A man interviewing a candidate for an in-house legal job, looking at a CV.

8 Signs it’s time to move on in your job

Making a career move is never easy, but sometimes it’s necessary. Of course, only you can decide what’s best for your career, but if you’re feeling unappreciated, stuck in a rut, or simply want to explore different areas of law, it might be time to think about moving on. You don’t want to be in a job that no longer brings out the best in you. So, don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith. You never know what opportunities await you. 

Here are the 8 signs that it’s time to start packing your briefcase and finding a new legal adventure.

1. No room to progress

You will agree that career progression is a critical part of work satisfaction. So, if you feel like the opportunities for career progression are practically nonexistent, or you feel stuck in the rut of your current position, it might just be a tell-tale sign that you should move on.

However, if you’ve been consistently passed over for promotions or overlooked for new opportunities this doesn’t mean you should jump ship straight away. You should first consider whether you have the necessary skills and experience needed to progress in your current role. Look at who was given the promotion instead of you and speak to your employer about what you can personally do to secure the next opportunity. This could be a brilliant chance to find out exactly what is required of you and how to enhance your potential. Another point to consider is whether your firm has a policy in which they will only promote people if they have worked for the organisation for a set amount of time. 

On the other hand, if you find you are constantly knocked down despite taking all the steps you can to develop, it may be a sign that you need to find a new opportunity in an organisation that offers progression and career development. For instance, some firms provide management training to help staff build management skills and apply for higher-up roles. 

2. You feel undervalued

A job should never make you feel disposable or insignificant, if it does, then it’s definitely time to move on. Feeling undervalued may come from a lack of recognition for your efforts, not being given enough resources or tools to do your job well, or even getting overlooked for opportunities that match your skillset and abilities. 

If you find yourself in a situation where your hard work and contributions go unnoticed or unappreciated, it might be time to search for a work environment that will value your contributions. 

3. You clash with the work culture

We all know that culture is important in a workplace. Every law firm is unique and known for its own culture and values which shape its modus operandi. Some firms are more social and organise social events or even have football teams, whereas others offer perks like gym memberships. The reality is, you don’t truly know whether you fit with a firm’s organisational culture until you work there and settle in. 

Think about the environment you need to thrive, your values, training opportunities, or any other important perks. Some people value collaboration and having a good work-life balance, whereas others seek autonomy and challenges through target-driven goals. If your current firm doesn’t offer what you need, you can see if there is anything your employer can change, perhaps more work-from-home days or a chance to work on more challenging projects. If you are still not satisfied, looking for other firms that fit more with your objectives may be the solution. 

4. You’re no longer challenged

It happens to the best of us, if we stay in the same job for too long, we can become complacent and uninspired. You could be doing the same tasks day in, and day out, or working on similar cases. The first thing to do is to speak with your manager to see if it is possible to work on varied projects or perhaps you can apply for a promotion to have more responsibility. 

It may be that the area of law that you are working in no longer interests you. In that case, you could switch to another department. However, if your job is no longer challenging or developing your skills, it could be time to move on and find something that will continue stretching you, push you out of your comfort zone and keep you on your toes. 

5. You work above and beyond with no reward

It’s normal to go the extra mile at work, however, if you’re consistently working overtime and missing out on time with your family, friends, or, more importantly – you, it’s time to reassess. It’s one thing to do it occasionally, but if you find yourself constantly stretching to cover your never-ending workload, you may need to speak to a manager to see if there’s a way to reduce it or get help with it. In some areas of law such as personal injury or conveyancing, it is the nature of the job to have high caseloads. But this doesn’t mean you should be stressed. Think about whether the workload is sustainable and whether your employer is willing to support you. 

6. You don’t get constructive feedback

It’s an employer’s job to provide constructive feedback so that you can learn and grow in your role. A lack of regular feedback, whether positive or negative, can be a big sign that your career is not progressing. If you’re not receiving enough direction and guidance from your firm, it could be time to look for an opportunity where you can build on your skills and gain more knowledge.

7. Other opportunities are more appealing

The legal market is an ever-changing landscape and there are always exciting new positions within reputable and forward-thinking firms. Where opportunities open up that appeal to you, take the time to research and weigh up your options before deciding what to do. Any new opportunities that you consider should be a step up in your career and allow you to develop your skills further. It could be a good idea to speak to a legal recruitment agency to see if your plans and goals align with new offers. 

8. You want to experience a different area of law

Sometimes, the best way to progress in your long-term career can be to change to a discipline that better suits you and offers more progression potential. Each area of law is suited to different people and the area you choose depends on what you enjoy and find rewarding from your job. For instance, if you enjoy helping vulnerable people and children, you may find that human rights or family law is for you. If you want to challenge yourself by working on complex business deals and transactions, corporate law or banking & finance could be a good path. On the other hand, if you find it interesting to create policies and processes to ensure government legislation is adhered to, you may enjoy compliance or regulatory work.  Don’t let yourself feel pigeon-holed in a practice area that doesn’t suit you. While the transition can be a challenge, over the long term you will reap the benefits. 

If we can assist you and you might appreciate a no obligations discussion, please get in touch with one of your dedicated consultants,