Saturday, February 19, 2011

goings on at work

now that I work at a nonprofit, especially one that works so closely with law firms, I compare the two a lot. I guess I can't really help myself, as most of my working life has been spent inside a firm in some capacity. You're so jealous.

I work with a great crew of firm associates: they're intelligent, respectful and actually pretty creative, something firms don't generally encourage. They've shown an incredible level of initiative through some trying times.

so where do I fit in? My perennial nightmare is becoming the "crazy nonprofit lady." Who is she? She is always harried, never quite on time, responds to your email like 2 weeks too late, and doesn't quite ever tell you what you need to do.

The thing is, there is a tremendous amount of personal pride on the line here. I know how for-profit attorneys sometimes underestimate their nonprofit counterparts and I don't want to confirm their prejudices.

Of course, I've kind of set myself up to be disappointed. there are 8 associates plus two paralegals from the firm. And just me on my side.

recently, the associates showed me the prototype of a database that they built for our project. You should see this thing. It's streamlined, logical, intuitive and easy-to-use. I was floored. They had built this in 2 weeks. But because it's me, it also kind of massively bummed me out. I would never be able to create anything even remotely close, and whatever piece of shit I could build would take months, since every box of rocks with delusions of grandeur on my side would meddle. it also made me sad because this database also showed that all these well-meaning, affluent, impeccably-pedigreed (and white) associates were working at a firm of a different caliber. One that would allow an IT team to create this enterprise for free. This was just one example of the many resources at their disposal. These kids, who had always been ahead in life, would remain ahead.

you can see why the initial euphoria dissipated pretty quickly. I know. Having been one myself, these associates hate their current lives. No doubt about that. Let me just not have any perspective here, ok?

anyway, I let the associates know that they had managed to both impress and depress me at the same time, minus the class stuff. I think they were somewhat proud that their creation elicited such emotional highs and lows.


cold4thestreets said...

Wait, simultaneously impressing and depressing you is my job. Not cool, unfulfilled, rich, white lawyers.

E said...

there has gotta be a word for this. dempress?

my coworker and i have a word for how we feel on a daily basis: sad + angry = sangry. sometimes sad + angry + homi/suicidal = sangricidal.