yesterday marks two years since my last day ever working as an attorney.
i knew then that it was the best possible thing that could have happened...i was not happy there, i was already secretly laying the foundation for making my exit, and getting laid off (as opposed to leaving on my own) gave me the one thing for which i was planning to stay in that job for a few more months: enough money to confidently face the near-certainty of a prolonged period of unemployment.
when i was laid off, i hadn't decided for sure whether i would be working as an attorney again. i knew i wouldn't be returning to the large law firm environment...it works for some, but it had become painfully obvious that it wasn't my thing. my heart was already leaning toward forsaking law entirely and figuring out some computer-related career path; a few weeks before i was laid off, i remember spending an entire day on the couch, on the verge of tears, cursing my job and looking up computer science graduate programs as a way out. however, my head wasn't quite so sure yet...some of it was fear of the unknown, some of it was was some lingering sense of obligation to follow through with my degrees, and some of it was not wanting to admit to the world that my career path up until then had been a long, stressful, and expensive path to a depressing dead end.
all i knew was...when it happened, i felt free. i wasn't sure what was next, but at that point, it didn't matter. i'd be able to figure out on my own time where "next" was, without the stress of spending forty or more hours a week in a place where i never quite fit.
two years later, things are much better. i get to play with servers for a living, and i'm learning a lot. as much as i did to shore up my computer skills in the fourteen months between when i was laid off from the law firm and when i started my current job, i've learned so much more--and gained far more real-world context for my computer knowledge--in my job. i like my co-workers, and feel like i belong at my company in a way that i don't think i've ever felt with any job i've had up to date. i've been there for ten months now, which is longer than i spent practicing law.
my life isn't perfect by any means. i still have my freak-outs. i frequently stress out about how little i feel like i know about computers compared to how much i want to know, and compared to how much my friends know. i even more often get bent out of shape about what a terrible decision going to law school was; i regret it every day, and can't believe how naive i was, thinking i'd be happy as an attorney. given my amazing talent for seeing the worst in myself, i doubt either of these stresses will ever subside, no matter how far i make it in my new career.
still, the fact remains that i'm in a much more satisfying place than i was when i woke up on March 31, 2009.