Leaving the Law
This is a guest post by Kate Ginty who has recently decided to leave the law and follow her passion in life.
If I said it was a difficult decision to leave the law, I would be fibbing. In many ways it left me. When the law and I first parted, I felt broken-hearted. I felt resentment and rejection. I had given it everything. My evenings, my weekends, my trust. It selfishly took took took, then dumped me as if all those long hours together had meant nothing.
I did what came naturally after a break-up. I cried into my pillow and tried to pretend I didn’t care, whilst trying to snatch glimpses of what the law had been up to lately. I jealously checked out if it was pursuing some new young paralegal types with promises of training contracts, like it had done with me. I wondered if somehow I had done something to warrant the loss in interest. Had I become too expensive by qualifying?
I kept wondering if the law would realise it had made a big mistake and invite me back. However, December 2009 was not a good time to be looking for a newly qualified (NQ) solicitor position. I can’t say that competition for NQ jobs was fierce because there wasn’t really anything to compete over. Eventually I let the law go. We still catch up now and again and we have remained good friends, but I have moved on. It seems that quite a few of my legal peers would like to cut-off contact with law altogether.
I started a new job. Though looking back, I was probably on the rebound. The rebound job has been good for me. It has been interesting and I have had some fun times, but there just wasn’t that spark.
How I got started in gardening
Back when I was practising law, I had a brief dalliance with gardening. I had taken some time off work to help look after my Dad, who had become very poorly.
During the brief spell I was off work, I gingerly started gardening, unsure of what I was doing. My brother bought me a book on how to grow herbs. I started with coriander, parsley and basil with great success. I quickly got carried away. I grew as much as I could in containers and found some space in a newly dug border. I found myself becoming totally absorbed in the activity of gardening – a great way to work through my thoughts or to simply escape for a couple of hours at a time.
I recall my aunt visiting and listening as I intently explained my gardening activities. She said then that I would end up giving up law to pursue this new interest. I dismissed it as ridiculous. Not because I didn’t want to do it, but because I had not considered it as a realistic option.
A couple of years on, we return to the present day. So what led me to pursue a career in horticulture? Two months ago, my rebound job description changed overnight into something I did not enjoy. I wanted to leave. The decision clincher was a discussion with my family. They saw how miserable I felt about work and offered their full support if I chose to pursue my interest in gardening.
Within a week I had applied to Merrist Wood College for a place on its Level 3 BTEC Diploma in Horticulture and had handed my resignation letter to my boss. It was a seven day whirlwind of activity as I researched the different courses available and consulted the Royal Horticultural Society and Kew Gardens for their advice. Via twitter I was able to seek guidance from people in the horticultural business. They were all generous with their advice and enthusiastic about my change in direction. I managed to submit my application to Merrist Wood College just in time to squeeze in an interview with a tutor before he left for the summer holidays.
I realise I am taking a risk, but a calculated one. I have always been a regular saver and will put away what I can. I am not a big spender generally, but I will stash cash away for something I have planned such as a holiday. I know I have enough put by in an ISA for the course, books and equipment and don’t feel too bad taking the money out of its tax wrapper given the low interest rate. I know I can live modestly and have no debt. My course requires I complete 300 hours industrial experience over the next academic year. This can be paid employment or working in the voluntary sector – just as long as it is horticulture based. For the moment I am aiming to obtain experience that is most relevant to me, be it paid or unpaid.
I cannot say exactly where this horticulture course will lead me just yet, but I am certain at the very least I am heading in the right direction. Though it might not be a clear path to a precise vocation, I do have ideas and plans I wish to explore. I will forage around and see what I discover.
This is a very brave and exciting decision and once which can be helped by the Financial Planning process. Kate clearly considered what she was giving up and how she may finance her new dream. A disciplined approach to savings has rewarded Kate by allowing her to make this transition with little disruption. By understanding what the financial impact of a career change may be you can determine what steps you may need to take to ensure your other life goals are not negatively impacted.
Good Luck Kate!
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