Saturday, August 17, 2013

Stay Or Go


So many of my fellow MILPs seem to be moving on, making major changes in their jobs, having another baby, etc. While the baby issue is tabled indefinitely for Vor and I, the job issue is never really tabled. Watching everyone switch jobs around has gotten me wondering—what would it take for me to leave where I am? For what would I be looking? What about Vor—what would make him want a change?

It’s impossible to imagine leaving my job. I love this company. We have a great team, and we all get along really well. We work well together and complement each other. Do you know how hard that is to find? Nigh onto impossible. The flexibility I have is unreal—when Lis is sick, I go and grab her and work from home. When Lis’s daycare was closed for “summer break” last week, I just adjusted my hours to work around my MIL’s schedule and the sitter’s schedule, and I worked a little at night. I come in later on Tuesday and Thursday, because I go to gym those mornings. I work at home every Friday afternoon—I come into the office in the morning, then I am home in time for MIL to drop Lis off (MIL usually wants Lis to spend Thursday night with her—she is a fantastic grandma). Lis eats, plays happily for an hour, then goes to bed for a nap, and lo! By the time she wakes up, I’ve had another 2-3 hours of work time. I can easily put in 7 hours on Fridays.

Of course, part of the reason the company is so flexible is because the pay is dirt low, so the CEO wants us to make it up in other “benefits”, one of those being flexibility. So, I get more time with Lis, and I get to knock off an extra day of daycare cost, cutting less into my salary.

The area of law is interesting—while the litigation end of my work is uniquely focused on one area of law, my research/writing/presentation/policy responsibilities cover all of family law, CHINS (children in need of services) law, and juvenile law, with an extra dose of ethics, trial practice, and evidentiary issues as they relate to my main subject areas.

My commute is nonexistent—my office is 12 minutes from my house, 10 minutes from my gym, and 11 minutes from Lis’s daycare. The courthouse is a bit further, clocking in at 25 minutes from my office, 30 from my house. You really can’t beat that.

Why would I want to leave?

It would have been something really specific to tempt me away, and surprisingly, that thing is not money. Sure, it would be awesome to make what law firm type lawyers make and pay off my student loans much faster, but with that salary comes billable hours, less flexibility, and practicing law from a perspective that I don’t like at all (ie, having a parent as a client instead of the child).

I’ve given it a lot of thought, and here’s what I’ve come up with: (1) job in state or local government relating to my current area of law. There was an opening in the beginning of 2013 that looked sweet—it had to do with family/CHINS/juvenile law, service referral coordination with the courts, appellate briefs, and some other legal aspects. The salary was about 15K more than I make now, with state benefits. But? I highly doubt I would have the flexibility I have now. (2) A job as a commission or magistrate (in this state, that’s basically an associate or lower level judge, not the actual sitting, elected judge). Hell no do I want to be an elected, sitting judge. Tort law? GAG ME. I would want to be a commission or magistrate in a family law court, preferably in probate court (guardianships/adoptions) or in paternity court (strictly custody/child support, no dealing with property division). There was an opening earlier this month and I choked on my drink when I saw the salary. That is a HUGE pay increase, triple what I am making now, and benefits! I had commissioners encouraging me to apply for it, which was a really nice compliment (I do not have the required number of years yet). But with that salary comes major drawbacks. I have no idea what the schedule and flexibility is like. I know they get something like 4 or 5 weeks of vacation/sick time, but I could easily blow through that with The Lady Lis. Then… there’s the crazy. I got a small taste of it when I sat judge pro tem in July, and OMG. Some of the people and issues and cases and situations they deal with are unreal, crazy, scary, sad, even more so than my docket, if that’s possible. Then there’s the fact that they are the decision makers, so everything that “happens” is their “fault”, if someone is looking for someone to blame.

So, those are really the options for which I would consider leaving my current job. I feel like I need more years to make either of those possible, so I am just going on like always. Everything I am doing right now is really setting me up to be qualified for either one of those positions, so I guess my game plan is  to do my job as best as I can, increase my skills, proficiency, and knowledge, along with other skills like speaking, etc., and then puts me in a great position if I ever want to switch to one of my preferred options.

As far as Vor goes, I think what could tempt him away is either: (1) better pay with the same hours, or (2) the same pay with better hours. Considering the rest of the country’s market rate for his practice area, he is really underpaid and overworked. The third possibility is an ALJ position, but we would probably need to move, so that’s not likely. The fourth option is maybe going in-house someday but Vor really dislikes corporation insider politics and there is a strong chance that in house would require a move.

So there I am. It makes me antsy, watching IRL friends and my fellow MILPs moving on to other things, but when I take stock and evaluate where I am and where it looks like I am going, I wouldn’t change a thing right now.

1 comment:

CM said...

You are a wise woman. Taking stock is good, but taking stock and realizing you're satisfied and identifying the things that might make you willing to change is harder and more valuable.