Dead to Them

I’m sitting in my almost-bare office with little work to do. It’s as if I am dead to my firm. Last week I gave my two-week notice and little by little the law firm has passed me by. I thought I was a part of a team and that by announcing unexpectedly that I was leaving for a new job I might be able to stir things up. In retrospect, I don’t know what I expected. Were the partners going to come by one-by-one to my office to ask why I was leaving or what was it about the firm that made me start looking for another job in the first place? Am I sure I was making the right move or what could we have done better? If I led the group those questions would have crossed my mine should a valued employee announce his or her departure. Instead, it appeared that my notice of departure created a feeling of relief for those at the top of the firm (yes, now we don’t have to fire one of the associates given that work has slowed down). This week I could probably roll into my office at 11:00 am and leave at 3:30 pm and no one would be the wiser. When I announced that I was leaving for another opportunity and a chance to take my career to the next level the history and work I had put in up to this point did not matter. I had died to them and life at the firm would go on.

Of course, I received the usual “congratulations” and proclamations of “good for you” and so on, but it would be nice to know that I will be missed. So far, I have yet to receive that feeling. When I walk out of here on Friday afternoon, I will walk away for good, likely to never see the office or the people again. In the past two years, there have been good times and frustrating times, but like with so much else in life, I have put in my time and am ready to move on. In going forward, however, I will keep my eye on this law firm (abbreviated as EMM) for I doubt it will look the same as it does now in five years. The way I see it, the firm will be forced to merge, cash out or collapse. Since giving notice the firm may have left me behind, but in a few years, time will pass this place by. I’m glad I saw the writing on the wall and left when I could.

A New Beginning in New York

In the past few days I have been in New York, Newport, Rhode Island and Minneapolis. I had a decision to make and wanted to be as informed and thoughtful as I could, given that the decision will affect me and my family’s life and the direction my career will take for several years. After months of trying to move my family out of New York so that we could enjoy a life at a lower cost of living, the best opportunity that was presented ironically was for me to stay here in New York. This opportunity in New York fell into my lap, so to speak, and it came up because of someone I knew. Networking and letting people know that you’re looking to make a move definitely pays off, as I have now seen firsthand. I am happy to now say that I have done some soul searching and have concluded that transitioning to this new position would be better than staying where I’m at. And so here I am, coming up on five years since we moved to New York and we have now made the conscious decision to stay longer. I was convinced that our time in New York may soon be coming to an end. But on the other hand, it’s only beginning. At least the title of my blog will continue to make sense. More details on the new job will be coming, including my temporary move to Switzerland.

Changes

Changes are coming. Any reader looking back at my blog in the past few months could likely tell that I was ready and looking for a change. I was recently presented with the type of opportunity that I was seeking and am now seriously thinking about making that change. This change would involve my career and the direction it takes going forward, my family life, my daily schedule and the people I interact with and where ultimately we live and raise our child. Change is the only constant, they say, and I buy into the idea of no risk, no reward. But now that what I have been seeking is here, I am taking a few days to let it sink in. I am about to take a step into uncharted territory for me. I see the road ahead, my journey begins.

Summer Olympics Stories

Twenty years ago the Olympic Summer Games were held in Seoul. I was in fourth grade at the time, but I remember watching Greg Louganis hit his head on the diving board during one of the diving events. When my dad came home from work, I remember telling him all about it. It’s odd that of all the things I could remember from 1988, this is one of the memories that I can clearly still recall.

But that was 1988 and my love for watching the Summer Olympics had just begun. The 1992 Games in Barcelona was when I really got into the Olympics. I remember having a miniature basketball hoop in my downstairs basement and shooting around during commercials in between NBC broadcasting the events from Barcelona. The USA basketball dream team was established and easily won gold that year. The games were orchestrated beautifully and in many ways put Barcelona on the map as a global city.

The 1996 Atlanta Games were exciting, although in retrospect I should have tried to attend, given that it could be awhile before the games come back to the United States (Go Chicago for 2016!). Other than the Centennial Olympic Park bomb, the Atlanta games were pulled off successfully and paved the way in technology, security and athleticism for successive summer games.

The 2000 Sydney Games were special to me. The events started literally weeks after I returned from Japan, where I had lived for a few years. The university I was attending at the time was filled with international students, including many from Australia, and I enjoyed watching the various events in an international setting with students who cared passionately about countries other than the U.S. This was also the first Olympic Games where Internet coverage of the events was widespread and easily accessible. The Internet had come along way between 1996 and 2000.

During the 2004 Athens Games I was in New York and had just taken a summer job for the interim period between moving to New York and starting law school. After unsuccessfully looking for something that catered more to my interests, I finally decided that I just needed a job and found a position on Craigslist working at the Empire State Building. I did some English and Japanese sales in the basement and on the 80th floor of the building to tourists that had come to visit the Observation Deck on the 86th floor. It was not a great job and I planned to be there for only seven weeks prior to starting law school. The Opening Ceremonies were to start on Friday August 13, 2004 and I was looking forward to watching them, but would have missed some the Ceremonies due to my work schedule and the commute home. So that Thursday night, the night before the Ceremonies, I walked out. I left my work t-shirt and a note on my supervisor’s desk and left that job. That Friday night my wife and I enjoyed the Opening Ceremonies. Needless to say, that short-lived position at the ESB has never made it on to any resumes or references lists I’ve created. And I haven’t been on the Observation Deck since.

Now, four years later, I sit at my job on the night before the 2008 Beijing Olympic Ceremonies. I will be watching the Ceremonies tomorrow night and will be a captive spectator throughout this entire Olympics. I am just happy that I get to do so without having to walk away from my job.

Baseball in the Bronx

Last week I had the chance to attend the New York Yankees baseball game. Having grown up playing baseball, I enjoy watching the sport, although I don’t find myself watching a full nine innings until October. I follow it peripherally throughout the season, but when the playoffs come each fall I suddenly turn into a true fan. The game I attended last week was not particularly exciting, nor was it a critical game for the Yankees or their opponent, but it was memorable for the fact that it’s the final season in Yankee Stadium for the Bronx Bombers. I sat six rows behind the Yankee dugout on a beautiful summer evening and enjoyed the game with a colleague from work and one of our clients. Being so close to the field made the game much more exciting, despite having to stay more alert for foul balls. I was able to really observe the dueling pitchers and got a sense of the game that one doesn’t always have when watching from the nosebleed section (where all of my other MLB baseball experiences have been). It was a great time in a great city with great fans in one of the most recognized and famous venues in the country.