You resist sleep, because sleeping is forfeiting the day until tomorrow, effectively fastforwarding an already brief life via unconsciousness. It goes like this:
One day, you wake up, and you're thirty, and you don't really feel any more grown up than you did at twenty. Maybe in some ways you feel less grown up. But maybe that's because you were never as grown up as you thought you were. You were just precocious back then, and a little naive and idealistic. But the fact that you see that now means you really are grown up, at least compared to twenty.
Though you still like video games. The sames ones you played in your childhood and teens. And you enjoy discovering other games from the same era, because it makes you feel like a kid again, and all nostalgic. But you might have ruined a few childhood memories by rewatching films or shows that were once so good, but now are clearly lacking in one respect or another. So you try to forget the revisit, and reinstall the memory.
You don't have your whole life ahead of you anymore. You only have what's left. And you have less time to get where you're going, wherever that is.
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Saturday, April 6, 2013
Saturday, December 1, 2012
Whoa, I've really kept things suspenseful on the blog, haven't I? Last I wrote, I was still waiting on my bar results, and I said that if you don't hear from me for awhile, it's probably because I didn't pass.
Well I hate to break expectations, but my silence has not been because I didn't pass. I did, in fact, pass my bar exam, and have been sworn in as an officer of the court here in Oregon. So, yeah, I'm a lawyer now. Yay!
I am also gainfully employed, though not strictly as a lawyer. I think I mentioned in my last post that I was working a temp job at Nike world headquarters. That temp job has been upgraded to a full time W-2 style position. I'm working in the procurement department, which is fancy business speak for sourcing of commodities for Nike. The group I am working in helps procure service contracts/deals for Nike's business groups. So it's law-related in that negotiating service contracts is involved. I am liking it pretty well, and am excited by how much there is to learn.
Legal education is very theoretical. Too theoretical, if you ask me. What I'm doing right now is much more practical and results-oriented. So it's a different perspective for me. Even pre-law school, I worked in law firms, which largely live in a theoretical world.
So everything seems very new, and I'm having to learn a lot of business jargon. For instance, you might be interested to know that it is not uncommon for business people to use the word "ask" as a noun, similar to the nominal use of "request". "Here's our ask on this..." one might say. Business people also like to "escalate" things up the chain of command. "Escalate" might also mean not punting up the chain of command, but increasing the sense of urgency that one has about a matter. Depends whom you ask (in the verbal sense). Business people also "push back" when someone has an ask that they are totally not amenable to.
And acronyms! My god, acronyms are all over the damn place! The alphabet soup is crazy in the business world. Things are promised by EOD (end of day) or maybe COB (close of business). A cost might be capital, but it also might be OPEX (operating expense). Contracts come in MPSAs (Master Professional Service Agreements), MSAs (Master Servce Agreements), NDAs (non-disclosure agreements), WOs (Work Orders), COs (Change Orders), and so forth. Compensation might be calculated on a T&E (time and expense), otherwise known as T&M (time and materials) basis. And of course there will probably be SLAs (service level agreements) in your EULAs (end user license agreements). I can handle that kind of talk, because it's part of legal jargon, too. But when people start going on PTO (paid time off) instead of vacation, I get a little batty.
The good thing about gainful employment is that I should be able to buy myself a car soon. The bad thing is that, due to my overwhelming amount of student loan debt, and the fact that I am only recently empoyed, I can't get the credit without Mr. E's co-signature. Normally I would strongly advise against co-signing loans, because you get all the personal responsibility without any of the fun, but Mr. E and I, we're like a team, see, and I can't keep taking the bus to work because it's taking close to three hours out of my roundtrip day, which is very exhausting and soul-crushing.
Speaking of the bus, let me tell you a little story about my bus ride this morning. I ride the same bus route every day to work, and it's pretty much the same every day. I board the number 62 crack of dawn bus at the local mall after connecting from my village, and ride almost the whole route up to Nike. It's typically a 45 minute ride on that leg. The bus typically sees the same faces everyday, and people pretty much leave each other alone. With the exception of a few odd days, my morning ride almost never fills to capacity. People do that thing where you sit one to a row on each side, with an extra space, and then when everyone is evenly spaced, newcomers have to start sitting next to someone (the horror!). But in truth, my bus nearly never gets so full that people must sit together.
I ride with my new leather satchel briefcase (graduation present from my lovely family), and so I typically lay it on the seat next to me while I read my Kindle, listen to my ipod, or snooze against the window. On the extremely rare occasion that the bus fills, I will put it on my lap so someone can take the seat next to me, but that has only been necessary about two times in the past 3.5 months.
Today, I'm sitting in my usual area toward the back, reading my Kindle, when this frequent rider boards the bus, bypasses a number of open seats at the front of the bus (granted, they were all neighboring other people), walks back to my row, points at my bag and says, "I'm going to sit right here. This bag has no ticket."
I glance at all the empty seats in front of me and over my shoulder and say, "There's plenty of open seats on the bus."
Again, the man insists, "This bag, no ticket."
"I understand that, but there are plenty of available seats for you to choose from, why do you need to sit here?" I ask, even as I drag my satchel onto my lap while he plops into the seat next to me.
"No one tells me where to sit. I sit where I like."
At this point, I'll mention that this guy is black, and I got the impression that he was somehow defensive about being dictated on where to sit on the bus, which is something that frankly hasn't been an issue in my lifetime, but it's the vibe he was giving off.
"I'm not telling you where to sit, you don't have to get contentious," I said, "I just don't understand why you must sit here when there are plenty of available places to sit on the bus."
He began to lecture me some more about how my bag doesn't have a ticket, and I cut him off, "You know what? you can sit here," I said, "excuse me, please." And I let him have my row and moved to the back of the bus where I squeezed with my bag on my lap between one of those annoyingly placed poles on my left and a lady on my right. "I'm sorry," I mumbled to her as I sat.
"That's alright!" She insisted.
"What a psycho." I muttered, and I took her silence as agreement.
I went back to reading my Kindle, but no longer found enjoyment in the novel I was reading, so I switched to a book on technical contracts. Dry subject like that is just perfect for a morning that was just asking for clinical detachment over emotional connection.
Oh, and the guy who ousted me? He sat on the aisle side, and laid his own bag on the inside seat next to him. I thought for a moment about yelling to him that his bag didn't have a ticket and he should put it on his lap, but I didn't want to mirror the poor behavior of a hypocritical asshole.
And you know, even if there were all those open seats on the bus, if he would have come to my row and said, "May I sit here please?" I would have gladly moved my bag onto my lap and said, "Sure." Then I would have returned to my book. Almost everyone gets off at the train station 5 minutes before my stop anyway, so soon I would have my row back to myself.
I think really the guy just wanted his own row, and he couldn't very well demand that someone without a bag move for him, but when I have a bag, all of a sudden there's a philosophical argument about who and what are entitled to a seat.
I'm really not one of those people who strives to deny people a place to sit. If the bus is full, I will accommodate your needs. But when there's plenty of room, and I have a 45 minute ride, yeah, I'm gonna lay my bag next to me.
So sue me.
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012
A wonderful Utah musician named Mike Masse is selling covers of The Beatles' song Let It Be in order to raise funds to treat his infant son with a malignant brain tumor. I already have a collection of Mike's great covers which he performed and recorded at The Pie Pizzeria in Salt Lake City, around the corner from where I used to live. He is a very talented cover artist.
I think it's tragic that people who get sick in this country so often have to resort to fundraisers in order to have a chance at surviving. Politics aside, there's clearly something wrong with that.
Anyway, I wanted to spread the word on this fundraiser because I like Mike as a musician, and because I have a brother who still battles cancer today after roughly six years of treatment, and it breaks my heart that this poor kid might not even finish year two of his life.
I went ahead and threw down $5 for the song, because that's what I can afford as an as-yet-unemployed-near-lawyer. Hopefully one day soon I can do more for such causes.
But even if you don't decide to donate, go check out Mike's covers, which you can also find on YouTube.
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Sunday, August 12, 2012
Let's see, it's been awhile since I've posted, so where were we...? Eeep! It looks like my last post was just before the bar exam! I was quite on edge about it (if you ever talk to anyone who says the bar exam is not that bad, they must be so far past it that they have exam-prep amnesia, because this was by far the most stressful summer since law school began).
I managed to wake up to my alarms on both days (no thanks to the hotel alarm clock, which didn't go off, but I had triple redundancy in the form of my cell phone, my ipod, and my boyfriend's sleepy morning phone call, so I made it on time). Also, my laptop made it through essay day without crapping out on me or giving me any trouble whatsoever. Not everyone was so lucky. During essay day, a number of people had to raise their hands during the exam because of laptop trouble. Glad I wasn't one of them.
The exam took place in the Red Lion hotel situated as far north as you can get in Portland before you cross the bridge into Washington. The hotel was lovely, actually. Situated right on the Columbia river with beautiful views of sail boats and larger ships passing under the I-5 draw bridge. My hotel room was also quite nice. The downsides were that the planes from PDX airport fly right over the hotel along the river, and I was awakened a number of times the first night from the noise. But it wasn't that big of a deal. It was a strange experience, where I felt very solitary but also surrounded by a lot of solidarity. I knew a lot of people there, naturally, and the whole stay was sort of like a mixture of hell and a vacation with friends between exam days and sessions.
I was quite nervous the first session of the first day. When I sat at my assigned seat, my hands were shaking. They shake a little bit all the time anyway (thanks, dad's genes), but this was added nerves. I was seated next to someone I knew casually from law school, and we chatted a bit during the morning wait, so that helped diffuse some tension. But after the first session was over (all 3 hours of it), I felt more confident going into the remaining 3 sessions over the next day and a half.
I don't think the test was easy. There were definitely some curve balls thrown in on both the essays and multiple choice sessions. But I don't think it was that bad either. I think I probably displayed the minimum competency needed to pass, but we won't know for sure until Sept. 21. (If you hear nothing from me for a long time after Sept. 21, it's because I failed and am crying myself to sleep into my pillow every day. But seriously, I think it went ok. Probably. *knocking on wood*)
In the meantime, post-exam, what have I been doing? Well, I spent a good two weeks doing absolutely nothing. I slept quite a bit. Took impromptu naps daily. I would be watching some of my TV shows and then suddenly wake up three hours later, having not chosen to nap at all. It is funny what stress does to your body physically. I was seriously beat after the exam, mentally and physically. I went to a few celebratory drinking sessions and dinners. There was a beer fest involved.
It's only been in the last week or two that I have started working on what comes next, professionally. I am one of the (unfortunately many) unlucky ones who does not have a job lined up. I do scan the job boards daily, and there has not really been much to bite at in my areas I wish to specialize in. A lot of the pertinent listings want attys with 3-10 years of experience practicing. Ha! So I'm still looking for work, and there's a chance that it will come along, especially after bar results come out.
But I am also working on a plan to launch my own law firm, right out of the gate. I know, it sounds crazy. I have so many doubts myself. But I am doing a lot of research, reading books, checking out websites in my practice area, working on business details. This is not ideal. My plan has always been to have my own firm -- eventually. But the economy being what it is, and the job market being what it is, and my desired specialty area being what it is, jumping right in might be the necessary choice, unless I want to sacrifice my professional vision in some way.
So it's not ideal. But I am going to try it.
I have picked my practice area (trademarks, primarily, but other legal business needs will be serviced), selected a firm name (secret for right now), and designed my logo. I am working on plans for a website, and have acquired my domain name. I am looking into forming my LLC, and figuring out where I should open my banking accounts. I am looking into virtual office services which would allow me to book a conference room for client meetings when I need to make them (an actual physical office will probably be something that must wait a year or two). Right now not much has been set in stone, but I am working hard to figure out what needs to happen and trying to get those balls rolling, slowly, and with due diligence of course. The biggest hurdle is going to be funding. I am going to try to keep start up costs as low as possible, but I will need some capital to get everything going. Going to look into grants. I know there are opportunities out there for women entrepreneurs, because it's a man's world out there, baby.
So that's the direction I'm heading now. If I can get an acceptable job while I am trying to launch the firm, I will take it, just to help pay the bills. But I want this firm to happen at some point anyway, and I'm kind of at the point where I think, why not now? You have to take the plunge some time.
Tonight I watched a video conference call on starting up a small firm, and I identified very closely with the female attorney giving the presentation. Her experience with setting up her own firm mirrors some of the thoughts and plans I have been working on. It made me feel reinforced to watch that.
Business aside, I have concerns over my ability to competently work legal matters out of the gate. Law school is not so much like med school or other professional schools in terms of how they prepare you to actually practice. But everyone has to learn on the job. Whether it's diving in yourself, or working under a slave-master's thumb, it has to come at some point. I guess in an employment situation, there's more a sense of security that someone is watching for your mistakes and that there's someone there to mentor you. But I have heard mixed opinions on how effective the large firm environment actually is for attys in their first few years in terms of actually teaching you how to practice. There are other resources out there, such as books, listservs, unofficial mentors, official mentors (Oregon assigns you one during your first year of bar admittance), professors from the law school, and so on. So I don't think the disadvantage is too great, if any. Also, Oregon is one of the few (if not the only) state that requires professional liability insurance in order for you to practice law. So if I screw up horribly, that will help.
Crazy? Maybe. Happening? Looks likely.
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