Monday, July 05, 2010

We're back up and running.

Okay, so what happened... I went to an attorney seminar where they were talking about the dangers of blogging.  Usually, the attorney -- thinking his blog is private -- tells all sorts of stuff about himself that later on gets him in trouble with a malpractice suit or a disciplinary action.  Hearing this, and hearing someone in my community chide me about my feelings about my son's lack of payis the day after the upsherin, I froze the blog.

So I'm in a "what the hell" mood, so after a few e-mails from readers and an indulgence into my ego of having people enjoy what I write, I decided to put the blog back up.

I feel a bit like a failure, and yet a bit like the protector of my family.  Just days after getting admitted in New York, passing the character and fitness interview, winning and being cleared of the whole ethics / unauthorized practice of law charge that I was accused of, and being literally days away from getting my law practice started, I received a phone call from a recruiter I have been hounding for months to help me find a temporary document review position.  I couldn't turn down the offer.  The pay isn't that great, and all it will do is pay our bills and buy us months of time until the financial bad times have subsided, but what it essentially did is take me out of the solo practice business for the time being.

I'm really hurting about this because I've been gearing up to getting going for months now, and just as I was about to hit the ground running, I took the safe road to ensure that I am providing for my family and paying for our children's education.  Now with our daughter old enough to go to school, our yeshiva tuition bills just doubled which for me is a shocker because even with the scholarships, tuition for our kids is almost as much as a mortgage payment would be.

The project is hell too.  No internet, no phones, everything is locked down.  The fellow reviewers call this place the sweat shop, because the air conditioning often breaks down, we are shoulder-to-shoulder in front of our terminals, and there are no free drinks (sodas, etc.) or anything given to us.  No overtime, no dinners, no taxi cabs, etc.  On top of this, the subject matter is B-O-R-I-N-G.  I feel like wood chopper who was told that he would be paid nicely for standing in an empty room with his axe and makes the motions of chopping all day long... but with no wood.  I learned some time ago from my Rabbi that a person needs to have a purpose, and making purposeless movements all day long can drive a person crazy, even if he's well paid for it.

Anyway, the hours are limited, but we're allowed to come in early and leave early, as long as we put in the minimum 40 hours each week. So what I've been doing is coming in at 6:30am and leaving at 3:30pm (we have to take an unpaid one hour break each day), and at 3:30pm, I've been jumping on a subway and flying over to a local law library where I've been doing research on the areas of law I want to practice once I get started.

The way things look, this may be a longterm project, but I expect that I'll know when the right time is to leave and start my practice.  After I have everything set up with regard to researching the areas of law I want to practice and buying the essential law office equipment, I'll seek out clients that I can service in the afternoons and evenings, and as soon as I have enough of a client base, I'll transition over to the solo law practice.  It's a good thing I'm a patent attorney; with this area of law I'll be able to work evenings.

This is difficult on my family, but my wife appreciates the efforts I'm putting in.  I expect that it won't be for long.  She's already endured the NY bar exam study and the months of unemployment, so this is a positive change for her.  I've also told her that she can spend as much as she wants for a maid, as long as it's within reason and as long as she understands that there is only a certain amount coming in and going out, and if we want to add expenses, they have to come from somewhere.  Something's gotta give.  So she found a few corners she can cut, and for around a week, she hired a nanny to watch our kids while she took a job at a local hospital.  However, the work wasn't what she wanted and the hours took her away from the kids for too long, so she resumed the position of being CEO of our household.  I'm the CFO.  At least now she's doing it because she wants to and not because she has too.

I support her in her endeavor in trying to find outside work, but when we learned that she was doing it because she wanted the paycheck and the experience, and not to get a break from watching the kids, I told her that she was free to decide whether to work and how much to work.  As much as I was sad to have her paycheck disappear as soon as her first week's paycheck came in (it was a nice one), I was happy that it was her that made the decision to choose family over money because now I think she's come to the realization that it's not such a bad thing to live on less and to have a more meaningful relationship with our kids.  I was also happy that it was her that made the decision so that she can own it.  On my end, I was a bit saddened that the money went away, and along with the money went the freedom to work on and grow the practice.  And, on went the shackles of the J.O.B. (just over broke) document review JOB.  Now I'm forced to work as much as I can because the yoke of paying our bills and keeping us afloat is back on my weary shoulders.  But I am happy my wife is happy about being home with the kids as her profession, because my dogmatic religious training says that the wife should be home and the husband should be out working.  Of course my wife can and probably should get a part time job for her own sanity.  Many women do.

BY THE WAY, where I get this dogmatic belief:  The story happened one day two years ago when I was in the presence of a very well respected Rabbi, someone who was very close to the Lubavicher Rebbe.  Him and I had a close but awkward relationship because he wanted me to be the best I can be, and he saw my weaknesses and tried to help me overcome them but I kept stumbling and this caused him pain in his heart, and in turn, in mine.  I looked up to him as a father figure, and I trusted what he said because based on his actions and the way he lived his life, he was (and IS) a truly good man who I miss whenever I think of him.  The day this occurred, I was talking to him about my wife who wanted to accept a job.  He was saddened by this because he felt that with two children [at the time, now three] at home under three-years-old, a woman should spend all her energies benefiting the family and the home.  A career woman doesn't make for an easy chassidic home, he said in some words.  He didn't tell me this directly, but from his attempts to elicit ways for her to stay at home and NOT to take a full-time job, I got his message loud and clear.  He also meant only good by this statement.

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