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“Employment contributes neither to advantage nor happiness. It is but honorable exile from one’s family and affairs.”

— Thomas Jefferson

I am fiercely proud of my  blogging record over the last few months. I set out a commitment – that I would be posting three times a week, and that would be maintained come hell or high water as far as I could. So it is with some trepidation that I contemplate the decline of this little escapade because of the intrusive reality of employment.

I have some of that now. Well I have it for this week, I can’t make any comments on how much longer that situation might obtain. It’s a week to week kind of gig. As my brother would put it, I’ve joined the cast of informal labourers in Hong Kong.

So what am I doing? Well I’m working as a Temporary Legal Assistant [Official Title] at Pinsent Masons. They’re a medium sized law firm that specialized in construction law. It’s not the cutting edge of exciting. And its not the cutting edge of wealthy either. But you have to start somewhere.

And this is a good place to start. They are good people, always smiling, quite open, very helpful. Who knew there were lawyers that were  pretty good human beings first. At a superficial level at any rate. They’re still professionals and damn hard working ones at that.

It’s also been a nice chance to discover how I react to the every day world of employment. One of the things that has been reassuring to learn, even if its just in my own experience, is that I have the ability to get into the zone very easily. You give me some space, cut off my internet, and tell me what to do and I’ll monster it. I find it very easy to transition into that mode where you loose track of time and focus on the task at hand and work at your maximum capability. The result has been that I’ve been far more productive and gotten more done then they expected me to achieve. I take this from the fact that I’ve already made my boss struggle twice to come up with a task for me to do. That would suggest the sailing for me has been pretty smooth.

The other realization, not so personal and much more broadly empathetic, is that I have real sympathy for those people on my LLM who work and study full time. I’ve been reduced to studying in my lunch breaks (one of which I’ve sacrificed to write this post), and even then making only incremental progress.

I would again prefer to be able to devote multiple hours to my school work but the reality is that once the work starts back up again its pretty damn hard to get anything done but the assigned task. Partially because I have a pretty strong groove to slide into when the clock is back on. And because I have that slight sense of responsibility and duty: I don’t think I should be goofing off on the clock, even though its pretty necessary to maintain your mental health, I think that you have to do that if you have a high stress job like many of those who are quietly working around me.

Mainly it’s been a learning experience and the results have  been encouraging for me, at least in my opinion. But I don’t disguise that I’m keenly anticipating the weekend. Not only would it be nice to have a bit of free time, but I need to really get kicking on my school work; there’s the Spanish GP as well which I’m looking forward to. But to ensure I don’t get too carried away at the thought of freedom, Pinsent Masons want me to be in Saturday mornings as well from 9am to 12am. Even these wonderful people have limits on their generosity.

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One Comment

  1. I really hate the idea of working while studying, which is just more work. Too much demand from both sides, there is just not enough time to give my 110% to a task as I the perfectionist like to do. Ironic that I’m doing it right now.


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