It may be hard for some to believe, particularly non-lawyers, but some lawyers are actually bored practicing law.
I was called on some time ago to consult with a lawyer, a very good lawyer, who was considering leaving his firm, and even changing his career - – because he was bored practicing law. His firm wanted him to remain a lawyer, and continue with the firm, because he was very good at what he did and he attracted a number of clients to the firm.
When I interviewed this lawyer, he told me that he did the same type of legal work day after day, month after month, and year after year. He had gotten bored being a lawyer.
As we got further into our conversation, it became apparent to me that his personal life, outside of the office, wasn't much different. He was bored in the office, and bored outside of the office. But, the interesting thing to me was that he was an interesting guy. He had a lot of (legal) talent, and had a number of (hidden) interests. It is just that he had gotten himself into a great big rut both in his work and in his personal life.
Harvey Mackey, the national columnist who writes articles on Leadership, wrote an article that addressed just this type of person. Mackey said, "Folks who are chronically bored are missing out on a lot of opportunities. When you can't (or should not have to) change your job to eliminate boredom, you have to change your state of mind. You need a shot of stimulation. Give your brain some new challenges – – both work and non-work related."
Mackey suggests the following tricks:
Make some changes in your work. If your work is all routine, then make some changes in your surroundings – – for example, take on some free (pro bono) work that you would not typically do; make some new friends in your Firm or office building; take some classes that are, or are not, work-related; or, rearrange your office space (shift furnature around, hang some pictures on the wall – – even if it is of the Justices of the Supreme Court)
…and, as for your personal life…
Do something that you would like to do, that you have not done in a long time. Go to a movie, a museum or a sporting event. Start developing new friendships. Buy yourself a little gift or a surprise for someone else.
Get some exercise. Physical activity will get your blood pumping and stimulate endorphin production, making you feel energetic and happier.
Take a break, possibly a little nap every now and then – – maybe even a longer break, called a "vacation."
Change your routine. Take a different route to work, or back home. Start the day with something new instead of just sitting down with your to-do list (that contains 5,000 things that you have not been able to get to).
Shake up your work, and your day, and interesting things may reveal themselves.
JEROME M. BAME, Esq. Coach-Mentor-Confidant to Lawyers, 10061 Talbert Avenue, Suite 200, Fountain Valley, CA 92708; Telephone (714) 962-4477; Email bame@PracticingLawSucks.com
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