Archive for August, 2011

Rock and a Hard Place

August 12, 2011 2 comments

This week I had two interviews – one with a lawyer I met on Twitter, and one for a doc review agency.

Both were in DC.

The first interview was for the lawyer I kind-of knew. I got in the car. I drove to the metro. I walked to her office. And without traffic? That took 2 hours. Coming home in DC traffic took almost three and a half.

I live too far away from where the jobs are.

This isn’t news. I’ve known it for a while. I just didn’t know HOW far. And as I sat in traffic on 270 at a standstill yesterday, it became painfully obvious how far out of my reach all of these jobs were. It became obvious why no one was interested in looking at my resume. It was so obvious.

And for the first time in months, I just cried. Big, fat tears in my car, stuck in traffic, like an idiot. I called a friend. I cried some more. And I lamented that I had done everything right, worked hard, and done well, and this is what my situation has come to.

It got so bad that I called my dad, still crying, and told him that I felt like a big fat failure. I felt like, in my zeal to make the most responsible decisions that I could, I’d screwed myself. That I had no idea what to do next. That I was so scared and angry and frustrated that all the things that I wanted were so far out of my grasp. And like the fantastic father that he is, he just sat and listed for about fifteen minutes. And when I was done, he told me that maybe it was time for The Fiance and I to think about moving. That yes, it was more money. But that he’s got our backs. And did I still want to go to New York for my birthday?

Today I’m still going to the doc review interview (in fact, about the time this is published I’ll be walking in to it – wish me luck). And I’m going to look into what it would take to break our lease out here, get a subletter, and move into Northern Virginia, where I might have a prayer of finding a job, no matter how small. Where I can be in DC in under 2 hours. Where I can get to the Metro without driving an hour and twenty minutes (without traffic). Where John could also find something to  do in the short-term until the government actually hires him. I’m going to keep looking for administrative/paralegal jobs until I get my results. I’m not going to give up.

I tried. I tried really hard to like it out here, and in some ways I do. I tried to get excited about small town life. But, when it comes down to it, it’s too much. It’s too far. And there’s nothing I can do to fix it but change my location.

And in case you were wondering? My father is the very best father in the entire world. I’m so lucky.

Categories: job hunt, The Apartment

Looking Back, Looking Up

August 10, 2011 2 comments

It’s been a rough couple of years.

I know I’m not alone in feeling that way. A lot of lawyers and workers in general are feeling down and out. A lot of people are out of work. Even more are underemployed. And really? I know my story isn’t anything as bad as a lot of people’s. It’s August after my May graduation. I’ve been officially “unemployed” for about a week. I’ve got some money saved. I’m soon to have health insurance again. And eventually, one of these days, The Fiance is going to have a job that will comfortably pay our bills.

I’m very lucky.

I’m also feeling very lucky to have my circle of real-life and internet friends. In the past few days, I’ve been given some interesting resume building opportunities and short-term or part-time opportunities to get my feet wet in the legal realm. And even though I wasn’t (and am still not) sure that I’ll end up being a practicing attorney, it’s no longer because I think I’m somehow not good enough to do it, or that I would be amazingly and horrendously bad at it if I were given the chance.

How did I get to the point of believing, despite the fact that I worked my butt off in law school and my internships and clerkships during school, that I would be terrible, and that I was somehow too stupid to do this? Looking back on it now, I realize that I was in a job that was a bad fit for me during law school. This isn’t to insult my former employer. I got good experience, and learned a lot of things from attorneys who are great at what they do. I liked them. But I also dreaded coming into work. I dreaded the “emergencies” that weren’t emergencies. I feared being yelled at for something I couldn’t control. I resented never being given feedback, even when I asked for it. I hated never having a clear picture of what was expected. I hated feeling ignored and like the work I was doing was never good enough. I was sure I didn’t fit in, and that it was a problem with me.

It wasn’t until spring of my third year, almost two years after starting my job, that I suspected it wasn’t my fault. I ran into a former professor in one of my clinical-type classes who was a partner at a local firm. He stopped me and told me that he was impressed with my work, and that if I ever needed a recommendation I could call him. When I said my firm wasn’t retaining me, he seemed shocked, and said that if I were to stay in the city (I didn’t), he’d be glad to help me find something that would be a good fit. I’d been turning in the same work to him that I’d been giving to my employer.

My lawyer friends tried to tell me that it was just a bad firm experience and not to give up. I didn’t want to hear it. I studied for the bar, freaked out, and convinced myself all over again that this wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t know anything. Who would ever want to hire me? Why would I want to go back to feeling the way I did while I was working during law school?

I don’t feel that way anymore, in part because of an email I got from an attorney after day 1 of the bar exam. She’d listened to me lament, complain, and get angry about my career. She’d listened to my hissy fits, and hadn’t given up on me. Instead, at a time when I’m sure she knew that I felt the dumbest, she sent me an email telling me to keep my chin up, and that the profession could use more women like me. I sat in my hotel room and read it over and over again.

After that, I actually started listening to my attorney friends. I’m beginning to realize that my experience wasn’t normal. It wasn’t my fault. It was just a bad fit. I’m not dumb, I’m not incompetent. I’m still learning, but that’s normal. I’m not supposed to know how to do everything right now.

So for now, until results come out and probably after, I’ll piece together my new career with part-time gigs, contract work, and volunteering. I’m lucky that my network of legal and non-legal people is so supportive, open, and warm. I’m lucky that they kept telling me, even when I didn’t want to hear it, that there’s nothing wrong with me.

I think I’m starting to believe it. Things are looking up.

Categories: job hunt, the law

Applying Myself

August 7, 2011 2 comments

Let’s talk about unemployment, shall we?

It’s boring. It’s really, really boring. I even have a fiance and two kittens to keep me company. I have no idea how people who don’t have those things do it.

Because of this boredom (and because of, you know, money) I’ve been applying to everything in sight. Retail, non-retail. If there’s a job within an hour of my apartment, I’ll consider it. Including waitressing at the casino. I need to get out of the house.

However, that’s not the kind of applying I was talking about in the title of this post.

No, I’m talking about the blood, sweat, and tears kind. The “I gained a ton of weight during my last semester of law school and the bar exam” kind. During 3L and during the bar, there were constantly things vying for my attention. There were things that I had to do for my job and for school that wouldn’t wait. There were endless lectures and practice questions. There was an increased amount of stress and panic.

And now? I have nothing to fill my days except for job applications and the activities I make for myself. So, in addition to cleaning my apartment, I’ve decided to use this time to get healthy. I’ve got new bike shorts, new workout pants, and a plan to bike and jog (and eventually run) my way back into fitness.  Before the Great Employment SNAFU of March, I was able to run 4 miles without stopping. I was about 15 pounds lighter. I felt better. I looked better. I had a waist. I want to get back there and to keep going.

But just training isn’t enough. I also have to stop the ridiculous eating habits I’ve developed. And to help out there, I’ve started making green smoothies, or a spinach-based fruit and veggie smoothie for my breakfast and after-workout snack.  I know in theory it sounds gross, and that they definitely look gross. But I assure you, the one I ate today was heavenly.  Here’s what I used:

The Ingredients:

  •  2 handfuls of baby spinach
  •  1 cup passion blend frozen fruit (peaches, pineapple, melon, and strawberry)
  •  1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  •  6 baby carrots
  •  1 tablespoon peanut butter
  •  1 cup vanilla soy milk

I just put it in the blender and hit “puree.” In about a minute, I had something that looked like this, and was able to be easily poured from the blender into a glass.

The end product was a little more textured than a regular fruit smoothie. It wasn’t really sweet, but tasted like vanilla, with a hint of peanut butter.  The recipe will yield 2 servings, if you’re using 12 oz glasses.  And, according to MyFitnessPal, each serving contains:

  • 192 calories
  • 24 g carbs
  • 6 g fat
  • 13 g protein
  • 6 g fiber
Since I have a hard time feeling like I get enough veggies, I think I’ll be adding these to my morning routine. I ate it along with a single egg, and felt full and satisfied. And I have one more serving to use as a post-workout snack this afternoon. Bonus? The Fiance doesn’t like them, so unlike the rest of the things in the fridge, I don’t have to worry about him stealing it.
Categories: health, Photos, recipes Tags: , ,

Tests, Kittens, and Uncertainty.

August 4, 2011 4 comments

Once upon a time, a girl moved four hours away from a city she loved to be with a boy she loved. She started studying for the bar exam. She started a blog. She even got a kitten. And then? She fell off the face of the bloggy earth.


Not surprisingly, a few things have changed since I last posted over here.

As those of you who follow me on Twitter know: the kitten is a girl. Oops. Her name is Tessa, and she’s twice as big as she was when we got her a month and a half ago.

But we’re not a one-cat household anymore.

Hello there!

Meet Gus. Much to Tessa’s initial frustration, when I was in Roanoke for the Test That Shall Not Be Named, I stopped in Lynchburg to pick up a kitten that my college friend Mary Jo rescued from a gas station but couldn’t keep. He’s the sweetest kitten on earth, and incredibly laid back. He loves water, loves to cuddle, and loves to lick. He’s kind of like a little puppy in cat form. Because of his look, temperament, and size I’m pretty sure he’s at least part Ragdoll. While the two of them weren’t super good friends at first because Tessa flipped out, they now love each other. Observe:

Let me get that off your foot for you!

In the next few days, I’ll catch you up on the other random happenings. The MIL is currently not really on speaking terms with us.  The Fiance’s job has been delayed, so we’re both frantically searching for anything that pays. We’re trying to figure out when and where to get married. And, I’m trying out new recipes and workouts to lose all the weight I put on during 3L and bar study so I don’t look like a whale anymore.

Until then, let me just say: my stress level hasn’t decreased after the bar exam like I was promised. It’s just changed. I’m bored, and yet overwhelmed by how few jobs are out there for people like me who are just starting out. Things are hard, and we’re not entirely sure what’s next.

Right now, my life feels a lot like it feels to drive on a country road late at night. I know there are bends and turns, but I can’t see them. I don’t know what’s coming up, and it’s scary. I’m not sure how to prepare, or really where I’m going. I can only see the little bit that’s illuminated in the headlights. Hopefully in the next few weeks I’ll find something to do for money and figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Until then, I’m going to finish my glass of wine and snuggle some kittens.

Categories: Photos Tags: , , , ,