Sunday, August 29, 2004

 
I'm frightened. I don't like to admit it, but I am. I'm frightened on the one hand that I'm going to wake up one day and realize that this is it. That this is all I have to show for my life. Money in the bank, but a family I don't spend enough time with, and an office full of papers that don't matter to anyone. That there was a better way to spend my time on the planet. Not necessarily that I could have affected the world, but at least that I could have enjoyed my days more and no one would have suffered for it. That I could feel like it was a life worth lived instead of a race to reach a milestone that seems less clear with each passing moment.

But I'm frightened on the other hand that this really is as good as it gets. There are millions of people living in poverty, or if not poverty then at least working in jobs that are a great deal more unpleasant than this one, and without the monetary reward. I know I'm fortunate to have had the chance to earn a salary most others do not have the opportunity to earn. I know there are people smarter and more capable than I am working in steel mills or factories or driving the cars that take us to the airport. I know I'm fortunate to be where I am.

And so I'm frightened that one day I will wake up and decide the trade-offs are no longer worth it, and I will leave, but then I will find that I had it pretty good. That there's nothing better than what I have right now, yet I'm too self-absorbed to realize it. That I can sit here, in my expensive leather chair that I may or may not have reported in my tax return after I took it home from the office, complaining about my secretary, when there are people who will never have secretaries, or who wish they could just be someone's secretary.

I know people who live lives I wish were mine, but I wonder if everyone feels that way. If a novelist looks at a law firm partner and wishes he had the secure and constant income, the chance to manage people, and the power to make large business deals happen like I have. Whereas I look at a novelist as having the freedom to control his own destiny, and the opportunity to express himself creatively, without having to spend 60+ hours a week at a desk, reading papers that matter to no one.

I was recently thinking about my place in the world, and I searched using Google for the names of some of my colleagues. According to the Internet, they barely exist. We work hard, but we really are Anonymous Lawyers. We affect people, but in ways no different than someone else in our positions would if they sat in these seats. It struck me as quite likely that more people have read the words I write on this site than have read the words in the legal documents I have drafted. That frightens me, because it makes me wonder what exactly I have spent these years doing. But, again, I know I have it very well. It frightens me that I may have it well enough that I have forgotten how well I actually have it, and can even be tempted by the idea that I should have it better than this, or that there are things that I would trade this for.

I should steel my spine before tomorrow's summer associate candidates come for interviews. This isn't the Anonymous Lawyer they should talk to. They'll turn me in. I need to show enthusiasm about the firm, like I tell the associates to do. If only I could write legal thrillers instead of pretending to be legally thrilled.

I have just noticed that the housekeeper forgot to vacuum under my desk. Combined with her failure to fold the laundry last week, and the missing letter opener, it may be time to find a new one.

Comments:
Grow a pair. When you die, you're dead. There is no "after". This is it. Spending you life afraid to live. Sad, sad, sad.
 
You will do your interviews well. You will say the things that have to be said and ask the questions that need to be asked. Then you will read the post just before this one again and be thankful that you have a brain that is capable of reflection unlike that souless obnoxious robot. Then there will be other comments - some thoughtful, some ignorant. Your words are read here - and add value. Sometimes just for a laugh, sometimes to shock, to educate, or to make your readers reflect on life. Maybe all you need to do is arrange some time to seek out and add other things of value to your life and relationships. Pretty much the only three things there are: relationships, what you have, and what you do. You don't necessarily need to give up the things you have and the job you do - you just need to DO some things that you find meaningful, and redirect some of the attention and effort you put into your job into your relationships. The blog probably isn't all you should do - but it's a pretty good start. You do have readers (of all kinds).
 
"It awed him that Doyler was not bemeaned by his life as Jim felt bemeaned by his."

Everything is what you make of it. Enjoy live and live.
 
blogging on a sunday? I'm in the office revising a lease agmt. got the assignment friday before the partner left. when is it enough money for early retirement? I suspect the answer for most, would be never.
 
All good points, but then again lawyers have more of a real impact on society than most people ever have the chance to have, in their own lines of work. That ain't so bad, is it? The work versus life choices still have to made, but I am skeptical of any experienced lawyer who claims that the "work" aspect of his/her life has had no meaningful impact in one way or another.

In just the few years I've practiced law, I've had at least one published judicial opinion which changed the law, in a moderately significant way, for millions of citizens in my state. I can go to any law library anywhere in the nation, and find a copy of that same opinion with my name in it. That's cool. It's not the world's greatest accomplishment of all time for all lawyers. But it's meaningful. It's something. It's certainly more than I could've hoped for if I'd gone the alternative route I was planning on taking... to MBA school.
 
I would hope that anyone could agree that life in biglaw is wasted life indeed. But hey, you get big bucks. That's really all that matters, right? I talk to so many unhappy biglaw lawyers, and inside, in mt head, i'm snickering and at the same time feeling sorry. Like when you come upon a situation that is so utterly screwed up - that you do not even makle an effort to fix it. It's just doomed, and it's better to leave it be. That's what I think of biglaw lawyers.
 
Your fears are well founded; money and prestige are not what life is all about. You were given the skills you have to serve others, not yourself, and as long as self is your primary focus you will be nervous and ultimately dissatisfied.

I don't mean to be harsh, I have been there my self. But I found that my life was much richer, professionally and in many other ways, when I gave my life and my career to something beside myself—Jesus Christ. Meaning has never been an issue after that because God has work for each of us to do that is both significant and more satisfying than all the money and prestige in the world.

That doesn’t mean that you will necessarily have to give up everything and go preach somewhere; God usually leaves you where you are (or at least in the same field). After all he gave you your skill set and he wants you to use it to the fullest, which usually means working in your field.

I won’t mislead you, it is a big change and change is never easy, but it is well worth it, in this life and beyond. And God will meet you far more than half way if you seek his help. See Matthew 6:33 and Mark 10:29-30. I’ll be praying for you.
 
Oh for Christ sakes. (No pun intended.)
 
Christian Lawyer,

Does the work you speak of, that God has for each of us, include document review? What about the pay?
 
CL,how bout not being a fucking evangelist and letting people live their life withough given your unsolicited two cents. There was no mutual assent here asshole. He did not contract you for your worthless BS. If AL feels the way he does, it isnt necessarily because he is looking for Da Man Himself. If he wants to find religion let him. But dont preach. This choir is far to sick of hearing shit like you spew for it to have an impact. Dont get me wrong. I am religious. I just feel compelled not to shove it down every person's throat at their finest moment of weakness. So when you see me waving realize that there is only one finger waving. AL, if you hate it that much, do something. You are capable of being great somewhere else to.
 
I like reading AL less when he's introspective and thoughtful. I like it better when he's in full-on rant mode, damn the torpedos (and the staff, along with it). It makes me think about questioning my own choices, which is hardly a pleasant experience.

At least he's thinking about firing the house-gimp.
 
Is this all there is? No. Being rich and successful in law isn't even close. Its all smoke and mirrors. If you change your focus to relationships, you'll find that contentment is possible. And, it doesn't rule out the possibility of having an effect on the law or on anything else. It may, in fact, increase your effectiveness. You've got the power, take it.

And, do you really want any kind of advise from the blokes that get a kick out of your surliness? These people aren't friends, they just enjoy a carnival.

Contented Lawyer, aka
 
I've been reading AL for some time now and have never felt the need to post before. I enjoy his entries and I enjoy reading the varied comments, but I like to stay above the fray (or hide--whatever). However tonight, I am going to give a word of encouragement to Christian Lawyer. "Good for you and forget the flamer. Or pray for him--that may 'burn' him more!"
 
To the flamer, I agree that religious belief is, in the end, a matter of personal belief. However, in the case of christianity, Jesus instructed believers to go into the world and preach the good news (ie, the chrisitan teachings). Secondly, you claim you are religious and therefore I assume that you believe in some higher being and therefore way to salvation etc. Isn't it selfish to keep that to yourself? Do you think that you are the only one entitled to the truth?

Finally, who cares what the Christian poster wrote? He is, expressing his/her opinion - the ENTIRE point of blogging. If you don't agree with him, say so, but don't criticise him/her for posting. I amazed at the number of people who express a belief in liberal democracy and freedom of speech and then work themselves up into a lather any time a person says something about a christian belief. GROW UP.
 
Grow a sack and quit your job before your fear that you'll "wake up one day and realize that this is it" turns into bitter regret.
 
 
AnonymousLawyer - The solution is easy: Diversify.
 
 
This AL post is yet another example of why kids should work at some other job for a few years between college and law school.
 
Christian Lawyer,

I'm so sick and tired of hearing people like you, Jerry Falwell, etc. who say that God is this, God is that. Shut up! You try preaching on a street corner in NY and you'll get your ass kicked so fast down the subway steps that you won't even have a chance to ask, Oh God, Save Me. Not everybody cares or wants religion to be part of their lives, and we disdain and certainly mock those who preach like you do. Keep your religious beliefs to yourself, go to church, and keep to yourselves. If people wanted "salvation" they'd go to the church themselves, or drink (at least i do). I believe in a God, but that's my extent. I feel bad for those suckers who think that the way of their life is chosen by God. Keep on dreaming, while I earn my money and do whatever "I" want, not what God wants.
 
I wholeheartedly agree with a previous poster -- leave Christian Lawyer alone! He/she has as much a right to "speak" as anyone else, and particularly so on an interactive forum such as a weblog. (In fact, the original idea of the forum was to serve as "a public meeting or lecture [place] involving audience discussion.") We may not necessarily agree with CL, but there's no need to tell him/her to shut up.

And personally speaking, it didn't seem to me that CL was shoving his/her message down AL's throat. On the contrary, CL's comments were rather respectful. It's the other guy I'd be worried about, who's swearing -- apparently no qualms about using profanity -- and full of anger towards a fellow poster, in spite of his/her claims to being religious.
 
At last -- AL is human after all. AL, I have some advice. First, you obviously have a lot of money. At this point in life, why keep pushing? Why don't you negotiate an "Of Counsel" position, cut your hours in half and take less pay? You can afford it. Second, this is not a dress rehersal!!! You only get one life. Life is nothing more than the sum of our experiences. You spend 60+ hours a week working on legal transactions and documents. Are those the experiences you want to accumulate? Why aren't you managing your own life the way you manage your job?? Why are you more devoted to the needs of your clients than your own needs? You need to figure out what is important to you. Make two lists. First list: your priorities from 35,000 feet. Think big picture. Don't write "work", figure out what qualities in life are really important to you. Security, money, family, etc. When you have a decent list, examine each item and decide whether your life right now reflects those priorities. Second list: what do you want to experience in this life? Don't hold back. Think about it as if you knew you were going to die in a year. What would you want to do? Now, take those two lists and re-focus! Rearrange your life to accurately reflect your priorities and get started on that list of experiences. Time is ticking! This is the first day of the rest of your life.
 
AL:

If you're real, walk away, amigo. It's time. Tell Anonymous Wife that the shoe budget is down to $1K per year, and tell Anonymous Kids that they will complete college in four years, or start paying for it themselves.

Write a novel. Run for office. Become a professional chess player. Do something you enjoy.

You'll miss these days of leather chairs and groveling associates, but you'll have something else. This isn't suiting you, and it's time to go.

But don't stop blogging - you can keep being a fictional hiring partner for years afterward; I'm sure you have a backlog of stories.

--JRM
 
Christian Lawyer - I applaud your words and your bravery to face "flamers" . . . and you know that you will when you dare to *gasp* discuss your faith in a public forum in a way that is relevant to the original topic.

To the flamers, CL is not saying AL "has to" become a Christian . . . he was just saying how he managed to escape that same predicament through his faith. Back off . . . or, get a drink . . . .
 
You are not rich if you don't know your kids and they don't know you.

AL, listen to your gut.
 
i hate to jump on again but this is quite a backlashing. At what point did you fucking evangelist realize that you were obligated to spread the word of christ? if you are not directing him to find Jesus, then what praytell are you doing? The problem with you evangelists is that you hide behind Jesus' name to spread your filth. The man never wanted people to pimp his words the way you do to dissenters. My profanity is no indication of my religious inclination, only a hint of how passionate i am about letting people find religion on your own. i do believe that evangelism is worse than nazism. I can say that with all honesty, I hate Nazis. Does that give you an indication of how decadent evangelism is? I dont need you to pray for me, or anyone else I know. I am an honest, caring person, who lives my life respectably in every manner. Except maybe the profanity, which by your standards makes me a flamer, sinner, democrat or whatever you preachers like to call us. The only difference is that, I choose to respect myself, my religion, and people around me, and Im pretty sure that they respect me to. It is a sad shame that you people dont see what you are like. But we will all be judged the same in the end, and if you happen to get a better seat, then my hat is off to you. But guess what folks, there still is only one finger waving. AL, sorry for taking up your forum with this crap, im just vehement about preachers.
 
Evangelism = Nazism? That's a HUGE generalization.
 
It'd be far more constructive for everyone here, I'm sure, so you wouldn't need to apologize to AL or others, if you eased up on the ad hominem attacks against CL and instead explain why in your opinion "evangelism" is so repugnant. So far, though, it's basically been an endless tirade against CL and his beliefs (equating what he's doing with Nazism, or worse), without any intelligent reason for why this might be so.

In fact, you haven't even bothered to define what you mean by "evangelism" when you attack it. For all we know, it could range from, I don't know, something more or less innocent such as the tactics advertisers and marketers employ to hype a product to (I presume more to your agreement) the Crusades, Inquisition, and Nazi propaganda. You're broadly lumping a whole lot of stuff together under the term "evangelism," and distinguishing between each with about as much subtlety as a person swinging a sledgehammer. (Not to mention other logical fallacies such as lumping all preachers together too; that "you people [preachers, I take it you mean?] dont see what you are like"; that preachers assume that you are a flamer, sinner, or Democrat because you use profanity (what?!), etc. I mean, seriously? This sadly illustrates your own prejudices and assumptions, I believe, more than it does others'.)

Look, I'm not saying I necessarily disagree with you, nor that I necessarily share CL's beliefs, but seriously dude, it's like you're just spewing angry, irrational words at some poor guy for voicing his opinion without (it seems) any rhyme or reason; I'm looking for a method to your madness.
 
Indeed.

What are you talking about? You haven't mounted a coherent argument against CL making comments. Why is the expression of one belief preaching, when the expression of another is the free exchange of ideas? Why do your criticisms have more value, or more right to be heard than CL's views?
 
i'm a loyal reader but have never posted up to today. i felt compelled to write when i noticed that this post coincides nicely with an entry AL wrote about the youth feeling entitled (8/20/04).

back then AL said that work was supposed to be a means to earn income and mutually exclusive from a source of fulfillment.

but it seems like AL is changing his mind based on this post. now he is complaining about the lack of fulfillment his job offers him. he cannot seek other sources of fulfillment because the hours he works consumes his schedule (60+ hours a week). i think AL is feeling the backlash of his previous philosophy of work. a previous poster said it best when he wrote:

There are choices we all have to make, and it doesn't sound like he's unhappy with where he is, which is a great place to be in life.

But I also don't think he ever made any choices, at least it doesn't sound like it from that post. He was presented with a career path (based on his father) but never really explored any other options.
it seems like AL's fear of quitting his job stems from never making his own decisions concerning his future. he even writes that he envies the freedom of choice a novelist has. AL, it's never too late to be a "novelist". if AL wants to start choosing his own life, i think we should all encourage him.

you have at least one supporter here AL. start living your own life and shoot for your dreams.
 
Wow, my post made more waves than I anticipated. I didn’t mean to hijack this thread, but given the responses I feel compelled me add three quick thoughts.

First, to those who encouraged me, stuck up for my right to post, or otherwise responded to the flamers, thank you. I appreciate it.

Second, to the flamers, I’m not trying to force anything on anybody. It just struck me that AL was hurting and I thought I might have something that could help.

Third, and also to the flamers, let me pass on a little practical advice. In my 20+ years of litigation practice I’ve seen the same dynamic exhibited here again and again—spewing venom does your cause far more harm than good. It almost never persuades and almost always offends. You might remember that next time you are tempted to “Rambo” lawyering (or posting).
 
AL, You are human, don't we all say, when I get "this" then I will be happy? When I accomplish "this" I will be thrilled? All tomorrow's. Tomorrow will never be today.
Do any of us ever take the time to come into our own and appreciate who we are today, with what we have today, and where we are today?... It's a decision. You have the opportunity to wisely learn from other's mistakes.. we don't have "tomorrow" -- we live in today.. it's all we've ever really had, the choice is yours to live it to it's fullest.
 
I do believe that my cause has not been set back by my Rambo posting. I would define evangelism as a tacky intrusion of religion. Yes, you have free speech, you are entitled to post about religion just as much as I to flame. My criticism lie in the place evangelists choose to spread their word. This blog has been entirely unreligious for the last few months. All of the sudden look at what it has turned into. There is a time and a place for everything. Prayer doesnt belong in school, neither does evangelism belong on a legal blog. I refer to nazism, though very extreme, as a point that a mass of uneducated people being led toward a cause can turn catastophic. Agreed? The religious right in this country is gaining power by being very intrusive. I have no qualms about letting people be religious, but at what point do you draw the line and fight for your privacy. I could turn the other way, but look, there it is, on Tv. Why dont I turn off the Tv and take a walk. Uh oh, there's the doorbell. Who could that be? Maybe I should just talk to myself. At least there is a conversation with no one who is brainwashed.
 
AL, you are selfish and pathetic, like most biglaw partners. Some of what you wrote is correct: yes, indeed, you do have it good compared to the millions of starving people in the world and others who never had the opportunities we have. How about spending time with your family during all the time you write this whiny babble on your blog (you obviously spend a lot of time there--you don't spend it all billing hours or lying to summer clerks).
 
>If you don't agree with him, say so, but don't >criticise him/her for posting.

Why not? Why should I restrain from exercising my First Amendment Rights? What gives you the right to tell me what I can/should criticize or not?

Anyway, I'm not the flamer but I agree with the essence of his (her?) statements. Any advice that includes the word "God" is absolutely worthless and void of meaning. I still can't figure out why people toss out that word as if it automatically imbues their sentences withsome sort of positive value. As far as I'm concerned, mentioning God is just a way of putting air. Practical advise is what helps, and here's mine:

AL, you are going through mid-life crises: First, get into shallow relationships with young women--at least it'll distract. Your wealth and social standing will help you immensely (although your attachment to golf probably will not).

Second, don't ask questions like "is my life wasted?" Everyone's life is wasted. Everyone dies unhappy. Only fools filled with vanity ask that question with half-hearted expectation that a Miracle will happen. You know better than to be one of them.

S (all these Annonymous postings are getting tedious)
 
S, that is the worst advice I have ever heard.

AL, do what you think is right. That's what all this boils down to in the end.
 
Do you think your partners don't know who you are?
 
Are you one of his partners??
 
So you start off defining evangelism as "a tacky intrusion of religion" only to later associate it with a definition of Nazism as "a mass of uneducated people being led toward a cause can turn catastophic." Please note that there is a vast chasm separating "a tacky intrusion" from "a catastrophic cause."

Also, in case you're implying that a lack of education [among Christians, preachers, and/or whatever other group you want to throw in there] results in catastrophe... where's the connection? Yes, many illiterate, uneducated, ignorant people turn violent and so forth, and sure there are ignorant Christians (just as there are ignorant Jews, Muslims, atheists, whatever), but there are also many educated and knowledgeable ones as well. In other words, one's belief or lack of belief in a God or religion is not what ipso facto qualifies one as an ignoramus or a person of wisdom (if I understand you correctly). I can't say for sure, but I would wager that most modern day Christians would in all likelihood denounce such things as the Crusades and Inquisitions and fascism. I mean, I don't see any of these preachers or whatever you say supporting neo-Nazis and skinheads, for instance.

So the point remains: it's awfully unfair of you to insinuate that someone like CL (obviously I don't know him, but he seems to be a respectful, intelligent person) is uneducated, ignorant, and/or worse (it seems) because of his religion.

If the roles were reversed, and you were for example in CL's shoes, would you tell atheists that their advice was foolish, or worse, reeked of some sort of Nazi mob mentality simply because they were atheists (I think the Nazis were more likely atheists or possibly occultists than actually mainstream religious people, by the way)? It's sort of like saying all Muslims today are terrorists. No, only the terrorists are terrorists, using religion (Islam) to justify their evil actions.

I'm sorry but your arguments so far make very little sense to me, and (I believe) I'm trying my best to remain fair and open-minded.
 
"This blog has been entirely unreligious for the last few months. All of the sudden look at what it has turned into."

Um, this was like what? One or two posts at the most? The majority of the posts were actually to counter your flaming, and not meant to be religious.
 
If you like the day-to-day stuff of your job, then you don't care whether it's meaningful or not. It's only when your job stops being fun that you start needing it to mean something. "What's the point of it all? Why are we here?" Take a vacation, get some new friends, cut back on your hours, & then see how you feel about things.
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
AL, your "well, I could be poor" musing misses the point. Yes, you could have made different decisions in your life that would have resulted in you having a much worse job and a less satisfying life. And you could have been born heir to the throne of England. But neither happened, and this reasoning is nothing more than you finding ways to justify inaction.

The past, and other hypothetical Yous (Anonymous Bricklayer? Anonymous Porn Star? -- that might be a blog worth reading) are irrelevant to the decisions you make now. Your choice isn't between re-living your life in another job and continuing on your current path. It's between the same job in the future and a different job in the future.

You've mentioned in previous posts that you're financially secure. This is an enviable position, because it gives you the flexibility to explore other options. Assuming you can still make the house payments, how feasible would it be to pass off a few clients and cut back your hours? Nothing extreme -- you could still put in a 40-hour week, but the increase in your free time would be dramatic.

I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know how realistic this is in your current position, so let's assume it's not possible to work 40 hours a week and remain a partner at BigLaw. Despite your dismissive statements about the work you do, you're still an experienced lawyer with good connections. In other words, you're in demand. I'm sure one or two of your clients could use a good senior lawyer.

See, this isn't even necessary, because you already know all of your options. I'm enumerating them so you explain to me why you aren't considering any of them. I'm guessing that if you do, I'll hear more of this "prestige" and "well, things are tolerable" bullshit. You know what, AL? At this point in your career, I'll bet you can still be a lawyer with a nice car and a housekeeper, even if you quit your firm and take a 40-hour a week job. Right now, the only thing keeping you at your same job (or doing your same workload) is inertia -- plain old freshman variety fear of the unknown.

Yeah, it's scary. Your standard of living might take a slight hit. But you can keep 85% of what you have right now while substantially increasing your happiness. So don't cloud the issue by comparing the status quo to novelists and maids.

Good luck! I hope you do what makes you happy, and what prevents your kids from becoming screwed-up brats. (I'll spare you the "with children come the responsibility to raise them right" lecture.) If nothing else, changing jobs would give you a whole new set of experiences to blog about.

DB
 
This is one of the best posts I've read on one of the best blogs I read. It speaks right to where I am right now, but from the other side.

I've just published my first book. And I'm almost halfway through a good law school. So I'm really at a fork in the road: I could be a writer or a lawyer. But, given the demands of both professions, not both. So I'm frightened, too. Frightened of making the wrong choice.

Being a novelist is terrifyingly uncertain, and I'm frightened that at 40 I won't have much money in the bank, no money to send my kids to a good college, and still scrimping and saving while others in my generation are enjoying the most financially secure years of their lives, while I still toil in obscurity. Given the viciousness of the publishing world, that future is more than likely.

Being a lawyer promises safety and security, but I'm frightened that every day I am a lawyer I will regret and worry that I've wasted my life and my intellect on a job that has made a difference only to a few corporate clients and one large law firm. I'm worried about resenting all the time I spend on my job and how little I have left for my writing. Given the demands of today's law firms, that future is more than likely as well.

AL's post tells me that the fear and the regret doesn't go away, even with all the financial security one gets as a partner. So maybe the best path is the one of the writer, because at least there is a chance of being able to write and be financially secure. Then again, when I say that, I'm still frightened. I'm terrified that I'm signing up for a life of penury.

AL's first love, I suspect, is mine, too: writing. Otherwise why did he start this terrific blog? I don't think his comparing lawyer and novelist is accidental. But AL's in a much better position than I am: he's reached the top of his career. He has that financial security I don't. Maybe he doesn't see it (or I don't, I'm just Anonymous, not Anonymous Lawyer), but he is at the point where he CAN do both.

The thing to do would be to parlay this blog into a book deal, an agent, and a publisher. Then he can quit or take a leave of absence and do the book. See how it does. If the results are encouraging, do another one. If that works out, another one after that...If at any point the novels peter out, AL still has the option of being a lawyer again, even if it might not be at his old firm. He has enough experience where he will still be valuable.

Gosh, that sounds great. Now I wish I had AL's choices.
 
I sometimes see lots of speculation as to whether Al is real or completely fictional. The last couple of posts, that being the one on maybe this isn't such a bad job as you can provide for your family, can't expect a perfect career, and now this one desperately pondering if there's a better life out there, mirror my own thoughts so closely it's frightening.

Well, whether it's completely real, or partly fictional, the thoughts are real for me. It is both scary, and comfortating, to know somebody else has these same worries.

"The Vet"
 
You don't get to have it both ways. You don't get to follow your bliss and seek worldly success. The good news is you succeeded in what you do. Now you find it's not enough. Good. That exactly coincides with 50,000 years of human experience.

Christian Lawyer has one solution; if I were you, but then who'd be me ... but if I were you, I'd assess my relationships. If you want to make changes in your life, what would they look like, and who in your life would go with you? Do you have a $20k country club bill? Can you give it up? Can you make do on $100k a year?

Hindus say life follows a pattern: the seeking of pleasure, the seeking of wealth, status and honor, the desire to serve, and finally a search for God. It sounds like you're ready to move to step three.

The world's shiny metal objects have you mesmerized, Mr. Anonymous Lawyer, and only you can say, "Enough." Personally, rather than insisting a big-life change program, I'd keep it real simple. Do ONE thing that is selfless for someone. Not a day. Don't make a resolution. Don't make it a program.

Just look for one nice thing you can do for someone, and do that.

Great ... now I gotta go take my own advice. Good luck.
 
Today is Wednesday. I took a couple of classes. They're free. I'm faculty at a State University. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I teach a few sections of an intro course. My wife is faculty, too.

That's right, I work two days a week, take a few classes because I feel like it, and knock off at 3:30 in the afternoon regardless. I skydive with my friends on weekends for fun.

I cook dinners for my two kids every night. I held my daughter's little hand last month during her first dentist appointment.

I've served in the military overseas, traveled the world, and now have the opportunity to change a few lives in the classroom every day. Maybe next year I'll go to Russia for a semester and help them set up a small business advising center. We'll see.

I used to work for A Big Law Firm in Chicago.

Long ago I learned there existed in this world more cool stuff to do than I had time for. I tried to do it all. I did most of it. None of it could replace the feelings of worth and love I felt holding my little girl's hand that day she sat in the dentist chair.

No drug, no check, no car, no meal, no hotel, no beach, no vista has ever matched those moments I've spent with her, helping her, comforting her, reading to, hugging, watching, caring, loving her. There's no other way to feel that except to be there.

No, I didn't have any FU money when I left Chicago. I did't need any. I have simple needs, and faculty salaries suffice. The most valuable thing I can give my children after food and shelter is my time and attention.

Good luck with you. I wish you well. I share you site with students seeking career advice. It's helpful. However, give your own children your first priority. They deserve it. They didn't ask to be born.
 
The best philosohpy on career choices came from Mike Judge's Office Space.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0151804/

Really, I'm half serious about this. But AL, seriosuly think about renting it.
 
You should be frightened, AL. I would not want to be you on your deathbed.
 
I am posting well after this blog began,and I do not think anyone will even read it...I am probably a rare artifact in this thread. I am a stay-home mom, 25, who was on the way to law school when my first child was born. I made a choice; a choice to give up my dream in order to make another's life better. I will not kid you AL; sacrificing the important self-desires is more than difficult. It can even be painful (obviously, otherwise I would not have stumbled upon this thread while googling for top law school info.) BUT-I know without a doubt that this is the right decision for me and for my family. My husband makes a decent, but very-much-middle-class income, and we do not have everything we want. Yet, we have everything we want: time to enjoy the first smile of the morning given by my seven month old, time to take my 3 year old to preschool and linger to chat with the teacher, time to read a nightly story and video the first steps. I will realize my personal dream someday, but I can not be an involved parent later. You have already completed one personal goal; take the time to explore the others. Family, passion, self-actualization: these things can not be bought or replaced. Best wishes to you on your journey to fulfillment.

-AH
 
God doesn't make you do document review. And the pay is fantastic. But the billables are a bitch!
 


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