Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

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

Getter Done

with 3 comments

Total Black: $32.21
Total Red: $270,855.95

Today at work Officemate and I got to talking about a number of different subjects.  When we hit upon one—a listserve for the law clerks—that I decided to act upon.  I’m not sure why, but my efforts were successful whereas when Officemate asked last year, that same request fell on deaf ears.  Officemate is black and from the Virgin Islands.  I’m white and not.  Does that matter?  

Officemate told me that court administration and IT ignored last year’s request.  Apparently the clerk of the court would have had to sign off on the creation of a new listserve.  I couldn’t believe that.  Not for such a simple request.  So I decided to play dumb and emailed IT, inquiring whether we had a listserve—knowing the answer already, of course.  Shortly after sending that email, I got a reply: no we do not have a listserve for law clerks.  My response: how do we go about setting one up because I had (and here I lied) a question to run by other law clerks regarding a pending case.  Aside: is it wrong to lie to achieve a better end goal?  Does the end ever—in any circumstance—justify the means?  The next reply requested a phone call.  So I picked up the phone and called IT to explain what I was thinking.  Of course, I did not mention Officemate’s aborted / rejected request last year.

IT had a reservation about a listserve—because no one tells them when the law clerks leave, so they’re left with bouncing emails.  But that’s really a system-wide problem, not a something that should prevent us from forming a listserve.  But I listened.  And agreed.  And commiserated.  And it worked.  I later gathered the names of all the law clerks and emailed them to IT.  I was told if not today then on Monday the listserve would be set-up.  It wasn’t by the end of the day, so I’ll need to check on Monday.  I already set-up a reminder in Microsoft Outlook.  I’m not exactly sure how things played out last year, but Officemate had mentioned something about setting up meetings or writing up requests or something too formal along those lines.  That requires extra time out of people’s schedules.  And isn’t necessary for something so simple as a listserve.  Hence my “getter done” approach of just dropping IT an email directly.

Understandably, Officemate was upset.  I hope not too upset.  A true leader takes pride in seeing the task accomplished, not in getting credit for having spearheaded it.  But this isn’t exactly that situation.  Here comes the white guy and voila—everyone bends over backwards to accommodate him.  But nothing is that simple, of course.   Sometimes it’s not that complicated either though.  I should note that I’ve had successes navigating some of the procedural, bureaucratic, and administrative complexities here with ease, something I noted back in A Few Remaining Wrinkles when I got a post office box without having all of the requisite paperwork with me.  I’m not sure why things have been working out.  It is entirely possible that black folks here just respond differently to requests from white people.  Or from mainlanders, perhaps regardless of color.  I encountered similar frustrations and successes while in law school.  Certainly not always successful.  But many times I was able to get something accomplished by employing my charm and being polite and respectful.  I earned a dual degree where no dual degree program existed.  I think it’s this “getter done” attitude I have.

One of the “symptoms” of ADHD is the purported inability to stay focused.  “Attention deficit,” right?  While driving home from work tonight, I thought about that disorder and came to see that the problem is not an inability to pay attention.  Not exactly.  Instead the frustration is that people with ADHD suffer from an overactive mind.  We’re constantly thinking.  So our focus may be deficient, in at least a technical sense, but only because our minds are constantly running, processing, analyzing.  I interrupt myself constantly—both while speaking and while thinking.  But an overactive mind is actually an asset, not a disability.  People with ADHD tend to be quite creative.  We can view a situation or a problem or a task from multiple angles and can come up with a few different potential plans of action.  But—at least for me—we also abhor inaction and indecision.  See all the potentialities of a situation, and then being faced with someone who doesn’t as well but instead vacillates between one of two options—it’s infuriating.

Perhaps this is where I get my “getter done” approach.  That was, in a sense, the genesis of this blog.  One day I decided to just “getter done” with my debt.  It’s not proven that lucrative, but then again I did pick the worst time in recent history to undertake this task.  But now I’ve got to employ that ADHD-creativity I just claimed and come up with a few more “getter done” options.  Tomorrow may be payday; if not, I’ll need to borrow from my mother again.  But that can only go on for so long.

Total black dropped because I sent money to SallieMae for a  student loan.

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

July 14, 2010 at 23:18

3 Responses

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  1. Overactive mind constantly thinking, analyzing etc.

    Yes thats ME! I thought I was the only one who did this. I’ve always got something on the boil.


    July 16, 2010 at 07:22

  2. Assuming you have ADHD, then yeah . . . it makes sense. That’s where the “attention deficit” comes from. Something new is always catching our attention. And as adults, often it is our own thoughts. I think most of my “impulse” buys—smaller ones like books in particular—came out of a worry that I just won’t “remember” ever again about this book so I gotta get it now. But a pen and paper—or a photo of the title on my phone—can take care of that now. If I remember to take it. 😉

    But yeah . . . it’s great in that you can come at a problem from behind, above, left side, right side, inside out, top-down, bottom-up, etc. But then you can also get easily distracted by another thought or series of thoughts. Harnessing it is the problem. Like here—the idea of a listserve came to mind. I ran with it. And its paid off. But it was an “interruption” thought. Most others would probably not stop what they were doing to follow that lead but just put it on a to-do list or something.

    The oddest thing about it—I crave organization, structure. I’d stay 5 hours after work to get things better organized. All makes sense now. I’m trying to get things in better order so my mind can’t be distracted too much.

    Laid-off Lawyer

    July 16, 2010 at 07:38

  3. Oftentimes the simplest solution is the best…

    Cut Expenses and/or Increase Income.

    It seems like with all of the benefits of seeing things from multiple angles it didn’t help you over the past year in that respect, even with numerous people on here trying to point you in that direction.

    Instead of trying to “harness” your power, take your meds and focus. Multi-tasking is overrated.



    July 16, 2010 at 09:19

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