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Take a Break: Your Career Is Not a Bunch of Checklists

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Checklists are needed, few people know this better than lawyers do, but checklists have a way of growing on us, because they are essential to our work patterns. And sometimes young lawyers get lost in checklists and end up summing their careers in a series of acquisitions and achievements placed on another big list. We cannot avoid such things, but it depends upon us to remain careful and not lose sight of bigger priorities like meeting personal and family responsibilities, and not forgetting to steer our careers in to paths favorable for actualizing our core competencies.
 
Lawyers need to go beyond checklists

This takes a lot of doing. It takes a lot of effort to be sensible in developing our careers ignoring pressing needs, and saving and sacrificing time to pursue future career objectives, rather than just keep earning more money, right now. It is especially hard in a tough economy when most people are engaged in struggles of survival, and thinking about future career objectives may seem like unaffordable expense of available time.


But it is being able to do what others cannot, that set people apart in their lives and careers. And managing time for nursing future career objectives now, against and despite insurmountable odds, can spell the difference between a successful career, and one that remains continually insecure.

In a lawyer's life continuous learning and education is a permanently running process and the learning never stops. That's what makes law practice so wonderful and engrossing. But that is where law practice can be dangerous – it can snare you into spending all your time chasing after knowledge and wisdom and leave nothing to spare for your career development.

I know many people, who just let their careers ‘happen' to them while thinking that they are doing the right thing, by just following the track of money. Sometimes, such people do meet outstanding success too, because life remains a game of chances – but more often than not, we find such lawyers disillusioned and frustrated with life in mid-career: Just because they neglected setting apart some time for pursuing future career objectives, and had spent all of their available time on the work they had on hand.

So, it is important to break out of the ‘prepare and follow checklists' mentality for at least some time every week, sit back to take stock of your career, and chart out tracks to attain your career objectives. Then again, you can go back into your world of checklists, you have to do that anyway, but don't let your life become a journey of just following one checklist after another without any gap or reassessment of what is happening to your life. If you don't take measured breaks to reassess and recalibrate your career strategies now and then, you'd never be able to change your path from one where you follow the money to one where the money follows you.

Take a break, a break from checklists – and put it on your checklist, now.


About Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes is the founder of LawCrossing and an internationally recognized expert in attorney search and placement. Harrison is extremely committed to and passionate about the profession of legal placement. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placement attract millions of reads each year. LawCrossing has been ranked on the Inc. 500 twice. For more information, please visit Harrison Barnes’ bio.

About LawCrossing
LawCrossing has received tens of thousands of attorneys jobs and has been the leading legal job board in the United States for almost two decades. LawCrossing helps attorneys dramatically improve their careers by locating every legal job opening in the market. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing consolidates every job in the legal market and posts jobs regardless of whether or not an employer is paying. LawCrossing takes your legal career seriously and understands the legal profession. For more information, please visit www.LawCrossing.com.


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LawCrossing Fact #175: Our customer support offers you diligent advice and information to meet your job-search needs.

 

Harrison Barnes does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for attorneys and law students each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can attend anonymously and ask questions about your career, this article, or any other legal career-related topics. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

Harrison also does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for law firms, companies, and others who hire attorneys each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

You can browse a list of past webinars here: Webinar Replays

You can also listen to Harrison Barnes Podcasts here: Attorney Career Advice Podcasts

You can also read Harrison Barnes' articles and books here: Harrison's Perspectives


Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.

Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.

To read more career and life advice articles visit Harrison's personal blog.

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  • We have more than 25 times as many legal jobs as any other job board.
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About Harrison Barnes

Harrison is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and several companies in the legal employment space that collectively gets thousands of attorneys jobs each year. Harrison is widely considered the most successful recruiter in the United States and personally places multiple attorneys most weeks. His articles on legal search and placement are read by attorneys, law students and others millions of times per year.

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