Monday, December 1, 2008
Right before the Thanksgiving holiday, I went into a temp agency in the hopes of securing some contract work, but emerged burdened anew. Mo money, mo problems? Afraid not. There I met with a cheery young woman with a large Chinese character tattooed on the top of her foot and who was under the impression that business dress remains business even when it leaves nothing to the imagination. No doubt her recently completed college career was full of serious study, but she was now tasked with something even more challenging: sorting out my life. I have seen these last several weeks as an extended lesson in humility, but I was shocked in that moment by how much there was still for me to learn. With troubled and liberally mascaraed eyes she reviewed my application, announcing, It says here you're interested in work as an attorney or associate or lawyer...Um, would you consider other categories, like, legal assistant? You don't have any certifications, do you?
Now I am not above being a legal assistant. I am not above doing good and honest work, but the truly humbling aspect of her proposal was this: Say, I swallow my pride, take on a temp job as a legal assistant; what happens when it comes out that I don't know how to do an electronic filing or type fast or bluebook properly? What happens when I get fired? I don't know, but that would have to be a bridge to be crossed later. Yes, I said. Yes, I would consider being a legal assistant. And no, no I have no paralegal certifications. I thanked her for her efforts on my behalf, prayed my application would not get lost amid all the Jaeger bombs she had planned for the weekend, and marched out into the cold November rain.
As I unlocked my bike, I tried to think out of the proverbial and hateful box: Take that kinda-sorta job offer in DC and have a long-distance marriage? Try to substitute teach? Lightning didn't strike. The clouds did not part. The sun did not peak out from over the hills. No, none of these things happened. But then my phone buzzed. It was a former colleague, offering me contract work on the case I was once the junior associate on. A reprieve, not a solution, but something.