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This week on the podcast, I am super excited to share with you a preview of the first episode of a secret pop-up podcast series called “The Simple Five-Step Framework to Identify an Alternative Career that You Actually Like” that I have just released. 

This series is available for a limited time, until September 8th, partially in celebration of the starting of the first Guided Track in the Collaborative on September 9th. 

If you want to get this secret pop-up podcast and learn more about this 5-step framework, just head to formerlawyer.com/popup and put in your name and email. I definitely recommend that you do it as soon as you hear this because it will be available only for registrants and until 5:00 PM on the 8th, I won’t be posting about it more on the site like this, so listen before then if you’re interested.

And to give you a sample of what’s included in the series, here’s what the first episode is all about. 

Before You Identify an Alternative Career that You Actually Like

If you’re reading this blog, I can pretty much guarantee you that I was just like you. I graduated from law school thinking that I was embarking on my dream career and then quickly realized that I hated it and had no idea what I would do if I wasn’t a lawyer. 

Do you relate? 

When I found myself in this position of knowing I didn’t want to be a lawyer and wondering, “What am I going to do?”I tried a few things that may help or feel relatable to you too. 

First, I endlessly Googled alternative careers for lawyers.

Then I would scroll job boards, hoping that the perfect career would magically appear. I would look at a posting and think, “Oh, yes, definitely, this is what I should be doing” but couldn’t make up my mind.  

I also spent a lot of time wondering if there was something wrong with me for not liking the law. I wondered whether I was somehow defective. It seemed like everyone else was more or less okay with it. I was able to do the job so I thought that I should like it, but I definitely did not. 

Another thing I did was apply to other legal jobs even though deep down I was totally disinterested in them. 

I remember thinking about how so many people say, “You can do anything with a law degree,” and wondering if that was a lie because when I actually tried to look for options in terms of what I could do, I had a very hard time finding real-life examples. 

And lastly, I also worried that leaving the law would be a huge waste of my time and money. I had taken out a significant amount of student loans to go to law school and of course, the time spent in law school and passing the bar and then practicing. Was it all for naught? 

Who The Simple Five-Step Framework to Identify an Alternative Career that You Actually Like Is For

I imagine if you’re still reading that you probably have had at least some of those experiences as well.

If so, this mini pop-up series going over the 5-Step Framework to Identify an Alternative Career that You Actually Like is for you. 

If you’re a lawyer and you find yourself filled with dread every Sunday evening at the thought of Monday morning, this is for you. 

If you don’t like being a lawyer, but you have no idea what you would do if you left the law, you’re also in the right place.

If your job is soul-sucking, but you’re overwhelmed by the thought of figuring out what’s next, this is for you. 

By the end of this podcast series, you are going to leave with the exact steps that you need to take to identify an alternative career that you actually like, my best tips about the most common pitfalls and how to avoid them, and valuable tools that will help you related to this goal that you have of leaving the law. 

My goal for you is that through this series, you will know the steps that you need to take in order to find a way to ditch your soul-sucking job.

The Error Many Lawyers Make When Trying to Identify an Alternative Career that They Actually Like

Before we step into the details of the Framework—that’s what I’m going to start on in the second episode of this pop-up series, so be sure to sign up—I first want to talk about the error that I see many lawyers make when they’re approaching this question of what they should do next. 

Most lawyers want to go straight to revising their resumes and applying for jobs. 

But, if you really want to be successful in your transition, that is not a good place to start. Why? There are a few reasons:

One, that process is similar to the process that you used before. The process that you used to end up in law school to become a lawyer was very much a process, most likely, where you looked at yourself and your skills and looked for something that matched that. Law was one of those things and you said, “That’s the route I should go.” 

Now we know the result of that and that it wasn’t the right path, because you’re here and you’re reading this blog. 

This brings me to the second reason, which is just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

Just because you can revise your resume and gear it towards some other type of job doesn’t actually mean that that is the job that is going to be a good fit for you. Matching your skills or figuring out a way to market your skills for a particular job is really not an approach that is going to ultimately end in success, because you’re essentially making the same sorts of decisions that got you into your current job, one that’s set you up for this cycle of disappointment. 

This leads you to start a new position with the same mindset that you had when you went into your current position, which was, “Okay, here are my skills, this is what I’m good at, this matches so I should go do that. ” But then you get into that new position and you don’t really have any more information about whether it’s a really good fit for you, what could be a good fit for you, any of those questions you’re asking now – you’re just short-circuiting them.

That is why I do not recommend that you start with just revising your resume and trying to target a non-legal job. 

The Approach I Recommend When Trying to Identify an Alternative Career that You Actually Like

I recommend a different approach than just updating your resume and applying to jobs and that is what we are going to dive into in the second episode: my 5-part framework to identify an alternative career you that actually like.

I have developed this framework with my clients and use it inside of my program, the Collaborative

If you use this framework, you will be able to develop a sense of what can happen in your life, what you could create in your life. 

For example, one of my clients in the Collaborative is a law firm associate who asked their firm to let them move to part-time so that they could pursue a freelance writing career because that was an interest that they identified. 

Another client in the Collaborative is a Biglaw partner who went part-time and is building a life coaching business. 

I have another client who was a senior litigation associate at a mid-sized firm and that person ended up landing a fully remote, non-billable role in-house and escaping the litigation grind. 

There is another person who was a 25-year lawyer who resigned from partnership at his firm to pursue small business consulting, which is what he wanted to do when he left law school 25 years ago. 

Another example of what’s possible is one of my clients was a junior associate who thought she’d stay in the law for another 3-5 years, but then ended up landing her dream non-legal job and left big law less than 12 months after joining the Collaborative.

So as you’re thinking about what I talked about in this first part of the mini-series, and what we’ll be talking about again in future episodes, I want you to keep in mind, “what is the goal?”.

This framework I’m going to present to you can sound great and helpful, but what is the goal that you are wanting to move towards? What is possible if you are able to follow this type of framework? 

These are just some of the things that are possible, but what’s true for you? Once you think on that for a moment, you’re ready for the next episode, where we’re diving straight into the five-part framework. Don’t forget to sign up to get access to it here. 

Mentioned in This Article:

The Simple Five-Step Framework to Identify an Alternative Career that You Actually Like

The Collaborative

Sarah Cottrell: Hi, and welcome to The Former Lawyer Podcast. I'm your host, Sarah Cottrell. On this show, I interview former lawyers to hear their inspiring stories about how they left law behind to find careers and lives that they love. Let's get right to the show.

Hello everyone. This week on the podcast, I am super excited to share with you a preview, the first episode of a secret pop-up podcast that I have just released as of today. Today, August 30th, this podcast is available just for a limited time, it's going to be available from now through September 8th. It is partially in celebration of the fact that starting on September 9th, I'm going to be running the first guided track in the Collaborative which you will hear more in this episode, what that is actually about and what that's going to be like. But I wanted to give you this little teaser, taster of what this pop-up series is about and what it is going to be teaching. The title of the series is The Simple Five-Step Framework to Identify an Alternative Career that You Actually Like.

You may remember that I have recently, in the last couple of months, taught this in a master class format a couple of times and I just wanted to bring it in a different format, especially for those of you who listen to the podcast—obviously, podcasts are your jam—and so we're just trying something new. The very cool thing also is that when you sign up to get your unique secret link, you will also get access to a link with a special offer which I share about in the podcast for joining the Collaborative. That offer is available until 5:00 PM on September 8th, which the pop-up podcast will also be available until that time. But you can go get the podcast right now. It's very simple. I'm going to give you a link, you go to that link, you sign up, and you will get an email. It will come to your phone, you open it, you click the link in there, and you can add the podcast, the secret podcast, to whichever podcast player you use. It's incredibly easy and it's the same technology that I use to provide secret podcast feeds for my Collaborative members of the content that we have inside the Collaborative including the Framework curriculum and all of the replays of all of our workshops.

The landing page that you want to go to if you want to get this secret pop-up podcast and learn more about the Framework is formerlawyer.com/popup. Go to that link, you're going to put in your name and your email address and you will get a link in an email that allows you to add the secret podcast to your podcast player. I definitely recommend that you do it as soon as you hear this because like I said, today is August 30th, and it will be available until 5:00 PM on the 8th, so definitely listen before then if you're interested. Basically what you're going to hear now is the first piece of that podcast so that you can get a sense of what it is that I'm going to be teaching. I am really excited for you to hear this. Thank you so much for listening. Let's get right to this episode.

Hello everyone and welcome to this secret pop-up podcast series which I'm calling The Simple Five-Step Framework to Identify an Alternative Career that You Actually Like. You may have heard me talk about this before, I've taught this framework a couple times in a webinar/master class but I wanted to experiment with teaching it in a different way that lots of you probably consume because you also are listening to the podcast. Before I jump in, I want to just briefly introduce myself because I know that there will be some people listening who have not heard from me before and who don't know who I am. I'm Sarah Cottrell. I'm the founder of Former Lawyer LLC and I am the host of The Former Lawyer Podcast. I started out as a Biglaw litigator and then I left for a job in legal publishing and then I worked as a staff attorney at a state appellate court for six years. If you're listening to this podcast, I can pretty much guarantee you that I was just like you. I graduated from law school thinking that I was embarking on my dream career and then I quickly realized that I hated it and also that I had no idea what I would do if I wasn't a lawyer. Do you relate? I imagine that if you're listening to this podcast, you relate to that experience.

There I was, I realized I don't want to be a lawyer. What am I going to do? So here are some things I tried and I want you to listen and see if there are any things that you relate to or that you also did. One of the things that I did was endlessly Google alternative careers for lawyers. Another thing that I did was I would scroll job boards, hoping that the perfect career would magically appear. I would look at it and think, “Oh, yes, definitely, this is what I should be doing.” I also spent a lot of time wondering if there was something wrong with me for not liking the law. I wondered whether I was somehow defective. It seemed like everyone else was more or less okay with it. I was able to do the job so I thought that I should like it but I definitely did not. I also applied to other legal jobs even though deep down, I was totally disinterested in them. I also remember thinking about how so many people say, “You can do anything with a law degree,” and wondering if that was a lie because when I actually tried to look for options in terms of what I could do, I had a very hard time finding real life examples. Then I also worried that leaving the law would be a huge waste of my time and money. I had taken out a significant amount of student loans to go to law school and of course, the time spent in law school and passing the bar and then practicing. All of these things were part of my experience. I imagine, if you're listening, that you probably have had at least some of those experiences as well.

Let me talk briefly about who this series is for so that you know whether you're in the right place. You're in the right place if you're a lawyer and you find yourself filled with dread every Sunday evening at the thought of Monday morning. You're also in the right place if you don't like being a lawyer but you have no idea what you would do if you left the law. You're also in the right place if your job is soul-sucking but you're overwhelmed by the thought of figuring out what's next. By the end of this podcast series, you are going to leave with the exact steps that you need to take to identify an alternative career, my best tips about the most common pitfalls and how to avoid them, and valuable tools that will help you regardless of whether we ever work together in the future related to this goal that you have of leaving the law. My goal for you is that through this series, you will know the steps that you need to take in order to find a way to ditch your soul-sucking job.

Before we step into the Framework—that's what I'm going to start on in the second episode of this pop-up series—I first want to talk about the error that I see many lawyers make when they're approaching this question of what they should do next. Most lawyers want to go straight to revising their resume and applying for jobs but if you really want to be successful in your transition, that is not a good place to start. Now, why is that? Okay, a couple of things. One, that process is similar to the process that you used before. The process that you used to end up in law school to become a lawyer was very much a process, most likely, where you looked at yourself and your skills, you looked for something that matched that, law was one of those things and you said, “That's the route I should go.” We know the result of that because you're here and you're listening to this podcast, which brings me to the second reason which is an important reason that I think every lawyer needs to grapple with, which is just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

Just because you can revise your resume and gear it towards some other type of job doesn't actually mean that that is the job that is going to be a good fit for you. You can have a job where you are well suited in terms of skills, which for many of you is your job as a lawyer and yet have it be a very bad fit. Matching your skills or figuring out a way to market your skills for a particular job is really not an approach that is going to ultimately end in success because you're essentially making the same sorts of decisions that got you into your current job which sets you up for this cycle of disappointment. This is the final reason why I just think this is not a good place to start because you go into a new position with the same mindset that you had when you went into your current position which was, “Okay, here are my skills, this is what I'm good at, this matches so I should go do that,” and then really you get into that new position and you don't really have any more information about whether it's a really good fit for you, what could be a good fit for you, any of those questions, you're just short-circuiting them.

That is why I do not recommend that you start with just revising your resume and trying to target a non-legal job. I recommend a different approach and that is what we are going to dive into in the second episode which is the five-part framework that I have developed that my clients use inside of my program. But the one thing that I wanted to talk about before this episode is over is to give you a little bit of a sense of what is possible if you use this framework that I'm going to be talking to you about. Because you have listened thus far and you've heard what I've had to say about who I am, my process, my experience, and some of the underlying principles that I think are really important when you're approaching this question of changing careers. But I also want you to start to be able to develop a sense of what following a framework like this could allow to happen in your life, could create in your life. I just want to share what has happened with some of the people who are in the Collaborative, who are following my framework because I think it would be helpful for you to get a sense of, “Okay, what are the possibilities where this could ultimately end up?”

This is just a handful of examples. One of my clients in the Collaborative is a law firm associate who asked their firm to let them go part time so that they could pursue a freelance writing career because that was an interest that they identified. Another client in the Collaborative is a Biglaw partner who went part-time and is building a life coaching business. There's another client who was a senior litigation associate at a mid-sized firm and that person ended up landing a fully remote non-billable role in house and escaping the litigation grind. There is another person who was a 25-year lawyer who resigned from partnership at his firm to pursue small business consulting which is what he wanted to do when he left law school 25 years ago. Another example of what's possible is one of my clients was a junior associate who thought she'd stay in the law for another three to five years but then she ended up landing her dream non-legal job and she left big law less than 12 months after joining the Collaborative.

As you're thinking about what I talked about in this episode and what we'll be talking about again in future episodes, I want you to keep in mind what is the goal. This Framework can sound great and helpful but what is the goal that you are wanting to move towards? What is possible if you are able to follow this type of framework? These are just some of the things that are possible. All right. That's all for this episode. Next episode, we will be diving straight into the five-part framework so I will see you there.

Thanks so much for listening. I absolutely love getting to share this podcast with you. If you haven't yet, I invite you to download my free guide: First Steps to Leaving the Law at formerlawyer.com/first. Until next time, have a great week.

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