Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Lunch at the "Soup Kitchen"

Today was crazy busy like most of the last two weeks at work, so I opted for a quick lunch at Jenoely's, dubbed the "Soup Kitchen" by my friend Ozzy. Evidently when he used to dine there, a lot of homeless people were also eating there. And who could blame them? Part of what I love about this restaurant is that lunch there is such a good deal—two slices of pizza and a drink for $3.52. And you can’t beat that deal with a stick (what does that mean?).

As I was waiting in line I ran into an older attorney who works at one of my classmate’s firm. I’ve always liked the guy in part because he is really candid and a Democrat (rare in this town), so I joined him and his coworker for lunch.

The older attorney is 47, and his coworker (also a partner) is probably 35. The older attorney immediately told the younger partner that she should be my mentor, explaining that I could learn a lot from her. She said she had accidentally made partner at her firm and expressed less than excitement about her job.

They then proceeded to discuss how they play the lottery, dreaming of working less or not at all. The older attorney had this down to a science. He plays every Tuesday and Friday, purchasing one ticket on each of those days. When I expressed my surprise that they were both funding the lottery, he explained that it’s only two dollars a week and it’s cheaper than a movie ticket. “So what does the price of a movie ticket have to do with the price of tea in China?” (Where does that expression come from?)

“Well a lottery ticket is a lot more entertaining than a movie.” I looked at him questioningly, and he continued, saying “If I don’t buy the lottery ticket, I can’t realistically think about winning the lottery. Since I buy at ticket I can enjoy thinking about what I’d do with the money all week long.”

So I asked him what he would do with the money. He asked “How much?”

“20 million,” I responded.

“Gross or net?” He shot back.

“13 million net.” I replied.

He then proceeded to explain to me what percentage of your winnings you could live on and only use the accruing interest. He detailed different investment and spending approaches to maximize winnings. He told me about where he would travel and spend the money. It was really something. You could tell he was spending a lot of his time thinking about this and had it all planned out. In the alternative, he had an early retirement plan mapped out.

As we walked toward my office, I told him that I’ve thought my next career step would be an obvious choice. For example, I’d meet someone at a meeting or on an airplane, and an opportunity would arise that I’d pursue. If it was the right option, it’d work out. So far nothing has. My friend explained that he and his friend had been waiting for the "obvious choice" for years. And here they are in their late 30s and 40s and fantasizing about winning the lottery. Hmm….that’s something to think about. Maybe I should just go buy a lottery ticket. Ha.


ella w. said...

Sounds like both Sr. and Jr. Partners don't love their jobs...Do you? A lot of my friends are attorney's and can't seem to get out of it because the money is too good.

Ally said...

No, I don't love my job. There are times I really don't like it (when I'm stuck in the office for months), but other times I enjoy it. I like the fact that it's a constant challenge. It's weird, but I enjoy my job most when I'm super busy (but have no balance). Since I'm not in a big city, the money is just ok. I just don't know what the next step is and haven't been motivated enough to figure it out. Of course, I don't want to be saying that 20 years from now like my lunch companions, but I guess I think that when the time is right, I'll feel more motivated to really pursue other options. Or maybe God will send me an email with instructions and revisions for my resume.

jordan said...

I say play the lottery. I've been a career nurse for 14 years.. I'm in my 30s... and that's my plan: Play the lottery!! I decided if I buy 7 tickets a week, that's $7 x 4 = $28 a month. I can swing that of course ... now, I should actually DO it.. thus far, I haven't bought one ticket.

Aaron said...

For your reading pleasure...

"beat with a stick"
(all I could find, sorry)

"price of tea in China"

If you're unhappy, you should start thinking about that career now. Before you know it, you'll be married, have a mortgage, 2.5 children and be dependent upon your "disappointing" career. If you're going to do it, do it now. Don't wait until your responsibilities make it more difficult.

The lottery funded half my schooling. I could care less if people want to play it or not. Except for that old man in line in front of me at the gas station that keeps buying tickets! Let me buy my sunflower seeds, mountain dew and get the heck outta dodge!

spam_price said...

Another option of course is to look at where God has you right now and how He is using your gifts right where you are. Perhaps that “obvious choice” that has eluded so many is hard to see because it is more obvious than most realize. Taking stock of our present situation, being aware of the moment – seizing the day with an eye on the everlasting; will hopefully enable us to find contentment where God has us presently (Philippians 4:10-12).

C.S. Lewis is quoted as saying, "Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see." Sometimes the obvious choice is written in letters too large as we get bogged down with the details of daily living. This is certainly something I need to remind myself of continuously as I look towards future contentments at the cost of devaluing present ones and ignoring today’s miracles.

spam_price said...

By the way...what's so great about having lunch with a democrat?! lol

Ally said...

Jordan: I must admit that I bought two lottery tickets today. I think it's up to some insane amount, but regardless I felt ignorant buying the ticket. I'm sure I won't feel stupid if I win $30 million tomorrow night though....

Aaron: thanks for the links. If I recall correctly, your hometown church had a petition posted against the lottery when the legislation first came up. I think I'm anti-lottery, but it was certainly nice to have the Hope grant option.

Spam/Jeff: Excellent advice and I think I am using my gifts where I am now, but I still have an unsettled feeling. Still though I need to appreciate the present more than I do. I'm incredibly blessed and easily lose sight of that.

As for lunching with a Democrat, it's just nice to spend time with someone who sees things the way I do every blue moon! Everyone I work with, with one exception, is a Republican and a lot of my friends are, so I welcome someone to commiserate with (especially with our current "leadership") every now and again.