What follows is just background info if you want or need to know anything about the situation. You’re more than welcome to skip to the end.
The last one finished on 2nd Dec. I’m much healthier without it, as the atmosphere was sick, the partners and senior lawyers creating silly work out of the blue, sometimes repeating work already done, just to do anything for lack of work. Didn’t like the way they treated me either. But with all this crisis, any job is nice to have.
It looks like there are very few offers, although I can find some. Understandably, nothing is perfect, but most of what I can find has flaws. There’s an opening in the Foreign Ministry (yeah, I’m in Europe - Poland precisely), in the human rights litigation department. Duties involve representation, talking to applicants, arranging settlements and so on. Looks great and I really like human rights. They want languages and I can oblige. They say Ph.D. done or being done would be great and I’m doing one in criminal proceedings, specialising in the rights of the accused. What’s the catch? We all know what human rights cases tend to be. Discrimination, delayed process of the law, inequalities and so on are one thing, gay rights and abortion rights are a different thing. I’m not going to do that kind of thing even if I’m going to get shot, so losing that job by way of discharge is perhaps a possibility… Not like I’d enjoy proving why and how the state did not violate someone’s rights if it did. However, a former workmate says the guy who runs that dept is the best boss he’s ever had. Perks include diplomatic status, pay is less than I earned in the law firm, but work hours are probably much more civilised and I suppose the work is more creative. Still…
Another opening they have in the govt’s legislation centre. Anything from junior legislator to head legislator and the last time I checked, that was a surprisingly high rank in the civil service, though chances are the pay isn’t as good as in the Foreign Ministry (despite the difference in grade) and the work might be rather tedious when you need to dig through tons of low-level badly written legislation on totally boring subjects. And I’m not sure of my ability to work in what is essentially drafting proposed laws to the tune of the govt’s directives if I am totally at odds with the ruling party. Fewer opportunities for a conflict of conscience than in the Foreign Ministry’s human rights work, I guess.
Then there are also private openings and I’d be inclined to go that way, the pay being bigger and not having to take any political directives from the party I disagree with, but these days all openings are for in-house lawyers and I’m a law firm lawyer, I specialise in litigation, I’m doing a Ph.D. in criminal procedural law, which is rather far apart. And I hate taxes and forms of any kind, I just couldn’t do finance stuff.
The common problem with both govt and corporate employ is that the bar association might refuse me permission to keep it when I am done litigating the bar traineeship exam - we need to train 3.5 years for the bar (which is already after graduating in law) and there’s both an entry and a final exam. I was three points short of passing the entry one, but I’m litigating it because at least several questions had wrong answers or were logically flawed and a number violated the applicable regulation for other reasons. So if I win - and there’s a big chance, I may have to drop any govt or corporate employ I have - especially the govt. Obviously, I could skip the training and just take the final exam when I’m done with the Ph.D. (Ph.D.'s are allowed to skip the training and just take a go at the final exam), but that would defeat the point of my current excessive litigation.
A still different option, one I’ve been returning to in my mind, is once again taking up English teaching and adding translation to the menu, this time as a registered business with all the stuff like a website, seals, visit cards, stationery and whatever it takes to run a professional legal/business language consultation office. The most independence, probably the best rates, the most risk and the most paperwork. And the farthest from my learned profession, sadly, even if I’ve taught English and Latin for longer than I’ve practised law and translation at my speed and the rate for a specialised text should easily net me several times more money from an hour of work than I got at the law firm. Naturally, you need to generate business and that’s the problem. It can be dealt with, but it takes time and the reality of it is much less of a bed of roses than it appears, especially in a time of economic crisis and a country which is deep sunk in bureaucracy and senseless overregulation. Skipping the whole business stuff and remaining a private freelancer is the best tax-wise (as long as it qualifies as a form of authorship, your income is halved for tax purposes and then the tax rate is 19%, so basically 90% of your cash remains yours), but in that case you are not allowed to provide services for the people - you can only work for corporations and agencies. And to acquire that kind of contacts is more difficult than to find business as a one-person company. I’m doing some of that at the moment, but so far I am only staffing one course at a language school and more doesn’t seem to be coming.
This basically means tough times and tough decisions and admittedly, much of the problem is with me and not with the market or the possible openings. Sometimes I wish one could find in the field one studied, put all the skills to use, get a good pay, have a boss that respects labour laws and treats people like people, but the world doesn’t work that way. If you don’t mind a short prayer, I’ll be grateful.