YLW was thrilled and honored to welcome a very distinguished alumna back to the halls of 127 Wall Street last week: Gretchen Rubin, author of the bestselling book The Happiness Project. During a lunch event cosponsored by YLW and the Yale Law Journal, Gretchen spoke candidly to a room packed with law students, staff, and administrators about her time at Yale Law School and her decision to leave the law and pursue a career in writing.
Gretchen’s decision to give up her bar membership and become an author may have been particularly surprisingly to some, given the dazzling success she had during her brief stint as a law student and lawyer. She was Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Law Journal and after law school landed a coveted clerkship with Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. In fact, it was during her clerkship that Gretchen realized that she really wanted to be a writer. At the YLW/YLJ event she recounted noticing that the other Supreme Court clerks always wanted to talk about the law and pending cases and chose to spend their spare time reading articles in law journals—whereas Gretchen spent the little free time she had researching her first book.
Gretchen suggested that the lesson of her experience is to “do what you do.” In other words, if you’re not sure what you should be doing with your career, pay attention to what you do in your spare time. What are you drawn to when you have a few moments to yourself? Chances are good that those activities make you happy, and that incorporating those activities or ways of being in the world into your future career would make you happier, too.
Learn more about Gretchen and The Happiness Project on her website.