Wednesday, August 01, 2007

To go back to school or not to go??

Since my last post, my wife and I decided that since all I need to continue working is my laptop and and internet connection, that it would be a nice thing if we could go visit my wife's family in California. So we booked tickets, and since for the past week, I've been sitting in their kitchen working while my wife and her family coo, cuddle, and play with the baby.

I'm not sad about this arrangement, and although I've been working non-stop, it is nice to see my wife playing with her little sister and interacting with her parents. They are also getting an enormous amount of pleasure playing with the baby who has recently started smiling, laughing, and responding to our voices. Last night, after he wouldn't stop crying, I put him on my shoulder and he relaxed to sleep within seconds -- it was the cutest thing.

Otherwise, my life has been work-work-work, without a break. I am working remotely over the VPN, where they are sending me patents to kill, but the patents have been quite difficult lately. It is hard working day and night knowing that you won't get paid on a file you're already put 50 hours into unless you find prior patents which make the current patent obvious or invalid, and then only making $300 *IF* you are able to kill all the claims in the patent. I would do anything for a job right now, and I mean it! I've even been looking to relocate to other states to find a position as an attorney, even if that means going into another field.

Alternatively, I have been talking with my wife and considering going back to school to pick up the degree I am so dearly missing. While I have a chemistry background (through coursework only, not by major), my wife and I were talking about even going back to school to get an electrical engineering, chemistry, or related degree so that I can be more marketable within the workplace.


Ahuva said...


How current is your chemistry coursework? Can you just pick up a few extra classes to get the major? Some schools will let you go back and take the missing classes you need to complete the degree as long as the original credits haven't yet expired (expiration dates depend on the school, but I think you usually have 6 years).

If it's possible to do this, it might be the fastest, easiest way to get that degree.

Spirit said...

do you ever write patents or only "kill" them? Do you ever think of going out on you own, or working freelance on the side?

Jeff said...

I enjoyed reading the last few entries of your blog. My situation is very similar to yours--I recently graduated from law school. I am trying to get a job as a patent attorney, but having a really tough time of it.

A few months ago I took a job with CLG (I assume the same firm that you work for; I believe that there are only two of them that do PCT apps for the PTO). I took the job because, hey, I need to feed my wife and baby daughter, but am finding that each case is very difficult and time-consuming. I also continue to spend time each week in the seemingly endless act of searching for a "real" patent attorney job.

I guess I just wanted to say to you that you are not alone in this struggle because I am going through pretty much the same thing as you. Like you I am religious. God is very aware of us and unfortunately allows us to experience difficult times because they will ultimately make us stronger and better.

Whew, I didn't mean to ramble so much, but it actually helps me to read about someone else in my same situation. Good luck with everything and perhaps one day we will see each other as opposing sides of some patent litigation!

Zoe Strickman said...

Ahuva, no. Can't get a second bachelor's degree in my state unless it's in another school, e.g. engineering. The sciences are in the liberal arts school which is the same as the philosophy degree I earned.

Spirit, my job (if you call it that) requires that I "kill" the the patents. I would think of going out on my own, but I don't yet have the knowhow (technical or even practical) to know what to do. That's why I've been looking into working with a firm to get experience.

Jeff, I understand your situation. E-mail me at and we'll talk about it.