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Update: Farewell to the Law… February 20, 2010

Posted by pacejmiller in Blogging, On Writing, Study.
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(Big exhale…)

On Friday, 19th of the February 2010, I finally closed the book on my career in law.

I guess it was a long time coming, but it was also one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever made.  I’ve studied law for 6 years (including a Masters).  I’ve been employed in it for 4.  I’ve worked with some of the most brilliant minds in this country (and some of the most retarded).  I’ve made friends I hope will still be a part of my life (and run away from some of the most psychotic).  Whichever way I look at it, the last 10 years of my life has been a wild (albeit insanely stressful and dry) time.

However, I suppose I was never really meant to be a lawyer.  I never had a passion for the law that some of my fellow lawyers did.  I never felt the urge to be the alpha dog, to climb the ladder towards partnership and lucrative financial rewards.  I just wanted to protect my neck in this sometimes cut-throat business.

Being an overachiever in law at university was the worst thing that could have happened to me.  People automatically assumed I read cases, legislation and legal articles in my spare time (this actually happened on countless occasions).  People would say, “Remember that case about [blah blah blah]?” and I would pretend to be trying to recall the case until they thought of the answer themselves (this happened at least 10 times, and it may have even been the same case).  There were occasions when I was told I did a great job when I didn’t even really know what I did or what was doing!  I find it amazing that I could be ‘highly regarded’ when I consistently felt like a complete moron.

People ask me why, if I’m so unsuited for the law, I ended up in it in the first place.  The only thing I can say is that it was probably a combination of being totally clueless, not knowing what I wanted to do, expectations, following friends, and pride.  That said, I don’t regret it (much).  I’ve learned a lot, experienced a lot, and made a lot of great friends.  I’d probably do it all over again.

But alas, I’m moving on.  I won’t miss the long hours.  I certainly won’t miss the stress (or the rapid ageing – I’ve been told I looked like a 14-year-old when I joined my old firm in 2005; no one mistakes me for a 19-year-old now).

This blog will also start to undergo some changes shortly.  I still have a few Taiwan food posts remaining which I plan to crunch out soon, but after that, I intend to shift the focus back to writing – following my writing adventures, putting up helpful tips, resources and links – all that crap.  Of course, with more time on my hands, I’ll still be reviewing films and books and dabble in other stuff, but hopefully the focus can be on writing.  Hopefully…

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Comments»

1. Lua - February 21, 2010

I studied law for five years, asking myself everyday why I’m doing it… I didn’t want to be a lawyer, I never was as enthusiastic as my friends were and I truly felt like I was just not meant to be a lawyer! After I started my first job, it took me a week to quit :)
I am one of those believers, I think everything happens for a reason and I am grateful that I have a law based background. I am also grateful that I had the courage to quit something I didn’t wish to pursue for something I was deeply passionate about: writing.
I wanted to congratulate you and wish you the best of luck with your new path… :)

pacejmiller - February 21, 2010

Wow! Thanks for the comment and kind words! It’s great to see others that have followed their dreams. In that sense I think we are lucky because there is actually something we are passionate about. There are so many people at my old firm that want out, but have no idea what they’d rather do instead.

2. uioae - February 21, 2010

Pace, you are the idol of everyone who is left at the firm, I’m sure. Tell me how writing goes. I might be inclined to take action after hearing your tales.

pacejmiller - February 21, 2010

Gotta do it! And of course, keep writing yourself. You keep me sane.

3. j-a brock - February 21, 2010

how courageous of you to take this step now, rather than slugging away for 20 years afraid to do anything else. i’m sure it was tough, but there are so many in that situation who would love to follow their heart like you have, and never do. you have a strong background to draw on, both in terms of employment options (if you need to) and writing.

i look forward to future writing posts!

pacejmiller - February 21, 2010

Thank you! It’s always comforting to hear words of encouragement. It’s going to be crazy hard, but unlike my old career, I actually want to work as hard as I can this time.


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