Thursday, August 23, 2012


When you are let go (forced to resign) from a legal position in a smallish town, the folks you knew at that firm stop calling and emailing.  It is nothing personal, it is a fact that no one wants to admit.  I am now tainted.  Others in the legal world are still talking to me, in fact, a few are helping me to get back on my feet.  But those I counted among friends, not close but not just acquaintances, are not going to keep in touch.  I thought this was a possibility as I left the building.  The one that hurts the most is a partner that had been a kind of mentor did not even contact me after it happened.  That is simply cowardice on his part.  He has nothing to lose to talk to me.  Or maybe there was something I did that led to his cutting ties.  Ah well, it was not a close relationship so it is not very painful.

If you have been let go, you understand this.  If you have recently been let go, try not to worry about this aspect.  It really is not personal.  Many of the associates you worked with are afraid.  They are afraid of the reason for your departure, afraid that they to may be let go.  And they are afraid that if your departure was for personal reasons, if it were known that they were keeping in touch it may lead to partners seeing them as disloyal.  Loyalty is important to many attorneys, especially in smaller firms.  Unfortunately, loyalty can lead to blind allegiance or loyalty can be interpreted by the higher-ups to mean associates must have a "shut up and take it" attitude.

And finally, associates are simply busy.  I was there, I remember.  I barely had time to check in with my husband, much less worry about friends.  And that is the saddest part of being an attorney.  I did not worry about maintaining contact with friends, even though I did try.  But I cancelled so many meet-ups and spent so much time away that I am now having to reestablish my network.  Old friends that have been with me for decades are the easiest to repair.  Newer ones take more time and nurturing.  Now consider if this had been decades instead of 2 years.  Think about what an attorney sees when she or he retires later and looks around.  Will friends be there, will that spouse, that child remember you?  I understand better today than I did a year ago about work-life balance.  Work-life balance, sounds so cliched and hackneyed.  It's not really work-life balance, in law there is never really a balance.  But attorneys need to remember to maintain some semblance of a life outside of the law.  Because it is almost impossible to create one after dedicating decades to the law.  Friends are harder to make after age 30.  Friendships, relationships die without attention, not a violent death, but one of simple neglect coming over a long period of time of little real attention and love.

Ug, I sound like a weird hippie guru.  But all of the above is true.  Unfortunately, the ones that will suffer most are women.  I am not a typical female.  I was a tomboy, a nerd, a women's rights advocate in the 80's and consistently having more "male" tendencies than female.  Exhibit A, movies.  My husband would be content watching independent films and heading to all the film festivals around the country.  Me?  If something doesn't blow up in the first 15 minutes, I'm bored.  We compromise, one of mine for one of his.  Even so, and even though I am not as social as many I know, I also understand that I need companionship outside of my spouse.  My husband, not so much.  He has me and 2 friends, one of which he sees every 3-4 years and it is always like they have never been apart.  Me, I realized that I need friends during my first year as an associate.  I needed people around me that loved me for who I am, people I didn't feel in any kind of competition with for projects, accolades, etc. (admit it, you are in competition every day with the other associates, for the more interesting projects and for good attention).

Anyway, the point of this is that over the next couple of weeks, I am spending as much time as possible repairing any of my damaged friendships, as well as neglected family members.  I will not break one engagement, except for illness (really, who wants a friend to show up sick? but then I might be a bit of a germaphobe).  I will listen more than I speak.  I will ask, I will remember and I will try my best to be the kind of friend that person needs.  Oooo, sounds a little stalkerish :0

Will post more often, now that I have a few things cleared up.  Maybe I will even regale you with tales of renovations by a novice (we have a ton of stuff in the basement that could make this house much less 1960's and that's 1960's in not a good way).

Have a lovely day and call a friend.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

So much, so much

I no longer have my job. I am not going into the details, except it was sudden. I am not unhappy, not really. It is a job. I am grateful that I am of that attitude. I can't imagine if this had happened in science, then I believe I would have rend and worn sack cloth. But now, I am merely resigned. The good. Time to recuperate, regroup and determine where I wish to go from here. Time to get everything around the house in order. Time to think about whether I want to continue blogging here or anywhere. The bad. Our budget is blown to smithereens. We moved because of this job, we have serious debt and two households. Rent covers part of the bill in the other state, but we must continue to pay here. And then the student loans. So in toto, I basically have 3 mortgages. Furthermore, this area offers little in my specialty, which was one major reason I was afraid to take this position in the first place, though I had little choice. But I refuse to be upset about this. I refuse to allow this to worry me. There are so many people's situations that are much worse. Students that left school with no job prospects at all, also laden with student loans. And I am beginning to believe that this may be the best for me. It has forced me to truly think about what I want out of a job. And I can't go back to the kind of work required there. I did not get into this to be involved in law other than IP and I was right. I find corporate law repetitious and dull (and I know plenty of folks out there would hate patent law or pull their hair over the nonsensical complexity of copyrights). I am somewhat more interested in litigation, but do not have the personality for it. As pointed out by others, I am too clinical, wanting to find the right answer and that simply takes far too long. Here is what you shall find here, if anyone is even still checking this site. I am going to blog about the ups and downs of job hunting, including attempting to create a position (with a place that I believe would be match with my personality pretty darn well). I am going to blog about what it means to go from not worrying about finances to watching every penny that goes out the door (we are already struggling with whether to give up hulu plus and netflix, which only comes to about $16/month, but is still an expense). And I am going to blog about my journey to overcome and use my ADHD to my advantage, rather than continually trying to deny it. It's there, I take medication for it. And now, I can move past that and deal with the everyday issues that have been a constant battle. Part of blogging about ADHD will also be blogging about my health, losing weight and exercise. Turns out exercise and eating right are important parts of taking care of ADHD. So sit back and have a little helping of Schadenfreude watching a silly little lawyer attempts to win back her pride, confidence and footing in the world (though I hate to tell you, I am not really into self-pity and all that crap) ;)