Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Week 1

Guess who's back. Back again? JP's back. Tell a friend.

Sorry for neglecting you guys for so long. It's been a tough week. Yes, as of yesterday, I have officially worked here for one solid week. To say that it's been challenging would be a colossal understatement. First of all, I've never done defense work in my life. It's so totally different that I can't even begin to 'splain it here, so I won't even try. Suffice it to say that when you're assigned 50 cases on your first day and they keep giving you more as the days progress, it's tough enough. But, when you don't know what the hell you're doing, it's downright discouraging. However, every day I feel a little more comfortable as I learn their system.

There are some advantages and disadvantages of working here. So, rather than boring you with details of my job and the method in which they prefer things to be done, I will give you my Week 1 list of pros and cons.


1. Office Building is downtown. I had forgotten how nice it is to be downtown. Yes, I have to be more 'dressy' than I was (I'll hit that con later), but being downtown is so nice. I mean, everything's so convenient. My bank is a block away, unlike the half mile trek I had to do at my old firm. There are roughly 5,000 places to choose from for lunch within a 3 block radius. The women down here are fucking gorgeous, for the most part (a little eye candy NEVER hurts). The max line is about a block from my office and about 3 blocks from my house, so I can ride it in (takes about a half hour) if I need to - which I have needed to since Vicki has been house-sitting in Southwest Portland and will be doing so for the next week and a half.

2. Money flows like wine. This is a good thing in a firm. They're not tight-assed. They have money and they're not afraid to spend it. The computers are all new. The phone systems look like they took them right off the set of 24. I asked for a headset for my phone and the IT dude brought it to me about 5 minutes later (fuck you, Chip!!!! - if he saw these phones he'd cream his panties in about 2 minutes). If you need something, you just order it. It appears in your office within a day. Just yesterday, we had a case settle during trial. Our exhibits included $1000 worth of toys. We all split them up and took them home. I ended up with about $100 worth of stuff for my kids. Very cool. This brings me to...

3. My salary is wonderful! I can't stress this enough - I totally underbid myself at my last job. I thought I had a handle on the market. I clearly did not. As of right now, I don't think I'm worth what they're paying me, but as soon as I get everything under control, I will be a veritable bargain.

4. Having an office is very nice. I don't think I could ever go back to a cubicle. If I have a phone call I need to make (and by "phone call" I mean calling my favorite Asian phone sex operator), I just close my door and nobody can hear what I'm doing. Likewise, it gives me a respite from people walking by my office and doing the "one-eyed peek" to see what I'm working on.

5. I have "people" that do stuff. After I get done working on a file, I place it in my outbox and it magically makes its way back to central filing. Everything goes in my outbox - mail, interoffice memos, filing, notebook requests, etc., and they all make their way to where they belong. I really don't ever have to get up, if I don't want to. The notebook request thing is cool. There are "litigation support" people here that take care of putting together notebooks, making up labels for stuff, you name it, they do it (haven't asked for a hand job yet, however). Hell, they'd copy stuff if I asked them to. Of course, I'm too nice of a guy to bury them, so I do a lot of stuff myself. I'm sure that'll change in the next month.


1. Jeans are a thing of the past. I'm a casual guy. I feel most comfortable in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Then why, you ask, am I sitting at my desk wearing a pair of Gap khakis and a black CK button-up collared shirt? See "Pro #3," above. It's funny, they have a section in the "handbook" about what they call "Casual Friday," and it says "no member of the Firm may wear denim of any sort, except as a shirt." Ok, I don't know about you, but that defeats the whole purpose of Casual Friday. The purpose is to dress down a day and not get so burnt out on looking so "professional." But as long as they keep paying me, I'll keep dressing up.

2. Beer in the fridge and wine in the cellar are things of the past. One of the best perks at my last job is now gone. If they don't let you wear jeans, do you actually think they'll let you drink on the job? Not so much. I bet that more that one attorney/partner has a bottle stashed somewhere (attorneys do drink a lot), but I don't think they'd be very sympathetic if I got caught doing the same and yelled "I learned it by watching YOU!") Dammit!

3. Lots of rules and regulations. My "office manual" came in a 3" binder and was packed to the rim with procedures, guidelines and regulations. I'm not much for any of that stuff, so I'll just act my version of professional and hope for the best. I don't think I'll be reading all 3" of that shit anytime soon.

4. I have to bill my time. Every second of my time here at the firm has to be accounted for. Not used to that either. So far, I've been doing pretty well, but I can see myself forgetting from time to time. It's the ADHD in me. However, I figure if I get in the habit of doing it, it'll become easier as time goes on. I'm billing an insurance company as we speak. I'm not kidding. Really.

5. It's more stuffy here. For the most part, my co-workers are very nice. However, there are some stuffy old timers here. I'm not the best person to be around these people, as I tend to instigate stuff (hard to believe, I know). I don't mind professionalism, just don't walk around like you got a stick up your ass or something. Be nice to me and I'll be more than nice back. Be not so nice to me, or snub me, and I'll probably tease you at some point. Guess I better keep my resume handy.

There you have it. Week one in a nutshell. So far, the pros outweigh the cons. That could change at any moment. The good news is that they wait until after your 90-day probationary period to have the stick surgically implanted in your ass. It's not an elective surgery, but the Firm does pay for it.

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