“How had I been reduced to crying in the work bathroom?”
The prostitute’s shoes clicked down the linoleum hallway. I sat jetlagged on the bed of the hotel room. I had no food, so for dinner I ate a Ziploc bag of unsalted cashews. I had to get home.
This is a copy of a guest post I published on Leave Law Behind, a great resource for lawyers looking to transition out of the law.
The decision to leave my six-figure law firm job didn’t come quickly. But as I looked down into my desk drawer, I realized I had to do it. Lined up neatly were orange prescription bottles of Adderall, Xanax, Effexor, and various headache medicines. I had the Adderall to wake up in the morning, the Xanax to relax at night, and the Effexor as a backup if I had to stay all night at the office.
I knew the statistics. Lawyers suffer from depression, anxiety, and substance abuse at higher rates than most professions. I could see it around me; everyone looked miserable, exhausted, or insane. Now it had happened to me.
It’s easy to set rules. It’s a lot harder to follow them.
I once set a rule for myself never to check work email after 11pm unless we had a signing or closing. When I told my rule to my non-lawyer friends, they thought it was completely reasonable. So did I.
I had shrunk. It took a while to realize it, but I had. When I started my career as a lawyer, I had expected that it would be difficult, but I would grow as a person. Instead, it was the opposite. I had shrunk physically, mentally, socially, even spiritually.