MY SECRET PAST LIFE
The post that could change your whole perception of me.
A couple of recent conversations made me realise that some people in my life (even ones that I've known for years and years and even some that are related to me eg nieces and nephews), have no idea what I used to be. Certainly, all my virtual blogging friends (bar one from memory) have no inkling.
It's not something I tend to volunteer unless it comes up in some capacity. It was only short-lived and now seems so long ago that talking about it is like talking about another person in another life. Rest assured I wasn't a stripper or anything along those lines! But the truth may still shock.
It came up once in a discussion on Bridget's Flame (no idea in what context) and I clearly remember telling
Bridget Caitlin that one day I would blog about it. Well, one day is finally here. I asked some of my blog followers whether they thought I was
a) a retail assistant
b) a solicitor
c) a doctor or
d) an accounts manager
but nobody guessed. I don't think I could ever be a retail assistant, maths bored the hell out of me at school so could never see myself crunching the numbers so to speak, a doctor...hmmm, don't think I could handle the ickiness of it all...so that leaves law. Yes, I was a solicitor. Albeit for a couple of short years. This is after I graduated from uni...I didn't pull out of a law degree, I pulled out of a law career.
Okay, will wait for you to pick yourself up off the floor. What are you thinking? "She strikes me as being of quite average intelligence (hope you didn't think dumb), how did she do a law degree?" lol or "Why in the hell would you abandon a law degree after all that time and effort? She could be wealthy right now!" Both of these questions have been sort of expressed to me in the past (not so bluntly) and my responses are a) you don't have to be that smart to practise law and b) entry level solicitors earn a lot less than other professions.
So why did I leave? Because I hated it. Hated it with every ounce of my being and didn't realise quite how much I hated it until I left and was free of it. Let me clarify by saying I didn't hate law. I loved Legal Studies at school and finished near the top of the state for the subject in my Higher School Certificate. I liked and perhaps even loved a lot of my law subjects. I really enjoyed the subject matter. Looking back at essays I wrote though, I have no idea what I was saying. I obviously knew a foreign language back then :)
What I didn't like was the culture of the legal profession. It was a boy's club and an elitist one at that. The boy's club bit I could have probably got over because there were plenty of great female solicitors out there. Oh, my only little claim to fame in that period was that I attended College of Law (the practical 15 week bit undertaken after the 5 year degree) at the same time as former Prime Minister John Howard's daughter. She of course got the privilege of a car space and security, the rest of us travelled like sardines in crowded trains then walked carrying loads of heavy law books.
Where was I? Yes, it wasn't the boy's club culture that I hated as much as the elitist culture that seemed to pervade. It wasn't everyone, but there were a lot of people who thought that they were better than the next person, better than their clients, better than their staff and all because they had a law degree. I just didn't subscribe to that train of thought. I didn't give a shit about a piece of paper hanging on the wall. That wasn't the requirement for friendship. Heck, in my book I could regularly have lunch with people who didn't have a law degree. But that was frowned upon. I was once told to my face that I lunched too often with the office staff! The guy who said it could have knocked me over with a feather! Wonder if he ever stopped to think it was because the staff were a lot nicer and far better company?!
|I still have law books sitting on m shelf|
I went through two law firms...I was at the first for nearly the whole period. The last one I only made it through a couple of months. Some of my bosses (not all) were sheer bastards. They had split personalities and treated their staff with such contempt and disrespect that I just couldn't handle it. So I walked.
Brave or stupid? Many (most?) would say stupid, but to me it was the best decision I ever made. I don't regret studying law. That's the bit people don't get. I don't think I wasted 5+ years of my life. I learned a lot (although don't ask me any legal questions now, I won't have the answer). I experienced a lot. I got given the shittiest of shit jobs, but I met some amazing people. And some not so amazing people. I did things I wasn't very proud of (approval for a brothel not high on my list of achievements) but I also accomplished things I never thought I would (I appeared in the Federal Court of Australia for a 10 minute mention in a 10 year old case that had thousands of files and for which I knew not one fact - WTF?!). I even did things that were a precursor to my next profession (I took a group of uni students on an excursion around the city, set exams for them and marked their exams...I drew the line at giving a lecture! Two things about this: a) it totally sucked that I was doing all this for peanuts while my boss probably collected big bucks and b) taking a larger group of 7-8 year olds to the city for an excursion to Hyde Park and Sydney Tower in my future profession was way more fun)!
So that's it. My dirty little secret. A past life in a profession that seems prestigious on the surface but isn't always so underneath. Have to say here that I couldn't have walked without my husband's support...I met him while I was at law school (he's an honest to goodness carpenter by trade) and quit law just before our wedding from memory! He always jokes that he married me for the money, then I went and ditched it all hehe. But in all seriousness, he could see that I was miserable and encouraged me to follow my heart. I haven't looked back since!
Anyone else have a secret past profession that they left behind for better and brighter things?