Job Randomness

I make it a strong habit and rule not to discuss my office on here. A couple of folks at the office check in every once in a while. I certainly don’t want to rock the boat or say something here that didn’t get said at the office first and thereby hurt feelings. But, this post is a slight deviation from that rule.

Today I came to the very odd, unsettling, and at the same time profound conclusion that I truly do not like practicing law. Now, let me clarify that. I like the collaberative side of the law practice. There is nothing more satisfying in my job than bringing two or more parties together to work out a deal that will benefit each of them. Sometimes you get adversarial, sometimes you’re on the same team, but there is a goal at the end of the day that you can all, to some degree, be happy about.

I also like the flexibility my firm has given me with political clients. I love running political races, consulting, managing, and designing campaigns and, once a candidate is elected, helping him in office and helping him build up for re-election.

But, I hate the purely adversarial part of the law practice. I’m a collaberative time, a consensus guy. If there is a right position, I want to take it and I like helping people who have truly been done wrong. But, way the heck more often than not both sides are to some degree at fault and my client inevitably wants 100% of the pie. When I can’t get it for him or give him sound advice about his position, he gets mad at me for not “advocating for him.” I also hate when someone comes in at the last minute, commits me to doing something I’m clueless about, and then pointing out that it needed to be done a month ago. I also hate it when clients cut me out of the picture, screw up, then demand that I fix it and blame me for it not working out right. Finally, I really, really hate it when people need something done immediately that can’t be done immediately and it becomes my fault that it can’t be done as rapidly as they insist it must be done even though there are legitimate reasons it can’t be done.

Sadly, I have come to the conclusion that you make the most money in a law practice doing the things I like the least and most of any law practice I would hope to have in Macon would involve the things I least like. It is increasingly apparent to me that I love politics, I love consulting, and I love helping people get deals done. Heck, I even love helping navigate people through the 501(c)(3) process, which most people find distasteful. I hate the majority of what I do for a living.

I am truly blessed to work at what I consider to be the best law firm in my area. I enjoy the people I work with. They are all very ethical, very friendly, and very good. The partners are encouraging and look out for us as best they can. But I’m increasingly having difficulty seeing myself practicing law five years from now. I just don’t look forward to getting out of bed in the morning and practicing law. And who wants to spend their life getting out of bed doing something they hate.

Right now it seems the bad stuff outweighs the good. That may change. I’m going to stick with it. I’ve got a baby on the way and a wife with a commitment to a great boss and great job for another year. And I have a great job too, just one I’m increasingly dissatisfied with and it is no one’s fault but my own.

I don’t plan on quitting. I don’t plan on actively searching for new jobs. What I do plan on is buckling down through the thick of the stuff I don’t like, appreciating the good stuff that does come along, and praying that God opens a new door for me either where I am or somewhere else. Right now I’m hoping it is a non-law job.

That, my friends, is the problem. For some reason when I tell folks I don’t like the practice of law, their response is usually, “Well, you need to be this type of lawyer or practice in that firm.” I’m in the best firm. I work with one heck of a good guy. But the stuff I like doing doesn’t come around every day. The stuff I least like doing never ends. I don’t and can’t expect to get prime pickings of everything. I certainly don’t expect every day of any job to be the perfect day. But I do expect that I don’t want to spend the rest of my life doing something the majority of which I really don’t want to do.

So, if you don’t mind praying for God to open up a door for me and for me to be smart enough to walk through it, I’d appreciate it. Oh, and it’d be great if he doesn’t make me move, though I love to travel! In the alternative, you can pray that I remember to buy a Powerball ticket on Friday and win the lottery so I can pay off my student loans, credit card bills, house note, car note, and then move into the satisfying career of high school teacher.

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Erick Erickson

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2 Comments

  • Hang in there. Hope things get better in time. Every job has aspects which are not enjoyed. Looking back at the time when I was most miserable at a job I now realize it was mostly do to the fact that I had not yet mastered my job. A year or two later the job still had the same stressors but I now understood how to get things done better which actually made the same job enjoyable.