Last week I asked readers to schedule a time to speak with me. To talk about anything – to vent, to ask questions, to brainstorm next steps.
I’ve spoken with many of you. It’s been great. I hope I’ve been able to help, and I know I’ve learned so many insights from many of you.
And I wanted to share with everyone the three main, consistent themes that have surfaced in these talks.
For those who prefer auditory learning, I shot at the above short video for you (it’s short, just a bit over 3 minutes).
And for those of you who would rather read, I continue in more detail below.
We are not alone
So many of us looking to leave the law are battling with anxiety, self doubt and the fear of the unknown.
We are kicking ourselves for going to law school and doing work we don’t like. We feel we have wasted our time, our potential and our money. We don’t feel confident anyone else will every hire us.
And we feel we’re the only ones struggling with this.
These are real fears. But I want us all to know that we are all feeling them. And this isn’t because misery loves company; it’s because we’re all in this together, we’re all on the right path together, we’re all creating a movement together.
Rest assured, you are not alone.
You can add value
Our skills should not just be relegated to transactional and litigation work. You may feel you can only do “lawyer work”, but the skills you have are in demand.
There are companies out there with “non-law”, alternative job postings looking for people who can think critically, issue spot, be analytical, be the adult in the room, put out fires, upsell clients, manage risk, write persuasively, public speak, and on and on.
All the stuff we can do.
As we explore leaving the law, one major step we will take is to come to terms with the fact that we can do more than just be a lawyer. And once we realize that, not only does our confidence soar, but we finally realize the vast universe of job and career opportunities at our disposal.
The first step to take to leave the law
Readers always ask me “what should I do now”. We often focus first on what jobs we want to have, or how to reposition our resume or whether we have a passion or not.
But the first step is to let what we’re good at and enjoy doing inform what we do next. We need to first work to hone our Unique Genius – those skills and strengths that come so naturally to you, so effortlessly to you, that you don’t even think of them as a skill – and then find alternative, “non-law” jobs that align with it.
When our job requirements call for and align with our skills and strengths, that is a formula for motivation, confidence and happiness.
I would say my priority would be to find work that wouldn’t necessitate taking a 60% pay cut (at least). With kids in and approaching college, it’s not realistic to take that hit. I feel trapped because I am. Granted, it was a trap I fell into somewhat knowingly but it was still a trap. I should have stuck to my law school plan of working five years, saving some money and then doing something interesting. Instead, I advanced in my career, won some big trials, got board certified and now can only dream of getting out. Now it’s 2:15 a.m. and the sleeping pills aren’t overcoming a bruising day in court and an impending 7 figure trial. I’d trade this career in a heartbeat if only I could.