Nick Fear
Nick Fear
Senior Associate: Manager

Articles From the Team

Are you taking the necessary steps to progress your career?

It’s easy to get comfortable at work. To fall into a pattern of repetition, doing the same thing over and over; slowly progressing forward. This becomes particularly so during times of personal upheavals – such as moving house, family illness, or even having children.

It’s also easy to convince yourself that the pathway presented to you (often the path of least resistance) is the correct one.

I’ve personally fallen into this trap before, and I speak to countless lawyers who’ve done or do the same. It’s all too easy to focus on working hard without thinking about the steps that are necessary – deliberate steps – to progress your career in the direction you’d like to go in.

Over the past few years, I’ve been through a process of reassessing my own career and taking some deliberate steps to move things in the direction I want it to progress; so I thought I’d share the things I’ve learned in an effort to help other people.

  • With complete honesty, identify the direction you’d like your career to go in
  • Think about the skills needed to get there
  • Consider the key skills you’re missing and what your weaknesses are
  • Assess how likely you are to gain the skills you need in relation to your current role and current employer. It’s particularly hard to admit there’s someone ‘better’ than you who’s ahead (of you) in the pecking order
  • Talk to people – internally and externally – about your desire to progress and tell them where you’d like to get to. Be honest about your weaknesses and seek advice on how to up-skill
  • Be willing to learn lessons from those you’re friendly with, as well as those you’re less friendly with
  • Be aware of your strengths. Don’t be ashamed about trying to position these to be useful to an employer
  • When it comes to your weaknesses, be aware these can be both technical and personal. Identifying and remedying personal weaknesses is far harder than identifying and remedying technical ones
  • Be aware that your perception of yourself might not be the way others perceive you. Therefore, it’s worthwhile finding out how others perceive you. Do note that most people (especially in the UK) are unlikely, to be honest with you about any negative perceptions they might have; you may have to piece it together.
  • Formulate an honest, sensible and logical plan to address the changes you need to make. So many people fall down at this point – making big grand plans, including a silver bullet/auto-win scenario that rarely plays out
  • Be deliberate in implementing your plan. This is where a majority of people fall down!

Obviously, when you see it written down in bullet points the process looks reasonably straightforward. In fact, the most difficult part of the process is being completely honest with you, looking past self-delusions, and being deliberate and intentional when it’s time for implementation.

Does it work? This is hard for me to say for certain because I’m still on the journey!

However, if you’re a qualified solicitor who wants to become more deliberate in your career planning and progression, feel free to get in touch. I speak to hundreds of solicitors and law firms every year and I’m always happy to offer objective advice on the steps to take to reach your ultimate goal.

Read more articles on managing your career here.

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