I don’t get paid to be a lawyer anymore. For now.
The decision is still pretty fresh, so I still have those “OMG, what did I do” moments every so often.
I’ve moved into the wonderful world of higher education. If you would have told me 5 years ago that I’d be here, I wouldn’t have believed you. Two years ago, I would have listened, but probably would have stayed my course.
I’ve gotten mixed reactions about my career shift. Initially, people seem hesitant and uneasy about why or how I made the decision to leave. When I tell the story, the tone shifts. Some folks start asking me why and how, not out of judgment, but curiosity in light of their own thoughts of doing the same. I keep hearing the word “courage” used in connection with my move. It’s humbling, but I never thought about it that way. I just knew I needed to make a change.
I knew I would not last long in “Big Law” because I always felt drawn to do something else. I respect the grind. I appreciated the salary. I learned invaluable lessons from my colleagues and mentors. I created lasting relationships. I gained needed insight and experience in a world that is intriguing, obvious, and misunderstood all at once. I often felt unstable and off balance, like I was walking around wearing someone else’s prescription lenses. I never let on to my firm that things were out of focus for me. I could make out what was in front of me. But no matter how much I squinted, furrowed my brows, and blinked extra hard and fast, I couldn’t bring someone else’s vision in line with mine own.
As much as I like to deny it, I’m a touchy-feely person. My joy comes from helping people develop or achieve something, tangible or intangible. Being able to learn about someone’s strengths, goals, concerns, areas for improvement, and then help them get from point A to point B is kinda why I’m here. Some get this feeling from practicing law. Maybe I could have if I started off in another area. Maybe not.
I feel pretty good about where I am and the work I can do here.
The shift has its share of challenges, though. I’ll share those later.
Until next time…