Reflecting and Reacting: Set Your 2018 Career Goals

By Erin Wills

It’s that time of year again! A time for pause and reflection on where we started, where we ended, what went right, what didn’t, and how to improve our current trajectory through life. Yes, a better diet, more sleep, more exercise, etc., are certainly important, but what about your 2018 career resolutions?

Being happy and successful in your career, however personally defined, directly affects your overall happiness and well-being in life. Thus, setting goals and taking time to reflect at least annually on aspects relating to your career is a necessary means to achieving a blissful end.  Below are a few considerations that may help trigger thoughtful contemplation and/or perhaps even resolution-setting, if you’re into that sort of thing!

Assess Your “Rating”

Are your clients happy? Are they pleased with the quality of your work and the associated costs? Or do you even know? How can you even begin to improve if you don’t know where you are? We are regularly bombarded with pop-up links, emails, and call-backs urging us to “rate” our experiences after dining out, making a purchase, etc. Why not create a quick poll to circulate among your clients? If you choose to conduct such a poll, consider asking for a rating of 1 to 10, your best attribute, your worst attribute, and how, in your client’s opinion, you can improve as their attorney. Get familiar with and understand your client’s opinion.

Contemplate Your Role As a “Counselor”

Sure, you counsel your clients on various aspects of the law, but what about others? I’m a firm believer that it is far better to give than to receive. Thus, I urge you to consider taking another person under your wing and counseling them in terms of their career, decision-making, working while raising children, or whatever else you feel will be helpful. Whether it be a new associate, a mid-level associate trying to reach that next level, a college student, or even a high-school student, realize that you have something to share and teach. Embrace your inner counselor, and find that special student who is longing for a mentor.

Exert Control

It is imperative to realize that you control your actions and reactions in the workplace. While that domineering partner may think that they control you by controlling the amount of workflow you receive, and, thus, meeting or not-meeting your billable hour requirements, you don’t have to concede to such a miserable situation. Trust me on this. In order to grow, you should regularly be entrusted with leading projects, managing others, and/or managing clients. If you are not being given a healthy dose of responsibility at work, make your desires known and exert control over your situation. Determine what needs to happen or change to make you a more effective attorney and reach that next milestone in your career. If you’re not being exposed to challenges aimed at boosting your confidence as an attorney, then it may be time to test the waters and full-on swan dive into a new position.

In closing, I wish each of you a year of filled with joy, peace, and contentment in your life and livelihood!