Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Summer of George

I'm at a professional crossroads. Rather than being the Summer of George, this has been the summer of soul-searching: what do I want to be doing this time next year? Really, I am struggling between that eternal conflict--do I take a job I think I will enjoy, or do I take a job that will pay $80-120,000? I just don't know. I thought I'd try to pursue something in legal publishing, but I was talking to someone at work the other day and she said a lot of her law school friends who worked in legal publishing were dissatisfied with the "lifestyle." And that's the conundrum, isn't it? If you want to make the big bucks, you have to put in 80 hours a week. But I think for that kind of commitment you also have to really WANT it. You have to LOVE it. I don't love it. And I think it's stupid--to say nothing of spiritually irresponsible--to take a job I don't want just for the money. I understand I'll never find a job where they pay me to watch Simpsons reruns from 9-5, but that doesn't mean I should throw myself into a career I have serious reservations about. Especially since I just spent two years of me life being completely miserable and have got one more ahead of me, and I don't know if I could manage another two-four more of it. Or maybe I'm just a loser with a bad work ethic who'll never make anything of himself because he's afraid to get his hands dirty. I just don't know. The fact that nobody else who works as a lawyer seems to like what he does certainly doesn't help inspire me.

"Hey Kev, what do you call 1 out of 4 lawyers?"
"I don't know, Jay, what?"
"Clinically depressed."

I'm also feeling a little frustrated with Career Services. I guess they can't guide me if I can't tell them where I want to go, but I don't feel like exactly they've proffered a pantheon of potential options when it comes to alternative legal careers. The reason I don't know what I want to do with my JD is partly because I don't know what else is out there besides legal publishing or legal journalism. Everyone keeps talking about how versatile a JD is, how you can do almost anything with it. Okay, well, like what? I read that book What Can You Do With A Law Degree? I felt it was pretty worthless. It has this list of alternate legal careers that actual lawyers have pursued, like "voiceover guy," but it doesn't tell you HOW they got those jobs. Basically it seems like they pursued them through business connections they'd established over the years, rather than through some sort of mystical marketing with their JD. My parents and friends tell me I should try to be a John Grisham, but my ultimate fantasy has always been to pull a David E. Kelley. There was even a point where I secretly hoped I could write for The West Wing one day (I even wrote a pilot script for a West Wing spin-off about a Republican president) but then the show got cancelled, so that admittedly slim dream got completely quashed from the fantasy I'd kept it safe and secure in.

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