What right do we former lawyers have to be bitter and unhappy? I mean, when at least half of attorneys surveyed say they would not choose law again, obviously nothing is wrong with the structure and culture of the profession. It’s—‘DOH!— our bad personal choice to go to law school that is to blame.
Coloring taps into a couple brain activities that are highly soothing, so it’s just the thing for anxious attorneys.
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.
Law firms use the carrot of big bonuses and salary increases to motivate higher billable hours numbers. Yet billable hours are not really what law firms sell—they’ve just fooled themselves into thinking that their measurement system is their product. What law firms sell is legal expertise and problem-solving. But Motivation 2.0 creates pressure to bill, to produce a tangible product to bill for—like a letter, brief, or memo—and means that time to engage in creative problem-solving for the client is about nil.
For unhappy lawyers who start to get serious about leaving law, the lack attacks can become acute. The best way, maybe even the only sustainable way, to derail a lack attack is to focus on what you do have, and be very genuinely, consciously, grateful for it.
There was a warning on the grill instructions about grilling and drinking. Or rather, about not doing it. There should have been a warning not to run a sleep deficit and grill.
Nascent unhappy lawyers chase accolades for grades and accomplishments. They please parents and teachers and then law firm partners, by squishing themselves into the success box rather than looking inside themselves for their truth.
Numbing out is our way of avoiding pain, but it has the unfortunate downside of numbing us to joy as well. When we numb out, we embrace less than our full humanity. We become less, sometimes far less, than our full selves. Wow, doesn’t that sound appealing.
One acting lesson can help you see what you aren’t owning about yourself. It can highlight the damage from being in the wrong career and having all the best things about you derided, mocked and devalued. You end up hiding from what is best about you. Acting can help you claim your uniqueness and find your path to a happier career.
Before you go all goal-setting crazy, figure out what you truly value. Try doing some work around that value. If you still aren’t moving toward a life that beckons you, then it might be the time to set a goal.