The career path for lawyers can, as it is in any other profession, be fraught with minefields, frustrations and compromises.
Managing the process takes planning along with a variety of other skills and instincts. And then, even if handled perfectly, there is still no inherent guarantee of success.
From an excellent blog named The Lawyer Whisperer, its latest article offers 10 critical career areas to focus on through the 2017 Career Goals Checklist!
1. Get To Know You.
Many people go through life never really knowing what makes them truly happy or never understanding why they’re not happy. But in order to be happy and achieve what you want in 2017, you must know the lay of the internal land. A good initial step is to contemplate the following questions and answer them on a piece of paper or your computer:
- Does my job align with my core values?
- Am I happy in my current role? Why or why not?
- What do I like about my job, culture, employer?
- What don’t I like? With the things I don’t like, how/can I fix them?
- What am I doing well in my job? Where do I want/need to improve?
- How are my relationships with my colleagues? Can they be improved? If so, how?
- What is my opportunity for advancement? In what way do I want to advance and how do I do it?
- Am I satisfied with my compensation? Why/why not?
- If I’m currently unemployed and want a new job, what specifically am I doing to maximize my options? What more can I do to achieve better results?
- How do I want to develop professionally – in the workplace and out?
- Do I have any regrets from last year or two? If so, what have I learned from them?
- What are my fears?
Being self-aware will enable you to be more clear about what you want/need and feel more confident as you strive to achieve your professional goals in 2017.
2. Document Your Case For Career Advancement.
A new title, a raise, more direct reports, more responsibilities – If you aspire for advancement in 2017, it will require advocacy on your own behalf to make it happen. But lawyers are not adequately prepared when it comes time to make their case. The plethora of personal and professional responsibilities makes it difficult for even the strongest of minds to recall every accomplishment. So, starting January 1st memorialize what’s memorable about the Professional You. A few suggestions how: Keep a notepad at your desk and jot down notes/accomplishments as they occur. Create an Outlook file with email kudos from colleagues and clients. Dictate your accomplishments on your phone. Keep a notepad in your car and write down accomplishments before heading home. Of course you won’t use all of this material, but when it comes time to ask for more, you’ll have the key information available to make your case relevant and more effective.
3. Develop One New Important Skill.
Those who do not learn, develop and diversify are vulnerable to today’s Darwinian legal market forces. So this year, commit to develop one new important skill. Not four, not three, not two…one important skill. Why one? Because it’s doable. So what does that mean for today’s lawyers? It means learning a new substantive skill that is in high demand like privacy, compliance product or data security…or transactions experience, corporate securities/governance or open source that allow you to retool or advance your career goals. It could include softer skills such as becoming a stronger communicator, business developer or dealing with difficult people. Whatever it may be, take inventory of what skills your repertoire lacks and choose one on which to focus first. Then commit to gaining material knowledge of that skill, which also includes a game plan to accomplish the task.
4. Ask For What You Want.
It sounds so simple, yet it’s one of the most difficult things to do. Fear, entitlement, feelings of unworthiness, reliance on others and the belief that people read minds are the most common reasons professionals do not ask for what they want. But when you don’t ask…you don’t get. So the next time you want something…ask for it. If the thought makes you anxious, resentful or fearful, play out the worst-case scenario (which usually means the answer will be no). Playing out the worst outcomes in your mind mitigates the negative feelings and minimizes their power. Also remember – it’s how you ask that makes all the difference. So spend the time to create a great message of request and you’ll increase your chances at getting what you want. One “ask” per month or quarter is a great start.
5. Be a Higher Quality Professional.
No matter how finely tuned you are as a professional, there’s always room to raise your game. What can you do better? Respond to calls/emails, be on time for appointments, spend more care on your work, treat others with more respect, enforce boundaries, send thank you’s, provide better service, be a team player and/or make a conscious effort to help others. Becoming a better professional will have a profound effect on your relationships and your career – and you’ll see a difference immediately. Promise.
Read numbers 6-10 here.
HELP HEROES TO HEROES SAVE A COMBAT VETERANS LIFE!
Would you like to learn how you can help save a combat veterans life?
And, at the same time:
- Enjoy a day on the golf course,
- Entertain clients and,
- Network for your business?