Practice of Law

Need Change? Take Inventory of Your Legal Career

ThinkstockPhotos-477423872The following is a guest blog post by Laura Boysen-Aragon. Ms. Boysen-Aragon is a legal recruiter at Solutus Legal Search, LLC, where she helps lawyers find their next dream job and helps companies and law firms find their next legal ace. She is also a former practicing attorney.

If you’re like many lawyers and feel burnt out or bored, it might be time to take inventory of your career. But taking the time to think about career issues can be daunting—you know you need to make some changes, but where to begin? Start by taking a few minutes to ask yourself some important questions, the answers to which will give you direction and help you find more fulfillment in your career.

  • What do I like about my current role and what would I change? Think big here and dig deep. Think about every detail of your job. Maybe you like all or part of the substantive work, but don’t thrive under the management style. Maybe your commute is taking too much out of you. Maybe you’re sick and tired of being a lawyer. Often what’s bothering us about our current situation is one factor and not the entire role. Have you communicated your needs or interests to your current employer? Perhaps there’s a way to spice up your current role by taking on more or different responsibilities. Perhaps you can work from home one or more days a week to cut down on your commute time. You may realize you need a bigger change than your current position can offer, but this is a good place to start.
  • Who in my network can help me figure out what I want to do with my life? Now it’s time to look outside of yourself for some answers. Talk to someone who knows the legal landscape to get a sense of the market and your options. Reconnect with law school classmates or former colleagues—if they work at an organization that interests you, find out more about it from them. You don’t need to ask them for a job, you’re simply gathering information to figure out what’s next for you (but it doesn’t hurt to make a good impression so they’ll think of you the next time an interesting position pops up in their organization).
  • How much money do I need to earn to be comfortable? Although the first two questions should be asked outside the context of financial constraints, needing sufficient living expenses is a reality for us all. If you’re not making enough money to make ends meet or live the life you envision, then the added stress may not be worth the change you are considering. On the other hand, if you’re staying in a job simply because the money is good, consider whether you could take a pay cut and have greater overall satisfaction.

Finding the time to take inventory of your career is tough, but it can make a big difference in your job satisfaction as well as your career trajectory.

© The Regents of the University of California, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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