Naming It, Claiming It: Arrived

Note: On January 1, my husband and I made a resolution for the New Year: we would move to California's Central Coast before the end of 2010. This series chronicles the career component of our journey as I attempt to make connections, build a network, and, hopefully (fingers crossed!), find a legal job in the next twelve months. Here are the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and final posts in this series.

It's hard to believe that the holiday season has arrived, that we are decorating a tree, sipping eggnog, and thinking about resolutions to for 2011. It seems like just yesterday I made a 2010 resolution to move to the Central Coast. Twelve months ago, I had no clue how to make the resolution a reality, but poof! Here I am. Arrived, and with a legal career to boot.

I based the title of this series on one of Dr. Phil's Life Lessons: You have to name it to claim it. I chose the title not because I am a fan of Dr. Phil, per se, but because I absolutely believe in the concept. We have to put a specific label on the things we want—and the more specific the goal, the greater likelihood of success.  In my case, I didn’t just name it, but actually wrote about it here on Ms. JD. There’s a certain motivation that comes with putting your goals out there for the Internet to see.

I've talked quite a bit about the “naming it” portion of the equation--why we chose California's central coast, the fear associated with naming a specific destination, and how we selected this particular place to live--but I haven't said much about the “claiming it” component. There's a lot of advice in the world on finding a legal career and I don’t really have anything new to add. I did exactly what career services suggested (like a broken record for three years straight): I networked.

I spent Spring Break on the Central Coast drinking coffee and attending court and visiting offices and having lunch with a dozen lawyers. I scoured law firm bios for alumni of my law school or people with whom I had something (anything!) in common. I answered the questions about why I wanted to live and work on the Central Coast. I connected as much as possible, joining the local Bar association and women lawyer’s group. One of the people I met with offered me a job.  I see the rest of the people at Bar meetings, women lawyer’s meetings, the grocery store and, I have to say, it’s pretty awesome to already see some friendly faces so soon after moving to a new place.

It was scary for a few months there, for sure, but everything worked out perfectly in the end. I got lucky and hit the jackpot. Or else, all that networking paid off.  Probably a little of both. Each morning on the sunny bike ride to work, I give thanks for the chance to be here, one of the happiest places on earth (seriously). I know it's not easy finding a job in today's legal market and I implore those of you seeking employment to be steadfast and resolute. Name it and claim it, friends, name it and claim it.

This is the end of the series--I've acheived my resolution and I've shared the not-really-a-secret-secret about how I did it. I would love to have someone continue this series in 2011. Is there something you want to name and claim in 2011? A specific internship? A job in a new city? A career transformation? A law school goal? What better way to name something than to write about it on Ms. JD? If you are interested in taking over the Naming It, Claiming It series, write to me at wallace@ms-jd.org.



Thanks for this column, Janet! It really is inspirational to see how far hard work and determination can take you. You knew what you wanted, did what you needed to get it, and now you’re living your dream.

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