In 1991, 1 out of every 143 women who worked made $100,000
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I'm also curious how many of those women work in fields where the starting salaries have skyrocketed, as the starting legal salary has jumped huge levels since 1991. The average here in Dallas has just about doubled in that time. (From the time I accepted my job at the end of second year in law school until the time I started work about 11 months later the first year package for Texas firms went up by between $15K-$25K, depening on your firm. That change alone pushed a number of people over the $100K mark.)
I never had a problem studying with a baby. But I'm not one who needs to rush off to the library just to study. I also don't do study groups. Dh was in a study group, but the two times he needed to care for ods when I had to do library research, his study group just met at our apartment.
Our first summer, ods stayed in daycare, I worked for a juvenile law clinic, and dh clerked for the federal public defender's office. The summer that I clerked at BIGLAW, dh stayed home with ods. I also clerked for the firm 30 hours per week during my 3L year, and my 3L year is the year I interned at the Texas Supreme Court. It was a busy year, but I quit law review after my 2L year, so it wasn't so bad. Ds still only went to day care four days a week, and we always picked him up by 4 pm. I loved those days. We'd go to the park for an hour every afternoon after class.
I found out I was pregnant with mds the day of my last law school exam. I was pregnant for the bar exam and started work fulltime the end of July. I had been working for the firm on a parttime basis ever since my 2L summer. I had mds that December. (I would never recommend for anyone to have a baby their first year associate year.) The firm hated me for doing that. It was awful, nasty. The illegal comments they made, the retaliation. It was so bad that I literally would throw up in the mornings from the stress of having to go to work every day.
But as mds was born with major heart defects, I didn't have the option to just quit. (Dh went solo straight out of school, so we had no health insurance if I were to quit work. Plus, between two law derees and my MA, we had around $300K in student loan debt, all sources combined.) I waited until I had finished my second year, and decided to start looking elsewhere to lateral. But, even though I was breastfeeding and on the mini pill, I got pregnant with dd. I decided to stay through the end of that pregnancy, since I wasn't about to interview while pregnant and go through the whole newly hired and pregnant thing again. I started interviewing while on maternity leave with dd. (Never mentioned having kids, maternity leave, or anything about family to my headhunter or interviewing firms, of course.) I started my new job when dd was four months old. They didn't find out I had kids until I'd been here for almost 6 months.
The evil firm was the worst experience, jobwise, I could ever imagine. BIGLAW does not like pregnant attorneys. The stress they put me through in my last pregnancy actually led me to have a seizure at court when I was 8 months. That thankfully landed me on doctor ordered bedrest until I was emotionally ready to deal with them again--after dd's birth. But I couldn't quit until I found something new with insurance. We couldn't buy private insurance that would cover mds, and since his first surgery cost over $500K, there was no way we'd allow him to be uninsured.
I'm glad I did BIG EVIL LAW, as it got me where I am today: small office, international firm, litigation boutique. But other than getting to know jorvia (it always helps to know an employment attorney when your employer illegally discriminates against you), there's not much positive I took away from there, except for lessons learned and naivety lost. It is still very much a man's world, good old boys club. And they like their women thin, blonde, childless, and silently working in the background, for the most part.
Women who can afford the best are not the ones most likely to help in the improving quality child care options for the masses. They probably skip the whole "problem" and hire the absolutely best nanny they decide they can afford. And that only helps the nanny's future employer by providing her with more experience (or "hurts" the future employer by making her very expensive!)--not a substantial improvement in child care across the board.
Othercare options and availablity have improved steadily, as far as I can see, over the last 37 years. They've continued to improve over the last 10. Babies and toddlers regularily take the computer train downtown with Mom and Dad to take advantage of some very decent dc centers. There is an emergency care facility in my downtown office complex. My kids attend aftercare which incorporates a martial arts program. None of this was avail when my first was born. I have even seen...and this really hit home because I can just see me in this role...grandparents, still in the workforce, very professional type people, taking the young grandchild downtown with them to the daycare in their workplace. Heck why not.
Actually, my experiences working at BIG EVIL LAW have greatly affected who am today and how I view work and career. If anything, I am even more "I am here and I am not moving, so get out of my way or deal" than I was before. I really, really like work now. There was a time after dd was born where I look for any possible way to just quit firm life, but financially, it just wasn't feasible. I'm glad I stuck it out, because I really like what I do (except this week--I got sucked into a CERCLA project) and I'm also good at what I do.
Sometimes I wish I'd waited to have my kids. And sometiems I wish I'd waited to start my career. But most of the time, I really do like the way that my life has turned out, for the most part.