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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Passed, Lawyered, Employed, Phew! Oh yeah, and an exciting tale of riding the bus.

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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Dena said...

Congrats to you!

heidkins said...

Congrats!! That is so exciting!!

Bus Guy sounds like a guy who needed a power trip at the butt crack of dawn. What a weirdo.


The Over-Thinker said...

Isn't the Urban-Nutbag a fascinating individual? A douche for the ages. You handled the situation with much more class than I could've possibly managed. CONGRATS on all the passing of bars and employment-ary!

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