While all those interviewed were satisfied with their career choices, many mentioned the less agreeable aspects. The most common complaint: strain on family life. Linsky, the Massachusetts representative, said he sometimes grows weary of intrusions on his private life—like having to field constituent complaints while trying to dine out with his family. "I can see why some people would ask, 'Do I really need this?'— he said.
Laycock said he didn't see his two kids when he was working the 3 to 11 shift. After a year he earned a promotion to the day shift and now has to work nights only when he's on a major case.
Clougher said she once considered resigning, when one of the children assigned to her office died at the hands of an abuser. "I had to ask myself, if I couldn't prevent this kid from dying, did I really
belong here?— she said. After much soul searching, she decided to stay, realizing that she and her colleagues could not be everywhere and that one incident did not negate all of the good that had been done. Clougher went on to learn all she could about shaken baby syndrome and became a trainer in that area for her own and other state agencies.
Soon says she's sometimes frustrated by political interference. "It's an essential ingredient in the public process, but sometimes it can go too far,— she said. The constant battle for funding—more acute in recent years—can also hamper one's effectiveness in serving the public, she said.
Yet, hampered or frustrated, many Colby graduates continue to serve.
"I don't think any of us would do this if we didn't feel a certain calling,— Linsky said. "You can't please everyone, but you do the best you can. On certain days, you can help a lot of people. It's the knowledge that you can do a great deal of good that keeps you going.—