On the Job Again

April 28th, 2007

For better or worse, I got the job. They called with the offer on the day before I left for a four-day camping trip with my friends from the Bay Area. As it worked out, Woo was here and Beau Hunk was not when the call came. That meant I had to fudge my way through a job offer and the logistics thereof with a little boy yelling and banging on the door, because I had locked myself in our bedroom so that I wouldn’t have to fudge my way through a job offer with a little boy yelling and squirming on my lap and asking to talk on the phone. In retrospect, it was six of one, half a dozen of the other.

I started on Tuesday, April 17th. Thankfully I didn’t have to start Monday, because I didn’t get back from my camping trip until midnight on Sunday, after having been in a car for seven out of the previous eight hours. Yuck. That was just the beginning of the whirlwind.

My new employers are being very nice and are letting me work three full-time days a week. Which still sucks for me, because I have school four nights a week. Believe me when I say I can’t wait for this semester to end!

The place where I’m working provides no cost legal assistance to persons who have small income levels. (Sorry for the awkward wording, but I’m trying to avoid Google searches on the more common phrases that are used to describe what we do.) Our offices are an old house that, at one point, was split into apartments. That means we have two kitchens (a third was converted to an office), three bathrooms (all with tubs/showers), and I think my office used to be either a laundry room or a service porch. It’s a really neat place to work, and I’m digging it.

My office is upstairs with the attorneys. Most of the downstairs space is dedicated to client intake and is far more chaotic that the upstairs space. Right now I’m spending my time downstairs to get a feel for what we do and how that side of things works. Obviously I can’t get into details, but here’s a few observations I’ve made so far:

  • People in need want to talk. A lot.
  • We do not handle criminal matters. Spending the next five minutes reiterating the circumstances of your arrest will not change this.
  • Telling people “no” tends to piss them off.
  • If you tell someone no, they will call back in ten minutes, tell you the exact same story, and get pissed off all over again when you say no, as if they had never heard the word before.
  • I am not a lawyer and cannot give you legal advice. Yelling “but I just need to know … !” does not change this.

It’s been a long time since I have been on the front end of a phone system with a number published in a phone book. I didn’t really miss it. All that aside, I think it’s going to be a good job, and I will enjoy the variety of work. But I think they better get me off the phones soon or I’m going to snap, and it won’t be pretty.