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?