Tuesday, July 28, 2009
( 8:27 PM ) teahouse
Developing a Thicker Skin
I know I haven't blogged much about work during the life of this blog, but the fact does remain that I am a lawyer.
And it's a big part of my identity - who I am, what I spend most of my days doing.
So this will be a rare post about life as a firm lawyer in New York City.
One of the unpleasant realities of getting more senior in a law firm is bringing in clients and handling those clients.
And it's pretty much 100% unpleasant. When you have no clients, you worry about bringing in clients.
When you've brought in a client, you worry that it will be your only one.
When you've brought in several clients, you worry that you won't be able to juggle them and keep them all happy.
And the whole time, you worry that you won't be able to keep them - that the winds of fate will blow, that the vagaries of internal company politics and the economy will take it all away.
What I do isn't so different from what my grandparents did. They ran a bakery.
When business was good, they worried they wouldn't be able to keep up with demand. When business was bad, they worried that they wouldn't bring in enough revenue to pay their bills.
In short, they were always worried.
Today I spent 20 minutes on the phone getting yelled at by an irate client who was unhappy with the bill we sent him.
He wasn't just irate - he was FURIOUS.
He accused me of lying to him, of misrepresenting how much this matter was going to cost, of screwing him because now he's up a creek with a deadline and he can't afford to find another lawyer, of purposely running up the bills, of wasting his time.
I dealt with him calmly, and pointed out that the bills were high because of his demanding nature and need for interminable telephone conferences on everything; I showed him an email where I'd warned him his costs were spiraling out of control; I'd put everything in the retainer agreement that he'd signed; I told him how much time I'd already written off his bill.
But after I hung up the phone, I completely broke down.
It's hard not to take this stuff personally.
It's hard to be called a liar, a schemer, a sleazy lawyer.
I know that's not true.
Days like these are what make the job really tough. #
Thursday, July 23, 2009
( 11:44 PM ) teahouse
A Well-Kept Household
Ever since we got back from our vacation, I've been running around nonstop. Work is really kicking my butt.
So I leave early each morning, and I come home late each night. I haven't had time to do much else outside of work.
In contrast, the Husband is in between jobs now, so he's had a lot of time on his hands.
He called me at work the other day.
"I've done a lot today," he said. "I went grocery shopping, and I went to the Post Office and mailed those packages. And I did 5 loads of laundry. And I called the super about the leaky faucet in our bathroom. And I went through the pile of old newspapers and took them downstairs to the recycling bin. Oh, and your suits came back from the dry cleaner. . . .
. . . And I decided to move the bookshelf from the living room into the bedroom, where I think it looks better. And I pushed back the couch toward the corner. It really opens up the entryway!"
When I got home, he was very proud of what he'd done, and showed me the new configuration of the aforementioned furniture.
If he'd brought me my slippers and a pipe, and offered to rub my feet, it would have been perfect! #
Monday, July 20, 2009
( 11:14 PM ) teahouse
One Track Minds
So here's a summary of my trip, juxtaposed with things my relatives said to me throughout the entirety of it:
We are so happy to see you! It's been so long! And how nice to meet the Husband! He is so tall!
Here, have some delicious food!
So why don't you have a baby yet? What? You've been married for over a year, and you aren't pregnant?
Try some of this:
What's wrong? Don't you want children? You aren't getting any younger! You already got married much later than your cousins did! You're officially crossing into high-risk pregnancy territory! You can't wait much longer!
Eat this; it's great!
You're running out of time! If you don't start trying to get pregnant now, you could have trouble! You don't want a retarded baby, do you?
Why don't you have some more delicious seafood?
Really, I'm sure your father would love to hold a grandchild in his arms before he gets too old! Don't let your parents down!
Try this dish; you'll like it:
So, are you pregnant yet? Why not?#
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
( 7:02 AM ) teahouse
We Made It Back!
We're back home in the Western Hemisphere!
It was a long and kind of stressful trip. Family trips always are.
We ran around, met relatives, ate a lot and generally ran ourselves ragged.
It's always so strange to go to Asia as an Asian American. I know I look like everyone else there, but inside I'm really a Westerner. And of course feel completey foreign.
We had little downtime during this trip. I'm jet lagged and tired. And already busy again at work.
For now I need to regroup and recover, but I'll be back soon. #