Still like my job

In the last week, two different partners (neither of whom I do work for) have come by my office to chat about how things are going for me. Both told me that everyone is happy I’m there. Both told me people are happy with my work. Both asked me if I enjoyed what I was working on, and whether I was getting to work on stuff that interested me. And both told me to be sure to tell any partner if I get overwhelmed and have too much on my plate.

Things like that are why I don’t mind that I make less money than I did as a first year associate in BigLaw, or that I basically had to train myself on our document management system, or that there are no in-house CLEs. Things like that are why I don’t have a panic attack when I make a small mistake. Things like that are why my (nearly one hour each way) commute doesn’t drive me crazy. Because I know that when I get to the office, people are going to give me work they think I can do, trust me to do it well, tell me how I can improve it, and then let me know I’ve done a good job.

I know it’s a shitty job market out there, but for those of you looking, I have some advice: If it’s an option (and I know it’s not for a lot of you, not necessarily because of debt but because there just aren’t any jobs), be willing to take less money. Look past the paycheck. Look past prestige. And pay attention to people. Your quality of life will thank you.

How I spent my day off

I wish it were acceptable for me to only bill four hours a day, every day, because today was perfect: I did some work this morning, from the couch, in my jammies; then I went to the gym for a leisurely workout; and finally, I stopped by Pier 1 for some needed home decor items (that were on clearance, yay!). Now I’m in sweats, watching Law & Order and sipping a glass of wine. Seriously, can every work day be like this, not just the days when the office is closed?

Here are some obligatory photos of the home decor items:

(We got the vase for Christmas, but it needed something just right to go in it. I find it a little strange that I am now one of those people who has an arrangement of greenery on permanent display in my living room.)

(We needed something to sit on the “cocktail ottoman” that we could rest drinks in, as well as a place to collect the various remotes — TV, cable box, receiver, Apple TV. Too many devices, y’all. Bonus shot of the dog!)

Church shopping

We tried a new church this morning. Or, rather, it was new for Mr. D. — I had gone last weekend while he was out of town. I didn’t love it last weekend, but I had to admit that it had a certain charm, and I thought that if Mr. D. liked the place, too, I could tolerate the mostly off-key music and less-than-inspiring sermon for the sake of being in a place that had such a strong sense of community.

But one visit was enough for Mr. D. to say “no.”  He didn’t care for it much at all, not least because last week’s rather humdrum sermon morphed into this week’s politically charged sermon — with an acknowledgement by the rector that the sermon was politically charged and she had no problem with that.  But we do.

I certainly can’t disagree with the sentiment that no one was more political than Jesus, which this rector gave as her rationale for refusing not to preach politics. After all, he was a political prisoner, executed by an occupying government that was afraid he was going to foment rebellion. But the problem is that Jesus wasn’t a Democrat or a Republican — or a socialist or a communist or any kind of -ist at all in today’s political spectrum. Preaching today’s politics under the aegis of preaching from the Gospel just ignores that.  Everyone claims parts of the Gospel for their own political ideology.  Well, guess what? They are all right, and they all wrong.

What happens when a sermon is politically charged is that the people in the pews who already tilt that way politically pat themselves on the back for being good little liberals or good little conservatives, and figure they don’t need to do much more to keep living the Gospel.  Meanwhile, the people on the other side of the aisle (figuratively) feel uncomfortable and unwelcome, like they can’t live out the Gospel because their politics are wrong.  But the sermon should instead challenge everyone equally and no one should feel self-satisfied at the end of it.

So, needless to say, I don’t think we’ll be going back there.  Which is too bad, because it’s very close to our house and they have a really well-formed and close-knit community.  I thought that becoming regulars at a neighborhood parish would be a way that we could get to know the people in our community and make some friends. But I guess I’d rather drive a little farther to be in a place where I don’t dread the sermon every week, even if it means not going to church with our actual neighbors. (And, to be honest, where the music doesn’t make me cringe. I don’t want to be too picky about music because if I am, we’ll never find a church, but I think I can maybe be a little more selective than if we settled on this place.)

We’ll keep trying and hopefully we’ll find a place where we can both be happy.

How to win friends and influence people

Mr. D. is out of town for the next four days, leaving me at home alone for a weekend-plus. This has brought to the surface something that I have been trying not to deal with: our lack (or, even more specifically, my lack) of friends here.

OK, so that’s not totally fair. I have some friends here — old college friends, a few from law school, and even a friend from high school.  But none of them live anywhere near where we do and they all have settled and rich lives here, and I’m having trouble figuring out how I (or we) fit into their lives.

This also raises one of my own flaws. I am very bad at making friends. I am a good friend, but I seem to stumble into those friendships that I do have. I don’t really know how to affirmatively make friendships.

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out why I am bad at making friendships and I think I’ve decided that, at the core of it, I am insecure, convinced that I am bothering people when I go to make plans with them, that they are only being nice, and that even if I manage to make plans with someone once, they won’t want to see me again, at least not soon. And when I do muster up the confidence to make plans a second time, I never know what plans to make.

Example: I ran into an old college acquaintance shortly after moving here. We swapped info and eventually made plans to have dinner. We had a good time. This college friend then invited us to a party at her house, with a group of her friends, which we went to — and which we enjoyed. And now I guess the ball is back in my court, but I don’t know what activity to suggest to this friend! Another intimate meal seems strange, I think, but I am pretty sure we also don’t know enough people here to successfully plan a party — not to mention that whole we-don’t-live-near-anyone-else thing.

So I find myself now facing four days — and more to the point, the weekend — without any plans to see anyone but myself in the mirror. Part of that was probably poor forethought on my part, but I admit that I forgot Mr. D. would be out of town this weekend until just a few days ago. I often think of myself as an introvert — after spending a lot of time socializing, I do need a chunk of time by myself to recharge. But I’m not totally an introvert, because after spending a lot of time alone or with Mr. D, I find myself really needing time with other people.

Therefore I put the question to you (if there are any of you out there): how do you meet people when you move to a new place? A few notes on that — my workplace is small and there are only two other associates at my firm who don’t have kids, and I had to give up the choir I joined right after I moved here because dealing with the commuting issues was making me hate singing. Given those conditions, what should I be doing? How much pestering people is too much pestering? What are good suggestions for things to suggest to people when making plans that aren’t dinner (either out or in).