Legal

Do You Know What You Are Worth? Legal Reasons#35

shutterstock_570748177The reality is that many employees do not review their pay stubs because of a common fallacy: trust. This is not to say employers are out to betray you, but businesses are biased towards decreasing costs, especially labor as that tends to be the largest expense.  Many employers also are not aware about premium overtime, rest break violation penalties, failure to give lunch break prior to the 5th hour and a host of other regulations. Thus, it is important for employees to periodically review their pay stubs. Also, review your job descriptions to see if you have been properly classified.

Are you being paid the same amount every paycheck (which should arrive on the 10th and the 26th as mandated by California law) even though you are an hourly employee?   Did you take your lunch, one minute later than 5 hours on a 8 hour shift? You are entitled to a one hour wage penalty?  Were you terminated over the phone and informed that the final check would be given on the next pay dates?  California requires that a final check, including reporting time pay (if you were on the schedule) be given to you at the time of termination.  It is prudent to check your pay stubs as well as know what your overtime rates should be. You never know when that information could come in handy.

Brownness

Stepping Forward

Another beautiful Sunday morning. Approximately 820am. I quickly walked the dog, wiling it to take a take a crap immediately so I could rush back home, shower and then head out. I had the chance, no wait. I MADE the chance to go finally check out the Culver City Steps yesterday (called the Baldwin Hills Scenic Outlook on Yelp). I had texted several people and even tried to guilt-force Preeti into going, but there were no takers.  So I stepped forward alone. It was exhilarating! I found out about the steps at a friend’s gathering where a college football player casually mentioned that he has been using the steps to work out his quads. Steps?  Huh?  I asked what he meant, and he explained that these steps were in Culver City, and were a great workout option and a great way to see the whole city in one shot. I was immediately intrigued. I love finding out about new things to do in Los Angeles. I have been stuck in a run lately with just running around laps in my neighborhood, and I know the key to killing boredom when exercising is to switch it up. Yet it was more than that. I am intrigued at finding hidden things to do in the city I call home.

There is so much to do in Los Angeles, but I have been mainly focused on finding places to eat. I think part of the problem with a vast area such as Southern California is that you have to make choices on what you want to focus on (similar to life), but as someone who gets antsy after a few months. I want to break these artificial boundaries of land that I have set for myself. For the first time, this summer I actually made it to the beach more than once. I live in a beautiful area, yet I still have not tried all the things that it has to offer. One day. I want to hit up every restaurant and hiking trail in Cerritos, and Artesia. I see in me a need to connect with the larger picture not just the one I have painted for myself.

I managed to do the steps twice and although my sore calves are still not talking to me. I know that I made a step forward, and at the end that’s all that matters.

 

Family

Brothers, Sisters & Cousins

Japji Sahib Wallpaper
Japji Sahib Wallpaper (Photo credit: Gurumustuk Singh)

As I did the Japji Sahib  today in the morning, I couldn’t help smiling inwardly at some of the funny, and loving things I have seen with my family this week. As I kept reading under a gloomy sky, I felt completely lit up inside. For the first time, I was reading the prayer without halting ( I don’t have it memorized). It struck me that I have a lot  cousins and their children in town.  At last count, 43 all together counting everyone living here. Yes! 43 which includes, kids of all ages from a 6 month old to 21 years.  That’s still only gets us to perhaps 1/2 of my family as half didn’t come. Yes, half.

To say my family is big is an understatement, but really to say that they are loved is an even bigger understatement.  I wish I could say that it was due to a special occasion such as a big birthday or wedding  that the family is here but in reality this regularly happens in my family.  My cousins have been coming to visit us for as long as we have been in California.  What’s really striking is that how much fun we have as a family. I don’t think I have laughed this much, well since, the last time they were here which was my wedding. Preeti joked that it felt like we are getting married all over again which made our 2nd anniversary even more memorable. What really warmed my heart was to see how much fun she has with my family too.

I realize now that although many have big families, what makes this more pleasurable for me is to see how close my parents were to their siblings.  It is their love for each other that has made us close to our cousins.  My mom’s 5 sisters and 4 brothers are so deeply committed to each other that it’s breathtaking to see them get together. I have only seen laughing, praying, crying together. NEVER, and I mean NEVER have I seen them fight or argue with each other.Then there is also my father’s side of 5 brothers and 1 sister where my sisters and I are the oldest cousins, and the level of respect accorded to us is truly humbling. My father is the head of the family, and his love and caring has made us care and love our cousins naturally.  I can say all my cousins make me feel truly loved, and when they do come over, it is NEVER a chore. I do admit that friends and work tend to suffer a bit since we all are so keen to be around for hours.

I assumed that was normal until I saw others who don’t speak to family members for months or years. I think the longest I have gone without speaking to my sisters has been a week. It just has never occurred to us to not resolve what’s wrong. We fight, we yell, we argue, we are mean to each other, but it has NEVER affected our relationship as brother and sister.  I see now that with time we have gotten even closer. I guess what I really mean to say is that I truly grateful for who I have in life, and I want others to have the same too.  That is my public service announcement for the day 🙂

Myself, Writing

Fraud

I have this need to be read It’s why I have been writing since I was 16, and I often wonder what makes me want to share with others.  What makes me desire to hear the sentence “I read what you wrote” followed by “I liked/loved/laughed/cried/thought about what you wrote.”  I am open to criticism but I am scared of it as well. My biggest fear is not being liked but being ignored. As if I don’t exist. I write because it makes me feel as I exist. It is the only time that I am the uninterrupted. unadulterated me.

All my life. I have fought this nagging feeling of being a fraud, of feeling that I was meant for something different. The reality is that we are all a bunch of choices.  We are where we are either because of our own choices or others in our lives.  The others count only if your under 18 or just not willing or able to make your own choices. As a Punjabi, its easy to point the finger at my parents, but they didn’t force me to write, or go to UCLA or law school. Those were all my decisions so in a way I need to write to think out loud on paper. I have this need to inflict my opinion others. It’s perhaps the only time I feel as if intellectually I matter.

Yet even my writing is haphazard just like my feelings and thoughts. I have been unable to write something original in a long time. It’s as if I am afraid to really put myself out there or maybe just maybe I don’t have it in me. It is that last thought that drives me crazy. If I am not a writer, then what am I?  It’s the only label I have ever really wanted, and its the only that has eluded me now for over 2 decades.  I often the wonder if the feeling I am a fraud is actually who I am.  That perhaps in some way. my desire to be something other than what others think of me is what drives me?

I don’t know, and so I write even though I feel like a fraud.  IMG_1964

 

Myself

The Wondering Lawyer…

English: Icon of Law Firm--owned by user.
English: Icon of Law Firm–owned by user. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday, I attended the LACBA’s annual wage and hour symposium, and the first thing that struck me was the amount of lawyers who showed up the millennium Biltmore, but more than that, how almost all of them dressed alike. Men in suits, and he women in business outfits with some calves showing and business appropriate beige or black low heels. A majority of them with the obligatory iPhone/blackberry, and/or laptop, the low light of the devices making it feel as I was on Krypton.   Of course, there were some outliers. One wore a Hawaiian  shirt, and another came with a hat, suspenders on blue jeans.  I was in the middle, no jacket, business shirt with no collars and almost too tight pants (that’s what I get for eating all the chocolate I can at night).  The glow of the devices filled the darkened conference room, and I only felt one feeling: Glad.

I am glad, I don’t work as a lawyer. I am glad that I am not in uniform. I am glad that I don’t have to report for duty. Yet, there was a nagging feel that perhaps, just perhaps, I was missing something. And then it hit me that I missed law school.  The camaraderie, the kosher food with my friend Elias, and the nick name “The Three Wise Men” that was given to us by our class mates.  Well, I was Indian, my best friend was black, and the third was an orthodox Jew.  We made quite an impression when we walked the aisles.  Yet it was more than that. I missed knowing the law as an intellectual exercise, but more so I regret never getting actual practice at a law firm.  So I know why I was looking down at the attorneys now, I was preempting my insecurity before it got the best of me.  In some ways, I couldn’t help thinking that they were REAL attorneys while I played one at my business.

Yet as my best friend pointed out, I am selling myself short. I know the basics, and been around issues at my workplace to have a good grasp of employment law as it relates to my industry.  The nagging feeling left after I finished the conference, but I can’t help feeling that I missed out on some parts of being an attorney.  My only consolation now is that I can learn as needed, and I don’t have to punch a clock. Some days, that has to be  enough.

My Past, Myself

Three Words

A hoodie with the University of California, Lo...
A hoodie with the University of California, Los Angeles trademark. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I don’t know.  The three words I can always count on in my life. I have struggled with who I am for the longest time.  I think that the only time I was sure what I wanted to be was when I won a writing competition in high school (the NCTE) that allowed me acceptance into UCLA. After that, it was one giant slippery slope.  I became unsure if being an English major was enough, then got caught up in promoting and creating events in college (South Asian Youth Conference, Bruin Bhangra,etc) , and I thought I had a knack for it. My family couldn’t afford for me to go, so I took on being a dishwasher as well as doing dorm security to make tuition. I became even more confused. Did I want to just become a write? How will I survive?  So I added Political Science as well, because I thought I was special and could do both. That added another year so I took almost 5 years to graduate.

I still think that college was perhaps the best time of my life because it allowed me to almost figure out who I am, yet in some ways it spoiled me. I avoided real life, and so after college I took on Americorps and ended up in Lexington, Kentucky where I tutored juvenile delinquents in English for a year. Again, I got busy in volunteering, and not really facing myself.  After coming back, I somehow decided on law school at the Southwestern University School of Law, but not in old program, the SCALE program, the only 2 year law program in the country at the time.  I decided to go with being unconventional because it allowed me to avoid real life. So went the story of my life, yet I also know I am not being fair with myself.  I make not knowing seem a bad thing, but what I really mean is my hunger for knowledge has never died.  I like to think it keeps me young. Sometimes saying “I don’t know” is also saying “I want more.”