Whenever attorneys consider any type of career change, whether minor or major, the issue of money inevitably comes up. That's hardly surprising. Often, the changes being contemplated require some sort of financial sacrifice, at least in the short term. Some require short-term and long-term sacrifice.
For purposes of this post, I consider a career change to mean, among other things, a modification of a practice area, switching work environments, going solo, or even getting out of law.
Don't Let Money Interfere Too Much
Far too many lawyers let the money aspect of any career change get in the way of making the best choice. Risk-avoiding lawyers are often unwilling to assume any risk, no matter how reasonable it appears on paper. This is unfortunate. These lawyers never get to experience working in areas that may turn out to be more satisfying and lucrative in the long run.
Complete Failure is Unlikely
Lawyers seem to always assume the worst. This is why money issues scare many away from career change. When you assume the worst, the concern becomes when you will run out of money, not if you will run out of money.
Keep Your Perspective
When considering any career change, envision the difference between a home run and a strike out. The most likely outcome of swinging the bat will be a single — or perhaps a double. What does that look like? Can you live with that? Probably yes. Too many lawyers, however, don't think that they'll get to first base. As a result, they play it safe, stay in the dugout and remain miserable.
You Can Live On Less
Others may be more confident that the planned career change will work. However, they don't want to consider living a more frugal lifestyle. Too many lawyers focus on what it might be like living on less, while completely forgetting that this probably won't last for long.
Alternatively, they assume that tightening their belts for a short period of time will be intolerable. Think about past times where your disposable income was reduced for reasons such as paying for child care, taking out a big mortgage, or paying for your children's college. Did the world come to an end? I doubt it. Moreover, the benefit was usually worth the cost. Sadly, many attorneys do not apply the same calculus when the benefit of a career change is a more successful practice.
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