A brutal realization on New Year's Eve for Big Apple law firm associates is this: You chose this career path. You knew it would entail a monk-like existence. You heard all about the serial all-nighters. So, why did you take this road less and less traveled? And with low job security?
Your New Year's resolution can be to deconstruct that decision-making process. Was it that you were willing to trade off a life of some pleasure in order to pursue intellectual excellence, earn $160,000 your first year, possibly receive a nice bonus, and have a shot at partnership?
Well, there are myriad other intellectually stimulating, well-paid including bonuses career paths which actually enable a wonderful life. In the book "Lost on treasure island," former GQ editor Steve Friedman chronicles the perks of his glam job. Here you can order the book from Amazon.
Those include being able to pitch to the powers that be a piece on spiritual retreats in far-off places, get to go there on their dime, participate, lose 30 pounds and double-digit bad cholestrol points, and pick up the long-legged babes who are also searching. Or, he can pitch bellying up with the working class types at fishing holes, observe, and connect the dots for a 1200-word story.
To get coverage in GQ, all kinds of beautiful women and interesting men throw products, services and hospitality his way.
He has a byline which his enemies, friends, family and former/current lovers read.
And, all the while he recognizes that when he tires of this part of the glam media scene, which he eventually does, he can go on with his pleasure-filled life in Manhattan as a freelancer. Unlike being a contract document reviewer his free agent existence takes him to places where there are endlessly fascinating things to see and people to meet. He comes to specialize in writing about travel and sports. That's lots different than deep dives about intellectual property.
As he admits in the memoir his sad-sack disposition is 100-percent his fault. It has nothing to do with the city, the glam, the work or even the amount of money he earns. Because of his own tragic flaws he can't find a Mrs. Friedman, inner peace or the willingness to accept people as they are.
Part of this darkness may be associated with his addictive personality. Lawyers probably can identify. Friedman did time in rehab while still a Midwestern hick. When the pain became bad enough eventually he began attending 12-step meetings in Manhattan. Those help. But readers are not optimisitc that Friedman can hold onto to the insights he gains.
However, meanwhile his career path brings unique experiences in far-off places, all the babes he could desire, a byline, and enough money. He can decide whether or not to feel less-than the hedge fund types and trust fund babies he plays basketball with. Usually he can blow that particular kind of negativity away.
Tomorrow night, we who are not living the professional life of Steve Friedman have to ask: Why not? And what can be do to add more pleasure to our work?