Law firms are not always reasonable places to work.
Don’t get me wrong . . . I like mine. I like the people and the work. The hours are (mostly) reasonable. Compared to my friends who work in BigLaw in DC, NYC or LA, things are very very civilized.
However, occasionally stuff gets crazy.
Case in point: the day I went into labor. I got to work at 8:30 am, worked until 7pm, got home, ate an enormous dinner prepared by Mr. DebtFreeJD,* hopped back on the computer, finished a brief at 11 pm, and went to bed. One hour later, my water broke. I emailed off the brief, went to the hospital, and delivered a baby at 9:15 am the next morning.
This was actually totally OK. The brief was interesting, it was a pro bono case, and if I had said “I’m nine months pregnant, and someone else needs to do this,” the firm would have worked it out. It was my choice to be working right up until practically the second I went to the hospital. It made for a crazy experience in which I spent much of my time in active labor in the hospital still dressed in my work clothes. But ultimately, I was the one who decided what crazy and how much I was going to deal with.
However, if I had no choice in the matter — for example, if I was working for some crazy partner who insisted that I stay up until the wee hours of the morning while enormously pregnant drafting a contract — that would not have been OK. I would have been furious, and resented that person forever, and it might have even colored the whole having-a-baby-process.
In short, having options made all the difference.
Getting rid of debt opens up a lot of options. In my opinion, that’s a great reason to do it. Even if everything stays exactly the same, knowing I have those options is a really big thing psychologically. Feeling trapped in a project — or a job — you hate is awful. Feeling trapped can make even a job you like into an unpleasant experience. And with a lot of law school debt, it’s easy to feel trapped. So I’m looking forward to removing that ball and chain!
*Thank goodness – I needed those calories during labor!