Even if you’re pretty happy in your current role, every so often, it’s a good idea to take stock of where you are in your career, where you might like to be and what might need to change to make sure you get there.
Not least because, according to this article from Forbes, those who stay in the same job for longer than two years risk earning 50% less over the length of their career – so, if you are intent on staying put in your current role, you need to make sure that your firm will support your long-term career aspirations.
Asking yourself the following questions might help you decide if making certain improvements could make you feel more positive at work, and less likely to need to look elsewhere.
Are you being challenged enough?
Last year’s state-of-the-market research revealed that nearly two-thirds of lawyers are motivated by the prospect of being challenged. If you no longer feel excited about your caseload or worry that you’re not learning as much in your role as you used to, this might be something to think about. Maybe you’d like exposure to more complex matters or perhaps you’d like to hone your skillset and specialise in a specific niche of your practice area?
Raising this with your manager, either informally or by setting up a meeting, might help reignite your enthusiasm at work and ensure you’re feeling sufficiently challenged in your day-to-day role.
Are there opportunities for you to progress?
Can you see a clear progression path for you at your current firm? Do you know what you need to do to reach the next rung of the ladder? Is your department “top-heavy” in terms of the number of senior lawyers (and therefore opportunities for promotion may be fewer)?
If the answer to any of these questions is no and career development is important to you, this could be cause for concern. Having a chat with your manager or a senior colleague might help to clarify what, if any, promotion opportunities might be an option for you later down the line.
Does your job fit in with other parts of your life?
For many lawyers, flexible working is no longer a priority, it’s a prerequisite. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, flexible and home working have become commonplace and within the legal profession, employers are offering an average of three days a week home working.
However, not all firms have jumped on the bandwagon and some lawyers still struggle to have a healthy work-life balance. If your long commute to the office or your rigid working pattern is impacting your home life, raise this with your employer as they may be willing to consider a more flexible working arrangement.
Is your job affecting your wellbeing?
Recognising that the long hours and punishing workloads traditionally associated with the profession can have a significant impact on individuals, many law firms have made a concerted effort to look out for the wellbeing of their employees – whether by offering significant flexibility, manageable caseloads, a supportive culture or additional health benefits.
Despite considerable improvements being made in recent years, Realm’s 2023 Wellbeing in the Law research found that unfortunately, 62% of legal professionals have experienced burnout as a result of their work and a further 21% often feel stressed. If you feel your wellbeing is being impacted by your professional life, it may be worth confiding in a manager you trust at work.
Are you being paid enough?
In the current economic climate, there’s never been a more important time to understand where your salary sits in relation to your peers. To help you better understand where your salary sits in relation to your peers and why variations in pay may exist, we have developed our practice-area salary guides for 2022.
Of course, pay – albeit important – is only one factor in your long-term career satisfaction and should never be the be-all and end-all.
Looking for legal career advice?
Unlike most other recruiters, we aren’t just here for when you want to make a move to another firm. We are truly passionate about helping legal professionals like you achieve their career goals and provide you with tailored advice on what you need to do to progress to the next level.
If you would like to learn how your current role compares to what else is out there or to simply discuss your salary or career progression, contact our team of experts for a confidential, no-obligation conversation about your career at 03300 245 606 or get in touch here.