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Summary: It can be disheartening to be laid off from your job as a lawyer. But it’s also more important that you see your lay off as positive. If anything, it will open more doors to you.
Layoffs are common in just about every business.
These layoffs can occur even in the legal sector.
So what should you do if you fear a pending lay off?
Find out in this article.
If there is one similarity that the profession of law shares with other professions, it’s the fact that any lawyer anywhere – just like an employee for any business anywhere, can be fired.
That’s right, lawyers aren’t immune to termination. Their firing can occur in the same way as anyone else’s. And their termination can be just as heartbreaking, humiliating, demoralizing and disruptive.
With that known – and expected because being fired is being fired no matter what business you’re in, what are some of the best steps a lawyer can take if they’ve been fired from their job? Using the article 10 Steps To Move On From Being Fired, written by Alex Barnett, we can all find out what the best options are if you are an attorney who has recently been terminated.
Getting fired is not a “career-ender.”
The idea that a firing might seem like a “career-ender” is not necessarily true. In fact, it could be a transition to a new beginning. Keep in mind that your new beginning can be anything whether you stay in law or leave it for another profession.
Existing in limbo.
Inevitably there will be a lull between what once was and will be in the future. Yes, it may seem like a period of limbo to you, which may bring on confusion and self-doubt. However, it can also be very easy to second guess yourself or think there’s something wrong with you and that you must be making a mistake. However that may very well not be the case. You should instead embrace this “limbo” as a perfect time for change, and that your challenge is to find a new opportunity. In short, you have to tolerate what lawyers tend to like least: ambiguity.”
What do you want in a job?
Ask yourself what you want in a job whether it be another stint at a law firm or something entirely new. While the article states that this can be “difficult,” it is also pointed out that attorneys need to stay open and pay attention to their intuition.
Attorneys who have been laid off shouldn’t fight with themselves about their values. They should instead consider options they might not have considered before. In short, they need to trust their gut.
Think of fear as a saboteur
Don’t let fear hold you back. Yes, those same words can be found in many circumstances from sports to Top Forties love songs. Well, that message also applies to job hunting, particularly by lawyers.
While it is common to feel fear when one’s out of a job, at the same time you should not let fear paralyze you to the point that you cannot function. As the article states, many unhappy lawyers know what they secretly want to do next in their professional lives. This is true whether an attorney sits miserably plodding along in a job they despise, or if they are already out of work.
Being wrought with fear can only result in an attorney not making a change. And while some fears are real, you have to remind yourself that others can be imagined.
As an expert in the Barnett article suggests, once these fears do crop up, an attorney has to ask themselves if this or the other fear is true. Or is that fear (or fears) sending a false message?
To that end, as is said in the article, our ability to realize the falsity of the sabotaging messages we tell ourselves can work to eliminate their power.
Think of this as a growing process.
The Barnett article suggests that a lawyer whose been laid off think of their predicament as a growing process. There’s no doubt that a challenge will lie in how an attorney copes with being fired and in what shape they will be once they begin to move onto other employment. But even with that, the result of this challenge along with the difficulty and pain it brings can be tremendous growth.
A lawyer should learn from this experience. Painful experiences can build character and wherewithal which can be carried far into their next job and beyond.
Make use of positive advisors and role models.
Support is a key component when one is affected by a job loss. And while attorneys like to pride themselves on toughness and talents for survival, the losing of a job can quite easily shed away all the exterior strength attorneys show and leave a fired lawyer with questions and concerns.
These questions and concerns should not be addressed alone. This is a time in which you contact good friends, associates and mentors.
If you are transitioning from law, seek out those who are successful in a field in which you might have an interest. If they are your friends, associates and mentors, and you’ve been candid and straightforward with them in good and bad times, there is a strong chance that they will offer you advice, or better yet, offer you a job.
This same advice also applies when a person plans to remain in law.
Remember, ask those closest to you their opinion and insight into what you can do and what you plan to do. An honest answer with honest insight into your plight can virtually guarantee your bounce back and success.
Being fired as a lawyer doesn’t have to translate into your entire legal career ending. There will be an opportunity to practice again. Just keep your options open as to what firm you want to go with in the future, as well as that firm’s culture and footprint and how you can fit into that culture.
Leaving law entirely can also offer opportunities you may have never considered before. Just realize that it’s up to you to closely analyze any fears you may face when doing so; you don’t want to scare yourself out of a chance at a job that can turn your life around and make you as happy as you were when you first became a lawyer.
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