Wednesday, November 28, 2007

How to deal with the Holidays and the family…

This Article might be a little late for some of you who were hoping for something to help you through Thanksgiving, but hopefully this will help for Christmas.

I have had many conversations with my family about contracting. How much it is like a sweatshop. I have told them how even my first contract job has characterized me for my legal career. I have explained to them that my chances of catching on as an associate at one of the firms that has hired me as a contractor is virtually none. I have told them that this is not just putting in my dues. I tell them that I am still looking for something more permanent, or something that has more career potential. I have complained about the horrible sweatshop like conditions. I have complained about the pay and my empty pockets. I have told them about the benefits that I either do not have, or that are inadequate. And none of this has come of any use except to leave me feeling more annoyed with my situation.

What I recommend is to simply not discuss it with those people who do not or would not get it. Look at the bright side; at least you are not making minimum wage hocking books at Barnes and Noble.

As far as holiday parties, I have been to a few, I have tried the not talking about my career thing. I have tried the “it is all confidential thing”. I have tried to tell people what things are really like. I have tried several other approaches. Here is the best way to deal with things that I have come up with…

With regards to going to holiday parties, if they are with non-attorneys be as vague as possible, and talk up the attorney angle as much as possible. Do not lie, you will be caught. Tell people about the area of law that you are working in even without speaking of the specifics of your case. Make yourself sound important. It will be good practice for networking. In fact if you are so turned off by the legal field and your part in it, then you should probably see if you can network your way into another field.

With regards to holiday parties that have lawyers at them or lawyer specific holiday parties, the same thing applies, be vague and make yourself sound as important as possible, but most likely this will not impress anyone. Change topics as soon as possible. Preferably ask them about what they do. Keep the other people talking and you will not have to. Ask questions. Dig. Pretend like you are interviewing a client. And most importantly try to get job leads and find new life in your legal career.

Contracting pretty much sucks for a variety of reasons and the best time to find something permanent is the holidays when people feel charitable.

One thing that might work to make at least your family understand is having them read articles like this one:

http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/display.php?id=34054

It may open their eyes to what you are going through. Fair warning though, in trying to be balanced in his article, I think that he let a little too much hope slip through, so the relatives might still not get it.

Any suggestions from the other contractors out there? Any questions from those of you who are new to the field?

1 comment:

flocker said...

My family doesn't understand contracting. My girlfriend is only beginning to understand. She keeps asking me to consider changing careers out of law. But the unfortunate thing is that I need the money to pay my bills. I have not seen another career that I can start at the bottom and still make the same income.

The Article that you referred us to is good, but it talks too much about people who are willingly contractors. Are there that many out there? The vast majority seem to be people who graduated and believed that they were destined for something greater.