I.A.A.L. (I Am A Lawyer)
...although, at the moment I'm only doing part-time at a department store. I live in a sweet house with a couple who've become very close friends of mine. The dude is an employed lawyer, and he's very sympathetic to my situation - I pay less than a third of the rent.
Last year, whilst I was earning my qualifications, a friend recommended me for a paralegal position at his firm, which I got. I worked there from Jan to Aug.
It's a small firm by the standards of my city - one partner and two senior associates at the time I was there. The partner is a notorious douche, widely reviled and with good reason. To this day I've not been introduced, despite the fact that his office was a few paces from my desk. We excused each other when we passed in the halls, nothing more. He's very much a hands-off guy with his own key clients - although he controls the purse-strings and hiring.
The Senior Associate who was my primary supervisor is (in my opinion) one of the better solicitors in the city. That said, he was not the best teacher - more of the "I'll explain anything if you ask me, but if you don't I'll assume you know everything" school than the "let me show you how to do that" school.
The other Senior Associate was a fun guy, but a worry. He'd take me off client files to do errands for him. He was a rainmaker though, so his crap was tolerated.
Long story short, I didn't really live up to my full potential there. I spent a lot of time feeling lost and muddling through stuff I didn't fully understand, or being diverted from real work by the rainmaker. Some of it was my lack of initiative, some of it was a poor working environment. Despite that, I began to improve a lot in the last month or so.
After I became fully qualified, the partner met with the SAs to discuss hiring me on as a lawyer. From what I've gathered he felt like I wasn't fully committed to the firm - which, of course, I wasn't. Either of the SAs could have gone in to bat for me, but chose not to - probably deciding that I wasn't worth the fight.
Fast forward to the end of 2009 - the Rainmaker is head-hunted by a bigger firm, and takes a large chunk of the support staff with him. Evidently the workload is too much for them, and they need to hire again.
My name was mentioned. Apparently the partner is against it, or my supervisor expects that he will be against it. The "committment" issues came up again.
This firm is very heavily billing-focused. Rather than having salaries and budgets for junior solicitors, all solicitor's salaries are tied solely to the number hour hours they bill. That's really unusual for this city.
Apparently it wasn't my general lack of enthusiasm that bothered the partner, just the fact that I didn't work through enough lunches or stay late enough at night.
Anyway, my supervisor told my friend to check if I was interested:
"[The supervisor] is worried to recommend you unless you're going to be more committed than you were [last year], cos:
(a) he'd be going out on a bit of a limb; and
(b) he thinks it would be shit if you just got fired again."
On one hand:
- I'm underemployed, and living from week-to-week
- I'm not paying my share of rent, and my housemate has told me that he'd like for me to get a job so that he's not supporting me (although he's still being really good about it, and I clean up around the house, so it's not a huge issue)
- I've been effectively unemployed since the middle of last year, and I'm concious that the longer I wait the harder it will be for me to get a job.
- Without the rainmaker there, my job will be a lot easier
- I'll be a solicitor as opposed to a paralegal, and I'll be doing more interesting work
- The original problem wasn't with my ability, or even my admittedly shitty focus, but with hours alone
- I'll be working under a contract, with all the protection that entails - although from what I understand the contracts at this firm are *very* open
On the other hand:
- I'm incredibly leery that with the partner against me, every lunch I don't work through will be ammunition he can use if he decides to get rid of me - in effect I'd be stringing the sword of Damocles over my own head. If you're offered a job, and one of the first things you hear about it is a warning that the boss wants to fire you, how enthusiastic can you afford to be?
- I *hated* the office politics the first time around, and I'd be walking into a highly charged environment
- If I'm 100% honest, not even sure I want to be a solicitor. I got quite badly burned.
My housemate suggested that I tie conditions to it - say: "Yes I'd like to come back, but only if you give me more support, don't give me files that are beyond my ability, etc"
Suggestions? Advice? Am I letting pride get in the way of practical need?