Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I Make My Own Hours

This is a new thing for me: two blog posts in one day. I know that tomorrow I will be in the hospital all day with my family waiting for our newest member to be born so I won't be around to write. And, I'm taking advantage of the fact that my computer is actually working so I'm going to write now.

The other day I ran in to a colleague from my former life as a big law attorney. She no longer works at the firm where we met. We got to talking and she asked me whether I missed practicing. Without hesitating I said "no" but thinking about it now, I'm not sure. Immediately after I heard myself say it, I qualified my brief and somewhat adamant statement by telling her that while I do not miss practicing, I do miss the structure that a corporate/office job provides. This is true but even that's not the whole story. Unlike many lawyers, including some I know, I did not completely dislike my practice. No one would really believe me when I told them that I liked it. I loved the challenge and I really enjoyed being a part (albeit a small part as a junior associate) of negotiations. I enjoyed drafting and in general, I enjoyed problem solving. However, like most lawyers working in that environment I really didn't like the time commitment and the stress.

Now, just because I make my own hours, doesn't mean that I feel any less of a time commitment or stress. This should be obvious right? It isn't...at least not to me. I'm working part time in real estate in my family's business and it's going well (even with the market that we are experiencing) and on the other days I work on my photography...the website, the blog, stock photography, getting ready for the show this summer, the book, whatever. I usually find a way to fill my day. I have to be really diligent about it and I think so far, I am. I have made it a habit to make a list every Friday afternoon of all the things that I have to get finished by the following week. More often than not things don't get completely accomplished but usually they do. When I'm at my other job, I try (I REALLY DO) to focus on it so that when I'm home, other than spending an hour or so in the early morning calling clients, I can focus on photography. But, all of this is hard. I know, poor me.

The reality is that I am much better when I have structure and deadlines. I don't have that sort of pressure now. Well, I do, but unless I'm sending photos for a contest (which I've been doing a lot of), the deadlines are not always hard and fast, or, I have so much time to get whatever it is finished (like the book and the post cards for my show), that I wait until the last minute because I know I have a time limit.

When I was working as a lawyer, my friends and I would dream about making our own hours. Now, I make my own hours and I wish I had more structure. I'm not a huge fan of cliches but we all know which one works best here.

Today was a day I spent at home (it's usually Tuesdays and Fridays but every once in a while I mix it up if I make appointments or someone else will be out). I had a long list of things to finish today but it was so gorgeous out that I left at 9:30 and didn't come back until 3. I worked from home until about 9:30, went out to run some errands, went to the gym and then went to Brooklyn for acupuncture (I have back issues and it has really helped me). I was going to go to my office when I realized the time and decided that I should come home, fight with my computer and try (try) to get some work done. I didn't get much done. I reviewed some recently approved stock photos, checked my email for the millionth time, spoke to my mom and sister and am now writing my second (and, very long) blog post of the day. In fact, when I set out to write this, I was planning on going in an entirely different direction! This was supposed to be about my day out and about in beautiful New York City, wondering why I ever complained about yesterday's bad weather when today's is divine, taking my headphones out of my ears so I can hear the birds singing on Irving Place and wondering whether anyone here works since they all seemed to be out on the street having lunch and on the subway. But, that will have to wait for next time...most likely Thursday since tomorrow I'll be celebrating with my wonderful family...tomorrow is Wednesday but I'm making my own hours and skipping work.

2 comments:

Elizabeth said...

I know it would be hard to make one's own hours, but I really admire the fact that, as fun as law can be on its good days, you left it to take a chance on something else.

I think today is your family's big day. Hope it is going well.

Chessa said...

Thank you, Elizabeth. I've had plenty of time by now to absorb it and to think about the changes in my life as whole rather than as a series of isolated incidents. I think that when you're in the moment, that's the only way that you can view it. Now when I do think about it or talk about it, I just see it as something that I tried in life that wasn't right for me. This doesn't mean that I'm sorry I tried. On the contrary...it was important and I feel like a better person for having done it. I met incredible people and I learned so much. I view what I'm doing now in the same way...if it doesn't work out, then I will try something else. We'll see...this life, hopefully, is long. :)