Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

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

Posts Tagged ‘unemployed

What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been

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Total Black: -$199.61
Total Red: $269,947.74

This is the end.  My only friends.  The end.  Of my elaborate plans.  The end.  Can’t you picture what could’ve been?  So limitless and free.  Desperately in need . . . of some . . . stranger’s hand.  In my desperate land.  It hurts to set you free.  But you’ll never follow me.  This is, after all, the end.    Keep reading . . .

Tears for Tiers

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Total Black: $3,163.08
Total Red: $270,855.95

Having a job that does not require weekend hours leaves me with much more free time than I’ve had in years.  That free time has freed me to read a few of the other blogs out there that chronicle the current state of the legal profession.  A few have included this blog on their blogroll.  Aside: I never instituted a blogroll.  I noted back in Fiftieth Post that I wasn’t much of a blog-reader.  Tides are turning a bit.  Keep reading . . .

592 Days

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Total Black: $2,425.73
Total Red: $241,855.21

Today I became a law clerk.  And after 592 days, I am no longer laid-off.  Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

June 1, 2010 at 23:49

Round and Round

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Total Black: $508.96
Total Red: $230,325.12

Both total black and total red are down a bit.  Total red should come down under $229K by tomorrow once payments post and all.  I worked from 8am until 11:30pm today at both jobs.  Since I’ve become head usher for Naked Boys Singing, every Friday and Saturday night will have me watching men singing in the nude—and all the people who pay to see them.  Quite the interesting end to the formal work week and start of the weekend. Keep reading . . .

A Few Bits of Good News

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Total Black: $64.24
Total Red: $230,807.75

I decided that today will be my last day of being unemployed.  After over a year, it’s been long enough.  And tomorrow I start a new contract attorney position.  I don’t know that I won’t need to go back on unemployment, but if I don’t declare an end to it, who will?  The project tomorrow pays $35.00 / hour.  That’s a decent wage: $5,600 a month, before taxes, assuming a forty-hour work-week.  After taxes, it will probably be around $3,000, but I’m not going to let that demoralize me before I even walk through the door.  It’s funny too which agency placed me.  I was two seconds shy of bolting from that building out of sheer fright and disgust.  I’d never been in a place that gave me the creeps like that had.  At first I thought it might have been a front for something else.  Once I found the correct floor, however, the atmosphere warmed considerably.  Glad I did not trust my instinct in that situation because I would not be working tomorrow.  Keep reading . . .

Chemical Sheets and Eleven Agencies

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Total Black: $63.15
Total Red: $230,807.75

Not much to say today.  I spent much of the weekend cleaning my apartment.  Sort of the Fall version of spring cleaning.  Since the exterminators came by yesterday, I slept in insecticide last night because they sprayed down my mattress and sheets.  It didn’t make sense washing the sheets right afterward since residue of the chemicals remain to kill bedbugs.  Had I washed the immediately afterward their visit would have been a waste of time.  I washed them today though.  I just couldn’t stomach another night in chemical sheets.  It didn’t hurt or cause any problems, but just the thought of sleeping on dried chemicals made me uneasy.  So instead after washing the sheets and throwing the pillows and comforter in the dryer, I spread diatomaceous earth along the baseboards, around the bed posts, and then on top of the box spring.  If any bedbugs remain, they’ll have to crawl onto the bed from one of those entry points.  And when they do, the diatomaceous earth will stick to their waxy exoskeletons and kill ’em.  Dead.  Diatomaceous earth dehydrates insects.  It’s basically dried algae so it’s a natural pest control.  It’s just annoying to have to spread this flour-like substance all around.  I’m only hoping the cats don’t decide to play in it.  Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

November 8, 2009 at 22:43

Virtually Incensed

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Total Black: $63.15
Total Red: $230,600.32

While letting my apartment air out from the exterminators’ visit this afternoon, I took time at a nearby Starbucks to read today’s New York Times.  I was utterly befuddled . . . nay dumbfounded . . . by an article on the front page.  Claire Cain Miller and Brad Stone penned an article titled “Virtual Goods Start Bringing Real Paydays.”  I use social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.  And I’ve played a few hours of Second Life.  So I’m not unfamiliar to the idea of using real money to purchase virtual currency or virtual goods.  But I would have never imagined what Miller and Stone reported.  Keep reading . . .

Adding Up the Numbers

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Total Black: $74.09
Total Red: $230,600.32

While talking on the telephone with a friend the other day, I ran some calculations and realized that even if I obtained steady contract attorney work I wouldn’t come close to reaching my goal.  Assuming a sixty hour work-week at forty dollars an hour, that nets me $124,800 after fifty-two weeks—before taxes and expenses.  I’ve only got thirty-six weeks left until 8/9/10.  Those calculations do not make me doubt achieving my goal of being out of debt in a year, but they do get me thinking that I need to step things up a bit on the supplemental front. Keep reading . . .

A New Day Has Dawned

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Total Black: $450.75
Total Red: $230,611.32

Unemployment benefits came through overnight.  New York state pays $405 a week maximum regardless of how much you earned last year.  Given that I owe back taxes, I’ve opted to have federal income tax withheld from my unemployment payments.  That means I net about $385 or so.  Three hundred of that is already promised in checks I cut this morning.  $199.61 to the law firm I worked for, for my monthly COBRA payment.  I also sent $50 to SallieMae and another $50 to a credit card.  That leaves me with approximately $85 until next week’s $405.  But I’ve been making ends meet on less, so that’s a near jackpot.  I have to use some of that for dry cleaning.  The rest will probably go for food.  That’s alright though.  Rent’s already been paid.  Living in Manhattan I don’t really have commuting expenses.  Utilities aren’t paid for yet, but that can wait until next week.  And I do have the interview later today for the temp job.  Things are stable for the moment.  Keep reading . . .

The Powerful Process of Gratitude

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Total Black: $63.41
Total Red: $230,611.32

Between interviews with temporary attorney staffing agencies today, I took time in the afternoon to read a bit more of the The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.  I’ve been reading a bit each night before bed in an effort to finish the book.  This afternoon I got as far as the first few pages of the chapter titled “Powerful Processes” before I got too antsy and had to leave.  Perhaps because I was reading the book on my iPhone in a Barnes & Noble cafe on Fifth Avenue.  The first process the book discusses is the power of gratitude.  This morning I had a brush with gratitude as I awoke.  Unemployment benefits did not come through today as they should have.  Luckily, I received a donation of fifty dollars.  My second donation and it came from the same person as before.  I owe him much, particularly today, because without that donation, I wouldn’t have been able to pick up my suits from the dry cleaner.  I would have had to wear something nice, but clearly not appropriate for an interview.  Explanations and apologies may have helped, but they wouldn’t have erased first impressions left by me arriving in cargo pants.  So, I thought I’d take the opportunity to note my gratitude to my benefactor, if you will, as well as in general. Keep reading . . .

My First Client

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Total Black: $59.57
Total Red: $230,644.12

I met this afternoon with the former pro bono client to discuss her lawsuit.  I touched on this matter in Pro Bono Publico, but didn’t give the whole story.  She had been evicted in 2007 and spent much of that year trying to get her personal property out of her former apartment.  Her landlord, and the building superintendent, however, made life miserable for her and routinely denied her access.  Then one day the building superintendent removed her property and put it into a self-storage facility, but under his own name.  When she came by with a moving van to retrieve her property, neither the landlord’s management company nor the super would tell her where it was.  Instead they demanded money, presumably to cover the storage costs.  Using the process of elimination, she tracked down the storage company in the area and demanded return of her property.  But since the storage company had a contract for storage space under someone else’s name, they wouldn’t release her property.  Months later, after the storage bill went unpaid, the storage company sent out auction notices.  They were about to sell all of her personal belongings to the highest bidders to recoup the unpaid storage costs.  That’s when I, as an associate at a large law firm, was brought in to stop the auction and help her recover her property.  Unfortunately, it morphed into a lawsuit and now, over a year later, I’m back in the driver’s seat of this case, steering it to some sort of resolution.  Given my own recent interaction with corporate landlords, I’m determined to see her prevail.  When did running a business become anathema to decency and respect?  Or maybe they never went hand-in-hand? Keep reading . . .

Just Another Manic Monday

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Total Black: $3,213.39
Total Red: $230,644.12

I’ve not been feeling very creative these past few days.  My entries have been more like detailed status updates rather than my elaborate observations on life, debt, and other things.  I suppose the muses too need their rest.  To that end then I note that I received a letter today in the mail from the landlord’s management company, informing me that they’ve received all of the rent for September and October and therefore will be discontinuing the legal action.   Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

November 2, 2009 at 23:45

As Above, So Below

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Total Black: $3,311.75
Total Red: $230,569.24

I started re-reading The Secret by Rhonda Byrne again last night, shortly before my midnight bonfire.  Like many books in my life, this is another I haven’t finished yet.  But I’ll have to buckle myself down to finish it.  I felt better last night as I read it.  It’s authenticity aside, it is a book full of hope and empowerment.  That’s something anyone can use.  Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

November 1, 2009 at 23:04

A Financial New Year

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Total Black: $3,353.25
Total Red: $230,569.24

I opened a piece of mail today that I received yesterday or the day before.  I’m not sure when exactly.  The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance sent it.  I knew what it regarded, so I figured there wasn’t much rush.  Well, it turns out the NY IRS equivalent has filed a tax lien against me.  I owe $2,973.16 cents.  Ironically within about ten minutes of opening that letter, I received an automatic email alert from Equifax with the same information.  So, it’s now on my credit report.  I’m trying to keep my chin up and stay positive as I noted a few days back on Eyes on the Prize.  But it’s getting more and more difficult.  I fear that even the strongest will and the best intentions can’t make things get better on their own.  I need a job.  If I still had the previous contract attorney position, I could have paid this tax lien in two paychecks.  Sometimes it seems I was better off when I was on unemployment.  I don’t know how that could be though.  Keep reading . . .

The Days of My Life

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Total Black: $3,164.09
Total Red: $230,663.35

I’ve been feeling like my life is a bit of a soap opera.  Kind of fitting to title a blog entry accordingly. Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

October 30, 2009 at 22:26

Eyes on the Prize

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Total Black: $3,921.09
Total Red: $230,663.35

I had another interview with a temporary attorney staffing agency today.  That’s makes four interviews this week and five in the past seven days.  A lot of smiling faces and hopeful talk, but so far nothing’s materialized into a job.  But that’s clearly the wrong approach to take. Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

October 29, 2009 at 23:05

Landlord v. Laid-Off Lawyer

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Total Black: $4,219.15
Total Red: $230,663.35

Well, it’s begun.  The suggestion in One Step Back, Two Steps Forward that I was just overreacting was unfounded.  I arrived home today from back-to-back interviews with attorney temporary staffing agencies to find a postcard in the mail from the Civil Court of the State of New York informing me that a lawsuit had been commenced against me and advising me to respond.  I guess the landlord’s attorneys have not discontinued their action against me, as I suspected in It Just Bugs Me, even though rent for September and October has already been sent in. Keep reading . . .

It Just Bugs Me

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Total Black: $2,255.14
Total Red: $230,648.00

As typical of the past few months, I was awoken again this morning by the telephone ringing.  The first caller was SallieMae at 8:57am.  Surprisingly, however, the second caller was not.  SallieMae often calls from two different telephone numbers so they effectively call you twice as often.  Not sure how legal that is.  But today, the second call came from the landlord’s management company.  The letter I mentioned in Bring It On seems to have brought something on because within a half-hour of the landlord’s management company calling, their attorney telephoned as well.  His message indicated that he’d do his best to try to get the lawsuit for non-payment of rent discontinued.  Later in the day I received an email from the attorney slightly retracting that earlier message, claiming that I had said I’d be paid in full by this time and I’m not yet.  He also noted that they’re “looking into” my other complaint.  I replied and referenced only the financial issues and clarified that September’s rent had already been sent in, and should have been received already, and that half of October’s rent was coming.  Later in the day I received another telephone call, this time from someone else with the management company, telling me that he heard I had a “problem” with the apartment and he wanted to talk to me about it.  Isn’t it interesting that my “problem” all of a sudden is a concern of theirs? Keep reading . . .

Bring It On

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Total Black: $2,389.54
Total Red: $230,589.98

First day back being unemployed.  I won’t be able to resume collecting unemployment benefits, however, until at least a week has passed.  That’s how New York state runs its system.  You have to wait a week to get your benefits.  I don’t see the logic in that.  It’s not like your expenses or bills wait a week.  I truly hope much-needed common sense gets injected into the social services systems. Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

October 26, 2009 at 22:58

Waiting For the Guilt to Subside

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Total Black: $2,638.40
Total Red: $230,589.98

I’m recovering slowly but surely from the drunken debacle that I wrote about in A Day Without a Post.   All that remains is some guilt and a few aches. Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

October 25, 2009 at 19:16

A Day Without a Post

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Total Black: $2,642.01
Total Red: $230,360.63

I had wanted to finish this project with 365 posts: one for each day from August 9th, 2009 to August 9th, 2010. Yesterday was the first night I hadn’t posted in seventy-five days. I was in the emergency room instead. Keep reading . . .

Strategically Unstrategic

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Total Black: $1,078.26
Total Red: $230,212.47

It’s looking like the contract attorney position could be ending soon, perhaps even by tomorrow.  So, the Woman Who Sits Next To Me provided me with contact information for other temporary legal staffing agencies.  She also suggested that I sign up with The Posse List, a website and blog that provides information for and about contract attorneys.  I emailed each contact and signed up with the list.  A few leads she provided paid-off already.  I have appointments tomorrow and then Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday of next week. Keep reading . . .

Third Day of Accounting

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It’s the 10th and my third day of accounting.

Total Black: $673.47

Here’s the Breakdown:

Primary Checking: $43.21
Secondary Checking $507.02
Savings $1.73
PayPal Account (Personal): $0.52
PayPal Account (Blog): $48.25
Amazon Payments Account $10.14
Mutual Funds Account: $62.60

FICO Score 565 (unchanged from last month)

Total Red: $230,280.28

Here’s the breakdown:

Credit Card Debt

MasterCard $5,650.00
Visa $8,050.00
Visa $5,728.28
American Express $2,500.00
Raymour & Flanagan Credit Line $5,698.98

Student Loan Debt

Federal Stafford Loans: $96,810.17
Private Student Loans: $33,891.93

Back Taxes

IRS (2007): $1,231.72
IRS (2008): $27,792.93
NY State (2008): $2,926.27

Other Loans

My mother: $40,000.00

Just in time for my third day of accounting, my internet service has been restored. It cost $538.70 too. I guess I was quite a bit behind. It’s been a busy past few days. Keep reading . . .

Updates on Efforts

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Total Black: $142.17
Total Red: $227,804.18

Quick status updates:  the Recession Art Sale opened today with a great preview event.  I suppose technically it’ll “open” on Monday once again.  Amazing work being exhibited.  I’ve often wondered where the Picassos and El Grecos of today are.  I met many of them tonight.  If you’re interested, ask for the only lawyer art seller in the show.  I can hook you up with some beautiful pieces that will only increase in value.

Temp job is winding down.  But another one might be starting up next week.  That one would go for roughly six weeks and pay $40 an hour for approximately ten to twelve hours a day for six days a week.  That could net roughly $17,000 if I worked the maximum amount.  That right there is two student loans paid off.  Or like three credit card bills.  Or tax bills (which the IRS would prefer).  Gotta get the position first though.  And it’ll be tough squeezing in time for the art sale. Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

September 17, 2009 at 23:40

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 . . .