“The client hates you and now I have to eat that $50!”
The client in question had been a bitch on wheels throughout the entire real estate deal. On the day of closing, she had decided that she wanted her sales proceeds wired instead of deposited. There was no time to re-do the closing statement. She had previously been advised, both verbally and by email, that there would be a $50 fee to wire proceeds, and she had opted against that at the time, so surely she knew we would charge that fee now. Due to the tight time frame, no one thought to call the client – again – to advise of the wire fee. The file was already with the closer.
On every real estate sale, we hold a $250 water escrow pending payment of the final bill, so one of the attorneys suggested taking the $50 from the water escrow and doing a revised closing statement later. Unfortunately, this advice was not in writing and afterwards the attorney “did not recall” making that suggestion. The post-closing package that normally goes out to the clients would include a revised closing statement, but due to the overwhelming workload, the clerk responsible for that package had not gotten to it before the client went ballistic and called The Boss. The client threatened to file a grievance with the Bar Association.
And all the grief came down on me, as I was the paralegal handling the file. I could have done more. I should have done more. Perfection was expected at all times.
It was the final straw. I already was not sleeping, and when I did sleep I had nightmares about work – did I miscalculate an adjustment on a closing statement, did I forget to send out a status report to one of the clients, had any of the clients misunderstood anything I had told them, was everyone everywhere totally happy with me? Have I been complying with the extremely regimented office protocol? Was I following the bathroom rules?
At 3:00 am, I made the decision. I am 65 and will be 66 in early 2018. I would quit now, live off the proceeds from the sale of my prior house, and apply for Social Security next year. Of course, I would still have to work, but I could supplement Social Security with just a part-time job. Heck, I could be a Walmart greeter and survive, and I certainly would be much happier.
The next day I gave my two weeks’ notice, and I slept like a baby that next night.
My intention is to take a couple of months off while dealing with household construction and medical issues, and then find something for, at most, 4 days a week – in a support role where someone else has ultimate responsibility for the final outcome. Most likely, it will not be in the legal field – but hopefully, will be a job that can use my extensive experience and skills.
Only time will tell. Am I a little scared? Absolutely. I have never left a job without having something else lined up, and jobs are not easy to find when one is a senior citizen. The proceeds from the sale of my prior home will not last forever.
On the up side: The Boss is trying very hard to come up with some kind of part-time position that I can live with, assuming I’m willing to stay in that office at all. I’m not totally opposed to that. After all, some income, even in a less than desirable environment, is better than no income in an ideal environment.
Again, time will tell. For now, I’m looking forward to two months of absolute nothingness.
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Images by Cordelia’s Mom