Do I stick it out in a job I hate or do an unpaid internship in an area of law I love?

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By Legal Cheek on

Fight or flight, I need to make my decision by the end of the week


In the latest instalment in our Career Conundrums series, one unhappy GDL student asks whether she’s better off being paid to do something that makes her miserable, or keeping up an unpaid internship in an area of law she enjoys.


Im a part-time GDL student and an aspiring criminal solicitor-adovcate. Crime is what I want to practise, and this has always been the case. Last year while studying part-time, I managed to pick up an unpaid internship (I had to start somewhere) at a firm in their criminal department, and managed to keep this up for about seven months. Then earlier this year I started another criminal law internship (also unpaid). I was meant to do this until November, but then I got an offer for a very junior position in a City firm with their conveyancing team (an area of law I wasn’t particularly keen on). As I was financially struggling (borrowing money off parents, etc), I decided to take up the offer. I have now been there for three weeks and have been so miserable. I’m incredibly unhappy, the job is so deathly and admin-based. I dread going in every morning! I’m not sure whether I should return to my internship (to top up my experience) and finish it off so I’d be in a better position to secure a paid position in crime, or to hold on to my current job and look for paid work in crime at the same time. I do know how difficult it is to get a paid job anywhere these days so I’m in a huge dilemma! Any help is appreciated.

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