Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Found an apartment

The past few days have been spent apartment hunting in smallish town in the middle of nowhere.  After several Google Maps sessions, I have definitely determined that my new town is at least 1.5 hours from everywhere.  And by everywhere, I mean all the places where I have friends, or that have really cool stuff going on.  Unfortunately, I am moving to a place that's not that exciting. 

It also has some of the weirdest rental real estate ever.  Tons of tiny houses near my work, but 90% are disgusting, and the other 10% are tiny, or have sky high heating costs or both.  So we ended up taking a place in an apartment complex on the edge of town.  The lucky part is that we looked at this place Wednesday and were shown a deluxe unit with a ton of amenities.  We couldn't afford it.  So we also looked at a 2 bedroom that was small, but had a nice kitchen and 2 bedrooms.  When we went back to look at it again as the clock was ticking on our decision, the manager decided to give us the deluxe unit for the smaller unit's price.  So we got a 1,200 square foot apartment, with 2 bathrooms and a 2 car attached garage.  For only $750 including heat.  This is about $140 less than I paid for rent during law school, but for a nicer place.

That's exciting.  Now, I just need to figure out how to lure my friends to come and visit.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Update on my "getting pushy" post

As you might remember, I emailed a potential employer (who I had interviewed with before) a couple weeks ago.  The idea was that I wanted to find out if I had a chance to work at that org, in a town that's much closer to friends and family, before I took the job in the middle of nowhere.  Well, I accepted my job on the 16th, and the other place emailed me on the 17th, telling me they wanted to interview me.  Argh!

I am happy to have a job, but a little peeved that it took this other organization 2 full weeks to get back to me.  Yes, I would prefer living in a town closer to home and friends, but that old saying about a "bird in the hand" still holds true.  So I am getting used to the idea of living in the middle of the state, and having to drive about 3 hours to visit anyone I know. 

And when it comes time for me to job hunt again, hopefully the economy won't be so bad, and I will have more flexibility when accepting offers, and won't get pushed into accepting a job before all my other options have been explored.  I also have learned that public interest employers move slowly, and to take that into account when I am looking.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sorry for my absence

I know I haven't posted in a while, but I have been pretty busy.  Lately, I have been "Twittering Professionally" which means I post tweets about news in my field, and of things that are interesting to me as a lawyer.  So, Twitter is taking up a lot of time.  I have found a lot of professional contacts on Twitter, and really enjoy it.  As a result of me being so "into" social networking, the state bar has kind of put me in charge of managing our division's presence on Facebook and Twitter.  (Mostly because the rest of the board has no idea how this stuff works.)  This is great, as I love social networking and think that working on this project can help me make a name for myself with the general state bar leadership.

Yesterday, I went to the town in the middle of the state where I will be working.  I need to find a place to live, as I am starting work on December 1.  It was strange....lots of older, very small houses for rent "downtown" and newer apartment communities in the so-called "burbs" which are really about 5 miles from downtown.   Because we are unable to make a decision yet, we are going back Sunday and staying in a hotel through Monday to look for places again.  I love the idea of renting a house, but only if it has a kitchen big enough to cook a meal in, and doesn't smell like cat urine.  Both of these have been a problem thus far.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I got a job offer!

So, I guess my email was not necessary.  Got home today and there was a job offer in the mail.  I haven't accepted yet, so all I will say is that it is a legal services organization in a non-major city.  The position itself is absolutely ideal.  I will be providing direct services to people who are too poor to afford legal representation otherwise.  And doing a lot of consumer and landlord/tenant and public benefits law.  All areas I really like. 

I am pretty psyched!

Risky Business

So, I have finally done something that I had avoided in my job search so far - I got pushy. 


I had interviewed for a job at a public interest org in July, and didn't get the job.  And they recently posted another job for that same location.  Actually, I have interviewed 5 times for jobs at this same organization, in many different locations.  And I didn't get any of the jobs.  One rejection was b/c they hired a transfer from another office.  Another was because the subject area they wanted to hire someone for was unfamiliar to me.  I know they hired a 2006 grad from another school for one of the positions.  One interview just went badly for reasons I can't explain here, but was fallout from my previous life hiring attorneys as an office manager. 

So, I wanted to find out whether I had any chance whatsoever of employment at this org.  And I emailed to ask just that.  Very nicely and professionally, but I did.  My email went something like this:

"Dear Ms. Employer: I met with you in July regarding a position with your office.  Since then, I have been volunteering at ABC Public Interest Org and working with XYZ Org.  Recently, I saw your office posted a new staff attorney opening.  As I mentioned during our previous meeting, I am very passionate about working as a legal services attorney, and am still interested in working for your office because of my many connections to the area.  Would you be willing to reconsider me for a position in your office?  I have attached my resume to refresh your recollection of our previous meeting.  Thanks in advance for your consideration.  Sincerely, Improvilaw"

This is risky as hell, but had to happen.  If this org really has no intention of hiring me, a lack of response to my email will verify that.  However, if I was their second choice the last time I applied, I am hoping that they will contact me and say so. Doing this scares me, but it's even more frightening to send in my materials and wait a month or more to find out what's going on.

Fingers crossed.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Things that are more important than money

Here is a great post on "The Simple Dollar" about 15 things the author found are more important than money.

The short list:

Physical health
Mental health
Personal passions
Helping others
Personal growth
 At a time in my life when I have less money than I ever have, (seriously - this includes when I was 16 years old!) I can truthfully say that all of the above have become really vitally important to me.  And I have also noticed that as I concentrate on some of these things, and worry about finances less, that I am happier overall. 

While my hobbies have changed during this period of unemployment, I still have the time to do some things I really enjoy, like going for long walks, playing tennis and reading novels (from the library, of course).  I also am very lucky to have a wonderful man in my life, whose unwavering faith in me gets me through even the worst days.  My meditation practice keeps me sane and keeps stress levels down, and I have wonderful friends, both near and far. 

No matter what your situation is, take a minute to contemplate this list, and you will notice, as I did, that life is pretty good.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Networking FAIL

Tonight, I went with my friend L, a biglaw attorney, to a pro bono event in town.  The event was billed as a "celebration" of pro bono efforts by local attorneys, but it really was just a "hey, you should do pro bono work" push from local legal services orgs.  Nothing special, and nothing that I haven't participated in before when I was a project assistant to the law school's pro bono project. 

When I arrived, the temperature in the room was about 75 degrees.  Stifling in a fully lined business suit.  Ugh.  Talk about uncomfortable! Even worse, some of my classmates who are working at firms in the area were there, and it was slightly awkward.  When I am dealing with people who are naturally introverted like some of these people, I feel obligated to take the lead in conversations, asking questions about their lives and practices, even though I could care less.  I just hate awkwardness. 

During one of the "speeches" the presenter started saying, "I am going to go around the room and ask people to introduce themselves and say what organization they are with."  And I almost had a heart attack.  Was I going to have to admit to a room full of people with jobs that I didn't have one?  The thought made me sick to my stomach.  I know that lots of new grads are still looking for work, but I think I was the only person there without an organization's name under theirs on the stick-on name badges they gave us.  Well, the speaker meant that she wanted people from the non-profits who were angling for help to introduce themselves, and I was relieved.  Incredibly relieved.  For some reason, when I am around a bunch of people who graduated when I did, and 6 out of 7 have jobs, I hate being the odd woman out.

It made me feel like a loser.  Big time.


So much so that I passed up any further chance to network with those in attendance, and fled with my friend right after the speeches were done.  This is totally not like me, and is very telling as to my state of mind when it comes to my career these days.  And that is just....sad. 

I am attending a training session for the bar's "lawyer assistance program" on Friday, and I am going in there with guns blazing, and will try to network my butt off, unemployment be dammed!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ways to keep busy during unemployment

As my period of unemployment goes on (and on) I have gotten a little better at finding things to do that are more fulfilling (and slightly more productive) than the hand wringing and hoping that had been occupying me in the past 4 months.  What have I been up to?

  1. Twitter: I have started more carefully following the legal (ish) things that interest me and tweeting about them.  I think that Twitter can provide me with some good networking opportunities, if I am using it correctly. Part of that is tweeting about things that actually matter, rather than just a random mindstream of my thoughts. 
  2. Working out: I have been forcing myself to get out and walk every day.  I think it keeps no-job anxiety at bay.
  3. Connecting: Getting better at reaching out to friends that I haven't seen in a while, and not just those in the legal profession.  Regular contact with regular people is good for my outlook.  Overexposure to a bunch of other stressed-out recent grads is not. 
  4. Learning: I have signed up for some free seminars and CLEs. This will give me some new things to talk about at interviews and keeps my mind engaged. 
  5. Housecleaning: Getting my stuff in order keeps my sister's basement from feeling like, well, a basement. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Job interview on Monday went well

I had a job interview on Monday in the middle of the state to work at a legal services non-profit.  As usual, the interviewers tended to focus on the one area that I am lacking, rather than the many areas where I have a good amount of experience. 

When I was a 1L, I tried to get into the school's consumer law clinic.  Since consumer law is the one thing I knew I really liked when I was a paralegal, I thought that doing that clinic was a great way for me to expand my knowledge and get some real experience.  Before law school, I had worked on a few cases at my old firm, and really loved fighting sub-prime lenders who had sloppy bookkeeping practices and unfair loan terms.  However, I did not get into the clinic.  That year, they took 6 out of the 72 people who applied.  It was by far the most competitive clinic. What bugged me is that the students who were admitted to the clinic really did it "for the experience" and didn't have the same burning interest in the subject matter that I did.  After law school, NONE of them decided to pursue it professionally. 

And I missed the one opportunity I would have had to actually appear in court as a law student.  And potential employers never let me forget it.  At my interview, they asked why I didn't have this experience.  I explained that our school only allows clinical students to represent clients under the student practice rule.  Since my summer job was with the government, but wasn't supervised by a clinical professor, I wasn't allowed to appear in court.  I attended a lot of hearings, but never appeared on behalf of a client until an externship my 3L year.

Since about 1/3 of our students did clinicals, and I would guess that at least 60% got some court time through them, I am at a disadvantage with legal services organizations. 

At the time, our career advisers said this wasn't a big deal, but apparently it was.  I am hoping that the organization I interviewed with can look past this and see that I have a broad base of public interest experience and am passionate about doing this work. 

Otherwise, it will be more months of unemployment for me.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I am not funemployed!

I was reading an article about 20 somethings who are "funemployed" and the blogger who is taking credit for coining that term.  And I got mad.  The funemployed are young professionals who were laid off and are using their savings and unemployment compensation to do things they "always" (how long can that be when you are 26?) wanted to.  Like going to Turkey, and taking pilates classes and getting massages.  The article even discusses one guy who bought himself a $3,000 road bike when he lost his job.  WTF?

I am not sure if I am mad because I am not receiving unemployment compensation and can't join them, or if their cavalier attitude about not working and taking money from the government is just rubbing me the wrong way.  The article talks about these people using unemployment to "find themselves." Isn't that what they were supposed to be doing in college? 

Even worse is that this phenomenon and the publicity surrounding it may take away from the plight of those without financial resources to withstand extended unemployment, or those without health insurance, or people whose student loan creditors won't take no for an answer.  We are still out here America.  Living in our sisters' basements!

P.S. I get that the term funemployment is meant to make being out of work less depressing, but taking it to the extremes mentioned above is just ridiculous!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Grandma!

Yesterday was my Grandma's 85th Surprise birthday party.  She is an amazing woman, raising 4 kids by herself and supporting them with only a 9th grade education after my grandfather died just a few years after he returned from fighting in World War II.  Since "Grammy" lived with my family for about 8 years, my sister and I are closer to her than most of our other cousins, and we were thrilled to be able to celebrate this milestone with her. 

At the party, she mentioned again how proud she was that I was able to get a law degree, something that was unheard of during her youth, and quite rare even in my mother's generation.  Grammy isn't easily impressed, and a compliment from her is always heartfelt, and gives the recipient immediately warm fuzzies. 

When I was in law school, there were a few students like me who were first generation college graduates.  I wonder if they feel strange like I did, discussing their degrees & aspirations with family members who had no clue what goes into completing an advanced degree.  I hope that my cousins' children (and maybe my own) will see that they can do whatever they want in life, despite no one else in the family having done it before.  Corny, but true.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Phone interview went well

So, I had my phone interview today, and it went pretty well.  I still got hammered on the "why here?" question.  I answered by saying that I want to stay in-state, and would love to start my career in MediumTown, where I would be centrally located in the middle of the state. 

They responded by reminding me that MediumTown is nothing like CollegeTown or BiggestCity I have lived in before.  I fired back by saying that my parents live in a town of 1,400 people, and I love that place as much as anywhere I lived before.  That seemed to satisfy them.  If that comment gave them the impression that I am not from BiggestCity, so be it. 

Otherwise, the interview was great.  They were very impressed by my work publicizing the CCRAA (College Cost Reduction and Access Act) and my interest in consumer law.  Which was excellent. 

I have an in-person interview in 2 weeks.  Yay!

Just knowing that there is a possibility of a job in my future puts me in a great mood!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Online job hunting

Did my semi-weekly sweep of the government job sites.  Nearby cities, counties, the state job board, even the site.  Nada.  Couldn't find a thing that I am remotely qualified for. 

The one thing I have learned through all this job hunting is not to waste my time applying for government jobs unless I meet at least some of the qualifications.  Trying to emphasize similarities between what they are asking for and work I have actually done never gets me interviews. 

A friend sent me a job posting paying $27,000 to work as a housing counselor.  I think at this point, I would rather work as a paralegal.  If I have to take a non-attorney job, I would rather that it pay a decent wage.  I know that most Americans would love a job paying $27K, but not those with $110,000 in student loan debt!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Phone interview next week!

I have a phone interview with another legal services organization.  This one isn't very familiar to me, because it's in the middle of the state, in a city I have visited only a couple times in my life.   Since I know that housing law is part of the position, I am going to spend tomorrow re-reading those statutes, in the hope I might be able to talk more intelligently at the interview on this topic.

From what a former employee of the organization said, the managing attorney seems to just let staff attorneys follow their interests and take some cases that are out of their job description, but in  the attorney's area of "expertise."  I am hoping that this means I could take some consumer law cases if I worked there. 

There will be, as usual, the question about my connections to the area.  I hate this question.  Why? Because at this point, I would take a job in Nebraska if it was offered to me.  I could care less about location - I just want a damn job.  So I think I am going to just flat out say, "I think I can make anywhere my home, as long as I am here in my home state, and my work is interesting." Or something like that.

Any tips from readers on how you handle interview questions like that???

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Forecast: continued unemployment

The worst thing about the legal profession is that you can go on the state bar's website and see who got the jobs that you unsuccessfully interviewed for.  I really wish that this wasn't possible.  I would rather believe that the person who got the job I coveted was a superwoman (or man) who practically invented public interest law.  I don't like knowing that the winner of my job is an ordinary student, who is no more qualified than I am.  That means that I have to take a hard look at why I didn't get the job instead, and there are no easy answers to that question.

I am starting to think that I must be terrible at interviews.  During law school, I would get almost every job I interviewed for.  That streak was broken when I started looking for post-grad work.  Obviously, I am not selling myself very well at these things.  I just need to find out where I am going wrong.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009


As a 3L, I was a project assistant for the law school's pro bono program.  The program is just getting off the ground, and having some growing pains.  The program is supposed to match attorneys with students to work on a pro bono case together, but generally there either are not enough cases or not enough attorneys to match up all the students. 

Now that I am a graduate of that fine institution, I attended the "kickoff" meeting yesterday to show my support, and unabashedly do some networking with the lawyers I knew would be there.

I met two great ones who both worked for the non-profit that wants to phone interview me next week.  They gave me some good information, within the confines of the whole, "I don't want to say anything very negative about my old employer" thing.

This morning,  I went on LinkedIn and made sure I added both to my list of "connections."  Not sure if doing this kind of thing has paid off so far, but I am hoping it will someday.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Taking a Paralegal Job to Ride out the Recession?

I have been sending out resumes and networking my ass off lately..  Today, I got a call from a headhunter, asking about whether I would take a position as a paralegal working on a short term document processing project.  The pay is almost as much as our local Legal Aid group pays.  (Without the benefits and super coolness of public interest law.)

This is tempting because:

I haven't worked since April.
I haven't been able to spend any money on anything but bills and insurance since May.
I would love to get out of the house a bit more.

However, I am not sure that an employer that needs someone for 2-3 months would be very pleased if I left after a month.  I mean, what do I do if I get a real job?  I would have to quit, and I hate putting anyone in a bad position, as it could burn a bridge I might need later.

We shall see....

Friday, September 18, 2009

Google Webmaster is hilarious

So I tried out the Google Webmaster gadget that is part of the Blogger Dashboard and found some interesting stuff.  Like the most searched term to get to this blog is "Burger King Secret Menu."  I thought I was known for my honest take on law school and life afterward, but my real claim to fame is knowing that you can order "off menu" at fast food restaurants. 


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Best Value Law Schools

OMG - the National Jurist ranked my law school in the top 25 for best value.  Well, so far it hasn't exactly paid off.  Maybe in a normal (non-recession) economy it would, but not right now. 

What's interesting about the list of the top 50 is that the school with the highest US News ranking is Texas (followed by Minnesota), but most of the schools listed as great values are those ranked in Tiers 3 and 4 by US News.  Not a single Harvard Law School or Yale to be found on the list.

My question is this: If the "prestige" of many of these "best value" schools is so low, how are they worth it to attend?  If you graduate in the middle of your class at my school, you are probably unemployed right now.  That's not a good value at all.  I doubt that many Harvard grads are unemployed right now, regardless of class rank.  Yet here I am waiting for a job to come my way. 

I also have to laugh about the statistic of 90+ percent of grads from my school being employed.  Not this year!

Consumer law: getting out of your cell phone contract

Most recently law school graduates, and those just beginning law school have probably moved recently.  And, if you are like me, you desperately want an IPhone, instead of whatever you are using now.  That usually means switching cell phone networks.  But, if you are in the middle of a contract, getting out means early termination fees.  There is a great article with video about how to get out of your contract early. 

Ideas for doing this include:
1) Waiting for the cell provider to change the terms of the contract, which sometimes means you can cancel without penalty,
2) Complain frequently about service issues and log your complaints,
3) Use a lot of roaming minutes, if your cell provider pays for them.  They might find it is cheaper to let you out of the contract rather than keep paying for you to roam, or
4) Move to an area with no service for that provider.

As soon as I get a job, I am going to ditch my current service, and get a nice juicy Iphone!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I got offered a job

My friend is a lawyer, and he needs a legal assistant.  In Colorado. 

If this job pays more than $40,000, I would seriously consider moving there and taking it.  I have no interviews coming up, and only 2 outstanding applications.

This state isn't doing it for me, and I absolutely loved Colorado when I stayed there for a week in 2007. 

Sad that I would consider this, but I am. 


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Major case of the blahs

I seem to be suffering from a major case of the blahs this week.  Or maybe it's just boredom. Part of it may be that I got rejected from 4 different jobs this week.  I also have been spending way to much time by myself.  I thought when I moved back to my home city, that friends who live here would want to do stuff all the time, and that my social calendar would go back to being full, like it was when I lived here BLS (Before Law School).  But my friends are getting older and most of them have children, which takes up a lot of time.  Four of them had babies while I was in school.  So that means they are pretty much unavailable.  And others just found other friends to hang out with since I wasn't there, and forgot what it was like to have me around. 

Or something.

 I tell myself this stuff so that I don't start feeling too pitiful about hanging out in my sister's basement so much.

When I worked full time, I was also in school part-time, and volunteered registering voters about 15 hours a week during half the year.  I would fantasize about how great it would be if I didn't have to work and could have my days to myself. 

Except I never fantasized about doing so without any money and while living with my sister.  It's not the wonderland I imagined.  I do get out sometimes, to accompany my sis to the grocery store, or take my nephew to his soccer games or even go visit friends once in a while.  But the image of taking yoga classes and becoming fluent in multiple foreign languages really can't happen without good old money. 

I wish I could barter my legal skills for a fabulous fall wardrobe and a gym membership and Spanish tutor and find a way to fill up my days.  (I really do have some legal skills, ya know?)

Recently, I got an email "from" President Obama, encouraging people to volunteer as an homage to the 9/11 victims.  So I went on the local volunteer website and sent out some emails.  Hopefully, someone will let me volunteer and that should be a good outlet for my nervous energy.  This pity party certainly isn't that fun!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Public interest law blog

If you are a wanna be public interest lawyer, you should check out the Equal Justice Works blog. One of the contributors, Heather Jarvis, is an expert on student debt and its impact on public interest careers. I had the opportunity to meet with Heather last year, and she was very informative. The blog itself contains all kinds of interesting stories about students working in public service internships over the summer, loan repayment options and career choices.

For those who don't know, I also have a lot of information about student loan repayment options, how to find out how much you owe, and ways to use the Income Based Repayment and Loan Forgiveness options set forth in the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about your loans.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

What does Facebook know about you?

If you're like me, you don't read most of the privacy notices that are attached to the applications you include in your profile on Facebook. All those quizzes you take also include a caveat that the developers will be accessing your profile, which, in most cases contains a lot of private information.

The Consumerist blog posted a link to a quiz that you can take to educate yourself on privacy issues on Facebook. The hilarious part is that you have to go to Facebook and allow access to your profile to even take the quiz.

Law schools and judicial clerkships

This handy chart from the always questionable US News shows the rankings for law schools placing students in judicial clerkships after they graduate. My law school is doing a poor job, placing less than 10% of students. Meanwhile, the University of North Dakota is kicking ass, placing right behind Yale with 28% of students in clerkships. Wow!

I wonder what they are doing that my school isn't? Oh yeah, probably providing decent mentorship of students, and assisting them beyond a one-hour "hey, clerkships are good, try and get one" class.

The interesting part of this is that my career services counselor said that only the top 10% or so of our students could get these positions. Yet, 28% of those at UND are doing it. And of those people, that can't be the top 28% of the class. (Some of those grads have to be taking jobs in law firms or public interest orgs) Therefore, it seems that, yet again, the view of our career counselors is skewed by their own experiences, rather than what actually happens.

Friday, September 4, 2009


I feel like I am becoming a prime example of why we need health care reform in this country. I lost my health insurance (the one that cost me about $150 a month from the university) in mid-August.

Now I have noticed that when I jog or go for a long (over a half hour) walk, pain radiates around my right foot. That's the same foot that I dropped a box on a month ago when we were moving. But the toe itself doesn't hurt, it just looks a little swollen.

I have also had a mystery abdominal pain today. I am assuming it's because I ate some bad fish or something, but the thought of not being able to get any of this checked out unless I suffer a bureaucratic nightmare with the public assistance office bugs me. So I have pretty much put off looking into that. But I am going to have to, on Tuesday.

It's probably psychological, but these little mystery ailments are annoying me. So is the fact that so many selfish people in this country would rather see others suffer than pay an extra penny of tax money. Even though their own health care could improve, and they might not ever have to pay more for it. I just think that people who are comfortable and who have money forget what it's like to not have much, or never have experienced that at all.

A former classmate of mine indicated in a facebook post that people were doing "risk assessment" to decide whether the risk of having a health problem was worth paying for health insurance. However, his equation is based on his own experience as the child of an attorney, who has never been impoverished or without insurance in his whole life. And future leaders like my classmates are the ones that could be setting policy in this country in the years to come. And that scares me more than pain in my foot or tummy ever could.

Hello....Hello Hello is there anybody out there?

Sometimes, I use my blog like a diary, then remember that other people can and sometimes do read this thing. It's difficult to worry about what I write when I am not even sure anyone is reading it.

I sometimes wish that I had a whole bunch of readers so that I would be inspired to actually carefully consider what I write, and maybe even edit stuff before I post it. I think I am going to try at least for now, to marginally increase my readership by commenting on some other law student/law grad blogs. I could use the company.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Going too far

Yep, I am totally desperate for a job. But I have to keep reminding myself that I went to law school for a reason, and that reason didn't include doing icky things like insurance defense. I just can't and I won't. I applied for a job that a friend of a friend recommended, and it turns out that the guy doesn't want someone to do "some family law and contracts work." It's insurance defense and some collections.

There is a line to be drawn, and for me, it's right there. I just can't spend my days helping insurance companies cut/reduce/eliminate benefits to people. Blech!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Awesome site for goofing around online

Mensa has a great site filled with "brain teaser" games. I had no idea! These games are keeping me company while I waste a beautiful day fretting about the mail.

Check out the games by clicking here.

I really liked the "hangman" type game called "Wordsense" and the awesome trivia game.

Waiting for rejection letters to arrive

I had 4 different jobs that were supposed to "let me know" by the end of the month. Today is the end of the month. I have not received telephone calls from these potential employers, which obviously means that they hired someone else.

But, since my mail has been held up for a month now, I was still holding out a tiny bit of hope. (That's an Obama voter for you!) Now, I am anxiously sitting in the living room, scoping out the street for the mail truck.

Not getting mail for a month does something to a person. In my case, it causes insanity.

Please get here soon mail carrier. I can't take it much longer!.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Need some advice?

The coolest/most annoying thing about having a law degree has to be that everyone seems to want free information about legal stuff. In the past week, I have given out a lot of information:

1) Explaining the ins and outs of lawyers' trust accounts to a law school buddy.

2) Explaining to my sister's neighbor (I guess he's my neighbor too now) that the judge in the case he is a juror for won't speak to him without all the parties there, and that a casual chat probably cannot occur while the case is at trial.

3) Chatting with the fiance's parents about grandpa's deterioration and the need to look into options for his finances, etc. since he now has had dementia episodes.

4) Telling an acquaintance that they may need to file a bankruptcy.

While this is cool, none of it is earning me any money. It does, however, make me feel smart and useful, which is just as good as money in my book. (Other than the fact that self-esteem doesn't pay for 4 new tires.)

Officially giving myself permission to freak out

I have had an issue with the post office not forwarding my mail since I moved in with my sister almost a month ago.

First they said that there was a processing error, and they noted the date to start forwarding the mail incorrectly. That was last Thursday. They told me they would send the mail this week.

It's now Friday, and no mail yet. I called yesterday and left a message for someone to call me about this.

The big problem? I have 3 different jobs that said they would make a decision by the end of the month. If they have rejected me already, I would sure like to know. If they haven't, I could still have a little hope that maybe the hiring process is a little delayed. I don't want to be a nag, and send them emails, only to find out that they hired others. This is quite a quandry.

I am going to give these employers until Tuesday (or until my forwarded mail arrives, whichever happens first). If I don't hear anything by then, I am going to contact them again.

I hate this stuff. I just need a job!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Had a life this weekend

This weekend, I splurged and actually left the house and spent a little of my dwindling cash supply. On Friday night, the fiance' and I went to play board games at a friends house.
Cost = $0

On Saturday, we were treated to a Packer game to celebrate the future father-in-law's retirement. Of course, mother-in-law told us to buy a bunch of snacks and stuff and then bought more anyway, wasting a bunch of money, but since the game was free (and super fun) I counted it as a wash.
Cost = $25.00

Sunday, I went to Zoo Ala Carte, which basically means walking around and looking at animals and eating. It was $10 to get in and I spent another $10 on food. Had a good time with a friend I haven't seen in a long time, so it was worth it.
Cost $20

Today, I went running errands with my sister, and didn't spend a thing, which is fortunate, since my money is running low. Tomorrow, I am using the old food stamps to get some groceries. We ate an eggplant frittata for dinner tonight that was my idea, but was poorly executed by my sister. She served french toast as a consolation food, but I just couldn't handle syrup at 6 pm. :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Jobs jobs and more jobs

I just got an email that a non-profit I know is hiring in the town where I went to law school. The position is about 50% volunteer management and recruiting. This is the same thing I did with both my project assistant job in law school and in my volunteer work. I think I have a good chance of getting it. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

There's no place like home and I don't have one

I moved in with my sister on August 1. Into her basement to be exact. Beforehand, I idealized what this would be like, imagining taking my little nephew to the zoo and museum and parks to play. I thought my sister and I would have heart-to-heart talks over tea in the morning. I thought that all my friends in my hometown would be lining up to hang out with me.

None of this has happened. Instead, I have spent quite a bit of time by myself, reading, organizing and surfing the internet. My sister and her husband's household is usually in a state of chaos. Keys get lost, checking accounts are not balanced, meals are unplanned - causing my sister to visit the grocery store about 4 times a week. I get lots of mini-lectures about:

turning off lights,
turning off the outside water (after I do my chore of watering the plants and lawn daily),
making sure water doesn't seep into the loose floor tile in the bathroom,
making sure I rinse my recyclables before putting them in the bin,
not turning on the dehumidifier in the basement unless my brother-in-law thinks it should be,
and on
and on
and on.

I haven't committed any of the above infractions, but my sis and her husband sure have. And I don't say a thing.

Not to sound ungrateful, because I am happy not to be homeless.

But I am not happy about being treated like a 15 year old, and I don't like that the family eats everything I buy from the store (with my much-needed foodstamps), even when they know I bought the stuff. I also just miss having my own home, A HOME.

There really is no place like it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Keeping my head held high

I have been kicked in the teeth more than a few times this past couple weeks. Sometimes, it's hard to hold your head high when you feel like there is a 20 pound weight dangling from a rope around your neck.

To mitigate my lack of income, I am moving into my sister's house next week. And it doesn't feel very good to have to rely on my family for anything. I was always that independent kid, who moved out at 18 and never asked for a penny from my parents. When I needed to move, I even did that on my own, managing to heft a couch down two flights of stairs and get it into the moving van. It probably took me about 8 years longer to finish my education because I didn't ask for and didn't receive any help to pay for it. But I did it. I think that's why I am having such a hard time lately accepting help. The food stamps were one thing, but moving in to my sister's basement is quite another. It has to happen though, so I guess I should continue cracking jokes about it to make myself feel better.

The other fun thing this past week was finding that I didn't get a job when a classmate posted on her facebook status that she was the one selected for it. Ouch! To be honest though, I didn't feel the job was a good fit for my interests and skills. However, I just want a fucking job. Is that too much to ask? I am smart and a hard worker. I networked my ass off for months, and that's what you are supposed to do, right?

Looking at all this from a more positive perspective....I am very lucky to have a sister who will take me in, and enough money to put my stuff in storage for 2 months. Not getting that job hurt, but maybe that's the universe telling me it wasn't the right job for me. Also, I am fortunate that one of my best friends from law school is going through much of the same anxiety with me. Having someone to commiserate with makes a huge difference.

Lastly, a word to those who have applied to law school: don't even consider doing this unless you really love the law, don't mind a decrease in your self-esteem and are ready to stick to your ideals at the expense of your financial life. It's tough out there. Figure out why you want to do this. If it's because it's all you ever wanted, then go for it. If it's because you have a degree in English Lit and don't know what to do with yourself, you are in trouble.

If I didn't really care about access to justice and helping people get it (no matter what their income is) I think I would have died from the stress of law school and job hunting.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Food stamps

The joy of food stamps. Who knew I would be getting them after law school and feel so little shame about it. Just kinda sucks that it has to be this way, but until I get a job, I need to eat.

The amount of cash in my household is very very low. Looking forward to cashing in our "piggy bank" this week.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hey, you aren't baby spinach

Dear readers:

As a public service, I must tell you about an imposter in our midst. Recently, I was at the farmer's market and bought some "baby spinach." (Quotes intentional) I got it home and started cooking it to add to my already delicious pasta dish for dinner.

But it smelled a little....weird. I thought I was just being a freak about it, and that maybe it was just really really fresh. NOT.

It tasted really pungent and not in a good way. Turns out, that we have a green named tatsoi masquerading as my beloved spinach. And this tatsoi is no spinach my friend.

Tatsoi has been described as mustard like, and a bok choy variant. What it really is, is just straight up yucky. Sorry to all the tatsoi lovers out there, but I call shenanigans.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Still jobless

So, I didn't get that terrific job. They called after the second interview and said that they decided to hire a transfer applicant from one of their other offices. Even worse is that our career services lady mentioned in an offhand way when I saw her the next day that she knew they were going to hire the transfer person. WTF? Gee, thanks for letting me know that before I bought a new suit for the second interview. Like I have money laying around for that. Yeah, right.

I feel frustrated with the whole job situation. I went to a really good law school, and did OK. I was on law review. I was involved in student orgs. I did two externships, one with the Appellate Court. I did everything I was supposed to do, and yet I am sitting here in June with no job, and a pending food stamp application.

I think things would be better if my significant other had a job, or was even remotely employable. But he really isn't. They aren't hiring in his field, and he is just frozen with fear, acting like that's a good excuse to do nothing. He keeps just searching for the same job over and over. When I mentioned a decent paying entry level position, he just said, "But I have that test to work for the unemployment division next week. What abouot that?" What about that you idiot? Odds are, even if he kicks ass at the test, there will be hundreds of other applicants. It's very frustrating to deal with someone who thinks he can only apply to one fucking job at a time.

As for me: I had an interview working for a firm that wants to start up a bankruptcy practice. The interview went OK, but they really (from a business standpoint) should hire someone other than me. And I know that. And it's OK. But OK doesn't pay the damn rent. Speaking of which, I have no idea how that will happen next month.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Interview today

I have a second interview today, at a place in my hometown, where I would really like to work. It is a place where I could really make a difference. According to the lawyers working there who attended my first interview, there is a ton of work to be done, and there will be a TON of court time. This actually excites me.

There is a video of some of those involved with this organization talking about the project I am interviewing for posted on the net. It's an hour long, and I have been watching it (again) this morning, desperately trying to come up with new questions to ask at the interview. That is the tough part as I "used up" my 4 good questions at the last interview.

Does anyone have any "go to" questions for public interest interviews?

(I already used up questions about funding, grants, and the project's legislative advocacy.)

Friday, May 15, 2009


What else can I say right now. I had such a hectic last couple weeks:

getting the public interest award from the bar,
job application due dates,
finally get the OK to get admitted to the bar,
an interview,
an exam, then a paper due the next day, then a mock hearing yesterday,

And now...I finally graduated.

It hasn't sunk in yet. I don't know when it will. I feel so exhausted and happy and I want to hurry up and find those classmates who are leaving town soon, so I can say goodbye and wish them well.

And I want to get back to "real life." The life I left behind wasn't based on "book" learning: it was about the lessons you learn from going through births and deaths and marriages and relationships. The law still seems like a big bunch of theory with a question at the end that won't be answered until I am actually able to help someone with my degree.

Not to say I haven't had a life while in law school, but it was one that centered around classmates and classes and intellectual growth, and trying to figure out how to best use the things about practicing law that I am good at and to decipher the hard parts enough to get through them.

I thought the giant question mark would scare me, but it really is a world of possibility.

And I am ready to take that on.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Yep, I have been feeling a little bad about not having a job, but I found this blog, which makes me feel like a million bucks in comparison to some poor saps out there.

My favorite of course, is the infamous naked wizard gets tazed video, for obvious reasons.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Hilarious Celebrity Apprentice Quote

In the board room:

Ivanka Trump: "These are the things that most project managers wouldn't forgo the opportunity to be a part of."

Brady (former Playmate) "I didn't "forgoo" anything."

Wow. This woman is an idiot. LOL!

Finally - my paralegal experience pays off

Throughout law school, I have been shocked and sometimes upset with how easily my fellow law students and potential employers have dismissed my years of paralegal experience. I worked hard at that job. I helped build a firm from the ground up. I happened to have worked for someone who trusted me and who gave me a long rope (which I sometimes attempted to wrap around my own neck out of frustration. That enabled me to develop an advertising mechanism that doubled the net profit of the firm from that point on. I hired and trained staff, including attorneys. I learned how to handle conflict, both with clients and the sometimes ornery opposing counsel in our cases.

Frankly, I kicked ass at that job. The owner told me I had to go to law school because I had a knack for the business and communication portions of law practice. I was successful, and sometimes, when the joblessness brings up that tiny bit of fear about the future that sometimes ebbs when I feel stressed, I wish I could go back to that job.

Which makes it even harder when the skills I honed there are so easily disregarded as unimportant. Paralegals really are the ones running most law firms. They provide continuity, mediate disputes among staff, ensure quality work product and keep the firm on an even keel.

This morning, I got a call from a firm I applied to. Granted, I didn't really want to start applying to jobs at law firms, but it's a small planitiffs' firm, which doesn't offend my public interest sensibilities. The woman who called immediately told me that the firm had decided to hire someone with 3-5 years of experience, but that they loved my resume and experience, and wanted to consider my paralegal experience as fulfilling that requirement. Hallelujah!

The scary thing is that they want someone who can start up a bankruptcy/debtors' rights practice for them. I have a ton of experience in this area, but not as an attorney. The thought of doing all of that on my own scares me, but is also exciting. In this economy, bankruptcy is booming, and I should take advantage of my knowledge in that area.

I really just want to save the world though.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Still jobless. Have company.

So, update is that I am still job hunting. The good news is that:

a) I am by far not the only one. Some of my smartest, most competent friends and family are still looking too, so I don't feel too inadequate because of my unemployment.
2) I have an interview in my hometown for a job on Wednesday. Please God, let me get that job. It pays almost nothing, but it's doing really good, important work.

The job is at a legal services place, and I would probably have to improve my ability to speak Spanish by about a million percent if I got it, but I think I could really love the work. Can you imagine loving your job? I didn't used to, but I can see loving this. Helping people eliminate barriers to employment is a great thing. Who wouldn't want that job?

OK, the bad thing is that I can't let myself get too excited about it. Period. A crushing defeat might be too much for me right now. How about a tenuous optimism? That sounds very good.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

My own ecomonic crisis

So, I am running out of money. Fast. I knew when I started law school that my savings would be out by the middle of this school year, and that I would have to rely 100% on student loans. Then my significant other lost his job.

And it has been rough. No spring break trips for us. While classmates headed to Florida and Mexico and other warm destinations, we went on a day trip an hour away to visit friends. I am not complaining - I had a good time. It just is hard to have two people in my household looking for jobs, and being so incredibly low on money. His car needed a new transmission 2 weeks ago. We actually found out about that $1700 bill the same day he got into an accident with an uninsured driver. There goes $2,200.

I figured out that we will be out of money entirely by the middle of June, and I will have to start waitressing or something. No shame in that, but it is a little odd for someone with a law degree to be waiting tables again.

One step forward, two steps back.

He went to a teachers job fair this morning. Said that he handed out his resume and chatted up some people, but no one was interviewing people with his specialty area. I am happy that he went. I think that both of us need to improve our confidence - and you can't do that staying at home!

For those soon-to-be law students reading this, be aware that these are bizarre times. Normally, more than half my class would have jobs by now. Normally, I would have a damn job by now. However, before you go to law school, think about what you would do if you couldn't find a job after. Seriously.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Who knew?

Who knew that after high school, an Associates Degree and a B.A. I would finally catch "senioritis" now? While I like one of my classes, the other two are downright painful at times. I do the reading, but my heart's not in it anymore. I can barely sit through our student government meetings, as the closeminded attitudes of my schoolmates are now unbearable. I need to be done with school. Seriously.

Thank god I don't have a job, or I would really be slacking off!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The most amazing room in the Student Union

My friend is doing a panel at the law school today. And her bus lets her off at the Student Union. So I decided to study here for a while. I went upstairs and found this amazing room. Very quiet, with windows overlooking the lake, but not so many windows that its distracting.

I have been getting a lot done here. I might just stay.

In other news, I still don't have a job. Since that's the way things have been for a while, I guess it is not news after all.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wide world of Apathy

Reading this blog, you might think that nothing has happened in the past 30 days, but lots of stuff has...I have just been too busy, lazy and apathetic to blog about it. I think it might be good that I am spending enough time living life that I don't have energy left to write about it.

We have a new President, and he's got a tough job ahead of himself.

I went to New Orleans, and loved the experience again, especially the friends, legal work and food part.

When I returned from New Orleans, I found that my boyfriend is the recession's newest victim, and we are now much much more impoverished than we were before.

More on all this later. I am in Worker's Comp class right now, and I should be trying to learn some things.