It can be so disheartening to realize that you don't want to practice law anymore. You think, "I've got a prestigious, steady job making six figures. It's more than most people could dream of achieving." And that makes you feel guilty and ungrateful. So you try to go back to your work and ignore the dissatisfaction. But the feelings won't go away.
You realize that for some people, work is about having money to support a family or prestige or intellectual challenge. But that's not all you want from your work. You've always wanted work that makes you look forward to Monday mornings. You've tried pretending you're one of those this-job-is-just-a-job people, but you still feel those little stirrings of unrest in your soul. You think, "There has to be more to life than this.
" I know these doubts are frightening but they serve another important purpose: they bring hope. Hope that there is more out there than going to a job that makes you miserable. That hope will help you begin your journey of figuring out what's important to you and make the choice to go after it, no matter what. You begin acting as if you know the life and work you want are out there.
And hope becomes faith that the life and work you want are out there. You begin to rely on that faith. What is it like to rely on faith? It's watching other people settle and thinking, "That's not for me anymore.
" It's knowing that God put you here on earth for a purpose and that He wants you to use the talents that He gave you. It's the random moments of joy when you experience some clarity. It's believing that your small steps are eventually going to snowball into you walking out of the firm into a life and work that fulfill you. It's not easy. There are some hard moments when you think, "Nothing's happening, nothing's changing.
" But you don't truly believe that. Otherwise, you would have given up. That little flicker of hope is hard to snuff out. Feel that little flicker. Whisper to yourself, "I don't know where I'm going with this, but I know it's going to take me some place magical." Keep saying it to yourself as you have a new idea about what would fulfill you, as you reach out to someone new who can show you the way, as you try something new.
Rely on faith. © 2008 Monica R. Parker Copyright (c) 2008 Monica Parker.
The career coach for lawyers, Monica R. Parker, J.D., helps unhappy lawyers find and pursue fulfilling work outside of the law. She is the author of the soon-to-be-published book Unhappy Lawyer: A Roadmap to Finding Meaningful Work Outside of the Law (Sourcebooks, July 2008). Get a copy of her FREE Report, "7 Reasons to Leave the Practice of Law…And What You Will Find On the Other Side!" at LeavingTheLaw.com.