Category Archives: Work

Amy and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day

I’m trying to imagine how today could have been worse, absent lasting like 6 weeks.

Of course, due to the nature of my work, I can’t and won’t discuss it here, except to say that inadequacies in “the system” completely and irreparably destroyed my credibility and relationship with a client that I really liked and respected, and made me look like a total moron and, to his way of thinking, the worst stereotype of every attorney ever.

That said, I know that my own shortcomings contributed to the situation.  And I resolve to do better.

For right now, though, I am thankful for Dar Williams’ Green World album.  Which is making things a little better.


Turn and Face the Strange

Several months ago, a colleague came into my office and said he wanted to talk to me about leaving my job and joining a partnership with him, forming a new firm.

“Are YOU CRAZY???” I said?  “How can I leave my office, my coworkers, my paycheck, people will be mad at me.  THERE WILL BE BLOOD!”

“Huh.” He said.  “It hadn’t occurred to me that you might not need me…”

“I’ll think about it,” I said.

I talked to Scott.  He thought I should do it.  I talked to Mom.  She thought I should do it.  She called me back to tell me that my 99 year old grandma had said to tell me: “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”  I wanted to do it.  It was scary.

I approached my bosses.  They were angry with the colleague for asking me.  They were sad, they were supportive.  I said I’d think about it some more.

The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it.  I was scared.  With a regular paycheck, I know I can hit my bills.  I don’t know about all this overhead and such, licensing, paperwork, insurance, etc.

I told Matt, the colleague, that I’d do it, but that he had to set everything up. I told my bosses at my old job that I was going to do it.  They told me to give them 60 days notice, I said okay.

We started looking for a building, and found one pretty quickly.  We have the option to buy it at today’s prices in the next few years if we want.  I said I could order letterhead if Matt would do everything else.  We were set to go August 1.

Then my bosses placed an ad, saying that they were looking for someone to start July 1.  They asked if I could leave the 15th, they told me they couldn’t keep two lawyers on for more than a couple of days.  I told them I was going to probably have to shoot for opening the 1st of July.  So that is how, half way through June, Matt & I had, suddenly,  2 weeks to get everything in order.

Luckily, Matt had been doing a lot of set up to get things up and running, and it was a matter of dates.  I ordered the letterhead.  I told Matt that if his name was going first I wanted the big office.  I got the big office.

Suddenly I realized that I know NOTHING about decorating, and suddenly there was a big office to decorate.  I didn’t know what I was going to do.  Then I remembered my secret weapon.  Embee.

Embee is what we call style gifted.  I am what we call style challenged.  I asked her if she would help.  She said she’d promised herself never to decorate another office again.  Then she said yes, because she is an awesome friend.  Before and after pics here.

Let me tell you, I could not have done what she did with that office if I had all the money and time in the world.  She was quite patient with me, going out, looking at things I liked, and saying, mmm, No.

So here we are.  The last time I had this much change in my life at once or, as Grace Paley once brilliantly put it, Enormous Changes at the Last Minute, I was pregnant with Charlie and my ex-and his girlfriend had just gotten in their really romantic motorcycle accident and I was about to be a broke single mom.

This feels nicer.

Soon I hope to have clients, and to figure out how to work the thermostat in my office.  Ms. Caroline is our receptionist.  Thursday I did my first ever really girly thing in my whole life and took Caroline and our paralegal out for nail related stuff at the local Vietnamese nail salon.  They got pedicures.  I got tips to cover up my psoriasisy regular nails and now I click click click on they keyboard.  Also I wish I spoke Vietnamese so I knew what they were saying to each other while we were there, and also because it’s an awesome sounding language.  I’m girly as hell now, I tell ya.  Well, womanly.

Watch me fly.

Someone to Watch Over Me

Across the street from my office is a very small convent, wherein live a handful of aging nuns. There is one particular nun that I like a lot. She’s on the older side – I’m not a great judge of age, but I would guess that she’s older than my mom, younger than my grandma. She walks slowly with one of those canes with the four prongs on the bottom.

I have nicknamed this nun Sister Mary Jaywalker, in honor of her habit of walking kitty corner from the convent to the church every day, in our busy little neighborhood, where stop signs and speed limits are treated, often, as matters of personal choice.

I can see her from my office sometimes, through the window, and she consistently crosses slowly and deliberately, diagonally across the intersection. Sometimes I see her from outside, when I’m on the balcony, or on the street, and I harp at her about her jaywalking. She tells me she doesn’t. I laugh at her and smile, and tell her I’ve seen her, and remind her that God just heard her tell me a bald faced lie, and then we laugh like old friends.

This morning I was on the balcony, and I saw her start to cut across the corners. As she stepped off of the point of the curb, she looked up, saw me, smiled, and made her way to the crosswalk. Add that to my to do list. Watch the nun and keep her safe.