Why I quit my job as a lawyer

About 8 months ago, I did something that I, never in my wildest dreams, would have imagined to be possible: I quit my job as a lawyer (of 9 years, I might add) to pursue my passion as a full-time blogger. I traded in my 6-figure salary, steady bi-weekly paycheque, medical and dental benefits, and office with a view on a bit of a whim. At the time, I had no clue whether it would pan out in the long run. But I can honestly say that it’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done, and I haven’t looked back since (and hopefully won’t ever have to)!

While blogging has been around for a while, making a stable income from influencer marketing is still new. I wrote this post all about influencer marketing a few months ago, which happened to be my most popular blog post to date. In that post, I said I’d eventually explain why I quit my job as a lawyer, so I’m finally opening up about it here.

Why I Quit My Job

Well, if I could sum up why I quit my job in one word, it would undoubtedly be: HAPPINESS. I put my personal happiness, mental and physical health first. Full stop.

I realize how ‘out there’ that may sound to some people. But, it’s really not crazy to think that you:

  • DON’T have to keep doing something you dislike
  • CAN make a living doing something that actually makes you happy and that you’re passionate about, AND
  • DO have the power to take this into your own hands!

It is possible to turn your passion project into a career – and quite frankly, that’s the way it should be!

My Story

Well, that’s the short answer to why I quit my job. But, you’re obviously here for the full story. So, buckle up, and here goes…

Like most kids of immigrant parents (mine are from Trinidad), getting a good education and becoming a professional were drilled into my head at an early age. I thought I wanted to be a lawyer because it was a respectable profession. Plus, I was super academic, good at public speaking and debating, and so it all made sense. I went through life with that single goal in mind, without ever really stopping to think about the why. I fast tracked through university, got into law school, landed a summer job at a Bay St. firm, where I also got an articling position, and then was hired on as an associate.

With my parents on my Call to the Bar

Me and my parents on the day of my Call to the Bar in June, 2008. An entire decade ago!

6 years of post-secondary education, 1 bar exam, 10 months of articling, and 1 Bay St. job later, and I thought I was golden! But, like a lot of my peers, I eventually became disillusioned with the practice of law. Over 9 years, I switched practice areas, worked at 2 large downtown Toronto firms and a mid-sized firm where I had more work/life balance, and I still felt the same. There would’ve been no way for me to know this before, because what I learnt in my 9 years about the practice of law (and about myself, more importantly) is not the kind of stuff they teach you in law school!

There were things about being a lawyer I did enjoy, but there were more things about it I didn’t. I haaaatedddd the long hours, the demanding clients and partners, the docketing, the billable hour targets, all the extra non-billable time I had to put in, the business development – the list goes on and on.

I never really liked the ‘corporate world’ and always thought it wasn’t a fit. At cocktail parties, I didn’t want to discuss the law, politics or the stock market; I wanted to talk about food and travel. I looked at the senior partners at the firms I worked at and asked myself, “Is this what I want to be in 10 or 20 years?” The answer was always “No”.

All the while, I had this creative side. I was always good at writing and I enjoyed photography. Travel was a huge part of my life. I developed a serious love for food. In fact, if I didn’t get a job after articling, I was gonna go to culinary school. It wasn’t until I began blogging that everything seemed to click! Blogging is where all of my passions intersected, and it was finally an outlet for my creativity!

why i quit my job

To be really good at something, you have to become obsessed with it. I instantly became obsessed with blogging (and still am), so I didn’t mind devoting all of my spare time on evenings and weekends to build my blog and Instagram account. I spent countless hours on Instagram, I met up with other bloggers, I went to events, I took photos, I wrote, I researched, I sent out emails, I hustled. I didn’t mind waking up at 5 a.m. to finish a blog post or plan my Instagram content before work. What I did mind, however, was going into an office that I dreaded right after.

Success didn’t come overnight. For a year and a half, I worked my ass off to juggle both things. Oh, and how could I forget that I was planning a wedding at the same time?! Inevitably, this caught up with me, and I burned myself out. It all came to a head when my then fiancé (now husband) and I went away to the Caribbean to celebrate our bachelor/bachelorette with our friends. We were in paradise and it should have been relaxing, but each morning I woke up with anxiety due to the mental and emotional stress of my situation.

The day I returned to the office, I stared at the calendar. It was May 23rd. My wedding was on July 8th. I knew I couldn’t handle everything on my plate and something had to give. I had talked (and dreamed) about leaving my job for long enough, and it was time for me to do something about it.

It was scary. It was risky. But, I absolutely made the right choice when I gave my notice. It was like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders! And while this may be a shock to you, I really didn’t have a plan. I’d made a stable income from blogging for the last 3 months, but wasn’t sure what the future would hold.

All that mattered was that I wanted to be in the right frame of mind on my wedding day. I wanted to be happy.

Some Common Misconceptions

If I had a dollar for every time someone looked at me funny, when I explain I quit my job as a lawyer to be a blogger, I’d actually be rich! So, now that I’ve told you the reasons I quit, I wanna take a minute to address some of the ignorant comments I’ve sadly gotten along the way.

1. I’ve wasted my education

It’s unfortunate (and rude) when people assume I’ve dumped my education down the drain (people have actually said this to my face), or when people think being a blogger is beneath being a lawyer.

First, my experience in life has taught me that every job, skill, career path, or trade should be respected. To do something well requires a lot of practice, hard work, knowledge, and skill.

Second, I’m extremely thankful for my education and wouldn’t have changed my journey. But, it’s NOT that I’ll always “have my education to fall back on”. I USE my education and skill set on a daily basis. Blogging is a lot of work and I run my own business – again, not something university or law school ever prepared me for!

2. I have a tonne of extra time

“So, how are you enjoying all your free time now?” Me: “What free time?”

The ironic thing is that I work longer and harder now than I ever did as a lawyer – but I love it! Lori Greiner said it best, when she said, “Entrepreneurs are the only people who will work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week”. I would much rather work 80 hours a week for myself than 40 hours a week for someone else.

3. My husband supports me

Ahhhh, my personal fave! “Oooohhhh, you left law to be a blogger?” …Next question: “What does your husband do for a living?”

Alex putting pearls around me

This is a photo my husband and I took as part of a creative project and partnership last year. I imagine this is what some people think my life is like, but it really isn’t!

Guess what. I’ve never gotten a hand-out from anyone – from my husband, to my parents, to the government, or anyone else. Before my husband, I paid for my legal education, repaid all my school debt, bought my condo, and paid my own mortgage and bills. And now that I’m married, we share equal responsibility for our expenses. I’m fortunate to be able to do something I love and make a stable income from it.

What Is the Meaning of Success?

What does success mean to you? It took me over 25 years to figure out that the key to success is being happy. Apart from happiness, for me, success means:

  • Feeling fulfilled in my job
  • Feeling excited about what I do and my eyes lighting up when I talk about it
  • Having healthy relationships
  • Having love in my life
  • Having children and being able to actually spend time with them
  • Being able to travel when I want
  • Being in control of my destiny
Twirling in skirt

Success also means being in control of my schedule and dictating the type of work I want to do! Do you know how liberating it is to be able to go out into a field to take photos twirling around in a skirt, rather than being stuck in an office?! It’s still work, but it’s fun work!

What is My Purpose (And the Purpose of This Post)?

While I’ve had a successful journey so far, there have definitely been struggles and bad days. As with any industry, there are ups and downs, and there’ve been times I’ve questioned my purpose as a blogger.

When I started, people thought it was amazing that I practiced law and blogged at the same time. Now that I’ve quit, people wanna know how I did it. In fact, the number one question I get asked online and offline is: “how did you make the transition?”

It took me a while to realize that my purpose isn’t just to post pretty pictures, but to inspire people and try to make an impact.

Start with a dream. Turn your dream into a goal. Work towards your goal. Do what makes you happy. Try hard. Take a risk. But whatever you do, lead with passion.

Why I quit my job as a lawyer

I truly hope this post has answered all your questions about my journey and has inspired you to create your own path as well!

Photography by: Laura Clarke Photography