Sunday, May 18, 2008

Busy Weekend, Big Firm Concerns

Husband and I spent Saturday running errands and looking at cars. We only managed to test drive the Honda Odyssey which Husband liked and I test drove the Buick Enclave. The Buick is too pricey but I really liked it - it had a third row of seats and really felt like a car. The Honda felt like we were driving a minivan - but it is very practical. Next weekend we will try out the Toyota Sienna. Two car dealerships in 1 day was enough!

I have spent most of Sunday working. To be honest that has been my MO all these years - 6 days of work with Friday evening and all day Saturday to spend time for myself and Husband. It is not a good habit to be in but it is so hard to get all the work I need to done in 5 days - especially with any late night hours impinging on my much needed sleep.

On Friday I was assigned to a new multibillion dollar bid. I do financing work - some for lenders but mostly for leverage buyouts. I was very clear that I only had some time next week to help out but of course it doesn't matter - what needs to get done will get done, my need for sleep be damned. I talk a big game about setting boundaries and pushing back but it just never works out that way despite my best intentions. It is leading me to understand why women don't stay on at Big Firms. I don't know that I can do this when I come back. Right now I have the threat of medical issues (can't stay up late because don't want to end up on bed rest) but that won't work when I get back after my maternity leave.

If find the work very challenging and satisfying and I enjoy the perks (salary, etc.) that go along with life at a Big Firm but can't stick Husband with baby care every night. Men succeed because they have wives at home (with rare exceptions) who deal with all the home challenges - and many of those result in divorce anyway as resentment grows. We won't have a stay at home wife/mom to help us out - although Husband would really like a 2nd wife in that role.

I want to be able to make it work but I have serious concerns - and this is even before going on maternity leave! Staying home is not an option given the costs in the Boston metro area and the fact I really don't want to be a stay at home mom. Whatever I decide to do will be well documented on this blog - and I can say for certain I don't think winning the lottery is in my future.

Big Firm has a "career manager" and I am going to talk to her. I know I am not the only woman who has these concerns and I know the Firm wants to come up with some options so I want to know what those options are. Now I just need to find time to talk to her!

One other humorous item - the head of the financing group asked if I would write a recommendation for myself for some award relating to "rising stars" in the legal community. I read the requirements and "civic accomplishments" were a big part of it. While I think it was nice for him to think of me how in the heck do people have time for "civic accomplishments" when they work 80 hours a week and try to see family/friends?


Liz Jimenez said...

Good luck. The work/life/mom balance is a hard one under most circumstances, and from what I understand, it's especially hard for female lawyers. I hope you and the Firm are able to come up with a reasonable balance. Do you think you're going to take the full 16 weeks that Massachusetts law allows, or will that not work out in Firm world?

Anyways, good luck! It's such a hard decision.

What A Card said...

Wow, good luck to you! I'm sure you'll make it all work, and I'm sure you'll also be stressed. That seems to be the norm no matter what people decide. Unfortunately. I'm a bad person to talk to...I checked out of the high pressure long hour grind years before we even had kids. I'm such a burn out :)

What, no time for civic accomplishments? Have you been wasting your time on eating and sleeping again? Those are the least important of the "necessities".

Krissy said...

I just started reading your blog. Congratulations on the twin pregnancy! I write for HDYDI, and found you through your question about vehicles.

My husband is an attorney (defense work and products liability/commercial litigation). He used to work for a BIG firm, but prior to my getting pregnant, he switched to a smaller BIG firm, and has a female boss who we love. She worked part time for the years when her girls were young (you know, only 50 hours a week instead of 80), and is a great boss. It has been wonderful for my husband to have one boss instead of 15 which is what happened at the first firm. He still works a lot, but this firm is much more reasonable about their work load. The other firm was literally taking years off of his life.

Good luck in your car searches, and effort to balance work/twins/marriage.

Hope you don't mind me reading along!

Anonymous said...

Girl! Take every minute of your maternity leave and then some!! It's the only time when they can't touch you and you still draw the paycheck.
I'm annoyed because my firm, which claims to be market competitive is offering considerably less maternity leave than 30 other firms in its tier. Grrr!!
And rumor is that an HR exec bragged about how last time they raised maternity leave they managed to do it in a way that screwed the most amount of people.