Friday, September 29, 2006

Ring Ring

I had a phone interview today.

Yeah, I know, I have been talking about job interviews a lot lately, but that is the major deal with my life right now. Just wait a few weeks, when all I talk about is my Comment, and you will wish for the days of the job interview posts.

I love the phone interview, for several reasons (cue the list:)

  1. It is much easier to lie--I am not saying that I flat out lie in interviews, but there are situations where you have to stretch the truth. Well, I never stretch the truth, I was tell it as is, which is why I never get call backs. But, in reality, it is easier to pump yourself up to the interviewee when you can read bullet points off a piece of paper and do not have to worry about how your non-verbal communication is being judged. Yes, a good lawyer can look another into the eye and lie (this is not hypocritical, have you heard of negotiation?), and help their client in the process. A lot of negotiation is who has the biggest cajones and who blinks first. There is a reason you start the negotiation at $1.5 mil. when all you really want is $750K. Some call it negotiation, but I call it lying. And when you do not have to look at someone in the eye while doing it, it is much easier.
  2. You can wear what you want--Do not get me wrong. I love a good suit. I look forward to the day when I can afford $1,000 for a perfectly tailored suit. But I am no where near that right now. My suit from the Men's Wearhouse is working out well, but I do not siphon off confidence from my suit. I much prefer wearing khakis and a hooded sweatshirt. Which is what I wore during the phone interview. I was completely comfortable, sitting in my comfy chair, wearing my comfy clothes. I wish I could go to all my interviews in a hoodie.
  3. You can drink--Not alcohol of course (though you could, if that is your bag). But I am fairly certain that it is bad manners to request a drink during a regular interview, unless the pitcher is right there on the table. When I talk, my mouth dries out faster than the Sahara in June. It is nice to be able to drink without worrying about inconveniencing the interviewer.
  4. Unhostile Environment--With the phone interview, you dictate where you sit. You are not in someone's office, or in the CSO's little room off to the side. I could have laid down in bed, sat in the kitchen, or sat on the couch in front of the TV. You can find the most comfortable place for yourself. That in and of itself, is worth ten confidence points.
So I like the phone interviews. And that is about all I have to say.

Sans Cable

You may be surprised to learn, that as someone who watched more TV over the summer than all but 1% of the population, I have gone the last month without cable. Hell, I did not even have network TV except for a grainy NBC (Hooray for Conan) until two days ago when I bought an antenna. My TV had actually been in storage for the first month that I was back in town, until I realized that I would have to pay another months rent ($40), and got it the hell out of there. All it cost me was a beer. Its good to know people.

Over the summer, my schedule was pretty rigid. I would wake up around 2, and get online, with something on the TV. It did not really matter, I was not paying attention. Usually it was Strongman competitions on ESPN. But, it did not matter, the first two hours of my day were spent surfing, reading a bunch of ultimately worthless shit (much like you will view this post in about two minutes). I made no attempt to keep up on the news, unless it was sports related. So after two hours reading every article on ESPN, it was time for the talking heads, Around the Horn (I know, the show sucks, but I am a glutton for punishment, besides it always made), followed by PTI (so much better). Then came syndication bi-hour (Simpsons, Seinfeld, That 70s Show). Followed by whatever sporting event was on that particular night.

Late night was The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Conan, and infomercials. Various other shows would be interspersed throughout the day and evening, but the point is, summer was spent on my ass watching TV.

And now, I do not have it. And honestly, I love it. I am no longer a slave to being home at 5:30 to watch PTI, or making sure that I watch and episode of The Simpsons for the 47th time. I really do not miss TV. I used to feel like Homer, who once opined about TV, "Teacher, mother, secret lover."

I know think of all those hours wasted watching TV and, well, I do not regret it. I am overloaded with work right now, that it is really just the distraction of TV that I do not miss. Because waking up with a hangover on Sat/Sun and not being able to lie in bed or on the couch and watch football is a little emasculating. Thankfully, the antenna has rectified that situation.

However, it is not that I have not compensated. You may or may not be aware that you can buy television shows on iTunes. And not just single episodes, you can buy entire seasons. I love technology. So one boring night, I was going through the iTunes catalog, and found what I wanted, purchased it, and let the download begin.

FYI, it takes forever to download an hour long episode (especially when you are using pilfered internet). Thankfully, it was about ten minutes less than a full length episode, so once you get the first one, you are good to go.

But I did not stop at just the first season, I bought the second season too. Unfortunately, the third season is not yet up on iTunes, but I found a loophole in the system one day during class.

With wireless internet, you can pretty much screw around on the internet the entire time that the Prof. is up on his soapbox. Games, IM, or blogs, he or she will never know, as long as you keep the sound muted. Its not like they will expend the effort to walk around class and try to interact with the students beyond asking them probing and insightful questions about the case at issue (well unless they do not have tenure yet). So during one particular unilluminating soliloquy by a Prof. (about something completely unrelated to anything, I assure you, I usually pay attention in class, but this went on for about 20 minutes), I decide to check out a site I have heard a lot about, but never, ever utilized.

Oh, behold the glory that is eBay. How have I never been there before? It has all this stuff, and you bid on it. Whatever, the thing that I have always hated about eBay was that you had to schedule yourself to be on the computer when the auction was ending so that you could bid up the price with 20 seconds left. What the hell? Why not just put high figure to start with? Of course, when I tried that in the past it never worked, but then, I never really cared. I do not need someone else's worthless crap. Until that fateful day in class.

There it was, Season 3. And the auction was ending in 9 minutes. There was still 15 minutes left in class. Oh yeah, I bid, and I won, and I did not even have to do that crappy raising your bid in the last minute to win. I was a little disappointed by that. So now I have Season 1 and 2 downloaded on my computer (does anyone have a DVR?) and Season 3 of Buffy The Vampire Slayer on DVD. Yep, Buffy. I might be a little bit of a nerd, but if I was a huge nerd, wouldn't I have all seven seasons by now? Yeah that is what I thought. Give me three months, and I will have them. Along with the five of Angel.

So the question is, do I really miss cable and am over compensating by buying Buffy (I have already watched season 1 twice, and am halfway through my second viewing of season 2), or do I really love Buffy and not need cable?

Only time will tell I guess. But what I do know is that sometimes class is boooooring.

Well, the Smallville season premiere starts momentarily, time for me to run, errr, sit.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Looks Good . . . On Paper

If you really like it you can have the rights,
It could make a million for you overnight,
If you must return it you can send it here,
But I need a break,
And I want to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.

--Paperback Writer—The Beatles

I am the paper candidate.

I look good on paper. Well, at least when I am not writing a story about my drunken idiocy anyway. But I digress. I have fairly good credentials. I have the proper class rank, one of the two MVEC (Most Valuable Extra-Circulars), too many CALI’s, and even a scholarship (just got that one). I have two years of experience in the business world, where I supervised 20 other people. I have solved problems and fired people (sometimes solving a problem by firing someone). I even did some consulting for a small business.

All this looks nice, when it is written in my usual eloquent style, dressed up with pretty bullet points and dashes, as well as some right justification. Yeah, my resume is pretty sweet. Combine that with some bond paper, and you begin to crack at a smile at my awesomeness. Throw in a dash of cover letter and a transcript, and you may begin to drool. Add in my writing sample, and you will go into full blown Cujo mode.

It seems like every year, for at least the past five, at the beginning of the baseball season, all the beat writers are in agreement. The Yankees are the best team. On Paper. All the talent in the world. No one could ever beat them in RBI Baseball. And because of this, for the past five years, 90% of the writers pick the Yanks to be in The Series. But there is a reason they play the games. Guys get hurt. Randy Johnson suddenly looks old for the first half of the year. Giambi is on the Cream and the Clear. Sheffield too probably. A-Rod does not get along with his teammates, probably because the answers the hotel door at 1 a.m. wearing a pressed shirt, suit and tie. Mike Mussina is getting too old. They have no closer. Jeter is . . . well, Jeter (oh wait, dating Mariah Carey, I just thought of that).

You get the idea. You see your team on paper, and get excited. Then they do not come through. The Yanks have not done shit the last five years (excluding this year, where they are probably winning the division as I type). Take my team for instance, the Cubbies. I thought they would take the world by storm this year. Wood, Prior, Lee, Barrett, Walker, Murton, Pierre, Dumpster (I mean Dempster), and a couple other guys. Lee had his breakout year last year, Barrett was poised to have his this year (which he did, until he suffered internal bleeding in his scrotum. Seriously). On paper, the Cubs looked good. But right now, they are the worst team in the National League. I feel like the Cubs.

As much as I love to write (do not be fooled by the lack of updates the past week), I hate to talk. And I really hate talking about myself. Oh, I can write about myself. That is easy, maybe because I can revise things. But I have never been one to tell stories, or be the life of the party, or engage a person I have never met before. Socializing is not my bag.

Add in having to talk to people I have never met about my greatness, and make it seem like I am actually that great (which I am not), and then seem like I genuinely am interested to learn more about their firm, when all I want to say is, “Give me a fucking job, and you will not be disappointed.” I am sick of the dance. I was actually sick of it before I had my first one.

But because I am the paper candidate, I have plenty of opportunities to make a fool of myself, as I mumble along, trying to make sense of things that really do not make sense. For instance, when an interviewer asks me, “What did you do last summer?” what am I supposed to say? “I worked a shitty job for two months, before I got hammered one night and decided to quit. My goal was to read 40 books over the summer, but I only read about 20. I did drink a great deal, which lead to some pretty good posts on my blog.” Actually, I think I will say that in my interview tomorrow if they ask. But that is not what they want to hear. They want a legitimate excuse for why I had no legal job, when I clearly had the qualifications to get one. Of course, by the end of the interview, they are not wondering that anymore.

This is not a total rag on myself. I will admit that I am doing head and shoulders above what I did last year, but it still is no where near where it should be. I suppose that it is all just practice.

See, the grand confession is that I have never, ever (well, at least since I worked at a Deli in college) gotten a job that I had a face to face interview for. My job in the business world was a phone interview. The other ones, I kind of lucked into, or they were so desperate, I walked in and was hired.

Actually, tomorrow I am going to go in to my interview with my laptop and pretend that I am deaf. That way, I can just type out all of my answers. I like this plan. (Plus it adds the threat of a lawsuit.)

Note: It is not that I am fooling myself. I know that my interviewers do not look at my resume until about one minute before they meet me

Friday, September 08, 2006

The First Week In Review [Part 1]

For most law students, there is nothing less memorable than the first week in law school. I have no idea what happened my first week as a 1L. I am pretty sure that I went to all my classes, and I know for a fact I was never called on to explain a case in that first week. Regardless, the nervousness, anxiety, and general "what the fuck is going on" pervades that first ever week in law school. By Wednesday, the 1L is wondering to himself, "Who the hell is Socratic?"

I have lived through my first week as a 1L, so I can make jokes, but this is the first time I have gone through the first week of classes as a 2L. Here is what transpired:

When you take a final exam, you are expected to study for hours on end, but the most important factor in doing well on a test is getting a good night's sleep. If you have read this blog from the beginning, you know that me and a good night's sleep is like trying to stick two positively charged magnets together. It is just not going to happen. This is the perfect lead in to the two things I learned this, my first week of being a 2L.

1) Get some sleep before a job interview.

Not only was Tuesday the first day of class, but it was also my first interview for a summer associate position. Yeah, summer is 9 months away, but I guess they want to get in early while the pickings are still good. Besides, it was just an OCI, a more extensive interview is to be expected in October, assuming you do not suck in the initial interview like I do.

On Monday, I knew I Tuesday would be a big day. I had a class at 8:30 a.m., an interview, and a couple more classes. I actually had all my first day assignments done early, so I went to bed early. Really early, at least for me. I was in the sack by 10 p.m. Unfortunately being in bed does not translate to sleeping. I laid in that bed (my new mattress) for eight hours trying to fall asleep. But it was just not happening. By the time 6 a.m. rolled around (just as I had been rolling around in bed trying to fall asleep), I said fuck it, got up, took a shower, and began brewing the coffee. Caffeine was the only possible solution to the day I was about to endure.

So I went to my classes, and was successful in not being called upon (I love being non-descript). I think that it is impressive that I was able to remain non-descript even though I was one of three or four other kids in my classes (of about 70 in the largest) wearing a suit.

My interview that day was with a very blue-blooded firm that is quite prestigious within the state my law school is located. The interview was at 10 a.m. At this point I had been up for 22 straight hours. Yeah, I was a little tired. Needless to say, the interview did not go well. Her first question was, "So, what did you do this summer?"

I figured "went bowling and got drunk everynight of the week" was not the best answer, though it was the true answer, so I replied, "I enjoyed the summer. I read some books. Did a lot of nothing, and enjoyed it." OK, that is not exactly what I said, but I am pretty sure that is what she heard. She asked me two more questions and clammed up when I tried to ask her questions about the firm. It was not that her first question caught me off guard, it was just that I was so tired I did not care, and that it is really a stupid question. If I did something over the summer it would be on the resume [expletive].

But that was not the worst part of the first day. I am fairly certain that hell would have to freeze over before that firm would offer me a position (that is a dig against the firm and myself. I would never fit in there. I know this, but like a morphine addict chases the dragon, I chase the green).

The worst part was that I had a class at 2:30. Thankfully it was only the first day, where nothing important happens. I mean who cares about Copyright history? I have been there, done that (bear with me, at least until tomorrow). So when I finally got back to my house at 4 p.m. I had been up for 28 straight hours. Thank god for cherry coke. That is the only thing that kept me going throughout the schoolday.

But the return home meant that there was homework to be completed for Wednesday. Had I been smart I would have punched out all my first class assignments over the weekend. But I am not smart, so I did the best I could.

I had three classes on Wednesday, and another interview. Take a guess as to what took priority.

2) The Future Is Now

[First week conclusion on Sat. And I am not going to do this every week. The first week gets special treatment.]

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Holy Shit, A Post About Law School

I was walking down the hall in the Law School building today, and I saw a flyer, that nearly made me bust a gut. The flyer looked something like this:

I could understand why this sign would grace the halls of say, Harvard, Yale, Northwestern, or all those other schools where the bottom 25% has a better chance of breaking $100,000 starting than I do, but this sign should not be at my school.

No one at my school "Aced" the LSAT. If they aced the LSAT and had a 2.0 GPA in undergrad, they still would have gone to a better school. Not that my school is that shitty, but that is the reality. A lot depends on the fucking LSAT.

My LSAT score is not something that I particularly like reflecting on, so when I finished laughing at the stupid flyer, I realized the ignominiousness of the flyer. The bastards are making fun me.

Had I taken the Kaplan course before I took the LSAT, who knows where I would be?

[hint: Law School Dropout]