Misery Loves Company

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Today’s Bitter Vault post reminded me of when I told my boss to “take this job and shove it.” Well, kinda.

Fifteen years ago when I was an associate at my first law firm, I had the opportunity to switch from the “take-10-to-15-years-off-your-life-expenctancy” litigation department to the more easy-going transactional department. (Yeah, this was back when there were these things called “transactions”. Some of you younger attorneys probably learned about them in your contracts classes.) The transactional department had given me an offer to join their group, so it was time to drop the bomb on my litigation boss. Given that I would remain at the same firm, I had to be diplomatic.

I visited the partner’s office after hours. As usual, he was there. I delivered the news to him and he then spent the next 30 minutes trying to convince me to stay in litigation — showering me with compliments, telling me how satisfying litigation is (once you adjust to working with blood-sucking vampires day-in and day-out), blah, blah, blah. I was courteous and heard him out. At the end of his sales pitch, which seemed very well rehearsed, it became clear to him that I was resolute in my decision.

Then, he let his guard down.

He confessed that he wished that he had done the same thing when he was my age. In fact, his original plan was to only work at a firm for a couple years. However, his wife became pregnant within those first couple years and quit her job — never to return; they bought a bigger house in the burbs on a lake; his wife became pregnant; they built an addition on their home; his wife became pregnant; he got a vasectomy; his wife became nostalgic for the baby days; he got his vasectomy reversed; his wife became pregnant; they bought a small vacation cottage near the ocean; he got his second vasectomy — so on and so forth. The same old story. He closed by saying, “So here I am. It’s not that bad. Getting two vasectomies really sucked — or three if you include the reversal, but otherwise I’ve adjusted.” He looked around his office and, as though intending only to think it, said, “Yeah, I’ll probably die in this room.” He abruptly snapped out of it and returned to reality. He then quickly grabbed a glossy pamphlet with a car on it from his desk and excitedly handed it to me. He exclaimed, “Hey, check out the new Audi I’m getting next week! Finally getting rid of that crappy Norwegian Passat.”

In short, he made me feel great about my decisions to leave litigation, and eventually, the law firm rat race altogether. Oh, and because of him, I’m definitely sticking with contraceptives until I KNOW I’m finished procreating.

Post image from Shutterstock.com

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