Last week I took a vacation. Family friends, their kids, my wife, our kids and I enjoyed some sun away from the San Francisco summer fog. Most of our time during the day was spent running in and out of the pools with the kids. And most of our time at night over dinner was spent talking about the kids. The cute things they did when they were babies. The messes they make. The lack of sleep.
And we also discussed the opportunities our children have ahead of them. We talked of their potential to learn and grow and develop.
Which caused me to think about what potential exists for those of us who just don’t seem to fit with the practice of law. As our career options as lawyers begin to harden into shape, as others around us succeed, as our children or nieces and nephews or friends’ children began to grow, it can be easy to wonder if this is all we’re gonna get. We tend to look backwards like the aged (at our unfilled aspirations) instead of forward like children (towards what we have yet to create).
While a generational shift is inevitable and aging has never been easy to deal with, it doesn’t mean that our future has contracted. In fact, quite the opposite. Feeling stuck in a legal job we don’t enjoy can be the perfect catalyst to uncovering a revived sense of professional purpose.
It’s been pointed out in this blog repeatedly that leaving the law is scary, takes a long time and involves a lot of hard work. You will likely make less money (for a time) and open yourself up for ridicule and disapproval from friends and family.
But what leaving the law does provide in ample amounts, I can guarantee you, is potential. There are new job opportunities to explore. New entrepreneurial ventures to get excited about. New ways to describe and analyze and get to know yourself. There will be no limit to the possibilities.
You’ll just have to muster the courage to take that first step. Let’s call it a baby step.