by Timika Shafeek-Horton ’90

I recently started a new job (at the same company), and my family would say it’s requiring me to travel a lot more. I suppose I would agree. But the time on planes is allowing me to think and ask myself questions.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my daughter who just turned thirteen. How did she make it to her teens so quickly? How did she get so tall? Why has she already decided that Carolina is too close to home for college? If I’ve told her I expect her to look after her sister, would my mother have the same expectation of me? And am I meeting that expectation?

Am I doing enough?

I have less important thoughts, too: like could the Long Island Medium be real?

But today I’m thinking about my job and how much I like it. Most days.

I’m an attorney for an energy company. You may not see it from where you sit, but providing electricity is an exciting business. The science, engineering, construction, and even accounting needed to turn on the lights is incredible. I wasn’t hired to do any of those things—but you can learn a lot about anything in fifteen years.

shafeek-horton-1Attorneys are a necessity in my field and those who truly make the business “go” are tolerant of us who must kick our brains into another gear to understand the technical side of the problems we solve. How secondary feedwater pumps are supposed to work is not intuitive to me.

I’ve always enjoyed my job and gotten good feedback via challenging assignments, favorable performance reviews, and promotions based on the quality of my work. A few years back, though, I wondered if I might have greater success if the underlying industry in which I worked was more intuitive to me as it seems for many of the people with whom I work.

I like travel, food, sports, the outdoors—more touchy-feely things. I’m the dreaded “people person.” Would a job in an industry related to one of these interests be a better fit and result in greater success?

Maybe, maybe not. I’m not sure I’ll ever know. And as of now I’m okay with that.

shafeek-horton-2I’m still learning a great deal. Like the Spanish that will be helpful in my new position. I’m trying to use it right now on a flight from Peru to El Salvador, telling the young woman next to me on this nearly full flight that we’ve hit the jackpot: no one claimed the window seat in our row and she can move from the middle seat to the window.

But my Spanish is bad and it’s not going well.

Como se dice “move over?” in Spanish?

Timika Shafeek-Horton is Associate General Counsel at Duke Energy