The following is a guest post by Howard Scott, author of Rascal on the Run, who left courtrooms and law offices behind for good. Today he spends about half his time in the Caribbean. Despite the financial and social perks of law, he’s never looked back. If you’d like to write a guest post for Money Q&A, be sure to check out our Guest Posting Guidelines.
Want To Leave The Rat Race? Start With An Exit Plan. Here’s a Lawyer’s Guide to Leaving The Courtroom Behind In Search Of Happiness…
Twelve years ago I walked out of a courtroom for the last time. After more than two decades in practice, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I am a seventh-generation Georgia attorney. The legal profession flows through my veins. But, over the course of my career, I had grown increasingly aware of the dismal state of affairs my colleagues and I found ourselves in. The profession had become an advertising game, more business than craft.
I was on a treadmill with no purpose, no end in sight. I wanted out.
These days I spend most of my time writing novels while sailing around the Caribbean. My destination is wherever the current takes me. Life is simple and blissful. It takes a leap of faith to leave a high-paying, prestigious career and set out on the road less traveled. You have to get a plan together.
Pave the way with other income
I earned great money as an attorney, but the security of having it was tempered by the ever-present realization that my soul was getting sucked out of me by a job I hated. I wanted to do something different, but getting from point A to point B required money along the way. I began by investing in real estate while I was still practicing law, planting the seeds that would one day grow into my freedom.
Leaving the corporate ladder is the perfect opportunity to show yourself what you’re made of by learning the art of the side hustle. I hit the seas in my yacht, the Capricho, with an open mind to pick up some extra money by taking unconventional jobs whenever they popped up, and I finally gave in to my lifelong desire to write. More on this later!
Forget about the Joneses
It’s too easy to lose ourselves in the game of keeping up appearances. Boats, palatial homes, fancy cars, exclusive country clubs –– they all look good on paper, but it all amounts to the superficial trap of keeping us working ourselves to death for things we don’t even have time to enjoy. Ask yourself who you’re doing it all for, and find the courage to break that cycle.
It’s funny how the Joneses don’t matter that much when you’re living an authentic life free of expectations.
Learn how to monetize your passions
Escaping the rat race is an excellent time to tap into the earning power of your talents. Are you into decorating? Start today on getting your interior design certificate and launch your own business. Do you have a way with four-legged friends? Maybe you’re meant to start your own pet sitting service. There’s no guarantee it will be as lucrative as your day job, but at least you’ll be happy.
Embrace your hobbies
What about your passions that can’t be monetized? Cycling, hiking, painting, reading, and baking all have great value. These are the activities that keep you anchored and in touch with your true self, regardless of your job title and tax bracket. And you know what? When you make your favorite things a priority, it’s a wonderful way to align yourself with kindred spirits who share the same vision.
Hold these beloved hobbies close. They’ll be a key springboard in the next chapter of your life, and sometimes, when things align just right, what once was a hobby turns into your next job. WhenI traded my suits in for shorts and flip-flops, I realized I suddenly had time to dedicate to my lifelong desire to write books. I penned my novel, Rascal on the Run, on the high seas, and it was promptly picked up by a publisher! You never know until you try.
Who cares? Worry about you
If you’re reading this article you’re probably already feeling the stirrings calling you to something different. One of the biggest perks of starting over is the chance to cast off the perceptions people have of you and concentrate on what makes you happy.
From here on out, what matters is how you feel. That first morning you wake up without dread is a clean slate. It’s your chance to write your destiny.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
After thirty years of practicing law in Georgia, Howard T. Scott pivoted from the courtroom to writing fiction inspired by anecdotes from the southern storytelling tradition he’s immersed in. He’s one of the founding partners of the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise—the world’s only fully chartered blues cruise—and a lover of live music, fitness, nature, historic preservation, and travel. Scott splits his time between the dry land of Athens, Georgia and the high seas of the Atlantic and the Caribbean aboard Capricho. Rascal on the Run is his first novel.