Follow your passion

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.)

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One response to “Follow your passion

  1. Lethe

    I randomly stumbled onto your blog today and was reading back through your archives. (Hope that’s not stalkerish.) I so, so identify with this. I’m another recent law school grad, who graduated aiming to practice public interest law, and I just spent a year and a half unemployed. I went through the same thought process – down to the Etsy shop and farm dreams. 🙂 Plus other stuff, like moving across the country, getting whatever day job I could find and spending all my time hiking. But I stuck with it, because lawyering is actually the most fulfilling job I’ve found and the best fit for my personality and intellect. Happy ending though – I FINALLY got hired to a small firm doing public interest-type work and I’m loving it. It’s flexible and gives me tons of responsibility and training to boot. Honestly, it’s not even what I would have been looking for if I hadn’t graduated into the recession, but I think it’s just what I need. Those of us who hang in there long enough WILL be able to have the careers we dreamed about. For all I know you have all this resolved by now (when you wrote this, I was still unemployed too) but if not – don’t lose faith, you can do it!

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