Wednesday, July 26, 2006

When did that happen?

I had a small epiphany today. After nearly 35 years on the planet, I came to the realization that I am a grown up. Not only a grown up, but one that is nearing, gasp, middle age.

After a late start this morning, no thanks to Son's erratic sleep schedule, I was clipping through my morning. Surprisingly, I was actually getting some things accomplished. It has been a while since that happenend. After my small jug of Diet Pepsi, I hung up the phone after leaving a message for a client and realized that gee, I really am a lawyer.

Not that this is huge surprise. Law school is not something that anyone can forget, even though you may want to. However, maybe just because I wasn't big into the whole clerking racket during law school and didn't take the bar right away, it just felt like it was another thing that I had done. Like I wasn't ready to actually go out and get a job. I had been a professional student for seven years, and worked a lot of jobs that didn't require me to use any of the accumulated knowledge residing in my head. I had the degree and a small clue, but that was about it. I did everything a little backwards. I clerked after law school, a good year after I had graduated. I took the bar almost three years after I graduated. Typical, I can't make it easy.

I've been told on more than one occasion by people that had just met me, or didn't know me very well, that they were surprised by my profession. The comments were made as a compliment; apparently they expect all lawyers to be stiff, formal, with a good degree of arrogance. Maybe I just didn't give off that learned air. Then you have my mother-in-law, who was kind enough to state that I wasn't a "real" lawyer. Interesting, since she has only dealt with the one that made up her will and what she has seen on TV (long live Matlock and Perry Mason...ugh). Regardless, I just didn't view myself as a professional. As I continued to work where I had eventually landed after a temp job assignment, I never got that sense of almightyness that some of my profession seem to carry around. I kept thinking about the various comments, and it struck me that maybe there was something wrong with me. What was I doing that people didn't see me as a professional? Was I lacking in some way?

Its this kernel of self-doubt that has permeated not only my career but other parts of my life. I'm not sure which seeded which, and its something that my psychologist and I plan on exploring. I've struggled with this issue for a long time.

Maybe its a sign of growing up, but after I hung up the phone after stating that I had concerns about a certain proposed disclosure, I realized that I was actually a functioning attorney. When did that happen? I have a whole office full of lawyerly stuff, clients stop by my office to ask questions, and, get this, they usually follow what I say! (Now if I could only get Husband to follow this trend!) I've been practicing for six years. I guess that I've finally arrived. I still am shaking my head at the entire situation. Gee, maybe I need to upgrade the wardrobe.....

All in all, I guess that it was a good day in the life of an in-house counsel. They are few and far between some days, so I'll try to enjoy this one.

1 comment:

pithydithy said...

While I'm a bit younger than you, I'm having a bit of a hard time with the gee, I really am an adult now thing too. Mostly I still feel and think of myself as the student that I was for so many years but, then little things will happen like a meeting with my college student research assistants and I'll think, "Oh! They are so YOUNG!!!"