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LIV President's Blog 2012

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Taking a Career Break: 7 Important Questions to Ask Yourself

Taking a Career Break: 7 Important Questions to Ask Yourself

After almost 9 months on leave I have recently returned to my role at the LIV. Despite my biggest challenges so far being working out how to use a Myki card again and ensuring I don’t miss my morning train, I have come back with a new lease on life and a new vision. Even though my leave was voluntary, there are instances where leave is forced upon, for example, redundancies.

Whether it has been forced upon you or you have taken a break to recuperate and escape the daily grind, time away from work provides a valuable opportunity to reevaluate so use this time to your advantage! 

Without the responsibility of a daily work load I have been able to spend time reflecting upon my career - and myself - and considering how I can be a better lawyer and stay happy!

Some of the questions I asked myself (and you should think about asking yourself over the impending Christmas break) include:

1. Can I do more to enhance the delivery of my work? 

Yes, always! There are a number of Young Lawyers’ Blogs that can inspire you with tips and advice to help achieve this. Check out ‘5 Practical tips for lawyers to improve their presentation skills’ and ‘How to conduct an effective client interview’. 

2. Will my current work benefit from new ideas? 

Yes, of course! And I may be rewarded for it. Start thinking outside the box for innovative ideas. We published a blog back in February, for example, on ‘How you can become indispensable by generating new business for your practice’ with online marketing. 

3. Should I complete additional study? 

Organisations encourage staff to continue learning throughout their professional careers, and learning is one of those things I firmly believe we never stop doing. What study can I do to increase my skills? The possibilities are endless and will be largely dependent on your area of legal expertise and the employer that you work for. 

4. What does my dream role look like? 

Before applying for my current role, I created a dream role in my head. I applied for and was fortunate to be offered my current role because I firmly believe I knew what I wanted. Now I continue to develop an image in my head of my dream role, which allows me to take all opportunities available to me in my current role to maintain my passion.

5. What other legal roles are of interest to me? 

Should you consider policy, compliance, in-house counsel, working for the Courts, government, or private practice? If you’re interested in exploring what else is out there then take a look at the Young Lawyers’ Blog ‘Thinking of changing careers? Think again!’ and my blog, ‘The Legal Profession: What’s in it for you?’. You will be surprised by the diverse opportunities that exist in what is an ever evolving legal market. We also did a great piece in the Summer 2012 edition of the Young Lawyers’ Journal profiling ‘High Flyers in the Law’ and their diverse career paths. 

6. Am I in the best shape physically?

When I was working full-time I couldn’t find the time to introduce exercise into my work week. However, whilst on leave I was able to introduce exercise into my weekly routine which I am now fitting around my work schedule! Revolutionary! I have also found more time to spend in the kitchen developing and preparing healthy meal options (which I have mastered). The preparation of ‘the evening meal’ is now a breeze and nowhere near the burden that it used to be. It’s important to never underestimate the importance of physical wellbeing. When you feel good, it translates in all that you do. 

7. How is my mental health? 

I am refreshed, excited about coming to work, looking forward to new challenges and most importantly have set some clear goals for the next twelve months. You should always take the time to assess your mental wellbeing and seek help if required from organisations such as the Vic Lawyers’ Health Line.  

During my time away I learnt a great deal about myself. I am confident that I am returning with a different outlook and approach to the way I work. Despite having returned to the same role, I have returned with new vision. I have new ideas and have developed new ways of thinking and working.  

I am excited about 2014 and the opportunities it may hold.

So young lawyers, what are your plans for the future? Do you have any advice for those re-evaluating? What factors did you consider during this process? I would love to hear from you!

Anna Alexander, YLS Manager 

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Anna Alexander
Thank you all for your comments. I am thrilled to be back at the LIV and able to work with members of the YLS again.
I am also looking forward to the festive season and the shut down period so I can continue to reflect and set some goals for the year ahead. All the very best to you all!
5/12/2013 12:37:47 PM

Geoff Bowyer
Go Anna. very wise words an simple actions we can use both young & old. I would just add that the Christmas/New Year break (which for most people is hopefully at least a fortnight)t is so important for that reflection period and reviewing your personal , career and family goals. The long walks by the beach or in the bush or along the bike paths can give you the chance to listen to your inner voice and utilise some of the startegies which Anna has so well highlighted.
20/11/2013 9:51:43 AM

David Mejia
Anna, this was brilliant and so timely.
Not a word of a lie, your post has encouraged me to take the rest of the year off and just recover from the daily grind.
19/11/2013 12:51:08 PM

Hi Anna,

Great to see some thoughts about spending breaks from the career as an opportunity to reflect, refresh and reinvigorate. Couldn't agree more on the benefits of using your time away so that whatever the next step is, you can attack it with gusto!

18/11/2013 2:33:18 PM

Paul Mangopoulos
Hi Anna ;
Thank you for inspiring work, as later lawyer your view are most welcome and appreciated, hope our paths cross again soon
17/11/2013 9:20:32 PM

Kerry O'Shea
Good for you Anna. Great to hear you are back. There is career after baby! Hope to catch up soon.
16/11/2013 10:04:12 PM

Marium Khalid
Hi Anna,

Thankyou for posting this- most of the questions you put forward have been formulating in my mind but I've been pushing them into a corner simply because I love what I do. It's been an absolute passion of mine but even then as I have been realising and you just mentioned-it's so important to take a step back, take it all in and reevaluate how could you do things differently to keep on loving what you do. I'm going to keep on reminding myself this.

14/11/2013 9:36:14 PM

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