Tag Archives: politics

No lateral moves

Somewhere along the way, I made a promise to myself: no lateral moves.  No moving from my job to a slightly-better-job.  I want a salary, I want benefits, I want personal fulfillment.  Does this make me sound entitled?  Maybe, except I have a job that I like very much that does not have a salary or benefits (but is more personally fulfilling than I ever expected.)

So there is this other job, that was listed yesterday.  It’s at an organization I used to work for, doing work I swore I was finished with, but it has a salary and benefits and personal fulfillment.  I would be working in an office with a very good friend of mine and I would be doing good, important, meaningful work.  It would be a lot of litigation, which isn’t something I have any experience with (and experience I probably need), and it would offer me a route back into the public interest job sector.  It has reasonable, flexible hours, and reasonable expectations of it’s entry-level opportunities, so it seems like a no-brainer.

What doesn’t it have? An avenue for advancement.  A guarantee that if I got and took this job, I would eventually end up back in public interest elder law (an area that just doesn’t hire enough.)  A guarantee that if I got and took this job, I could eventually transition to a future in legislative advocacy work.  A guarantee that if I got and took this job, I would be good at it.  A guarantee that if I got and took this job, we would have everything we’ve been talking about for a year and therefore Everything Would Be Okay, like we’ve been talking about for a year.

I come down to wondering if I’m just scared.  I’m scared, genuinely scared, to get a real job.  I have always worked at jobs that were below my experience level, that didn’t pay, that offered rewards in their nonmonetary compensation.  When I have been paid, it’s almost a token of appreciation, enough to pay gas and parking and maybe for groceries.  I make money at this job now, but not a salary.  And I wonder if there is a reason for that besides the crummy economy – if I’m letting The Fear hold me back.  If they pay me a salary, they will expect me to show up and work hard, and while academically, I know I do not have a problem with hard work, I have always worked hard, and I will continue to do so, what if what if what if it isn’t good enough for the real world?

At the same time, I’m itching, as my friend C. said, to get out there, to lawyer, to put my name on my work and have it be mine and to own who I am and what I do and stand up and say, “I’m your lawyer, b*tches.”  But on the other shoulder is the little scardy cat scales of justice telling me that if I continue to go for jobs that aren’t what I really want, I’m selling out for the money and the health insurance and in twenty years I’ll look back on my life and say, “well, how did I end up here?”

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Filed under Job Search, Lawyering, Unemployed

The 99%

Whenever I check out We Are The 99%, I think about whether or not I am part of the 99%.  The definition from the website is:

“We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay and no rights, if we’re working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1 percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent.”

What I conclude, when I read through the site is, I am not “part of” the 99%, as I have money for both groceries and rent, but I am one bad medical problem, car accident, or layoff away from being part of the 99%.  Despite the fact that I went to law school, passed the bar, and was sworn in nearly a year ago, I am still unable to support myself.  My husband supports us.  If he lost his job, we would probably have to move, or spend down our savings.

And yet, and yet.  We are the lucky ones.  We have our health, except that my heart condition has been acting up lately and I’m afraid to go to the doctor, because I pay out of pocket for my health insurance, and I know that the possibility of having a pre-existing condition that won’t be covered once I have a salaried, full-time, benefits bearing employment is high, and that I don’t want to be paying out of pocket for the rest of my life.  So I don’t go to the doctor.  I haven’t been to a “lady-doctor” in two years (but I have an appointment for next month),

And yet, and yet.  We are the lucky ones.  I managed to graduate from undergraduate with not one, but two useless degrees, one in History, one in English (useless except they taught me a hell of a lot more than any current Republican candidate will ever know about American History), and I graduated from law school with a Juris Doctorate degree, without any debt.  So the fact that it took me nearly six months to find a job, and nearly a year to find one that paid more than a checkout cashier at Costco, the fact that I was in a position where it was easy for me to be taken advantage of, all of this makes me lucky.  

I graduated in the top 12% of my class.  I may very well be spoiled, entitled, elitist, and lazy (but does anybody really always put their socks in the laundry bin?).  I’m also lucky, smart, and hardworking.  I have been resourceful enough in this economy to get enough work for me to be able to get by.  I got the luxury of taking a job I wanted, a job that was good for the long term, a job that makes me happy, because I don’t have debt and I have a husband that supports me.

I’m not really sure what my point is here.  It isn’t that I don’t get the 99%.  It’s that it’s complicated for me.  Because I think I’m part of the 99%, in that I’m not a bazillionaire, but I don’t feel like I’m actually part of the 99% because I’m lucky, and have been lucky, and will hopefully continue to be lucky.  And it’s not that I don’t identify, but that I think the movement which is supposed to be inclusive is having some trouble well, including people.

Do you share my questions about the 99%? Or are you unquestionably sure you are part of the 99%, or sure you are part of the 1%?

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Filed under Unemployed

Plenty of tea. No parties.

I’m not going to say that if Obama dooesn’t win reelection, I will definitely move. But if some of the more extreme candidates win, I’m definitely going to consider it.  My husband is a UK citizen,so when I fantasize about where to move, my first thought is England. There is also the possibility of Scotland or Wales.  We can realize my retirement dream of running a B&B fifty years early, (since I don’t really want to go through more school to be able to practice law) and maybe rescue corgis.

At our B&B, we shall serve a proper high tea and quite possibly run a small-scale restaurant that serves plenty of vegetarian English specialties like vegetable lasagna and vegetarian pies, and a lot of locally sourced and humanely raised meats.  We shall have a monthly Cheese Feast in which we sample many kinds of cheese in many kinds of dishes.  I think the B&B shall be in the south of England, where cider is quite popular, and if our guests wish it, we can arrange for them to go on tours of the local Cidery.  We shall purchase many acres of land so that my parents can’t come build a house right next door.  I will learn to speak proper British and stop talking about pants.

Will you join me? Or perhaps you would like to join me instead in contributing money and time to any candidate in this election cycle that doesn’t hate science and poor people?

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Filed under Life List, Volunteering