Tuesday, March 10, 2009


A couple of days after I was laid off, I met with a couple of friends for lunch. They showed up in their business casual attire, and me in my camouflage pants, a black knit top, and fleece. I felt like a college kid having lunch with grown-ups. We slurped our Vietnamese noodles, chatting about this and that, as they periodically checked their blackberries. After our one hour lunch, they rushed back to their offices. I walked back with one of them a few blocks, and then when she left me, I found myself wandering through the streets, feeling incredibly sorry for myself. I saw the homeless people on the streets, and even though I was nowhere close to being homeless, I identified with them. I saw myself in them -- aimless and purposeless. I wondered what the hell had happened to be. Just a week before, I had been working a very well paid job and expecting my first baby. And all of a sudden, I found myself roaming the streets with nowhere to go.

And I thought of how easily things can slip from your grasp. I could be working in a law firm one day and easily at a McDonald's the next. I could have a hefty sum of savings, only to have it melt away in a sudden monetary crisis. My reputation could be ruined over night from one careless act or decision. It could all easily slip away, as easily as one could slip off of a crowded subway platform on a rainy day.

And that is why I always made a point to stand behind one of the pillars.

Now over ten months later, I wonder why I wasted so much time and energy clinging onto that damn pillar.


  1. I used to always pay all my credit card bills in full, on time. I wouldn't ever dream of just paying minimum payments, and never missed a payment. Now I have collection agencies calling, trying to threaten that they'll ruin my credit if I don't pay them. With what?

    I used to love treating friends to lunch. Nothing fancy like One Market, but just Bistro Burger or Sapphire. Now I feel awkward accepting other people's offer to treat me, because I can't do the same.

    I will be homeless at the end of May if I don't get a job before then. Every day I wish I hadn't sold my car in Florida, so I'd have somewhere to live when I became homeless.

  2. yes, it is sobering that life can swing the other way so fast, even for people who 'have it all'.

  3. One of the tragedies of the economic downturn is that I'm sure more people are clinging to pillars, afraid to let go and find a train to a better destination. Telling themselves to just shut up and be grateful for the safety of a borderline secure job that drains away their waking hours and energy in exchange for little more than that security.

  4. Climbing pillars is natural, especially when one has spent so much time, energy, and dedication to one profession. The legal profession is one whose members fancy themselves on high pedestals, thumbing their noses at those “beneath” them. In reality, it’s generally a profession for narcissistic insecure people who take pleasure in making others suffer the same pain as them.

    This is an extraordinary depressing time for many (most?) in the legal industry. Its easy to cling onto hope that everything will turn around and return to normal (the security blanket and safety net that encouraged many of us to go into law in the first place). But that’s what makes you stand out. You had the courage, the fire, and the audacity to stand up for your beliefs. You continue to do so with every posting on your blog. You truly are an inspiration to many…and that’s because most of us don’t perceive you as hanging onto those pillars.