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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Perks and Titles

This is going to be a short entry but I had to share. Last night, I was working on an article proposal and I got to thinking. Back when I was at the firm, the perks were the best part of my job. I was working in a huge law firm in New York City. I had my own office with floor to ceiling windows in Times Square. I had high quality business cards and when I responded to “What do you do for a living?” I was met with respect and admiration. After five years at the firm, I was taking home over $10,000 a month after taxes. Seriously, I was living a dream, but not my own. I hated my work because I wasn't fulfilled. I went home run down, tired and empty at the end of each day. I took on pro bono work in an effort to make a difference but it wasn’t enough because billable work always had to come first. I got to a place where I put my job before my health, my relationship and my spirituality.

Today, I got my first paycheck at my new job. I worked for a little over half of the pay period and my check was just shy of $700 after taxes. I didn't spend my day sitting behind a big desk in a skyscraper with my back to a huge picture window. BUT, I did attend a conference focused on human rights. At various moments during the event, I was inspired, tearful, hopeful and amused. When I signed in at the name tag table this morning, the spreadsheet included a column for my name, my agency and my title. In the title column beside my name, it said "Activist." Imagine that. It actually made me a little giddy. After all, it's why I went to law school in the first place. I wanted to make a difference...to ACT in a way that could change someone's life. Dreams realized...now THAT is a perk.

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