Every morning, I wake up around 6 a.m. I get up, rub my eyes, go downstairs to brush my teeth and wait as my husband does the same. Then, together, we head into the nursery to pick up our son, who may or may not be awake. One of us changes his diaper while the other pours the coffee. Then we head into the living room, where there are several boxes of toys. I pick up my laptop and sift through e-mails while Joe has a sip of coffee then goes into the kitchen to make breakfast for the baby, who patiently plays with his toys until it’s time to get into his highchair.
This morning ritual continues on with various tasks for about an hour-and-a-half. Then I head off to work, and Joe follows shortly after with the baby in tow, dropping him off at daycare before making his way to his office. This has been the structure of our mornings for a long time now, and there is something very comforting about knowing exactly how your day is going to start out. But I think what has become the most comforting is knowing we both have someplace to work every day. In this economy, not everyone does.
Like many working Americans, my husband and I didn’t receive pay raises in 2009. In years past, that might have been bad news. But in this economy, we perceived it differently. We have jobs, which means we have paychecks, which means we’re surviving. And while we may not be quickly making our way up the corporate ladder, we’re perfectly content in our positions.
In this month’s cover story (“Holding Pattern”), InsideCounsel gauged law department lawyers’ job satisfaction with information obtained from our bi-annual career satisfaction survey. And the results aren’t terribly shocking. In years past, we’ve heard from in-house counsel who were frustrated with their lack of advancement opportunities. But in this economy, many in-house lawyers are thankful just to be employed, and some are even happy to trade in fat paychecks for job security.
While many seem to be unhappy with their current jobs (according to a Conference Board survey released in January, only 45 percent of Americans are satisfied with their jobs–and that percentage continues to decrease), the in-house bar is hanging in there.
And getting up every morning, sipping your coffee and knowing you have someplace to be has more value now than it ever has.