Let’s Be Honest: Becoming a Lawyer Was a Cop-Out (and I Know It)

I am sitting at my desk researching summer course offerings at local colleges.

It is likely the first step in the process to “going back to school”… or whatever that means.  I am not sure yet.

What I do know is that if I actually take the leap, I will not squander the opportunity as I have in the past.

For me, becoming a lawyer was a cop-out.

The minute those words flowed through my mind, I felt a wave of emotion and so I knew that I needed to write about it.

It was a cop-out?

Seven years of undergraduate and graduate education is what I am calling a cop-out?


Because it was a decision that I made out of sheer practicality.

I never dreamed of being a lawyer.

Looking back, I scarcely had the aptitude to succeed in it.  I hated social studies (except for global/international studies) and US history in school.  I stink as a public speaker.  I am not what you would call passionate about our judicial system.  At 20 years old and on the path to finishing my BA in Film (another cop-out and another story for another day), my goal was to work in the entertainment industry…without having to flex any creative muscles (and therefore not having to risk falling on my face).

When it came to professional choices, I was the anti-risk seeker.

I wanted to be a lawyer for two reasons:  stability and financial independence.

It was the practical choice.

But the real irony is that because of my choice to be a lawyer, I haven’t had either of those things.

My career has been a rocky road.  I have either been underemployed or dreaded my job for the past nine years.  I’ve had debt.  Much of it is paid off, but there is still plenty left.  I’ve lived paycheck-to-paycheck.  And I have scarcely had a day where I loved what I do.

I chose to become a lawyer, not because it was something that I was passionate about, or because it was something that I could excel at — but rather, because it was a practical choice at the time.

While at 20, that seemed like a really sophisticated approach to life — at 32 it sounds pretty f*ing stupid.  I am going to have to have some sort of career(s) for the next 40+ years.  Do I really want to be stuck in the practical one, or do I want to find and stick with one I actually enjoy?  My adult worldview empowers me to see the value of these choices in a very different light.

And now I look back and wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t dropped my bio major.  Yes, medicine would also not have been the right choice for me.  But I was passionate about science.  And I guess, in many ways, I still am.

I am more than a little obsessed with health, fitness and nutrition.  I want a job that focuses more on those things.

I walked away at 18 because it was too hard.  And a decade + of life experience has shown me that sticking with things that are hard, if you love them and are passionate about them, can be the most rewarding experiences in life.

And I deprived myself of that.

And now I think about starting over and it is so scary and so hard.

I don’t want to make the same mistake again.

So that first question to ask is, how badly do I want it?

Let’s be honest.


One thought on “Let’s Be Honest: Becoming a Lawyer Was a Cop-Out (and I Know It)

  1. Pingback: Reflections on Thirty Days of Blogging Daily (Almost) | Rachel On and On

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