Now that my maternity leave is only four weeks away, I've been wondering how the heck I'm going to get through one more whole month of work. I'm mentally checked out and physically uncomfortable. I spend the first two hours of each morning feeling debilitatingly lightheaded and faint to the point where the only thing I can focus on is avoiding the temptation to lay down on the floor of my office. You know you are seriously ill when the only thing you desire is to lay on carpet that hasn't been vacuumed in months.
After I get over my lightheadedness (which randomly vanishes and is replaced by nausea sometime before lunch), it's nearly impossible to focus on work. Other things on my mind include: (1) how is Jake doing in school, (2) did he remember to put his sweater away in his cubby after recess, (3) the impending C-section and the many worries and anxieties that come with it, (4) having a third baby (the good and the bad), and (5) four freaking months of maternity leave! They will be glorious! If only they would hurry up and get here!
All week I worried that work would slow down now that people know I will be gone for four months, inevitably making the days even more laborious. Today at approximately 11:45am, everything changed!
Last year, I made a crazy decision. Tired of my 5 hour daily commute, I left a safe permanent job doing what I love (insurance defense litigation) to accept an uncertain temporary position which involved undetermined tasks and assignments likely including responding to public record requests and performing contract reviews (yuck!). I went out on a limb and applied, ultimately competing against 30+ applicants. I have no idea why I was chosen over all these people. But my guess is that fresh-out-of-lawschool lawyers are really the only people who apply for uncertain temporary positions.
When I accepted this job, I had no idea what I was getting into. I went into the interview not interested in the job at all (I had my heart set on another job for which I had interviewed). When the other job fell through and I was offered this job, I decided I was too miserable with my commute to NOT take it. The decision was not an easy one. It came with much anxiety and doubt. But I did what I always do: I held my breath, chose with my heart, and jumped in with both feet, without any regard to facts or reason or logic.
My first assignment was to help draft a summary judgment motion for a tort case. With that assignment, I instantly won over the supervising litigation attorney and earned a spot doing what I loved: litigation defense. The stars just seemed to align and I had never been happier. The proscribed six month stint ended and yet I stayed on, assigned to co-chair an August trial. While things seemed to work out beautifully, uncertainty always hung in the air. I went into work each morning knowing that any day could be my last.
And then......today, one year and fifteen days later, my leap of faith has paid off. This morning, my boss came into my office and shut the door behind her. Everything in my training and experience told me to be worried. But then I saw a big warm smile on her face and I knew she brought only good news.
She sat down and told me that one of the senior attorneys in the office is leaving. Then she offered me his position. A real position. A permanent position. With actual clients of my very own. I beamed uncontrollably and instantly said yes.
I will still be doing litigation. But I will also have new duties to go with it. My new duties involve code enforcement (and related litigation), condemnation proceedings, and various other tasks/clients. I will also be inheriting two big cases. One that is likely to be appealed to the State Supreme Court (which means I will likely be arguing in front of the Supreme Court!), and another that is set for trial next year.
Suddenly, my last four weeks have filled up with trainings and meetings and learning all the stuff I can from the attorney whose shoes I will be filling. I'm insanely excited! I'm legit! I'm permanent! I have real clients! AND my new job comes with a 20% bump in salary, which doesn't hurt. I still won't quite be making a real attorney's salary, but for a government job with substantial benefits and meaningful work-life balance, it's pretty darn good. (You can probably infer that my current salary is almost laughable, considering I've been an attorney for four years and don't do non-profit or public interest work!).
Now, instead of dreading the next four weeks, I'm already excited to return to work from my maternity leave!
Life Lessons: (1) sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith, (2) everything always works out in the end.