Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

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

Time to Shine

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Total Black: $3,789.90
Total Red: $243,714.55

Not to toot my own horn too much.  But I’m thinking that there may very well be quite a few opportunities here to advance my career.

First, there’s my position: a law clerk.  That’s obvious.  But it can’t be understated.  It does convey a decent quantity of prestige, respect, experience, and so forth.  Presumably being a law clerk would help were I to apply to the local university to teach a class or two.  Access to research materials also grants me the occasion to research and write an article for publication.  Many law clerks use their clerkship stint as a vehicle to move into academia later and the fuel for that vehicle is a published article.  Additionally, the uniqueness of this clerkship could translate into an article about the Virgin Islands, about the constitutional placement of unincorporated territories.  Just a thought.

Second, there’s my status: a professional.  Officemate invited me to a young professional’s gathering this week, an upstart for the local chamber of commerce.  Professionals here are hardwired into all parts of the country, particularly because there’s only one university, so many students attend higher education off-island.  I’ve been thoroughly impressed with both Co-Clerk and Officemate, with their passion and zeal for their professions.  Clearly I’m surrounded by people who will influence me positively.  Just now I’ve got to harness that experience and potential.  In my quest for additional work, mentioned in Job Hunting and in By Night in a New Land, I run the risk of forfeiting professional opportunities for social ones.  That’s something I’ll have to guard against throughout these next few months.

Third, there’s my experiences: as a white male educated by a historically-black university, I’m uniquely poised.  I understand the struggles and complexities of the Black community’s (arguably better dubbed communities’) experiences.  But I’m still white so I get to move in that world as well, especially here.  I’ve noticed the “knowing-nods” of other white people I pass while driving or even walking.  In a suit they know I’m no tourist.  The vibe is as if I’m part of some club on-island.  The knowing-nods make me very uncomfortable.  And it’s clear some level of self-segregation exists here: a combination of class and race.  Mostly race.  That white-trash superiority complex: “I may live in a trailer park but I’m still white.”  It sickens me frankly.  Grabbing a bite to eat leaves me a bit queasy because nearly every patron in most of the sit-down restaurants are white.  But, all that said—that shouldn’t stop me from using other whites on-island however possible.  If I play along and let someone think I’m part of his clique, and it leads to a part-time job or some other connection—well, why not?  Why not capitalize on their bigotry to my own benefit?  Not like they’d hire someone else instead—someone local, for example.  The level of racial tension is pretty high here.  And if I can navigate both worlds, why not?  I was born under the sign of Gemini after all.

Fourth, there’s my personality: that will unlock nearly all of the other avenues above.  I’m gregarious, open-minded, hardworking, and laid-back.  I don’t upset easily and I can charm the pants of the tightest thighs.  I’ve not known many to dislike me—well, when I’m myself, i.e., not closeted and closed-up.  And that’s a problem here.  I haven’t come out to anyone at work.  I had assumed Co-Clerk knew based on my resume.  It fairly screams gay.  But she’s thrown a few heterosexual references: to having kids, to getting married.  She had long before I arrived whether I was married and would be bringing my wife.  This isn’t the occasion to discuss homosexuality and minority communities.  That said, however, in my experience individuals are different from groups.  It’s the Black group that’s difficulty, the “communities,” the churches, the schools—not the persons.  Group think takes over, I suppose.  But I digress because the point is simply that when I’m not open and honest, I come across as secretive and elusive—evasive even.  It’s not something spoken or even identifiable.  It’s just an unease people are left with.  It’s happened enough that I know the pattern by now.  And it makes sense: if you’re avoiding eye-contact and changing the subject when someone talks about dating or girlfriends—or sports or anything else hypermasculine that I wouldn’t know about—then you’ll leave an odd impression on the person.  And you’ll not open up about yourself, your weekends, your activities while on vacation or in the evenings.  But now I’m certainly past my digression.

At any rate, the point of all the above: this new opportunity has presented me, and will continue to present me, with times to shine.  If I can spot them in advance and seize them when they present.  No real change in total black.  Funds are on hold for down-payment on a car; $650 is on hold as well for re-renting the rental car today.

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

June 15, 2010 at 22:26

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