Regretting that Law Degree?

If you hop on the Google box and run a few searches relating to

I hate being a lawyer

What else can I do with a law degree

How do I know if practicing law is right for me?

You will get a boatload of hits and stories of woe from “recovering lawyers.” Law school and practicing law are like any good love story. You can’t really understand how amazing and yet how terrible it can be until you experience it yourself.

In my practice, I spent many a dark night wondering if I had made the right choice in going to law school. I cried in my office more times than I probably remember. I missed important events, skipped parties, and used work as an excuse more times than I care to admit.

I deeply empathize with those of you going through that turmoil. The feeling of hopelessness and pressure. That heavy, oppressive fear that you just spent thousands of dollars getting into a prestigious club only to quickly realize you want right back out.

Fancy degree, fancy office, fancy car, fat paycheck and miserable. Congratulations!

Ooof. The agony.

So, what do you do?

One of the things we coaches love to do is “question your most closely held thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions.” These are the words of my coach who makes me pledge to do this very thing at the beginning of every session.

Many of our most closely held thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions are really wolves masquerading in sheep’s clothing. They sound so nice and innocuous, even virtuous. Yet, pretty thoughts have a way of causing so much unnecessary pain.

I want to have a job I can feel good about

I want a boss who respects me

I don’t want to be treated like an idiot

I want to love what I do

We have so many thoughts like this that we are choosing to swish around in our brains. They are not facts. They are not gospel. They are only true because you are choosing to believe they are true.

There are people in this world (ESPECIALLY during this pandemic) that would be thrilled with a job. Any job. If they could go to law school and work for someone who yelled at them, treated them like an idiot and didn’t respect them, they would be thankful just to have a job.

There are people in this world who would rather have a job for a horrible boss making tons of money than a job with Willie Wonka making pennies.

There are people in this world who neither love nor hate their jobs; it’s just a job. It is not who they are, it doesn’t define them, it’s a means to an end.  It pays the bills. They don’t care that they don’t love it. They have other things to love.

If you want to believe that you should love your job, that is 1000% your right and your option. My only question for you is

How is that thought serving you?

Does it make you feel terrible? Does it make you jump from job to job constantly searching for something better? Does it inspire you to get out of bed every day?

There is no such thing as inherently good or bad thoughts. Thoughts are good or bad based upon the impact those thoughts have on you–how they make you feel, show up, act, and the results they drive you to create.

Last week, I had a mini-session with a woman who was really grappling with her career. She was trying to figure out what to do next. As we discussed her reasons for considering a change she keep coming back to

I just want a job that I can feel good about; that brings purpose to my life.

Lovely. Beautiful. Commendable thoughts.

They were making my client miserable.

Those thoughts made her feel anxious and panicky. They drove her to overly criticize every job opportunity and scrutinize every aspect of her work. She was creating an impossibly high standard for her career and it was wrecking havoc on her life as she jumped from job to job and career to career seeking that elusive “purpose”. It was blocking her ability to see and appreciate the good in any aspect of her life. Those thoughts were keeping her from being happy in ANY environment.

This applies to everything. Not just your job. Thinking about quitting your marriage, that relationship, that friendship? Whatever it may be, the first step is getting honest with yourself about your brain.

What closely held thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions are contributing to your present strife?

Are some of your pretty thoughts blocking you from happiness? 

If you can get a handle on your brain and the role you are playing in creating your current misery, you can move into a space of greater clarity. From that space of clarity, you can make clear-headed, logical decisions about your life. Decisions that aren’t frantic, panicked or based in fear. Part of that process is examining some of your closely held thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions.

How are those beliefs/thoughts/assumptions serving you? Are they blocking your happiness?

You have the freedom to believe whatever you want but you must ask yourself whether those thoughts deserve real estate in your brain. It’s your future. What thoughts are you using to fuel your journey?

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