More on the Job Search

In a previous post I alluded to the fact that I am searching for a new job. Don’t worry, this is not a secret. Many of you have probably already heard the really long story in person.

I actually drafted a post explaining the two and half-year history of my decision to change careers and the aftermath. Cue the violins. It was very therapeutic to write but it was just so ridiculously long (as those of you who have endured the verbal account can attest) that I decided not to publish it.

If you’re interested, I will happily email that post to you, but for the purposes of this blog, I will boil it down to this:

  • After 5+ years practicing employment and labor law, I decided that I wanted to do something different.
  • I found a new career I was really excited about.
  • After a long process that involved my new office getting funding for the position (over 1 year), everything fell into place and I was told that my transfer was a “done deal.”
  • I had already resigned from my attorney position when the whole thing fell apart. As a government attorney, I was hired under the “excepted service.”  The only real difference between excepted service and the regular “competitive service” is that excepted service employees cannot be transferred.
  • I applied for the position and as predicted, was “blocked” by the many veterans who applied and received preference (i.e., extra points for being veterans).
  • I have since applied for many other positions. I have been blocked by veterans for all of the competitive service positions – even ones for which I am very over-qualified.
  • I am currently on a 2-year temporary detail to our Office of Congressional Affairs. (I applied for the position I am currently filling and was also blocked by veterans). The detail ends in September.

Look… I realize how incredibly fortunate I am. I have a job. I have skills and an education, etc, etc.  I just need to find the right job.

When this detail ends, I am slated to return to my former office. I had a good deal there. I liked my job, I did it well, and I had good work-life balance.

But a lot has happened in the past year and a half . For starters, my wonderful boss in counsel’s office passed away suddenly a month ago. Then there’s the fact that people weren’t exactly excited that I submitted my resignation and that has made things, ummm, awkward. Finally, I guess I feel like I have worked hard in this detail position and want to build on my experience (and yes, be rewarded for it) and don’t necessarily want to take a step backwards from here. Maybe that’s greedy.

It is the first time in my life where I really don’t know what to do next. I don’t have a clear path to the end. It is not like law school (study, study, study), the bar exam (study harder and longer), or a marathon or Iroman (follow the plan, train, train, train).

I keep applying for government jobs and I keep getting rejected because despite being deemed eligible for the positions I am notified “We have not reviewed your qualifications for this position due to the abundance of eligible compensable veterans” who applied. Many vacancy announcements include a statement that you shouldn’t even bother applying if you are not a veteran.

Now, before anyone even considers calling me anti-veteran, I would like to defend myself and say I am not. My father was a war veteran. My husband is a veteran. I appreciate veterans. I just don’t appreciate the Veterans Preference Rights right now. I realize that veterans need jobs. I really do.  But is it too much to ask that I get a new job, too? I have been a faithful government employee for 8 years.

So, that’s the nutshell version. I’m not really sure what’s next. I can keep applying for attorney positions, but then I wonder if I would just be better off going back to my former office. You know – the known versus the unknown.

Would I consider moving the private sector? I guess. As a lawyer, I am very reluctant to do the law firm thing. Two words: billable hours.

What do I really want to do? Something investigative. I think my biggest strength in my old position was my ability to work with my clients and witnesses. I really enjoyed the interviewing, the witness prep, alternative dispute resolution (mediation, etc). The best part of my job was when I would get a new case and I got to put the puzzle together to figure out what happened.

I’d love a job in an Inspector General or Attorney General’s office. I just don’t want to sit in front of a computer all day writing briefs and memos. I want to be challenged. I want to be excited to go to work.

Things have a way of working out. I look forward to re-reading this post years from now and being happy with how things turned out. Until then, I am keeping an open mind while I figure out what’s next.

Thanks for reading!


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Andrea
    Jan 23, 2012 @ 20:42:43

    Have you considered being a corporate lawyer?? Lots of options there and oh… A ton of money too…


  2. esinva
    Jan 24, 2012 @ 13:40:33

    I was thinking insurance/fraud cases. I think the difficult part there is getting away from the “he said/she said” aspect of legal claims and getting to the fun “I lost an extensive coin collection in the fire”/”no, we’ve proven you had a roll of quarters” cases.


    • Catharine
      Jan 25, 2012 @ 11:51:16

      I think that sounds very interesting. Good idea. I actually wouldn’t mind the he said, she said, part. I want to get all “Mentalist” and learn to evaluate truthfulness. We’ll see what the future holds…


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