Changes - And Some Things Stay the Same
So, where has HP been? Well, HP had some life changes, including an unexpected loss of a family member who was just a few years older than HP. And, HP decided HP was ready for a change from BigLaw. HP got a great offer, and HP jumped ship to a small, but exciting, entrepreneurial firm. So, HP has gone from giant, to big, to "petite" firm (it's actually more than HP and her dog, it's a real firm with associates and partners, and all). I'm hoping now that things have settled I'll have time to share my views on small versus big, challenges of both.
But, some things stay the same. I can tell you that great associates shine at small firms as well as big firms. Complaining, unprofessional personnel are probably even more noticed in small organizations. What makes a great young lawyer? Well I see them, they are energetic, careful, they volunteer, they follow-up, they hustle, they respond promptly, and when they are not sure about something, they ask. They seek to learn new areas, they seek to expand networks, they seek to make themselves, their colleagues and their firm look good. I know some of these, and believe me in a heartbeat I could call up and give a great recommendation for them if they find a new opportunity. Attitude is HUGE. I've discussed this with colleagues many times. I will want to work with the associate who does all the things I've mentioned. Conversely, a smart, but pain-in-the-ass colleague is moving down my list (and others) because they complicate, perhaps delay, and deflate the office. I'm not saying you have to be perky cheerleader (or that super sweet, perfect teacher from the "Bad Teacher" movie), but a good attitude - willing, thorough, following through - will take you far.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Hello all - old and new readers. A poster asked if I could give some advice for someone returning to the workplace/firm for full time employment after having spent a summer or otherwise interning. The poster wondered if it would be a good idea to re-introduce themselves. I say, absolutely. Great idea - in fact, if you were following my earlier posts, you hopefully got the sense that you should maintain relationships all along. So, let's say you spent a summer, had an offer, accepted, and came back the next fall. Why wait until you return? Stay in contact with those who you seem to have forged relationships. I quick email - hello, or passing along an interesting article - almost always appreciated.
This touches on a theme I think you've heard me echo. Your career is just that -- a CAREER. It is not a one time job, a summer, a couple of years, etc. Even if you change workplaces, type of work, or take some time off, that does not mean that you should stop connecting. You MUST maintain and build your connections/networks. Your career is more like running cross-country than track -- a long and winding course rather than a quick sprint till you are done.
I had a former colleague who got laid off, and then decided to spend some time with her young kids. Fine. Then she wanted to start working again. I told her about a job right near her house that would be a great fit where a mutual friend of ours was hiring (notice: connection). She didn't move on it, and the opportunity passed. Then she went to work outside of the law for a bit. She asked for a reference, which I took care of quickly. Then I never heard from her again. I even had an opportunity for her in my firm. She was MIA. Nothing wrong with her, just not connecting. Guess what...she's back....wanting to get back into the legal field. Am I inclined to help her - well actually I do like her a lot and would try. But, was she smart about checking out, only to check in when she needed something? NOOOOOOO...dumb move.
Listen people - technology has made it so much simpler to stay in touch - "Link" with someone and send them a note every now and then; shoot someone a quick email saying hello, checking in on how some project went, or was everything ok, etc., send an article that may be of interest, if appropriate ask how a family member is doing ("has Janie decided where she's going to college, I really enjoyed speaking with her about XYZ university"). This is so easy, yet so overlooked. I usually take about 10 minutes every day, just to do some checking in emails. Remember - out of sight means out of mind, and you never know when that contact may be needed/useful to advance your career or for other important reasons. And of course, some of us actually just enjoy staying in touch !
So, this coming week, make it a goal to check in with 5 people. It doesn't require follow up, but if you want to set up coffee, lunch, etc. Go ahead! Even better.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Hey guys and gals. HP took a break, a long break. Why? Family stuff, work stuff, burnout. But I'm thinking of starting back up. I just wonder, would that be useful? Maybe our readers have found new, terrific sites? Let me know what you think, and what would be helpful topics.
You might be wondering what HP thinks of the legal economy. Well, I think things are picking up. My recruiter friends are definitely busier and say even associate hiring is FINALLY improving. Will we return to the old days? Probably not, some things have changed long-term (like some firms canceling summer programs and just hiring laterals). But, it is good to see firms and organizations adding to their ranks.
Ok, just a short post, give me a holler in the comments and let me know what you think.