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Employment

Should you Accept a Job Where you Don’t Want to Live?

My classmate asked me to write about what a law student should do if they get a job offer in a state where they don’t want to move.  That’s a really hard question, and I don’t think that there is a hard and fast answer.

The economy is not doing well and law school graduates are struggling to find jobs in general.  I’m sure a lot of people will say you should take any job you can get.  When I put this question out on Twitter, the best response was, “If you really will like the job, then the location doesn’t matter as much, at least in the short term.”  The only problem I have with this response is related to the fact that we don’t have a national bar in the United States.  When we pass the bar, we’re basically locking ourselves into one state unless there is reciprocity or we’re willing to take another bar exam.  If we weren’t locked into to a particular location, I would be more willing to support moving to a place you hate on a temporary basis.

Ohio state welcome sign, along US Route 30, en...
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I asked my sister, Morena Carter, for her thoughts on this topic.  She’s a law student at the University of Akron.  When she finished her masters degree in European history and museum studies, she moved across the country to accept a job at the Cleveland Art Museum in Ohio.  I was baffled by her decision.  She had never lived in that part of the country and she did not know anyone there.  When it comes to moving for one’s career she says, “I think people should only apply for jobs that they think they might like at least a little bit or that might lead them to the job they really want no matter where it is.”  She took the job because it was an incredible career opportunity of her and if nothing else, having it on her resume would help her get a more desirable job.  She stayed at that job for the 4.5 years and is still happily living in the Cleveland area.

My Dad has always said, “Figure out where you want to live, then get a job.”  I give this advice a lot of weight because I know if I hate where I live, no job is going to make it bearable.  I need to be able to enjoy my free time.  It’s also important to know what factors you need to be happy in a city.  My experiences have taught me that I do better in cities with minimal snow and that are within 90 minutes of a major airport.

You shouldn’t completely reject a job if it’s in an unfamiliar place, but carefully consider the opportunities and the drawbacks of both the job and the area before making a decision.  Think about what you would be willing to give up for the right career opportunity.  If you’re going to move some place completely new, it’s important to embrace it and make a strong effort to get acclimated and meet new people.  It’s hard for people who aren’t self-starters to do this.  My sister and I agree that it takes a good 6 months to a year for a place to start to feel like home.

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SALK Day 22 – The Foster Group

Today’s sponsor is The Foster Group, a new and unique law firm with offices in Arizona and Indiana.  Founded by Troy and Kristen Foster, The Foster Group is staffed with exceptional lawyers with big firm experience who want to provide the individualized service and care of a boutique law firm.  These lawyers are former partners at large national law firms, have worked for federal and state judges, and have represented large international companies.

Troy Foster’s career has focused on education and employment law.  He has been named one of The Best Lawyers in America for many years.  Troy has also received the highest ratings for ethical standards and substantive ability by his peers.  Kristen Foster specializes in labor and employment law, trust and estates, education and special education law, family law, and media relations.  One of her previous positions was an Assistant Attorney General for Arizona, where she represented Child Protective Services. Along with being on the Boards of Directors for numerous organizations, the Fosters recently founded Henry’s Hope, an organization that is dedicated to the needs of children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

The core principles of The Foster Group are commitment, hard work, trust, and dedication.  Their goal is to understand their clients’ needs and to provide them efficient and practical solutions to their problems.  The Foster Group is focused on providing high-quality, cost-effective services and being attentive and responsive to their clients.

The Foster Group specializes in labor law, education law, family law, trusts and estates, civil rights, and transactional corporate and real estate law.  It has a Human Resources Solutions Group that provides trainings, internal investigations, policy revisions, or high-level consultation work to companies.  Recently, The Foster Group has offered trainings in Arizona regarding the recent legalization of medicinal marijuana and its effect on the workplace.  It is also dedicated to protecting the rights and interests of individual who want to have their story heard in the news media, in print, or published in a book.

Troy Foster also offers his services as a mediator. He has experience mediating employment, civil, tort, legal and medical malpractice disputes.  His thoughtful nature and compassionate heart make me an ideal person to help parties resolve their problems.

The Foster Group is a unique and desirable place to work.  Unlike other firms that work their lawyers to death, The Foster Group only requires lawyers to bill 1600 hours per year.  Other firms require their lawyers to bill 1850-2200 per year, which is one of the reasons why lawyers are rumored to be addicted to stimulants and have heart attacks when they are 40.  The Foster Group also has a fun, event-driven bonus system, such as trips to Hawaii.  Additionally, the firm plans to launch a Community Involvement Program where it will hire an attorney to work full-time on pro bono cases.

The Foster Group can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Sponsor A Law Kid is my endeavor to pay for my last semester of law school. Today’s sponsor is The Foster Group.   For more information about Sponsor A Law Kid or to see what days are still available for sponsorship, visit my Sponsor A Law Kid page.

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The Legal Side of Blogging – Part 3 of 4: Can My Blog Get Me Fired?

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. I am a law student. In accordance with ABA policy, this blog should not be viewed as legal advice. It is simply my experiences, opinions, and stuff I looked up on the internet.

Work Uniform
Image by B_Zedan via Flickr

This is a question that has an obvious answer – yes, your blog can get you fired.

People have always done things that could get them fired – saying bad things about their company, clients and coworkers; breaking the company’s rules; disclosing confidential information; and stealing from the company – but now they are making it more obvious that they are doing it.

My general rule is don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t put on the front page of the newspaper.  When it comes to keeping your job, don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t say to your boss’ face.

There are some amazing true stories about disturbing things people have done online in relation to their work:

  • Whole Foods CEO John Mackey was investigated by the SEC for posting anonymous messages that praised his company and condemned Wild Oats Market, his company’s competition.  (Poor form!)
  • An Illinois attorney allegedly posted an ad for a secretary in Craigslist’s adult section and told an applicant that her job responsibilities included dressing sexy and having sexual interactions with him and another attorney.  (Seriously?!)

How did these presumably intelligent people think that they might get away with this?

Companies have realized that online posting by employees can be good or bad free advertising, and are taking steps to protect their reputations by creating guidelines about what employees can and can’t say online.  I’m not a big fan of my employer telling me what I can’t do when I’m on my own time; however I appreciate it when I have clear limits about what I can and can’t do.  I like to push the envelope, but I don’t like getting fired.  Some of these guidelines are pretty obvious – don’t share confidential information, don’t bash the company, its employees, or its clients – but some employees won’t follow these rules unless they’re laid in stone, and maybe not even then.

Having a blog makes you more vulnerable than other social media profiles because it’s open for everyone to see it.  Facebook and Twitter let us control who can see what we post, but with a blog, your words are shared with the entire internet-accessible world.  When in doubt, don’t share information about your work on your blog or anywhere else online.

Employers are getting smart about these things and are Googling job applicants and looking for their profiles on Facebook.  They can’t discriminate against someone based on their race, religion, or sexual orientation, but they can choose not to hire someone because it looks like their preferred weekend activity is beer pong.  A lot of employers are looking at whether a person generally displays good judgment and won’t hire a person who does not act responsibly in their personal life.

I generally discourage people being stupid.   However, I have an exception for those who are genetic morons who can’t be cured with education: keep being stupid.  Make it blatantly obvious how stupid you are so those of us who are not stupid don’t have to waste our time on someone who might clean up and put on a good front, but who ultimately is a moron.

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