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The Joy of Passion - Finding Your Calling

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Abstract

The idea of finding career passion troubles most people. Deciding on a career and committing to it while maintaining balance in the other areas of one's life is an arduous task. As educators, we often admonish students that passion does not always connect to high grade point averages (or high salaries). However, as a student, one might have stumbled upon one's passion but was too distracted to recognize it. Therefore, as we see it, the key in any professional pursuit is that one must enjoy what he does for a living. If one has a passion for his career, he is at an advantage. If he considers his career pursuit to be a true calling, that is even better. What does it mean to have passion? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines passion as "a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept."
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Citation: 16 T.M. Cooley J. Prac. & Clinical L. 259 2013-2014
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THE
JOY
OF
PASSION:
FINDING YOUR
CALLING
Harvey
Gilmore*
and
Geoffrey
M
Smith**
I.
INTRODUCTION
..........................................................
260
II.
REASONS
PEOPLE
HATE
WHAT
THEY
DO
FOR
A
LIV
IN
G
...........................................................................
262
A.
The
pressure
to
perform
and
get
to
the
top
...............
263
B.
The
pressure
to
STAY
on
top
after
getting
there
.......
263
C.
Going
into
a
different
field
instead
ofpursuing
one's
ow
n
dream
.................................................................
264
D. Having
to
provide
for
one's
family
...........................
265
E.
Being
trapped
in
professional
life
because
the
money
is
g
o
o
d
..........................................................................
2 6
5
F . H
opelessness
.............................................................
265
G.
The
realization
that
the
drive
to
the
top
was
not
worth
th
e
trip
.......................................................................
2 6
5
H.
The
hope
for
greener
pastures
...
anywhere
.............
266
III.
THE
HOPELESSNESS
OF
IT
ALL-JOB
BURNOUT
......................................................................
266
IV.
CHASING
THE
MONEY
..............................................
270
V.
GETTING
OUT
OF
THE
RAT
RACE
........................
275
VI.
HEARING
THE
CALL
.................................................
280
VII.
TWO MISFITS'
(OUR)
REAL-LIFE
EXPERIENCES
WITH
THE
REALITIES
OF
WORK
..........................
281
A.
Gilmore
and
the
Rat
Race-Gilmore
Lost
...
Badly!.
281
B.
From
Corporate
Flunky
to
Law
School
....................
286
C.
From
High
School
Dropout
to
College
Professor
....
289
1.
Escape
from
High
School
...................................
289
*
Professor
of
Taxation
and Business
Law at
Monroe College, The
Bronx,
New
York; B.S.
(Accounting),
Hunter
College
of
the
City
University
of
New
York
(1987),
M.S.
(Taxation),
Long
Island
University
(1990),
J.D.,
Southern New
England School
of
Law
(1998),
LL.M.,
Touro
College
Jacob
D.
Fuchsberg
Law
Center
(2005).
**Professor
of
Sociology
and
Business
Writing
at
Monroe College, The
Bronx,
New
York;
B.B.A.
(Business
Administration),
Baruch
College
of
the
City
University
of
New
York
(1982);
M.A.
(Management),
New
School
for
Social
Research
(1990);
M.A.
(Sociology)
New
School for
Social
Research
(1996).
The
authors
express their
gratitude
to
the
exceptional
efforts
of
all
of
the
editors,
as
well as
their patience,
help,
and
friendship.
T.M.
COOLEY
J.
PRACT.
&
CLINICAL
L.
2.
The
Decision
to
Go
Into
Teaching
......................
293
3.
Meeting our
Calling:
Loving Post-Corporate
Life
as
Professors and
Having
Passion
in
the
Classroom.
297
D.
Smith's
Profound
Question
.......................................
300
E
.
The
N
ext
Step
............................................................
302
F.
Sm
ith
's
"Beshert"
....................................................
303
G.
Sm
ith's
Beshert
Redux
..............................................
304
H.
Smith's
Experience
Counseling
Rat
Racers
..............
305
VIII. THE BENEFITS OF
ONE'S
CALLING
.....................
307
A.
H
elping
those
in
need
............................................... 307
B.
Loving
What
You
D
o
.................................................
309
C.
Having
Fun
with
Like
Minded
Coworkers
................
311
IX.
CONCLUSION
...............................................................
312
I.
INTRODUCTION
"Take
this
job
and
shove
it,
Iain
't
working
here
no
more.
The
idea
of
finding
career
passion troubles
most
people.
Deciding
on
a
career
and committing
to
it
while
maintaining
balance
in
the
other
areas
of
one's
life
is
an
arduous
task.
As
educators, we often
admonish
students
that
passion
does not
always
connect
to
high
grade
point
averages
(or
high
salaries).
However,
as
a
student, one
might
have
stumbled upon
one's
passion but
was
too
distracted
to
recognize
it.
Therefore,
as
we
see
it,
the
key
in
any
professional
pursuit
is
that
one
must
enjoy
what
he
does
for
a
living.
If
one
has
a
passion
for
his
career,
he is
at an
advantage.
If
he
considers his
career
pursuit
to
be
a
true
calling,
that
is
even
better.
What
does
it
mean
to
have
passion?
The
Merriam-Webster
dictionary defines
passion
as
"a strong liking
or
desire for
or
devotion
to
some
activity,
object,
or
concept.",
2
We
are
at
this
point
in
our
lives
as
college
professors
as
we
love
and
enjoy what
we
do
'JOHNNY
PAYCHECK,
TAKE
THIs
JOB
AND
SHOVE
IT
(Epic
Records
1977).
2
Passion
Definition,
MERRIAM-WEBSTER,
available
at
http://www.merriam-
webster.com/dictionary/passion
(last
visited
Sep.
21,
2014).
260 [Vol.
16.3
2014]
THE
JoY
OF
PASSION: FINDING
YOUR
CALLING
261
when
we
go
to
class.
We
do
not
classify what
we
do
as
going
to
work,
because
we
have
too much
fun
teaching
to ever
call
this
work.
What,
then,
is
a
"calling"?
The
Merriam-Webster dictionary
defines
a
calling
as
"a
strong
inner
impulse
toward
a
particular
course
of
action
especially
when
accompanied
by
conviction
of
divine influence."
3
While the
religious
aspect
of
a
calling
is
certainly
relevant, many people
see
the
big
picture
of
a
career
calling
as
work
that
is
socially significant
and
beneficial.
A
person
with
a
Calling
works
not
for financial
gain
or
Career advancement,
but
instead
for
the fulfillment
that
doing
the
work
brings
to
the
individual.
The
word
"calling"
was
originally
used
in
a
religious
context,
as
people
were
understood
to
be "called"
by
God
to
do
morally
and
socially
significant
work.
While
the
modem
sense
of
"calling"
may
have
lost
its
religious connection,
work
that
people
feel
called
to
do
is
usually
seen
as
socially
valuable-an
end
in
itself-involving
activities
that
may,
but
need
not
be,
pleasurable.
4
We
strongly
agree
that
what
we
do
today
is
in
fact
our
career
calling,
as
the
sum
total
of
our
professional
experiences invariably
brought
us to
this
point.
In
the
legal
world,
several
practitioners
have
also
recognized
how practicing
law can be
a
calling:
If
a
law firm
associate
experiences
her
work
to
be
a
calling,
then
she
is
motivated
by that
calling
itself,
sees
that
calling
to
be
a
mission,
passion,
and/or privilege, expects
a
better
world
and
fulfillment
from
her
calling,
and looks
forward
to more work.
5
3
Calling
Definition,
MERRIAM-WEBSTER,
available
at
http://www.merriam-
webster.com/dictionary/calling
(last
visited Sept.
21,
2014).
4
Amy
Wrzesniewski
et
al.,
Jobs,
Careers,
and
Callings:
People's
Reactions
to
Their
Work,
31
J.
RES.
PERSONALITY
21,
22
(1997).
5
Peter
H.
Huang
&
Rick
Swedloff,
Authentic
Happiness
and
Meaning
at
Law
Firms,
58
SYRACUSE
L.
REv.
335,
343-44
(2008).
T.M.
COOLEY
J.
PRACT.
&
CLINICAL
L.
It's
really
a
calling,
meaning
one derives
inspiration
from
work
itself.
What
matters
is
fulfillment
and
satisfaction
from
work
that
is
well-done,
as
opposed
to financial
gain
or
career
advancement.
6
So,
how
do
you
know
if
you
are
called
to
do
this
work?
That,
my
friend,
is
a
tough
question.
It
is
hard
to
know
sometimes,
unless
you
try
to
turn
away
from
it-and
find
yourself
lost
and
miserable without
it.
A
calling
is
powerful-it
will
not
let
us
go.
When
you
are
doing
work
you are
called
to
do,
you
find
that
time
flies
by.
You
are
doing
what
you
love.
You
know
that
you
are
home.
All
of
your talents, your
experiences, your
heart,
all
mesh;
it
all
comes
together
and
you help
someone. Then you know
that
all
the
trouble
is
worth
it,
that
you
were born
to
do
this
work.
II.
REASONS
PEOPLE
HATE
WHAT
THEY
DO
FOR
A
LIVING
The
above
introduction notwithstanding,
there
are
many
people
who
detest
what they
do
for
a
living.
Many people
feel
this
discontent
irrespective
of
their profession,
whether
it
is
law,
accounting,
teaching,
truck
driving,
economics, house
painting,
sanitation,
or anything
else. The
reasons
for
this
discontent are
nearly
as
many
as
the
people
who
hate
their
jobs.
The
reasons
include,
among
others:
6
Peter
H.
Huang,
Happiness
in
Business
or
Law,
12
TENN.
J.
Bus.
L.
153,
161-
62(2011).
7
Ann
K.
Chapman,
Letter
to
a
Law
School
Graduate,
35
WILLAMETTE
L.
REv.
393,
397
(1999).
[Vol.
16.3
262
2014]
THE
JOY
OF
PASSION: FINDING
YOUR CALLING
A.
The
pressure
to
perform
and
get
to
the
top.
This
dynamic was
expertly
portrayed
in
an
episode
of
the
classic
television
series,
"The
Twilight
Zone."
8
The
scene
is
with
the
boss,
Misrell
(played by
Howard
Smith),
severely dressing
down
his already
ulcer-ridden
employee,
Williams
(brilliantly
played
by
James Daly),
after Williams
lost
a
key business contract:
Misrell:
Don't
sit
down!
And
don't
con
me,
Williams.
It
was
your pet project. Your
pet
project!
Then
it
was
your
idea
to
give
it
to
that little
college greenie.
Now,
get with
it,
Williams!
Get
with
it,
boy!
So
what's
left,
Williams? Not
only
has your
pet
project backfired,
but
it's
sprouted
wings
and
left
the
premises.
I'll
tell
you
what's
left
to
us
in
my
view:
A
deep
and
abiding
concern
about your
judgment
in
men.
This
is
a
push business,
Williams-a
push,
push,
push
business. Push
and
drive!
But,
personally,
you
don't
delegate
responsibilities to
little
boys.
You
should know
it
better
than anyone else.
A
push,
push,
push business,
Williams.
It's
push, push,
push,
all
the
way,
all
the
time!
It's
push,
push,
push,
all the
way,
all
the
time,
right
on
down
the
line!
9
Williams:
Fat
boy,
why
don't
you
shut your
mouth!
10
B.
The
pressure
to
STAY
on
top
after
getting
there.
In
legal
practice,
once
one
makes
it
to
partnership,
one
should
be
able
to
relax
and
enjoy
the
fruits
of
his
labor.
That
should
be
the
end
of
the
grind. Or
is
it?
"In
the
words
of
one
partner
with
a
large
firm in Los
Angeles,
'the corporate
partners
battle the litigators.
8
The
Twilight
Zone:
A
Stop
at
Willoughby
(CBS
television
broadcast
May
6,
1960).
9Id.
10
Id.
263
T.M.
COOLEY
J.
PRACT.
&
CLINICAL
L.
The young
Turks
fight the
old
guard.
The
workaholics
fight
the
civic-minded.
I
thought making
partner
was the
end
of
the
struggle
for
survival.
It
was
only
the
beginning.""'
Another
law
partner
made
the
following
observation.
This,
then,
is life
in
the
big
firm:
It
is
in
the
interests
of
clients
that
senior
partners
work
inhuman hours,
year
after
year, and
constantly
be
anxious
about
retaining
their
business.
And
it is
in
the
interests
of
senior
partners that
junior
partners
work
inhuman hours, year
after
year,
and
constantly
be
anxious about
retaining
old
clients
and
attracting
new
clients.
And
it
is
in
the interests
of
junior
partners that
senior
associates
work
inhuman
hours,
year
after
year, and
constantly
be
anxious
about
retaining
old
clients and
attracting
new
clients and
making
partner.
And
most
of
all,
it
is
in
everyone's
interests
that
the
newest
members
of
the
profession-the
junior
associates-be
willing
to
work
inhuman
hours,
year
after
year,
and
constantly
be
anxious
about
everything-about
retaining
old
clients
and
attracting
new
clients
and
making
partner
and
keeping
up
their
billable hours.
The
result? Long
hours,
large
salaries,
and one
of
the
unhealthiest
and
unhappiest
professions
on
earth.12
C.
Going
into
a
different
field
instead
ofpursuing
one's
own
dream.
"Sadly,
we
often
see
this when
a
child
feels
compelled
to
join
the
'family business'
out
of
loyalty rather
than love."
'13
11
Deborah K.
Holmes,
Learning from Corporate
America:
Addressing
Dysfunction
in
the
Large
Law
Firm,
31 GONZ.
L.
REv.
373,
404
(1996).
12
Patrick
J.
Schiltz,
On
Being
a
Happy,
Healthy,
and
Ethical
Member
of
an
Unhappy, Unhealthy,
and
Unethical
Profession,
52
VAND.
L.
REv.
871,
902-03
(1999).
13
JOSEPH
G.
ALLEGRETTI,
LOvING
YOUR
JOB, FINDING
YOUR
PASSION:
WORK
AND
THE
SPIRITUAL
LIFE
63
(Paulist
Press
2000).
[Vol.
16.3
2014]
THE
JOY
OF
PASSION:
FINDING
YOUR
CALLING
D.
Having
to
provide
for
one's family.
"I
hate
what
I
do,
but
I
have
no
choice.
I've
got
to
earn
money
for
my
family."'
14
E.
Being
trapped
in
professional
life
because
the
money
is
good.
"'It
pays
well,
so
I
do
it,
but
it
leaves
a
bad
taste
in
my
mouth,'
says
a
successful
corporate
lawyer."'
5
Another
attorney
complained,
"I'm
very
well
paid
for
what
I
do,
but sometimes
I
feel
more like
a
prostitute
than
a
professional."'
6
F.
Hopelessness.
"It
takes
all
my
energy
just
to
make
it
through
the day.
Sometimes
tears
well up
in
my
eyes
for
no
reason.
I
dream
about
jumping
in
my
car
and
taking
off
somewhere, anywhere,
by
myself."'
17
A
computer programmer mentioned,
"I
spend
eight
hours
a
day
punching
data
into
a
computer.
I'm
not
doing
anything
for
anyone."'
8
G.
The
realization
that
the
drive
to
the
top
was
not
worth
the
trip.
"Too
many
people
claw
and
climb
their way
to the
top,
only
to
find
that
it
wasn't
worth
the
effort.
When
they
finally
make
it
to
14
Id.
at
29.
1
5
Id.
16
Id.
at
1.
17
Id.
at
29.
18
1Id.
at
1.
265
T.M.
COOLEY
J.
PRACT.
&
CLINICAL
L.
the
top
of
the
ladder
of
success,
they discover
that
it
was leaning
against the wrong
wall."'
9
H.
The
hope
for
greener pastures
...
anywhere.
"We've
all
known
people
like
this,
people
who
seem
congenitally
unable
to
stay
at
a
job
for
more
than
a
few
months.
They start with high
hopes
but
become
disillusioned
as
soon
as
reality
sets
in-which
doesn't
take
long.
Once
their
dream
is
shattered,
they
flee
for
greener
pastures.
They
spend
their
entire
life
flitting
from
job
to
job
in
a
vain quest
to
capture the
Holy
Grail
of
the
workplace,
the
once
and
future
job
that
will
satisfy
all
their
needs
and
desires."20
Gilmore:
Speaking
for
myself,
that
is
certainly
true.
My
own
disillusionment with
professional
life
resulted
in
me
switching
accounting
jobs
three
times
in
less
than
five
years.
III.
THE
HOPELESSNESS
OF
IT
ALL-JOB
BURNOUT
.
Hopelessness
leads to
job
burnout.
The
Merriam-Webster
dictionary gives several
excellent
definitions
of
what
it means
to
be
hopeless:
"having
no
expectation
of
good
or
success; not
susceptible
to
remedy
or
cure;
incapable
of
redemption
or
improvement; giving
no
ground
for
hope;
incapable
of
solution,
management, or
accomplishment."
21
We
have
been
there. Believe
us-there
are
few feelings
in
professional
life
that
are
worse than
going
to
a
job
you
hate
to
engage
in
a
career
pursuit
you
already
know
to
be
an
exercise
in
futility.
This type
of
experience
is
the
antithesis
of
pursuing
one's
'9
Id.
at
38.
20 Id.
at
18.
21
Hopeless
Definition,
MERRIAM-WEBSTER,
available
at
http://www.merriam-
webster.com/dictionary/hopeless
(last
visited
Sept.
25,
2014).
266
[Vol.
16.3
2014]
THE
JOY
OF
PASSION: FINDING
YOUR
CALLING
true
professional
calling
and
is
an
anathema
to
a
worker's
overall
well-being.
A
humorous
article
(looking
at
how
overwhelming
career
dissatisfaction
can
ultimately
result
in
employee
burnout)
included
the
following multiple-choice questions:
1.
When
it
comes
to
your
career
path,
which
of
the
following
statements
are
most
relevant
to
your
situation?
A.
My
supervisor
and
I
have
talked extensively
about
where
I
am
going
and
what
I
can
achieve,
and have
developed challenging but attainable
goals
to
help
me
get
there.
B.
I
receive
a
lot
of
positive
feedback
from
upper
management
and have been
told
that
there
are
good
things
in
my
future,
but
I'm
not
sure
how
or
when
I
will
get
there.
C.
I
have been
in
the
same
position
for
so
long,
my
business
cards
have our
company's
old
logo.
D.
I'm
pretty
sure
I
just
got
demoted
last
week.
2.
Which
statement
describes
your
typical
workweek?
A.
My
company
has
made
cutbacks
and
I
have had
to
pick
up the
extra
slack.
I
now
put
in
the
hours
of
two
people.
B.
The
hours
I
work
fluctuate
depending
on
how
busy
the
company
is.
There
are
seasons when
I
put
in
extra
time,
but
I
am
compensated
for the
extra
work
with
more
time
off
in
the
slower months.
C.
I
consistently
put
in
40
to
45
hours
a
week.
D.
What,
you
mean there
are
people
who
work
fewer
than
60
hours
a
week?
3. When
it
comes to
personal
recognition,
which
of
the
following
do
you
most
relate
with?
A.
I
am
so
often
referred
to
by my
employee
number
in
the office
that
I
sometimes
forget
my
own
name.
267
T.M.
COOLEY
J.
PRACT.
&
CLINICAL
L.
B.
I
hear
from
my
boss
often-every
time
I
do
something wrong.
C.
I
receive
a
lot
of feedback-both
positive
and
negative-from
my manager.
D. The
last
time
I
received
a
raise,
I
used
the
extra
money
to
buy
Milli
Vanilli
concert tickets.
And finally:
4.
Which
of
the
following
best
describes
your
relationship
with
your
boss?
A.
I
feel
that
my
sole
purpose
at
the company
is
to
make
my boss
look
good.
B.
We
have
a
solid
relationship
based
on
mutual
respect
and
appreciation.
C.
I
do
a
great
job
...
when
I
do the
opposite
of
what
my
boss
does.
D.
I
think
I
saw
my
boss
once last
month, right
before
the
door
to
his
office was
slammed.
22
Gilmore:
If
I
had
to
answer
those questions
in
approximately
late
1991
or
early
1992,
my
answer
choices
undoubtedly
would
have
been
D
for
all
of
them.
When
all
one
does
is
work,
and
work,
and
work,
and
gets
no
satisfaction
from
his efforts,
this
results
in
that individual
suffering
job
burnout.
The
Merriam-Webster dictionary
describes
burnout
as
"exhaustion
of
physical or emotional
strength
or
motivation
usually
as
a
result
of
prolonged
stress
or
frustration.
'' 23
Some
of
the
classic
symptoms
of
job
burnout
include the
following:
*
A
generally
negative
attitude
often
paired
with
the
feeling
that nothing
is
going
to
work
out.
Inability
to
concentrate.
22
Job
Burnout:
Signs
You
Need
a
Change,
AOL
JOBS
(Sept.
2,2009,
2:56
PM),
http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2009/09/02/ob-bumout-signs-you-need-a-change/.
23
Burnout
Definition,
MERRIAM-WEBSTER,
available
at
http://www.merriam-
webster.com/dictionary/burnout
(last
visited
Sept.
14,
2014).
268
[Vol.
16.3
2014]
THE
JOY
OF
PASSION: FINDING
YOUR
CALLING
"
General
apathy towards your work,
chores, and
other tasks.
*
Feelings
of
stagnation.
"
A lack
of
interest
in
social
activities and
being
with
others.
*
Difficulty with
healthy
habits
like
exercise, diet,
and
regular
sleep.
"
Feeling
like
you're
never
doing
enough.
"
Neglecting
your own needs
(and
putting
the needs
of
others
ahead
of
your
own).
*
Personal
values
and
beliefs
lose
their
importance.
*
Short
temper.
"
Constant
exhaustion.
"
Feelings
of
inefficacy.
*
Feelings
of
detachment
from
people
and
things
you
care
about.
*
Frequent boredom.
"
Psychosomatic complaints,
such
as
headaches, lingering
colds,
and
other
issues
with
a
cause
that's
difficult
to
identify.
*
The
denial
of
these
feelings.
24
Gilmore:
Needless
to
say,
I
suffered
through
the
burnout
stage
for
years.
My
job
stunk,
nothing
was
fun,
and
I
really
did
not
have
much
to
look
forward
to.
Sundays
were
depressing
precisely
because
Monday
was
coming!
25
Even
when
I
took
my
semi-annual
vacations,
I
just
did
not
have
the
strength
to
go
anywhere;
I
just
stayed
home,
watched
TV,
and
vegetated.
Then my
furlough
ended
and
it
was
back to the
salt
mines
and
more
career
failure.
More
than
once,
I
thought
to
myself:
"I
went
through
four
years
of
24
Adam Dachis,
Burnout
Is
Real:
How
to
Identify
and
Address
Your
Burnout
Problem,
LIFEHACKER
(Feb.
13,
2012,
8:00
AM),
http://lifehacker.com/5884439/bumout-is-real-how-to-identify-the-problem-and-
how-to-fix-it.
2 5
See,
e.g., DEBORAH
ARRON,
RUNNING
FROM
THE
LAW:
WHY
GOOD
LAWYERS
ARE
GETTING
OUT
OF
THE
LEGAL PROFESSION
130
(4th
ed.
2004)
("Pretty
soon
I
contracted 'Sunday Syndrome,'
dreading Monday
when
I
awoke
on
Sunday.
Eventually,
the
only
good
time
of
the
week
was
Friday night
because
I
still
had
all
of
Saturday before
I
felt
that dread
of
heading
back
to
the
office
again.").
269
T.M.
COOLEY
J.
PRACT.
&
CLINICAL
L.
college
for
this?"
Had
my
work
life
truly
become
that
banal?
Yes,
it
had--quickly.
For
those
practicing
(and
perhaps non-practicing
legal
escapees)
their
similar
question
is:
"I
went
through
four
years
of
college
plus
three
years (or
more)
of
law
school
to
see
my
efforts
come
to
this?"
Unfortunately,
when
one
is
in
that kind
of
situation,
it
is
very
difficult
to
visualize anything
resembling
success
when
the
best
one
has
experienced
is
mediocrity.
IV.
CHASING
THE
MONEY
One
major
reason
for
professional dissatisfaction
in
the
legal
profession
is
that
attorneys
(among many
others)
too
often
choose
the higher
paying
job
instead
of
the
job
that
truly
makes
them
happy.
26
Why
do
law
students
and
attorneys
go
for
the
higher
paying
job?
One
reason
is
that
younger
attorneys
are
lured
by
the
tantalizingly
large
salaries
offered
by
big
firms-often
to the
detriment
of
their
physical
and
emotional
health.
In
return
for
the
large
salaries, young attorneys end up
working
insanely
long
hours
just
to
maintain
their
status
quo,
and
to
stay
on the
partnership
track.
Big Law, Big
Angst:
Big
Law
is
a
shorthand
reference
for
working
at a
large
firm
in
a
big
city.
Salaries
for
law
school
graduates
who
join
Big
Law firms
begin
in
six
figures
and
are
trending
even
higher.
Partners
in
Big
Law
firms
fare
even
better, oftentimes
earning
upwards
of
a
million
dollars
per year.
The price
for
this
level
of
success
does
not
come
cheap.
The billable
hour
is
the
engine
of
financial
success
in large
firms.
Consequently,
lawyers
in
large
law
firms
work
at
a
punishing
pace,
especially
new
associates
at
the
26
Lance
McMillan,
Tortured
Souls:
Unhappy Lawyers
Viewed
Through
the
Medium
of
Film,
19
SEToN
HALL J.
SPORTS
&
ENT.
L.
31,
70
(2009)
("Law
students
choose
higher-paying
jobs
over
their
hearts'
desires.").
[Vol.
16.3
270
2014]
THE
JOY
OF
PASSION:
FINDING
YOUR
CALLING
271
bottom
of
the
economic ladder
who
are
expected,
minimally,
to
bill
2,000 or
more
hours
a
year.
Unhappiness
and
poor
health
follow.
27
Is
chasing
the
top
dollar
the
only
reason young
lawyers
are
willing
to
sell
out
their
desire
for
a
better-balanced
life?
28
No,
not
entirely.
There
is
a
practical consideration
as
well.
The truth
is
obtaining
a
legal
education
is
very expensive.
29
As such, law
students
have
rather massive
student
loans
that
they
need
to
pay
back
when
they graduate.
In
making their
career decision
as
to
where
they want
to
work,
a
recent
graduate has
to
choose
between
a
big
firm
job
that
will
pay
the
bills
and
a
job
they
will
find
personally
fulfilling.
Apart
from the
lust
for
money,
there
is
the
need
for
money.
Law
school
is
expensive.
To
pursue
their
dream
of
becoming
a
lawyer,
more
and
more
students
are
financing
their
law school
studies.
Enormous
post-education
debt
is
the
result,
oftentimes
reaching
six
figures.
The
existence
of
liabilities
on
this
scale creates
pressure
on
the
debtors
to
sell
their
services
to
the
highest
bidder.
In
the words
of
one
scholar,
student
debt
has
become the
all-consuming
factor
governing the
lives
of
many
new
lawyers:
Most
law
students graduate
with
very
high
educational debt.
For
some,
the debt
can
without
exaggeration
be described
as
"staggering,"
in
the
sense
that repayment
according
to
a
"standard"
ten-year
schedule would
leave
the
graduate
with
full-time
employment
but
scant
discretionary
income.
Such
27
Id.
at
66.
28
Id.
at
71
("Thousands
of
lawyers
choose
to give
up
a
healthy, happy,
well-
balanced
life
for
a
less
healthy,
less
happy
life
dominated by
work.").
29
See,
e.g.,
Janine
Robben,
After
Law
School,
Now
What?
Law's
"Lost
Generation" Looks
For
Work,
70
OR.
ST.
B.
BULL.
26,
27
(2010)
("According
to
Jodi
Heintz,
Lewis
&
Clark's
director
of
public
relations, the average 2009
Lewis
&
Clark Law
School
graduate
has
a
law
school
student
loan
debt
of
$84,618."); Paul
Horowitz,
Book
Review:
What
Ails the
Law
Schools?,
111
MICH.
L.
REv.
955,
962 (2013)
("For
example,
tuition
at
Yale
Law
School
was
$12,450
in
1987;
in
2010,
it
was
$50,750.").
T.M.
COOLEY
J.
PRACT.
&
CLINICAL
L.
a
graduate
can survive
only
by
sacrificing
consumer
goods
and
services,
postponing
having
a
home
and
a
family,
and
accruing
additional
credit
card
debt.
The
loan
repayment
problem
is
greatest
for
law
students
who
would
like
to
be
self-sacrificing up to
a
reasonable
point:
those
who
decide
to
go
to
law
school
because they want
to
serve
the
public
as
"public
interest"
lawyers,
such
as
staff
attorneys
at
legal
aid
organizations.
From
this
perspective,
pragmatism-and
not
the
lust for
money-drives
many students
into
high-paying
positions.
The
result
is
that
legal
jobs
with
the
largest
starting
salaries
are
populated with
people who
do
not
want
to
be where
they
are,
but
for
the
money.30
Gilmore: Let
us
assume,
for
example,
that
I
am
a
recent
graduate
who finished
in
the
top
10%
of
my
class. My
lifelong
passion
is
to
preserve
the
environment.
Consequently,
I
hope
to
practice
environmental
law
when
I
graduate.
In
the
meantime,
I
have
over
$100,000
of
student
loans
that
I
have
to start paying
back
six
months after
my
graduation.
I
have
interviewed with
several
environmental
law firms,
all
of
which
are
offering
starting
salaries
averaging $63,000.
3 1 I
also
interviewed
with
XYZ
Chemical
Corporation, an organization
that
is
not
exactly
sympathetic
to
environmental
concerns.
But,
XYZ
offers
me
a
job
as
its
in-house counsel
at a
starting
salary
of
$157,000
per
year.
So,
I
swallow
my
desire to
defend environmental
concerns
and
take the
higher
paying
job
with XYZ.
One
of
my
duties
with XYZ
is
to
go
to
court and
get
restraining
orders
against
environmental
30
McMillan,
supra
note
26, at
72-3.
See
also
Mary
Sue
Backus
&
Paul
Marcus,
The
Right
to
Counsel
in
Criminal
Cases,
A
National Crisis,
57
HASTINGS
L.J.
1031,
1126
(2006)
("Low
pay
and
significant law
school student-loan
debt
leave
many
defenders and
prosecutors
struggling financially
and
discourage
many
talented
lawyers from careers
in
public
service.").
3'
See,
e.g.,
Deborah
L.
Rhode,
Legal
Education:
Rethinking
the
Problem,
Reimagining
the
Reforms,
40
PEPP.
L.
REv.
437,
441
(2013)
("Only
about two-
thirds
of
those
who
graduated
from
law school
in
2010 secured full-time
legal
jobs,
and those
who did
and
reported
income
had
a
median
salary
of
$63,000,
which
was
inadequate
to
cover
average
debt
levels.").
272
[Vol.
16.3
THE
JOY
OF
PASSION:
FINDING
YOUR
CALLING
protesters-many
of
whom
are
friends
of
mine (or
were),
who
are
as
passionate
about
saving
the
environment
as
I
am.
How
ironic:
to
pay
my bills,
I
have
to
defend
the interests
of
a
client
that
I
find
personally
reprehensible.
This
is
precisely
what
many
attorneys
do
every single
day.
32
But
when
it
comes
to
the
point
where
I
feel
I'm
nothing more
than
a
functionary
and
a
slave
to
my
paycheck,
no
matter how
big
the check,
then
my
work
life
is
a
waste.
This
is
what
I
get
for
making
a
deal
with
the devil.
33
This
is
what many
attorneys
feel
in
their
professional
lives.
Still,
when
a
young
lawyer
realizes that there
is
a
precipitous
opportunity
cost in
the
form
of
losing
a
desired
career
choice
of
lifestyle,
he
will
rationalize his decision
to
take
the
big
firm
job
anyway.
He
can
rationalize
by
saying
he will
work
in
this
job
only
for
a
few
years
to
save
money,
to get
practical experience,
to
make
a
name
for
himself
in
the
profession,
or
until
he
can
pay
down
his
loans. Once
he
has
put
his
time
in,
then
he
is
free to
pursue
his
true
desires.
To put
it
another way, some lawyers
are
willing
to
mortgage
some
short-term
discomfort
now
for
long-term
fulfillment
later-if
it
ever
comes.
Decisions
of
this
type
have
straightforward implications
for
how
new
attorneys approach
their
first
jobs.
If
debt
pushes
32
See,
e.g.,
Joseph
Kanefield,
Defending
the
Defenders,
48
ARIz.
ATT'Y
6
(2011)
("Defending
unpopular
clients
is
what
lawyers
do.");
Laurel
E.
Fletcher,
Alexis Kelly,
&
Zulaikha
Aziz,
Defending
the
Rule
of
Law:
Reconceptualizing
Guantanamo
Habeas
Attorneys,
44
CONN.
L.
REv.
617,
619 (2012)
("The
Guantanamo Lawyers, their
supporters
argued,
were
following
a
time-honored
tradition
of
defending
unpopular
clients.");
David
B.
Wilkins,
Race,
Ethics,
and
the
First
Amendment:
Should
a
Black
Lawyer Represent
the
Ku
Klux
Klan?,
63
GEO.
WASH.
L.
REv. 1030,
1065
(1995)
("Consider,
for
example,
the
organized
bar.
As
I
argued
in
Part
II,
the image
of
the
lonely lawyer
defending
an
unpopular
client's
constitutional
rights
is
an
important professional
trope.
By
constantly invoking
this
example, the
profession
conveys
the
impression
that
ordinary
citizens
can
count
on lawyers
to
defend their most
important
rights.").
33
McMillan,
supra
note
26,
at
101
("The responsibility
for
choosing
the
right
path
rests
squarely
with
each lawyer.
One
comment
on an
ABA
blog
aptly
cuts
to the
heart
of
the
matter,
'I
say
don't
complain
about
the
devil when you
sell
your
soul
to
him."').
2014]
273
T.M.
COOLEY
J.
PRACT.
&
CLINICAL
L.
a
student
to
join
a
particular
law firm,
then
that
student
will
view
work
as
a
short-term
burden
to
bear
until
freed
from
student
loans.
From
the
outset,
therefore,
the
new employee
is
mentally
and
emotionally
disengaged
from
the
new
employer.
This
mindset
will
affect
the new
lawyer's
interactions with
partners,
other associates,
staff,
and
clients.
Knowing
that one
is
not
in
it
for the
long
haul,
it
becomes harder to
invest
and care
about the
cases
and
people
one
encounters.
More primitively,
hired
guns
rarely
show
loyalty.
Here's
an
analogy.
When
people
are
sick,
they
will
undergo
all
manner
of
painful
procedures
to
recover
their
health.
The
long-term
benefits
justify
the
short-term costs.
No
one,
however,
would choose
to
endure
the
pain
if
they
could
reasonably
avoid
it.
But
they
do
so
when
circumstances
dictate
that
it
is
necessary.
For
many
new
lawyers,
the
decision
to
work
at
a
high-paying
firm
flows
from the
same
type
of
calculus.
In
this
conception,
staggering educational
debt
is
to
financial
health
what
a
serious
sickness
is
to
physical health.
The
thinking
goes,
"I
will
endure
the
unhappiness
of
Big
Law
for
just
a
few
years
to
get
my
financial
house
in
order.
Then
I
will
be
free
to
do
what
I
want.
I
will
trade
short-term
pain
for future
gain."
With
this type
of
attitude,
the
disgust
so
many new
lawyers
feel
toward
their
jobs
is
no surprise;
the
choice
was made
to
embrace
misery.
Law
firms
understand this
thinking
well.
As
the
painful nature
of
life
in
Big
Law
has
become
more
publicized
in
the
last
ten
years,
large firm
salaries
have
skyrocketed
to
ensure
that
a
steady stream
of
fresh
law
students will
continue
to
choose short-term
discontent.
The
price
to
endure
unhappiness
has
increased.
It
is
an
indictment
of
the cost structure
of
legal
education
that
so
many
of
our students
feel
the
need
to
pay
such
a
price
in
the
first
instance.
34
4
Id.
at
73-74.
[Vol.
16.3
274
2014]
THE
JOY
OF
PASSION:
FINDING
YOUR
CALLING
V.
GETTING
OUT
OF
THE
RAT
RACE
In
the
premiere
episode
of
the
short-lived situation comedy,
"The
Paul Lynde
Show,"
comedian
and
series
star
Paul Lynde
(playing
an
attorney,
no
less!)
gave
the
perfect
description
of
life
in
the rat
race.
When
his
wife
(played
by
Elizabeth
Allen) asked
him
how
the
rat
race was
going,
he
responded:
"the
rats
are
winning!, 35
Another
very
popular description
of
the
rat
race
says:
"The
problem
with the
rat race
is
that
even
if
you win,
you're
still
a
rat."
36
Then the
problem becomes, what
do
you
win?
Not
much,
evidently.
37 1
know
this
from
my
own
experience
as
I
wasted years
of
my
life
in
a
professional
pursuit that
resulted
in
complete
and
total failure.
This
sentiment,
unfortunately,
is
not
uncommon
in
today's
working
world.
We
often
refer
to
the
workplace
as
"being
in
the
rat
race,"
but
this
is
probably
unfair.
It's
actually
demeaning
to
the
rats.
Rats
won't
stay
in
a
race
when
it's
obvious
there's
no
cheese.
Research
shows
that
even
average
rats
quickly
look
for
new
territory when
the
cheese
is
gone.
Humans,
on
the
other
hand,
seem
to
often
get
themselves
into
career
traps
from
which
they
never
escape.
Some
research
shows
that
up
to
70
percent
of
white-collar workers
are
unhappy
with
their jobs-ironically,
they
are
also
spending
more
and
more
time working.
38
Similar
to
former
United
States
Supreme
Court
Justice
Potter
Stewart's
take
on
what constitutes
pornography
("I know
it
when
I
35
The
Paul
Lynde
Show:
Howie
Comes
Home
to
Roost
(ABC
television
broadcast
Sept.
13,
1972).
36
FRANK
O'NEILL,
NEVER
ENOUGH:
LESSONS
FROM
A
RECOVERING
WORKAHOLIC
131
(iUniversity Press
2010).
31
See,
e.g.,
John Bevere,
Escape
the
Rat
Race,
LIVE
EXTRAORDINARY,
available
at
http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/devotionals/live-
extraordinarily?view-article&id=7910:escape-the-rat-race&catid=674
(last
visited
Mar.
7,
2015).
38
1d.
275
T.M.
COOLEY
J.
PRACT.
&
CLINICAL
L.
see
it"),
39
a
disgruntled,
burned-out
individual
just
knows when
he
has
to
make
a
run for
it.
Sometimes,
one
may
have
to
overcome
obstacles
in
the form
of
disapproving
family
members,
or
even
disapproving
supervisors.
One
attorney
recalled
resigning
from her
high-pressure
job,
along
with her
supervising
partner's
very hostile
response:
On
Sunday
night,
I
wrote
a
letter
giving two
months'
notice.
First
thing
the
next
morning,
I
handed
it
to
one
of
the
partners.
He
was
livid.
Even though
I'd
given
two
months'
notice,
he
told
me to
be out
of
the office
in
two
weeks.
He
also
suggested
that
if
there was anyone whose
opinion
I
valued,
I
should
talk
to them
soon
because
the
rumors
were
going
to
fly.
For
the
next
two weeks
the
guy
tried
to
convince
me
that
I
had
been
fired.
He
told
me
that
my reputation
had
been shot,
and
that
no
one
would
seriously
look
at
me
now.
The
only thing
I
could
possibly
do
was
go
back
to
school
and
start
over.
I
believed
him.
40
We all
have
stories
about
the
boss
from hell,
like
the
above
example,
who
can
really
take
the
joy
out
of
going
to
work
(and
sometimes
take
the
joy
out
of
leaving
for
a
better opportunity).
Luckily,
the
attorney
found
another
job
that
fit
her
interest
and
abilities.
After about
a
year
of
being severely
depressed
and
mostly
unemployed,
I
found
an
announcement
at
Stanford
Law
School
for
director
of
a
new
foundation
in
Palo
Alto.
The
members
of
the
board
wanted
a
lawyer who
could
understand
the
regulations
applying
to
nonprofit
corporations,
yet
someone
new
to
the
field who
would
help
them
shape
their
own
agenda.
It
sounded
like
me.
I
applied
9
Jacobelis
v.
Ohio,
378
U.S.
184,
197
(1964).
40
ARRON,
supra
note
25,
at
99.
276 [Vol.
16.3
2014]
THE
JOY
OF
PASSION: FINDING
YOUR CALLING
and
got
the
job.
I
love
it,
and
don't
regret
leaving
law
at
all.
4'
After
reading this
attorney's
account
of
her
escape,
we
can
only
say
this:
take
that,
partner!
Smith:
Often,
our
passion
comes
disguised
as
something
that
society
(especially parents and
family)
would
not encourage.
An
example
could
be
someone
who
loves working
with
children
but
majored
in
pre-law.
Generally, most
people
would
encourage
that
individual
to
go
to law
school
and
enter
the legal
profession.
The
perception
is
that
lawyers
are
always needed
in
a
society
and
that
people
that
work
well
with
kids
are
somehow
not
as
valuable.
42
"Society has
chosen,
mostly
through
government
policy,
and
sometimes
through
its
market mechanism,
to
maintain teaching
as
a
second-rate
career
that,
more
often
than
not, does
not attract
the
smartest
and
most
ambitious.,
43
Unfortunately,
that
future
attorney might
have made
a
better
K-
5
teacher
or social
worker
who
could help
mold society.
Given
the
priorities
of
society,
the
lawyer
is
somehow prized
more
than
the
teacher.
The
perception
of
the
lawyer's
higher
pay
is
viewed
as
a
badge
of
honor,
while
teaching
or
counseling
is
often
seen as
a
second-tier
career option.
For example:
Consider
lawyers
who
spend insufferable
12-hour
days
pouring
over
mind-numbing,
overly
complex regulation
books
and
legal
codes.
They
earned
$124,750. The
average middle
school
teacher?
A
paltry $52,570.
That's
certainly
no
mark
of
prestige
....
Those
are
today's
societal
images,
I'm
afraid. Smart,
ambitious
people want
society
41
Id.
at
99-100.
42
See,
e.g.,
Forrest
Hinton,
Why Smart,
Ambitious
People
Rarely
Become
Teachers,
THE
QUICK
AND
THE
ED
(Apr.
15,
2010),
available
at
http://www.quickanded.com/201
0/04/why-smart-ambitious-people-rarely-
become-teachers.html.
43
Id.
277
T.M.
COOLEY
J.
PRACT.
&
CLINICAL
L.
to
view
them
as
something
great
and
important,
and
that's
not
a
teacher
in
2010.
44
Moreover, part
of
compensation
is
public
esteem.
When
governors
mock teachers
as
lazy,
avaricious incompetents,
they
demean
the
profession
and make
it
harder
to
attract
the
best
and
brightest.
We
should
be
elevating
teachers,
not
throwing
darts
at
them.
45
Regardless
of
the
perception,
we
know
that being
pigeon-holed
into
any
unfulfilling
line
of
work
due
to
family
influences
or
outside
pressures
is
counterproductive.
It
is
pointless
to
follow
someone
else's
dream
instead
of
running your
own
race.
46
Another former
attorney
described his
escape
from the
legal
rat
race
and
transition
into
teaching
this
way:
I
was
not
willing
to spend
another
25
years doing
something
a
very immature person
of
21-me-had
decided to
do
....
There's
a
limit to the
satisfaction
one
can
earn
making
a
lot
of
money.
I
found
the
world
could
get
along
without
one
more
good
tax lawyer.
But there
are
a
lot
of
kids
out
there
who
might
not
do
so
well
without
a
good
teacher.
47
As
a
result,
many
people
are
leaving
the rat
race
to
forge
their
paths
to
personal satisfaction
and
fulfillment.
"Employees
are
bidding
farewell
to
corporate
America
in
the hope
of
finding
a
more
secure,
or
at
least fulfilling,
future.",
48
Still
another
corporate
44
Id.
4'
Nicholas
D.
Kristof,
Pay
Teachers
More,
N.Y.
TIMES
(Mar.
12,
2011),
available
at
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/13/opinion/13kristof.html?_r=
1 &.
46
ALLEGRETTI,
supra
note
13,
at
63
("I'll
never
find
my
calling
if
I
follow
your
dreams instead
of
my
own.").
"7
ARRON,
supra
note
25,
at
115.
48
Elizabeth
Alterman,
Employees
Bid
Goodbye
to
Corporate
America,
CNBC
(Aug.
15,
2011,
9:24
AM),
available
at
http://www.cnbc.com/id/42822615.
[Vol.
16.3
278
2014]
THE
JOY OF
PASSION:
FINDING
YOUR
CALLING
escapee
described her transition
from
harried professional
to
personal
contentment
this
way:
Michelle Lawton,
who
spent
two
decades
in
a
successful
career
in
branding
and
marketing,
left
it all
behind
to start
her
own
business,
Joyful
Plate,
seeking
to
strike
a
better
sense
of
balance
in
her
life.
Lawton
decided
to
use
her
savings
to
invest
in
herself.
"I
was
at
a
point
in
my
life
where
I
was
looking
for
a
real
shift,"
Lawton
says.
"I
realized
I
had
a
life
opportunity.
I
had
a
strong network,
and
I'll
be
44
this
year.
This
is
the
time.
I
wanted
to
somehow
give
myself
a
portal
to
use
my talents
to
do
something
that
I'm
really passionate
about. But
also,
from
a
strategic
standpoint,
I
wanted
to
figure
out
an
infrastructure
that
would
allow
me
to
pave my
own way
moving
forward."
Lawton
notes
when
she was
in
the
corporate
world working
for
companies
like
Procter
&
Gamble,
Pepperidge
Farm,
Lavazza
Coffee and
Remy
Cointreau,
she
was compensated very well
but
still
not
nearly
enough
considering
the
hours
she
was
putting
in.
"It's
so
hard
to
find
a
happy
medium,"
says
Lawton.
"The stress
level
is
so
high,
you
indulge
in
unhealthy
ways
to
compensate,
emotionally
treating
yourself,
whether
it's
overeating
or
overdrinking
or
overspending."
As
her
own
boss,
Lawton
makes
time
for
things
she
never
could
during her
years
in
the
business world,
such as
lunchtime yoga
and
pilates
classes.
"It's
something
I
can't
quantify,"
explains Lawton.
"I've
never
been
healthier.
What
I'm
not gaining
in
financial
rewards,
I've
gained
in
personal
well-being.
It
sounds like
a
clich6,
but
it's
a
trade-off. 49
Obviously,
there cannot
be much
good
in
working
sweatshop
hours
every
week, making
a
ton
of
money,
if
one
is
too
stressed
out
to
enjoy
spending
it.
It
is
even
more
pointless
to
work
sweatshop
hours
and
not
make
much
money.
49
Id.
279
T.M.
COOLEY
J.
PRACT.
&
CLINICAL
L.
Gilmore:
In
my
own
working
life,
I
was
working ridiculous
hours,
dealing
with
stress, and,
to
add
injury
to
insult,
I
was not
making
as
much
money
as
I
should have
(compared
to
similarly
situated
accountants).
When
my
opportunity for
escape
came
in
the
form
of
my
getting accepted
to
law school,
I
too
made
a
run
for
it
and never
looked
back.
VI.
HEARING
THE
CALL
Whether
one
lucks
into
it
(like
we
did) or
one
follows
a
meticulous plan,
the
truth
is
that
anyone
can
find
a
calling
for
his
career.
Finding
the
call
for
one's
career
is
by
no
means
easy,
no
matter
the
route
taken,
and
it
may
take years
of
failure
(as
in
Gilmore's
case)
before
finally
hitting
one's
stride.
"As
you
search
for
your
calling, there
may
be
years
of
false starts, lost
opportunities,
and
embarrassing
failures.
Most
of
us
will
change
jobs
lots
of
times.
Each
change
may
be
a
step along
the
way
to
our
calling.
The
virtues
of
patience
and
hope
are
indispensable.
50
But,
when
one
has found
his
true
calling,
and
knows beyond
all
doubt
that
this is
what
he is
meant
to
do,
we
can
definitely
say
that
it
is
a
true
joy
knowing
that
his
work
does
matter.
Again,
it
does
not
matter
what
line
of
work
one
pursues.
If
he
knows
in
his
heart
that his
efforts
are
not
in
vain,
but
are
actually
beneficial,
he
is
probably
in
the
right
place.
Although
one
might expect
to
find
a
higher
number
of
Callings
among
those
in
certain
occupations, for
example,
teachers
and
Peace
Corps
employees, it
is
plausible
that
salespersons, medical technicians,
factory
workers,
and
secretaries
could
view
their work
as a
Calling.
Such
people
could
love
their work
and
think that
it
contributes
to
making
the
world
a
better
place.
5'
50
ALLEGRETrr,
supra
note
13,
at
64.
51
Wrzesniewski
et
al.,
supra
note
4,
at
22.
280
[Vol.
16.3
THE
JOY
OF
PASSION:
FINDING
YOUR
CALLING
VII.
TWO
MISFITS'
(OUR)
REAL-LIFE
EXPERIENCES
WITH
THE
REALITIES
OF
WORK
"Mine
isn't
a
string
of
victories.
It's
no
golden
past.
"52
A.
Gilmore
and
the
Rat
Race-Gilmore
Lost
...
Badly!
Gilmore:
I
was
an
accountant
in
my
earlier
professional
life,
and the
above
quote
perfectly
sums
up
my
time
in
the
profession.
With
the
now
twenty
years
of
hindsight
since
leaving
the
profession,
I
can
honestly
say that my
accounting
"career"
(and
I
use the
term
very
loosely here)
was
an
embarrassing
joke
at
best
and
a
spectacular
failure
at
worst.
I
will
not
bore
anyone with
the
details
here,
but
suffice
to
say
that
I
made some
early
career
choices that
I
would
love
to
have back,
and
those
bad
early
choices
set
the
stage
for
ten
years
of
career
failure.
Ultimately,
I
lost
a
decade
of
my
life
in
an
unfulfilling
career
with
absolutely
zero
to
show for
it.
Ironically,
I
enjoyed my
accounting
courses when
I
was
an
undergraduate
student. During
my
time
as
an
accounting
major,
I
had
several
professors
tell
me
that
the
sky
was
the
limit
once
I
pursued
an
accounting
career.
I
wanted
to
pursue
a
career doing
tax
work
in
a
CPA
firm,
and
my
finest
hour
as
an
undergraduate
was
my scoring
an
A
in
Federal
Income Tax
in
my senior
year.
So
what
happened?
Unfortunately,
I
just
could
not make
the
transition
from
academic
promise
to
professional
success.
In
addition,
I
had
neither
the
maturity
nor
the
wisdom
to
understand
that
starting
a
career
right
out
of
college
was
a
painstaking,
meticulous
undertaking
and
that
rejection
was
part
of
the
process.
"It's
funny
how
things shift
after
graduating
college.
Your
first
jobs
are
never
quite
as
you
imagined
them,
and
often
52
George
Peppard-
Biography,
IMDB,
http://www.imdb.com/search-
bio/peppard
(last
visited
Mar.
7,
2015).
2014]
T.M.
COOLEY
J.
PRACT.
&
CLINICAL
L.
times you
feel
a
sense
of
disappointment.
53
After graduation,
I
just
knew
that
I
would
hit
the
ground running
and
success was
mine
for
the
taking. Thus,
I
took
my
shiny
new
bachelor's
degree
in
accounting and
went
off
to
set
the
world
on fire
...
or
so
I
thought.
Man, was
I
wrong!
I
could
not
set
the
world
on
fire until
I
got
a
job.
The trouble
was,
I
could
not
score
an
accounting
job
to
save
my
life.
As
my
insecurity
got
worse with
each
passing
day-and
every
rejection
letter-all
of
my close
friends
were
receiving
job
offers
left
and
right.
Their only trouble
was
deciding
which
offer
they
should
accept.
This
only
aggravated
my
crisis
in
self-confidence
as
my
friends
were
getting
offers
from
top
corporations, CPA firms,
and
other
reputable
organizations,
and
all
I
was
getting
was
one
rejection
letter
after
another after
another
after another.
The
worst
blow
I
got
was
after
I
had gone
on
an
interview
with
a
CPA
firm
on
a
Friday
morning,
and
the
managing partner
was
quite
impressed with
me.
So
when
he
called
me
the
following Monday
morning,
at
8am,
I
thought
surely
he
was
calling
me
with
an
offer.
I
was
even
stupid
enough
to
think
that
he
wanted
me to
start
later that
day.
Instead,
he
called me
at
that
time
of
the
morning
to
tell
me
that
he
and
his
partner
decided
to hire
someone
else.
That
incident
completely
vaporized
what
little
confidence
I
might
have had
left
for
a
very
long
time.
Nearly
six
months
after
graduating,
I
finally
got
a
job
offer
from
the
New
York City
Department
of
Finance
to
audit
business
tax returns.
By
then,
I
was
so
demoralized
by
my
first
job
search
that
I
was
absolutely floored
that
I
finally
got
an
offer.
I
really
did
not
celebrate
all
that
much;
I
was that stunned
that
somebody
actually
said
yes!
Anyway,
I
always wanted
to
do
tax
work,
this
was
a
tax
job,
and
I
figured
that
this
would
be
a
great
opportunity
to
attain
some
valuable
experience
and
possibly
learn
tax
preparation
on
my
way
to the
top
of
the
tax field.
53
Nicole
Emerick,
How I
Left
Corporate
America
at
26
to
do
What
I
Love,
Ms.
CAREER
GIRL
(Mar.
29,
2011),
http://www.mscareergirl.com/2011/03/29/how-i-
left-corporate-america-at-26-to-do-what-i-love/.
[Vol.
16.3
2014]
THE
JOY OF PASSION: FINDING
YOUR
CALLING
Wrong
again!
In
my
job
of
auditing
business tax
returns,
all
I
did
was
check
for
discrepancies
in
each
return
that
might
have
resulted
in
additional
tax
assessments.
I
was
not
learning
how
to
prepare
tax
returns,
since
all
I
did
was
merely
check
up
on
what
someone
else
did.
I
was
much
less
a
tax auditor than
I
was
a
clerk.
Frankly,
I
really
could not
have
an
intelligent conversation
about
taxes
with
any
knowledgeable
practitioner
because
I
was
hopelessly
behind
the curve and
only
falling
further behind.
My
job
was
pretty
mindless
as
there
was
nothing
for
me
to
analyze
and
there was
certainly
no
room
in
that
clerical
job
for
any
professional
and
intellectual
growth.
I
was
already
starting
to
suffer
from
intellectual atrophy.
In
the
meantime,
my friends
were
learning
more
and
more, and
they
were
getting
some
very
lucrative
promotions
as
they went
on.
Things deteriorated
to
the
point
where
I
was
truly
embarrassed
to
say
what
I
did
for
a
living and where
I
worked.
To
quote
WFAN
radio's
Joe
Benigno:
"OH
THE
PAIN!
,,54
After
two
mind-numbing
years,
I
left the
Department
of
Finance
to
take
a
job