A post in Penelope Trunk’s blog, the Brazen Careerist, reminded me of an old Alka-Seltzer commercial. The commercial, which I probably heard thousands of times by the age of 12, showed various characters encouraging a spouse/friend/relative to try some spicy or otherwise gastronomically challenging dish (“Try it, you’ll like it.”) “So I tried it…and I didn’t like it!” goes the refrain.
Penelope writes eloquently in her post that it is hard to predict whether you will like a job until you actually “try it”. Maybe you will “like it”. But even if you don’t, the secret to career success is to try different things until you find what you do like. While I believe that some self assessment can be very helpful, working with or without a career counselor, in the end, it is very hard to predict what will work for you professionally.
Finding career satisfaction is hard work and it is ongoing. In general, there are no easy fixes to career dissatisfaction. On the other hand, if you are not happy with the work you are doing, there are many easy ways to explore other options without quitting your day job.
As lawyers, we all have the chance to do pro bono work. Aside from the spiritual rewards that you get from helping someone or some organization that cannot afford legal services, doing pro bono work is an excellent way to explore a new practice area. This is true even if you are not interested in litigation. There are many opportunities to be an advocate for indigent clients. But struggling entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations or artists may also be short on cash but long on ideas. Find someone to represent and find a mentor to help you when you have questions. You will be helping others who need your services and you will be test driving new skills.