How to Tell You Are Ready to Quit Biglaw

This article from TechnoLawyer provides great insight on four signs that it might be time for you to move on from biglaw.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“If you’re a biglaw attorney, privately threatening to quit your job at least once a day is pretty much standard. And why wouldn’t you? Who wants to deal with the long hours, demanding clients, and office jerks? Fantasizing about leaving, formulating exit strategies, and implementing five-year plans are as endemic to biglaw as all-nighters and free meals. Of course, threatening to quit and quitting are quite different. How can you tell when it’s really time to go? Whether your inner compass is broken or you already have one foot out the door, read on to learn about the four tell-tale signs that it’s time to say sayonara to biglaw.”

In brief, if…

  • you no longer buy into work-related “emergencies”
  • you are trying to get them to fire you
  • your Sunday night blues are more like Sunday night depression, or
  • you feel like your work is literally destroying your life

… then it’s probably time to quit biglaw and move on to a new venture.

Can you relate to any of these signs?  The article is available at the link above.  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.


Something’s Wrong When…

Something’s wrong when…

You envy the freedom of a homeless person.

As I sat outside the other day, basking in the sun while taking a bite out of my sandwich, I watched this homeless man and thought, “Wow, he has so much freedom.  He is the master of himself and does as he pleases.” I caught myself mid-thought, and wondered if I was the only person who, even if briefly, envied the freedom of a homeless person.

No Comparisons

When you are dealing with something difficult in life, especially something within your control (such as your career path), it’s best not to compare yourself to other people and think “Why is it that all these other people can do this and I feel so miserable?”

Everyone is different and what makes someone else happy might not make you happy. Each person also has unique talents that shine in some environments and flounder in others. Find the environment that makes you shine and pursue it. You will be happier and more successful once you do some internal exploration and self- assessments to determine your unique abilities and talents, and once you use them in a way that interests you.

Also, remember that maybe those people you are comparing yourself to are reading this blog in search of answers, just like you, and are just as, if not more, miserable than you are.  They may have just numbed the pain, telling themselves that it is just delayed gratification, while taking solace in alcohol, drugs, therapy, and expensive wardrobes in the meantime.  All the while they may not realize that that day of delayed gratification may never arrive. Delayed gratification works only temporarily. It is not a way of life.  Never forget that.

Or maybe those people you are comparing yourself to love what they do. You either love something or you don’t. You can’t fake it. Faking it is not sustainable long term. After all your authentic self knows you are faking it and this will make you unhappy in the long run.  So if you don’t love it, don’t ask yourself why you don’t love it.  You just don’t.  Accept it, try to find what you do love, and move on.

So instead of looking to other people for answers and making comparisons to other people, look within yourself. Therein lie all the answers you need.

Work is Love Made Visible

On Work by Kahlil Gibran (one of my favorite poets!)

You work that you may keep pace with the earth and the soul of the earth.
For to be idle is to become a stranger unto the seasons,
and to step out of life’s procession, that marches in majesty and proud submission towards the infinite.

When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music.
Which of you would be a reed, dumb and silent, when all else sings together in unison?

Always you have been told that work is a curse and labour a misfortune.
But I say to you that when you work you fulfil a part of earth’s furthest dream, assigned to you when that dream was born,
And in keeping yourself with labour you are in truth loving life,
And to love life through labour is to be intimate with life’s inmost secret.

But if you in your pain call birth an affliction and the support of the flesh a curse written upon your brow, then I answer that naught but the sweat of your brow shall wash away that which is written.

You have been told also that life is darkness, and in your weariness you echo what was said by the weary.
And I say that life is indeed darkness save when there is urge,
And all urge is blind save when there is knowledge,
And all knowledge is vain save when there is work,
And all work is empty save when there is love;
And when you work with love you bind yourself to yourself, and to one another, and to God.

And what is it to work with love?
It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart,
even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.
It is to build a house with affection,
even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.
It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy,
even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.
It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit,
And to know that all the blessed dead
are standing about you and watching.

Often have I heard you say, as if speaking in sleep, “He who works in marble, and finds the shape of his own soul in the stone, is nobler than he who ploughs the soil.
And he who seizes the rainbow to lay it on a cloth in the likeness of man, is more than he who makes the sandals for our feet.”
But I say, not in sleep but in the overwakefulness of noontide, that the wind speaks not more sweetly to the giant oaks than to the least of all the blades of grass;
And he alone is great who turns the voice of the wind into a song made sweeter by his own loving.

Work is love made visible.
And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.
For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man’s hunger.
And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distils a poison in the wine.
And if you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle man’s ears to the voices of the day and the voices of the night.

An Entrepreneur Who Took a Risk

I read a great article in the New York Times called “An Entrepreneur Who Took a Chance on Herself” about a female entrepreneur who bravely left the corporate world to start her own business.

An excerpt from the article says:

“My co-workers were intelligent, ambitious and fun, and I interacted with high-level executives at Fortune 500 companies. My perks included free concert tickets, ski trips and fancy dinners. I was on track to be earning six figures within three years. It was the good life I had been chasing along with my peers at Stanford.

So why wasn’t I happy?”

Can you relate?  The rest of the article is available at the link above.  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Welcome to Escape from the Law!

Wake up.  This is YOUR life.  Are you living it to the fullest?  If not, read on, because maybe you can relate to my story.
I felt completely lost.  Everywhere I looked for guidance – books, friends, family, and Oprah – I was given the same message over and over again – “happiness is a choice.”  Like a good lawyer, I was skeptical.  After all, I wanted to be happy.  So why wasn’t I?  I had reached points of desperation where I prayed that I could be happy (and I don’t usually pray), promising God/ the Universe/ any spiritual being/ anyone that would listen, that I would be a good person and devote my life to service if I could only be happy!
I would have horrible, horrible days, where I literally dragged my feet to the office in the morning, and ran out to go home in the afternoon.  There was something about the office that I had associated anxiety with.  Most of my days were horrible, but I would have some ok days in between where I would tell myself, “This isn’t that bad.  I can do this another year or two and save some more money.”  But those days were the exception rather than the rule.  I knew things took a turn for the worse when I started considering taking anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medicine just so I could keep working at my job.  That’s where I drew the line.  The job was affecting my emotional health in a way that was hard to articulate to friends and family, so I just kept telling them that it just didn’t feel right.  And it didn’t.  I felt like I had to act like someone other than myself in the office, and it was emotionally exhausting.
I realized this as I was only a second year associate at a large law firm.  While I was extremely proud of my accomplishments, I couldn’t help but feel like an outsider looking in – I never could see myself there for the long term.  I looked up to and admired the very smart and hard working partners in my firm, but I just could never see myself in that position – working mornings, nights, weekends and on vacation.  I wanted to have a family.  I wanted to take vacations and get away from it all (i.e., sans crackberry).  I couldn’t see myself writing emails at 1AM.  So while there were some extraordinary women that worked at my firm, I simply couldn’t relate to them in any meaningful way.I knew I wasn’t alone, but I still struggled with the feelings of loneliness when I was in the office, because the only people I talked to about my struggles were my family and my law school friends that worked in other firms.  I wanted some sort of support group or community to help push me to make the jump and to decide in which direction to jump, but there was no such support group.  I became obsessed with reading about other people’s stories about leaving the law and the new careers they carved out for themselves.  These stories became my inspiration and my driving force.  They motivated me and fascinated me, and I came back for more stories every day. I also wanted a place to go to read about people living their lives and their dreams and making them real.

That’s where I came up with the idea for this blog.  I want this to be a place lawyers can come to for inspiration and a sense of community.  This blog is intended for all those lawyers out there who are desperately seeking a way out! If you have a similar story to share, please leave a comment.
So, welcome. I can’t wait to hear from you and I hope you enjoy reading this blog!