I realized yesterday that unrequited respect just sucks. Giving deference and respect to an organization and not having it returned is a kick in the awkward parts. What galled me even more is that I hadn’t noticed it before.
I have worked for two very large law firms in a very large legal market, and follow the ebb and flow of the market with the eye of an unconvinced skeptic. Nevertheless, I do believe that law–even BigLaw–is the right path for some folks.
The worst problems arise for all of those folks who think it is the best path and end up wrong–either discovering it for themselves or having discovery served upon them by a layoff or other incident. Often this happens when one proceeds down the BigLaw path without seeing matters clearly.
My aim is to help people (probably mostly associates) in a few different categories:
- the panicked, who are just beginning to think this might not be right for them;
- the trapped, who have made the realization and are not sure how to get out;
- the parachuting, who are on their way out, whether by their own power or not; and
- the critically satisfied, who are on the right path, but want to be sure to approach it intentionally.
I am not aiming to produce a gripe-blog (although I do have my gripes). Several people have come up to me for advice specifically on how to handle this moment in an associate’s life, and I figured there is no reason not to share some of the thoughts I brought to the table.
So here you go.