New Year’s resolutions can be fanciful, practical, or both. We’re not here to tell you which is right. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big when the clock strikes midnight. But we do think you will feel more accomplished if you chop up those dreams into smaller steps. Here are some ideas to help your personal and professional life (is there a difference?).
Spruce up your professional image
When was the last time you updated your website and LinkedIn profile? Maybe the last thing you posted on your Twitter feed was that great lawyer joke back in June. Take some time auditing and refreshing your online presence to make sure people know you’re still alive and kicking. Then go into your mailboxes and files. See what can be purged from the office and what needs to be resolved before the new year gets rolling. And make one change in your appearance, whether it’s a new haircut or a subtle new accessory for big days. It will help you root 2018 as a unique and special year in your mind.
Cut the clients who don’t reward you
Paring down your client list isn’t just about who pays and who doesn’t. Do take the time to make conscious distinctions between your pro bono work and work done for clients who you feel should be paying but are unreliable. But think also about the way your clients affect your professional sense of balance and well-being. If a client simply grinds your gears more than they should, resign from their business in 2018. If you need a reason to make that decision stick, budget some otherwise-billable time to the next step.
Volunteer at legal aid clinics
Look at the new year as a chance to improve not just your own world, but to make a positive impact on others. If you haven’t set foot in a legal aid clinic since law school, there is no time like the immediate future to set that right. If you’ve been serving the same clinic for decades, think about switching to a different practice area or a different city. You’ll be expanding your connection with the law, making a real difference for people who need you, and you might even find your heart growing a size or three, Grinch-style.
Ask for what you’re worth
You’ve got another twelve months of experience in your profession, you’ve streamlined your practice, and you’ve refreshed your image. You’re already worth more now than last year, so ask for it, whether in bonus or salary if you’re in a larger firm, or as an hourly rate if you have the flexibility to set your own. Check out our ‘What Should I Make’ Calculator to see what other professionals in your area are being paid.
Be intentional about yourself and your resolutions
Stating your resolutions on January 1 is the most important step, but it’s easy to lose sight of what you were thinking when the corks started popping. Spell out, in a place you can easily go back and review at a later date, why you’re making these resolutions. Whether that’s a tattoo, a private note on your phone, or your Twitter feed is up to you. Understanding not just what you promised yourself, but what you wanted to gain, is essential to keeping yourself accountable. And it’ll make it easier to achieve your goals, and less likely you’ll need to make the same exact resolutions come 2019.
If you’re determined to make a career change in 2018, contact us to see what positions we have available.
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