Friday, September 10, 2010

Critical Thinking

This week I've been spending time at my Big Firm organizing and purging my office for our move to new office space. It's been a nice way to catch up with people and take trips down memory lane of old deals while Josephine enjoys our back-up daycare center.

I was a young newlywed when I started, determined to work hard and worried about not having a "plan" for my career. My advice to every young lawyer I meet is to have an "exit strategy" - primarily because I had failed to do so. Not that staying to make partner wasn't a fine goal but to consider the work experience you were getting and how to make it work for other opportunities. My only plan/strategy was to pay off my law school loans as quickly as possible (finished January 2007) and gain good work experience. I've floundered some deciding that real estate wasn't a good fit and embracing corporate finance transactional work. I worked hard because I never had too much to worry about on the home front and my brain was rewired to love the adrenaline of deal work.

Seven years later and I feel like I'm at the crossroads again. This time I have so much more outside my job that makes me who I am. It's been a good maternity leave so far and I'm happy I have a few more months with Josephine and Ned and Penny. I'm doing a lot more thinking about my career than I did when I was home with Ned and Penny and just working 100% on being a new mom.

Another career woman told me that she attended a Big Firm panel a few years ago where grown up children of women partners came in to describe their experiences. Her takeaways were: (1) Don't say you "might" be able to make an event since then the child is looking all over for you. Either agree to go and go or surprise them. (2) Never be late for pickup. My kids are so young that my working just means they are more anxious to see me and/or have meltdowns when they do. I'd be curious if anyone who had a working mom that reads this blog has other words of advice.

In the meantime my blogging may continue to be sporadic as I'm thinking and considering what my next step should be.


Donna said...

I had a working mom, mainly out of necessity because my father made a career out of unemployment. But truth be told, I really valued that my mom worked. I never really was one to look for my mom at events, I knew she was at work. Once in a while she would surprise me. That was always nice. Mom also never helped with homework (neither parent did), but that was okay too. I never expected it because it was never offered and I think that was the take away message. But as a woman now, I am very happy my mom worked. It helped to foster in me my own drives, and happiness.

LauraC said...

My mom worked my whole life and my only takeaway from it is to get the kids involved in the things that need to get done.

I remember her always rushing around doing stuff, like cooking meals, cleaning, doing laundry, etc. I finally get why she was super busy.

I try to incorporate Nate and Alex into all those kinds of chores so we can talk and hang out while we are doing them. It's not realistic to do it all while they are sleeping, particularly when Jon is gone.

It was harder when they were littler but I still made an effort, and now if I am cooking, they get very upset if they can not be my sous chefs. And they love doing yard work and laundry.

I've talked before about my decision to focus more on my family now so I won't get into that again. Obviously going part-time (32 hours) was a big change but very much needed for us to maintain our work/life balance. Some days it is hard seeing Jon achieve the career things I would have achieved but most days, I'm glad for this time with my boys.

Marcia (123 blog) said...

Glad to hear you're enjoying your maternity leave.

Can't wait to hear your plans for the future :)

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Well, I'm not really successful at anything, so I will refrain from doling out advice, but I can offer encouragement. I'm constantly impressed by your manifold career/parenting/time-management skills and know that you'll find the balance that's right for you and your family. I know reaching that balance is easier said than done, but you've got the big brain and big heart required to accomplish this; you can do it.

Anonymous said...

Thank God you are finally posting again. I was getting worried. Oh and by the way, the kids present will be delivered on Friday. Hope somebody will be home. Mom

Anonymous said...

The only piece of advice that I would have (and take this for what it is because I am a SAHM and grew up with a SAHM! HA!) is when you are able to be with your kids truly BE there! Don't have your phone on or computer in your lap, don't text or be sending emails, just truly BE with them. That way you can really enjoy the time and they can really get the full value of your attention.
It has to be the most difficult compromise and I am blessed that it is one that for right now I don't have to make. I do dream of going back to work, miss it and want to return someday but luckily for me I can be patient and wait for the right job to come along.
Great post, thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I have no career advice, but I have a phone! Call anytime you need an ear! :-)