It bothers me immensely when people chalk up my job satisfaction, or any other type of success, to my incredible good luck. What about the years of work? All the studying and not going out and focus and determination? It’s no mistake that I landed at a wonderful work place. But, it wasn’t luck, I just opened my eyes. I listened to the world when the world told me no.
I spent years determined to go to law school. I got my fair share of rejections and went to the best school I was accepted to, Boston College. Of course, I originally had wanted a change of scenery, Chicago, and was praying Northwestern would take me. This would have been an awful mistake, as Northwestern students are 97% successful professionals in their own right before they apply to the law school. I was a recent college grad and still getting the party out of my system. I embraced Boston College with fervor, and it embraced me right back.
Law school is all about your grades and test scores. I readily admit to anyone that I’m not the best test taker, but I have the passion and energy of ten people. Boston College professors and advisors shepherded me into their award-winning clinics where I thrived, loving every minute of working as a student district attorney. Can you predict where this story is going? Yes, I became desperate for a job as an assistant district attorney. These jobs are coveted, despite the low pay, and they lead to success. Not to mention the DA’s office is fun!
It was not to be. I graduated in the worst legal market the US had ever seen, with only a slim percentage of my graduating class securing a job prior to graduation. The economy had cratered and there was a hiring freeze on all public sector jobs.
I spent a few weeks spinning my wheels and feeling bad for myself. Many of my peers continued to do that for years. I was in a very precarious position of desperately needing a job, and it forced me to look around at other options. I know you probably aren’t surprised that there are other avenues of becoming a litigator. I never would have predicted it, but here I am today working as a civil litigator, a trial attorney. I still hold wrongdoers accountable, I still have incredible client contact and I still see the inside of a courtroom all the time.
I share my story just to let you all know that, while lady luck smiles on all of us at some point or another, you can take credit for your accomplishments. If you listen to the world and listen to your heart, you will not go wrong. There are many other examples I could choose from in my own short life where I yearned logically for a certain accomplishment, but it was inexplicably taken from me or barred to me. Adapt, change, grow and find success…dare I say “become limber?”