Enjoy what you do for a living – a goal a lot people are unable to attain. Many people may look at the legal profession as one with a lot of stressed, overworked, and tired individuals that can’t possibly be happy. While those things may be true for a lot of attorneys, I don’t think that serves as a mutual exclusion to happiness. In fact, I have found some of those most taxed are in fact blissful underneath it all.
I recently joined private practice, having come from a background in government public service, wondering whether I could enjoy what I do more. It’s a precarious situation, moving from a job you already like and hoping for something better. Some major adjustments including billable hours and marketing I knew would be challenges, but all seemed manageable from an outside perspective. Several of my peers advised against moving away from my comfortable surroundings, perhaps due to their own experiences and apprehensions about taking risks, but I took the leap anyway.
Perhaps I’ve been lucky with the bar community I practice in or the firm I found, but I really believe it’s more about the attitude with which you approach it all whether you get what you need out of it. Whether it’s an animated discussion of strategies, appreciation for a newly discovered approach or argument, or energized banter about cases— for me, these all situations don’t feel like work. It hasn’t hurt that there have also been some added perks since making the transition to private practice, like attending the national DRI conference in Boston earlier this fall!
Having started with the firm only a few short weeks before the conference, it felt like something of a whirlwind to be off traveling to some big professional gathering, but there I was. In Boston I had my bearings as I was returning to the city where I went to law school just a couple years prior, so I felt confident with that familiarity. The rest was a little overwhelming until I got a little perspective. While introducing me around to various members of the DRI community, one of my firm’s partners confided, “I didn’t have a me, when I was you.” It was then I stopped to think about why I had the attitude I do about what I do and it has been largely influenced by the mentors I’ve acquired along the way…
I have been collecting mentors since before I even went to law school – they are not all lawyers themselves, but each has played an important role in my career. Whether it was helping me get established with my first job, guiding me through learning the practice of law, or just believing in me, these people have all taught me in their own way how to enjoy what I do. You likely know who you are, as you are probably the only people reading this blog, so thank you!
Great perspective, Chelsea!