Day 5 (Paper Chasin’)

Like most of you, I’ve also hit the ground running in this new year. The blind optimism and feeling of newness of yesteryears has been replaced with a sober realisation that a new year is not a new lease on life and resolutions can be as empty as the white spaces they were written on if they’re not backed up with a solid plan of action and concrete steps forward.

This year for me is all about more and more paper. I get my first year’s practicing certificate from LSK anytime now, then there’s that masters graduation, meanwhile there’s the job ladder to climb and looking out for more legal side-hustles.

The paper chase has begun.

Day 154 (How To Feel)

Hello,

It feels like the month of May Day literally blew past. This is probably why:

Workwise: I’ve been working with Government since the beginning of the year and it’s gradually gotten more and more demanding, challenging but also more interesting. I was lucky enough to find the one government agency that specialises in the one area of law I’m most passionate about and after I shook off the newbie label and got to handle real matters, it’s been down-hill ever since.
But I’m now at a cross-roads. The plan wasnt to settle here. The plan was to get here, get all what I needed and get out… six months, a year..max! Thereafter, the plan was to move to private practice. The corporate world with its sleek offices, flaboyant wardrobe and mega-shilling clients. Well, it’s not so clear what the plan is anymore. I could spend an entire post telling you all the awesome perks of working in gava i.e. the endless work/training trips both locally and abroad (I’m yet to do the abroad ones but I’m *this* close), the countless meetings/conferences/workshops (these may seem like idle stuff but for me, this is where theory meets practice, lots of sharing of ideas and experiences, brilliant for eager beavers in the field like moi) and ofcourse, the flexibility, as in we have fixed hours, we have clear performance contract targets so how you spend the rest of your time thereafter is entirely up to you… this would be the most ideal environment to pull a work/study thing especially for me who’s dreading that LL.M workload. SO all in all, the only advantage private practice has over gava is the pay. And I know I have a responsibility to my housemate and my bro to chip in financially to the household running costs so.. yeah, its quite the pickle. This one firm is really keen on having me start next month so I have until next week or soon thereafter to make up my damn mind.

Heartwise: My heart is fine, thanks for asking. Okay, I’ll open up. Just a little. My heart’s hiding. It must. And since you asked, here’s why it’s hiding. It’s June. Her birthday is coming up. Dont even know why that matters anymore. I’ve already told my heart to MOVE ON. And we agreed it would but alas. Maybe it has something to do with next month marking a year since the break-up? Who knows. Anyways, my heart has had its share of good moments. Mostly through surges of testostrone and ego-stroked adrenaline. Sometimes all it takes is to strike up a conversation with a stranger and have them say something about your eyes or for a female friend to compliment you on a shirt, or a scent or a blogpost or something and just like that my heart comes out of hiding and smiles. Then quickly goes back in again. I still do not have balance. I still do not have peace.

Healthwise: I’m fine too. Kinda, sorta, maybe. It’s just that I cant remember when was the last time I soaked a teeshirt with sweat or had my lungs feel like they going to burst out of my chest, or felt my muscles burn – that good burn, that-workout-firmening-burn. I dont even know when exercise routine went off the tracks but it has. The only courts I go to these days are the ones where you bow when you walk in and you bow when you leave. I am aware that its only a matter of time before its starts to show and although I get PLENTY of exercise in other ways, I desperately want to go back to my regular basketball routine.

Spiritwise: My spirituality is orphan. It ran away from its Catholic home and has been roaming ever since. Had a major fall-out with the Baha’i community that had taken me under their wing so we’ve both opted for silence. Buut, at work, there’s this lady. She’s almost my mother’s age. I share the office with her and she’s a devout Jehovah’s Witness. Boy oh boy, she is relentless with the whole trying to get me back to christianity. She’s waay more persistent that the mormons who once tried to get me to join their faith. The absolute height was when she came with issues of their magazine “Watch Tower” in FRENCH!! Because she overheard me talking to my bro, and she caught a few french words. Unbelievable. It’s been weird at the office but I’m hoping she’ll give it a rest eventually. Today, she caught me staring at her reading her little prayer book or hymn book or pocket bible and she quickly asked me: “V, do you pray?” “When do you pray, V?” “You do remember how to pray, dont you, V?” Aii, I give up. lol.

I know there’s lots I’ve left out. But it’s a new month, so I’ll try and come back on here and fill in some of the other stuff as time progresses.

In the meantime, if you bump into me walking around Nairobi somewhere headphones and all or cruising along in Rusty (who is bumper-less at the moment.. long story), I hope something positive comes to mind.

Take care,

Cloudvillian

Day 275 (Study Groups)

Mood: Tired

Mode: Si jamais..

Thoughts: Randomness…

I think we lawyers-in-the-making take study groups a bit too seriously. We see nothing wrong with literally bending over backwards to get into them (offering our precious case notes, outlines, research materials). Once you’re in, the demands placed upon individual members and commitment required is so over-exaggeratedly (<–made-up word) great that you somehow find yourself spending more time preparing for study group meetings than you do for lectures and clinicals.

I agree that study groups can be helpful (especially for taking practice exams and comparing notes), but they can also be REALLY stressful if you’re not as prepared as the other group members by the time you start meeting. Personally, I tend to be an effective last-minute crammer, but once I realize that other people are more prepared than I am 3 weeks before the exam, I tend to second-guess my cramming plan and get really nervous. Thus, I avoid study groups at all costs until I’m ready to compare notes….

Random rant.

Back to the books… 4 more weeks to the bar.

—–

Now Playing: Dwele ft Slum Village – “How I Deal”

Day 180 (Procrasti-nation)

Mood: Upbeat

Mode: Enrhumé

Thoughts:

As an integral part of being adults, we become slackers. Yes, slackers. Gone are the days when we longed to be grown-ups just so we could stay up as late as we wanted, go and come as we pleased, make our own decisions, earn our own money and do whatever we wanted to do. And now, when we finally have all that freedom, we realise just how over-rated it all is. Meanwhile, back in the real-world, there are jobs to be found, salaries to be earned, errands to be run, appointments to be kept, a social life and love life to be managed all day, every day. So we slack. We put certain things off until the last possible hour, we postpone as many things as we can, while we consciously and purposefully allow ourselves to be distracted by anything and anyone that can take us away from the reality we know awaits us.
Case in point, I should be studying right now. I’ve got oral exams tomorrow and my bar exams are less than 5 months away and yet, I’m here typing this, checking the blogroll, stalking her on twitter and fb and tumbleweed.. while thinking about hitting the locals for a quick game or 6 of pool, catching the Spain-Portugal game, fine-tuning the car stereo system.. the list is endless.
I need to get a life, yeah probably. But more importantly, I need to take this whole grown-ass man thing a bit more seriously and say “No” to procrastination!

And now, a little poem on the topic du jour:

Procrastination

I watch the time slip through my fingers
Gather around as i pull this habit out my hat
I can make hope disapear
and create despair out of thin air
Watch me turn my future into dust
Stand in awe as I Self-destruct.

~ Unknown.

———-

Now playing: Dilated People ft. Kanye West – “This Way”

Working with idiots can kill you..

meeting

Frustrating morning at work. I think God meant me to be a UN intern so I can see just how fucked up dysfunctional all its organizations actually are and hopefully, I would be forever deterred from wanting to work here later in my professional career. Gee God, thanks a mill.

The short-term contract, the small remuneration and the quasi-staff access is all the glimpse I needed into the deep, dark rot which lies beneath its blue-flag-wreath-logo exterior and I now see just how much of a difference there is between this organisation’s laudable objectives on paper and what it really does in practice. This is a far from a sudden realization. In fact, what am I saying? The only reason I wanted to work here was because of the exposure and the benefits that come along with the job. Like many of us, I had also heard of all the corruption, mismanagement, elitism, discrimination and other embarrassing scandals involving this organization and its staff but I chose to ignore it. I chose to ignore it because I believed that the UN is still considered by many as one of the most respected and safest places to work and gain career advancement. Not!

I wont rant and rave too much about all the underhanded, dubious things I’ve witnessed since I started because it will only take more of my precious little lunch time but I remember how desperately I prayed to get in here which can only be matched now by how anxious I am to leave.
As for my earlier concern about the impact the economic crisis will have on them and how their ‘noble work’ around the world will be hampered by it, that was the old me trying to be a good little intern. But, if you ask me, they deserve it. Its’ a simple equation really:-

70% of expenditure is on staff members + current economic recession = drop in organisation’s income from member states, donations, contributions etc.. + expenditure remains constant = overall deficit = job losses

And I sure hope that everyone in my Division gets axed first! And be clear, the puny no-name intern you spat on will be long gone by then watching everything come crashing down.

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Now listening to: Ludacris – Slap

Next Post

recessionomics

As you recall, I had a job interview a while back that I was really worried about. Well, safe to say I nailed it and I started work in January.

Anyways, this last couple of days, we’ve had back to back staff meetings both general as well as departmental staff meetings. The catchword from all these meetings was without a doubt “cost containment.”
Things are not looking good for the International Organization I work for. And like every responsible leader in charge, the Director General is not blaming himself (well, partly because he’s new) but he blames the current global financial crisis. The two unknowns of this financial crisis namely the depth and the duration of this worldwide recession have so far prevented anyone from fully predicting the impact this crisis will have. I can only assume that other UN specialized agencies will also start feeling the effects of the crisis particularly those that rely heavily on contributions and donations from the private sector as well as member states and private entities (WHO 80%, WTO 70%). Still my Organization tops that list, deriving 90% of its annual income from the contributions but also as a result of providing certain specific services to the private sector.
This whole staff briefing today got me thinking how the UN as whole will be able to accomplish any of its goals and objectives geared at poverty eradication, humanitarian assistance etc.. without any financial backing or adequate resources. Saving the world nowadays costs money with the current financial crisis, it will soon be every country for herself. So far even financial lending institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF have been unable provide any tangible financial assistance especially to the developing countries. Instead these Bretton Woods institutions have opted to make the rich industrialist counties pay more, by way of contributions and annual fees. However since the developed countries are the ones most adversely affected by this global economic downturn, they are strongly opposing such changes not only by the Bretton Woods institutions but other UN agencies as well, including the one I work for. If that fails, they could always do what the rest of the world is doing which is courting the Asian countries (with the exception of Japan) which seem to be flourishing despite the crisis, most notably China and India.
However, as one colleague put it: “Faith in multilaterism is at an all-time low”. In other words, member states especially within Europe and the US don’t trust each other when it comes to putting up a united front to manage this financial crisis, therefore it appears to be everyone for herself, God for us all.

So where does that leave my little organisation? Well, what is certain is that organisations as well as companies in Europe are already starting to feel the impact of the worldwide recession which means that expenditures very carefully so as not to fall into deficit because deficit = job losses. Which brings us right back to the central theme of the meetings: cost containment. I simply raised my hand and suggested something that I thought would help the organization save some of the $5 million it’s currently spending on mobile telephony: Skype.:-


“Well I think it would really help us save a lot on communication costs especially with our coordination offices and regional bureaux throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. My girlfriend and I use it all the time and it keeps us connected throughout.”

I got the strangest looks from all the staff in the boardroom and although my suggestion was noted in the minutes, only time will tell whether I’ll be adding “W__O” under my Skype contact list anytime soon.