Prestige Is A Liar (TFLP 081)

Today I’m sharing one of the key realizations that you need to have in order to start making career decisions that work for you.

Prestige is a liar.

Prestige is a liar—what does that mean?

The legal profession has a problem with prestige.

Large portions of the industry are driven by firms trying to be the most prestigious and people trying to land the most prestigious jobs.

For many people who go to law school, chasing prestige makes a certain kind of sense. Many of us were high-achieving, academically-motivated kids who earned the gold stars and the accolades. We learned that those things were good things to reach for, and a prestigious job is in many ways an adult version of a gold star.

what makes something prestigious?

If you choose your career or your job based on the fact that the  job or career is prestigious, functionally what you’re doing is choosing it because it will impress other people.

What makes something prestigious, by definition, when you get down to it, is the fact that other people are impressed by it or perceive it to be a certain way.

what happens when you base career choices on prestige

So, when you use prestige to make your career choice, or to choose a particular job, you’re essentially making that decision based on what other people will think about you if you have that job.

But the problem is that ultimately, that is you looking to someone else to feel validated as a person.

It’s you basing your self-worth on what other people think is the best for you.

If your career satisfaction and happiness is tied to what other people think about you, then your whole career, and your entire life, come to be driven by what other people think about you.

the inherent insecurity of prestige

Making career choices based upon prestige sets you up to have unstable self-worth, because you need people to continue thinking good things about you in order to keep feeling validated.

Your self-worth is extremely fragile because it can be changed at any moment by other people’s opinions. It creates a lot of insecurity and anxiety, and drives you to make more and more decisions based on prestige in order to keep chasing the feeling of validation.

lawyers and prestige

This happens for lawyers all the time. So many of us made our career decisions based upon what people would think about us.

Prestige promised us that we would feel good, respected, secure, and validated—but we never actually get it because it’s entirely dependent on the opinions of other people.

So, to get to the root of the issue, you need to figure out—are you making your decisions based on what is most prestigious? If so, you’re handing over the reins of your career and your life to other people.

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