I am frequently asked by junior associates, “When will the job market improve to the point where I will be able to find acceptable positions?” OR “I received a low ball offer for substantially less than I was making in my previous position. Should I take it or hold out for something better?” My advice is as follows:
With a few exceptions (most notably, labor & employment and bankruptcy/work out attorneys), the current job market for junior associates –with or without large firm credentials– is not good. I don’t anticipate any meaningful improvement in that market any time soon.
1. Employment is preferable to unemployment. Some income is better than no income. Given the current environment, if you have been unemployed for more than six months, you should treat a job offer like a raise — be satisfied that you got one!
2. Network, network, network. Unless you have an “in demand” skill set or a substantial book of business, you are more likely to find a job through your own efforts (networking and meeting with people) than you are through the efforts of a third party working on your behalf.
3. Work every day. You got laid off. Do something productive every day. Do contract or hourly work. Increase your visibility by calling, writing and meeting with people every day. Set goals such as one appointment or meeting per day every day for the next several months until you land a position.
4. Consider alternative career paths. Today’s misfortune can be the onset of tomorrow’s good fortune. Looking back, the best thing that happened to me professionally was when I was laid off from my junior corporate associate job over 13 years ago. My career path changed from practicing attorney (something that I was ill suited to be) to attorney placement (my true professional calling).
5. Be your own boss. It’s difficult to lose your job when you work for yourself. It’s even harder to dislike your boss when you are working for yourself. Losing your job can exact a heavy toll on your psyche. It can be demoralizing. Pick yourself up off the ground, regain your composure, and set out to be better (work harder, smarter, longer, more effectively) at whatever you choose to do than the next guy.
For a free consultation, feel free to contact me at:
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or direct dial: 404-814-0201.