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Happy Anti* versary.... - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
Happy Anti* versary....
*Anti-climactic, in this case.

A couple of weeks ago, I'd mentioned, semi-cryptically, that I'd set a hearing date of personal significance for today. It was unintentional, but I was almost instantly aware of it. For it involved walking into an office this afternoon which, 30 years ago today, I walked into for the very first time as a freshly-minted, almost-admitted lawyer in the State of New York.

October 1, 1984. I'd finished law school, and then the bar exam, without a job or a commitment to one. Only one mid-August interview, at a small shop in Rochester, held any hope.  My lease ran out and I divided my stuff between my car and my successor tenant's storage space until I knew what was what.  Finally, I got word that the guys had hired me, and I would begin on this day.  In short order, I found an apartment, shlepped the two halves back into it, and began the long strange trip that continues today.

Counting me, there were four lawyers (a fifth, mostly retired, occupied a small corner office), one paralegal, and three support staff (still known as secretaries then). I learned to draft bankruptcy petitions in pencil on drafts of the actual forms, which were then hand-typed onto self-carboning "originals." There was one computer in the office, with a bitchin' 10-megabyte hard drive; two of the secretaries also had Xerox Memorywriters to cut down on the rote.  I knew the law (more or less), comma, but now, comma, I had to learn how to read into a dictaphone, comma, which I hated. Period.

Two months in, I learned I'd passed the bar; not quite two later, I was sworn in (and, from time to time, at). I took over a high-flying level of practice the following May when the senior partner died at the age of 47, and stayed at it there until just over 20 years ago. My then-partners wanted me to be someone I wasn't, and wasn't willing to become.  It led me out of the firm, and out of town for the opportunity that brought us to Buffalo and the home we still have.

In those 20 years since leaving, I've been through three other employment situations (plus working for myself, now, for over eight years), I've improved the technology quite a bit (although I'm rarely cutting-edge with anything), but I'm largely the same attorney and person I used to be.

Them? Not so much.


The firm moved on up in the same downtown building not too many years after I left, where they now have a full floor plus, I learned today, some additional back-office space further down.  I've been in maybe one hand's worth of times in the 20 years, most recently about two years ago, but today was when the sheer foreign-ness of it really hit.

The client was in a difficult situation, and was late in arriving. When we got up to their office for the 2:00 hearing, we saw a receptionist encased behind bank-teller-style reinforced glass. We were asked to sign in.  And we were given, I kid you not,.... identification badges.

(Oops, forgot to return that. Bet it'll make a nice cat toy, though.)

Forty minutes later, our business, and a tentative deal, were both done.  Their conference room view, albeit seven floors higher, was almost exactly the same as the one I had from my own desk there all those years. Not a soul was in the building who knew me way back when; the other lawyers from the time had died, left, retired or, in the case of the one lawyer I was closest to (and who was both the biggest cause  of and biggest disappointment after my departure), simply wasn't there today.

I doubt it would've mattered if he had been there. When we were colleagues, even friends, the idea of a place so sterile and secured would've made us both uncomfortable.  Now, he's the head honcho and that's the way he likes it now.

The two-ish hours since then, I've spent at my newer part-time office near Rochester.  No sign-in sheet. No lanyard to wear or fob to open doors. (I do need to remember to lock the front door, though.)  One of our legal assistants is having a baby and everyone's excited rather than repelled by it. 

On balance? I'm happy that the path began at that office when it did- without it, I likely would never have met Eleanor, or the people I now work with- but I'm even happier that I got off that path before I turned into someone who I was never meant to be.
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warriorsavant From: warriorsavant Date: October 2nd, 2014 01:37 am (UTC) (Link)
I can relate to your journey. I've always felt that money is good, but only in that it lets you do what you want to. You are doing what you want to, so why do something you don't want to in order to earn more money? (I think the old proverb is "money is a good servant but a poor master.")
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