Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

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

The Rat Race

with 4 comments

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.

The Equinox nearest to me closes at 6pm on Saturdays and isn’t open on Sundays at all.  So, I thought I’d head down to Greenwich Village where I go to get my haircut.  Good men’s salon spot that only charges under twenty dollars for a haircut.  Freshly groomed, I headed over to the gym for awhile.  Left there around 9pm and debated stopping by Starbucks in the Village or just visiting my local one in Hell’s Kitchen.  I opted to head back uptown. I ordered a chai and a red velvet cupcake and sat back to read a bit on my iPhone.  I flipped to The Secret by Rhonda Byrne and finished it tonight.  Next I thought I’d thumb through Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki.  A few days ago I received a comment about Kiyosaki on my initial blog post, In Medias Res, scoffing at my appreciation for him.  I’m no dogmatist.  I can take truth from any source and incorporate it into my belief system.  And I needn’t believe everything someone says to appreciate something wise.  Nonetheless, the comment has been on my mind sporadically since I received it because I didn’t think Kiyosaki was subject to much rebuke or criticism.  His advise seems sage and sound.  But then again, many people don’t actually read what they tear apart, so perhaps the commenter actually hasn’t read Kiyosaki’s words.

At any rate, while I was reading a few pages of Kiyosaki’s book, I was struck by the rat race I’ve been running these past few months.  I’ve not really been thinking as outside the box as I could be.  Instead, I’ve been quite fixated on finding jobs and increasing income.  I’ve bemoaned my lack of funds while also spending money on coffee or cable or clubbing.  That’s no way out of the rat race and certainly no way out of debt in a year.  So I immediately packed up my belongings and hauled my ass home.  If I’m going to meet my resolutions for this new year, I need to stop thinking that a $2 coffee is ok and instead think that a $2 payment to a credit card is better.  If I send the equivalent of my weekly coffee purchases each day to a credit card, that’d probably equal my minimum monthly payment right there.  So tonight as soon as I got home, I sent a payment to a credit card that was three-times the minimum they requested.  Rent is late.  And it will be a bit later still.  But instead of hording my money thinking I can’t use it to pay bills because I don’t have enough yet all while justifying using a twenty here or forty there for drinks or dinner, I instead tonight decided to just take my debt by the balls and squeeze ’em until I emasculate it.  Enough is enough with this schizophrenic thinking.

I turned a corner tonight.  Not sure why tonight.  Plenty of readers have been rattling the bars of my cage lately, trying to wake me up.  I’ve received a few slaps or too as well in the comments, but it just wasn’t reaching me.  Wasn’t sinking in.  But tonight something clicked.  Perhaps it was the section of Kiyosaki’s book that I came across tonight where he talks about the poor buying luxury goods first while the rich buy them last.  The poor want to look rich but really they’re stuck in the rat race, tied to their jobs, desperate to make ends meet.  That struck home tonight because that’s what my life has been like for too long now.  I’ve tried to dress myself in the trappings of the rich while leaving like a pauper.  When I worked at the law firm I bought clothes from Versace on Fifth Avenue because I felt that I should now dress like I have money.  Two years later the cashmere sweater has a tiny hole in it and the jeans are fading.   And I’m probably still paying interest on those purchases. I guess we all have to trip and fall and skin our knees a few times before we learn.  I know now for certain that I’ll reach my goal by 8/9/10.  How I’ll get there, I’m not sure.  If I did, that’d kill the excitement and anticipation.  But I will.

In other news, I received a check today for a thousand dollars from my colleague.  It’s not money he paid me from his earnings.  Instead he had one of the companies we worked for pay me from their corporate bank account.  I’m fine with that.  Pay is pay.  And it still means I’ve got more pay to come since  that’s not the minimum $1,500 we agreed upon.  I’ll use that check to pay half of this month’s rent.  I’ll have the rest later next week.

One other odd bit of news: I was awoken this afternoon by a telephone call from someone asking if I could meet someone on Monday for an interview to be an extra in a film.  I guess I must have emailed someone a while back.  But as I’m trusting in life to make this happen for me, it is happening.  Oddly, we don’t have to report to the contract attorney position on Monday until about 1pm because the temporary attorney staffing agency still doesn’t have the IT aspect set up for us to work on the project.  Voila—I’m now available on Monday morning at 10am to meet with someone about being an extra in film.  I don’t know that it will materialize into something, but I’ve got zero chance if I don’t check it out.

Next stop: Hollywood!

4 Responses

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  1. Hmm, perhaps you should think about living somewhere where the rent isn’t $2000/month? There are plenty of less expensive cities than New York. Like all of them. And Templaw exists in most of those places, too, as well as potentially a lot of other opportunities.

    I don’t mean to be critical, but I grew up in the New York area and I know that New Yorkers can develop a myopia about other places (not to mention a sheer disdain of them). I’ve lived in a nice two-bedroom apartment in Appleton, Wisconsin, for $550.00/month, and currently live in a huge two-bedroom in Carson City, Nevada, for $750.00. There’s nothing wrong with either of those places, or hundreds of others.

    Trying to save your way to solvency through cutting out a small treat of daily coffee is not going to work. You have to cut bigger expenses than that. And your biggest set of expenses — not just yours, but everyone’s — has to do with where you choose to live.

    Mark R. Harris

    January 10, 2010 at 11:47

  2. You’re correct about cost of living. And it is the primary expense everyone hits upon. But I don’t have the money just yet to move to a new city. Plus the wages wouldn’t be NYC ones. I’m no New York snob. I’m a Pennsylvania boy at heart. Need grass, and not just in some man-made park. But for now I think I’m staying put. At least for work purposes.

    Funny that you left this comment though because I just hopped out of the shower and as I was showering I was wondering whether I should start commuting sooner. In prior posts and comments I noted that I’m thinking of subletting my apartment and commuting to New York from my mother’s in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Rent would be covered and would free up about $2,000 a month in income to use for other bills. I said I’d wait until the threat of winter snow storms and inclement weather passes, but maybe I should bump up my that start date. Even a few months commuting would help.

    Laid-off Lawyer

    January 10, 2010 at 11:59

  3. Sounds reasonable to me! (although that’s a long-ish commute — I’m assuming there’s a train?). I hadn’t read the earlier posts where you talked about that subject. I might have been extrapolating a bit from other legal bloggers, too — Roxana at Above the Law, for example, who has considered relocation but just can’t seem to deal with the idea of not being in “the center of the universe.” Big, glamorous cities can become kind of addictive, but there is such a heavy price to be paid for that addiction.

    Although what you say about New York wages is true in a strictly numeric sense, I believe that the relation between pay and cost of living is actually terrible in a place like New York, at least for anyone who’s not making the big bucks. The pay in Wisconsin for the jobs I worked was just fine (I’m not a lawyer, though), but the cost of living was 60-80% lower than in a New York, Chicago, or Atlanta.

    Mark R. Harris

    January 10, 2010 at 13:26

  4. i dont know how google brought me here… but i liked the read.. i am unemployed as well… good luck!!!

    Scranton Crossfit

    July 19, 2010 at 16:23


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