Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bitter, Party of One

Attention, law school students and baby lawyers (i.e., those of you in your first three years of practice):

Don't do it. Get out while you can. Don't succumb to the golden handcuffs.

This was my day today, albeit my name is not Alexander:
I won't bore you with details. I will just say that it was exasperating, ridiculous, draining, and generally shittastic. I am actually blogging from my office while I wait for the hubs to pick me up. And thank God for the hubs. And thank God he used to be a lawyer, too.

It is difficult, if not impossible, for non-lawyers to understand the horrible, no good, very bad days. You just don't get it unless you've been there. It is more than just the hours. The hours are nothing. I can take the hours. As we used to scream while running down the halls in my old firm's New York office, sleep is for the weak! We were delirious, yes. But hours can be weathered. Hours are not the problem.

What gets to me is the soul-sucking and spirit-snuffing. The backstabbing. The prestige-grubbing. The pummeling of your psyche until you feel this small. This, I cannot bear.

As our word processor left tonight, she stopped by my office to ask me if I was ok. "You don't seem yourself," she said, "I don't see you smile nearly as often as you used to." To this, I replied, "There isn't that much to smile about these days."

I used to be filled with the hope and naiveté that what I did actually mattered. That, if I worked hard, people would take note. That, if I did good work, I would be rewarded.

I am now well aware that none of this matters, and I don't matter one tiny bit.

This profession has aged me, fattened me, and made me bitter and ugly. It has made me lose faith in humanity. It has opened my eyes to how vile, cruel, and unfeeling people can be.

A special note to Ms. Calcetines Rojos, if you're reading -- remind me to tell you about today when I see you in SF in a few weeks. I'm sure you will relate or at least fathom the horror.


  1. If it matters any, you matter to me. :) I know I don't have golden handcuffs for you, but I've got some fuzzy ones you might like. Although, they won't really help you pay the bills. Thank goodness you have the hubs and he can relate.

    And since you're allergic to chocolate, I've got a peanut butter snack that might make you smile. :)

  2. I am so sorry. It sucks to feel like what you do doesn't make a difference or even get noticed by people. It is even worse to feel like you've lost your faith in humanity. This is why I left working in forensics. It was depressing. I hope things get better for you.

    Always remember that you have friends that are always here to (try) cheer you up.

  3. :(

    boo to the badness of this work week.
    while i'm sure my sucky work doesn't quite compare to yours, you saw my rant earlier this week. i hope things get better or opportunity it seems to do when the time is right.

    have a jin macaroon! no chocolate there.

  4. That's sucky dude. Sing the Pinkberry jingle!

  5. 1) This is not a very good post to read when you are devoting every moment of your life to becoming a lawyer.

    2) I get to hear this speech every evening from "the man" and I will tell you the same thing I tell him. It may not seem like you're making a difference, but you are. Not everything has to be positive conduct or receive positive feedback. You protect people, even if they're people you don't like, even if they're people who don't like you. If you weren't doing your job someone else would be doing it. Someone slimy and less talented. It's the butterfly effect. The world would keep turning without you, but it wouldn't be the same world. And it wouldn't be a world any of us would want to live in.

  6. As a teacher in a public high school, I can relate wholeheartedly to the feeling that what you do does not matter. But your friends are right, you are making a difference, even if some people do not appreciate or recognize it.

  7. What happened?? You poor dear. You are a most talented person, cheer up! As they, this too shall pass.

    When you figure out what you really want to do for a career!

    writer: food/movie critic


  8. Thanks, everybody. Reading all these supportive comments was very comforting.

  9. i'm gonna take you out and drown your sorrows with liquor. hey, that's how everyone else copes.

  10. It really sucks to feel that way, especially about your career. I'm sorry you're feeling so sucky. If it helps, even for the short-term...spend a day (a work day if possible) at the spa and end that day with some cocktails with your hubs...Sorry...perhaps some non-profit organization will see your law gifts...

  11. I came across your blog through Nanette's blog. I'm a Nestie lurker too. :) I'm sorry for the horrible time at work lately. But honestly, it's nice to know I'm not along. I've had a very crappy few days myself. Anyhow, relax and enjoy the weekend. :)

  12. as my mom says, this too shall pass. i have also had a super sucky work week ... actually super sucky work month or two... and it's very frustrating. and i went into a field that i thought i'd love, and i do still love it, just not my job. i try not to talk about my job in the off chance someone discovers my blog at work, so i haven't talked about it much , but my latest post about the movie i saw was definitely in direct response to how i was feeling about how iw as spending 40+ hours a week.

  13. Even more sympathizers! Thank you, all.

    [insert dash o' bitterness here]
    40+ hours ain't nothin', honey. I do that (and more) EVERY week. My bad day was 14.5 hours long.
    [/end bitterness]


  14. Yikes! I'm sorry your day was crap.

    Here's to hoping for a nice, relaxing weekend! :)

  15. When I see posts like this, I'm glad that I left my law career at the end of 1L at Loyola Law School. I technically took a leave of absence and applied to grad school.

    If you have so many days like this that are taxing you emotionally, physically, and mentally beyond where you feel rewarded, I really think that you need to evaluate your professional future. Maybe not now, in a fit of rage, but you need to ponder this.

    I don't know what kind of law you practice, but have you thought about doing something where you do feel more "rewarded"? Maybe you could use your degree in a different capacity. You are obviously articulate, intelligent, and creative.

    There are so many attorneys in the greater metropolitan LA area who seem to experience similar thoughts and misgivings.

    Seriously, it is not too late to go to the "other side." :) It sounds like your hubby already has, and I encounter so many former lawyers and former law students, you will find that you are not at all alone.

    Hugs, and go pour yourself a drink.

  16. Friend, I feel you on this. In fact, I changed my ringtone last night to Journey's "Don't Stop Believing." I think that's pretty solid advice (as advice from 80s bands go). Hang in there. I think you're terrific.

  17. I had a whole fabulous comment that I lost when my wireless connection crapped out. Damn.

    I know how you feel when you talk about being un/underappreciated. On the "bright" side, most people are just crap at expressing their gratitude, so maybe that's what you're running into here. The appreciation is there, hidden under a layer of self-absorption :)

  18. dude...sorry! I agree with Bree, always remember that you have friends who think you are caring, sweet, and super funny too! I'm glad the hubs is there for you, and hopefully it won't be so bad next week! ;)

  19. aww, dude. i'm so sorry that work's got you so down. but as the others have said, we love you and although that may not fix the problem, we're here for you :)

    hey, at least you aren't pregnant! [doing a "no baby for WeeMo" jig]

  20. You made me cry bc I got visioms of my old firm im my head. Flashbacks from that place still keep me up at might sometimes. I cam completely relate wemo, amd you kmow this (bc we share a braim, although you got the bigger half).

    I <3 you - so sorry to hear about your bad day.

    At the emd of the day - you've always got us imtermet gals ;-)

  21. well, i just meant, a majority of your waking hours by "40+". i have certainly had those long days like that too, when i was writing, editing, and designing a weekly paper all by myself...for a year and some months.

  22. no wonder you are such a mean spirited person

  23. it's SO NOT chickenshit AT ALL to post stupid comments anonymously.

  24. Oh, look! It's one of the vile, cruel, and unfeeling people I was referencing! Thanks for demonstrating how unkind humanity can be!


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