You must understand that being not very good while working as a lawyer is not common. I want to emphasize that being unhappy at work is not typical.
Lawyers who believe their situation is normal because everyone else around them is unhappy at work are something I see frequently..
We have somehow accepted that being miserable at work is normal, even to be expected, even though their complaint is more about the indignities they suffer from coworkers and other people than the difficult work that goes into being a lawyer.
This is especially true for someone like me who went straight from undergrad to law school. You might think that having a “real job” and existing in the “working world” includes a life of utter misery and despair.
To be clear, it is not normal to be miserable while practicing law.
Unsuitable Reactions to Lawyer’s Misery
When lawyers complain about their jobs to family and friends, they frequently hear that all jobs are unpleasant and that misery is just a part of life.
Their families advise them not to look elsewhere because it will be the same everywhere.
Speaking with current and former attorneys, I’ve learned that non-attorneys typically say this.
The people who share this experience with you do not mean any harm, but it is untrue that most people spend their working lives in utter misery daily.
Research on Lawyer’s Misery
I can’t say that I’m stunned. But what’s shocking is that we’re not just a miserable group. We’re also the most depressed.
According to The Dave Nee Foundation, lawyers are the fifth most likely occupation to commit suicide in the United States.
Lawyers are also 3.6 times more likely to experience depression than non-lawyers.
Some of the reasons that make the life of a lawyer miserable
No Career Counseling
Many people enroll in law school because they are unsure of their plans. They are intelligent and ambitious but also want to succeed by considering law school as the pathway to success.
These newly enrolled pupils lack vocal prowess and have a mini-stroke at the sight of blood, and after having a reality check, they don’t want higher studies.
So, they enroll in law school without really considering what it means to be a lawyer or whether they will even enjoy it.
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For Financial Stability
A lot of people register in law school to improve their financial status. Because, after all, all lawyers are wealthy? Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!.
I’ve been around long enough to understand the challenges of this profession. Many newly graduated attorneys struggle to find employment.
And that can be depressing after piling up six figures in debt, working your tail off in law school, and bringing yet another frustration.
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There is always someone ready to put you down if you work as a lawyer, which is a logical consequence. Being an advocate means that no matter what you are fighting for, another lawyer is likely out there fighting for a different cause.
Therefore, if you put everything into a brief and work on it for hours, days, or weeks, someone will be waiting on the horizon to tell you how weak your argument is. How careless your research is. How ridiculous your position is.
There is always someone ready to seize an opportunity to capitalize on a mistake, leading to long days and nights of anxiety as you wait to be “found out” for what you are insufficient.
Lawyer’s as Labor per hour
Being a lawyer is time-based, especially if you work for a firm. It’s all about billing—billing, billing, billing—not efficiency or balance.
And if you’re not going to charge, someone else will pay. Therefore, there are no time-outs for diseases, personal interests, sick children, or depressive episodes.
An hour that is not billed is an hour that is wasted, which gives stress and anxiety room to grow and thrive while leaving little time for that strange thing we call “life.”
Miserable Lawyer Molds New Miserable Lawyer
Miserable people tend to produce miserable people. As previously mentioned, there are a lot of miserable people working in the legal field.
If you have the misfortune to work for such a miserable person, you will almost certainly share their misery because they will go to great lengths to make your life miserable because how is it fair that they should be unhappy while you are happy?
Absolutely not! You will eventually experience misery similar to theirs.