Monday, November 14, 2005

We hear a lot of talk about balance – especially those of us that are women. (I imagine this is because our society tends validate and perpetuate men being less “in balance.”) Advice, thoughts, books, articles, law school professors – we are surrounded by the topic of balancing career, family, health, free time, and whatever else we may be juggling. There are even seminars on how female attorneys can balance career goals with family. This is good and (hopefully) useful. We need this kind of help, and validation that it is hard, and not something that has been done for centuries, or even decades, with such success that we must be incompetent for even feeling stress about balance. Women have traditionally been the nurturers and there is probably something basic to female chemistry or essence that encourages that behavior. Toss in wanting or needing to be the breadwinners, too, and it does throw individuals and society off balance. Academics far more versed than I have written thoroughly on this topic, so that’s not even where I am going.

What I want to point out is another item to throw onto the balance scale – choosing a specialty within our chosen careers that is somehow in harmony with who we are as individuals. Let’s say a law student must decide on whether to aim towards corporate law, prosecution, criminal defense, or environmental law. Maybe the fields that would most likely pay back the student loans are not what would give the person the most satisfaction as a career. OK, so the person decides to do what will pay the bills and do pro bono work, too…..all of a sudden *BAM*….what happened to the balance? No more time for family, eating right or working out. I know, gross oversimplification for the sake of brevity, but I think the point is clear anyway. Somehow, all of us, within the field of law or not, struggle to find a balance between how we make our living, how we live, and how our life intersects with the lives of others. For some, work and play and values are so interrelated that it really does create a well-balanced life. That’s where I want to live.

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