Naming It, Claiming It: Pursuing a Legal Life on California’s Central Coast

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 will chronicle 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.    

This column was born at Brent's Delicatessen in Northridge, California. Ms. JD's Executive Director and I had met for lunch and, over two heaping plates of cheese blintzes and potato pancakes, she convinced me that I should document my adventure. There’s something decidedly crazy about moving to a small beach community, particularly when one owes massive loans and one doesn’t have a job lined up in the small beach community of one’s choice.

Initially, I planned to write anonymously. At the time, I had several irons in fires in cities across the country. I was moving steadily along in the Presidential Management Fellow application process.  I hadn't heard from my summer employer—although, considering the current spectacle that is the California state budget, I suspected that my odds were not great. I had numerous applications outstanding.

What if an employer selected me for one of these positions? Worse yet, what if an employer in Washington, D.C. saw this post—this very post that I am writing now—and decided that, clearly, I wasn't interested in moving permanently to our Nation's capital and, therefore, decided to withdraw the offer?

I worried that writing this series might preclude me from certain opportunities, might close proverbial doors. Using a pseudonym seemed a reasonable judgment—I could share my story while protecting my identity—but something felt cowardly and incompatible about this approach. I wouldn't be moving to the Central Coast, after all, if I took a job in some other location.

And, so, I decided to up the ante on risk.

Not only would I write this column, I’d write it as myself. As a third-year student at the University of California, Davis. As someone who fears not finding a legal career, but, also, as someone who has never flinched at taking a risk when a risk was warranted.

I don't often take my advice from television personalities, (I swear!), but I wholeheartedly believe in Dr. Phil's Tenth Life Law: You have to name it to claim it. The power of language, Dr. Phil says, allows us to put a specific label on the things we want. I've named it; for the next 12 months this column is going to be about claiming it.

My name is Janet Wallace and I am moving to California's Central Coast.

Update: This was the first article in a series about moving to the California's Central Coast.  If you are interested in following the journey, here are the second, third, fourthfifth, and sixth posts in the series.

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