Over the last couple months, I have been really struggling with aspects of my job and career. Perhaps the most difficult to come to terms with was realizing that the institution for which I work is (significantly) less than perfect. Recently, I have seen my "firm" act very unprofessional more than once--within the company and dealing with the larger legal community. This was disastrous to me because when I started my job, I attached my career and identity as a lawyer with my firm. I was very happy to be working there and willing to support all its ideals. I was so excited when I received the job offer that I turned down everything else.
It all came crashing down around the end of February, making me start to look for other work. Last weekend, though, I made the decision not to leave my firm. While my firm may not be perfect, I love doing criminal defense work for people who really need my help, and I can't do that anywhere at at the present time. I did, however, make some important promises to myself. I will no longer identify myself as "someone who works for [my firm]." I am my own lawyer. I am going to treat my life as a lawyer as MY career, not something that I'm giving to my firm. They can't have it, because they don't deserve it. It is also not the way I should manage my career if I want it to be life-long and fulfilling.
After I made that decision last weekend, I have started enjoying my job again. I do love being a public defender.
Ironically, while I was exploring my options, I received an offer--unsolicited--from a prosecutor in my county to work with him prosecuting for a local police department.