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October 2016

My New Job

So, by now you’re aware that I have a new job. If not, go back and read about it. I’m a Legal Secretary. What is a Legal Secretary? A legal secretary does an attorney’s bidding, tells them when to go where, makes sure their files are in order, and pretty much does their job for them, except for dealing with the clients-at least not in my office. (I’m sure if you’ve been keeping up, you’re well aware of how much I hate dealing with customers and will realize how I am perfectly happy doing all the paperwork while leaving them to deal with people. I don’t deal with people.)

My first day:

1-Write up a Motion to Compel

A what?

On my first week, I was told to do all sorts of things that I didn’t have clue about. I now do, but I’m still slow at times. Oh, and—

2- Take a letter.

aka, have a pad with you wherever you go, period. I don’t care if it’s to the bathroom. I can’t go anywhere without, “I need to write a letter to someone, ‘Dear XXX’…” I’ll be standing there with paperclips in my mouth and arms full of papers/files, and they just dictate a letter like I have the memory of a computer, and THEY DON’T STOP!!!

It doesn’t matter if I say, “Wait a minute.” They don’t care. They just keep going. And—

3-They change the letters constantly.

Well, one of them does. There are two attorneys in my office. A younger one, and an older one. The older one is really cool. He’s patient and kind. He explains things. I like him.

The younger one has less patience, but a better memory. He explains things the older one will forget. I have to plan my questions carefully. Who do I go to with each one?

I have two templates on my Mac (I hate Mac btw. SERIOUSLY  hate Mac! I didn’t HATE Mac before now. I would just say I did. Now I truly do. I reprogrammed my keyboard, so it’s not as bad, but I really really really hate Mac. Why? For many reasons, but the main one is that they truly go out of their way to be different from the PC/aka Windows. Geez, seriously? Are you that arrogant? Apparently. Ugh!)

One template is for the older one, “General letter.” The other one is for the younger one, “General letter for XXX.” Why? Because the younger one drives me nuts!  “Put the signature over here. No no no, over here. Sigh, I’m sorry, change it back.” He is constantly changing how he wants his letters. I kept wondering why previous letters stored on the Mac were all different. Now I know why. The secretary wasn’t crazy or stupid; the lawyer has issues. Serious issues. Ugh again!!

4-I don’t get a lunch if I try to eat in the office.

Seriously, I actually had lettuce coming our of my mouth. They saw this and asked a question just prior to giving me an order. Dude-it’s my LUNCH BREAK! I don’t get a break at all except for lunch, and now I can’t even enjoy a lunch break in my office. When I’m left alone for lunch, I would turn on youtube and eat a warm salad (the fridge either doesn’t work, or isn’t plugged in—grr). Now I have to spend an extra $20 a week on lunch. Double Grr!!

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So—the cool thing is now I know how to do things I would have never thought I would have known before. Like, Motions and Notices and Releases, etc. The last secretary left no help at all, and I spent the first week, nearly the first two, trying to figure out where old files on the Mac were and finding old paper files lying around. You would not believe the mess I was left with!

I come home exhausted everyday, although that is getting easier. My exercises have gone from one hour a day, five days a week to 30 minutes a day on the days I can, hopefully eventually five days a week again, but only just 30 minutes. I leave at 7 in the morning, and return at 6. (I get off early two days a week, but I usually wind up doing enough in town to make up for it.)

But it’s worth it. I enjoy my job a great deal.

My anxiety has never gone away. It is a daily struggle, but I am getting better. By implementing my own techniques of realizing that anxiety is an emotion and can therefore be controlled, I am in control of myself. Mostly. As I sit here writing this, I wonder, “Did he really mean this when he said that? Should I worry? Am I going to get fired?” But, I have to just say, “I don’t want to feel like this.” That’s the only way for me to control it. I can’t rationalize the fear away. Let’s face it. I don’t know what he’s feeling. How can you possibly rationalize that away? He may fire me for no reason whatsoever over the weekend, and there’s nothing I can do about it. That’s life, but I don’t want to feel that way.

Like I said, it’s a daily struggle. But more on that later 🙂

PS-I will say this. My Human Communications class has really helped. Going back to school was a wise decision. Not only did it land me a job via helping me with the interview, it has helped me be more assertive. I have also worked on personal growth. I had a lot of personality problems I needed to work on. I’m doing better in those categories now-yay!

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Applying for My New Job

For those who read this blog rather regularly, you will understand what a decent job means to me.

I had tried for years to find one. To be honest, I didn’t want a full time position until recently, for it was only then that our son was old enough for me to do that. But after too much time searching for one and not finding it, I resorted to going back to school in order to get an MLT certificate. That stands for Medical Lab Tech. But then something happened.

I was at an author event, the Thunderroad Author Relay, and I got to talking to one of the other authors there. She works at a bank and was telling me the wages of some of the bank employees there. That’s when I started to get a little frustrated. Why was I going to school to make the same amount of money as a bank teller?

See, tellers, according to her, made at least $22k a year, and would grow to much more. I knew that an MLT started out at $22k, recently raised to $24k in my area, but I would rather do office work. I like paperwork and numbers, and MLT’s either have to be phlebotomists (making less money in a doctor’s office and dealing with patients) or work in a hospital. A hospital setting is more often than not PRN. That means they call you when they need you, you don’t get benefits, and it’s probably not full time or it’s a terrible schedule. You also have to work on a concrete floor. It may have tile on top, but it’s concrete underneath. I did that enough at walmart, not again, thank you. Furthermore, MLT’s top out low and quick. Ick. I could hope for a Medical Lab Technologist, a managerial role to the Medical Lab Technician, in a few years, but those jobs were hard to come by and dropping.

So, I started sending out resumes. I opted for the functional resume instead of the chronological one for several reasons. One, few of my jobs were really relevant to the ones I was applying for, and two, my work history wasn’t pretty. I didn’t have any long standing full-time positions, and my longest position ever was less than two years. Chronological resumes don’t show that stuff. They’re great for stay-at-home parents getting back into the workforce, like me.

I also researched the salaries of the jobs I was applying for, mainly legal secretaries. I had pondered the notion of going to school to become a paralegal, but that was when I had all those health issues, and my doctor said not to do it. Being a legal secretary was something I had first gotten interested in back in 2005, I think, and had romanticized about it every since.

When I got to the interview, one of the first questions they asked me was, “Why are you applying here when you have a degree in Biochemistry?” I get that a lot. Pretty discriminatory and ignorant, if you ask me. Few people actually stay in the field they start out in or major in. That’ s just the way it works. Luckily for me, however, they were pretty hard up for a new secretary and knew someone that had also spread their wings away from their collegiate major.

I wore my best business suit, I was applying for Legal Secretary afterall, and utilized every communications lesson I had ever had: eye contact, body language, active listening, blah blah blah. It worked great! Obviously, because I got the job.

I can’t remember if I mentioned this or not, but I had been volunteering at my son’s school to pay for his tuition. I was teaching biology there to the 10th graders. I told them I needed a week because of that. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that week hit the school’s fall break. Oops.

That turned out quite well (for me) though. I used that time to complete all my other class work where I had gone back to school. I saw no reason to drop out this late in the game. It made me look bad, and I had already paid the money. I’m taking 3 classes: speech, computer science, and medical terminology. The last two are 100% online, so I was able to finish those up, save a couple of discussion forum posts that I can easily do in two 10 minute spurts when they’re scheduled (one of them has actually already passed just this past week).

I still have to do the speech class, which has proven to be the most challenging overall. Ew. It meets every other week and requires several hours of work per week.

My son’s school was sad to see me go, which made me feel good and sad all at once, but they were also very accommodating and happy for me. Everyone has been very supportive :).

This adventure will continue in another blog post, My New Job

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