Tuesday, January 3, 2017


A little over a year ago, I transferred jobs from one in a big city to one in a smaller city closer to my home. The salary didn't change as I was in the same position (title/class/grade), but with a different agency; however, the benefits were numerous: my husband works down the street, I didn't have to rely on public transit anymore, and it was in a notably safer location.

All that said, I was miserable for most of my first year in this position. My office had never had a paralegal before and I spent a lot of time performing tasks I hadn't had to perform at my last position because that office had a substantial support staff. This office has two support positions, mine and the office manager position. Despite my efforts, I struggled with convincing the attorneys I worked with that I had the skill set to do so much more than what they were asking of me and I spent most of my days bored and, to be honest, rather resentful. One of the reasons I took this position was because Eric and I had planned to have a baby and once he came to terms with the fact that he didn't really want one, I started to feel like I made the move for nothing. When I was offered this position, I had also been offered a position in the big city that was a higher salary by two grades, which meant my salary would increase at least 12%. I turned it down because I wanted to leave the big city, and I had started to regret that decision.

Then in May, the office manager announced that she was considering retirement because her daughter was pregnant and she wanted to help her daughter out with the baby. Six months later, she officially retired and as the only other support person in the office, I assumed all of her duties and began receiving acting pay. It has been made clear to me by the hiring attorneys in my office that their intent is to move me fully into the office manager position and then decide what to do with my position.

This has led to a lot of good things, and some bad things. To end on a positive note, I'll start with the bad things: my office manager checked out long before she actually retired and she left me quite a few exasperating surprises that I've had to take care of in my first few weeks. The future of my current position is at stake as we have to demonstrate the need for two support staff in my unit. Even if we do manage to convince the department that my position is necessary, the state remains under a hiring freeze and it will be a while before we can hope to fill the position.

The good things are that I was able to catch up on the work my office manager neglected in a relatively short amount of time, I'm receiving more money in my acting capacity and have a better idea of what my salary will be once I'm fully moved into the position. Moving into this position will better prepare me for moving on once I finish my masters and start looking for a position in policy. I'm able to learn both through school and through hands on experience the different aspects of running an office. For instance, this semester, my first class is on budget and financial management, which will come in handy as we move into legislative session and I'm faced with maintaining the budget for this year and making our requests for next fiscal year's budget.

So, in the end I guess the old saying of "good things come to those who wait" is very true. I may have obtained a higher salary a year earlier had I stayed in the city, but I don't think I would have been satisfied with my position or would have found the drive to go back to school. Now I'm earning the same salary I would have earned there, but with 2 semesters of grad school under my belt and a solid plan for my future.

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