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.