Monday, July 24, 2006

Law Clerk Day 11

Today I attended a settlement negotiation with a Plaintiff. He had brought his two sons, 5 and 7. The boys were very, very bored and getting restless. So was I. So I sat out in the hallway with the boys and let them watch cartoons on my cell phone. I think that bought us an extra half hour.

The people at Company X haven't called me back since I faxed in my non-disclosure agreement on Thursday morning so we could schedule that second interview. I left a voice mail Thursday afternoon. Today I sent an email. Still no response. But I called and no one answered, so maybe he's out of the office. I know, I sound like a stalker! I'm not contacting them again.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

When we say everything's a dollar...

we don't really mean it! This sign is outside the dollar store at FM 1960 and Kuykendahl...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Job Interview 2 of ??

Today I visited with another competitor to Company Z, who my readers know laid me off after 10.5 years of faithful service. This competitor has a much better attitude than Company Y, with whom I interviewed last Friday. "Company X" has a new paradigm they want to implement, and they want to discuss the position with me further, but only after I sign a non-disclosure agreement. They emailed it to me today, and I've read it. I'm going to sign & fax it back to them tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed....

Free food check: Kolaches in the morning and oatmeal raisin cookies in the afternoon.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Law Clerk Day 7

Today I attended an expert witness deposition. That was pretty interesting. Expert witnesses MAKE A FORTUNE. Imagine in an hour making more than someone's monthly wage. I can't imagine. We stopped for lunch on he way back. The rest of the day I pushed paperwork.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Numbers Game

Like Johnny Appleseed, I'm casting my resume about into the Internet to see what pops up. I've received a couple of acknowledgments that they got it. We'll see if anything grows. :-P

Friday, July 14, 2006

Job Interview 1 of ???

Today I had my first interview. It's a smaller company than my old one (even though it's pretty easy to figure out who they are let's just call my ex employer "Z Company") and it competes for business with the one I used to work for. I was supposed to do a technical interview with their head tech guy. As I understood it, we were going to chat back and forth so I could show him what I knew, etc. Wrong! Instead he used the time to ask me whether I had taught all sorts of things that weren't on my resume. I took an instant disliking to him and it really didn't go very well. They want someone who does SharePoint and BizTalk... insanely, they also want someone who already knows Windows Vista (a product that isn't out yet) and Exchange 2007 (another product that isn't out yet). These guys like to teach early-adopter classes on beta software. I'm much more happy in administration than development. My resume reflects this. So why was he asking me about all this other stuff? Argh! Then I got a lecture about how the clients at Y Company are so much more sophisticated and demanding than at Z Company. Give me a break. I have trained the Texas State Auditors' Office, the Texas State Comptrollers' Office, the FBI, marines, police, attorneys, bank presidents, and WAN administrators for Fortune 100 companies. They said they would get back to me but I'm going to consider them a wash and keep looking.

Next interview: Wednesday!

Oh, and yes, I did spend the balance of the day at the law firm and finished everything in my inbox, thank you. I haven't gotten much feedback yet on what I'm doing. I don't necessarily need an attaboy, but I'd like to see something come back other than the "Message Sent" I get when I forward them my work.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Law Clerk Day 4

One of the Associates brought in a tray of Chick-Fil-A breakfast sandwiches. I ate one at breakfast and another at lunch. It was free and thoughtful. But I can't help but make an observation: Chick-Fil-A only make one thing--a chicken pattie on bread. You can get it with biscuit bread (breakfast), with two pickles (regular sandwich), or with lettuce & tomato (whatever they call it!) That's it!

Not much else went on today. Hopefully more to report next week.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Law Clerk Day 3

Sushi today! Glad I can use chopsticks because there was no silverware! They have me writing motions, and I was going to attend a client conference but it got cancelled. Mostly I sit in a small room with no windows and a big stack of briefs. Once in a while someone comes in--it's never to chat me up or gossip. It's always to drop off something they want me to work on when I have a minute.

I wrote earlier that I had scheduled an appointment/interview for Wednesday. I didn't go. I called the contact guy and he explained what the job was and how it involved travel. I can't travel because of law school. BUT we talked about alternatives. I explained what I had been doing for the past ten years and he got excited about some new program they've been thinking about implementing (and by program I mean business system, not application software). So I'm supposed to meet with him and the CEO next Wednesday. I told him I had a Friday interview as well, and he begged me not to do anything until I talked to them. So we'll see.

It's funny how small the IT training market is. Six degrees of separation? In this business it's more like two. I can call up any training center in the city, and we may not have met but we know the same people. In that respect, I suppose I'm well positioned. I'll know more Friday. And more Wednesday. In the meantime, I'm supposed to be reading for the Bankruptcy class right now. If I don't get busy, I may find that class all too practical! :-P

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Law Clerk Day 2

Today was much less interesting. They didn't buy me lunch. Being unemployed, as I am, I ate a Snicker bar for lunch, with two donuts in the afternoon. I've gone from "welcome aboard" mode to slave mode. Ha! I wrote a motion for sanctions. That was kinda fun. After lunch they brought in a community rum cake and ate it all! Didn't even save me a piece... grumble.

I tried to access a law-related web site and the Internet filter they have blocked me because it thought I was going to an adult site; AND IT REPORTED ME. I know this because the partner forwarded me an email saying "Here's what you were trying to read." The Internet filter had emailed him and told him what site I was trying to access. I'm just glad it wasn't something embarassing. Not that I would do that while I was supposed to be working....

After that was Bankruptcy class. I somehow have to find the time to catch up on the reading.

Tomorrow at lunch there's a career opportunity meeting at a competitor to my former employer. I'm going to try to make it there and talk to them. I have another one of those lined up for Friday.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Unemployment & Internship Day 1

Today was my first Monday as an unemployed person since August 1993. But it didn't feel like it because I started an unpaid intenship with a small plaintiff's firm. There are only two partners and two associates. They already gave me some work to do, and I rode along to a hearing in the partner's Porsche. He had me stand behind him as he argued his case at the bench. I enjoyed it but I was very intimidated and nervous. I only understood about half of what was going on! One of the other attorneys asked me how long I'd been practicing. Heh. I guess I look old enough.

We had sushi for lunch. My first raw fish experience; I enjoyed it.

I called up a couple of competitors of my former employer. I'm thinking that it makes more sense to work for 6 months to a year in IT and made more money than to take a law clerk's job for six months at 30-40K. So I'm doing an internship while looking for a job AND taking Bankruptcy class... oh, and law review...

I think I will need some No-Doze...

Friday, July 07, 2006

Kicked out after 10 years

Yesterday I got pulled into the office at work and management made the following observations:
  • I will probably be leaving within a year, once I get my law degree and take the bar exam.
  • Very few people can teach the broad range of subjects I can.
  • They have an opportunity to hire someone now who teaches what I do.
  • This office ain't big enough for the both of us.
So they asked me to resign in exchange for an extra two weeks' pay and gave me 24 hours to think about it. I called them today and said no, I wasn't going to resign. And waited. No one bothered to call me back, but they sent this email out today, and I thought I'd share (annotated!).

Good afternoon everyone.

I wanted to let you know that over the past few days, we’ve had a few personnel changes that I wanted to make you all aware of.

First, John [that's me] will be leaving [that is, was pushed out of] our organization to pursue his Legal career. He will be starting his 6 week [unpaid] internship on Monday, July 10th and will then be working toward graduation, passing the Bar and then landing with a firm to make his mark on the legal world. John recently celebrated his 10 year anniversary with [the company]. John is always willing to pitch in and do what is asked of him and he frequently gave more than requested. His knowledge in the classroom and his willingness to take on difficult projects will be missed. He has seen many management changes [seven GMs in 10 years] and has hung in there through each one and stepped up to contribute when asked. [This is how we thank him!] John has agreed to be a contractor for us if we ever find ourselves in need of his services. We wish him much success in his new career and will hope to see him in our classrooms again from time to time.

Secondly, effective today, [some one else is also kicked to the curb!]

Lastly, for some more positive news, we will have a new technical instructor joining [the team] in the next few weeks. His name is [Omitted] and he has been an IT classroom instructor for over 10 years. His skill set includes most Microsoft networking classes, [and other stuff John taught]. [He] has worked for me in the past at [other companies] and I am certain he will make an immediate impact with our clients. [Nevermind that he worked at this company nine years ago and was fired for changing an irate student's evaluation].

Please wish John and [the other guy] well in their future endeavors and please welcome [the New Guy] when he joins us later this month. As always, I welcome your feedback. Have a great weekend everyone.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Superman Returns

My daughter and I went to see Superman Returns. Those of you who haven't seen it yet should definitely go back and rent the classic Superman (1978), if it's been a while. There are a number of references back to that film, in visuals, storyline, dialog, and even the theme music. It isn't necessary but you'll enjoy it more. I've never watched Smallville or Lois & Clark.

I loved Kevin Spacey's Lex Luthor (he was perfect; at least as good as Gene Hackman's Lex), and Brandon Routh evokes Christopher Reeve so well. I do have a gripe, though. Lois was waaay too young! At the opening of the film we learn that Supes had been away for five years. Kate Bosworth (Lois) was only 22 while filming, and she looks it! How can we believe those two have a history when she was only seventeen when Superman left? So she was working for The Daily Planet in what, 11th grade? Here's another thing, but it's kind of a spoiler. Highlight the blank space to read it: We're supposed to believe her son Jason is four and a half or five. The actor playing him looks at least seven years old.

Oh well. It was still a diverting film and a good franchise revival of a film made almost 30 years ago.