I am a *ahem* older law student, and had a 5 year gap between undergrad and law school. During those 5 years, I worked in sales and marketing and gained a whole new type of education. The big take away was what I wanted out of my career and my life.
While in sales, I enjoyed the problem solving and customer interaction but my position required a lot of travel. Most weeks I was clocking in over 1,000 miles or 16-18 hours of driving per week. After a few years, I had gained an understanding of my industry and the wheels constantly in motion and took a leap to marketing where I was a product/project manager.
That job changed my life. Even after 2 years, it’s difficult for me to write about the details. While my previous bosses hadn’t been very good managers, my boss at this company was a wrecking ball. He lied, gaslighted, embezzled, and did more things that I’m not going to mention. Looking back now, it feels tragic to see a person living their life that way, but while I was working there it was a living hell. It took a long time to recover and I’m still working on it, but that job taught me several valuable lessons:
It’s just a job: Your health and happiness should not be routinely shaken by your job. We all have bad days but when the days turn into weeks and then months, it’s time to make a change. One big red flag for me was waking up on Saturday morning and already dreading going to work on Monday.
Time Management: This is one of the most useful lessons for law school. During undergrad I didn’t have to work hard for good grades and had very fun weekends. Work helped me get used to sitting at a desk for 40-50 hours a day and planning out my days. It also introduced me to a ton of productivity tools that keep me organized.
Stay real: There were definitely times where I changed who I was for my job and I will never do that again. The people who succeed in the workforce are the ones that are comfortable in their own skin and true to themselves. Everyone brings value. If your job doesn’t appreciate you, move on.
Learn from everyone: There are tons of people out there that do things differently and it’s easier to work with clashing personalities of you keep that mindset. Even my abusive boss taught me valuable lessons, which brings me to the most important reminder:
You won’t be remembered for what you do, but how you make people feel: While accomplishing goals can certainly makes people feel like they’ve part of a valuable team, how you treat them will stick with them more. At the end of the day, I want people to see me as someone who’s approachable and honest while being kind and supportive.
Forward and Onward,