Lawyer Quits Her Job With Most Creative Departure Memo Ever

Photo: DepartureMemo.com
Photo: DepartureMemo.com

A New York City lawyer has quit her job in possibly the most creative way ever: in cartoon form. The unnamed attorney, who decided to leave her high-pressure corporate gig to pursue her dream of being a cartoonist and illustrator, drew the visual to explain why she was resigning. Then she posted the series, "My Life in Law (a Short Story)" on her new website, DepartureMemo.com

"Like many of my friends and classmates and colleagues, I had gone to law school fairly aimlessly in my mid-20s," begins the heroine, who calls herself Catherine. She went to a top-six-rated law school but admits that she was an average student. After graduating, she ended up at a big law firm in New York City. "With my middling grades, I was thrilled to score callbacks and, eventually, my summer here (especially as Lehman collapsed during said callbacks), and eventually eventually, my job here (especially as folks were getting deferred left and right). My parents were so proud," she writes.

However, Catherine found herself dissatisfied with her work and with her work-life balance. She usually spent weekends in the office and was glued to her BlackBerry. "Unfortunately, for many people, the talents from our past lives now merely take the form of [s---] we hang on our walls. It’s the 'used to' syndrome," she wrote. 

"I started asking myself, "when I'm thirty years older, what do I want to be able to say I've done with my life?" and I realized that going for it and failing would make me feel better than living in fear of not succeeding," "Catherine" tells Yahoo Shine. "It sounds cliche, but it's true for me"

Photo: DepartureMemo.com
Photo: DepartureMemo.com

And even though Catherine realized that the legal life wasn't right for her, she doesn't have hard feelings about the firm where she worked or the people she worked with. "I've only heard good things from my former firm, which makes me glad," she says. "I have great respect for my former colleagues, and I will always look up to them for their intelligence and dedication. The time demands and pressures are by no means unique to my former firm; it's just a fact of life when you're a lawyer for a firm in that echelon."

Next up for Catherine is a stint at an artists' colony where she can spend quality time on her drawing and painting. She says she's open to whatever comes her way, whether it's freelance work or doing legal work for creative folks. And thanks to her comic's popularity, she now has a lot of new friends.

"The response to the memo has been overwhelmingly positive. I sent it to a couple dozen people at my firm, posted the link on Facebook, and let word of mouth take care of the rest. It's gotten a great reception from my friends from law school and elsewhere, and how widely it has spread indicates to me that something in it rings true to non-lawyers as well."

Catherine's comic is funny, sweet, and very relatable for many employees who have to balance their nine-to-five lives with their creative dreams. We have a feeling we'll be seeing much more of her illustration work soon. 

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