Pros and Cons

I went in for part one of a job interview today. Part one consisted of (a) being unable to find the organization's entrance (it was hidden!!); (b) trying to call the org's number and hearing a message to "call back within business hours, M-F 8-5" (it was early afternoon!); (c) finding the lobby and then sitting around sticking out like a sore thumb (this org helps the poor and I was wearing a Theory suit and full make-up); (c) sitting in aforementioned lobby for 30 minutes because no one was at the front desk and no one answered when I knocked on the door; (d) feeling relieved when someone opened the door, only to be puzzled by the fact that she didn't know the HR person when I mentioned her by name, and that she asked me "are you looking for someone in [org]?" (Why yes, yes I am. That's why I'm here); (e) being taken up to a room with a busted chair when the HR person finally did come out (and nearly toppling to the floor because of it); (f) taking a one hour written test; and (g) finding out that the job was not actually in this building, it was in a building much farther away (13 miles from my apartment vs. 30 miles. they couldn't have put that in the listing?!).

Because of the location and the low pay (max 47k), M thinks I shouldn't even go to the interview. He thinks I "definitely shouldn't" take the job, and that interviewing would be a waste of time for me and them. I haven't totally decided yet. eemusings and Serendipity suggested I do a pros and cons list. So here we go. :)


  1. Intrinsically rewarding. Job involves helping poor people in a variety of ways.
  2. Any job is better than no job.
  3. Claims to include excellent benefits. I won't know if that's really the case until I interview.
  4. Close the gap. The gap in my resume has been widening ever since I took the bar.
  5. More litigation experience. Experience representing clients at hearings.
  1. Traffic and Gas Money. I would likely be sitting in traffic for 3 hrs/day, round trip. It would cost $7.37/day or $221/month in gas (I figured that out using Drive Pricing).
  2. Job title. I would be a Paralegal, rather than a Law Clerk or Associate. But I may be able to convince them down the line to either let me put Law Clerk on my resume, or - once I've passed the bar - be promoted to Attorney.
  3. Salary. My understanding is that the only reason this position exists is because of a grant. The max they have available is 47k, so there's no negotiating beyond that. This is 10k less than I made as a legal assistant!!! ack.
  4. No more free time. Right now I take & pick up M from work daily, I've started cooking a couple times a week, I do the dishes everyday, I see my parents weekly, I exercise daily, I read books, I play games, I write stories-- yeah, scratch that last one. :p But I could. And being busy from 6am-7:30pm every day is going to take that all away. Is this job worth having that all taken away?
  5. The Bar. If I don't pass, I'm going to need to retake it in February. And I'm going to have to study from December-February. Maybe I need to not get a job (well, unless it's a great opportunity) until I know how I did.
  6. Stress. I imagine the job is emotionally draining and high-stress. Mentally ill and/or very low-income clients with very sad stories. An org that is under-funded and over-taxed.
Can you guys think of anything else to add? Any readers who have a long commute and comparable pay? What made you decide to take the job (aside from necessity)?


Sallie's Niece said...

Nonprofits notoriously don't pay lawyers too well. I would negotiate an associate title though. I know you're in a higher COL than I am but my starting salary as an associate was $47k and since that time I've only had a 3% cost of living raise. It is what it is. You definitely shouldn't rule it out.

Luckily I don't have a commute. I agree that stinks.

Sunflowers said...

That's a good idea. I was thinking possibly trying to negotiate title as well as hours (have a later start/ending time to beat traffic). It's worth a shot... I think.

Serendipity said...

Nonprofits really don't pay a lot of people well. From my experience, unless your a high up director you really aren't making that much. I think you should also negotiate a title change perhaps and maybe some other perks as the start time but I think for right now it could be a really good opportunity. And if this isn't the right experience for you, your still going to have some expertise come out of it. :)

Nd.chic said...

I would at least go in for the interview. Also, because of the low pay, they might be flexible with letting you work from home on occasion. I would definitely negotiate a title. I know that the long commute would suck but you could look at is as temporary and it would look good on your resume.

Jenna said...

In this economy, a jobs a job, in my eyes. My friend took the bar, passed and it took her a year to find a job and it was 6 hours away from her family.

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