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.
Being smart in a culture that prizes the punch-list lifestyle can lead you, unwittingly, to living a life and making career choices based on fear. You choose stuff that you know you’re good at, which provides little room for growth. Problem is, you won’t stretch your boundaries and your sense of who you are by staying in your safe little box of intellectual prowess.
Perfect focuses you on being someone else’s ideal, rather than your own wild and wonderful creation. That’s the highest cost of all to pursuing perfection. And when you’re looking for the “perfect” job to leave law for, your options will be limited to the known, the trodden (and societally approved) path, which may not actually suit you at all.
Perfectionism kills a lot of things in anyone’s life, but lawyers are particularly adept at blinding themselves to the relationship between perfectionism and their own deep misery. Like herbicides, fake fertilizers, and pesticides, perfectionism makes things look really nice at first. But in the soil, and in the soul, they are slow poison.
Perfectionism is a really hard beast to defeat, particularly for lawyers. We’re surrounded by a culture of “no mistakes,” despite the fact that lawyers are people, people are not perfect, and people therefore make mistakes all the freaking time. It’s easy to confuse perfectionism and striving to do your best. The outward appearance often looks…
One of the hardest things about battling perfectionism as a lawyer is that you are surrounded, nay drowning, in other perfectionists. Law is about conforming, after all, and that is the heart of perfectionism: The more perfectly I conform (my thinking, my reasoning, my writing, my desires), the better I am regarded by others in…
Perfectionism is one of the reasons so many of my clients have no idea what they actually like, or what they’re actually meant to do. They have been pleasing other people for so long, and ignoring their own desires for equally long, that the pathway to feeling their true heart and desires has suffered from uncleared rockfalls and other debris.