Sunday, October 8, 2006


A week or so ago, I met someone who told me that he wanted to be President of the United States. My natural urge to giggle at such a pronouncement from a twenty-six year old guy was suppressed by the earnestness with which the statement was made, but this earnestness did not save me from awakard conversation when asked the inevitable follow-up, what do I want to be.

The answer to that question used to be easy -- a lawyer -- and people would stop pressing for a more specific answer. And anyway, I used to have much more defined idea of what would come after the JD. I'd spend a couple of years at a law firm doing what lawyers do, then do those things in the government for a few more years, and eventually make my move into the political realm. I didn't really know how this was going to happen, but I knew that it would.

Now two full years after receiving the degree and the bar memberships to make being a "lawyer" a reality, I find myself without a clear answer to the question of what I want to be. I still want to be a lawyer, but this is hardly an answer that shows ambition (earnest or otherwise); I've already met that goal. But what I want to do as a lawyer is probably one of the hardest questions I'm often asked -- my answer varies daily and in response to my audience. A judge? A professor? A federal prosecutor? A politician? A parnter in a law firm? I certainly don't mean to complain about bevy of options that remain available to me, but for the first time in my life, my career path is much less clear. Without the next step in focus, it's very easy to lose the ambition that has driven me this far.

Maybe it wasn't just the earnestness that made me suppress my instinct to giggle, but the sense that even the loftiest goals can provide direction that I sometimes wonder how I've lost.