Monday, July 11, 2005

Flexibility: the Pros and Cons

I have a flexible job that allows me to work at home. That's the good news, and the bad news.

You see, although I live here in Northern California, I'm an attorney admitted and practicing in New Hampshire. I lived and practiced law actively in New Hampshire for 11 years (also remembered nostalgically as "the single years," "the thin years," "the well-dressed years," "the years when I watched late-night television" and "the years when I had an adult life on evenings and weekends other than parenthood and collapsing into bed as early as possible.") Family needs brought us back to California, and for a while I worked for a number of California attorneys doing bits and pieces of appellate and other contract work. But a year ago, Bob (the attorney I used to work for and who remembers me as thin, smart, focused, and able to form and express a coherent thought... even though I haven't been like that in a while now) asked me to officially rejoin his firm and commit to just doing his written work and litigation support stuff. So, that's what I do.

All that is to explain how it is that I can work at home, wearing my bathrobe or sweatpants or shorts or whatever I want, and how I can keep pretty much whatever hours I choose, as long as the work gets done. As you moms know, this is ideal because I can work in Caroline's classroom, be around to hear the after-school tales of her day, go on field trips, observe her gymnastic classes and horseback riding lessons, and otherwise be actively involved in her everyday life. To be able to do that AND hold down a well-paying job is a huge, good thing.

But that also explains how it is that at midnight, I'm at my desk pouring over a binder of purchase orders and engineering drawings to sort them into some semblance of a chronological story so I can write the "facts" section of a big pleading due soon.

At times like this, I think longingly of the days when I could watch tv or a movie after dinner, or get into bed with a good novel and read the evening away, or do other similarly relaxing things. It's the down-side of a flexible work schedule--all that flexibility has to get made up for some other time.

I know I'm fortunate to have work that I basically enjoy, that keeps me intellectually challenged, and that pays well for the time spent. But gosh, I'd really rather just go to bed.


  1. Sounds like a good way to stay active in your profession while being a mom. I also was born and lived in NH till I was 12. Claremont to be exact. Haven't been back in a while though. What part for you?

  2. Hi Diane -

    Sorry to put ring related stuff here, but I wasn't sure that you had gotten my other letter.

    My blog, Quilt Art Quests and Quandries, has had a change of address that has not yet been reflected on the ring site. It is now

    Could you change that over for me? Thank you very much! I appreciate your efforts to make this ring such a wonderful success!


  3. Now I can actually comment on your blog --->

    I hope to be swamped in the family thing soon, and can't work full time due to disability anyway, but I have had the 'pleasure' of part-time, at-home work before as well - I found that getting myself into some routines was critical to keeping my 'flexible' time from becoming just plain 'sloppy'! Not that I am a hugely regulated person, but I found that my brain and body got down to task better when they knew what to expect in advance. Hope this helps!

  4. I lived in Hopkinton and worked in Concord!

  5. Diane, Kudos to you for making it work! I tried the at-home work thing too and found my brain too fragmented. My short attention span problem got worse! I'm now back in the hospital for work, and eventhough I miss out on family time, I don't have a huge weight on my shoulders. Best of luck to you!