As legal recruiters, one of the most common questions we’re asked is “how’s the job market”? Translation: I’m thinking about changing jobs and want to get an idea of what my chances are. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. The job market in Texas continues to boom and the cycle of in-demand practice areas is continually in flux. Yesterday it was apples and today it’s oranges. Tomorrow, who knows.
Testing the job market waters on a periodic basis is a good idea and hopefully, a satisfying way to scratch that itch. A good start would be to develop a relationship with an experienced recruiter that you can periodically contact with job search questions or who will contact you with job opportunities.
Wonder if that law school classmate at XYZ law firm is making $20K more than you? Are they handling more substantial work? A lower minimum billable requirement? Bringing their dog to work? A recruiter can offer market data and knowledge that can assist you on this road. With this information, you may realize you’re actually in the best place for you and your career, and we’ll read about your partnership in the business journal in a few years. Other times you’ll discover that the stars have aligned, and the timing is right to make that move.
That being said, the grass is not always greener. If you are thinking about testing the waters, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What is it about your job that makes you unhappy?
- Can you fix it? if not, what do you really want to do (realistically, think long term as well)?
- How do those roles stack up pros and cons-wise to your existing job?
- Does the work environment I want exist?
- What do you need to do to get there?
- Can you stay where you are and negotiate what you want? If not, will you leave?
Patience in this pursuit is certainly a good thing. Timing, job market and your marketability all play a large role. If you decide to leave, do so professionally with plenty of notice. Also, leave positively with your reputation, friendships and professional relationships intact. Life is short and the legal community is small. Happy hunting!