Monday, May 09, 2005
Love What You Do
And the eagle flies with the dove
And if you can't be with the one you love, honey
Love the one you're with
I was reminded of this song today when I heard a television personality give the career advice "Do what you love."
Sure, that’s a fine-sounding, high-minded theory, but, honestly, how many of us can turn our childhood passions for staging Barbie fashion shows or lipsyncing to ABBA into lucrative, rewarding careers.
So, to paraphrase the Isley Brothers’ pragmatic, if somewhat jaded, advice, I suggest that if you can’t do what you love, love what you do.
When you made the decision to plunk down $100,000 on law school, you probably still thought that Lexis was a car manufacturer and sherpardizing was something that Little Bo Peep did before she lost her sheep (right, she lost her "sheep" - if that’s not some kind of sexual metaphor, I don’t know what is - listen honey, no matter what they tell you, once you’ve lost your sheep, they ain’t bringin’ their tail-waggin’ selves home again).
But, I digress.
Now you’re up to your ears in student loans, perhaps you work for a bunch of jerks who make Lynndie England look like Little Mary Sunshine, and you’re starting to think that being a lawyer is one of the most tedious, dehumanizing, depressing professions ever invented by what has come to be known as western "civilization."
And of course some idiot will always love to remind you that lawyers have the highest suicide rate after psychologists because lawyers spend more hours than everyone else in the world working at jobs they hate more than everyone else in the world hates their jobs.
I know this all sounds very grim, but a light awaits you at the end of the tunnel if you learn one important lesson. Those lawyers did not perish for lack of opportunity, or lack of hope, or even lack of happiness. What killed them is lack of imagination. I firmly believe that this infirmity, which is pandemic among legal professionals, is the true cause of their misery.
And yet, there is simply no excuse for being a miserable lawyer. A law degree is one of the greatest assets you can have in the professional world. Don’t lose sight of its value just because the thought of measuring the rest of your life in one-tenths of an hour makes you want to reach for the arsenic. While most lawyers do work in law firms, there are many non-traditional legal careers or non-legal careers that will allow you to integrate your legal skills with your other interests.
Start out by doing some on-line research and some serious thinking about how to turn the law into something you can really love. Here's an article to get you started:
When you’ve figured out how to incorporate your life-long passion for Ultimate Frisbee or Nintendo into a creative new legal career, write to me and tell me about it.
Love the Lawgirl