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My job

Queenikins pointed out that she was not sure just WHAT my new job was, and I realize I've not been very specific, especially for those who may not have a clue what I do at all.

My title is Litigation Support Specialist. Woo Hoo. We litigation support professionals now even have our own professional magazine (first issue was put out in August).

But, as a recent talk with my father emphasized, even attorneys and others working in law firms often don't know what a Litigation Support Specialist is.

Every law firm defines it differently, but most Litigation Support Specialists have responsibilities in most of the following areas:

Project Managers
Legal Software Trainers
Legal Software Support (think help-desk)
Database specialists (we are not programmers, but we are whizzes at going into the back end of databases and producing custom reports, troubleshooting bad data etc.)
Legal Vendor Liaisons
Liaisons (think translators) between the Law Firm IT department and Legal Professionals (Attorneys and Paralegals)
Computer Forensic specialists

And, in reality, probably a whole lot more. Flexibility is the key, anything that falls close to but outside of the traditional paralegal or law firm IT dept responsibilities is likely to fall upon our desks to a certain extent.

It's a fun job, if you are with the right firm (I think I am). I actually was a Litigation Support Specialist when there were probably less than 100 of us in the whole country, so this is familiar territory, even if I've been away from it for a while.

A rapidly expanding career path (only very large law firms in the top 10 cities usually had a dedicated Lit Support person until a couple of years ago). I'm lucky, only two law firms in my town are large enough to have a Lit Support position right now, but I expect that will grow (or at least the smaller firms will want people who are hybrid IT/Lit Support or Paralegal/Lit Support.) Most of us are former IT trainers or paralegals. A small but not insignificant percentage (that includes yours truly) of us are former practicing attorneys or J.D.'s.

As it is a new career (about 10 years old) - there can be a lot of difference in the technical range and legal knowledge between two Lit Support Specialists. Also, as it is a new career, the job is largely what the person holding it brings to it, and how expansive they are willing to be when defining their role.

But, bottom line, I'm getting paid to be a professional geek. What more could I ask for?

And if you read this far, you may need to consider getting professional help. ;-)
Cartoon

Y'know

The new job is pretty darn good - can't come up with anything bad to say about it.

Except- I'm bushed. Starting a new job in my area one week before a team is about to start a big trial: that makes for an over busy gal with way too many overtime hours and means no time to sit back an appreciate being employed.

Not a complaint. It's part of the job that I will be overworked during times like this. There will be plenty of comparatively 'down times' to compensate.

But I wish I was in the office (and not in the courtroom) more than 30 minutes or so a day, there is a LOT I have to learn (no surprise, I've been employed there 7 days) but no time to learn it.

But I must say, a nicer group of co-workers doesn't exist.
Street ME

I learned two new lovely words today

Courtesy of my wonderful husband who sent me a link to an article about the current work going on for the OED, two words I needed in my vocabulary, and now I have them

twiffler: a plate intermediate in size between a dinner plate and a bread plate

mondegreen: a misheard lyric
for instance the real lyrics in Santana's Smooth are:
Man, it's a hot one, Like seven inches from the midday sun
But someone thought the lyrics were:
Man, it's a hot one, Like seven midgets in the midday sun
Street ME

I'm going to hell

Really.

So today, I'm sitting in training, listening to the trainer explain the spam protection program to the other two new employees. She is talking about the place where you can manually block senders - and I helpfully chimed in, 'Like your mother-in-law". Now truly, I love my mother-in-law, but she does have a penchant for sending me those inspirational chain e-mails, as well as every false urban legend warning circulating. So, it WAS a joke, but still.

So, 5 minutes later, we all head into the IT bullpen where my desk is, to see the spiffy multi-function printer scan and e-mail the scan to our e-mail boxes. And, what is waiting for me on my desk? A lovely small-sized (desk appropriate) bouquet of flowers. And a sweet card, wishing me good luck at my new job. From, guess who? Yep, my mother-in-law.

Karma's about to kick me on the ass as soon as I'm not looking.
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Thoughts on the job interview process

Like every sane human being, I hate the job interview process. It is different every time, but always awful. Some thoughts.

Although conventional wisdom says a woman should wear a suit with a skirt to an interview, I never do. Because: 1) Shoes. In a suit with pants I can wear professional but comfortable shoes. Shoes that could NEVER be worn with a skirt. 2) The jobs I interview for are in or connected to the IT departments. Everywhere I've worked or heard of, these people tend to be a bit more casual than the rest of the firm or company. I figure that wearing a suit with pants says; She's come to the job in formal attire showing respect, but she's not a complete stick-in-the-mud suit type. 3) I never wear skirts. Maybe 2 or 3 times out of a year AT MOST, will one find me in a skirt. Wearing a suit with pants is part of the way I tell the people interviewing me who I am.

I'm not one who spends much time thinking about her appearance, most days, being clean is good enough for me. I hate the job interview process because it forces me to do things I don't do, or that I hate to do like: 1) Obsess about my fingernails. I truly dislike my fingernails. They are clunky, rough, hang-nail ridden and prone to get dirt stuck underneath them no matter what I do. Polish is not the answer, cause I get finger sweats when I put on nail polish. 2)Wear make-up. My usual make-up is a quick swipe of eye-liner pencil, if that. In Chicago, I felt it was good enough to carefully line my eyes and put on a bit of mascara and a tiny bit of lip pencil. In Texas, (to be fair, also after aging quite a bit since my last job interview rounds) I felt foundation, powder, blusher and the full lip treatment were required. Ugh. The only saving grace is my almost unbelievably fair skin means that I can use very light foundation made for teenagers and that i found some light untinted powder to work with it. 3) Self-consciousness about the way I speak. I tend to over explain things, so i'm constantly worried about rambling. Also, I have an extensive active vocabulary, and I'm afraid that many people find my word choices and sentence structure pretentious. ( I blame my Grammar Teacher mom and my predilection for British murder mysteries in my youth - how was I to know that 1/2 of the vocabulary in those books was not used in commonplace American speech?)

Finally, I got THE BEST advice from my recruiter during this job search, and will document it here (and pass it along to any reading this). He wrote me the night before the interview and said "Make sure you find out in a subtle or direct way what they feel are your strengths and weaknesses for the job and overcome them." I was not able to figure any way to do this in a subtle manner, but I prepared this carefully worded question and used it during the interview when they asked me if I had any questions. "After what we've discussed here today, or from what you have seen on my resume, do you have any concerns about me as a candidate that I could address for you at this time?" IMO, that is a winner.

So, now that I have a job, I'm just hoping I never need to go on another job interview again. EVER.
DA me

Working on new techniques

Cunninminx is the model, this is a bw version of the photo I finished a couple of years ago:


Here I am working on a Lichtenstein inspired da version. It's a work in progress, so criticism or suggestions are welcome (it looks a bit over pink on the mac for some reason);


Recoginition must go to www.melissaclifton.com because I could not have gotten this far without her wonderful photoshop tutorials.
Street ME

So odd

I find it very odd that to find a suitable job in Fort Worth I had to start applying for jobs in Dallas. By applying for jobs in Dallas (where I did not want to work, a 1 1/2 hour commute each way seems excessive) a Dallas recruiter found me. He had a job in Fort Worth - and sent my resume to that firm. Of course, only after he sent in my resume, I checked my past job searches and found that a different recruiter had sent my resume in for the same job months ago. This time, however, they interviewed me, and made me go through an agonizing wait, then interviewed me some more, then made me go through another agonizing wait.

I got the job today. I start Monday.

The fact that I don't sound thrilled is not actually an indication that I'm not. The job is quite perfect. My new boss is a charming doll of a guy, the job is a perfect fit for my experience. The money's quite ok, the location is about 3 minutes from goodtexan's job, so I don't have to drive myself. Wonderful in fact.

But, this process - months of quietly trying to not burden goodtexan with my inability to contribute to our ever-dwindling resources - has taken a tole, I guess. I feel quite relieved, and I KNOW I am thrilled, but I seem unable to FEEL thrilled. I'm kinda numb.

Not being able to find employment - the experience just shattered me. And, I HATE being social when I'm so ... well, so... crushed, I guess. And after the Chicago week last month, a shattering experience in and of itself, I lost all my reserves. I had to retreat into myself as much as possible and by force of will alone keep going.

So, with the explanation for the month long silence on my part out of the way, does anyone want to see a Halloween themed picture of Kelvin?
Street ME

Laughter

Things have been pretty tough. So I'm appreciative of a good laugh now more than ever. I haven't laughed so hard in years...

http://dotfuturemanifesto.blogspot.com/2006/10/move-showing-dangers-of-trojan-horse.html

I don't really know how to embed a video, but this really made my week. (For those of you with a less classical education, you may find it amusing but not laughing out loud funny. For those of you who have some background in classics, be warned, you may bust a gut.)