KATHY MORRIS (Kathy@underadvisement.com) is the founding board chair of the ABA Career Center and founder of Under Advisement, Ltd., which provides career counseling for law students and lawyers and advice for legal employers and law schools, with offices in Chicago and NYC and operating nationwide by telephone and video conference.
You should have jobs you love, jobs you wake up on Monday morning wanting to go to, jobs where the workday passes so quickly you actually wish there were more hours in the day. You also want your jobs to be lucrative enough to provide the lifestyle you seek, to allow you to make a dent in any outstanding student loans, and to keep your future options rich and plentiful.
That’s a tall order, I know, especially when many recent graduates fear the opportunities on the path ahead are dwindling and feel constrained to take a job, any job. So is playing to your strengths a luxury you really can’t afford or a necessity for launching a successful career in the law?
Studies tell us that happiness matters and that engagement in our work is what makes for productivity. Science tells us that stress and dissatisfaction are precursors to burnout. So I say that ignoring a focus on your strengths and corresponding interests is the greater risk. I’ve worked with many law students and lawyers who’d attest to the fact that you can position yourself for fit and fulfillment— and that it’s well worth the effort.