Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Working Life Lately: In Transit

One small perk of work travel: We usually book tickets that come with lounge access...

Well, I’ve officially embarked on my lengthy European business trip now, even if international travel is looking more high-risk and potentially ill-advised than it did this time last month. For litigators, many of the things we travel for in relation to our work are in the service of court-ordered deadlines or things of similar weight. Accordingly, we'd all be very reluctant to cancel that type of business trip. In my case, the decision of whether to continue with this trip as scheduled was made well above my pay grade. We’ll see if our plans end up needing to change midstream. 

I’m now well over two-thirds of the way done with my extremely intense first quarter of 2020. As predicted, I’ve stayed consistently on track to bill 2,800 hours this year for the entire period. (And at this pace, the expected year-end total would be 3,000 hours if I took no vacation.) I’ve survived, but just barely. There were days when I was so exhausted I felt like my memory and cognitive abilities were not 100% or I felt like I was barely capable of coherent speech. 

At the same time, while working like this, one also starts to gain an insidious awareness about how - even when working at this pace - there still remain more hours in the week that could, theoretically, also be billed. During these months, I’ve still had maybe three or four weekends where I barely needed to work two or three hours total, effectively a free weekend by industry standards. (There was always a lot more work waiting to be done, of course. But in the absence of urgent deadlines, one tries to keep the weekends free to rest up.) I’ve also only been stuck at the office past 10:00 P.M. a handful of times. (Though I’ve also almost never left work before 8:30 P.M. on any weekday this entire period, even on Fridays. And I often do bill some more from home, in any case.) 

Our vacation plans for early April are also in some doubt, though K and I have decided to keep our bookings for now. I really hope we can still go, as I desperately need to take this vacation. Working nonstop at this pace for so long has basically driven me to the point where I’d almost consider taking the full two weeks off, even if I couldn't travel anywhere. That would not, however, be a particularly rational or good use of said vacation time by any stretch of the imagination, so I’ll try to restrain myself.

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This is mostly a rather dour and un-fun post, but I’ll try to share some cheerful things too. First up, I've still been doing a good amount of reading for fun. I’m almost done with Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe (on Kathy’s recommendation), which has been a really engaging but serious read. I also enjoyed Saeed Jones’s memoir, How We Fight for Our Lives. Finally, I'm incredibly excited for the newest Hilary Mantel, The Mirror and the Light. (Wolf Hall was a bit slow to build up, but absolutely worth it, and Bring Up the Bodies grabbed my attention from the first page to the last.) 

Back in January, while restocking my Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo, I also picked up Tatcha's Kissu Lip Mask on a whim. I like it a lot! Although the Tatcha Kissu is marketed primarily as a lip mask, I find that it absorbs quickly enough that it works fine for morning use, as well as for before bed. Though note that I don't wear makeup most days. I don't think it'd absorb fast enough if I was going to be applying another lip product shortly after. Admittedly, my lips don’t typically get particularly dry, so for me this product is more a fun indulgence than anything else. 

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