Episode 11: Clayton talks quarter-life crises, unorthodox career paths, and practising with depression

Hello listeners, and a belated happy Waitangi Day to you.

In this episode I speak to Clayton Carrick-Leslie about all sorts, but focusing on two key areas: (1) career paths and options, including part time work, inhouse counsel work and law-related management and leadership work, and (2) depression, suicide, quarterlife crises, and how to live and work amidst these things.  Clayton talks about his own experiences with depression and the impact of a friend's suicide at a Sydney law firm and why in his experience corporations have better cultures than law firms.  It was a fun and joyful chat, complete with impromptu brainstorming session about what to do when you're in acute distress at work, though of course the trigger warning goes (almost) without saying.

Important: If you are currently struggling with anxiety, depression, substance abuse or any related condition that you cannot manage, and you find yourself thinking suicidal thoughts or making suicidal plans, that absolutely sucks, we know.  Please find a person you can trust to talk to so you can start chipping away at the awfulness and let a little light shine through (we know that may sound too hard).  

If you don't want to reach out to a real life person, take a look through the resources page on this website for some of the most useful and comforting resources I have found on these topics. You are not alone, but more importantly, there are legions of people who once felt like you do and now live happy lives (like Clayton).  It's hard, but it's possible.  My heart swells for and with you. 

Resources from this episode:

  • Go read the Marque Lawyers website now, listeners.  We'll wait. 
  • The book Clayton refers to is The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything by Ken Robinson.  There may be nothing I love more than an insightful book that is also funny.  Ignore the self-help style cover on Amazon; it's a great book.   If you are sceptical I recommend Ken Robinson's TED talk about schools to everyone and I do so to you too, listeners.  It'll give you a sense of his style and joy and make you wish you were his best friend. 
  • The School of Life Clayton refers to is over here, with a Youtube channel of videos over here.  Some of the ideas are a little (very?) dubious, but don't let those get in the way of the great ideas.  My favourite of the SOL books I've read is Roman Krznaric's book How to Find Fulfilling Work (not sure why Amazon has gone with an all-caps description but there you go).  Delicious.  
  • Clayton refers to servant leadership, which is, among other things, a fun way to feel empowered and valuable while still very junior. 
  • If you want to hear Clayton reading Dan Carter's book, you can do so over here for free with an Audible trial (I'm not even getting money from them for saying that you guys). 
  • A book I've reread recently is Uncertainty by Jonathan Fields.  His target is entrepreneurs and professional creatives but his approach to the fear and anxiety that comes from uncertainty is useful to anyone.  Plus, he was a lawyer once, just like all of us.
  • Another book I'm re-reading is The Upward Spiral by Alex Korb, which explains the neuroscience behind depression and how you can use your brain systems to get into upward spirals instead of downward ones.  The difference between this and other similar books is that Korb experienced clinical depression himself, so he knows how hard it can be to implement what he's talking about, plus he explains why everything works. It's great.  Everyone should read it. 

Much love to you all, listeners.

Until next time,


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