dal niente

Month: June, 2015

Just as the blow lands

Just did a bit of counter-interrogation on a telemarketer who was calling me around dinner time. If you turn the tables on them and take them outside of their scripts, turns out many of them can barely speak English. If, for a moment, you refuse to eat the artificiality of their rehearsed script and question what they are literally trying to push on you, and you push back, you can make them feel bad.

Maybe it’s the lawyer in me, but after talking with someone for just 30 seconds, I know enough to, at the very least, piss you off, and more than likely ruin your day. I deal with assholes all day and it’s my job to get them to quiet down and listen.

I realise everyone needs to work for a job, but at the same time, until they find a better job, they’re going to have to put up with people like me having a go at them.

I feel bad every time I do something like that. Every time it happens, I feel like a 15 year old kid is trying to mug me, and I’ve just kicked him in the stomach and told him to fuck off.

What’s going on in my head? I have my pet peeves– calling me after a long day of work specifically because you know I’ll be home to pick it up, specifically because you know that it’s peoples’ personal time when they’re not at work, is offensive to me. It’s offensive because the marketing mechanism being played her is a power imbalance that naturally preys on the too-politeness of the average person to tell a telemarketer to go fuck off. That’s how these charisma-sales are supposed to work anyhow– by either fear mongering or “fear of missing out” mongering, which is actually a form of bullying. It’s as offensive as the 15 year old with the 2-inch swiss army knife he got for Christmas. It’ll probably never work. And once you see through it, and realise that you have the same tools then you realise that you don’t have to be scared, compliant, and receptive in a lot of the situations we are typically bullied into.

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But once I’ve taken out my rage on you, I feel guilty, because I am where I am in a system where my hard work coincided with opportunity (which is luck that I had no control over). Some people work hard, and just never get a break.

So they put the Swiss army knife to use. Or they do shitty jobs.

So what’s my proper response supposed to be?

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Finally

I’m a couple of days late to get the news, but GOOD JOB USA.

About Crime

I’ve taken on a teaching position at [Makkas University], which is one of the local universities in the area. I haven’t given up on being an employment lawyer– but I’ll be doing employment law 4 days a week, with teaching occupying my tuesdays. I’ll be teaching [Criminal Law 101], which will introduce first year law students to the Australian crim law system.

It’s a huge opportunity. Career wise, it’s a bit strategic as well– working at a small firm, I have little or no job security if, for example, my boss ever decides to pack up the business or gets somehow incapacitated.

Teaching pays less than being a solicitor, to be sure, but to be honest, this is the kind of work that I wanted to get into in the first place when I first started doing law school.  You’d be surprised, but the fact is that I got High Distinctions in all my crim classes (the equivalent of A+ ranks in North America), and it was because I found it to be a really interesting subject that played into a lot of my work in healthcare.

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Criminal law is a multidimensional subject, of which most people only know one dimension of– the evening television version. That’s all sensational stuff like murder trials, lumped together with all your crime television shows, like CSI, Dexter, Law & Order, etc.

The fact of the matter is that crime is not a social “problem”– it’s a symptom of underlying intrastructural and economic problems. Television would often have you think however that the criminals are different from us, and that it’s a black and white thing that people who do bad things should be locked up.

The truth is, most types of crime are relative, drawn on arbitrary boundaries that serve the haves and keep down the have-nots. Criminal sanctions are not applied equally, and the fact that laws develop in real time through push and pull make it one fascinating mess of a beast, which can often yield some incredulous results.

I think that the best way for me to learn something is to teach it. It’ll be fun to start teaching again. Granted– teaching law in an actual university law school promises to be a completely different thing from teaching English as a second language.

Duds and quitters

After the global financial crisis, a lot of the news you will hear out there is about how white collar jobs, especially law in Australia, are really hard to come by. Its a really tough market that is slowly recovering, but the polls say that firms are trimming back as consumers are tighter with their wallets and less trusting of men (and possibly women) in suits.

Note that I put the women parentheses, because in my head, I usually associate he GFC with upperclass fat white men.

But on the flip side… There are jobs.  The question is: what are you willing to do for money ?

Our firm is a small one with 2 full time employees, 1 employee who will make the transition to full once she is licensed, and 2 casuals.

Because all of us are law school graduates or lawyers, we like to focus on the legal work of the firm. That means that we don’t make as much time as we could for administrative chores, which are more cost efficiently put on an administrative person.

Things like filing, electronic database management , system backups, sorting our mail, running errands, and occasionally doing some dishes.

We have been through no less than 3 applicants so far. The first person quit after the first day. The other 2 gen y people interviewed, had a think, and quit before starting. Which, actually, is fucking ridiculous.

Return from the North

I haven’t said anything yet about my brief but great couple of weeks in Canada.

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Returning home is always full of passively triggered memories.

Memory is a funny thing like that– it’s all about awareness of change, and that ties in with expectations and hope. When I was a kid in college in my early twenties, I’m not sure if I really expected myself to live beyond my late twenties. It wasn’t that I expected to die young (life wasn’t actually that rough), it’s just that I had no sense of expectation back then for what I would do next. I lived in the moment– not necessarily in a carpe-diem self-help sort of way, but rather, with no sense of consequence for what would happen the next day or week.

Evidence: how long did it take me to finish my college and undergrad degree? About twice as long as I should have. Just didn’t give a shit at the time.

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But when I was in those days, those days were my whole world– there was ltitle difference between a day or a month, I was in the same town, surrounded by the same people, with the same perceptions of the world around me and my place in that world.

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Smaller

It’s pretty amazing when you consider the fact that almost everything that I used to do at a computer about 10 years ago I can now mostly do from my mobile phone.

Almost back to normal

Back in Sydney. Well, actually been back for a bit over 2 weeks now , but had a hell of a time getting back into things. Read the rest of this entry »