Tuesday, January 29, 2008

ABA Journal on Career Satisfaction for Lawyers

Click the title to this post to read an interview with Michael Melcher, author of The Creative Lawyer: A practical guide to authentic professional satisfaction, in the newest issue of the ABA Journal. He has lots of interesting things to say that readers can easily apply to the way they approach their own professional life. Here is a brief example:

Is satisfaction hard to come by because of the legal profession, or because of the personalities that are drawn to the field?

I think the legal profession is a little bit odd in some ways, but I don’t think it’s pathological. Many of the problems that lawyers think are unique to the legal profession are common to other professional services – for example, billable hour requirements.

I do think that most people who become lawyers have a certain analytical, critical perspective that is further honed in law school. It becomes second nature to see the glass as half-empty, and to conclude that nothing can be done to fill it. This is where they are wrong. There are lots of ways that lawyers can become happier in their existing careers, or make transitions to new ones. To do that, they need to give up some of the drama they are holding onto, reign [sic] in their egos and expectations, and do some real work to make these changes happen.
Melcher has helpful, sensible advice for readers who are unhappy in their career. For instance, he suggests breaking apart the pieces of your job, to consider which pieces, in particular, make you unhappy or unfulfilled. Then, you can consider whether you can change those pieces within the same career, or position.

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