Friday, June 7, 2013

Last day

I'm doing my last day of calls for work. I'm still going to be doing some work for the firm, but this is my last real day.

It's surreal. Nothing is different, or special. Just the end of one career and the start of a new one.

I feel like I want to cry.

I remember the start of law school. I remember thinking I'd be a lawyer for the rest of my life. I remember looking forward to wearing business suits and heels and briefcases and, basically, pretending to be a lawyer. I remember being so proud of my profession and completely identifying my worth by it. I enjoyed saying I was in law school, and later, that I was a lawyer. I liked that look that people got of raised eyebrows and a little intimidation.

I remember telling lawyers I knew personally that I was going to law school. I remember every single one of them urging me to take a year off, or choose a different profession, instead of going to law school. I remember thinking that odd, because I was going to change the world, save humanity, and be perfect and have status and prestige.

But those lawyers knew. They knew what I now know. Lawyering is depressing and hard and thankless. And the people, the kind of the people that lawyering attracts are people who like to argue and fight and win at all costs. The best kinds of litigators are the biggest assholes, because they get a charge out of it.

I don't think I ever liked arguing in person. I did like arguing a point on paper. But I never wanted to rise to the level of jerk that, really, I needed to be. As I progressed, over 16 years, well....I just didn't see the benefit of it. It's so sad and depressing. People who need lawyers, even people who need lawyers who have money, hate to hire them. So that lawyering for me is not just about fighting the other side, but fighting your client to get them to understand they need you. Private practice - I've actually gotten a lot of clients and I realized why this week - because I don't care about their problem and don't want them to hire me. I have unintentionally played hard to get and THAT, that is how I snag them. Isn't that a sad job to have?

And working all the time. You know how many hours lawyers typically work in a year? 2400 is a low estimate. That's BILLED time. And without weekends, that's about 8.6 hours a day BILLED. And no one bills every second they are at the office - it's impossible because you can't bill a client for saying hi or eating lunch or checking in with your spouse or going to the bathroom or drinking coffee or surfing the internet. If you billed 8.6 hours in a day, you're probably AT the office, away from home, 11.5 hours a day. Again, that's assuming you never work weekends, and I have NEVER met a lawyer who doesn't work weekends. And you never see your family, are constantly stressed about clients and work and money, and no one likes you.

My mother, the German native that she is, has said I have wasted the last 16 years. (I did not inherit my emotional intelligence from her)  I don't think she's right. Because everything I do right now, the sum total of me, which makes me want to be a teacher and which I think will help me be a great teacher, is the culmination of all of my experiences being a lawyer.

I hate when people say "this is the end of an era." Well, guess what, today represents for me, the end of an era. I'm still licensed, I still have clients, I still work for the firm - part part time. But my identity is changing. My insides are different somehow, and they've been different from that hungry new lawyer circa 1997 for a while now. And acknowledging the change is daunting.

I have another friend who thinks I'm running away from being a lawyer. Believe me, this thing I'm doing, it is not cowardly. Changing one's career at age 42 may be unwise and silly, but it is also rife with fear and lack of security. Basically I am scared to death.

And I'm going to step off the cliff anyway.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I received fantastic news - I got my first choice in mentor! I love her. She is so cool and accomplished. I have a total girl crush on her. And I will be at the elementary school I wanted, teaching K-5 special ed, which is exactly what I wanted. I am so unbelievably relieved and excited! 

Classes start in 5 days. I ordered books. It's overwhelming to me, this thing. Not the idea of classwork, but how much it's all changed since I've been in school. I sound like such an old person but it's true. Back in my day, nothing was really done on computers. Now everything is, all communications from the school, including signing promissory notes for financial aid, getting parking passes, etc. It's so odd and although I feel like I am somewhat computer literate, I am out of my depth. It seems like it will all change so quickly.

And I'm still working! Not much but enough and of course I have clients coming out of the woodwork.  We need the money but holy hell I'm not in the mood. I don't care about them. There, I've said it. I don't care about them anymore.

And my mom came to visit. We hadn't seen her since September. She and my stepdad came and guess how long they stayed? 3.5 days. I'm really hurt. It's one thing to do several short visits during the year, but 3.5 days after 9 months is ... hurtful. My boys were just getting to know her again. And the reason why? My stepdad. She caves in to him. He's the reason they stayed away for so long - well, his hip is the reason - and it feels like she is putting him first, above us. And above even herself. Example: she said one thing she really wanted to do was to swim with Liam, who is fearless and loves jumping into the pool repeatedly. Before they came, I told her to pack swimsuits, and she did. Then when she arrived, we discussed going swimming. Then the next day, she said my stepdad may just watch, but SHE will go swimming. Then the second to last day - the day we had planned for swimming - she said they weren't going to go swimming but it wasn't her that didn't want to go. What the fuck? I know my stepdad is 77, and maybe kids aren't his thing - judging by his relationship to his own sons - but it's just not right. My mom is turning 75 this year and she won't be around forever, and Liam will never be 2 again. And she's missing it. My dad would have given anything to be here with my boys, but he died when I was 18. And she is here, in good health, and missing it. 

I don't understand that choice.

Which leads me to be even more annoyed than usual with my mother in law who is the most overbearing, competitive, insecure, cloying, boundary-less woman I've ever known. We see her twice a week for the last 9 months and I She took the boys today, and HER boyfriend is also an ass - grumpy old men is a stereotype for a reason. I am enforcing a new policy. I'm done rearranging my schedule so she can see them. I'm limiting it to every other weekend, and Wednesdays. That should be more than enough. And Wednesdays, I'm not letting Brody miss karate anymore because of her visits. I am so done. This probably doesn't make sense to anyone but me, but I just need to get it out.