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Harlequin's avatar

Any tips for juggling multiple jobs and school?

Asked by Harlequin (76points) November 16th, 2017 from iPhone

I’m probably insane, but I am in law school after all.

Next semester is my final semester, and I plan on taking the bar exam in July. I have been fortunate to have secured one internship with a DA’s office and I have an interview with a large family law firm next week.

I accepted the first internship before I got the call from the firm, and I have committed to going to the DA’s three days a week and I have two classes, one that I theoretically could do late at night.

I have spent most of my time working at various prosecutors’ offices during law school and the firm I have an interview with is the first opportunity I’ve had to investigate law firm life and they pay hourly which is extremely helpful. Best of all, the family firm is around the corner from my house so I would not have to do the long highway commute that I have to do to get to the DA’s office.

Long story short, the DA’s office extends employment offers prior to the bar, and they hire from their intern pool. So, while not guaranteed there is an excellent chance of having a job lined up even before the bar exam. I am not sure how the firm operates in that regard, but I am interested to see what they are about and what they have to say.

In theory I could work two – one and a half days a week and be available on weekends at the firm.

I feel tired thinking about my schedule because I’ll be spending at least 30 hours a week at the DA’s office and will likely have to go to class after work to make this work. I really want to do both internships to have the experience, but I’m nervous that I’ll put myself in a coma.

Am I insane for considering this? Has anyone done something like this and managed to avoid failing classes due to exhaustion? Some insight would be appreciated!

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7 Answers

janbb's avatar

It is my understanding from lawyers I have known that if you do well at an internship at a law firm, you will usually be offered a position. Most of the lawyers I knew however, interned between first and second or second and third and were offered their position at the end of the summer. You are in a tight spot. I would try to get a strong sense from the family law firm as to what their general MO is regarding this. Then I would go to the DA’s office and see if there is some wiggle room on the hours you can work – being very upfront about your plan to work at the other. Don’t squeeze yourself so much that you don’t perform well at either. You may have to “pick up on one and let the other one slide” as the song says.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I took one semester of grad school in the summer while I had a job in the library (16 weeks worth of course work in 8). I had every minute of my day scheduled. Grad school required many, many hours of reading and writing. Luckily, the job was mindless for the most part. I was cleaning up the LP collection.

In my opinion and I know nothing about law school, 2 jobs and 2 classes is too much. @janbb has a good suggestion about how to handle it.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

Here’s a suggestion. On a good, old-fashioned piece of paper, draw a matrix of what your 7-day week would be.

Begin by blocking-out the hours needed to be at your law school classes each night, as well as the time at the DA’s office and law firm. Add 8 hours of sleep per night (you may not always get a full night, but please budget for it) plus time for bathing, grooming, eating meals, and commuting to/from work and school. You’ll also need to allow for grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, and other personal errands and tasks. On top of all these necessities, you need to prepare for class and study after.

To be honest, just typing all that made me feel tired! There’s a huge difference between an ambitious schedule and being impossibly overcommitted. Perhaps if you see everything on paper, very concrete and tangible, you’ll know whether all these obligations are feasible.

Please keep in touch with us. I’m very impressed by your aspirations, and I’ll be cheering for you.

funkdaddy's avatar

I haven’t tried two jobs and school, but I’ve tried two jobs and starting a business. I figure I worked about 80 hours a week with that schedule. I’ve also put in 80+ hours for months at a single job. I’m guessing your two internships and school probably put you in that same ballpark in terms of total time, right?

Three “jobs” that add up to 80 hours is significantly harder and more draining than one 80 hour job. I want to emphasize, by a large margin.

Some reasons to think about
– transitions take time, whether that’s physically moving between jobs, or shifting yourself mentally, that time doesn’t count towards any of your goals, really. It’s necessary, but lost.
– schedules rarely meet up in tidy chunks, so you’re left with gaps to accomplish all the other things in your life. An hour here, 30 minutes there. When it comes together, and you pull it off, it’s feels wonderful, but when you get 10 minutes behind at some point, the rest of the day can be a scramble. Scrambling is draining.
– When you work one job, everyone knows you’re there all the time, there’s an understanding that you’re doing all you can. When you work 3, there is no such understanding. Everyone thinks they are getting your best, and honestly they aren’t. You’re essentially applying for positions right now, they should probably see your best.

You obviously know yourself, and your situation better. If you genuinely feel good about it, great, go for it.

But, looking back, I feel like my worst failures have been because I’m simply overcommitted and have overpromised. I usually knew going in that I probably couldn’t do everything, and simply thought I could figure it out along the way. Sometimes it works, but it’s not a strategy I try to rely on anymore. Disappointing people sucks.

Personally, I’d probably take the interview process for the law firm as far as you could and then decide between the two internships. Then give that one your full focus. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying another opportunity has presented itself if you need to leave the DA. Consider it the first employment decision of your new career.

The public sector is well practiced in watching people leave for better private opportunities. There’s no harm there.

rojo's avatar

You can only handle so many balls in the air at one time, after that it all comes crashing down on your head. Best thing you can do is duck and run for cover.

The hard part is knowing when to say enough is enough and, unfortunately, you are the only one who will know when that point is reached.

Experience is a wonderful teacher but usually she arrives a little too late in the game of life.

Harlequin's avatar

Hi everyone. Thank you for your input. It really was helpful.

Today I accepted a position with the family law firm and I am going to withdraw from the DA’s office. Instead of handling two jobs I will take extra classes to help with bar prep.

It was difficult to pass up a paid position during the end of law school and an offer to join as an associate when I pass the bar. Some experiences at the DA’s office have made me think that I may actually be in a better position to truly help people in family law.

After eight years in school I finally accepted my first real job!! It is so surreal.

janbb's avatar

@Harlequin Good decision and thanks for the update! Best of luck!

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