About Mark Levy, an appellate lawyer who committed suicide earlier this year. Long piece, but very well done and worth reading. Makes growing an appellate practice sound very difficult.
There's a book to be written -- and maybe it already has been -- about how most jobs are really sales jobs, even the ones that don't seem like they ought to be. And if anything I feel like the new economy only intensifies that. Seems like we're very close to a point where the expectation is that everyone-- certainly writers, but, really, everyone-- has a web presence, has a platform, needs to be growing a following, always prospecting for business, taking control of their career. It seems like people can rely-- across so many industries-- less and less on organizations keeping them afloat, on finding a place they can have a career for 40 years without having to start fresh somewhere else or on their own.
And while you can absolutely insist that it's not just more lucrative but also more stable and more satisfying to cultivate your own business, to have an audience of customers who will follow you in and out of organizations, to be in control of your professional life and be able to shape it however you want-- I think what doesn't get acknowledged as much is that it's hard and sometimes tiring. Maybe you don't want to be updating three blogs, two Twitter feeds, and a Facebook page seven times a day, forever. Maybe you don't want to have to come up with value you can add to the world every day. Maybe you don't want to have to think about networking and new leads and selling yourself.
But more and more, I think the world is moving to a place where to be successful, we have to.
And certainly in a business like law, fundamentally you're selling yourself to clients, and most people won't be protected by a firm forever, and won't be guaranteed a job as long as they work hard and complete their tasks. (And this isn't new, I suppose.) And as a writer, there are fewer and fewer expectations that someone can land at a newspaper or magazine and stay there for a career. Or in publishing. Or in finance. Or anywhere. I mean, I can think of a few exceptions-- if you're a schoolteacher, once you're in the system you're probably reasonably safe. Police officers and firefighters probably don't need blogs to ensure career security. I'm having trouble making that list a lot longer.
Not sure how all of this came out of my reading about a lawyer who committed suicide, but there it is. Check out the piece.