Saturday, October 27, 2012

Momnesia






I remember again what happens when I get overloaded with juggling work with life.  I become the absent-minded mother.  For example, it is the middle of October and 2x DH had to go to the store and buy monkey lunch and bring it to her at school because her lunch was either in the back of my car (an hour away) or still in the fridge at home.  This year has been the first this has ever happened and it happened 2x.  Then the real kicker, Columbus Day was a holiday for me (thank you federal gov!) and on monkey's school calendar it read Columbus Day but not "NO SCHOOL" the way it does when it is an actual holiday for her.  Somehow I got it in my mind she also had the day off so I kept her home.  Mostly she watched TV while I did other things until DH got home and spent proper parent time with her..... I suck!!!

I really dislike her school calendar or just her school materials in general, they really need a working parents edition.  A newsletter with bullet points that cuts out all the repetitive stuff or maybe I just need to pay more attention.

Work is becoming more like work.  I am wading through boxes upon boxes of materials and papers to get those 5 little nuggets of good info., tedious but just exciting enough to keep you going.  The office is separated into 2 units "regular" crimes and then the crimes I deal with.  I work the most serious crimes, not that the others aren't serious, but you know...... Now that I have worked these cases I can't really imagine working the "regular" crime cases.

THE GOOD AND NOT SO GOOD AT WORK

I like that people are busy, I like focusing on work instead of silly drama.  I like being included in team meetings with the attorneys and investigators, I have always liked teamwork.  Paralegals who I have had contact with are nice, generous, not competitive and really helpful.  The product possibly of not having to bill or being held to an billing hours requirement (although we do track our time for Washington, mostly just to argue we need more people).  I also think they are smart enough to know that the sooner I get up to speed the more it will lighten their own work loads.

Some of things I don't like is that the really good experienced paralegals have way too many cases and I am a little scared for the day that becomes me.  Also, I don't like that paralegal's roles are limited mostly to document control and cite checking (not that doesn't keep us busy).  Research and writing is done by dedicated research and writing attorneys and contact with people is limited to the attorneys and investigators.  I will never meet or talk to the clients (only the attorneys and investigators do that) or have a chance to interview or talk to anyone involved in the case.  I would love to learn more about investigation work and see if I would like it or be any good at it.  The travel, the people contact, taking photos and the snooping seems exciting but it could just be a grass is greener dream... all in good time.  I will say I love this practice area it has made law exciting for me again.

THE GOOD AND NOT SO GOOD AT HOME

Monkey is great, she loves school.  She is 6 years old and reading at a 4th grade level.  The school is accommodating, letting her read and write at her own level.  I  don't really know if it means anything. I know children develop at wildly different rates and leap frog each other constantly.  DH is super busy with work and school, I never see him except either spending time with monkey or sitting at the computer doing homework. We are betting the likely financial reward in the future of him finishing his engineering degree will be worth the present strain on our marriage.  I hope.

** The text message image above is not mine - thankfully I am not there yet!!! 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Overwhelmed

I've been at new job for a week and a half.  Three days then one full week and now a 3 day weekend, which is a very nice way to ease into a new job. There are lots of new people who just started, a mad rush to get people in before the end of the fiscal year.  I was one of the last to start.  The other paralegals I have interacted with so far are nice, helpful and patient with my cluelessness.  I haven't had much interaction with the attorneys yet.  The paralegals are more patient with me than I am with myself.  I want to know everything right away but that is not going to happen, it is too complicated.  One paralegal told me she had worked at the state level in the same practice area and when she came to this office she felt as though she went straight from kindergarten to college, skipping everything in between.

In addition to trying to understand the procedures and steps that these cases go through there are the paralegal responsibilities to learn.  The volume of the case files is really overwhelming.  I thought complex real estate transactions and patent files were large!  Now they seem quaint, I have one case that has 8,000 electronic pdf files ranging from 1 page to 500+ pages and that is not even considered very big.  Plus dealing with voluminous files at a government agency is nothing like big firms which for the most part have great resources and support.  Only a week and a half is way too soon to say if I like it or don't.  However, I still believe in the mission, even though one of my cases would test the resolve of even the most diehard believers.  These cases are not for the faint of heart and involve the highest stakes possible (hint) but that is why I find them so intriguing.  I want to feel like what I do matters and I think I actually have a chance here of getting to feel that.

I need to just pace myself and focus on patience.  Also, I need to stay away from negative complainers, cranky attorneys and the general fray.  I can already tell (like all places) there is a healthy amount of personality conflicts.  At the moment my desk is on a different floor than all but one person in my unit, which may be a good thing, less gossip.  For the most part I think everyone is too busy with work to really bother with office nonsense.  At least I know I will be!  I have 3 new software programs to learn and thousands of pages to read. 

I want to focus on longevity, many people stay there (or at least in the federal system) until retirement.  I don't know how long I will stay but I am tired of job hoping and really hope this works out.  My goal is 10 years, long enough for my student loans to go away and (fingers crossed) DH will finally finish his never ending engineering degree.  I don't know if the 3 of us can make it on just my salary, but if he has to work p/t I defiantly have more job stability than I have had in a LONG time.  More to be continued.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

off the face of the blogosphere

I fell off the face of the blogosphere for a while.   I was thinking of pulling the blog altogether.  I started it as a venting mechanism for the journey of going from big law paralegal to non-traditional law student to lawyer.  Well..... things didn't quite work out as planned, as many things in life, well... maybe MOST things in my life.

If the economic crash of 2008/09 did not happen while I was working for the real estate group of my fancy law firm things may have turned out quite different.  The original plan was to work maybe 30 hours at the firm and then go to the law school 6 miles down the street from work.  I really liked my group, I think they would have been extremely supportive and I would have had the support network that everyone needs to make it through the whole night school thing.

But alas I was laid off while husband was also out of work.  I took a job not even remotely close to home or school.  I started a new full-time job in a completely new practice area, while being the sole bread winner for a family of three.   This was not stressful enough apparently because I decided to  start classes instead of deferring knowing I was setting myself up to fail (but I am stubborn like that).

I was miserable trying to deal with everything including managing my social anxiety disorder. I knew I had made a mistake so I made no friends in my class (really bad if you are going to law school you need all the support you can get) and I knew my days were numbered.  I left before first semester finals at least saving myself from that torture.

Since then I been somewhat adrift.  I worked at the "your lucky to have a job" job for a while, quit that, had mid-life crisis, went to work in a special education classroom as an aide for SEVERELY disabled students.  I worked with a creepy tenured teacher (yuck!) but the kids were cute and I got to see a lot of my daughter. However, my paycheck was a pittance and I felt the gaping hole in my resume growing and it stressed me out.  Husband got a seemingly stable job (you never know these days) but it doesn't pay enough for me to stay at home, knit, bake cookies and find myself. 

Enter the well paying out-the-sky somewhat law related non-profit job after a series of frustrating interviews.  Oh the stories I could tell if I wasn't concerned about staying anonymous.  What a strange experience, everything you should never do while running a non-profit was being done there.  Dysfunctional would be an understatement to describe that organization but I felt for the sake of my resume I would  stay a year or two.  Not even 6 months there and who calls me out the blue?   Federal job, no I am not kidding and after only jerking my chain for 3 weeks (this time) with one let down only to be called again.  I got the magic letter with a start date, proper signatures and a job that was mine if I still wanted it (2.5 years later) with a pay cut (smallish) harder work (not necessarily a bad thing) and the warning that it will be the hardest job I have ever had.  I started Wednesday.

Yes, I am crazy.  But telling me it will be the hardest job I will ever have is more of a challenge than a warning.

I am no longer mom and law student but rather mom and paralegal who isn't completely sure what she wants to be when she grows up.... to be continued




Sunday, April 1, 2012

3 weeks

Three weeks into new job and I am still in a constant state of fear and excitement.  It was subsiding a little bit until Friday when I found out I am doing a one hour powerpoint presentation and discussion on contract processing on Tuesday! WT....! !!!!

I worked Friday night on it, took most of Saturday off, saw monkey play tee ball, had lunch with the parents and watched a goofy movie with DH.  I have known about the presentation and that I was participating I just didn't know I was doing the whole thing.   Now Sunday morning I overslept and I am drinking a huge coffee trying to get wake up, and procrastinating a little bit by writing this post.  I still like the job, it is a lot of work, makes for long days, and I am HUGELY out of my comfort zone.   I am constantly looking things up and wondering if I am really qualified.  I don't have a a lawyer right there to be my safety net, I only have expensive outside counsel, which I have yet to use.    Everyone in the office so far has been nice, they are an eclectic group and I am just weird and quirky enough to fit in.  

I also got my paycheck and for a non-profit I am being paid well, so I am not going to complain.   A few people are going to India next week and I am super jealous.  I may go to Chicago or Denver for a class in the next few months, I have never traveled for work before... I feel so grownup!

On the home front I missing time with Monkey but I make sure the time I have with her is good.  We went to the mall last Sunday and she got new shoes, a hot chocolate and a hot dog on a stick which she said "was the best day ever", so cute!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

First week

I am simultaneously loving it and in a constant state of terror.  I have never been this on my own before.  It's a new position so work is slow to trickle in, (which is good!) because otherwise I might have a heart attack.  I have always had an attorney or senior paralegal 5 to 10 feet from me that I could run to if I needed but here it's largely just me.  My boss is a senior executive and crazy busy so I feel like I am there to make his life easier not run in asking questions every 5 minutes.

I need to trust myself more I have 5 years of paralegal experience and umm (*cough*) one semester of law school.  I can do this.  I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.........

The good -  A fun office, fun inspiring work going on, and room to take the job and make it my own.  The bad -  It's a long drive and a lot of time away from home.  Once again I begin my eternal quest for balance between work and mommy. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Last Weekend

It's my last weekend before my new job.  I only have half the items on my to-do list checked off and I'm tired.  Instead of taking it easy I created a to-do list that was totally overambitious.  I did spend a fun day with Monkey yesterday at a children's museum, fun but not relaxing.  It has been a packed week with Girl Scouts, softball, piano, bingo AND  a fish fry fundraiser.  I love having Monkey in sports but they really do fill up the week.

I am only one and a half modules into a thirteen module contracts course and I haven't even touched any trademark refresher stuff.  I am trying not to be worried I don't think they will expect me to know everything my first day, I HOPE!  But I do want to study more this weekend sometime in between the softball game Saturday and staffing the G.S cookie booth in front of the local grocery store on Sunday.  One of the more fun errands I did this week was buying clothes, I broke the bank!  I didn't have anything to wear.  I have been losing weight (slowly) and anything I could potentially wear I was swimming in.  I hate buying clothes at this weight I want to by them when I am three sizes smaller but what can you do?  For a serious job you need serious clothes.  It's fun to get dressed up sometimes but if I could I would probably live in flip flops and jeans.

Now the hard part, which outfit do I wear on Monday! 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Good things come to those who wait...

I just didn't know I would have to wait for so LONG!! But it finally happened I got a job!  It isn't for the federal agency that jerked me around forever but instead for a non profit foundation.  I couldn't be happier.  I am so excited!  Thus all the !!!!!!  I am no longer going to be having my midlife crisis working as a classroom aide.  I will be back working as a mom in the legal profession very soon.  I start next Monday.  I don't really feel the need to give notice per se at the school because they aren't going to hire another person. They will just call a sub and also it's not as though I need to train anyone the subs do just fine.  There lies my dilemma do I just call and tell them? or do I go to work for one more day to tell them, say goodbye and cuddle with the kids for one last day?  I haven't decided......

It's very tempting just to take the whole week off.  Monkey is off for 3 days, Monday, Thursday AND Friday, some faculty retreat then a training or something.  I have a lot to do, haircut, a few new clothes, cleaning the house (which I have seriously neglected due to job search depression)  also I think I'm going to take an online course through NALA.  It's a recorded, go through at your own pace online course in contracts.  I will be doing a lot of contract work at my new job and I am really nervous.  I got a huge salary bump in addition to getting to work for a great foundation.  I am scared that I am not going to prove worthy.

My anxiety issues are already rearing their ugly head.  Maybe I just snowed them in the interview and they think I know a lot more than I really do, that kind of thing.  Uggh I can be my own worst enemy.

When I was waiting to hear if I got the job I did a lot of praying.  I'm not particularly religious but I do believe in a higher power.  I have never really prayed before, not seriously but I did and it really helped to clam my nerves that coupled with xanax.  Now I have a lot of promises to make good on.  Mostly I prayed about being a better person.  Taking this job is a way for me to do good for both the world (they have a global impact) and good for my family (it's a good career move).  I promised to have a more positive attitude and appreciate what I have.  I am excited to have this fresh start.  There are some really brilliant people at my new job and I am going to go in and do my best, work hard, smile more, talk to everyone (I can be shy), and not get involved in negativity or workplace drama. Those are some lofty goals but getting this job was seriously like scoring on a Hail Mary pass.

I still a bit hung over, celebration margarita pitchers (I didn't know they came in pitchers) with some friends last night so 8 days until new job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!