The very things we thrive on in the legal profession such as the adversarial nature of the system; the duty to provide competent representation; and the ability to manage complex information, situations and people are also the things that can drive us down the road to burnout.
I am not a counselor, psychologist or life coach. I don’t have a cure-all for professional burnout. However, I have watched many lawyers overcome burnout with one common denominator – change.
Some changes have been drastic, such as leaving the legal profession altogether. The attorneys I know who have done this confess that the profession was wrong for them all along, and they knew it before they ever finished law school. Other changes I have witnessed have been less dramatic such as focusing more on a favorite practice area or moving to a new office space. The needed changes could also be completely non-work related such as eating better or socializing and relaxing more. My point is, a change must be made to see results in the fight against burnout.
As a freelance paralegal, I work with a lot of solo practitioners. These brave souls wear an amazing number of hats and shoulder a lot of responsibility. They can easily become overwhelmed, and constant overwhelm is the fast track to burnout. My best advice to solos is to do the things you enjoy most about your practice and get help with the rest. You may think that you cannot afford to outsource some of your work load, but in reality, you can’t afford not to. Many services that could lighten your load can be purchased on an as-needed basis at very reasonable prices.
If you think you are headed toward attorney burnout, make some changes now. Ask for help where you need it. You may only need to tweak a few things to enjoy a whole new outlook on your career. Preventing burnout is much easier than overcoming it. I am including a couple of links to excellent articles on burnout. I hope this helps.
Photo: By accent on eclectic