The new job started on Tuesday and, holy hell, it is fabulous. I keep thinking "THIS is how normal people live?!" as if a cruel and unusual shackle has been cast off my shoulders and I'm finally learning what it is like to be a normal person. Everything seems brighter, better, and more wonderful.
With my new job, I get the best of both worlds: I get to live like a "normal" person and have an attorney job! No late hours. No insane billable hours. No pressure to make partner. No anxiety over trying to bring in new clients. I get some darn good benefits. I get an office. I get to do interesting and important work. I get home at (or even BEFORE) 5:00 p.m. This just has to be a dream. The salary isn't anything special for an attorney job but...I feel ridiculous for even bringing that up given how great everything else is.
The peaceful view from my new office:
The work itself is interesting and important. I'm part of a team that acts very much like the general counsel for the local government. We do everything and anything. We provide counsel on any topic that might arise out of the governance of a county and the operation of any government agency or department. This includes litigation and contracts. I already have research assignments on everything from agency law and the implementation of policies, Indian law tax issues, restoration of gun rights, and health insurance programs under the new national law. I've also been assigned to assist in pre-trial work for a case we are defending. I'm approaching everything with wide eyes, a bushy tail, and a unwaivering smile. Am I still dreaming?
There's just one tiny problem. I'm only guaranteed 6 months of employment. So as much as I want to let out a deep sigh and revel in the amazement that I actually landed this too-good-to-be-true job, the threat of future unemployment looms above all the wonderfulness. Still, I'm trying really hard to ignore that gray cloud and grasp desperately onto my effervescent and undefeatable optimism.
Before I got this job, I had no idea what a civil prosecutor actually did (other than defend against lawsuits). I had no idea this was the job of my dreams. And that it was only 15 minutes away from my home. Even though I originally went to law school because I wanted to be an attorney for a government agency or a local government entity, I was positive that I would be a private litigator for the rest of my life. I had lost sight of my original inspiration or had simply accepted that it was too impossible to land one of these jobs, especially with my legal experience narrowly limited to the realm of personal injury litigation.
When I interviewed for this job, I didn't even want it. When they offered me the position (by way of a presumptuous voicemail message welcoming me to the team), I still didn't want it. When I accepted the position (out of extreme desperation), I was convinced I was making the wrong choice and throwing my career away. But, I really wanted to be closer to home and told myself it would be worth the "sacrifice."
The "sacrifice" has turned into the most wonderful situation I could imagine. I can't believe how lucky I am. Jobs like mine do not become available very often. Because they are so good, there is not much turn-over. I keep replaying all the events that got me to where I am and I cannot believe how well all the pieces fell into place. It's as if this is what I was meant to do. As if I've fallen in line with my destiny and the universe is indicating it's approval by no longer fighting against me.
Now, if only I can convince them to hire me permanently....
Now that my commute is shorter (it's 15 minutes at the maximum which is only 13% of the length of my prior commute), I have truly become a different person. I get home at 5:00 p.m. and leisurely make dinner while the kids play at my feet. Sometimes we actually go to the park or ride bikes in the back alley or run errands or even do chores... DURING THE WEEKDAYS! This was absolutely unheard of before since I never got home before 7:00 p.m. and many times I got home at 8:00 p.m.
With my prior commute, I would typically come home from work on a Friday night at 7:00 p.m. at the earliest. I would come home purely exhausted and have to fight an internal battle between desperately wanting to spend time with the kids and desperately wanting to put them to bed so I could collapse on the couch. Then I would sit on the couch and do absolutely nothing but be a zombie for the rest of the night.
This Friday, I got home at 5:00 p.m., I disassembled Ryan's crib, I picked up the kids from my mom, took them shopping for party supplies, played with the kids, picked up dinner, re-organized the boys' entire room, and tucked them peacefully into bed. What a change! THIS is how normal people live!!
The momentum from this positive life change has encouraged me to be more balanced and healthy in other aspects of my life. For the first time since we were married, I put together a budget (with my husband's input). We set aside some goals and I'm tracking our spending with nazi-like discipline. I'm also eating much more healthy now that I'm not constantly rushing to throw food together or cram all my meal planning in on the weekends. For the first time probably in the history of my life there was a real (non-potato) side of vegetables served with every dinner meal this week. My daily lunches are even half vegetable. Who am I?!
I feel like I have a complete handle on all aspects of my life right now. It's amazing how the extra energy and hours I've saved from commuting have completely enhanced my quality of life. THIS is how normal people live! I absolutely love it!