Tuesday, May 15, 2012

All in a Day'sWork

What I love about this blog, my Flickr groups and the online photography classes I have taken in the last 18 months is that we are all people leading different lives -- single strands joined together in a community of friends -- who have the love of photography in common. I suspect, however, that we have other things in common too. One of the threads running through each of our lives is our work. Whether we work inside or outside the home (or are lucky enough to be retired), we all have things that occupy the bulk of our day.

I was a criminal defense lawyer until six months ago. I practiced law for 19 years and loved almost every minute of it. I knew I wanted to be a lawyer when I graduated from high school. I completed my undergrad degree at Houghton College in New York State and did my law degree at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. My career was very important to me. I worked hard to develop a reputation as an excellent lawyer. When my daughter was born 16 years ago, I took only four weeks off (six if you count Christmas holidays) before going back to work. I was able to do that because my then husband worked from home as a writer, but I know down deep in my  heart that I would have found a way to get back to my career as quickly as possible, even if  he wasn't able to stay home and raise her. It's just the way I'm wired. I loved the thrill of a trial (even when I lost -- but especially when I won) and the academic challenge of an appeal. I loved doing a great cross-examination. I loved negotiating the best deal for my clients. I loved the people I worked with . . .  office staff, prosecutors, police (especially the one who became my new partner), and other defense lawyers. I even loved wearing the robes we are required to wear in some courts here in Ontario, Canada (see photo above).

It was, however, a 24/7 vocation. Clients would call at all hours of the day and night. My Blackberry went with me on vacation. My daughter and I would do homework together most nights -- she did hers and I did my prep for the next day's trial or guilty plea or bail hearing. Don't get me wrong . . . I'm not a workaholic (and I'm not complaining) . . . I'm as lazy as I am industrious. It's just the nature of the legal profession -- there was always more work to do.

Now I'm a judge, and I wear different robes. They come with a red sash. My role in the criminal justice system has changed but  my passion and love for my work has not. One of the best things about my new job is that I have time to develop other passions . . . like sketching and painting and photography! Now I am working hard to bring balance to my days. I spend time with my daughter and partner without my job interfering. I read and scrapbook and hike without feeling guilty about not spending that time on work. This new opportunity has been a real blessing for me and my family. It came at the perfect time too -- just as my partner retired after 30 years as a police officer and my daughter considers which university to attend after her senior year.

I don't regret the long hours of hard work. I wouldn't be a judge if I hadn't put in those hours. It was my choice. I was happy -- but I am happier now. I sometimes wonder what my days would have been like if I chose a different career or if I chose to work as a full-time parent or if I was retired. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world at this stage in my life to be able to explore a new career, spend more time as a parent and partner, and learn to play in preparation for retirement.

Buddha is quoted as saying, "your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it." Help us discover your world. Share with us what you have given yourself to doing. We would love to see photos of the details of your work. What requires your focus each day? What has captured your heart?

Today's guest post is by Jeanine Leroy.  We got to know her in many of Tracey Clark's Picture classes and she is now a member of Prompt Addicts and a faithful follower of Focusing on Life.  She and  her daughter blogged together last year at Thirty Years Apart and you can follow her on Flickr. Thanks so much, Jeanine, for being our guest!  


terriporter said...

Welcome, Jeanine! So nice to have you join us today. Being married to a lawyer, I know first hand how hard they work. It's not something you can do halfway. I, on the other hand, grew up knowing all I wanted to do is be a mom. I worked as a legal secretary for 11 years, but since the time my first child was born, I have been a stay-at-home mom. Photography has been a savior for me as well in giving me something to be passionate about now that my children are grown. I think whether you work inside or outside the home, it is important to have something that you so just for you. It sounds like you have created a nice balance between work and fun which I think is wonderful.

Dotti said...

Thank you for stopping by, Jeanine! There are so many morsels in your post that are totally relevant to our lives as women: career, motherhood, relationships, creativity. It's never easy to choose our paths, is it? What I love, though, is that our little FOL community has realized how important creativity and self-expression are to our personal well-being. I'm so happy that after years of such dedicated effort, you have time now to stop and smell the roses... uh, make that shoot, draw and paint the roses!


Claudia@DipityRoad said...

Jeanine, Thank you so much for spending some of your valued time with us. First by joining in reading our blog -- but then this grand post. Your life seems very full and helpful to so many others.

Your mosaic is great-- it made me chuckle.

Finding your passions is such a blessing isnt it?


Deanna said...

Oh my goodness, I am out of breath just reading about your career....!!! But you loved it and I know you had to be just great, in fact I would have hired you in a minute. So congratulations on becoming a judge due to your hard work. Now, as you said, you are able to enjoy life...Thanks so much for sharing with us today, big hugs over the miles...

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeanine! I did not know you were a judge. It sounds like your hard work has really paid off and allowed you to have time to focus on things that feed your soul! I love following along with your photography and seeing things from your perspective! So glad you joined us today!!

Linda said...

Wow, Jeanine! Your enthusiasm for your career really comes through! How nice it is that you have been able to do exactly what you wanted to do! That makes all the difference, doesn't it! I, like Terri, always wanted to be a mom and after 11 years in the high tech world, when my second child was born, I was able to persue that full time. I loved every minute! Now I am able to care for my 2 grand-daughters while their parents work. To me this is the icing on the cake! Much like your time spent as a lawyer and now a judge, I am so happy to have gone from SAHM to SAHGM!

Thanks for joining us today and reminding us it is possible to have it all!


Barbara said...

So nice to hear who you are in your play time life. :) You are the first judge I have known and I feel honored to know you. I am so glad you are happy where you are now, so important and you are ahead of the game as some never find this out. Thanks for your post, love hearing about each member of the PA and FOL family.

stephmull said...

So glad you shared this piece of you with us today, Jeanine! It's so fun to catch a glimpse into your world. It's also awesome to hear that you have loved your career, worked hard and now get to enjoy the fruits of your labor with some extra time to play!

Carol said...

Hi Jeanine - welcome! I'm playing catch-up this week, but I wanted to thank you for your post. My love of photography is usually part of my time away from my career - I keep them in separate boxes in my head. But I think sometime this week I will take my camera to work, and carve out a few minutes for pictures After all, my work is a huge part of my life, and where MANY of my hours go each day. Many of my life lessons are learned from people and situations I encounter there. Again - a new perspective to think about from this wonderful collaboration.
Thanks for visiting, and come again!

Post a Comment

Thank you for sharing part of your day with us. If for any reason you are unable to leave a comment here on this post, please leave your comment on our Facebook page or in our Flickr discussion group. We love hearing from you!

© Focusing On Life