Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

Archive for January 2010

Later Night / Early Morning

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Total Black: $128.90
Total Red: $228,854,86

As I mentioned in Late Night, my evening didn’t end until after 4 am.  I had intended to show my face at the Drama Queenz party and then call it an early night.  I wanted to use Sunday morning and afternoon to clean up my apartment and to work on the research assignment I took on a few weeks back.  Instead I awoke to an email from another usher asking if I could cover his 11:30 am shift at the theatre.  Mice and men, eh? Keep reading . . .

Late Night

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Total Black: $222.26
Total Red: $228,854.86

Despite this post not appearing on time, this was not another day without a post.  At least not technically speaking. Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

January 30, 2010 at 23:05

Survivor Guilt

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Total Black : $303.49
Total Red: $228,853.79

I learned yesterday morning that the temp job I’m on will be over on Monday.  But not for me.  The firm has asked me and another person to stay on longer.   The temporary attorney staffing agency called me yesterday morning and informed me.  They also asked me to be discreet and not mention this to anyone else on the project.  The catch: there’s only three of us on the project.  So all day yesterday I had to listen to the other attorney on the project, the third has practically been moved permanently to a conference room in the firm, go on about the “signs” and how it looks like the project might be winding down and how another week on the project would be great.  I had emailed Tom the Temp to ask for his advice.  Nothing back yet.  I wondered whether there were any unspoken temp attorney rules on such matters.  Where does my allegiances lie?  With my employer?  Or with my fellow temps?  Feels like an episode of Survivor. Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

January 29, 2010 at 09:27

Wise or Unwise

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Total Black: $1,551.96
Total Red: $229,283.54

Whether wise or unwise, I’ve done it: as set out in Resolutions For the New Year, one credit card will be paid off by the end of January.  That leaves me with another to pay off by the end of February and then a student loan by March.  And I can’t wait!  As odd as it may sound, I actually can’t wait to pay bills now. Keep reading . . .

State of My Union

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Total Black: $83.69
Total Red: $229,225.06

I couldn’t help but co-opt the title for today’s entry from the main feature in the American press: President Obama’s first State of the Union address.  This morning as I was in the dentist’s chair, MSNBC turned on in the background, I couldn’t help but notice an odd similarity of mine to President Obama.  Not that I’m in any way comparable to a man of his caliber and accomplishments, but in a small way, I noticed that we share one similarity: seems that nothing either of us do can appease any of our critics.  He’s taken the fall for the bank bailouts, whether a wise move or not, when it was actually President Bush and Congress who approved it.  His efforts on health care were sabotaged, and even though everyone in the country wanted something done to improve the current system, no one will give him credit for getting something done.  Likewise the economy hasn’t recovered as quickly or as fully as we all would have liked; ask anyone and it is single-handedly all his fault.  Every bemoans the Stimulus Plan as having had no effect.  I can personally say that without it, I wouldn’t have been in that dentist’s chair this morning.  It also got me an additional $25 a week in unemployment benefits back when I was still on the dole.  Sadly, that little bit extra did make a difference.  I could go on with additional examples, but the few I’ve cited suffice.  I suppose unless you’ve achieved something just short of herculean or heroic, people will only go on about your short-comings or missteps.  So, how is the state of my union?  Keep reading . . .

View From the Top

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Total Black: $84.21
Total Red: $228,973.35

Last night I paused for a moment at work and snapped a few pictures with my iPhone of the midtown Manhattan skyline.  This is the view outside one of the rooms I was working out of.  Amazing.  And beautiful in a way only modern cities can be.  I have a similar sense of awe anytime I land in Chicago—seeing all the lights spread out in grids for miles.  I recall being humbled and awed when visiting the Sears Tower at night one time.  Every pair of lights moving around the city carried at least one person scurrying to another destination.  So too here.  Many, though certainly not all, of the lights peppering this picture illuminated someone burning the midnight oil.  And it was nearly midnight when I took this.  Just at midnight when I left.  I definitely got in thirteen hours yesterday.  I suspect there will be more nights like this in the days to come. Keep reading . . .

The Fourth Wall

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Total Black: $83.81
Total Red: $228,965.35

I was reviewing Sleep, It Does a Body Good in my mind while walking back from the dry cleaners this morning.  I realized that I had started predicting comments or at least anticipating them within the body of my post before posting it.  I’ve done it a few times now, though mostly in reference to prior comments on prior posts.  I won’t do that again.  I realized I broke the fourth wall.  And generally, I hate it when shows break the fourth wall. Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

January 25, 2010 at 08:29

Sleep, It Does a Body Good

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Total Black: $83.81
Total Red: $228,965.35

Short post today.  I spent much of the day sleeping.  Over the past seven days I have been working as much as possible at the contract attorney position while also allowing for shifts at the theatre gig some nights.  Yesterday, for example, I worked at the contract attorney position from 8:30am to 9:30am, then left for New World Stages for a 10am shift, then back to the contract attorney position for 1pm until 4:45pm when I returned to the theatre gig for three more shifts until I finished up around 10pm.  By the end of the day, my throat had started feeling a bit sore, so I asked the bartender to whip me up a hot toddy to help numb it.  One of the cocktail servers overheard and asked whether I was still feeling ill.  I wondered what he meant until a bit later when I recalled that last Sunday I also felt ill: sweaty, tired, achy—and I had asked him pick me up some chicken soup from a nearby supermarket when he went out for his lunch.  From last Sunday until today I have only slept about five to six hours of sleep each night.  Not good.  Not getting enough sleep doesn’t let your body recover from any cold or flu you might be fighting off.  I made up for much of my sleep deprivation today—only one shift at the theatre today and it lasted just under two hours.  Thankfully this upcoming week I am only scheduled to work on the weekend at the theatre. Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

January 24, 2010 at 20:38


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Total Black: $83.81
Total Red: $228,811.79

My day started at 7am when I was woken by my mother calling.  I haven’t been able to speak with her much lately because of the hours I’ve been pulling.  I’m also not much of a telephone person these days.  Once you and a friend or family member fall out of touch for a bit, it always seems like it’s going to require a long telephone conversation to catch back up.  So more time passes.  I mentioned this back in Never Been Further Apart.  Perhaps I need to be the one to start telephoning people.  I am good about texting though.  And to that end I created a monster in my mother.  I told her I’d send her a text message when I returned to New York.  She’s the type who invents every scenario of disaster until you’ve informed her you’ve safely arrived.  Well, in turn, my sister taught her how to text message back.  Now she’s enjoying it to the fullest and texting fairly often.  And teaching other older ladies too.  (If your moms all start texting you unexpectedly, it might be all my fault.) Keep reading . . .

Nose to the Grindstone

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Total Black: $83.81
Total Red: $228,872.01

Late post.  Had my nose to the grindstone all day at the contract attorney position and then at the theatre.  Crazy day tomorrow too because I’m scheduled for four shifts at the theatre and I’ll also be working at the contract attorney position before and between those shifts.  But it’s all worth it to keep bringing that debt down. Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

January 22, 2010 at 23:59

Mad Men

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Total Black: $1416.55
Total Red: $229,633.86

The final comment received last night on Vindication! summed up much of my consternation about the explosion of comments in that post and of late in general.  I’ve said repeatedly that I welcome comments.  In part because they motivate me.  As I write this it’s just before 7 am.  I’m awake, and didn’t hit snooze repeatedly today because the anger coursing through my veins this morning when I woke, and recalled yesterday’s whipping, bolted me out of bed.  I might not get in to the contract attorney for 7 a.m. today, because I’m staying true to my Resolutions For the New Year, but I’ll be in by 8 a.m. for sure.  But beyond some twisted form of masochistic motivation, what’s the function of blogosphere comments? Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

January 21, 2010 at 07:35


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Total Black: $88.81
Total Red: $229,590.92

Manna from heaven.  Yesterday the clouds parted and down fell some wonderful news.  In threes I might add.  A trifecta of vindication!  Let me explain. Keep reading . . .

Unclogging My Cash Flow

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Total Black: $93.21
Total Red: $229,501.71

I mentioned in plenty of prior posts like Feelings and Finances or Debtor’s Revolt that managing cash flow is really my main problem.  It was never paying my bills.  It certainly wasn’t my earnings; I made enough there, at least a few years back.  But even back when I had a six-figure job, I often went from paycheck to paycheck each week without much in cash.  Thanks to a lesson learned in Waiting For the Guilt To Subside, I avoid doing that any longer.  This week, however, I fell off the wagon a bit.  I admit it.

Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

January 19, 2010 at 08:05

No More Piggy

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Total Black: $121.21
Total Red: $229,479.20

I’m late posting today because I had to leave fairly early this morning to ensure I got in sufficient hours at the contract attorney position today.  I worked from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. for a total of twelve hours.  I took off ninety minutes during the afternoon when I stepped out for my final doctor’s office visit.  Today was the last day for the medical experiment.  No more guinea pig here! Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

January 18, 2010 at 23:56

Times of Tragedy

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Total Black: $66.95
Total Red: $229,387.70

Everywhere I’ve gone these past few days Haiti and the recent earthquake there have prevailed. is encouraging organizers to use their meetup groups as vehicles for donation.  Facebook friends post copious comments about relief efforts.  Of course, Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta are single-handedly rescuing thousands by the hour.  The tragedy has even brought former political opponents together.  Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have teamed up, part of the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, to help raise money and aid for Haiti relief efforts.  Once I get paid, I’ll donate something to their efforts.  Personally, I approve wholeheartedly of former presidents staying involved in politics.  John Quincy Adams and William Howard Taft would be two I can think of who remained active after their presidencies: Adams as a Congressman from his home state and Taft as the Chief Justice of the United States.  The tragedy in Haiti even got a guy from the theatre gig to donate 20% of the profits from a production of Much Ado About Nothing he’s putting on at New World Stages.  I’m surprised that I haven’t been hit up yet by some of the dating sites I’m on: hump your way to helping Haiti. Keep reading . . .

Defeat the Debt

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Total Black: $66.95
Total Red: $229,387.70

As I was walking to the contract attorney position this morning, I saw an awesome billboard in Times Square: Uncle Sam, broke and penniless, begging for $12 Trillion dollars.  Defeat the posted the ad.  I definitely feel where they’re coming from.  As a nation we have a debt problem.  But more so I think we have a shame problem.  We don’t talk about our debt.  And everyone else is in perfect, pristine financial health.  They’ve never paid a bill late, never bounced a check or overdrew their accounts, and they’ve got a whole year’s worth of savings stocked away in the bank.  If only that were true, eh? Keep reading . . .

Dreaming In Tongues

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Total Black: $85.68
Total Red: $229,309.51

Total black is down even further from throwing money at another of my credit cards.  I sent over three hundred dollars through to the card in smaller payments.  As I noted in Change Is Gonna Come, who says you have to make your minimum payment to a credit card in one lump sum, especially when, as with Bank of America, you can just transfer money from your checking account directly to your credit card accounts.  That’s one way I intend to get my Bank of America accounts down—slowly and steadily chipping away at them.

Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

January 15, 2010 at 06:06

Bringing It Down

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Total Black: $487.48
Total Red: $229,620.35

And so it’s begun.  Total red has finally stopped climbing and started retreating.  It’s an awesome feeling.  Monday will bring me another $500 from completing the medical experiment.  And then next Thursday I’ll have a sizeable check from putting in ten-hour (or more) days all this week.  That’ll cover rent and allow me to dump even more on my debts.

I worked ten hours yesterday.  I got a late start because one of the windows in my apartment had problems for over a month now—I’ve had more drafts than the health care bill.  Finally the landlord’s window person came by to fix things.  The window company was closed over the holidays.  So much for a city that purportedly doesn’t sleep, eh?  I’m on track to get at least sixty hours in this week.  It’s beginning to take its toll on my energy level, but I’ve got two gyms nearby the office, one that closes later than the other.  I’ve hit those at the end of the each night this week.  The unemployment benefits, which I referenced in Sixth Day of Accounting, still haven’t been paid.  Instead I received a letter in the mail from the New York State Department of Labor asking me to explain the break in my unemployment claim.  I received that last time I claimed unemployment benefits after the October contract attorney position wrapped up.  But back then I was also paid.  This time—at least to date—I’ve not been.  I’ll submit the form anyway though.

Guess that’s it for updates.  Short post today.  I’ve gotta run out and buy a few groceries and then head to the contract attorney position.

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

January 14, 2010 at 08:36

Back to Basics

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Total Black: $88.80
Total Red: $230,621.20

The focus of this blog has strayed a bit afield of late.  I started on this path with two goals: to eliminate my debt in a year and to blog about debt, my efforts to get out of debt, and all things debt-related in general.  Perhaps I’ve let the blog devolve into a bit of an online journal.  That isn’t the focus.  While chronicling my efforts to get out of of debt are a component, I started the blog as a means to an end, not as an end in itself.  I need to keep that at the forefront because I think I’ve found myself slipping into the blogdom a bit too much lately. Keep reading . . .

Change is Gonna Come

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Total Black: $1,088.80
Total Red: $230,621.20

As I noted in The Rat Race, a change has already come and more is on the way.  I stopped being frivolous with my money.  The thousand dollars reflected above in total black, part payment from the colleague I worked for since starting this project back in August, it’s already been allocated to a credit card and is just waiting to be debited.  That payment cuts that card in half.  On track to paying off at least one credit card by the end of January, as I vowed in Resolutions For the New Year.  I had said I’d pay rent with that check, but the landlord can wait a bit longer.  I didn’t work all those hours for the colleague to send that money to the landlord.  Hair-splitting, I know, but it’s the principle of it.  I also worked eleven hours today and I’m on track to do so again tomorrow.  And I’ve picked up quite a few shifts all this week and next at the theatre gig.  Cashing In My Karma once again. Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

January 12, 2010 at 23:37

Back On the Other Chain Gang

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Total Black: $412.81
Total Red: $230,476.54

Well, I’ll be back at New World Stages next weekend.  Possibly this weekend as well.  At maximum I earned about $275.00 in a week at New World Stages.  So, assuming I get anywhere around $200, coupled with the $2,000 from the contract attorney position, and I’d be making approximately $115,000 for the year.  Of course, I won’t be working the contract position for the rest of the year—at least not as far as I’m aware.  I could be working the theatre gig, however. Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

January 11, 2010 at 10:52

Sixth Day of Accounting

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Total Black: $708.59

Here’s the Breakdown:

Primary Checking: $9.95
Secondary Checking: $609.42
Savings: $0.00
PayPal Account (Personal): $2.43
PayPal Account (Blog): $0.00
Amazon Payments Account: $0.005
Mutual Funds Account: $86.79

FICO Score 501

Total Red: $230,476.54

Here’s the breakdown:

Credit Card Debt

MasterCard: $5,713.17
Visa: $8,232.42
Visa: $5,644.17
American Express: $2,200.00
Raymour & Flanagan Credit Line: $6,068.68

Student Loan Debt

Federal Stafford Loans: $96,810.17
Private Student Loans: $33,414.26

Back Taxes

IRS (2007): $1,285.85
IRS (2008): $28,116.66
NY State (2008): $0.00

Other Loans

My mother: $42,973.16

Once again, it’s that time of the month.  Keep reading . . .

The Rat Race

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Total Black: $649.59
Total Red: $230,772.32

Something hit me tonight.  I woke late this afternoon.  I went out last night for a few drinks.  I stayed in my neighborhood though and hit up a few neighborhood bars.  I had maybe three beers and two rum & cokes.  Nothing excessive for a Friday night out, but with the drugs from the medical experiment in my system, I think the drinks have a harder impact, especially the next day.  Or perhaps I’m just getting older, eh?  At any rate, I spent much of the day in bed, just being lazy.  The cable guy was supposed to stop by to pick up the box and remote control today.  He never showed.  So by around 5pm I decided I’d get up, head to the gym, and take care of some grooming matters.  It’s been awhile since I got my hair cut. Keep reading . . .

Craigslist Addict

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Total Black: $751.20
Total Red: $230,772.32

It’s a Friday night and I’ve got nowhere to go.  And in Manhattan either you’re making money or you’re spending money.  And if neither, you’re nobody.

The contract attorney position I’m currently working wants us to work between ten to twelve hours a day.  The earliest we can start is 8am.  The latest 9am.  That is, once the project takes off; we were again at the firm today because the temp agency didn’t have the IT aspect ready yet.  But I digress.   That means, working the least number of hours and starting at the earliest possible, I’d be free by 6:30pm each night (allotting 30 minutes for lunch).  Or I can earn another seventy dollars and get out at 8:30pm.  But either way I gotta find a later night gig.  But first I may need to break my addiction to Craigslist. Keep reading . . .


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Total Black: $830.70
Total Red: $230,761.09

The new temporary attorney position I started today will be situated in the staffing agency’s review space.  The law firm we’re working for is nearby, but we’ll actually be reporting each day to this off-site location.  We had training all day today at the law firm but later stopped by the review space to scout out the location and take care of any last-minute paperwork.  I nearly fell back upon myself in a double-take when I walked into the conference room where the bulk of the document reviewers work.  At first I thought we had walked into an day care center for retarded adults.  And I could have sworn that Opie from Family Guy was reviewing documents there.
Keep reading . . .