Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

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

Posts Tagged ‘Starbucks

Debt Vultures

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Total Black: $191.73
Total Red: 226,391.08

Ah blogdom.  Truly a brave new world where nearly anyone can swoop in start plucking apart your innards.  At least in the days of print media commenters had to take time to put their thoughts in a letter to the editor.  And invariably the mad rantings of strangers got filtered out.  But now you open yourself up to anyone out there, including any vultures swarming, looking for a kill.  A few comments received earlier today on Cold Feet prompted me to write a reply.  After three paragraphs, I opted to turn it into today’s post. Keep reading . . .

On the Seventh Day . . .

with 10 comments

Total Black: $285.77
Total Red: $226,342.25

I did not work today.  Not at the theatre, nor at the contract attorney position.  A few emails came through this morning from the associate at the law firm I’m working for, but I wasn’t needed after all.  Earlier in the week I had gotten my shifts at the theatre covered.  So I had the entire day to myself.  Not that I intended it that way, at first. Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

March 21, 2010 at 23:50

The Rat Race

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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. Keep reading . . .

Craigslist Addict

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Total Black: $751.20
Total Red: $230,772.32

It’s a Friday night and I’ve got nowhere to go.  And in Manhattan either you’re making money or you’re spending money.  And if neither, you’re nobody.

The contract attorney position I’m currently working wants us to work between ten to twelve hours a day.  The earliest we can start is 8am.  The latest 9am.  That is, once the project takes off; we were again at the firm today because the temp agency didn’t have the IT aspect ready yet.  But I digress.   That means, working the least number of hours and starting at the earliest possible, I’d be free by 6:30pm each night (allotting 30 minutes for lunch).  Or I can earn another seventy dollars and get out at 8:30pm.  But either way I gotta find a later night gig.  But first I may need to break my addiction to Craigslist. Keep reading . . .

Financial Loneliness

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Total Black: $536.54
Total Red: $230,773.68

One common response from a number of commenters, readers, and other regular viewers—more so of late than previously—has been to formulate a budget or a come up with a plan of spending.  I’m not, on principle, adverse to the advice.  I understand the need to plan and budget accordingly.  And I can own that I have let myself go a bit these past two weeks, especially as opportunities to socialize surfaced through the theatre gig.  But there’s always a way to tighten our financial belts.  But as I got to thinking about planning and budgets, and started writing this post, something entirely different surfaced.  Something unexpected but vital to getting my spending under control. Keep reading . . .

Secret Santas

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Total Black: $6.70
Total Red: $230,660.74

It’s nearly Christmas.  The time when gift-giving abounds and generosity’s cup runneth over.  At the temp job yesterday, I bought twenty dollars worth of $2 scratch-off tickets, ten a piece, for my two fellow contract attorneys.  They were pleasantly surprised.  One had never bought or received an instant lottery ticket.  He won ten dollars.  The other won seven.  Nothing extravagant, but a nice gesture.  Of course one possible downside to such unexpected giving is that people may feel obligated to give something to you in turn.  Today one attorney bought me a coffee at Starbucks while the other bought Starbucks gift cards for me and the other attorney.  I was happy to receive their gifts, but I just they purchased them out of a desire to give and not a feeling of obligation.  That’s why I understand the urge to give quietly and anonymously. Keep reading . . .

Only Way Out Is Through

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Total Black: $826.61
Total Red: $230,080.21

A friend of mine reached out to me today to express his sympathy about the developments I mentioned in One Step Back, Two Steps Forward.  His email also conveyed his own frustration at his inability to help.  As I walked home from the temp job, I thought about his email and also about the frustrations expressed by the Woman Who Sits Next To Me regarding her own struggles with debt.  I thought I’d try to weave both together in this entry since they share a common element, namely that the only way out of something is just to get through it.  But there’s many ways to get through something and many ways to help others as they do. Keep reading . . .

Benefits They Call Them

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Total Black: $136.66
Total Red: $227,685.50

Unemployment benefits are a funny thing.  Until a few moments ago, I thought we paid for unemployment through payroll taxes.  We don’t.  According to the New York State Department of Labor, “Unemployment insurance is temporary income for eligible workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own and who are ready, willing, and able to work.  You must have sufficient work and wages in covered employment.  In New York State, the money for unemployment insurance benefits comes from taxes paid by employers.  No deductions are ever made from a worker’s paycheck for unemployment insurance.”  Here I thought unemployment benefits were like social security disability benefits, and just as Binder & Binder reminded me, I needn’t feel ashamed to claim them because I’ve earned them.  Alas, it’s not true. Keep reading . . .

Feelings and Finances

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Total Black: -$95.85
Total Red: $228,454.60

Just feelings.  Nothing more than feelings.  Feelings of . . . finances?  Come again?

I started reading Suze Orman’s The Courage to Be Rich: Creating a Life of Material and Spiritual Abundance.  It’s good.  Really good.  Although the subtitle pretty much sums it up, some complain that it doesn’t contain enough strategic financial advice.  Well, that’s not what I’m seeking here.  So this book, it turns out, is just what the doctor ordered.  And just pages in, Suze Orman assigns you the task of considering your feelings about your financial situation.  How do you feel about your finances, she wants to know.  “I want you to address your emotions honestly,” she writes, “and commit your thoughts and feelings to paper.  If you don’t have the money to pay your bills, write down how it feels not to have enough money.  If you’re in debt, write down how that feels.  If you have far more money than your friends, write down how that feels.”  What better place than here to follow her advice? Keep reading . . .

If You Find Yourself in a Hole

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Total Black: $453.01
Total Red: $228,517.33

Just realized that total black never includes any cash in hand.  I suppose that’s ok since I rarely carry cash (even when I have money).  Another update: I interviewed today for an art sales position.  It’s a temporary gig tied to an exhibit here in Manhattan.  The hook: all the sellers have been displaced somehow by the Great Recession.  Check out the website: www.recessionartsale.com Great idea.  You’ll be sure to hear if I get selected. Keep reading . . .

Res Ipsa Loquitur

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Total Black: $168.03
Total Red: $228,153.42

Earlier today I reached out to colleagues at my former law firm.  I had a quick question to ask related to corporate practice regarding the work I’m doing for my colleague.  I practiced in litigation while at the firm, so I’m only vaguely familiar with corporate filings, securities documents, balance sheets, and the like.  Six out of seven people I telephoned didn’t answer.  Large law firm associates in New York frequently get cold calls from recruiters and headhunters looking to make money facilitating a lateral move to another law firm.  So, associates where I worked often didn’t pick up calls from external telephone numbers we didn’t recognize.  It was different, and annoying, being on the other side of that telephone line today.  I did get to speak with three associates though.  One picked up; the other two called me back.  Two of the three seemed really irritated by my question.  (It regarded dates on amended documents: use original or amended date; pretty basic.)  Within roughly ninety seconds of the call both said they had to go and practically hung up before I could say thanks and good-bye.  I assume some urgent email or telephone call came in. Keep reading . . .

Out of the Box

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Total Black: $901.25 ($500 of which is still for an un-cashed check)
Total Red: $228.069.39

We don’t fall deeply into debt solely on our own.  We have gentle encouragement all along the way—from our peers and their pressure, from the Joneses and their upkeep, from the television and its ads. At this time last year, I couldn’t have been more in the box than if Charlotte Perkins Gillman herself plastered me to the walls. I was earning $160,000 a year working for one of the largest law firms, and one of the most prestigious law firms, in the world.  I was laid-off after only two years with the firm and with more debt than when I started and it just keeps growing.  In retrospect, I, like many others in my shoes, just assumed there’d be a few more good years at the firm before the curtain fell on that stage of our careers.  But what good is retrospect when dealing with times like these?  Not many have seen such times, and frankly a lot of us still aren’t acting like things are that bad—when Starbucks goes under, you’ll know we hit the iceberg!  But I suppose that’s a conversation for another day.

Today—all the creative ways I’ve come up with so far to start thinking outside the box and diversify and increase income streams.
Keep reading . . .