Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

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

At Last!

with 6 comments

Total Black: $236.65
Total Red: $234,983.78

First words that leapt to mind.  “At last!”  I could hear ol’ Etta’s sultry sigh whispering in my ear as I opened the mailbox today.

The check from the Colleague arrived.  After working for him off and on since August and then spending a few more months Pussyfootin’ Around not wanting to raise the issue of money because we were “friends.”  Then finally Pushing Back a bit once we talked money and he offered something less than I was willing to take.  Then enduring more months of delay when he flew off the handle and ignored my emails.  And having to threaten legal action to get him to respond, and probably having to lose his friendship along the way.  And maybe a few readers as well.  And then waiting even longer before I raised the issue again, and then more time when the check didn’t arrive after he said he’d mail it.  Finally!  At last!

This was the first gig I took on after starting this project.  And it’s a seed that took too long to blossom.   Yes.  At last.  The check arrived.  (Feel free to sing along.  Just swap “money” or “check” for any romantic terms.  Works well enough.)  And I’m $2,000.00 richer.  And I’m fine with that amount.  It means he’s paid me the $1,500 we had initially agreed upon along with another $1,500.  Three thousand total.  Well, to split hairs, he didn’t actually pay me that first $1,000 that I mentioned back in Yet Another Update On Efforts.  At least, not out of his own pocket.  He had one of the companies we worked for pay me off their books.  So he’s only paid me $2,000 out of his own pocket, which is only $500 more than we had initially agreed upon.  But frankly . . . who cares?  I don’t.  It’s here.  At last.

And now . . . what to do with it?  The check isn’t fully listed above because of a standard hold the bank puts on it.  But it’ll clear in a day or two.  And then?  I could use it to pay the security deposit and first month’s rent on an apartment I’m looking at in the new location.  I could put the entire amount on a credit card—I will need space soon for renting a car, a moving van, paying for a flight, and so on.  I could pay May’s rent for the Manhattan apartment—thus covering myself all the way until June 1st, when I’d ask to be let out of my apartment anyway.  Actually—no, I won’t do that.  I have to inquire whether I already paid the last month’s rent when I moved in.  I don’t recall now.  It was a crazy time back then.  I could take that $2,000 and return it to my mother.  I could pay 2009 Federal or New York taxes, at least most of it.  I could wipe out almost all of one student loan.  I paid a thousand on one student loan a few months back.  I like doing that because it can’t be charged back up, so to speak.  At least not quickly I suppose.  So many options.  It’s what I’ve been waiting for.  That boost to total black so that I’m not constantly hovering above zero.  So to that end, I could do nothing with it.  Just keep it in my account for now.  Pay will come through from the theatre tomorrow and from the contract attorney position on Friday and total black will increase again.

At last!  What a relief.  Two lessons learned: discuss money upfront no matter who the person is or how strong your ties, and you gotta fight for yourself; people generally won’t watch out for you and take care of you, not when it involves their money.

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

April 21, 2010 at 22:06

6 Responses

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  1. Good for you! Your determination and assertiveness has finally paid off.


    April 21, 2010 at 23:21

  2. It became principled—never a good scenario. I would have paid $3,000 in fees just to get $500 from him in the end. It meant more to me. A turning point really. That I need to speak up for myself, find my own voice, stand up for myself, etc. A small step really, but a giant leap, if you will, for my psyche.

    Laid-off Lawyer

    April 22, 2010 at 10:11

  3. Unless you need the cash now to make your move, you only truly have 2 options on what to do with your windfall:

    1) Give it to your mother
    2) Apply it to the debt with the highest interest rate

    Until this comes to you intuitively and you see no other options on where to apply money to your debts, you will continue to FAIL.



    April 22, 2010 at 14:44

  4. Really? I would have thought the intuitive answer would have been pay the IRS or prepay my new lease. My mother is not going to come after me. And even if I tried to send it to her, she’d probably send it right back given the amount of expenses I’ll soon be faced with.

    Putting it on a card. Yes. And given my prior post how all cards are at the same rate, it would be best to put it on the highest balance card. But I’ll probably put it on the middle card. The AmEx doesn’t give any points. The highest Visa gives miles—but who cares if you can’t afford to travel. But the middle card is a UPromise credit card. Accumulate points that pay down my student loans.

    Laid-off Lawyer

    April 22, 2010 at 15:09

  5. I think using 3k for moving is the best option. Moving even a modest amount of “stuff” across country will easily cost 1-2k.

    The balance can be used to bridge the gap between paychecks from old and new jobs.

    Paying down a loan or credit card sounds attractive, but I think it will just short LOL of money when it is needed the most. If that happens then the debt will go right back up.


    April 22, 2010 at 15:09

  6. Had you exercised the “principle” of paying $3K to get $500, you would have been out $2,500. In some existential way you might have felt better about the situation, but the reality would have been throwing away money that you don’t have, for a person who would not have understood the intended point.

    I’m glad this worked out in the end, but if another situation like this arises, it would be worth considering who’s really being harmed by spending more than its worth to collect a debt. I’ve turned down clients who wanted to do something like this, as it seemed to me to not be in anyone’s best interest, or something that I would want to participate in.

    As for what to do with the money, I’d probably consider paying the tax bill because its going to hover out there, they can collect it more easily, and you might be able to make a big dent in it. Have you started budgeting for the move?


    April 22, 2010 at 21:36

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