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Should I stay or should I go?

Hi, I have been at a crossroads in my life for awhile now.  Well over a decade to be precise. You see I am a corporate lawyer with a pretty cush job by most legal job standards.  It affords me work life balance, a good standard of living by most accounts, private school for my […]

Hi,

I have been at a crossroads in my life for awhile now.  Well over a decade to be precise.

You see I am a corporate lawyer with a pretty cush job by most legal job standards.  It affords me work life balance, a good standard of living by most accounts, private school for my only daughter, a beautiful house and enough to go on nice vacations.  But is it enough to keep me in a job that is not for me?

If I can take you back to my last year of college, I was a senior at Trinity University getting ready to graduate and go out into the unknown abyss of post-graduate life.  Think of scenes from the movie the Graduate. That was me, minus the older lady hitting on the young dude.

I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.  I had majored in Sociology, but truth be told, I struggled with finding a major and waited until the last year to pick one.  I didn’t want to be confined by one major/label. I loved learning about everything, Asian Religions, the Classics, Women’s Studies.  My degree was really more of a liberal arts degree. I took courses that interested me. Practical classes like business or accounting were simply not on my radar and I didn’t have parents that pushed me towards them.  

After graduation I took a brief unpaid internship with the National Organization for Women (NOW) in NYC and it was one of the best most fun experiences of my life.  I was surrounded by women my age who had similar political leanings (did I mention I come from Texas which is super conservative and Republican). Anyway, I felt a sense of “home” being in NYC around my like-minded liberal friends.  This lead to me finally deciding I would go to law school with the ultimate goal to pursue policy work in women’s rights issues.

I took the plunge to go to law school also in part because it was a safe bet that I could make a living with a law degree (something that I could not do with my Sociology degree).  Did I mention I come from immigrant parents, and I’m first generation American? Getting a good education is drilled into your head from early on. My true desire had been to become an actress, but I was too risk adverse to follow a path that would judge me purely on my looks, something outside my control.

Fast forward to today.  I work in-house for a large in-house Legal department.  I make a good salary. I work in an area that I am not passionate about and basically struggle with the work just being OK. It’s not something I’m passionate about, and some days (like today), I question whether I should ever have become a lawyer.  I know I am blessed. I have a job. It affords me nice things, but am I satisfied? No. Am I reaching my full potential and maximize my skills and talents? No.

I dream for a day when I will be set free from my golden cage. I dream of a day I can take a sabbatical to find my true calling.  I know it’s not all roses, ducks and bunnies on the other side. The search for what my true calling/career should have been something I should have explored in my twenties, but I took the easy path and went to law school, because what else does a person do when they don’t know what to do with their life.  They go to law school! And rack up tons of student loan debt!

Don’t get me wrong, I learned a great deal from going to law school.  Skills I’m sure that I can and will use when I make my move to do something else.  But until then I hang in limbo. Waiting for my day a freedom to come. My chance out.  I know I am capable of more.

Have you struggled with a career change?  How does one find their true calling?

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