I've been trying to focus on posting blog entries that have at least an iota of general interest lately, but there's really no getting around some recent events that are occupying my brain. In a nutshell, I've been constructively laid off by my law firm, and it's creating a pretty mixed bag of emotions.
Essentially, this is what's happened: I was hired among a group of almost 20 other attorneys back in November/December. We were put on a base-plus-commission compensation plan to help establish an expanding legal practice; the partners had been practicing in the South for about 25 years or so and were looking to create a nationwide law firm, utilizing online tools to help us run an efficient practice across about 20 states. The firm's revenue goals were extremely aggressive, but it was giving me a chance to: a) work from home, b) work in estate planning (my preferred area of law), c) establish my own law practice while providing me with a small safety net of income and some experienced support.
The business plan for the firm evolved as they realized the immediate revenue potential was less than they'd hoped for. I think part of the problem is that they don't really remember what it's like to be building a practice from the ground up, which is what we're doing in Chicago (where no one has ever heard of my law firm before). The investment capital started to dry up because they were too aggressive, and ultimately became unsustainable.
I have been offered a commission-only position with the firm that I'm considering taking as a part-time endeavor, as long as it doesn't end up costing me anything, as I can't currently afford many expenses. My path isn't very clear to me right now, and I want to be careful about making a decision so I don't end up in this same position all over again in a few more months. I know I'm going to have to do something else to earn money in the meantime, I just haven't decided exactly what that is, or if I'll change fields entirely.
I'm not as devastated as I think I should be, probably because I started suspecting a few weeks ago that something like this might happen. Also, I have other things on my plate at the moment - I'm writing, I'm working on real estate projects, and I can always go back to freelancing to make a little money if necessary. While I am feeling a bit frustrated and off-balance, I also feel a bit of hopefulness too. This job hadn't been panning out exactly as I'd planned - I wasn't making as much in commission as they'd projected, I wasn't getting to do very much legal work, and I wasn't enjoying the high-pressure sales aspect of it. I think this change is helping me avoid complacency by keeping me from settling for a position I wasn't thrilled about.
It's also made me think about how much things have changed. The general consensus always seems to be that you can be successful if you have a job. But relying on jobs as a sole source of income is something my generation probably shouldn't do; these days, it's just as unstable and unreliable as any other way of making money, including investments, the stock market, starting your own business, etc. The only real way to achieve financial security is through diversification - having multiple sources of income that don't all rely on the same source (e.g. the job market, the housing market, the stock market).
Anyways, that's about it. So, for now, here's my shingle: "Will Write For Food!"