Sometime this month I hit my 10 year anniversary at work! It is amazing to think about where I was when I started the job versus my current life. It truly feels like a lifetime ago when I started the position. When I first started in my current role I was in contract to buy a home, wasn’t married and had no kids. 10 years later my life looks nothing like the Evan that originally took the position.
Why I Took the Position in the First Place
I remember it was like yesterday. Coming out of law school I was having trouble finding a position in the world of trusts and estates. At the time, the only positions available to me were very low paying positions where the T&E work was a side note for general practitioners. So I ended up taking a job with a very good litigation attorney in the defense insurance world.
I’d like to say from day one I knew it was a temporary job but that just isn’t true. Every day, the partner made the same joke about me working a “half day” despite being there for 10+ hours. But I could take it, after all, I was still getting paid. There were three episodes that made me start looking for other employment
- In early February I told the main partner that I would be proposing to the then fiance (now Wife) on February 14, and on Valentine’s Day, he gave me an inordinate amount of shit about leaving after 9 hours. Maybe he didn’t remember I was proposing, but at the same time, it was still valentine’s day!
- A few weeks later my Great Aunt died and he explained to me, in no other terms, I will be missing the funeral on a Saturday to meet a senior associate to finish up trial prep.
- Last, but certainly not least, with all that fuming I was told I may not qualify for my mortgage because of my debt to income ratio (my salary wasn’t high enough compared to my other debt – car loan and student loans). So, I am getting shit about 9 – 11 hour days and I still may not be able to qualify for a mortgage? That was it!
I knew I didn’t want to be in litigation. Even today the thought of billable hours gives me hives. When working with clients in my small solo practice I try to keep my billable hour world to a minimum. Who the hell wants to account for every 6 mins of time!? So I started to search around monster (Not sure if the site even exists in the same form today) for estate planning.
I found a job that was not a law firm but was looking for a J.D. (Juris Doctorate – degree you get for graduating from law school). I interviewed with one partner, then the second partner, then both together, then 2 different financial planners…and then I didn’t hear anything. I followed up a week or so later and was given an offer.
The Wife told me not to take it. She couldn’t get over the fact that I went to law school, passed the bar and was choosing not to work for a law firm. I took the plunge anyway. Something felt right. The people I met were elbow deep into estate planning techniques, and as described to me, I would be helping plan those estate right out of the gate! Sure, I wasn’t the clients’ “attorney” but I would be working with high net worth individuals without any of the pressure of having to close the deal or bill out the client.
It has been 10 years and my position has morphed naturally to take on a lot of different responsibilities but I still get that same high when a planner sits with me on a new case. Today was a client with a balance sheet of $73,000,000…yes $73 freaking million dollars!
It is Important to Be Happy at Work
Find something you like to do, and you’ll never work a day in your life.
I don’t understand people who hate their job. I don’t get it! Life is so short, and you are going to spend how much time in an office where you are miserable? WHY? Money? Eh, you better be doing something great with that money otherwise why would you waste a good 30 or 40% of your life?
I genuinely enjoy my job. Are there responsibilities I don’t love? Sure. Do I think I should be compensated more? Sure, but who doesn’t believe that. Notwithstanding, I feel like I am one of the few people (outside of business owners) that like what they do. For the most part, I like the people I work with. I look at one, if not both partners, as mentors, and more importantly, friends. They are good people who actually care about me and the well being of my family. That is important.
In addition, on a daily/weekly basis, I get new cases to work. I would say 95% aren’t those monster cases I mentioned earlier, but getting to help people with their financial world even they have a negative net worth feels good.
One of the best things about the job are the hours – I get home for a normal dinner 99% of the time. I get to play with my kids and help my son do his homework. I don’t mind working, hell, most nights I am working on some side project way into the night, but that time with them is awesome!
What Does the Future Look Like For Me?
I have no plans on leaving anytime soon. I don’t think they are getting rid of me anytime soon either, so that’s good! The future is always unknown, but right now I couldn’t even imagine thinking about another position somewhere else.