Some of you may not know this, but there was a time, not too long ago (2004, to be specific), when I was considering going to law school. And by "considering," I mean that I studied for and took the LSATs, applied to law schools, accepted admission to UCLA, and packed up to move to SoCal. I was only about a month from going when I decided that it wasn't right for me and decided to stay here in the Bay Area.
I was that close.
But the thing is, I never wanted to be a lawyer. I never wanted to do anything even remotely connected to law. It's just that, well, I was an English major at Stanford University, and when you're an English major at Stanford University, law school is just what you do after you graduate. I didn't have any other plans, and I was worried about trying to get a job in the "real world," so I gave in and accepted that I was meant to be a law student.
To this day, I'm certain that there are elements of law school that I would have found interesting. I like a healthy debate, and I particularly like playing devil's advocate to the "popular" side of an argument. I like looking for loopholes and obsessing over a word's meaning only to make the entire topic moot by citing a technicality. And I like constitutional history and defense. But, unfortunately, that's not all law school is - there's a lot more to it than that. There's contracts, corporate law, intellectual property, procedures and policies, blah, blah, blah. God, that stuff would have driven me CRAZY. And the thing is, I would have been so bored with it that I would have ignored all my work, given up, and either dropped out or flunked out. So why waste the time in the first place?
(I know what you're thinking: "Why the hell is she telling us this story? Where's the point?" It's coming, I promise.)
I was explaining this all recently to an acquaintance who is considering law school. He was curious what made me eventually not go, and I put it to him this way:
In every job or area of study, there are good parts and bad parts - the things you like more and the things you like less. What makes a good match is when the good is SO good that it's worth all the bad. I'm a nanny, which means I spend my days changing poopy diapers, listening to tantrums, getting jumped on, picking up dirty socks, listening to "The Wheels on the Bus," and washing art supplies and accumulated dirt out of little hands and clothes. Is that stuff fun? Not usually. I wouldn't say wiping butts is a great passion of mine, and songs with hand motions are not my music of choice. But I also get to make pretend ice cream sundaes, build cars out of Tinkertoys, have tickle fights, paint pictures, read stories, and get kisses and hugs from adorable little kidlets. And the greatest honor of all is that I'm helping these kids become the people they'll be when they grow up, helping them on the long road to becoming an adult.
Next to all that, a few poopy diapers is a small price to pay. That's why I'm a nanny, and not a lawyer.
Your turn: What are the goods and bads of your job? Why is worth it to do what you do?