The Surprising and Unspoken Reason Why Many Lawyers Are Unhappy
October 3, 2022
Lawyers are some of the most unhappy people in the world. They’re consistently ranked among the unhappiest professionals, and surveys suggest that the majority are dissatisfied with their work and find it difficult to be happy at all.
But what’s surprising is that they’re not unhappy because they don’t have enough money or because they hate the work they do; rather, there’s one thing that makes them especially unhappy, but few lawyers will ever admit it aloud to anyone—even their therapist! That common denominator? Their relationships with their bosses.
I’m unhappy with my career choice, but I can’t leave because…
I’m not happy in my career as a lawyer because of one reason: I have no Lawyer other marketable skills or hobbies. What’s worse is that the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do, draw, isn’t something that gets me paid so I can’t do it on the side. As long as I continue working here, I won’t be able to pursue Lawyers or anything else either because there’s not enough time for both at the moment.
That being said, some lawyers don’t mind being unhappy with their job because they get to spend more time with family or work fewer hours than most other jobs which seem like perfectly good reasons too. It just makes me sad because my happiness shouldn’t have to take a backseat while someone else can lead an equally rewarding life.
I feel trapped in a position I don’t want to be in
I’ve been a lawyer for over ten years now, but recently my passion for the job has been waning. The more I learned about Lawyers, the more disillusioned I became by it. It was no longer what I wanted to do with my life. For as long as I could remember, all I wanted to be was an author
, but there were too many Lawyers’ obstacles in my way that were simply insurmountable at this point. It’s not like anyone can just quit their job because they don’t like it anymore – that is an incredibly stressful thought when you have a mortgage and kids to feed – but then again…why am I doing it?
It would mean giving up on my dreams
This is something I have struggled with my entire career. In law school, one of my mentors asked me, If you were to die today, what would you want to happen in your practice? and I remember thinking: Wow. That’s a really big question. It still makes me a little sad when I think about it now,
because those words were the inspiration for the work that became my life’s calling. But getting there took an extra ten years of toiling always coming close but never quite achieving the dream.
I’m not sure how to make it happen
Your child is at the dentist, but there are no available seats. Your elderly mother’s car needs repairs, but your mechanic is booked up for two months. A partner at your firm is leaving, but there’s no designated person to replace him or her. Who do you call?
To put it in a nutshell, working with other people to get things done doesn’t always work. But by working with, I don’t mean going out for drinks or being besties–I’m talking about relying on them for resources, logistics, and cooperation to help you accomplish something larger than yourself. And most of us are unable to go it alone–for better or worse–particularly during a crisis such as a death in the family or when somebody quits unexpectedly.
There’s no turning back after so many years spent studying for this exam
Since there are so much information for Lawyers to know, the average person can’t learn it all. Thus, attorneys must spend four years in law school, taking on 60 hours of credit hours per semester while they study day in and day out. When the exams finally come around,
they have to know the facts inside-and-out so that nothing catches them off guard on the test. They work hard for their LSAT score because this becomes their key to admission into law school – which then means another two more years of schooling before a lawyer has earned their degree.
Our family is counting on me.
I always knew I would be in a legal profession Lawyers, so naturally, law school was my next stop. I remember my father always telling me, the thing about lawyers is that people are counting on them. That has always stuck with me as a child, and then as an adult.
As I progressed through the profession, day-to-day work became monotonous for me. I would leave the office feeling drained and unfulfilled. When people ask why it didn’t take me long to leave the legal profession and venture into other fields of work, many times Lawyers are unaware of what drives us to stay in certain fields: like family expectations or simply following our heart instead of listening to all sides of our opinion.
My parents have been supporting me and my siblings since before college.
Moving forward means losing everything.
For some lawyers, there is a feeling that the more you achieve, the more of your life you sacrifice. Most people have a limited time on earth. When you are in your 20s or 30s, it feels like you have time on your side and can make leaps forward without worrying too much about what will be left behind. But as we grow older,
we see friends retire or die young or risk it all to launch a new business that might not work out. We start to feel chained to our current position because if Lawyers lose our job, we may not be able to find another one before retirement age. This leads to unhappiness because most attorneys feel like they can never get Lawyers ahead or experience true happiness while simultaneously thinking that they are playing it safe by staying where they are.
I would rather accept an average salary than risk everything.
In today’s society, success is often gauged by material goods. Increasingly, we are faced with what the American Dream has come to represent- that if you work hard enough to achieve the ultimate goal of life be whatever you want it to be. In this competitive environment, is it any surprise that many would rather accept an average salary than risk everything?
According to a study done at Harvard, as of 2005 43% of lawyers were living in poverty or near poverty. With a high school degree as the baseline requirement for most legal jobs, many people can find success in other areas of life besides their law degree. They may not have attained their dream yet but they feel much less pressure to conform. Is sacrificing your happiness worth the guarantee of financial stability?
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