A Few of My Favorite Things

We have spent some serious time on this blog discussing how unsatisfying our jobs are, how they fail to challenge us in the ways we desire or how they stand as an impediment to our other pursuits in life, such as family and church service.  My work is  difficult, especially these days, but I am happier than ever with my job.  Can we have a conversation about the things we LIKE about our chosen careers?  I’ll go first.

I am a lawyer.  I never intended to work at a law firm (for you non-lawyers, that is what every single lawyer I have ever met said).  But, I really didn’t.  I was going to go to law school, then proceed directly to saving the world.  Well, it’s been a convoluted journey since I started law school nearly six years ago, and I won’t bore you with the details, but today I am at a small office of a very big firm, and I really love my job.  Why?  First, I work with smart people who teach me how to be a better lawyer every day.  They are also good friends of mine, and they support me in my work as I make mistakes and learn.  Second, my work is hard, and I like that.  I like that there are things I have to do that frighten me because I can’t see how I could possibly do them.  I like that what I couldn’t fathom doing six months ago, I can now do with ease.  And I like that the things I can’t imagine doing today I know somehow I will be able to do when I have to, just because of that, that I will have to do them, and that will force me to be tough and just do them.  Third, I get to work with people from different countries and cultures.  I am in an international firm, so our clients and cases come from everywhere.  Sometimes that means I am traveling too much, but I get so much out of working with a witness from Sudan or London that I wouldn’t trade the opportunity away. 

What about you?  There must be other people who, despite the ennui of daily life in a job, do like what they do.


  1. Wow!

    Can I count blogging as a career? Otherwise, let me get back to you on that.

  2. Christina says:

    Steve, perhaps you’ve hit on it! You would make an excellent professional blogger, although Sumer might object to this is a career move …

  3. Hi, Christine-

    Great post, thanks so much for being positive! I especially appreciate the fact that you mentioned specific reasons why you enjoy your job as an attorney (since it seems like everyone I know who is an attorney just hates their jobs).

    I like my job because it’s fairly low stress and flexible. I can go to the gym during my lunch break, catch up on emails and church stuff during the day, and leave early pretty much whenever I want to. Sometimes I get a bit ancy, because my job isn’t as exciting as some of my other jobs, but the lack of stressful responsibilities and flexible work schedule are two of my most favorite things about my job.

  4. Christine,
    Nice timing. I just gave my two-weeks today. I rather enjoyed the work, loved my co-workers, it was the owner that I just couldn’t deal with anymore. Besides, it was just time to move on. In design you pretty much have to move out to move up. So I’ll be freelancing for a while for an Estee Lauder company until I know exactly where I want to go.

  5. Julie in Austin says:

    Let me tell you what I like about being a full-time mom:

    (1) While in some ways I have very little control over my schedule (screaming baby=drop everything), in other ways I have quite a bit. At this moment I am blogging, but I could be reading, or at the park, or going for a walk, etc.)

    (2) Because I don’t expend a lot of mental energy in most parenting tasks, I have some left for the evenings when I do thinking work (writing, etc.). When I worked full time, I was brain dead in the evenings.

    (3) My life is not frantic. We move deliberately, not from crisis to crisis.

    (4) Babies are pretty boring, but 2yos, 3yos, etc. are funny and surprising. Sometimes I want to sell them to gypsies, but most of the time, they’re fun.

  6. Christina says:

    Julie, thanks for your comments on parenting. I should have said so explicitly in my most, but I do mean to include all kinds of work in my question, including all that we do for no $ pay, including parenting, of course. I envy your flexibility!

  7. Christina says:

    Er – I mean “my post” …

  8. Tanya S. says:

    I like my job – not all the time, but most of the time. It certainly wasn’t where I planned to be, back when I was planning my life in high school and college, but it worked out quite well.

    I’m a tech writer for a government lab, which means I get to write and edit, which I enjoy and am good at, and yet I still get to know about all the science stuff going on here without having to actually do the lab work (which I find horribly dull). Though the location has a number of drawbacks, mostly having to do with being in the middle of nowhere, it is balanced out by fun conspiracy theory websites having to do with superweapons and UFOs (google Dugway; Alien Dave is particularly entertaining). I’m very entertained by that stuff, and enjoy the laughs.

  9. a random John says:

    In general I work from home and get to spend more time that I should surfing and blogging while also working. I get to spend enormous amounts of time with 18-month old son. I sometimes get to play with cool toys. However I have been traveling full time for the last 5 weeks and working non-stop, so this probably isn’t the best time for me to start talking about my job.

  10. Bob Caswell says:

    “Sometimes I want to sell them to gypsies, but most of the time, they’re fun.”

    Ironically, gypsies are rarely in the buying market as they generally have a problem controlling their reproduction and have more kids than they know what to do with! :-)

  11. I like my job because I work with a lot of creative people in an environment that fosters creativity. I can’t say that I know every day at the office will be fun per se, but I know that things will always be unpredictable, and never dull.

    Oh, and the free doughnuts and pastries in the morning are always a plus.

  12. Jonathan Green says:

    Two things I really like about being an academic:
    1) Interlibrary loan. If I want to see a book anywhere in the country on any topic whatsoever, there is a staff of excellent librarians whose job is to get it for me. Interlibrary loan embodies all that is good and true in the world.
    2) Archives. If there is any bit of information on any topic whatsoever that might be found at an archive anywhere in the world, I can send an inquiry and ask the archivist to tell me. It might take six months, but usually I find out what I want to know.

  13. I’m a lawyer with 200 bosses–my clients. No partners to answer to, no managing partner looking over my shoulder to make sure I’m billing enough hours. What a great way to make a living! And somedays I get that good feeling that comes from really helping someone who needs it–working for a client in an asylum case, and winning it, is about the best thing that can happen.

    And, on Saturday I replaced the worn brake pads on the front disc brakes on my car. I’d never done that before–ran into a few difficulties along the way, which were overcome with the help of a cell phone and a brother-in-law former mechanic.

    Now, it’s time to get working on all the fix-up jobs around the house.

    You’ll note that these last two paragraphs have nothing to do with my career, except that there’s nothing about my career that keeps me from doing real physical work, especially since I’m no longer working for some Simon Legree in a big New York law firm who thinks that my every waking hour is his.

  14. Lyndie England says:

    There’s a lot to like about my job: there’s minimal supervision, and it’s occasionally high-profile work. Also, I get to stack naked Iraqis on each other and lead them around on a leash.

  15. That’s in poor taste, Lyndie. Shame.

  16. D. Fletcher says:

    I wish I could say I enjoyed my job right now, but I left my job last summer. I’m weighing the options, including possibly leaving New York. But I enjoy blogging and posting online, and I think I’m good at it (along with Steve).

  17. Jonathan Green, Interlibrary loan is, indeed, true. It is one of the few things that might bring me back to academia some day.

  18. I’m a library assistant and I used to work in interlibrary loan. What a wonderful job! You get to see all kinds of books and articles in subject areas that you would normally never be exposed to. You get to help professors and grad students find the exact thing they need. I’ve been thanked at least once in a forward of a book by one of the professors here. It’s a great job. A lot of times it is very data-entry oriented and kind of dull, but when you actually get to see the stuff come in, that can be really fun.

  19. I like my job because they pay me. I was out of work for over a year. I really, really needed a job. This is a good one, doing computer stuff for a small company, that offers a lot of opportunity to learn new things and be useful. And they pay me.

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