Friday, March 16, 2012

What a Difference a Year Makes...

One year ago today, I left my job of six and a half years. I left not knowing what the future held for me, not having a job lined up, and not knowing what the hell I even was going to do with myself. I left my really comfy office chair, and unrestricted work internet. I left comfort with my field of practice, and being "the man" at my regular courthouse. I left the freedom to come and go pretty much at will and the assumption that if I wasn't at my desk I was somewhere I was supposed to be. I left people behind I considered to be my family... my work family, anyway. Turns out those ties weren't as strong as I thought, but we'll get to that in a minute.

Looking back now, that job was a dead end. I was promised things that never materialized, I was underpaid, I was basically sleep walking through the work day, and I felt ground down. Making dumb mistakes, going to absurd lengths to hide the fact that I was making dumb mistakes and all the while spinning my wheels in a field of law that almost NOBODY could find particularly fulfilling. At the time, I was also in a relationship I thought was going to be my last (that, and she, turned out to be a colossal joke, but that's a subject of another blog... one I no longer feel the need to write, actually). In short, when it came to my career I was almost burnt out. Not only at that job, but very nearly on the profession as a whole. Its no wonder I was so willing to leave without even considering the consequences, because the consequences of staying were worse.

2011 was probably the hardest year of my life. Internally, I hit personal lows pretty much across the board. But you can't build on a shoddy foundation, and sometimes you have to clear away the rubble before you construct something new and better.

I'm happy to say that a year later, later I'm 9 months into my new gig as a personal injury attorney at one of the most reputable and well-respected firms in New York. In the past 9 months I've been broken down; old, bad habits shattered, work ethic and enthusiasm renewed. For the first time in a long time, I'm challenged. I'm learning so much, and I am, without question, a better attorney today than I was a year ago. And getting better. And the work I do helps people; it means something, which is an added bonus.

Now there's nothing like leaving a group of people you see everyday and think really like you to teach you exactly how wrong you are. And there were one or two people who ended up "collateral damage" to a lot of what I went through last year. And I absolutely exhausted myself attempting (unsuccessfully) to apologize to at least one of them. But I learned something else besides how to be a better lawyer this past year. I learned that "of all the weapons we turn on ourselves, guilt is the sharpest" (thank you Steve Erikson"). And while I remain apologetic, I won't -- can't -- hang onto that guilt anymore. 365 days is a long time.

Anyway, this whole thing reads like a buncha pussy shit to me, so I'm gonna end it here. Just wanted to acknowledge that 1 year ago today, I took the first step on a journey that would change my life (a step out the open door of an airplane). To make up for this nancy-boy nonsense I'll write a blog about toys or something this weekend. Promise.


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