One year out of the law

Some days it feels like a lifetime ago that I left the law. It’s amazing how we can compartmentalise our lives.

While it may feel like a lifetime, it’s actually just over a year! I got a reminder from Facebook the other day that it’s been one year since my post on How I used Twitter to change careers.

A lot can happen in a year. Two jobs, a new city, new friends, new challenges and new opportunities.

I have reflected for a long time on this post. I’ve done quite a few posts on the different things that I did when I was trying to change careers, how I overcame setbacks  and met new people on coffee dates and at networking events.

But if you strip back all the things I did, what did I learn?

Most of the lessons I learned were deeply personal. I always find people’s perceptions of my career change interesting. I’ve learned that a lot of people don’t love their job! But people are always quick to distinguish their situation from mine, listing off a whole range of reasons, like “it’s not the right time for me”… or my favourite, “I just don’t know what I want to do“.

Does anybody?

If I go back to the year before I left the law, life was very different.

It was around this time that I knew I had to get out.

People ask why I left the law. Truth is, there’s a range of reasons. I always tell people that long term I couldn’t see myself as a partner at a law firm, but deep down I often wondered if I would make it through the week. I knew that to give myself the best shot at having a career I got excited about, I had to move away from the law…  fast.

Unfortunately life isn’t always easy and my quick exit didn’t come!

I hit a few bumps along the way, and considered finding another job in the law to get me out of a bad situation. But I stuck to my guns, knowing that I had fought waaaaay too hard for a temporary solution. I think this is one of the things that I am most proud of: even when times were extremely tough, I was able to find some energy somewhere to keep moving forward.

This process reaffirmed my belief that you can do whatever you put your mind to. If you are in the “I just don’t know what I want to do with my life” camp, I’m afraid you need to try harder. Because no one is going to put the solution on a nice silver plate for you.

If you’re in the same situation as me before, miserable and stuck in a job that you don’t enjoy, I challenge you to start actively making decisions to create the life you want.

To move forward, you need to control your narrative. Think about your passions, what you want to be known for? What makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning? Stop taking a back seat in your life and start living your life according to you and your own story.

“If you don’t prioritise your life, someone else will” – Greg McKeown

Crafting your story is one thing, next you need to have the confidence to believe in yourself and just go for it. Practice makes perfect. And if you have a rough day, give yourself some time to regroup … and then keep moving forward.

At the end of the day, work is a huge part of your life… so don’t just let another year pass in a job or career you hate. Because I can tell you now, once you reach the other side all the hard work is worth it.

If you are interested in reading more about my change from a corporate lawyer to a strategist, I recently wrote a post for my work’s blog, which you can check out here.

Got a question for me? Comment below or get in touch at phoebe@careerchronicles.com. Next week I’ve got a mini post coming up answering a question I get asked a lot. If you want your question answered here, I’d love to hear it!

Phoebe

2 Comments

  • Kate says:

    I loved this post Pheobe and so appreciate your perspective (and honesty)! I also love that quote and think I need to print it and add it to my desk “inspiration” board… Lovely to stumble across you via Blogging Boost!

  • Carrie says:

    Great post Phoebe. It takes a lot of confidence to leave this type of job, and then to write honestly about it! I too left a law career 3 years ago for a number of reasons and it was scary, but closing one door inevitably opens another!! Thanks for sharing.

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