I’ve been doing the lawyer hustle for more than three years. A lot has changed during that time, but one thing has remained the same.
My non-lawyer friends keep asking me these two questions:
(1) “Should I go to law school?”
(2) “Is your job like the cool lawyers on TV or the movies?”
Hollywood usually depicts lawyers as suave supermodels who do thrilling work and make all sorts of awesome “gotcha!” arguments in court.
In reality, most of us are kind of dorky and we’ll rarely, if ever, get the opportunity to bust out some sweet Atticus Finch or Perry Mason game in the courtroom. Rather, we sit at desks and use Microsoft Word all day. Sometimes we use Excel or PowerPoint if we really want to get funky.
Hollywood lawyer: chasing potential witnesses down the street in a slim-fit suit.
Real lawyer: a telephone call that lasts more than six hours
I think a similar perception/reality gap permeates a lot of our thinking. Being a detective sounds like a sweet job to me based on what I’ve seen on TV. However, “Law & Order” doesn’t show everyone sitting around doing paperwork all day. Likewise, when I was single, I wanted to be married. After I got married, I wanted to
be single . . . do everything I could to make my wife happy. When we lived in an apartment, I wanted to buy a house so we wouldn’t be throwing away rent money each month. Two years after buying a house, I miss those “cheap” rent payments, not paying real estate taxes or mortgage insurance, not having to fix broken stuff in the house I have no clue how to fix, and the life flexibility that renting provides. When I was in law school, all I wanted to do was graduate and start working. Now, I wish I could time travel and visit the 2006 version of myself and tell me (him?) to chill out and enjoy the freedom and the bliss of getting home by 6pm each day.
In short, the grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence.
It’s probably not.
So start enjoying and embracing your present place in life. Then you’ll be ready to move on to bigger and “greener” things. However, even then, no matter how green your grass may be, someone else’s yard will always look way greener and there will always be some pesky dog peeing in your grass.