Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Well, my uber annoying temp job ended last week. I was anxious for it to end because I thought I might have to throw that girl who was "training" me out the window. Things got really tense, but they did get a world better once she went off to her new position and left me to answering the phones and scanning documents all by my lonesome. I really thought I was going to lose it when she continually asked everyone in various departments if they had any "busy work" for "the temp". Keep in mind I was sitting right next to her and wanted to scream in her ear, "I have a NAME you stupid wench!", but I behaved.

My blood pressure also rose significantly when she explained to me in detail how to make a photocopy. "First you put this face down on the glass. Then you close the lid. Then you press the green button." I guess I'm lucky she didn't try to teach me my colors first so that I would know which button was the green one. I decided not to inform her that I had worked in very large law firms where they have huge machines the size of rooms that do everything from copy to collate to staple. I used one machine for awhile that I swear would have made me popcorn and knitted a sweater if I had known which buttons to push. In any event, I suppose I wouldn't have minded so much if she had not said EVERYTHING with smug condescention.

However, one incident did give me pause. A member of the marketing team asked if I would mind proofreading something for an upcoming conference. She asked if I had any experience doing that sort of thing. I explained that I had edited law review articles and a textbook in law school so proofreading and copyediting was no problem. She was overjoyed. Miss Know It All chimed in "well if you need any spellchecking done, I got over 700 on my verbal SATs". That's when I decided to feel sorry for her. Initially I didn't know if her personality was due to some deeply hidden insecurity or if she was just a nasty person, however that comment exposed her. I don't know anyone who openly brags about their SAT scores, especially post college. Yet, that was all she had to offer up. I could have made a comment about my LSAT scores or my bar exam experience, but I let it go. I felt sorry for her after that. The position I was in was temporary and I hated it but I knew it was a finite exile from my dream job of being a lawyer. It dawned on me that my purgatory was her life. It was easier to deal with her after that. Don't get me wrong, being around her was still like nails on a chalkboard, but I wanted to pummel her less and pity her more.

I was so anxious to escape that assignment [despite everyone else I came in contact with being really great] that I failed to consider that once that assignment was over there might not be another one immediately available. Thus, I am completely jobless at the moment. One day last week the director of HR came to me and said that the good news was they found a permanent replacement, and the bad news was I was done temping for them. I expected that and I was appreciative of the fact that she came and told me personally. She told me that she thought it would be rude to just let me walk out and have the agency call me and tell me since over the phone, she was in the same building. And here is what really struck me; I was a temporary receptionist for a little over a week and a half and yet this woman who owed me nothing was more considerate and more professional towards me than Boss Man. How sad.

One other noteworthy item from that position. I purposely did not tell people in general that I am an attorney. I have found that reactions can be weird. Some people immediately assume you think you are better than they are, while others shun you completely. Other people gum onto you as if you have some innate power that they hope will rub off on them. I did mention it to a few people when it came up in conversation. Apparently I must have mentioned it to someone who was friendly with the CEO because he came striding over to me on my last day very purposefully. "You have been here over a week and I just now found out that you are an attorney!" I was amused. He acted like I was a secret agent and he had blown my cover. "Well I wasn't keeping it a secret." He looked flustered at this comment. I had tried, several times, to start conversations with him to no avail. He had either brushed me off or completely ignored me. It was more out of boredom than anything. I was looking for intellectual covnersation and I have never been one to cower in the presence of a big name partner, the president of the company or anyone else. We all put our pants on one leg at a time. But I digress ...

He responded to my comment with something along the lines of, "well, I guess that's my fault. I never really talk to you." Bingo buddy. However, now that he knew I had spent upteen years sitting in a classroom apparently I was worthy enough to be spoken to. His next comment was, "Let me get this straight, you went to four years of college, three years of law school and you passed the bar and now you are my temporary receptionist??" To which I replied with a cold stare, "Thank you SO much for rubbing it in. I really appreciate that."

Suddenly he became the nicest man. He said he knew some lawyers who were friends and I was to make sure to email him my resume immediately upon my return home. He reminded me of this several times throughout the day. One of the vice presidents [in a totally unrelated conversation] also found out I was an attorney and offered to pass along my credentials. I guess you never can tell about people.

I didn't make a big deal about it being my last day, after all I had only worked there a little over a week. I was surprised to find that some people thought I was the permanent replacement, while others remarked that they were sad to see me go. That was a nice feeling after the abrupt and stressful way I left my last position. I have to keep reminding myself that the small firm I was in was an odd situation. I have sought the honest input of friends, family and fellow attorneys. Everyone seems to agree that I didn't do anything wrong and that if I was deemed a wonderful employee one day and horrible the next then it could not have possibly been my fault that I was let go. [Hello TANGENT, how did we get here?? Oh well, nothing to do but run with it ...]

I really hope that if/when I start getting interviews I don't convey how tentative I feel right now. I've always thought I would be a great lawyer, and my skills, while in need of polishing, are pretty darn good [if I do say so myself], but my confidence is not running real high these days. I need to remember that I am a capable person and that, eventually, I will have an opportunity to convince someone else of that.


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