Angharad Warren
Angharad Warren

Articles From the Team

Should I look for a new legal job? 

How many of you really love your jobs?  Who gets out of bed in the morning with a spring in their step because they can't wait to get to get to work?

Hopefully most of you enjoy your jobs and don't get the Sunday evening fear of the week ahead, but if you do get that feeling then perhaps you just haven't found the right job for you.  There's no real reason to stay in a job that doesn’t fulfil you.

You may have outgrown your role, there may be a particular colleague that you don’t get on with, your employer may lack the flexibility that so many of you expect (particularly since Covid), your boss may have a total disregard for any type of healthy lifestyle balance and pile work on you when you’re already drowning.

Whatever it is, there are usually tell tale signs that it's not just a blip but time to move on, so what should you be looking out for?

You feel you've learnt all you can from your current job

Part of a fulfilling career involves feeling challenged and stretched in your job.  If you no longer feel you are growing then that's a red flag that you either need to move roles within your firm or otherwise look for a new job.  Ask your manager for exposure to more complex projects, ask for more responsibility; perhaps you’d like increased client contact or more autonomy.  If they can't offer you anything additional then consider whether your career would be best developed elsewhere. 

Your commute is long and your employer wants you back in the office

People often accept a commute for a great opportunity however the pandemic has taught us that we all work pretty well from home so is there a need to spend lots of time in the office?  There are various arguments for and against it which I won’t go into here but if your employer is refusing to allow you a decent amount of remote working in an environment where most firms will, then there are going to be plenty of options out there at other firms which can flex around your life and help with your commute.

Most employers have a flexible working policy and since the pandemic most firms are requiring about 50% office attendance (covid/government guidance permitting) so speak to your firm and see how they can offer more flexibility in the first instance.

You can’t switch off from work

You're thinking about work in the evenings, it’s stopping you from sleeping properly.  Is your subconscious is trying to tell you something?!  Do you wake in the night and make lists of tasks that need to be done the next day?  If the thought of another few years in your job fills you with terror then it might be time to call it quits.  Before being too rash, consider if you are going through a particularly demanding period.  If there is an end in sight then don’t check out too early but if you are constantly in this position and the problem is part of a much larger issue then talk to us.  The market is as busy as it’s ever been, busier, so you would have plenty of options that make might your life a lot happier!

You feel undervalued

As the old adage goes, people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses.

Good support, appreciation, development, training and motivation are so important to how you view yourself and your job.  So many people in today’s world suffer imposter syndrome, particularly in the legal world, and a manager who is constantly picking holes in your work without offering constructive advice only makes that feeling worse.  My advice would be to go to your HR Manager for advice if you feel you can’t raise these issues directly with your supervisor.  We hear of people being passed over for promotion for no particular reason, don't let these types of issue niggle away at you and knock your confidence – raise them.  If you don't like your boss, it may be that the feeling is mutual in which case no matter what you do, you may end up being criticised and your chances of progression hampered.

There's a barrier to progression

Sometimes there is just nowhere left to go in a particular role.  Often with in-house roles in particular the team structure can be quite flat meaning that no matter how good you are you can't progress until someone else moves on.  If that's unlikely for a good few years, regardless of whether you like the job or not, it would be unwise to halt your progression and earning capacity.

Your firm is in financial difficulty

Have you noticed a drop in instruction levels?  Does your workload feel significantly lighter?  Has your firm lost a major client?  Has a key partner jumped ship to a competitor?  If any of these ring true then perhaps you should consider how financially healthy the business is.  If it's clearly struggling then it might be time to start considering your options.

Luckily most firms seem to have performed terrifically well during the pandemic so we would expect most of you to be in stable roles.

Your firm has merged or been acquired by a larger firm

Think about how this will impact the firm as a whole; your team and you.  When two businesses merge or a business is acquired it is often a good thing but however these big changes can affect culture, team dynamic and structure and as a consequence there is usually some fall out (or redundancies) following a big merger.    

You just no longer enjoy being a lawyer

If you feel that the law is no longer for you and you've tried different roles at different firms and still don't enjoy your work then maybe this just isn’t the right career for you.

We regularly see good lawyers leaving the profession for other opportunities; teaching is a popular one as is legal recruitment (come to us if you want to explore this option – we’re hiring!).

Some lawyers are quite entrepreneurial and set up their own businesses, a friend of mine retrained as a doctor following qualification as a Solicitor, not for the faint hearted!  Other candidates we’ve worked with have taken up new careers as tree surgeons, property developers, yoga instructors, novelists, the list goes on.  If you just don’t enjoy fee earning any more then there are plenty of PSL roles about which could be a nice compromise to leaving the law altogether.

If you are thinking abut leaving your job.  Ask yourself why.  What is it that you don’t enjoy about it?  What aren’t you getting from your career?  Draw a distinction between short term job dissatisfaction and much deeper issues that having explored and discussed, you genuinely feel can’t be resolved.

We are always happy to act as a sounding board if you are in two minds about the direction in which you want to take your career so always feel free to get in touch for a strictly confidential and ‘no strings attached’ chat.

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