I Went to Law School…And Realized I Don’t Want to Be a Lawyer | Jessica’s Story
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of watching my big brother say “I do” with a badass boss of a woman, the new sister in my tribe, Jessica.
I had the pleasure of getting to know Jessica at the Bossed Up Bootcamp we held in their hometown of Austin, TX last year (a cheap ploy for me to hang out with my sister-to-be).
Since then, I’ve learned so much from Jess – about love, loss, and living a Bossed Up life. It brings me great pleasure to introduce her to you today.
Emilie: Jess! Thanks for doing this interview! And for marrying my big brother, haha.
Jessica: Haha, of course, Em!
E: So, tell our bosses what you’re all about, Jess.
J: Let’s see…I love marketing, technology, law, and amazing food. I’m an award-winning legal marketer, and I’m always exploring great food at home in the kitchen or out in Austin’s incredible foodie scene. I enjoy helping women with branding and marketing in their careers, too. I help lawyers with personal branding and volunteer through the University of Texas to help recent graduates polish their resumes for the job search. I’m excited to be sharing my top tactics and strategies on next week’s Bossed Up Wednesday Workshop on Crafting Your Skills-Based Resume , too!
E: Yes – I can’t wait to share more of your talents with our community! When did you know you wanted to go into marketing?
J: At the end of my second year of law school I had an epiphany: I didn’t want to be a lawyer. You can imagine how scary it is to have just spent tens of thousands of dollars and two years of my life to realize I’d chosen the wrong career path. Instead of backing out, I finished my program – a joint JD/LL.M. degree – and I strategically selected my coursework based on skills I believed would help me find a job in marketing when I got out of law school.
I sought out opportunities to learn marketing within the legal field: volunteering, writing for a blog, and concentrating my efforts on learning the business side of the law. It worked out for me, but it was very scary. For a long time, I thought I had made a huge mistake. I tried to stay confident in my abilities and to feed my desire to learn new things. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you believe in yourself, and you are willing and open to learning new skills.
E: Yea, that does sound scary, especially in our culture where career transitions are too often thought of as “failures.”
J: Right. I like to tell my clients to approach new opportunities from a place of “yes.” I tell them that they should approach every shift as an opportunity to develop some knowledge or expertise. Every project should teach you something new. I stress the importance of showcasing accomplishments and learned skills both on-the-job and in school.
E: So how did you feel about Bossed Up Bootcamp? Was it helpful to you? You’re my sister-in-law so you have to say nice things. Obvs.
J: Haha! It would be hard not to, Emilie! Here’s what I got out of Bootcamp: a real opportunity to explore my personal as well as professional goals. I am very career-driven, but I frequently overlook how I can improve personally.
Bootcamp taught me the importance of showing gratitude. Three years ago I lost several members of my family to cancer; one right after the other. The pain of losing those you love is numbing and unbearable. Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook recently lost her husband and wrote, “[My mother] has fought to hold back her own tears to make room for mine.” When I read that I line, it was like it was suspended in the air. I knew exactly what she meant. During my deepest and darkest moments, my mom who was also experiencing unbearable loss, pushed her grief aside to comfort me. She was so strong and brave.
At Bootcamp, I called her and thanked her for that. It was a very emotional moment and as usual, she calmed me, told me she loved me, and then made me laugh by saying, “When I had you at 23 years old, I was all alone raising you. I was so scared, but look how wonderful you turned out!”
Bootcamp prompted me to be the best version of myself – to stop, reflect, and say thank you to those who love me even in my darkest times. Today, I try to be more diligent in focusing on my personal life, in additional to my professional ambition, as I realize they are equally important to a successful and sustainable life.
E: Omg, you’re going to make me cry, Jess. I love you! So to wrap things up, what advice do you have for other bosses and bosses-to-be out there?
J: I have been in the shoes of every single person out there who has ever feared rejection, making the wrong move, or failure, but I have learned this: rejection is not an end-point and failure is part of the process of learning. They are incidental in relation to the alternative: success. To risk sounding like a lawyer, the greatest things in life are worth some incidental damage. ?
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