Woman leaves her $116,000 per year law job and now earns $15 an hour as a firefighter: ‘Find something that makes you feel vibrant’

  • Source: Make It
  • Published: 07/29/2022 12:00 AM

Nico Smith didn’t want to merely make a living, but to “have a living.” She wanted to feel alive. That desire prompted her to quit her $116,000 a year job as a lawyer in February 2020 to strike out on her own. She ended up starting her own law firm, and later discovered a passion for firefighting. “A lot of things in my life were in flux at the time,” the 36-year-old California resident tells CNBC Make It. Her ex-wife had just moved to Portland, Oregon, and they had recently adopted a son together as well. Working at a law firm “was just not suiting my lifestyle anymore.” It came down to her mental health. “Working as a lawyer, you spend a lot of time sitting in a chair, and I have bees in my knees. I like to move around,” Smith says. “I was gaining a lot of weight. I wasn’t happy in my body anymore. I needed to find something that would allow me to have more balance in my life.”


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