Thursday, July 31, 2008

Reflections about my new job.

  1. I work extremely long hours during the work week. Umm, going corporate does not mean a straight 9-5 schedule.
  2. My job is a million times more complicated than what I thought it would be. There are so many aspects to completing a large corporate transaction.
  3. I already interact with clients. It is strange to have clients rely on my work product and ask me for guidance regarding their most important transactions.
  4. It is funny to notice how most lawyers do not understand the business side of a transaction, and most business people do not understand the legal side of the same transaction. It is very difficult bringing both groups on to the same page.
  5. It is a business-casual work environment, but the bosses all wear formal attire. So, I follow the "dress for the position you want" philosophy.
  6. I learn something new every minute I am at work. It is strange to look back on a work week and reflect about the different things I have learned.
  7. Nothing in tax law is as simple as it is presented in law school! If it seemed hard in law school, it is a million times more complicated in practice.
  8. My co-workers are awesome. Every single one of them is extremely competent and nice. They genuinely care about the company, the employees, and the clients.
  9. Overall, I am happy to have my current job! It is awesome!

Bad Day

I woke up extremely tired today. I pretty much showered with my eyes closed this morning. After I got myself ready for work I headed out to my car. Because this day is destined to be bad, there was a ticket sitting on my windshield. I would care more about the ticket, except I am too dang tired to care. I just hope the rest of my day goes alright.

Oh, and on a strange note... I heard an excerpt from an Obama speech on the way in to work this morning. Apparently if we all just inflated our tires and got regular tune-ups America's oil crisis would be solved. Hmm, I am pretty sure most Americans already know to maintain their vehicles, so I sure hope he has a back-up energy plan. Here is Obama's exact quote btw:

"There are things you can do individually, though, to save energy," Obama said. "Making sure your tires are properly inflated – simple thing. But we could save all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling – if everybody was just inflating their tires? And getting regular tune-ups? You'd actually save just as much!"
Obama's quote about inflating tires is not funny. If he really does think this could replace the amount of oil that could be drilled offshore than he is not dealing with reality. And if the legislature is equally as confused regarding oil prices, supply and demand, drilling capabilities, it is no wonder that nothing is being accomplished in the House or Senate.

Additionally, McCain did a similar stupid thing earlier this week when he was discussing his economic plan. When asked about his policies regarding increasing the social security tax for certain taxpayers, he stated that all options are still on the table. Well, that contradicts everything he has said for the past few months. It is interesting to see how both candidates mess up when they veer away from their scripted responses.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I love the Nasa Pic of the Day Archive!!!!!!


The Nasa Pic of the Day Archive! If astronomy is one of your hobbies, you probably already know about this site. But even if you are not an astronomy geek, these space pics are pretty cool.




Random Quotes and Thoughts

Thomas Sowell has a few good quotes in his "Random Thoughts" post today. Here is my favorite: "Government bailouts are like potato chips: You can't stop with just one. " Between the stimulus checks and corporate bailouts this country is acting crazy.

I know we all enjoy having a few extra bucks in our pockets from the stimulus checks, but that cannot be the answer to every economic issue this country faces. Yes, gas prices are high. But the government should not simply send us checks to deal with the issue. How about expanding U.S. oil inventories and production, wind power, nuclear energy, etc., etc. ? Simply decreasing or stopping the strategic oil reserves and mandating conservation efforts does not help the average American get to work in the morning. Increasing domestic oil production would have a positive effect on the futures market and potentially on the motivation of OPEC to increase their oil production. Additionally, while I agree that increased drilling won't have an immediate effect on supplies, it will have a long-term effect on both supply and prices. The sooner we start, the sooner we feel those effects. And why is it that we cannot drill and implement other alternative energy programs? It should not be an all or nothing proposal. I am all for creating innovative technology to deal with energy concerns, but it will not happen over night. That is why I find it so strange that the same people who spout that increasing U.S. domestic oil capabilities will not help in the short-term are also saying that we need to push everyone towards using wind power, hybrid technology or whatever. It's not like pushing people towards alternative energy will really be faster than drilling for oil. So, lets do both and hopefully we won't be in this situation again.

Also, I have had it with the politicians on this issue. The latest polls suggest that 70% of Americans would like us to drill offshore for oil. Well, the politicians know this stat and are scared to tell the American people that they oppose drilling for fear of losing their power. It makes me sick that they won't vote on a drilling bill because they know they could lose power if they vote based on their beliefs. Take a position already, and make it known! We elect you to vote and propose bills to help us, not to protect your government pension!

Oh well, I am sure I will get emails telling me that oil drilling wouldn't even help oil prices for 20 years, global warming is going to kill us, nuclear energy will kill us, oil companies are involved in a world wide conspiracy, etc. All I can say is that there are two sides to these issues. And unlike a lot of individuals with opinions on energy, I have researched both sides. I'll stop here.

Interview Follow-Ups

The WSJ has a great article about interview follow-up emails. A lot of us now adays use emoticons or shorthand when texting or emailing friends. Apparently, a lot of us are also using them in interview follow-up emails as well. I am sure a lot of people are not even aware that they are doing so, and if they are, they are probably not aware at how offensive many hiring managers find these practices. Anyway, you can read about it here.

Monday, July 28, 2008

B-day weekend

I had a great b-day weekend. My husband took me shopping and exploring downtown, which was an absolute blast. We also made it to the X-Files movie, which was also pretty cool. And I capped the weekend off my by relaxing Sunday away. The only really negative thing that happened over the weekend was that I have a pretty nasty cut above my nose. I was horsing around with my dog and ended up bonking heads. Nothing happened to the dog. However, I walked away from the incident looking like an ultimate fighter punched or elbowed me in the face. Nice, huh?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Who Didn't See This Coming?

Crocs Sinks on Concern Allure Is Fading as Sales Drop

I hope people did not buy stock in this company as a long-term investment. Seriously, these shoes may be the ugliest things worn since jelly shoes. Sorry loyal Croc fans, this is what we call a fad.

John Edwards

So, I am sure most of you have at least heard of the latest National Enquirer scandal involving John Edwards. I haven't posted on it because, well, the National Enquirer is the source of the story. However, Fox News found an eye witness at the hotel to corroborate the story. So, Mickey Kaus, from Slate.com is asking why other news media sources have not picked up this story as well. What an embarrassment for both John Edwards and the media if this story ends up being true.

X-Files: I Want to Believe

I want to believe that my husband will buy me tickets to this movie tonight. :)

French 35-hour work week goes away!

I think it is great to have a good work/life balance, but you can do so even if you work more than 35 hours a week. I just read an article at Bloomberg, discussing how distraught many white-collar workers are over in France about the dissipation of the 35-hour work week. Seriously, they worked only 35-hours a week? I cannot understand how they actually finish all of their work projects within a reasonable time. But that is probably the issue right there, productivity in France is not as high and competitive as Sarkozy would like.

I have worked over 40-hours a week ever since my days as an undergraduate student, and I think I am physically and mentally fine. In fact, my husband and I live by the motto, "work hard to play hard." Monday through Friday, we work long hours and get as much as possible finished at work. And during the weekends we play very hard, whether it is jeeping, hiking, the movies, or whatever. It also does not hurt that both my husband and I enjoy what we do for work. Anyway, I could talk about this subject forever. But basically, I think the French will be ok if they have to work more than 35-hours a week.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Go Brew Crew!

Sabathia rolls over the Cardinals!!!!

Good Luck Annie!

Good luck to Annie, who is competing at the Bix 7 this weekend!

Iran is just a small country!

Does anyone else find Obama's Iran policies confusing? I am open to hearing from any Obama supporters on this issue. In May 2008 he said “Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny, they don’t pose a serious threat to us.” Then yesterday Obama said “A nuclear Iran would pose a grave threat and the world must prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. I will take no options off the table” in dealing with Iran. " So is Iran a threat or not? I mean, Iran still poses the same threat it posed in May when Obama said that they weren't really a threat. And will he still speak to Iranian officials without preconditions? And what will he say next month in front of a different crowd, in a different location? As far as I can tell, ever since becoming the official democratic nominee he has started adopting positions that Clinton was criticized by the left for advocating.

Apparently, Larry Elder wants to understand Obama's current positions as well. Read his post here. Thomas Sowell has a few good questions as well. Read his editorial here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Weekend Plans

Well, I am celebrating another b-day this weekend. My hubby has arranged a downtown adventure for me, consisting of a train ride in to the city, visits to various museums and cool buildings, and good eating! In addition to my downtown adventure I hope to make it to the new X-Files movie. I am so excited to see it! Other than that, nothing too exciting going on.

Good luck to everyone taking the bar exam!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Who is going to bail out the Federal Govt when it fails?

Mortgage giant rescue could cost $25b!

You can decide for yourself.

An editorial by David Evans.

"I devoted six years to carbon accounting, building models for the Australian government to estimate carbon emissions from land use change and forestry. When I started that job in 1999 the evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming seemed pretty conclusive, but since then new evidence has weakened that case. I am now skeptical."
-David Evans

Political Ponderings

It has been reported that McCain might announce a VP this week. He might as well, other wise he might not get any media coverage with Obama and his brigade of network reporters touring the Middle East and Europe. I think McCain is going to ask Mitt Romney to be his running mate. Anyone else have a guess?

And with regard to the whole NY Times editorial issue, what a weird turn of events. After reading McCain's editorial and the email sent by the NY Times editor, I think it would be hard to say that the editor was being fair with his criticism. Seriously, he told McCain to "mirror" Obama's editorial and to define what "victory" means to him, as well as include his timetables for troop withdrawals. Umm, basically the editor asked McCain to re-write his editorial like he is from the Democratic party. McCain is opposed to firm time tables and thinks that victory means stability in both the short and long term. Weird....Shouldn't he be allowed to publish an editorial in the style that he feels is appropriate? The Volokh Conspiracy also has a post on this subject here.

And with regard to Hilary Clinton, where is she?

Advice for Summer Associates

The WSJ Law Blog has a funny post about summer associates. The post highlights a list of the “Top Ten Things Law Students Do that Annoy Your Hiring Partner During the Summer."

10) Ask to leave work early for various non-emergency related reasons (e.g. guests are coming and I need to clean up my house).

9) Put in a request for reimbursement for a $1.85 cup of coffee you had while on brief work travel.

8) “Personalize” your summer associate office as if it is your full time office — hanging pictures and diplomas on walls!

4) Leaving summer associate events early — an obvious “no no” is leaving before anyone else without a valid excuse explained in advance. This is especially bad if it is a small event and people will notice your absence.

2) Seeking to date support staff/attorneys. . . .You will have plenty of time for dating after the summer associate program is done. Be professional and focused.

1) Failing to show up — for work, events, etc. If you are invited to a hiring partner’s house for a summer associate event — RSVP (by the deadline!) yes and show up on a timely basis. It is not appropriate to “pop by” at 10:00 p.m. These are people at home. They are hosting the event for YOU. Show up on time - do not bring guests unless guests are invited and you have RSVP’d. Be charming and pleasant. Be respectful. DO NOT take off your flip flops (btw, don’t wear flip flops!) and put your bare feet on the partner’s couch/chair, etc — YES, I saw this one happen myself. YOU ARE NOT AT HOME. Talk to the host’s wife/husband/partner, talk to the other attorneys and guests. Leave when others appear to be leaving. It would be nice to send a handwritten thank you the next day or two.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Fair Share

There is an interesting post at the Tax Prof Blog regarding the percentage of taxes paid by the wealthiest 1% and 5% of Americans. Apparently, the Bush tax cuts caused the biggest historical increase in tax payments by the rich ever recorded. The logical question to ponder is why increase the tax rates on the richest Americans when providing tax cuts brings in more revenue for the country? It is similar to an article I read in the WSJ a few weeks back regarding the repatriation of earnings for the foreign subsidiaries of American corporations. A law in 2005 allowed corporations to repatriate earnings at 5.25%, instead of the standard 35% corporate tax rate. Congress predicted revenue of approximately $200 billion from this action, but surprisingly U.S. corporations repatriated $362 billion from foreign operations. Many politicians opposed the measure and predicted a loss of revenue and a tax holiday for corporations. But instead of getting 35% of nothing, the Treasury received 5% of billions of dollars.

Also see this editorial.

Plenipotentiary

So, I was reading one of the many biographies on John Adams this past weekend when I came across the word "plenipotentiary." What a cool word! I will admit that I didn't know right away what this word actually meant. But with the help of a friend (who teaches English), we soon figured out that the word must mean something like "full powers." Anyway, in case you did not already know this, one of John Adams' many official titles was Plenipotentiary Minister to Great Britain.

Well, I'd better get to work. I will post more about the book another time.

Fleeced!!!!!

Dick Morris is 100% correct when he says the American people are being Fleeced by the government. Politicians call for gas conservation, and guess what, the American population does just that. Now because gas demand has decreased and Congress feels it is not making enough in tax revenue, politicians are quietly talking about raising the federal gas tax by another 10 cents a gallon. What about the "working class"? People are already trying to conserve gas because of sky rocketing prices. Not everyone can afford to live downtown, and not everyone works in a place that is accessible by public transportation. Raising the gas tax only punishes people trying to make ends meat. Blame whomever you want for this current energy crisis, but the fact is that normal everyday people are suffering, and punishing individuals for conserving is just plain stupid.

Friday, July 18, 2008

U.S. Downturn Boosts Shareholder Activism

U.S. Downturn Boosts Shareholder Activism

Like I said in an earlier post, it makes sense to link at least a portion of an executive's compensation to performance. But why don't we apply this notion to all jobs of importance. For instance, we should consider linking performance measures to compensation for members of Congress. It wouldn't be that complicated. For starts, we could require that they actually show up to 90% of voting opportunities that arise, instead of actually showing up about a third of the time. Or instead of giving them a lovely $160k + annual salary, how about we give them a base salary of whatever the average "working class" employee earns, with the remaining compensation dependent on individual and national performance measures (and no, getting sweetheart deals from Countrywide shouldn't be part of their compensation packages). And how about in addition to a "say on pay" we get to propose other taxpayer initiatives that are binding on Congress. It seems like I am a shareholder of one of the biggest entities in the world, the U.S. government. And if members of this government want to spend all their time reforming compensation for various members of society, shouldn't we apply the same standards to members of government? The last I checked politicians are supposed to "serve" the country, the country is not supposed to serve the government. So, to Mr. Waxman and other members of Congress out there who so proudly vilify the business world and push for executive compensation legislation, a lot of us think you are all hypocrites! When you start holding yourself accountable for results, then maybe we will listen.

Haha!

Chavez Pleads for Investment as Falling Output Fuels Inflation

Why would any business person invest money in a Venezuelan enterprise? As soon as it turns a profit, Chavez seizes the venture as a state asset. And apparently, it takes more than a warm body to make a company profitable. Chavez is having a hard time keeping the companies that he seized profitable....

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tax Geek Link

This is one of the coolest tax law sites I have seen! Link.

Note to self...

Drinking too much coffee before you give an important presentation is not a good thing. Moving at incredible speeds during a conference call does not really earn you bonus points. :)

Favre Drama

I wish the Favre drama would end. Maybe this is why Favre is damaging his relationship with the Packers and basically pushing for a trade:

"The rivalry between the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings just got a lot hotter. A National Football League source said Wednesday night that the Packers had filed a tampering charge with the league against the Vikings in connection with alleged contact with Brett Favre. The source said the Packers had provided evidence and information about the alleged contact. At this point, investigators for the league will look into the matter and decide what, if anything, to do. The source added that the Packers feel the case against the Vikings is strong. According to FoxSports, the report alleged that Favre had what it termed "inappropriate" dialogue with Minnesota offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, a close Favre friend and former assistant coach with the Packers."
-Fan Nation, Truth & Rumors

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Thanks but no thanks!

I received a phone call last night from a firm I applied to last October. Yes, I really-really wanted this job last year. It is in a great location, at a great firm, and it pays an awesome^2 wage. But, I am committed to the job I have now. Despite the tempting and great offer last night, I am happy to be where I am. Anyway, it is flattering that they called and offered me a job last night. :)

Interesting

President Bush has lifted the executive offshore drilling ban. And the Congressional ban is set to expire on September 30. Will Democrats continue to call for Bush to release more of the strategic oil reserves as their method of combating the recent energy crisis or will they allow the ban to expire? I think gas prices are going to erase many of the gains made my various alternative energy lobbying groups, meaning that public support is only going to increase for offshore drilling. I might be wrong, but I think Democrats will eventually cave in and allow drilling to occur. Guess we will have to wait and see.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Arrogance

I just read a post on the Tax Prof Blog about why a certain professor (Kyron Huigens) is endorsing Obama. Mr. Huigens' perspective on intellectualism only confirms why I cannot stand to be around certain groups of lawyers and law students. I find people like Mr. Huigens to be extremely arrogant. Apparently, if you did not attend Harvard law or get A's you cannot be intellectual (referring to Pres. Bush getting C-'s at Yale as anti-intellectualism). Good to know! I really think that a lot of people in the legal field take themselves too seriously sometimes. Yes, there are very intelligent people in law. But there are also plenty of intelligent people in other fields. Being a lawyer, graduate student, or whatever else does not mean that you are automatically more intellectual or superior to other people. For example, law clerks at the last firm I worked at did not speak to the support staff because they felt they were superior to the staff. Umm, last time I checked, the law firm support staff typically knows a lot more than any newbie attorney. And so what if you know more, treat people with respect!

Anyway, I'd better get my stupid self back to work.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Career Change

Apparently I should have pursued a career as a Houston police officer! Check out this link. I wish I had both a high base salary and the opportunity to receive overtime wages. Anyway, I am not sure how I feel about the Houston newspaper that reported all of those people's incomes. On the one hand, those people are public servants and we (as taxpayers) pay their wages. On the other hand, I feel bad for those people due to the lack of privacy they are now experiencing. All I can say is that public officials are lucky that they do not have all of the disclosure requirements that corporate executives deal with every year. In fact, I watched a TV news story about the Houston story and it was reported that many of these police officers have union negotiated base and overtime wages. I find it interesting that many unions fight so hard to make sure that employees receive guaranteed wages and severance rights, and at the same time fight so hard to make sure executives cannot receive similar protections. Unions are institutional shareholders of many large corporations and are big proponents of "say on pay" proxy proposals. That is fine. I agree that a large portion of an executive's salary should be tied to company performance measures. It is in the best interests of everyone if that is the case. I just find it hypocritical that many union employees are not subject to the same performance standards. In fact, many union contracts do not require the same performance standards for their employee members. Therefore, an employer and the shareholders are penalized because they are not allowed to hold workers to the same level of accountability that unions and other institutional shareholders enforce against executives.

Oh well. Most of my fellow classmates and most of the public isn't sympathetic to what I am saying. I simply think that accountability for all individuals is a good thing, whether or not you are an executive or average worker.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Sleepy Random Thoughts

I had a hard time waking up this morning. I am flat out exhausted. I am on my second cup of coffee and am still sleepy. The only cure for this zombie mode I am in is a much needed break from work. Luckily, my hubby and I get to celebrate the 4th of July with a three day weekend! So, we are dropping the dog off tomorrow at Camp Bow Wow and then heading up north for a weekend of fun at my grandparents' home. They live on a beautiful lake, which means plenty of jet skiing and swimming for us! Of course, this weekend will not be totally work free. I plan on bringing a few client files and some random projects to work on at night.

So what can I tell you about the new job? Hmm... I turned in my first real legal document last week and received very positive feedback. It felt awesome to receive a little bit of praise, especially since I constantly feel like an idiot here. I always knew that law school did not really prepare you for the working world, but it is crazy to me that I paid so much money for school when it was my clerkships that really taught me the law! Anyway, despite feeling dumb most of the time, I try to keep positive and learn whatever I can, as often as I can.

Well my rambling is over for now. Have a great 4th of July everyone!