Another Paralegal Moment

Southern Yard Art *original photo by Valerie Macewan

More Paralegal Days*:

Episode Three*

I‘ve only got ten minutes to post this morning… over-slept. Too warm under all the quilts. Grandma-made quilts, the real warm kind. Cold in NC is not what you’d really call “cold.” Not the real holy shit, look at the white out snow, standard most of yall go by. No, the cold here at the ass end of the Great Dismal is often just a killing frost and we’re having our first one in mid-March this year. The frost caught the jonquils and azaleas by surprise. Come South! Our snow only lasts a few hours at the most. As the local weatherman said, “It’s too late to be this cold, for sure.”

It felt mighty good this morning, around 6 a.m., under the quilts, warm and toasty. Couldn’t see my way clear to climbing out from under the comfort. Climbing out accomplished and now that I’ve had my coffee, I can post and then get to work.

You folks with snow can relate to the hibernation mode.

Thinking back, I once worked for this town’s small police force as a data processor and evidence room clerk. Members of the police community here weren’t consumed with making mistakes. They have to present an image of doing exactly what is needed. The public expects it. Most police-persons in this small (tiny) town aren’t consumed with self-doubt. They do their job. If they make a mistake, they own it. I quit that job to become a paralegal. Worst career mistake I ever made but it was all about the money. It was time to do something with my political science degree.

Southern cops are not all Bubba’s with long guns and little brains. They’re polite, for the most part, and doing the best they can on small paychecks (most have at least one other job to help pay bills), and they have little law enforcement formal training. A six week BLET class and then on the job training. Unlike those who go to law school … those who learn how to cover their ass in a formal setting.

But, working with as a paralegal with Sycophant Boy, I am beginning to see just how hard it is to function under the always-cover-your-ass type of person. Cover your ass as in not ever ever making a mistake. And never ever admitting to mistakes. Wow, he’s starting to sound like 45.

It must be extremely difficult to work under a fearcloud, one that won’t allow for mistakes. I’ve made a crapload of them in this lifetime, I swear. At first, they were difficult to admit. Now, I’ve realized that you say, “I’m sorry”, sit back and take the flack, and get on with it. The amazing thing is, the world keeps spinning, Wall Street still trades, and it’s commerce as usual in the Free World.

Sycophant Boy believes the world will end if he misses a court date or is reprimanded by a Judge. I guess this is traumatic, but I know it’s not earthshattering. One would think that this fear would spur on a deep committment to keeping up with work. The opposite happens. He is stymied by indecision. Afraid of the repercussions of decision. He must have the approval of Small Attorney before he can progress.

This must be why he throws such tantrums. Why he tells me I’m stupid, that “I’m killing him,” when I make a typo or give him a handwritten callback note instead of putting it in the computer. Well, such is life. I strive for a modicum of perfection… not meaning I’m a slacker… meaning that I work each day to the best of my ability. I expect the attorneys to fill me in on points of law of which I am not familiar.

This diatribe, then, consists of me bitching. Small and petty.

I know this thing and I know it well. People can’t stand to be humiliated.

There’s a difference between feeling stupid, being told you’re stupid — and making a mistake and owning up to it.

Perhaps I was spoiled by my parents. Never yelled at, never a subject of scorn, I was encouraged to try again and get it right. With a little more knowledge and a little more help from them. I suppose Small Attorney was told he was stupid. And small, very short, his Napoleon complex fills the room with its grand proportions. He’s also a Civil War re-enactor.

It’s a damn shame. It not only warps the ego, it affects, greatly, one’s ability to empathize with other people.

More of a less personal nature tomorrow. I need to get back to talking to yall about Velma, Vivian, Miss Patty and interesting and KIND people. These were the black days of my life, dark and swimming in negativity and nasty notions. Glad they’re over.

*links to previous Paralegal Days posts. There’s so much to tell yall. I’ve got photos here, somewhere, of the conference room which is, as God is my witness, designed to replicate the Bridge of the Starship Enterprise. Walls painted like spaceship windows … whoosh sound when the door opens… weird phones …