Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

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

Posts Tagged ‘white-collar

View From the Top

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Total Black: $84.21
Total Red: $228,973.35

Last night I paused for a moment at work and snapped a few pictures with my iPhone of the midtown Manhattan skyline.  This is the view outside one of the rooms I was working out of.  Amazing.  And beautiful in a way only modern cities can be.  I have a similar sense of awe anytime I land in Chicago—seeing all the lights spread out in grids for miles.  I recall being humbled and awed when visiting the Sears Tower at night one time.  Every pair of lights moving around the city carried at least one person scurrying to another destination.  So too here.  Many, though certainly not all, of the lights peppering this picture illuminated someone burning the midnight oil.  And it was nearly midnight when I took this.  Just at midnight when I left.  I definitely got in thirteen hours yesterday.  I suspect there will be more nights like this in the days to come. Keep reading . . .

Nine to Five

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Total Black: $65.42
Total Red: $230,428.97

No, not a Dolly Parton gig (but I’ve provided the song anyway for your listening enjoyment!). 

Just the routine I’m writing about here.  It’s been keeping me busy, as the commenters noted.  They beat me to this post, if you will, as I’m actually writing this two days after posting my financials.  My work schedule has been hectic lately and it got me thinking a bit about work schedules, past and present.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a nine to five job before now.  I’ve worked as a paperboy, a dishwasher, a supermarket cashier, a sales clerk, a telemarketer (both cold-calling and catalog orders), a high school teacher while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer, a teacher’s aid and a research assistant, and a law firm associate.  Since starting this project I can ad art seller, contract attorney, and theatre usher to that list.  None of those jobs had me working a set nine to five shift, until now.  I think that explains a little why I was unhappy at the law firm.  My entire working life has been sporadic and without routine.  But now I’m finding that incorporating other gigs into my routine really fills a hole I never noticed was there. Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

December 14, 2009 at 22:23

Laborious Labor Day

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Total Black: $75.45
Total Red: $228,312.40

Just a year ago, Dalton Conley penned a New York Times op-ed piece titled “Rich Man’s Burden.”  He noted that, in an era of Blackberries and internet, Labor Day meant very little for white-collar Americans.  “[I]t is now the rich,” he wrote, “who are the most stressed out and the most likely to be working the most.  Perhaps for the first time since we’ve kept track of such things, higher-income folks work more hours than lower-wage earners do.”  What a difference a year makes. Keep reading . . .

Darker the Collar, Lighter the Stress

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Total Black: $93.50
Total Red: $228,370.88

One significant difference that I’ve noticed between white-collar and blue-collar work: stress-inducing versus stress-reducing.  White-collar work seems fraught with veritable landmines of stress.  That many white-collar workers must insure themselves against malpractice speaks to the quantity of stress some professions produce.  Many doctors, quite literally, hold their patient’s life in their hands.  For lawyers that can be true as well, and if not in a criminal defense case then at least the client’s livelihood or financial life.  And where corporations go, lawyers, accountants, and business executives hold the company’s life in their hands.  Arthur Anderson and Enron no longer exist.  Same for Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers 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 . . .

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 . . .