Energising career change (Part 1)

New year, new career?


Changing your career is a big decision which has many knock-on implications; your identity, how much you earn, changing to a new and unfamiliar environment, moving out of your comfort zone, taking a risk in an uncertain world. 


Career change can feel like a big decision for many people, but for lawyers, it is magnified. Why is this?  It is because of the lawyer mindset and legal training.


Here are 10 reasons why career change can be more difficult for lawyers than other professions.


1.    Conformist by nature

2.    Trained to follow precedent, not go the opposite way 

3.    Risk averse in character

4.    Parental pride in offspring being a lawyer

5.    Fear of people thinking failed in second career

6.    Avoidance of showing weakness

7.    Difficulty of letting go of perceived status ‘”Oh, you are a lawyer!”

8.    Linear thinking does not help to identify new career options/jobs

9.    Picking holes/reductive thinking & identifying counter arguments is likely to magnify the       possible barriers to change out of proportion

10.   Leaving clear career milestones of legal profession for no milestones can feel like stepping off into a void


These factors combined can mean that you never start to create a change so stay hating your job when you would rather be doing something else.  Here are 12 tips to start your career change in 2013 as you mean to go on.


12 Tips to reduce the pain of career change and make it easer 


1.    Get a career coach to help support you through your career transition and make time for it in your diary

2.    Identify your values; what is really important to you and what motivates you and whether being a lawyer gives you this

3.    Get experience of doing the job/work you are considering e.g. if you want to deliver workshops, co-deliver some with a contact

4.    Create a framework to screen and discount career change option

5.    Create a motivating compelling S.M.A.R.T. goal to give you energy for the change and pull you forward

6.    Make time every day to take action towards your goal, even if it’s just 10 minutes

7.    Speak with other lawyers who have successfully made a career change

8.    Write a list of questions to which you want the answer to feel more confident

9.    Ask your network for introductions to people working in your desired new career

10.   Write a ‘pros and cons’ list of leaving the law and different career options

11.   Practice what you will say instead of ‘I am a lawyer’ when someone asks you want you do   

12.   Take a day’s holiday and help out a business/volunteer trying out the work you are thinking of changing to


Rachel Brushfield


Rachel is a ‘Talent Liberator’, a career, talent and L&D strategist with over 25 years’ experience with her company Energise – The Talent Liberation Company. Her clients include the managing partner of the biggest law firm in the world and an ITV People of Briton Award winner. Energise is an official business partner of The Telegraph Media Group. Career change is a specialism and she understands lawyers well, being a published author of 2 books and over 18 articles in the legal profession (see www.energiselegal.com)


To receive part 2 of ‘Energising career change’, email Rachel: http://careerstrategies.co.uk/careercoaching/what-next/


All recipients of part 2 will be entered into a free draw to win a 1 hour career coaching gift voucher. The free draw will take place on Sunday 13 January and the winner will be notified directly on this date. 


For more career insights and tips, follow Rachel on Twitter: @talentliberator and check out her blog: http://liberateyourtalent.wordpress.com/


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