Be honest. We have all visited the JDBliss blog from time to time. We have casually surfed over to Monster.Com just to check out what else might be available in the way of work. We probably all have this fantasy work we dwell upon for time to time. Mainly in humor my wife and I joke that we are going to move to a dinky Texas town and make granola and soap as a way of supporting ourselves. (Truly mindless work). We do not even much like granola and we certainly are not up to making soap. Hell, I do not even know how jello works much less trying to figure something like this out. The point is that we all sometimes get into the JD doldrums.
I recently ran into a post by Jeffrey Lipshaw on the Legal Profession Blog in which he writes "I've concluded after all these years that spending an entire law career, as many do, in the same firm, doing the same kind of work, progressing in the level of oversight and client contact, is still not a natural act. There was kind of an unwritten rule in the corporate world that three to five years in most jobs was about the time it took to learn the job, do it well, and then begin the slide toward boredom (or in the extreme case, burnout)."
Obviously the situation is more extreme in Big Law where a change of any magnitude would cause you to lose your firm, your support system, and really your way of life in many cases. In a solo practice the overhead and staffing prevent changes. The problem is also pronounced in Third Wave practices. However, in a Third Wave practice there is room to grow and to change and to experiment with other areas of law, or areas related to law. You are not worried about the care and feeding of staff and infrastructure. A relaunch, although a little frightening, is not usually life threatening. The costs of launching a new practice area or changing practice areas you have already learned is minimal.
Over my life I have made a number of changes as to practice areas and office location. I have stayed challenged and engaged (even if not rich). I know, for example, I do better in handling projects than in nurturing a firm and its culture. I am fine with that. These changes have been like projects that keep me engaged and interested. It is not easy, but it can be almost impossible if you are trying to drag a firm, organization, staff, and infrastructure along with you.