I'm a little slow today. I just switched to Sanka. So...have a heart?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Working scares the shit out of me.

So, like, I'm a real lawyer now and everything, and like I have to talk to clients and go to court, and write motions and complaints that don't really even get edited anymore... and I have to defend counts for contempt, and move for injunctive relief and replevin and quiet title, and motions for enlargement, and I write releases, and correspond with opposing counsel, and yell at them on the phone when they're yelling at me, and I know people in the Clerk's office (again) and I walk around with files and ties and I move for attorney's fees and costs...

And inside, I'm freaking out. All. The. Time.

At this rate, I'm going to have a heart attack by the time I'm 34. I hate having clients call on the phone and ask for me. I hate making up reasons why nothing's been done on their case, when I've done all I can for the moment. I hate having opposing counsel call on the phone and ask for me. I hate that my boss says, "I need that hearing rescheduled. You're not going to reschedule? Fine, I'll just send (insert my name here... by the way, people who leave comments, please stop including my name in the comments. Thanks.) to the hearing.


And when I say to him, "Uh, are you sure?" he says, "Yeah. Just think of how well you did in law school."

Riiiight. Apples and oranges, that.

It's fantastic that I'm getting so much experience. I'm learning volumes, and I'm getting my hands dirty and my feet wet. I also don't calm down when I get home. My shoulders are up around my ears and when my head turns, something rips in the shoulders. Really. The middle of my back hurts, and I'm exhausted. January was brutal, and February is even worse. It's probably a combination of things: my boss actually trusts me (and tells me he does) and is giving me increased responsibilty commeasurate with my ability to handle the same. Also, summer is a slow time, autumn sort of heats up on a big push before the dormant holidays, and then there's January when everything goes a-hoppin' again. Spring is pretty steady until the summer lull comes again. So it could be that too...

I'm really hoping that this is just seasonal, because honestly? I don't want work to be like this. I really liked the first few months, when I was easing into things...I had a few tasks to do at one time... sometimes I'd run out...and I could play on the internet.

Nowadays when I go and chatty cathy or play on the interweb, it's not for lack of things to do, it's for lack of ability to do them. The harder I start the day, the earlier I fizzle out, and the worse the burn out is.

I just have so much to do...and now...there are so few times when I actually feel like I know what I'm doing. And it's that that's really getting to me...because when I don't know what I'm doing, I panic, and I stop breathing, and I get knots in my stomach and in my shoulders, and heartburn, and my jaw tenses up, and I get headaches, and my hands go numb, and lately I've been pretty sure I've been having a heart attack on numerous occasions. Oh, and I don't sleep well. I wake up every morning at 6 a.m. Worrying. I'm not supposed to get up till 7:17.

Now... I know that nothing that I'm doing is life or death...that's why I went the Civil route, instead of the criminal route. But the fact remains that this job is pretty intimidating. There are undiscovered rules and secret combinations of statutes and caselaw everywhere...at every moment of every day, I feel like I'm going to step on a landmine, or fall down a hole with spikes on the bottom, that was covered with grass thatch. There are other asshole lawyers out there everywhere, that invent reasons to get you in trouble when you legitimately got their retarded motions defeated, creating more work for you go to and defend their frivolous "revenge" motions. Yeah, I'm starting to take other people's incompetence and pettiness personally.

I keep on breathing, and I keep on doing what I have to do, because I'm learning and I'm growing, and I'm astounded that I'm actually doing the things I'm doing... Holy shit, I'm a practicing lawyer, that actually comes up with good arguments for things, and writes complaints that when read a few days later by the author are still impressive. I'm going to be good at my job one day. I know I am. Hell, I already am for my age and my experience.

But I'm getting concerned that getting good at this job is going to have serious consequences for my health and sanity... I know I'll freak out less and less, and have a better handle on what's going on very soon. Right now, however, at work, I feel the same way I did the first time I drove a stick shift on actual roadways with actual cars when I was 15... I have no idea what I'm doing, no automatic reflexes or wisdom of habit or experience... I'm in dangerous and potentially fatal terrain, most people aren't watching out for me, I'm going way faster than I want to be going, and I can't find the brakes because I don't know where they are, and there's just too much happening around me.

I'm proud of getting myself to where I am now. I'm just scared shitless to be here.

And on top of all of this, I have a nail in my tire.