Happy New Year! This lady is back, and ready to blog again. I know it has been a LONG time since my last post. However, this time around, I promise to post a lot more frequently than before. In this post, I am going to continue discussing my journey as a public defender, and my current feelings about the job.
I took almost three weeks off work during Christmas, and it was the most amazing break. After a break like this, we all say that we never want to go back to work, of course, but this time I felt a sense of dread; this feeling put a lot of things into perspective for me. First and foremost, I should not be feeling this! I thought about it for a long time, trying to figure out why I felt this.
Through reflection about my experience as a public defender, I have come to the conclusion that the reason I dreaded going back to work is not the work itself, because I do enjoy the aspect of helping people, but the fact that as a person, and public servant, my work, and presence is not appreciated. Surprisingly, I am not talking about my clients, because although there are some clients that no matter what I do for them, they will never appreciate my work, most of my clients have been kind, and do understand that I will always try my best.
In the courtroom, although the public defender is the one that talks to clients, has to do paperwork for clients, makes copies, resolves cases, then has to stand at the podium with every single client to discuss whatever matter may be going on with each particular case, the work I put in is never enough, or satisfactory. I am confident to say that we carry more than half of the criminal docket each time court is held, and we are the ones that keep the docket moving, and yet, it is not enough. Instead, they call us the “black sheep” of the courtroom.
Then I go to my office, and receive phone call after phone call from clients’ relatives, complaining that I could do something better, that the diversion offer is not good enough, that the rehab offer is not good enough. What is even worse is receiving phone calls from other court personal, complaining that this paperwork is wrong in this way, and I have to tell them that they are wrong, my paperwork is correct, because I am the attorney, and know how to complete legal documents. I just stopped taking these kinds of calls.
Then to top everything off, my own office under appreciates my work and presence. Although I do have a handful that keep me sane (which I am GRATEFUL for), there are people that make the atmosphere hostile. Having an office atmosphere that is positive is essential to being a public defender, because this is where we need to talk about our cases, legal, and court issues, but instead, I have to go back to an office where there is negativity up to the roof. It is an office with people who only think about themselves, and their only priority is how to make their schedule the easiest by giving others the bulk of the work. The saddest part is that even if there really is a problem, there is no one to talk to about it, because even those above sweep real problems under the rug.
Being under appreciated everywhere I go gets draining, and I cannot blame those others who left this line of work. There are several ways to help people, and finding something that is enjoyable and makes me happy at the same time is my priority this year. Remember people, it is OK to put yourself first, because if you do not, no one else will!
Until next time, readers!