Oh, the Joys of Not…

I will soon have reached the “out of the courthouse” for a year anniversary, and it has been a wonderful year. There is so much I do not miss AT ALL about that lawyer job.

I don’t miss all the paperwork, though much of the paperwork had become electronic. The courthouse filings were electronic, as were my invoices, and my monthly reports. I had to report on how I spent my time down to the quarter hour, how my contractual activities benefited the Maryland economy (huh?), which cases went to court for what kind of hearing and when the next hearing was scheduled even though the date was purest conjecture on the judge’s part… And all of that information went into Deep Space, never to be seen again, but heaven forfend the reports were late.

This is exactly the kind of work I loathe–detailed, pointless, largely unverifiable, all for show. How on EARTH did I end up in a job where I was evaluated on the basis of this kind of baloney?

I don’t miss the courthouse itself. I was married in that courthouse, and I was on good terms with the people there, but a courthouse–except for marriages and adoptions–is mostly a house of misery. For every person who wins a case, somebody loses, and sometimes everybody loses. People lose their liberty at courthouses, and are consigned to the most brutal, violent, atavistic, bigoted system of incarceration in the developed world (and one of very few permitted to do business on a for profit basis).

Many of those people aren’t guilty, or aren’t guilty of as serious a crime as they’ve been convicted of (or plead guilty to). Many others did not get adequate representation because We the People do not fund  the Public Defender’s Office at nearly the levels justice requires. (While the prosecutors, for some reason, tend to do pretty well.)

I don’t miss the lawyers, though I got on well enough with most of them. I might miss them, but I have romance readers and authors to compare to them. Lawyers can have a quirky sense of humor, they tend to be philosophical about complicated questions, and most of them in my little jurisdiction knew how to be civil while representing opposing parties.

But those attributes pale beside the sheer joy of meeting with a writing buddy for book talk-talk, of trading some chat with a reader who wonders whether Bart is Priscilla’s father, of reading the comments on this blog, of seeing an author friend’s release day go well. I am grateful to the lawyer job for all the financial security it generated, I hope I made a meaningful contribution when I wore that hat, but ye gods, I DO NOT MISS IT.

What don’t you miss? To one commenter, I’ll send a $50 Amazon gift card. ALSO, I’ll be ending out e-ARCs for A Lady of True Distinction in the next week or so. If you’d like one, please email me at [email protected], subject: True Distinction ARC.


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44 comments on “Oh, the Joys of Not…

  1. I don’t miss one of my former bosses AT ALL. I left a very nice church job–loved my choirs, loved the people of the congregation, loved the community–because the pastor was a pain. Her husband also was a church musician and she believed she knew EVERYTHING about music, learning by osmosis.

    She couldn’t fault my music choices or how the choirs sounded but every time there was something she felt she could *get* me on, she did. Finally, when the choir room was remodeled and we had new “cubbys” for each choir member, she gave me a 20 minute lecture on how I was numbering them wrong. That was it; I left at the end of that choir year.

    Interestingly, I live in the church’s community, so I would hear things or run into people. I was punished for leaving by not including me in emails when my favorite choir members died. It makes me sad to think church folks do that kind of thing to others but…..I’m not surprised.

    • Churches are interesting. I was raised in the Catholic tradition, which in some regards is a low-hassle. One little infallible pope at the top of the turtle-tower established (in my experience) a culture of go-along-to-get-along. Then too, you could not “church shop.” You attended in the geographic parish where you lived, period.
      The shift into Mennonite culture, where “giving and receiving good counsel” on congregations and spiritual matters, was an obligation of joining the congregation… very different. Not better or worse, or rather, BOTH better and worse, and very different.
      I’m sorry the pastor hounded you out the door, and I am certain the choirs and congregants were too. But you made the right decision. Nobody needs repeated attempts at sabotage, especially not from the person in leadership.

      • I am a life long Catholic. I joined the choir almost 20 years ago. I then felt the call to be a cantor a few years later. There was a ten year period where I was part of an ensemble ( the choir disbanded under an inexperienced director ) where all the members shared solo duties. My parish was merged with two others and the new parish went without cantors in the beginning, just the choir. I was fired from being a cantor along with a gentleman, because, according to the pastor, I am not on pitch and am giving the parish a bad reputation. I talked to many members of the congregation who said they liked my singing and were sorry to not hear me anymore. The pastor expects perfection and I don’t measure up. It doesn’t matter to him that I was never in choir either in school or at the parish I grew up in. There was no choir when I was growing up. I didn’t have enough self confidence to sing in public until I was 30 years old. I was told that I could no longer be a cantor right after my mother was in the hospital for nearly a week. I still sing in the choir because I like the people who are part of the choir. I also thanked the director of a community chorus that didn’t require auditions for membership. He never told me my singing was not good enough and he even assigned me solos. We have a new music director at our parish, he has a community choir and he has invited the church choir members to join, he feels we are good enough to perform under his name. Perhaps I will tell him what happened to me one day. The pastor also recently had a gripe meeting about the other ministries in the parish, he said that people will be asked to leave their ministries if they don’t measure up. Oddly enough, he approached me a couple of months ago and said I should become a lector. Say what? Like I want to be in a different ministry I have felt no call to. I would constantly be worried about him critiquing me. The pastor told a story at the gripe meeting about telling a person that they needed to leave the ministry and go to lectoring. That person found fulfillment in the change eventually. I doubt I would feel the same. A lector friend said she feels like there are more than enough lectors at present. My son said it simply, I feel called to proclaim the Word through song, not speaking. The pastor’s ego has gotten in the way of what the Holy Spirit wants, in my opinion. I was in tears last Pentecost when he told everyone to pray to the Holy Spirit to show them how to use their gifts for the good of our parish. I had answered the Holy Spirit and was using my talents, when he forbade me to use all of my talents. The pastor’s ego has caused hurt and he hides behind I am the representative of God.

  2. I celebrated my 60th birthday a couple of weeks ago. And I realize that I don’t miss unwanted advise from relatives & friends.

    Reaching such a milestone birthday has its appeal. People ask you for advice- your decisions are no longer questioned or belittled.

    We installed a generac last week. We might not be able to vacation or drive new cars but we won’t be without heat or power due to a snowstorm again. I didn’t say anything to friends and family until the job was completed. No one said- I know where you could have gotten it cheaper etc..

    I do miss the family time when my daughter was younger. We had a lot of fun. Now she’s finishing up her finals & will graduate from law school.

    I don’t miss people questioning her decision to go to law school. She was Determined to go and has achieved her goal.

    I know I won’t miss my commute when I retire!! I will miss my friends at work- I have 5-7 years to go so I have awhile!!

    Sent you an email about the ARC.

    • Sue, Good for you on the generac. The weather has only grown wackier where I live, and I sure don’t regard big trees as fondly as I did ten years ago. I cannot believe you will soon be the mom of a law school grad–that was fast! I am VERY glad your daughter went to law school. We’re facing a lawyer shortage on the horizon, and that’s not good for all kinds of reasons.
      Hope retirement comes sooner rather than later. Just think of all those books you have to read!

  3. Thirty years I worked in the care sector,went on the required training courses took a degree in management of care services whilst working shift work in care homes.All very challenging but rewarding when service users benefited from it.I met some lovely people who through their dedication and hard work made a difference to people’s lives.But I also met some who were completely wrong for the role of carer because of e.g__lack of empathy,patience,understanding,warmth I could go on and on why some should not be working in care.This also applies to care home owners and corporate care companies.In my role as manager I found this very frustrating that vulnerable and needy human beings did not always receive the right care package.Things have not improved in the U.K since I retired ,they have gotten much worse.I love my country but in this we have failed.Many of us voted to come out of the E.U so the money we saved could be spent on the hospitals and the care sector.It is not going to plan yet but I remain positive.Thanks for your blog,I can let off steam.

    • You touched a nerve, in that I’ve met many mean, bigoted, nasty social workers. A lot of them were wonderful people who tried very hard to go the extra mile, so the spiteful ones really stood out. One or two got into management positions, and ye gods, I had to bite my tongue a lot. Fortunately, those same people usually back down when I got up on my hind legs, but I’m sure they were glad to see me hang up my spurs.
      I hope things for the UK just settle down, one way or another. I can’t recall a time when there’s been so much upheaval for so long, and now Scotland is scheduling another indie ref…. oh, dear.

  4. I cannot wait until I’m retired! I will not miss the stress, stress, stress. The constant feel of having to function constantly at a 110% speed. No matter how many deep breathing exercises I do, I know my blood pressure and cortisol remain elevated all day. Yuck.

    • I completely understand. It’s too early you for me to count the days to retirement- dreaming keeps me busy for now!

    • I had to be convinced. I knew I’d be leaving the law behind at some point, and I liked the status that came with being able to say I was the attorney for all the foster children in the county, but what is status for? Who was I so anxious to impress and why?
      I’m much happier now, living with only the degree of structure I impose on myself, and enjoying much more solitude. Finances are trickier, but I will make do with a lot less before I consider going back to the lawyer-gig.
      Hope retirement comes soon for you Make. Having to get and face stress, stress, stress is no fun.

  5. I was a mainframe computer programmer (til my job was off-shored & outsourced). I also son’t miss the time sheets. Sometimes they were easy – like when I spent full days on a specific project. But other days, when I was putting out fires & answering questions, it took more time to record & enter the time than it took for each issue. I do miss working on projects with other people, that sense of accomplishment when things worked. I did enjoy coding programs & having them work well.

    • One of my old friends made statistical programs. When I asked her this question, her response was, “I don’t miss watching the guys louse up their programs, and get the whole office involved in the resulting drama, and then get big pats on the back when they eventually straighten out the code, while I don’t turn it in until I know it’s right, and… nothin’.”

      Timesheets are the work of the Imp, as far as I’m concerned. How do you verify that information? Most of the time, it’s the honor system.

      • I wonder if your friend & I worked at the same place or with those same guys. I hated the attitude that if it worked well initially, it must have been easy to put together. No! It was doing the detail work both ahead of time in the specs & in defining things correctly.

  6. I (for the most part) enjoyed my working years, but when I retired, I was quite ready for it. The little censor that lives in your brain (the one that tells you not to say “that” out loud) had stopped working and I was becoming brutally honest.

    All the foolish things in office life were becoming harder to deal with. The constant meetings that took up time but accomplished little. Writing our own job descriptions. Self evaluating before out boss evaluated us (so they would know what to put down). The first time I had to give myself an evaluation, I was brutally honest and pointed out all my shortcomings. That didn’t happen a second time (smile).

    • I would love to see some research about who is more honest at self-evaluations, men or women? If it runs true to the Dunning-Kruger curve, men overestimate their own ability, women underestimate it.

  7. I, too, do not miss being defined by billable hours. I also no longer own a bathroom scale or fitbit. Normal and average are both ranges.

  8. I miss the attorneys I worked with, they were my friends and we had fun together. But I definitely don’t miss the larger firm we had transferred to or the two hour drive each way. I had a family emergency so had to leave that position and decided not to pursue returning when the emergency passed. If they weren’t geographically undesirable I’d love to work with them again but I refuse to give up so much of a life for a job any longer.

  9. Grace I don’t know if you recall I was a paralegal for a couple years. I certainly don’t miss the billiable hours hoopla either. I did a brief stint in family law but it was mostly guardianship and conservetorships. I got pushed out because of the electronic capabilities. Everything changes with technology.

  10. I am 57, soon to be 58. I’ve noticed that as I’ve sailed through my 50’s, I have let go of a lot. It wasn’t a sudden decision…I’m not sure it was an actual decision. Life is too short to carry some of the worry and baggage I was carting around, and it all began with realizing that I had spent my life thus far trying to make people happy who were never going to be happy, trying to gain approval of people that really, I don’t like that much, and attempting to meet the expectations of those around me without factoring in my own wishes and wants. So…I do not miss any of that. It’s a work in progress, but I really like myself for possibly the first time in my life. I’ve never been this happy, or content, or relaxed. So I do not miss not being my true self.

  11. Lawyer was my first answer to “what do you want to be when you grow up.” 30 years later and I’m a librarian. Less money and my power suit is a cardigan but I get to talk about books. Libraries are for everyone so there are times when that’s the first stop of someone who’s just been released from prison. They can get help from us to create a resume and apply for jobs. So perhaps my career path didn’t stray too far from my kindergarten dreams.

  12. Happy Sunday! I do not miss waiting in line to check out books at the library. With the computers and the self check out options, checkout is fun and great. Thank you for your great books. Have a blessed day!

  13. After 40-plus years of doing it, I will not miss lawyering when I can finally quit. I am friends with my lawyer friends apart from work, and find joy with all the interesting and talented people I know, among whom are musicians, musical and opera singers, writers of all sorts, medical doctors, salespeople, engineers, accountants, and geologists (a few), astronomers, and a professional magician who has an ironclad grasp of all the names for logical fallacies. I would not be the person I am without having lived the life I have, but I am so ready for the next chapter. And -is- Bart Priscilla’s father? Did he leave a child on the Peninsula, or was that just talk? Inquiring minds want to know. Also, what about Esther’s family?

  14. After my hospitalization this weekend for some routine tests, I realized more acutely that I don’t miss bedside nursing much any more. I’ve been an RN for 28 years & in health care for over 35 years. Nursing, while an honorable vocation, definitely isn’t the same any more.
    At this point, I’m trying to reinvent my professional life after being sidelined by an injury in the fall. I then lost my job at Thanksgiving. Once again, I’m faced with the question, “What do I want to be when I grow up?”. Consultant? Writer? Those are my top two choices. Can I make a living out of either? That’s the big question.
    In the meantime, I’m keeping my spirits up for whatever lies ahead with a good book and dear friends!

  15. Hello Grace, looking at the court house brings so many memories for me as well, I know too many times I was there through my foster days. Who knows you could have been one of those lawyers lol I was also married there. Right now at age 49.5 I am working on my associates degree, so for now one thing I don’t miss is driving to my 9-5 job which was about a hour drive one way. Look forward to the new book release!

  16. I retired from my job as a public middle school administrator 10 years ago. I do not miss the hours spent each day on hall duty, bus duty, and lunchroom duty. I do not miss breaking up fights started because someone rolled their eyes at another or for other stupid reasons. I do not miss the constant drama of dealing with tweens and teens. I do not miss trying to deal with parents who show up at school ‘under the influence’ . I do not miss waiting until 11pm with a child who was supposed to be picked up after a dance which ended at 7pm by parents who were too busy partying to remember that they had children. I do not miss not being able to attend events for my own children and grandchildren because I had responsibilities at my own school. There are many things that I do miss after 36 years, but these are a few of the biggies.

  17. I am now retired 2.5 years and don’t miss much of anything. Of course, I’m the person who always answered “about 30 years ago” when asked when I wanted to retire. Like Mary T, I also hated the self-evaluations as a concept. I mean, if I have to do all the work myself, what’s the point of having a supervisor/manager doing a performance review? Actually, I had to convince HR in my last year not to require me to do that since my retirement date was before the final reviews were due. It made sense to me to save myself and my supervisor the work but HR said the system didn’t allow it. However, the system did allow bringing last year’s evaluation metric forward so I told them I was okay with that. I don’t really miss anything about working except the consistent pay and if that makes me a terrible person, I’m okay with that, too. Life’s too short for all the aggravation of modern day office employment.

  18. I have been out of the Rat Race for (ouch) 13 years. I don’t miss a minute of a career I once thought would miss me. I must be a slow learner. It took awhile for me to learn, it was JUST a job. I miss some of the people I worked with at times, but not the JOB…

  19. What I don’t miss a out my last full time job was being reported as rude because I tried to enforce the common sense food sanitation rules. I worked in a major downtown hotel in the employee’s cafeteria. After the executive chef had me attend the city’s required “food sanitation and safety management course I became even more objectionable to the other hotel employees than previously. After catching a bell hop ripping the plastic covering off of the tray of dlicedham and cheese for lunch sandwiches and using his hand to get something to eat I to him he needed to wait until lunch to eat. What he didn’t bother to tell me was he was a Type1 diabetic and his blood sugar was dangerously low! I wasn’t aware of those facts or I would have made sure he got food. What I didn’t bother to explain was I was very well acquainted with the illness as my brother also had it. I also know the best way quickly raise his sugar would have been to drink a glass of orange juice. The sugar from it would enter the blood stream much quicker.

    The way things stand now I’m thoroughly enjoying my retirement. My health problems are mostly under control and I enjoy visiting my daughter and her family occasionally.

    Sorry I was so long winded.

  20. I have been retired from the public library in my county for one month. While I believe that libraries provide an invaluable benefit to the community, I too do not miss work or the people from work. My life is full and wonderful and I did not need work to validate that.

  21. Today a relative was bemoaning the perils of being a mother of a teenager. The angst, the, worries, the fears.

    I was lucky enough to have a smart, talented and driven child but that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t worried about her and there weren’t plenty of white knuckle times – and lots of worries about the future and what might happen.

    For now my daughter is a college graduate (magna cum laude) and pursuing her dreams.

  22. I will be moving to another job at the end of the school year. I will miss the people (students and some fellow teachers) but I will NOT miss the numerous non-science teacher jobs I picked up because they were very important and needed to be done and nobody else was able or willing to do them. I will hopefully be smarter about guarding my passions in my new position. Meaning that I will not volunteer to help with anything I am not passionate about.

  23. My youngest is finishing up elementary school this spring and I am not going to miss the school drop off and pick up ritual at all. I assume there will be things that regain some charm with distance, but morning hassle, I suspect, is not one of them.

  24. Right now I do not miss having to cook. I do miss showering by myself as I had surgeries almost two weeks ago.

  25. I don’t miss having to travel an hour each way to work and back and that was on normal days. Now my job is 5 min. away although I don’t make as much. Seems to be a fair trade.

  26. I taught elementary school children in a big city up north for 33+ years. I miss children and teaching them and guiding them to do great projects alone or in a group.
    What I don’t miss are the endless teachers meeting and curriculum meetings and writing up reports for sharing with the administrators and other teachers. Most of my career, I taught an open classroom in predominately traditional schools. One -on-one I loved telling what we did in an open classroom, But writing it out every year for teachers and administrators who didn’t share the “open” philosophy seemed a waste of time – mine and theirs.

  27. I don’t miss arbitrary administrative micro-management when everyone knows we the teachers know what we are doing, I don’t miss children that have never been told “no”, I don’t miss parents who believe their little angel could never DO THAT (whatever that was), I don’t miss having to force feed learning before the child is ready, I don’t miss being held responsible for every child’s littlest failure, I don’t miss having to teach to the tests, I don’t miss time constraints to fulfill quotas that rob the joy of learning, I don’t miss the increasing number of disturbed, angry, hurt, abused and maladjusted children. I don’t miss teaching one bit. I do miss imparting the wonder of a good story, I do miss introducing the joys of science, I do miss watching children grow and change and learn one year at a time. And most of all, I do miss the funny bits! Oh, the stories I could tell, if only to protect the “innocent”!

  28. I have a couple former bosses who I do not miss a single bit. I spent many years volunteering for my children’s schools. While I miss some of the teachers, other volunteers, and children I do not miss the petty backstabbing mothers who thought it was more important to be in charge and get their way than to help the kids and teachers. Along that line of thought there are several other power hungry people I have worked with through the years who I do not miss at all. I wish I could say I missed the tedious ‘paper’ work that goes along with being a manager – but I still get to deal with it on a daily basis – and would definitely not miss it if they decided we didn’t need to do it.

  29. I grew up in a religious cult. I did not understand life there as a child and it took me years to adapt to life away from this group. It took me years to grow up and learn what most people learn in the teens. I am so happy to be gone from there along with some of my siblings. Sadly some family remain which ha caused family separation. I do not miss the group dynamics at all.
    I have tried to help others who are put out or who chose to leave so that they can have someone who understands their background. The group does not like that and have caused me and others many problems legal and otherwise.
    So happy to have my life and I do NOT MISS THEM.

  30. I read your post and it got me to thinking about things I don’t miss. I am a Pharmacist. I went to school for over 7 years (over 3 years for undergrad and 4 years of Grad school) to get my Doctorate in Pharmacy. I worked in a retail pharmacy for over 15 years before I decided to start working in a hospital. I do NOT miss the rudeness of some patients. They seem to think that a pharmacy is like a fast food chain where we just slap labels on bottles and hand them out. Which is NOT the case! My commitment as a pharmacist is to ensure that the patient receives the correct medication for their condition and to ensure it is safe for the patient. Meaning is the drug appropriate, the correct dosing, any drug interactions, or any contraindications, etc. As a hospital pharmacist we check to ensure the dose is appropriate for patient’s renal function, the appropriate antibiotics being used for infections (based on cultures), and we are constantly monitor patient’s labs and progress. We are an important member of the medical team. Sometimes I wish patients would understand the asset their pharmacist is to them and that we are the LAST safety check before they put a chemical (which is what medicine is) into their body. We know more about the drugs and how they will work chemically in the body than any other medical profession. So, I do NOT miss the patients that don’t have knowledge of or respect for our profession. I DO however miss the patients that I grew to know over the years, who did realize the asset I was. The ones I talked with and encouraged through opioid withdrawal, chemotherapy and other life changing diseases. There is no better feeling than knowing you have helped someone’s quality of life and health. That is why I became a pharmacist and why I continue to try and make a difference every day at work; even when the patient’s are yelling about their insurance copay or about the time it takes for me to ensure they are safe.

  31. What I do not miss from my days at work was the human drama of being in charge, of selecting the right (or wrong) personnel, interacting with individuals dealing with the all too human actions that often caused hurt feelings or pain, the reports that were due with no grace in the submission, but the knowledge that the budget being developed was made on projected funds that would not be determined until 4 months after the plan was submitted… all that stuff. Now days I do the parts of the job I loved, do my best to make a difference in the lives of families, and I AM NOT IN CHARGE.

  32. I was fortunate to have my corporate position “moved” to a different state while I stayed put. It required me to start my own business as a product design and marketing consultant. I may never have left the corporate nest’s security if this hadn’t happened, so I am extremely grateful for the past 16 years of creativity, freedom, and abundant family time. As the only female executive in my division, there were many, many things I was happy to let go. I DO NOT MISS the egos, posturing, and false crises that my peers and boss thrived on and that got in the way of getting the job done. I DO NOT MISS the entitled, pampered sales people who had to take the VP-Marketing (me) all over the country with them to present to customers because they were not required to do their jobs. I DO NOT MISS the constant stress of trying to support and mentor the good people I hired so they could function in such a combative environment. I’m pretty sure that after 16 years I could never, ever tolerate that kind of working life again. Thank you for reminding me of how thankful I am for the change in my life. I am blessed to have time to read for pleasure now and your books are always on my pre-order list. Thank you for writing them!