alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad first week at work


I woke up before my alarm clock went off because someone was walking in the kitchen and I didn't know where I was because we just moved. Then I came into the office and tried to learn how to answer the phones and I accidentally hung up on an indigent prisoner phoning from the San Mateo County Jail and then I spilled a whole cup of coffee all over the leg of my jeans and I could tell it was going to be a terrible horrible no good very bad first week of work.

I think I will apply to work at a legal defense project in Australia.

The next day I came in and I had to stamp all documents that came in for the court run. I wasn't supposed to do anything to the front of the notices of appeal but I forgot and I stamped them all anyway. Kristina had to come and help me.

Then I ripped an envelope that came from prison even though I was supposed to save it, so I tried to attach it back to the original letter but it ripped a little more and I couldn't find any paper clips. I finally got it to stay but after I put it in the attorney's box, he told me I needed to make a copy and mail that copy to the panel attorney. By then I was hungry and I couldn't find the panel attorney's address and I didn't want to ask because I was embarrassed. It was a terrible horrible no good very bad first week at work.

If Australia was really settled by criminals, I bet legal defense work is either way easier or way harder.

The burger place didn't have electricity when I went there so they didn't have fries, only gross salad. I ate the salad anyway, but I scowled every time I took a bite, when I remembered to.

I wonder if they have state funding for appellate work in Australia. I wonder if they even have states.

The next day at work I came in and I was tired because I'm not used to working full-time. I had to make service copies for an opening brief and make sure that the blue pages separated the appendices from the rest of the brief. I had already copied a lot of them when Kristina reminded me to sign the proof of service before I started, which I forgot, but it didn't matter because the blue pages were in the wrong place so I made about 500 copies for no reason and totally hogged the VeloBinding machine for over an hour. At least I didn't have to sign all 22 service copies. Still, it was one more example of the terrible horrible no good very bad first week of work.

Also I didn't have a chance to do laundry and my pants got dirty from the move so I was wearing khakis from the "Too Fat" bag, which I wasn't too fat for anymore, except I gained some weight in San Diego, so they were tight in the waist and uncomfortable.

I bet people's weights don't fluctuate as much in Australia. Probably because they have a more active lifestyle and don't eat as many simple carbohydrates.

Wednesday I had to do the court run I didn't finish from the day before but also the mail which I also didn't finish and I couldn't find my stamp and I got confused because I didn't know how to process a writ and also I was still stamping notices of appeal on the front instead of the back because I forgot again. Also I had a headache from lack of caffeine but I didn't want to make coffee because I don't know I just didn't want to, OK? I don't think I'm overstating what a terrible horrible no good very bad first day of work this was.

I would seriously move to Australia, except for the year-long lease I just signed, and the security deposit, and the sneaking suspicion I have that maybe Qantas is due for a crash.

I was still asking a lot of questions and I felt dumb for asking the same thing all the time. People told me not to feel dumb but I still felt dumb and then I got mad when people tried to help me because I didn't want people to do the work for me except I couldn't finish all the work myself so I secretly did want them to do it for me but I also wanted them to make a really big deal about me having lots of work to do and it being my first week and me being tired and heroic in trying to do all the work but instead they were just trying to get their own work done and reassure me I wasn't asking too many questions and I felt very frustrated and it was terrible, horrible, etc.

I bet passive-aggressive behavior is a lot more effective in Australia.

Finally today I did a brief and I made a lot of mistakes and we had to have the court messenger come a lot later but eventually Kristina and everyone helped me and I finished just before four o'clock and I felt tired but also a sense of accomplishment and a feeling that maybe, just maybe, I wasn't going to be a total jackass all the time at work.

"People always have a tough time when they're starting out at a new job," Kristina said.

"Really?" I asked.

"Except in Australia," she said. "Then it's a piece of cake."


Hang in there, kiddo. It's bound to get better with time, and as you start to feel more comfortable in the work.

Australia sounds like a good plan, but let me clarify that the passive-aggressive shit you mentioned won't go over AT ALL there. They'll hit you with a boomerang and throw you in a billabong.

Maybe you could just work at Outback. No rules, just right.

Australia does indeed have states. There, the lawyers only work till 5:30. 6pm tops. I imagine their staff work no later.

You may enjoy it, although, like you, I fear an immenent Qantas crash. When I took off from Sydney last week, I was sure I was going to die. Then I settled down, and realized that, instead, I was going to have to sit still in a very unconfortable seat for the next 12 hours. Then I got angry and hoped for anything exciting to happen, save a fiery crash over Paupa New Guinea, to relieve the crushing boredom of the flight.

So I guess the moral of the story is: first comes panic, then comes acceptance, and then the thought "Why I am working here anyway? I hate this place!"

Good luck.

Australia is a great place to go if you have no desire to work. People leave work for cricket games all the time...some of these games last an entire day. Keep in mind that going to a cricket game is an obligation for all residents, so it doesn't count as sick time, vacation time, etc. Australia is also a nice place for working because a single worker can still afford to buy a house, a car, go on vacations, and drink like a fish.
Australia is alsoo a great place because they avoided using conventions when they named their states. New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia, South Australia. Why not West Australia or Southern Australia? Convention be damned! They're Aussies and they'll call their states whatever they please.

"We're out of Fosters."

(Austrialian for "Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.")

From someone who feels like a tired old fart when hanging out with you kids (maybe that's because I've been working 40+ hours a week): welcome to the real world, get used to it, you've got about 45 years left, and be glad that you've managed to avoid the real world for so long already.

And from someone who has worked in Australia, it's not much better. Although no one works very hard, they do work in suits every day in the middle of the humid summer from 8am-5pm. Flex time is not a known concept. Dressdown days are not a known concept. Days off...well, there's a fair share of them (the cricket, long weekends, public holidays, the Queen's birthday, Australia Day, Anzac Day, Boxing Day...) Lawyers are called solicitors and there are just as many there as here, but they wear suits more often there and don't go to school for as long and don't tolerate people who stamp papers incorrectly. Actually, all their assistants are named Victoria and wear severe navy blue suits, have blond hair, are about 21 years old and look down on you for not wearing a suit and coming into work at 10am and not stamping things correctly or knowing how to dial internationally.

Oh, and about the simple carbohydrates, thanks to America's exports of McDonalds, KFC, and Burger King (aka Hungry Jack's down there), they are rapidly becoming as fat a nation as America.

Ok, maybe I'm a bit bitter today, but I did get up at 4:30am to go to the airport to fly to Seattle to go to work. Eventually, work becomes a big part of life, maybe that's sad, but it makes those 45 years much more enjoyable.

someone actually beat my 4:45 am, woohoo!! you must feel like a real sucker now knowing that you were driving to the airport while I was still sleeping like a baby at 4:40.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Keane published on August 8, 2003 5:42 PM.

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