Just when I thought I was achieving some sort of work-life balance, or at least getting over some of my working mom guilt, opposing counsel reminded me today why I don’t like being a lawyer. Forget my dilemma whether to be a SAHM or stay in the workforce: today’s encounter makes me rethink my whole decision to stick with a legal career period.
Dealing with an East Coast (insert explicative here) lawyer on the phone and in e-mails over the past few days, I have had the distinct pleasure of of being yelled at, belittled, spoken to in condescending tones, called a liar and anything else unpleasant you can possibly imagine. I’m a civil litigator, so I suppose occasional run-ins with (insert same explicative here) attorneys is just part of my job. But my tolerance for these discourteous exchanges is wearing thin.
Yes, you could say that as a litigator, I am paid to argue with – even yell at – people, but the best lawyers know that civility trumps rudeness and pettiness in the long run. All of my mentors have practiced this way and I, myself, subscribe to the same philosophy. The problem is you can’t pick your opponents. You hope that you’ll be paired against a worthy adversary, but more often than not you are faced with a pompous idiot who wants to argue until he’s blue in the face.
On days like today, I think of all the other things that I would be happy doing instead of sitting at my desk on the receiving end of some ridiculous, infantile rant to which my recent opponents are so often prone: editing, writing, designing, decorating, running my own stationery business. All of these other professions would still allow me to be a role model to Jane, even though technically, I might not be a “professional.” With all the career choices available to women nowadays, who’s to say that being a doctor or a lawyer is a far superior career than any other. I do enjoy being part of a traditional “profession,” but perhaps not enough to keep at it. At least not in my current role.
Today’s Verdict: Quit altogether.