QI’m a 3L at a top 20 law school. I have a job lined up at a mid-size litigation firm in San Francisco. But I hate the law. The idea of working in a structured office environment makes me sick to my stomach. I know this sounds lame, but I want to be an actor. This will sound even lamer, but I’m actually considered very good looking—and have done some acting in college. Is it ridiculous for me to move to LA and try to be an actress? Am I throwing away my career? What if I don’t make it? Can I re-enter the legal workplace later on?
AYes, wanting to be an actor is slightly insane. But in a good way. It’s no more insane than opening a restaurant, starting a software company, or writing a novel.
If you don’t dream big, you won’t be big. The truth is that it’s only insane if the plan doesn’t work out. If you never book a movie, a TV show or a dog food commercial, you’ll be the whacky chick who threw away her law degree to chase a silly dream. No doubt. But if it does work, you’ll be the brave heroine who threw caution to the wind and chased her passion, knowing full well the odds were stacked against her.
Bottom line: If you REALLY want to be an actor—if you feel it deep down in your bones—then give it a shot. Seriously. What’s the downside? I mean, the absolute worst-case scenario is that you discover that you’re a shitty actor… and you’re never able to land another legal job the rest of your life. But if you really hate the idea of practicing law in the first place, who the hell cares? What’s so bad about being deprived from having a career that makes you sick to your stomach?
It’s much better to fail miserably at something you love than to succeed at something you hate. Do you really want to spend your whole life wondering if you could have been the next Meryl Streep while toiling over discovery requests in some windowless conference room?