Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Changing Horses Midstream

I had a rather eye-opening lunch with my friend and co-worker Ironman today. Ironman, who is a partner, asked me to lunch to discuss a number of work issues, namely the way I'd been handling one of his cases, which was less than great, to put it mildly. Sad to say, amidst all the madness at work in the past month or so, this case had gotten a bit neglected.

I've really got to hand it to Ironman. He's another person I admire at work -- a real class act. He is dedicated to his clients, his cases, and his associates, and today was one example of it. It really broke my heart that I'd let him down. Of all the people at work, he's really one of the last people I want to disappoint. He has always been there for me at my low points and has been a great supporter of not only me, but of many other low men on the totem pole who are powerless to effect change.

We had a good talk, and I'm going to make sure that this case doesn't fall through the cracks. I guess I've been having some motivational issues. Maybe I will just focus on beating the girl on the other side. I do like to beat people. ("Beat" as in "defeat" or "triumph over," not "beat" as in "to hit repeatedly so as to inflict pain." Although, truth be told, there are plenty of people in this world I'd like to beat in the latter manner. Some of them are even at work.)

Ironman observed that I don't seem to have the passion for law that Talksa and Lasagna Man do. He's right. I'm much happier prattling about fluff like celebrity gossip or the latest offerings in the world of music and movies, whereas Talksa and Lasagna Man like to talk about their cases. A lot. Sometimes I even have to stop Talksa from babbling because she goes on and on and on and on about her cases, most of which don't involve me in any way. Honestly, it even bores me to some extent, but I do love Talksa for her enthusiasm, even when I want to bang my head on my desk and say, "Enough! I'm not on these cases! I don't care!"

Yet, when I do care about a case and when I put my mind to it, I'm good at what I do. Actually, when I really work hard, I generate very good work product. A large part of any success I earn at work hinges upon whether I am putting forth a sincere effort, and, admittedly, a sincere effort from me may not happen everyday on every case. In contrast, I know that Talksa always puts her best foot forward. The law is her life. Her life is the law. I envy her for loving the law so much. Her blissful practice of law is like the equivalent of my being a paid food critic. Or travel guide writer. Or...blogger.

I left work after 10 p.m. tonight, which sucked ass, but was better than last night's near midnight departure. I often wonder why I continue doing something that I don't absolutely love. Ironman confessed that much of the first half of his career was rather unpalatable until he began working for himself and taking ownership of his cases. I guess there is something to be said about that. I do agree that I prefer working on my cases in which I have little to no direct supervision. I do feel more invested in those cases. Well, I guess I have to be if I'm the only person running the show.

I'm 30, and I've been doing this for six years now. I lost three years of my life preparing for this. That's nine years of doing something that has brought me far more misery than joy, unless you count the paychecks. I suppose money in the bank could be considered cause for joy, but it's a sad sad thing when the only thing that keeps you coming back is money.

And so I present to you the title of this post. Is it time to change horses midstream? To "change horses midstream" means to change plans in the middle of something, even when it may be risky to do so.

For now, I say nay, or, since I'm using a horse idiom, I say neeeiiiggghhh.

For now.

Until I hop on another horse, I just need to make sure I do my best on all of my cases.

Especially Ironman's.


  1. I actually left my job earlier this month b/c of a similar thing.. money was great in IT Sales but no passion whatsoever. Never wrote about it on my blog (because my grandmother reads it and would probably get mad at me!) Stick it out a little longer because job hunting BLOWS! Its like a full time gig in itself where you don't get paid. Except when I do find a job I enjoy (thats more design based like I went to school for) I won't cringe waking up for work every single morning. Good luck!

  2. I always do pros and cons lists. (Lists - are you surprised?) And I agree with Julie - I'd never quit my job until I had something else lined up (whether that's another job/school/an idea of what I'm going to do between). Other than that, don't forget that jobs, in general, weren't put there to be fun and I bet even Talksa doesn't go on and on about how much she loves her "job" she focuses in on the aspect she does love. Maybe you should go around talking about how much you make all the time since that's the aspect you love ;-)

  3. change is scary. changing horses midstream kind of change is even scarier. which is why i, too, have been working too long at a place that isn't necessarily the best for me in terms of career advancement, growth, or satisfying me in too many other ways than the paycheck. you already know it's even in a creative field.

    like kate said, even if you find that job that is overall satisfying, work is work. in fact, turning something i love to do into a career has made me less passionate about the area. i no longer spend my free time reading up so diligently and eagerly on the goings on. ironically, that would probably make me a better designer and re-instill the passion in me, but i just can't read that now work-related stuff.

    eh, this turned into my own vent. hopefully it just lets you know, once again, that you're not alone.

  4. F it all! Let's all quit our jobs and spend our days laying at the beach with bottomless vodka tonics (with extra lime, of course).

    Can you tell you're not alone?

  5. yay for tri-life crises! I will join you and kim photography on that beach. just tell me where and when.

  6. Ah, friend. Perhaps it is time for a change. However, I think times have been especially rough lately. Definitely a hard call. Maybe take some time off (like this 3-day weekend, if you can) and see how you feel?

    Hang in there.

  7. Oy. Changing horses is a huge decision. For now, you seem to be on the right "track." Do the best you can do at what you're doing, and I bet some way, some how another door is going to open for you. Somewhere that allows you to do what you love! Until then, gracias a dios that you have a job that pays well :)

  8. ouch, dude. it's not the most fun thing in the world to KNOW that you're not exactly motivated as you probably should be, but to have to hear it from someone else (especially someone you admire) - my shoulders are slumping for you.

    i know you'll figure out what the best course of action is for you. you're too pragmatic not to. in the meantime, you know you have lots of supportive ears to listen :)

  9. Wow, I can relate. It's a hard decision, and of course, not one that needs to be made right now. I too feel like I should be doing something more creative with myself, but instead I find myself working for the money (haha), the benefits, and the experience.

    Anyway, I'm not sure how to advise here. They call it work for a reason. It might even suck if you were doing something more creative.

  10. Hah, you know how I feel about my job right now :) I would say to stay with this until you get something else lined up. At some point, was there a part of the law that you enjoyed? Maybe it's just time to switch fields of practice, but not necessarily to switch professions entirely.

  11. You are singing my song sister. Just take out 'law' and insert 'my boring job stuff'. *sigh* If you figure it out let me know. :) You're not alone and it helps me to know that sometimes.

  12. While I left for a somewhat related field, I guess I did change horses midstream. And it's been a great change.

    I'm sending lots of happy thoughts your way - not that that's any different than what I send ya on a daily basis. :)

  13. work, schmork. let's ALL run away to tahiti and liek make money growing flowers or something equally pretty and lounging in the sun.

  14. it funny that i know 2 attorney friends that don't want to practice law anymore...i still think being a kick ass girl attorney is awesome.

  15. That's a tough decision. It sure is difficult to be motivated when the passion seems to be missing. Hang in there!

  16. Hi
    You dont know me but I read your blog regularly - it is pretty entertaining and you sometimes have great resources on where to dine in LA - in regards to your post - sometimes you have to follow your heart - Two years ago I left my very well paying job to pursue something that I was more passionate about - although a bit of a life change( moneywise) it was well worth it; no longer having headaches, being stressed - hating to wake up in the am to go to a place that I no longer loved -gaining 5-10 pounds each year that I was there. Now two years later I work for myself doing something that I love, business is picking up and when I do stress it doesn't bother me as much - because I am in control - good luck with your decision

  17. Why do you do it? Seriously, I have met more unhappy lawyers in this world. I responded to one of your posts about this before. I left law school after the first year. Walked away, no regrets.

    Maybe you should think about the kind of cases that do excite you and see if you can find a firm where you can practice that kind of law. Or seriously, get into something else. You are a good writer, an obviously talented, and a creative woman. Seriously, there is something out there for you.

    For some reason, I don't envision you wearing conservative suits, pouring over cases on Lexis Nexus, and preparing motions all day long. There are already over 200,000 attorneys in the state of CA. I think that the profession will survive without ya, and please don't take that as a slam against your advocacy skills. I get the impression that you are good at what you do. You just aren't passionate about it.

    If my opinion counts for anything, I think that you could make $ off of your writing and more creative passions (restaurants, food reviews, parties, etc.).


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