That was the thought I had as I trudged out of the cold, wet, miserable, grey SF weather into a pristine, white, softly illuminated law firm. I was there this evening for a discussion of international business. Thanks to my two volunteer internships in the city, I have had the chance to explore many new venues, and meet many interesting, talented people. The topic of the evening was how to grow abroad, either organically or through merger/acquisition. On paper, I thought the topic looked a little dry, but the conversation was great. It was the first time in my experience with this group that people were talking about being human! I think then, I realized why I have a hard time committing to the corporate “lifestyle:” it just doesn’t take that human element into account.
I am working on an event with this group that has a food/beverage element to it. One of the speakers they are thinking of booking is the CEO of a company along the lines of Hormel/Kraft/Del Monte. I could feel my skin electrifying as soon as I heard that come out of the point person’s mouth. Really? These guys should be admired? Why??? Because they make food-like objects on a massive scale and have earned hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues. I just don’t think the same way these folks do, and not just about food. I refuse to believe that bigger is better, especially when it gets to the point that you “forget” the human element, or quality, or social and environmental responsibilities. I do believe in capitalism, but I value craftsmanship and artisanal work. Maybe that’s why I have a hard time fitting in in corporate settings.
My boss, after probing around my background, said, “It doesn’t really sound like you want to practice law.” Maybe that’s true, to a degree. I wouldn’t mind being a lawyer if I could have free time to pursue my hobbies (pursuing my classical singing training, dance, music, running, cheese (!)), but I know I won’t thrive if I am stuck in an office all day. I need all of these things to feel good about myself. I also would like to work with smaller businesses. I was reading a poll in an American Bar Association publication, and it said that the lawyers in small or solo practices were more happy than those in big firms. That’s not surprising, but sometimes it helps to have a visual reminder that the prestige of a big name company and the huge high-rise office is not a sign of success to most people (although, for some people in my family, it is the only sign of success).
I’ve been networking like mad in this new city, and I’m learning new things about business, this community, and myself with each event I go to. I’ve pretty much already established myself as a major francophile with every new acquaintance–not by design, but just because it comes surging out like an unchecked dam. I can’t help it.
My wish for Christmas was to find a full-time job. It’s about 2 weeks away–it could still happen! Maybe. If anything, it’s been a major test of a year. Thank goodness for my wonderful husband and family, friends, even though they’re scattered all over the place!