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I’m leaving on a jet plane

I consider myself to be relatively well travelled. I’ve seen many beautiful, historic, intriguing and mind-blowing wonders the world has to offer. I’ve walked across the Athabasca Glacier in Canada, I took the Maid of the Mist up to Niagara Falls. I’ve been to the Pantheon, the Coliseum and the Vatican. I once ate lunch on the steps of the Sydney Opera House and I’ve strolled around New York City. I’ve seen the Northern Lights, stood at the spot where the Berlin wall fell, been trekking in jungles (and charged at by Elephants – very scary!!!) and climbed the historical rock fortress at Sigiriya in Sri Lanka to name but a few.

In this day and age (I sound old…) it’s no longer a rarity that the average person will have seen the farther corners of the Earth; which is a wonderful indictment of how accessible the world has become. But, given all of this, I still consider myself to be quite lucky; well I did but then one of my friends told me she’s taking a year off work to travel the world! While I am very excited for her, my first thought was actually one of jealousy. Very juvenile isn’t it? But it’s something I have always wanted to do and I am rather envious of anyone who has taken a year out of whatever they’re doing to simply explore other countries and cultures. That being said, I will just have to make sure that at least once a year I go somewhere new on holiday. It’s Arizona and Las Vegas this year, perhaps Peru next year?

(You may be wondering what any of this has to do with commercial property or legal recruitment. Stick with me, I am getting there…)

After the jealousy passed my concern kicked in and I thought to myself, how will this impact her career? Said friend currently works for a leading international law firm in Birmingham. In her position there is a certain significance and importance to the progression of the firm (do not misunderstand, all employees are equally important) and with this comes the obvious target and pressures. Now it’s worth noting that I am in no way trying to put you off applying to firms of this nature, no matter where you forge your career as a lawyer the job will at times be stressful; but you cannot deny that expectations are high amongst international practices and with that comes certain pressures.

Given the nature of her job I thought it might be difficult for her to take a year out and then come back to work. Not so much because she would have been out of practice for a year, my biggest concern was would her job be there for her when she gets back? Would the firm welcome her back with open arms and ask to see pictures of Machu Picchu? I am really pleased to say that her endeavours are supported by her superiors and the firm as a whole and she will be able to return to the firm and her job when she gets back.

It is easy to assume that you may have to resign to take a year out to travel and seek a new opportunity when you return. This isn’t unheard of and of course we’re here to help if that is the case. But I read CVs every day, ranging from paralegals and trainees to directors and partners from a broad range of private practice and in-house backgrounds; more and more I’m seeing one word that I had assumed could be a bit taboo, “Sabbatical”. It’s great to see how supportive employers can be and how much flexibility is available to people who are both career driven and adventurous. Lawyers are a valuable commodity (especially the 2 – 4 PQE bracket at the moment which is practically gold dust…) and so firms who value your contributions are going to do everything they reasonably can to look after you. Don’t take this as prompt to head to your local travel agent but perhaps you’ve been thinking you want to travel and you’re concerned that your firm won’t be happy about it. I dare say the only way to find out is to ask, and if you fancy a change when you get back then give us a call.

For more information please contact Gishan Abeyratne or visit our website BCL Legal.

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