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Most of us can relate to accepting a job position, certain that it’s where we’ll end up retiring “one of these days”.  Usually, when the job isn’t what we thought it would be, we can easily begin the process over.  We can keep our resumes current, our eye peeled to the site and hope for the best.  But what happens when you realize you sacrificed a good chunk of your twenties in law school, only to realize you’d rather be used as a guinea pig for the Hurricane Hunters to drop you into the eye of a hurricane in an effort to collect data?  We asked A. Harrison Barnes what happens when clients come to him in his role as a career coach and who have this problem.  What does he counsel them to do?

“It’s not uncommon, not only for lawyers, but doctors, journalists, engineers and others as well, to realize they chose the wrong profession.  They find themselves completely dissatisfied and begin to resent having to show up each day”, says Barnes.  The first thing that everyone must keep in mind is that the way you feel today, this week or even this month, might not be indicative of how you’re going to feel in three months.  If, however, you’re sure a career as an attorney is not what you want,  the founder might suggest remaining in the legal field, but instead of filling the role as a lawyer, maybe going into the legal consulting aspect will serve you well.  This keeps you in the field and gives you a head start – you already know the law and you can easily slide right into the role of one who incorporates strategic management tactics, marketing efforts and other consultation efforts.

Barnes also encourages his clients to consider teaching.  You already know the law, it’s not a big leap to jump into the educational arena.  You’ll need to have certain qualifications to teach, but they vary.  This allows you to make the most of your education, while also allowing others the benefit of it, as well.  In fact, since it wasn’t what you thought it would be, you come to law students with a unique perspective.  Still, says the founder, you don’t want to allow your disillusions to take over, though.

It may be, too, that you’re in the wrong specialty.  Family law is tough and takes a lot out of the attorneys who enter this particular sector.  Some lawyers simply change specialties and realize the passion was there along, it was only a matter of tapping into it.

Whatever you ultimately decide to do, it’s important to live your life doing those things that make you happy and leave you feeling fulfilled.  Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for a lifetime of resentment and broken dreams.  Few of us, regardless of which career paths we take, have to hone in on which area of our career brings us the most satisfaction and the same holds true for attorneys, as well.

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