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How to recognise the warning signs and know when it's time to go.

Penelope Trunk, an American businesswoman into work/life balance, once wrote, “I am a writer, but I love sex more than I love writing. And I am not getting paid for sex.”

The lesson? We can’t always do what we love for work. However, we should expect to maintain a basic level of motivation, focus and satisfaction– if not enjoyment – in our jobs. This is particularly the case for lawyers, who spend an enormous chunk of their lifetime in the office.

According to a survey in 2010, Australian lawyers clock up to 60 hours of work per week – double the national average cited by the Australian Bureau of Statistics for full-time employees. In a career lasting 45 years, this could add up to almost 15 years at work. Hopefully you have a comfortable chair.

Given the amount of time you will spend at it, your job should challenge and excite you. You should not feel unhappy, bored or like you are stuck in a rut. If you do, it may be time to time to dust off the resume and look for other employment options.

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