Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Passion and Procrastination

Can I be honest with you all? I mean, really honest? Yeah? Ok, good. Sometimes I ask myself, "If I had it to do all over again, would I still go to law school?" My answer: "I don't know." Yes, it's cool to be able to tell people, "I'm a Lawyer Working Girl", but when it boils down to it, do I really, I mean REALLY, enjoy what I do? Would I do what I do even if I wasn't getting paid for it? If I could choose any career and it would be mine, would I choose the legal field? I can answer all three of those questions without hesitation: "No."

I mean, don't get me wrong, in this economy, I am extremely grateful to be employed. I understand that there are many lawyers out there who are unemployed and who would jump at the chance to step into my shoes, sit behind my desk, do my work, and collect my paycheck. I know this. While I don't necessarily enjoy what I do, I won't complain. Now, I do realize that in my previous post I said that I enjoy the work I do. Yeah....about that. I think I spoke too soon. I really do like most of the people I work with, but I think enjoy was the wrong word to describe how I feel about what I do. Maybe I should have said like? No, that's still not quite right. Tolerate. Yeah, I think that's it. Tolerate. I don't hate it, but I don't enjoy it. I'm somewhere right in the middle.

So when did I realize that I don't enjoy my 9 to 5? When I got a chance to totally immerse myself into my passion. When I talk to people about my passion, I've been told that they can see in my face and hear in my voice how passionate I am about it. When I'm talking about my passion and working on my passion, I feel like I'm 100% in my element. My true personality--fun, sociable, excited, happy--comes out. When I'm at work, sitting at my desk, not so much.

So what is my passion, you ask? Well, I'm doing it right now as I talk to you all. And no, I don't mean watching Jeopardy is my passion. I mean, what I'm actually doing. Right. Now. Blogging! Not just blogging about anything, but blogging about my real life and blogging about the other things that I'm passionate about. Sigh. It brings me to my happy place. So each day after I punch the clock at work, I come home and work on my passion, and one day, I hope to make a full-time career of it.

Wait. Did I say I work on it every day after work? Ok, I may have stretched the truth on that a little bit. Everyday after work, I have good intentions to work on my passion. As I walk out of the office I plan in my head what I want to work on that evening. Unfortunately, what I plan in my head doesn't always happen. Too often I come home, turn on the TV, eat dinner, pick up a book, check my email, send a few tweets, update my Facebook status, have full conversations via text message, and fall asleep before I get any work done on my passion projects. Sometimes, I think that everything I want to accomplish just seems so big that I just keep putting off doing any work on it at all, but because I eventually want to turn my passion into profit, I realize that I must stop procrastinating. I recently read an article about how to conquer procrastination and learned that I must set a series of deadlines for myself rather than just look at the project as a whole.

It's funny, because I never really considered myself as a procrastinator. At work, everything has a deadline. That's just the nature of the industry in which I work. Clients, opposing counsel, and judges are not going to accept any excuses about why I missed a deadline. So from 9 to 5, I have no problem getting my work done on time. I don't know why it took me reading that article to realize that that's what I've already been doing at work and that that's exactly what I should be doing when I'm working in the evenings and on weekends on my passion projects. So, I'm going to pull out my pen and notebook and start breaking my projects up into smaller tasks and set deadlines for myself...just as soon as Flipping Out goes off...or maybe tomorrow.


MonsteRawr said...

I have a REALLY hard time working on work when not at work, but part of that is because I'm paid hourly, so it's hard to justify doing extra work without being paid for it. And sure, I can charge my job for the big chunks of work I do at home, but what about the work-related phone call here, responding to e-mails there?

But then, like you said, I'm just happy to have a great job!

Lawyer Working Girl said...

MonsteRawr: For me, aside from the projects seeming so HUGE, I think I'm just plain exhausted when I get home in the evening and just want to relax. I think I'm going to have to start utilizing my desk more and stop trying to work in front of the TV on the couch.

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way. I know I am not doing my passion and the thought of doing what it takes to get there just seems so overwhelming at times. I spend my time working on other people's plans instead of my own. I know for me it is a fear of the unknown creeping in. Someone once told me to just jump...the net will appear.

Anonymous said...

oh i understand completely.

I used to love my job but it has evolved into something something I have to drag myself to every day.

So you woudl think the fac tthat I'll be done in 2 1/2 weeks will make me happy, but I'm worried I won't find another job.

Thanks for the link on the procrastination, I'll be sure to read it.

Anonymous said...

I started graduate school 2 weeks ago and it's definitely not my passion, not even one of my top interests whatsoever right now. It's complicated. I know what I want to do: go for my passion, but it can't be right now, because masters is right now. I feel like I am drowning already and it's only the beginning.
Thinking that I will be doing my passion me the will to go on.

- CC said...

How timely! One of the first things I saw this morning was a video about the types of things that motivates us, and this post ties nicely into that:

Lawyer Working Girl said...

Let me tell you guys...I've been on a hunt for my passion for years now. Actually, I've always known my passions, but rather, have been trying to figure out how to get to it. I've tried different ways and while none got me there, I've had invaluable experiences and made great connections. My advice to finding your passion: think about the thing you would do even if you would not get a paycheck for doing it. From there, start networking in that area. And tell anyone who will listen what you're passionate about. People know other people who know people who have ideas and suggestions. Best wishes to all in finding your passion!

Vivienne said...

I can really relate to this! I have many passions... yet... i always end up doing other things (i.e. TV, Facebook, etc.)... I guess we need to start applying ourselves to our passions :)

Luna said...

i know what you're talking about. its usually easier to keep deadlines at works b/c you're more used to it and being part of your job you're forced to have to do it too. once you're home you get to relax more so you dont feel the pressure if meeting a deadline. i do it sometimes too.

estera said...

I totally agree with your thoughts. I'm a bit like you where I have motivation during my day at work to get something done after work at home. But it's strange how technology has evolved so much that we get hooked on doing something else (ie. facebook-ing, twitter-ing, phone calls, etc) that by the time we're done with it all we never have the energy or motivation to complete the task we originally had in mind to do. I have a passion for all things fashion and couture. Although I don't work in the industry, it is something I ENJOY as a hobby. So during the day I'm building up ideas to design, draw a pattern and sew a garment, or elaborate on a garment in progress with the motivation and desire to get it done when I get home from work. But very rarely does it happen and I always feel like a failure. Something always gets in the way and I lose all motivation and energy when 8.30pm comes around and then the 'I just can't be bothered to start on anything now' voice speaks out :( But I feel so happy when I overcome this thought and achieve what I've planned to do. And it feels relaxing somehow too! :) Just gotta keep working at it.

Lawyer Working Girl said...

You guys leave some great comments! It's so nice to be able to share my thoughts and feelings with other Working Girls and to know that I'm not alone.

Once you've worked a full day at your job, it's really hard to go home and work some more, even if it is fun work. I'm trying to come up with a plan to prevent myself for going home and being a bum on the couch each evening. I will be sure to share it with you all. Let's keep the dialogue going!

Alison Joy said...

I feel the same way. If I had to do it all over again, no way would I have become a preschool teacher. Or if I had to do it again, I would go for a more stable teaching degree like elementary education. I ask these questions of myself every day. But I am glad to have a job after not having one for a few months.

I am a huge procrastinator in my personal life too. I hate making phone calls so I will put it off for weeks if I can. I wish I could perfect not procrastinating, I should make that goal my full time job!