It’s time to announce a major shift in my professional life. I’ve spent the last 13+ years as an attorney representing employers before courts and government agencies. I’ve had the privilege of helping people manage their businesses and their “human capital.” On more than one occasion, I surveyed the players in the dispute du jour and wondered (usually to myself) where we would be if the parties had fought as hard for their personal well-being as they were fighting over this lost promotion or that reduced bonus. But the truth is that was only part of the process.
At the end of 2008, I left a law firm and a group of people that I really enjoyed to shift gears in hopes of having more time with Jen and K-Man. At the time, I felt a pull to find a job in the counseling arena. Before I went to law school, I earned a masters degree in counseling psychology, but I never pursued it as a career. In early 2009, I was still helping some of my clients with various legal matters, and that morphed into me opening my own legal practice. Over the next couple of years, I was able to spend more time with the family and pursue some hobbies and interests that had gone largely ignored.
By early 2011, a few things in our life converged, and I explored the idea of returning to law-firm life. I had a great opportunity that offered challenging work and another solid group of people to work with. I hoped I’d be able to practice law and still enjoy the family time that we had carved out for ourselves. (NOTE: if you ever find yourself “carving out time” for your family, please reexamine your day-to-day.) In the end, what I’d hoped for did not come to fruition and, if I’m honest with myself, it affected how I did my job. Of that, I am not proud. It was time to move on.
Since 2008, I’d had the idea of getting back into the profession of counseling rolling around my (mostly hollow) noggin. I’ve explored the licensing process on two different occasions during that time. Over the last 3 months, I’ve searched for counseling positions, applied for some, and met with other professionals about getting my foot in the door. But nothing came of my efforts.
Last Sunday was the first Sunday of February. At our church, our pastor asks people who have birthdays in the month to stand up on the first Sunday and share something they want the Lord to give them for their birthday. Over the years, the scope of requests has ranged from spouses to children to jobs to a truck. My birthday is this month, so I stood up last week and shared that I wanted a counseling position. During the last song of the service, the guy standing next to me, Jim, asked me if I knew Marcy Hardy. He said that he thought she was looking to grow her counseling practice. I had heard her name but didn’t have her contact info. Jim didn’t either. But at least, I had another lead.
As I was leaving, another guy walked up to me from the other side of the church. Jeff asked me if I knew Marcy Hardy. I said, “Funny. Jim just asked me the same thing.” (Jim is Jeff’s father-in-law.) Jeff had Marcy’s contact info and forwarded it to me. I emailed her and told her my story and that I was looking for a counseling opportunity. She offered times to meet. We met on Wednesday this week. In the interim, she did some homework on me and discovered a number of shared friends and contacts. It turns out that she is at the ground floor of a new counseling center (after over a decade counseling elsewhere). She felt that she really needed a male presence at her new location. After meeting with her on Wednesday and Thursday, it was clear to us that our meeting was not coincidental. She offered me a counseling position in her practice (Haus Calls), and after discussing it with Jen, I accepted. I start this week. We’ve spent the weekend painting my office and getting some things in order.
Whether you look at this from the beginning of 2009 or 3 months ago or 1995 when I graduated with my counseling psychology degree, I believe that the timing for this is perfect. I’m excited about what the Lord has for me professionally and what He wants to do through Haus Calls as we work to help people.
If you find yourself questioning what you are doing professionally or if you believe the Lord is directing you in a particular direction, I would encourage you to flesh that out because it always feels good to be in step with what the Lord has for us.