Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Things I Did Today
  • Worked from 9:45 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • Prepared for my interview tomorrow for a temp-to-perm bankruptcy litigation position at a midsized firm.
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Thoughts -- Temping

While it's true that in the land of the unemployed, the temp is king, temping is, of course, not exactly a regal existence. I've been doing it for several months now, starting after "my position was eliminated" at a major law firm last year, and I'm eager to find a better way to feed the monkey.

On the plus side, the feeding itself hasn't been an issue. I've been making very good money -- comparable to my law firm associate salary -- due to putting in lots of overtime. I also get comped dinners and rides home if I work long enough days, which I always do.

But there are five massive, and obvious, downsides:
  • First, the benefits are not nearly as good as those at a big firm -- they're more expensive and less beneficial. Fortunately, I've been continuing my big firm insurance coverage pursuant to COBRA, but I won't be able to do so indefinitely. Soon I will no longer be eligible for subsidized COBRA coverage, meaning my premiums will rise by a total of about $400. That will make them about as expensive as the coverage offered by my temp agency. A little further down the road, I will no longer be eligible for COBRA coverage at all.
  • Second, temping means I get paid by the hour. This means I only get paid when I work. Taking time off for holidays, snow days, vacations, illness, jury duty (which I actually have on April 1), or just about any other reason people normally don't work would take money out of my pocket. Accordingly, I work whenever I can. I'm pretty sure I worked on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, and I would've worked on Christmas if I'd been in town.
  • Third, temp work is, well, temporary. It could end on very short notice. And there is often costly downtime between projects.
  • Fourth, legal temp work is not particularly interesting or substantive. Most of it consists of "document review" in connection with litigation, which is about as exciting as it sounds. Such work is also not the most attractive experience to put on one's resume.
  • Fifth, temp work typically does not offer good opportunities for advancement. After all, it's viewed as temporary, meaning the employer does not have much of an incentive to care about the long-term potential or development of the employee.
Of course, there are some upsides to temping, too. Some people, such as parents, really appreciate the flexible schedule. Some people prefer the relative mindlessness of document review to the often intense and unpredictable work of a full-fledged lawyer. But not me. Temping sucks, and, frankly, I'm too good for it.

So I really hope I get this job I'm interviewing for tomorrow. If I do, I promise I will kick ass at it. If I do, the universe will have my gratitude.

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