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Quitting ODAR job without another one lined up
Last Post 01/29/2017 9:45 AM by Grateful
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07/13/2012 10:25 PM
Author: OP1121 [21813]
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I have a job as an attorney-advisor with ODAR (part of SSA).  It is a federal job, and is a two-year TERM appointment.  I am about halfway through.  I am considering quitting early, even though I don't have another solid job lined up (other than some prospects for contract work).  I know this sounds crazy, but I have some reasons.  First off, it is not the job I want.  Pay/benefits are fine, but it is not really legal work, is mind-numbing and boring.  Second, I was not one of those selected to be made "permanent."  They fired another lady who was not made permanent, and I have come under increasing scrutiny for my drafts.  I am beginning to feel that it is a matter of time before being canned, and I want to take charge of my career, rather than wait to be asked to leave.  I took this job, and had to move to another state, where I am not licensed.  So, a change would involve returning home to the state where my law license is, so I can network and build connections in the city I want to live in.

I want some advice.  I know this may sound crazy/demented, in a bad economy, to leave a well-paying job with nothing solid lined up.  But, do you think that, given that my job is ending anyway and that I want to return to my home state, it makes sense to force a move?  I am 28/29, so I have time in life to recover financially and get back on my feet.

 


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07/14/2012 2:53 PM
Author: Clerk5 [21813]
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I would quit before you are fired.  It will be easier explain to future employers why you quit, rather than "I think I was fired because..."

Also, going back to the state you are licensed in sounds like a good plan. If you want to work as an attorney, go for it!  At least you have some experience (albeit non-legal, but still).  Sure you might end up clerking at a firm for little to no-pay, but that's how it done right now.  

Bottom line, sounds like you've made up your mind on this.  You don't really care for the job, so, take a chance.  



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07/14/2012 7:23 PM
Author: julycbx [21813]
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I would also quit before I was fired but be ready to have a good explanation as to why you left.  Given the economy, some future employers may ask you this as most people would not leave unless they had something lined up.  I know you have a good reason (practice in your state, etc.) but just rehearse your answer well for interviews.

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07/25/2012 7:23 AM
Author: ataraxiia9 [21813]
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Why do you hate the ODAR job? I just applied for a mass hiring they are doing for Attorney Advisors in Falls Church and Arlington and am waiting to hear back.  How did you get hired for the position? Was it just you or were you hired with other attorneys?

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11/25/2012 4:32 PM
Author: OP [21813]
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Sorry for the long response time.

"Hate" is too strong a word. I really disliked the job though. I liked my co-workers, and I really believe in the mission of ODAR and SSA. But, the attorney-advisor position is really an unsatisfying and boring job. I don't care what the job title is, it is NOT lawyer work. It is isolating, boring, mundane work. You don't really gain much in the way of skills for another legal job, so the only thing is really prepares you for is career with ODAR, which is limited. Also, if you want to be an ALJ, which is perhaps the pinaccle of career success within ODAR, you need real legal experience as a practicing attorney to be taken seriously.

Things worked for me though. I got another job after moving back home. :

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02/08/2013 7:54 PM
Author: Former odar [21813]
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I've never heard of anyone who was temporary not being allowed to stay as a permanent employee. Anyway, the jobs at odar are legal jobs, whether it's obvious or not.

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03/08/2013 2:51 PM
Author: JD-ESQ [21813]
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I think you should reconsider your career as an attorney. It sounds like the career of an ATTORNEY is not what you expected. you sound really silly saying that the reason why you're willing to leave a fed job (long term temp vs very unpredictable short term contract work) is solely because the work is not legal work even though potential employers will consider it as experience "practicing law". Judicial clerkships are not permanent yet students will kill for those positions just for the experience and the opportunities that come with it.

You mentioned being criticized about your briefs. if its not an attorney job, why are you required to write briefs? Are you aware that you will be required to write legal documents such as briefs if you were an attorney at a law firm?

It sounds more logical if you want to leave before being fired but to say your willing to become unemployed with no salary because the job is not an attorney job sounds ridiculous, I'm sorry to sound so harsh. if its not to late, maybe you can step up to the challenge of improving your briefs, the experience of going through such a challenge will only make you stronger and more prepared to deal with challenges in the future.

What's really sad is that some other applicant was not hired because you were offered employment and it so hard for attorneys to find permanent work these days.

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03/25/2013 7:01 PM
Author: NY attorney-advisor [21813]
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I am a lawyer admitted to practice for 3 years and I am an attorney advisor for an ODAR office in NY for about 1 1/2 years. This job is technically a legal job but I would say it is barely a legal job. You are referred to as a decision writer and do the same job non-attorney paralegals do. Concerning the "advisor" aspect of the job, the ALJ's rarely take your advice and would just prefer that you write the decisions as they instructed you to do so. So, basically the skills you may have learned in law school are basically left to atrophy because you don't use them. You do type a lot however.

For the most part, your day consists of working alone in your office with no professional collaboration, writing disability decisions for a number of ALJ's (very boring). Unlike clerking for a "real judge" as I did during law school, the emphasis is on productivity and not on decision quality. Also, after working at my office for under 1 1/2 years, I have essentially come across every type of case you will see, and I have not seen any real unique legal dilemmas. Most trial-level courts will see a much larger variety of cases, which makes that job much more interesting. Also, cases that may have "interesting" legal questions are typically given directly to ALJ's or are handled by "Senior Attorneys" which is basically a promoted position above the AA job.

As compared to my previous job, (where I went to court, drafted motions, appellate briefs, and argued cases), this job is very lame, pales in comparison to my last job, and makes me feel like a scribe and not a lawyer. I took the job because ODAR was willing to pay me 25% more than my last job so I felt like I should take a chance.

As of right now I am actively seeking a new job. I didn't go to law school to do a job that did not require that I go to law school. I will jump ship the moment I find something better as I don't believe quitting a job otherwise is a good idea unless it is seriously affecting your health. To be honest, if my previous job would take me back, I would probably take it back with the salary cut and all.

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01/29/2017 9:45 AM
Author: Grateful [21813]
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Federal employers should screen harder to weed people like you out. As an experienced attorney, you knew exactly what the job entailed and yet you applied and accepted the job. Now you are complaining about. There was someone who was not chosen because of you, who prolly would've been appreciative of the position. You are really fake, lack integrity, and stand for little.

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