June 25, 2016

Why I left law practice to become a bus driver

I have reached my goal of completing a major career change: I am now working as a permanent, full-time bus driver for the University of Georgia. Expect to keep seeing more bus pictures on my Instagram.

Leaving my career as a lawyer and working as a bus driver makes sense to a lot of people when I explain my situation as a divorced father. The economy is changing, my life is changing, and I am having a lot more fun at work than probably every single one of you who spend all day in an office. Here is a list of reasons why I made the change.

  1. Money: UGA can pay me every two weeks. Private legal clients are unreliable even when they do have money. There are too many lawyers and too few people left in the middle class who can afford lawyers. I know a lot of smart lawyers with more experience who still cannot make a good living in the field. I know a lot of lawyers who have already stopped practicing law in less than ten years after graduating law school.
  2. Schedule: A bus driver’s schedule at UGA is fairly predictable. A lawyer’s schedule is erratic and the work tends to bleed into the nights and weekends.
  3. Benefits: Don’t get me started on how expensive and useless individual health insurance plans are these days. Group plans from employers are much better.
  4. Family: The time I spend with my son is absolutely the most important time I spend doing anything. This is why I need the advantages of a regular schedule and regular income. I like not bringing stress home and just enjoying this time. 
  5. Work environment: I have a corner office with a view -- a view that keeps changing. The UGA campus is beautiful, and I like to keep moving around. I have really gotten tired of working indoors at a desk. My eyeballs are tired of computers and papers and fluorescent lights.
  6. People: My interaction with people driving around campus is more positive than dealing with people’s problems in offices and courthouses. My new job brings something positive to people’s lives rather than working to just do damage control over negative things. I meet a lot more interesting people in one hour of driving a bus than I would see in a whole month of lawyering in a lonely office.
  7. Co-workers: Bus drivers at UGA share a lot of pride for our institution and the job we do. When I was a solo attorney, my colleagues were just the other jaded attorneys I was working against, and there was rarely anyone else in my office. But now I have actual co-workers with many more positive interactions.
There is a list of reasons why law practice does not work well for me (and many other law graduates), but there is also a list of why my particular new job is perfect for me (rather than just any other job). This list is just about contrasts between the two careers. By the way, my “new” job is actually my “old” job, though, as I was trained as a bus driver while I was an undergraduate at UGA. I kept my commercial driver’s license active just in case I ever found a reason to use it again, and I am glad I did.

Originally posted as a Facebook note: https://www.facebook.com/notes/adrian-kaspar-pritchett/why-i-left-law-practice-to-become-a-bus-driver/10154332091129421/

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