Being different; standing out from the rest…hopefully.

I have yet to read my ABA journals and get up to date on the current legal events.  I’m sorry, it is on the list I promise.  However, I did do something today that I think will be helpful on getting out of the unemployment trench.  I revised my resume a little bit, but not how you think.   I put a QR code on it.

BOOM!  That is a huge QR code!  It’s not really that big on the resume though, that would be weird.  I do not know exactly how useful it will be for potential employer’s when they scan it and find my LinkedIn profile, but usefulness was not my primary goal when I did it.   I put this QR code on my resume to BE DIFFERENT from all the other resumes; to stand out from the rest.  Well, at least I hope it is different.  Who knows, maybe everybody is doing it and I’m just finally catching on.  Hopefully this is not the case and interviewers will be curious and impressed about the strange looking box at the top of my glorious resume.  If anything, it is worth a shot; I don’t think having it will hurt my resume at all.

I do have a question to you though: does the QR code look better centered or off to the side?

So please take the poll here and we will see how this goes.

Last week I got to put my suit on and go downtown to do some work for the firm I help out from time to time with (I left the satchel at home).  It was nice just being down there, in the hustle and bustle of the legal community.  Some people shy away at the whole downtown atmosphere with attorneys at every crosswalk, briefcases in one hand, Starbucks in the other.  I am not one of those people.  I love it.  Just being down there makes me feel at ease, like this is where I belong.  It also makes me feel smart.  That sounds silly, I know, but it really does have an influence on how I carry myself.

Speaking of putting on my suit and going downtown, I have a few interviews lined up for the next couple of weeks.  One is a telephone interview, which I have never done, and the other two are in-person.  I am a little weary regarding the phone interview just because I do not know what to expect.  I somehow have to get my outgoing, people person personality across the phone….this will be a challenge.  If anything, it is good experience and I am sure it will prepare me for other challenges that are in store for me.  In a similar analogy, it is like all the people that you have dated in your life. You learn from them, you know what you liked and what you did not like, and you apply that to the next person.  This process keeps going until you find THE ONE who is all the things you liked, minus all the things you did not like, plus a little something extra.  I’m not sure my wife likes this analogy that she is all the good from my ex’s, but I think it makes sense, and really, that is all that matters, right?  Lol.  So back on track here, all the experiences from job hunting are meaningful, even the bad ones.  We learn from what we did, we apply what we liked to the next experience, and hopefully do not apply what we did not like, and in the end, we have the perfect interview, and hopefully the perfect job.

Alright, off to go read up on current legal events!

Not supposed to be having fun

Well, I took a break from blogging; a whole 5 days. Since then, tragedy has occurred in Colorado, Penn State fans are in an uproar about their beloved statue coming down and the sanctions unloaded by the NCAA and Sally Ride, the first woman in space, passed away. It is amazing that the whole world can change in the blink of an eye. One minute, your going into a theater to relax and have fun, the next minute your whole world has been turned upside down. I cannot even imagine what those people and their loved ones are going through right now. May GOD be with them in during this incredibly unimaginable time.

Moving onto not so grim and depressing things, I am still unemployed. However, I did have lunch with a couple of lawyers last week who gave me hope of getting out of this dark tunnel called unemployment. They were incredibly down to earth guys, bantering back forth like good friends do. I felt welcomed to join in on their conversations and laugh at their jokes. On top of being able to have a relaxed conversation with them, I was able to have an intelligent conversation regarding legal matters and current events. I had almost forgotten what those conversations felt like! What does this mean? It means I need to get out more and talk to lawyers!

I do from time to time get to get out of the rut of looking for a job to actually do work for a criminal law firm downtown. I am on a need only basis; so when they need me to write a motion, do some research, they call and I gladly do it. As a matter of fact I am going downtown tomorrow to do some work for them, so that will be nice. I can’t tell you how much pleasure it gives me to be able to put my suit on, grab my satchel (hey, Indiana Jones wears one) and go downtown. GOD I need a job.

So after doing all my job searching today, I figured I would do something different. I’ve come to the conclusion that you can’t look for a job 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. To do this would be the sure route to insanity. So, I was going to go work on my Dad’s 1975 Dodge Power-wagon. I love that truck. It is the truck that I drove in high school. I probably should have died multiple times in it, as should most crazy 16 year olds who think they are invincible, but I did not die, and am very thankful for that. I enjoy going over to my parents and have been going over there a lot more often lately, but that is a different story. Perhaps another time. However, I did not go over there today (well, not yet), because I feel this overwhelming sensation of guilt. Guilt that I should not be doing anything other than look for a job, all day long, all week long, until I find a job. I know that this is an irrational thought, and that I should not feel guilty about it, but it is still in the back of my head.

In venting to my friend today about getting burnt out by early afternoon looking for jobs, she said that I should read up on the current law. This is a great idea and I will now put my subscription to the ABA Law Journals to use! She said that others in my profession probably don’t have time to stay current on the law and the legal current events because they have a job and are too busy. Suckers! Look at all the stuff those poor employed people are missing out on…well, not really but it felt good saying.

So with that said, maybe I will get into another sort of routine, one that involves getting up to date on current events in the legal arena. Hey, and THEN, maybe I can actually blog about that! Amazing! I like this idea. On this note, I am going to go over to work on the dodge….even though I’m not supposed to have any fun.

“Keep the dream alive” –Judge Dave Cole

Day three of blogging.  Will this be an everyday thing?  I do not think so; actually, I’m almost sure that it will not be.  Maybe I will take a break tomorrow.   I don’t want to burn myself out on this cool new and exciting adventure just yet.

So, I have been talking about this advice about “what to do when you are unemployed.”  I mentioned that I have read many articles giving opinions on this, handing out their own tips of advice and that lead me to dive further into a particular blog that I really enjoy reading: Penelope Trunk.  In reading this particular article  I was at first shocked, a little disturbed and then just accepted and moved on about it.  However, I thought that  I could add my two cents about it, just like a lot of her readers did.  The basics of the article is that you will not make any money by blogging.  Okay, I get that and totally understand that statement.  However, it is how Penelope words it that I think really perturbed some readers.  Penelope goes into saying that this one blogger is in the minority by making money off her blog:

Here’s what she has that you don’t: She’s a talented writer and a talented designer. She’s married to a developer who does all her tech stuff for free. And she has an amazing story to tell. She has the ability to translate her genius across many media—photography, memoir, twitter, and so on. She is a marvel. And you are not. None of us is. That’s why she is making so much money from her blog.

So, the way that Penelope goes about saying how some make it and most don’t is blunt to say the least; but being blunt is something that she says comes with the territory of being a blogger as well.  Fair enough, but (and yes, there is always a but) Penelope has a following of people that dream to be like her some day.  They dream to write and actually make money off of it.  They look up to her as an idol.  They strive to be like her.  I know this by reading the comments on her blogs from her readers.  So for Penelope to say to basically forget your dreams, they are not obtainable and super rare, is harsh.  It’s like an NBA or NFL player going on TV and saying: “Hey, you wanna be like me, too bad.  It’s not going to happen.  I’m a rare exception, so just go flip burgers instead.  Oh, and by the way, thanks for buying all my products that I make even more money off of.  And thanks for watching the game as well.”

Yes, we get it, being a Penelope Trunk or a Micheal Jordan is rare, but I don’t ever recall Jordan telling his fans to go flip burgers (I keep referencing the flip burgers thing because Penelope says that as well in the article) and don’t even bother to strive to be like him.  This reminds me of the scene from The Pursuit of Happiness, when Will Smith is playing basketball with his son, and he tells him to forget about ever making it as a basketball player.  But then he realizes that that is exactly what everyone is telling him as he tries to fulfill his dream to make it as a broker.  The desire to be something better is in all of us.  We all have someone, or some image of who we want to be like.  For Will Smith in that movie, it was seeing the guy getting out of the Ferrari.  He immediately thought, what does that guy do and how do I do it.

By the time I got into law school, I had 28 years of life experiences behind me.  Along the path to getting into law school, there were so many obstacles that pounded down on my end goal of becoming a lawyer, I would like to say that most would have just given up or changed paths.  I did not.  There is a saying in law school that has some truth to it: First year of law school, they (the school) scare you to death; second year they work you to death and third year they bore you to death.  I would like to add to that saying that during the first year, not only are you scared to death, but you feel like the stupidest person on the planet, and wonder how you ever made it thus far in life.  Which leads me to the title of this blog; keep the dream alive.

A few of the professors at my law school are retired judges, which makes for a wealth of information if you ever want to sit down with one of them.  One such professor was Judge Cole.  He was my torts professor my first year (1 L year).  Judge Cole clearly knew what we were feeling and going through as 1L’s.  He could probably smell the fear, or see the panic in our eyes as we entered the classroom.  But he did not try to add to this overwhelming fear, he instead told us, almost everyday as we left class to “keep the dream alive.”  I like to think that this helped with the whole being terrified thing.  He at least brought us back to the thinking of why we are where we are.  Think of all the things that you have done to get to this point.  You would not have made it this far if you didn’t really want it.  He would confirm what we always thought, that we did actually want to be there, no one was making us go to law school.  Yes, we did want to be lawyers, someday, some how.  Some did not want it that bad, and were weeded out the first year.  But those that made it, always kept the dream alive.  I can still hear him saying it.  Keep the dream alive.

So getting back to Penelope’s blog about not making it, I think it is just fuel for those that really want to keep their dream alive.  Don’t ever let someone else tell you that you can’t do something, even if it’s who you strive to be.  I think there is a point where we strive to be like someone, and then we realize that maybe they aren’t exactly the person we want to be.  That’s when it happens.  That is when you grow into the person that you are meant to be.  You can be that person, but better.

An example of what I’m trying to get across is this: When I first started this long and painful task of looking for a job, I would Google law firms that I was interested in, read about them, write this awesome cover letter, print out my glorious resume and put on my suit and drive down to their office to hand deliver my credentials.  Now, you have to realize that these firms I was applying to were private firms, not government firms.  So their websites did not have a “now hiring” or an online application system.  I was applying to these firms because this is where I wanted to work and once they saw me with my suit on and my amazing resume and cover letter, they would totally hire me.  Right?  Wrong.  I would say that about 85% of the time I would never get past the receptionist at the front desk.  On top of that, I would not even get a call back, or a letter saying thanks but no thanks.  The few polite and nice enough lawyers who gave me the time of day and told me everything looks great but they were just not hiring right now, I would send a thank you letter to.    I know how it feels to put in all this time and effort of getting the perfect cover letter, combined with the perfect resume, getting all dressed up and driving down to their office to not even get a thanks but no thanks.  So I still strive to be like these awesome private firms that I applied to, but I now strive to be better than them.

So to the readers of the Penelope Trunk blog, keep the dream alive.  Strive to be better than Penelope, and don’t let anyone, not even Penelope herself, tell you that you can’t make it.  And to you Penelope Trunk, you are a role model, whether you want to be or not.  Like a good attorney doing their closing statements, know your audience.

And then there was two….

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Day number two of having a blog.  I have to admit, it is exciting.  Like a new toy that you just got, sitting out there, waiting to be played with.  And I’m impressed with the WordPress support staff; there was a problem with my blogs posting to my twitter account, they had it fixed in a matter of hours.  So yea, I think I’m liking this blog thing; who needs a job when you can blog!  Ummmm yea, that is not going to work though, especially with all the things I have planned for this thing called life.

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So, like I said in yesterdays blog, I apply for anything remotely similar to what I went to school for.  This has ended up to include job postings for secretary positions.  For these secretary positions there is a written exam that you have to take in order to get to the interview stage.  The first test I took was about an hour and twenty minutes from my house, one way.  I did not know what to expect, went in there to wing it.  Fortunately I passed the test, unfortunately and quite depressingly, I was not invited back for an interview.  Apparently I was “over qualified.”  When another secretary position opened up for the city in which I actually live in, I of course applied.  This time, instead of there being 15 people applying for the sole secretary spot, there was about 150 for three, yes, three spots.  However, I was not the only male as I was the first time I took the test in the distant city; this time I think there was about five guys.  The whole thought that all these people were hoping to land a spot for one of THREE open positions is scary.  You have to distinguish yourself from everyone else.  You have to stand out.  You have to be THE ONE.  Because “there can only be one,” right?   So how do you do this?  I don’t know, I’m trying to figure that one out myself.  I just got the results back from this past secretary test, apparently I passed and will be invited for an interview.  So I have to stand out, and I don’t think being a male secretary is the kind of “standing out and distinguishing yourself from the rest” they are looking for.  So we will see, I’ll think of something.

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Up until going to law school, life was a walk in the park for me, or easy as pie as the lovely pic shows.  Since law school, I’ve been beat up, spit out, and stepped on.  Nothing was easy about it.  My wife tells me that it is so hard because this is the one thing that I want in life, so I’m going to have to work like crazy to obtain it.  It makes sense. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

Prior to graduating law school, I interned as a prosecutor.  It was by far, hands down, the best thing I ever did in law school.  I absolutely loved it.  I would love to work there RIGHT NOW, only that I went to law school in a different city in where I live now.   That is a whole other story which I will tell another time.  But, the reason for me bringing this up is that I would love to work in a public firm again.  The rush of going into court, being there to ensure justice is obtained, presenting your case in front of your peers, grabbing ideas and objecting to opposing counsel on the fly, always being on high alert, and my favorite, the closing statement.  Being a prosecutor allows you to go first, and last with regards to closing statements.  The reason being that the prosecutor (the state) has the burden of proof, so it should be allowed to go first, and also rebut the defense’s closing argument.  It almost seems that having two chances to do your closing is a bit of an advantage, but in reality, you are the one who has the burden of proof.  And in criminal cases (which is all I had; 14 trials) the burden of proof is at its highest: proof beyond a reasonable doubt.   So yes, your voice is the last voice that the jury or judge (depending on whether it is a jury or a bench trial) hears before deciding the fate of your case.  After a full day of trials, back to back to back, it is as if you just ran a marathon.  It seriously is such a mental workout, you feel exhausted.  But just like a good physical workout, it is a good type of exhaustion.  It is addicting.  So you go back, and do it all over again.  Speaking of which, I need to join a gym or something….

And of course, joining a gym or just plain exercising is on many of the “what to do when you are unemployed” lists.  So that is something that I need get to.  To be honest, I started running.  It was great, having that good sore feeling.  I was even running in my vibrams, which of course made me a professional runner.  But I just stopped doing it for some reason. I need to get back into it.  If anything my dog Charlie misses it.

My name is David Wilkison, and this is my blog.

The daily grind; how to get into a rut.

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So every morning, I wake up, play with my youngest (usually bad guys), then he goes to his grandma’s house, I make my cappuccino (which I still haven’t figured out how to make any type of design whatsoever in the creme) and have a banana and get on the computer.  From the computer, I look at all job sites that I of course have bookmarked in my browser, going down to the next one, to the next one, to the next one.  If there is a new job posting for anything remotely similar to what I spent going to college and law school for, then I write a nice little cover letter and submit it with my glorious resume.  This ladies and gentlemen is a rut.  I do this everyday.  

So, how to get out of a rut.  Well, I’m doing it right now, you are reading it right now as I crawl out of this trench I’ve so willingly barricaded myself in.  I read about starting a blog months and months ago.  I attempted to do it, but the website I started it on wasn’t very user friendly, so I canceled it in a matter of hours.  I’ve read so many articles that explain how to make the most out of your time not working.  Network network network seems to be the common denominator of all the suggestions.  Volunteer.  Yes, I know it is a great thing, and yes, I will…I keep telling myself I will.  

I have all these great plans, to be great, to do great things.  For the first time in my life, I feel as though there is a time crunch for all this greatness to occur.  I’m 32 years old; time isn’t stopping, and I’m not getting any younger.  Now is the time.  Make it happen.  DO SOMETHING.  I will, I tell myself, I will.  

So the first thing is to get out the rut that you are in.  Try something new tomorrow; change can be a good thing, it can get you from here to there, and before you know it, you are somewhere.  Somewhere is better than nowhere right? 

Using the iphone

So, this is me blogging from the phone. It of course would be ideal to use the iPad, except for the fact that I don’t have one, so the phone will have to do. And what is this link button??? link
Guess we will see what that does.

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The first post

Hello, my name is David Wilkison.  First, thanks for reading this, yes you, the only person that is reading this.  Well, I took up the advice of many and started my own blog, because this is apparently what you do when you are unemployed, well, besides look for a job.  So this will be a blog, about my journey of being unemployed, with a wife, kids and a piece of paper that says I’m edumacated.  Enjoy all you want.

Blog at WordPress.com.

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