Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Legal Troubles

Besides being so incredibly excited about Super Tuesday today (Go Hillary and Obama! I don't care who wins I just want a Democrat to win the White House; well, OK I really secretly hope that Obama wins the nomination, but I'm actually very torn because I like Hillary too), things are so, so tough right now. I am buried, swamped, and overwhelmed at work. Did I mention that I am a lawyer? Probably not because most people hate lawyers. (I promise you that I am one of the nice ones). I make a concerted effort not to bring up my profession to most people because I don't think it defines who I am as a person.

Lately, however, my job has been causing major upheaval in my life. While I love the work that I do, it is incredibly hard handling work, enjoying a quality life, and going through infertility. If a client, another lawyer in my firm, or a court says "do this" (and at least one of the three is barking orders at me on any given day), I have to do it, whether I am sick, tired, in pain or going through a rough spot. I cannot call in sick. Supposedly I am allowed to take "vacation," but I never know if I will have to cancel the vacation. Plus I have to meet a crazy billable hour requirement. All of this is causing me an undue amount of stress and I'm questioning whether I should do something else.

Since my IVF failed, I have been working all kinds of crazy hours and have not been taking care of myself mentally or physically. My husband, M, and I are not doing things together because I have been so busy. This is not helping me get pregnant. I keep thinking that tomorrow I will lay off work and work on me and my marriage. But every day seems like a blur of stress, deadlines, and sleeplessness.

In my saner moments, I dream of going to yoga, getting a massage, making an acupuncture appointment, etc. But I have not made any time for me, or for that matter, M. I have taken on too much work. Today is a good example. It is almost 4 am and I will work another 10-12 hours today.

I spent a lot of time getting to this point in my career (well, not the stressful part of it), but you know what? I really believe that I could leave it tomorrow and never look back. I just want a family. I just want to be pregnant. I just want a baby. I really could care less about work right now.

I love working - I do - but not the way I have been. I need to recover the quality in my life. I need to get pregnant. I need to be close to my husband and enjoy my life. It is just not easy to have a quality of life in my profession, but then, it is not easy for any woman who works and deals with infertility and pregnancy and parenting.

I am sure many of you have the same issues. How do we balance work and life?

If you find the answer, let me know, because I would really, really like to know.


orodemniades said...

Vacations might not be possible, but how about an hour stolen here or there in the bath, reading a good book? Or going to dinner and a flick? Or chilling at the coffee shop with the hubs and judging people on their shoes?

Melanie said...

I actually ended up leaving my job when we started IF treatment. The clinic I went to was 2 hours away, and I had a completely micromanaging boss who wouldn't even consider flextime or job sharing. So, I gave my 2 weeks notice (they were shocked! I felt relief!) and I never looked back. It freed up my schedule for all those multiple 7am blood draws, unpredictable procedures, and emotional meltdowns. I went back to working a a restaurant and actually ended up with a job I love. Sounds like you have a lot on your plate right now. It's hard enough to carve out a little time for yourself under normal circumstances. Take care.

Anonymous said...

angela, I'm sorry you have so little freedom and so much stress from work.

I think it would be really difficult for me to go thru treatments under those circs. I'm also an attorney though I don't practice anymore. even with a wonderful boss and great clients, I don't think I could have handled treatments while managing a heavy or stressful workload. dealing with infertility is stressful enough. once you add the logisitics and effects of meds and bfns, I don't think I could have done it.

I knew I needed the freedom to run to an appt. or take off a few days for treatments, or getaway to save my relationship. when I switched jobs I was looking for a little more flexibility than traditional lawyering allowed. luckily I found it.

it's not fair that you should be forced to choose between a rewarding career or building your family. that really sucks. there are some flexible options out there, but it doesn't sound like they are available to you unfortunately. I hate that women who want or need to work are put in this situation.

I hope you can do whatever you need to -- even if it's just finding some time in each day to take care of you. ~luna

Denise said...

I know what you mean. I used to work in public accounting, which is pretty similar to a law firm as far as demanding hours, keeping up billable hours, and being on call pretty much all the time. I always felt like I had no control over my schedule. I can't imagine going through IF treatments and still working there.

I made the leap into industry about 3 years ago and never looked back. I know finding the energy to find a different job is probably the last thing you want to do right now, but it can't hurt to put some feelers out and see what's out there, right? Would you ever move to industry (not sure if you lawyers use the same terminology as us accountants) and consider becoming in house counsel somewhere?

Melanie said...

From your second "melanie" commentor! I'm also a lawyer, but I'm in house with a corporation now, which is a huge difference. Are there any in house opportunities in your area? The job is still stressful, but it's more manageable than working for a law firm (I'm probably one of those kinds of clients that makes your life stressful!)