Sunday, May 8, 2011

I Finally Got A Job

Darwin was wrong, there is a God.

All those years of Arabic school my parents forced me to attend as a child have finally paid off....

I finally got a job working for a boutique real estate  investment banking firm in their corporate finance department. Thank Allah (swt) I have a BA in Business Economics and I worked in business for several years before becoming a poor paralegal. A staffing agency found the job for me and now I am working full time in the operations division under two vice presidents and one managing director. The job pays pretty decent, and I am just thankful that I found  a job in this horrible economy.

After being laid off and doing odd jobs it feels really weird to have a real normal 8-5 job again. I am up at 6 am, getting my clothes dry cleaned, and working hard to make ends meet. Many of the banking executives wonder why I don't go and work as a paralegal, but they don't realize how shitty the job market is. This job is temp to hire and they will give me a full time offer after 60 days, so I don't want to screw this up.

I have realized that when you work in corporate America, you have to be very careful and be cautious of your behavior as a professional. I reflected on my past jobs, bosses and decided to write down some thoughts on how to succeed in the work place.

10.    When you go to work, never get too comfortable with co workers or act casually in the office. Your boss is your boss, he is NOT your friend! Your co workers are your co workers, they are NOT your friends! Do not talk too much about your personal life, the shitty legal profession, or reveal all your inadaquacies/mistakes in past jobs.

9.     Pick and choose your battles wisely. This comes in many forms, you should always listen more than you speak. Never get too carried away in a conversation with a co worker  and/or force your views on someone else. Don't have the attitude of "I am always right!", let it go, and don't argue. Even if your boss has the IQ of a mosquito, let him think he is right. Make him feel like the king of the world, because if he likes you, then when it comes time for that holiday bonus, YOU WILL FEEL LIKE THE KING OF THE WORLD!  Even if your co workers/boss force views on you, just smile and do what needs to be done. You are there to get paid, use the bathroom(like the pictures Nando posts on his blog) get benefits and go home. Don't dwell upon petty issues.

8.      Keep your personal life OUTSIDE the office. No one in the office is a therapist, they do not want to hear your problems, nor will they help you solve your problems. NEVER talk about your personal finances, political, religous or other views in the office. Your business is no one else's business. Also, you don't want people to have prejudices about you, when they don't know the details of your personal life. Ignorance is bliss!

7.     Do not hang out with co workers outside of work. This is very difficult for young college graduates, because after graduating college and going into the real world, it is really hard to make friends. You work so many hours and you don't really have social activities like you did in school. You may find people at work who are cool and seem nice, but first and foremost they are your coworkers. Don't hang out with them. Be cordial and friendly, but don't get too close with them or add them on Facebook and such.

6.    Keep your attitude in neutral. Never show your emotions too dramatically-whether happy or sad. Once your managers know how you operate, then they will also know your weaknesses.

5.    Never seem desperate for anything: A job, a promotion, a corner office or a longer lunch break. Be civil and let things happen on their own.

4.    Do Not Date Co Workers. PERIOD!  If you are that desperate for dates, then go to

3.   Be respectful to everyone in your office. Even the Janitor, the temps and elevator operators. Giving everyone little compliments will GREATLY complement your career. Karma really does work in mysterious ways.

2. Never talk bad about anyone in the firm or a client. Remember, those who gossip to you, will gossip about you and vice versa!  However, everyone needs to engage in worthless water cooler gossip once in a while, and so you should talk about external topics: The weather, the Lakers losing, insane gas prices, weekend plans, etc.

1.  Always try to do your job better than no one else can! I was originally hired for two days and then when I left after one week, the staff was very sad. I was respectful and cordial to everyone. When I left, I even thanked all the analysts, associates and secretary for giving me the opportunity to work with them. I left a nice thank you note to the managing director's desk when I left the office when I left work on Friday. As I was stepping inside the elevator he came running down the hall to say that he wanted to thank me for everything and how  he was upset that I didn't go into his office and didn't say goodbye in person.

My firm hired me as a temp, and they were so impressed with me, two days turned into two weeks and now two months...who knows where it will go from here?!

The whole point of the Poor Paralegal's 10   strategies to success in the work place is that you have to prove yourself. Once you work diligently, make everyone like you and make everyone in the office WANT to see you regularly, then they will want to keep you.

It is tough and I don't know how long this job will last, but I do have faith in myself and my other fellow broke unemployed/underemployed legal professionals. I am not working in a law related job but I have decided to expand my horizons and am now back in corporate America.

We are still coming out of the horrible recession and the job market is slowly but surely improving..

My advice for everyone is to hang in there and have undaunting persistence! There are 2 secret ingredients in the recipe for success: INTEREST AND EFFORT!

Take the interest and effort in your career, eventually something will come up for you.

I will keep you posted on my job and I will still write about interesting articles on the legal profession, money saving tips, and other words of wisdom I will hopefully find at this new job!

I wish everyone and their hard working mothers a very happy Mothers day!

-The Poor Paralegal

PS: I recently found an old Mazzy Star CD that I bought when I was in high school, and it's been years since I heard this CD.  Luckily, I found the video on youtube..enjoy!!


  1. I have read your blog along with the other scamblogs, and it's been a real pleasure to gain your insight on the legal profession. I really enjoyed reading your top 10 list about rules to succeed in the office, especially rule #8, keeping your personal life outside of work. This is so true! I hope the new job works out well for you.

  2. From prior experience consider adding these to your list:
    1) Never spend more than 3 years at any job. If you are not getting any training, below COLA raises, and no further promotion/responsibility; then plan on leaving.
    2) It is easier to find a job if you have one than if you don't.
    3) People are social creatures. They live in groups, tribes, and communities. The problem is that office politics is an art.

  3. Number 7 can be a tough one, especially if you have a HOT Latina co-worker who wants to hang out with you, outside the office. (You know the type: the one with big doe eyes and a sweet ass.) My advice? If you do not get a raise, are not appreciated by your idiotic boss, AND land a new job, then ask her out. Since you will not be in the same office or third-rate company or agency, she will probably be more likely to go out with you.

    Congratulations, Poor Paralegal. While I DETEST temp hag agencies, at least they (somewhat) allow people to pay their bills for a while.

  4. While the list is a good one, I do take issue with one of your points: socializing with colleagues.

    As for socializing with colleagues after work, I don't know if it's wise to totally avoid doing it, because the group may see you as 'anti-social'. Being seen as anti-social may get you on someone's shit list. That person could be the boss, or someone who can bend the boss' ear. So, if you're invited to have a drink with colleagues after work, I believe it's wise to go now and then.

    Having said that, I would treat it like a company party: treat it like a WORK SESSION, because that's what it is; it's an extension of the office. You wouldn't have too much to drink @ the company party, would you? Same applies when joining colleagues for a drink after work.

    Of course, the company culture has a lot to do with this. If people go their own way after hours, you're good. If they don't, then again, joining your colleagues once in a while would be a good idea.

    In closing, I don't think it's wise to blow off colleagues if they invite you for drinks after work. One of the previous commenters said that office politics is a fine art; socializing with colleagues is PART of that fine art.

  5. Excellent news! Congrats; I know how difficult the economy is--took me nearly two years to find my full time gig.

    Two things to add to your list:

    1) Never smack talk your boss! Even if your boss is a jerk and others agree with you and feel the urge to put your two cents in, the walls do have ears and things do get back to people. Never say anything that you will not be able to be comfortable to say to that person.

    2) If you are unsure about staying, look at the pros and cons before deciding to leave. Sometimes people overlook the little things which are equally important (such as enviornment, OTJ training, commute) for just a higher salary (although I do agree with Yuppie that if you are paid below the average, you should seriously consider moving on).

    All the best to you!

  6. Great list. I would like to add another item for your list that Ford (I think) once said... "Always make your boss look good".

    Why? well, it make his job easier, which makes you valuable and reflects well on you. It also makes him remember you, which adds to job security (very much needed in this market). Not to mention it makes you look good as well.

    I agree with TMF... never ever ever smack talk your boss (or your coworkers). If you find yourself in a group of employee's who start talking about their bosses or fellow coworkers (during lunch or cooler talk..etc), never add a comment. If the group thrives on talking about others all the time, extract yourself from that group.

    Once again, it's a great list as following the recommendations makes you look very professional in everyone's eyes. You never know when one of these could be your future boss, or a coworker someplace else. Best way to get jobs in this economy or any economy is through people. Best jobs get filled by recommendations, so by putting best face forward, these guys will recommend you for positions not only at this job, but future jobs as well when these guys move on some place else.

    Your Friend From NYC ;-)

  7. @MarkyMark

    I agree with you! I think you have to assess the company culture. Some companies have a more social culture in terms of hanging out after work and going to lunch with co-workers on a regular basis.