Sunday, April 3, 2011

Disappointing realization

Zac and I have been talking a lot the last couple of days about "big" stuff. Moving, kids, my career. It's always a little emotionally taxing discussing all of these things, especially when there are no clear answers.

Zac heard about orders last week. I'm reluctant to even talk about where we're going because until we have orders "in hand", i.e. literally a paper copy of orders to his new duty station, they could pull the rug out from under us and send us elsewhere. We probably won't have orders in hand until August for a probable(?) departure in October, so that leaves a lot of time for things to change. For now it appears that we're heading to the San Diego area. While it's fun to house-shop online in the evenings, I'm cautiously un-invested in the activity. It's all still too tenuous.

Zac and I have also been talking about our lack-of-kid and my lack-of-career. The lack-of-kid thing? Pretty much that's on hold for now. I've got a referral to go see a fertility specialist that's good until July. Maybe we'll go and kick up the efforts a notch, maybe we won't. It's hard to say.

The lack-of-kid thing is also (sort of) tied into my lack-of-career thing. I have always had this vision in my head of me working for a few years, getting established in a career, taking a little time off to pop out some offspring and then going back to work. Well, what happens when I never established a career and I have nothing to go "back to"? What happens when every day that passes is another day that I haven't been using my law license and continue to have zero experience practicing law? I've applied for a number of attorney positions out here since I arrived and haven't heard back on any of them.

[sarcasm follows] I can't imagine why I'm un-hirable - I've had a license for
seven and a half years and have never practiced, save one divorce that was already drawn up and all I had to do was sign some papers. My writing samples are from 10 years ago when I was a 1L (2001) and I have no one that can write a letter of recommendation about me that can say anything about my quality as an attorney. If I take some time "off" to have a baby, that's just more distance from my legal education and the few ties to the legal profession that I currently have.

Perhaps the most startling and disappointing realization this weekend is that Zac has never seen me have a "real" job. He has never seen me wake up in the morning, put on work clothes, make coffee and head to work. He has never seen me hang out with some co-workers, he has never met a boss. And most perhaps most disheartening, he's never seen me enjoy a job. It hadn't occurred to me until just the other day that Zac has never met the hard-working, enthusiastic Kate. That's kind of crushing because I have always prided myself on being that person, and my husband has never met her.

When Zac and I started dating I was working as a Reference Attorney for Thomson, but he was in Oklahoma and I was in Minnesota. I talked about work, but he wasn't around to see it. Then I went to live with him for four months in Oklahoma before he left for El Salvador. I didn't work for those four months. When he left, I returned to Minnesota where I got a temp job back at Thomson doing editor-type stuff. Again, I talked about work but we were apart. He's never seen me wear any of my "work" clothes. They've been sitting in my closet for almost three years now.

This is how Zac sees my life right now: I sleep in, crawl out of bed, change out of pajamas into sweat pants and a t-shirt, hop on the computer, turn on ESPN, and putz around on the computer all day. And honestly, he's right. That's how it looks from the outside. On the one hand it has been great to have a job that is so flexible that I can host visitors for weeks (cumulatively months) out of the year. But on the other, I miss working with other people and having a requirement of 40 hours a week in an office.

In a nutshell my job consists of making sure there are two spaces after a period, not one, and updating an occasional paragraph with new language. That's what I do right now. I copy and paste. Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V. Over and over again. I spent three years in law school and $80K to copy and paste for a living. I'd love to sit over my computer and put in 40 hours a week, because while the work is mind-numbingly boring, it still pays well. But I can't. I just can't. It's like the career part of my mind is dissolving. I'm to the point that I'm thinking of just abandoning the idea of a career for a while and staying home to be a mom. Oh wait, that's right - we haven't been able to have kids. Hilarious.

Zac is concerned that the military life is holding me back from being success in my field of choice, law. He's concerned with how unhappy I am with my lack-of-career. Of course I point out to him that many of law friends are not working as attorneys and aren't necessarily happy with their jobs either. If Zac and I were both civilians there is no guarantee that things would be any different for me. Zac has seen me in action when it comes to volunteering - he knows how much time and effort I put into being an ombudsman and COMPASS. He knows I'm capable of dedication and hard work, he just hasn't seen it in any way that adds dollars to the checking account or in a way that is connected to all that highfalutin schooling I got.

I have a job. I'm grateful to have something that provides income. But I'm frustrated. I am hoping that when we move it will provide the impetus that I need to try and get into some sort of new job, but that's still possibly six months in the future. So I guess I'll continue to tread water for awhile, not moving backwards but also not moving towards anything better. I'm hoping that some day Zac gets to see me a successful working woman because it's really crummy that he hasn't seen it yet.

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