With Bess - I'm on a cable modem and don't notice any real KR load difference with the cute little signature graphics, but if they're a problem let's just get rid of them, they add nothing to the posts.
And in general. Come and listen to a rant about a paralegal named Catherine....
Okay, so this week I had another slap in the face about how I played my career wrong, and I must share this with you young'uns/those considering career changes to this half-assed "career."
I've never been "title conscious" and just called myself a generic paralegal. I know what I do, people who work with me know what I do, (generally) and that's been good enough. The lawyers I work with treat me like one of them. It's the female and non-lawyer staff - office managers, etc. - who make the problems. Now I'm starting to understand the paralegal title snot syndrome.
Found out this week that the last surviving cockroach at the old office who is doing my former job now bears the exhalted title of Regional Claims Manager and Senior Paralegal. This was a woman who didn't know a claim from clam dip when she got there, and her seniority stems from still working there when all the senior people like me either got disgusted and quit or got fired. So when I did this job it was treated like nothing that mattered, I was underpaid and the "transactional" paralegals treated me like the redheaded stepchild. Now, it has not one but TWO titles, m'dear! We won't go into why this is so, but I'm thinking the wearing of very tight skirts and no perceptible undergarments and much hair tossing just MIGHT have played into it, I don't know, but I'm just sayin' there isn't much objective evidence of other reasons.
Not that I have any objection to tight skirts, I own them myself, but I never thought of them as a carear ASSet and didn't wear them to the office. Silly me. And frankly, any woman over 40 who can pull this act off deserves at least a grudging salute, and I offer one to the Poodle. May her tail remain perky.
Anyway, to segue into my current career issue - I am not exactly inarticulate, but today the pithy description of why I hate my current job just flowed out of me. Here is the less pithy, stream of consciousness arrival at the summary:
When a lawyer does his own copying, envelope stuffing, etc., he's a good sport and a hero. When a paralegal does it, she's a secretary. In the year and a half that I have been at this employer, my position has eroded in subtle ways. I hired on with the understanding that I would be doing "secretarial work." I didn't care, hell, Boss does secretarial work and we both still share these duties. We know how we work, but nobody else does.
The difference is that he is still recognized as an attorney, and I have eroded to "assistant." This became clear when someone brought me a file which included tapes of witness statements, and told me magnanimously, "You don't have to transcribe these yourself, you can send them out."
Honestly, I didn't know what to say. I just said, "Hell yeah I'll send them out, I don't do transcription." Then this same person - who I actually do like and don't blame her for her confusion about my status - sat down to discuss a claim with me and was somewhat taken aback that I know enough to read and interpret an entire statute and shared her (she's a lawyer) interpretation of it. Like, honey, I've been doing this paralegal stuff for 15 years but I have 20 years of construction and real estate background, a BA and a professional certification. I didn't just wander in to do the filing.
But I might as well have. And it's hard to say this without it coming out like a slam on secretaries, which it totally is not. A strong, smart secretary/assistant is more valuable than I am, totally, and I know that. A lawyer can do what I do, neither one of us has the skill set to function without a really good secretary without floundering around, which is what we do. We survive because we are a team and we split up the admin work, but neither of us has the organizational skills or detail-focus to do that work. We are constantly hunting for stuff one of us misplaced (I try to impose order in my half-assed way, but he grabs stuff and runs) and are each other's backup for things we forget, and we muddle through. We would be SO much more effective with an anchor on this team who could organize both of us, but we aren't getting one.
The difference is that he has a JD and a penis, so when he does his own copying and envelope-stuffing, it's perceived as "Catherine isn't holding up her end" (never mind I have billable hours to meet too). I'm perceived as not "keeping up" in a job I didn't fucking sign on to do in the first place, and now I find myself in a situation where I am called "Boss's assistant" daily, while the OTHER paralegals in the office are carefully referred to as paralegals.
So it has been another lesson learned - I used to be a good sport. I used to be the type who thought it was ridiculous that paralegals would say, "I won't do that, it's SECRETARIAL!" and when I took this job I took it with the attitude that Boss does "secretarial" work, I'll do "secretarial" work, and we'll muddle through and that's fine. Now I'm getting "graded" on the quality of my filing while getting nagged about billable hours. This is just not working for me, and I'm over it.
So my summary to my real boss is basically the last two sentences above - when I signed on it was with the understanding that we'd muddle through on the secretarial stuff, not that it would become my job. Boss is still stuffing envelopes and making copies and we still split the labor and I still don't answer phones or do transcription, but I've been "secretarialized" all the same, while the hair-tossing ass-shaker who took my job has a title and a secretary. I fucked up. A cautionary tale to paralegals everywhere.
Next time on the life in legal world rant:
The grass is only greener in-house because the bullshit is ten feet deep. We are both over it, and exploring other options.