Thursday, October 20, 2016
Is it really work?
The summer between my first and second year of law school I was doing a mandatory volunteer stint in a legal aid office. I had been there about a week, when one of the staff attorneys was called away on some emergency and asked me to cover her time on the intake desk that afternoon. She said, it is easy, listen to their story, fill out the form, and for gawds-sake don't promise them we can do anything to help them, tell them someone will call them next week to let them know if we can help.
I answered the first call, and the caller said, "you have got to help me, they are trying to take away my lion!" I should have known then and there that I had found my calling in life. I spent a decade after law school managing a legal aid program focused on seniors. Not what I expected to do when I went to law school. This is a second career for me, I had worked for land developers and home builders for 15 years before going onto graduate school. I went to law school expecting to do planning, zoning, and construction defects litigation for the rest of my life. But I fell in love with public interest legal work, and I have never seriously looked back.
Both careers have been all consuming, at times the hours are obsessively unhealthy. Both have been stressful at times. I recall telling a boss one time, "I am mad as hell, and you know what that is a good thing, because it shows that I still care about this work." When you reach the point that you don't care enough to get mad, it is time to move onto the next job, or maybe the next career.
Despite the hours and the stress, I truly love what I am doing. It is a passion, a calling. I look forward to doing it (well most of it.) Find something you love doing for a living, it will consume your life, but is it really work?