Dual Job Motivations

This post can be summed up in two words: Document Review.

As soon as I finished the last post (on Friday) about the frustrations of job searching, I decided I should check one of the job boards, one that I check daily. A document review position was posted–with training to begin on the following Tuesday. It was about 2:00 pm, and I quickly sent my resume attached to a very brief cover-letter type e-mail. Knowing that the training started Tuesday, I proceeded to stare at my computer, periodically manually refreshed my e-mail, and checked the volume on my cell phone. When I had heard nothing back at 5:00 pm, I assumed, if I heard anything, it would be on Monday and proceeded to vacuum the entire apartment–every room, every air intake vent (HVAC and desktop computer), and the refrigerator (some baking soda had spilled).

At 6:00 pm, I sat back down to randomly see what my social media contacts were up to and found an e-mail waiting for me. At 7:00 pm, I had a telephone interview and was set to start a general training on Monday. At 7:30 pm, I e-mailed scans of my identifying documents.

Once again, I love the people. The facility is beautiful and well designed. They fed us lunch on Monday (I had a wonderful freshly made caprese sandwich on a fresh whole wheat sub roll). The commute is long–2 miles further than my last job and only 9 miles closer than the bar exam location. It pays more than my last job. It is definitely a law job, and the subject matter of this particular case is interesting to me–overall.

But, now I know what people mean when they say “document review.”

Supported by a great team

Best part of this job? Having a reason to write a post that can use this image. Thanks!  :)

That first general training day? The guy said, “You never know. Some people love document review. Each project is a different issue.” I had hope. Of course, I did not want this to be my final career aspiration, but maybe I would really enjoy this interval. But, I look at and tag the same e-mails, the same PowerPoints, the same memos over and over and over again.

Also, our training Monday was less than 2 hours, and then we were done for that day. However, we were still entitled to work up to 40 hours for the week, up until 5:30 pm Friday. So, I averaged 9 hours a day for the last four days of the week. Nine hours a day of looking at a computer screen. The commute on top of that.

This project will be completed some time this week. They assure us they expect to have another one lined up. I do hope so.

I love working. I love leaving home regularly to go to work. I love that I will have a pay check coming.

But, almost every evening, I made sure I checked all my job boards and all the companies on my radar. I think my motivation to land my first actual career step in the law has actually increased since starting this position.

Back to the good things about this job–there are large windows all around us. I sit at a window. At my last job, I felt like we were in a deep dark pit that just happened to be three floors up. I love windows.

Planes taking off and landing fly directly in front of my line of sight all the time. It is so weird. You know that feeling in your stomach when you take off? and the smell of the air inside of a plane? I get both the feeling and the change in the air (perception) every time I see one of those planes. Luckily, it is not such a bad sensation–I like travel so it has happy associations. It is just strange to have a visceral reenactment, while sitting inside a grounded building, multiple times a day.

On Tuesday, when two of the lawyers for the client flew in to bring us up to speed and train us on the project itself and then immediately flew back out that evening, I understood the location choice of this office. Smart.

 

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Neither This Nor That

I am a law school graduate, a JD.

I am not licensed to practice in any state. Yet. I don’t know whether I will be soon, or whether it will be much later.

I am applying for jobs. But, the above dichotomy is causing some issues. Attorney positions need someone who is licensed. Non-attorney legal positions want someone who is going to be happy in a support position long term. Allow me to quote one ad for a local (!) legal support job:

“Please note that we will not be interviewing attorneys, law students, or anyone studying for the bar exam.”

* * * * *

One of the (many) things that I was looking forward to doing as soon as the bar exam was over was applying to volunteer with a great organization. I was hoping I would be working at my old job, though, and, therefore, would have gas money to get there (nothing is close to where I live).

I did not apply right away because of the gas money issue. But, I want to do this, and I need to be networking more. I decided to go ahead and apply. At one point on the application, there was a list of descriptors explaining my availability to do something like volunteer, and I was to check the appropriate one. This was the list:

Employment Status 
Undergraduate Student
Graduate Student
Full-Time Professional
Part-Time Professional
Homemaker
Retired

I did not check any of them. I needed one that said:

New Graduate in the Midst of Job Search Process
or even, more bluntly
Unemployed

I have not heard back from them, yet.

* * * * *

Let’s get back to those bar exam results. While I was studying, a friend told me about her brother, who is now a practicing attorney in another state. She said that her dad called her brother the day after the bar exam was done and asked him, “So, what are you doing now that it is over?”

“Studying.”

Her brother explained that he could not be sure that he passed and so he was continuing to study in case he did not pass.*

I could not do that when I got home. I folded up my study table. I put my books up in my closet on the very top-most shelf, up near the ceiling, out of easy reach or glance of eye. I took outlines down off the walls.

bar put awayWay up there with the food dehydrator (I have been busy, lately!).

Now that I have recovered a bit, I wonder if I should take them down. I spend my days searching every job board and writing cover letters. But, I am not working. I have more time now than I will later . . .

* * * * *

I am not as distressed or depressed as all of the above may sound. That’s good. This is just a snapshot of what it is like to be caught in limbo.

I hate limbo.

________________

*He passed.

 

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My Most Important Lesson from Bar Prep Was Not About the Law

It was about heart–about amazing people.

This is the Bar Prep story I have been most wanting to tell, but I wanted to lay the groundwork first.

From day one of my job (that I no longer have), I have said how much I liked the people I was working with. Let me tell you about them.

My last day (actually, my last two hours), was on Monday, February 9. My interview and bar exam were exactly two weeks later, Monday through Wednesday, February 23 – 25. Recall that I had resigned–I would not ever see my coworkers again on a regular basis and, perhaps even, not ever again.

notes

There was one more note–it is still with my bar prep books.

Exactly one week after my last day, Monday, February 16, my former carpooling coworker friend showed up at my door (texted first) with a vegetarian pizza to be put in the oven and baked whenever we wanted it, pasta-spinach salad, and chocolate-frosted cake. It was from another friend at work who organized all of the following deliveries.

That Thursday, my former carpooling coworker friend arrived with three large mason jars of vegetarian chili that had been adapted just for us by another work friend from her mom’s recipe.

The next day, my carpooling friend stayed home from work sick, but apparently there was another delivery to be made, so one of the guys who lived in the next town over brought the most amazing vegetarian fried rice from yet another work (and law school) friend. He also picked us up fresh wonderful produce (including the best bananas I have had in a long time) and, having first queried where Rosebud and I eat, brought us a Dominoes gift card.

On Interview-Day-Before-the-Bar-Began Monday, my carpooling friend delivered the most amazing vegetarian lasagna I have ever had (and I have been looking!) with all the fixings (garlic bread and salad). I was not there, but Rosebud did not have to fend for herself for meals (always makes a mom happy and more relaxed), and it was the first thing I had when I walked back in the door from the cold after the long drive Wednesday night racing the snow clouds home following my three-day interviewing-snowing-testing ordeal.

Each delivery was accompanied by a note of encouragement. Those notes meant so much because they came from people who did something amazing for me for no reason I can fathom and who had also gone through the bar exam recently. They knew. They understood. They understood the most precious gift, the most needed gift, was time. And, since I likely was not taking the time, our diet was probably prepackaged.

I kept those notes out where I could see them.

But even more, they brought us food tailored to us as vegetarians. I do not wear a vegetarian sign around my neck and I do not bring up the choice all of the time in conversation. I probably talk about it more here than anywhere else. My carpooling friend knew we are were vegetarian because her partner is vegetarian, and we talked about recipes and dining experiences sometimes on our long drives to and from work. The friend who organized the meals is vegetarian, and we found this out about each other during the Thanksgiving potluck at work. She is vegetarian because she decided to follow her family’s Brahmin heritage. I don’t know if any of the others are vegetarian–probably not, but they made an extra and delicious effort.

And my carpooling friend made the deliveries and arranged for backup delivery even when she was sick. Both of the delivery people had long commutes after very long, intense days. They had families waiting at home for them.

I cannot tell you what this meant to me. I met all but one of these people for the first time last September (or later, we came on in stages) at work. But, the notes, the food, and just the acts themselves gave me hope and just a little more energy to continue my efforts. It is hard to describe, but the best analogy and image I associate with it is a scripture and story that came to my mind during that time: “Fear not: For they that be with us are more than they that be with them.”* It did not mean I was guaranteed to pass the bar. But, with all that good will and just plain greatness behind me, buoying me up, how could I not feel blessed and able to push forward?

Rosebud was touched, too.

It changed me.

Thank you.

________________

*2 Kings 6:16

 

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Betting It All on the Bar Prep

I was working full time at an intense job with a long commute during bar prep. I felt like I had no other choice, which was basically true.

But, then, I reached a critical juncture. Things were intense enough at work that we were being offered 10 hours a week overtime. I had turned it down two weeks in a row. At the end of those two weeks, I came to the sinking  realization that there was no way I was going to pass the bar at the rate I was going. There was just not enough left of me after work, no matter how strictly I tried to keep to my rigorous schedule.

If I was not going to pass, why take the bar?
If I was not going to take the bar, why was I passing up all this overtime?

I might as well make an official decision to not take the bar, get the overtime, and probably try to take it this summer.

When I told Rosebud, she offered me her babysitting money so that I could leave my job.

I mentioned before that she nannies for a family whose father took the bar in July. He had told her long ago to tell me that I would need to quit my job the last two or three weeks. When she told me that at the time, I scoffed. He had a working lawyer wife. I did not have such a spouse. I scoffed. She kept this piece of information in mind.

That critical night, she told me we had come too far. She was right to use the pronoun “we.” After all, remember she has been the child of a single mother who quit her job to go to law school, and she moved across the country during high school with me, a lab, and a cat as part of that experience.

So, after careful conversation, serious thought, and much prayer and meditation, I decided to do it. My last day at work was February 9. I originally asked if I might have the two and half weeks between then and February 23, 24, and 25 off (unpaid, of course), but had my letter of resignation ready. Letter of resignation it was (it was a contract position already set to end around the end of March). But, my supervisor said I could contact her after the bar just to check.

I carried that little glimmer of hope with me as I studied nonstop (I was extremely far behind). I had no time to stop and apply for other jobs–the bar prep situation was critical. I was not even sure it could be salvaged at that point, but I was giving it everything I had. When I would walk Olive The Lab, I would find myself repeating over and over, “My eyes, my eyes,” they were just so exhausted–as were the neural fibers connecting them to my brain. Falling into bed at night was wonderful because I could finally close my eyes in the dark and not think and cram and learn.

Can I mention here that there were no more “incidents” of forced downtime or distractions and that I was basically healthy this whole time? I still marvel at that.

I carried that glimmer of hope with me during the bar exam.

The last day of the bar exam was Wednesday. Thursday, I e-mailed my supervisor, and started working on applications. No response from her Thursday or Friday–but we had had snow and loss of electricity. I called her yesterday. No, they did not need me.

I have no job.

I don’t regret the decision. I don’t know if I passed the bar exam. I do know that I definitely would not have passed if I kept working those last two weeks. I was aware of that confirmation of the situation time and again as I studied and as I took the exam.

I mentioned that there were many law graduates where I was working and that some were taking the bar exam, too.

Of those, I know that:

  • One resigned when I did.
  • One resigned approximately two weeks before that (but took a higher paying, very short term job that would end about the time of my last day of work).
  • One decided not to take the bar in February and is planning on taking it this summer.
  • One person, who was able to take one week of time off before the bar (having worked their longer and asked earlier), ended up being sick and not making it to the bar exam.
  • Two others worked right up until the bar, and are still working there now after the bar (only having taken off the two days for the exam). One of them worked the overtime. I don’t know how he did it. His wife is expecting their second child.
  • One was permanent salaried and expected to work extra hours. I assume she did take the bar, but she was not in the room I was in, if she did.
  • And one, who ended up being the other person sitting at my table, I did not know was taking the exam and had not taken any time off. She did not care whether she passed–she was taking it to make her mother happy. She was actually the perfect tablemate. She was completely relaxed, there was no chance of her freaking out, I already knew and liked her, and we could commiserate about the job (still crazy intense for her) and hope for the best for our friends. She ended up getting a hotel during the lunch break on that first snowy day and, that evening, she was trying to shop for items needed for an unexpected overnight stay in stores that were closing up due to the weather.

I lost the bet as far as having a job to go back to.

I hope I won the bet as far as passing.

How amazing is my daughter?

On This Date . . .
2014: Rosebud and her now-fiance stepped in as substitute teachers for my church class of 3-year-old kids when I was sick.
2013: My trial advocacy class finished up successfully partly due to people I knew from church being willing to be witnesses and jurors for me.
2012:  I was deciding between two summer-after-1L opportunities, one of which was actually a paid-but-two-year commitment. I ended up transferring law schools that summer, so it looks like I made the right decision.

 

 

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Mothers in the Legal Profession and Transition

I am not giving this Roundup a number. I think it is the Final Roundup. It is just for the best with our busy lives.

But, we love our community of wonderful women doing great things. So, we are moving to a sort of “rolling roundup” on our Facebook page. Yes, we have a Facebook page! Rather than a weekly roundup, we will highlight blog posts from our bloggers* on a more regular basis (but we won’t clog up your Facebook feed, either).

MILP scales

The Facebook Page’s current image.

Our Origins

Probably the most important post for this Final Roundup is the introduction to a previous Roundup written by Butterflyfish about the history of the Mothers in the Legal Profession. What an amazing community the original MILPs built! Thank you.

This Past Month

For our Final Roundup:

Do you need to wind down after a long day with people who understand why there are spit-up stains on your shoulder and bruises on your shins? Alice in Wonderland has just the place.

Magic Cookie compares legal environments and the values of working for “yes” and counseling for “no.”

But I Do Have a Law Degree has found “solitude without guilt” and does not let anyone judge her for getting started on a six-year goal.

Daisy transitioned to an exciting new opportunity. Congratulations!

Doctor Mama Esquire wants her child to understand that he should be respected because he is a human being, that he does not have to gain respect. He should be enough, as he is.

You really should read the poem by The Reluctant Grownup, if you haven’t already.

Meanwhile, a tripled case load is not stopping Grace from a new creative venture (after finishing writing a legal textbook).

Wondering how to write a motion with a baby in your arms? Full of the Dickens has a photo illustration.

Wondering how to do that on a regular basis? Check in with Mommy and the Sin City. She puts pumping into a new perspective.

In the Legally Certifiable Household, there has been a much-needed cruise, a robotics internship, and a successful musical audition.

Ah, snow. Anyone have snow? Lag Liv knows the best way to check the road conditions while at work. (Having a 19th-story vantage point is helpful.)  Also, Clara has her own preferences for proper appreciation of snow.

Mommy Madness is undaunted by three feet of snow. She is preparing for spring–because she truly believes the snow will melt, someday.

Perspectives lists six excellent reasons her house is not clean. Can you relate to any of these?

Chaton discusses the choices between looking like a hot mess and looking good–and the value of children in explaining that.

The Future Rolling Roundups

Don’t forget to keep in touch through your own blogroll/reader or with the Mothers in the Legal Profession Facebook page!

It’s been great! Thank you for the good times, commiserating through the hard times, the advice, and, above all, the understanding. 

________________

*Feel free to comment if you are someone who is a blogging mother in the legal profession/law school and would like to be considered for links to the Facebook page (or if we need to be reminded about your blog). 

 

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Snow Bar 2015

It’s done. The Bar.

There are a couple of posts floating in my head related to the bar. First, let’s talk about snow.

I am in an area that gets snow, but only one or two hits per winter of the type that interferes with life.

The bar exam was Tuesday and Wednesday–one hour drive each way. I don’t mind driving. I like driving–but I don’t like loss of time. Also, for something so important, I was acutely aware of increasing my exposure-to-unforeseeable-hazards time. Add to that, I had my bar interview on Monday in the same city as the bar exam. That would be three consecutive days during the bar exam of that kind of a drive.

I got a hotel room for Monday and Tuesday. And that was my reasoning.

As the time got closer, sometimes the forecast would call for a little snow, but then it would waffle right back the other way. I didn’t worry too much because I knew I had the hotel reservation already anyway.

Monday night, the forecast said we “might get a little dusting from a system to the south in the morning.”

Tuesday morning, when I woke up, it was snowing steadily. When I came out for lunch in my car (isolation, review, rest), it was snowing steadily (and cold!), when I came out to my car to go back to the hotel for the night, it was snowing heavily and the roads were not good. I was so glad to get back to my room and just stay there and rest.

snow bar

Day 1: Lunchtime view.

Wednesday morning, as I was checking out of my hotel and going to day two of the exam, my car was completely iced over and the parking lot was a glistening sheet of ice. My car slid twice during the 10-minute drive to the exam location. That parking lot was straight ice, too. I was impressed we all made it back.

By lunch, the snow/ice was melted off the roads. But, this time we were forecasting a heavy storm coming in, starting at 7:00 pm. The bar examiner proctor told us if we were all back in our seats early, we could start early. We were literally trying to beat the storm with our exam. One person did not get back from lunch early, so we started on time.

Sure enough, when we got out of the final session, the sky was a solid mass of low, heavy, gray clouds and there was a definite bite in the air. I just wanted to go home.

And, I got home, and the snow came, and the snow that dumped was heavy and wet and took out power to 100,000s–including in the general area where I had taken the exam. We did not lose power, for which I am so grateful.

001

This morning, but no bar, so no worries. 

Olive The Lab loved the snow.

Did I mention the bar exam is over?

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The Taxing Study Break

Rosebud was accepted to her four-year college of choice this week! I love seeing her so happy.

I wish I had more time, right now, to just rejoice and imagine the future with her.

Study break for me today: Taxes. Because, you know, FAFSA.

 

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