Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Thinking about being a lawthing...

I've got two interviews this week for my next round of internships.

I'd be happy to get either of them; I'd even be delighted to get neither of them. Basically, either internship will pay a great deal of money, but I've applied for some that pay a great deal more.

And by a great deal of money, I mean more money than I have ever been paid, in my life. Not just more per hour, but if I were to get one of these internships, over the length of the internship, I'd make more money than I've made before in my life, total. Period.

These figures have got me thinking: am I worth it? and is the work worth it?

The work of a lawthing is not the hardest work I've ever done; it's not got the worst hours, and it's not the dullest, or thus far, the most distasteful. By and large, it's not just more pleasant, but easier, than the work I did as a barista.

Yes. Easier.

I think everyone would expect more pleasant; after all, being a barista does occasionally involve spills of hot things, cleaning up various goos of various origins, long hours on your feet, customers who can be demanding, demeaning, bitter, and ungrateful...while lawthing work mostly takes place in fairly clean offices, seated on a chair, with periods set aside for eating and staring at things.

But being a lawthing, even a really, really good lawthing, as I have turned out to be- is easier than being a mediocre barista, which is what I was. Being a barista required knowing what was going on, all around me, on multiple levels- predicting what to do in the next fifteen seconds, the next five minutes, and the next four hours. No time for dicking around; any mistake is immediately evident. Well, most mistakes are immediately evident -one time a trainee used the urn-brush to clean the toilets. It would have been nice if that were known sooner. Like, before someone cleaned the coffee urns.

Being a lawthing is like...being a high school student. Deadlines are written down and known in advance. Nothing is turned over without exhaustive checking and re-checking. It's research, writing, interviewing, responding, and minor administrative stuff...nothing but the actual legal reasoning, and to some extent, the writing is in any way difficult. And it's interesting stuff, too.

So at the coffee shop, I made no more than $8.44 an hour, plus tips. None of the internships I have applied for will pay me less than three times that amount. So- was I underpaid at the coffeeshop? Will I be overpaid in the fall?

1 comment:

rob said...

I know exactly how you feel.