Wednesday, February 7, 2001

(Excerpted from a letter I sent to Chuck.)

It's been a while since I've written anything that wasn't work related, so keep that in mind as you read through this drivel. As I was halfway through that last sentence, I went through my old letters to try to figure out when I had last written to you. Regrettably, the only letters I located were when we were exchanging real letters (I refuse to use the word "snail mail"). Once I found them, I felt obliged to read through them.

Now I remember why I love to write. Just reading through my problems--since it appears the only thing I spoke of in those letters was how horrible my life as--transported me back in time. The first letter I sent you was after I finished working the summer after graduation. The last was my first week of Law School. I'm not sure what happened after that, but I'll assume I somehow finished Law School because I'm now working as a lawyer. I do remember that first letter you sent me, which is still sitting in my letter pile. That was a weird time for me, and a rather exciting time for you. Your experiences presented a nice foil for me as I was thinking about my future. While I'm not I took the path less traveled, I do thank you for providing me with inspiration for the "what if" scenario.

Since I wasn't able to figure out how much I've told you, I figure I'll fill you in on the last year of my life. Ever since I started working, the measurement of time has become less and less important. In school, there were always bookends in life: winter break, holidays, summer vacation, etc. There was always something new to look forward to, like transforming from a junior to a senior or moving to the Hillside apartments (which came complete with a Vampire-friendly closet). But since I've started work, the bookends have been pushed farther and farther apart, and there are fewer boundaries in life. Weeks flow by, followed by months, and those months slowly transform into years before you have time to wipe your feet on the doormat. But, as I have a tendency to do, I digress. Back to how I got where I am.

The first eight months of working were the hardest for me. As you know, I'm working for a big law firm in the city. Looking back, those eight months were especially painful because they represented a change in my life. I went from always looking forward to the next step in life to seeing my next step as retirement fifty years hence. This thought depressed me to no end. At some point, however, I came to the realization that the real world is a necessary evil and it's better for me to come to terms with it. And that's exactly what I did. I put on a new "positive attitude" (which lasted a full three weeks) and started regarding work as not just an inherently bad thing. At this point, my workload increased, which also helped. During the early months of working at the firm, I barely had enough work to keep my occupied for the seven hours we're required to bill. It's quite depressing reading the Internet all day. Boredom inevitably gives way to deep and disturbing thoughts. Since then, work has been much better. There are days when (god forbid) I can say I actually enjoy working there. I have gone through another positive attitude (this time I called it my "happy attitude," and no, this has nothing to do with drugs; this is David we're talking about) and I'm rather comfortable at where I am now.

I think I've gone on enough about my inner workings. I'll fill you in on some more "real life" information. As a big time attorney, I do a mishmash of litigation, corporate work, and patent drafting. All these relate to Intellectual Property (which, in turn, relates to my Masters in Computer Engineering I received during law school). As usual, I do incredible work, albeit I usually procrastinate to the last minute, and continue to follow my minimalist ways by being efficient. In law firms, however, efficiency is not encouraged. Because the law firm economics revolve around the billable hour, the more work you do, the more the firm likes you. This system is in direct contrast to our ethical obligations (yes, attorneys do have ethical obligations) to represent our clients zealously and fairly. Any-whos, because of my efficiency, I don't believe the firm likes me as much as more inefficient (and therefore higher billing) attorneys. But I guess I can live with that. They still pay me an insane amount of money to work, and that I can definitely live with.

As of this letter, I'm currently reaching another of those diverging paths in my life. As part of my eight months of depression, I sent out my resumes to a number of headhunters. I have been speaking with a contact of one of these headhunters who has, in a roundabout way, offered me a job as an IP counsel to a division of Schlumberger, a French company, which provides technical support for the oil industry. I would be counsel for a Houston division of the company that designs computer programs that image collected seismic data and use this information to predict oil flow underground. I'm meeting with the contact on Friday for dinner to discuss this opportunity. I can write pages and pages about what I've been thinking and the pros and cons that are going into this decision, but I'll spare you this awful internal debate. Suffice to say, I'm seriously considering this opportunity, but at the same time, I have misgivings.

What would be the story of my life without a discussion of my relationships? As I was skimming through my earlier letters to you I saw a distinct pattern. I seemed to always bring up this topic, but I usually ended the discussion with an empty paragraph ending with, "enough said." While I'm tempted to do the same in this letter, I actually do have some things to report. I'm currently not involved with anyone, but I did have a serious relationship this year, as well as a number of dates and flings. Once again, the serious relationship was with another Asian woman (I blame you). The dates and flings have been with women of various nationalities and religions. I'm beginning to seriously look to the future and I'm hoping more and more to find that "right" woman. Although, when and IF that happens, I know all the other women would be terribly disappointed that such an eligible bachelor has fallen by the way side; it's a sacrifice that they must make for the betterment of mankind.

Shannon is still alive and ticking, and he keeps reminding me that he's going to end the world as soon as I find happiness (he is the bringer of the Apocalypse in case you were wondering). He finished Medical School and is now a doctor working in a hospital in Binghamton. He's doing a one-year residency, after which he plans on leaving the medical profession and working for a pharmaceutical company. He's not sure what he'll be doing, but he hates patients, the hours that doctors keep, and working in general.

While I have other things to report, I think I hit on all the major happenings of my life. Seeing as you're now distracting me by IM'ing me, I'll leave it at this. I hope we keep in touch a little more often now that you have a string modem.

Until next time you force me to write one of these things.

David S. Figatner, Esq.