Saturday, April 5, 2008


I grew up the son of a lawyer . I loved and admired my father. I always thought there could be no better way to spend my career then sitting at my father's side. I would learn from him, and eventually, to the best of my ability, become what he was in his professional life. I never really got the opportunity to see that vision become reality.

My dad got sick in 1977, which was the year I became a lawyer. I spent the first year of my professional career employed as a law clerk in Bergen County. For one year, I listened to nothing but divorce cases. I absorbed what I could and moved on. I did not intend to,or see myself, devoting a good part of my future life in the pursuit of the best resolution of marital disputes.

When I went to work with my Dad in 1978, he was already in serious decline. He was no longer taking on new matters, and was unable to devote the time and energy to the practice that had been the cornerstone of his career. I was watching my Dad in a diminished capacity. Neither one of us was able to get the pleasure out of the experience that we longed for.

My Dad passed away in 1979. Unable to take over a sophisticated New York based real estate practice, I found myself marketing my only skill. I soon became a divorce lawyer. Over the next 15 years , most of my professional life consisted of listening to and trying to calm down, agitated and aggravated men and women. Wronged by their spouse, and uncertain of a system they did not understand and never intended to be part of, they were for the most part, polite to me and totally unhappy to be having to deal with me. I was an unnecessary necessity.

Slowly, the focus of my professional life began to shift. The real estate market in the latter part of the 1990's was booming. Opportunities seemed to abound in every direction. People were becoming brokers and doing nothing but listing properties. Many who had spent a lifetime trying to save a few dollars, now saw their net worth escalating by the hour. There was work for everyone in this exploding market, including me.

Over the succeeding years, I was able to move further and further away from my former career path. I found myself involved in many complex and sophisticated real estate transactions. I was actually moving closer to the vision of my professional life that I had contemplated in the 1970's. But the problem that I now began to encounter, with increasing frequency, was that the personality and psyche of my client base was not vastly different from those of the matrimonial clients. As the excesses in the market led to bad decisions and severe consequences, I too often found myself listening to and trying to calm down agitated and aggravated men and women. Wronged by a bad business partner, and uncertain of a system that they did not understand and never intended to be a part of, they were , for the most part, polite to me and totally unhappy to be having to deal with me. I was an unnecessary necessity.

So I now sit here and wonder where my professional life is headed. There are paths that I have gone down which were totally unintended. There has been a repetitive pattern to my professional existence that I could not possibly have envisioned. I have started doing daily postings on my blog, with no hope or expectation that it will lead anywhere. But if I have learned anything over the years it is that I cannot envision my future. I am going along for the ride and I can do no more , and no less, than go where it takes.me.


Anonymous said...

i wondered why so few were writing. let's see if this works before i try to respond again. Nancy

Anonymous said...

So apparently the way to post a comment is to do it via "anonymous" for the many who may have tried and failed as I did. And, you can still sign your name at the end of your comment so you will be known to all who read it.

Now lets see if I can remember what I orginally wrote... I can empathize with the loss of your father at that critical juncture in your life as that's about the time I lost mine. I wish I had had his guidance and love at that transitional time in life. Sometimes life sucks... In any case, you may not be able to envision what the future has planned for you and you may feel that while you're behind the wheel, you have no idea where you're going, but I've observed how you maneuver and I know you drive thoughtfully and with an openness to enjoying the scenery along the way. Mwah! Nancy

Robert said...

I muddle through like everyone else. It is you and your husband who really show all of us how to handle the curves we encounter as we try to navigate through the twists and turns.

I do miss my dad each and every day of my life and wish he could have stayed around to enjoy the ride with me.

Thanks for letting me know how this piece affected you.