That’s the mistake many of us make when embarking on a creative journey: We set our minimum performance standards to warp-factor high, and then when we don’t come even close, we conclude that we have no talent, and that we were fools for thinking that maybe we had a little.
Editor’s Note: We welcome Nick Lindsay, a solicitor from London, who shares his experiences with leaving law and dealing with what came next. Enjoy! When you’re sitting at your desk and thinking about leaving the law, you want your next step to be perfect. It’s only reasonable. After all, you’re leaving a career that you…
If you suspect you may have depression—even if you think it’s just because you work in a hellhole, and you will be FINE once you leave—go ahead and get help. Because unless you’ve got a job offer in hand, you’re going to be there for at least a couple more months. And take it from me, those “couple more months” often translate suddenly into 6 months or 9 months or a year, between workload and inertia. That’s a long time to be depressed, untreated, and miserable.
This key difference between the commentators and Silver? From where I sit, Silver, with his Feeler talents, saw that he couldn’t just (publicly) lawyer through all the contracts and what-not that McCann and Shropshire were agonizing about. He saw clearly that the damage to the NBA was going to be severe if he didn’t act to make Dennis Sterling a pariah. Having deeply outraged players and fans, and having the NBA appear more concerned about its pocketbook than its morals, was in the long term going to cause a much deeper crisis for the league than whatever millions any lawsuit might cost. Feelings were in the driver’s seat, and in Silver, the NBA had a lawyer who understood that.
Pessimists don’t persevere at the same rate as optimists, which means pessimists often don’t achieve goals that are achievable. Like, say, finding an alternative legal career that gives you fulfillment and high satisfaction. The chief way that pessimism shows up is as learned helplessness. I’ve noticed that law firms are superb at teaching learned helplessness.
Misery can be a motivator to make change, if you can recognize it for the sign that it is. But career misery often is confusing, because you can get befuddled by what your real dreams are vs. what our culture shrieks should be your dreams.
When people tried to talk to me about appreciating my life, and I was hating most of it, I wanted to smack them. Hard. And then shriek and carry on a bit about “can’t you see how sucky my life really is???” So I get it if you’re rolling your eyes about now, but I…