This post is being written in the middle of the morning because, as of Friday, I (Mike) am officially unemployed.
The past two weeks were surprisingly hectic as I had three-and-a-half years of cases to wrap-up and transition and dozens of goodbyes to make. As happy as I am to be hitting the road in a month, these two weeks were rather melancholy. Luckily, the people I talked with were universally supportive and enthusiastic about our trip, which shocked me.
Lawyers are by trade, training and (often) personality, risk-averse and conservative people. It’s one of several stereotypes about our profession with which I agree. Yet not a single attorney, paralegal, secretary, or office support person expressed even the slightest hint of disagreement with or apprehension about our planned adventure or offered me the lecture I expected about how my decision was bad for my career and about how immature I was being. Maybe I shouldn’t have expected it, but I did.
In fact, the most frequent responses were permutations of “good for you to do something like this while you’re young” and “people put off their dreams until retirement too long, when nothing is guaranteed.” Advice like this is what inspired to take this trip from dream to reality, and hearing it from my friends and colleagues reinforced my confidence about our decision. We keep expecting pushback because this trip is a fairly dramatic departure from the typical career/life path, and yet we keep getting widespread support from family, friends, and co-workers. I suppose it’s on us to stop being surprised by these things (right in time to not have anyone left to tell…good thing we learn lessons quickly).
Despite some of the sadness that attends any goodbye, last week managed to have some great highlights: a going away lunch with a team of secretaries I got to know very well and the partner for whom I worked the most; going away drinks with many of my friends; and several insightful and thoughtful conversations with my mentors. These people are what I will remember and miss most.
After an instructive and rewarding three-and-a-half years, it’s on to a new and completely different adventure!