Monday, April 25, 2016

getting there

This was me. In the 7th grade. With my Sally Jessy-esque glasses, a mouthful of metal, hitting serious heights with those bangs, and an unfortunate perm. I really loved that shirt.

Remember the HuffPost article that was making the social media rounds, "Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy"? This article comes with a big #TRUTH. The level with which I related to this article was astounding. I grew up in a household where my parents either truly thought or at least did a great job of leading me to believe that I could do anything and had the financial resources to allow me to explore what that "anything" could be.

So back to the picture above - not only was it my 7th grade picture but it was published in the Eveleth Scene, the local publication of limited circulation, when I received Student of the Week in which I declared I would someday be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and I was interested in environmental law. This statement could be corroborated, if only I had said article, but moving across the country once or twice caused us to question our need for such sentimental items such as your Student of the Week newspaper clipping, so you are just going to have to trust me on this.

Fast forward to 2007, by which time I had at least adjusted my expectations about the whole Chief Justice thing, but was graduating from law school still committed to the environmental law thing. Then came 2008 where at least I had a job practicing law, even if it wasn't environmental law, until I didn't in 2009 thanks to the GFC (which a former colleague, Sid, told me is how we refer to the global financial crisis).

To be frank, I don't think my expectation to have a steady job was that far-fetched, and so the idea that despite graduating with honors from law school I couldn't get a legal job did, in fact, make me feel unhappy and unsuccessful. Of course during part of this time, there was a myriad of other things that contributed to my sense of unhappiness such as owning a house where squirrels got in through the chimney, relentless northern Minnesota snow, and a bout with PPD.

Becoming a mom helped me to re-prioritize my life and reset my career expectations. Oh, and moving to California via Arizona helped with the relentless Minnesota snow and the squirrel house. After kids, my life became about having a steady job to provide for my family regardless of level of career satisfaction. Being a mom to J Squared is one of the best parts of my life and raising little people to not be assholes is actually a pretty important public service. Did I feel underappreciated at work? Often. Did I get a steady paycheck? Always. And that was what mattered.

It's not like I gave up career aspirations altogether. I got licensed to practice law in California. I looked at a number of jobs. Days when I desperately just wanted to be somewhere else, perusing job ads and indiscriminately sending resumes made me feel like at least there were options. But for me to leave, it had to be the right job. The right salary, the right location, the right practice area. I didn't want to go just anywhere. As they say, the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know.

But then ... it happened. This is me. Today. In 2016. Some networking, a little bit of luck, good timing, and A LOT of enthusiasm got me to a place envisioned by my 7th grade self. It feels pretty sweet. Perhaps even sweeter because of the struggle? I couldn't say because this life is all I have ever known.

If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it.” 
― Steve Jobs

my happy face!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016