I mentioned earlier this week that Kathy and I watched part of the State of the Union before falling asleep. During the portion we were awake for, President Obama noted that times, they are a-changin'. Gone are the days where you get up every morning, go downtown to your office by 9, leave at 5, work reasonably hard, get a few promotions, and make a decent living. Now, it's all "career development" and "networking" and "marketing yourself." But what if I don't want to do any of those things? What if I just want to get up, go to work, come home, be there in time to make my family a dinner that does not come out of a box or the freezer, spend some time together, go to bed, and repeat? One of my biggest gripes about being a lawyer is that my job encroaches so much into my life that it's gotten to the point where it is my life. Yuck.
The way I see it, there are two alternatives that I could live with. (1) I could find a job that doesn't encroach so much, or (2) I could find a job that I like enough that I don't mind some encroachment. But I don't even know where to start with that. I wish there was someone who would sit me down, give me a multiple-choice career assessment, tell me what would make me happy, and then tell me how to accomplish it. I need a guidance counselor.
Someone suggested to me yesterday that I try to find a book about it. Today during our snow day, Kathy and the kids and I took a break from work and walked down to the local public library to look for books. I couldn't find a free computer so I just walked up and down the non-fiction stacks looking for some kind of helpful book. Unfortunately, small-town public libraries do not exactly have a super current self-help section, so I ended up with a novel about a group of quilters.
Anyway, every time I try to read something about how to find a more fulfilling career, it always sounds like so much work. Am I lazy? I never really thought I was, but I don't actually want to spend 20 minutes a day reviewing my 5-year plan, or reaching out to someone on my A-priority contacts list. Maybe there are some people that enjoy that kind of thing, but I don't. I wish there was someone who was assigned to hold my hand through the whole process. Not like my "mentor" at the law firm, who is really more like one of my good friends that I can get free lunch with once a month while catching up on firm gossip, but I need someone to walk me through the larger career transitions. Someone to give me a framework for how to go about making major life decisions.
In all my nostalgic longing for a high school (or college, or law school) guidance counselor, I remembered that I actually had one of those career-assessment sessions with my college guidance counselor. I took a 2 hour long career assessment test on the computer. You know what it told me I should be? A lawyer. So maybe that's not the answer after all.