It’s easy when you are starting work to enter into a cruise control, where life just flows from week to week (that feeling of wanting Monday to speed into Fridays) and from month to month where the only thing that marks the passing of time is the new couple of grands that gets deposited into your bank account at the end of each month. It is tempting to settle into that repetitive cycle of life in a way that school never was. School had milestones where you knew you were going to leave, where the system itself forces you to get out and find something else, progress to a next step.
I’m not saying that you can’t find that at work, but that you have to consciously seek it and work towards finding it, because while milestones in school were set by the system, in work, you have to plan you own career.
One and a half year since I started work in a law firm. I’m going to make sure I don’t get too comfortable. Coming August, I shall be teaching adjunct at my alma mater. Come this October, I shall start my applications for my LL.M. And come this time next year, I hope I’m on a plane to my next destination. I intend to get my LL.M and get a New York Bar, and spend a few more months travelling and looking around before finding another job. Not because I think it may necessarily help my career, but just for me to experience a different world, see the different place, know different people and find a different self. Perhaps it’s not something that is necessary for my career but I firmly believe it is something that is necessary for my life. I didn’t take a gap year before university because I always believed that if I want to indulge in a process of self-discovery, it’s not something I will do on my parent’s funds. Plus, I needed to experience work, to know how it feels – to grow up, be responsible – before I can find myself. Going out from university to go off on a gap year will more likely just be an extended one year of fun for me. I was not sure that I’ll be able to get the most out of it.
I realise I’m blessed in many ways. Perhaps, the good luck that I don’t get in my love life overcompensates in other areas of life. I’ve had two love calls of very exciting work opportunities coming my way – the kind of jet-setting, business development work that I’ve always wanted to do (beyond just pure legal). I turned down one offer at the very last minute. It was a balance of what I needed to do with my life – the new teaching opportunities that came up, the decision that I made to do post-graduate studies next year etc. (rather than one year later) – which made me decide this probably wasn’t the best time to make a career move as well.
Plans changed faster than I expected along with the opportunities that came knocking. But I also felt that it was important to stay committed, decide on sticking to a course because after weighing the pros and cons, you’ve decided it is in the best interest of your development. If I’m going to quit my job sometime next June because of post-graduate studies, it makes no sense for me to leave for a new job now. There are still a lot more things for me to learn where I am. I felt that I was not ready with one and a half year at work. And not ready to start on so many new things at one time because I wanted to give my time and energy to do something well. Yes, I might have forsaken a good business opportunity – but it was a decision I didn’t make easily. I will have to live with any mistakes that I may have made. But it was a conscious decision that I made, and for that, I’ll have no regrets, perhaps only reflections and improvements for my future self.