Friday, November 25, 2011

I'm alive and kicking?

I haven't been writing or using my brain in a while so please forgive the rambling, poor grammar, etc.

Alive? yes.  Kicking? umm not so much but I've come out of wallowing for the most part.   Since losing my dream job (which I never really had) and becoming a law school drop-out I've been stuck in an early(?) mid-life crisis, I'm 37.  Fortunately I don't look my age (or act it) so that's one big plus I have going for me.  I quit my awful soul crushing insurance job and I have been working (hanging out) in special education as a classroom assistant for peanuts. Seriously the pay is shameful I don't know how the single people manage but it does have medical insurance and I need medical.  DH is still a contract employee.  I am glad he is working but he has no benefits.  I was not offered another corporate job after half-hearty trying so I went running back to my past, being a caregiver for the disabled.  I would not call it teaching.  The students I work with are so medically fragile and low functioning if anything I am a glorified CNA. 

I'm an out-of-state credentialed teacher but I have no motivation for becoming credentialed in my state. I know this is only temporary.  None of my moves to find paying work in public interest panned out and because I need insurance and a paycheck (albeit small)  I can not do the volunteer work that may or most likely not lead to any real job offer.  I called one free legal services agency with weekend clinic hours that I used to do pro bono work for and they told me they had no available hours, they are fully staffed with volunteers!!

With so many out of work law school grads and super paralegals clamoring to work for free.  I've been doing some soul searching and considering other careers, teaching, some kind of therapy (speech, OT etc).  As much as I try to quit it law still calls to me like a bad habit or a bad boyfriend you can't get out your head.

Two experiences pulled me back and gave me a taste of what excited me in the first place.  I was called up for jury duty and spent six days being vetted (a questionnaire, call backs and three days of voir dire) for a serial killer trial.  I loved being in a courthouse.   I was excused for cause by the state (surprise, surprise!). Between my views on the death penalty & being a former paralegal I was dead in the water & was never going to be on that jury but I still had to go through the show. And what a show it was!! I just got a glimpse of some awesome lawyers at work and damn were they good! 

 The second experience was the school I work for was telling us classroom aides that we did not get breaks.   I tried to tell them I was a paralegal but it didn't seem to register with them.  The administration are complete bullies.  I made one phone call to the union and whahla we now all have breaks.  I have kept track of all the days I was denied a break and I'm considering pursing compensation.  I am legally entitled to one hour of pay for every missed break but I know it just takes away more $ from the students.  Another case of schools mismanaging tax $$ pulling stupid stunts like this. 

It has been an interesting experience being treated so badly, for the most part it just rolls off my back. At this age I know myself well enough that I have nothing to prove to administrators or teachers their comments fall on deaf ears.  Classroom aides are treated for the most part like loser high school drop-outs, warm bodies, too uneducated to do anything better with themselves.  The last time I was so consistently condescended to was when I was waiting tables in my early twenties. It made me angry that people are taken advantage of and/or just too intimidated to fight for their rights.  I remembered what made me love the law and in particular made me become enamored with the idea of becoming a lawyer.  It's because nothing puts the fear in people like a lawsuit, or an investigation, or an audit. 

It's an intoxicating and powerful feeling to have skills to stick it to people who take advantage of others.  I know it's just a break but it's the principle also, I mean really?!? It's 15 minutes for people who work their asses off in special education with kids no one else wants or could even handle working with and you can't give them a break? a chance to rest? Even though it is against the law not to do so!  Anyway it fired me up.  I had my aha moment.  I remembered why I even attempted to embarked on this crazy journey.

So I started interviewing again, unfortunately they are corporate positions b/c they are they only ones who will call me back.  I swear I should have majored in Spanish.  A friend at a non-profit invited me to apply for a position but I didn't even get an interview.  I didn't have enough litigation experience or second language skills & they hire by committee. 

The agency which broke my heart a year and a half ago is hiring again although my contact there is in a different department now I am trying again.  I know they at least looked at my application b/c one of my documents didn't go through and the chief paralegal emailed me to ask for it.  It's a slim, slim, slim chance I'll even get an interview but I have to try.

With story after story I hear about unemployed legal professionals and law school grads who would happily give their degrees back for a tuition refund it's hard not be discouraged but we'll see how this all works out.  In the meantime I work close to home and I work the same hours that monkey is in school.  I have been able to spend lots of time with her and that has been great!!!!!!

And as for you law Every time I think I'm out.... - you pull me back in!