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2009-07-29 - 9:03 p.m.

Layoffs in my company.

I made it through the most recent round.

There are more to come.

Say a prayer I am not among them.

I am a bit nervous as I was told that our group is undergoing a RE-ORG, and I have heard a few things.

In particular two of the girls I work with as Contract Managers were told they are going to report to a new person. What one was told was " I am not yet sure what will happen with the other"

**I Am that "other"

I was told to not pick up deals from our distro this week but to work with our supervising attorney soley so she can see where I am at, and give feedback to assist me in improving the quality of my work.

I was told at my review two weeks ago that she received consistent feedback that my drafts of contracts are always in need of editing by the attorneys and that is not helpful. I am struggling with error free first drafts. I overlook things and I make careless mistakes, unfortunatly over and over again.

I am strong in the area of seeing the big picture and understanding what are the more complex deals. One of the CMS told me it took her a week staying late to work through one particular deal. I am working on a deal adding the same service and I don't think it is truly all that complicated. I honestly wrote the first draft within just a few hours of picking it up after identifying the correct service attachments. HOwever even if I spent days reviewing it, there will likely be SOME small error that I just don't see.

I am doing the best I can. I started treating my ADHD again after a long time of not using any medication to see if that has any effect on reduction of careless errors. When I read the syptom check list for ADHD it literally says "makes careless errors in work."

I knew even before I met with my boss that I was continuing to make errors that I shouldn't be at this point. So weeks ago I went into counseling to consider the possibilitu of medication again. I had stopped due to the terrible side effect of weight loss (I was down to 101 lbs), and increased PTSD symptoms when I was on the medication. While it clearly helped in some areas (such as driving!), I was having identifiable paranoid side effects of Adderall.

So two weeks ago I started Concerta. I can't say that I see any impact on my work at all to be honest. I still made some errors this week which I found frustrating: Omitting a section of a standard template I have worked with over and over, yet failed to include when that should be ROTE by now; Completely not seeing some Customer redlines as the BUBBLE feature was TURNED to "NEVER SHOW" on my WORD program but I hadn't realized that impacted my ability to read the redines. It took me an hour to figure out where the redlines that were being mentioned were in the document. I sent out a document with an error of some Customer redlines STILL present in it. (When I accepted my changed to make the clean doc I didn't carefully double check and hadn't noticed the Customer's redlines we had negotiated and agreed to accept were not ALSO accepted.)

I was reprimanded for interrupting an attorney I met with *Fairly I believe, and told to SLOW DOWN and STOP TALKING AND LISTEN.

So I can't say that the medication I just started seems to have an impact on my ADHD symptoms much at all. I also had a few evenings of being HYPERFOCUSED and intensely working losing track of time. These are all par for the course of life with ADHD and it WOULD be so nice if there is a medication THAT WORKS in curbing the intensity and frequency of those moments WITHOUT side effects.

There are other things going on in the rumor mill however, so there is also a possibility that I am going to be shifted to be a direct report to that particular attorney who reprimanded me. Honestly, the CM working with her and she have a somewhat strained relationship, and I think they just have a personality clash YEt when I work with her I walk away feeling like I just learned something, and when she criticizes me I stop and listen and always think "DAMN I DID IT AGAIN" as her criticism IS VALID. To be honest I genuinely LIKE her as a person, despite her flaws and I think that can make all the difference in a good working relationship.

Maybe its just a matter of needing a dosage adjustment for this medication to have any effect.

However I DO think it has an effect, but not necessarily a GOOD ONE.

I do think that I have felt ANXIOUS at the end of each day, and I surmise that is the time the medication is weaning out of my system. I also wonder if my fear of layoff and reading into every little thing I hear is a paranoia sypmtom.

Today after I met with one attorney both CMS reached out to me: ONe IMed and said "How did it go?" I want to assume that was just being thoughtful as I turned down the CM group lunch outing today saying I had to prepare for the meeting . (Truth is I can't afford it now. I was lucky to find a BEAUTIFUL CARVED WOOD JEMBE FOR $225 last Sunday that I couldn't resist! Between that and putting a new timing belt and water pump into my newly purchased now 98,000 mile Sienna, I am short on cash. LITERALLY SHORT... I think I might not actually have my full rent on time, and for the first time ever I might have to pay most of my rent but send the remainder upon the next paycheck. AFTER I bought the Jembe I discovered that I had forgotten to account for one of those montly payments that automatically go out to attorneys so when it went through as an automatic draft I realized I had overdrawn! I bounced three checks last week subsequently, sadly one for only $2.25 to Nichols Hardware where weeks ago I bought fly paper and batteries! A second check I bounced was the to the photographer for the gardening article we recently had published.I got paid by the publisher and then sent her share. I forget what the other one was as the bank did put that through. The $105.00 in bank fees certainly hurts! I don't have active overdraft protection on the account as apparently it was turned off some time ago. I am truly dissapointed that Microsoft is no longer offering Microsoft Money as I had relied on that, my subscription expired and now it is not availble anymore! I need to get used to the Quicken software ASAP to prevent such financial mishaps again! I am also a bit irritated that Wachovia posted my paycheck on Friday and showed the fund as available but then LATER posted a check on the same date and showed it as having bounced. That doesn't make sense, how the ledger CHANGED from how it had appeared previously.The check SHOULD Have cleared had it been presented AFTER my paycheck was deposited, however it now appears in the ledgar as it it was presented FIRST in that day, bounced, and then LATER ON My check was deposited! That's screwy as with Direct Deposit the paycheck was in and showed availble funds early that day.)

BAck from that long diversion... AS I was saying, AFter the meeting I got an sypathetic IM, and around the same time the other CM came over to my cubicle and asked " How are you doing?" with empathy.

Now I did talk to her of my concern about my drafts still not being at the standard they SHOULD Be, and I think I may have also mentioned that I am worried about layoffs. So that empathy may be understandable and sweet. However then the phone rang and it was my BOSS inquiring about my meeting with the other attorney, asking when we ended, and what projects we were discussing etc...

What struck me as unusual was all three inquirys RIGHT AFTER THE MEETING. Now we meet with attorneys ALL THE TIME to review deals. So that is nothing unusual or remarkable which should elicit such a response. My boss doesn't typically call for a de-brief. She DID say she was looking for the other attorney for something so was trying to see if she was around. (But it ALSO not like her to call us to track someone else down.)

So maybe I am reading into this, but I had the sense she may have called out of concern that something may have been shared with me that WASN"T MEANT to be shared yet. I get the sense that the CMS and BOSS all KNOW Something that the BOSS will announce soon enough

I also overheard a brief snippet of conversation between two CMS. IT OF COURSE COULD MEAN ANYTHING, COULD BE IN REFERENCE TO ANYTHING. It went like this


"Tommorrow is the day"

"I wonder how she is going to react"

So tonight I am praying that snippet has NOTHING to do with anyone being laid off.. in particular ME. I am praying that they won't have to find the answer to the question of HOW I WOULD REACT IF LAID OFF.

It was terrible to see our co-worker get laid off a few weeks ago. She sobbed, I gave her a hug and a shoulder to cry on.

She is now adjusting to being home with a lovely baby and a husband who can fortunately support them (I HOPE!!!)

Should I get laid off it is not that simple. I have a court order thanks to Judge Horne that If I don't pay $300 a month to my Ex Husband's lawyer for the legal fees for the appellate case I brought forth and LOST that there immediately be issued a WARRANT For my ARREST.

Well, I know at least that I will always have shelter, and won't even have to commit a crime to ensure that! ( I recall in the not so distant past thinking that being SAFE in JAIL would be greater security than remaining in a home where one was abused and threatened to the point where feeling one's very life was in danger! However having removed myself from that situation, I now don't see JAIL as any sort of escape, except from the elements come winter should I be homeless.)

What is of course so very complicated is my children. I have six lovely children currently living with me. Thankfully the two oldest have their home in Buffalo which is stable to return to. However the four that live with me every other week are DEPENDENT on me to provide a safe stable home for them. SO it is about so much more THAN ME.

When my one had her meltdown and violent episode episode last Friday (the norm when they come back) it only occurred to me on Sunday that I think there is still a good deal of transferance going on. She said " I FEEL LIKE MY HOME IS A PRISON!" ( AS she was resisting going to bed) and "LET ME BE MY OWN PERSON"

I really think her violence and outburts occur at my home as she doesn't have the FREEDOM to express those emotions when in the highly constrained environment of her Father's home. I really think she expressed how she feels THERE. Certainly imposing a bedtime, and insisting on a child brusing their teeth and washing up before that bedtime SHOULD NOT be the triggers for such a strong and violent reaction. She was fighting me wildly in response to the normal and routine expectation of teethbrusing and bedtime. NOT NORMAL FOR AN EIGHT YEAR OLD. However I realized on Sunday that her emotional expression and outbursts may have been a reaction to the previous weeks in which she might REALLY feel those thoughts but not be able to express them.

I CAN'T IMAGINE NOT HAVING A JOB So that I can continue to offer my children a healthy home with me.

I don't now KNOW if their home with their Father is healthy or not. I can't judge what I don't know. I am not there.

I do know however that before I left the home I WAS IN with him was EXTREMELY UNHEALTHY with everyone walking on eggshells in between his violent outbursts.

Which is why it is so insane that such a harsh punishment was ordered by Horne should I not be able to pay that monthly legal bill.

Time has passed and people do grow and change, and I hope the anger of my Ex husband has not been as acute now that I am not in that picture. He had an intolerance of my limitations. Perhaps without another adult in the picture he never feels like his authority is questioned or undermined and he feels respected and does have TOTAL control so is HAPPY and CALM and LOVING to his girls who I know he DOES genuinely love. I can only hope so.

Regardless, I just HAVE to continue to provide a safe stable home for my girls. They NEED both parents consistenly in their lives. I NEED TO KNOW THEY HAVE STABILITY OF A HEALTHY HOME AT LEAST HALF OF THE TIME (As I can't know about the other half of the time)

So IF that question were truly about the possibility of a layoff of ME and how I would react, I believe my reaction would be like my reaction to any other trial in life: There must be some silver lining to this cloud and its time to find it.

I would think that the moment of meeting the best friend of the partner of the Immigration lawyer a BIA member told me years ago to go work for would not have been a conicidence. I would think that I should not let fear block progress and follow up with the best friend of that partner who said " HE is getting ready to retire, I bet you could take over his clients"

I would study and pass that damn BAR EXAM and make that dream a reality.

I have thought many a time, " How can I be a paralegal? I shouldn't be one, I NEED ONE! I'd be a DAMN GOOD Laywer if I hired an amazingly detail oriented paralegal to support me."

I still think that legal support staff, paralegals, and contract managers require a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SKILL SET to be REALLY GOOD At their jobs than attorneys. Attorneys require a totally different skill set to be outstanding at their jobs than the support staff supporting them.

The tough part is that those roles of support staff are OFTEN (but not always) considered stepping stones on a career path to becoming General Counsel, or an amazing litigator.

I think of when I worked in human services the best career move I ever made was to SKIP that typcial stepping stone of the role called "Developmental Specialist." I jumped from working direct care to being a site manager. After I left my job the girl who was the developmental specialist for those five years I was site Manager was promoted into my position. Truth is that I would NEVER have made it to site manager had I had that middle stepping stone in that typical career path, because the Develomental Specialist role requires incredible organizational and documentation skills. I personally think I WOULD HAVE BEEN TERRIBLE AT THAT JOB. It requries a highly DETAILED, TASK oriented person. Yet I was a fabulous site manager. I had PERFECT state surveys (thanks to the amazing developmental specialist who took care of her documentation) in conjunction with MY LEADERSHIP SKILLS. I was a wondeful MOTIVATOR and MENTOR and FACILITATOR of great work from a very happy staff of 25. I nurtured both the staff and residents well. I gave outstanding TIME MANAGMENT trainings to my company! (YES! Who better to teach skills than one who knows all the limitations and pitfalls which can block one from achieving those skills? Kind of like the AA MODEL where alcoholics learn to overcome alcoholism from others who have been there before.)

The point being that I feel like I am in a job where I can grow and learn, but I don't feel like I excel at it. I feel like I will eventually get the BAR and be an incredibly talented lawyer. I believe I have outstanding negotaition skills. I believe I am fabulous at managment. I run a tight staff meeting-- efficient and organized and to an agenda which my staff always apprechiated. I am a BIG PICURE Person who has vision and understanding of complexities of systems and people. I work well with others and as a manager could get the best out of any personality.

I am a postive motivator. I am a nurturer. I am proud that FIVE of the staff that I supervised over the years later went on to become site managers (at various Human Services agencys.) I am most proud of the TWO in particular who might have never envisioned that possibility but for my mentoring. I am proud I had the highest staff retention in my organization and the lowest budget for staffing as we were ALWAYS well staffed and didn't need to go into overtime. PEOPLE ENJOYED AND WANTED TO WORK FOR ME and WITH ME.

So I am mentally preparing myself JUST IN CASE there is a layoff to seek out the next opportunity. I am mentally thinking that if I am laid off that the next time I take a job it will be one I can EXCEL AT.

And I am thinking that it is UNQUESTIONABLE that if I am not meant to remain in the position I am currently in, that it is because the time has come to move on to something even BETTER.

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