Wedding Woes

Dream your dreams cautiously.

Dear Prudence,
I am a lawyer and have a unicorn of a legal job—Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, with a good salary and full benefits. I started out at a big corporate firm where I was overworked and miserable, and thought this opportunity would be the key to happiness. Three years later, I’ve realized the law (primarily the constant conflict and lack of creativity) just isn’t for me. I am considering going back to school for a master’s related to my undergraduate degree, a field in which I think I would be happy and excel.

My hesitations are twofold: First, I’ve already spent seven years in school and amassed massive student loans which I will be repaying until I’m almost 40 (obviously much longer if I go back to school). I’ve already made the wrong major/career choice once, and I’m genuinely worried I’m just thinking about going back to school because that’s where people go when they don’t know what else to do. Second, I’m in my early 30s and planning on having kids in the next few years, right when I would be finishing my program, presumably unemployed and without any kind of maternity leave benefits. I am sometimes tempted to stick it out in this job in order to ensure my kids will not have to struggle the way I am now.

—Job Moans and Student Loans

Re: Dream your dreams cautiously.

  • I get what she's saying (kinda) but how many people are in a job they totally LOVE? Is this a "grass is greener" kinda thing?

    I may be weird in that my job is just that. A job. I have no lofty career goals and I just want to make enough money to be able to pay for the things I want. I have no expectations of loving my job and liking the people/business and tolerating the job itself is good enough for me.

    Image result for someecard betting someone half your shit youll love them forever
  • There's so much you can do with a JD that's not law - I have friends in school administration with JDs, for example, and Terry Brooks was a lawyer before he was a writer. It's all about leveraging yourself. 

    LW should leverage her doctoral-level degree creatively instead of thinking the only thing she can do is what she learns in school. 
  • edited June 2016
    I had a job I loved and considered myself very blessed to be in that club. Now I have A Job. It is fine but it doesn't fullfill my soul. I understand where LW is coming from but I wonder if she is involved in any activities out side of work that could make her feel better. Rather than racking up more debt.

    Edited to fix.
  • I get where LW is coming from; I have a great job that many people work years to get to, and some never get a tenure track opportunity. I've recently thought about leaving to do consulting, but there's no way of just up and do that without talking to people working in the field, trying some part time work, and really researching, in her case, the placement records of programs. 
  • I think my answer really depends on what this other career is she has in mind.  Is it something she could pursue without more school?  Is it something she's already "tasted" in some way, to see if she really likes it?  

    I'm a "follow your dreams" kinda person, but you DO have to be a little realistic.  Amassing more debt isn't really smart, unless you REALLY know that this new career is going to be fulfilling and something you can actually DO (like some people think they want to be a doctor, lawyer, teacher, whatever, until they try it and find out "nope--not for me!").

    I agree with exploring a different job with her same degree.  Or a great hobby.  OR just putting your toe in the water somehow at whatever this new career option is.

  • If LW wants to consider going back to school, I think she should first push to pay off her current student loans.  If she has such a comfortable salary, she should live humbly for a year or two and pay it off.  Then think about taking on more student loan debt.  Who knows if her planned next career will allow her the opportunity to pay off JD sized loans and the next degree's loans.

    I also think pursuing a fulfilling hobby would help.  Maybe even taking the time to volunteer weekly for a favorite charity. 

  • Yep never asked "Do I want to actually BE a lawyer" - LW needs a hobby they can get passionate about or do some pro bono legal work in an area with less conflict to remind her why she started in the field. 

    I recently thought about going back to school, only to interview a few people I know in the degree field who know my background/education/qualifications... Each of them said "skip the degree and open an office with the credentials you have because you'll be less subject to regulation and won't have the debt AND can do 100% of what you wanted to do anyway!" 

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