So, the State of Alaska gave me a Christmas gift today. My pay check today was $800 smaller than last time. It turns out that the State was supposed to make some withholdings and had miscalculated the cost of some benefits. So, without any warning, they corrected the problem. All. at. once. A few days after Christmas. Before I learned this news I had the oil tank filled today. ($300 plus). The State does not pay the Alaska Bar dues, unlike everywhere else I know of. $550 due by February 1, 2007 or I can't practice law. No break for Public Defenders either. That is something I wish I had known before I took this job. Budgeting $550 is not easy for a family and something you think I would have been advised of before the bill arrived. On top of that, the house in California has not closed. So I am still paying two mortgages which total over $3000 a month. The clutch on the truck is out ($1000+). To give the State credit, someone was supposed to let me know. That is nice. I will have to relay that to Wells Fargo. Bank of America. Sierra Nevada Memorial hospital (who I am still paying every month for Kadee's birth). Chrysler. Discover card, the Royal Bank, etc. etc. The worst part of this is that I really enjoy my immediate office. My co-workers are all talented, hard-working lawyers. I am impressed. But working for the State has it's drawbacks. Since I know that the State monitors my blog, when the higher up's read this, I sure have some suggestions how to improve my morale. Let people know when a mistake has been made. Give people all the information you can before people accept employment. My advice to anyone who makes such a huge move (such as California to Alaska) is do your research. Learning after you get here that the State will not pay all of your medical dues or your bar dues or your case load will be huge does not do you any good. I'm sure it is just not Alaska. I'm sure it is the same everywhere. But going from a private employer to a public employer has it's drawbacks. In a private office there is someone you can go and directly bitch to. The State just shrugs and says "hope you don't ruin your credit or go hungry over our mistake but what can we do?" Here's a suggestion: if you are going to cut my pay by $800 let me know. I know you don't know my financial situation but maybe at least pretend to care.
So. Ten years ago today I arrived in Alaska. I will never forget the sense of amazement and wonder as I arrived. It was, as John Denver sang about, coming home to a place I had never been. Ten years. Gone. I was given some advice by Jeremy the other day. He said I should learn to appreciate the journey more. Sage advice. I am so focused on my return in June 2018 that I often find myself unhappy. That is foolish. Like always, I will miss these days when they are gone. It is true that I am not that interested in being a lawyer much anymore and I feel time pressing on me. But it also true that being a lawyer has allowed me to come to the US. And, if all goes well, it will allow me to retire in a place I love at 44 years old. And that is pretty cool. Ten years. But I will be back. And next time it will be for good.