At the end of the school year during my final year in law school, I started to think that, with the market being not what it was, I couldn’t be a lawyer. So I thought to myself, “what will I do if I can’t be a lawyer?” I startled myself, realizing I could do anything I wanted. Not quite true, but in some ways – I could learn graphic design (my secret “dream job”), I could go start a farm, I could run an Etsy shop, I could start a photography business.
Well, it’s been a year. And here I am, still a lawyer. Working for not-a-lot of money at a job I like but am not fired up about, and trying to figure out the next step. The Etsy shop I started goes un-fulfilled; the photography blog sits silently, waiting for me to quit slacking and update, and I realized that I really don’t want to spend my time up to my elbows in manure. It turns out that my passion lies in exactly the path I’ve been following since I was fourteen. My passion is the practice of law.
A lot of people say that we should take advantage of getting laid off to figure out what we really want. I did figure out what I really want, and I’m doing my darndest to make it happen for myself, but I think sometimes people are disappointed that getting your career off the ground isn’t about starting your own firm and being your own boss, at least not for me. I found this article on striving for a better work-life balance to be really inspirational, because I do believe that the passion that I’m chasing is having a fulfilling job during the day, and still being able to enjoy being with my family at night. Because when I really thought about quitting the legal biz and pursuing something else, and I thought about where my passion lies, and when I’ve been happiest, it’s been when I’ve been working, full time, at a job that I love and find both intellectually stimulating and emotionally rewarding.
So when people tell me to follow my passion, I tell them that I am doing the best I can for now, and I’m not sure where I’ll end up or how long it will take me to get there, but the last thing I want to do right now is shortchange my opportunity to be an attorney and do what I love by leaving the profession and following my “passion” (because somehow, people don’t think that lawyering is a passion.)