Updated: Apr 3, 2019
In December 2018, I quit my job as an attorney. My lucrative and prestigious job as a litigation associate at a midsize law firm. I left without another job lined up, without a savings nest-egg, and with $100,000 in student loan debt, but with a dream and the promise of a happier life. And I’m not looking back.
Up to this point, I have taken the safe, parent-approved path to a successful career. I got good grades in high school and got into a good college. I studied hard, graduated a semester early, and took the LSAT. I got a scholarship to a top 100 law school. I didn’t miss a single class my first year of law school. I did well in school and got great jobs during the summers and after graduation. I gave countless hours of studying, long nights, break downs and lots of tears to my goal of achieving a successful career. And I reached that goal.
What I learned after reaching that goal was that the path I was on was a disingenuous one. My dream of being a lawyer was not really my sincere dream. It was a prescribed path that fit with my skill set and academic capabilities. But I was miserable as a lawyer. My mental and physical health suffered, my relationships suffered, and my self-confidence was shot. I was depressed, lost, and at times, hopeless.
It was a hard realization to come to. That the career that I aspired to for so long was not right for me. What identity would I have if I wasn’t a lawyer? What other job could I even do? I spun my wheels for months. Maybe I could be a real estate agent, maybe a legal recruiter, heck maybe even a bartender just to get me out of a job that was tearing me down. I remember looking out my office window and thinking, there has to be more to my life than this (then I felt guilty for not appreciating a career where I was paid well, had good colleagues, an office with a view and a secretary). But the truth is, I woke up every morning with paralyzing anxiety about the day to come. I couldn’t get my work done because I couldn’t concentrate on anything besides how much I hated the work I was doing - fighting other people’s battles and tracking my time in 6-minute increments. I looked at so many of my contemporaries and friends in the legal world who were struggling to find a balance between their demanding legal careers and time for their families and outside lives. I saw that many of them were unhappy. I went to the required mental health continuing legal education presentations and learned about the staggering rates of lawyer anxiety, depression and drug and alcohol dependencies. I knew I had to get out, but I just didn’t know how.
During this time, I started The Remarkable Golden. Over the past year and a half, we have met the most amazing people. I have been humbled to learn the stories of the remarkable people in our community. I have met best friends through this project. I have challenged friends, family and complete strangers to see the best in themselves, to articulate something they are proud of, something that makes them amazing, awesome and unique. And it has changed my life.
What started as a feel-good side project has quickly become my passion. I know this project is important. I know that Judge was brought into our lives for a reason. I know that I am the vehicle for this message. So I took a leap of faith. I left my six-figure salary and office with a view to pursue a passion and fuel my soul. To travel the country by RV to tell the stories of the remarkable people of the US, and I can’t freaking wait!
Back in April of last year, I had my own question turned around on me. I was asked what made me remarkable, and I couldn’t answer. I couldn’t answer the question I challenge people to answer every day. But I didn’t feel remarkable. I didn’t feel like myself. My career was changing me. Just recently I wrote my own post. It took me about an hour to get it down, but I shared what makes me remarkable. It’s my drive and determination. It’s gotten me this far in life, and I know it will allow me to grow this campaign into something I could have never imagined.