How are you? I hope you are in a better place than me. I am a criminal lawyer making a great living but I hate what I do. I feel empty inside and going to work everyday is like going to war. I cannot connect with people and their problems; I do not like defending criminals in court and looking for a way out for them when I know some of them deserve to go to jail or the electric chair. I am good at what I do and I am a very successful professional. I live an above average lifestyle; have a beautiful wife and two adoring children who are also addicted to the good life. Me talking about leaving my job and doing something that I like better, something that I love that could feed by soul and spirit, does not go down well with my wife and son. My baby daughter who is 15 is the only one on my side. She says to me daddy you should do what you like. My wife says if I leave my job she’ll leave because she would never be able to raise her head again among her friends, she would be dropped by her friends because everything we have will be taken away and who wants to associate with a loser. I agree we are living on the hog but we carry a lot of debt because we like a million things and then s ‘more. I love to work with my hand and my dream was also to deal in antiques, refining old furniture and selling them is what would make me happy. But how do I go from a lawyer to an antique dealer. BTW I am a big fan of the Antiques Show. Pertinent information for you to know is that my wife does not work but she is a trained teacher. At the moment she is a stay at home mom. I’m the sole breadwinner. Can I drop out of this rat race and live real? Your opinion matters, I may not take it but give it to me anyway.
Dear Out of sync,
Sounds like you do not like defending criminals and it’s getting you because you see yourself as part of the problem, setting criminals free. You have to figure out whether it is practicing law that’s not doing it for you or practicing criminal law. Second of all to feel fulfilled in life we have to follow our calling. If your calling is repairing and renewing old furniture then that’s what you have to do and I promise you that if you do it as well as you do law you will be rewarded financially, spiritually and emotionally. You just have to trust in that higher calling which is perhaps why you made this journey in this world. Change does not come easy and because you have a family maybe you have to plan your way out so that it happens quickly. Here’s a quick ten step plan:
1) Stop spending money on more
2) Pay off your debts
3) Live according to your means and not to impress the Jones
4) Discuss your goals with your family. If they love you they will support you. They would want you to be happy than miserable.
5) Be enthusiastic about your plans so that your family can be excited as well. Sell it as a family business – the family will work together on this venture you’ll spend more time with your family and you will be a happier person to be around.
6) Find out all you can about antiques
7) If you need training, make time to do it part-time
8) Have a deadline e.g., a year, six month or what is comfortable for you to make the shift.
9) Suggest to your wife that as the business is getting started she could go out and find a job as a teacher to help out.
10) Keep your focus; see yourself in this role, happy, successful and still living the good life. Do it.
When our calling comes knocking we ignore it at our own peril. So do what you have to do, show your enthusiasm so that your family can share that with you. I have no doubt that you will be fine and your family the better for it.