It may seem like a quixotic idea to find a job that you can enjoy and pursue in the legal field. In law school, it may have seemed like the things to focus on when deciding between positions were spelled out for you: big or small, private or public, suburban or urban. There’s more to a job than just these elements, however.
It may seem hard to determine the character of a legal workplace during an interview. Don’t all firms put their best foot forward? HR consultants say that they take a mental snapshot of offices and cubicles as they walk to meetings and interviews when consulting. Are their pictures of children at the secretaries’ desks? Are there plants in the partners’ offices? Are doors open to offices? Are people talking by the coffee machines? These small details, when viewed from a larger perspective, can give you insight into how things actually run and the culture of the workplace.
Determining whether a workplace works for you or not depends on how well you know yourself. You might stop and take a similar 10,000 foot view of your current job and ask what you like, or even love, about it. Consider going all the way down into the details like the amount of sunlight in the offices, the free parking, the choice of having great coffee.
Your Innate Habits are Traits to Highlight
Just as your preferences for workplaces are unique, your traits are too. Finding a job you just might like involves matching your traits to those needed in the position. Traits involve innate ways of being, like being oriented towards people rather than tasks or whether you need to see all the data or research first before making a decision on a course of action.
If you dig into your personality traits and see them as assets to be leveraged, you’re likely to find a position that highlights those traits. If you ignore your traits, you might end up in a role where you feel like you have to rein in your natural tendencies. For example, if you are drawn to problem solving and people, being in a job that requires you to work long hours independently would feel stifling. The converse is true as well. If you tend to be more of an introvert, finding a position where you work by yourself predominantly would feel like a good match.
Internal Awareness is a Rare Thing
Figuring out your traits and how to view them as assets, as well as how to determine what traits are needed in specific job openings is tough. In fact, it may feel overwhelming. If that’s the case, then don’t go it alone. Having insight into your traits on your own might not be, well, one of your traits. Instead, consider contacting someone who has the training and knowledge to help identify those traits. Job or employment coaches can approach your background and help walk you through identifying your traits. Some recruiters can also help you identify traits when applying for jobs outside of your field. Asking for perspective on your search can help you marry the 10,000 foot view with your internal workings. That combination is the key to finding a job you just might like.