Tag Archives: working mom

4:50 am is a thing?

15 Mar

sleepylolcatI don’t know how these doctors and nurses and other people who wake up super early do it.  My alarm goes off at 6 am, and every morning I am full of hate.  Left to my own devices I’d probably wake up around 7:30 or 8, but 6 still feels brutal.  Twice this week I’ve suffered through that ungodly clang at 4:50 am.  Once for a poorly scheduled personal training appointment and once for a terribly scheduled deposition.

The getting up part really isn’t the worst of it.  I woke up fine, got ready and got where I needed to get in a timely fashion.  Then around 7:30 am it all came crashing down.  I spent the rest of the day moaning sleep, I need sleep!

I’m sure early risers go to bed earlier than I do.  Last night we had an event with our synagogue, and I didn’t get to bed until after 11pm.  That made the 4:50 wake up extra terrible.  Some people can function on 4 or 5 hours of sleep. I do much better on, say, 10 hours of sleep.  Not that I get it. But I’d love to.

Sleep has been a big focus of mine lately.  I had an old fashioned check up on Monday and chatted with the doctor about how I’ve been seemingly sick over and over and over since January.  Then I told her about how I’m out the door fairly early in the morning, then have work all day and then often have events in the evening and that doesn’t get me home until like 9 at night most nights.  Well duh, I’m exhausted and more susceptible to being sick and then getting sick.

I’ve officially been ordered by both my husband and my doctor to not stuff my calendar to the gills with this, that and the other thing.  This declaration comes at a good time.  I’ve got a trial I’ve been prepping for, and my work schedule doesn’t allow for me participating in many happy hours, get togethers and dinners anyway.  Til that jury verdict comes in, it’s all prep, practice, rest, repeat.

In other news, SMOKE TAQUERIA for dinner tonight, yesssss!

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Making the Most of Your First Legal Job Search After Law School @thelegalintel

7 Mar

My latest Young Lawyer column for The Legal Intelligencer:

You’ve graduated law school, passed the bar, and are raring and ready to go into practice.  Unfortunately, the job market has not been kind to its newest members.  Recent statistics show that only about half of new law school graduates have secured full time legal employment.  Qualified candidates abound, and it is essential for you to distinguish yourself from the competition.  Now that bar prep is behind you, you can take advantage of some newfound time for your job search as well as complementary activities.

Get Involved in Your Local Bar Association

 Many bar associations offer free memberships to lawyers in their first year of practice, and it is well worth the money (and more) to take advantage of this opportunity.  With far more candidates than there are open positions, networking is key. 

 Most bar associations offer committees and divisions for every possible interest, and all are equally valuable in networking opportunities.  By establishing yourself as a leader within the young lawyers division, you can make friends with other young lawyers who can give you a heads up when their firm is hiring, and maybe put your resume in the right hands.  Becoming involved in practice area focused committees will introduce you to more seasoned practitioners who may personally be making the hiring decisions.

 There is no one division of the bar that is better than any other in terms of networking potential.  Regardless of how you choose to associate yourself, assuming a leadership role is essential.  Show initiative, dedication, diligence and above all, friendliness, and you will stand out when a colleague learns of an open position. 

Pursue Pro Bono Projects

 Pro bono representation provides a valuable community service and is the ethical duty of every attorney.  It can also serve as a teaching ground for the nuts and bolts of basic practice.  Pro bono representation in conjunction with your local bar association is frequently covered through the bar association’s malpractice policy.  There are diverse opportunities for pro bono involvement, including serving as counsel in protection from abuse hearings, drafting estate documents through a local Wills for Heroes project, or preparing expungement petitions.  The pro bono committee or coordinator of your local bar association can point you in the right direction for these engagements.

 Pro bono practice is also a good entre into getting to know other local practitioners.  If you confront a legal issue with which you are unfamiliar, do not be shy about reaching out to more senior practitioners and asking for their thoughts.  Bouncing legal theories off a more experienced practitioner will increase the quality of your representation.  It also will not hurt that a more experienced colleague will get to know you and get a sense for the quality of your legal abilities.

   Publish! Publish! Publish!

 Legal newspapers, blogs, and bar association publications are continuously seeking high quality articles for publication.  Publishing articles on an area of law you are passionate about can help guide your job search.  For example, if you long to be a litigator, a well-worded article on a change in local procedure will catch the attention of attorneys in that field.  Changes in substantive law or procedural rules, new legislation, and noteworthy court decisions all make for useful, attention-grabbing articles.  Do not get hung up on the academic.  An article that makes the reader’s job easier—by concisely identifying the legal issue and giving practical advice for dealing with that issue—will best catch the attention of other practitioners.

 The guidelines for submitting an article are usually easily available in the publication itself or on its website.  You are better off authoring the full article ahead of time instead of just a pitch.  You can always put together a quick abstract later if the publication requires it.  You should only pitch your article to one publication at a time.  However, if the article is not picked up by one publication, feel free to pitch it to another.

 Be aware that local and small industry publications generally do not compensate their contributors.  The value in publishing is developing your own research and communication skills, and attracting the attention of other local attorneys who can help you in your job search, or possibly offer you employment themselves.

  Catch up on your Community

 The world is much larger than the practice of law, and your efforts toward legal employment should not be exclusively focused in the legal community.  Use this time to get involved with your community at large. 

 Nonprofits of all stripes are always seeking volunteers.  Arts organizations and charities need volunteers to solicit contributions for benefit events.  Better yet, most benefit events need volunteers for the event itself.  As a volunteer, you will forego the steep ticket price, help out an organization in need and have an opportunity to mingle.

 With time to spare and elections on the horizon, it is also an ideal time for you to canvass on behalf of your favorite political figure.  Young professionals’ organizations are also ideal for making connections, both in your job search and for long term business-building purposes.  It is hard to go wrong with community involvement– pick an interest and run with it.  You will better your community and make invaluable connections.

Meet People, Make Friends

The best opportunities are often happy coincidences.  “Networking” can be a dirty word, suggesting self-interest and shallowness.  Think of your job search as a time for meeting people and making friends.  While you will hope that they can keep you in mind for employment opportunities, also think about what you can do for them.  Respond “accepted” to as many events as you can and offer to help out the host.  Attend alumni events for your university.  Participate in “town hall” community meetings concerning local issues.  When folks hear you are a lawyer, they may well call you about legal advice that you as a job searching new graduate are not yet capable of giving.  Build up your relationships with other lawyers so that you can provide appropriate referrals, and you will receive thanks from both the lawyer and the client.

 Submitting resumes alone will not find you a job.  You need to approach this search period as a full time commitment to making broad but meaningful connections.  The job market is in employers’ favor right now, and it is in your best interest to set yourself apart as a candidate.  Leadership, enthusiasm, and developing a positive reputation in your community are all positive steps to distinguishing yourself in that next interview.

Reprinted with permission from the March 7, 2013 issue of The Legal Intelligencer.  Copyright 2013 ALM Media Properties, LLC.  Further duplication without permission is prohibited.  All rights reserved.

A Mixed Bag Monday

18 Feb
  • Baby Beez’ daycare is closed so I am working from home today and looking forward to a dinner out at the HBH with the fam tonight. Hello carbs! Good thing I’ve got a personal training appointment today.
  • We are in the process of doing all the things we need to do to get Baby Beez her passport for our vacation this summer.  Do you KNOW what a pain it is to get a passport for a minor? Getting a passport-appropriate photo of Baby Beez is also on my list for today. I have no idea how that’s going to go. It will likely end in tears.  (You try to get a toddler to stand still in front of a white screen and make a neutral face.)
  • I really want to go on vacation and have sunshine and no-snow. Now. Vacation however is many months away.  What do you do to get through the long winter?

bio_photo-There is no such thing as networking with the “right” people. Everyone is the right person to get to know. Don’t try to network “upwards,” move up, down, left, right, all around.

-It’s all about the follow up!  You’ve wasted your efforts meeting people if you don’t continue beyond the event.

-Send handwritten notes!  They are memorable and effective.  They are the best 46 cent investment!

How to Have a Perfect Marriage

14 Feb

I have no idea.

And I’m skeptical of anyone who offers advice in the superlative, anyway.

Mr. Beez and I don’t have a perfect marriage, but we have a pretty darn good one.  We love each other, but we are good pals too, and I think that helps a lot.  I’m incredibly lucky that Mr. Beez is always up for an adventure, even if it’s an adventure that is not really up his alley (I’m looking at you, Death Cab for Cutie concert).

Mr. Beez sent me beautify flowers to celebrate the day.  We went out on a Valentine’s date last Saturday, but tonight ended up being excellent as well. I made a simple dinner, Mr. Beez’ mom stopped over to play with the little one for a bit.  I baked some tasty cookies and we watched some Modern Family DVDs.  For once, we weren’t running around like crazy people, scarfing down granola bars for dinner, and racing to get this that and the other thing done.  We spent Valentine’s day like a normal family. It was lovely.

Snuggle up with the ones you love and have some sugary holiday treats. Happy Valentine’s Day, yinz!

Last Minute Parent Duties

13 Feb

In case you were dying to know, the selections of Valentines available at the Iggle at 9:30pm on February 13 are: The Hobbit, Tinkerbell, and Scooby Doo.  I would have rather picked up the fruit snacks valentines, but those were long gone, and Sweet Tarts Valentines just aren’t age appropriate for 2 year olds.  I went for the Scooby Doo cards.  Even though I’m pretty sure Baby Beez doesn’t know who Scooby Doo is, she is even more clueless about The Hobbit, and I could not bring myself to buy Tinkerbell cards.  The Tinkerbell cards were rampant with all the usual sexism, but to top it off, included a card about being “Best Frienemies.”  No. Just No.

So in my role as Worlds-Best-Last-Minute mom, I did manage to involve a tasty treat in Baby Beez’ Valentines.  I picked up plenty of Cars, Toy Story and Monsters Inc. fruit snacks and taped them to the Valentines cards.  Baby Beez loves all of those movies, so her Valentines at least won’t be completely foreign to her.

They’re having a Valentine’s party at daycare tomorrow.  It will likely be the usual chaos of songs, snacks and small people dashing around.  When Baby Beez was 1, me staying for the party was so disorienting to her that she was always very moody and grouchy.  I was tempted to give up on attending these parties because they just seemed to make her moody.  We had a breakthrough with the most recent Christmas party, though, and she was happy to have me stay.

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Hopefully this happy attitude will reappear tomorrow morning.

No Name Players, SWAN Day and Taking Flight with @WePropelle

15 Jan

I’ve known about the awesome Propelle women’s networking happy hours for ages, but haven’t managed to make my way to one until last night. When I saw that the “guests of honor” for the happy hour were the No Name Players (Tressa Glover and Don DiGiulio), who are the driving force behind Pittsburgh’s SWAN (Support Women Artists Now) Day Celebration, I told myself it’s darn time I made it to that happy hour.
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Sandy and I had the awesome opportunity to be interviewed for this year’s SWAN Day, so I’m totally looking forward to see what art came from those interviews of us and other Pittsburgh women ages 9 through 65.  I wish I had some sort of artistic talent, but I really don’t.  I was thrilled that this project gave me the opportunity to be part of the artistic process, even without talent.

The No Name Players are part of a $2,000 challenge grant right now.  If they can raise $2,000, Martha Richards, the co-founder of SWAN Day has promised to match the funds.  You can contribute at the No Name Players Webpage!

The Propelle happy hour was great.  Even though it was a pretty large crowd, there was an opportunity for everyone to introduce themselves to the group.  And boy was this a patient group! Everyone was attentive and interested.  Introductions like that seem like such a minor thing, but there’s no way I would have made my way around the room to learn about everyone otherwise. 

I also loved how the introductions facilitated their own conversations.  You may not realize this, but I am painfully shy.  If I’m in a group of people I already know and am comfortable with, I’m loud and outgoing.  But a room full of people I don’t know is my personal hell.  Going into a networking event takes a lot of preparation and thought for me, because I am so nervous about it.  I think about thigs like “what kinds of questions should I ask people?”  “what should I do to get into a conversation, if it feels like people are already occupied and chatting?” “what do I need to do to make sure that I move around the room and meet people, instead of meeting one person, getting comfortable chatting with them, and then making them crazy because I follow them around all night?”    The introductions made it so easy for me to identify people I had things in common with, and strike up conversations on those topics. 

Propelle is primarily focused on women entrepreneurs, but they welcome you just as graciously if you aren’t in charge of your own business. I think it’s fair to say that Propelle wants to see women succeed in all walks of business, and be independent and strong.  They are really stepping up their game this year with a lot more interactive workshops and events.  I can’t wait to see what they have in store!

Greetings from Charlottesville!

4 Jan

I’m at the University of Virginia for the week, attending trial college so that I can kick my trial skills up a notch.  I’ve made a few trips away from Baby Beez before, but she is such a momma’s girl, and she’s so verbal, that I know this trip is going to be a hard one. She’s going to be asking for me a lot, and a toddler doesn’t really understand what it means for mommy to be gone “all week.”

The classes don’t start til tomorrow, so I’ve got tonight to relax. I rolled in around 5:30, and I’ve already chowed down on way too much thai food takeout, am watching a show on vh1 classic about 80s hair bands, and in a few minutes I’m going to go to the workout room and get a little exercise in.

It’s stunning how, now that Baby Beez is a toddler, the day-to-day time and effort of her care and attention has become a regular part of my life.  For example, it takes nearly 2 hours every morning for me to get the both of us ready and out the door.  Tomorrow it’s going to take a whopping 20 minutes for me to get ready.  It’s nice, but so strange.

Ok, that’s all I really have to say today. I need to go get on an elliptical while I’ve got the chance.

Snowy Pittsburgh

27 Dec

When the snow starts falling in Pittsburgh, this California girl prefers to stay indoors until Springtime breaks. The snow started yesterday, and I was thrilled that I had already arranged to have the day off. The roads were still snow covered today, and as I lazily awoke and stumbled about the house, I considered staying home today as well. After all, it would be a slow day and everything I needed to do, I could do from home.

Then Baby Beez woke up. In rare form.

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Yet another blurry picture, because this kid never sits still. Here she is breaking in her new cowgirl boots with a little boogie. She was bolting around the house. Suddenly, grown up time in the office sounded perfect.

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Coffee and privilege logs and pleadings. And I got to pick the music.

Anna Quindlen, Jodi Kantor and the 92 St Y

17 Dec

Tonight I participated in an intergenerational panel discussion prior to my Temple’s showing of the 92nd St Y broadcast of Anna Quindlen and Jodi Kantor’s discussion of “21st Century Womanhood.”  My favorite part of our panel discussion was getting to learn things about the histories and careers of fellow congregants.  I know these women from sitting on the Temple board, and from sharing cookies after Temple, and from them fussing over my little one, but I didn’t know about their backgrounds and the things they have overcome in their careers.  My co-panelists have such interesting backgrounds, and have done so much, and I relished this opportunity to get to know them better.

In the 92nd St Y Broadcast, Quindlen and Kantor covered a broad array of topics.  They spent a lot of time talking about Michelle Obama, and focused on one issue that has particularly intrigued me about Mrs. Obama– the role of First Lady comes with certain expectations of nurturing, and motherliness, and mild personality.  Mrs. Obama is a highly educated and highly opinionated woman.  I am interested in learning about how it felt to her to make a transition into an identity of femininity that the public is more comfortable with?  I don’t doubt for a minute that her motivations between the Military Families and Lets Move campaigns are genuine, but what I’d give to sit down with her over a cup of coffee and discuss the process of selecting and cultivating a public persona in these circumstances.

Quindlen and Kantor also discussed Anne-Marie Slaughter’s article, and brought a new angle to it that I hadn’t much considered.  Quindlen pointed out that Slaughter switched from a career in academia to a high stress position in government hundreds of miles away from home, and hundreds of miles away from her relatively young children.  Regardless of how dedicated a worker or a mother any woman is, in that mix of factors, there is no formula for total satisfaction.

Quindlen poigniantly stated, and I’m paraphrasing: When I signed up to be a feminist, I signed up for more opportunities. I didn’t think I was signing up to get to do everything.  Everything we do is a choice.  A man who puts in long hours at the office for career success gives up on time with his children, just like a woman who puts in long hours at the office for career success gives up on time with her children.  We all make choices.

Maybe I should focus more on making those choices that bring the most happiness to me and my family, instead of expecting satisfaction to come from doing all the things all the time all at once.

NaBloPoMo Day 9: Administrative Assistant

9 Dec

I work most weekends, but hardly ever spend my weekends in the office. Usually, I can get my work done from home. On the weekends that really do require my presence in the workplace, Mr. Beez and I can usually sort things out so that he’s at home with Baby Beez when I’m at work, and vice versa. Some weekends don’t work out that way, and the final result is a field trip for Baby Beez.

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I’m involved in a big filing for tomorrow, and the degree of coordination required meant I needed to be in the office.  (And yes, I really DID have to use the Bluebook today.)  Mr. Beez also had obligations, so Baby Beez visited work with me. She watched Finding Nemo 1 and a half times, she wrote all over some scratch paper (pens are fascinating to her right now), she looked out the window, she ate some pretzels, and she threw some papers around. There was no screaming and no flailing, and I DID get my work done, so all in all it was a success.

When I was young, my mom worked at my school, so going to work with her was not a novelty.  My dad is an operating room nurse, and he once took me on a little tour of the OR, and I even got to watch a heart surgery (and by watch, I meant spent the time in a corner, holding onto a wall, trying not to pass out or be sick).  It was about the coolest thing my little self go to do.  I love it that our county has a big “Take Your Kids to Work” program at the courts, and can’t wait until Baby Beez is big enough to participate.  I am not pushing her to be a lawyer, but I do think it’s important to understand what Mommy is doing during those long hours away.