When it Rains, it Pours

January 24, 2010 at 12:11 pm (Interview, Job search, WSBA) (, , , , , , )

I have been meaning to post this blog for the past week but haven’t really had the time to just sit at the computer and write it without Jon looking over my shoulder. I can’t write with him looking over my shoulder, it makes me self-conscious. I have also been working at H&R Block which has limited my computer time.

Now to explain the title of this post. I started training at H&R Block on the 11th. On the 12th I got  a voicemail about a job I had recently applied to. When I got home that day I had an email about a potential contract assignment. Then on the 13th I got a voicemail to set up an interview for yet another job. Apparently the universe knew I had a job and therefore made more people want to hire me.

I have yet to return the voicemail message from the 12th as I’ve been working and I’m not too sure about the position. I was not chosen for the potential contract position, most likely due to my limited availability in the coming weeks for Juliet’s surgery. If they do a second round of hiring later, then I will be reconsidered.

The third opportunity is still the most promising, and I’m crossing my fingers that it works out. I had an interview this past Tuesday, the 19th, with the Department of Labor. I think the interview went really well. They said they wanted to make a decision by Thursday or Friday at the latest but I still haven’t heard anything. I’m hoping that they’re just taking longer to decide and not that I’ll find a rejection letter in my mailbox tomorrow. I want to assume it’s the former because I applied for the position back in April. If it took almost nine months to schedule interviews, then it will probably take more than a couple days to make a decision, right? The position is with the Employee Benefits Security Administration and I would be a Benefit Advisor. I would be working solely with ERISA and helping people understand and implement it correctly and assisting people whose employers are having trouble with implementation. The position was described as part mediator, part instructor. Mediator because I would be answering calls from the public and helping resolve their benefit issues. Instructor because the EBSA occasionally puts on presentations to explain the regulations and how to implement and comply with them. It sounds really interesting and challenging and I think I would enjoy it. So now I just need to hope that I’m hired.

I am still at H&R Block and it’s a pretty decent job. At times slow but once more people get their W-2s in the next week or so, it should pick up for a bit. I like the people I work with, though, and I’m learning interesting things about taxes. I would, of course, rather be practicing law in some form or other, but it is nice to have a job and to get out of my apartment and do something productive.

If the Department of Labor job doesn’t work out, I did apply to an interesting job yesterday. A firm in Bellevue is looking for an employment lawyer with HR experience, but they only requested one year legal experience, which I have. I think I would be a good fit for their position, so if all else fails, I’m hoping they’ll at least call me for an interview.

Things are happening, at least. Which is a lot more than I can say for the majority of last year. It’s nice. Jon is learning what it’s like to spend all day with a baby and I’m getting out and earning some money. And with all of this development, I’ll sure have a lot to talk about at the Job Seekers reunion in a couple weeks. (Last year at this time, I was in a weekly Job Seeker discussion group at the WSBA Lawyer Services Department. On February 9 we are having a reunion to see what progress we have made.)

That is what’s been going on in my job search. Please cross your fingers for me that I will be permanently employed very soon. Then I can end my Quest and find a new reason and title for this blog. 🙂

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On setbacks and good news

January 7, 2010 at 12:08 am (CLE, goals) (, , , , , )

Today was an interesting day. I spent most of it feeling a little depressed and unmotivated, especially since I forgot to attend the CLE committee meeting yesterday (and it was a phone meeting!). There was a Young Lawyers Division social event tonight that I had planned on going to, even though I really did not want to. In the end, I chose not to go to the event, because I could not get myself hyped up enough to go to a bar and make small talk with people I did not know. This sort of made me feel like I was failing on my Quest because I had not yet met any of the goals I set for myself. I tried to cut myself some slack, it’s only January 6 after all, but I still was not in the best of spirits.

Then I sat down to check my email and saw that H&R Block wanted to hire me! I interviewed for a seasonal position before Christmas and had not heard anything back, so I assumed that I would not be hired (Juliet did come to the interview with me, after all). But here was an email, offering me a position, and better yet, it’s at the H&R Block office in my neighborhood! That’s a 5 minute bus ride or a 15 minute walk! Now, this position is only temporary, I will be unemployed again as of April 16, and it’s a customer service position, not an attorney position, so I am still on my Quest. But you have no idea how good it feels to be employed again! I have not been gainfully employed for almost a year (I think my last day at Macy’s was January 14, 2009), but here is a job offer, showing that I am employable, my skills are wanted somewhere. My self-esteem really needed that.

I will also have something to plan my days around. I think this will help me be more organized and proactive in my networking and job searching. I decided today that I need to set up some one-on-one informational interviews for networking and that I want a mentor (I actually have one through MAMAS but I have not contacted her yet). I got an email about an ABA CLE entitled “Developing and Maintaining an Entertainment Law Practice Anywhere” that made me start considering hanging out my own shingle, as scary as that sounds. But first I would like to meet some of the people already working in that area and see what they have to say. I would also like to find $150 so I could attend that CLE. If only I was still a student.

Once again, a rundown of my progress….

Job Search related activity yesterday, 1/5: Forgot to attend CLE Committee meeting by phone, remembered at 11:45 and felt it was too late to call in. Plan on emailing my thoughts to the committee chairs

Job Search related activity Today, 1/6: Chose not to attend the Young Lawyers Division social event. Was offered a job at H&R Block that will last four months. Started considering opening my own practice to do entertainment law (my dream practice area) – have a LOT more research to do on that front.

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Learning from experience

January 4, 2010 at 3:58 pm (CLE, goals, Job search, networking, WSBA) (, , , , , , )

Apparently networking at a Bridal Shower when you bring a baby just is not possible. Because the baby requires most of your attention and all everyone asks you about is the baby, nothing else. Which is fine, because Juliet is adorable and a very good baby. But needless to say, there was no networking happening. Only once was I able to mention needing a job, and it was then commented that parenting is more work than a job, only it doesn’t pay. Which is true. It was a really fun shower, though. One of the games was a list of 20 Jumbled wedding related words and I won by unscrambling 16 of them. I am really good at Jumbles. 🙂 I also experienced the bus system in Tacoma, which is nicer than the bus system in Seattle. Nicer buses, nicer drivers, better marked stops. I still got on the bus going the wrong way at first, which was a little confusing, but I switched buses and still made it to my destination on time.

Job search related activity on Saturday, 1/2: I did apply to three jobs when I got home from the shower. All three of which I could easily do and am qualified for.

Job search related activity on Sunday, 1/3: I filed my unemployment claim. That’s a necessity. I guess it doesn’t necessarily count as searching, though, as it does nothing to actually further my quest for employment….

Job search related activity today, Monday, 1/4: Well I’m posting a blog. I also publicized this blog on LinkedIn and Facebook. I browsed the new job postings in the WSBA Bar Journal and on the WSBA website. Starbucks has a new opening that I’d LOVE to have. It’s an Intellectual Property position dealing with trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. Right up my alley. I need to find a way to meet people who work at Starbucks corporate. I know someone who used to work there. I wonder if she’d be able to help me out. Never hurts to ask, right? There’s a good task for me!

I also started working on all the paperwork for my yearly license renewal today. Maintaining a law license is ridiculously expensive when you are unemployed. My bar dues this year are $480 total (that’s without the optional charitable donation). They are due by 2/1 with no grace period. Which means if I pay them late, I have to pay a $135 late fee as well. I normally pay my dues late because I don’t have $480 just lying around. I pay them when I get my tax refund, which tends to come in mid-February. I also have to pay another $150 because I didn’t earn all my MCLE credits by December 31. My problem with this is that the vast majority of CLEs (or at least CLEs with multiple credit hours) are almost $200 and there are no scholarships or hardship tuition. Yes I’ve had four years to earn these credits, but I’ve only been gainfully employed as an attorney for one year out of those four. And my position at MEI did not afford a lot of opportunity to go to CLEs. I don’t know when I have to pay that late fee by, though. Probably when I finally earn all my credits. Three days listening to seminars online and I’ll be mostly there. It’s the 4.25 live credits I still need that may take awhile. Fortunately, tomorrow is the meeting of the WYLD-CLE committee that I plan to attend. It’s by phone, but I hope to bring up creating a scholarship program or some other cost lessening program for unemployed and underemployed attorneys or those working in public service. You know, those attorneys who aren’t really making all that much money. Cross your fingers for me.

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Introduction & Statement of Purpose

January 1, 2010 at 7:57 pm (Job search, networking) (, , , , , , , )

I have decided to start this blog as a motivation tool for my continuing job search. I plan to post almost every day until I find a permanent position. My goal is to do something to further my job search every day, whether that be blogging, participating in discussions on LinkedIn, applying to jobs, or the all important, networking. It is a new year and there are many opportunities to network out there. I have to take advantage of them. I also need to start thinking of every interaction as an opportunity to network. For example, tomorrow I am going to a bridal shower. I know the bride and maybe a few other people attending the shower, but there will also be people there I do not know. But these people could potentially help in my job search, so I need to be sure to talk to people at the shower who I do not know, instead of only talking with those I do.

I also need to practice and refine my 30 second elevator speech (that’s what we called them in the WSBA job group I was in). Here’s the current draft: “Hi, I’m Gayle and I’m an attorney focusing on employment law, with an interest in assisting the creative community with employment contracts, government compliance, and licensing issues.”

I feel like I need to explain more about the licensing aspect of that statement, but it’s supposed to be a short introduction to hopefully spark conversation, so I don’t know. Do I throw in my interest and background in trademarks & copyrights or do I just stick with employment law? Or should I say business law and then specify employment and IP issues (as well as real estate)? I don’t know.

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