541: Lawyer Career Change: Finding Balance as a Working Mom

Learn how a once passionate criminal prosecutor, turned burned-out working mom, defined her priorities and landed her ideal career



Jenna Murphy, Associate General Counsel

A burned out criminal prosecutor who wanted to rekindle her love for her career and spend more time with her family.

on this episode

When you become a parent, your priorities shift, and a demanding career can easily lead to burnout, even if you loved your career before.

Jenna’s experience epitomizes this challenge. Jenna had been a criminal prosecutor since graduating from law school, and she loved it until she didn’t. 

She found herself constantly struggling to juggle immense demands of her career and the time and energy she wanted to have for her husband and young kids.

When Jenna almost missed her son’s holiday program at school, she knew something had to change. She contacted HTYC and began working with a coach. Her career change journey is all about redefining priorities and finding a career that didn’t force her to compromise.

She opens up about defining her non-negotiables and the pivotal moments that led her to discover the perfect role.

Discover how she navigated the shift, defined her career must-haves, and not only landed the ideal role but earned a promotion within just a month!

What you’ll learn

  • How to confidently say no to great opportunities when pursuing your ideal role
  • How to handle setbacks and unexpected turns during a career change
  • How Jenna found a role that aligns with her personal values and family needs
  • How to navigate the intersection of career and family life

Success Stories

All the stars aligned and I ended up finding the right thing at the right place at the right time, and it was you guys! Everything that you said was speaking to me and the things that you had done in the job that you had transitioned out of and into. Also how finding work that you love is your passion for people! Honestly, it was you Scott, I mean, the way that you talked about it, how passionate you were, I was like, there's no way he's gonna put out a faulty product. So I'm gonna try it, you know… I recommend you to all my friends, you know, even if they don't realize that they're looking for a new job, I'm like this is the first step, let's do this! Even if you maybe don't move out of this career. This is going to help!

Maggie Romanovich, Director of Learning and Development, United States/Canada

as I was diving into the bootcamp at Happen To Your Career, and I was really trying to think broadly, I had this moment of thinking, "Okay, should I even should I be a lawyer? What should I do?" so I worked with Happen To Your Career really started trying to dig deep and lay a foundation… it was helpful to have Lisa through the interviewing process, and all the little events like "oh, someone responded like this, how should I respond?" How should I deal with all the steps along the way? I also had a tendency to form myself into what I thought they were looking for and Lisa helped me be who I actually am in the interviews.

Rebecca Maddox, Attorney, United States/Canada

Jenna Murphy 00:01

There comes a point in life where you have to decide, "Can I continue on this path? Or do I have to decide that it's time for me to do something different?"

Introduction 00:14

This is the Happen To Your Career podcast with Scott Anthony Barlow. We hope you stop doing work that doesn't fit you. Figure out what does and make it happen. We help you define the work that is unapologetically you, and then go get it. If you feel like you were meant for more, and you're ready to make a change, keep listening. Here's Scott. Here's Scott. Here's Scott.

Scott Anthony Barlow 00:39

When you're working in a career you once loved, it can be hard to come to terms with leaving, even if you're feeling burned out. Many times, it takes coming to a crossroads where you're forced to decide– should you stay or go?

Jenna Murphy 00:53

The speed and the intensity of which they were making cases, made it really hard to adequately juggle the caseload and the responsibilities I had there and my ability to be a mother. And when I got, essentially, inside of me got asked, "Are you going to be a mom? Or are you going to be an employee?" My question was hands down, it was answered, "I'm going to be a mom."

Scott Anthony Barlow 01:14

That's Jenna Murphy. Jenna had been a criminal prosecutor since graduating from law school, and she loved it until she didn't. In the beginning of her career, she pictured herself prosecuting criminals until she retired. However, fast forward a few years, Jenna had started a family and, not long after, began feeling burned out trying to juggle her demanding career and being a mom at the same time. Her priorities had shifted, and the things she had once valued in her job, just didn't seem as important. Recognizing it was a time for a new chapter, she set out to find a role that fulfilled her in a way that being a prosecutor once had, but also allowed her the flexibility and freedom to spend more time with her husband and her young kids. Okay, so Jenna did a wonderful job defining her non-negotiables for her next role. And then holding steadfast to those criteria. She went through the ups and downs, like many stories you've heard on this podcast. One really interesting one for her was she turned down an almost ideal role and had a few heartbreaks when roles turned out not to be what she expected. Jenna finally accepted a role that aligns with what she values most and is truly a great fit for her. So it turns out that it was such a great fit that just one month into her new role, she actually got promoted, which I'm really excited for you to hear her talk about at the end of our conversation. So stay tuned for the whole thing for that. What you're going to hear right now is Jenna kicking things off, sharing a little bit about how a family member's run-in with the law led to her becoming an attorney.

Jenna Murphy 02:55

I started as a criminal prosecutor. That's what I went to law school to do. I really don't know what the draw was specifically about the legal field. Because if you'd asked me in college, I would have told you I wasn't smart enough to be a lawyer. When I was in high school, I had a family member who unfortunately found himself in some trouble. And while I guess some part of me could have represented him, I did not think I could do that for other people. I knew that there had to be justice somewhere. But also at that time, I felt like that there might have been some injustice that was done by the Criminal Procedure process. And so I began to look and I thought, well, if I decide to go and be an assistant district attorney, which is the only thing I knew of at that point in time, at least I can make sure that the charges that I bring are appropriate. And I can feel, like, that there's a reason someone has been held accountable for the things they do. What I did not want to do was somebody walk into my office and say, "I killed those five people. Can you get me off with it?" And I just couldn't do that. But as a prosecutor, I would have the ability to be sure the charges were appropriate and to make sure justice was seen through if that's even the right way to say that.

Scott Anthony Barlow 04:07

We'll go with that. I think that sounds very accurate.

Jenna Murphy 04:12

And do it with a good conscience, I guess. And not feel like that I was ruining people's lives. But doing something that was intended to hold them responsible for the things they did.

Scott Anthony Barlow 04:22

I have a variety of friends that all are in similar positions. And when I chat with them, it seems like that conscience part, what you described that, you know, the reasons that you got into it, versus sometimes the realities of it are a lot of times in conflict, and it seems like that is the challenge continuously over and over and over and over again. And I'm curious how you feel about that and what you found are the challenges.

Jenna Murphy 04:57

So most of the majority of my work was spent in the misdemeanor and traffic world. That's just because the last eight and a half years, I primarily focused on battery family violence cases in the misdemeanor world, lots of driving under the influence, and then some traffic citations. My first 22 months, I did a lot of drug cases, a few aggravated assaults, things like that. I do think that there's a fair portion of the legal world that can be swayed or can have a bias to it. I'm not going to say that that doesn't exist. As a prosecutor though, I think when you have that perspective of trying to make sure that each charge you bring is warranted, that you also would steer away from some of the ridiculousness, I will say, that exists, that you just see it kind of unfold every single day. I feel like the Justice Department has moved, or the justice field has moved in from this middle of the road, like let's do fair each way to it's either horribly unjust or people are just not held accountable at all.

Scott Anthony Barlow 06:05

What's an example of that? I'm super curious now.

Jenna Murphy 06:08

Well, I mean, of course, you have certain incidents where they're just going to try anything and everything to make a case, it's just really not there, let's be clear. I mean, not every case that gets sat on your desk is worthy of being prosecuted. That's what is important for a prosecutor to remember in their mind is that you cannot be gung ho for every single case. That being said, the last jury trial that I tried was a DUI marijuana case, I knew that the DUI case was iffy. But the defense attorney stood in front of the jury and said, we had marijuana. My client possessed marijuana and the jury still walked in. And I think that was the point, at least for me, where I was like, I don't know why I put my effort and time into jury trials, they bring stress, they take away time from my family, that was the disillusion that I had, or the part where that I became disillusioned with trying to find justice and understanding that one charge is why we're there. We're trying that because he doesn't, but the fact that the jury just didn't care, and I get it. Marijuana has its thing in itself. But in Georgia, it's illegal. And if someone looks at you and says, "We broke the law." I just don't understand the concept of being like, man, we don't care.

Scott Anthony Barlow 07:22

What else led up for you? What else led up to you saying, "I need to make a change"?

Jenna Murphy 07:28

Becoming a mom. I'm getting married. Yes, having two babies. I have a four-year-old who just turned four in June. And I have a little over two and a half year-old. He'll be three in January. And that always, I guess, somewhere new inside of me that would change me. I just didn't realize how much it was going to change me. And it was those times that, for instance, that jury trial, that just really bothered me that I'd spent, you know... Granted, I tried to be good to them and put them to bed and do all the things. But then I may have not sat on my couch prepping for a trial that my husband sat beside me and didn't get any attention because I was working only to stand in front of a jury and a jury, like, "whatever". And that was the part that made it really hard. The burnout was extreme. I mean, I think COVID obviously had a law in it. Our jurisdiction in particular was not one that took a whole lot of time off. We got about two weeks down before we went back into actually having jail matters where we had to get people out of jail because misdemeanors you just can't keep people in jail forever. And so that was virtual, we took about 60 days, is all we took before we went back to the office full time because I went back to the office full time and told them, "Surprise! I'm pregnant again. Here we go." So and then coming back once everything loosened up post COVID, I'm proud of the sheriff's office that I worked with. But the speed and the intensity of which they were making cases, made it really hard to adequately juggle the caseload and the responsibilities I had there and my ability to be a mother. And when I got essentially, inside of me got asked, "Are you going to be a mom? Or are you going to be an employee?" My question was hands down, it was answered, "I'm going to be a mom, sorry." Like, as much as I love this job, and I love what it's offered, if you told me six years ago, I wouldn't be a criminal prosecutor anymore. I would have told you, you lost your mind. And today, here I sit. And I'm not a criminal prosecutor anymore. I don't miss that part of it. I missed the people there. But I'm proud of where I am today. And I'm proud to say that in my, gosh, month and a half, right that month and a half that I've been out of that job, I've been a better mother than I ever was throughout my entire process of being a mom and being a criminal prosecutor.

Scott Anthony Barlow 09:40

That's amazing. What I'm very curious about is when you made that decision, was it that case that really caused you to ask that question and make that decision, or was there some other event that was the catalyst to you making that decision?

Jenna Murphy 09:59

No. I mean, I think it had been a slow progression over time that I knew the burnout was there and I was just trying to figure it out. And then my kids had a Thanksgiving program at school daycare. And I can remember being in court almost running to my car to get back to daycare, or to get to daycare, to be there to watch them. My mom and my dad had come from where they lived, my husband was there. And so, of course, I rushed in and I watched his program, and thankfully, I didn't miss any of it. And then I watched the clock the entire time I was there and then rushed back to go back to court. And I think that was probably the straw that really broke the camel's back, for lack of a better explanation. I just knew at that point that I couldn't juggle both things.

Scott Anthony Barlow 10:56

I can definitely appreciate that. I actually had a really similar experience, too. I did actually miss something. I'm so glad you didn't, and that you made a change. I did miss an event. And honestly, to this day, I don't even remember what it is at this point, it probably doesn't matter. What matters is that I missed one event completely, and showed up just after it was completed. And then I almost missed another one. But I'm so glad that you didn't have to go through the missing first before you missed a chance. That's really cool actually.

Jenna Murphy 11:29

I'm really thankful that I didn't miss it. But at the same time, I think it was just... I realized in that moment that the setup of the prosecutor wasn't going to give me... it wasn't about being able to work from home or asking for those leniency, it was the fact that the judge set the schedule and that then we had to consult that before we could do anything. And I understand that's part of it. But there becomes a point in life where you have to decide, "Can I continue on this path, or do I have to decide that it's time for me to be some and do something different?"

Scott Anthony Barlow 12:03

Absolutely. What do you feel like, looking back now, were the hardest parts of making a transition?

Jenna Murphy 12:12

By far, the hardest part for me was waiting. So the one huge thing I was waiting for is I had, I think when I first decided to take this journey, I was about six months away from being able to apply for student loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness. That was okay at first. I think that signing the contract, meeting with Phillip decided he was going to be my coach, that it was kind of like this renewed, okay, let's put our heads down. I can get through this. And probably about three months into that, it got real hard. It got real hard. And to the extent he and I had that conversation, "I can't do this. I have to get out now." By that point, the burnout was so bad that my therapist looked at me at one point and she's like, "I know you don't want to take meds anymore. But I need you to go back on some type of medication because you are worrying me." Not that I don't take that as I was going to hurt myself. But she could just see the physical change in me that I was depressed. I didn't want to get out of bed. I was doing what was minimally required of me to be a mom and I wasn't in a good place. And so that's when he and I started kind of shifting that transition. What can we do to get out? But the hard part I had was not having that forgiveness. I had to be in a qualifying role. And so that was by far the hardest thing, was pushing through and waiting for that opportunity. And the day I left my job, which was, this is not technically... The new job is not technically a qualifying role but the last one was. The day I walked out, my loan zeroed. Yeah. So as an Assistant Solicitor General, working for a government entity, I qualified and I had applied for and met all of the payments that I needed to. I was just waiting on a centralized way on the government to forgive the loans. So I took a risk deciding to do the senior paralegal role. But I thought, okay, here's my dive, let's go deep in like, hope I can swim. And like I said, the day I left is the day I logged in about an hour before I left my office, and it had zeroed. And so it was not a qualifying role. We had looked and looked and looked and tried to find something within that realm. And I just, we weren't able to find something that qualified, that wasn't still within the prosecution world or the government attorney world. And so nonprofits would have qualified but most of the time they didn't meet the standard of what I needed to live on. And that was where Phillip was very instrumental for me, of constantly reminding me. We set this in place. We cannot... Like I understand you want to get it out, but like, you and I have had a very level-headed conversation and you've told me what it takes to get out and we have to be true to that. And so with him there backing me up, it definitely took on an entirely new perspective for me, because I knew that I wasn't just pushing myself. But anytime I needed that reassurance, text message, email, whatever it was, I shout out to him, and he was always there to come back and be like, "Remember, this is what we're doing. It's okay, keep your head up. It will come."

Scott Anthony Barlow 15:28

When you say this, "We set this up." Expand on that for me. What was this?

Jenna Murphy 15:35

Just the progress. I mean, the ICP.

Scott Anthony Barlow 15:38

Yep, Ideal Career Profile.

Jenna Murphy 15:42

Making sure I had the letters in the right order. The ICP was really big. And he just kept pushing me back to that profile that, "Here's where we really want. But here's what we have to have." And understand we're trying and we are getting closer, we're inching closer to what you need. But you cannot just completely... Unless we can make it work and justify it in another way. That at one point in time, he and I talked about the one heartbreak incident where it was supposed to be a full-time role. And then they asked for full-time with a whole lot less money than they had told me they were going to offer. And I was like, "but" and he said, "Well, if we can make it work with less hours so that we can do something, then maybe it still fits." And so of course, we tried that and it didn't work. And ultimately, that was probably one of the times he propped me up most because I was very heartbroken at that point. To feel like, you see the light at the end of the tunnel, and then all of a sudden, it's just like, "Nope, door closed." And so that was a hard day. But after two or three days of wallowing in that which I probably wallowed more than I should have, it was just a few weeks before this opportunity opened up. And I did. I had found myself through, I had one other offer, a really good offer, but it was a litigation role. And I just really didn't want to litigate anymore, it would have required more travel, it would not have given me anything more than one more day at home than I had any other role. And as a person who I was at their offer, I just told them, "I have to stand true to why I did this. I didn't do this for money. I did this because I want to be at home, I want to have freedom and flexibility. And I don't want to answer to someone else's schedule." Obviously, every job you have to answer to someone scheduled but not as much as I would have to in a role like that, in a role like I was in.

Scott Anthony Barlow 17:35

I think what's really fascinating that I've observed over the years is your word choice there where you said, "This was a great opportunity. But but but..." And although it could be a great opportunity for someone, it's not actually a great opportunity for you because it didn't meet your ideal career profile. And just for context, ideal career profile, when you're thinking about that, it's just a checklist of those things that you must have in order to create an opportunity that really is a fit for you. And then also a list of your ideals or aspirations and where you're heading too. So that being said, first of all, that's phenomenal because that truly is the hardest part in many people's career change journeys. And hard to those areas that you've defined are actually true for you. It's so difficult. I mean, we've talked about many, many stories, hundreds of stories over the years where people have been forced to say no to something that was right in front of them in order to, later on, talk about delayed gratification, sometimes much, much later on, say yes to what really actually fits. And so what I'm curious about for you, when you think back on that, that situation, what did you find was actually in those moments, the hardest part about it, or that made it particularly challenging for you?

Jenna Murphy 19:08

Yeah. I think it's hard because you see an opportunity. In that particular case, it was a good bit more money than even what, well, it's a good bit more money than what I was making at the time. It was more money than I took to leave that job and go to where I am now. But having to really step back and say, "that wasn't" it was hard at first, because that's like, "Oh! That's more money than I've ever been paid." But money wasn't going to make me happy. You know, it wasn't going to get me the things, and as much as I even told them in my interview and in fact when I walked into the interview, the day before Phillip and I had talked about it and I went in like, okay, I'm gonna say no. But I'm going because I've already RSVP'd this thing and I'm not that person, I'm not just going to show you to stand you up and not come in. And so I went in, I interviewed, I kind of expected when I walked out the door that they were going to make an offer. And sure enough, when I email him the next day, he's like, "I'm really sorry, we take some time to think about it. I hate to hear that. I was about to make this offer to you." And so I think I took 24-48 hours in emailing back. And I said, "I really appreciate it. Thank you for consideration. One day, this may be a job that, you know, I can come back to you. I hope that if the opportunity ever comes up, and I want to go back into something like this, that you will consider me then." He actually came back to me about three weeks or four weeks after that. And so they had filled that position, but had another one and wanted me to reconsider if I would come to work for them. And again, I had to tell him, "You know, I understand from your perspective that you think this is a much better fit. But in reality, it really doesn't change. You know, I'm at work five days a week right now, but I'm in one county with one judge. With your job, I'm going to be in the office four days a week, but I can be in any county in this state before any judge. And I have to think about that. That's still not what I want." What I wanted when we put this together was I knew the amount of money I had to have to get out. I wanted a remote or, at the very most two days a week, an office job, really wanted a Christian organization. That was something that I wasn't sure I would find just to base upon the other things that I needed, but I really wanted somewhere that I felt like people would believe the way I believe, or at least had those ideals in their head and kind of that basis. It didn't have to be, I don't know, it didn't have to be a church organization necessarily, but just had that background. And I'm trying to think there was one more thing that he and I were talking about, I can't remember the fourth one off the top of my head. And three of those four, the only one we didn't know about the day that I accepted this offer was the Christian organization. And that was answered in my intro because this company, actually one of the co-founders, is a huge believer. In fact, when I was there Thursday, they actually had a Thursday prayer meeting at the office. And I was like, "Okay, if I didn't think I was where I was at before, I know the answer now."

Scott Anthony Barlow 22:10

It is deeply integrated.

Jenna Murphy 22:12

It is. And for that, I'm very thankful.

Scott Anthony Barlow 22:15

I was looking up your ideal career profile here really quick. Is it okay if I read off a couple of pieces of this?

Jenna Murphy 22:22

Sure. That's fine.

Scott Anthony Barlow 22:23

So we had, "Somewhere that truly embraces the fact that I am a mother and with love on my babies too. Somewhere with an incentive or encouragement for mental and physical health, I would love for it to be acceptable for me to exercise, even if during my work hours." Pretty cool. And we had autonomy of schedule, remote work, specifically defined work time, the ability to say no when necessary, daily flexibility. So one of the things I'm curious about, what did that mean for you the ability to say no when necessary?

Jenna Murphy 22:55

I think in my last job, because of the nature of where it was, and there's no denying that we needed more staff, we need more attorneys, we need more staff, and we needed more judges, like, anybody in that office to this day will tell you that. The county is just growing at a rate that really needed that and we just weren't going to have that. And so there was not the ability to say no. You kind of had to take and embrace whatever was asked just because it had to be done. I mean, at this point, you're working with people's freedom and their constitutional rights. And so there really wasn't a whole lot of leeway to say no. So to have somewhere that I could say, "I'm sorry, my plate is loaded. Is it possible to have somebody else work on that?" was something that was really important to me. And it's funny that you read those off because I actually was able to go back and find the ones he and I were talking about right before I said yes. And they changed a little bit. And that was pay, flexibility, career path. And then the belief structure of the organization and the pay was there when they made the offer. The flexibility was the fact that I was able to work from home. They're good about, you know, I can do daycare pickup and I can do daycare drop off. I mean, the first time I remember, as I wound down at my last job, I had to do daycare drop off on one and I looked at my husband, I was like, "What do I do? Where do I take them?" Because he had done all of this for the entire four years of our oldest life. I could count on one hand the amount of time that I dropped him off or I picked him up. And the little one even less so because he was younger. Career path, I wanted something that I had a really hard time finding places to embrace the fact that I had been a litigator and they wanted me to litigate. They didn't see the connecting dots of being able to negotiate contracts and things of that nature. So actually when the director of compliance who made my offer called, she said, "Why do you want to be a senior paralegal? Why?" I said, "Honestly, I want to have more flexibility to be with my kids. I want to be able to have more time too." So I asked him not to work. But I said I'm asking not to have to answer to anybody else's schedule other than a PTO schedule that, okay, there's too many people off I'm sorry. Or, yeah, there is something important that week, we can't go that week but we can go the next week. I said, "I want that ability." So that's why I want to be a senior paralegal. And in fact, the newest general counsel that came on, he's been here, like, a week and a half ago, he said to me, he said, "Would you have wanted to be something other than a senior paralegal?" And I said, "Sure." But I just had a really hard time finding companies and organizations to embrace the fact that I had spent my career putting people in jail or prison that I had... Sure I negotiated a lot of things. But most everywhere, one would have wanted me in a litigation courtroom-style role. And I really wanted somewhere that took a major step back. I'm not gonna say that now with the kind of the progress from last week that will ever have to happen now. But at the same time taking a senior paralegal role, also, let me learn this industry, it was going to let me have that time and flexibility that I wanted, but also would have made me a big asset to learn a different area of law and expand my horizons. So that if they couldn't offer me a jump or a different place, eventually, that at least I would have those things under my belt, finally, where other places would give me that opportunity.

Scott Anthony Barlow 26:32

Your progress from last week, as you said, when you went down to Arizona, you're now in a new role or a promotion. Tell me about that role. And then let's talk about how that happened.

Jenna Murphy 26:47

Okay. So yes, as of Wednesday, last week, I was asked to step in as the third Associate General Counsel for the company where I'm now working, that was a kind of a shock to me to walk in and just be content with where I was just there to onboard and meet everyone and get to know where I was working at. And then to walk into an office and say, "You have a lot of potential. You have a lot to offer. We would really like for you to step into a full attorney role instead of just being a paralegal." I guess I had fully prepared myself that that may never happen. I think that's just the... not because I didn't want to get my hopes up only to be like, "I'm just stuck here." But I kept reminding myself because I candidly wrestled with the idea of the fact that, yes, I have a bar license, but I'm taking this different title, this lower title, for lack of better terminology, I have a newfound respect for paralegals in general, because they are the bones behind that, what that process. And so they have a very instrumental role. And I will tell you, they earn every penny that they are offered by all stretches of the imagination. But I had prepared myself that that might not happen here. But what I kept reminding myself was that it was building and I don't say any of that, because I didn't go, and this going well, I'll be here this amount of time and I'm moving on. That wasn't it. Since my first role, I'd have just known that when the time is... when it happens, that time will come and I will know and that there will be no question. At this point, there will be no question in my mind that it's time for me to move on. And so I didn't know how that would work or if it would work. But I knew it was a great learning opportunity and so excited to walk into an office and immediately have someone go, "You offer so much more than you're being utilized for right now." It was shocking to me. But at the same time, it was also I guess, secretly something I knew. And it wasn't that this place didn't recognize it. It just felt like for all those ones that didn't recognize it before, or wouldn't notice it or wouldn't acknowledge it before, someone has.

Scott Anthony Barlow 29:07

What does that feel like in this moment?

Jenna Murphy 29:09

It feels reassuring. It definitely adds a confidence that I didn't think I could have or didn't know if I would ever have. Because it's really hard when you put together a resume, especially now with the way resumes are kind of structured with all of your successes, not necessarily what you do, but the successes that you have. I can remember telling Phillip, "I don't know how I put on here. I put people in jail." Like that's not something that people... they're not going to look at this and be like, woohoo, you know?

Scott Anthony Barlow 29:39

It feel like a success to other people viewing the resume. Is that what you're saying?

Jenna Murphy 29:44

Right. It really does. And I mean, I had some really great opportunities at my last job, probably the most notable thing that I was able to do at my last job was, at 33-34 weeks pregnant with my oldest, I argued in front of the doors Supreme Court, that's an opportunity I will probably never get to do again. Maybe if I'd stayed in a prosecution role and doing a lot of appellate work, then I might have, but some prosecutors go their entire career and never probably don't ever get away with not submitting an appeal to the Court of Appeals, but to get to stand in front of the Supreme Court of Georgia, or the Supreme Court of their state, and present an argument. And for lack of to win it, because that's what we did. We were able, I mean, I kind of knew…

Scott Anthony Barlow 30:32

That's 33-34 weeks pregnant, no less.

Jenna Murphy 30:35

Yes. My co-workers challenged me to say, "My name is Jenna Murphy in law and we represent..." and my boss was sitting beside me. But their intention was not to be him that I was representing whether it was my baby.

Scott Anthony Barlow 30:49

Yeah, that's awesome.

Jenna Murphy 30:51

But yeah, about 34 weeks pregnant and walk into the Supreme Court, I don't think I've ever been more nervous in my life. But that was kind of the highlight thing that I felt like I hung my hat on for the last job. And so that's one thing that I really like about having a new opportunity is I feel like there's more opportunities to really hang my hat in more places, and feel like I have more vast responsibilities in this role, obviously, even more so now, but to get to do more things and have more successes. Not that I wasn't successful, I mean, I had an excess of 15 to 20 jury trials, from start to finish, and for the most part been successful, and didn't win all of them, but win a lot of them. But how those translate to a resume is very different when you're trying to look at a company and say, "Knock, knock, I wanted to be legal counsel for you." And they're like, "What does that do for me?" If they have a legal department that they litigate, sure, it would have been great. But outside of that, you're kind of like, okay, thanks.

Scott Anthony Barlow 31:54

Very cool. When you think about this, I guess when you think about the future, like future transitions, future anything else, what do you think the one thing that you have learned out of this transition that will help you in the future? Maybe a different way to say the question would be, what have you learned out of this transition that you think will help you in the future?

Jenna Murphy 32:16

I think I had to learn to stand up for myself, I will say that. That was one of the things in my job, I'd always just been one to keep my mouth closed and kind of roll with the punches and do what I do and be a good employee and go with it, and I had to learn. That's probably the one thing that kickstarted. One of the other things that kick started this process was that I had to learn that nobody was going to look out for me but me. It's not true. I had friends there that were looking out for me too. But I had to learn to stand out for myself and open my mouth and say things where things bothered me or where I didn't agree with things. So I wouldn't be taken advantage of.

Scott Anthony Barlow 32:51

What helped you begin to learn that?

Jenna Murphy 32:53

Maybe it was just the fact that I was so burnt out, but I knew if I didn't say anything that was... I was having to put boundaries. So that was something I guess people kept saying, "Set boundaries". What you don't understand, I came into this job, my last job as a single. I had no significant other in any shape, form, or fashion when I moved here. I lived by myself, I ate, slept, lived, and breathed my job. I went home on the weekends occasionally to see my family. But beyond that, I had nothing. I could devote 150% of me to my job. Well, when you set that up, setting boundaries, pulling back, and setting those boundaries is almost impossible. So that's one thing I really have implemented going into this new job is, and I almost walked over those boundaries a little bit on Friday. And one of those is just to set my hours and not respond to things on the weekend. But I find myself that if I look at my email and their stuff there, I feel like I need to respond multiple times this weekend. I had to make myself like, okay, the emails there, but you have to leave it till time. So I may not tell them like if the walls are burning, and you need me because they're on Pacific time and I'm on East Coast time. And so if the walls are broken, and you need me after my hours, you can text me or you can call me and I'm happy to help. But at five o'clock my time or shortly thereafter, I am hitting the button where the only email inbox I see is my personal inbox, and I don't plan on looking at it until in the morning because my husband and my kids deserve more than they were getting before and I lived somewhat of my own doings but also for the fact that people were used to me being that person.

Scott Anthony Barlow 34:41

You can train them to expect that, right? I think that's one thing we've never talked about on the podcast before that would be an interesting episode is the idea around, if you have previously unintentionally or intentionally trained others to expect that of you to then either make that change or decide to go someplace else. And what I've found with working with many people, but also for myself is that sometimes, most of the time, it's actually far easier to make a change and then train new people on the interactions as opposed to try to retrain. It's not impossible, but man, it is extraordinarily difficult.

Jenna Murphy 35:27

Yeah, I mean, and I think that, like my last job when I started working there, we didn't work any weekends, and we took on Saturdays. And so while it wasn't the end of the world, it was once every now and then on a rotation. For me, as a mother, it hit differently than it did for people with grandkids or people with no kids, because it wouldn't have bothered me if I had been single, or maybe we had just been married and okay, fine. My husband could do whatever he wanted with the fact that he's 10 into both kids and trying to keep things quiet. Because we were by that point, we were remote, thank goodness remote, because at first it was not, we had to go to our office to do it. But just all of those things. And now I don't have to, hopefully, ever worry about that. Because I will say that's one thing with this new general counsel who came in last week like he didn't respond all weekend to emails because he has four kids. And he says that's what's important to him. And I'm like, well, thank you. I appreciate that. Because that's what I came here for.

Scott Anthony Barlow 36:31

Hey, if you love this story where we talk through and walk you through step by step how someone got to more meaningful work, then you'll absolutely love our audiobook– Happen to Your Career: An Unconventional Approach to Career Change and Meaningful Work. I even got to narrate it, which was so fun. And something that I really enjoyed doing and will definitely do for future books as well. But it also contains firsthand accounts from career changers on how they made the move to more meaningful work, just like we include on the podcast here. And actually, it's been called the best audiobook experience ever by some reviewers. You can find those reviews, and the book itself on Audible, Amazon, or any other place where books are sold. Seriously, just pause this right now and go over to Amazon or Audible or wherever you want and download it. You can be reading it and started on your career change in literally seconds.

Scott Anthony Barlow 37:26

Now, here's a sneak peek into what's coming up next week right here on Happen to Your Career.

Speaker 3 37:30

I think that was the hardest to basically be rejected. But then to try to internally make yourself better and then try again. So be rejected, but then just be persevering, and keep trying again and again and again.

Scott Anthony Barlow 37:45

Some people are content with just showing up for work and doing the same thing for year after year, years on it. If you're here listening to this show, Happen to Your Career, of all places, I'm guessing that's probably not you. I'm guessing instead, you want to keep learning, growing both personally and professionally. But when you're looking for opportunities to learn and grow in a role no longer is providing that for you, it's really easy to lose your sense of fulfillment.

Scott Anthony Barlow 38:15

All that and plenty more next week right here on Happen To Your Career. Make sure that you don't miss it. And if you haven't already, click Subscribe on your podcast player so that you can download this podcast in your sleep, and you get it automatically, even the bonus episodes every single week, sometimes multiple times a week. Until next week. Adios. I'm out

Ready for Career Happiness?

What Career Fits You?

Finally figure out what you should be doing for work

Join our 8-day “Mini-Course” to figure it out. It’s free!