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Overcoming Career Change Inertia - LAP BC

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Overcoming Career Change Inertia - LAP BC Powered By Docstoc
					Overcoming Career
  Change Inertia

 Lawyers Assistance
        Program
 Facilitated by Robert
        Bircher
Its not the way I thought it
         would be!
• Ex post facto career planning is normal
  for lawyers-many lawyers “fell into it”
  some were “pushed into it” some
  “stumbled into it”
• Most lawyers had little idea of what the
  reality of practicing law was like until
  they actually did it
• Most lawyers took the first or only
  articling job they were offered-then in
  first year proceeded to specialize in
  whatever the firm wanted or needed
• This would be the same strategy as
  marrying the first person you ever went
  out with and trying to force that to
  work
 Why Lawyers stay Stuck

• The reality is few lawyers have
  actually considered what they want or
  need to be happy and congruent as
  practicing lawyers
• This results in a feeling of “I’m not
  sure I am in the right firm or I’m not
  sure what area I want to practice in”
• Some are so “honored” to have been
  offered a job they don’t even consider
  their own needs, they just try and
  pretzel themselves to fit in
• Some are unaware that law has
  probably more types of cultures than
  any other profession
                Inertia

• Some lawyers simply feel they “can’t
  make a move” for reason X -in fact-
  the main reason is fear
• Step one is self diagnosis-is it a
  problem of culture? (people you work
  with, hours required, overt/covert
  working conditions and expectations,
  salary) or is it a problem of area of law
  (barrister or solicitor work, tedium or
  boredom, comfort with conflict or
  adversarial systems)
• If the fit is good you will have low
  levels of stress, depression and anxiety
               Inertia

• Blaming yourself for the poor fit will
  result in you trying to be someone you
  are not or thinking there “must be
  something wrong with me”
• If you misdiagnose you will end up
  with the “same crappy job in a
  different building” syndrome
• If you are unhappy it usually means the
  universe is telling you to change the
  situation, accept the situation or leave
  the situation-most people do none of
  these-they get busy worrying and
  ruminating
               Inertia

• When you are busy worrying and
  ruminating and generally over thinking
  the situation there is no energy left to
  do what works!
• Thinking is useful only in the diagnosis
  stage-what works, of course, is
  effective action
• A leading cause of job change inertia is
  believing you will solve the problem
  by thinking about it
• It is much easier to act your way into a
  new way of thinking than to think your
  way in to a new way of acting
  Changing the Situation

• Look first at changing your own role in
  the firm-if you are burned out setting
  boundaries may be your solution-
  saying no
• You may need to be more assertive in
  some situations-you are an asset not a
  job beggar
• Can you improve your self care where
  you are? Taking healthy lunch breaks,
  taking holidays and time off
• I can already hear “there is no way I
  can do that at my firm”
   Changing the Situation

• Most lawyers underestimate what healthy
  changes are possible “I must do what the herd
  does” the firm doesn’t want you to leave and
  will often accommodate any reasonable
  requests
• It is actually quite rare for a firm to fail to
  make accommodation once it is brought to
  their attention-believe it or not!
• It could be that the firm culture is too
  divergent from your own values meaning
  leaving is another choice e.g.. If it is a “live in
  order to work” firm and you are a “work in
  order to live” person you will need to find
  another more compatible culture
• Be aware that provincially most firms are
  fairly laid back and have a “work in order to
  live culture”
   Changing the Situation

• Really, only Metro Vancouver large
  firms have the “live in order to work
  culture” it is rare in other areas ,even in
  Victoria
• You always have lots of choices!
• For some people it is the reverse-their
  job is too dull or not challenging
  enough or they may want to make
  more money or highly value prestige,
  power and recognition
• See-
  http://seoulover.blogs.com/westlaw/file
  s/being_a_happy_lawyer.pdf-for
  research on lawyer happiness
  Accepting the Situation

• Some things are difficult or
  impossible to change-in private
  practice –billing/time-
  keeping/marketing/economics of
  law firms
• Adversarial / combative nature of
  litigation is not likely to change
  soon-this may not suit your
  personality-most lawyers are not
  extroverted or
  aggressive/combative by nature
  and probably would be happier
  doing solicitors work
   Leaving the Situation

• Once you have decided to leave
  and have diagnosed what the
  problem is you can plan to leave-
  for some people the universe does
  it for them-they get fired,
  suspended/disbarred, or get sick,
  depressed, anxious etc
• Many lawyers get this far then
  freeze up and don’t move for
  years
   Barriers to Moving on

• Lawyers get trapped by some repetitive
  cognitive distortions:
• “I will wait until something comes up”
  this is a passive approach which allows
  you to avoid looking at yourself and
  you don’t have to change anything-
  nothing will come up unless you are
  proactive
• “I have so many options I can’t decide”
  most lawyers do have many choices-
  but you do need to find a way to
  narrow the choices or you will be
  “living in potential forever”
   Barriers to Moving on

• “I am looking for the right
  opportunity”-this usually means
  the “perfect choice” which
  doesn’t exist-it will always be a
  gamble to some degree
• “I am waiting until I know, for
  sure, what I want” the hidden
  agenda here is also safety-this will
  never happen
• “I will wait until I feel like it” this
  is another cognitive distortion-
  action precedes feeling-you must
  do it then feel like it
       Procrastination

• There is no mystery to why you
  procrastinate, the benefits simply
  outweigh the costs ,the mystery is
  because you deny or ignore the
  benefits
• Benefits include avoiding risk,
  living in potential, not having to
  make a decision, I can do
  something more pleasurable, I can
  put it out of my mind, job hunting
  is tedious, I can avoid rejection
  etc.
• Cost benefit analysis exercise
            TIC-TOC

• TIC stands for task interfering
  cognitions-these are thoughts that
  result in procrastination
• “I’m too busy now” “I am not clear on
  what I want to do” “It’s not that bad
  here” “All legal jobs are hard and
  stressful” “If it wasn’t a struggle it
  wouldn’t be worthwhile” “My resume
  is not ready” “There are no other jobs
  out there that are any better” are all
  TIC’s
• TOC means task oriented cognitions-
  these thoughts result in action
           TIC-TOC

• “I’ll phone somebody and do an
  informational interview” “I’ll get
  my resume ready to go” “I’ll do
  some career planning” “I’ll ask
  the firm to work 4 days a week”
  “I’ll phone around and see who’s
  looking for lawyers” “I’ll check
  websites for jobs” etc. are TOC’s
• TIC-TOC exercise if the TIC’s
  outweigh the TOC’s you won’t do
  much

				
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