Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sun Circles

My career at the Firm started on this very date - the 5th of January - a very long time ago. I began my employment here on January 5, 1998. A moment in history so long ago that (a) none of my hair was yet gray; and (b) neither of my children had yet graduated from grammar/elementary school. Experience has taught me - as I reckon it has you as well - that time flies whether we are having fun or not, although the former is much preferred to the latter. There have been significantly more good times than bad times during the rather long time I have been here. For that I am thankful.

My time here has not been continuous and uninterrupted. It was at Christmas 2008 that a "too good to be true" opportunity presented itself to me and I took it. However, almost immediately upon hopping over the fence I learned that not only was the grass not greener, it was not even grass but rather a combination of concrete and emerald green Krylon.

Forget skinning a knee. You can shatter a patella if you land the wrong way on that stuff. Trust me, almost three years after I closed my one-man show, "Prodigal Partner" and I am still walking with a bit of a limp.

I consider myself fortunate to be where I am presently, not only because of my self-imposed exile (referred to among those of us who speak of it at all as my "Winter at the Reservoir") but because of where I had been prior to arriving here - for the first time - way back when during the Clinton years. My first job out of law school was one where I learned a lot and got paid less than a little, our ability to live on my meager salary complicated far too often by the Spaldeen-like qualities of my paycheck.

I finally got the hell out of there in June of 1996 and landed in Hackensack. I worked for a man who all these years later remains among my favorite people - and I hope he feels likewise about me. Our little office would have ultimately been the death of my boss John Libretti, who worked like a crazy man. It was our perpetual economic struggles that prompted him to put in a good word for me at the Firm with a mutual friend of ours who was then a Partner here. But for that referral, I might not have ever landed an interview way back when in December 1997. I left Hackensack with a heavy heart, having enjoyed pretty much every minute that I worked for John, but knowing that he was right and that for each of us to survive, we had to go separate ways.

December 1997. I smile when I think back to the interview because the Partner who interviewed me then has been my Partner here now for close to eight years. Howard not only opened the door for me during that initial meeting all those years ago but he was instrumental - not so long ago in May 2009 - of re-opening the door for me, which door I had foolishly closed behind me a few months earlier. To this day, I know not which gesture I appreciate more. It is a nice dilemma to have.

Hmm....it has taken me close to a decade and a half but finally I have learned something. Shall wonders never cease? Ask me in another fifteen years or so.

-AK

No comments: