It’s official. My small law firm will be closing its doors at the end of July.
The two [very senior] name partners have decided to each go his own way – and without any regard for the staff. The staff ranges in age from 45 to 67, and most have been with the firm for 10, 15, 20 or even 30 years. I have been with them for 18-1/2 years.
Associates and secretaries were told several weeks ago to start looking for other jobs and that there will be no severance pay. Health insurance may or may not continue inasmuch as COBRA does not come into play when an employer disappears.
One attorney and a secretary found new jobs immediately (yay for them!); the rest are searching frantically.
Me? Well, I’ve been blithely working in silence, content in the knowledge that my boss assured me he would take me along to his new office in the largest law firm in town.
Granted, I wasn’t thrilled with the idea, as that firm has a reputation for being the worst place to work if you’re not an attorney, and I wasn’t looking forward to parking every day in a City ramp, nor was I happy that I would give up my beautiful office with the door and windows, to move into a cubicle farm.
But at least I wouldn’t be on the street, right?
So, I’ve been working diligently in order to keep in good standing – sure wouldn’t want to get fired before the transfer, right?
While waiting for the official engagement letter from the new firm, I decided to upgrade my wardrobe a bit since the new firm has a “dress code” that is definitely not in alignment with my current business casual (actually, more like grunge casual) duds. While shopping, I found myself buying outfits that would also be appropriate for a job interview, just in case.
“Just in case” turned out to be “damned good thing I did.”
Yesterday, my boss informed me that he probably won’t be able to take me because I “make too much money” (say what? I haven’t had a raise in 10 years and can barely pay the mortgage!) and the new firm already has plenty of support staff (much less experience, but cheaply paid, and the bottom line rules).
Could I go to that new firm for a decreased salary? Sure, technically – but I’ve worked my ass off to get where I am, and if I’m going to take a decrease in pay, be forced to go back to full-time, be forced into a cubicle, and have to start paying into my health insurance (and maybe have to discontinue my Remicade treatments), it’s sure not going to be in the City. Jobs in the suburbs pay just as well and have free parking. And I would no longer have to tolerate my boss screaming at everyone every day – nor would I have to worry about transferring all those active files currently sitting in my office.
May the job hunting begin. Does networking help? I guess I’m going to find out. Wish me luck.
(Meanwhile, if you hear of a job for a top-notch real estate paralegal who has closing and title experience, let me know. Or an office manager job. Or a job that would incorporate my writing and/or photography. Anyone want to start funding my travel posts? That would be way cool.)
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Image by Cordelia’s Mom