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Lawyers Club of San Diego is a specialty bar association committed to advancing the status of women in the law and society. We use this space to share articles written about Lawyers Club events and programs and items of interest to our members which are relevant to our mission. The opinions outlined in content published on the Lawyers Club of San Diego blog are those of the authors and not of Lawyers Club. All members are encouraged to participate respectfully in discussions regarding the topics posted on the blog. Guest writers are welcome. Guidelines for writers may be found on the Leadership Resources page.

 

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Off the Beaten Partner Track: "Can We Have It All?"

Posted By Jillian Fairchild, Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Can We Have It All?

The question of whether work/life balance is possible is a constant one. Anne-Marie Slaughter famously determined that the answer was “no” in her article titled Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” Since the birth of my own daughter, I have been wondering more and more - is it possible to have a full-time career, children/family, and keep your sanity?

 

Women everywhere are fighting to balance work lives with home life. My own struggle has been made more difficult by the fact that I recently joined a very busy litigation defense firm. My hours have gotten longer and I am not always home by the time my daughter is asleep. On those days, my time with her is limited to the hour I see her in the morning before I drop her off at daycare. When I have to go out of town, I am frequently gone before she gets up and do not get home until after she is asleep.

 

This dilemma is not limited to women. I see some of my male colleagues also struggle for balance. My own husband faced similar issues. He is a chef who worked for 10 years before being promoted to executive chef. What he quickly learned is that his new position required working 6-7 days and 70-80 hours a week, all evenings, weekends, and holidays. Once our daughter was born, he felt he was missing everything at home. He eventually refused to work in restaurants and hotels and is now a chef in a corporate office. He works dream hours (6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.) and is home in the evenings and weekends to see his family. 

 

Of course, consideration must be given to the fact that the “all” is different for everyone. Ms. Slaughter referred to having children and a high-powered career. Like her, some strive to be at the top of their profession. Others simply strive to pay their bills, but their real goal is to make time for the PTA. My husband decided that his “all” was time at home and his family was more important than the long hours that came with a more prestigious chef position.

 

It seems as though it is important to determine what your “all” is. Every person has to look at their life and determine what is most important to them. Is it spending time with your kids? Having a dream job/career? There are also financial considerations impacting these decisions, including daycare and student loan debt. The “all” is a deeply personal decision that is different for everyone and will likely change over time. 

This blog post was authored by Jillian Fairchild

 

Tags:  Ann-Marie Slaughter  having it all  LCB  off the beaten partner track  work-life balance 

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Perfection in the Imperfection: "Work vs. Life vs. Me"

Posted By Megan O'Neill, Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Work vs. Life vs. Me

As a little girl, I wasn’t really interested in dolls or playing house. I played business. I loved setting up my desk and rubber stamping paper and answering calls, taking notes – I loved it all. Someone might suggest that I was influenced by my parents, however, my dad was a pastor (not a traditional office environment), and while I have memories of being a “latch-key kid,” my mother is quick to remind me that she stayed home until I was in 6th grade (then she went on to conquer the world of health care). So, while my parents have been an enormous influence on me and my career goals, I take pride in and embrace my innate young work ethic and ambitions!


In the years to come, I did well in high school and college and, professionally, fell into what has become a career that I absolutely love. In my single days I relished in the late nights preparing for depositions and trials and felt a great sense of pride and accomplishment. Passing the CPA exam was par for the course in my career path and I felt like I was that little girl again at a desk, taking on the world.


THEN, I met a (wonderful and loving) man who equally loves his career (firefighter), and we got married. THEN, one year later (2012), we welcomed our first daughter and three years to the day after that (2015), we welcomed our second daughter.  These new amazing and fantastic life events have created a great deal of internal struggle for me as I try to continue to stay the course of my dream professional life, as well as explore my new roles that I love as wife and mother. To complicate matters a little more, our oldest daughter has a rare medical condition complete with seizures, making childcare a great deal more complicated. 


I have felt that my home life needed to be in direct competition with work, or vice versa. That having one meant that the other was sacrificed. Admittedly, I felt as though I was truly failing for the first time in my life. I love my career and where it is going, yet at the same time, I absolutely LOVE being a wife and mother and how in the world do I get all of these moving parts to move together?


Then it hit me. To me it’s not about “doing it all” or “having it all,” because inevitably, something is sacrificed in the pursuit of something else – creating competition where it’s just not necessary, and maybe I just don’t want “to do it ALL.” Lately for me it’s rather the “balance” that is spoken about ad nauseam, or a better word that I bring from my career is “collaboration.”  We talk about collaboration all of the time in our cases, so how can my career ambitions work with my home life (or vice versa) to foster an environment of, well I’ll just say it, kum-ba-ya. 


I don’t believe that there is an absolute right or wrong way to be true to oneself while staying true to family and work. I also expect that I need to be able to ebb and flow with any new challenges in work or life that come my way. I feel that by viewing these pieces of the puzzle not with an end product in mind that are “competing” for perfect placement, but as “pieces of me” that continue to collaboratively shape who I am, that I am at peace with me, my work and my family.  


This blog post was authored by Megan O'Neill

 

Tags:  collaboration  having it all  LCB  perfection in the imperfection  working mom  worklife balance 

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