From City to Suburbia: How Did We Get Here?
Picture this: It's two weeks before my wedding, and I'm sitting in my office overlooking Central Park eating $35 worth of zoodles from Seamless.com at 12:30 a.m., reviewing a document production I was forced into supervising for a practice group that I didn't even belong to. Ah yes, the joys of BigLaw in New York.
Now, if you're thinking this sounds interesting in any way, you would be incorrect. Somehow, explaining what it was like to be a litigator at a white-shoe law firm in New York City is really hard even though there are plenty of juicy tidbits that non-lawyers love to balk at: I worked 80 hours a week but only got credit for 60! I stayed in the office all throughout a holiday weekend to write an emergency motion that we didn't end up filing! I got yelled at by a male senior partner in front of a bunch of other men for a mistake I didn't even make!
Bottom line: when you're an attorney (or any professional) working at a high level, you live in a constant state of stress. Your time isn't your own. You're at the mercy of a bunch of panicked nerds with diagnosable personality disorders. Wonderful.
As I was sitting there in 2014, I had to ask myself: how did I get here? And the answer was straightforward. I worked hard, I did what I was supposed to. I went to a top law school and managed to get a great job in a terrible economy. I didn't quit my job any one of the thousand times that I wanted to run out screaming. I was tough. And my reward was working on relatively unimportant but urgent assignments, being supervised by insecure senior associates with anger management issues who had no regard for even the most pivotal events in my personal life.
Let me stop here to note that this will not be a blog solely about the horrors of BigLaw, though I will be discussing several aspects of my experience as a corporate lawyer. All this is just to explain where I was in my life a few years ago.
My fiancé (now husband) was completing a surgical fellowship in Michigan, so we weren't even living in the same state for some time after our wedding. When we considered where he would take a permanent job after he finishing his training, we agreed rather quickly that New York would be out of the question. And this meant that I would definitely be leaving my gilded BigLaw cage. When we decided on Dallas, I didn't know what to expect other than change.
Fast-forward to a year later and I was saying goodbye to some of my wonderful colleagues and good riddance to some truly demented individuals at the office (more on that in subsequent posts). Seemingly overnight, I went from living in an overpriced rented one bedroom apartment in the Upper East Side to our very own house in Dallas with a lawn, fence, and mortgage payments. I took a job working remotely for a legal non-profit and started doing all the things I had always wanted with my newfound free time: training to be a fitness instructor, writing, and binging on TV.
And then. . .I got pregnant! Wonderful news, to be sure, but in my case it meant that I was able to eat nothing but cheese for months and essentially became a meme—fused to the couch, staring at my haggard reflection in the blackness of the TV as Netflix asked me whether I was still watching.
I'm skipping over a lot of material that I will eventually discuss in great depth, but for now I want to share that once I had my baby boy, a lot changed for me. I couldn't imagine leaving him in the care of someone else in order for me to go back to a job that I didn't love. So here I am. In my thirties, staying at home with a one-year-old and not currently working outside the home. It's a long way from where I was a few short years ago, and something that I'm still coming to terms with. And that's how I ended up going from city to suburbia.
My goal for this blog is to discuss issues that matter to thinking women in their thirties. I'm writing about what I know, what I've experienced, and what my friends have shared with me. I'll be discussing the transitions we are facing in our careers, relationships, and identities as new mothers and beyond. I hope you enjoy reading!