Many lawyers, both male and female, often struggle to make their law practice fit smoothly with their other priorities. Whether it is parenting or pursuing other passions, the feeling of conflict between their job and their other interests can be frustrating and demoralizing.
Along those lines, I received an email from a father and a former military lawyer now in private practice. His tone was one of frustration and resignation. He explained the pressure and stress that I hear from many, many lawyers. He had the guts to write it down and hit SEND. This story may come from a male lawyer, but we all know that this is an issue that affects women at least as much as it affects men.
He wrote… “Bottom line is that I am more miserable right now than I have ever been in 12 years since graduating, have no job satisfaction, stress through the roof, and not sure how to fix it. I came across your website tonight sitting at my daughter’s soccer practice on the night before the managing partner wants a written personal marketing plan. Not sure if this situation is salvageable…”
I spoke to the lawyer and at the core of it all was the pressure to develop business and do it in a way that others think a lawyer is “supposed to”… a way that doesn’t take into consideration that being a parent is his number one priority in life.
I shared with him that he isn’t alone and that I have many clients, men and women, who were feeling the same frustrations and questioning if they should even continue practicing law. But… he (and you!) can have both. You just have to develop business YOUR way and in YOUR world, in a way that reflects your priorities. Whether your priorities are your family, athletics, travel, politics, or whatever the case may be.
Parenting (or whatever your other “non-work” passions are) doesn’t have to play second fiddle to practicing law. You can combine both worlds. Network, or as I prefer to think of it, build relationships on the football field or at the ballet recital.
Does the scenario of stress and pressure sound familiar, and do you sometimes feel that it’s impossible to pursue your passions and practice law in the same lifetime? If so, do something about it. Create a book of business around what is important to you… your family, your hobbies, your priorities. I want this message to be loud and clear for women attorneys: you don’t have to choose between your career and your other passions. You can have both. You really can do it your way!