke up healthy on Saturday, although we did not go to the ballet on Friday.  Which was sad.

This week at work is off to a productive start.  I’ve gotten work done and put a few feelers out on job prospects.  Who knows for sure if I’ll need to pursue them, but I’m not feeling too horrible about the potential options.  In fact, since my trial last week and some other factors coming together, I am thinking that regardless of what happens this month at the firm, I will start looking for my next step in earnest.

h1

On the Road Again

February 14, 2011

I’ve been enjoying a relative lull at work.  It’s a lull compared to the days that I was in trial, for certain.  I’m billing, on average, 7 to 7.5 hours a day, with a few 10 hour days here and there, and a few weekend hours which are all done from home.

Each week, I have to fill out a form saying how much availability I have, so that our assignment coordinator knows who is available to take on a new project.  I’ve had my availability pretty high – probably higher than it really is – because I like to be busy.

And on Friday, I got the call.

Not really a new case, but rather, a potentially two week trip to one of the many Springfields to look through some documents.

I could be bratty about this – thinking that a 4th year shouldn’t be the one tapped to review documents in a warehouse  – but it’s a tricky subject area in which I have experience.  Ramping a junior person up on this tricky area would take a while, and the review would be slow as they became accustomed to [no exaggeration] 10,000 acronyms.  [Ok, so it is a slight exaggeration.]

They’re giving me plenty of notice, and it turns out that it is not two weeks (which would have sucked, family-wise). I will be sharing the time with 2 other associates, and the review days are only from 8:30 – 4.  Then I will have the freedom to sit in my hotel room in a non-glamorous Springfield (are any of them glamorous?) and catch up with the work that my other cases generated during the day.

But it shouldn’t be too bad.

I cannot complain about the travel, either.  Since I’ve been in my current job, I have traveled once per year.  Twice to depositions, and twice to review documents on-site.  Until this year, they have all been either 1 or 2 nights away from home. I have colleagues who have spent weeks away from home.  I have been lucky. When WD and I first heard that I might be traveling, we both responded with a bit of an “oh, fuck.”  But when we put it in this perspective … that I’m a little late for my very fortunate once-a-year trip, we found it a lot more palatable.

I probably find it more palatable than my family does.  I’m the one who gets to sit in a hotel room, alone, with room service and – once i get my work done – the remote control to myself, and maybe even a novel!  Things I don’t usually do during the week, because if the t.v. is on, it’s hard to keep the kids away from it.  And I can’t watch the shows I want to watch — or the movies I want to watch.

One sucky part, though, is that I may not be able to watch the Oscars with my family.  If this is the case, it will be the first time since 2002 that WD and I haven’t watched the Oscars together.  I like to watch the Oscars.  With him.  We’ve gotten very close to watching all of the relevant nominated movies, too.

Oh well.

h1

Long Day at Work

November 1, 2010

All of my days have been long, lately, really.

When I was in trial in September, days were crazy-long.  Cray-zee.

Then I stopped working for a couple weeks.  That was nice and relaxing.  One day, a rainy Wednesday, to be exact, I played Angry Birds all day long.  Talk about relaxed.

Then I decided to put myself back on the radar at work, and man!  Did I ever.

I think it’s a fun thing about my job that what I do today feels absolutely nothing like what I was doing a month ago.  I work with different people, in different areas of law, getting to know different industries.  I still keep in touch with the people I worked so closely with on the older cases, and so my world is only growing, not just shrinking.

But – my days!  They’re so long!

I used to always leave by 6:30 (which people in most industries would consider late – for me & mine, it’s early). But all of a sudden, 8 p.m. is turning way too often on my work clock.

I think it’s partly my own fault.  I think that after the trial, I had so much down time, I got used to doing too many non-work things at my desk.  Blogging, for one.  (oops!)  Today was my diving into Twitter.  A few days of catching up on every single post of my favorite blogs.

So I need to re-focus.  So I can enjoy my job and my family, and dinner with my family, and kids who don’t starve to death because their mom can’t get her ass in gear ….