Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

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

Posts Tagged ‘philosophy

The Dearly Departed

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Total Black: $1,295.42
Total Red: $230,131.21

A year ago today I left the firm for good.  It must have been nearly 8pm that day.  It was a Friday.  I was there late even on my last day because, unlike other associates—one of whom, upon hearing that she was being laid off, walked out the door and didn’t return—I actually did what was asked of me.  I filed all my papers.  I archived all of my emails and documents.  I cleaned out my office and boxed up my own belongings.  And I said my good-byes. Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

October 17, 2009 at 23:32

Practice (of Law) Makes (Im)perfect

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Total Black: $429.45
Total Red: $230,417.50

A few days ago one of the artists with the Recession Art Sale forwarded me an email she had received from someone interested in buying art.  It had all the classic spam qualities: miscapitalized words, an undeliverable “reply to” address, and so on, but I thought, “who knows?” and figured I’d give it a try.  Well, I almost got defrauded out of nearly two thousand dollars.  Not sure how the scheme would have worked because the spammer wanted to send us a certified check in return for the work.  I suppose there would have been some scammer’s way to make money.  I started feeling a bit more unsure about the transaction as we went back and forth.  I was given an address in Connecticut that didn’t exactly exist.  Plus the address given in the email included “USA” in it.  Americans don’t put USA after their addresses.  So I did a bit of google searching and, thanks to the Art News Blog, I dodged that freight train. Keep reading . . .

New Normal

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Total Black: $123.38
Total Red: $227,804.18

Just a bit ago I watched CNBC’s special Banking on Geithner, a town hall with Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner.  I’d never heard him speak before tonight and I must admit I found myself growing more and more impressed and confident in his abilities.  And just at the end he sealed the deal.  In the last question of the town hall Geithner was asked what he understood the oft-bandied about term “new normal” to mean.  As he sees it, our new normal will be a world where people worry less about what they make and more about what they’re doing.  New normal would embrace a new ethic of responsibility in business community.  We’d live in a world where banks ask themselves what they owe country.  Where do I find this wonderful, magical world? Keep reading . . .

When I Grow Up

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Total Black: $187.65
Total Red: $228,153.42

Good news: total black went up.  Bad news: total red went up too.  Getting there though.  Just the climb is starting to ache a bit.

One of the organizations I’m involved with, the New York Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society, had it’s annual planning meeting tonight.  Just before the meeting, I got to talking with a woman I met at the same meeting last year.  She is also unemployed.  After the meeting I got to talking with someone I hadn’t met before.  She is employed.  The first woman and I spoke about our frustration with our job searches.  She chronicled all the reasons why she shouldn’t take temporary positions, including no opportunity for skill development.  Catch though she’s not developing anything by doing nothing.  The second woman and I spoke about of frustrations about not working in an area we’re passionate about.  As we spoke, she shared her frustrations with her meaningless law firm work and expressed ambivalence about another job offer that she received.  Funny.  Only just now did I get the irony in her talking with someone who’s out of work about the frustrations in determining whether to take a different job or keep the one she has.  But I suppose it’s not fair to reduce her confusion to a quip.  The position the second woman is debating is overseas, in India where she comes from.  And the advantage, she explained, is that her family is fairly well-known and that would significantly enhance her career.  Doors would open for her.  But law school debt could block her way.  And she struggles with swapping one corporate position for another, and possibly giving up any chance to “make a difference” like you can in America.  She joked that she needed to find a rich husband so she could work for Amnesty International and not worry about how much she’d earn.  It seems a sign of the times that we all could talk at length about our career angst.  A fairly typical conversation too.  The irony that we have careers to gripe about does not escape me. Keep reading . . .

Just Your Average Joe?

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So, at the outset, here are today’s stats:

Total black: $513.94 ($500 of which is sitting in a separate checking account for an un-cashed check)
Total red: $227,392.05

Black change: -$8.51 change
Red change: unknown

My bank provides software that shows your net worth, based, of course, on the accounts you link to it.  So, going forward, I’m just going to use that number each day to represent my total debt load.  I must note, however, that that number does not include approximately $8,000 my mother is carrying on a credit card I borrowed.  Add that into the number above and you get closer to the approximately $235k quoted yesterday.  Another point: the total red includes the $40,000 I borrowed from my mother, but since it came from a line of credit taken on her home, the monthly fees and charges added won’t be reflected.  Getting an exact number would require my mother giving me the account numbers, then setting up online banking profiles, and syncing my bank with those other sites.  I’ll broach the subject with her, but for now, we’re just going to use the number provided by my bank’s net worth software.  And, at this rate, what’s a couple thou’ difference anyway, eh?

As for today’s blog.  Well . . . morning has clearly past.  Breakfast and then a telephone call with someone who wasn’t looking for me (odd serendipity, or just plain weird, given that the voice mail came through the day after initiating this blog.  I’ll post more on that  at a later date if it materializes into something.  But why average Joe?  Am I an average Joe?  I suppose a bit of the back-story is need here. Keep reading . . .

In Medias Res

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While the beginning is a very good place to start, here it doesn’t seem to fit somehow.  My back-story is long and can be told another day.  And besides…no one’s seen this yet.  So really I’m just writing for myself right now.  But yes . . . this is my first ever blog entry.  So, expediting the formalities, here’s the main adjectives that one might employ in describing me: Male / 33 years-old / White / Gay / Adopted / Gemini / Lawyer / raised Byzantine Catholic / Penn State alum / Howard alum . . . and, of course, Laid-Off.  But I suppose the blog title already aptly notes that.

At the outset, I must confess that I just saw Julie & Julia yesterday.  I was probably the only person in the theatre who got stressed out by that movie.  And it stuck with me, so I started examining the origins of that gnawing feeling.  That prompted this.

In a sense, I am Julie: my apartment overflows with piles of partially-read books stacked for later, stacks of newspapers waiting for one of these days, days gone by with bills lying opened but unpaid, opened boxes not yet put away.  Let’s just say I have a bit of trouble finishing what I start.  But cluttered is not dirty.  I am a bit of a clean freak, that much I know, especially upon returning to my apartment after two weeks with a renter staying there.  I’ve heard a stereotype of  New Yorkers that they come across stylish, fashionable, and a cut-above-the-rest, but yet their apartments are nasty, dirty, and gross.  But I digress (and more on the renter later).  At any rate, since I’m great at starting things, I figured I’d start this blog.  And here’s what it’ll take to finish it. Keep reading . . .