Whether you’ve been working at the same legal job for years, if you’ve been feeling restless lately, this may be a good time to re-evaluate your career goals.
And while you may not have any major complaints about your current legal job, even a few minor issues can be enough to unsettle you. So how do you know when it’s time to move on?
While changing jobs is stressful, it’s also one of the best ways to advance professionally. Take the following legal career advice and five questions into consideration before you fully commit to a job search:
- What has changed since I started working here? Have turnovers increased? Maybe you have a new boss, or management downgraded some of the perks you really liked. These and other factors are outside of your control, and they can affect your job satisfaction.
- Do I find fulfillment in my legal job? According to Robert Half Legal research, “doing meaningful work” is a top career concern for many in the profession. Even if your legal job is stable and your compensation package is above average, you can feel like quitting if your work is not personally enriching.
- Am I recognized and thanked for my work? If you think your opinions don’t count or the majority of your tasks consist of following directions without being allowed to provide your own input, your restlessness may be due to a feeling that your talents are undervalued.
- Do I enjoy my specialty? Perhaps your dissatisfaction comes from the practice area itself. If you support the company’s compliance efforts all day but your interests have shifted to eDiscovery and AI technology, for example, then you’re mismatched with your job.
- Am I burned out? When was the last time you took a vacation? Restlessness and discontentment can be a symptom of being overworked.
The best legal career advice is to make small changes first. If you’re feeling overworked, take some much-deserved paid time off. If you want more of a challenge or you want to try a different practice area and your firm or legal department is large enough, ask your manager about a lateral career move. However, if the restlessness is due to a mismatch in office culture or other factors outside your control, there’s no need to stay in your present legal job — not when the majority of employers in the legal field want to hire experienced legal professionals with in-demand skills.
Jamy J. Sullivan is executive director of Robert Half Legal, a premier legal staffing service specializing in the placement of attorneys, paralegals, legal administrators and other legal professionals with law firms and corporate legal departments. Based in Menlo Park, Calif., Robert Half Legal has offices in major North American and global markets and offers a full suite of legal staffing and consulting solutions.