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Often the requirements of the job simply make attorneys miserable. Three extra years of schooling and passing an exam were supposed to make life better, right? Whether it's the long hours, the heavy weight of responsibility, or the nature of the work itself, many lawyers find out too late that the job can wreak havoc on a person's happiness.
Fortunately, even if you need to work miserably long hours, or in an area, or for a boss, you hate, you may still be able to find ways to be happy (especially if you're making good money) right where you are. Below you can read a few tips on how to be a happy (or happier) lawyer.
While money can't buy happiness, it can certainly get you things that make life a little less miserable. From paying down student loans to hiring a maid, buying happiness can take many forms and is rather personal to you. If you only get to play with a smartphone for an hour or two a day, at best, if that's your thing, you might as well play with the newest one, right? Are you a hungry foodie short on time? Pay a little extra to get your favorite restaurant delivered right to your door. Have a thing for shoes? Treat yourself!
Although saving money and working on your resume might be a good idea if you're not happy with your job, so can indulging in your wants. Sure, it's base, but if you can afford it thanks to the job you suffer through every day, the least you can do is treat yourself to the things you want and will enjoy.
To the extent possible, controlling your day-to-day calendar can help reduce stress and increase happiness. It's all about autonomy. But, as much as it's possible to plan, most legal jobs tend to involve putting out fires on a regular basis. If you can settle into a nice daily routine that isn't overly taxing, and automate or delegate away minor tasks, chances are you'll be happier.
But, even if you don't live in that dream world where you can have work-life balance, and even if you don't plan on being at your job come fall, you should have your Thanksgiving and holiday time off plans/requests in by mid-year, at the latest. And don't stop there, plan an annual (or biennial) dream vacation. Litigation lawyers know that the only way to really get a real vacation is to plan well in advance (or settle a case that's been set for trial). However, planning vacations early means that you'll have something to look forward to outside of work.
Being happy is easier when you live a healthy lifestyle. No, you don't have to go vegan, or go to any other extreme end of a spectrum (unless your doctors say so). But you should figure out what success, living well, and being healthy mean to you and strive for that.
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