I expected these from my career but… 03 Oct 21
Back in my home country, Turkey, I was a lawyer. Graduated with big hopes, joined a mid-size corporate firm and switched to another one, worked hard for three years and left them behind mostly with frustration. Were my expectations too high or was something wrong with the system? Being away from the legal practice and home I believe I have a more objective view about it.
An intellectual challenge
Law is mostly composed of complex topics. Understanding and even finding the rules, concepts and accurate application are hard to achieve. However, it is a great satisfaction to tick all these boxes. After long hours of brainstorming and drafting, it is usual to expect a careful examination of the work. But that was not the case most of the time.
When I submit a petition after petition to the courts I couldn’t see similar scrutiny from the judges in their decisions. I thought I might have been too naive to expect such a thing. Because they are busy there is no time for fancy legal discussions. Let’s play the game by the rules of real life. I say alright. Yet, I couldn’t see consistency. Even simple rules’ application differed from a judge to another one. This diminished my desire to see the intellectual challenge. The issue is not only getting the result or not but for me, it was seeing the conflict of ideas and well-presented arguments.
Even from childhood lawyers have a good image. It has been regarded as one of the most respected occupations. When I became a lawyer, I saw the pride that my family and relatives feel. However, I did not feel the same respect when I was working, especially from whom I was contacting. Judges and officials were sometimes really disrespectful. Handling paperwork in a governmental institution could take hours. Besides, there are so many lawyers. It became so popular field and every university decided to have a law faculty. Since there was no exam to be a registered lawyer, every single graduate chose to get the qualification. This raised the number of lawyers but reduced quality, respect and earning. Harsh competition under severe economic conditions made so many lawyers miserable. These are felt within society. Therefore, being a lawyer is no longer sexy in Turkey. This was not what I imagined.
In relation to the second point, good salaries, if you are employed, and good earnings, if you are independent, has remained in the past. Law firms exploited the rising numbers and did not hesitate to replace employees. Many of my friends chose to be independent lawyers. This is reasonable because if your earnings are not that high then why would you continue in a place where you will not be promoted to partnership. At least, you could develop your client portfolio and be your boss.
I wanted a career in a corporate law firm to handle significant cases. I wanted to be involved in high-quality legal practice. However, the career opportunities were narrow. Besides, I did not like the culture and harsh working conditions at all. The only reason to stay in this part would be a good salary which I do not think the hourly earnings are handsome for most of my friends.
What is now?
I am on the edge of taking serious decisions about my career path. I think I acquired good skills that a lawyer can have. Building a career capital comes first. Following the passion or do what you love might not be a good advice. I might transfer my skills to pursue a completely different road. I believe that the job itself should not be the end goal but rather a medium. There must be other ways to follow the causes I care about. Besides, traditional careers have changed thanks to technological developments. Internet and media allow to outreach unimaginable magnitude of audiences. So why not try these ways?
This Week’s Coolist 😎
- Last week I recommended Blinkist and they have free book summaries every day. So far I have enjoyed and seriously thinking about the permanent subscription.
- Jordan Peterson’s GQ interview, I know I joined the club very late but it is so amazing that such an intellectual debate has over a 40million views. I admire Jordan’s confidence and the way he makes his case.
- Delivering Pizzas to Building a Billion Dollar Business | Ben Francis Gymshark CEO from Ali Abdaal Deep Dive. This blog has been promoting Ali’s work but this guy is doing an incredible job. Very insightful interview with Ben Francis. His story from being a pizza hut delivery guy to a million-dollar company and his evolution is appealing.