It Didn’t Work Out
I went to the new job yesterday and I’m not going back. It’s a bummer. I stayed up most of the night thinking about it but realized that I just should not do it. Let me explain;
It’s not the job itself, I’m positive once I learned where everything IS and fell into a routine that I would do fine and all would run smoothly. After the typical ‘adjustment period’ that is. But, very unexpectedly I worked for 5 hours yesterday and it wasn’t until near the end of the day that I was told I wouldn’t be making any more in their office than I did in the last office. Only in this office I’d be the support staff for TWO practicing lawyers instead of one. So it’s double the work at the same pay rate and I haven’t had a raise in 7 years.
I almost said ‘no’ right then and there but I didn’t. When I came home and told hubby the pay rate he wigged! He told me not to take less than $14.75/hour and now that I knew my worth I shouldn’t go for anything less. He even said he’d rather see me going to school, writing, and collecting, until October than take the same type of job for the same lousy pay rate. I am very happy to have his support and the support of my family on this one. If it weren’t for that, I’d just go in today, start the job feeling degraded, and keep plugging right along through it letting it crush me just because there’s a meager pay check in it.
I’ll tell you, if I have to work a week and cash ONE more check for a lousy $263.05 I’ll lose my mind! I really will. I would rather ring register at Benny’s or serve coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts at this point. For years and years, I just never understood when people would say something like; “I make more on Unemployment” or “It’s not worth it to go back to work”. NOW I get it. If I took this job, I’d be making the grand $98.00 more a week than I do on Unemployment. Does that sound ‘worth it’ to you?
I know the economy’s tough and even lawyers are suffering but so am I. I can’t sit at a desk watching ‘the boss’ buy new car after new car, take trips to Spain, England, Ireland, Alaska, on a steady basis, while I wonder if my pay check will be enough just to put 75 gallons of oil in the tank. It’s degrading, dehumanizing even. I can’t tell you just how DEvalued I felt at the last job as a worker and as a person. This office doesn’t do the same kind of work, they’re not 90-98% State Pay clients at all…they actually SEND bills for $10,000.00! (Yeah, they don’t walk away from ’em, imagine that!)
I let Kathy get away with my lousy pay for years telling myself that the practice was nearly all State Pay so she couldn’t ‘afford’ to give me a raise and that I felt I was doing some good in the world but when it went unrecognized year after year after year…let’s just say it wore on me. I can’t see it being any different in this office. It would soon grind me down the same way but it wouldn’t take more than a month this time around.
Don’t get me wrong, these people are really nice and the ‘lady lawyer’ is actually qualifies as ‘cool’, which is a nice change, LOL. However, I can’t see them giving out good sized yearly raises, at the end of whatever ‘probationary period’ there might be, the most I can envision is going up to $12.50 an hour. After learning at Unemployment Orientation that I should be making in the neighborhood of $16.00 an hour…that’s just being a regular old secretary, not a legal secretary or a paralegal/legal assistant. That’s WITHOUT a degree or any paperwork at all. I have oodles of experience I shouldn’t have to settle for less than what someone working 40 hours a week at minimum wage brings home. That type of job has to be worth at least $14.75 an hour to a boss. Working part-time at that rate it’s LESS THAN $400.00/week before taxes. I just can’t cut my own throat anymore. It’s not fair to me or my family. I KNOW I won’t make that kind of pay in that office because on the first interview she told me people were looking for ‘outrageous pay’ and that she wouldn’t pay someone $16.00/hour unless they had all kind of fancy paperwork saying they could do the job.
I understand that businesses need to make money to stay in business. I just wish businesses would understand that their employees need to make a LIVING WAGE in order to, ya know, LIVE.
SO, I’ll keep looking. Unemployment re-upped me for another 26 weeks and I now have until October 27th to collect. I went to Ridley and Lowell’s website and filled out their little form to get an appointment to go back to school. I’ll go down to Unemployment today and see what the procedure is for getting the State to pay for job retraining. It worked for my hubby, it could work for me too. I could probably breeze through their paralegal/legal assistant course but, from what I’m seeing around here, it probably wouldn’t amount to much monetary difference. I’m thinking about Medical Billing and Coding, I did a bit of that at the chiropractor’s office. (BTW, when I left that job 10 years ago, I was making $12.50/hr to run the front desk and $20.00/hour to do the billing!) There’s NO secretarial work; no answering the main phone lines, no scheduling appointments, no typing massive documents, and no dealing with the public. AND they make buck. I know a few people who do it part-time and they STARTED at $500.00/week. That sounds good to me.
Besides, yesterday, I came to realize just how jaded I am where the public is concerned. I am SO used to dealing with nasty-tempered, ungrateful, KA-RAY-ZEE, morons, that I can’t see people any other way when they walk in the door anymore! How terrible is THAT? People came in, I greeted them, I smiled, I was nice and polite, and the whole time my brain was saying; what’s your problem you crazy bastard?
Yeah, I think ‘back office’ is probably the way for me to go for a while. At least until I can get my head in a better frame and stop seeing EVERYONE as a potential crazy pain in the ass.🙂
Anyway, since I so suck at confrontation, I took the coward’s way out and left a message on their machine this morning thanking them for the opportunity to work in their office but I didn’t think it would work out. This is a ‘nice’ message, isn’t it? (Hubby told me to type it out first!)
Hi Attorneys ___and ___, it’s Lisa. I wanted to call and thank you for the opportunity to work in your office but I think that I should respectfully decline the offer at this time. It’s not the work, I’m sure once I fell into a routine I would do fine but they pay isn’t commensurate. I worked for 7 years for the starting pay you’re offering and just can’t do it any longer. If I took the job, I would only be making $98.00 more a week than I currently do on Unemployment. I think, at this time, it is in my best interest to seek to further my education so that I can bring in a much higher wage for my family. Once again, I thank you very much for the opportunity to work in your lovely office and I wish you all the best.
I put the bit about Unemployment in because I want them to understand what they’re asking someone to work for is a pittance. Look at this way, IF an employer is willing to pay someone $12.00/hour for FULL-TIME work (a grand $480.00/week BEFORE taxes) they should have no problem paying someone $14.75/hour for PART-TIME work, they’re still saving money and the job is still getting done. They were willing to pay me $12.00/hour full-time and I was warned that I might be ‘sitting around painting my nails a good part of the time’. So what’s the deal? If the job can be done in 25 hours a week or less, why make someone sit there for 40 hours bored off their butt half the time? While we’re at it, why not give them the pay rate they deserve?
Doesn’t make any sense to me.
I guess I’ll keep looking.