I still think of my job as my “new” job. Even though I’ve been at this job almost as long as I was at my last job. In nine months, I will have been at this job longer than I’ve been at any job ever. And yet, I still think of it as my new job. I say things like, “my new job is really low litigation”. I say things like, “at my last job I did x” and I talk about it was yesterday and then I remember that was 2 years ago.
The thing about general practice is that you are constantly learning. When I first started, I had a case and my coworker asked me if I had ever defended somebody in this kind of case and I said, “yeah, I mean, I think I’ve only done it ten times.” And she said, “I don’t think there is any kind of case I’ve done ten times.” And I have been there two years and I can see what she meant. I had three hearings this week. They were each my first of each type of hearing. They were each different. One was state administrative, one was federal administrative, and one was landlord-tenant.
So, two years in, I continue to feel like the new kid. Which is really great, because I love a challenge. I love learning new things and new areas and I love that part of my job. I am never bored. I am often anxious, tired, stressed out, and hungry, but I am never bored.
I miss, frequently, the simplicity of my old job. I miss practicing in the same courthouse, in front of the same judges, who I knew, who respected the work I did. I miss working in a coalition of people working towards common goals. Ultimately this has been the right move for me, for now, but I think I would like to specialize again someday. I’m just not sure in what, and it’s hard to figure it out when you don’t do that many of any particular kind of case. I think, ultimately, that I may be more interested in specializing in a specific type of lawyering than in a specific practice area.
When I first took this job, I told myself I would give it two years and reassess. Did I want the same things? How would the commute wear on me? It took me an hour and eight minutes to get home today, so yes, it’s wearing on me. But at the same time, I was thinking last week what a relief it is to go to my neighborhood pool and not worry about clients seeing me in my bathing suit because my clients don’t live anywhere near where I work. That distance has been surprisingly nice. I did expect by the end of the first two years to know what I wanted to specialize in, but so far, I’m not significantly closer to figuring it out. I’ve managed to figure out what I don’t want to do, but there are a lot of practice areas and crossing one after another off a list isn’t really the most efficient way to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. But I figure if I keep practicing and keep learning and keep enjoying the challenges, eventually the answer will find me.