At 10:00 pm Friday night, I received an offer to join the March 28, 2011 A-100 class, which I accepted immediately. I had a confirmation of my acceptance an hour later, which is really pretty impressive. I can tell you from personal experience that the Federal Judiciary rarely works past 6:00 on a Friday night - that's obviously less true at the State Department.
Now begins a period of frantic planning. Two months from now, we'll be in D.C., which is about six months earlier than Ms. C and I had been planning. I'm not at all prepared. I have a lease that runs through June and a clerkship that was meant to run through August. I'm even holding theater tickets that run beyond what little time I have left in Brooklyn (anyone want two tickets to see King Lear at BAM this May?).
Telling the boss isn't going to be easy: he's a federal judge in the Southern District of New York, and I doubt that in his twenty years on the bench, he's ever had anyone leave before the end of their clerkship. If the way he reacted when we left him behind during a courthouse fire-drill is any indication, he's not going to be pleased at all. That said, he's committed his life to public service and I hope he'll understand why I want to do the same.
There are a few financial implications to staying on the right side of the Judge. State tries to match your starting salary (within limits) to the salary you earned before joining the service. There are conditions attached to this for federal employees, the most important for me being that there can't be a break of more than three days. If the Judge replaces me immediately, which he can (and probably should) try to do, I'm looking at a much longer break in service than three days.
I'll try to qualify for the higher salary, but right now, it hardly seems important. I've taken less pay in exchange for more rewarding work every year since I graduated from law school, and I haven't regretted it yet. I'm so excited, I hardly know what to do with myself.