Saturday, December 12, 2009

Last Day!

Hello, world.

Thursday was my last day at work. It was quite busy, in fact, as I tried (unsuccessfully) to wrap up my (huge) open project, finish my exit paperwork (successfully), fight off a cold (unsuccessfully), and send off a pile of "Don't email me for the next month, I won't be here!" emails, and fielding those responses. It was a fun day.

Around 1:45 we had a meeting in the conference room with one of the managers (my supervisor's boss, Henry), who thanked us for our service, gave us super cool DOJ OCL mugs (which, ironically, since we're a consumer protection department, had a TON of warning labels all over it), and told us all not to go to law school (classic Henry). My supervisor said that if we finished our open projects we could *gasp* leave early. The other interns were planning to do a happy hour at 5, so we all tried to hold out as long as possible to stay downtown until happy hour. Around 4:30 I walked my exit paperwork over, got it all signed, and (sadly) turned in my badge. Even though I'm coming back next semester, I guess technically by DOJ standards I'm being fired and re-hired, because otherwise I'd owe a TON of sick days after being home for a month, and that's not cool. But I'll have to go through the badge process (and security clearance, it seems) all over again in the Spring. A bit of a nuisance, but it's fine.

My boss looked at us and said, "So, 2 minutes, I'll meet you at the elevator?" That was a bit unexpected... I asked for 5, ran back to my office, cleaned out my desk, went to go throw away some papers, realized I no longer had my badge (so no access to the garbage room), and basically went into panic clean mode. It was fun! I got everything out in 5 minutes, and we got escorted out at 4:45.

And the best part: we were just barely early for happy hour.

Overall, this was a very successful and fun semester at DOJ. I learned a ton, both about myself and the law, and I'm excited to return in the Spring. Until then, my loyal readers, farewell, and happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My trip to Prague/Asking for Things at my Internship

So, my girlfriend has been studying abroad in Prague since September or so. I've always wanted to go to Eastern Europe, and visiting her gave me a great excuse :-). My class schedule is Tuesday-Wednesday, and I intern Monday, Thursday, and Friday. So watch this: I left on Thursday, missed Friday, missed Monday, on Tuesday classes were cancelled and Friday classes met, Wednesday school was closed, Thursday was Thanksgiving, Friday the office was closed, and I came home the following Monday. So, I missed four days of work.

I spoke to my supervisor around my first week of work and got his clearance; he basically said, "It's fine, just keep us informed as we get closer." Two weeks before, I emailed the attorneys that I work with reminding them, the week before I emailed again, and the day I left I stopped by their office. I worked really hard to finish all short-term projects (almost 100% successful, and the only project I couldn't complete was given to me at 5:00 on my last day in the office, it was a 3 hour project, and I had to get back to go to a meeting at AU). But yeah, I learned to just keep everyone informed and don't be afraid to ask my supervisors for days off.

Prague, if you're wondering, was fantastic. It's an incredibly old and beautiful city. We saw all the sights and some of the non-touristy stuff too. I'd love to go back. We also refused to eat at touristy restaurants, so we paid less than $5/person for every meal we ate. Beer is about $1 each (a beer is 20 koruna, the exchange rate is 17:1). But now I'm back at AU, I handed in 2 final papers this week, I have 1 final exam and a final portfolio to turn in, and 1 more week at work. Then I go home for 3 weeks, come back for RA training, and go back to work January 12th!

My next post will be a concluding one after my last day at work and will be a reflection. Until next week!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Meeting with Supervisor

So I had my meeting with my supervisor a week or two ago, and it went really well. Basically she wanted to be sure that I was actually completing my assigned task (finding documents in the database). A few days later, I sat down with her again to do my evaluation form for AU. So I've been getting tons of feedback on my work. Her two complaints that she discussed with me:

That the meeting didn't happen sooner: So, I've been working on this project all semester and I presented my research. Although my research was very good, she said, I didn't organize it properly. Think of LexisNexis or any other database you've used. When you do a search, you just flag the articles you think are interesting. The rest of the articles you don't look at again. But, she told me that the proper way to do it would have been to search for, let's say "Sally Sue." Put every "Sally Sue" hit into a folder. Then search "Sally Sue" and "Joe Blow," and put all of those in a folder. That way if an attorney wanted to look for all the SS and JB articles, they could do it easily, and it didn't fall so severely to what I considered "important." In short, she said that she wished we met earlier so that I could have done that. I went back and corrected it anyway. But, she also noted (thankfully), that it's a two-way street; I didn't call for a meeting early in the semester to get specific directions, but she also didn't ask for one. So it definitely goes both ways.

Highlight my strengths; don't let anything go implied: I'm a (very) fast reader. When I first got the assignment, the attorneys gave me a number of background reading assignments, totaling almost 500 pages (maybe more, I wasn't really counting). I finished all the reading before lunch and kept going back for more work. The assignment, they expected, would take a few days. Instead it took a few hours. The attorney told me that if I know that I read quickly, I should have told her that at the get go; highlight my strength instead of letting it be implied.

I was a bit annoyed at first by her two criticisms; I never knew I could be criticized for my abilities! But I welcomed it. It taught me to always ask questions. I'm the kind of person who works quickly and keeps to myself at work. But that meeting taught me to don't be afraid to bother the attorneys, ask tons of questions, and really show how interested I am in this job.

In other news, they asked me to come back next semester, and I accepted! So, another semester at DOJ! I'm super excited; I love this office.