It’s a profession, not just a job.

I had a long day at work today. There was a filing deadline and some miscommunication with the client about the deadline, and some technical glitches in getting everything filed, and it just made for a very long day.

But the part of the day before it got long, the part where I was doing my job? Was actually fantastic. I was doing what I love about my job, and doing a good job of it. And I didn’t even mind that I was in the office later than I prefer to be. It was exhilarating, quite honestly. And then I started to think about how, in a few months, I won’t have that flexibility to stay late in the office if something comes up. And that made me a little nervous.

I’m lucky to work in an era where technology lets me work from home when I need to. But we all know that there are certain tasks that just can’t be done at home. And some of what I was doing tonight fell into that category — I really needed to be in the office. Fortunately, I was able to be there tonight. In a year, I that might not be the case. And that makes me a little nervous. Will my supervisors be understanding when that happens? Will my career suffer? I work in a pretty family-friendly place, but women are definitely outnumbered by men, mostly men who have wives who don’t work. Will they be understanding when I can’t stick around the office to put out fires, or will they decide that the unmarried male associates (or even the unmarried female associates) are a better (or at least safer) bet?

The reason I’m so nervous about all of this isn’t because I’m necessarily worried about losing my job. It’s about not being able to do what I love, about the risk of being, basically, shut out. Tonight, I really hit my stride (and was recognized for it by the partners I was working with). Will I still have the same opportunities to do that in a year, when I have to get home to my baby? And if I don’t, will I mind as much as I think, right now, I would?

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