A New Job, Sort Of

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I’ve been able to personalize my new work area a little bit more than my old one!

If you’ve been keeping up with this blog for awhile, then you’ll know that for over a year now, since March 2017, I have been desperately wanting a new job. When I asked the universe to help me out with that, I was incredibly specific that I wanted one at another business, but apparently all it had to give me at this point in time was a new position at my current place of employment.

I work at a law firm. I’d been the receptionist for the past four years (my anniversary is the start of May), but two weeks ago I moved up in the ranks and became a proper legal secretary!

How this came to pass is a story full of panic and cautious optimism. About a month ago now, I came into work one morning and was getting settled at my desk when my coworkers A and T rushed over to my desk. This was odd, and I immediately felt a slight sense of alarm.

“We have news!” they said.

“What happened?” I asked warily.

“L gave her notice this morning, she got a new job!”

I was incredibly jealous (Why wasn’t I getting to escape?) but I also felt happy for her — I knew she’d been very unhappy at work for a long time, largely because of one of the attorneys she was assigned to, a woman I’ll call C.

I could go into a looooot of detail about how awful C is, but for the sake of looking at least slightly professional to any future employers who might come across this blog, I’ll keep it to this: she is nice to your face, but is an incredibly demanding extreme perfectionist, to the point of toxicity. When I went to congratulate L on her new job, she confided in me that she’d been having frequent panic attacks because of C, and that C was pretty much the entire reason she was leaving. (Fun Fact: in the past four years the only people that have left our firm have worked with C.)

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A closer look at my figures! Everything except the mermaid and Morgan from P5 had been previously tucked in a corner of my old reception desk that no one could really see.

A legal recruiter I’d met with earlier in the spring had told me that my resume was a little awkward for her to market because I’ve been in a firm for years, have a good admin background, but had no experience with dedicated legal secretary paperwork. L’s vacancy would be a good opportunity for me to get more skills so I could get out. But….C. C was the entire reason that I didn’t immediately run to F and ask for the job.

I’ve been working with C often myself — she’s been frequently giving me different types of work ever since I started with the firm, because she decided early on that I was smart and capable enough to work with her. So I’m extremely familiar with how she is, and I knew that if I worked for her, I’d be shortly having frequent panic attacks myself.

I consulted with my office manager and the other secretaries and they all agreed that there was no way I could take C and F, especially considering I hadn’t been a full-on legal secretary before. But my office manager floated an idea with F and our other boss E: “Krys can’t possibly take on two partners, so why doesn’t she take F and…I don’t know, maybe G?”

G is super nice, and easy to work with. F is also pretty easy to work with, and while he does put out a lot of work, he’s not overly picky about how it gets done the way C is. It’s a long complicated story, but we were able to swap some of the attorneys around between the secretaries so I could have F and G. They’re also in the process of hiring a new attorney, and my assumption is whoever they hire will get assigned to me as well, just to keep all the numbers even between the secretaries.

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The trinkets I keep under my monitor — a tiny lucky cat from a Neko Atsume blind box and a squishy Aggretsuko that a friend recently brought me from Japan.

Being a legal secretary is somehow not that different than some of the work C was having me do, but there’s just a lot more of it. Also, large portions of my day are spent typing F’s long dictations, to the point where sometimes the thoughts in my head are in his voice, lol. I find myself feeling more tired at the end of the day than I did when I was receptionist, probably because there were more lulls at the front desk than I get now. But I feel more satisfied about work, and the day goes by faster because I’m more occupied.

Plus, C has largely gotten off my back, which my office manager predicted! She was still giving me a lot of work for the first few days (which caused me a fair bit of anxiety because I just wanted to be rid of her so badly and it hit me that it will never happen as long as I work here!). But I’ve made it clear with my actions that she’s less of a priority to me now (aka, I’m taking longer to do her stuff because I’m doing work that F and G asked for first). Supposedly I’ll be getting a raise as well, but I still need to talk money with F. I’m honestly not expecting to get the figure I have in mind because they don’t really pay any of us what we’re really worth, but any money is good money.

So I guess I’ll be staying at this office for another eight to twelve months before I start looking for a new job again, just to be sure I have the skills firmly under my belt. I didn’t mean to wind up in the legal field now, but since I’ve wound up here, I’m going to start making the most of it. My career future feels brighter than it has in a long time!

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(My final piece of cubicle decor are these two prints! The Journey one up top is by Etherelle — I bought it at Anime Boston and had it up on my whiteboard at home before bringing it to my new desk. You can buy a larger version of it here — they don’t seem to sell the postcard size on their site. The lower one is the Pokemon Swablu and Altaria,  done by Cryptovolans. You can buy it here.)

 

Desk Tour!

Since I’m not in a financial position to move out of my family home, something I’ve been working on is making my room as nice a place as possible. A big part of that was having a functioning work space. I had a desk, but it was the desk I’d had since I was a child, and the space for the chair was so low that the worktop was at an uncomfortably high level. My desk was basically unworkable, so I was using my laptop on my bed all the time, which was awful for both my back and my mattress.

Getting a new desk was complicated, because the locations of the electrical outlets in my room means that basically all my furniture has to stay where it is. So any replacement desk would have to go in a very narrow space. I looked for months and months, even considering long skinny tables instead of desks, until I stumbled upon the perfect solution. And now I have a work area that I really love!

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My desk is Ikea’s Lisabo. When I first spotted it in the store I thought it was a skinny table, but when I realized it was an actual desk, I was even more excited. The drawer is very small, which is mildly annoying, but I am still able to keep a few essentials right at hand (headphones, hand cream, other assorted wires and things). I’m not sure where my chair came from, but my mom kindly bought it for me a few years ago when I still had my old desk. It’s not very comfortable (note the makeshift cushion I’ve made by stuffing a fleece blanket into a pillowcase). I’d like to get a new chair, but good desk chairs are surprisingly expensive, so I’m waiting for now. It’s good enough. I got that little rug at Target to muffle my wheels, and keep the chair from sliding so much. (It was on clearance when I bought it, so I can’t link it, sorry!)

Another thing I’d like to point out while we’re on this picture is the black wire dangling from the side of my desk. I was tired of leaning over to pick up my laptop cable whenever it was time to charge, so I stuck up a Command hook to hold the wire when I don’t need it. I love Command products (strips, hooks, etc.), I’m pretty sure everything on my wall is held up by them. (Not spon, but 3M, please spon? lol.)

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Here’s what that little Ikea lamp looks like turned on. It was daytime when I snapped this, but it still looks very pretty. I love this lamp so much that when I accidentally smashed it this summer, I cried really hard (summer was a low time for my mental health, fyi). As soon as I was able to make a trip out to Ikea (which wasn’t for more than a week) I went and bought a replacement. It’s a Knubbig, but for some reason they don’t sell this version (or its silver counterpart) online.

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Here you can see my workaround for having a tiny desk drawer: bins! Like many of my other organizational things, I picked them up at Target. I keep the things I want most often in the top bin, and the rest of my desk stuff in the bottom one. I also occasionally pull the stack out and use the flat top as an extra surface to put stuff on, like when I’m doing my makeup or something. I’ll also store bills/papers on top of the stack when it’s pushed in, just so the desktop feels tidier.

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Speaking of my desktop….

There’s a lot to unpack here. My laptop is a several year old big boy from HP’s Envy line. It runs Windows 8 and has a touch screen that I don’t really use that much. When I was shopping I told the guy at the store that I wanted to edit video and play games, because my previous laptop struggled with both (so much lag with games!), and this is what he suggested. I’m still using the same wired mouse I got for my first laptop in 2009, because if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! Also along the lines of technology is the Blue Yeti microphone folded up in the corner there. I asked for it for Christmas when I was in my songwriting phase with the intention of recording my songs and doing YouTube voiceovers, and I haven’t really done either of those very much, but I find it pretty easy to use, a very plug and play device.

My makeup is all stacked up on the left hand side. Basically everything is from Target. The white bin on top is holding my brushes, mirrors, pens, and a few other miscellaneous things. Target sells this bin in various colors and sizes, and I use others throughout my room. Those stacked boxes with the green latches are where I keep most of my makeup — eyes on top, face in the middle, lips on the bottom. The blue fabric pouch on the side is where I keep eyeshadow palettes. Chocolate is mandatory to keep on hand, lol.

I’ve also got that magnet board/white board, purchased at Target (but unavailable on their website). I’ve got a bunch of random things stuck up there with these cute little magnets I found on Amazon. Some of my favorite things on this board are the magnet on the upper right that my friend made me after I played the Doctor’s route of Hatoful Boyfriend; the baby picture of my old cat Kitty, who I still miss; and the picture of my friends and I in the bottom right where we posed “family photo” style. I also keep track of how many of my yearly days off from work I still have left.

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This is my calendar. I had a dry erase marker calendar for a long time, but I finally got rid of it over the summer. I like this style better, because I can flip ahead and fill in things happening in coming months, which isn’t possible with a whiteboard. I bought this in the summer, and tearing off each month has been satisfying. It’s by the brand Blue Sky and I found it at Target. When I see Blue Sky stationary stuff at Target, it’s usually pretty cute! I like the design of this calendar a lot.

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I like pins, but I’m afraid to put them on bags, jackets, etc. because I’m afraid to lose them. I saw a craft like this online a long time ago, and finally made one of my own. I bought and embroidery hoop and super cheap boring fabric at a craft store, in case it didn’t work nicely. But it worked out well, so I aim to someday get around to changing out the fabric and also making a second hoop so the pins aren’t so crowded. I can’t tell you the artists for most of these pins, but the mermaid pin in the middle is Maya Kern’s Sea Bitch pin, and the humanized Pinkie Pie is a very old design done by my close IRL friend, the moderately Tumblr famous artist kingsdarga. The Bioshock Infinite Vigors are a gift from a few years ago (actually, coincidentally, from kingsdarga), and are official merch, but don’t seem to be available anymore.

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I also have this pinboard, another Target find. I bought this because I had too many things to fit on my whiteboard. I don’t know the artists of a lot of this stuff, because much of it is gifts. Up top, I have some cards — on the left is the holiday card my friend Sam from the blog Pretty Thoughtful sent me, middle is a card kingsdarga wrote me in the summer when I was having super bad mental health times, and on the right is a joke-y Christmas card another friend drew after being super impressed by this mashup of Mariah Carey and My Chemical Romance. (Fun Fact: I am the only one of my friends incapable of producing excellent art, lol.)

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The final, latest addition to my desk area is this puzzle. My friend who drew the My Chem card got everyone in our friend group puzzles for Christmas, printed up on Shutterfly of different images pertaining to things that we liked. She also gave us frames and glue, so we could preserve them once we’d finished. My picture is from Journey, my favorite video game of all time. It’s a beautiful picture to look at. I hung this frame, as well as my whiteboard and pinboard, with these particular Command strips.

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So that’s it! I hope you’ve enjoyed this little peek into my room, and seeing where the “magic” of this blog happens! What sorts of interesting things do y’all have in your office spaces?

–Krys