xtitsx: (Default)
( 10 Feb 2017 11:09 am)
in addition to all the time i spend work work work work working on all of my regular school work [see yesterday's post] i also have a bullshit half-credit class on Professional Identity II that sometimes requires my attentions.
this semester, our job is to pick three “core competencies” traits that employers in the legal profession say they are looking for in prospective employees and write about them.
the assignment is pretty open-ended and because it's a pass-fail class, i don't take it too seriously.
also, how the fuck am i supposed to answer this shit?
but, because i love talking about myself, i sat down to answer the question of what exactlky my problem is.
posted here, because it seems more like a LiveJournal entry then anything anybody should be expected to compose for a class in Law School:

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There are several things that stand in between me and being able to pass as a reasonable, professional practicing attorney. One of the many things that are wrong with me is the way I present myself. My appearance, demeanor, mannerisms and carriage all communicate a message to the world that is just about the dictionary antonym of the words 'professional identity.' This visage in turn effects my ability to communicate and my ability to network, which are other things wrong with me that I will discuss in depth in other reflections.

I have spent the majority of my adult life cultivating the habits and mannerisms of a hobo or petty criminal. This is party because I have spent the majority of my adult life living as a hobo and petty criminal, but it also comes from a deeper, more pathological desire to stand out. As far back as I can remember I have always striven to be interesting. I had the benefit of a comfortable, upper-middle class upbringing, but you can only find so much interesting in the suburbs and as soon as I could, I made a conscious decision to get out in the rest of the world and learn something different. I've sought the company of street people, gang members, junkies and criminals. I've learned their languages and their modes of behavior the way somebody would a second language and I've adopted them as my own. My girlfriend is my “old lady” and cops are “pigs.” Nearly two decades later I don't even especially mean the disrespect that comes with the epitaph, it is just the first word that comes to me as an identifier for police officers after so many years of practice. To say anything else requires a bit of self-censorship. People who work an honest job for a living are “straight” and I have a difficult time talking to them without showing an emotion somewhere between bafflement and disdain. I believe my internship with riffraff has paid dividends towards my original goal of being interesting, I would put my life resume up against most people's in most rooms that I find myself in, but it has left me in a precarious position compared to somebody coming from the straight world.

I recognize that being able to carry myself with an air of professionalism is a skill I am going to need if I am going to make anything meaningful of a law degree. I recognize that I won't be able to really do the kind of good that I want to do in the world [largely for my adopted people in the lumpenproletariate] unless I can learn to walk amongst the people with their hands on the leavers of power. So, after trying so hard to affect the air of the rabble it is time to reverse course entirely. I need to learn social grace and manners, to project confidence and capability and openness and warmth, rather then the vaguely hostile, potentially unstable threat of a man who lives in a box. I say this as a man who once lived in a box.

Learning the social graces is a multi-step process. The first and probably easiest is to get myself some professional-looking cloths. I could at least start with cloths that don't have swear words written on them. A more difficult task will be to learn how to carry myself. I can do this through practice. Getting out into the world and meeting straight people with straight lives. Have conversations with people who have never been to jail. Talk about topics other then hustles and scams and welfare fraud. It may sound silly, but so many of the conversations I have with people in my personal life mostly revolve around different ways to get one over on the man. I should stop that. Being in law school is a perfect opportunity to engage with non-criminals on any number of straight topics. I need to make more of an effort to do that. My job will be to make a conscious effort to stop myself from slipping into those old gears, from stop concerning myself with trying to be what I consider interesting, and start to be what other people consider professional.

I doubt that there will ever be a day where I can completely camouflage myself amongst the good men and women working in the most prestigious downtown law firms. Even if I were to throw money at the problem, to buy a $4,000 suit and a $500 haircut, I would still feel like a monkey in cloths, just waiting to be discovered. I suppose, then, that at least some element necessary to overcome the problem of how I present myself is confidence. I have never considered myself a sufferer of a lack of confidence, I tend to err the other way, but, in this regard, I might could do with a little self esteem. I guess the only way to go about fixing a dearth of self esteem is to act as if you have it. If you do it long enough, it will eventually become routine. Fake it 'til you make it, which is a saying I picked up from hanging around with good men and women working the program in Narcotics Anonymous.
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//[ab irato ad astra]
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September 2017

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