The average person changes job about twelve times during his or her career. That includes promotions or internal transfers as well as moving from one company to another.
Even though that number suggests that the idea of joining one firm and staying there until retirement has long since passed, many people still worry about the stigma associated with “job hopping.” Leaving jobs often may make a company think twice about hiring you. Quitting one job for a good reason, however, almost certainly won’t.
I myself left my last position after around four years of service: when you've been unhappy with your job to the point where it's impacted your daily life, it's time to start planning your escape. I'm not saying quit on a whim, because frankly, you should really have a backup plan. Rather, I'm suggesting you figure out what it'll take to allow you to quit your job, and who knows? It just might end up being the best thing you ever do for your career. I have certainly found this to be my case.
Talking to a recruiter helped me a great deal. As a former solicitor myself, of course, I am naturally risk adverse when it comes to change and I found that a specialist in the industry could tell me everything I needed to know about my new potential firm, the culture and what I would be doing from day one. It also allowed me to go about my day to day work and life without the pressure of researching individual firms and knowing what cultures would be right for me.
It’s normal to feel anxious or guilty about leaving a job, but there’s no need to stress out needlessly. You may be considering making a move from a London firm to a regional firm or vice versa. Whatever the case may be, the good news is that in the current market firms are keen to hear from legal professionals who have experience in growing transactional areas like real estate, corporate, commercial and residential property. In addition, areas such as private client, family and employment are also growing and lawyers who specialise in these areas are also in high demand.
Locally, firms are putting a lot more trust in their recruiters to find them the right “fit”, so get to know your recruiter. Ask them very specific questions about every aspect of the firm. If they know their clients well they will be the best ambassador for the firms.
Leaving a job takes courage and change is difficult even if you’re moving on to something that you really want to do and is the right decision. Some people might not be fazed when they leave behind a role they considered profound. Others might feel sadness or a sense of loss they don’t understand. The important thing is to plan and recognise that this is all totally normal.
My advice for anyone thinking about making a move is to reach out and speak with someone. You never know where it may lead. And who knows? It just might end up being the best thing you ever do for your career.
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