Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Rainy Season

Last week, I finally fulfilled a promise to myself and started volunteering during my unemployment. I applied at a couple of places but, like most jobs I applied for, I never heard back from anyone. Last week, I finally heard from an agency that assists abused women and children. I went in for an interview on Thursday and I started on Friday. I'm just doing office work at the moment but I feel good about helping others and getting outside of my thoughts. Its also nice to see people working in jobs that they are passionate about. Don't get me wrong. There are still office politics and people still disagree on administrative things but everyone seems passionate about the common goal. Its a nice contrast to my last workplace where the only thing most of my colleagues were working towards was their own success.

My new position also comes complete with new kid novelty. I'm something different so people like to talk to me. Two have offered to give my resume to people they know and one likes to talk about why I became a lawyer in the first place. It is working to give me some perspective on the law and working in a firm. It comes at a perfect time because last week also led me into a meeting with a recruiter that is confident that he can place me at a firm. He, of course, said I should have found him months ago and he would have placed me right away. Now, his obstacle is that I've been out of work for a few months. He's still pumped and ready to get me a job and get himself a hefty commission. His confidence is refreshing after months of hearing, "Oh, you went to Pace. That's...well...I'll see what I can do." At the same time, I'm afraid. If I get an offer from a large firm, I'll jump at it. Let's be honest, I need the money. I also feel like everything happens for a reason. I talked to my best friend and she noted that my declaration that I would take another large firm job despite my fear of jumping back into the 7th circle of Hell (ok...maybe I'm exagerating a tad) is me putting a price on my happiness.

In a way, I agree but why is there such a negative connotation to that? I mean, of course, in an ideal world, money wouldn't be an issue and we could all say that we choose happiness over long hours worked in pursuit of someone else's bottom line. But, does happiness have to be the enemy of the paycheck? I am not exactly passionate about corporate law BUT I am miserable about not working and consequently, not earning. Also, I don't know that a new firm will be totally miserable because it will be a whole new set of people.

All that's not uncertain at the moment is my desire to buy my current townhouse, having and raising kids in a financially stable environment, starting a scholarship fund for underprivileged high schoolers, and traveling. I want to write books and focus on philanthropy. Clearly, I have big dreams. They are not impossible...indeed, they are common, but New York State unemployment is not going to fund any of it. So folks, assuming that Mr. Aggressive Recruiter drops a job in my lap, I'll be jumping back into firm life. Everything has a season and a purpose. I've been struggling over the past few months but I've been keeping track of the lessons I've learned. I am not as wasteful. I am mindful of the difference between what I need and what I want and I am a lot more comfortable with putting my foot down when it comes to protecting my own needs. If this is my season to focus on earning money so I can get closer to my dreams, then I'll call it a rainy season and try to distract myself from the gray skies by maintaining a sunny disposition. From this moment, no matter where I land, I'm not saving for a rainy day, I'm saving for a sun-filled life.

All that said, I still don't know what's coming. I don't have any offers yet. The difference between now and last week is that if I'm led to a firm job, I'm convinced it's where I'm supposed to be for now. I'm not selling my happiness to the highest bidder. I'm buying my peace of mind with the work that I'll do. Having suffered through these jobless months, I can confidently say, its worth every minute. Of course, that lottery win everyone dreams about would be really nice too.

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