Thursday, December 31, 2009

Are You a Feminist or a Feminine-ist?

I saw this article on MSN today.

Along w/this one about how women are charged more $ for things.

Funny, all the women I know are quite frugal & don't use money like water. At least, I don't. My husband & I get along well b/c neither of us is a fan of wasting money.

BUT....I don't think equality would be achieved w/the election of someone like Sarah Palin. How about a woman who's pretty AND has a brain in her head????? In my book, Sarah Palin does not qualify as someone w/a brain. The only 2 things I find redeeming about her is A) she'd definitely rank in a contest for best looking, nationally known politician (some of them are so hideous I wonder why they don't get some plastic surgery w/all the $ they make) & B) she supports the Second Amendment. There's got to be some woman out there who qualifies in both categories & doesn't make womankind cringe at the sound of her name.

I never actually thought to ID myself as anything. I'm just who I am & to make things easier for people to identify my views on things, have said "I'm a feminist but I'm not a lesbian." Somehow being a feminist doesn't only = ugly, it also equals gay.

Generally, people have noticed my brain first. I was considered the ugly girl as a kid; I couldn't have gotten a date w/a hot guy in high school if I'd become a nudist. I also look the EXACT same as I do today; I have the yearbooks to prove it.

Aside from random remarks from flirt guys in high school, no one ever really appreciated my looks until I went to college. Even in college & law school, no one EVER sexually harassed me or thought I was all looks & no brain. I also couldn't flirt to save my life & thought it was a little beneath me to do it when I was on the market.

Hey, if guys approached YOU all the time, you'd feel the same way! If I go out today by myself, even with my ring on I've STILL had guys approach me w/my doing nothing more than being in a room.

To be honest, I think it's a matter of context & presentation. Again, I don't flirt; I'll be civil or nice but I'm happily married & will say so. I'm a straight shooter.

I'd also never cross that line in the workplace or at school, where I'm supposed to be a credible professional. Everyone dealing w/me knows this & respects it. I think doing it just brings trouble, especially for women. Even in the entertainment world, I'm the lawyer first & just happen to fit into that world much better b/c of my background + appearance.

So maybe it's b/c I won't cross those lines or something I present to the world but I feel it's very much possible to believe in gender equality w/out being an "ugly" woman or having to be one.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Internships, Internships Everywhere

Now, I work in a business where people generally start out by having internships. Most of them are unpaid. Some people wail & moan about this in the entertainment business.

BUT....consider these facts:

1. TONS of people want to work in the entertainment field.
2. There aren't enough jobs for that kind of demand.
3. No entertainment internship I've ever known of required someone to work even 30 hours a week. Most have a 10 hour minimum.
4. All the entertainment internships I've known of had flexible hours + would adjust one's schedule around that person's paid employment.
5. Everyone I've ever worked with knew that paid work came first & respected it.
6. You can wear whatever you want w/in the basic bounds of taste & cleanliness. No business suits or business casual wear necessary.
7. Finally, everyone I've known who's had an internship in NYC in the past few years was treated w/respect.

Since the downturn of the economy, it seems EVERY SINGLE industry on the planet (at least the ones I'd see Craig's List ads for) is offering an internship. Law firms, legal recruiting offices. I just saw an ad today for an intern for a "wedding officiant."

Now, why does this bother me? Let's consider law firms hiring lawyers as "interns."

1. To become a lawyer, you have to spend a LOT (and I do mean a LOT) of money. It costs money to go to school, take bar review courses, take the bar exam, send in paperwork to the character & fitness committee, take mandatory CLE courses, pay dues & in some states, the "attorney occupation tax." In CT, this tax was recently raised from $450 a year to $565.
It doesn't matter if you don't have the money for this stuff or didn't make enough to pay for it. There's largely NO FINANCIAL AID in schools if you are poor so you either have to take out lots of $ in loans or become a drug dealer/stripper/hooker/illegal occupation of choice that pays a lot of $ in a short time. Six-figure debt is the norm.
And when/if you are admitted, you're paying a lot of $ JUST to stay admitted. Let's just say when it comes to dues or the attorney occupation tax, the states are the Mafia; to quote a line in Casino, it's "Fuck you, pay me!"
2. Business suits aren't cheap. Many of these law firms require their lawyers to wear them & even if they don't, suits are mandatory in court. This is at least $100 PER SUIT. If you're hard to fit, suits are even more expensive.
3. Part time hours for a law firm are FULL time hours for everyone else (40 hours a week).
4. Some lawyers DO have internships from law school & prior law firm work on their resumes. I did; in fact, I left a job in a law firm to attend law school.

So after you've gotten into six figure loan debt, you now have nothing but unpaid "internships" if you're just starting out?!?!?!??!?!?! If you fit #4, there's no reason you should be taking unpaid internships; it's a waste of time. Knowing the law firm culture, I don't see them accommodating to paid employment, having minimal hours or letting interns wear anything they want. In fact, I know of a story where some law firm partner got mad b/c one of the support staff was moonlighting as a waitress. Had that been me, my response would be "Give me a raise or keep your nose out of my private business."

Why, oh WHY, would any lawyer take an unpaid "internship?" What law firm is stupid enough to think a lawyer would do that? The one that really took the cake for me was one firm offering an unpaid internship for 3 MONTHS. Then, they offer the whopping salary of $25K a YEAR after that period of non-payment. Whoopee, I made that salary BEFORE going to law school; why would I give a damn about it at some private firm in Manhattan? This wasn't even a public interest job & it was in Manhattan. If you can afford office space in Manhattan, you can afford to pay a LAWYER, all right?

As for the wedding officiant intern, you DO know that any knucklehead can get licensed as one for far less than $100, right? You don't have to be a minister & you don't need special training.

Yep, I've told some of these people off & they deserved it. Quit w/the blatant cheapskate attitude & maybe you'd get some quality workers who LIKED working for you.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Utter BS of Law Firms

I just saw this ABA article.

This sentiment completely sums up why I don't like job hunting & really hate typical law firms, most of which are bastions of conformity. I loved the one I worked at in Atlanta since many of my co-workers were anything BUT conformist robots; the legal clinic was also good since the big focus was helping our clients, not conforming to management's viewpoints. That's how things SHOULD be. Even my company works w/actors who don't have the same political views; one in particular gets some ribbing but he'd NEVER get rejected for a role b/c of who he voted for or his stance on some issue.

But often law firms do put more importance on people's viewpoints on issues instead of helping clients & diminish people's abilities in the process. You ALWAYS hear about this sort of thing in private law firms & big corporate employers.

It makes me feel that I have to lie about who I am. Why should working at your law firm require me to attend church, play/follow sports, laugh at your racist jokes, pretend I want to be barefoot & pregnant someday or otherwise be someone I'm not? Why should THAT diminish my actual abilities & skills?

I think job interviews are total bunk; according to psych studies, their predictability for how you'll perform on the job are 1%. 1%; did you get that???? People are ALWAYS on their best behavior, nervous & dressing plain, even if they wouldn't otherwise. They'll never tell you the truth & you won't find out about the skeletons until they're working at the job. I always feel fake at them, though being on the other side has been a great eye opener & I'd highly recommend doing it if you get the chance. They're never like ANY first date I went on, that's for sure.

For the places that don't quiz you on views outside the workplace or doing your job properly, hats off to you. If you make me feel comfortable being myself, then you are definitely doing something right.

Did some of these firms ever think that maybe they're opening themselves up to lawsuits on gender & racial discrimination? Maybe even 1st Amendment lawsuits when telling people who to vote for or what to believe? Now, if you have a rapport w/someone, great. I was a sorority member myself & common interests aren't a bad thing.

BUT....when an employer says "you weren't in this group/disagree with my views on race/health care/politics/whatever/don't practice an activity I practice so you're inferior/not worth hiring.", we've got a serious problem. This article sounds to me like firms want mini-mes. Honestly I don't get this obsession w/working for 7th grade gossips, which is exactly what a typical law firm partner sounds like. Who needs it?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Going to Work in Snow/Ice/Sleet/Cruddy Winter Weather

Since there's an impending blizzard heading straight for NYC, it seems appropriate for me to go on this little rant.

I was talking to my parents yesterday. They live in NC & if you've been following the news, it was snowy/icy & sleeting there last night. My mom works at UPS and they have traditionally expected people to show up for work regardless of if Godzilla starts attacking the city, roads are covered in ice, the state has a blackout or any other unusual catastrophe strikes. Apparently, she tried going to work but had to come home b/c the roads were that bad & this was BEFORE starting her evening shift. She calls her boss, who has the gall to get mad at people for NOT risking their lives for a soulless corporation & hangs up on her. Oh, and she's NOT a UPS driver.

Let's just get one thing straight right now: NO ONE'S job is worth their LIFE. I'm not driving a car on snow and ice to go to work. This goes double if A) it is a dead end position, B) I am not an appreciated member of the company (no managerial recognition, raises, time off, etc.) or C) my job is not essential to life & death like being a doctor, EMT worker, nurse, police officer, etc. My mom is none of the things in category C. Nor is ANYONE that I know. I know what those kinds of jobs would entail & choose not to do them. Employers need to back off in those situations.

Lucky for me, every single employer I had would say "Stay home. Your life is not worth it." Even my boss at a courier service told me this back in college & driving was essential to that one. I'm sure some of the employers I know wouldn't even risk THEIR lives to drive to the office. This is called RESPONSIBLE. This is called RATIONAL. Finally, it is FAIR.

I'm worried my husband, another worker w/a non-essential job, is going to be snowbound or harmed in some way b/c his employer refuses to give a damn about the welfare of its workers or making sure they don't die on icy roads/die walking in the elements to their homes because public transit stopped running. Furthermore, the people making major decisions have not bothered recognizing his abilities & have proven they don't appreciate him by not giving him the supervisory position + increased pay that he richly deserves, particularly compared to some incompetents who ARE getting these things (at least, this is how I see it).

I was visiting the law school I attended in CT back in December 2003 when there was a blizzard from DC to CT (I lived in Atlanta at the time & family lived in NC); thankfully my father, a former truck driver, was driving. Prayer & his skill saved us from falling into the water below a massive bridge in Delaware or being side-swiped by other cars considering I felt the car turn & stop sideways. It's not an experience I want to relive, thank you. Nor would I wish it on most people; it's also the main reason you won't catch me driving in snowfall & an employer asking me to would get told off.

Remember, I'm not a cop, nurse, EMT worker or someone who's job is essential at all time periods. No one NEEDS the services of retail clerks, office staff, lawyers, restaurant workers and other types badly enough to force those people to drive around in snow/ice/sleet! And if you'd dare to fire these types b/c they didn't risk their lives in a blizzard, YOU should be stuck driving in a blizzard sometime. THEN you can talk to me about whether these people should have to do it. If you think it's some grand, easy thing YOU can go pick up everyone who can't drive in it; if you're not willing to do that, STFU!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Health Care Bill Debacle

Now, arguably speaking I'm not big on politics. To me, everyone's corrupt. Even if I were president, there would STILL be corruption. I also have some personal basis for this belief from working w/a former client. This client essentially told me how one can become a lobbyist & cemented my cynicism of organized religion in the statement that you have to PAY ministers to get involved in moral causes that would benefit them & the congregation they purport to represent.

That being said, we've got FAR bigger problems that the abortion debate. We don't even need to talk about that until ANY adult can get voluntary sterilization without having a passel of kids, psychological problems, hitting the age of menopause or genetic disorders in their family tree. Apparently alcoholism isn't considered a severe enough problem to get sterilized. Nor should the person (especially a woman) be accosted by doctors or accused of being broken in some way b/c they don't wish to bring unwanted children into an already crowded world. I had to fight in NYC to get sterilized despite being: a lawyer, a person w/responsibility in an up & coming entertainment company, married to a spouse who is as opposed to having children as I am & who openly said this to a doctor. Good news is the doctor who did my surgery is a specialist in the area & one of the best in the country. I'd recommend him to any woman.

Maybe some of these doctors can raise kids for the women they deem are "too young" to get sterilized, even though they're over 18. Until YOU'RE willing to do that & carry the unwanted baby to term personally, keep your damn mouth shut about what happens in MY home. All right?

I also question the love of children the so-called "pro-lifers" have. They apparently prefer to see babies abused & neglected by their parents vs. a woman unprepared to be a mother getting an abortion regardless of the woman's age, mental condition, economic standing, etc. I don't see many of these pro-lifers standing up to adopt unwanted children, push harsher punishments on parents who kill/torture/abuse their kids, demand better social services & a more efficient family court system w/funding to match, demand legal reform to prevent lawsuits against doctors performing voluntary sterilization by women who "changed their minds" (dodo heads, the lot of 'em), demand free birth control pills & examinations for women OR give money/support/time/day care facilities/etc. to women they demand to be mothers against their will.

When you work in a family law setting, you realize that God DOES NOT give people babies. That's biology. Now God could have created biology but God didn't sit in the sky & say "Hmmmm, I think I'm going to make that crack addict pregnant to punish her." or "Why don't I make that teenager pregnant or bring a child into that abusive marriage?" Making it impossible for a woman to get sterilized even though she can go to adult jail, own property & be denied lifetime alimony is tantamount to forcing that woman into motherhood when abortion is impossible to get.

Now I don't believe in using abortion as birth control & think there should be limits on how many one can get in a year. At the same time, birth control pills AREN'T free, the pro-lifers don't know what one's particular relationship is like & they have no business nosing around in other people's bedrooms, going double for marital bedrooms. I also refuse to be a second class citizen or be treated as nothing more than an incubator for rugrats. Dare to do that & I'll make your life unbearable.

For the record, this is NOT a slam on Christians in particular. I know Christians who DO live in real life, recognize that abortion's not a "be all, end all" & don't sum up women by their private parts.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Can't READ the Bible Now??? Come On!

Just saw this & it requires a mini-rant:

This teacher deserves to be punished/get some kind of repercussion (say unpaid suspension) considering it's not like the kid was preaching on the playground or trying to convert people. If they didn't, I'd be making sure the school knew I was considering a 1st Amendment lawsuit if it was my child. I would also seek to have my child transferred out of that class.

I grew up in a Baptist home & even went to Christian school from 1st-3rd grade but these days, I don't follow any organized religion due to corruption concerns far beyond pastors living large while their congregants live in squalor (though I do believe God exists). How dare anyone tell someone they can't read a religious text in their off time? Should this child read a book on how to make bombs instead? Maybe she should be reading that infamous "How to be a Hit Man" book; I'm sure that would make this clueless, intolerant teacher happy & no one would try banning those.

Seriously, though I side w/the family since not wanting to be converted doesn't = suppression of others' rights to quietly pray or read religious texts.

Friday, December 11, 2009

On Not Paying for a Child's College Education

Check this out.

All I can say is that if my parents had done that, I'd have told them NOT to bother me once I got done since they sabotaged me. It's the same as people who tormented you in high school buddying up to you after you've become famous or rich. Don't have your hand out when you tried to ruin someone else's life & made it that much harder for a person to get ahead. That earns you a big "Go to Hell."

Now if your parents would help you but can't, that's different. Then you owe it to them to give them "props" if they've been decent to you & tried to help in other ways.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ridiculous Employer Demands

I FINALLY have gotten meaningful managerial positions. I swear, I feel like I was waiting for those moments forever.

For one thing, I got a job at JcPenney when I was 15 years old. In fact, I called Equal Opportunity Employment & the store's main headquarters after getting an interview, not getting a response & being told "you have to be 16" even though I made no bones about the fact that I was 15 (wrote it on the application & all). For all the griping about "teenagers are immature & job hop", I stayed at that one over 3 YEARS. I was probably one of the youngest people working there at the time & only left when I moved to Atlanta for undergrad.

Then I did a work study job at my school's museum for 3 years & got supervisory responsibilities after our security people took FOREVER to lock the elevator and didn't arm the place once after closing. To avoid that issue, I offered to be the weekend supervisor; they bit & I did a decent job if I say so myself.

Even when I started at Penneys, I saw BS among jobs held by people I knew. What are my biggest gripes?

1. School comes FIRST. No one's dead-end job is going to trump an education; if it does, the company is run by idiots. Screw w/someone's education & they'll just turn around to work for your competitor once it's all said and done. You REALLY think someone's going to use that education to benefit YOU when you've tried to sabotage them? I sure wouldn't. Thankfully, the supervisors I worked with were wise to this & I was not stupid enough to work for an employer that tried otherwise.

2. Micromanagers: NO ONE responds to it. Never. Everyone I've ever known who worked in that atmosphere hated it. Friends, relatives, acquaintances, etc. This management style assumes everyone is a dog & an idiot. It's the very reason I will pick prostitution over document review any day of the week; if I'm going to be demeaned, at least being a hooker will pay better. If you know ANYONE who likes this environment or management style, let me know.

3. Pay vs. Skills: Guess what? If you don't PAY for the proper skills, you're not going to get them. I have to laugh my butt off at morons who post on Craig's List seeking experience for menial positions. Lately, legal employers are jumping on the "internship" bandwagon & one particular post was so disgusting I had to speak up. This law firm in Manhattan wanted a new attorney to work for 3 MONTHS in an internship for NO PAY (part-time hours in a law firm for a lawyer is about 40 hours a week).

But it gets better: after this 3 month unpaid period, this law firm wanted to give the lucky lawyer a piddling $25k a YEAR salary. This is the EXACT salary I made working in a law firm before spending a DAY in law school & racking up six-figure loan debt.

How about we just call a cat a cat? Employers, stop pretending you give a shit about your employees when you demand them to come into work sick, sabotage their educational endeavors & generally behave like a douchebag. Cut the crap, all right?

Employees, it's a dog eat dog world out there. Either better yourself and own your place in life or continue to be kicked around by asshats. Rest assured, if you ever worked for me you'd be treated as a human being & never in a way I wouldn't want to be treated myself. I'd hold you to high standards but I wouldn't dare pretend to care or give a damn about your life if I actually didn't. Either way, don't expect employers to care about you & don't complain if you're not going to better yourself.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The First Post

Welcome to The Angry Redheaded Lawyer. I call the blog this since I've been told I dwell on the dark side of things & constantly find something to rant about. I've even been told I'm the real life Daria since I am very sarcastic & tend to see through the bullshit like she did. Daria is also a favorite TV show of mine & I'm waiting to see how the DVD set comes out. If MTV doesn't cut music for the sake of cutting, we're definitely getting it.

Yesterday, I found out that a high school classmate was stabbed to death by her estranged husband. Apparently she'd just gotten a restraining order against him this week & they had 3 kids. He killed her and then went to the next county to hang himself. I'm sure the news in NC is still covering it but it's still a shock. Alison was a cheerleader when I knew her but was one of the few people who didn't play to type. She was in my Physics class & friends w/my lab partner so I talked to her a few times. She told me one time that if we had a class reunion & I'd dyed my hair, she'd kill me. Keep in mind most people tormented me for being a redhead & I couldn't get a date in high school if I'd been a nudist even though I looked the same as I do today + still get hit on despite being married. I also remember her performing this funny song on Class Day the same day (she was a Senior, I was a Junior).

She didn't deserve to be killed. Her kids didn't deserve it either. The only comfort here is that this scumbag killed himself so the taxpayers in my hometown won't have to pay for his upkeep & he won't be getting out to kill someone else. Restraining orders work SOOOO well, huh? I'm sure she had responsibilities & couldn't just flee the state. It's sad that her kids probably saw all this & now have to be orphans but it does put things into perspective. Who wants to bet everyone thought they were some happy family? Just goes to show that you shouldn't wish to be someone else since you don't know what it's like to be that person & you could lose things that are really great about you in the process.