I live in the same city where I work. This presents a few problems, the main one being that I run the risk of running into clients, or opposing parties, wherever I go. I feel like I can’t go out to bars, I can’t go for a run, and I can’t gossip loudly about my clients at a dinner table at a restaurant.
I really shouldn’t do the third thing. I keep things very general, and well within the ethical limits, but people ask me for examples of the kind of work I do, or my husband asks how court was, and I tell them.
Anyway, I know police officers who won’t go out to bars in the same areas that they patrol, and teachers that won’t go out to dinner in the town where their school is and plenty of other professionals who do not like to mix business with pleasure. I remember a woman judge saying once that she felt like she couldn’t have a glass of wine at a restaurant because somebody would see her and then rumors about her having a drinking problem would start.
The income disparity takes care of some of this, theoretically, but my clients do not have to be income eligible for my services, and some of them make more than I do. Some of them are employed as waitstaff at restaurants I go to, some work at shops at the mall. Sometimes they might be taking their child to the local aquarium while I’m out for a run.
So how do I be a part of a community while still working in that community? Does anybody from small towns have any advice?