Exact Approximations

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Boss Audits Lex, And I Don't Care

I gave my salary "proposal" to The Boss. In (very, very ) summarized fashion - it went something like this:

Lex: Speech about all he has done for me and how terrible I feel asking for a raise. "I need a ridiculous amount of money."
The Boss: Gets Lex to give him the bottom line salary. The Boss says "No" approximately six times.
**An hour of conversation follows, where I am questioned re: my desire to be a trial attorney, in our field, at his firm, for a good, solid, loyal, long-time, working my little blonde ass off BigLaw style. I do not make any comment about how Office Manager makes 85k+, and newly employed Republican Paralegal makes 72K - I've been sworn to secrecy on that information and, although it would be nice to mention that I'm the only other attorney in the office and, yet, make the lowest salary, I forego that argument as I also have loyalty to my co-workers who made me promise not to mention their salaries.**
Lex: Kisses mad ass, again showering The Boss with gratitude for all he has done, apologizing for asking for so much, and thanking him for giving me a job I am proud of with clients I care about. I really mean all I am saying. "I wouldn't ask for this much if I didn't need it."
I briefly show The Boss a spreadsheet of my projected income needs. The Boss questions why I went about renegotiation by coming in, telling him I had an amount I absolutely have to make. Said it came off like an insulting ultimatum. The Boss thought I should have come to him, told him my situation, seen how much he would be willing to bump my salary, and attempt to figure out the rest by asking for advances or something. At the end of the hour and a half long talk - he returned to the loyalty issue. I said:

Lex: "Listen, I know I could have come in here, done the back and forth and got the most I could out of you, then looked for another job behind your back. But to me, part of loyalty is honesty, and if I'm going to have to look for another position, you deserve the opportunity to start looking for a new associate. I didn't want to find a new job and then bail on you with two weeks notice. And I realize I might not find someone else to pay me what I need. I realize it could take months. I know that being up front could kill me in the end, because you could fire me and I'll be up the creek. I know this might not be the best strategy for me personally, but I didn't want to lie to you. For all you have done for me, you deserve better than that. "
The Boss: Stunned perhaps? "I understand that, that makes sense. I can appreciate that."
This all happened Wednesday. The Boss was out of the office getting CLE credits on Thursday. On Friday, The Boss enters my office, closes the door and says:

The Boss: "Normally, I wouldn't do this, because it's none of my business. But I need a better idea of where your costs are coming from. You said you have a spreadsheet?"
This time, I give The Boss a copy of the spreadsheet. The Boss looks at the spreadsheet. He asks for documentation of certain elements. He wants to know what the total balances on my student loan and credit card debt consolidation accounts are. The Boss wants to know the interest rates on these accounts. I have no idea why he wants this info. Is he going to cough up for the balance of some of the higher interest accounts, and then let me pay him back over time? Is he just making sure I'm not bullshitting when I say I need 85k from a solo-practitioner Plaintiff's attorney?

Who knows. I'll gather the information he wants. Hopefully he will give me an answer before I give myself an ulcer. For all I know, The Boss will walk into my office tomorrow, and tell me "You're fired, arrogant bitch." But he may try to make it work somehow. I don't know.

And today, I don't care. I'm on top of the world.

Step-Son is coming. Boyfriend and Daughter left to go pick him up about an hour ago. He will be here for a week. A whole week. It's so much more than we ever expected when we made a visitation agreement with Boyfriend's Baby Mama (BBM). But she randomly said we could have him for a week and she didn't back out. Step-Son is coming. He is, literally, on his way here RIGHT NOW. In just a few minutes, I get to pick him up and hug him and love him and play Thomas the Tank Engine with him. Tonight, I get to give him a bath for the first time and watch him sleep. I've never seen Step-Son sleep.

I might lose my job.
I might have to work at BigLaw to get by.
I might find myself unemployed and freaking the fuck out.

But this week I don't care. Nothing can make me sad.

Step-Son is coming!!!!!!!

When I have my family, I get that feeling. The way I want to always feel. That calm happiness of being with the people you love more than anything.

I'm so happy.


Friday, January 19, 2007

I Don't Know How to Say

I told The Boss my bar number on Tuesday. He still has not said anything about renegotiating my salary.

I did the math and figured I need about 61k/year to get by (after taxes). Using my rudimentary math skills, I determined that I need about 80k/annually. I feel this is pretty high.

I dunno how to go about this.

Please help.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Where is the Love?

I called the bar and got my bar number. Been told I am officially allowed to practice. Finally.

I immediately sent out a firm-wide email telling everyone - and relaying my newly assigned number.

Republican Paralegal and Front Secretary immediately congratulated me. Office Manager said not one word. She's been treating me weird lately. Kinda bitchy. The Boss is out, so he doesn't know yet. But, WTF with Office Manager?

Friday, January 12, 2007

And When That Day Comes

I haven't received a letter yet, but if you type my name into the State Bar's website - my status is officially "active" !!! My admission date is listed and everything.

I think this means I'm a lawyer now.

Holy shit.

I fooled them all.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

If I Believed in karma, it really is a bitch

After work yesterday, I stopped at a liquor store to fill the tank and buy bulk 5-packs of cigarettes.(reason for bulk purchase non-disclosable). Anyhow, I pulled in, swiped my debit card, put the pump in my car and let it fill up.

I walked into the liquor store and asked for five packs of cigarettes:

Cashier: "Five packs?" Seemed genuinely surprised, which kinda surprised me. Five packs doesn't seem like that many.
Lex: "Yes, five packs."
Cashier: Squinches face, cocks head slightly to the right. "Five packs?"
Lex: Dude. Seriously? I decided to make up a reason because this guy seemed so darned interested in knowing my motivations. "I have a friend with lung cancer. She has five tumors, and I'm buying her a pack for each one. It's a joke." Hearty laugh.
Cashier: Look of sheer horror.
Lex: Internal monologue: Damn Lex, you are such an insensitve asshole sometimes. That's probably too crude of a joke. What if that guy knows someone with lung cancer? Embarrassment.
I hurried out of the store with my five packs and hopped in the car. Driving off, I felt a tug and heard a thump. I was completely oblivious to the fact that I had failed to remove and replace the gas pump. And, of course, the place was packed. Everyone was looking at me like I was a complete idiot. I hit reverse, went back to the pump, parked my car, got out, and hung the pump back up. Embarrassment times three.

I thought doing something that stupid only happened in movies. The only good thing coming out of this is that I now can brag that I pulled a Garden State.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Good News

Best wishes and congratulations to Arbusto and Brooklyn, who recently became engaged. Now Arbusto can safely assume that he will always have a warm sweater on hand when it gets cold outside. No frostbite in that relationship.

Seriously you two, Congrats!

Another One Bites the Dust

Welp folks, it's time to say farewell to The Attractive Nuisance. I was bummed yesterday when I tried to check her blog and got the "no blog here" page. She has since posted an explanation. Apparently, her identity was potentially found out and she shut down in an effort to proactively save her own ass. Smart girl.

But she'll be sorely missed. That blog was really, really good, AN

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

And a Happy New Year

Quite the holiday weekend.

On Saturday, Boyfriend turned 30. Handled this far better than I will.

Not one to take the day off from household duties, Boyfriend went and checked the mail. He returned with my letter from the Committee on Character and Fitness. I have (FINALLY) been recommended for admission to practice law in this friggin state. The letter made no mention of probation. Awesome. I should be an official lawyer in approximately two weeks.

Brother Electrician (not really a helpful name, because both brothers are electricians) randomly spent half the weekend at my house. This was an amazing thing, as Brother Electrician and Boyfriend have never been the best of friends. Nevertheless, the two put aside their differences and laughed and hung out. This made Lex very, very, very happy. I really want my family to get along.

Finally, and most exciting, Boyfriend's Baby Mama (BBM), randomly said she would like for Step-Son to stay with us for awhile (I think a week or two), so she can do whatever it is she needs to do. If she follows through, it will be a huge departure from the amount of time she has to legally give us with Step-Son. And perhaps a step towards more friendly and positive co-parenting between Boyfriend and BBM? (hope springs eternal). BBM has dangled such hope in front of us before though, only to rip it away without any concern for the pain it causes. Boyfriend is trying not to get his hopes up too high because he knows BBM is likely to change her mind. I know I should do the same, but I can't help but want it so badly. I'll be crushed if BBM takes this away.

I went to sleep at 10:00 New Year's Eve. I'm not one to celebrate the New Year. I haven't in a long time. Nevertheless, the year appears to be getting started in good form. Far better than last year for sure.

A few concerns (related to bar admission):
- I jumped up and down into the office with my letter this morning. I told Office Manager that I planned to ask The Boss to pay my admission fees (about $400). As I understand, that's standard practice. Office Manager gave me a strange look that made me feel she disapproved. She's been treating me sort of weird lately. Not talking to me much.
- I'm not quite sure how to go about renegotiation. I need a pretty substantial raise, but I've been out a lot sick, failed the bar once, had The Boss go on to pay for BarBri, give me 2 day weeks for 6 weeks to study, and then The Boss gave me a moving stipend in July. I don't feel right asking for more money. I wish I could work at my same salary for awhile and "show" him what I can do. But I don't have time, I've got bill collectors hounding me. I've worked for him for a year and a half at 48k and I want him to pay me somewhere around 75-85k, if not more... How do I go about getting him to do this without coming off as an arrogant asshole? The bottom line is that if he won't raise me high enough, I will be forced to seek employment at a higher paying firm. I don't want to do that, I want to stay here. The Boss has done a lot for me and been loyal. It's a favor I'd like to return. But I've got this nasty habit of wanting to keep my family fed. Please - any and all advice on how I should go about this whole raise thing will be most gratefully accepted.

UPDATE: I found this website which lists starting salaries for first year associates at some BigLaw firms in my area. They are higher than I thought. Still, keep in mind that I work for a solo practitioner that does Plaintiffs work. (Although he is admittedly ridiculously successful).

So.... what's a fair asking range folks?