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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Help

Okay, so I think that by now it's quite clear that I hate my job. I've missed countless runs because of its late nights; that much, you know. But what you don't know is the extent of its horrific-ness. Let me put it this way . . . If I were to describe my job in two or less words, I would probably choose "soul crushing." I will explain in a little bit more detail, but just know that it's actually REALLY, REALLY bad. So you may be wondering why I am still at said job if it's, in fact, so awful. Well, I'm planning on starting grad school in January, and while this job is totally crushing my soul, it also pays me a decent amount of money (mostly in tons and tons of OT). I figured that if I could just stick it out until October or so, I could quit a week or two before Chicago, run Chicago and then relax/move/get ready for school over the subsequent months. Sounds like a decent plan, right?

Well, let me give you some more background info before you make any decisions about the quality of my "plan". First of all, as humiliated as I am to admit it, I am a paralegal. I once asked my father (a patent attorney) what it is that a paralegal does. His response was, "You don't want to know. Do not ever take a job as a paralegal." I really should have listened to my father's sage advice. Sadly I did not. I decided I might want to go to law school (ha), and figured that working as a paralegal for a while might help me make my final decision (um, this part worked--I've since decided that I would rather poke both of my eyes out with letter openers than go to law school). You see, unlike the rest of the country (where paralegals usually don't have college degrees--they attend certificate programs), NYC has a tendancy to hire people who are fresh out of college, and totally undecided on what it is they want to do with their lives. Most of the time the people who apply for NYC para jobs are like me--testing out their desire to go to law school. So yeah. That's how I got myself into this precarious situation.

Now, as I mentioned in my autobiography, I transferred over to my current firm about a year and a half ago. This was a big mistake. Let me explain. There are currently something like 50 attorneys in the Litigation Department . . . for those 50 attorneys, we have THREE paralegals. THREE. To put this in perspective, the CASE I worked on over at my old firm had around the same number of attorneys (it was a MUCH bigger firm--with MUCH bigger cases), and something like 13 paralegals. So yeah. We are understaffed to the tenth power. My two compadres and I have seriously worked our butts off, trying to get our firm to hire another paralegal for the Litigation Department (or ten). But, for some reason, they absolutely REFUSE to do it. Not only do we work ridiculous hours, but in that time, we juggle a ridiculous caseload (I think we're all assigned to an average of like 16 different cases). We are constantly giving like 180%, and constantly stressed out . . . and nobody seems to care, because we keep getting things done.

The unfortunate part of this is that I get even more work than I otherwise would because the attorneys I work with have figured out that I'm smart and hard-working. They know that they can push off most of their work onto me, and that I will do a good job with it. Thus, I end up doing a hell of a lot of "attorney work". The other problem is that our secretaries here do absolutely nothing whatsoever. They are honestly the laziest pieces of ass ever. Oh, and did I mention that the technology here is a bit outdated? Like, say, ten years outdated? One more thing! Our office services/copy center can't be trusted to do anything without screwing it up. And I almost forgot! Our IT department is completely and totally worthless. This means that I have to do about 32 different jobs on a daily basis, because I have to do EVERYTHING myself. It sucks. I'm seriously tired, and I'm finding it increasingly difficult not to give up and just type up my notice. So yeah.

All things considered, I'd been doing pretty well with handling my desire to Q-U-I-T lately (mostly because I pushed my anticipated exit date up from December to October). But then today happened. It was a bad day, to say the least. We were filing a document (for which the deadline was known for approximately three months, mind you) . . . and it turned into a huge mess. We BARELY got the document to the courthouse on time, and the entire day was just one big shitstorm. Well, there is this partner I work with who is seriously the biggest asshole on the face of the planet. He's the type of guy who is too busy and important to, say, hold the door for anyone (including very pregnant women and handicapped people), and he's just generally the rudest and most obnoxious person you can imagine. I mean, I can honestly say that he is the most disgusting human being I've ever met. Well, he was in rare form today. Generally, he is WAY too good to talk to me--he has to talk to his secretary, who then talks to one of the other attorneys on our team, who then relays the message to me--but today, he actually picked up the phone and called me just to scream his ass of at me. I didn't do anything wrong, but he needed to take his frustration with the situation out on someone--and that someone happened to be me.

I am sitting at my desk right now pretty much unable to stop myself from crying. I know better than to let him get to me, but I've been unable to stop thinking about how terribly I am treated here. I mean, the only reason we even have this case and this (HUGE) client's business is because I stayed at the office until 3 a.m. on the eve of the 4th of July (also known as the day everyone else in the office left at like 2 p.m.), and found some kind of crazy work-around on our network to make some discs of documents viewable (yes, it's even complicated to slip a simple DVD/CD in a drive and look at its contents here--that's how messed up the system is). I have single-handedly kept this case together on countless occasions. And that A-hole has absolutely no respect whatsoever for all that I've done. Seriously. I'm an educated, bright, ambitious person. I don't have to put up with that!

And to top it all off, this same guy decided he wants this HUGE project I've been working on for the past couple of weeks done by tomorrow. There's no reason it needs to be done tomorrow; it won't be relevant for WEEKS, maybe MONTHS. But this jerk has decided he "will be ready" to look at it tomorrow. And so now, after busting my ass all day long, I will most likely have to be here until 5 a.m., at which point, what sense does it even make to go home? I'll just have to be back in like 3 hours anyway!

Okay, so this is where you all come in. What do I do? Does it make sense to quit this job and get another job for 6 freaking months?! No, it doesn't . . . I already know the answer to that one. One of my co-workers suggested I just quit and take the time off until I start school. While that idea is great in theory (especially because it would give me more time to train!), it's just not practical, given the high cost of living in NYC, and how much additional money I'd be losing out on by not working. Plus there's the health insurance issue . . . I kind of need the insurance if I'm going to keep running marathons. I don't know what to do at this point . . . I know it makes sense to just stick it out, but I just don't know if I can. I know that this job makes me a terrible, grumpy person . . . and that's not who I am by nature. I really, REALLY want to be happy again. So I'm asking for help. Does anyone have any advice for little ol' me? I sure could use it!

Okay, break over. Back to working my ass for the next 12 hours . . .

4 comments:

chris said...

Wow. This is a tough one. Normally, I am the "life is too short to be stuck in a shitty job" kind of guy. Follow your dreams, have fun, blah blah blah...

Unfortunately, with grad school looming, it is not that simple. Six months (or more) without a job seems out of the question, especially in NYC.

I can't imagine you finding a well paying job for the next 6 months. You could work at a restaurant or something, but you won't get paid much. You will, however, have more time to train.

My opinion is that you stick it out for the 6 months. It should help to know that better days are ahead. It sounds crappy, but I also think you should stop working so hard. Stop being the star or the go-to person. Seriously, what's wrong with not being the stud of the office? Will you get fired? I doubt it.

Let me ask, what happens if you miss the deadline on this project? Obviously you get yelled at, but do you get fired?

The Laminator said...

Hey Irish, I totally feel for you girl. So sorry you have to put with this B.S., and I could tell that it's weighing you down.

Unfortunately, it sounds harsh to say, but you're probably suffering from the product of your own success. Because you're so efficient at your job, you get things done at a faster rate than anyone, so people know to give you more stuff to do, and so you work harder to get those things done, and so it becomes one vicious cycle that makes you totally miserable in the end.

There is no easy solution. My best advice would be to look around for a temp job somewhere...maybe ask friends or other contacts if they know someone who needs short term help for the summer...if you come up with something, then you can quit. Otherwise, I'm afraid sticking it out would be the best solution. But also try not to get everything done so fast. Work at 90% efficiency instead of 110%. Really, what is the worse they could do...fire you? They can't afford to do that, so as long as you can stand the heat, take a little more time to do everything.

I don't know if that helps, but that's the best I could come up with.

Good Luck, Irish.

Database Diva said...

You know, until I got to the part that said you were a paralegal in NYC, I was assuming that you must work with me at a company that would take disciplinary action against me if I made any comment that might identify them. I'm 8 years from retirement, so I have no choice but to stick it out. Running marathons teaches us discipline, and how to keep going when we are suffering. Draw on that if you can, and keep thinking about how good it will feel to cross the finish line and put this behind you!

Good luck!

*jen* said...

Damn girl. I'm sorry you're going through all that crap. My BF went through the same thing at his previous job and like the laminator said, it sounds like you're suffering from your own success. I say stop working so hard (although I'm sure that'll be difficult to do if it's totally ingrained in you to work your ass off - I told my bf to "stop working so hard" every friggin day b/c he was being taken advantage of 24/7 but he could NOT do it) and just stick it out. Stop working until midnight and 3am. Do your job to the best of your ability during your 9 hour work day and then go home. I wouldn't think they'd fire you and hopefully you'll have more time to train and then Oct will be here before you know it. Good luck.