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Sunday, January 14, 2024

I Give up Being a Lawyer to Write and File Podcasts. I Have No Regrets.

  • Ling Yah Wong labored as a lawyer for 10 years after graduating from legislation faculty.
  • She determined to give up her job after she realized being a lawyer simply wasn’t one thing she loved.
  • Wong dabbled in podcasting and is now working as a private branding strategist.

This as-told-to essay relies on a dialog with Ling Yah Wong, who left the authorized trade to change into a private branding strategist and podcaster. The next has been edited for size and readability. Enterprise Insider has verified her employment historical past.

I did not know what I needed to check in school. My GCE A Stage topics in highschool had been arithmetic, historical past, and English literature.

Initially, I believed I might main in English literature as a result of the topic felt simple. I did not actually have to check for it. I felt like I used to be simply studying tales and will get A’s.

I took the recommendation of my faculty’s profession advisors, who stated that individuals with my topic mixture would normally examine legislation. They advised me legislation was a prestigious discipline that provided flexibility as nicely. You would pivot to one thing else for those who did not prefer it.

So I believed, “Nicely, why not simply give it a go?”

Working as a lawyer was thrilling at first

I began working at a global legislation agency after graduating from the London Faculty of Economics with my legislation diploma. I used to be based mostly within the agency’s Malaysian workplace, specializing in mental property litigation.

At first, I loved the work that I obtained to do. Though what I studied at school had nothing to do with the job, I might see the sensible impacts of our work. I obtained to leap on shopper calls and work immediately with senior colleagues and legislation agency companions. I used to be given a variety of freedom.

However the life-style wasn’t one thing I needed

My discomfort with the job grew after I higher understood the character of authorized work.

As an illustration, as a litigator, I needed to learn case legislation on a regular basis, and I simply did not take pleasure in it.

I had a colleague who would spend his weekends studying case legislation. To him, they had been like bedtime tales. He would chat about judges he had by no means met as if they had been his greatest mates. I believed to myself then, “That is simply not me. That appears like ardour and love.”

There is not any such factor as trip in a legislation agency. It is all the time enterprise. It is all the time work. In case you do go on trip, you completely should deliver your work laptop computer. If there’s a shopper electronic mail, you will need to reply as quickly as potential. You’d most likely be working half a day, each single day of your trip.

Senior attorneys usually advised me they had been nonetheless working these lengthy hours as a result of they genuinely loved the work. However I remembered taking a look at my boss and considering, “I do not wish to be you. And if I do not wish to be you, then why am I right here, and why am I working so arduous?”

I did not have an issue with working lengthy hours. I simply did not see myself grinding so arduous to do work I did not wish to do.

Getting in-house for a change

I wasn’t certain if my resentment was towards practising legislation or in opposition to the lengthy hours I needed to pull as a litigator. That is after I determined to work as an in-house counsel for a global conglomerate.

I used to be fortunate to work below a basic counsel who gave me publicity alternatives. I set to work on the corporate’s rebranding efforts and take part in management conferences.

I used to be doing so many alternative issues on this new function, and that is when it turned clear to me: The legislation wasn’t one thing I loved.

I struggled to return to phrases with this as a result of I did not know what else was on the market other than the legislation. I did not have a solution to that query. It was like a clean area.

All my mates and colleagues had been attorneys. There did not appear to be an alternate.

Listening to podcasts modified my life

Ling Yah Wong.

Wong began her podcast “So This Is My Why” in June 2020.

Ling Yah Wong

I knew I wanted to place myself on the market and achieve new abilities. I did not know precisely what I needed to do, however I knew I needed to create one thing private to me.

That is after I found podcasts. I remembered listening to a podcast, and realizing that two strangers on the opposite aspect of the world felt like my greatest mates after that episode.

That opened my thoughts. If they may do it, absolutely I might achieve this. I made a decision to launch my podcast then. I figured I might use the podcast to speak to individuals, construct a community, and determine what I needed to do with my life.

I began recording in 2020, through the pandemic. I used to be nonetheless working as an in-house counsel however had much more time since I set to work from dwelling.

Doing the podcast was basically like a second job. I might soar into podcasting after every workday, engaged on it till 1 to 2 a.m. each day.

Taking the plunge and leaving legislation

Wong (right) recording a podcast with her guest, Malaysian artist Red Hong Yi (left).

Wong (proper) recording a podcast along with her visitor, Malaysian artist Purple Hong Yi (left).

Ling Yah Wong

Once I first began the podcast, I already knew that I needed to depart my job. However I could not see a path towards it as a result of I did not know tips on how to monetize what regarded like a pastime.

Issues modified after I began advertising my podcast on LinkedIn. Certainly one of my posts went viral and obtained virtually 700,000 impressions. That was very thrilling, and I made a decision to double down on these efforts.

That is when individuals began noticing me and reaching out to me. Purchasers approached me to create content material, however I needed to say no to initiatives as a result of I used to be nonetheless a lawyer. I knew there was some type of potential there, although, and determined to take the danger. I left my job in April 2023.

Frankly, I am incomes a lot extra now than I ever did as a lawyer. If something, the previous yr has taught me that being a lawyer isn’t profitable. Whenever you tackle a salaried place, there is a cap in your pay. However the sky is the restrict when you could have your individual enterprise.

No regrets about doing legislation first

I’ve no regrets about beginning as a lawyer first. A part of the rationale my purchasers even strategy me within the first place is as a result of I’ve a authorized background.

I would not stand out as a lot if I did not have that. And I additionally would not have as clear an understanding and perception into the individuals I am working with.

One factor I needed I had performed earlier would have been to start out writing on-line. You don’t have any concept what doorways might open to you as soon as you place your self on the market.

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