Several years ago a new partner I was coaching sent me this email:

Hope all is well with you.

Things here are going well. I am feeling a little underwhelmed at the moment, which as you will surely know is far more stressful than being overwhelmed. It is August and so I am attributing much of it to the “vacation season” but I am worried about continuing to create a pipeline of work to keep me and others here busy. There are projects in the works but the types of projects on which I work are relatively large and so they tend to move at their own pace (slow in August). My hours are low and that is such a source of stress!

At any rate, I continue to follow my plan of meeting with industry contacts, governmental, consulting etc. as well as a number of clients and potential clients. I feel that the reputation of the group continues to grow and that we are respected. It just is not translating into immediate work.

Part of my worry stems from the fact that I/the group had such a great year last year and I fear that we will disappoint management this time around. I trust that the seasoned lawyers at that level understand the long term play here but the “associate” in me still worries about meeting and exceeding hourly targets.

So…I am going to spend today tending to a few billable matters, however small and then getting some meaningful non-billable work underway. In particular, I will respond to a call for papers for a waterpower conference and provide some ideas to an industry association about speakers etc for their conference. I am working away at building the network. I hope that it soon pays off – even with a small project – so that I can feel a bit more secure again.

This is such a crazy career. We are either moving so fast we fear we might careen of the highway or we are not moving fast enough, in which case, we worry that a the 18-wheeler behind us is going to run us over…

Trying to stay positive!!

Have you ever felt like this? What did you do to get out of the rut? What would you say to a lawyer experiencing this feeling?