Thursday, May 01, 2003

And then there was eleven.........

Or zero. Depends on if you're counting classes left, or workdays left. The first is zero. Tonight's it. The last Contracts class, ever (thank God!). We've all suffered enough.

Not that class was all that bad, but it could have been better. A little less emphasis on the minutiae of each case, and a little more emphasis on things to know when you practice.The most helpful comment came when Professor Contract's husband taught, and corrected a classmate who said the price of an item should be $76. "You'd never say that in practice," he chided, "because you'd be admitting the price was $76. The price is $44, and you don't know where $76 came from." An important insight easily overlooked by a new attorney. And if one were unfortunate enough to be matched with a saavy, older attorney - you'd be toast, and your client would be pissed. This is the kind of stuff we all wanted to know, but never really learned.

As for workdays, well, we're down to eleven. And today wasn't half bad. Hopefully, my journals will clear tomorrow, and I'll be able to book something. Otherwise, it will be a lousy weekend. But the promising thing is that I can now run reports and get information, which is a marked improvement over last night.

The downside to this quitting thing is that I know a lot of people around here. In fact, if they all come out next Friday (my original last day), there will be almost 80 people at my going-away party. That's not a bad turn-out. But I digress. I've gotten lots of emails and phone calls, not to mention people stopping me in the hall, in the coffee room and elsewhere to ask me about this.

I've learned there are three types of people:
The ones who wish you well superficially, while questioning your sanity.

The ones who wish you well sincerely, smile, shake your hand or pat you on the back and say keep in touch (and mean it).

The ones who wish you well with that look in their eye - the look that says they wish they were you, getting out and finding a new (and theoretically better) life, and not stuck in a job they are handcuffed by salary and/or benefit to. I feel sorry for these people. They feel trapped in their lives, and ultimately are miserable, punching the clock every day until retirement, when they hope to be able to do all they really wanted. But what if they're not able? What if arthritis robs them of the ability to walk? Or a heart condition confines them to limited activity? Or worse? What then?

The worst three words you can say consecutively are I should have. I know, because I've said them. I should have never broken up with Brenda Keller back in high school. I should have called Jeanette Beauregard that summer between my junior and senior year at NIU. Foolish me.....

I've said I should have enough in my life. I'm trying not to say it anymore, but I know I'll fail somewhere along the line. Right now, though, I can pursue my dream. I said I should have for ten years, between the first time I took the LSAT, and the second. That's long enough.

What are you saying I should have to?

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

And the countdown continues…….

Things around work are getting frustrating. I keep running report after report, and get nothing that I can use for month end. I’m at the point of saying that I’m not doing any accruals, simply because I can’t find the info I need. I’m not alone on this, either. None of the other support accountants can get anything they need, either. And the level of annoyance just builds. This month end is going to be horrible.

As for the countdown, I should be on seven, as in seven days left. But it’s now twelve, after the Director of Accounting asked me to extend my stay here by a week to help in transitioning stuff over. Since I have no desire to burn bridges, and since I harbor no real ill will, I chucked the plans for finals study marathons and said ok. The one caveat is that I am taking the 14th off for my Contracts final. Besides, who am I to complain about getting an additional week’s pay?

The sad thing, really, is that I’m not being replaced. Miguel and Ron get more work, as does Jose, and no more thanks for the effort. When I told Lois who was replacing me, her first words were “what does he have?” And when I told her that Jose has Projects, she quickly mentioned that he’d never have time for her department. Probably true, which is too bad, because in the year I’ve been their accountant, they’ve gotten a good understanding for what’s going on.

In other news…..

Well, my lucky streak ran out. I’ve never been called on in Contracts, simply because I believed (correctly) my last name was a bit of a challenge for Professor Contracts. As it turns out, I was right, but she gave it a shot on Monday. Two other people have passed in her class (by saying “pass”, as a matter of fact) and have been the first people called on the next class period.

So on Monday, when the prof called on me, I wasn’t prepared. And I said so. Well, actually, when she asked me to give the facts of the case, I said, “I have no idea. I didn’t read that case.” After class, everyone was warning me that I’d better read up for tonight’s class. Too bad that it’s month end and that I’ll likely be late to class, if I go at all. Right now, leaving on a good note is much better than leaving on a bad one. Who knows when I might need a good word.

Putting in a good word…..

Speaking of putting in a good word, I’ve noticed a few other blogs have linked me, which is always appreciated. However, I’ve only noticed by tripping across them on my travels elsewhere. If you want to link to me, feel free. I won’t object. But send me an email so I can return the favor. Tomorrow, I’ll feature some of the fine people who’ve thought enough of what I write to include a link to my site. Don’t miss out – send me an email, or post a comment, and I’ll give you a plug too.

Monday, April 28, 2003

You know how it is. You see things how you want them in your mind's eye, and then....reality sets in. Case in point: Saturday's oral arguments at the Daley Center. I envisioned myself as eloquent, knowledgeable, and able to field every question. Things didn't quite turn out that way. As evidence, I offer the following (we spoke in front of a two judge panel):

Judge A (to Chad, counsel for plaintiff): Thank you counsel. At this time, I'd like to rebuke counsel for defense (me) for failing to ask for rebuttal time......

Me (thinking): Holy Shit. Holy Shit. How did I do that? I swore I asked for rebuttal time. And here I've been, like a fool planning my rebuttal! And Chad cited Lindgren v. Moore, the facts of which almost perfectly dovetail the facts in this case, and I need to distinguish it! Oh can I be so stupid......

Judge A (continuing): .....and you won't make that mistake again, will you counsel?

Me: No your Honor.

Judge A: I imagine you'd like rebuttal time right about now, wouldn't you?

Me: Yes, your Honor, I had thought I'd asked for it. An oversight on my part.

Judge A: Would two minutes be sufficient?

Me (surprised at all hell that I'm getting this huge break): More than sufficient your Honor.

Judge A: You may proceed then.

Me (with volumes of gratitude): Thank you.

In the feedback section, the judges both pointed out my error, and used it to highlight the importance of asking for rebuttal time. On the positive side, Judge A commented my rebuttal was 'perfect' and did exactly what it was supposed to do - defeat Plaintiff's arguments. Judge B did chastise me for invoking sarcasm when I mentioned biofeedback, reminding me that you never know what the judge is into, and if his wife was big into biofeedback, I could have just blown a perfectly good argument. Both Chad and I earned marks for being the last to go, and handling the tough questions they asked with grace and poise and showing a real "mastery of the law." Afterward, Chad, Jen (a classmate in another section of legal writing) and I celebrated at Miller's Pub.

Onward and......upward?

I announced my resignation today. Two week notice. Well, not exactly two weeks, since May 9th is my last day. My boss said he was shocked, but understood. He said I'd probably shock a few other people as well. If I do, I'll be surprised. I told him that I was flexible, that I didn't want to put him in a bad spot. It was the hardest thing I've ever done, and I was nervous as hell all day. I told Mark on Friday, and Jim today, figuring that since I've been friends with both of them for 8 and 18 years, respectively, and knew both before they worked for the company, that they deserved that much. Jim was dying to find out how Ken reacted, figuring Ken would ask him when he know. I also told my old boss, and the two main people I support, before I worked up the courage to tell my boss.

We'll see what happens now. Any suggestions for living on $20K a year welcome.