Friday, October 5, 2012

Linked Out

So due to this new endeavor of mine, I joined Linked In last week.  I figured it would be good for networking, getting the word out about my new job, and I don't know, just what I should do.  Isn't that what professional people do? 

I didn't really get Linked In at first (and still kind of don't).  Is it like Facebook for professionals?  Minus the drunk pictures and wall posts and birthday announcements?  I started out with zero connections, and it was daunting.  So I started off by  "friending," or "linking," my husband, and going through all of his connections to see who I knew.

Turns out, I knew a lot of people, mostly from law school.  And then, instead of building my own Linked In account, I got caught in the wormhole of looking at all of my former classmates' profiles.  Like Facebook spying, only looking at resumes instead of baby photos. 

Let me tell you, I am humbled.  Hugely. 

I know I graduated from law school seven years ago, and seven years is a long time professionally.  But still, I think back to my law school classmates and imagine them sipping margaritas at Mad Mex, walking around in cut off jeans, and smoking pot cigarettes outside the law school entrance.  In theory I know that they are all a bunch of successful lawyers, but when I sat at my kitchen island in my pajamas perusing their credentials, I kind of assumed they were just like me. 

But they aren't just like me.  They aren't even what I would have been had I not quit my job (aka, a senior associate at a big law firm).  Well, some of them are.  But some are in-house counsel at E! and NBC and a bunch of investment firms I've never heard of.  Some are law school deans and professors and lobbyists and writers and VPs of important companies and oh my god, was I feeling bad about myself. 

I hate Linked In, damn it. 

It's weird.  It's not that I'm jealous per se - I don't necessarily want those jobs, and I certainly wouldn't have wanted to work the hours necessary to get those jobs, with two kids in tow.  It just is a reminder of what could have been - of possibilities.  REAL possibilities.  Possibilities that I never even considered for myself when I was working in biglaw.  Actually, as I write that, I see that's the heart of it.  Even before I had kids, I was stuck in a biglaw bubble.  I couldn't see beyond it.  And there is SO much beyond it - so many other options.  Why didn't I ever see that?  Why didn't I go for it?

Anyway, enough with regrets, hindsight, and what if's.  It doesn't matter now.  I'm in a good place - better than I've been in a long time.  I am comfortable being home, I am loving being with my kids, and I am embarking on an exciting new career I believe in. 

But damn, the Penn Law Class of 2005 has some pretty impressive graduates.  Congrats, guys. 


  1. "It just is a reminder of what could have been - of possibilities. REAL possibilities." You just put into words what I say to myself whenever I hear about former colleagues and law school classmates doing neat things professionally. I immediately start comparing myself to them and think to myself, "I could have done that had I not taken my current job to spend more time with my kids." But, I totally agree with your bottom line, that you wouldn't trade what you have now for those possibilities. I see my kids 2 more hours per day than I used to which has made a huge difference to my happiness level. I also think my kids are better off now as well.

  2. I was one of your classmates at Penn though I don’t know if we ever met. I’m one of the aforementioned biglaw seniors, which you would have been as well. I have recently had a huge awakening re partnership etc as a few of my friends a few yrs ahead of me are suffering through junior partner hell -- i.e. business pressure, declining profits, not the type of security they expected etc. I’m not suggesting it’s like this everywhere as partnership is still an awesome goal but not at my firm, at least not right now. My conclusion from that and my own soul searching is that biglaw is not the type of place that inspires a lot of different ideas. I’m at a firm where 95%+ of the partners, esp on the lit side, started as summer associates and stayed through partner. These are not the people you want to talk to about in-house, corporate life, business ideas, being a professor/judge or anything “different” because they look at you blankly. Half of them can’t fathom why you would want anything different than what they have bc they frankly make more money than just about any other type of professional - probably other than surgeons or investment banking managing directors. The other half straight out lie about the process and the politics involved and say “I worked really really hard and made it so what’s wrong with you if you can’t make it.” HA - billable hrs have only gone up yr after yr and for anyone to say that today’s seniors aren’t working hard enough to make it is just looking to ignore the politics and economics of the process and denying that in some cases there are better opportunities out there for associates. Would love if you'd respond/share your thoughts.


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