I knew wrapping up my affairs in the office would be difficult. Call it separation anxiety, clinginess, or whatnot, but I take my work seriously. If I could complete all my pending work, I would. Not because I don’t trust that my successor can handle them, but because I don’t want the clients to pay extra hours for transition activities. So I waited until I have done everything that I could for all pending matters before informing the clients that I am turning over the work to another associate.
This morning, I informed some clients about my forthcoming resignation and was surprised, nay touched, to hear words of appreciation and encouragement. I am not good with receiving compliments, so I was more teary-eyed than thankful. One client said that I am one of the most efficient associates they have worked with. Another said that I have always been on top of things and that I always know my facts and law. Another specifically requested that I work on their project until my last day (i.e., to turnover as few work as possible). These are fellow lawyers, managers, engineers, and HR people, all wishing me good luck and assuring me that I will thrive in my chosen area of practice.
During the interview for my new job, my would-be boss asked, “If we call the partners of your firm right now, what do you think they will tell us about you?” I have not anticipated that question (it was not in Glassdoor! LOL), so I just answered it by describing how I work. I said, “They will say that I work fast and I respond to emails and calls without delay. They will also say that I like getting clear instructions and I am very thorough with my work.” I guess most of the feedback I got today validate what I said. Now I am convinced that I have done enough for the firm.
A colleague asked me this when I told him that I had tendered my resignation. I have to agree. This job, for the longest time, felt like a battle. Every day, I would whisper to myself as I ride the elevator, “Make me win today, God.”
Some days I leave the office victorious. When I speak my mind and feel that my thoughts matter. When I see an “F” in my draft pleading (“F” means finalize). When the client says “thank you.” When I beat a deadline. When I receive a favorable decision or order. When I come across the perfect jurisprudence or law provision for my case. When I get to work with lawyers who I idolize. When I find and/or secure the last missing document or requirement. When I meet the required hours of work for the day.
Other days, I wallow in defeat. When personal affairs distract me. When I let myself get bullied. When I have to accede to underhanded ways. When I fail to reason out when I am accused of something I did not do. When I allow someone to take credit for my work. When I prematurely judge people. When I turn in a work late. When I lose composure when pressed for time. When I lose someone’s trust.
To others, the struggle to balance these two emotions is all in a day’s work. Indeed, I could work anywhere and still wage the same battle. So, technically, I am not conceding. I am just moving to a different battlefield. I am not giving up on my dream to engage in international legal practice. I just know that staying in our branch office will not get me there. I am still looking for my unique niche in the profession. I just realize that Davao is too small a pond for what I have to offer. I have not lost hope in finding a good mentor. I just believe that I would have to search far and wide to find him/her.
“For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.“ – Sun Tzu