Assess Where You Are Going

Take a minute or two to read the exercise below. Place a check next to the statements that apply to you. (If you are employed, base your answers on your current job; if you are not employed, base your responses on your last job or on the types of positions for which you are applying.)

Your Job:

Group One

________Energizes rather than exhausts you.

________Engrosses you to the extent that you lose track of time.

________Involves skills that have always come naturally to you (for instance, writing and researching, public speaking, organization, attention to detail).

________Is situated in a setting that you find comfortable (do you prefer a large urban environment over a small town? a formal setting in an office building over a casual setting where the lawyers wear jeans to work?)

________Capitalizes on your natural strengths, not your weaknesses.

________Involves the degree of human interaction that you find most comfortable (do you want a job where you are on the phone for most of the day? in court? do you prefer a job where you primarily research cases in the law library?)

Group Two

________Is something that you settled for rather than something you secretly hoped for.

________Is something that you feel you should do, or something you feel you should like.

________Forces you to act in a way that is highly unnatural to you (for instance, do not take a job that calls for hours of library research if you are the type of person who hates to sit still).

________Fulfills your parents or spouses expectations, not your own.

________Makes you somewhat depressed at the thought of working there before you even start the job.

________Is something you accepted hastily without thinking about it.

If you checked off three or more from the first group, you are on the right track. If you checked three or more from the second group, re-evaluate your career goals.

Many times job seekers start each morning declaring, Today I will find a new job! This is a sure fire way to set yourself up for failure. You have to be willing to do your due diligence (or discovery for you litigators). By breaking the job search process down into small, manageable steps, you will avoid feeling overwhelmed and subsequently paralyzed.

Excerpted from "Jobs for Lawyers" by Hillary Jane Mantis & Kathleen Brady (Impact Publications 1996).