If you hate your paralegal job, and are wondering what field might provide a quick escape, I really like the list provided over at the Practical Paralegalism blog: http://www.practicalparalegalism.com/2009/05/listserv-answer-what-else-can-you-do.html
If you have read my book, then you know that for me there really was only one answer. Small business owner! My experience with the paralegal field is that it is a dead-end job.
Unfortunately, my experience over the years with lawyers and law firms is that they are interested in exploiting paralegals by making them actually perform five jobs at once. The “paralegal” must also be a receptionist, waitress, administrative assistant, travel agent, and paralegal. Sometimes you even have to be the file clerk too. I have no idea why the people in charge think this is an efficient way to work, but they do for some reason.
The “paralegal” will become absolutely burned out by the stress of trying to perform actual substantive casework on files that have been piling up while she has been booking vacations for her boss and his girlfriend, scheduling depositions, and answering the copy salesman’s phone calls multiple times a day. Paralegals as a class of people are highly intelligent, organized, and helpful people. However, just because someone may be capable of performing five different jobs doesn’t mean that they actually want to do that for the long-term. It is a completely unlivable situation to catch hell from your boss because you were busy trying to cancel all of his appointments and failed to email him the draft discovery responses before he had to leave for his 4:00 pre-dinner cocktail hour.
Most lawyers view paralegals (and associates too, for that matter) as servants, not as highly skilled professionals who bring value and intelligent world experience to every client’s case. This is unfortunate, but it is my true experience.
I have heard some stories from people who have fought and made a “quick” escape to executive assistant work. The story doesn’t tend to have a happier ending, though. Remember, CEO’s are complete psychopaths too. The only difference is that they tend to have better private jets than the lawyers. But it doesn’t matter, because you most likely will not be enjoying the view.