Seasoned Professional Seeks to Jump Ship

Q.A. Otenger Columns, Lawyer Leave a Comment

I am a master of indecision. So I thought I had tackled the tough part when I finally decided, after months of indecision, to jump ship. That is, leave my current employer. But no, the hard part was admitting to myself that, when I do jump, I don’t really care if I land in the sea of legals.

So, here I am, 28 years after graduating from law school, drafting the all-important “Profile” section of my resume. So far, I’ve typed PROFILE. Now I’m stuck.

I had consulted recruiters, obtained resume samples, all I need to do now is define myself post-lawyer. One recruiter told me most employers are so busy, many won’t get beyond the profile section before making the decision about interviewing me. Great. Nothing like amping up the pressure.

I peruse the examples, pick up the gist pretty quickly. The profile section starts with adjective followed by a noun followed by puffery. Easy. To wit:

Adjective: Senior or Seasoned or Accomplished or Results-Oriented or Skilled
Noun: Attorney or Executive or Individual or Professional
Puffery: puffery, puffery, puffery, puffery, puffery

Hmmm. I start with the noun, the meat. The adjective is the potato, the side dish.

I don’t want to be an Attorney anymore, I’ve descended from that mountain. And I am not an Executive. Individual? Sounds weak. If I were a satyr or unicorn it might be worth mentioning but plain individual doesn’t seem quite enough to impress.

Well then, Professional it is, although my mind quickly wanders to what this means . . . that I won’t fling around the F word in a meeting? I won’t belch during a conference call? Embezzle? Act like a sullen teenager? Cranky toddler? Put my coat on and sit at my desk waiting for the second hand to tick around to 5:00 pm? Ask if I will get paid overtime to attend the office Christmas party? Does anyone claim to be Unprofessional? Doesn’t Professional sound like a guy playing in the Master’s?

I best get on to the adjective . . . .

I dislike Senior, was bad enough to get the AARP application in the mail when I turned 50, qualify for the senior discount at Lowe’s. Seasoned? No, sounds like a piece of beef, plus a “Seasoned” someone is probably in the generation that came up with the term “bees knees.” What the heck does that mean? I struggle with Results-oriented. After all it has taken me 28 years to get off the fence and admit that I don’t give a shit if I ever practice law.

In a panic I email my spouse, “What am I?” He responds, “I think you can say you’re accomplished, hard working, professional, strong, creative, persistent, persuasive, highly competent.”

I could but my mind has wandered to “indecisive” “desperate” “cynical” “exhausted.” Those don’t sound very professional.

Okay, here’s what I’ve got so far:

Weary Semi-professional with 28 years experience over thinking every damn detail of every damn thing, wanting to escape to the domain occupied by others where ignorance truly is bliss, where I am not a lawyer but an accomplished something doing something where I can have a proven track record of providing strategic direction, leading a cast of thousands, implementing successful initiatives, and demonstrating achievement of solid innovative performance by all who glimpse me.


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