Can a Traditional Career Be a Soul Career?
When you envision a Soul Career, you probably think of a life away from the corporate grind.
But, Sanya Goffe proves that it’s possible to find fulfilment in traditional jobs and make a corporate career a Soul Career. Sanya has what many would consider a traditional law career. She climbed the ladder in her law firm to Partner, sits on many prestigious boards and recently became an Eisenhower Fellow. She has achieved all this while being a wife, a mother, and having a passion for philanthropy. So how has she achieved this success while still making time for herself? And, what keeps her motivated when so many lawyers complain of stress and burnout? She shares all this and more.
Sanya admits that she did not always want to be a lawyer. Instead, her decision to pursue law was a process of elimination between medicine, engineering and law. She applied to the Norman Manley Law School at the University of the West Indies after completing high school. And was one of a handful of students who went directly into the faculty of law.
After she left law school, she accepted an offer from Myers, Fletcher and Gordon. A conflict between her private and professional life led her to make the difficult decision to transfer to Lex Caribbean. Finally, after a year at Lex Caribbean Sanya moved to her current position at Hart Muirhead Fatta.
Many Jamaicans believe that they should rely on their children for financial support once they retire. As a result, only 17% of all employed Jamaicans are saving for retirement. This has led to an increase in seniors who exist below the poverty level. Sanya is lobbying for pension reforms and increasing financial literacy among Jamaicans. She believes that having a sufficient pension can enable an individual to live an independent and dignified life throughout their retirement.
Sanya attributes her interest in philanthropy, to the example set by her parents. She believes that a person can use their career to address the needs of the less fortunate. Her interest in philanthropy extends beyond her professional life. As a high school student, she assisted visually impaired students with their studies. She has volunteered at several organizations including the Jamaica Movement for the Advancement of Literacy (JAMAL). She is also currently the co-founder and chairman of the Adult Learning Centers of Jamaica.
Sanya says she has developed life philosophies that help her to integrate her work life with her personal life. First, she prioritizes her tasks. She is also more aware of her limitations and is realistic about what she can do on a particular day. Sanya has also changed her understanding of her availability to her clients. She no longer sees availability as being about open slots on a calendar. Instead, availability is more about the amount of energy she can commit to the tasks at hand. Finally, Sanya believes that planning is crucial. She makes an effort to plan her schedule whether it’s for the day, the week, the month or even the year. In the end, Sanya admits that she is not perfect. She still has times where she doesn’t get it right and isn’t able to focus on herself or her needs.
First, novice lawyers should find a seasoned lawyer who can provide guidance on ethical and customer care issues. Second, every lawyer should try to find a legal area they are passionate about, and that matches their core strengths and temperament. The practice of law can be draining and knowing your passion can energize you. Third, be authentic, don’t try to adopt a persona that doesn’t reflect who you are. Finally, you have to put in the work. You can only make your career a Soul Career if you are willing to do the work.
That’s it for this post. You can check out the podcast on the Soul Career Youtube Channel and any podcast player.