I wanted to talk a little today about my 'day job," which is working as an Administrative Law Judge. Fancy title, eh? Not so fancy job, though. What I do is conduct administrative hearings for people who have appealed an adverse decision made on their public assistance cases. For instance, someone is turned down for not meeting the definition of disability for a government medical assistance program. They file an appeal and I hold a hearing and determine if they did or did not meet that definition. That's just one example, there could be hundreds more.
What does this have to do with my writing? Even though the hearings are for government assistance programs I deal with people of all economic classes. If a hearing is held for an elderly person in a nursing home, they might be represented at the hearing by their adult children or even an attorney. Because of the wide range of people that I might work with, I have learned so much about the different class levels and can incorporate this into my writing work.
I suppose at this point I should introduce my disclaimer. I have never written about, or will ever write about anyone specifically that I have dealt with during my 25+ years of working in social services. Everything I do is considered confidential and I cannot discuss it with anyone outside of my co-workers.
That being said, it doesn't mean that I cannot use what I have observed in meeting with people. Don't we all do that with anyone we meet? The current manuscript that I'm working on is about a middle-class girl who meets and falls in love with a millionaire. They come from different sides of the track and both have their own specialized survival skills when it comes to life. It's been a very interesting story to write.
Today, I visited with some former co-workers and someone mentioned about what day it was today, Wednesday. Because I am on the road three days a week visiting different offices in my region to hold hearings, it seems I never know what day it is. I told them I felt like a rock star on tour, never seemingly to know what my schedule is. I only know what town I'm supposed to be in the following day.
Rock on, ♫