I’ve been waiting for quite a while to write about this on the blog. It’s been in the works for a month or so, but only recently became official. I’ve accepted an offer to become the part-time pro bono coordinator at Catholic Law School. I start September 15.
I was not out looking for a new job. After Hudson died, I agonized for a long time about whether to leave my position at the Federal Public Defender. Ultimately, among many other things, I decided that I could not handle the stressful, deadline-oriented, chaotic lifestyle right now, particularly where people’s lives, other people’s children’s lives, were at stake. My boss and my office have been incredibly understanding and supportive.
Back in the fall, when I was looking to leave the firm for public interest work, I signed up for a job search alert on a public interest law website. Out of laziness, I just never turned it off. In the middle of the summer, this position showed up in my inbox. For two weeks, I did nothing about it. I thought it was crazy to even consider starting a new job right now.
And then I thought about it some more. For those of you who know me, you know that this is in what Ed calls “my sweet spot.” As a law student, I was deeply involved with the pro bono program, which, at Carolina, is run almost entirely by students. So this wasn’t an entirely new job—I already have a pretty good feel for how pro bono placement works. I have always considered student services at a law school as one possible career track, but have not been ready to leave practice—right now, I really can’t imagine practicing. The position is only 28 hours per week—I knew if I was going to go back to work at all, I only wanted to go part-time, because I felt like I still needed extra time for grieving and healing. And I can walk there—it’s only a stone’s throw further than the metro station in our neighborhood.
All of these things made me think about it again. It just seemed like maybe the stars were aligning somehow—it all seemed too perfect not to at least consider it. So I applied. After two rounds of interviews, I got an unofficial offer and then waited a few more weeks for the real offer, which came on Wednesday.
I do not believe that this is a case of “when one door closes, another one opens.” I don’t believe that this was all part of some grand plan to get me on the path I’m supposed to be following. No, thank you—I’d be perfectly happy to keep slogging away as a public defender, preparing for an October trial, and working long hours for the next six weeks if it meant I could have my girl here with me.
But as I have said before, if things have to be this way, then I am grateful for this new opportunity. I can’t say yet that I am excited about it. Honestly, it’s difficult to get very excited about anything right now. But I can say that I think it will be a really good thing. I am ready to get back into a routine of some kind, ready to spend more time outside of the house than in it, ready to put my skills back to work doing something I love.
I’ve got about 12 more days to mentally prepare for being back in public four days a week, for the possibility of having to tell my story to strangers whom I am meeting for the first time, for the end of this cocoon-like period of grieving.
Right this minute, though, I just really miss my girl.