My name is Lauren Wasielewski and I am working at the Albany County District Attorney’s (DA) office. I do not have a title, but I am the intern at the crime victim’s unit. I used to be all over the place in terms of career interests, and wanted to do theatre at Hudson Valley Community College and then wanted to do something with a florist. After that, I wanted to do clerical work and find a job with the 55-b Program, which is a program for people with disabilities. You basically get a state job but do not have to take the test, and it is a very nice program that they have. I applied for the 55-b Program back when I was in high school because both of my parents said that as a job possibility it would be great to work for the state. But the older I get, it makes the most sense because it is a good system to get into especially while you are young. I am not working for the state right now, but the Albany County.
The DA’s Office is nothing like the TV shows. I tried watching the show called, “Conviction” and only lasted 15 minutes because it is so dramatized. It is actually way cooler in real life. The dynamic is much more interesting, and it is way cooler especially if you get to sit in on a high-profile case and see how it pans out. It is much more interesting because you do not get all the dramatization of plots and stuff like that because it is not a show.
Some of my duties include filing and alphabetizing closed cases. I created a parole letter database with five spreadsheets. It took me about two months to do. They asked me to do it because they just had a lot of letters and wanted to have a system where it is all organized. I do not really see anyone that is involved with any court cases such as defendants. Sometimes I do sit in on court cases and they are very interesting. I love doing that. You have to be really good with watching what you say and not accidentally telling things to people that can put someone in jeopardy. All court cases are public so you can literally go down to the DA’s office and sit in on the trial if you wanted to do so. Both my parents have backgrounds in the court system and never knew that until last year. But I work there and have to watch what I say.
I was thinking that I was being polite to knock on my supervisor’s door, but they explained that it is not necessary to knock on the door and stand behind it. I am better with just walking in and asking what they need me to do. They explained I should feel comfortable with them and just walk into their offices. I am pretty comfortable with them all and am pretty fortunate that everybody is nice. It is not an intimidating environment. This is what people assume about the DA’s office but everybody is very nice.
I have a pretty good schedule of waking up an hour-and-a-half earlier than I need to to get ready and catch the bus on-time. For the freshmen, it is very important to make sure you follow the dress code, get there early, and practice good hygiene. Also ask if there is more stuff to do because just because you are done with one thing it does not mean you are done with the whole day! In my case, there could be a chance to sit in on a trial. Just make sure you have a good relationship with your co-workers and supervisors because if you do then it just makes work so much better. Even if it is not an ideal placement, it makes work so much better.
I never even thought if I went back to high school five years ago that I would be at the DA’s office because I had never had any interest in law. Both of my parents were involved with the court system. I have an uncle retired from the NYPD and have heard everything about law and the process and was done with it. It is amazing that at age 23 I am doing this type of stuff and really like it!
I actually really like going to work and it’s not because I get paid to go to work even though it is a nice bonus. It makes the week go by so much faster and there is more time to complete assignments at school. You have no classes two days a week so it is better for time management, I have been feeling. I work four hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays – eight hours a week. I personally really love school and work and they are equal to me. This is the first job I have ever had and the florist was more of a long job shadow.
They actually had an internship at the Price Chopper florist all set up for me, but I changed my mind at the last minute. I wanted to work for the state because being a florist would not be conducive to my future employment. The job outlook for a florist is very unstable because of all the online places like 1-800-flowers and the Teleflora on the Internet. I wanted to have a more stable job and good benefits.
I am planning on working in the 55-b Program like I said, saving enough money, and going back to an Associates Degree to get a degree in journalism because I really like writing articles. It took forever to learn how to use a word copier because I have a tendency to make things harder for myself. Now I take an hour-and-a-half instead of half-a-day.