Every day I have the misfortune of meeting lawyers who, it seems to me, hate their jobs.
They complain about clients, administration, fees, management, human resources, marketing, and pretty much everything that legal practice is about. It seems to me that they must be confused – because I enjoy every minute of every day.
But looking at it, I can’t help but wonder: why are they a lawyer at all?
So What is it YOU want?
Here’s what I think has happened to many: they went to school, got good enough marks either in senior school or initially at Uni and thought: hey – being a lawyer would be cool. So they enroll in law, work their butts off, get a job (hopefully) and work a few years.
At which point they come to a startling revelation: They have no Earthly idea what the point of all this is.
What’s happened is that they have never actually sat back and done a bit of deep thinking about their career – what do they want to be, what do they want to achieve, and how are they going to get there. As a result, they never have a sense of fulfillment, because they didn’t know what they were trying to achieve in the first place. They can’t set goals, because they’re too busy turning up to work and going through the motions.
Stop Going Through the Motions
If you haven’t figured out your purpose yet then you need to. How can you aspire to something that you can’t see?
Take a break.
Think about your career and your underlying motivation. Picture what kind of lawyer you want to be in 1, 2, 5 or 10 years. I don’t mean “I want to be a partner” – I think we can do a bit better than that.
Are you a litigator, a deal maker, a power broker, a schmoozer, an ambulance chaser, an advocate, a fighter, a people person, an introvert, an expert, a motivator? The list could go on forever.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a student or a lawyer – you’ve got to have something to aspire to. It doesn’t mean your happiness is derived from that goal, but it helps give you context and purpose.
Me? Well, I want to be the kind of lawyer the gets the best out of other lawyers. I want to have a team of passionate people around me who are motivated to improve themselves and their practice every day. I want to be excited about going to work, about writing these articles, and about speaking to people about these issues. I want to be someone that people listen to.
Am I there yet? Maybe not. But I’m doing my best to get there, with that person in my mind. My vision may change, and that’s fine.
So What about you?
I’ve shared, and now it’s your turn.
What kind of lawyer do you want to be? Once you’ve figured it out – write it down. Tell me in the comments so that your vision can be articulated. Once it’s there, you’ve got something to aim for.