How did you find your way into your field?
Not necessarily a plan. Be ready to take an opportunity when it comes. I am a sole practitioner with a law practice in a small town. This was not what I saw in my future when I was graduating from Stanford or from law school. I had summer jobs at large firms in different big cities, and went to a large firm in San Francisco after graduating. After three years I left and went to a small firm (for personal reasons–I got married). I had a mentor who helped me develop my own practice within that small firm, and things happened, he retired, there I was on my own. It was a bit scary to be on my own–no one was paying me to practice and no one was there to handle all the other things –hiring an assistant, signing a lease, receivables, payables, too many things to list that had nothing to do with practicing law.
Being on my own gives me a lot of flexibility that I love. It also means I need to be in contact. I don’t have anyone to handle my clients if I am gone for too long. On vacation or just on days I’m off, I can be in contact with computer, phone, etc. and I need to be–or at least I still perceive that I need to be most of the time.
I like what I do. I work part time now. I have had time for my family and activities I love–still never enough time for everything. It is often hard, I am busy.
Any words of wisdom to share?
Though I feel I am from a different era, and looking to retire in a few years, here are a couple more thoughts that are timeless:
There’s a good chance you won’t get something if you don’t ask. Ask for what you want, and make your own way. You might get a lot of “no’s” but you will get the one or two yesses that you want and that make the difference.
I see how things are different with my son who graduated from college a couple years ago and is working. He moved to second job after six months, was there three months and made a decision that it wasn’t working out. I remember thinking I had to be in my first job three years before leaving. I knew I had a lot to learn. It made sense when I moved on to be able to say I worked for three years at this large firm. It gave me credibility. I tell my son this–not sure how much he listens!