Friday, June 11, 2010

Time-Flow Problem

I'm having a time-flow problem. As in time keeps flowing and I don't get nearly enough done.

When I'm in the office, I can't help but look around at all the associates without families and totally envy them. They have no problem billing their hours. They can stay until 7, or 9, or even 11pm getting all their work done. Then they can saunter home whenever they feel like and pass out cold, or whatever else their hearts desire. They always seem knee-deep in their work. They always seem focused. They have less distractions. They have the corner office next to the partners. They get handed the more complex cases. They probably even make more. They can automatically RSVP "yes" to all after hourse office functions, whether it be happy hour with the partners, conferences, marketing gimmicks to meet new clients. When the partners say "do this," they can have it done the next day.

I compare their work and lifestyle to mine and I think I need to be like them to really exceed expectations at my firm. I need to become my job. Maybe that's not true. In fact, I used to believe just the opposite. You know what though, if time was abundant, I think the career-advancing playing field would be more level between associates with families and those without. If I had as many hours as I needed to finish my work, bill my hours, attend work-social function, play with my kid, do the dishes and laundry, tuck my kid in, spend quality time with my husband, enjoy a little "me" time and sleep, I could easily be as successful as anyone out there.

Lately I feel like I've had to give up so many "me" activities. And it's making me feel rundown and blah. I don't get to work out very often. I don't get enough sleep. I barely get any chores done. I've stayed late at the office three times this week but it doesn't matter. No matter how much time and energy I sacrifice to the JOB, I feel like I'm STILL spread too thin all over the place and STILL behind at work. My sacrifices just don't feel worth it.

I'm not really that bitter though. When I look around at the associates without families, I realize that I may envy them sometimes but I'd never switch places with them. I have this amazing second life at home. This life away from work is so amazing and so rewarding. My son is literally the highlight of my life. He's the real purpose of my life- work is just something that I enjoy that keeps me busy and eating. If Jacob turns out to be the only legacy I leave behind and the only thing I really accomplish, I might just be ok with that.

That said, I wonder if how I feel would change if I was a stay at home mom. Would I look at my family life less fondly? With less amazement? Does it only seem so wondeful because I don't get enough of it? That I don't know. But I do know that I'm glad to have a reason to leave the office at 5pm. I'm ecstatic that I get to come home to cuddles and hugs and daily adventures with my son. If I have to say "no" to a work function, I'm thrilled it's because I have a date planned with my husband. When I'm distracted at work I'm glad that it's because I'm thinking and worrying about these guys:


CM said...

I totally agree with everything you said. I hate to admit it, but you do have to make choices about how to spend your time when you have kids, and for me that means spending less time on work than I probably would if I didn't have a family.

Allison said...

I don't have kids, so take this with a grain of salt, but I would at least consider going to some of the after-hours functions while you are a very junior associate. That is where so much of the networking happens. Once you've made a reputation for yourself, you can go easier in the later years.

Butterflyfish said...

Totally agree,

Cowgirl in the City said...

As a preggers in law school, I'm already having this debate with myself. I have no idea which way I'll decide, but am feeling you! The life of a stay at home does sound luxurious, but they probably are feeling the same way as you.

Great post!